Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Thrifted Christmas, Part I

With the passage of Christmas Day, it is safe now to share with you a few of the special thrifted treasures that I gave away as gifts. But before I begin, I must make a disclaimer: I do not give thrifted presents to those whom I feel (or know!) would not appreciate a secondhand gift. As I hope is clear by now, I do not thrift out of cheapness, but thoughtfulness and with great care, and hopefully those who receive these gifts understand this.

My sister and her husband were here to share Christmas with us this year, and that was the best gift of all. They have two dachshunds who did not make the journey, but who live large in the memories of my not-at-all-dog-loving children. Of course we had to give them a gift! This frame was just perfect because it has spots for two photos, one for each dog.

This little book was also given as a gift, but the recipient will remain anonymous in order to protect their privacy. Obviously, it was a fun little family joke and much hilarity ensued as we perused the table of contents, which included the likes of "Deja Poo" and "Hanging Chad."

Not long after I picked it up, a friend shared with me that she had found the same little book at a trendy Philly boutique. See, this alone is proof that you can find real gems at thrift shops! (And yes, in case you are concerned, I cleaned this book with bleach water before gifting never knows if the original owner put it to good use but I am always careful with cleaning my finds and took particular care with this one!)

My daughter received this cursive letter board, which I found in like-new condition at a stop on my road trip last month. She has been teaching herself cursive handwriting, and was very excited to have this to guide her self-study.

I also want to share a small gift that my daughter made for two very special people in her life. It is an apple cozy, made with thrifted red fleece and green felt. We found the instructions for making this adorable and useful gift in Family Fun magazine. You can find the directions here. I thought it was a cute little gift, perfect for her skill level, inexpensive and yet unique.

I did give other thrifty gifts this Christmas, but as I had meant to deliver them in person to friends in Philly and was unable to make the trip down at the last minute, I had to mail them. I will therefore wait until I am sure that the recipients have opened them before I share them here. So, instead of showing the rest of that loot, I will give you a taste of how other, past thrifted finds played a role in my wonderful holiday traditions and celebrations.

I collect vintage children's books, and I especially love to collect vintage Christmas stories to read with my children. Here are just a few I've found over the years:

Throughout December, I try to read one or two of these special Christmas books to my children at bedtime. Then I put them away, and they come out again the following year. It makes it kind of special, having books that are only available for a limited time. I had a wonderful plan to read one religious Christmas story and one Santa story each night, but I've had trouble finding more than a handful of religious Christmas stories that aren't just a re-telling of the Nativity. So, I keep looking, and in the meantime, we just enjoy what we have.

I also continue the tradition from my childhood of decorating loads of frosted sugar cookies and giving them to friends and neighbors. My children love to help, and we always use my huge collection of vintage cookie cutters. Most of them belonged to my mother, but I've been picking them up at thrift stores whenever I see them, too. My hope is that by the time my children leave the nest, I can give them their own set of cookie cutters so that they can carry on this tradition with their own families.

And finally, do you remember these dishes that I picked up at a church thrift shop on the North Shore?

Well, here they are, all cleaned up and ready for Christmas Night dinner. Joining them are beautiful goblets that I purchased in a Philly antique shop over ten years ago.

I hope you enjoyed this peek inside my thrifted Christmas. Does thrift play a role in your Christmas festivities, too? Please share your stories! I love being inspired by other people's wonderful ideas.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Memories

