Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Few "New" Old Things

Yes, I know it's been a while, but it is summer after all and I'm trying to pack as much as possible into every single day. Here in New England, the summer season is blissful but insanely short and already I find myself teetering on the brink of an anxiety attack just thinking about the winter ahead. It truly feels like we just put away our parkas.

And I've been busy with a few big things. Mainly trying to set up an Etsy shop to share some of the many lovely treasures I dig up but probably don't need to continue hoarding. Let me confess right off the bat that I had no idea how involved such an undertaking would be! At least to do it legally, that is. So, while I am definitely a lot closer to fulfilling that goal, I am not quite there yet. And truthfully, it may not happen until the kids get settled into the new school year. And that is OKAY.

Anyway, I've thrifted a few times but not with any regularity and I've been lazy about writing full blown blog posts about what I've uncovered. If you are interested in seeing some of my finds from this summer, you can follow me on Facebook--Anne's Pocket Finds. I do try to post pictures there more regularly, so definitely take a peek, but here is just a taste of what I've found in the last couple of months:


A vintage drafting table, in excellent structural condition. I spotted this table after picking my daughter up at camp, it was sitting out on the curb nearby. Unfortunately, I had parked far away due to a road repaving project and was not able to carry the table to my car, although I certainly considered trying for a few minutes (much to my daughter and her friend's utter embarrassment!). Lucky for me, it was still sitting there the next morning, and a nice gentleman helped me load it up. I was so happy, and even happier when I got home and researched my find. These tables go for a lot of money! However, like most of my favorite finds, this is not for sale. I already know just where it will go once I'm finished sprucing it up.


Of course, I'm still collecting vintage cookie cutters whenever I see them!


This Oxford stoneware water pitcher is a nice addition to my small but growing collection of this pattern. I love the lid!


And here is another of my very favorite finds from this summer. A group of Russel Wright American Modern dish ware, in chartreuse. My mother owned a set of Russel Wright Iroquois china in blue, and also the American Modern pitcher in chartreuse. I remember hating it so much when I was a child, I thought it was soooo ugly. But, of course now I love it. My sister has the pitcher now and I am lucky enough to have been given the Iroquois dishes. I use them just as my mother did, on Christmas Eve, Easter, and Thanksgiving.

So there is a small sampling of some of the highlights from my summer hauls. But one of my most favorite acquisitions is not a "find" but rather a lovely and generous gift.

Just the other day, a friend sent me a box full of the most beautiful vintage sewing trims and threads! And not only that, she enclosed a letter with the stories behind the trimmings. In the 1920s and '30s, her great-grandmother ran a little store out of her parlor selling fine linen, fabric, lace, trims, buttons and more. The vintage notions that she shared with me were left from that time.



She also sent along pictures of some of the quilts her great-grandmother had sewn and the stories behind them. And best of all, she sent them to me to actually use with my children! Normally, I hoard treasures this beautiful and pristine, so getting encouragement to use these in projects and not just tuck them away for that mythical rainy day is so wonderful. The only problem will be getting up the courage to make the first cut--even my daughter said, "Mom, it is going to be hard to use these up. They are so pretty!"



But use them up, we will. In fact, we have a couple of projects in mind already. And while snipping and stitching, we will think of "Baba" and her wonderful sewing shop. I think she'd like knowing that a new generation of young girls will enjoy sewing with her beautiful trimmings.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Before & After: Nightstand

I've been working on my girls' bedroom updates for quite some time now, hampered by cold and then rainy weather which prohibited me from getting outside to do some painting. But with blue skies and warm temps, I have run out of excuses!

My older daughter has chosen a navy, hot pink, white, and gold color scheme for her sophisticated pre-teen bedroom. So far, we've painted the walls, changed out the curtains, purchased a contemporary style desk and pull-out loveseat for sleepovers, added a few accessories, and moved all the "baby" stuff out. That alone was a great improvement, but there were still a few essentials missing. A nightstand, for one.

So I made this for her:


I have to admit, I'm kind of proud of this transformation. You see, this piece started out looking like this:


I originally purchased this secondhand for a couple of bucks, hoping that it would become a repository for the explosion of American Girl doll clothing and accessories that continually threaten to take over our home. Nope. So rather than haul it back to a thrift store, I decided to have a go at transforming it into a nightstand for my daughter.

I painted the body of the piece hot pink (it photographs a little "hotter" than it actually is--a camera upgrade is on the priority list as I have grown tired of constantly apologizing for my poor photos!) and the top is an antique gold.

I used some more of my favorite antique gold Rub n Buff on the new drawer pulls, which were leftover from another project. A little distressing makes them look well-loved.


And finally, to add a little more pizzazz, I "chevroned" (can that please be a word?) the drawers in matching hot pink.


Not bad for a $5 investment, huh? I'm going to share this at Finding Silver Pennies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Blue Ridge Pottery Finds & More

I treated myself to a whole day of treasure hunting yesterday, and it was just what the doctor ordered. I have been working so hard lately on a huge upcoming project (that I plan to reveal here next week--so excited!!) and it was nice to take a bit of a break while digging up some fun finds.

