Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

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Hi friends!

Just popping in with a quick reminder that in my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures you'll find timeless, classic, and fun teatime china ware from name brands such as the Crown Dorset teapot and the Duchess teacup and saucer shown above.

The Crown Dorset teapot has a unique cube shape, a 40 ounce capacity, and will make six 6-ounce cups of tea. Adorned with beautiful fully-bloomed pink roses, green ivy, and a graceful scroll-like finial, it will be the perfect center of attention on your tea table.

The wild roses in pink with greenery on the Duchess teacup and saucer duo are a subtle reminder of the cherished rose in its natural state. An interesting egg-like oval shape sitting elegantly upon a gold gilded foot, this set is sure to please those of you that love styling your tea table in the shabby chic and/or vintage lace and roses themes.

Both pieces (and more details) are available now in the shop, where you can see even more delightful vintage teaware for sale, all at reasonable prices. And if you visit Vintage Tea Treasures and enter code PLUMBLOSSOM10 you can get 10% off your order.

As always, thank you for your support!
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

One Little Word - January

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Hi friends! How is your new year going so far?

In a blog post earlier this month I mentioned that I was signing up for One Little Word, a year long online workshop, taught by designer, blogger and teacher Ali Edwards.

I have known about One Little Word for a long time and always thought I would like to try it, and finally, I am! And I'm excited to share this journey with you.

The purpose of the class is to invite one word into your life that will act as a year long guide and an investigative tool. It allows you to concentrate on different aspects of daily experience and apply your word to real life situations. Each month there will be a new creative prompt to help bring your chosen word into focus.

For 2018 my word is BUILD. The reason I chose build is because it feels as if there is still so much more in life to accomplish. I am blessed in that I have a solid foundation on which I have already built my life - a comfortable home, a healthy and happy family, and employment. I now wish to utilize that foundation to grow independently and thrive in ways different than what I am accustomed to. I want to challenge myself to experiment with new ways of thinking and doing.

Build feels action oriented, creative, and encourages me to be self-initiating. Build has plasticity, allowing me to decide what form it will take in my life and give me the freedom I need to shape events. Build will help me to develop ideas into actionable steps and to learn how to expand and refine those ideas. With build I can incorporate my own unique style. And lastly, build has a cumulative effect - starting now I am giving myself the permission and the opportunity to engage with life in new and unexpected ways in order to expand on that which I have already established.

And it's going to be hard! Having now answered all the prompts for January, I am now rubbing up against the challenge of diving deeper into these questions: What do I want less of in my life? What do I want to let go of? What do I want more of? What do I want to invite into my life? I don't know if you are like me, but faced with having to sit down and think critically and objectively about such questions and the act of having to write something down on a blank card is a bit intimidating.

But necessary!

Another prompt for the class is to find a quote containing your word that resonates with you. I will close with this one I found by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

With the realization of one's own potential
 and self confidence in one's ability, 
one can build a better world.

Thanks for reading!



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Friday, January 26, 2018

#collectandstyle - @annld60

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Hello #collectandstyle community, how are you? I hope you are doing well. Thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog to view the #collectandstyle favorite. There are now over 14,000 images posted to the tag! If you have contributed to that growing number, thank you! And if you haven't yet I hope to see you there.

Today I'm featuring one artist from among an ever growing array of talented photographers that post their styled images of vintage, new or antique collectables to the hashtag.

Embracing the moment is, I think it is safe to say, Ann L. Davis's 'cup of tea'. Ann's Instagram feed (@annld60) is akin to having your best friend put the teakettle on the stove and invite you over for a relaxing cup of tea and interesting conversation. Her warm, open and welcoming manner summons us to accept her invitation to comment about our day sharing experiences, feelings, and moods.



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Indeed, it is Ann's stunning images of her floral displays that drive quite a bit of the conversation. These range from a single flower to store purchased bouquets and the newer popular seasonal and wild floral arrangements.

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And Ann's followers and friends are always curious about her interesting assortment of styling props. She's fond of vintage and antique enamelware, as well as teacups, secateurs (Japanese bonsai scissors), sheet music, stationary, and ribbon spools.

