Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Collecting Flower Frogs


     Florists use floral foam today when arranging bouquets. Before foam was invented, however, flower frogs were used to achieve beautiful, airy arrangements. Flower frogs are made of metal, glass, or ceramics and actually date back to the Persians in the 13th century when side spouts were made on vases.  

  “Glass-disk frogs are flat on the bottom with a recession on the rim and were designed to sit on top of a matched vessel. Footed, domed frogs were meant to be set at the bottom of a vessel. Metal frogs were designed to sit at the bottom of a vessel and were not meant to be seen.”   

     Originally called flower holders or arrangers, flower frogs were first used in the United States in the early 1800’s. The devices peaked in popularity in the 1920’s and 1930’s, at which time over 20 companies manufactured a variety of styles. After the Depression and World War II, the making of flower frogs rapidly declined and ceased altogether after the invention of florist’s foam in 1954.
Flower frogs are still functional, of course, but today collectors have come to appreciate them as ornaments, and they are highly collectible.

     Before 1870, flower frogs were so common that many manufacturers didn’t mark them. Most glass flower arrangers were part of a set including a bowl or vase, and the markings were more likely found on the larger piece instead of the frog insert. Higher end manufacturers including Heisy Glass, Cambridge Glass, and Davidson Glass did mark some of their flower frogs, but not all of them. Marks increase the value of the frog, but even unmarked frogs, especially rarer colors or styles have notable value.

     You can display flower frogs in cabinets, arranged on a wall or table, or in the garden.  Glass frogs make great pen holders, and you can use metal frogs to display pictures, recipes, or business cards.  If you love gardening, consider using flower frogs to add color and interest to your outdoor collections.
Source: Yoest, Helen. “Flower Frogs”. Country Living, 2012

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Something Old, Something New

         I recently helped a bride-to-be and her mother select antiques to enhance their vintage wedding plans.  They left with a car full of quirky pieces that the bride planned to incorporate into her home after the wedding.  Their visit made me start imagining a vintage wedding setting that would be easy to design.  Here are some ideas that you can use if you want to incorporate “something old” into your wedding.

·         Create letterpress invitations to set the tone.

·         Layer your table settings.  Start with a plain cream cloth, followed by large pieces of burlap that can be ruched at the corners and top with a lacy antique tablecloth or doilies that have been stitched together.  Use mismatched white chairs or rustic benches for seating.

·         For your centerpieces, create height with crates turned upside down.  Place milk bottles in chicken wire baskets to hold garden bouquets.  Sprinkle homemade confetti across the cloth.  You can make confetti by cutting small hearts out of old sheet music or books that have fallen apart.  The crates and confetti may also be used on the table for the cake display.  An old store tabletop scale is a great accent for holding homemade mints or other treats.  Seating assignments could be made from tea stained tags.

·         Wrap your bride’s maids’ gifts in burlap tied with jute.  Attach a piece of costume jewelry on the middle of the bow.  You can also add costume jewelry to bouquets and corsages.

·         Wrap a wire with rusty patina around the top of Ball jars, creating a handle.  Add sand or pebbles in the bottom and a small candle.  Hang at various heights from tree branches and light at twilight.

·         Hang long lace curtains from a pergola or from a wire strung between trees to create a wall if needed.  Place a shabby chic white buffet or harvest table in front of the curtains if desired for the ceremony. 

·         Old doors can be used for a variety of displays.  Attach hardware at the bottom of the doors to make them free standing.  Tape family pictures all over one door to show the bride and groom growing up.  Paint blackboard paint on another door and use chalk to write out table assignments.  Attach a light fixture at the top of a door and a shelf mid-way to hold the guest book and pen.  Three or four old doors hinged together could form a backdrop for the ceremony instead of curtains.  Doors placed on saw horses become display tables.

·         Hang vintage quilts over fences for color.  (Protect with a sheet underneath.)  An antique pickup with quilts in the back could also be parked off to the side to hold gifts.  Think of the photo opportunities here!

·         Make wedding signs using barn wood and white paint to direct your guests to the site.

·         Set up nostalgic lawn games for guests including croquet, bocce, or washer toss.

·          Place a vintage suitcase on a table, opened, with the letters C,A, R, D, S cut out and attached to a ribbon strung across the inside of the lid.  You could spray paint the outside of the suitcase a solid color if needed.

·         Set washtubs or copper boilers full of flowers, branches, or greens around the site.

 There are lots of ways to create a vintage look for your special day.  You’re on your own for the “new, borrowed, and blue parts, however!