Posts tagged antiques
Newbies Around the Shop

We've added some new "friends" to the shop recently, and are excited to show them off!

Jules of Stern & Faye recently sold the print farm and held an estate sale to share the pieces that wouldn't fit in her new studio with the letterpress community. While it was really sad to be visiting the farm for the last time, we were also really excited to buy a full cabinet of beautiful type and a slant-top work surface (among other goodies). You really can't beat a letterpress estate sale!


We're been busy reorganizing the shop and babying our new type, but we're working on a full catalog of print samples to show you - check back in for updates!


We recently drove by Alafair Antique & Estate Co. in SODO (always a fun spot to drop by on the way to the paper store) and picked up this charming metal cabinet for our print shop tools. It was another bittersweet purchase - Alafair has lost their lease, and will be closing soon. If you haven't ever stopped by their unique store, now's the time. Everything is 40-50% off!


The cabinet was originally dark brown (as you can see inside the door), but was painted a pastel pink at some point in its life. It's grimy and chipped, so it needs some love - but I can't decide whether or not to keep the pink. The knobs and tapered legs are so sweet and feminine, the pink kind of works. I'm a sucker for anything with wheels - you can use it anywhere!


While in Port Townsend for our anniversary trip, one of the little boutiques was selling some of their fixtures. We were really excited when we saw this quirky shelf for $15! It's perfect for our craft show display. It's a little bit shaky at the moment, but with some tweaking and paint, it will be ready to go! We'll be debuting it soon for the holiday show circuit! (Be prepared for a fun before & after reveal!)

Our 3rd Anniversary Printing Press

Last month, Brad and I took a weekend trip to the Olympic Peninsula for our 3rd Anniversary. We had an amazing, restful adventure.

In our opinion, that's the best kind - a little bit of both! We rode the ferry, stayed in a castle, did a cider tasting, made sun prints, ate lots of delicious food, walked on the beach, and did some shopping.

On our return home, we stopped at an antique store in Bremerton before we got back on the ferry. While browsing, we found this little treasure! We don't usually do large anniversary gifts, but instead save our pennies to shop together on our anniversary trips. It's pretty fitting that we'd find and buy a tiny new printing press on our weekend away. It's something we'll always have around to remember our amazing third year!


The press was packed in an ancient looking wood box, like it was sold as a "kit" - with a tiny brayer, a font of type, tweezers, and tiny sheets of paper. I've searched the Briar Press online museum, but can't find exactly which press this one is. It's similar to a few of the small hand inking lever presses, but i'd love to know exactly which company and model it is if anyone knows.

The whole thing is really unusual - the press uses type that isn't the traditional "type high," which makes it pretty impractical in a print shop. This teeny tiny press is even smaller than our little Sigwalt Annabelle - when something is that tiny and cute, how could we resist?

Family Estate Sale Day

My mom's birthday was this month, and her requests for birthday activities were estate sales and dinner. (Can't go wrong!)

It was our first estate sale day with the whole family together, and it was a major success! We found tons of fun things, including this 100+ year old desk that we're in the process of refinishing.

Among many other things (most of which have gone right into little still lifes around our home and studio), we brought home this United Airlines ad from 1975. It's a goofy caricature of life on the West coast, and we love it! It may end up getting framed and hung at home. We've got a mid-century modern meets wild west theme going on right now, and this will fit in perfectly.

Framed: 1934 Needlecraft Magazine Cover

We've been on a bit of an estate sale shopping spree lately. (Cheapest shopping spree ever, but still a spree.)

In the name of Constellation & Co. Vintage, we've been pairing lonely antique frames with unlikely ephemera to make beautiful framed art. It's been fun, and we've got more to come! The only downside is... we're having trouble parting with our creations.

This lovely damsel is from a 1934 issue of Needlecraft Magazine we discovered at an estate sale in our neighborhood. I'm in love with her blouse. Perfect summer fashion, straight from the 30's. I can't get over how lovely she is. More fun framed ephemera to come - but for now, this one is ours!

Constellation Collections: Oil Cans

Oil cans come in a million shapes and sizes. And we're apparently trying to collect them all - one can at a time. They have such personality, I can't help picking them up when we find a good one.

Plus, they're useful. Yes, there is oil in these oil cans! Isn't the little red one cute? (No - I haven't named them. Yet.) Additionally, when you use them, you can pretend to be Dorothy helping the Tin Man. Oil can!

Vintage Finds: 'Prentice Rubber Type Set

While in Michigan last month, Brad and I picked up this 'Prentice Rubber Type Set at an antique store. As you see, at one point it cost 35 cents - we paid more than that, but not a whole lot more!

The antique stores in Michigan had totally different pricing than we're used to. Certain items (furniture, glassware, etc.) were priced quite high, but ephemera-type items (books, paper goods, and this beauty) were priced much lower than what you'd find in Seattle. (It was good news for us, of course!) I was so excited when we found this, and i'm thrilled to share it with you now!


This boxed set is designed as a child's educational toy, teaching the principals of setting type by hand. (Early in the 1900's this would have been a valuable life skill!) The set includes a full rubber alphabet (with extras), a wooden piece (for setting the type within and using at the stamp handle), an ink pad (with a rad lion on it), a pair of tiny tweezers, a tiny pad of paper, and a sheet of instructions. It's in perfect shape - the type has never been used, so it's not inky and dirty like most of the sets I found online. And the box itself is really lovely - bright colors and a lovely illustration. It's got a place of honor on our studio shelves right now.


