Why I Love Norcrest Mermaids (And You Will Too!)

Vintage Norcrest Mermaids
Vintage Norcrest Mermaids

The Story Behind the Mermaids

There’s something special about Norcrest mermaids that sets them apart in the world of collectibles. I adore them for their craftsmanship, their adorable charm, and that vintage allure that’s simply irresistible. These ceramic treasures from the 1950s are more than just decorations; they’re tiny masterpieces capturing the whimsical beauty of mermaids. Let’s dive into why I’m obsessed with Norcrest mermaids, and why I think you’ll fall in love with them as well!

Norcrest Mermaid Lipstick Holder

The history of Norcrest mermaids is just as fascinating as the figures themselves. It all began with Hide Naito, a Japanese immigrant who founded a gift shop in Portland, Oregon, way back in 1921. Over time, that little shop grew into a huge wholesale operation. After World War II, Hide and his son Sam made a bold move: they shifted their focus to “Made in Japan” gifts, and that’s when Norcrest China Company was born (in 1958).

Norcrest quickly became a hit, known for its high-quality ceramics. Their mermaids, with their iconic designs, were stars of the collection, gracing bathrooms and powder rooms across America. Alongside these charming mermaids, Norcrest’s whimsical bluebird series and head vases were also beloved. I love that Norcrest became a household name – there’s something so special about owning a piece of that nostalgic history.

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1950s Lefton & Norcrest Bluebird Collectibles

I just love the adorable Lefton Bluebirds and the Norcrest Bluebirds. These 1950s Bluebird collectibles were all hand painted in Japan and still retain their original charm with their adorable faces, pink cheeks and flowers in their hair. These little fellows are sure to brighten any home and any kitchen!! While out and about this past weekend I came across these fantastic Lefton Bluebird and Norcrest Bluebirds. I hope when I leave next week for my Pacific Northwest vacation that I will come across some of these goodies!! The Bluebirds here can be found HERE.


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Sonoma Wine Country Flea Market & Antiques

It was a whirlwind of a weekend! Circumstances brought us to beautiful Sebastopol in Sonoma County with lush vineyards and gorgeous landscapes in Northern California. Once “business” was handled, we were able to drive around a little and enjoy the quaint town of Sebastopol. There must have been 5-7 Antique shops in this little town!! The locals are so friendly and you see many signs that say “natural”, “organic”, and “farm fresh”. We ate more whole wheat, grains, and organic veggies in one weekend then we have the entire time we have been in Texas! Texas is full of steak, Tex-Mex , and fried foods and you need to go and search for organic and healthy foods as they are not readily served in restaurants.

It was rather early in the morning as we were heading out and saw a “Flea Market” sign so I had my husband turn a sharp right into the parking lot. The flea market was just getting setup so there were not many vendors ready for business yet. We did see lots of fresh herbs and plants being sold as well as the usual flea market items of socks, shirts, and toys. It appeared the flea market was year-round and it looked like there was room for a lot of vendor booths/tables so it probably gets busy later in the morning.

As we were leaving Sebastopol to head into San Francisco we noticed one of the antique shops was just opening so we pulled into Windmill Antiques.  The owner was such a friendly lady from Louisiana and had been living in Sebastopol for 16 years. Her shop was cute; she had lots of collectibles, teacups, kitchen goodies, Pyrex, and miniature dollhouse furniture. She was so nice and let us go inside and shop early as her shop was not open for another hour. I bought a super cute vintage 1950s Norcrest poodle dog cotton ball holder that will look fabulous as part of a vintage vanity set.

Our day ended in Little Italy in San Francisco enjoying a cappuccino and cannoli!