Archive for the ‘Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.’ Category

I have been spending the last few years trying to sort through family items, on all sides of our family.

Some of the lessons that I’d like to pass along are the obvious ones, which bear repeating. Others you may not have thought about.

# 1    Label all your pictures when you can! Don’t use pencil or ball point pens, if you can avoid it. Use thin point permanent markers, preferably acid-free archival photo safe markers. You can get them at the big box supply or hobby stores. Test the ink on the edge of the back of the photo.

There are photos that I have been shown over the years, and ones that turned up in boxes, and drawers.  Many of the pictures are obvious who they are of…some are not at all.  Memories vary in their accuracy also.  Even photos that the subjects of seem obvious to one family member, are not so obvious to another.  We’ve had good help from some extended family members in identifying subjects and places.  But there are going to be “family” photos that we cannot identify at all.  Don’t let it happen in your family!

# 2    Either make a list, or individually put notes, with special pieces of glassware, china, or tools.  I followed John’s mother, Harriet, around the house one day, making notes on all sorts of pieces of glassware, furniture, etc. I had it listed by whom in the family it had belonged to, and what cabinet it was in or where it was in the house.  But they moved. She moved twice.  Some pieces I can match up.  Some, I cannot.

          John’s father’s mother used to put notes inside items. They would say a few lines about the history of the item. Often, the note would also say who she wanted to have the item when she was gone. This worked very well. 

His aunt and uncle gave a lot of items to the people that they wanted to have them, while they were alive.  That way they could tell them about the items, and see the people’s pleasure in receiving the gifts. Many items she would label, or write a short note about.

If you intend to keep using the item…just pull the note out, and put it back when you return the item to the cabinet.  Make sure the note says what the item is, in case they aren’t put back together.

          Elizabeth, our oldest daughter, and I try to take pictures of items, and then label the picture.  It does not always work. We still have a lot to identify.  But we are making progress.  If you keep copies of these photos off the premises, in a safe deposit box, or at a family member’s home, it also helps identify items if there is a fire, or theft.

#3     The greatest gift that you can give to your family is their past.  Do not be embarrassed about how you look in a video; do not be afraid of how your spelling or sentences read.  Have your family run a video camera at Christmas. Tell them about the quilt that your Great-Aunt made at her church group.  Show them the piece of glass that was your first gift at your new home. Identify the tools that your father used. 

If the family isn’t home for the holidays, take pictures of your bowl for baking bread; the rolling pin that was your great great grandmother’s; the china cabinet that was rescued from your parents’ house fire. 

Don’t just say “Great Great Grandmother’s”. Say the name. And say if you mean your Great Great Grand, or your son’s, or your grand-daughter’s.  It makes a difference! Make copies of the photos that you take of the items. Label them. Send them. Don’t worry that they are not in a fancy scrapbook. Don’t wonder if anyone will care. Do it. Give your descendents your memories.  If you have a family member and a printer/scanner available, join the technology era, and work with them to scan and label photos of people and items.

My grandfather used to say:  “It’s all memories”.

Don’t wait to share those precious memories and remembrances. 

It costs very little to share memories.  Try it this Christmas season.  If you don’t get it done now, do not fret.  This gift is greatly appreciated at any time it is received.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.  Antiques are the ultimate recyclable; and make unique gifts for home décor.

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We are all trying to find the perfect gift for our family members. The “perfect gift” can have a whole spectrum of definitions, from a big screen television to the original, or a copy, of the only picture of your mother’s grandparents.

Listed below are some ideas for gifts that might fit the definition of the “perfect gift”.  Most show creativity and thoughtfulness rather than an expensive price tag.  But there are a few of those too.

1.     Many specialty businesses can ship a package to your giftee.  If you are sure that someone will be home to care for a plant, an amaryllis is an enjoyable indoor plant that produces plenty of growth. Several “big name” garden companies will ship gorgeous plants for you.  Or you can find them at local suppliers, and mail them yourself, for much less.  We have some beautiful Christmas cacti in different shades…ready to bloom.

2.      I am a big fan of magazines.  A monthly subscription provides a treat to a senior citizen who might not get much mail, or to a young person, or couple, away from family and friends.  Some magazines offer a buy one, get one free feature; and most give significant discounts for a subscription.  You can pick up several different magazines, on a single topic, at your local bookstore for a one time gift.  Or buy one, or more, to wrap and use the coupons inside to order a follow-up subscription. It is not a very “green” gift, unless the paper is recycled. 