This adorable toy is the "Superior Set No. 4000" made by the Superior Marking Equipment Co. (or SMECo.) in Chicago, Illinois. I haven't been able to find a ton of info about the set, but this site suggests it's from the 20's or 30's. Apparently SMECo. made toy printing presses as well, which I found slightly more info on. (You can check them out here and here.) My dad picked a similar toy press up at an antique store last year, and has been looking for the rest of the pieces ever since. I've yet to check if these pieces would work, but be assured - we'll try it!


The instruction page reads:

Decide what you want to print first- for example, your name and address. Then break the rubber threads from the first letter of your name and insert the piece of type at the RIGHT side of the top line of your holder. Set the next letter to the left and so on, until the first name is complete. Then put in a piece of blank rubber called a "spacer" to keep the words from running together. Continue on with your last name. When your line is set, look at it to make sure that each letter has the margin of blank rubber (called a shoulder) at the bottom. If it is at the top, you have set the letter upside down. To print, tap the set-up holder carefully on the ink pad several times, then press it firmly on the top sheet of a stack of paper or cards. Presto! You're a printer.

In Honor...

Today, Brad's grandfather passed away.

Hank was a collector, a lover of old things. He and his wife spent a lot of time together at garage sales and estate sales, finding treasures. Hank was really good at Wii Bowling. (This past Thanksgiving, we had so much fun playing with him - and he beat us almost every time.) Hank is man who leaves behind a legacy - kids, grandkids, and a sweet great-granddaughter that will miss him dearly.

When Hank and his wife moved out of their family home last year, they shared some of their treasures with their kids and grandkids. The stately eagle that hangs in our studio was once hung in their kitchen for many years.


When my parents moved to Washington a few months ago, they also brought along the eagle that my grandfather once hung on the front of their family home in Florida. It struck me today that these eagles have such a place of prominence in our studio - here to remind us of those who've come before and laid the way for our life together. We are so grateful for these men, and glad to have these remembrances of them, always here with us.

We'll be away for a few days, attending Hank's funeral and spending time with our family. Thanks for your patience as we take this time away.

Then & Now

Brad and I wandered into our favorite Pioneer Square antique store, Fairlook Antiques, on lunch break the other day. We knew better. We knew it was dangerous. But we did it anyway. And, as usual, we walked out with goodies.

We were really excited to find this Seattle postcard (left), showing the view up Cherry Street from 1st Avenue. The first building on the left is our new building! I took this iPhone photo (right) from approximately the same spot. I love seeing how little has changed!


We also picked up this awesome postcard from Sarasota, the city in which Brad and I met, attended our Alma Mater, and got married! The postcard features the Ringling mansion, which is just down the street from the Crosley mansion, where we got married. It was so fun to find it here, 3,000 miles away. Of course, we had to take it home. We'll be returning to Sarasota for the first time since our wedding (two years) in November - it will be so good to see all of our old haunts, and hopefully lots of old friends, too. We have lots of sweet Sarasota memories, and as much as we love Seattle, it's always nice to go home. (And it will still be decently warm in Florida in November... can you say BEACH!?)


According to this site, both cards are from approximately 1915 - 1930, the "White Border" era, when most postcard publishers left a white border around the image to save ink. I'm thinking about estate sale-ing some small frames to cluster these with these and some of my other vintage favorites. They'd be so fun above my desk.

Working Hard or Hardly Working

In many ways we've been working much much harder than usual (late nights, long days, lots of manual labor): hence, the working hard. But in the midst of that, we haven't been doing the work we typically do: hence, the hardly working.

Soon the new studio will be in order and we'll be back to printing - but for now, here's an update on what we've been doing in the meantime.

We picked up two new-to-us desks for the studio. The first desk, for me, is a lovely warm desk with lots of drawers and just enough of a decorative feel. The second desk (for Brad/interns/friends/freelancers, etc.) is a Singer sewing table that's been turned into a desk. It's got cast iron legs, 3 drawers, and a whole lot of character. We found both desks Antique Liquidators in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Antique Liquidators has 3 floors of amazing antique furniture - and their prices are insane. We found two desks we LOVE for about the same prices as we've been seeing on Craigslist, at estate sales, etc. And they're in pristine condition. I really love this store. They even deliver. It's definitely worth a trip.


We've also been working on several DIY projects this week to get the studio ready to roll.

One of our biggest needs in the new studio (and any studio, really) is storage. We've searched and searched, and most of the available options (in our price range) are unattractive or just not appropriate for a print shop. We need something sturdy, unfussy, and something that goes well with the feeling of our equipment and work. Brad stumbled upon this blog post & tutorial by The Brick House, and fell in love with their DIY plumbing pipe shelf. It's industrial and structural, yet vintage-y and poetic. So, we've embarked on our own shelving project. All the materials have been purchased, the wood stained, and we're nearly ready to build it. More photos and info to come.

The black trim in our new studio (windows, baseboards, doors, etc.) is so lovely and classic - we noticed right away that several of our light colored pieces looked pale and dull next to it. A few cans of spray paint later, some of our least attractive furniture pieces (estate sale finds, etc.) are now bold and black and lovely as well.

For more on what we've got planned and what's the come for our new studio, check out our Studio Inspiration board on Pinterest.