Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Labor Day Weekend

My Favorite Cheeseburger

I just want to take the time to wish every single one of you and your loved ones a Happy Labor Day weekend.  Don't forget to take advantage of the season's produce before it's gone by throwing a barbecue!  Juicy burgers, plump tomatoes, tasty salads, refreshing drinks and scrumptious desserts, are just some of the things we all enjoy during this time.  Enjoy the bounty with your friends & family.

I'm going to be grilling cheeseburgers and making some blueberry pies to serve with vanilla ice cream.  

Enjoy!

David  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Icing Bottles

Using squeeze bottles for royal icing at home has been something I've resisted because of my preference for piping bags.  Piping bags have always been my inclination for cookie decorating projects throughout the years, but lately, with people reaching for those squeeze bottles in greater numbers, I thought I'd give them a try.  I visited a local kitchenwares store that has so many wonderful products for baking, cooking, grilling, as well as entertaining, to buy my first bottles.


With a few options ranging from basic bottles with piping tips, to more elaborate accordion-style ones in vivid colors, I decided on the basic set.  After getting them home and washing each bottle & component thoroughly, I set about making some sugar cookies.  The Heirloom Sugar Cookies were perfect for cutting and baking some uniquely-shaped cookies.  Then it was onto making some Perfect Royal Icing, which is such a great recipe created by, Janet; if you haven't tried either of those recipes you really should.  She always uses squeeze bottles for icing her cookies so I partly blame her for my curiosity with these bottles.

I did have a conversation with her regarding the bottles after encountering a problem with them.  What's that problem you ask?  The plastic coupler that comes with each bottle.  It is of such poor quality that the entire thing broke as soon as I threaded it around the piping tip and adapter.  This happened to every single squeeze bottle!  Luckily, I do have a Royal Icing Kit of sorts that I've made on my own which has several high-quality adapters.  

These are the ones I ended up replacing the damaged ones with.

There were several things I did notice that were of value to a cookie decorator once I began to ice some cookies.  Let me show you a few of them, because if you've never used squeeze bottles to pipe royal icing, but have been wanting to, it's good to know the whys & hows.  

Here are the components to the squeeze bottles; the metal piping tips do not come with the sets.  Each bottle comes with a plastic adapter, coupler and piping tip (the plastic ones).  They also come with handy screw tops to cover up any remaining icing when you're done.  This is very handy because if  you need to hold your royal icing overnight to continue the next day, you can simply remove the piping tips & adapters (wash & dry them), and cap off the bottle.  

I don't like to hold any royal icing overnight inside a piping bag with the tip attached.   

The small bottles are pretty basic.  They're squeezable and fit nicely in your hand.  It's almost like holding a pen or pencil.

 Once you place the piping tip and screw it down onto the adapter, you're ready to start piping.


At the time of this posting, I was out of disposable piping bags so I reached for some handy sandwich bags with zip tops.  In the past I have successfully stored royal icing this way because it forms an airtight seal which prevents the icing from drying out.  Moreover, sandwich bags are very inexpensive and work just as well, plus they have the added benefit of having a large opening which can be cuffed down; filling them with royal icing is easy and mess free.  They also have the benefit of being pliable.  If you notice any food coloring that didn't mix correctly or completely into the icing, massage it in the bag until it comes together.  Simple!

When you're ready to fill the bottles, squeeze out the icing from the tip of your bag to expose it.  With some scissors, snip it off.

 Squeeze the icing into the bottle and seal it with your piping adapter.  What could be easier?

Depending on what piping tip you use, lines, dots, squiggles or any number of shapes can easily be piped with a light squeeze from the bottle.  It really does work.  

Flood your work if that's what you're doing and continue piping.  The most common tips for royal icing are Ateco #2, #3 and #4.  I sometimes do use a #5 tip if I'm going to flood a large area with icing.  

When you're done icing, remove the tips and wash them in hot soapy water.  Dry them well and dry out the piping tips so that they don't rust.  The bottles can be capped off tightly if there is any remaining icing you feel like using the next day.  If you're done with your decorating project, wash the bottles thoroughly in hot soapy water and dry well.




