Tag Archives: collecting knickknacks


Revving up the Christmas Rabbit: Teddies and Tea Sets

Tiny tea sets everywhere! Waiting to be sorted and put on tea trays for the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree

Yes, it’s not even Halloween yet, but Christmas is underway around the rabbit’s rancheroo. Seven weeks and counting down from here to Christmas Forest and the Victorian Teddy Tea Party Tree. My 2011 extravaganza actually started the day I finished last year’s tree.

bunches and bunches of bears. 211 to be exact. All but 23 are wearing clothes.

My very favorite is this adorable Victorian style bear, I don't know if I can 'bear' to give her up!

Buried in bears in my studio loft. That's my foot. I had to wedge me in with all the bins to sort the furry beasts.

I  started thinking about 2011’s tree before 2010’s was even up! I understand from the other designers that is S.O.P. We all slink around and look over the other trees on display and start plotting on how we can top ourselves and them-next time.

These two are the most exquisite and valuable of the bushels of bears. Both handmade and incredibly high quality. I got one for 10 bucks and the other for 20 bucks. Probably 300 dollars or so, retail. Gotta love being a Value Village vulture.

And bear gear: buggies, rockers, chairs, prams, tiny desks, even an upholstered granny style rocker. A year of hunting paid off.


I found so many Victorian style dressed bears, the Victorian Teddy Tree pretty much named itself.

Sorted by size and style and binned with the number of bears inside on the bin. Whew. That's a lot of bears! I don't want to see any green on the tree, just bears, tea stuff and treats from top to bottom.

These are teeny tinies. So adorable! A whole box of fun.


I haven't even counted these yet, unpacking them was staggering enough for a start.

I started thinking about my concept a year ago : Bears and a teaparty. I loved the song, “Teddy Bear’s Picnic” as a little kid. To that end and with something Teddy Bear Picnicish in mind, I have been collecting bears and tiny sets for a year. This weekend it was time to go up into my loft and begin the sorting process, bears up and tea sets down.

From right after WWII, made in Japan. Can't you just picture a little girl getting this set for Christmas?


Exquisite, only one cup. Some of these are so beautiful they will stay in my own trinket collection. Trust me, there are so many tea sets here, no body is ever going to notice!

I have mostly been standing on the first floor and throwing bears overhand up onto the loft bed, or carrying them up and just stashing them and all the bear accoutrements overhead and ignoring the whole mess all summer. How many bears? How many tea sets? A bunch.

Teeny tiny Spode tea saucer. Wish I had the whole set.

Other side of the Spode saucer, cute no?

My goal with this tree of tea toys and teddies is to transfix every small child who sees the tree. I want to create something so magical they’ll remember it for years.

The teeny tiniest tea sets are in this cigar box. Doll's house tea sets perhaps?

I am going to use rubber cement to fasten the tea things to the tea trays and furnish the buyer with instructions on deconstructing the tree. It is my biggest wish that whoever buys this tree will take off every tea tray and tea set and every teddy bear and give them to a child. I kind of hope a pediatrician buys the tree, that would be perfect.

Funky little set from the 50's, tres cool


Gorgeous antique child's teacup with a parrot handle. I found 3 of them at an estate sale.

Tiny teapots!


teeny weeny sugar bowl, probably holds about 3 grains of sugar

My personal favorite? This Miss Muffet tea saucer. Mine,mine, mine.

antique blue willow tea set creamer. How cute is this?

Even if a few bits that aren't in sets stay behind to remind me of this amazing experience, I don't think we'll have a shortage of tea sets. I counted 14 tiny teapots yesterday and I didn't even try to count cups and saucers.

Christmas forest raises a ton of money for the Providence St Peter foundation. They do so much with the money, including providing health care for moms’ and kids’ without insurance, that I am glad to add my own funds to match theirs, along with all the time and effort it takes to do one of these trees.

Over the next seven weeks I will be posting how the tree is put together from making the giant tea pot tree topper to the “cupfakes” decorations. Furniture refinishing and detailing is taking place already. My friend Linda is waiting for measurements on the bear bed to create hand made linens which will be gorgeous. My Christmas crew is standing by and mid-October we launch all the fun details. How to projects will be shared so readers can create fun at home too.  This one is going to be fun for all of us who never really wanted to grow up, starting with me.


crystal head

Rabbit Falls Down the Vintage Rabbit Hole

I'm currently loving clear things; crystal and glass. The light shines through them and they just glow. Most of these pieces will be leaving me and go up for sale as soon as I get over my clear phase.

Everyone who knows me knows I love a good tschotske, knick knack, trinket, dust catcher, fill in your own favorite word. I am like my hero Edward Gorey in my delight in collecting Stuff. He loved round things, ratty stuffed animals, rocks, pieces of glass, old bottles and STUFF. So do I. My husband is bemused and patient ( thank you Jeezus) with all of it.

Round things. A very tall glass jar of round things. Dust free with a lid no less. I do love round things. I just acquired some ancient shot put balls. I think I'll leave them outside...

