antique pastry cutter & nutcracker

by | Sep 1, 2021 | Antiques, Favorite Finds | 6 comments

I am going to share more about the basement makeover this week (including sharing about painting the trim and light switches), but I thought I would share a couple more of my finds from Gold Rush Days today – an antique pastry cutter and a nutcracker with bone handles.

Both of these finds were ones that I spotted early in the day, but did jump at right away.  Neither the antique pastry cutter nor the nutcracker were on my list, they weren’t things I *needed*, and they were both priced a little on the higher side.  So, I admired them and kept looking.  As I was shopping the rest of the market, though, I kept thinking about those two pieces.  I wondered if someone else bought them or if they would still be there.  I imagined them in my house.

I’ve learned when antique shopping (or shopping for anything) to give myself that time to ponder the things I like, but I’m not 100% on buying.  Yes, I do risk the chance of losing the item to someone else, but then it was not meant to be.  Most of the time, I forget about the piece as I get excited about other finds.  If I keep thinking about it, then I know it’s a winner and something I want to circle back and purchase.  Such was the case with the antique pastry cutter and nutcracker.

antique pastry cutters | miss mustard seed

I bought a small antique pastry cutter when I went shopping in PA last spring.  (You can see more of my finds from that antique shopping trip and how I cleaned them HERE.)  It’s not that I’m into pastry cutters or becoming an antique pastry cutter collector, but there was something about the craftsmanship of each piece that spoke to me.  In the case of the one I purchased in PA, it had a cutting wheel that was delicately carved out of bone.  In the case of this antique pastry butter, it had a beautiful blue and white ceramic cutting wheel.

antique pastry cutter with ceramic wheel | miss mustard seed

The patina on the handle is also gorgeous.  I love when old wood just glows with age.  It’s a look that can only be manufactured by time.

I put this antique pastry cutter in a crock in my kitchen along with the one I purchased in PA.  I will actually use them when I make apple pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  (You can find my no-fail apple pie recipe HERE.)

antique pastry cutter with ceramic wheel | miss mustard seed

The other purchase “spoke” to me in a similar way as the antique pastry cutter did.  I couldn’t really articulate why it stuck in my head, but I kept thinking about it.  It took me about three laps around the tables where I initially spotted it to find it again, but I finally did.  I picked up the nutcracker again and loved it even more upon my second inspection.  It’s very heavy for its size (almost always a sign of quality materials) and the bone handles felt smooth in my hand.  My friend Julia of Ponder & Purchase pointed out that pieces like this are “tactile.”  They just feel good and sturdy when you hold them.  You almost want to pick them up even when you’re not using them, just to delight your senses.  That is definitely the case with this antique nutcracker.

antique nutcracker with bone handles | miss mustard seed

I almost didn’t get to buy it, though!  It was at the end of two days of shopping for antiques, so I didn’t have very much cash left in my wallet.  The sign taped above the vendor’s table stated they accepted credit cards, PayPal, and other forms of electronic payment, but the gentleman manning the counter didn’t know how to process any of those transactions.  The nutcracker was priced at $40.  I dug through my wallet to see how much I had.  $32 was it.  “Would you take $32 for it?”  He countered with $36.  I fanned out my cash and shrugged my shoulders.  “This is all of the cash I have.”

He looked around nervously like he might get in trouble.  “Well, okay.”

I doubted anyone would get in trouble over $8.00, especially for a cash payment, so I handed him the cash and tucked the nutcracker in my backpack.

antique nutcracker with bone handles | miss mustard seed

I’ve shared before that my Oma always had a bowl of nuts sitting out on her coffee table with a nutcracker sitting on top.  I almost always sat at that coffee table and cracked at least just one nut to eat.  It wasn’t that I loved walnuts or pecans right out of the shell (they are usually better roasted and seasoned), but there was something inviting about that bowl of nuts.  I enjoyed the process of cracking open the nut and picking out the edible bits.  It was a tactile experience.

I’ve noticed as I’ve had a bowl of nuts sitting out over the years that kids seem to gravitate towards it.  They almost always look over to me, silently asking for permission.  Go for it!

The nut bowl had to take a little hiatus when we first brought the kitties home.  Esmé, specifically, would bat nuts out of the bowl and then Sebastian would eat them, leaving shells deposited all over the carpet!  The nut bowl made a return once she grew out of that and I was glad for it.  It’s a small thing that makes our house feel like home.

If you feel the same pull to these items, I sourced some antique pastry cutters and nutcrackers on Etsy for you!  I found some bone pastry cutters almost identical to mine.  I was even tempted by some of the nutcrackers – brass birds, craved wood, cast iron squirrels, there are so many interesting ones that would make great gifts…



  1. Kristine Puzel

    The pastry cutter is beautiful…I have never seen one a ceramic roller. The nutcracker is equally unique and special. I loved your story about having a basket of nuts out. My mother did the same around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I frequently would crack a nut (filberts were my favorite_) and use the accompanying silver pick to remove all the nut. We had sterling silver nutcrackers and picks, courtesy of my great-grandmother. Thank you for sharing your story that inspires such a great memory !

  2. Roberta Cordell

    Both pieces are beautiful. One of my many treasures passed down in my family is my Grandmother’s nut cracker, it is shaped just like yours but the handles are metal. We can’t leave nuts out at our house because of one granddaughters severe allergies. Thank you for sharing your beautiful finds.

  3. jenw

    I have a heavy cast iron nutcracker shaped like a standing dog. It has a flat base and is very sturdy. In our family we refer to it as “the doggy doorstop” even though it’s a nutcracker because that’s how my grandparents used it for years when we were growing up. I’m glad to have it in my home, even if we don’t use it to crack nuts!

    My grandma (on the other side) usually had a bowl of mixed nuts out with a plain cracker. It was always a little treasure hunt to see if we could find our favorites. Mine were (and are) Brazil nuts! Such a satisfying crunch!

  4. Jean

    My farther recently passed away, at 90, and one small thing I associated with him was cracking nuts. I now have the early 1950’s nut bowl, nut cracker and picks that graced my parents dining room table every winter. The bowl looks like it was made from a slice of a log, with a heavy bark exterior. You can be sure it will be on a table in my house every winter henceforth, reminding me of Dad.

  5. VICKI

    I always have a bowl of mixed nuts with a nutcracker and nut picker sitting out in the fall and winter months. I don’t eat many but I do enjoy the process of cracking the nut and picking the meat out. I have a vintage nutcracker but nothing as lovely as your antique one. It was my mother’s so it is still very special to me.

  6. drift boss

    I appreciate the effort you took to write it. Please make more posts like this I will continue to support you. Thank you for sharing this post


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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