Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Do YOU remember the first purchase you made for your collection(s)?

For me, it was my first Bakelite purchase that set me on the road to collecting in that area: I purchased a pair of pins, one of which I still own and love very much. I vividly recall what I paid for my very first two pieces of Bakelite. I paid five bucks each for a pair of pins.

One of them was black and had a very edgy machine age style. I even remember to whom I sold it when I finally parted with it and how much the buyer paid me. It was our first meeting. He and I have been doing Bakelite business with each other ever since.

The piece that I was never able to part with for some reason was a simple Deco design, black and red, brass trim. I was wearing it one day back about 20 years ago when I looked down and discovered part of it was missing! RATS! I was devastated!

Side note: this is not the only personal fave Bakelite pin I've ever had damaged. The other one was damaged so badly I had to ship the parts of it off to Brad Elfrink at
Elvenkrafte Studios to be put back together. You may know Brad as bael31 on eBay. Thankfully, he was able to save it. I'll have to dig up the photos of it to show you some time. It's a WONDERFUL pin, another I so vividly remember finding and one that has a delightful story behind it!

So, today, I'm going to share with you this piece that is so simple and yet makes me smile whenever I see it. Yesterday I opened up the jewelry case I used to carry with me when I traveled. Lo and behold! There was not only The First Bakelite Pin but several other pieces that I'd been wondering in the back of my mind, "what the heck did I do with those?"

The Bakelite pin, as mentioned, fell apart one day. When I discovered that the top had fallen off, I decided to retrace my steps to see if it was still where it had fallen. Imagine my shock and delight when I discovered it next to my car in the parking lot. It appears now that someone stepped on it at some point as the brass trim has some dents in it that were not there before but I really do not care. It's still a fave even though it had to be epoxied back together where the rivet had failed:

After it's long sleep in the jewelry case, it obviously needs to have the brass polished. I found the matching bracelet for it in the rightfully esteemed Route 66 West shop a year or several back but it had the "price available upon request" designation in place of a price which means it was way out of my price range. One day recently I was spending some quality time with Cathy Gordon's collection in the Bakelite category and - again, lo and behold! There's another matching bracelet yet again. Dadgummit! Maybe some day I'll be fortunate enough to run onto one for my very own. Check it out towards the bottom of the page. I keep hoping that the old "third time is a charm" rule could apply the next time I happen onto one. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here are another couple of long-time favorite pieces. Sometimes there is no accounting for what we find appealing but these are faves of mine. As you can see, I'm not a big collector of rhinestones.

The first one is yet another $5.00 deal. This one - again - I so vividly remember purchasing. The lady from whom I purchased it told me when asked it's price, "Well, honey, I'm going to have to get an awful lot for that one - it's real, real old. I got it from this old lady.......(and on and on). I've gotta have five dollars for it."

I, of course, could not get the money out fast enough. It was nasty and black and requires a lot of work to make it wearable when it's not been worn in a while. If not, it turns my neck green and gross, as you can imagine. The leafy-type connectors have a design patent on them that I need to go in and look up beyond it's date of issue some time. Might discover who made this necklace. The design patent dated to the 1930s.

Along with another favorite pin (The Tortolani Hyde Street Cable car pin in gold tone), in a small box right on the bottom was the bracelet that goes with my "go-to" necklace. I love this set so very much! The black rings are glass. This was purchased at a garage sale, dead of winter, literally about 10 degrees with a harsh north wind inside a north-facing garage. The wind and wind-chill-factor were so brutal that all of us there were laughing and asking each other "why are we so crazy to be here?". For me, when I opened a tiny snack-size zip-lock and the bracelet (along with it's matching necklace) literally sprang out into my hand, I knew why I was there:

Readers: What was the first piece you bought or the piece that inspired you to become a collector? Drop me a comment, share your experiences, include a link or two if you would like - I'd love to see what some of my readers enjoy. If you remember the circumstances, a funny story about who you purchased it from, the crazy location or insanely low price you paid - tell us all about it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Bakelite - I never get tired of it!

Those of you who have known me for years know full well that I have a rather significant monkey on my back when it comes to Bakelite. It's been a favorite for more years than I care to admit. Recently it's become painfully evident that I need to move out of the room I currently use as my home office so I've been clearing out the spare bedroom that had been overtaken by the inventory I used to haul around when I traveled to antique shows every week.

