Blue and White Enamelware

I love Instagram, and @MyIdealMess started a new hashtag this week, #EnamelwareWednesday. I like using hashtags for inspiration and to see what other people do with the same prompt. I have been needing to organized my enamelware collection and seeing this tag gave me just the encouragement I needed to gather all of these beauties. These pieces were all gathered across France and Belgium during our time living in Europe.


There are so many layers of character in here. And that crate, one of my favorite finds in France. DSC_0349

Looking for something in particular? The dark blue tray is a wonderful farmhouse piece. I will be listing a few of these on Etsy and the rest will be coming with me to my fall shows.  My schedule is coming soon. DSC_0357

This 6 is one of the pieces from my personal collection, I love it for our family of 6.DSC_0360

This blue and white check pattern is a full set of pans. DSC_0362

Some of the pieces are a little rough, but I love the character they have. That little dark blue tea pot in front would be so charming with some flowers. I might need to go to Trader Joe’s to get a bouquet. I am feeling inspired.DSC_0364

If you have a piece of enamelware that you would like to share you can head over to Instagram. Make sure you tag @MyIdealMess, the host.


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Amboise Brocante

Our family made a quick, last minute, road trip this weekend to Chateau de Chenonceau.  After I checked the hours of the chateau to make sure they would be open when we wanted to go and found a place for us to stay I checked to see if there were any sales going on near by.  I was in luck and found a Brocante & Vide Grenier in Amboise just minutes from where we were staying.  We had a wonderful visit to the chateau on Sunday and Monday morning I was ready to do some shopping.


The first couple of tables I stopped at were very expensive.  I started to get disappointed that I was going to just be looking.  And then I turned a corner and the buying began.  I did manage to get a few photos from around the brocante.  This was a massive sale, I walked and shopped for almost 3 hours. It was amazing.

These first photos are all from the same vendor.  They had mostly transferware and they had some truly amazing pieces.  This set was from the 1800s and was in perfect condition.


There were 3 tables just like this.


More amazing work.




It just kept going.


The condition of their pieces was just amazing.  I did buy a set of dessert plates from this vendor, I will show you those later.


I didn’t take any more photos until I had run out of money. A very sweet lady let me put my large basket in the trunk of her car while I did a little more shopping.  These are photos from the far end of the brocante from where I started.  I could have kept buying, but there was not an ATM to be found.


There was so much to look at.


I am always drawn to enamelware pieces and large metal signs.


The dogs at the markets are always fun.  This market had quite a few big dogs.


More pretty things.


This set caught my eye.


This fancy couple was right next to the orange set.


This bucket caught my eye on the way in and the way out.


The tables of linens are just amazing.


These old tools were so interesting.


I love these rows of bins, you never know what you are going to find and what kinds of prices they are going bring.


This table stopped me in my tracks.


And then it was time to leave.  We packed up, ate lunch, and made the 2 hour drive home.  I love unpacking all of my treasures and looking at them again.  Here is everything I managed to buy at the market. Yes, there are a lot of treasures. I was actually stopped at the market by a french film crew.  They interviewed me on camera (in English) for France 3.  They asked what I was buying and why.  Then the cameraman followed me for a little bit.  It was one of the silliest things that has happened to me while brocante shopping.


This mustard jar was a special find.


This is a toy sized basket, I love these baskets and have them in almost every other side.


Blue transfer ware is always a good find.


That is an enamel plate, the strands of pearls are going to be used in decorating for my sisters wedding.


Here is my transfer ware from the first vendor.  I got these 6 plates that are in very good condition for their age.


The back of the plates.


These posters are some of my favorite finds.  I got 10 different chateaux, many of them we have been to.  I love finds like this.


I put a few of my finds together, one of them is a pretty little pitcher with this ‘Deauville’ stamp on the bottom.


Here we are, a pretty pitcher, yellow enamelware and the green jars were all treasures from today.


I hope you enjoyed this trip through the Amboise Brocante.