3.      If you are older, or on a limited income, copies of photos of “ancestors” are a treasure to most young adults.  You can make this a copy in a frame of just one special photo.  Or, you can do an entire album of family ancestors.  I am not a big fan of cutting up photos of people to place in modern “scrapbooks”.  I think that you can lose valuable context, such as the family home in the background, when you cut up photos.  If you are going to do a fancy scrapbook, make sure that a copy of the “whole” photo is saved for its information value; and that you write the information about people and places on the back in a fine point permanent marker that you test on the edge of the photo first.

4.      One Christmas, my parents gave each of their grand-daughters a family quilt made by my paternal grandmother.  These were hand-quilted when their great-grandmother was not much older than them.  They all, naturally, were thrilled with that gift.  How much more excited might they have been to receive the quilts directly from their great-grandmother while she was still alive?  And how excited would my grandmother have been to give those gifts, and see the girls’ reactions? But none of us knew that the quilts existed, or where they were until my parents found the quilts, and my father remembered the stories about the quilts, after she had passed away.

 5.      Antique shops are a wonderful source of interesting and unique “old” items.  You might find the fourth bowl to a four bowl set that your mother had accidently broken. You might find a nautical print that would remind your father of a favorite vacation place.  Or a set of dishes for your sister that exactly match her china pattern. Or a set of glasses for a couples’ new home. Or you might find a treasure that would be “new” like a great old bowl for your daughter, or old eyeglasses for your eye doctor’s office.  We once bought an “antique” porch rocker for my mother-in-law.  It turned out afterwards, that the rocker had belonged to an acquaintances’ family member. Small world!!

 6.      The world of the internet has expanded all gift-giving possibilities.  There are, naturally, gift certificates to all sorts of specialty companies from Amazon to White Flower Farm.  You can direct the gift certificate toward a special plant or leave it wide open for anything from a book to a tool. Most places will send the gift certificate with a catalog to choose the gift from…or you can find an item and have it gift wrapped and shipped/insured.  Some places only offer specific priced gift cards.  Or they have expiration dates.  Our Shops gift certificates are for any amount and have no expiration date, and are good for either the Antique Shop, the greenhouse, or a horse!

 7.      Live animals.  I generally do not recommend purchasing a live animal for a gift for someone.  But, you can give a gift certificate for a particular type of pet, with the promise to go shopping together for it at a later date.  If your friend or family member is in to “buy local” or “sustainable agriculture”, you could purchase anything from a carton of organic eggs weekly for a specific period of time to a dozen chickens of their choice!

 8.       A trip to someplace local.  There are museums, aquariums, movie theaters, live community theater, and a myriad of other places that you can give a gift of tickets to.  Or better yet, do something as a family or a group.  It doesn’t have to be immediate.  The promise, fulfilled, of a trip to the movies or the art museum, whatever, gives the recipient something to look forward to and relish the memory of.  It does not have to be a high priced event to be memorable. Make sure that you bring a camera, or take a few photos on your cellular phone!

 9.        Especially if you are visiting, or being visited by, multi-generations, a trip to some event or place can cure “cabin fever” and “too much” togetherness.  Don’t forget that young children need to move around. And older folks might need a rest.  Plan your activities to allow for the needs of all the members of your group.  So that you will all get the most enjoyment from the event.

 10.      If you have moved to a new area far from home, that has a “local” newspaper, a gift subscription for your family lets them know what is going on in your new “home base”.  On the flip side, a subscription to the “local” paper gives someone who has moved away a recurring reminder of “home”.

 Most of these items can range from a low cost gift to a high dollar one depending on how you approach it. Remember that building “memories” with your family is a precious gift that keeps on giving…

Bake cookies “from scratch” together. Type Grandmother’s recipes in to a computer program and give a copy to each unit of the family.  Go for a drive to look at Holiday Lights. Watch an annual Christmas “special” on TV or buy the DVD to watch several times.  Play Christmas carols while you clean the house.  Read Santa Mouse and have gifts in the tree. Read the Christmas story.  Go to a Christmas Eve Church Service.  Buy a present for a child that will have none.  Shop together for groceries and donate some to your local food pantry.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Repurpose.

