Fall break and Fiesta

I’m on day three of a four day mini Fall break from school. I really enjoy this time of year, Sept-through Christmas. The heat goes away in September, and I’m used to the shock of coming off summer and into school, since we begin school in August. The weather is glorious, and the holidays come fast and furious. So do the school vacations.

I use the time to catch up on tasks at home. This morning I cleaned out and refreshed my little office. It’s where I keep bills to be paid and correspondence to complete. I have a bookcase in the kitchen next to the kitchen table. It contains my supplies like printer paper, scanner and printer. It also contains theological CDs that I listen to when I do dishes and cook, like Drive By Pneumatology and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. There are some CDs and tracts and pamphlets I keep there too, intending to pass to someone who expresses a need or asks me a question. I have a nice pencil cup holding my scissors and stapler and pens and markers. My bible and Sunday School book are there too. Headphones and speakers complete the ensemble, lol. For all that it sounds like there is a lo of stuff, there isn’t. like to keep thinks streamlined both in fact and in appearance.

I print out sermons or other things I plan to read later, and these pile up on the bottom shelf. Well, a day like today is “later.” I organized my papers and looked through them to see what I have. Half of being organized is knowing what you have. The other half is being able to put your hands on it when you need it. I really hate to hear myself saying “I know it’s around here somewhere” or worse, “I KNEW I had it all along” when it’s too late to have been able to help someone.

I also spent some time this morning paying bills, ugh. The paycheck comes in on the first and goes out on the second. It was nice while it lasted!

I spent some time reorganizing my kitchen counter also. I have 6 Fiestaware mugs that I decided to move, and in so doing, got interested in them again. I decided to use one for my coffee (I have a rigid schedule for coffee mug use- only three are selected and I use them in rotating order.) This might sound weird, but I love the entire ritual of the morning coffee on vacations especially, but any day actually. Part of that is enjoying the feel and weight of the mug I put the coffee in, and the look of it as it steams away next to my laptop on a crocheted coaster. The practical part of this schema is the mug must do a good job of keeping the coffee warm for a period of time, since I take a while to drink it.

In looking up about the Fiesta ware mug I learned that they are Tom and Jerry mugs, which was an egg-alcoholic drink similar to egg nog, popular from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

Blogger and Fiestaware afictionado Happy Heidi explains, “The Tom and Jerry was an alcoholic egg and milk drink, popular in the 30s and 40s. It was served warm from a large bowl in handled mugs. Homer Laughlin had already been producing this mug with a different handle when Fiestaware was being designed. Adopting the ring handle from the general Fiestaware line, the Tom and Jerry mug was born. The distinctive ring handle is all you get for design on the T&J mug (it is one of only two pieces that is without the legendary rings, the other is the dripcut syrup pitcher, that was also borrowed from elsewhere). We use the Tom and Jerry mug for coffee and it’s just the perfect size. Nice thick walls keep the coffee warm longer than contemporary cups and it’s small size means no waste. These pieces were actually hand shaped with metal tools to achieve the unusual concave shape. The wonderful hourglass shape couldn’t be produced by a mold alone, so workers shaped them (thus explaining why some are more curvy and thinner than other mugs). Because of all the handwork there is much variation in the Fiesta pottery pieces. The foot was shaped by hand so they couldn’t be marked in the mold so they were also hand-stamped with the Genuine Fiesta glaze stamp (some cups escaped the marking process, so it is not uncommon to also find the T&J mug unmarked). Produced from 1936-1969.”

If it supposed to keep the beverage warm for a long time I decided to test that, and so added another mug tot he rotation. I am also looking up the evolution of Homer Laughlin hand stamps on the bottom so I can see if these are indeed vintage Fiestaware or are the newer version. I believe they are original-vintage. Looking up these things is a fun way for me to go antiquing. I don’t have to leave the house.

In looking up stuff about the Homer Laughlin Comany, the company that makes Fiestaware, I learned that they employ 1100 skilled workers in a 37 acre facility, the largest domestic pottery making company in the US even today. In watching a Company vintage movie from the thirties, we see that they had a 300′ long continuous tunnel for a kiln. The ware was baked in the tunnel for many hours.

Here is the backstamp on my mugs. I can’t find an exact description of this one online, but I hope it is the vintage stamp. If it is not please let me know. I think the colors indicate that they may not be vintage, especially the plum mug. And they don’t have that gentle hourglass, concave shape, and there are three rings on the rim where the older ones don’t have that. The photo of the Tom & Jerry mug above is from Happy Heidi, and IS vintage, so those few differences between hers and mine may make the difference. I dunno. I just think they are pretty.

I’ve got the colors purple, orange, yellow, forest green, red and cobalt.

So that is a vacation day!Potting around, investigating this N that, not much but just right.

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