Keep in mind that I am NOT replacing my use of piping bags for royal icing decorations because I like how they work.  The bottles are convenient, it's true, but the bags are so simple to use and I'm so used to working with piping bags.  I see these squeeze bottles as an extension to my cookie decorating which will help me when creating wonderful cookies.  There is no reason why we can't adapt and add to our cookie decorating repertoire.  I'm actually glad I have a few of these bottles in my pantry now because I think I'm going to be reaching for them quite frequently.

Have fun creating beautiful cookies!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Using Antique & Vintage Dinnerware

If you collect vintage and antique dinnerware and kitchenware items, it helps to keep a few things in mind if you want to use them for preparing recipes and serving meals.  Washing these heirloom pieces after you're done is just as important as making sure they're adequately prepared for food before using them.  The items we spend a significant amount of time and money to collect should be properly taken care of, because we want to keep them in top condition for many more years to come.  Delicate china, glassware, stoneware, earthenware and ironstone that has survived decades can continue to do so in your very own home if you're cautious.

Over the course of my keeping home, entertaining and enjoying the antiques I own, I've had a few mishaps with my antique & vintage dinnerware due to simple errors on my part.  These accidents could have been avoided if I had just paid closer attention to what I was doing at the time.  When I look back at those instances I say to myself: if only.  Don't let that be you.

With these tips and things to consider whenever you want to use your antique & vintage dinnerware, you'll avoid the mistakes I've made and you'll enjoy your dinnerware, your serving platters, tureens and more, for many years to come.    



Warming Your Dinnerware & Serving Pieces

It's a very good idea to warm up whatever vintage & antique pieces you plan on using, before  you add food to them.  Even if these vintage items claim to be oven-proof or heat-proof, you'll be thanking yourself  if you take this small step.  I don't recommend warming them up in a hot oven because the thermal shock may actually crack them.

Taking this step is a must if you live in an older home like mine which gets drafty in the winter.  It's not wise to have a cold plate receive hot food straight from the oven or skillet.  Let me give you some examples.
  
This wonderful ironstone under tray for a larger tureen is one that I love using for salads, breads & muffins every once in awhile.  I once decided to use it to hold some hot food straight from a wok.  Big mistake!

Since I did not preheat this serving plate, as soon as the hot food hit the ironstone it cracked.  I heard a pop and a loud crack.  Can you see that hairline crack along the rim of the tray?

It's more apparent when you flip the plate over.  This is how big the crack became in a matter of seconds.  Very upsetting to have a perfectly nice piece of ironstone go from good to bad.    


Here's an example of a plate with a potential weak spot.  That metal pointer shows a flaw in the glass of this jadeite plate from the 1940s.  It is not a crack and it is not a hairline fissure either.  It's just a point in the glass which didn't mix smoothly running in an arch pattern; I have several dinner plates which have this flaw.  You have to really examine your plates for these types of weak spots so that you're aware of potential problems when using them.  

I didn't know at the time that it could lead to problems.

You don't have to worry about this if you're serving items at room temperature, but if you plan on serving something hot from the stovetop, preheat the plate.

Look at that awful crack!  This happened to me one evening as I was getting ready to plate our dinner. The plates were next to my stove, people were seated at the table and the chicken cutlets were ready to come off the saute pan.  As I began plating the chicken, I heard two loud pops.  I knew immediately what had happened.  Cold plate, hot food...not good. 


On the flip side, you can see how the crack just traveled down the entire length of the plate.  This jadeite dinner plate is completely useless to me now.  It had to get pulled out of the cupboard.

Gasp!  That evening, I lost 2 dinner plates.  One had several cracks and one just came apart on me.  It's awful isn't it?

A stack of perfectly fine jadeite dinner plates.  Some have those flaws in the glass and some do not.  If you're setting hot food onto vintage & antique plates, make sure you know what condition each piece is in.  I don't recommend using dinnerware that has a known crack or hairline fracture, because any type of heat will eventually weaken the piece even more and split it.

As for methods of preheating, I have one.  I now run the plates & serving pieces under warm water and then dry them off right before I'm going to use them for hot food.  I don't like the idea of putting them in the oven or a dishwasher to warm them up.  The heat from both of these sources may be too hot for your delicate plates.

Once you've dried your warmed plates, keep them next to the stove so that they're ready to go.

The same goes for tureens, platters, vegetable bowls and pedestal serving pieces that are going to hold hot food.  If you have very very old pieces of heirloom china, do take this extra step to ensure their safety.

