The Mudlark: A Broken China Mosaic Bowl


This sweet little orphaned bird was once one of a pair of small salt shakers. 

Now he’s got a brand new home - among some shards of history...





Built upon a vintage wooden bowl, this mosaic nest of sorts tells a colorful story of potteries long closed and abandoned. The majority of the pottery used for this piece was collected by my uncle, hand-picked at low tide from the banks of the Thames River in England between the Globe and the National Theatres. Some of the shards in this piece date as early as the 1700’s.

Like collecting seashells along the shore of the ocean, the banks of the Thames offer colorful shards of broken china and pottery – reminders of the once thriving potters that populated the area. Collecting these shards is known as mudlarking - as beachcombing refers to ocean shores, mudlarking refers to river banks - and it’s history runs deep.





A century or two ago, the term Mudlarks referred the very poor of London who scavenged the riverbanks along the Themes collecting anything they could find that might have some value. Mudlarks were most often children or elderly folk -those without income who needed to scavenge to survive.

They looked for coins, bottles, pieces of pottery or coal – the sorts of things that might have been discarded or fallen off of a ship. They would collect these found objects and then sell or trade them for food.

Nowadays you can still comb the shores for pottery shards, but beware...it is said that all that is found on public ground is property of the Queen!


Happy Hunting!
~ Laura


A Visit to Blue Ridge Flea Market






My summer wouldn’t be complete without a few visits to the Blue Ridge Flea Market in Saylorsburg, PA!

This is one of my very favorite flea markets and one the best places in the Pocono area to shop for antiques and vintage treasures. It’s about a thirty minute drive from my home, so I consider myself one lucky chick!

Today the temperature was in the 90’s but that wasn’t going to hold me back. It had been a while since I had last been to this market and I was excited to discover some new goodies!





The first two parking lots were full (as they always are) but way in the back grove parking area (which is the best place to park anyway because of its scattering of old shade trees) I was pleasantly surprised to find it empty of cars – yay! – it was going to be a good shopping day!




Empty grove=more stuff for me! :-)





Flea market ahead!





One small view of a very large complex



Of course the very first thing I came upon was two stacks of monogrammed vintage china. I had to laugh because just yesterday I blogged about this exact same china and mentioned how hard it is to find! Seven bowls, four plates, each with a beautiful floral rose design and bright capital letter K initial monogram. Their condition was new, and I knew they were from the 1940’s. How much? I asked the man…$2 for all? SOLD!



My first great find


At that point I could’ve gone home a happy girl, but I was only five minutes into it. A short while later and up a few rows I spied two pretty, antique English transferware dinnerplates that closely resembled the Flow Blue patterns that I adore…How much?....$2 each or you can have them both for $3…SOLD!
Cha-ching and woo hoo!



My new lovelies




I don't think this was an antique, but it was neat none the less: a decorative ship's figurehead or maidenhead complete with her very own treasure chest... Arrrgh




My 5-year-old daughter wanted to drive this mini car home!



Ahhh my favorite part... little boxes, on the hillside...



little boxes full of....silverware! And boy, was it HOT to touch! Everything was sizzling from the sun.




What? You can't find your keys? Here they are!


When I got to this point it was seriously like: What to my wondering eyes should appear?...Keys! Hundreds and hundreds of glorious keys! Short keys, long keys, fat keys, skeleton keys, lots of rusty keyness!




Ahhh, vintage chandelier crystals! These are super good for craftin'




Various taxidermy oddities (note the bears on the roof of the van)



A few handfuls of vintage silverplated flatware, antique skeleton keys and vintage chandelier crystals were among my best finds... all will be put to very good use in some new projects I have brewing for the upcoming holiday season!




A few of my new keys and crystals


Some of the vintage flatware I bought






What do you think?


Vintage Monogram China Made Into Jewelry!



I love these vintage ads!


Vintage advertisement for monogrammed china




I just LOVE vintage advertisements. I especially love vintage ads featuring china or flatware! I always find myself squinting at the ads I come across, trying to make out the china pattern or silver pattern, wondering if it’s one I have in stock for my jewelry making.

I think on two occasions I’ve found ads for patterns that were the same as or very similar to dishes that I had in stock…One was a Limoges U.S.A. ad for a set of monogrammed floral china. I love these old initial monogram patterns. Over the years I have found some orphaned pieces here and there but for the most part these patterns are hard to find!



Here are a few pieces of jewelry that I created with damaged vintage monogrammed china:


















Necklace pendant from vintage A monogrammed china




Vintage and antique monogrammed china is hard to find, but once in a while I come across some that is cracked or chipped or damaged from age or use, and that is what I turn into jewelry. 


I think I currently have the letters M and K in stock, if you are interested in any pieces similar to those shown above, check out my Etsy shop! Here is the link:


http://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns






What do you think of monogrammed china jewelry?




Thursday's Thrift Shop Treasures: Silver Baby Spoons!


Thursday's Thrift Shop Treasures!




Vintage silver flatware ad. This is what I look like when I find something good at the thrift shop!



I squeezed an hour out of my busy morning to swing by one of my favorite local thrifts and it was a good thing I did...I found this awesome set of ornate, antique birth record spoons - and for only a few bucks! 



Antique engraved baby spoons!


Each is hand-engraved with a child's name and birth date. I feel a bit sad that they are no longer with the family of the original owners and landed up for sale in a thrift shop - but I will take good care of them! They are silver and in need of a polish, but I do sorta like their current state - their aged, tarnished patina is so charming! 

These will not be made into jewelry!



I Was Once Broken... Jewelry Made From Broken Calendar Plates



Jewelry made from antique broken calendar plates...





Antique calendar plate from 1909 with lots of damage


I have a great love for these old advertising calendar plates...they seem to be one of those things that combine everything that I love in one package: it's a plate, it's old, it's got a beautiful floral transferware design on it...but most especially, it marks a certain point in time. In this case, 1909.

Let's see...in 1909 a newspaper cost 1 cent, coffee was 20 cents a pound, (tea was $1 for 2 lbs, by the way), and a pair of children's shoes cost about $1.50! Hershey bars were 2 cents, but they were a lot smaller than today's 1.65 oz, weighing in at 9/16 oz! To put things a bit more into perspective, the average wage was 22 cents per hour, and the average worker made about $350 a year. We can only wonder what things will be like 100 years from now...




Cracked antique calendar plate from 1909



William Carlos Williams published his first book of poetry in 1909, and Pablo Picasso first began dabbling in cubism...





Necklace that I hand crafted from a broken 1909 calendar plate (sold)







Pin brooch I handcrafted from 1909 calendar plate (sold)








Here are a few necklaces that I just made from the broken plate shown above:




Broken China Jewelry necklace September 1909 antique calendar plate autumn fruits
September 1909 available here




Broken China Jewelry necklace September 1909 antique calendar plate autumn fruits
September 1909 available here




Broken China Jewelry necklace November 1909 antique calendar plate holly
November 1909 necklace available here




Broken China Jewelry necklace November 1909 antique calendar plate holly
November 1909 necklace available here






What do you think? Do you like these?





More Fun With Vintage Spoons: Stamped Spoon Bracelets



Just how many things can you do with old spoons? 

I love these ornate orphaned spoons who've long lost their matching mates. Who wants to lay around in some old silverware drawer anyhow? Being turned into an extremely cool bracelet is much more fun!

Check out these stamped silver spoon bracelets I made a while back with antique and vintage silver spoons. I also made some matching stamped spoon pendants (with the handles cut off) that hang from a chain.



Potty Mouth. Everybody knows one! 



Trophy wife!



Dream big...



Enchanted




What would you want yours to say?

What do you think?