The VINTAGE Thanksgiving Table

Ah Thanksgiving. A time to remember those sometimes wacky, sometimes touching, sometimes just right holiday meals. Now it’s time to make new memories. It can be a lot of fun to dress up your Thanksgiving table with vintage items. From a vintage turkey platter, to a turkey centerpiece, to a lovely old cake stand. Make it beautiful. Make it fun. Make it your own!  

“Leave it to Beaver” 1950s – Too austere?

1970s – A bit too wacky – but probably fun

1940s – Just right? And check out the kid’s table!

A centerpiece can be a fruit and nut filled cornucopia, a vintage turkey figurine, a primitive dough bowl or maybe antique candle holders. And don’t forget to put it all on top of a beautiful tablecloth!

Primitive American dough bowl centerpiece

WMF Art Nouveau Candlesticks

For your dishes you might want a lovely old set of porcelain dishes. Limoges maybe? Amber glass? Or it can be fun to collect varied souvenir plates all year long then give each guest there own individualized place setting. Just make sure those souvenir plates are food-friendly, as some are not.

c1890 Spode turkey platter

Limoges chocolate set. Perfect for dessert

Amber glass

Desert? As good as your pumpkin pie is, an antique sterling silver pie server will make it even better!  

Antique Gorham Sterling Silver “Morning Glory” pie server

You’ve got one more week. Come on into Midtown Mercantile Merchants. We’re open every day until Thanksgiving and you can find a lot of things to dress up your holiday table.  

Carol Fenn 11-2017



Why Build A She-Shed?

Why build a she-shed? “I come out here and … make a big mess, and then close the doors and go inside and make dinner, and it’s all just in here. It’s nice to be able to have a space that’s just mine.”  

According to the Centers for Disease Control, on most days, 16 percent of women aged 18 to 44 reported feeling “very tired” or “exhausted.” Additionally, 37 percent of women said they feel tense or stressed out at work. A she-shed can give a woman a space to be creative and/or just to get away from it all.  

“Honey, you finish this shirt. I’m going out to my she-shed.”

Author Erika Kotite, who will be at the Midtown Mercantile Mall this Thursday, Friday and Saturday greeting fans and signing her book (Nov. 9, 10, 11) wrote a book on the movement: “She Sheds: A Room of Your Own.”  

The book talks about different styles of sheds and then looking at different sheds created for different purposes by various women. There are sheds for gardeners, artists, back yard sanctuaries, etc. They are truly wonderful and fun to see.

The she-shed at The Mercantile

Here at The Mercantile we love Ms. Kotite’s book and we have created our own she-shed. Come on in, meet the author, see our she-shed and then you can look around the mall at our thousands of vintage items. Perhaps you’ll find the bits you like so you can personalize your own space. Your very own she-shed!

Carol Fenn 11-2017

Who doesn’t love a cowgirl? A cowgirl collectible that is! Fun to collect, but not that easy to find. It can be a challenge filling out a collection, especially if you’re looking for truly vintage. Reproductions abound, but vintage is better!

The popularity of the American cowgirl most likely began with Annie Oakley (August 13, 1860 – November 3, 1926). Annie was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Her amazing talent first came to light when she was a mere 15 year old girl, winning a shooting match against a traveling-show marksman. Oakley joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She became a renowned international star, performing before royalty and heads of state.

One thing I’ll say about cowgirl related collecting is that there is a lot of variety. For example, the vintage and antique cowgirl art and advertising. Some of it surprisingly sexy!  Some of it just plain awesome.

There are cowgirl figurines. Salt and pepper shakers, etc.  Also look for paper dolls and playing cards.  You never know where you might find one of these gals!

And of course Coca Cola got into the act with some great cowgirl depictions!

Some cowgirl stuff is collectible AND wearable. Like this wonderful cowgirl dress that is in the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall right now. She’s in booth #1118 for only $30!

So put on your cowgirl boots and come on in to the mall and roundup some cowgirl collectibles!

Carol Fenn 11-2017

7 Halloween FUN Facts! 

Halloween Fun Fact: The word “witch” comes from the Old English wicce, meaning “wise woman.” In fact, wiccan were highly respected people at one time. According to popular belief, witches held one of their two main meetings on Halloween night.

Halloween Fun Fact: Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.