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Green Transferware by Badonviller

This set of dishes came from the same vide grenier in Normandy, but a different table.  I was not planning on buying another set of dishes, but when I saw this set I had to bring it home.


This set came with 49 pieces, including 23 dinner plates and 14 bowls.


There is only 1 chip that I could find on the whole set.


Here is the mark from the back.  I believe this set dates back to around 1923.


This is an amazing set with great serving pieces, all in great condition.  This is heading to the container for my shipment home.  I am almost done filling my container so this is one of my final purchases.  It is very exciting to be almost done and kind of sad.  I have had so much fun shopping to fill it.


And this is what my youngest thought of me taking more product photos.  Really he just wanted a snack.


Brocante Season is Starting!

Easter Monday is a holiday here in France.  I was on my favorite website,, and I saw there was going to be a brocante not far from our house.  I was up and at them bright and early Monday morning.  These yellow signs make my heart beat faster.  These brocantes are good, they are organized by a company, they usually have good parking, and a good mix of vendors.


This vendor had a great collection of vintage items.  His prices were fair and his selection was great.  I settled for this pile of goodies.  I took this picture so I would remember to go back and collect everything.  The vendor told me that the grey box and the little white chair had gotten a lot of attention while I was away.


This was my favorite find of the day, this mother and child bust is beautiful.


These vintage jars all came home with me.  I love old glass jars.


This load of treasures took 2 boxes to pack up.  I love transfer ware and Limoges and there was plenty to be found.


After carrying all of my finds back to the car and then unloading them back at the house I got everything out and took a look at it.  This grey box is so fun.


This sweet little chair is holding all of the Limoges I found today.


These tureens are small, but pretty.


Brown transfer ware is my favorite.


 I found so many fun things today.




Here is all of it.  I have spent the afternoon washing everything.


If it seems like I have been buying a lot lately, you are right.  I have been busy collecting as many treasures as I can to fit into a shipment that I am having sent back to Texas when we move this summer.  We have our personal shipment of things that we will be sending home, but I have taken the leap and will be filling a container with treasures to bring back and sell as well.  I will be in the Houston area so if you are in Texas next fall keep an eye out for Brocante Treasures!

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New Furniture Fun

This piece of furniture sat at a local thrift store for quite a while.  Last month I had decided that if it was still there I was going to buy it.  Once we got it in the house I loved it even more.  St. Patrick’s Day came and I used that as my inspiration to decorate it.  I pulled together several of my green pieces.


My Underwood typewrite sits on top of the marble and makes a great resting place for a piece of Mason’s transfer ware.


My teal plate is a piece of St. Hamand, from the north of France.  The small plate has a scene with Josephine and Napoleon, 2 of my favorite characters from French history.  I have a whole series of these plates that I would love to display more prominently on day.  I found the plates at the Waterloo Brocante, quite fitting to find a piece of Napoleon memorabilia.


The little green enamel tea pot is a recent find from this past Sunday.  I took all 4 of my children (ages 7 and under) to a local brocante and we all had a good time.  It was a more casual sale with a range of items for sale.  All of the kids got a toy and I got a few treasures.  I love the memories that go with each of my treasures.

Here is the other piece of furniture that I bought the same day.  This piece came with a mirrored door that was no longer attached.  I am planning on using the mirror separately, I love the open shelving look that this piece bring to our living room.  There is a piece of trim missing at the top, I have it, but I need to get wood glue in order to fix it.


Here are close ups of each of the shelves.  Transferware, enamelware, milk glass, and old books; a few of my favorite things.


I love this shelf and I love having a place to display all of these special pieces.


You will notice there is no glass on the bottom shelf, my youngest is only 17 months old so I have to be able to decorate around his curious little hands.


Have a beautiful day!

Going to Waterloo in the Big Truck

Have you ever been at a market or store and thought, ‘If only I had a truck to get this treasures home!’ ?  That happens to me all the time here in France.  There is one store I go to that has an awesome delivery service and I usually only buy my furniture there.  I had been to Waterloo, Belgium a couple of times and they always seem to have a ton of fun BIG things there.  I have been contemplating the idea of renting a truck for a while, but the cost and time and logistics have always held me back.

