October 8, 2015

Yesterday's post featured elusive antique mule chests and today's
post highlights another type of rare collectible - antique doll houses.

Wealthy parents in the late 19th century often commissioned
doll houses be made with their own mansion as the model:
A Paul Cumbie dollhouse, modeled after the Vanderbilt
mansion at 660 5th Avenue, NYC, 1883

Scandinavian doll house, ca 1875

The main reason that few antique doll houses survive today is
because they were well used and loved for generations.


A well preserved 1897 McLoughlin Brothers doll house

New York City, 1900

No Victorian nursery was complete without a large
scale doll house with custom hand-made furniture.

When I first saw this photo I thought
it was Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice:
Young girl holding her treasured doll house, ca 1910


Imagine how wonderful it would be to inherit a cherished
family doll house and photographs of the original owners.

The British Royal Family had a staff
of toy makers in the early 1920's.


1920's German Doll houses

Houses dating from the early to Mid 20th Century have become
favorites with America Folk Art collectors.

Depression era doll house, ca 1930

Complete British farm house and play set, ca 1935


This primitive 1911 doll house was made
from East Penn Distillery crates.

A late 1930's doll house in need of restoration:

Antique flea markets can be a good venue in which to find
a doll house.  It's never too late to start old memories!

October 7, 2015

One of the rarest collectible pieces of
antique furniture is a  'mule chest.'

You're probably asking, "What the heck is a mule chest?"

In the simplest of terms it's the combination of a blanket chest
with a hinged lid on top and a chest of drawers underneath.

Primitive Early American mule chest

Stay with me.  Before the invention of electricity households depended on blankets and quilts for warmth in cold months.  These covers were time-consuming to make and expensive to buy so they were highly prized.  Because closets weren't 'invented' until the 20th Century, the blankets and quilts had to be stored (and preserved) during the warm months.  

In times past most individuals only had a couple of changes of clothes.  Since they didn't need a lot of storage for clothing a mule chest was the perfect solution.  Clothes and shoes were kept in the drawers and the blankets and quilts were stored in the top.

Mid 18th century English mule chest:
I'll bet your next question is, "Why was this
piece of furniture called a mule chest?"

No one really knows.  There are two theories that antique dealers
and furniture historians have tossed around for years:

1) Since the 17th century slippers have been called mules and our
ancestors stored their slippers in one of the lower drawers
2)  A mule is a hybrid mix of horse and the chest is a hybrid piece of furniture





This late 17th Century English mule chest is priced at $2,000.

Not only is this chest in wonderful condition
it still retains its original blue paint.

If you happen to spy one of these rare and elusive pieces give it
some serious consideration.  You might not ever see one again!

October 5, 2015

Today's Repurposeful Monday post makes so much sense:
Upcycling old clothes into new clothes!

This unusual designer gown was made from
shirt collars and is termed Junky Styling.

Design students were challenged with creating a fantasy gown
out of used clothing.  This denim gown is definitely striking.

A cape that combines a sweater and a blue jeans skirt:

A denim jacket was shortened and a
beautiful shawl was added to the hem.

A plain cardigan was dressed up with
rows of ruffles and a wide belt.

The Anthropologie inspired top, above, is a
combination of a t-shirt and a blouse.

Always look for dresses with potential at thrift shops.

Baggy dress, before:
Fashionable dress, after: 


A thrift shop house dress: 
is now an awesome outside-the-house dress:


What an amazing refashion:

This smart young lady found a beautiful
blouse at a thrift shops but it was too big: 

So she cut off the sleeves.
Problem solved!


A 99¢ bargain dress was given a new life:

So funny - a bed sheet was sewn into a bathing
suit cover-up and then tie-dyed:

If you find a top you like but it's too big,
just cut it down to your size:

Cut down a shirt into a more casual top
and add some acrylic paint artwork:

Shortening the sleeves on this sweater makes it
look like a completely different cardigan: 

A yard sale blouse and skirt:
 were combined to make a darling outfit:

 It took vision to imagine that the dress on the left
could be refashioned into the dress on the right:

A rather frumpy dress, left, was redesigned
into a much more flattering outfit, right:

Shirt-waist dress before, left;
redesigned dress after, right:

A consignment shop find was transformed
by side ruching and large buttons:


A savvy young bridesmaid redesigned
her gown into a chic cocktail dress:

Do you have a little princess who
loves to play Dress Up?
These adorable costumes were sewn
from old bridesmaids gowns.

Before heading to the mall in search of a new wardrobe,
check to see if you have outfits that can be redesigned.
Shopping your own closet makes so much $en$e!