Friday, October 26, 2012

How do you plan for a natural disaster?

With Sandy threatening the East Coast here is some timely advise for home businesses...


I grew up in the Midwest, in the heart of tornado alley and along the New Madrid fault line. I know what to do in tornadoes and earthquakes. Mostly it’s “duck and cover” sprinkled with a dose of “pray”. You don’t have time to think or prepare. Tornadoes and earthquakes both hit and run – you might get a few minutes’ warning to head to the basement or storm cellar with a tornado.


A hurricane was new to me. We could sit, glued for days to weather reports on television and the internet, and watch Hurricane Irene inch her way toward us. Where would she go? How strong would she be when she gets here? How high will the winds be? How much rain will fall? It seemed to be anyone’s guess. Of course, some guesses were more educated than others.

We made certain we had plenty of bottled water for drinking. We stocked our pantry shelves with staples like peanut butter and crackers. The pet food was restocked. Large containers of water for household use were gathered in a safe place. Batteries, candles, propane, medications … everything we were told were essential to survive.

And then Hurricane Irene arrived. She wasn’t as forceful as they predicted, but she was certainly strong enough for this girl’s first Hurricane! The huge changes in barometric pressure triggered a migraine (glad I had my medication!). We lost power with the first tree that went down at 7:00 p.m. Our only access to the outside world was our cell phone, which also has “smartphone” technology.


As a Ruby Lane shop owner, I knew to put my shop on vacation. I also added information to my shop’s information page that we were visited by Hurricane Irene and were without power. Our loyal customers were welcome to shop and we would ship as soon as possible.
The morning after Hurricane Irene hit us, we stumbled around the neighborhood – all our neighbors came out with the same shell-shocked look on their face. Hair unkempt, exhaustion in their eyes, wearing whatever they threw together. We made sure everyone was safe, that no people or pets were harmed. The next order of business was to make our roads passable so emergency vehicles could access our homes if necessary. The only sounds we heard that morning were the engines of chainsaws. Those who didn’t have a chainsaw grabbed limbs and branches and began the task of clearing the roads by hand. Then the driveways. Then entire neighborhood worked together until everyone had safe access to the roads and to the greater community. Generators started to hum. We all began to assess the damage to our homes and property.

While our neighborhood suffered extensive tree loss and complete loss of power, the damage to homes was minimal. As we heard over and over from friends and neighbors “It could have been so much worse, if that tree had fallen this way or that way we would have lost everything!”

As a small business owner, with my inventory stored in my home, I had to stop and think about what that means as I prepare for the next natural disaster (and I’m sure there will be a next!).

My means of communication with my business and customers is through the internet and my computer. Are my files backed up in case of computer damage? There are online sites that allow for backup so the records can be restored to any computer. If my home is damaged, do I want my backup files on my property along with my computer? If my backup files are on a disk, which is sitting on the same desk as my computer and a tree falls through the roof into my office, then I lose both my computer and my backup files.
Is my computer on a surge protector that is strong enough to protect it? If my computer is damaged in a natural disaster, will my homeowners insurance cover repair or replacement of my computer?

If I am without power for a significant length of time, do I have a way to stay in communication with my online business customers? Does my local library have internet access? Perhaps the local coffee shop? But what if they are without power? Can I use my “smartphone” to keep in communication with the outside world? Do I know how to use this technology? (The time to learn is before an emergency, not during!)

Then there is the question of my inventory: is it stored safely? Will it survive a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, tornado or hurricane?
If my inventory doesn’t survive, would my homeowners insurance policy cover that loss?
While we might have coverage for our home’s personal contents, is the dollar enough high enough to absorb the cost of re-stocking our inventory? Is there a separate endorsement we should have to cover our small business inventory against loss?

These questions need to be asked now. A discussion with your homeowners insurance agent and/or company may be in order. It’s time to pull out homeowner insurance policies and find out exactly what they say. Take the time to read them carefully, and ask questions of your insurance agent and/or company if you don’t understand.


  About the Author

 Cathy Heidemann Overfield is on Staff at Got Vintage Shops and owns and operates Charmed Life Collectibles on Ruby Lane, and Charmed Collectibles on Etsy.

EAPG Table Sets Victorian Era

Elegant Victorian Table Sets

Northwood's Leaf Medallion/Regent in amethyst
The Victorian Era was a time of elegance and opulence for those who could afford it. The mistress of a prosperous home exhibited her family’s wealth and position though the items she chose to use. This was especially important for entertaining which was a significant part of Victorian life. Even family meals required elaborate table setting which always included a four piece table set consisting of a creamer, butter, sugar and spooner.

Admiral aka Flora by Beaumont

The more wealthy families had table sets of cut glass or sterling silver and the upper middle class for the most part used EAPG, Early American Pattern Glass, sometimes referred to as imitation cut glass, for these sets.

EAPG table sets, along with many other pieces, were produced in an amazing array of patterns and colors by a number of glass companies. Each of these companies seemed intent on outdoing their competition in terms of the beauty and elegance of their glassware.

Left to right - Gillinder's Classic pattern, Northwood's Klondyke in Canary Opalescent,
Northwood's Argonaut Shell/Nautilus in custard

Riverside's Empress in green

Used at every meal, table sets consisted of a covered sugar bowl, creamer, covered butter and a spooner. Although the names of most of these items are familiar there are some interesting differences between the items we use today and their Victorian counterparts. 

