Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vintage Wall Knife Holder

I purchased a vintage wall knife holder last week during my road trip to Indiana with my sister. While my sister was eyeballing the Greentown chocolate ware glass, I spied this 30's style knife holder and at the great price of 10 bucks...I bought it.The plan is to strip the paint off of the knife holder and repaint it black so it will stand out against the sometime in the future white walls in my kitchen.So far I have stripped the paint from it with citrus stripper. The wood appears in very good condition. I still need to sand it before I can repaint it.R just informed me that his Grandma Rose had one in her kitchen in **Novi, Michigan when he was a little boy. He said her knife holder was just like mine but his Grandmother's was white with a red back. I flipped mine over and said, "you mean like this one?"So obviously the original color of this holder was white with a red back plate. Mystery solved.

**Novi Michigan got it's name because it was the No. VI stage coach stop from Detroit. So just like today with all of our abbreviations the number 6 stop turned into Novi. Do you think it was because it was easier and quicker to say 'Novi' than it was to say 'the number 6 stop'?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Greentown Glass Museum

One of the cities that my sister and I drove through on our way to Kokomo was Greentown. We noticed that there was a sign that said Greentown Glass Museum. We were running late so we decided to back track after the KOG factory tour and come back to Greentown to tour their museum.

I like glass and I have numerous books about glass companies in the U.S. so we were under the assumption that this museum would have examples of glass from numerous companies. Well, we were wrong and we were pleasantly surprised.

Here is the fountain outside of the museum and the museum sign.This museum is about Greentown Glass the company. Neither one of us have ever heard of Greentown glass. The reason for this is that the factory only made glass for 9 years before it burnt to the ground in 1903.

We were the only ones in the museum and had the full attention of the little old lady who was our guide. She was so friendly and full of information. We really were lucky that day by getting 2 great tour guides who were both friendly and full of knowledge.

My sister immediately fall in love with their chocolate glass. This glass is brown like chocolate and has a white haze similar to what chocolate sometimes has on the outside.

Not only are the colors fabulous but the detail in the molded glass and how well the glass is molded is unlike most of the glass I have seen before. They have a pattern reminiscent of a brilliant cut glass pattern but it is molded not cut. Whoever made the molds and maintained them did a fantastic job. Seams were barely visible and even the small details were fully formed and free of air bubbles or voids in the glass. My father was a journeyman mold maker so those kind of details catch my eye.

They didn't allow photos so I will have to pull some photos off the Internet to show you.Look at that detail. All those little dots. This is the cactus pattern.

After we left the museum, we headed to an antique shop in town. The shoppe owner was a wealth of information. The shoppe had a lot of chocolate ware made by both Greentown Glass and Fenton. The Fenton glass just doesn't have the same look as the Greentown Glass. It appears that they may have bought Greentown's molds but the color is not the same nor is the quality.

This is a photo of a restored old gas station in downtown Greentown. Isn't it adorable. :ook at the old gas pumps.I also shot this photograph of the bricks on the side of the antique shoppe. The bricks were short and laid very uneven. It was hard to get perspective on the size. The bricks were approximately 2 1/2 inches tall max.After we left Greentown, we headed to Flora, IN to pick up my custom made pavers from Wildcat Creek Brick Company.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kokomo Opalescent Glass

On Thursday my sister and I took a road trip to Indiana. We left a little after 6 in the morning and it rained nearly the whole time we were in Michigan.

One of the cities we drove through on our way to Kokomo was Gas City. Home to a well known midget/sprint car race track called....you guess it....Gas City. Neither one of my sprint car drivers (husband and son) have raced there but they would love a chance to scratch Gas City off their list of must race at tracks.

The cool thing about Gas City, the city, is that all their street signs are on oil derricks. Notice the haze....we were just getting out of the rainy weather when went through Gas City.First on our list of places to go and people to see in Indiana was the Kokomo Opalescent Glass factory. Oh my...if you love glass, love history, or love to see how things are made....this is the tour for you. The price is right, too. Just 5 bucks!

Because of the rain we thought we missed the tour. The tour started at 10am and we arrived at 10:30. I missed calculated and I thought we would gain an hour because of the time change which would have put us 30 minutes ahead of schedule. The great folks at KOG hooked us up with tour guide David and off we went to see how opalescent glass is made.

We left the showroom and went outside to walk to the factory. On our way we passed the offices of KOG. Kokomo Opalescent Glass was started in 1888 and is America's oldest glass company. The factory was built 3 years prior to that and was a scissor factory before becoming Kokomo Opalescent Glass.

The factory entrance.

Here are the five furnaces that held the 5 colors of glass that were used in the glass that they were making that day. This process used 6 guys, 5 ladle carriers and one mixer. Five of the guys would use long handled ladles and to bring their color to the table (cooled with running water underneath). It was then slightly mixed and then rolled out in sheets that end up 64X32 inches.
The 5 guys bringing the different colors of glass walk bristly from the furnace to the table. But while they are walking they must keep the molten glass in the ladle from cooling, so while walking they kind of toss the glass in the ladle so that it is constantly moving and not cooling on the top. Think about that.....you have molten glass in a heavy ladle and you're nearly running and tossing hot molten glass all at the same time. AND they need to drop it on the table in the correct order all the while making sure they don't burn themselves or their co workers.

