Happy Easter From the Victorian Easter Chicks!

Move over Easter Bunny! You’re not the only game in town. During Victorian times Easter Chicks were very popular all over the world as these Victorian postcards attest to. These cards are highly collectible. Usually very pretty. Sometimes cute, sometimes funny, always charming.




We are closed on Easter Sunday so that our employees and all of our wonderful customers can enjoy their day with family and friends. Happy Easter from The Mercantile. And Happy Easter from the Easter Chicks!


Carol Fenn 3-2018

Let’s Go Bohemian ~ The Art of Boho Bliss

Right now, we’re going Boho! Hippie chic! Bohemian! Yes, it’s boho bliss!

Gypsy wagon

Think Rudolph Valentino.  Gypsy wagons.  Flowing rich fabrics of purple and orange.  Middle eastern hanging lamps, animal prints, candles. Comfy cushy chairs and sofas filled with comfy cushy pillows. And throw some of those pillows over there in the corner!

“I hope I make it to The Mercantile on time.” – Rudolph Valentino

Rules? There aren’t any. Bohemian is for those of us who disdain rules. Do whatever fills your heart with fun.

Slightly minimalist bohemian

Come on in to The Mercantile. Our current mashup, BEACH BLANKET BOHEMIAN BOARDS THE ORIENT EXPRESS, is filled with wonderful boho items that will assist you on your journey to bohemian bliss!


Carol Fenn 6-2018

Easter Bunny Photos – Charming to Terrifying!

 
Easter bunny photos can be so sweet. Pretty girls, cute kids, chocolate treats, even Debbie Reynolds! But then we get to the dark side. For some reason, sitting on the lap of a big scary rabbit has never quite caught on with the children.  

Debbie Reynolds

Pretty girl, Easter bunny. Sweet. Not scary. Yet.

A little odd. But cute.

While waiting his turn, the Easter bunny was plotting against Superman

The Little Rascals. Petey the dog says, “where are my bunny ears?”

“Just don’t look him in the eye and maybe he’ll go away”

“Mom?” “Dad?”

Mmmm … two delicious little children …

“Now one more time. Why is it that you enjoy terrifying little children?”

Uh oh! They’re multiplying … like … like … um … Like rabbits!

Mommy!

Mom!! He’s wearing my bib!

Drunk on the same fermented juice?

He’s giving this one a head start

If the bunny threatens you, just give us a thumbs up …

Bunnies love shoulder meat. It’s so tender.

Little Donald’s face froze like that

Mom. Dad. You’re kiddin’ me right?

Watch those paws Mr. Bunny

She’s gonna be hard to catch in those roller blades …

Happy Easter one and all!

Carol Fenn 4-2017

That Fantastic Rhinestone Cowboy Bling

“The Rhinestone Cowboy Tours The Southwest” is one of the many Mash-Ups appearing at Midtown Mercantile Merchants. Check-out the Cowgirl looks–sooo vintage!

Vintage cowgirls decked out

Mid 1900s cowgirl outfits

For well over 100 years and counting cowboys and cowgirls have loved “bling.” From the tips of their boots to the top of their hats they have used color, rhinestones and silver to garner attention.

Early cowboy spurs, including a pair of “Lady leg” spurs

The kids had fun with cowboy bling too!

Even their horses would be decked out in hand carved leather and chased silver, as you can see in this parade horse outfit.

In the mid twentieth century the famous Nudie came on the scene. Based in California’s San Fernando Valley, he made his famous “Nudie suits” for singing cowboys, singing cowgirls, rock groups, movie stars and any cowgirl or cowboy who could afford his work. Today his suits are sought after, worth a pile of money, and highly collectible. They’ve been recently re-discovered by today’s generation which is making them even more valuable and sought after.

Nudie here, Nudie there, Nudie everywhere!

Nudie, on the left.

Enjoy this walk down memory lane and come on into Midtown and take in some of our “Cowboy Bling!”

