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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Top Ten Pocket Finds - 2013 Edition

This year was filled with great finds. It's so hard to pick my top ten! I did narrow the list down to include only vintage pieces, with the one exception being an item that is vintage-inspired. These are not at all the most valuable things I found this year, or even the most desirable in the vintage marketplace, but they are all things that are meaningful to me and every single piece on the list is something that I will keep forever. In roughly ascending order of importance, here they are:

1. Parties for Children book

The cover alone is to-die-for but this book is in pristine condition and chock full of very usable ideas for parties. I have already referred to this book a number of times while planning my children's birthday parties as well as classroom celebrations in my role as room parent. I am a big fan of simple and wholesome party activities, and the ideas in this book are both, as well as being loads of fun for kids.

2. Poodle bookends

These bookends are not vintage but rather vintage-inspired. Originally available at Anthropologie, I found these at a thrift store over the summer and fell hard. When I first posted this find, I mentioned that I secretly covet a french poodle for a pet and boy, did I ever receive a reader backlash from that statement! There is no risk of me having my poodle dream come true in the near future, so for now, I will have to content myself with my poodle bookends and I am quite happy to do so.

 3. Golden Ceramic Christmas Tree

I never realized I wanted one of these until I saw this sitting there on the thrift store shelf in all its golden glory. I was a little nervous about bringing it home but when I apologetically presented my find to my husband he surprised me by saying he loved it because it reminded him of one that his grandma used to have.

4. Silver plate serving pieces

I found these pieces at a small church thrift store for practically nothing. I immediately scooped them up because I knew I would get loads of use out of them, and the pie servers remind me of one my mother had. I think they are just lovely and I do use them all the time. Side note: none of these pieces have much wear or tarnish, it's just my poor photography once more rearing its head.

5. Agate Necklace

This agate and mother of pearl necklace is one of my favorite finds ever. I love wearing it and always receive compliments when I do. And I love the feel of the flat, cool smooth-as-glass stones. Definitely a keeper piece!

6. Brown-to-Blue Ottoman

This one makes my list because I love the transformation from drab and dated to cool and contemporary.

7. Moss Rose Blue Ridge Pottery dishes

This is the year I officially became a Blue Ridge pottery collector. Before now, I had always resisted it when I stumbled upon it. I try not to add new patterns to my already sizable collecting scope, but how could I resist? This pattern is so perfectly me. I love the simplicity, the neutral colors, the name of the pattern...everything about it. Blue Ridge pottery tends to be either really showy or very simple, and as I prefer the simple patterns this will hopefully keep my acquisitions in check.

8. Nativity Set

Did I need another Nativity set? Uh...undoubtedly not need, considering I have a collection of at least six full sets, at least ten vintage Shiny Brite plastic ones of various sizes, and countless stray figures waiting to be reunited with the rest of their people once I find them. However, I did not yet have a stable, so when I scored this set by stalking the stockist putting out new merchandise at my favorite thrift store, I was overjoyed. I put it on display in my foyer and everyone who steps inside my home is touched by it and stops to take a closer look. 

9. vintage cookie cutters, collection

 What can I say? I can't resist them. This year I was also lucky enough to find a teeny tiny set of miniature ones that match my full-size ones.

As well as a large addition to my vintage red plastic collection. 

 And even more exciting, some of the coppery colored ones, in absolutely mint condition.

10. vintage ornaments, collection

It's incredibly hard to decide whether I love my ornaments or my cookie cutters more, so really, these last two are a tie. But these vintage ornaments just make me so, so happy. For the past two years, I have had enough ornaments to decorate a large tree exclusively with vintage ornaments. Actually, our second tree is usually at least half full of vintage ornaments, too, but ornaments of a different type--the cute little wooden variety, usually. I like those too, but the fragile glass balls are my favorite.


So there you have it, ten of my favorite finds of 2013. I hope to have many, many more to share with you in 2014. Thank you for following along with me this past year and I wish each of you a very happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Latest Finds

Again, it's been awhile since my last post and I have found a few treasures since then so an update is in order.

I love thrifting this time of year because all the stores are swimming in Christmas merchandise. Of course, you do need to dig through a lot of less desirable stuff in order to find what you're hoping for, but that does not dissuade me. Here are some of my latest finds:

I'll start with my favorite of the bunch, a lovely, nearly complete Nativity set. The baby Jesus is not the one that goes with the rest of the set, one of the sheep is missing, and the other has a broken leg, but I can live with those small flaws while I search for their replacements.

More vintage ornaments! I especially like the red "Christmas Greetings" ornament, although I can never have too many striped ones.

Another set of Swedish angel chimes. I haven't pulled these out of the box to see if the set is complete, but I really bought them only for the angels themselves. Inspired by a Pinterest image of a lovely Advent wreath that incorporated the angels, and I'd like to try to create my own version next year. I also think they might work as ornaments on my tabletop Victorian Christmas tree.

These two ceramic houses. Not really sure that they are vintage, but I thought they had a vintage look and could be incorporated into a charming winter display.

This funny little Christmas scene. This was still sealed in the box, so all I could see was the tip of the sweet little bottle brush tree. While this will never be a focal point of my Christmas decorating, my kids think its cute and it dresses up a small tucked away windowsill in my house.

And then I found some lovely things for entertaining. I was lucky to find a set of six vintage etched glass compotes that are simple but stunning. (Also hard to photograph! This picture does not do them justice.) I already have a very sentimental set of twelve vintage compotes that belonged to my grandmother but I am terrified of using them around my children. These compotes are just as beautiful as my grandmother's, but if one or two breaks I won't need to seek counseling.

And then a very simple small serving platter from Crate and Barrel. I have a few pieces that coordinate with this plate, and I know its one of those things I will reach for over and over. Side note: these pomanders are from the third grade class party that I coordinated last week and were a very easy project and a huge hit with all the kids. Highly recommend to any room parents out there who might need to keep an eye out for easy, low-cost, and entertaining kids' crafts. Of course, you needn't be a room parent to enjoy making these with your children.

There are a few other finds, but I'll hold off and post about them later. I'm also working on a Top Ten Finds of 2013 post, where I'll review a few of my favorite vintage things that I've found in the last twelve months. Not sure there is any more thrifting to be done before I call it a year, but I'll hold off posting that recap until New Year's just the same. Linking this one up to Sir Thrift a Lot and headed over there now to see what everyone else has picked up lately.