Junk Score

I was hoofing off to the sci fi bookstore on Valencia yesterday and my path wandered by Community Thrift, my favorite junk store in captivity. Naturally, I had to pop in for just a quick scan, even though I wasn’t expecting anything. Noodling through the furniture (which lately has been reduced to nothing more than Ikea’s trash heap,) I ran across a charming, small mahogany china cabinet.
Until the 1960s, dining rooms had traditionally been fitted out with furniture inspired by early 19th century Georgian designers. The American version was referred to as Duncan Phyfe. Even though I have a passion for mid-century modern and sleek Asian design, when it comes to dining furniture, I have the same tastes as my sainted grandmother. So when I saw this little baby, I was charmed.
I was even more charmed when I pulled open a discreetly hidden drawer in the bottom and found it stuffed full of silver. Of course, I shoved the drawer shut, rushed up to counter and bought the cabinet. At home, an hour’s worth of scouring it with furniture cleaner turned it into the perfect addition to our salon. It’s probably built in the 1940s, sturdy and in good shape, except for one corner I need to re-finish.

the cabinet, in situ

The silver turned out to be a real mixed bag.

The haul

Some of it appears to have been boosted from a mid-level hotel and then some of it (mostly odd little spoons and forks for a variety of very specific tasks) is really good stuff. Also, there’s a set that amazingly is the same as R Man’s mother’s. Obviously it was meant to be.
Also, I cleaned it with a technique I’d heard about for years, but had never tried. Line the sink with aluminum foil, pour in really hot water, add salt and baking soda and drop the silver in. Boom, some chemical reaction makes all the tarnish vanish. It works, honest. Come to mrpeenee for al your household tips. And beefcake.

The Beefcake

23 responses »

  1. Mad for this! I just proves that you must never pass a thrift shop without gowning in for a 5 minute once over. 'Cause ya never know!

    Can't wait to try the silver hint. I wonder how much salt and baking soda, I'm guessing about a handful each?


  2. I too have used the aluminum foil and baking soda recipe, and it does work – buty the water has to be HOT. But NEVER use baking powder, which contains and an acidifier (baking powder is baking soda with acidifers); it will pit silver.


  3. Suhweet sick jebus! Such a find. (The cabinet & silver, not so much this particular beef. Miss J finds his stare insolent.)

    even better, Mr. P's recipe for tarnish removal…


  4. A great find… you have talent & Karma on your side. Is the beefcake essential to the polishing & cleaning of the silver? I seem to have been getting it wrong all these decades.


  5. It could be an enchanted china cabinet waiting to transport you into another world. Come Sunday lunch time, you'll reach into that china cabinet for the gravy boat and you'll pull off a handsome young prince from the Islands of Allegory instead. He then lifts you bodily onto his silver charger and whisks you away off into the sunset. 25 blissful years pass, you've had maids and servants at your feet, every whim catered for until one day you go hunting for grouse in the grounds and come across a dilapidated piece of junk covered in moss, it looks vaguely familiar, you step inside it, and there's your hubby still mashing the spuds and telling you to, “hurry up with that fucking gravy boat!”.


  6. Just checking in to see that all is well at Chez Peenee.

    I imagined today you giving a tour of your home and when you got to the dining room you said, “And this is Donna Reed, I found her in a thrift store down the street.”



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