After some careful planning and some other big adventures that are coming into the picture I was able to rent a truck and take a friend from Paris to Waterloo.


On our adventure we saw this sign for a “Vide Maison”.  In the city where I live you are not allowed to sell things from your home like a garage sale, but that is exactly what this vide mason was like.  I pulled that giant truck right onto their street and stopped to look around.


We got to Waterloo Saturday evening and stayed at a hotel in the city.  We were up at 4:00 am and at the market by 4:45 am. I had made my first purchase by flashlight by 5:20.  It was crazy, but we were not the only crazy people there.

This giant window was just stunning, but it did not come home with m.e  We walked by it so many times as we shopped and carried treasures back to the truck.

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This vendor had such a beautiful selection of china.  There were pieces from Belgium, France, and England. I love this picture even thought I didn’t buy anything from her.


Now on to some of the things I did buy!

This metal piece and of course copper.  This stack of copper was so heavy, thankfully I had my rolling back with me.

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This sign is in Flemish and thankfully the vendor spoke great English.  He did his best to explain what it translated to, but I didn’t write it down so I am going to have to ask my friend that was with me.DSC_0928

This sweet little book had an inscription with 1945 on the inside.DSC_0935

All of these amazing tins!  There are almost 30 different shapes and sizes and they are in great condition.DSC_0941

This bowl caught my eye, but I was trying to buy bigger pieces so I passed it by.  Then my friend that was with me picked it up.  I checked out the back, saw what good shape it was in and decided to get it after all.  I think the mark is from 1968-1990 from the German Democratic Republic.

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Chicken feeders! I am hoping to use the one on the right as a plate stand.


Isn’t she beautiful?  I found her while I was shopping in the dark with my flash light.  I knew I wanted her, but I didn’t know how much I loved her until I saw her in the day light.  She has Paris and the name of an artist on her back shoulder.


This is a bread board, with initials carved at the top.


This is coffee table height and I love the legs and the color of the top.


Here is my find of the day, a 19th century farmhouse table.  This was my first purchase of the day and my favorite one.


My friend and fellow shopper took this picture of me on the road, driving the big truck.  This was a big adventure, and the start of an even bigger adventure and I have been so anxious about everything according to plan.  I am so thankful that this weekend went off with out a hitch.


I hope you enjoyed seeing my finds and following along on my trip to Waterloo in the Big Truck.

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Foire de Chatou Spring 2015

West of Paris there is a town named Chatou.  There is an island in the Seine that is a part of Chatou, it is call the Ile des Impressionnistes.  Impressionist painters used to come to the restaurant on this island and Renoir has a famous painting that was set here.  Twice a year part of the island is devoted to the Foire de Chatou et le Foire de Jambon.  Cool old stuff and ham, 2 great things to celebrate.    I have been to the last 2 events and I was excited to get to visit this show as well.  I usually would not have gone on the opening weekend, the show runs for 2 weeks, but because I have a full schedule over the next 2 weeks we decided to go as a family on Saturday.  This is my youngest all dressed for a day at the market.  He is our French baby through and through.


We made sure we were up early to get decent parking.  Did I mention the event is held on an island?  A long skinny island with limited parking.  There is a little train that brings people from the train station in Rueil Malmasison to the front gates, but as for parking you can walk a long way.  We were lucky and got there around 9:40 and got great parking.  We only and to wait outside for 20 minutes, the gates opened promptly at 10.  By the time the gates opened there were quite a few people waiting to get in.  The fee to get in is 6 euros per adult.  After our 12 euro entry we were ready to start shopping.  Here is my oldest ready to go, she got herself dressed for the day and I love her look.


I always love how most vendors seem to arrive at about 9:55 and are still opening their booths at opening time.  It is worse during the week because there is even less traffic.  These gorgeous mannequins were sold the 1st day of the show.  They were a hot ticket item this year, I saw at least 10.  Each more expensive than the last.


