Cahier confectionné

This find is so dated that the snow you see here is not from today, but from the spring. Perhaps that’s fitting, however, since the book I saved from these bags was itself quite old.

The book is pretty non-descript from the outside, but inside were flower arrangements dating back 150 years. As you might expect, some of the collections were in rough shape, especially the ones closer to the beginning & end. Many were still in pretty great condition, however, particularly the ones closer to the middle of the book (which I suppose were less likely to get bent up).

I took pictures of most of the pages, which you can see below. If you want to zoom in on the gallery images, click on the thumbnail and then find the “view full-size” link on the bottom right of the slideshow. If you don’t like flowers, feel free to skip this post and come back next time.

Lets start with the first two pages. It seems that relatives of the creator, “tante” (aunt) Hortense Küss (b. 1841) wrote some relevant history on the inside cover and drew an abbreviated family tree on the opposite page. These additions look to have been added in 1974. I censored out the more recent information here for privacy reasons, but I figure the rest is ancient history and is fine to be shared.

If I were to guess I’d say that this cahier confectionné (which I think translates to scrapbook, or something along those lines) ended up in the hands of a niece, and in 1974 she decided (with the help of her kids) to write down what she knew about it since she was getting on in years herself. Since then it might have been inherited at least once, possibly twice, and one of those successors tossed it in the trash, for whatever reason.

To the arrangements. It’s clear that this book was pretty carefully put together. Most of the cuttings are dated (this one in particular is from 1868), and are often accompanied with a story or a description of the plants used. The first design is from 1863 (when the creator was 22) and the last is dated 1882. I haven’t made time to read all the descriptions, but the flowers were picked in France, and I’d say the picker was probably well-off. This is one of my favourites, from the middle of the book. The next few are in rougher shape, as you can see below.

It seems like these early ones were held in place with little bits of tape, and maybe glue. The scrapbooker started using thread to hold the arrangements together after this point, which you can see on the opposite sides of the designs. It must have taken a lot of effort, but it does look better (and could also maybe explain why these arrangements stood the test of time a bit better than the earlier ones).

Here’s a couple examples of the threading used to keep the arrangements together (to the left). As you can see the thread isn’t very noticeable, and probably allows for more complicated designs than glue or tape would.

I didn’t share these pictures for so long in part because the arrangements don’t look quite as nice as they do in real life, but in the end the photos are still pretty good. I have perfectionist tendencies, but most of time it just leads to stress and procrastination.

So, I still have this book, and don’t really know what to do with it. I’d like to sell it to someone who cares for it, but I don’t know what this kind of thing is worth, and the idea of shipping it somewhere is stressful given how fragile it is (though I might be overthinking this as well). Also, since it wasn’t made locally it’s not of particular interest to local collectors or organizations. If you’ve sold something like this before, or have ideas about what I should do with it, please let me know in the comments!

Otherwise, I think there’s some interesting info in the stories next to the arrangements. I didn’t get to talking about those, in part because they’re written in French (and also the handwriting is a bit difficult), but if someone cares to share some intriguing tidbits please do so below! Most of them are reasonably legible if you zoom in.

As for the spot that produced it, I haven’t seen much there since. The house is for sale, and I pass by every trash day just in case more is cleared out.

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Castaways

There’s snow outside, but let’s go back to the summer again. I don’t want to give too much away, but this intriguing pile sat out back from an antiques-related business. I’d guess that the things I found here were rejects, perhaps all from one specific estate.

I don’t think anything I found here was super valuable, but I saved enough quality junk to make my day. Those leather covered batons sold for a bit at auction, and that shoe pincushion came from Expo 67 (“Expo 1967” is written in sharpie on the bottom).

 

That clay pipe was an easy sell at the auction (28$). Other items sold at my yard sales or ended up in one of my free piles. A few are still sitting around my garage, waiting for me to research or test them further, like that Gruen mantle clock in the first picture.