Halloween Fun Fact: The owl is a popular Halloween image. In Medieval Europe, owls were thought to be witches, and to hear an owl’s call meant someone was about to die.

Halloween Fun Fact: According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern.

Halloween Fun Fact: The largest pumpkin ever measured was grown in 1993. It weighed 836 pounds!

Halloween Fun Fact: Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.

Halloween Fun Fact: Scarecrows, a popular Halloween fixture, symbolize the ancient agricultural roots of the holiday.

We’re celebrating Halloween at the Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E Speedway in Tucson AZ.  We’ll let you in and you won’t even need a costume like these little outlaws!

Carol Fenn 10-2017

Halloween History and Costumes – Creepy or Cute?

Halloween originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as All Saints Day, incorporating some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve, and later Halloween. 

Trick or treat!

Creepy or cute?

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a community-centered holiday, with parades and big Halloween parties as the featured entertainment. 


Mostly cute!

Over time, Halloween incorporated activities like trick-or-treating and carving pumpkins. As the October nights get colder, people usher in the season with parties, costumes and don’t forget the candy!

Even horses can dress up!

This poor kid …

Pretty creepy

 From the 1950s on it has been the golden era of Halloween. There are so many TV and movie character costumes to choose from. Sometimes scary, but usually cute, these costumes bring joy to the kids wearing them and to the adults who open the door, after hearing the words, “Trick or Treat!”

Why are you crying, Batman?

Come on in to the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall at 4443 E Speedway in Tucson AZ. You just might find a vintage costume or two!

Carol Fenn 10-2017







The Eerie Halloween Glow of Uranium Glass

Also known as Vaseline glass, uranium glass, which can date as far back as 1830, glows bright green under ultraviolet light. This is because uranium oxide is added to the glass in its molten state. In natural or indoor light, Vaseline glass has a yellow or yellow-green tinge with an oily sheen.  But turn on that black light and you get a glowing green surprise!

Unlit and lit. Cool huh?

If you want to have a unique display on Halloween which will wow your friends and neighbors, all you need is some uranium glass, a place to display it, and a black light.

Uranium glass perfume

Fill this glowing reamer with candy or fake eyeballs!

A lot of pieces together in a glass case could make your home look like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory! How awesome would that be! But really, just a single piece, glowing eerily, surrounded by pumpkins, spiders, witches or black cats? Well, that would be awesome too!

Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique mall at 4443 E. Speedway in Tucson, AZ. We have at least one piece of uranium glass right now in booth #830.

In the mall now (until they sell!)

 … And if you look around through our three levels of booths you might find more. Just watch out for ghosts and goblins! And if you come in on a Holiday Happenings weekend between now and Dec. 31, we’ll serve you some punch and sweet treats.  

Carol Fenn 10-2017

Those AMAZING Halloween Postcards c.1900 

The late 1800s marked the beginning of the “golden era” of postcards, which were the text messaging or social media of the day—people sent these greetings for any reason, particularly holidays. This trend lasted until around 1918. 

A beautiful example

Poor Mr. Pumpkin …

 Turn-of-the-century Halloween postcards were sometimes frightening, sometimes weird, sometimes cute. Some had fat jack o’ lanterns topped with equally adorable chubby-cheeked children. Others had evil witches. Black cats show up often and were sometimes cuddly, sometimes scary.

The Edwardian romanticism is obvious on these cards. Many almost seem like a combo of Valentine’s Day and Halloween with the professions of love, etc.

One particularly popular superstition for romantic Halloween cards shows a young woman looking into a mirror at the stroke of midnight to see the face of her true love, using the light of a jack o’ lantern.

Some cards might be instructional, saying things like, “On Halloween, take the seeds from a Pumpkin, place them in front of the sofa in the form of a cross – then the Witches won’t bother you.” Or, “On Halloween, Goblins have been known to fly away with Fair Maidens. Therefore ’tis best to have some one hold you and tightly, too, — because Goblins are strong.”


These cards are so much fun to collect but they are relatively rare. We do sometimes get them in the Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E. Speedway in Tucson, AZ. Come on in to the mall. It’ll be fun to hunt down some of these charming postcards!

Carol Fenn 10-2017

It’s Halloween At The Mall!

