In case you missed our social media posts, Fair Oaks Antiques (that’s us!) has had a busy day in the media today!

First, the wifey was quoted in an Inforum story about Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market, aka “The FARM,” entering its fifth year of business and branching out with events.

Deanna Dahlsad, a vendor who also co-hosts the Trash Or Treasure appraisal events, is excited by the expansion of events calendar.

“After 30-plus years in this business, it’s refreshing to find an antique mall that really gets what it’s all about,” Dahlsad said. “Antiquing or junking is more than a pure materialistic act; it’s about more than the objects themselves. This is about the creativity of self-expression, the preservation of history, the passion of collecting, green living, and so much more. These events are very exciting to me because they bring more opportunities to connect with our “FARM” friends, with like-minded folks.”

Then, at 8pm in the evening, the wifey was live on Night Time Live with Bob Harris (on The Mighty KFGO). She and local North Dakota author Alicia Underlee Nelson, of Prairie Style File, were talking with Bob about the New Year’s Old Beers event at the Farm -check it out!

Oh, yeah, and the aforementioned Trash Or Treasure appraisal fair events are back! Details on the latest one can be found here & you can secure your spot here.

See you at the Farm!

New Year's Old Beers Fargo Event

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‘Tis the season for spirit bottles!

spirit-bottles-halloween-fargo-antiques

Our spirit bottles are made from old glass bottles dug up from the ground. As such, these vintage & antique bottles have imperfections. We’ve added some magic to them, and used them to entrap evil spirits — then sealed them in with wax. Each bottle has its own spirit, complete with paper label. Artful creepy fun to display, excellent conversation pieces, and worthy of storytelling…

We’ve brought some into our spaces at the Southwest Fargo location of Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market (F.A.R.M.), but if you can’t stop by that shop, we have some spirit bottles in our repurposed Etsy shop!

We’ve sold some already at Etsy this season, and the buyer, Pete, actually tested them with an EMF reader, just like they do on Ghost Hunters! The results may surprise you… They sure surprised us! We’re sharing Pete’s story and photos with his permission:

Wanted to show you something.
I placed an EMF meter against bottle. Nothing at first, then meter goes crazy — then back to normal. Its done it again since typing this.
Sometimes a idea or thought or meme becomes real.
That’s cool with me lol.

spirit-bottle-emf-pete

emf-spirit-bottles

Naturally, we can’t guarantee such super — or, should we say supernatural — results. But it is a spooky possibility!

More vintage & antique Halloween decorating ideas from our space at F.A.R.M.

fairoaksantique-halloween

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There are many stories and legends about trapping spirits or imps in bottles, and they are especially fun to make and display at holiday time.

wax sealed spirit bottle fair oaks antiques

When you see these, you may be tempted to not even clean out your fresh-from-the-dirt bottles — but remember, there may be dead mice and far worse hiding in them. So clean and disinfect them first! (For heaven’s sake, at least disinfect the outsides!)

vintage antique glass bottles dug from dirt making spirit bottles

Making spirit bottles is a lot easier than cleaning them. The hardest part is finding and/or cutting corks to fit the bottles and then sealing them tight with sealing wax. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here…

If your bottle is stained or streaked from its long dirt nap, you may wish to do nothing else but cork and seal them. But if you want them to look more spooky, you can put bits and bobs in there that look a bit creepy… Found natural objects, like seeds, leaves, and feathers work. And you can add bits of moss, sting, and the like as well. Not to give too many of my secrets away, but you can pull apart some strings to make wispy webs — and I like to toss in a bit of flour and other bits to make some dust and things stick to the webs. You don’t need to add much of anything really. The simple “what is that” factor behind some cloudy glass in a distinctive bottle has a large effect.