These three lanterns would be so much fun to use on a house.


On my to buy list is a French farm house table.  I want to find  a show stopper, and I found 2.  These tables were sitting side by side with the same vendor.  The tops are all reclaimed wood and are absolutely amazing, with amazing price tags to match.

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Have you ever eaten at a table set with knife rests?  I haven’t, but I have several friends that are interested in buying a set.  This vendor had great prices and a nice selection.  I love when friends ask me about a certain item, I notice things that I might not otherwise see.

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These decorative metal pieces were gorgeous.


I have looked at a lot of vintage linen since moving to France and would you believe I have never seen my monogram before?  The vendor says it almost never works out that you find your own, but I did.  Unfortunately her prices were just a little too steep.  At least I was able to get this picture.  Maybe one day I will find a set that I can bring home.


Did I mention the food?  This is a ham festival too after all.  There is an entire row dedicated to eating.  There are fresh oysters, meat and cheese, and then ham.  This first one is amazing.  I ate there 3 times last time the show was on.  This year I decided to branch out and try the raclette dish on the right.  It was like scalloped potatoes and it was amazing.  It was all amazing.  We sat down and enjoyed our lunch.  Then my husband took the kids out to throw rocks in the river while I finished up a bit of browsing.IMG_0015 IMG_0016

This silver pitcher was great and I am still thinking about this white pitcher too.


These green archive boxes were so interesting, I love the green.


These pictures are from the same vendor.  What a statement all of their pieces make.

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When it is lunch time for the vendors they don’t cut corners.  I have seen table clothes, glass stemware and off course their espresso after the meal.  If you are trying to shop during lunch time be prepared to be ignored.  If you want a price you have to really work to get their attention.  I love this picture because they were using chairs that were for sale to sit in.


This pair of chairs had such a velvety, cozy fabric, and I love the lines.


Enamelware pitchers get me every time.  The pink and green on this was so different and fun.  I was already carrying an enamel pitcher so I left this one for the next collector.


I think this is my favorite photo from the day.  These were all different patterns and makers, but oh so beautiful.


So my sister is a hair stylist so this sign caught my eye.  How fun would this be to have outside your vintage styled studio?  I took a picture and checked the price.  The 500 euro price tag was a shock, even after a day of browsing these gorgeous pieces.  I was even more shocked when I wen back later in the evening and the sign was gone!


More mannequins, they seemed to be really popular this time around.  It might just be that I am noticing them more now, but I don’t remember seeing quite this many before.


Torchon any one?  This was just one of the vendors with stacks of vintage kitchen towels.


There were several more shelves full of these vintage cafe au lait bowls.  I stopped in my tracks when I saw this collection.


A final great display of vintage toy cars.


And in the end this is what I brought home.  Compared to how I usually shop I know it isn’t much, but I am really pleased with what I did find.  My purple transfer ware are two matching serving plates that are almost 2 feet long.  They are heavy and gorgeous.  I did not buy them from the collection pictured above, they were tucked at the back of a bottom shelf in another booth.  I am so in love with them I am considering decorating a room around them.  The enamel pitcher is a white and tan speckled pattern.  The red and white enamel container is a different shape than most I have and I love it.  The yellow basket has leather handles and dates back to the 60s.  The gravy boat was made in England, the bowl has pink flowers and was made in Holland.  The blue rimmed plate has a bunny in the middle and the paper egg was made in Germany.  I picked up a table cloth with a great monogram and a few napkins with monograms.  Overall it was a good day.  I was happy to see some of my favorite vendors and to discover some new favorites as well and any day spent in the sunshine is a plus.


I hope you enjoyed my little tour of the Foire de Chatou.  I am sharing with

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Vintage French Bible Collection

Something that I love to collect are Bibles in other languages.  My collection started with a Tagalog Bible after my mission trip to the Philippines when I was 14.  Then I had a Spanish/English Bible that I loved to read in high school and college as my Spanish got better.  In Norway I was excited to find a Norwegian Bible even though it isn’t old.