Roy Rogers, wearing Nudie

Carol Fenn 1-2019

Monterey Furniture “In Old Arizona”

Monterey Furniture refers to several distinctive furniture lines made from 1930 to the mid-1940s in California. It derived its character from Spanish revival style, the California missions and their furnishings, ranch furnishings, and cowboy accessories.  

 

Original Spanish revival, Barker Bros postcard

Monterey furniture

Mason Manufacturing Company, founded by Frank Mason, is credited with the original style. Other lines were made by Imperial Company, Angeles Furniture Company (the line called Coronado), Del Rey, Brown and Saltman, and even Sears (La Fiesta.). Original Mason Monterey stands out from these other lines with it’s superior quality and heavy hand wrought iron strapping.  

Monterey “prohibition” bar. The tile top slides forward revealing a hidden compartment.

Monterey by Mason came in just a few distinct finishes and in the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. The Mexican cartoonist Juan Intenoche headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain his whimsical designs. Donkeys, bucking horses and bulls, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other images are his trademark.

The whimsical art of Juan Intenoche.

 Mason branded most of their furniture with a horseshoe and the name, “Monterey,” though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding. 

Making and painting Monterey furniture c 1932

Hollywood, via Barker Brothers Furniture co., was influential in the original creation of Mason’s furniture line. Barker Brothers approached Frank Mason with the idea of creating a line of furniture based on furniture seen in an old (1929) cowboy movie, “In Old Arizona.” Spanish revival homes were being built all over Los Angeles and Barker Brothers, smartly, wanted a line of furniture that would complement the style of those homes. Hence the birth of Monterey furniture.

In The Midtown Mercantile Mall – main floor

Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall. 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ. You just might find some Monterey or Monterey style furniture!  


Carol Fenn 8-2018

The Garden Sanctuary

Due to the nature of my business, I get invited into a lot of Tucson yards. Often, in those yards, I’ll come across a small garden sanctuary. It can be very small, with just a single statue, or it can be more elaborate with a Madonna, other statuary, running water, plants, flowers, etc.  

No matter their size these sanctuaries always warm my heart. The shrine might be honoring a lost pet, a fellow human, religious devotion or Mother Nature.   


If you want to construct a sanctuary the Midtown Mercantile Mall is a good place to start. We have thousands of items to choose from and some of those items just might fit perfectly into your very own garden sanctuary.   

Come on in to The Mercantile. We’d love to help you get your sanctuary started.


Carol Fenn 5-2018

The Arizona Rough Riders

Rough Riders was the name given to the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, a response to the understaffing of the United States Army as a result of the American Civil War. A young Theodore Roosevelt was offered the command of this regiment to fight in the Spanish-American War. While Theodore desperately wanted to be part of the fight he was smart enough to realize that he did not have the necessary experience to command a combat regiment. He deferred command to his friend Col. Leonard Wood, a Medal of Honor winner from the Indian Wars, while he accepted a commission and second-in-command as a Lt. Colonel. 

Rough Riders

Arizona Rough Riders

 
 
The regiment’s number was 1200 volunteers. Of those 300 (25%) came from Arizona! The Rough Rider’s ranks included cowboys, indians, socialites, polo players and just average citizens who responded to the nation’s call to arms. The majority of its other members came from Texas, New Mexico and New York. One of the volunteers from Arizona was Bucky O’Neill.

Bucky O’Neill

In the late 1800s, the charismatic Bucky O’Neill, had travelled west to the Arizona territory. He started a newspaper, formed a posse to track down train robbers, became mayor of Prescott, AZ, and was generally full of adventure. During his time as mayor of Prescott, he volunteered to become a Rough Rider. 


Bucky O’Neill was the first to enlist and he put together all of the 300 Rough Riders from Arizona. He then set sail with Teddy Roosevelt to Cuba. Roosevelt wrote endearingly about O’Neill’s character, recounting how O’Neill was the only man to dive into the sea when two black soldiers fell overboard. Shortly afterward, Roosevelt would be devastated when the 38-year-old captain was killed in the battle of San Juan Hill. Upon O’Neill’s young death, Theodore Roosevelt wrote this about him:

Statue of Bucky O’Neill

“The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. O’Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover—a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, ‘The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted.’ As O’Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, ‘Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you.’ O’Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, ‘Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn’t made that will kill me.’ A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.”