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We had a lot of wind and storm damage last week.  No one, people or critters, were seriously injured. But the skylight panels in the roof of the Annex were broken, and multiple trusses were seriously cracked.  Fortunately we had taken some of the items out for the Estate Sale in September, but Antique magazines were ruined by water damage; and some other items as well.

The roof on the Antique Shop held up better.  That was probably because we had the building tied together well with rough cut cross-beams.  There was still some damage there also, at the roof and windows.

For those of you who have been here, the shade area with picnic table, friends’ rose, specialty honeysuckle and another special multi-blooming rose was completely knocked down.  The heavy support columns were broken off at the ground. The plants will probably make it…with heavy pruning back.  There was more damage at the greenhouse shade area; and to the old barn, and other out-buildings.

So, we have been pulling more items out of the Annex in preparation for the construction repair team to replace the bad trusses and roof.

Some things are a loss to the weather.  Others made it through just fine.  “We” had lots of stacks of interesting old magazines and journals on various topics.  I had also started to set aside books for a ‘used book’ store.  Most of those were not damaged.  We also had a section of old bottles, and some old cookware.  Caitrin got a lesson on Dromedary Dixie lidded loaf pans while we were moving items. Plus some camping equipment and various shelves and stands were in there.

We will be having a major book sale soon.  Watch for the notice on my blog and via Facebook and ads.  Some books will be “flea market/yard sale priced”; some will be “used book prices”; and some will be “rare book” priced. 

We will be bringing MANY boxes of books, out of storage, and over to the Shop from John’s and my parents’ Estates too.  Some are very old, and rare.  It is interesting to see what titles have been popular over the decades.  Somewhere, we also have old military service magazines from the Second World War Era.  We are hoping to find those and get them offered “For Sale”.

We will be donating some things; and others will be going to auctions, or ebay.  It is good because it is making me “clean house”; clearing out items I just keep hanging on to for someday. Once the Annex is rebuilt, we will bring more items out of storage for sale, and hopefully establish a ‘used book’ section, for adults and children, as part of the Shops. 

We are also working on Gift packages for the holidays, hostess presents, and Gift Certificates.

We’ll keep you posted.

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Do you have to have everything match just so? Do you have a mixture of colors and styles of dishes? Do you use paper plates, so that you can toss everything out?
I have a set of “our” china that I use for one holiday meal. And a set of “family” china that we use for another.
Our family is very fortunate, in that we have a lot of physical memories of and from our ancestors. Many people are not that fortunate. But this is a way that they can build their own memories.
We have been married many decades now. And have bits and pieces left from different sets of dishes that we have had over the years. Our first “everyday” dishes were white stoneware with a scroll design. They were a nice plain base for whatever food that I was learning to cook during the early days of marriage.

Some of our friends joined together and bought us our first “set” of dishes…everyday and fancier dinner stoneware, a white main plate, with a shades of brown border pattern, from Mikasa. Over the years we have had some other styles of plates, including stoneware ones with small blue pineapples (the symbol of hospitality); and clear pressed glass ones with an overall floral pattern.
My Grandparents had started to buy my “hope chest” fancy china place settings, and added to them for the first main events, holidays, etc of our marriage. These were my very simple, yet elegant, Lenox place settings, a creamy white with a pair of silver bands. Forty+ years later, these are our main special occasion place settings.
A few years ago, John’s Aunt and Uncle passed away. They had a set of dishes that his grandmother had “china painted” on the embossing. We bought these at a “family discount” during their Living Estate downsizing sale. We use these for a few special meals a year, and recall family dinners over decades using that set of china.

A couple years ago, two of our grand-daughters bought us lovely stoneware dishes, for a Christmas gift. The main part of the plates are different solid colors, with all having white borders. These work very well for all sorts of meal presentations…I really do like a solid color for the main plate. It is a nice background for whatever you are serving. I do not like how an overall pattern “fights” with the food placed upon it.
Our daughters have inherited china and “everyday” dishes from both sides of the family. My paternal grandparents had a tiny floral pattern on their European china. Our oldest daughter inherited those pieces. The china has traveled to many states with her and is still doing well. Our youngest inherited their everyday “early” Melmac in muted Autumnal colors. I never cared for those dishes. But she has made a cult around them, and I must admit the soup bowls are just the right size! This same daughter has also inherited a very fancy set of Golden Wheat patterned Lenox, that became hers from a Great Great Aunt and Uncle through her father’s side of the family.