Here in France I have found a lot of old books, but finding a Bible took me a while.  I found 2 great examples in Lille at the Grand Braderie last year, a Bible and  a New Testament.  I found another New testament along my adventures and then this weekend at the Porte de Vanves I found this velvet covered book.  I knew the size was right, but I have been disappointed so many times.  I opened the front page and I saw this.


None of the family information was filled in in the front of the Bible, but it is a complete Bible in pretty good condition.



In the back of the Bible this page shows that the book was printed in 1949.DSC_0419

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Both of the Bibles have their own covers that have probably helped to keep them together.  I love how this book was truly used and loved.

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This is a very special little stack of books in our house.


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Puce du Canal, a Thrift Store, and a Brocante on Vacation

I love taking advantage of our family trips to do some shopping.  Unfortunately an illness delayed our trip by one day and put a serious dent in my planned shopping activities.  Thankfully I made up for my missed opportunities and I came home with a full car after all.  I mean, with 4 kids my car is always full, but I brought home plenty of treasures too.  To fit in this kind of shopping with 4 kids I plan stops during our drive, get up early, make sure there are fun things to do near by, and I pack food, lots of food.  It is wonderful how often there is a play ground near a brocante.  I have the most amazing husband in the world that gets excited about my treasures.

These green canning jars were a favorite find this week.  I have quite a few of the clear glass, but these heavy green jars from different companies are beautiful.  The enamel box has holes on the side that would make it easy to hang.  There are so many possibilities.

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Books, lots of old books.  The big one on the end is the “Codes de la Legislation Francaise”.  The date on the inside is 1858!  These books are all in French and all date back to the 1960s or earlier.  The Ville de Paris book is a translation of a Norwegian book into French.  I love it.

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This enamel pot stopped me in my tracks.  I was in a small town called Beaucaire at a Wednesday morning brocante.  We almost couldn’t find the brocante, thankfully my husband kept driving around this medieval town and we came across a parking lot with about 30 vendors.  I found this pot towards the end of my shopping.  I had to play it cool when I talked to the seller.  One handle is broken, but the size and paint job make up for any other defects in my eyes.


It is hard to see the handles on the sides of this enamel pan, but I love them.  I have quite a collection of vintage tins and these are really cool shapes with great patina.


I found a thrift store in Avignon that we had to go to the Industrial Zone to find.  My husband thinks I am crazy at times, finding in treasures in Europe often involves going to sketchy parts of town.  The thrift store was worth it, I was able to find this great vintage bowl and the fleur de lis glasses. The transfer ware bowl was from the brocante.DSC_0375

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These glasses were exactly what I was looking for.

This image from Pinterest has inspired me to collect dark colored glasses in all shapes, colors and sizes. 


Ah numbers, I love these enamel numbers.  I found these at the Puces du Canal in Lyon.  Again, not a great part of town, but some truly great collections.  We got there just as most of the outside vendors were closing up, but I did a quick walk around and found a few things worth dragging home.


This pitcher and basin is in great condition.  It is French vintage and I love the simplicity.DSC_0389

Blue transfer ware that is extremely dirty.  I am going to clean this up and we will be using this as part of our every day.


My glasses again and a great vintage book about champagne.


I picked up this little red suitcase in Lyon.  I used it to carry all of my purchases for the day and I got several comments from the dealers about how cute it was and how practical it was.  Have I mentioned that I love red?

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The yellow and green makes me think of my Baylor friends back in Texas.  The cowboy boots are Sanchez, Made in Spain boots.  They are too big for me, but they made me think of home so I had to get them.  How cute is this little book?  Bill, le brave Cowboy, printed in 1951 in France.  I was definitely feeling a little home sick as I did my shopping. All of my friends back in Houston are posting their Rodeo pictures and I am feeling far from home.  It is hard to believe that I haven’t been in Texas in almost 3 years.  I am not from Texas and I never thought I would feel homesick for this state, but life is unpredictable in so many fun ways.