By far, my best score yesterday was this set of Blue Ridge Pottery dishes for my growing collection. This is a new pattern for me, and I had to look it up last night when I got home, but I think the pattern name is Bluebell Bouquet. One of the dinner plates has a chip and some very minor crazing, but the rest seem to be in near perfect condition. I finally pulled the trigger on a new china hutch after searching forever, and it should be arriving soon. I can't wait to tackle the overwhelming task of deciding which of my collections should be showcased in it! Luckily, I ordered a piece that has lots of glass front cabinets so that I can show off as much of my china as possible. And of course, I can always switch out patterns with the seasons, or whenever I feel like it.


I picked up this faux milk glass mirror for my daughter's room. It is similar in size and shape to the one that I picked up for my other daughter's room. That one, I removed the mirror and painted hot pink to go with her decor (I'm going to put her initial inside the opening), but this one I will keep as is. Room reveals are coming, I promise! There are still projects underway but lots of progress has been made.


I was delighted to find this set of mint condition BLUE Little House books! I had the yellow set growing up, and my daughter has the more recent plaid set, but I've always loved the blue ones.


Originally, I thought this next find was just a toy post office figurine. However, I discovered tiny drawers in the back--one for a roll of stamps and one with a miniature sponge inside to moisten the stamps. Remember lickable stamps on a roll?



I picked up this desk organizer for another before and after redo. These small projects are kind of my specialty. Maybe because I like the near instant gratification that comes when I complete them so quickly. Anyway, this one is slated to be bedazzled--stay tuned!


And the last find I will share today is this adorable red handled ice cream scoop I picked up. Perfect for summer ice cream parties, right? Linking up my mid-week treasures to Sir Thrift a Lot.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A Small Rummage Haul

A few days ago, I managed to steal a few moments to hit a church rummage sale. This particular sale is one of my favorites, but I must say, this time around the finds were fewer and farther between. I had fun and scored a few treasures, but let me put it this way: I didn't have to make two trips to the car or anything. (Always the sign of a great sale!)

Here's what I found: a precious vintage style baby's wool felt cap, with a label inside that states it is handcrafted by Canadian eskimos. A rather sweet find! Too bad my babies are too big to wear this darling little cap.


At the holiday table, I uncovered a ratty plastic bag with several vintage cookie cutters inside, yay!



These old fashioned paper cutouts were also hidden among the holiday treasures:



And I couldn't resist this old nativity scene with miscellaneous wisemen (but probably should have!):


I picked through an entire shoebox of uninteresting Christmas ornaments and came up with just one I wanted to take home:


The dishes and kitchenware table was woeful this year. All I found was this colorful vintage tin.


The toy table proved a little more rewarding. I found another old Monopoly game, with all the silver game pieces, houses, hotels and dice. Unfortunately, the board and paper pieces were musty and stained, but I really only wanted the hardware anyway. Nice find.


Someone had placed these vintage (c. 1980s) Wilton cake decorations among the toys, but I have a sharp eye and knew just what they were! 


And finally, I picked out these two pieces from the frame department. I have since removed the mirror from the scrolled piece and painted it a bright pink for my daughter's room. It looks so cute I am probably not going to replace the mirror--I bought a paper mache "C" at the crafts store and we are going to frame her initial instead. The second frame will probably be used in my own bedroom makeover...if I ever finish my children's rooms, that is!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Operation Cookie Cutter

You may know by now that I have a thing for vintage cookie cutters. A real big thing. I haven't counted lately, but I would not be surprised if I have over 200 in my collection. Possibly more. Yikes. Like I said, I have a thing.

Part of my "thing" is that I am trying to collect three sets of cutters, one for each of my kids. You see, when I was growing up, gathering with friends and family to bake and decorate a huge heap of frosted sugar cut-out cookies was a treasured Christmas tradition. I inherited all of my mother's cookie cutters, most of which date from the 1950s and 1960s. These shapes include the old standards of bell, Santa, reindeer, tree, and star, but also more obscure ones like a rooster, fish, crown, donkey, turkey, station wagon and hen. My goal is to collect as full of a set as I can for each child. And I've been fairly successful.

One day last fall, when I had nothing better to do, I laid out all my cookie cutters on the dining room table and matched them all up. I then counted how many I had of each design. The results were a little shocking! Who needs 9 stars?! Seven identical Christmas trees? Even this scientific proof of overkill did not dissuade me from collecting more, and I have continued to add to my collection, even when I know I shouldn't.


I found these cute tins on super clearance at Home Goods a few weeks ago, and now I have divided up two sets of cutters to be packed away in these tins, one for each of my girls. My son will also receive a set, but I decided to hold out for a tin that might be just a little more masculine. Not that he would mind now, but perhaps when he is in his 20s or 30s, he would appreciate something just a little less...well, pink.


