1950s Hors d’oeuvres Tray

The more I visit fleamarkets and goodwill stores, the more I realise that one could comfortably never buy another brand new piece of dishware or serving ware ever again. It’s all out there. And a lot of it has been sitting around in someone’s kitchen cabinet for decades and emerges looking pristine when it’s time for a household clearout, oh, nearly 50 years later. I spent a grand total of 6 EUR on this 1950s tray set at a charity shop in Berlin. It’s in good shape, sturdy, and will make a more quirky way to serve dips and appetizer-y bits than, say, the same IKEA bowls that 5657689 other people within a 10 km radius own. None of the little serving dishes are marked, so I can’t even begin to guess at a manufacturer; in fact I’m not even sure this is German-made. It reminds me a bit of American Pyrex designs from this period, although it could be Italian too, don’t you think? Like many household items from the 1950s viewed through a 21st century lens, what I like about this piece is that it looks both modern and old-fashioned at the same time. Like whoever designed it was excited about adding a bold, brass, industrial curve to the tray handle, but thought it best to leave the design of the veggie decor whimsical and cute. Who wants dip? And do you collect any vintage cook or serving ware?

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Recent West-German Pottery Finds

Right, I’m back already with pottery galore. This insane West-German floor vase was found at one of our usual Kassel region fleamarket haunts at the Herkules Markt in Vellmar. The orange-brown combo makes me think 1970s, but I’m afraid I have no idea who the manufacturer was. The cat owners among you may not be surprised to learn that our kitties like to poke their heads through the center opening, perhaps hoping for kibble on the other side.On a recent visit to Berlin I found one of my favourite pottery items yet: a huge Scheurich floor vase with animal decor reminiscent of Scheurich’s Montignac pattern. There are several collectable West-German animal-decor patterns out there, many of which were inspired by prehistoric cave paintings such as can be found in the Lascaux caves.

image: Wikipedia

The third floor vase my mom and I sourced in Berlin is also a Scheurich piece, not so much interesting for its flat curry/green glaze colour, but for the cool Bauhaus-inspired relief. You can see it at the very front of this trio: I haven’t cleaned this vase up yet, but something about those striking cog and lever type patterns reminds me of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis…

via johncoulthart.com

No? Cave paintings and German Expressionist-Science Fiction film references all in one post, oh my!

via filmcrush

In any case, even though I don’t collect movie posters, I’d be very excited if I ever stumbled across an original Metropolis one at a fleamarket one day.

Posted in West German Ceramics (Fat Lava) | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

End of Summer Anniversaries

via A Merry Mishap

First things first: my camera needs to be charged and I can locate neither charger nor working batteries. I know. Don’t hit me. I’ll figure it out. In the absence of original photo material, I thought I’d cheat by showing you an interiors shot of a really great home with pretty much everything that is right in the design world going on all at once in one room, West-German pottery arrangement included. Okay, I’m not certain that the huge photo of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin wouldn’t startle me a bit too much everytime I entered the room, but hey.

While I’ve been busy being useless, two anniversaries passed by. The first marked year one in our house. We love living here and are on a seemingly constant quest to make our little 1960s terrace the most awesome 1960s terrace ever anywhere, at least by our standards. The house is playing along nicely, mostly due to a pleasing layout that makes a modest amount of space seem like much more.

Kassel views, late summer walk

The second anniversary was my second blogiversary…thank you so much to those of you who check in, whether on a regular or occasional basis. There’s new blog material in the pipeline–it’ll go live as soon as I’ve had a serious chat with the camera.

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Sunflowers & Pottery

Pretty much in that order. Someone at work said thanks the other day… …and for a while the yellow of the sunflower competed with the yellow of this Roth vase (one of very few Roth pieces I own.) Also: I scored this great Scheurich vase at a fleamarket last weekend. The black and white pottery is starting to take over my collection. For this weekend I have set myself the following, mildly unrealistic, goal: paint over grubby basement wall, paint metal/glass partition frame on patio, visit fleamarket, visit garden center and start doing something to the terrifying pig trough. Let’s hope the nice weather holds for a bit.