In my living room I have a seven foot tall cabinet with glass doors that holds various collections dust free and contained. I am organized, I will give me that. I don’t think super organized folks who live  in a house with under a thousand square feet become hoarders.

Instead, they become People Who Must Sell Things. I can’t help it, I absolutely adore vintage trinkets. I have been trying to define my own esthetic. The things that attract me have to be somewhat odd, unique, cool, and have a quirky cute factor.  I’m not terribly fond of frou frou, but I make exceptions, like the Woodland Ceramics dog I just found. The dog has a porcelain polka dot bow on his cute neck, I mean really?

I love old metal stuff more than fluffy stuff, so ancient locks yes, ancient china shepherdresses no.

Check out that cute dog with the porcelain bow, he seems to be saying, "The sixties called and they want their cups back." Coffee cups headed for sale to someone who loves kitschy 60's stuff. Right now, they are just stored in my garden window with ten thousand other things and my orchid collection.

Metal stuff yes, simpering figurines not so much. The little thing with zig zags is a Walter Bosse hedge hog ashtray set I found for a buck in a box at a garage sale. Its worth $30. Score! The lock is from New Mexico, the door knocker from France and the big key I found in Philly. I do love souvenirs.

I have had a cat collection of cat statues and cat trinkets forever, since forever is age 12 for me, ditto tiny boxes and foxes.

My catz, the pink one one the far left bottom shelf is the first one. My grammy got it for me in Tiajuana a very long time ago.

The white kitty is a replication of a cat given to Monet by Japanese friends. I found it in Giverny at his home. The front kitty is Bakelite, I found him for 2 bucks at an old junk store in Pioche, Nevada. Guess what I like to do on vacations?

I adore these Mexican animals, I don't think I'll ever stop collecting them!

..and somehow I managed to acquire two boats. I need to be on guard or the universe will manifest more I can't resist when I'm least expecting it.

I have a shelf stuffed with brightly painted Mexican wooden animal figures, and one with sheep that started out with the wooden sheep I got in Germany at the age of 8. Yes, I still have it and a fondness for things small and sheepish. I also have to admit to guilty pleasure in books, clear crystals, blue glass, and now vintage clothes.

The two sheep that look rectangular are my German sheep, the first and best still. the funny looking one at the rear second from right, was made by a famous French artist. We stayed at his house in France. What an amazing memory!

In my defense, the vintage clothes and a lot of the recent acquistions are definitely just moving through my hands and into the world.  My son is terrified I’m becoming a hoarder because I repurpose broken jewelry and bits into new art. Relax, Tor, I am not going down that path, I promise.

..and since I started hitting ghost towns for glass, I have developed a passion for old glass stoppers. They fill so many bills: round, clear, funky, old and cool.

Let me also mention that my Iphone is my tool of choice and the devil’s advocate. With that phone in hand I can whip up a Google search and determine that moose pitcher that someone wants $2 for is actually worth over $20. Score.

Strangely wonderful Moose creamer. Can you imagine taking tea or pouring gravy out of this guy?

Well, sort of score. These “valuable” finds are piling up like something out of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Solution: My best garage sailor and estate sale crusing bud has an antique mall stall in which she does biz and does it well. We are joining forces and attempting to expand her space into a double wide. How trailer trash can you get? Its just a case of waiting for a bigger ‘hole’ to open up and moving in to it as fast as we can get our paws on it.

Of course as Running Rabbit, my allegiance to all things fun bunny is necesary. Luckily, most of the buns reside in the garden hidden by the leaves. I have a LOT of rabbits...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch. My back porch is now full of furniture that has either been refinished and repaired or is waiting its turn. I am doing a reno on my eldest son’s house and  beautiful repurposed perfect stuff for his kid’s rooms is parked there awaiting installation. My window sills and shelves are filling up with product for moving into the space we hope to have by sometime in October. (Please Lord, send us a space…)

Two birds, one stone, rabbits and round things sit beside the stove in the living room.

This weekend we are going out to find us a storage unit because we can’t stand it anymore. Her garage is full and my whole house is full. Its actually funny but its crazy making too. You have to have the product but where the hell do you put it until you can debut it?

And then there are the clothes…that’s a whole other entry or six. I have discovered there is a serious market of rabid collectors for vintage clothes. Who knew? Two of the three things I put on my Etsy site sold in 24 hours. Okay, they got reserved. That is a term that means what else you got? I might want more before I pay you.

This is the incredible 1940's suit that got me in dutch with a collector of Lilli Ann suits. I started out my day apologizing, lesson learned.

I am losing what is left of my mind balancing all this stuff. Its like juggling houses, I’m fine unless I drop one.  The upside is that I am learning an astonishing amount. Evergreen State College, my alma mater, teaches serious research skills as part of going to school there. Its never been more valuable than now.

Next time down the rabbit hole I’ll have to explain why I have a full clothes rack in my bedroom, a new garment steamer,   a beautiful model (Debbie), and an entire book full of notes already.  I now know the only cleaner worthy of trusting with vintage stuff is an hour away from here in Aberdeen, Washington, but I learned a ton from him too.

Next time around, how to make a vintage clothing collector really mad.