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Monday, May 26, 2014

My collections: glassware

Although glass pieces are often put on display, because of it's affordability I like to use my collectible glassware on a daily basis. Glass can be both functional and beautiful, made in many colors and textures.

My personal preference is aqua glass. Memories of my grandmother's house are punctuated with pieces of aqua glass -- aqua vases, jars, glasses and bowls filled her home. I understand why. Aqua glass mimics the warm waters of oceans in faraway tropical locales. It's restful and rejuvenating.

But I also like clear glass. Especially when I want to show off the contents of that glass, or when the glass has been embossed with a pretty design.

Some of my favorite pieces and uses

You already know that I like to frequent vintage and second-hand shops.

vintage ice cream cups -- this is a common pattern, they're about $2-3 per piece in vintage shops, even less on ebay. Talk about portion control! These hold exactly 1 scoop of ice cream and no more, just the size that I think is about right.

vintage aqua "Moxie Nerve Tonic" bottle  -- "Moxie" bottles are more of a vintage shop or collectors item. I see these on ebay and etsy often, with prices ranging from about $7 up to $25, depending on condition, and whether or not a wire and the zinc or porcelain stopper is still attached. I bought this one at a flea market many years ago.  With its long neck, it makes a perfect "vase" for 3 or 4 daisies in mid-summer. But I also use it as a table water bottle, when we eat out on the deck (our deck decor is in aqua, sage green, dark brown, and white).

vintage aqua glass ink bottle -- found in a free pile. It once held ink, but now makes a sweet posie vase for small blossoms.

1960's embossed fruit pattern punch cups -- No sense in buying a punch service new. Punch cups, and sometimes the large bowls, abound in thrift shops. New-- you could pay $20 and up for 6 to 12 cups, just the cups -- mine are a Value Village find at 29 cents per cup -- no matching bowl. (I've seen these exact cups for as much as $1.50 each on Etsy.) I use a large glass salad bowl for a punch bowl, mostly around the holidays, at birthday parties, or mid-summer, for eggnog, punch and chilled gazpacho soup on a hot summer day.

I also can appreciate the beauty in new-ish glass pieces, and these are very affordable to free.

recycled food jars -- both home canning jars and washed olive, salsa, peanut butter or mayo jars (re-manufacturing glass is better than sending jars and bottles to the landfill, but re-purposing the glass is even better for the environment.) I use these on my desk to hold pens, desk tools, rubber bands and scissors. Inside the jars, I slide clippings from magazines and junk mail. Sometimes the clippings are inspirational thoughts, and sometimes they're photos of crafting, designing and gardening ideas.

blue canning jars -- these are new, and can be found on Amazon and in the canning sections of many grocery, home and big box stores. I've found the pint jars for a low as $8 for a set of 6, about $1.35 per jar. I use these in the bathroom to organize bath supplies, like cotton balls and swabs.

Collecting vintage glassware is still relatively frugal. I can pick up pieces in thrift and vintage shops, garage sales and "free" piles, all for a fraction of what I'd pay for a similar, newly-manufactured item. Yet, a vintage piece has history. That's something a set of glassware from Target can't claim.

I like to imagine a family sitting around their dining table, enjoying a scoop of ice cream on a steamy summer evening. Or the "Moxie" bottle -- I may only fill the bottle with water for table use now, but I can imagine once this bottle held it's famous nerve tonic.

I guess you could say that I'm a closet social-history enthusiast.

Collections on a budget. Glassware is one of mine. Do you have a favorite collection?


  1. Wonderful post!! I am a collector also of vintage, if it was good enough for Granny and Papa , it's good enough for me! ;) Have a great week, Lili! Lona

    1. Another vintage collector. Happy Memorial Day, Lona!

  2. Love the ink bottle. What a wonderful shape!

    1. Hi Jen. It is, isn't it? Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day!

  3. I like old bottles. I found an old vinegar bottle in an antique store for a couple of dollars - it even has part of the label still on slightly. I also love old dishes and glassware. My everyday dishes are plain white so I like mixing my older stuff with the white - it's so versatile.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      oh, your vinegar bottle sounds like an interesting find, especially since it still has part of the label. Did you read the story about the pre-Coca Cola bottle recently bought at a garage sale? The label says something like "Wine Coca", which was the beginning of what we know as Coca Cola. I can't remember what it's selling for exactly, but much, much more than the person paid for.
      Hope you're enjoying the Memorial day weekend!

  4. hi lili
    love your glass collection,especially the blue-ball jar!
    have a wonderful memorial day!
    warm hugs regina

    1. Hi Regina,
      I love the blue canning jars, too!
      have a lovely day!

  5. I just love glassware and wish I had indulged in MORE at flea markets and second hand shops, rather than less! I didn't know you could get canning jars in blue - they are lovely.

    1. The original Ball jars were made in blue up until the mid 1930's. You can get blue ones today as part of their Heritage Collection.

    2. Hi aneacting,
      Yes, I've seen the blue canning jars online (Amazon), at Ace hardware and in the grocery/discount stores. This year, I've also seen the green glass jars added to the Heritage collection, although I don't think their version of green glass is nearly as pretty as some pieces of green depression glass that I've seen.

  6. Love the collection! I have ice cream cups on my garage sale list.
    I am a huge milk glass collector. I have a slight addiction - hahaha

    I purchased for myself those blue cánning jars last year - cant wait to put some garden flowers in there this year!

    I also have been very blessed to find le creset at a garage sale a couple years ago and was able to add those pots to the 2 I already was given.

    Find fun things at garage sale/thrift stores for an awesome deal always gives me such a rush!


    1. Hi Cathie,
      Milk glass -- I've seen some really wonderful milk glass pieces. Our local Value Village occasionally has a piece, mostly the hobnail milk glass. At vintage shops I find more of the embossed milk glass. Your finds sound great! Hope you come across some ice cream cups this season!

  7. I'm not really a collector, but I do have a few interesting glass pieces that came from my parents attic and my grandmother's house. Also, I can barely remember the last time I got a glass peanut butter jar. How old is yours?

    1. Hi live and learn,
      the brands of peanut butter that I've been buying this past year and half come in plastic, but I think Adam's still comes in glass. I'll check the next time I'm down that aisle. I saved a bunch of old Adam's peanut butter jars (glass) from about 5 or 6 years ago. I find them very nice to have around for storing things.


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