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.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

If you know me at all, you know how much I love my china collection. I was so excited when I moved into my new house and discovered a little hallway closet perfect for storing some of my collection, and immediately filled it to the brim with five of my most collected patterns.

Apparently a little too full.

I didn't hear the crash so I have no idea when it happened, but sometime yesterday one of the built in shelves in my perfect little closet gave way and the shelf along with stacks of dishes fell onto the stacks of china resting on the shelf below.

Here are pictures of the carnage:

I am so disappointed. Lost was a Desert Rose gravy boat (the hand painted version that belonged to my husband's grandmother), several blue and white bowls that belonged to my mother, and a few bowls, dessert plates and a hard to find gravy boat in the Ever Yours pattern that is my absolute favorite. The Desert Rose divided bowl that also belonged to my husband's grandmother can be salvaged--there was only a small slice torn from the rim and luckily I found it in the dust and debris and can repair it. Thanks to an artifact conservation class I took in graduate school, I have some great experience with piecing broken things back together!

As I was sweeping up the mess, ready to toss all the jagged pieces in the trash can, I realized that maybe there is a bright side to this sad event. When we moved, I brought along with us an iron patio table base from our old patio set. It is in good shape, it just needs a new top. For a couple of years now, it has been my plan to mosaic a new top. Well, now it looks like I have some china pieces to work with! At least these special pieces won't end up in the dump.

Another positive: my children were with me when I discovered the breakage, so I had a wonderful opportunity to model a mature response to a sad little mishap. And to my credit, I did. We ended up having a meaningful conversation about disappointment and making lemonade out of lemons. And we reminded each other that it is just stuff, after all, even if it is stuff that is full of loving memories.

So once the weather warms up (IF the weather warms up???), watch for a Before & After featuring a shiny new mosaic patio table.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mini Thrift Haul

I left behind the dirty breakfast dishes and enjoyed some thrift therapy this morning. I really should have attended to my duties at home but sometimes the car just seems to switch over to auto pilot and lead me astray. Unfortunately, there were a number of pickers out today and the competition was fierce. No worries, though, I am up for the challenge!

I did find a few goodies, probably because my taste runs a little quirky and I enjoy collecting smaller items that probably don't have enough value to make it worth anyone else's time. I am especially excited about a couple of things I found that are just begging to be made over. It has been awhile since I've featured a "Before & After" on the blog and I can't wait to get started on these projects.

Here is my favorite find of the day:

I just love this piece! I am going to have so much fun turning it into a very special sketching kit for my artistic daughter. I would love to make it for her birthday, which is coming up in a few months. The piece is very solid and practical and if it turns out like I am imagining, she will absolutely treasure it.

Then, as I was perusing the small bag lots, I spied these pinecone Christmas candle clips. They are new, and look like they are unused. These will go nicely with my Scandinavian Christmas theme that I am working on for this coming winter. It's slowly coming together, folks; come next December, you will be reading my "Thrifted Scandinavian Christmas" post!

Another favorite is this vintage Last Supper puzzle. Am I a super geek if I admit I want to drop everything for the rest of the day and put this together?

Because I am a church geek as well as a puzzle geek, I've been desperate for some vintage brass altar candlesticks. Alas, buying a beautiful set in an antique store or on ebay is going to set me back more than I can afford right now. So, I picked up this trio of unique heavy brass candlesticks in hopes that I can doctor them up a bit to make them nice stand-ins for the real deal until I can find my perfect pair. I think they have promise, what do you think?

And what lovely things have you found lately? Can't wait to read all about them over at Sir Thrift a Lot.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A few good finds...

Here are a few miscellaneous things I've collected over the last few times I've been out in thriftland--sadly, I've not been out much lately so my haul may seem a bit skimpy. Must rectify soon!

Anyway, here is a little treasure that I found in the knick-knack aisle of my favorite thrift. I almost didn't open it. It was taped up and dirty...even after I've cleaned it up, as shown below, it doesn't look too exciting.