 Hand Washing is Best

At the end of the day when you've finished using those cherished pieces of dinnerware, please hand wash them instead of using a convenient dishwasher.  My rule of thumb is that if my dinnerware is older than 20 years and they are pieces I love immensely, I hand wash them in sudsy water in the sink, the old-fashioned way.  

Here are two examples of milk glass.  The bowl on the left is pristine and white.  The set on the left has taken on a yellowed hue due to probably having been put in the dishwasher repeatedly (not my doing). Over time, a dishwasher with its harsh detergents and extreme water temperatures, may discolor your pieces of antique and vintage glass, earthenware or fine china.  Hand wash!


I keep a simple white dish rack set over a baking sheet when I do this.  After I've finished washing every single piece, I use fluffy cotton bar mops or flour sack cloth towels to dry up the dinnerware.  Drip drying overnight is not something I like because the pieces end up with water spots.  Maddening.

The dish rack can be emptied of all that water, dried and get tucked into a cabinet so that it's not occupying precious counter space.  



Take care of  your vintage and antique treasures.  Whether they've cost you a small fortune or whether they've been handed down to you by a thoughtful family member, it's good to keep your dinnerware and serving pieces in top form.  I love setting a nice table with a mix of old and new.  Some of you do the same in your wonderful homes and I'm glad, because it's nice knowing that there are like-minded individuals who appreciate the old and the antique.  Enjoy using your antique & vintage dinnerware.  

Happy Entertaining!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

Now is the time to take advantage of the last blueberries of the season, unless of course, you're talking about the wild variety.  We seem to love adding tasty berries to just about any breakfast item and there's a reason why.  Blueberries are delicious and mouthwatering when they're fresh from the farmers market, but frozen blueberries are just as good (as long as they were good to begin with) when added to pancakes, muffins and waffles.  


This particular recipe for blueberry muffins is very special, because it was recently handed down to me by the Bonnes, after I happened to notice a photograph of them on a breakfast platter.  Teresa tells me that the recipe was made quite often by her mother while they were growing up in Indiana.   It comes from the Duneview Fruit Farm in Michigan where Teresa's mother and father used to visit every so often to partake of the wonderful blueberries and peaches.  I'm told that the recipe was printed on a 3x5 card with complete instructions.  Just imagine that recipe card!


Nowadays, Teresa and her sister, Cindy, make the blueberry muffins when the fruits are ripe and plentiful.  It's no wonder why they love making them so much and why their families often request the treats for reunions, get-togethers or whenever they're craving some goodness.  Tender, sweet and delicious are just some of the virtues of their best-ever blueberry muffins.  

I highly recommend that you visit a farmers market soon and pick up the best blueberries while they're still available.  Buy extra berries and do what Teresa's mother instructs us: freeze them for future use!

Best-ever Blueberry Muffins are now yours.      


The Ingredients
  • 2 cups {295 g.} all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon {5 ml.} baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon {2.5 ml.} baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon {2.5 ml.} fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons or 1 stick {113 g.} unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups {280 g.} granulated sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup {225 g.} sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon {5 ml.} pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup {160 g.} blueberries, picked over


Equipment: standard muffin pans (a 12-muffin pan and one 6-muffin pan), muffin liners, nonstick cooking spray

Yield: 18 standard-size muffins

Note: if using frozen blueberries, do not thaw.  Add them to the batter while still frozen.  

Center an oven rack 
Preheat to 400° F (204°C)

  1. In a bowl, whisk to combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and fine sea salt.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light & fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Stop and scrape down the bowl and paddle at least once.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time on medium speed and beat until combined and emulsified.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the sour cream and vanilla extract.  Beat until combined.
  5. On low speed add the dry ingredients and beat until combined.  Stop the mixer and remove the bowl & paddle, scraping all of the batter off the beater.
  6. Gently fold in the blueberries.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between two muffin pans.  You can line the pans with muffin liners or you can simply spray them with a nonstick cooking spray (it’s up to you).  It helps if you have a 12-muffin pan and one 6-muffin pan.  
  8. Sprinkle the tops of each with some sugar before baking.  I’m using some wonderful  [vanilla sugar] to give them more flavor.
  9. Pop the pans into the oven and bake between 18-22 minutes.  
  10. The tops should feel springy, the muffins should have a rich, golden color and a toothpick inserted into a muffin should come out clean.
  11. Remove the pans from the oven and let the muffins sit in the wells for 5 minutes.  Remove them from the pan and cool on racks completely.