The guy in the red shirt mixes the molten glass. The guy on the right has just dropped his glass and the guy in the middle is getting ready to drop his ladle of molten glass.
Here is the guy who mixes the glass. He kind of flips it around and as he throws it onto the roller he also drags it so it is wide enough. The rollers can both be smooth or both have a texture or design, or one smooth and one textured. Two of the rollers that David, our guide, showed us were very interesting. One had an overall design that was called Celtic and had an over all Celtic design. The other roller had a raised horse design and I think the remaining area was small leaves. The glass they were making today was smooth on both sides.
Here are carts filled with a granular mixture that when melted solidifies into molten glass. Each color has it's own recipe.
This is the furnaces used by the glass blowers, who unfortunately were on break when we got to them.
The pan of broken small bits of different colored glass is called frit. You lay some frit on the metal table and roll your gob of glass on to the frit. That is how they get different bits of color into a piece they are making.
Here is David showing us what I thought were two different sizes of perfume bottles...but I was wrong. The small one was indeed a perfume bottle but the larger one is a pet urn. So if you are in need of a pet urn KOG has just what you need.
In David's hand is a floppy bowl. They make those by making a large rondel of glass and then turning it upside down and allowing the glass to ......well flop forming a bowl.
The next several photos are of row after row of the most beautiful glass you will ever see. David told us that Tiffany used KOG before he started making his own glass. The sheets below are 64X32 inches.
These are smaller sheets.
Everyone who works at KOG signs the wall. Jim Rusk signed the wall Dec 1, 1956.
Here is David's favorite piece. Just too beautiful. Hi David!!!!
KOG logo.
KOG offers stained glass and bead making classes. Here are some of the beads.
This piece of art is made with different sizes of rondels. You can buy them off of their website.
This piece was my favorite. It was made out of the pieces that they cut off to make the 64X32 sheets. The 'ends' are pieces that were cut off the end of the sheet. Those pieces have bubbles and are more dimensional.
Another lovely piece.
I believe they said the lady on the right made this fantastic piece.
Need trophies or awards? They have these great pieces that are available in many colors. They are then engraved before they are awarded to lucky recipient.
I was torn as to what lovely piece of art glass that I wanted to take home. I finally decided that I would buy something small and at a later date bring R back and we would together decide which piece to buy. Of course I didn't leave empty handed. I bought a small paper weight and a marble with the KOG logo.

If you are interested in taking a class (I think we will take a class in the fall), or the tour, or you just want to buy some beautiful glass visit their website for information.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to KOG. Our guide couldn't have been nicer and put up with all of our questions and we had MANY questions. This is the kind of tour that would interest both men, women, and older children (8 and up).

Tomorrow I will post about our visit to Greentown and their glass factory.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Free Leather Gardening Gloves

Not much has been happening at 'The Gear' here lately. It has rained almost everyday for a week or so now.

In between the rain we have been putting down more black mulch. So far we have laid down 31 bags. We need at least 30 more bags. Currently Lowe's has black mulch on sale for $2.50, so now is the time to buy!

Today, I stopped by Ace Hardware and purchased a great pair of leather gardening gloves for $2.99. That's really not a bad price but it gets better. Ace is currently offering a rebate on one pair of gloves for $2.99 which makes the gloves FREE!!!!!The gloves come in small, medium, large and Xlarge. They are also available in two colors, sage green with rose colored flowers or dark coral with green and tan circles. Of course your Ace Hardware may have different colors and sizes available or as they say...your mileage my vary (YMMV).

Tomorrow my sister and I are off to Indiana. More on our road trip in my next post.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Too Many Things To Do

I have a list a mile long of things I want to do before I can do the things that I need to do. Geesh!

I have 3 very large flower beds that still need raking before the plants are too big. But first I need to dig up a dead apple tree that we have tried to pamper but to no avail. We have five other apple trees so we purchased a cherry tree tonight and a replacement oak tree.

While I was at Home Depot I noticed that they have one of my FAVORITE hostas available in a 4 inch pots. Yvonne and Judy....run to Home Depot and get a couple of the hosta First Frost. This is a great hosta and very blue so make sure it is in constant shade or you will lose the blue by mid summer.

I also need to buy and plant my tomato plants....but first I need to finish making some more tomato cages. We made another tall style cage like the two we made last year. We now have 3 tall ones for string beans and cucumbers. We really want to grow a l0t this year because we feel that the produce will be costly this year. I am sure they will send a lot to Japan and then the flood along the Mississippi River will mean that they will not be growing any produce anytime soon. Then we have the Republicans wanting to cut food inspections so I would rather be safe than sorry.

On a side note.....so much has happened in the last week. Osama bin Laden sleeping with the fish, tornado out breaks in record numbers, and flooding along the Mississippi River.

I am hopeful that the terrorists that are still out there saw the expertise with which they found OBL and realize that their days are numbered. We can only hope that they will be so preoccupied with trying to evade the long arm of the US military that they no longer will have the means or desire to cause harm here in the USA.

Hopefully the flooding will cease and we realize that if we are going to build near rivers, we also need to build the needed quality flood control to go along with it. If they can hold back the ocean in the Netherlands...they can surely hold back a river or lake.