The unfortunate truth is that I've allowed all of that to sit in that spare room for several years untouched.
It's like Christmas going through all those boxes. Much of it is a great surprise. Several items I've looked at and thought "What the heck was I thinking when I spent actual money on that?

During this process, I've found this wonderful cache of raw Bakelite stock. Most of it has been partially used - there are two sheets, one only about 7" square and the other about half that size in a rectangle.

There are various sizes of tube stock including a couple of bracelet tubes and another that appears to be (the brown one) but is really more suitable for a box, dice cup, pencil cup, something like that. It's just shy of a half inch thick but has the same OD as a bracelet tube. Too bad, so sad, not large enough to slip over a wrist. Being able to find a bracelet tube that thick would be such a thrill to send off for a custom design by my favorite Bakelite jewelry designer, Brad Elfrink.

So, here we go - some photos of the colorful array:

That blue moon tube was one I'd left with someone to be dotted but we never got together on it - I forgot about it, they recently returned it to me. I'm sure it's destined to go to the phenomenal Brad Elfrink of Elvenkrafte Studios to be carved into something totally spectacular.

Note above inside the green tube that's threaded. If you are not that familiar with Bakelite, perhaps you are unaware that Bakelite holds a thread just like it's supposed to. That tube may have been destined to be part of a salt and pepper shaker set. Who knows?

Another thing to note in the photo below, you have in front of you three of the shades that some people have difficulty differentiating: Butterscotch in that sheet at the back, top left, the square rod is creamed corn (originally pure white) and the thick round rod would be yellow. Sorry that the creamed corn rod's color is a bit washed out in the photo but you can see it nicely in the photo immediately above this text.

Below, note a couple of things: First - the transparent green rod just behind the big orange rod inside that blue moon tube is a Prystal that was originally blue. See the photo of the end of that rod below showing the portion on one end where I used a sheet of emery paper on it to remove some of the patina. Another color of interest in the grouping below is the tube on the right. That one, as you may be able to tell from the top is actually a rich, raspberry shade that has changed to a beautiful shade of rust. That's another tube that is probably headed to Brad at Elvenkrafte.

Below is the shot to show you the nice, thick wall on that brown tube. I can see this nicely carved with a contrasting color bottom and lid to be used as a decorative item or carved with a bottom inserted and used as a pencil or dice cup. If any of you out there have a better suggestion, be sure to drop me a line here or over at my booth on Bonanzle.

This is a shot of the sheet of butterscotch marbled stock held up to a light source so you can see the marbling a bit better. It's a lovely sheet!
Last but not least, here's the close-up on the green transparent rod - the end which better shows it's original shade before it gained it's rich patina:

These pieces are just a few of the types of stock that were available. There were rods in shapes such as butterflies, scottie dogs, those used to make napkin rings, the most popular of which were figurals such as this elephant :

This fellow is available for sale in my booth on Bonanzle!

Hope you will come by to say hello often!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Bakelite!!!!! Bakelite!!!!! Bakelite!!!!!

OVER A MONTH since I've been here! Sorry gang! It's been one of those!

I'm going to make it a fast stop today. I'm going to make a concerted effort to get over here and talk about Bakelite a lot.

I see every plastic known to mankind being called Bakelite on the net. For some reason people seem to think that the keyword spamming of that term in their listing is going to attract the type of attention that is going to cause someone who really only collects Bakelite to buy their obviously inaccurately described item. It's a huge bur under the saddle blanket to all of us who are very passionate and deeply in love with this incredible material.

Quite a number of years ago I was more active in a lot of discussion groups online. One of my favorite things besides jewelry is buttons. This passion dates back to my childhood when things were much simpler. If a child was bored with their toys, a parent often gave them some household item to entertain and occupy them. My mother utilized any number of things such as her button box (a big colorful bread tin), her old costume jewelry, or her old clothes in which I could play dress-up.

But I digressed, as usual.

One day on the button list, someone came in and showed some photos of some wonderful hand-carved buttons. Seems like the first things I saw were something like this:
Or this:

Or this:

Now, those are NOT Bakelite but the workmanship is intriguing, eh? The attention to detail.
The interesting subject matter.

Next thing I know, I've got a link to this seller's button listings on eBay. Somewhere in there - I am a little fuzzy on when this began - this fine gentleman started using Bakelite and a new love affair began.

All of you who know me know I'm a total Bakelite freak and that it really makes little difference to me what form it takes.

Buttons: Great!

Pins: Great!

Bracelets: REALLY GREAT!!!!!!!!!!