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Once you've visited Ann (@annld60) on Instagram, I'm sure you will agree that embracing the moment in such lovely company is indeed a pleasure worth revisiting.  
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Faffing With Vintage Tea Treasures

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Hi Friends! Before I carefully pack and ship this gorgeous vintage Rosina bone china teacup set off to Susan in New Jersey, I thought I would have a little 'faffing fun' before I said goodbye.

Of the many teacup and saucer sets in my shop, Vintage Tea Treasures, this is truly a unique set with two distinct floral patterns. First there are the pastel red-pink rose bouquets that are featured on the front and back of the footed teacup.

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Then there is a border of white daisies, pink roses, blue forget-me-nots and greenery on the inside top rim of the teacup and around the perimeter of the scalloped saucer. 

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The saucer also has a small rose bouquet in the center. 

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No vintage tea set would be complete without gold gilding. This set has gilding on the upper rim, handle and foot of the teacup and around the perimeter and inside of the saucer.

Goodbye Rosina, may you bring not only the comfort of a hot cup of tea, but also joy and happiness to your new owner!

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And thank you Susan for shopping with Vintage Tea Treasures!


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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Styling And Photographing For Instagram

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Hi friends! If you are an Instagram user, you may already be aware of the fact that there are a few analytics applications that will calculate the top nine images liked by your followers, friends and other Instagram users in 2017. I used the app called instrack.app and the image shown here is the result of the algorithm doing its magic.

It's interesting to take a walk down memory lane - both figuratively as in the act of looking back at images which hold symbolic meaning and literally taking a walk along an old familiar route, retracing steps from another time.

Both of these activities have occupied my mind lately.

Recently I had reason to walk about a mile to catch a bus. The route was familiar as I used to walk it most weekdays, including during the time I got my first iPhone. Back then I was already versed in photography and having a camera phone opened up my curiosity for learning a new way of taking pictures. I would look around as I strolled along the city streets, seeking out interesting subjects to capture with my new camera. As I retraced that route last week, memories of those days came flooding back and I was thinking about my journey through still life photography and Instagram.

I discovered Instagram soon after I started taking photos with my phone. Like so many others, I began sharing my images there. I was inspired not only by the gorgeous and interesting portrayals of everyday life, but also by the snippets of conversation. People were talking to each other from all over the world! Before long I found a great community of women who were sharing their styled photos of flowers, tea, coffee and other bits of everyday life. They call it 'faffing' which is an English term meaning to spend time doing something that is not important instead of the thing one should be doing. It has gained greater significance though as a calming meditative process that helps to cultivate a relaxing mind.

Intrigued by this artistic community, I decided that I was going to learn still life 'flat lay' iPhone photography. There's something about this style of photography that taps into the ancestral memory. To create an image that is both in the present but yet evokes symbolic and emotional memories of the past piques the curiosity of the viewer. You can't help but want to stop and peer into this moment in time and engage with the objects - search out the familiar, see what resonates and find your own memory locked within. No wonder prop stylists are always on the hunt for new and interesting items to add to their collections!

At the same time, it truly is the art of placing objects. Those everyday things that are familiar to us and have meaning and context in our lives suddenly transform into objects of art. You find yourself considering size, shape, and quantity, and thinking critically about color, style, composition, unity, proximity. There are so many elements to consider, ponder and get frustrated over. But this is an invaluable exercise for developing the artistic eye. It's not easy for most of us and does not happen overnight. Similar to any creative endeavor, one must dive in, keep going, resist the urge to compare yourself to others, and take breaks along the way.

Thank you for letting me share my styling and photography journey thus far. If you would like to share yours, leave a comment or visit me on Instagram.   
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Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year From Under The Plum Blossom Tree And Vintage Tea Treasures

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Hello and Happy New Year! Wishing you a joyful and prosperous 2018. Thank you for being here in 2017. I look forward to sharing more stories with you, through my photos and words, in the new year.

Like many of you, I am feeling grateful for all the good things that came my way in the last year. I've been spending the days since Christmas contemplating what my intentions for the next twelve months will be.

It can be difficult to ask yourself such tough questions about life. Here are some things I'm thinking about:

How do I decide the best way to spend my time and energy in the new year? 

How do I evaluate how best to help the people in my life that need guidance and love? 

What are some healthy ways in which I can better care for myself?