But inside, ah! I am a sucker for vintage sewing implements and this is so sweet. The cap of the needle box is a silver thimble.

Another one of my favorite scores is this vintage Fisher Price toaster oven toy. This one still has its label on the front and is in pristine condition, with a working light and all! Love this find.

This enamel tray is the most beautiful shade of pale pink.

And I can never resist bulk bags of craft supplies! I have no idea what I will do with these disks (mushroom tops? doll sized whoopie pies?) but I do know that whatever I come up with, I will be happy to have a big bowl full of them!

I do have a possibly brilliant idea for what to do with these spools below--but you will have to wait for the big reveal!

I must admit I didn't even know what I was buying when I scooped up these vintage paper party baskets in a grab bag of goodies. But I love them! They remind me so much of one of my favorite children's books:  A Birthday for Frances.

 And finally, one last treasure to share: vintage gift wrap!! And not just some, but loads of it!! Be still my heart.

 Linking up to Sir Thrift a Lot.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

At Long Last: A Thrift Outing

While I haven't been doing too much treasure hunting lately, I do have a few goodies to share. 

My family had this exact version of Pit when I was growing up. This game is in excellent condition and is such a classic. Do you remember the bright orange bell?

My little daughter is in love with this vintage Poochie paper doll playset. Poochie must have been way after my time because I don't remember her but she definitely has that retro look.

Most of my best finds seem to be in the game and toy department these days--I haven't seen too much of my favorite china and glassware patterns in awhile. But that's okay, I love the vintage playthings. Here are a few more...

The graphics on this Snow White game are beautiful, and all the pieces are there. I much prefer Snow White's look before she became a "Disney princess" and got all tarted up.

Here is an old version of one of my favorite childhood games--Battleship. I have fond memories of fighting over this game with my third grade classmates every time there was indoor recess!

I'm pretty sure that my family had this same set of Chinese Checkers. Unfortunately, this one is missing the metal bottom and lots of marbles, and is a bit dinged up to boot, but I still couldn't resist. I've hung old board games on the wall before, maybe this will meet the same fate.

I came across a stash of vintage puzzles one night and picked out this one to take home. You never know with old puzzles if you are going to get all the pieces, so I was hesitant to take a chance on all of them, but I loved the cover of this one so much that I was willing to take the risk. The pieces inside are a nice sturdy size and in very condition. I can't wait to try my hand at it--hopefully it will not be like the last puzzle I thrifted; that one I completed down to the very last piece only to discover it was missing.

This Happy Hoot Fun Desk is in very good condition if you overlook the decaying sponge eraser that is disintegrating throughout the box! I had to quarantine the whole kit and kaboodle until I can deep clean everything. In the meantime, I had to hide it because my two younger kids are pestering me to get their hands on it. But really, can you blame them?

I have a few more things to show you, but I'll save those for another day. It's been awhile but I'm linking up to Sir Thrift a Lot to show that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Thrift Spotlight: The Valentine Cat

Introducing a new series, Thrift Spotlight, where I will showcase favorite thrift finds from my collection and explain why they are meaningful to me.

One of the reasons that I comb thrift stores for treasures is to recapture precious memories, especially those that have been lost to time and advancing age. This week's spotlight item is a book from my childhood.

I picked up this book a couple of years ago at a thrift store. When I saw the title and the cover image, I remembered immediately that I had read the book as a child and I had such good feelings about it that although I didn't recall the story, I knew I had to bring it home for my children. I stashed it away waiting for Valentine's Day to roll around, but forgot about it until I came across it the other day tucked in among our valentine making supplies.

This book is a delightful and inspiring tale of a lonely and down-on-his-luck artist and a lost cat, and how they change each others lives forever. The teal, red, white, and black illustrations are just as wonderful as the story. My three children were entranced as I read this story aloud to them; I highly recommend it for a read-aloud session either at bedtime or at school.

I believe this book, originally published in 1959, is out of print but a quick search turned up a number of inexpensive used copies at Or you could always search the book section at your nearby thrift store!