Thursday, October 22, 2015

October already?

Wow!  Just a bit more than two months till Christmas!  Where does the time go?  Come visit us at Harry & Annies, where time moves in mysterious ways...  Are you in to retro? We have something for that! Are you into primitives?  We've got something for that too!   Our stock changes daily, and we are constantly adding and buying! In the last week I heard no less than 8

people lament "Oh but it was here just a few days ago...!" When they discovered the treasure they had their eye on earlier in the week was gone!  If you love it- take it with you, or at the very least, put a down payment on it to hold it for you for 30 days, because chances are very good that if you love it, it will be gone when you come back because someone else loved it more!

Speaking of love, (or hate) think silver tarnish!  Either love it or hate it, but there are proper ways of removing it, if you don't happen to appreciate time worn patinas.  Some people actually find taking care of vintage silver is part of it's charm and the pleasure one gets from holding it.

First let's talk PATINA.  Patina is a rich, warm color which forms over time as a result of use and handling. The patina that blooms on well-loved and well-used pieces of silver is caused by oxidization of silver when it hits the air, and is a fine film that coats the entire surface.  It fills in all the micro scratches that come from being handled and used, protecting the silver.  Patina is very desirable on antique silver and flatware. Oxidation (blackening in the fine details of a pattern) is also very desirable and increases value.  Plus it gives detail to patterns and that lovely sheen and mellow luster, so go ahead and put them out for all to enjoy!

If you have a large set of flatware, be sure to rotate the pieces so that they all get the same amount of use and time out in the air- this will give them all the same patina.  (And you thought those butlers on Downton Abby always counting the silver was silly!)

Now lets talk TARNISH.  Tarnish is not patina!  Tarnish is the all-over blackening of silver caused by pollutants in the air. This is easily distinguishable from patina. Avoid buying tarnished silver and silverplate because it can hide wear and damage. The old-fashioned way of removing tarnish by hand polishing with a non-abrasive silver polish is always best for your antique silver. Hand polishing will remove tarnish; it will not remove the patina but rather, add to it.

Silver was meant to be used everyday!  It helps keep it looking good!  Flatware particularly, will rarely need polishing except for forks, which react with sulfur that is found in foods (onions, eggs and spinach are the worst culprits.)  To counteract this- a quick rub with a GENTLE silver cream will do the trick.

A quick, hot handwash and dry is really the best option for silver.  Heat and harsh detergents will whiten and etch your silver overtime, as well as give it black spots that will never come out if it accidentally touches stainless steel.  Make sure to dry the inside of items like vases and pitchers completely!  Do not let your knives soak, as it can cause the handles to loosen.

To keep your silver candlesticks and other pretties shining, they only need a small bit of TLC, such as a quick buffing now and then with a silver mitt, or polishing cloth.

Pop back next month as we talk about storing your precious pieces!  And in December, we will talk about full on polishing your silver.

September is seasonal

September is here, and the shop is hopping!  Once school kicks in, the seasons seem to fly by! It also seems that when fall rolls in, so do tons of antique and art fairs and shows!  Harry & Annies does a good bit of traveling and not only sells, but BUYS!  We scope out the very best deals in many different regions to bring you a wonderful variety of fun, unique and useful items with an old soul!

Do you have to make space in your home?  Come sell us your no longer- loved treasures!

August is zooming by!

 Wow!  How time has flown!  Seems spring was just here, and now we are winding down to the last of the free summer days of no school, shorts and sandals.  These last few weeks are the perfect time to work on a home project so we will be all ready for the holidays!  Harry  and Annies is the perfect place to begin getting ready!  From home decor to home lighting, you never know what you will find as you explore every nook and cranny of the store.  Today is all about that glass! 

