Bar Cart Corner and Matchbook Collection

I inherited the most interesting matchbook collection from my grandmother (my father’s mother). I had so much fun letting my fingers get stained with phosphorous while rifling through all of her matchbooks. It brought a smile to my face to put together in my mind a kind of travel journal, if you will, of many of the places my grandparents traveled together during the 40s and 50s in their youth. New York City, Virginia, Miami, New Orleans, and more… The Waldorf Astoria, The Peabody, The Biltmore… I know my grandparents couldn’t have afforded to stay any of these places, but they must have visited their bars and lobbies just for the thrill of it. What a rich story these modest matchbook covers told. There were also lots of local and regional examples from places of business long since gone. The Floridian Hotel, Luten’s (Quincy), The High Hat, Ben’s Black Cat Soda Fountain…


I decided to pick out the local ones and showcase them in the corner where my bar cart lives. I picked up a front-opening shadow box from Michael’s…


…and went about using sequin/bead pins (I used these because the pins are shorter) to affix each matchbook to the backing.

I also picked out a few of the vintage wine, beer, and liquor covers and put them in a separate small shadow box I picked up while thrifting.


Combined with my “When Life…” graphic poster, apothecary cabinet, and various vintage bar accessories, my little bar corner is just about complete.

In the details:

Thrifted:  collapsible rolling bar cart, graphic placemats, vintage cut-glass liquor/soda dispenser, milk-glass ice dish, glass candy dish, cocktail spear set and holder

Gifted:  unicorn wine opener, vintage “occupied Japan” ceramic devil-costumed children, black and white enamelware tray

Inherited:  jigger, plastic party picks set (in glass candy dish), red bull (this was my husband’s grandmother’s; I love it because when my ma-in-law offered it to me, I already had a larger version in black that lives on the adjacent mantel that I inherited from my same grandmother that collected the matchbooks)

DIY:  personal apothecary, “When Life Gives You…” graphic poster (I saw something similar online that I liked, but it was for a vodka tonic, and whisky is my poison of choice; so I created this one and had it printed.  I put it in a vintage frame that I picked up at an estate sale.)


I put a bunch more of the remaining interesting matchbooks in an oversized brandy sniffer that I thrifted, but I still have half a box that I’m not even displaying! More fun to be had later, I suppose…

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