Many people consider Halloween to be their favorite holiday. It’s so much fun to decorate with black cats, pumpkins, witches and spiders! … and you get to eat candy! … and … here in Tucson we are celebrating the onset of cooler weather!

An antique theme

Vintage decor

So much Halloween decor in The Midtown Mercantile Mall now!

There are so many ways to fill your home with Halloween decor. You can use antiques, vintage items or new holiday decorations. And guess what? Here at The Midtown Mercantile Mall at 4443 E. Speedway we’ve got everything you need no matter what your theme may be.

Vintage decor

Old and new

Old and new

Pictured here you’ll find many examples of ways to decorate. Get inspired, get an early start on your decor, and come on in the mall. We’re already celebrating Halloween! Join us!

Carol Fenn 9-2017

Cluck Cluck – Collecting HEN ON NEST Dishes

Due to their variety, collecting hen on nest dishes can be a lot of fun. They are not the absolute easiest collectible to find, but not the hardest either.   

So pretty. Much desired by collectors

For more information …

Carnival glass

Over the last 150 or so years, a wide variety of glass companies have produced about 250 different forms of glass hen covered dishes. These dishes are referred to as an animal dish, hen in a basket, hen on a nest or the rather frugal, hen on nest. Most collectors use this term, “hen on nest.”

Glass hen on nest covered dishes have been made in sizes ranging from less than 2 inches to 8 inches in length. In addition to the variation in size, the type and color of the glass ranges from milk glass, carnival glass, depression glass, pressed glass, Victorian glass, lead crystal, etc.

Ruby flash

Prices vary. Some are less than $20. Most are less than $100. But some of the rare Hen on Nest dishes can sell for a lot of money. In 2009, a Fenton hen on nest with combined yellow, blue and green sold at auction for $2500. It had an estimate of $100-200. 

Sold for $2500

A great collection

In the Midtown Mercantile Mall as of 9-17-2017

We have quite a few hen on nest dishes in the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall right now. Come on in to 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ and check them out. You can start your own collection!

Carol Fenn 9-2017

“Bear Down” Arizona! – A Bit of History

Football began at The University of Arizona in 1899 under the nickname “Varsity.” This name lasted until the 1914 season when the team was re-named the “Wildcats.” For several years, from 1915 into the 1950s, the team had real live bobcats (!) as their mascot. In 1959 the real bobcats were out and in came humans in Wildcat costumes.

First U of A football team, 1899

Vintage “Wildcat”

Now, the Wildcats is a great name for a sports team, and the wildcat mascot is certainly appropriate. But a wildcat is not a bear and a bear is not a wildcat so why the U of A slogan, “Bear Down?”

Early U of A football practice

In 1926, John “Button” Salmon was the student body president as well as the starting quarterback for the wildcat football team. An all-around athlete, Salmon was also the catcher for the university baseball team.   The day after the first game of the 1926 football season, Salmon and two of his friends were in a car which ran off the highway and flipped over in a ravine near Florence, Arizona. Salmon’s friends escaped without injury, but Salmon suffered a severe spinal cord injury. After the accident, U of A football coach Pop McKale visited him in the hospital every day. During McKale’s last visit, Salmon’s last message to his teammates was, “Tell them.. tell the team to bear down.” John Salmon soon died on October 18, 1926. Before the next football game against the Aggies of New Mexico State, McKale told the team what their quarterback had said. The U of A won that game in a hard-fought victory, 7-0.

Bear Down Arizona!

The following year, in 1927, the University of Arizona student body adopted the slogan for use with all Wildcat athletic teams. That year, the Chain Gang, a junior honorary organization at the UA, held a dance in the newly constructed university gymnasium to raise funds to paint the slogan on the roof of the gymnasium. The words are still featured on the roof, now known as Bear Down Gym.  On the U of A Lowell-Stevens football facility a bust of Salmon was erected.  It is said that Arizona football players pass and touch the bust as a show of tribute before every home game.

COME TO OUR ONE DAY “POP UP” that lasts ALL YEAR!  Saturday, September 16th.  Time: 10 am to 6 pm.  U of A Students, Faculty and Employees Only Receive 15% OFF your entire purchase this day! 10% off the entire year!   Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall 4443 E Speedway, Tucson AZ.

John Salmon bust on the University campus

Carol Fenn 9-2017