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A couple of fun road signs finish up my finds for this week.  I love the 5 sign, how can you even go 5 km per hour?  Th 1 Km sign is going to look great with the rest of the red in my house.  I just have to find a piece of wall to hang it on.

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Waterloo Brocante

We had been to Waterloo once before on our Belgium weekend back in November.  I had a lot of fun at the Waterloo Brocante and I was ready to go back.  We planned a weekend with several of our friends and their families.  We all rented rooms at Dolce in La Hulpe, Belgium.  The hotel is about 15 minutes from the brocante and has an indoor pool.

I had been told that things at the Waterloo Brocante got started early, 4 AM.  My friend that was going shopping with me was not sure about a 4 AM start, but we did get going by 6 AM.  We were parking at the Carrefour by 6:25 and things were in full swing.  I was so excited I forgot my phone so I don’t have any photos of our early morning adventures.  Most of the vendors were set up and there were quite a few people scanning with their flash lights.  Oops, we had forgotten ours!  Thankfully we were able to see a few things still and I started collecting treasures.  The sun was up by 8 and it was amazing how different the market looked with some light.  We had told our families that we would grabs some breakfast from the MacDonald’s and bring it back to the hotel.  Another friend joined us and we went back for more.  There were a lot more shoppers at this point, it is definitely worth it to get to this market early, even if it is cold and dark.

I did manage to get some photos in the afternoon.  The first few are from one of my favorite places from the day.  This young guy spoke some english and was very nice.  He was willing to deal and he had some great pieces.

This “Poissonnerie” sign was amazing.


I loved this sign, but it was a little more than I wanted to spend for something like this.


These were all old fashioned portraits.


There was lots of enamelware, tin, signs, mannequins, and some great furniture.


He just kept pulling treasures out of his van, but I noticed he was packed up rather early and on his way just after 12.  Most of the vendors were still there at 1 when we finally left.

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This next set of pictures is from a very different kind of booth, but just as expected.  They have all of their stuff in boxes piled around.  You have to dig for want you want and then ask for a price.  You can find some great things in these boxes.  I found a hanging scale, granny square afghans, and a brown bottle.

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Here are a few more shots from the brocante.  I could have spent more time just walking around taking photos, but I had a car full of sleepy kiddos ready to drive home.

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The brocante went from whereI was standing all the way to the MacDonald’s on the other side of the parking lot.

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I spoke to one dealer early in the morning and he gave us some insight to how this whole brocante works.  He  had left his house in Holland at 1:30 AM to get to Waterloo around 4:00 AM.  Then it was time to wait in line, apparently the whole thing is first come first serve.  This guy I spoke to was super nice and his English was excellent.  His selection was great too.  I am so bummed I didn’t get a photo of his booth.

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Just a few of the dogs of the brocante. Borcante dogs deserve a post all on their own.

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My chairs waiting to be loaded into my car.  I found all 5 over the course of the morning.  I carried 2 of them around for a while, but they are not light.  I bought a few more and thankfully the seller was willing to keep them for me.


And finally, my treasures at home.


Grain sacks, enamelware, copper, old signs, and silver; I was a very happy shopper.

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Mason’s transferware tray, yellow mini cake stands and yellow plates.  The green transfer ware are Napoleon plates, I got a stack of 9 of the Napoleon plates.



This little clock was an impulse buy, and I am so glad I grabbed it.  It is a Kienzle, German made clock and it still works!


When I bought the helmet the man told me it was American from WW II.  I had my doubts, but the price was okay.  I thought it would be a good learning tool to take home and do some research.  Now that I have it home I am almost positive it is not what I thought it was, but it is still neat looking.


When I saw this plate I didn’t think it was that old, but when I turned it over I saw this stamp and then the name of the pattern and I knew I had to get it.  “Florida”


This silver tray is pretty tarnished, but it is a good size and it has “Belle Vue” engraved on it.DSC_0409

This is a vintage mustard jar.  You can see the stamp on the bottom, it is from Sarreguemines I think.


I managed to get all of this shopping done in 2 – 2 hour shopping sessions.

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