I found a bit of watchmaking stuff. The collection didn’t sell for too much at auction (12$), but it was easy money regardless.

The dish (turned ashtray) on the left is sterling silver. It’s not an exceptional piece or anything, but I still don’t know why anything would throw away sterling! It’s about 26 grams, so it’s worth around 13$ for scrap. The Hensoldt-Wetzlar doohickey is a rangefinder of some kind, and should be worth a little bit on eBay.

My favourite find here might have been the figurines, many of which were inside this little case.

Surprisingly most survived the journey unscathed (if a bit dirty). The frogs might be my favourite here, it’s not too often you find them in this size.

I also liked this old ink bottles, which I’d guess are from the 20s or 30s. That little claw pendant might be unmarked silver, but I haven’t tested it yet. The canister thing on the right is also interesting.

This isn’t the best picture, but inside is some kind of creature that’s supposed to spring out at you (it’s springing days are over, however). I’m not sure what the material is, but overall it looks fairly vintage. I’d guess it was made in China.

I also liked this piece. It looks like jade, and has “New York World’s Fair 1939” etched on the base. It’s in pretty good condition outside of a large chip off the vase, which fortunately is on the back side and not too distracting. I don’t think it’s super valuable, but it’s neat and probably worth selling on eBay.

Now that the seasons have changed I feel a need to get these summer finds posted. I have lots of photos waiting to be shared, but I continue to struggle with writer’s block or maybe just distraction. I’ll try to overcome that and post again soon.

Links

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5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com

The great sink experiment

In the past I never gave sinks a second glance, but this year I’ve picked up a bunch. I have more storage space than I used to, making them less of a burden in that way, and I’m also a sucker for vintage architectural elements. But the main reason for the change was that I thought they could make me some money.

The first one I saved was this pink one from the early 60s. I brought it to the auction house, and ended up buying it back for 12$. Not a great result, but sometimes you need to put the extra work in if you want to make the extra money. I ended up listing it on Kijiji, and eventually the sink sold for 50$.

I found this late 50s green / jadeite sink outside an apartment building off Cote-des-Neiges.

This one cleaned up pretty well, and also sold for 50$, though it did take maybe a month and a half to find a buyer.

My biggest haul of sinks came from an apartment building near downtown. I picked up five yellow ones, which I think date to the late 60s. They were pretty dirty, but I cleaned them up pretty good with a hose and some elbow grease. I haven’t had much luck selling them so far though. It’s pretty clear that sinks are pretty slow movers, but I’d like to open up that space in my garage eventually!

I also picked up this white pedestal sink in TMR. It hasn’t sold yet either.

My most recent addition is this cast iron pedestal sink, which I found on Monday night in Cote-des-Neiges.

This beast was near the upper limit of what I can reasonably carry & lift, which I’d guess is about 75 pounds.

It was made in Port Hope, Ontario. I thought it was older, but I think it was actually made in 1953.

The main issue: it was dirty. The grunge on the bottom looked like damp, caked-on cardboard, which isn’t the worst thing to clean off, but it still looked pretty gross.

Here’s how it looks after about 15 minutes of effort. Already the sides are looking pretty clean, and a fair bit of the grunge has been removed. I’m going to use a plastic scraper tool to get rid of the rest of the cardboard, and then hopefully I can get the white of the enamel back without much effort.

We’ll see how it goes. Perhaps I’ll come to regret lugging this thing to my garage, but for now I’m optimistic that it’ll sell for something. If you have any experience in the sink market, please share your thoughts in the comments! Also, sink cleaning advice would be much appreciated.

Links

1. Facebook page
2. My eBay listings, Sign up for eBay, Search for something you want / research something you have (I’m a member of the eBay Partner Network so I make a bit of money if you buy things [even if they’re not mine] or sign up for an account via these links)
3. Help me pay off student loan debt / Contribute to the blog
4. Follow me on Instagram
5. Email: thingsifindinthegarbage@gmail.com