I am working on creating a little booklet of family Christmas traditions--complete with some awesome vintage photographs, menus and recipes, and wonderful family stories. It is not at the top of my to-do list, but if it happens to get done anytime soon, I will be sure to share! Until then, I am just happy to have these cutters safely tucked away.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some of my new favorite things

This seems to happen to me frequently: I am having a bad day (or in this case, a bad couple of weeks), decide on the fly to drop by one of my favorite thrifts, and lo and behold, rare and wonderful treasures magically appear on the shelves and cheer me up beyond measure. Thrift therapy is so much cheaper than the "real" kind, probably more effective (at least for me), and definitely much healthier for me than my usual stand-bys of red wine and chocolate. Not that I haven't felt the need to indulge a little in those two mood enhancers as well...but, I digress. I am supposed to be talking about my new-found treasures.

So let's get to it. You know how I love collecting glassware and china, and you may have heard me grumble lately about not finding a lot of it in the shops recently. Well, check this out:


A lovely punch bowl with graceful glass ladle. Punch bowl sets are a dime a dozen in thrift stores, but most of them are a little fussy for my taste, and I was willing to wait until this elegant, streamlined version appeared.


The set came with twelve beautiful punch glasses, and the whole thing was quite reasonable. I am very excited for this set to make it's debut at my daughter's French themed birthday celebration later this spring.

I also found a pretty trifle bowl, which I had also been wanting, especially since a friend made a beautiful and delicious trifle for our New Year's Eve dinner. I can't believe I didn't already own one!

Another sure sign that things are looking up was that on another shelf I spotted a set of Harkerware dishes! They turned out to be a nearly complete cake set, in the teal Sur Pate Sur Cameo pattern. Originally, I believe this set came with 8 plates, a cake serving plate, and a ceramic cake server, but my set seems complete enough with the cake plate and six individual plates. Best of all is this teal color perfectly matches the Harkerware Corinthian dishes that I found a few months ago!


I also found this unique strawberry hard-sided handbag. Isn't the handle wonderful? And the clasp is amazing. I just love the cheeriness of the pattern, and the velvet lining in a rich crimson.


This Skyway train case caught my attention with its cute tasseled zipper pulls (that unfortunately are not visible in this photograph) and monogrammed initials that also spell out "etc." It is in very good condition and would be a great little storage piece for doll clothes or other trinkets.


The last find I can share is this fun oversized vintage mug. I thought it would be a super cute pencil holder for a donut lover, of whom I know several!


The Easter Bunny also found a few treasures to tuck inside some deserving children's baskets, and picked up a set of egg dyeing cups, which will certainly come in handy in a couple of days when we decorate our eggs. But most importantly, I managed to get my mind off my worries and focus on happier things. A very successful trip indeed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Back in the Saddle

One of the best things about the return of spring is the return of the church rummage sale! Last week, I made it to one of the first of the season around here. I arrived about half an hour before the doors opened, and joined a growing crowd outside. It was sprinkling and there were some complainers but overall, the mood was jovial and fun. I did what I thought was a good deed by giving the lady behind me one of my reusable bags that I had brought with me; she told me she had forgotten hers. She rewarded my small kindness by butting right in front of me when the doors opened! So much for paying it forward...

Inside, it looked like a smaller sale but I did extract some wonderful finds. I headed first for the housewares, but the pickins' were slim. I found one unopened package of vintage Hallmark party placemats hidden at the back of one of the tables, but that was about all.


In the seasonal department, I dug through a small box of Christmas ornaments and found this Annalee elf on a holly leaf ornament.


Next, I beelined it over to the games and toy section. Huge score there! I found five beautiful classic Parker Brothers games--Monopoly, Clue, Trade Winds, Sorry!, and Careers. Most are in excellent condition, with the worst of the lot just having a few tears on the corner of the box.

I also uncovered a mint condition Flintstones card game dating to 1961. So cute!


And a vintage compact chess and checkers game set, and another, older version of Pit.


I snagged a large ziploc with what looked like a wooden puzzle game of some sort with miscellaneous things mixed in. When I looked a little closer, I could tell it was one of those German wooden farm yard toys. I absolutely love these and this is probably my favorite find of the day. Sorry that I don't have a picture of this, but it was challenging to photograph and I gave up!

At the book table, I scored a few vintage children's books that had gorgeous illustrations.



I was not familiar with Pookie before that night but one look inside and I was in love.



When I returned home and looked online, I discovered that these British books have quite a following and first editions (of which I found one) can bring a pretty penny.

I also fell in love with this carol songbook from the 1930s. I put it down a couple of times but kept picking it back up. I hesitated only because I thought the books were slightly overpriced at this sale and I had limited cash on me. I am so glad I kept it. It is in excellent condition and the cover is divine. Nothing captures my fancy quite like art deco design flair.


As I waited to pay, I also lucked out and found a hardback edition of the book I am supposed to be reading for book club this month--yay! Sometimes, procrastination can be your friend.

All in all, a wonderful evening full of amazing treasures. Can't wait for the next one! Meanwhile, I'm linking up to Sir Thrift a Lot.