Monday, April 25, 2011

Ode to a Wedding, 26 April, 1923 - 88 Years Ago

Strathmore Rose Tiara given to Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon by her father Claude on the occasion of her Wedding, 1923
The more things change the more things stay the same!

Eighty eight years ago, on 26 April, 1923, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon married Prince Albert Duke of York. As Queen Consort of King George VI (known to her as 'Bertie' and subject of the acclaimed film The King's Speech), she was known as the 'Smiling Duchess' for her affable demeanor; Queen Mum to the world, real mum to Elizabeth (current Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret. Albert proposed to this feisty lady three times before she finally accepted, being "afraid never, never again to be free to think, speak, and act as I feel I really ought to." And, so, Albert married this commoner, considered quite the gesture of Royal modernization at the time. In true maverick form, Elizabeth began the traditions of exchanging vows in Westminster Abbey and placing her Wedding bouquet at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Every Royal Wedding has since followed suit in both endeavors. Widowed at the age of 51 she assumed the position of family matriarch and embodied traditional family values and strong ethics of public service. She lived a long life to 101, and was very much well loved.

So, as we look forward to Ye Royal Wedding this 29 April, 2011 between Prince William and Catherine Middleton we may reflect on this definition of Wedding: 'to be obstinately attached or devoted to an activity, belief, or system; a pledge of your love and your life to another'. Enjoy the Celebration - Cheers!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A is for Anchor Hocking Glass

Fire King Gay Fad (1960's)

Fire King Kimberley (1960's)

Moonstone (1941-1946)

Pillar Optic (1937-1942), Hobnail (1934-1936)

Spiral (1926-1930)

Vitrock Footed Splash Proof Mixing Bowl (1930's)

Wexford Pattern (1960's)

Begun in 1905 by Isaac J. Collins and named after the Hocking River in Lancaster, OH, Hocking Glass started out with an initial investment of $25,000. In the first year alone, over $20,000 of hand blown glassware was sold. Production steadily increased with the invention of machine-made glass despite the set back of a devastating fire to the plant in 1924. Through the years the company aggressively purchased Lancaster Glass Co., Standard Glass Co., and Anchor Cap Corp. in 1937 to become Anchor Hocking Glass. It remained competitive through the depression with advances in machinery and production that manufactured 90 glasses per minute at half the cost. Anchor Hocking Glass produced more designs during the Depression era than any other glass company including pressed glass, acid-etched and mold-etched patterns. It continued to acquire companies such as Carr-Lowrey in 1944, and the rapid growth of the soft-drink industry in the 1960's made it among the top producers of glass containers, as well as glass tableware in the world! In less than 60 years Anchor Hocking Glass sales topped $150 million. Its International Division opened in 1963, with operations in 105 countries. In 1968 the company dropped 'Glass' from its name and acquired Plastics Inc. and Amerock Corporation (hardware) as the advent of injection-molded plastic packaging took hold. The years from 1986 - 1995 brought continuous challenges in management, takeovers, and acquisitions as ultimately the Newell Co., run by David Ferguson, led Anchor Hocking into the 21st C. Despite drastic changes to products and management style, Anchor Hocking filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2006.

Below are the the major Depression-era Patterns made mostly from the 1920's through the early 1940's. Due to its relative abundance Anchor Hocking Glass is fairly easy to collect and makes for a lovely affordable vintage collection. Vintage... yet so modern, and Made in the USA! Happy Hunting!

Block Optic (1929-1933), Bubble (1934-1937), Ballerina/Cameo (1930-1934)
Colonial (1934-1938), Coronation (1938)
Fortune (1936-1937), Hobnail (1934-1936), Lace Edge/Old Colony (1935-1938)
Manhattan (1939-1941), Mayfair (1931-1936)
Miss America (1933-1936), Oyster & Pearls (1938-1940), Princess (1931-1934)
Royal Ruby (1939), Circle (1930's)
Queen Mary (1936-1949(, Fire King (mid 1940's-1981), Lake Como (1934-1937)
Old Cafe (1936-1940), Banded Ring (1927-1933)
Roulette/Many Windows (1936-1939), Spiral (1926-1930), Vitrock (1930's)
Waterford (1938-1944), Wexford (1960's)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Giveaway Winner! Lynn, of The Vintage Nest, for winning the simplycoolstuff Giveaway! I hope you enjoy this sweet little hand thrown glazed pottery piece for years to come! It will be mailed out upon receipt of your address. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Author Linda Emma

Who hasn't dreamed of being a writer...Jotting down anecdotes, creating memorable imagery through words, formulating unforgettable stories, weaving plots and tales with symbolism to be pondered...all in the name of expression. Linda Emma is one of those people who has followed her dream of becoming a writer. Her first novel, Prime Meridian, was published in 2009. It tells the tale of a middle-aged mom, Jenna, married to Kevin, and living the 'dream' in the small town of Meridian. The story unfolds as Jenna learns of the death of Dan, a college sweetheart and photographer for CNN on assignment in Iraq. Memories surface and Jenna struggles with the realities of her current life, and the possibility that she may NOT be living life to her fullest potential after all. I had the pleasure of speaking with Linda and gaining some insight into her world:

1. Tell us a few things about yourself.

"I graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Journalism. I have worked in Newspapers, Public Relations and the business world. I live in Topsfield with my husband, two children, and pets."

