Please Note: the following is Part 4 in a continuation of posts regarding other American collectors and how they use Fostoria American for the holidays. This post is the final chapter in the series. Each one has been different – some have been simple, others have been more extravagant – but all have been full of sentiment and classic beauty.
All of the pictures provided were sent from the collectors themselves. I might have needed to modify or crop a few photos for better clarity or viewing; however, all credit for the photos should go to the respective individuals. I thank each and every one of them for participating, and for their coordinated efforts in providing holiday and festive decorations to help make your season bright. If you’re ready, let’s take the final tour …
The following set of photos was sent in by Dawnna Crick-Strassenburg of Chicago Heights, Illinois. This is the time year that we usually sing Christmas carols we learned as a child, bake dishes that remind us of our grandparents, and in Dawnna’s case … unpack sentimental treasures that bring back childhood memories. Dawnna began collecting Fostoria American about thirteen years ago, after the loss of both her Gramma and Papa. She recalls, “I inherited two pieces from them and fell in love! I also inherited their Christmas Putz Village (cardboard houses). I fell in love with those too!”
Popularity for Putz houses reached its peak during the 1920’s through 1950’s. It was a German Christmas tradition that involved setting up a tiny village around the Christmas tree or nativity scene during the holidays. Members of the family would “putz” around, making sure that each scene was decorated correctly and each piece was placed properly. It was (and still is today) a wonderful family activity for decorating your home and sharing the magic of Christmas.
The two pieces of American that Dawnna inherited were the Mayonnaise (without the Plate and Ladle) and the 3-Part Candy Box (without the Cover). Even without all their associated parts, these pieces of FA still had the power and lasting beauty to make a lifetime impression.
Since then, it is obvious that Dawnna has learned how to combine her beloved American and Putz collectibles into charming vignettes throughout her home. Using Fostoria American as the support and backdrop pieces, she is showing off both her collectibles to their best advantage. The iciness and coolness of the clear American glass really sets the scene – adding to the festive and winter atmosphere!
A couple years ago, Dawnna hired an artist to design and build her childhood home as an addition to her village. The artist designed the home off of an old photograph. By this time, however; the front window had been changed and the bushes mostly taken out. They chose to go with the home’s original details when designing the Putz house. Dawnna states, “We have such fond memories of growing up in that house – my brother, sister and I. This little Putz house is among my prized possessions. It makes me happy to just look at it. It was only natural that I put it with my Fostoria American, because it gives me that same warm feeling.”
She further states, “My village and my glass make me feel closer to my grandparents and nearer to my childhood. Memories of laying on the floor with my sister, by the Christmas tree, using our imaginations to give their little village life. Those were magical times for us. Now, I get to share all that with my youngest son – who is ten, and an old soul. He loves antiques, old stories, and can tell you if a piece is really FA or not. He even made a house display all on his own!” (see below)
With a house full of boys, Dawnna usually stores her collection behind closed doors. “I don’t usually use my FA … as a boy mom (4 sons) and a Gramma (2 grandsons) and an Aunt (1 nephew), I fear for the safety of my FA! I always have boys of varying ages and sizes in the house, and they all seem to be bulls in a china shop! So, I keep my collection safely behind glass so there are no accidents.”
For those of us who love vintage Fostoria American, and in this case – Putz houses, the Christmas season allows us to treasure our own past. It also allows us the opportunity to preserve history by rescuing and displaying vintage treasures. By doing so, we are honoring our ancestors that came before us, while playing an important role in preserving our own family antiquity.
Here is a Christmas card photo of Dawnna’s grandparents, taken in 1947. Her grandfather is holding her father (his first Christmas) and her uncle is sitting on the floor.