Who am I talking about, you ask? In case you did not figure it out from the website watermark on the photos above, it's Brad Elfrink!

I could spend the rest of today picking out my personal favorites in Brad's incredible work but I'm going to just give you this link (again) to his website where he has massive quantities of great photographs of his fantastic work. And this is the link to his eBay listings. You will not be disappointed.

Brad is a fine gentleman. I know he's going to be embarrassed a bit by my gushing adoration for him and his work but he SO totally and absolutely deserves all of the kudos and nods he gets. He's The Best!

Please do yourself a favor: set aside an hour or so to look at all of the incredible photos of his work on his website and on his eBay listings. Bid on eBay, buy from his website or commission a special, one of a kind piece. You won't be disappointed but if for some reason you are not happy, he's going to make it right. Trust me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday's Talkin' - Today, it's another Hand Picked List RAVE!

I've blogged before about my admiration of the idea of "Hand Picked Lists" on Bonanzle.com because they epitomize so many different positive ideals. This is one of the things that enthralls me so at Bonanzle - the community there is very strong!

Of course, serious Bonanzlers are well aware that those positive ideals are all over the place in great abundance at

The idea for
Hand Picked Lists (AKA "HPLs") is that one user on Bonanzle.com names and creates a list, selects 20 items from other sellers' inventory based on their theme. They give it a title such as "Azure Skies", or "Pendants that POP!" and shop the inventory of Bonanzle, selecting other sellers' items to complete their lists. A minimum of 15 items is required for a completed list. Twenty items are required to selected for placement on Bonanzle's home page.

When you land on the home page, you will see one of the lists at the top of the page. Shown below is one of my personal favorites by someone who may well be The Queen of the Hand Picked List:

Of course, that's just MY opinion, I could be wrong......but I do not think I am. ECB has The Touch!

Granted, the format that Our Boyz**
created for the HPL really makes any list look fabulous but this one - well, that's just a jaw-dropper! Luscious, elegant, absolutely stunning! This is only one of many that ECB has created.

ECB's lists show up regularly on the home page and almost always pepper the "Top Rated" because of this, no doubt. I believe that this was The One that originally made me start watching for her HPLs.
Then I see this one titled "Save me A Seat" and I'm hooked. It has a very special quality - proves beyond a doubt that this is someone with a fine eye for - OK - sorry, no apologies for the pun, Eye Catching Beauty! It's obvious that we have a champion HPL creator here. ECB is definitely not the only great HPL creator but she's very obviously really "got it down" to a fine art!

This one is called "Charcoal".

I could go on and on and on but do not think that I am going to ignore yet a few more notable lists!

The next one features exquisite carnival glass and was created by rjmjstuff and is titled "Come to the Carnival".
The selections of fine Carnival glass available on Bonanzle is extra fine, eh? Go shopping for it NOW! You will clearly see that rjmjstuff found some of the very best items being offered for this great list!

If militaria is your thing, I found this superb list featuring wonderful vintage militaria created by basingater1.
Titled "Military Memories" is spans memorabilia dating from Civil War all the way up to the current Iraq "situation".

I could go on and on but I really need to get some actual work done today. So, here are some more lists that I think you might enjoy. Don't forget - check out the listings of those folks who CREATED the lists to reward them for their generosity of spirit!

Currently on the front page on

A Box for Jewels created by Starfisher

Meanwhile back at the Ranch created by BARNTIQUES859

Smoldering created by (shock) EyeCatchingBeauty

Bottle Stoppers created by GaragesaleGoddess

Oh heck - just go to
Bonanzle.com and see them all for yourself!

This whole thing boils down to one thing: Bonanzle is a very fun place to shop and sell. We hope many people will find us, come to visit, get to know us and perhaps even buy some of our goodies!

CHEERS! from STUFF on Bonanzle! Happy Cinco de Mayo

**(aka Bill and Mark - the creative team behind Bonanzle - both gentlemen are very creative, smart, useful AND quite decorative)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning Musings...about Delivering The Goods!

This morning as I was shopping around the internet, I was reminded yet again that a lot of internet sellers simply do not grasp what appears to have become an old-fashioned idea of "Customer Service" to a lot of online sellers.

Every time I shop I run into such policies as "ALL SALES FINAL!!!!!"

Today I saw one that really disturbed me: "If you don't buy insurance and it breaks, no way are you getting a refund."

Wow and hmmmmmm.......