Our middle daughter has inherited John’s mother’s Blue Willow china: The very fancy pieces and the more everyday dishes. There is so much of it that it took boxes and boxes to pack it.
Currently in the Antique Shop, we have a full set of Old Homestead green patterned china from John’s parents. We also have a few very cute pieces of a yellow dish with colonial farmstead patterns on them. We also have sent to auction a set of yellow depression ware (colored glass with pressed patterns). We still have some gorgeous pieces of green depression ware in various patterns that John’s mother collected over the years.
In storage, are some pastel plates (not a complete set) that my mother bought in a box lot at auction eons ago, and her fancy stoneware, in an Autumnal orange poppy pattern. Plus she had odds and ends of previous “sets” of dishes, which are in boxes waiting to be utilized and remembered.
There are many points to this reminiscence. First, we are so very fortunate to have things from many generations back on both sides of the family. Second, we could never possibly absorb it all, and despite having three daughters; and three grand-daughters and a grand-son, there is only so much that we can pass down. Third, we are all great believers in recycling.
Antiques are a wonderful way to reduce, re-use, recycle, and repurpose. Instead of buying cheap plastic or metal trays to give out Christmas cookies, or other food gifts, use pieces of old china or stoneware. If you do not have family hand-me-downs, you can find pieces at antique shops, auctions, flea markets, Estate sales, and charity stores, where your purchases assist others.
A wonderful restaurant that we went to in Amsterdam was just opening. They invited all their friends to come to a Grand Opening dinner. They were asked to bring a place setting and leave it as the “price” of their meal or “gift” to the restaurant. None of the place settings matched. And despite my preference for a plain center on my plates, we all enjoyed the thought and colorfulness that went into this restaurant’s décor. And it assisted the owners with an expensive part of opening their restaurant. It also lured friends and acquaintances back to see “their” dishes at work, great marketing!
We are very conscious of “sustainable” living. When we go to Slow Food events, we bring our own place settings, and utensils, bag them up at the end of the meal, and bring them back home.

Other friends of ours have picked out special place settings over the years, and each family member has “their” own dishes at the table. This works best with a solid color tablecloth, or placemats.

Older dishes at a picnic or barbeque are more solid than paper products, and hold up under sauces, cutting with utensils, etc. If something gets broken in transit back and forth from the kitchen or grill, it is not a catastrophe.
So, reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose and re-enjoy the family tableware again and again. Thanks for the Memories.

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This week is the U S Route 411 Yard Sale. Several people have already set up their tables along the highway. Friends of ours, the Hardens, who sell fancy glass like Fenton and cast iron items, such as Griswold and Wagner, have tables set up at the RV park near the corner of 163 (the Bowater Road). We will have some items with them.
We will also have a SALE in the Antique Shop to go along with the Yard Sale nearby. We are about 3 miles off of Route 411.

We are also having the FINAL WEEK of our Autumn Plant Sale at the greenhouse. We have houseplants, hanging baskets, shrubs, culinary herbs and pepper plants on sale.

All items in the Antique Shop will be ON SALE.

We have some really nice glass and china items, which would be unique, unusual accents for home décor. Some really special lighters are in the shop. We’ll have some new to the Shop vintage  jewelry from ancestors’ jewelry boxes this week too!

You can see many of our available items at the Shop’s Gallery on www.ImagesnMemories.com, Elizabeth’s photography site; and from the link tab on our Home Page.

We will be happy to answer questions about height, width, maker’s marks, etc. Email: DenmanFam@aol.com
Pacifica products: Perfumes, candle, soaps and body butters: will be on sale at 10% off. We have autumn scents, tropicals, florals, and herbs, long-lasting for women and men. The candles are clean burning and all natural.

There are also Fall Festivals in Benton and Etowah this weekend, which are both near to our farm.  Also, there is an Open Horse Show in Englewood, on Route 411, which we are also supporting.  We have a block on the Appalachian Quilt Trail, and there is a quilt show as part of the Benton Festival, and the Polk County News has a new quilt block on the Trail.  We have lots of informative brochures available for local food sources, and sight-seeing in East Tennessee. 

Besides the over-all SALE, we will also have DAILY SPECIALS. Keep checking. I promise I will write more about what is in the Shop.

