Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mystery Project Revealed- Vintage Ashtray Stand Turned Candy and Nut Dish Stand

I showed a picture of a "mystery item" last post, and asked if you knew what it was. Did anyone know?  Here it is again...  It's a vintage ashtray stand!  I have a couple of them that I like to use as candy and nut dish stands.  I have been waiting for the weather to clear enough for me to get outside to re-paint it, and well, the weather didn't cooperate for me until today...I tried to get out yesterday- no rain, but it was a little windy for spraying paint.  

A History Lesson - Vintage Ashtray Stands

Tobacco smoking has been around for centuries, but cigarette smoking didn't become really "fashionable" until the twenties and forward in American homes.  After the Great Depression, furniture makers had trouble selling furniture because people could barely put food on their tables, so, many of them resorted to making small accent type pieces that slowly became affordable to common American families.  Smoke stands, magazine racks, shelves, and ashtray stands were among these small items.  Some were wood, while others were made of cast iron.  They always had a place for ashtrays; some had little places to rest a cigar or cigarette, and other accessories such as lighters and little covered dishes.  Some had rectangular spaces for a small box of matches.  

I am showing a couple of cast pieces that I've had a very long time.  The black one has been repainted over and over, but I've never painted the red and silver one.  The paint looks "too original" for me to cover...it has a great patina and look of age, so I like it just the way it is.  I have the original tin ashtrays for the black one, but they are stored away...I never use them.  I also have a glass one that came with the red and silver stand.  It's also stored away and would take me too long to put my hands on it.  I just wanted to share it as well so that you can see another style other than the one I'm working on today. Google "ashtray stands" to see a variety of photos.  

They are also wonderful pieces to use for organizing things in an office or studio.  Can't you picture it with paper clips?  Or, buttons?  Just use your imagination.  They can be easily found in antiques stores and online auction sites.

My ashtray stand gets a new coat of paint.

I used Valspar Satin New Avocado.

Prior to painting it (the first time!), I measured the two large holes and went shopping for small bowls.  I found several that would have worked at Old Time Pottery, but I settled on two simple clear glass custard cups that measured a little larger than the holes.  These were a perfect fit. They need to measure just a little larger than the openings, otherwise they will fall through!

I never use the two smaller holes for anything, but if they bother you being empty, I am showing some options that would work.  You can use seasonal silk flowers, or real flowers in little water vials, or glass doorknobs or......

I'm loving my newly painted candy and nut dish stand all over again!  

Base Detail

Spring really is coming...

While outside painting, I couldn't help but be distracted by the green that's showing up and the azaleas that are about to burst open!  

Can't wait for the grass to green up...but, I'm also aware of the fact that we still haven't cut our firewood for next season.  Sometimes, we just don't get it all done!

Something else to share...

Our oldest son, John Jr., and grandson, Austin, came by during my work to show us their catch for the day.  They spent the morning in the boat on the delta... just look at these HUGE catfish!  For reference, John is about 6'2".

Well, thanks for letting me share part of my Saturday with you.  I've enjoyed it!  See you next week when I make Soy Candles!



  1. Love the candy/nuts stand!! Like the door knob & flowers in the smaller holes! My guess was Umbrella stand!!

    1. It would make a great umbrella stand! Thanks for following and for your comment...Judy