Antique barware, vintage lighting, and wonderful picture frames all are just begging to go home with you as you begin the preparations for a long and cozy winter~

Let's talk a bit about caring for your vintage glass

Cleaning & Caring for Vintage Glass
  • Use mild soap when washing old glassware, never use bleach.
  • Line your sink with a towel when washing vintage glass, to avoid breakage.
  • Wash glass items one at a time to avoid clanging, chips and cracks.
  • Avoid lemon products as they can etch your glass.
  • Clean larger pieces (such as punch bowls) on a flat surface like the countertop.
  • Use LUKEWARM water only, and allow glass to come to room temperature before washing.  Big changes in temperature can cause glass to crack.
  • Use soft lint-free cloth, and let glassware air-dry if possible.
  • NEVER wash your antique glassware in a dishwasher.  
  • Keep antique glassware out of direct sunlight and avoid extreme  temperature changes during storage. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Joy of July

Hip Hip Hooray!  July is coming and Harry & Annies is having a sidewalk sale!  Come celebrate with us, and score some fantastic bargains!  July 11, 2015- be there or be square!  Vendors will have wonderful pieces with special prices!  Our store is bursting at the seams with goodies, too much to hold!  COME take home a lovely piece of pre-loved history!

 We will be pulling out the stops and pulling out our secret stashes of goodness we've had buried away in storage.  Now's the time!  See you July 11th!  10am-4pm, come out for a lovely stroll.

 In case of rain- look for us July 18th!

June! Summer Bliss!

We are into the glory days of summer!  When a young persons mind turns to graduations, love, weddings and other such dreams.  What a perfect way to get that unique one of a kind gift for someone special?

Harry & Annies has so many wonderful things to start a new apartment off with a touch of whimsy and substance! What a way to give a new start a sure fire conversation piece! Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue...You DON'T want to be the sixth crock pot at the wedding do you? 

Just think of all the lovely vintage furniture!  Many times antique chairs and desks were smaller, the PERFECT thing for small dorm rooms or apartments!  A clock or centerpiece that will always make them remember you because it is so different and special!

What about a special set of china?  We have some lovely vintage china in entire sets that cost less than a single place setting of many of the modern plastic stuff!  How cool would that be to unwrap an entire set of vintage china at your wedding?  We would have gotten goosebumps of joy! 

Are you interested in knowing more about the china you might buy?  Here are a few basics to keep in mind that may help you identify what you are looking at.  The back or bottom of the plates is where you will find the most information.

1.  Backstamps.  If they are indented or carved into the body of the plate, you are generally looking at a much older piece.  Think 1850-1900.  If it is printed on the back of the plate with ink it is post 1900.

2.  Registration numbers.  These only tell you when the pattern was registered.  Some patterns are a couple hundred years old, others have had reprinted runs generations after the original run.  So the registration number does not tell you the date the piece was actually made.  Some very very old patterns are still being made new today.  To know if something is really old, look closely at it.  Does it  have crazing?  A lot of antiques will have crazing.  Does it look hand crafted or machine produced?  Older china has more visible yet slight imperfections such as mold marks, dents, painting wobbles, etc.  China making was once an entirely hand done art and true antiques reflect the makers handling vs the machine perfection of the mass produced.

3.  Countries.  If the backstamp on the plate lists no country of creation, it is probably pre 1891 or if it has NO backstamp at all it is probably pre 1891 when they began requiring this info.  If you see "Made in" as part of the backstamp, that is generally made AFTER 1921.

4.  Gold.  If your piece has 14KT or 24KT gold gilding, and is marked as such, you are holding a valuable antique. Unless you are a king or president with a special order, they don't use real gold on china anymore!

5.  Dates.  In the china world, "Antique" is reserved for something 100 years old or older.  "Vintage" is 99-50 years, and "Retro" is 49-29 years.  If you love it- does it matter if it's a 98 year old piece or a 150 year old piece.  Other than pricing/value, the thing mostly effected is the ability to put it in the dishwasher- (look for post 1960 for that!)