If you would like to read more about Bucky O’Neill and the Arizona Rough Riders there is a wonderful book, “The Arizona Rough Riders,” written by a Tucson man, Charles (Charlie) Herner. The book is in your local library and is also available on Amazon. 


Carol Fenn 5-2018

 

Hollywood Regency Comes To Midtown

First making its appearance in the 1930s, Hollywood Regency is marked by over the top glam. It was inspired by Hollywood’s Golden Era, as actors and actresses seized the opportunity to make their homes reflections of their fashionable lifestyles. Similar to Art Deco, Hollywood Regency is a much more eclectic style. It was used by interior designers who strove to create theatrical environments. The style was refined by interior designers like Dorothy Draper and William Haines. 


There’s never a dull moment with Hollywood Regency. Bold colors take over while simultaneously maintaining a sense of balance. In other words, color, but only one or two choices. Some color favorites include turquoise, yellow and orange. And don’t forget the base of black and white or gray. Metallic accents and mirrored furniture add to the fun. Hollywood Regency is also characterized by an element of fantasy, through things like palm fronds, Italian pottery, bamboo, animal prints and big bold figurines.  


The delicate designs of Chinoiserie can add to the exotic atmosphere. Commonly used Chinoiserie elements included scenic screens and pagoda-style mirrors, chandeliers, cocktail bars, chests, etc. 

Sputnik chandeliers are more commonly associated with Mid-Century Modern, but these so-called “permanent fireworks” were also used to make a glamorous statement in Hollywood Regency interiors. 


Come into Midtown for our own take on Hollywood Regency mixed with Halloween decor – “Hollywood Regency vs. The Monster Mash” – starts on August 29, 2019.


Carol Fenn, 8-23-2019

Those Funny Valentines!

Not surprisingly, it was a Frenchman who committed the earliest surviving Valentine’s greeting to paper. While imprisoned in the Tower of London following the 1415 battle of Agincourt, the Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife:”Je suis desja d’amour tanné

Ma tres doulce Valentinée”

This translates roughly as, “I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine.” This remarkable letter survives in the manuscript collections of the British Library.
Now let’s move forward a few hundred years to circa 1960 and we enter the world of the funny, corny, inexpensive mid twentieth century Valentine. Now if you are, ahem, of a certain age, you remember these. Bought by your mother in a huge pack at the five and dime you gave one to every kid in your class.  



Surprisingly creepy cats




Enjoy this walk down memory lane if you remember these. If you’re too young to remember, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too! And they’re also tons of fun to collect!  


Carol Fenn 2-2019

The GLORIOUS Variety of Sterling Silver Serving Pieces

Forks, knives, spoons. Flatware. Sterling silver flatware. Pretty straight forward right? Well, hold on there Sunshine! Don’t forget about the serving pieces. Yes, that’s right, the antique and vintage sterling silver serving pieces. There is absolutely nothing straight forward about them!  


Bon Bon spoon and angel food cake fork


One hundred years ago there was a serving piece for just about everything. Tomato slices, asparagus, bacon, lemons, angel food cake, pickles, sardines, ice cream, oysters, baked potatoes, toast, butter, berries, chocolate bon bons, etc. etc. 

The variety is endless. So many ways to serve seafood, for example. And “ice cream forks!” Check out the old catalog pages I’m sharing with you. Who even knew about ice cream forks … and who would think there would be so many choices! Now wouldn’t that be a fun thing to collect! 

Today, we have discovered that we can use grandma’s serving spoon for just about everything. Oh heavens! But that’s ok. Many folks still appreciate the old sterling silver serving pieces. They’re highly collectible and some sell for hundreds of dollars.  

Here at Midtown you just might find some of these classics. Start your search in our French country kitchen and move on from there. Then when you find one or more of these wonderful pieces of history, pull out your linen tablecloth and your fine china and throw a dinner party!  

Carol Fenn 1-2019