I never feel like I have all the answers to these kinds of questions. But what I do know is that a key component in life is to never give up. That it's important to keep going through the self doubt and the unfortunate events.

In order to keep myself grounded in 2018 I have signed up for One Little Word, a year long online class taught by designer, blogger and teacher Ali Edwards. It's going to place me smack dab in the middle of uncertainty and vulnerability. But that's okay because I need to be there. So I'm taking the brave step of showing up to indecision, risk and unpredictability.

Since I'll be creating content for the One Little Word class anyway, I'll also share something I've created for the class here on the blog, hopefully once a month.

As I have in the past, for 2018 I'll continue to share the topics you've enjoyed reading such as vintage finds, seasonal garden photography, vintage home ware design history, DIY, and art history. Something new I'll be sharing is our living room refurbish. If you are looking for an inexpensive wood floor project, James has it figured out and we will be sharing all the details of that project, plus some of the decorating and styling we're working on in that room.

And lastly, in my Etsy shop, Vintage Tea Treasures, I will continue to offer high quality classic, timeless and fun vintage teacups, teapots and dessert plates for your tea time, gifting, collecting and prop styling needs.

Thank you for letting me share. Here's to a great journey through 2018!
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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vintage Finds: Johnson Brothers Plates and a Chinoiserie Figurine

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As the temperatures dip below freezing here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, we've consigned ourselves to the inescapable reality of wool sweaters and hot cups of tea. Yes indeed, the weather has definitely taken its inevitable turn towards winter.

Just yesterday James and I were pondering what our chances are of seeing snow again this season and reminiscing on our unfortunate series of events last December.

An unusually large accumulation of heavy wet snow weighed down and broke the power lines in various parts of town, including in our neighborhood. There were many of us without electricity for three days. The temperatures hovered in the teens and twenties. We shivered our way through the long hours with candlelight, down comforters and wool blankets, and used our camping stove to cook our food and heat water.

In other words, it wasn't anything like the calm, untroubled scenes pictured in the pair of Johnson Brothers 'The Friendly Village' transfer ware plates I'm featuring today.

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'The Schoolhouse' 10" Dinner Plate

In 1883 brothers Alfred and Frederik Johnson founded the Johnson Brothers pottery at the Charles Street Works, located in the Stoke-on-Trent district, United Kingdom. The brothers manufactured earthenware, which they called White Granite. Over time Alfred and Frederik were joined by two more brothers, Henry and Robert.

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By 1888 the Johnson Brothers potteries were producing their now famous colorful and charming under-glaze printed ware, or transfer ware.

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'Sugar Maples' 6" Plate
To create transfer ware a master artisan engraves a pattern into a flat copper plate. Ink is then applied to the copper plate and the carved design is impressed onto a thin sheet of tissue paper. The design on the tissue paper is then applied, or transferred, onto the surface of a ceramic object such as a plate, bowl or teacup. The object is then ready for a low temperature firing in a kiln.

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I have been enamored with transfer ware for a couple of years now and am slowly building a collection. Of course I have been anxious to share this particular find, but I thought it would be fun to wait until winter when those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are bundling up and looking out our own windows at the winter landscapes of the towns, cities or countrysides in which we live.

Similar to my fascination with transfer ware is my interest in all things chinoiserie. I love chinoiserie style because it can be timeless, classy and ultra chic, while at the same time playful and kitschy. Figurines such as the boy shown here have become a quintessentially familiar part of the style. Knowing that statues such as this one came in pairs, my only regret on this particular thrift shopping adventure is that I was only able to find the one piece. After I placed it in my basket I wasted a lot of time searching throughout the store for the other one.

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At 8" tall, he is a dynamic looking fellow in a flowing white tunic and pants, a cute matching cap on his head. The tunic, accessorized with high collar, epaulettes and toggle button enclosures are a classic 1950s green, embellished with gold. He's gracefully poised within a moment in time, as if stopped for a quick pose before rushing off to an important social engagement or celebration, ginger jar in hand.

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This happy chinoiserie style figurine will definitely be making various appearances around my house.

I am definitely now on the lookout for more vintage chinoiserie home decor pieces, especially since I discovered that vintage English transfer ware and vintage asian or chinoiserie style decorative items are quite pleasing when styled together.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a wonderful December and a happy holiday season.


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