So those of you who have been to the shop lately might have noticed a BIG change in the landscape.  The building next door that had the ice damage to it's facade was torn down.  Hooray!  The bit of the sidewalk between the building has been blocked off until they get the surface of the ground finished.  But we at Harry & Annies have remained open for business and have had NO damage.  We look forward to the work being finished, but have plenty of parking and easy access!

 As the last bits of weird winter and spring are fading away, many people change out their wardrobes, and their decorations.  Some people even change out their dinnerware!  Seems a perfect time to talk about the proper storing our fine china!

First of all, china LOVES to be used and adored!  The vintage china prices at Harry & Annies are so reasonable, you could have a set for each season!   Imagine setting the table with a beautiful china set that has seen many previous meals cooked and enjoyed with love- what a great tradition to start your dinner off with! 

Many of us have our good china stored in a hutch, and our everyday dinnerware stacked.  It makes sense.  But many of us ALSO have special china stashed away elsewhere for holidays or uber special events.  The first and most important thing is to make sure it is clean and absolutely dry before packing away.

It is extremely important not to store your china in areas like attics or garages where there are extreme temperature changes, because that can cause crazing and breakage.  Basements in a protected spot off the ground are a better option.  Back of a guestroom closet.  Bottom of a linen closet.   Even in special boxes under a guest bed are all possibilities with more moderate temperatures.

Vintage china, needs a little protection when storing.   Place something soft between plates when stacking. I like paper plates, paper towels or coffee filters. This protects you from scratching the surfaces, and lessens the chance of chips. Cups do well if you can hang them, don't stack more than three high. Depending on the shape of the bowls a four high rule may be best.
Try not to use plastic when storing your china it can get hot and stick, pulling up the finish, or metallic paint trim. If storing in container, or tote, an addition of acid free tissue paper is a good idea to prevent any moisture or archival issues from cropping up.  Best of all- pull it out, enjoy it, and use it regularly so it won't feel lonely and forgotten!

April Showers!

Here at Harry & Annies, April turns our hearts towards Spring, Easter, Easter Dinners....  Easter dinners make us think of vintage china!  Of course we love it here!  Even mismatched, lid missing pieces!  We like finding new ways to use orphan pieces of china!

But even more- we like RESCUING vintage pieces, so that it may be loved and admired once again!  This month, Kari is back with more tips on cleaning your antique china.

The first culprit of stained china is crazing.   Crazing is the fine lines or "cracks" that are on the top finish of your porcelain or china. It is damage to the finish. To avoid damage, care for it as discussed in our previous post.

If you see a stained piece that you fall in love with- don't hesitate to buy it.  There are a few tricks to restore it, that usually work most of the time! Each stain/china combo is different, but you may end up with a great deal by being willing to expend a little elbow grease!

The easiest way is to try a warm soak in stuff found right in your pantry.   A mix of equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt is fairly gentle.  Place your dish in it and soak, check every hour or so- make sure the shiny glazed surface of the piece is not being etched away.  I prefer to warm my container of vinegar slightly by setting the whole container in a pan of warm water.  If you have a stubborn spot, a little salt and water rubbed gently in small circles over the spot might dislodge surface crud.  Be sure not to use baking soda or you'll have a mess to deal with!

To kick it up a bit, this next tip is a bit more powerful.
Though fairly easy, please take proper safety precautions such as gloves and good ventilation.
Wear good quality rubber gloves if you try this method, as it is a bit caustic and can possibly burn your skin.
You will need Peroxide- and not the first aid peroxide you buy at the pharmacy. You need the beauty supply type- it is stronger.   In a plastic bowl (and plastic utensils) mix 1/3 water and 2/3 peroxide. Dip a q-tip or fine paintbrush with the mixture. Gently paint the spots that need cleaned, this will help to bleach the stain out. This can be a lengthy process and you'll probably need to repeat it several times to remove large stains.

Between these two methods you should be able to remove most stains!  Next month we'll chat about proper storing of  your treasures!