Sunday, August 25, 2013

Atlanta Antiquing, How to Clean Vintage Glass... And, making Vanilla Sugar!

I shared our discovery of Kudzu, the antique market we visited
in Atlanta on the way down to Ft. Benning on Friday morning here;
however, there was more antiquing waiting for us on the way home!
Honestly, as fun as combing through objects in hopes of finding a treasure
or two to bring home can be, antiquing during these trips is also a very
necessary distraction. The drive home is always longer and more lonely
than the drive down to see our Ranger. Six and a half hours of replaying
how he seemed and the words spoken and unspoken between us... It's a lot
to think about. Too much to think about. Therefore, to break up our trip and
thoughts, we search out antique shops... Like Kudzu and Peachtree Battle!
What an exquisite collection of treasures... And, just like Kudzu, we
met the nicest people you could imagine! My beloved found a set of
books worthy of being added to his collection and me... I found this!
A set of tea and hot water pots on a trivet by Hall China!
Not particularly rare but complete, in absolutely perfect condition...
And, made in the USA!

I'm thrilled to have it and, I plan to use these little pots too!
If you find yourself nearby, Peachtree Battle Antiques
is currently having a fantastic summer sale...
Everything was 20% off yesterday, which
meant my little pot tea set was only $40!
Another shop on our list of stops was Antiques and Beyond. Before I
show you some of their treasures, I must tell you about Jacqueline... Because
while my GPS insisted on parking us in traffic, Jacqueline was able to get
us through Atlanta and to her shop virtually traffic-jam free! A and B was
worth finding. They had several pairs of bronze bookends that are now
at home here and, lucky-me... I stumbled on more vintage canning jars!
Although there were three I picked up at Kudzu already in
the Jeep, I was particularly interested in this collection
since many of these jars included zinc flower frog lids!
I love the idea of arranging beautiful cut flowers
in these jars so flower frogs are a must!
I didn't notice it until I got home...
But the sweet lady at Kuduz discounted the three jars I purchased there!
How nice was that?
Cleaning vintage finds can be tricky. They don't make things the way
they used to... Some treasures aren't meant for the dishwasher and great
care must be taken when cleaning and/or polishing our new treasures!
For glass jars and vases I find that nothing beats mild detergent,
quality bottle brushes and good old hot and cold running water!
Since I checked them at the shop for cracks, nicks and
chips, I already knew my jars were perfect so I needed to take
no additional precautions to avoid being scratched or cut!
I rarely buy anything that isn't in perfect condition; however, just
to ensure I don't get hurt by something I overlooked or a weakness
that develops during cleaning, I always pull on my sturdy rubber gloves!
Since most of my delicate glassware is carefully washed by hand, I
keep these rubber sink mats in the bottom of my sinks at all times
to protect it. As a bonus, these mats protect my sink bottoms too!
To keep mats looking clean and smelling fresh, I simply toss them
into the dishwasher with my dishes whenever I find it necessary!
As much as I wish vendors wouldn't place price stickers onto
glass, many do and they can be awfully tricky to remove without
making a mess. Especially when the sticker is on an item that cannot
be fully immersed in hot soapy water. However, with jars, stickers
like this don't stand a chance! After just a few minutes soaking...
The sticker and adhesive residue rubs right off!
Some even pop off completely intact!
All of my jars are now perfectly clean and sticker free!
To dry my jars, I first allowed them to drain...
Then I moved them to the edge of my
cutting board to allow air to circulate inside!
After a few minutes, I dry the inside and outside of my jars with a soft bar towel
To ensure every bit of moisture is absorbed, I insert a paper towel into
my jars. Paper towels wick up moisture, even without touching the sides
of the glass. It's like magic! In fact, it's the only way to completely dry the
squeeze bottles I use to decorate cookies and narrow flower vases too!
Next time you have a vase, jar or bottle that absolutely must be bone-dry,
leave a paper towel in it overnight and you'll see... It works every time!
To make room for my new collection of vintage Ball and
Atlas canning jars I needed to relocate some of my Pyrex...
Pyrex is an excellent example of older glassware that must only be washed
by hand. If you appreciate and enjoy the colors and the charming decorations
that make vintage Pyrex so collectible like I do... Then to preserve them, you
must never, ever put them into your dishwasher. As someone once did here!
While this piece remains perfectly functional, its
once vibrant gold design is now all but gone forever!
Fortunately it was a mistake that was made only once!
Nevertheless, once was enough for me!
Now that my new canning jars are all clean and dry, it's time to put them to good use!

This Atlas mason jar is begging to be my newest vanilla sugar vessel!
First, I begin with the best sugar on the planet, Dixie Crystals! If you cannot
find Dixie Crystals in your area, it might be under the brand Imperial Sugar!
Then add vanilla beans. These can be whole beans you haven't used yet,
which is what I use. Or, they can be open pods from where you've scraped
out the fragrant vanilla beans. If you use these, just be sure the pods are
completely dry before you place them into your sugar. Allowing them to
air-dry overnight always does the trick. After the pods are nice and dry...
Place them into your sugar and, in as little as a few days you'll have
vanilla sugar that only gets better and better over time! After the lady
I met at Kudzu tasted one of my cookies, she said it was truly the best
chocolate chip cookie she had ever eaten. When she asked for the recipe
and I told her it's on the back of the Nestle's bag, she told me that didn't
seem at all possible. Then she asked if I used real butter or anything else
special. I told her that I always use real, unsalted butter in my baking
but I also use vanilla paste and my own vanilla sugar. Like this!
Thanks for the suggestion to use this beautiful jar for
my vanilla sugar belongs to my dear friend David!
Although I could have used a larger cabinet, I purposely cleaned
out one of the smaller cabinets in my kitchen to display these jars...
Because we collectors of vintage kitchen
goodies can easily become carried away!
Of course that's never happened to me... Ha!

Thank you to everyone sending us your best wishes and prayers for our Ranger's safe return from what is his fifth deployment. As we left him yesterday, he hugged me and said, "I'll be home in a little while." As he said those words, I was immediately transported back to a simpler, less scary time... A time when Ranger was newly licensed to drive and would promise to be home, in a little while whenever I called to remind him dinner was ready and we were waiting on him. 

On we go!


  1. Lovely to read about your adventures Janet, I can tell that you are a real Martha fan as you use her paper towel drying trick - and so do I!! Also useful for your cake domes too I have found. Is the pink gooseberry new, or just have a spruce up whilst it was on the move?

  2. Janet,

    I gotta tell ya, if we were to go antiquing together we'd have a "Ball" jar of a time combing through piles of stuff! Those jars are going to serve you well my friend and if you must know, I'm a little jealous that you found the 1/2 gallon size, because I don't own any of those. Also, the flower frog lids are unusual. In all my years of going to antique shops, I have NEVER seen that. Lucky you!

    Good thing you found a great bargain and that the Kudzu people gave you a discount!

    That wonderful blue-hue of the vintage jars seems to go with everything. I prefer those to the amber ones any day.

    It's so nice that you now have them to hold your vanilla sugar.

    Take good care my friend and you know that your family is always in my thoughts & prayers.



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