A vintage solution to this woman’s clutter problem

Blue Mountain jewelry holder 2

Do you recognize the decorative item on which my sundry dresser-top items are now stored and displayed? If you are of my vintage and grew up in rural Eastern Ontario, I expect you do. I am quite delighted with the repurposing of this vintage Blue Mountain Pottery piece, and rather wish I could take the credit for the idea. But I can’t.

So I had a problem with clutter on the top of the (vintage) dresser in our bedroom here at the Manse. You know, bits and bobs of jewelry, bookmarks for those essential bedside-reading books, reading glasses, useful things like scissors and nail clippers and safety pins, two or three pens (you never know when you’ll need to make notes in the middle of the night), perfume samples from department-store visits, etc. etc. etc.

Now, before I go on, I would like to point out that I am not alone in this. All women who have a problem with clutter on the top of their bedroom dresser, please put your hand up!

Right. I thought so.

I was going to give you before-and-after shots of the situation, because everybody loves before-and-after shots. But having looked again at the before shots – that is, the top of my dresser before the solution (such as it is) was found, I decided that it was just too messy and too embarrassing to share with you. So instead, I am just displaying the after shot (the one at the top of this post), and now I’ll tell you what it is – which, if you come from the kind of midcentury rural Eastern Ontario background that I do, you doubtless already know. And I’ll tell you how it came about.

So what is it? It is a two-tier Blue Mountain Pottery cake plate. Or, I don’t know, sandwich plate? Cookie plate? At any rate, it’s a two-tier serving plate with a decorative silver handle on the top, and it is most definitely Blue Mountain.

I’ve written before (notably here) about Blue Mountain Pottery, a made-in-Ontario product that was a mid-20th-century decorative craze when I was growing up here in Queensborough. There was no way anyone could have a bridal shower back in those days without ending up with several pieces of Blue Mountain! (Though hopefully not the giant flat fish.) Blue Mountain Pottery has been out of fashion so long now that it’s kind of in fashion again (in a vintage kind of way), and I’ve picked up a few funky pieces at yard sales and thrift shops and the like. I find it endearingly clunky and familiar.

But until recently I most definitely did not have a two-tiered cake plate (or whatever it is). And I would never have thought to buy one, had I not seen just such a piece used to display random pieces of jewelry at a booth at the Stratford (Ont.) Antique Warehouse when Raymond and I visited that town’s Shakespeare Festival last summer. “Aha!” said I when I saw it. Having never been one to miss out on a good idea that someone else has already thought up, I instantly decided that this was the solution to my problem of dresser-top clutter.

And, long story short, it is. In addition to helping with the clutter situation, it makes me smile every time I look at it. Here’s another view; what do you think?

Blue Mountain jewelry holder 1

4 thoughts on “A vintage solution to this woman’s clutter problem

  1. Thanks for the great memory of my mom. For a while we always received gifts of Blue Mountain pottery from relatives who lived in Collingwood. Unfortunately, no-one in the family acquired a taste for it (would love to see the swan planter, or the petal bowl, or the bud vase just once more), and the opening of ‘that’ present was often greeted with decidedly unChristmas-like derision. Philistines!

  2. I grew up in Madoc & I have 2 very elegant blue mountain pottery lamps which my mother purchased to go with her new settee and chairs from Duffin’s Furniture in the 50s. They went to Florida when my parents started to winter there more than 35 years ago, and which I brought back to Hastings County a year ago when their property was sold. The original shades were replaced but the pottery ‘pine cone ‘ finials still exist.They are lovely but not really my taste except for their nostalgia factor and in memory of my mother. I’m still toying with how to fit them into my 100-year old, renovated school house – the guest bedroom possibly?

    Thank you for your blog, Katherine – Grant & Gayle Ketcheson told me about it and there are so many resonances, having come back to the area after more than 50 years away. Have you ever thought of doing a piece on retiring returnies – Bev (Ketcheson ) & Len Holmes, Jane Rupert – to name a few? And I think there are probably many more. Happy Holidays, Charlotte.

    • Oh, Charlotte, clearly you have the crème de la crème of Blue Mountain pieces! I am sure those lamps will be perfect in the guest bedroom! But more to the point: Welcome, to Meanwhile, at the Manse – and more importantly, welcome back home! Also, thank you for an excellent suggestion for one or more future posts. Isn’t it interesting that so many of us are returning to this place?

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