Removing Cigarette Smell from Wood Furniture

I found this American empire flame mahogany chest a few weeks ago – the perfect storage solution for our bedroom.  



Even with a few chips, dings and bruises I could tell it was well-made. The drawers are dove-tailed, hand-planed on the bottom and have original brass lock plates.




Continue reading “Removing Cigarette Smell from Wood Furniture”


Ming Mamma’s Secretary

School starts tomorrow . . . and I didn’t get my summer to-do list done! It’s going to be so-o-o hard looking out of the class window watching tourists toting chairs, towels and boards to the beach.


Oh well.

How about some photos of Ming Mamma’s secretary cabinet?

Sorry, but they’re a little grainy.


“Ming Mamma’s” moniker was born out her very young grandchildren’s mispronunciation of “Big Momma” – and it stuck. She was the oldest daughter in her family and had a much prettier name, Lola Mae. As a newlywed, Lola proudly polished her 1930s secretary cabinet each week. When it was time, her oldest, Lillian Mae (my awesome Grandmother) kept the secretary in her living room filled with the very odd knick-knacks. As children we were fascinated by the hidden compartments in the hide-away desk. Now, it sits as an honored guest in my living room. It is filled with heirlooms passed down by Lola, Lillian and my mom, Joan.


Lola Mae liked to place vignettes under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. For some weird reason, this mechanical rickshaw with a seated geisha girl made (I think) in the 1940s was part of that tradition. Hmmm.  This guy doesn’t look too happy.


My Grandfather was stationed in Alaska in the early 1940s. Lonely, he sent for his wife, Lillian, my mom (12) and aunt (10). There was one other child, but no school there. (Every kid’s dream). A cargo ship carrying their belongings sank on the way home. An ivory bullet pencil carved by Alaskan Eskimos was one saved memento from their years in Alaska.


I keep my other Great-grandmother, Ella Mae’s Lusterware salt and pepper cellars with Lola’s berry bowl set here.  I’ve never used either. Afraid to.

lustre salt - photo

berry bowl - photo

The sterling match safe belonged to my Great-grandfather, Thomas (Ella’s hubby). The photo is of Lillian at her daily pastime: the beach. The other is of her pushing her little cousin taken around 1915.

Lillian had a fascination with anything “royal.” LOL.

Hence, the tiny 1950s coronation coach.


It may seem like a lot of tchotchke to some,

but every piece has a story and is priceless to me.

Have a good week! – – Joanne


This Breakfront Desk/Cabinet Needs TLC

Sometimes I troll Craigslist to look for interesting treasures. Well, I found a doozy: a 1940’s mahogany breakfront secretary desk/china cabinet with four lattice fretwork doors and four drawers (one being the desk). It was offered at an unbelievable price. The owner was very upfront: the veneer was warped along the bottom edges, had scratches and it was missing two drawer pulls. It def needed some TLC. But, I can’t pass up a bargain.


When my friend and I arrived to pick it up, the owner cut the sale price in half. Awesome!


I plan to remedy the veneer issues and replace the missing drawer pulls. I’ll prob have to paint the piece. If you have any other ideas – PLEASE pass them along! Right now it is sitting in my dining room taking up a LOT of space. Can’t wait for my guy to return from his business trip to see what I’ve been up to!

Have a good week! – Joanne