Legally and morally, a seller is obligated to deliver any item that a buyer purchases from them in the condition in which it was advertised. A seller can try hard to pretend that they are not responsible if insurance is not purchased. The truth is: insurance protects the seller due to the sellers' legal obligation to deliver the goods for which they received payment.

Here's the thing: IT'S A SELLER'S JOB to deliver the goods. Period.

I take that obligation very seriously. It seems so simple to me. Someone buys something, I deliver it quickly and as safely as I know how. If the buyer is unhappy, I take it back - no questions asked other than "when do you plan to ship so I can be watching for it's delivery?"

So, to all of you buyers out there who don't yet know me - please understand that your pleasure and satisfaction with your purchases is MY JOB. I know this. I understand this. I take this obligation very seriously.

This is what I do to make my living. I make every effort to be someone you feel you can trust 100%. This is how it is supposed to be.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong but in this case, I know I'm not.

No one should spend their hard-earned money on something and then end up discovering they have shelled out "money for nothin'". It's not right and it won't happen when you buy from STUFF on Bonanzle!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Sunday Summary

Yet another super busy week. Where does all my time go? Have I lost all ability to be organized and massively productive? Could it be I read too many of the links sent to me via Twitter? Let us pretend for a moment that it's the spring housecleaning I've been doing that's taking away from my Bonanzle efforts. Make me sound so domestic. Trust me, that's not a word that has ever been used to describe me to the best of my knowledge.

Surely not.....

Just wanted to stop by and let you know I've listed some new items - nothing supremely rare or out of the ordinary but very nice pieces!

Bakelite (
shock!) Seth Thomas Wind-up alarm clock, set of 12 cherry red Bakelite (bigger shock) corn on the cob holders, a very unusualy and HTF one-piece Bakelite (will it never end?) knife, a Flemish Art Pyrography plaque, a mid-century Airguide Barometer, thermometer, humidity gauge, a super nice vintage 7 xxxxxxx quality western hat that was purchased in the 70s for the western themed party series held annually by his college fraternity and lots more! And - another charming item that is quite special - a tatted baby cap in pristine condition.

Here's a peek at some of these listings:

Come by and say hello!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Monday Morning Moan & Mirth........or why I rarely shop on eBay any more and sell my wares HERE now! (YES - click and see!)

This morning I decided I might list a couple of items on eBay. In order to see if it's even remotely worth it, I decided to do a little research on current and recently ended listings.

With the first search I did, I noticed something that, quite frankly, I am unable to not be snarky about. On what planet does a search for a piece of vintage jewelry relate to a search for a cursor or something I can not even fathom - "pixie kitchen". What the heck is a pixie kitchen?

Naturally I had to see if additional fairly general searches returned similarly just plain idiotic references in the "Related Searches" area.

Well, yeah. Of course it did. I got lost in doing more to see what eBay's so-called Best Match returned for me. Some of them returned nothing but some were so funny and outrageous that I took a few screen shots for your amusement.

Here's the pixie kitchen one - my original search was for 'celluloid rhinestone bracelet". I include the screen shot to prove to you - "you can not make this stuff up" or truth is always better than fiction:

So, for the record, if you are interested, this is what you get when you do that "related" pixie kitchen search on eBay.

Next, I did a similar search and this is what came up:

Yeppers, you got it ! I had never thought to look through the blackberry storm listings to find vintage jewelry - what was I THINKING? No WONDER other people sometimes find better jewelry for less than I do - I am just too stupid to know how to do searches on eBay. Only eBay's fine search software is smart enough to help me find what I want! How in the WORLD could I have missed that? I will find exactly what I am looking for if I search for a blackberry storm while really trying to find a celluloid flapper bracelet! OMG! I am just dumber than a puddle of redneck mud!

It's like a train wreck - you can't stop looking when you find these outrageous suggestions. With a train wreck, you know you might see twisted metal and severely injured humans. With eBay you never know what is going to happen.

Next search: "celluloid bangle". This one was not quite as outrageously stupid but it's still just not anything that anyone in their right mind would ever associate in any way with a 1920's flapper bracelet with rhinestones and a colorful resin wash - an ametrine ring!

So, one more - I moved away from Celluloid and on to Bakelite for this moaner.

This one really cracked me up! What does a cursor have to do with jewelry?

But this next one is my personal fave of the day and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do - yep, eBay this stuff is totally related to a carved Bakelite bracelet:

I have no more words. eBay just never ceases to amaze me.

Cheers - have a great week!

Come visit me - new items being listed as soon as I get off my patoot and go take some pictures!