This is what the muffins look like when they come out of the oven.  The sugar tops crack and puff up, while some of the blueberries pop & burst open.  I'm not sure why, but I love to see a blueberry muffin like this.  Although you don't have to add sugar to the tops of the muffins, I think it enhances them nicely.  If you have vanilla sugar in a jar I suggest you use it, but if you happen to have cinnamon sugar, well, let's just say they'll be very good too.

I'm telling you, these muffins aren't going to last very long.



I know you're tempted to make these this week.  Gather the wholesome ingredients and whip up a batch for your family.  Bring them warm from the oven to the table and pour the coffee, tea or a tall glass of milk.  Don't be surprised if you find someone taking two of them, because they're that good.  I was guilty of doing just this when I tested the recipe, but I think it was allowed, right?


Thank You Teresa and Cindy for sharing this family recipe!

Monday, August 19, 2013

An Organized Home Office

I was recently organizing my home office because I wanted to remove clutter and streamline the way I blog and take care of business around our home.  My "office" is not the typical one with a dedicated room and a great big desk you might come to expect from a household.  It is an unobtrusive, out-of-the-way space that you wouldn't know was there unless you opened a couple of doors, but it is nonetheless a very cosy space that allows me to do everything without taking too much room.  I don't have to reach far to locate documents, photographs, scan images, make copies, print items, download information or write my posts for the blog, because everything is located in one area.


What you must understand, however, is that I don't really sit down during the day unless I'm eating.  There is always something to do around the house, whether it's baking, cleaning, cooking, making calls or talking to a worker, so mobility is key for me.  At my home office, believe it or not, I do not sit down on a chair or stool.  I stand to type and write whatever it is I'm working on. 


The 18th century colonial we call home has an annex where a mudroom, laundry room and powder room are located all in one space, along with doors to the basement and up a winder leading into the master bedroom.  It is here where I have my office situated.  Long ago, the space was used as a kitchen and keeping room where meals were prepared on wood burning stoves or over an open hearth.  The door in this room gave easy access to the spring house where other perishables were kept before electricity was even around.  

Now that rooms have been updated and brought up to the 21st century, the mudroom is a sun-filled area that I enjoy working out of.  I can be running a load of laundry and blogging at the same time or I can be uploading photographs onto my computer and ironing oxford shirts with ease.  Multitasking this way allows me to fit more into my schedule without ever feeling hampered down.

I want to show you the space I call my office, because I think here are a few things which might appeal to you.  

Behind those opened doors is where I keep my office.  There are several shelves which give me plenty of room to store the essentials I need day in and day out.  The window brings in a lot of light and the doorway opens up onto the small back porch where I sometimes make phone calls or where I do some light line drying of laundry.  It is a mudroom after all.  

The cabinets reveal what I have here.  It's a home office stored in a closet!

The upper shelf really have nothing to do with an office, but I thought I'd show it anyway.  Those apothecary jars are extras and the cake stands are a mix of antique and contemporary glass, stoneware and porcelain.

This shelf has stackable storage tins in two different sizes.  They hold markers, pens, pencils, pencil sharpeners, stamps, ink pads, labels, a p-touch machine, hole punches and a stapler.  The book cloth magazine holders have documents, letters and sheets of stamps.

The middle shelf has large stackable storage tins filled with design ideas, inspiration and prototypes of what I'm working on.  They are at eye level so that I can pull a tin out and open it with ease.  The book cloth boxes have letters & notes that I cherish.  Every single item that one of my nephews or my dear niece have written to me is in one of those boxes.  The magazine holders next to them have papers & card stock for the printer.  

Those diminutive copper cookie cutters were a special gift.  

The laser-jet printer was rather problematic because of its bulkiness.  When it was delivered I kept thinking of ways to hide it from view and not have it sit on top of a desk or have it lie underneath it.  Placing it behind a door was the solution.  It fits up against the wall and still has plenty of room for the paper tray. 

This is the computer area.  I think it's rather nice because there is no clutter and no cords or wires anywhere.  The razor-thin laptop has its dedicated space in front of some jadeite cake stands & trays.  When I open the door I can pull the computer to the edge of the shelf and start typing (standing of course).  I suppose a stool would be a good idea and I am considering it, but for now this works.  