Antiques are a special, exciting way to reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose.

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We are announcing the first autumn 2010 Multi-family, multi-generational YARD SALE, including Estate items.

It will be held:

Thursday, September 2nd

Friday, September 3rd

Saturday, September 4th

From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

At 137 McMinn County Road 860 (Strawberry Lane), Delano

There will be:



Household Goods

Vintage coats

Regular clothes – men’s, women’s and teen’s

Vintage jewelry and Casual fun jewelry




Old Linens

Men’s Items

Craft and sewing items, including old patterns

Books and Magazines

working computer pieces



Other Surprises.

Additional items will be added each day

Also: There will be Special Sales at The Shops AT Morgan Lane

2214 Columbus Road, (McMinn County Road 969) Delano

A bit further down, and off, the Bowater Road

Regular store hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the same three days

There will be:

A Sale on Houseplants+ from the Greenhouse

More Books    

A clearance section in the Antique shop

A daily drawing for gift certificates to the Shop and Greenhouse

and other surprises

Maps will be available at each location, to get to the other.

Call 423 263 0824 (423 284 0899 cellular) for information…

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While you are out and about, don’t forget to check yard sales, flea markets, and antique shops for interesting and useful containers for planting and as vases for cut flowers.

Antiques can have extended lives being used for their original purposes.  But they are also useful as “containers”. 

Coffee pots and tea pots are a creative way to decorate a table with cut flowers.  And a cute way to transport flowers for a hostess gift or to a friend.

Old baskets from the flea market, thrift shop, or yard sales, are a nice way to plant a low growing herb like thyme or salad burnet.  They can be grouped on grass or in a flower bed, or even on an informal patio area.  I prefer “natural” hued baskets.  But a bright teal, pink, yellow, or red basket can be a fun accent.

I totally astonished some friends that love antiques by planting in some really nice pieces of enamelware.  I put down a layer of stones  prior to the dirt.  Generally, I would suggest using enamelware that already has rusted through holes, for better drainage.  But in this case, there were some flat basins and tall pots that I wanted to utilize.  One of my friends couldn’t stand it and moved the plants and then cleaned the basin out.  But some generic pots in a big box store are expensive…and generic.  Interesting antiques or vintage items can be more complementary to the plants, and cost the same, or less, than other plainer containers for planting.

I also pick up vases at yard sales, or thrift shops for taking plants as gifts, or for sale at the Farmer’s Markets.  I like clean, medium sized ones, with not too many scratches or water marks. 

“Canning jars” are another nice way to transport a gift of flowers.  The old blue ones are my favorites.  But the newer pasta sauce jars can be cleaned and utilized for larger, more casual displays.  Currently, the daylilies, black-eyed susans, and shasta daisies are flowering profusely here in my gardens.  Canning jars are just the right size for a mixed bouquet.  Maybe with some bronze fennel or tansy stems tucked in for foliage.

Old chairs are another way to add presence, height and uniqueness to a garden.  Sometimes, I’ll just place an old colorful chair or bench near the garden, or under a tree.  But I have also put  brightly painted straight backed chairs in a flower border…with a basket or pot of herbs cascading out and over the seat and rails.  I also had an old wicker rocker that spent a few years in the garden.  It was not sturdy to begin with and didn’t seem to warrant repairs. I put an old pillow out with it and some varying height baskets and pots and plants in the ground nearby.   It eventually had to go to the scrap wood and branches pile that we keep on the edge of the field for birds and bunnies to nest in.  But we received several years of pleasure with it out in the garden.  If the chairs are not very sturdy, make sure that you pot a pot or basket on them, so a guest doesn’t accidently sit on it and get hurt.

Single plates that have chips or cracks can make good saucers for your plants that are in plainer solid color pots.  Terra cotta pots look nice on an enamel plate or stoneware piece.  Solid colored planters look sweet on dessert plates with frilly edges and/or flower-patterns on the borders. 

If you have pets, plates or platters can be a charming substitute for a pet dish.  And stainless steel mixing bowls are easily cleaned water pans.  In the summertime, the stainless steel bowls with some iced water or cool water stay cooler longer for your pets.

Our motto around the farm is reduce, reuse and recycle. Repurposing vintage, antique or even just “old” items gives your home and garden areas character and style.

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