Madora - Arrowhead in Oval 

Let’s start with the covered sugar bowl. Looking at the photograph of the Madora set on the right, one might think that the double handled piece the without the lid was the sugar, but it’s the large covered piece that served this purpose.  Why is that? Well it’s not because Victorians used a lot of sugar as it was a very expensive luxury item. The need for a large container stems from the way sugar was processed. One couldn’t just stroll down to the corner grocery store and pick up a 5 lb bag of granulated sugar. Instead sugar came in rock hard conical loafs of 3 or 4 pounds which had to be broken into smaller pieces with a mallet, then cut with sugar-nips into smaller chunks which could be served in the sugar bowl. Quite a lot of work to sweeten your tea!
Photo by Chris Cope

Creamers were also larger holding about 4 more ounces than the ones we use today.  I suspect that part of the reason was the number of people normally gathered around the table along with the abundance of cream available. And yes, they actually used their creamers for real cream!

Shown on the left is a William and Mary footed creamer in Primrose Pearline made by Davidson. RD #43701 circa 1903.

Photo by Chris Cope
Butter dishes from that era were normally round dishes with domed covers.  The mistress would either have a lump of home churned butter shaped into a ball by hand or with butter spades, or a block of butter purchased from a farmer or merchant. Frequently these were reshaped using a butter mold or press to create a more esthetically pleasing product.

‎On the right is a #101 Rubina Verde Polka Dot Cheese and Cover (more commonly known as a covered butter dish) made by Hobbs Brochunier & Co. circa 1884.

Photo by Chris Cope
Now on to the least familiar item – the spooner.  Spooners were placed on the table at every meal along with the other pieces and held, as you may have guessed, spoons.

Instead of laying out a spoon at every place, the spoons would be placed in the spooner for those who wished to use them.

There have been a couple of explanations offered for this practice. It’s possible that some households did not have sufficient spoons to place one at each setting. The other explanation is that the spooner enabled one to display the number of beautiful spoons one had acquired regardless of how many people were at the table. It was also considered to be a sign of hospitality to have spoons at the ready.

Shown here is a Daisy and Button with Crossbar AKA Mikado spooner in canary made by Richards and Hartley circa 1891.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about these highly collectible pieces from the past. They make a beautiful display and who knows, they may inspire you to set an elegant Victorian table at your next dinner party.

Riverside's Victoria in ruby stained

Want to learn more about Early American Pattern Glass? Visit where you can take a class at the Pattern Glass School, visit the bookstore and stroll through the virtual Museum.

Greentown Cactus in chocolate
Northwood's Royal Ivy - Rubina

Many thanks to the "glassies" who generously shared their photos and knowledge!
All photos and text belong to the copyright owner and may not be used without prior written permission.
Linking to, and sharing of, this blog is welcomed and encouraged.

About the Author

 Karen Mantone-Pillar is one of the founders and administrators of Got Vintage Shops. She currently owns and operates two online shops; Charmings Collectibles on Etsy, and a stand alone web store

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Brooch is Back!

From the runways of New York to Paris, major fashions houses have announced the newest trend for fall – The Brooch.  Those of us who love vintage have one question,  “What took you so long?”  

One of the most versatile pieces in a woman’s jewelry arsenal, the brooch does it all.  Whether adorning the suit of a buttoned-up Wall Streeter, the scarf of a downtown hipster or hanging from the pearls of a cocktail partier, the brooch is the one piece of jewelry that works for every occasion and every season.   This year the brooch is big, bold and glam and the Got Vintage team has just the right pieces at hundreds less than the runway. 

Bold & Beautiful Butterfly - $135.00

GVS team member Rhinestones Past is right in style with the bug brooches of both Alex Bittar and Oscar De La Renta with this gorgeous Butterfly brooch made with pave, clear rhinestones and amber yellow colored oval faceted glass.

Another buggy option is this this bright and beautiful dragonfly from Camano IslandVintage.

Two of this season's hottest colors are deep russet, and amber. This brushed gold and rhinestone Sarah Coventry brooch at The Eclectic Diva absolutely captures a look by Marni.

From The Eclectic Diva - $23.00

Starburst Rhinestone - $39.00

Beautiful dark blues are also on trend and this starburst rhinestone beauty offered at Ultimate Adornment features fabulous blue rhinestone navettes and is a whopping 3” in diameter.  It's also reminiscent of a piece in the fall collection of Jose & Maria Barrera featured at Bergdorf Goodman.  

Gilt Goldtone & Faux Pearl - $40.00

Gold is always in season and this high impact piece in gilt and faux pearls from Buy Vintage Jewelry will really turn heads.

Other great gold choices are these modernist beauties from Cousins Antiques and Madge’s Hatbox.

Square Modernist Dimensional Pin Brooch - $10.00
Goldtone & Multi-colored Glass Modernist Abstract Brooch - $25.00

Whatever your color or style go Big, Bold and Brooch this season 
with the Got Vintage Team!

Check out the GVS For Sale Pages Here

About the Author
Madge's Hatbox Vintage

Pamela Hill Lappin is an active member of Got Vintage Shops. Be sure to stop by her store - Madge's Hatbox Vintage and Live La Vida Vintage!