I think I've established that I love to thrift. But lately, maybe because I started this blog, I have been pondering just what it is about thrifting that makes me so happy. It's not because I hold out hope that I will find an original copy of the Declaration of Independence pinned inside the frame of some cast-off paint-by-number, although that would be wonderful indeed. It's not because I shirk at paying full price for things, although I was raised by a frugal Yankee and was well-trained to appreciate a good bargain. And it's more than just loving all things old, although I certainly do. It's more than all of that. Truly, I think a lot of what motivates me to thrift is the desire to recapture my childhood. Some of my most treasured thrift finds have been replacements of things that I had as a child, like toys, books, and knick-knacks. Especially since I've had children of my own, something drives me to collect these relics of my past and share them with my children. And yes, I will admit, I love that I get to read all my favorite books and play with my favorite toys all over again! I also search for things that my parents had in our home, things like dishes, holiday decorations, linens, kitchen tools, clocks...the list really could go on and on. It is actually quite amazing how things that I once scorned, I now scour thrift stores for! For example, my mother had a rather unattractive trivet in her kitchen. It was probably from the 1950s, with an iron base and white ceramic top, and it read: Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. I can't even remember if it was hanging on the wall or if it sat on the crowded counter top. I remember disliking it, thinking it was so dated (and not in a cool way) and no one wanted it when it came time to sell the family home and clean out all the accumulated stuff that resided in it. But now? Now, I want that trivet so much I can taste it. I hunt for it every time I go out to a thrift, antique shop, or flea market. I have yet to see it, not even once. But I know that someday, when I'm least expecting it, I will find that trivet, probably in a box of junk somewhere, probably for just a quarter or two, and whomever I am with that day will shake their head at me and wonder. But to me, it will bring me right back to all the times I spent with my mother, baking and chatting together in our small kitchen, and I will be so happy.  

I received another gift of thrift in the mail the other day, this time from my dear friend Kristen. Sometime last spring, she and I had been at one of our favorite thrift emporiums and we both bought large boxes of Christmas ornaments. The management had been so sneaky, mixing in a few beautiful vintage pieces with some worthless new ball ornaments, and pricing it as a lot, but we didn't really mind. I remember that when we unpacked the boxes, we saw that she had a beautiful vintage Santa ornament in her lot. I told her that I always looked for those, because when I was little, we had two of those same ornaments on our Christmas tree every year. Years and years ago, I paid $8 for just one Santa ornament in an antique store even though it was only in fair condition, just so I could have at least one on my tree.

my $8 Santa ornament
And so when I opened up my little package from Kristen and saw her precious little Santa ornament tucked in along with a few other vintage balls, I was so touched.

My new Santa ornament from Kristen

It's in nearly perfect condition, and the colors are just beautiful. Now my tree is complete, and when I decorate it every year, I will not only be reminded of my very happy childhood Christmases, but also of the more recent happy times I've spent with my friend.

Kristen also tucked in another couple of gifts. One was a tiny little vintage New Testament to go with  my collection of vintage Anglican Prayer Books and Hymnals. It has the most delightful inscription:

"This book will keep you from sin, and sin will keep you from this book. To Dorothy from Aunt Margaret, August 1922"

Wise words, indeed!

The other thing was this Santa sleigh card holder, still in its original package. Please forgive the poor photography!

I hope you all are having a lovely Christmastime, enjoying time with friends and family and all those who are dear to you, making memories together that will last a lifetime. Enjoy, my friends!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hard Habit to Break

Yes, I know I said I probably wouldn't venture out into thriftland again until after Christmas, but you didn't really believe that, did you? I wasn't even planning to hit the aisles today but after our cookie decorating party at the preschool wrapped up early, I figured why not? It was either that or run far less interesting errands, so it was an easy choice. As usual, I was glad to have made the trip.

I really couldn't believe that there were still Christmas decorations to be found, but indeed there were. I spied these vintage glass ornaments in a bag of miscellaneous Christmas decor and of course, I had to snatch them up. They are a little "well-loved," but I love the striped ones and the pinecone ornaments are something that I had yet to come by.

I also found a set of four tin pails that will work perfectly for my daughter's upcoming Pioneer birthday party. I've been picking up these small pails whenever I see them, because I plan to serve the party guests their lunches in them, all wrapped up in a bandana. Once the lunch is finished, they can place their other miscellaneous party favors inside and take the pail home as a souvenir. I hope its cute--as you can see, I'm far too excited about this party and all its details than I should ever admit.

Have you ever bought something in a thrift just because you couldn't bear to leave it behind? I have no need for these vintage Strawberry Shortcake sneakers, no need whatsoever! I wasn't even into Strawberry Shortcake as a child, her popularity peaked after I was just a little too old to care. So I can't even blame nostalgia. But these sneakers are precious, in excellent condition, and just had to come home with me. Maybe I will try to resell them sometime. In the meantime, I justified it by saying that they were very inexpensive and they are very, very small and won't take up much room in my closet. Just don't tell my husband! You must agree, though, they are pretty cute, right?