Now you need to seal the evil spirits inside the bottles. For bottles without any caps or lids, I use cork stoppers. And I like to smudge the corks up a bit to make them look older and creepier. It’s easy to do this by rubbing the corks on newspaper. Given the random range of bottle sizes, you’ll likely need to cut or chop some cork pieces to fit. That’s OK, because they look old that way too.

corks spirit bottles

Whether you have cork stoppers or the original caps n the bottles, you’ll need to really make sure the spirits remain trapped in the bottles. For this, we used sealing wax. We opted for red and gold, but you can pick whatever colors you think work best. If you are doing this with children, adults should do this part — and carefully! Hot wax burns! (One note here, the gold colored sealing wax was more temperamental to work with.)

derek dripping sealing wax on spirit bottles

Once the bottles are sealed and the wax cooled, use twine to tie on some paper labels. We used slips of old paper from a sadly-too-damaged “lost” antique book to make labels, writing names for witches, demons, and diseases in German, Russian, and French! For finishing touches, I pulled strands of the twine part to have older looking strings. And we rumpled the edges of the paper tags too.

making spirit bottles

For the antique shop, I made a large display of the spirit bottles, hand-painting warning signs on more of the antique wooden shingles. We set down a vintage black hat and a few more seasonal items to create a little Halloween vignette. If you don’t want to make any spirit bottles yourself, you can come buy some at the antique shop — or contact us. We will ship! UPDATE: You can now find the spirit bottles and signs in our sister shop, LunaTiques!

spirit bottle display fair oaks antiques exit 55spooky halloween spirit bottles how to danger spirit bottles do not open

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Just some of the old brown glass milk bottles we have available for sale.

vintage borden's and devine's dairy brown glass milk bottles

Like beer bottles, these bottles were made of brown or amber glass to protect the contents from the deterioration of sunlight.

vintage brown glass milk bottle

Glass milk bottles are not too common; and these amber ones are even more rare. They have neat old dairy advertising too.

Currently, the collection of these (and many other glass bottles) is at Antiques On Broadway.

vintage glass milk bottles advertisng collectibles

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Sometimes I fall in love with things — to the point of obsession, or, as the hubby would say, to the point of stupidity. *wink* Today’s example is an old preserves jar.

vintage old manse preserves bottle jar

I knew that whatever was in this old glass jar was not a “good thing,” but somehow the metallic silver tone still sparkled and beckoned from behind the decorative molded glass. Look how the caramel-colored whatever-it-is seemed to flow along the inside of the smooth art deco lines! And who doesn’t love the dear Old Manse paper label on the front?! So I snapped it up.

old manse jar bottle before

But as soon as we got it to the van — and I do mean that it literally began after I bought it and brought it to the van — something really funky happened…

There was a strong odor — like that of gasoline. And there was some icky-sticky stuff beginning to bubble and ooze from a tiny rotted puncture in the jar’s lid…

leaking lid on vintage preserves bottle

Hubby once again admonished the purchase, saying we should toss it out in the garbage. As if! I was too smitten.

So I took the old glass jar home and proceeded to clean it out.

First, I tried to remove the lid. But it was firmly adhered to the red rubber seal — and the red rubber seal to the glass. So I proceeded to gently but firmly tear along the rotting edge of the jar’s lid with an old house key. Just a bit a first, so I could pour out the stinking liquid. It didn’t drain this old bottle as much as I’d thought. Thinking the more solid pieces were preventing proper drainage, I went back to continuing to tear at the old lid. It was pretty soft with the rot, but when I hit an area which was too tough I did enlist the husband’s help to finish prying the lid top all the way off. Eventually we effectively scalped it, leaving the red rubber seal and rim of the lid intact. This fully released the Kraken of smell. Ugh.

removing the stuck lid on the preserves jar

pried zinc lid off old jar

There still was not a lot of liquid to pour out. In fact, most of the whateveritwas was as stubborn and stuck to the glass as the seal and lid.

Given the approximate 2 and 1/2 inch opening of the jar, I had to be careful working with the ripped-off lid and what remained of the rough, sharp edges. We used a pliers to peel off sections of the old zinc lid and rubber seal.

Next, I had to try several different things to try to dislodge the gunk. I tried a pair of tongs, but whatever was in the center was as strong as a human tongue — and had roughly the same texture. Only it, and the entire jar, was covered in that metallic silver stuff too. Silver stuff that just didn’t scrape off. Not even with the business end of a steak knife.

