Why is it Marked Occupied Japan?
After World War II, Japan needed to rebuild their economy. Part of an agreement to allow exports out of their country, required them to mark 50% of their items with Occupied Japan or Made in Occupied Japan. This was only for the items being exported out of the country, not the ones being sold in Japan. They exported all sorts of items and the markings could be via paper or cloth label, engraved, handwritten or stamped. The time frame for these markings were between 1945 and 1952.
During the Occupied Japan time frame, the items Japan made were considered inferior to other items. However, Japan was a formidable force. There was plentiful quantities, however cheaply made. Japan was also able to mimic top names like Dresden. It may look like Dresden, but once turned over, you saw the Occupied Japan mark. The last 2 years, Japan exported almost 90% porcelain and china kitchenware.
Desirability of items made during this time period really relays on the Occupied Japan mark and the Made in Occupied Japan mark. Some serious collectors say that if it doesn't have the mark it's not Occupied Japan. However, with only 50% of the items required to be marked, there is a high probability of pieces not marked being Occupied Japan.
Check out Occupied Japan items for sale here.
Valentine's Day Cards
Valentine's Day is said to be the second largest holiday for sending cards, falling only behind Christmas. Approx. 150 million Valentine's Cards are sent yearly!!! Valentine greetings can be dated back to the Middle Ages but written ones didn't appear until around 1400. Charles, Duke of Orleans holds the honor for writing the oldest known greeting still in existence today. By the 17th and 18th century it was becoming popular to give a hand written not or token of affection to a loved one.
Mother of American Valentine
Esther Howland became the first person to sell mass produced Valentine Cards in America. In the 1840's, she was creating beautiful cards with real lace, ribbons and colorful photos.
No one knows for sure today the exact history of Valentine's Day. There are several different stories relating to the history of Saint Valentine. However, today, it is a day to profess your love in a special way. This could be giving a special heart felt card or writing your own. People send tokens of affection, such as chocolates and roses. Even the kids at school send Valentine Cards and those yummy conversation hearts!
What to do with those old wood boxes?
There's just something about old wooden storage boxes that catches my eye. I'm not sure if it's the thought of what was once stored in them or what I could possibly store in them myself. And there's so much more to do with them then just leaving them as is.
Vintage Cigar Boxes
Old wood cigar boxes have charm on there own. They would look wonderful as it on a desk or side table storing trinkets or other important items. However, you could also jazz them up and use a cigar box as a jewelry box or wall shadow box arrangement.
Vintage Cheese Boxes
How wonderful are those long narrow cheese boxes or sewing machine drawers? You could leave those as is and add flowers for a centerpiece or add vintage kitchen items for a display shelf.
Industrial Wood Boxes
I've come across a lot of wood storage boxes which were used for industrial needs. They originally held factory parts or nails and other industrial goodies. These would look awesome displayed by themselves but could also have a lot of other purposes. Mix and match different style of wood boxes to create your own display.
Willow Plate Story
Two pigeons flying high,
Chinese vessels sailing by.
Weeping willow hanging o'er,
Bridge with three men - if not four.
Chinese temple, there it stands,
Seems to cover all the land.
Apple tree with apples on,
A pretty fence to end my song.
Oldest Pattern in History
The Blue Willow pattern was made in China between the 15th and 18th centuries. The original blue willow pattern was hand painted under the glaze. The pattern proved to be very popular and soon other potteries were looking into making it.
Transferware was invented in the 1700's allowing for mass production of this pattern along with others. Spode was one of the first potteries to produce Blue Willow cheap enough to allow for the middle class to use it. Most of the potteries in England produced Blue Willow, other countries followed suit.
The Blue Willow pattern is known for being in continual production the longest, over 200 years.
The Blue Willow Story posted above is just one version. There are several if not many versions of the story or legend of the Willow Plate. I have not had the pleasure of being told this story over the dinner table. If you know of another version of it please share!
Nathaniel Hathorne was born on July 4th in 1804 in Salem Massachusetts. One of Nathaniel's ancestors was known as one of the harsher judges in the Salem Witch Trials. Because of this, Nathaniel later added a "W" to his last name.
Hawthorne's love of reading and writing was developed at a young age. He apparently suffered from a leg injury which left him immobile for some time. He buried himself in books. With some help from his family, he attended Bowdoin College. During college, he befriended Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. After college, he returned home and self published several stories.
After a move out of Salem, he became quite successful. He became friends Herman Melville, who later dedicated Moby Dick to him. Hawthorne also wrote The House of Seven Gables and Tanglewood Tales and The Scarlet Letter.