I believe Dawnna’s love of Fostoria American, and the Putz houses she inherited from them, is a result of the wonderful experiences her parents and grandparents provided to her in her youth. It had nothing to do with the quantity or rarity of the pieces that she was bequeathed. It did; however, have everything to do with the love, history, and memories that they represented. As the years have passed, and her collections have grown, it appears that Dawnna is now passing on that heritage to her young son. It is a pinnacle moment, and a shining example of true Christmas spirit.
Thank you for reading this final and very precious holiday story. A very special “Thank You” goes out to Dawnna Crick-Strassenburg of Illinois. If you like what you have read, please be sure to let us know your comments on Facebook. Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Please Note: the following is Part 3 in a continuation of posts regarding other American collectors and how they use Fostoria American for the holidays. One day per week, until Christmas Day, I will share a few holiday thoughts and pictures of my American collector friends. Each one will be different – some will be simple, others more extravagant – but all will have meaning.
All of the pictures provided were sent from the collectors themselves. I might have needed to modify or crop a few photos for better clarity or viewing; however, all credit for the photos should go to the respective individuals. I thank each and every one of them for participating, and for their coordinated efforts in providing holiday and festive decorations to help make your season bright. If you’re ready, let’s take the third tour …
This set of photos was sent in by Michelle Sugg of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Amazingly, her family has been collecting Fostoria American for four generations! Michelle’s great grandmother (on her mothers side) started with American, who later passed it on to her daughter (Michelle’s grandmother). It was later passed on to Michelle’s mother, who eventually passed it on to Michelle herself. This is, without a doubt, a true testament to the durability and sentimental value of the American pattern.
Michelle’s collection has grown over the years. She proudly states, “I have the original from my family, but my parents have added to it – as have I. My parents decided that we (myself and my two brothers) needed a complete setting of 12 each, so the collecting has continued. My mother passed away 17 years ago; however, I have continued to collect – with the help of my father. I now have a complete place setting for 40, which includes three 18″ punch bowls.”
Four years ago Michelle and her husband added an addition to their home in order to properly showcase their Fostoria collection. She recalls, “I knew I wanted a room to be able to house the collection. To make sure I could set a proper table, I found a local person to make my dining room table – which is 42′ long and 4′ across. I wanted to make sure that there was enough room on the table for centerpieces and table settings, and most importantly, FOOD! Today, tables simply are not wide enough for a “proper” table setting.”
Here is a picture of Michelle’s place setting – which is quite proper, indeed. Her home was recently featured in their community holiday walk tour, in which she proudly displayed her American dinnerware on a festively adorned table. Did you notice how everything is meticulously placed? This is also a wonderful example of how to use, and where to place, the Individual Shakers (located above the Dinner Plate).
Michelle does a lot of unique things with her beloved American collection; however, one thing I really like is how she serves her butter during the holidays. She buys butter that is shaped like little Christmas trees, and then places them in her Round Butter & Cover dishes. Keller’s Creamery Butter Sculptures is one place that makes them (there might be others), and then they distribute the product to certain stores during the month of December. If you can find a local store that sells them, you can achieve the same wonderful results!
Doesn’t this look like the most perfect Sweet Shoppe for Santa and all of his little Elves? Different pieces of FA are being used for purposes other than what they were originally intended for. This is one trait of the American pattern that I am especially fond of – its versatility! Michelle’s choice of candy colors and flavors are perfect, yet what impresses me the most is the innovative way she uses the Shrimp and Dip, the Flared Vase and the Pitcher. The Elves are going to be very happy with this menu!
Michelle and her family use their beloved Fostoria American all the time, no matter what time of the year it is. “We use FA all the time here, almost an everyday thing. We even use our FA every first Thursday of the month for our Great Lakes Depression Glass Collectors Club board meetings, which are held in my home.”
As you can easily see here, Michelle knows how to showcase her Fostoria collection in grand style. Her display presentation is simply stunning. Michelle remembers that when they did the addition to their home … “My local cabinet maker decided that in order to get the best lighting for all areas of the cabinet, that we would need to run vertical LED lighting throughout. This helps show all shelves in the cabinets.” I must say, it appears that they accomplished their goal in spectacular fashion.