I stabbed a few holes and slits in the center “tongue” and filled the jar with a mixture of bleach & water and let it sit. Several hours later, no change; so I repeated filling the jar with bleach water and let it sit over night.

Still nothing budged.

While hubby and I had initially thought that was that this was just a bottle of rotting preserves, the silver stuff a result of some sort of rotting chemical reaction with the old zinc jar lid; but after a few attempts to dislodge the stuff it became clear this was unlike anything I (or you!) could imagine.

I turned to the Internet.

Eventually, I came across the BLM/SHA Historic Glass Bottle ID & Information Website. I figured that among all the archaeologists and collectors of old glass bottles someone must have run into whatever it was I was stuck with. There were no articles or advice to be found on the subject of cleaning old bottles; so I sent an email, crossed my fingers, and waited. I didn’t have to wait long for a response. Bill Lindsey was quick to reply. Unfortunately, Lindsey had “no ideas at all” on how to clean this Old Manse jar. “Sorry,” he wrote, “I’m into the bottles and their history, not the contents very much.”

Well, I too was not so much interested in the smelly gunk as I was the old glass bottle. But, unfortunately, this was a mess I had to deal with — if I wanted to salvage the bottle. And I did!

Over the next few days, I continued to literally chip & tear away at the physical problem.

What makes this vintage glass jar or bottle so beautiful is exactly what makes it so hard to clean! The art deco lines, the rounded shoulders, the way the glass bottle narrows to the bottom — these were all difficult to clean. I sat for hours, wedging my hand into the mouth of the jar, carefully chipping, scraping, tearing, and cutting at the stuff inside. I used steak knives, tongs, and an old bread knife. (The bread knife, while it unable to cut anything anymore, had a long, slightly curved blade with a wide, rounded, blunt end which could reach areas of the molded class that other things could not). I alternated between the “tools” and using the “tools” to employ the power of Chore Boy scrubbers by leveraging the scrubbing pads into the glass. And, boy, were my hands sore from all the unusual dexterity! I had a very small space to work in, to apply pressure in, while my other hand held the bottle securely. In between scraping sessions, there were soaking sessions too. I made progress. But it was far from clean.

At this point, hubby was convinced that what was in this old glass bottle was old model paint. That would explain the large quantities of metallic silver, if not the hard waxy stuff. So I began to apply mineral spirits. It helped. But it sure was not the quick fix one hoped for, not even after I had manged to tear-out, chunk by chunk, that thing I called “the tongue”.

removed clumps of the tounge of junk in jar

I continued to alternate scraping with soaks and rinses. Not only using the mineral spirits, but with other cleaning products (including dish soap, standard kitchen spray cleaners, and CLR), and, of course, lots of hot water. Often I would fill the bottle about half-way with my fluid of choice and, with my hand over the mouth of the bottle, swish and swirl the liquid around. Sometimes I left the Chore Boy in for a bit more help. I hoped. It may surprise you, but that swishing actually did break off some of the stuff that lay at the bottom of the jar (in the crease where the bottom joined the sides of the jar was especially hard to fiddle any “tool” into).

cleaning old preserves jar bottle

stuff in bottom of old glass bottle jar

Oelerich & Berry Co Chicago bottle

All the chemicals aggravated my skin, of course; but I didn’t trust gloves to hold the glass securely. And there was no way I was going to break this jar! Not after all of this! Plus, I had to do all this while trying to preserve the old paper label.

When I took much-needed breaks, I corresponded with Lindsey about my thoughts on dating the glass preserves jar. (Details of that are here.)

Eventually, bit by stinking bit, I did get the jar clean. Probably not clean enough to preserve any food in, mind you; but good enough to meet collector standards. And without any chips to the glass itself, and minimal wear on that beautiful label. Isn’t she a beauty?! I just knew she would be!

vintage Oelerich & Berry Co Old Manse bottle

Now, the only question hubby has for me is, am I going to sell it? UPDATE: I am selling it here.

old preserves bottle before after

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