I love to have a cup of tea when I'm writing up a post for you.

The platter next to the computer holds a pen, some note cards with envelopes and sticky note pads for jotting things down.  The small cake stand holds some ribbon and a few clips.

An old wire basket (originally meant for eggs I think) now serves as a wastepaper basket.  Every piece of paper ends up in the recycling bin, so nothing is really thrown away.

There you have it.  My home office in a closet.  As you can see it is an organized home office, but it's probably not what you might have expected.  I love the idea of an office inside a closet, because it is a clever way to use up a space and an appealing manner in which to hide one's work when company is visiting. 

It's also a good way to keep my ever inquisitive cats away from the printer (they'd chew up the power cord if they could) and the computer.  As much as I love my furry felines, the last thing I need is to have them walk all over this equipment.   

When I'm done with my work, the doors get closed up.  No one would ever know that this space was a home office. 


As you can see, a home office doesn't need to occupy a lot of room.  If you happen to have a closet in your home which isn't frequently used, turn it into a home office and free up a room for another purpose.  Although I have several bedrooms which can serve as an office, I much prefer to have mine in an area I'm frequently in.  The mudroom in our annex is next to the kitchen and as you know, I spend an inordinate amount of time there.  Moving from the home office to the kitchen requires a few steps for me.  I prefer this to having go up or down a flight of stairs.

If your home office is in need of some organization or a new location, I hope this post prompts you to look at different options.  Let me know what you think.  

Enjoy organizing!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Flea Market, Tag Sale & Antique Shopping Tips

I love combing through antique markets, antique fairs, tag sales, vintage shops & flea markets whenever I have a spare moment.  Sometimes I plan a trip just to make sure I attend a particular market in a particular city and believe me, I'm not alone.  Don't ask my why I love these types of markets, I just do.    Over the years I've come to learn a thing or two about how to prepare for this type of shopping, and I think it's important for the potential buyer to be aware of these tips when visiting shops, fairs and markets that deal in the old & vintage.

If I'm determined to peruse a market or store with plenty of time on my hands, I like to be prepared for the unexpected finds which may be found when digging through displays.  Mistakes in the past have cost me lost opportunities to buy items which I will never forget, and near accidents have almost cost me a purchase or two while transporting them home.  Let my lessons serve you in the future and help you get what catches your eye at a vintage shop or flea market.  Remember, getting your purchase safely home is just as important as knowing how to buy.

Recently I showed you an afternoon spent antiquing in my former hometown of Haddonfield, New Jersey, where I bought some wonderful sauerkraut crocks from the 1800s.  If you missed that, click [here] and read about my 'finds', because you may encounter such pottery in your quest for antiques.

I didn't want to title this post "Antiquing Kit 101' or anything of that nature, because there is more to this post than just what I take with me when I go shopping.  However, I do carry a 'kit' that makes perfect sense for someone like me.

Here goes!

Tips

  • Negotiating Prices:  always always ask if the price on the item is fixed/set.  There are stores that have a fixed price and some that don't.  What I always ask is simply that: is your price set or is there some room for negotiation?  Ask if there is a discount for paying with cash.  A 10% discount is pretty normal and standard when paying with cash.  Don't think you're going to talk down a price by a lot, because you may end up offending some vendors.  Some may even give you the cold shoulder; trust me on this.  Don't overstep your boundaries.  
  • Setting Items Aside As You Shop: always ask to see an item that you're interested in, especially if it's behind a glass case or display which you can't reach.  Vendors are always more than willing to show things to you.  I ALWAYS ask vendors to set things aside for me as I shop through an antique store,  even if I don't end up buying it, because you never know.  Other buyers at the store may want the same thing and snatch it up if you don't have them set it aside for you.  It's happened to me.  This also frees you up to shop for other items without having to carry anything in your hands.
  • Examining an Item Closely: Look for maker's marks, stamps and anything which may indicate what the item is.  When in doubt, ask the vendor.  If I'm examining a piece of china or glass, I always look for hairline fractures, cracks or nicks.  Certain items can still retain their charm with these faults, but keep in mind that they cannot command the same price as something that's in pristine condition.  A piece of pottery that you simply adore that has a small chip or crack can still be displayed in your home with panache.
  • Enthusiasm: don't make the mistake of showing TOO much enthusiasm for something when examining or looking at it.  Vendors will quickly pick up on it and may think that you will pay whatever they're asking for.  However, if you really want to buy something, don't hesitate too long and think you'll get it by coming back in half an hour or an hour or in a few days.  There is always going to be someone who is willing to buy on the spot.  I can still picture letting a whole set of Limoges china with a green border go, because I hesitated & thought I could get it in a few weeks.  It was gone by the time I went back. 
  • Cash & Payment: vendors love it when you pay for items with cash because they don't incur any credit card fees.  Some vendors in booths will not take checks, so it's a good idea to carry some cash with you when shopping at flea markets or tag sales (especially).  Carry smaller bills so that you don't run into problems, especially if you're shopping in the morning.  Don't have large bills that are hard to break. However, paying by check and credit card is probably best when you're shopping for high-priced items at a high-end antique shop. 
  • Shipping & Transporting: most upscale antique shops will offer a shipping service for a fee if you don't feel like walking out of the store with your purchase.  Inquire.  At flea markets or large antique fairs, you can exit the venue to drop off items in your car and then return to the booths.  Just make sure you get stamped so that you can reenter.  