Thank you for reading this special holiday story. A very special “Thank You” goes out to Michelle Sugg of Michigan. If you like what you have read, please be sure to let us know your comments on Facebook. Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Please Note: the following is a continuation of my original “Fostoria American for the Holidays” post, which was published last week. As mentioned previously, one day per week, until Christmas Day, I will add and share some holiday thoughts and pictures of my American collector friends. Each one will be different – some will be simple, others more extravagant – but all will have meaning.
All of the pictures provided were sent from the collectors themselves. I might have needed to modify or crop a few photos for better clarity or viewing; however, all credit for the photos should go to the respective individuals. I thank each and every one of them for participating, and for their coordinated efforts in providing holiday and festive decorations to help make your season bright. If you’re ready, let’s take the second tour …
This set of photos was sent in by Roberta Mearns of Schwenksville, PA. Roberta has been collecting for almost fifty years. “My mother-in-law put my first piece (a vase) in my hope chest 47 years ago, and I have been collecting ever since.” Here is one tip she would like to share with all of us, “I always handle my American pattern with great care, never letting it end up in the dishwasher. All pieces are washed carefully by hand.” Roberta is correct in her thinking, for if you want your treasures to last for generations to come, never (under any circumstances) put them in the dishwasher.
There is one simple trait of Fostoria American that Roberta is quite fond of – and that is its elegance. Many times people will focus on the size, shape, or color of a piece; however, every item – even a common plate – can be quite elegant in its own right. Roberta states, “I find that the elegance of clear glass always works with any tablecloth. The blue plate liner is our Christmas Santa plate (Eldreth Pottery – collected 1/year since 1991). The Holiday is a short season running from Thanksgiving to the New Year; therefore, the Eldreth comes out at Thanksgiving. Our Fostoria is used daily during the holiday season!”
I found Roberta’s combination to be quite striking, with the Fostoria American plate emphasizing the beauty and design of the Eldreth plate that sits beneath it. This is yet another reason why I love the clear crystal pieces, for they enhance each and every piece of china that is lucky enough to sit atop, beneath, or beside them.
I found Roberta’s tablescape to be quite charming, offering an abundance of warmth and welcoming undertones. An old Fostoria American magazine ad states “Raise your morale the American way”, and that is exactly what happens when you gaze upon this pretty table. I’m not sure I would have had the originality or perspective to use the beautiful combination of cranberry, blue, and crystal for the holidays; however, I am so thankful Roberta did! As the vintage ad continues, it states “So buoy your spirits by treating yourself to a crystal service of charmingly practical American.” Well done, Roberta … for I think your lovely table setting would have been perfect for this vintage ad. Charming it is, and so much more!
This particular photo tickles my heart on so many levels. The personal touch and heart-felt sign of the town they live in is hanging prominently above the Footed Fruit Bowl. The Footed Fruit Bowl is also known as the Small Punch Bowl and/or the Tom and Jerry Bowl. Roberta has it beaming with an abundance of red apples, which is perfect for the holidays. “My larger pieces, as displayed with the apples, are always on display in my home. One bowl must always provide for fresh fruit!” she exclaims. Notice the cups hanging above? At a moment’s notice, the role of this American piece can easily change from a Fruit Bowl to a Punch Bowl. How wonderful!
This last photo is one of my favorites. To me, it looks like a piece of expensive art. Roberta utilizes the clear center of a piece of glass to highlight a design that resides underneath. I do this as well; however, I rarely see others do it. I was thrilled to see that Roberta incorporates this design trick as well, for it adds another beautiful dimension to your tabletop.
I will end this post on a personal sentiment that Roberta feels strongly about. I share her views, and find her words to be heartfelt and true. “It saddens me to see our youth so easily dispense of these cherished pieces of glass, silver, etc. To me, it would seem that we are losing the elegance of family dinner parties of the 50’s and 60’s. So, I make sure that my children celebrate the beauty of the elegant dinner parties, at least during the holidays.”