Posted in West German Ceramics (Fat Lava) | 6 Comments

Metal Banister Rejuvination

The weather gods have been smiling kindly upon Kassel and have granted us a five day respite from the constant rain. As soon as the last cloud vanished on Monday, I maniacally gathered my painting supplies together and started working on one of the 345765 exterior projects I have set myself for this summer, of which exactly zero had panned out thus far. Until now. What follows is a series of pics of our newly-painted metal entrance banister. What can I say, my life is wild.The banister is original to the house and has been merrily doing its thing (banisting?) since 1965. Like the professional blogger I am, I neglected to take before-pictures, but trust me when I say that its previous colour (dingy white + rust) looked supremely ghetto. It also provided zero contrast to our white sugar cube of a house. To anyone facing the resuscitation of an old iron railing like this, take heed: this is one of the most boring, time-consuming, muscle and back-breaking tasks I have undertaken in a while. You’ll need to get rid of any rusty paint flakes and uneven bits with a wire brush first. Then, ideally, you’ll sand the surfaces a bit. I abandoned step two quite quickly after nearly losing my mind; if you try to do this with sandpaper (as I was advised by some moron at our local hardware store) you’ll still be sanding the thing down by the time you’re 95 and well-deserving of a luxury cruise. After getting rid of flaking paint bits (make sure to wear a protective mask, you don’t really want to be breathing in microscopic metal particles) you need to rid the metal surfaces of any residue and dirt, and then you’re good to go already! I know, my enthusiasm after completing these preparatory tasks waned considerably as well. It took two coats for me to be happy with the coverage, and I’m sure if the product I used hadn’t been of such good quality I would have been out there much longer (Hammerite, in case you’re interested.) The next thing to undergo my black paint treatment will be the door, by the way. Everything looks better after a coat of black paint.

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Garden Tealight Holders

What, two posts in two days? There’s so much to discuss. Like the lighting issue in the garden and around our patio. I haven’t really solved it, but I have indulged my troubling obsession with tealight and candle holders of all kinds by sourcing…outdoor tealight holders. No, not the kind you use inside all the time anyway and then just place on your deck furniture; I’m talking stuff with spiky poles and such. I thought these little guys looked cheerfully retro enough without being wildly ugly, and the glass lanterns can be detached from their poles and simply popped on a table or hung from a branch.They’re quite perfect for the space beside our patio steps, which doesn’t accommodate much in the way of bigger lamps. These votive holders are called “Mood” & made by German glass manufacturer Leonardo, who in recent years have established themselves as an affordable retailer for decorative glassware over here. Now that the mood lighting is sorted, I would love to find outdoor lighting options that don’t cost a bomb, don’t have sub-standard solar batteries that never charge completely in perenially overcast German weather, or look tacky. Any suggestions?

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Industrial Zinc Tub Project: Water Feature

Buoyed by the recent success with our industrial-zinc-tubs-repurposed-as-planters, we thought we’d hammer yet another nail into the coffin of our sanity and go one step beyond. “Is this a vintage feeding trough?” I cheerfully asked the salvage dude selling above zinc tub at the fleamarket today. “No, I believe these were used to de-bristle pig cadavers with boiling water back in the day!” Before I could run away screaming, my husband professed his desire to use the tub as a planter, to which the seller replied “I recently saw one used as a water feature with water lillies floating in it!” My Edvard Munch features immediately settled back into a relaxed and naively game arrangement, and I heard myself wondering out loud whether it would fit in the car….and it did. In a way. Rope was involved. The boot was kinda open. We made it home.

image: Gärtnerei Baum

Thankfully, the magic Google confirms that other people are crazy creative too. I am inspired!


mein schoener garten

mein schoener garten

This one’s a cascade of zinc tubs with water flow…now I just need 10 more!

die gärtner

Crazy zinc tub pond shenanigans are gonna go down over here. If only the rain would stop for 5 minutes.

Posted in Gardening, Projects | Tagged , | 5 Comments