Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Favorite Collection

Happy New Year!

Today is the 1st, and my friend,

Alison, @ The Polohouse

is hosting a new monthly party.

Favorites On The First

Alison asked us all to share a collection this month.

Just one, Alison?

Difficult to single one out here.

I seem to gather collections of many things.

Anyone else out there

find this to be true in your home?

Please tell me I'm not alone!

For me, one of the sad realities 

of the modern world of technology 

is that the hand written word is becoming scarce. 

 In this day of cell phones, text messages, emails, and tweets, 

many have abandoned the handwritten note or letter. 

 Students today often don't receive formal handwriting lessons 

to learn the appropriate strokes of beautiful script. 

 I grew up in the era of fountain pens; 

when one had to write out all assignments in long hand. 

 I loved the idea of putting ink on paper. 

 The fluid movement of the nib  

moving across the paper was like magic to me. 

 The rhythm of that writing sang 

as if it were a sweet melody. 

 My well used original 

Parker pen still sits on my desk.

I suppose it's no surprise that this love  

of writing with ink would naturally   

lead to an interest in and affection for ink wells. 

I'm a collector at heart and  

shopping antique markets is a favorite pastime. 

 Though I didn't set out to specifically collect inkwells, 

some of these little "wells" have followed me home.

This crystal inkwell with a plum top sits within

a pewter stand. It was made in France in recent years.

The larger of the three is this 

heavy crystal block with sterling lid. 

 Though it is clearly marked, 

I've not been able to date this piece.

The smallest of these is just an inch 

square and a little over an inch and a half tall. 

 Both this one and the larger one 

were found at local antique shows years ago.

This is a vintage traveling ink well that

was a purchase many years ago while

roaming a London antique market.

The leather case opens to reveal a

brass container in which to hold ink.

A group of Quimper ink wells gather

on another tray that moves about our home.

Each of these date to around 1920 - 1930.

The heart shaped one 

is the first piece of vintage Quimper I acquired. 

 It was a birthday gift from a group 

of friends given to me in the 1980s. 

 This little piece fueled my interest in 

the antique and vintage pieces of French faience.

A souvenir from a California vacation one summer,

this little faience charmer is new production from the 1980s.

It is simply marked France Decor Main.

It opens to this sweet little flower

shaped stopper covering the well.

More faience ink wells can be found

among books in a guest bedroom.

These three were produced by Alcide Chaumeil

and are known simply as CA faience because of the mark.

I first saw this square example in the

collection of a fellow QCI member.

I was fortunate to find 

this one for myself a year or so later.


It appealed to me because of the

mechanics of this box.

The ceramic lid pivots across to 

reveal the well for the ink.

I suspect this is a rare form.

Another rare form is this CA figural

of a Breton fisherman pulling in his catch.

The coiled rope is the lid to this

inkwell which I purchased in France.

A French market find, this rather 

large piece is unfortunately missing its lid. 

I found it laying in a box of 

assorted things at a weekend brocante. 

 The price was too good to pass it by, 

so it too resides among the others, 

sans hat as Debbie @ Confessions of a Plate Addict says. 

 You can read about her French ink well find here.

A sweet pair of bunnies were an eBay score.

One holds the quills and the other the ink well.

They are Desvres production.

A limited edition piece, this handsome 

ink stand was produced in 1990 by HB Henriot 

to commemorate the tricentennial of the faience of Quimper

 The hand painted scene depicts the 

city of Quimper and the Odet River. 

The soft blue glaze and the fine detailed 

painting make this a remarkable piece.

A documentation card provided with this piece

shows the other limited edition pieces

that were produced for this special occasion.

And lastly are these heavy ceramic Moroccan ink pots 

that I purchased in the souks of Marrakech. 

I found the rustic character with the vibrant 

turquoise and amber details irresistible.

There you have it. 

 Just one of my assorted collections.

Grab a glass of bubbly on your way over to visit

more collections shared for Favorites on the First.

Happy New Year!

All the best for each of you in 2012.

Many thanks for your friendships,

your visits, and your thoughtful comments.

Linking to

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Sharing the wonder of the many faces

of that jolly ole' man, Santa.

No Words Needed!

A Very Merry Christmas

to each of you.

Linking to

Saturday, December 17, 2011


This time of year I often like to relax with a cup of hot tea and look through some of my Christmas books for inspiration. I shared this little book last December and decided to offer it up again for Chari's Sunday Favorites.

By Koren Trygg & Lucy Poshek

A VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS , an Antioch Gourmet Gift Book, is a petite book of cherished Christmas traditions. It's the perfect size to slip into someone's stocking, and though out of print, it can be found here on Amazon.

This delightful book credits the Victorians for the "classic, festive holiday we cherish today". It was during the 19th century and Queen Victoria's reign that many of the age old customs were revived, "emphasizing their romantic and religious significance". The Christmas tree, a German tradition, dates to the 16th century. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, a German, she wanted him to feel at home and had a Christmas tree brought into the palace. Thus the practice of decorated Christmas trees became fashionable in British homes.

Gingerbread cookies decorated with red sugar were often hung on the trees for decoration.

Most of the ornaments were handmade.

Glass ornaments later became the fashion.

The Victorians took the pagan idea of hanging greens in the house as a welcomed opportunity to use wreaths and garlands of fresh greens to "dress up their homes in the spirit of the holidays".

The custom of Christmas cards dates fromVictorian times. The typical greeting of the time is the same as today, "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You."

Traditions of Christmas stockings, according to British legend, date from "when Saint Nicholas dropped some gold coins along with his gifts down a chimney. The coins would have fallen through the grate but were caught by a stocking that had been hung to dry on the hearth. Ever since then, children have been leaving their shoes or stockings to be filled on Christmas Eve."

Victorians loved their sweets and began preparing marmalades, jams, jellies, puddings, and cakes months ahead.

By December they began baking cookies and breads.

The last two chapters are devoted to special recipes that can be used as gifts from your kitchen or to host your own Victorian Christmas Feast. I selected the recipe for Old-Fashioned Gingerbread to share for Food For Thought because gingerbread is my favorite.

It's cold outside, so come on in by our cozy fire . . .

Where you can enjoy a cup of hot tea and a piece of gingerbread fresh from the oven.

"Had I but a penny in the world, thou shouldst have it for gingerbread."
William Shakespeare