Thank you for reading this special holiday story, and I will add to it each week – up until Christmas. A very special “Thank You” goes out to Roberta Mearns of Pennsylvania. If you like what you have read, please be sure to let us know your comments on Facebook. Thank you, and Happy Holidays!
Capture the magic of the season with handcrafted American glassware that makes your home say “Merry Christmas” to one and all. I recently reached out to a few collectors, asking them each a few questions about their personal treasures. They were all very cordial and supportive, eager to share their photos and thoughts on our common passion – Fostoria American.
This is a four-week story, that unfolds week by week. It’s not a tale of how big, or small, a collection is. As everyone knows, a “collection” can literally consist of only two items, or it could be a hefty two-thousand items. The difference between the two is of no consequence here. My purpose today is to share with friends the true “spirit” of a Fostoria American Christmas, which has absolutely nothing to do with quantity – and everything to do with making memories that will last a lifetime.
One day per week, until Christmas Day, I will add and share some of the thoughts and pictures of my American collector friends. Each one will be different – some will be simple, others more extravagant – but all will have meaning. All of the pictures provided were sent from the collectors themselves. I might have needed to modify or crop a few photos for better clarity or viewing; however, all credit for the photos should go to the respective individuals. I thank each and every one of them for participating, and for their coordinated efforts in providing holiday and festive decorations to help make your season bright.
If you’re ready, let’s take the first tour …
This first set of photos was sent in by Treena Spurlock-Kinder of Virginia Beach, VA. One of the many things she loves about Fostoria American is where it originated from … “I love that it was made in my home state of West Virginia; the craftsmanship is supreme.” Now, take a moment and think about those words for a minute. She is not commenting on the shape or design of the glass; she is commenting on where it came from (her home state) and the quality thereof. This is when a seemingly simple piece of glass becomes so much more. Each gleaming facet of Fostoria American is filled with history, pride, and USA craftsmanship. It’s a story worth telling your grand-kids while gathered around the table, and I promise you … the next time they drink or eat from a piece of Fostoria American, they will remember how special it is. Consider it a memory that has just been born. ♥
When Treena sets her table for Christmas, she considers it as part of decorating her home. She is one collector who actively uses her pieces, for holidays and special occasions. She recalls, “Sometimes the occasion can be as simple as wanting to share a special evening with a friend over dinner.” Treena’s style is elegant and beautiful, and certainly will be appreciated by her family and guests. While the American pattern has an antique flavor to it, it is also rugged and practical in feel. It is suitable for a variety of celebrations – from a formal affair, to the most casual gathering of them all.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and this drink display proves it. While there is one punch bowl full of drinks, an American Punch Bowl is primed and ready for service at the other end of the table. Perched upon a hefty Foot, it has Cups/Custards hanging from it like ornaments on a Christmas tree! Let’s not forget the Ice Tub and Tongs! It appears Treena has covered every detail, making this display sparkle for the season.
Treena is not new to collecting, as she has been doing so for about twenty years. With quite a collection to her credit, she always considers it an adventure when hunting for her pieces. As she exclaims, “It’s my special treasure hunt!” Based on all the various pieces displayed, it appears she is a seasoned treasure hunter – with a good eye.
I especially like the way she has mixed the American pieces with other china patterns, and placed other cups or mugs atop the American Saucers. The key here is to make sure that the china and glassware are in scale to each other. In other words, their relative size should give a feeling that they belong to each other, rather than one piece dominating the other by its grandiose or over-powering size.
Thank you for reading this special holiday story, and I will add to it each week – up until Christmas. A very special “Thank You” goes out to Treena Spurlock-Kinder of Virginia. If you like what you have read, please be sure to let us know your comments on Facebook. Thank you, and Happy Holidays!