2. What are some favorite interests and did they lead to your pursuit of writing?

"I enjoy writing as a way of expressing myself. I write predominantly in the morning and give myself a deadline to complete certain tasks in order to stay on track. This book, Prime Meridian, represents a kind of new beginning for a middle aged woman with a seemingly happy life. She gets thrown a situation and development of the characters in the book begins. I enjoy exploring experiences, plots and outcomes based on a particular story line that often develops with twists and turns."

3. What is a typical day for you?

"A typical day is tutoring at Endicott College, in Beverly, Massachusetts, four days a week. The students are Communications majors and my role is to point them in the direction of resources. Students today are instructed very differently from the way we were taught. Currently, thesis writing is the norm, with supporting facts and conclusions to every paragraph written. Each paper is five paragraphs long, which is a good skill to develop, yet it doesn't necessarily help with creative writing. Sometimes the students need affirmation that they are, indeed, good writers, and they need someone to give them that push toward the possibility of making a living out of it."

4. What are some short term goals? Long term goals?

"A short term goal is to write everyday. With this book I started out writing five days a week, and progressed to seven days a week. It is written from a woman's voice for a women's audience, and I had to learn what to cut and what not to cut to effectively tell the story. For this book, I used a very talented art student to design the cover - Laura Kennedy who was a senior at Masconomet Regional High School. I solicited the help from friends, colleagues, relatives and teachers to read the draft and make comments. A long term goal is to write another book, and I am thinking ahead always to the next book... I feel a book is never finished, although it is technically finished once it is published with an ISBN number. "

5. What inspired you to write?

"Anything - if something happens with my children, if I bump into a friend...I try to write about things that I observe throughout the day. I need to express myself; it is a creative outlet. It took me a while to realize I am a writer. Now, I know it is as much as who I am as is my background and it is something I cannot change. To be published is to feel validated!"

6. How would you describe your writing style?

"If I am writing for a Newspaper, it is in the style of Journalism (who, what, why, where, when). If I am writing for a Book, it is in a creative style to paint a picture."

7. Do you have a favorite author?

"A favorite author depends on the mood I'm in at the time. I love many books and authors. My favorite investigative reporter of all time is Bob Woodward. "

8. What are some obstacles you had to overcome to publish your work?

"There are many obstacles and it can be quite a frustrating process. Cold calls and letters to agents and publishers and specifically finding a Literary Agent and Publisher who will take you on. It is daunting work, unless you wish to self-publish. I was successful finding a publisher in Oregon with Wyatt-MacKenzie."

9. Do you have a particular skill beyond the skill of writing that lends itself to success in writing a book?

"I would say a good skill is acknowledging I am a good writer, and being comfortable self-promoting my book. Publishing a book means success! Book signings, and appearances help spread the word about you as an author and affects the number of books that may be sold, which publishers are interested in. Another valuable skill to have is being a good editor."

Thank you to Linda for sharing some insights and success of her first novel
Prime Meridian. It is available on line at

Monday, April 4, 2011

Z is for Zanesville

Pots from Zanesville Stoneware Company, 1887-2002

The city of Zanesville, Ohio, founded in 1800, became an important commercial center for craftsmen skilled in pottery making, due to its location at the junction of the Lickings and Muskingham Rivers and its incredible wealth of clay reserves. Zanesville Art Pottery was founded on 25 February 1901 by David Schmidt. Albert Radford who later founded Radford Pottery, was business manager. Zanesville Art Pottery was in business until 1920 when it was was sold to Weller Pottery, one of the largest producers of Art Pottery in the world! Potteries in Zanesville included the prominent Samuel A. Weller Pottery from 1872 to 1948, Zanesville Stoneware Company from 1887 to 2002, Roseville Pottery from 1892 to 1954, McCoy Pottery from 1910 to 1967, and Shawnee Pottery from 1937 to 1961. Early wares included utilitarian stoneware and progressed to dinnerware as well as decorative art pottery lines for vases and pots. Art Pottery - to know it is to LOVE it!

If you followed this blog from its inception you know the organizing element for each week's post is the ALPHABET...And, lo and behold, in a little over one year I have arrived at the letter Z!!! In celebration of this GRAND event, any and all who leave comments will be added to a drawing to receive a lovely little piece of pottery.....A little gift from me to thank-you!!!!!!!! Hope you have enjoyed reading my blog about simplycoolstuff as much as I have enjoyed writing it thus far. Giveaway ends Monday, 11 April, 12 AM, EST. Love to hear from you and, good luck! (Winners announced Tuesday, 12 April. Check back to provide necessary mailing information.)

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