Shopping "Kit"



This is my "kit" that I take with me in the car when I'm headed to a flea market, vintage shop or an antique store.  If the flea market is outdoors and covers a lot of ground, I take all of this as I make my rounds and make sure I have my sunscreen on.  If I'm going to a store that is rather small and I'm driving to it rather than walking to it, I leave these items in the car.  If and when I make a purchase, I return to my car to get what I need.  These particular things should serve you well if you're buying delicate items.

  • Canvas Tote Bags: these bags are indispensable when shopping for vintage/antique items.  Not only do you save the booth or store from having them supply you with a bag, it also protects your purchase(s).  Canvas bags are sturdy and capable of hauling very heavy items without the fear of having them tear.  I would NOT trust to have an old bowl, a vintage crock, some delicate china or stemware be put in a paper bag or plastic shopping bag.  
  • Cotton Towels: I use cotton towels to line & cushion the bottom of my tote bags, especially if the item I'm buying is delicate.  I almost broke a very large 16" yellowware bowl once while carrying it home, because the bag slipped from my hand and landed on the pavement; there was no towel to cushion the bowl upon impact!  Luckily the bowl did not crack or break, but it could have.  Don't let this happen to you!
  • Measuring Tape:  I like carrying one to determine the size of something that is in question.  For instance, if you come across some plates that seem like something you want, simply measure them and figure out how you can include them with what you already own.  Another example from my experience: those white custard cups which sit on my collectible spice rack were measured before I bought them.  I knew at the store that they would fit just so on the rack.  It's a good idea knowing the dimensions of a potential purchase, because that way you can determine whether you already have such a piece at home or whether it's going to fit in a certain location once you get it to your residence.  
  • Rubber bands:  I like taking a small handful of these to secure any type of packaging material, such as bubble wrap or paper.  A stack of plates won't shift around so much if they're secured tightly with a few of these.
This is how I bundle up my delicate vintage items after I've purchased them at an antique store or flea market.  Line the bottom of your canvas bag with thick cotton towels to cushion your purchase.  Believe me, you're going to thank me for this.  I can still remember the thud of that yellowware bowl when it hit the floor; I almost had a heart attack.  

The pickling crock is bundled in bubble wrap which has several rubber bands securing it.  This eliminates the need to use tape.  Rubber bands can be reused for another purpose, tape can't.

When you get home, don't throw that bubble wrap away because it can always be reused to send someone a care package in the mail (think cookies!).

Here it is.  Bundled up & secure in the heavy duty canvas tote that can be carried around the store, market or over to your car. 


If you already know the pleasures of shopping for the antique and vintage, then these tips are things you probably carry with you.  If you're new to antiquing or are intrigued by it, keep my lessons and tips in mind.

People always tell me that they feel insecure about shopping for vintage items because they don't have all of the knowledge when doing so.  I say to them to ask a lot of questions and do some research on those things which appeal to their sensibilities.  Remember the names of things that catch your eye and look them up when you get home.

Shopping for antiques is about discovering, gaining knowledge and buying what we love.  It is a passion for many such as myself.  Several readers have shared with me some of their treasures in the past and I always love the enthusiasm when they describe what they collect.  Keep sending me your finds.  I love it!

Enjoy Antiquing!