I also found a bag of taper candles in blues and pinks, which are absolutely perfect for this little Advent project that I wanted to do this year but didn't because I didn't have the candles. So I will put that on my Christmas to-do list for next year, and if it turns out, will share it with you then. In addition, to appease the troops and buy myself some more time to browse, I brought home a huge tub of toys. The large pirate ship nestled in the tub is what originally caught my eye, but I also spied some Playmobil toys in it. When we brought it home and opened it up, there was the pirate ship of course, but also almost the complete Playmobil Flora shop and greenhouse and parts of the Victorian house and fence. (Not to mention several Transformers and some Lego.) My kids have been occupied all afternoon, its wonderful! After initially resisting buying any Playmobil for my crew because the thought of all those tiny little parts getting loose in the house gave me great pause, I am so glad I relented. My kids love it and so do I. It is great for imaginative play and for the most part, the pieces are kept together and cared for. Not a bad buy for $10.

All in all, a productive and fun morning excursion. Now, off to hide the baby sneakers before my husband comes home from work... 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Lovely and Unexpected Gift

Aren't the gifts you least expect the very best gifts of all? And truly, the very, very best gift of all is just knowing that someone you care about thought about you. I arrived home the other day to a small package sitting among my mail. Inside were these:

Now, perhaps you are not all that impressed. But I absolutely adore vintage stationery and paper goods, and the fact that these were Christmas seals only made them all the more delightful to me. Do you remember how excited I was to find these vintage Dennison farm animal seals at a rummage sale in November?

Well, my friend Lynn knows that I love, love, love old Christmas stuff, and not long after I posted about my Dennison find, she sent me a message saying she'd found me a little something. I was so happy but you know how busy life is, it slipped my mind and so when I found the package on my doorstep, I was surprised all over again. And the seals are perfect, in pristine condition and so, so cute. Thank you, Lynn!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

O Christmas Tree

My vintage tree is finally up and decorated and looks beautiful! I think its the prettiest tree I have ever had. I feel so happy just looking at it. I can't believe that I have thrifted all but one of the one hundred glass ornaments on it--some of them are so gorgeous I just can't fathom someone dropping them off at a thrift store because they didn't want them.

And I'm probably really asking for trouble by saying this, but so far, my children have stayed far away from this tree! Nothing broken, not a single ornament even removed from the branches yet, can you believe it?

Capturing the beauty of a lit Christmas tree is very, very difficult, so you will have to be satisfied with these two close ups, at least until I can figure out how to get a better shot.

I had so much fun making my dream of an all-vintage Christmas tree come true. And it was even nicer that I didn't have to sacrifice our traditional family tree, with its colorful mish-mash of very meaningful yet unmatched ornaments. How could I go a year without the Charlie Brown ornament that reminds me of my son's first Halloween, when his little bald baby head was just too perfect not to play good ole Chuck while his sisters were Woodstock and Snoopy? Or the shiny carrot ornament which commemorates the year that my very picky daughter first accepted the vegetable into her diet? And of course, there are all the "Baby's First" ornaments, the homemade and glittery ornaments, the hand-me-down ornaments, and most important of all, the gifted ornaments, which remind us every year of friends and family who are so dear to us.

How did you decorate your tree this year?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Before & After Candlesticks and so much more!

I took a little jaunt last weekend to visit a new-to-me thrift about 20 minutes away. Although my trip was right in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle Christmas shopping season, all was quiet inside the store and I found some lovely treasures to take home and play with.

I had a small thrifter-in-training with me, so I was a little hurried and distracted, but I still managed to do a thorough examination of all my favorite departments: housewares, Christmas, kids' clothing, toys, furniture, and books.

In the housewares department, I found these glass candlesticks. I must admit, a year ago, I would have walked right by these but then a friend picked up a set and ever since, I've seen them in a new light. I still wasn't quite ready to pick up a pair until I saw these. They were pretty filthy on the shelf, but I saw their potential.

Once home, I cleaned them up and they were really beautiful! I wish I'd taken a post-scrub shot, but I was busy. I had finally, finally ordered some of the ubiquitous looking glass paint and I was determined to use it...and right that second! So once clean, I wasted no time spraying coat after coat of the paint and vinegar/water mixture and rubbing and dabbing in between coats. This is what I ended up with:

To be honest, I'm not sure if I like them or not. Part of me wishes I had left them alone, and part of me wants to add one more layer of the paint. What do you think? I will probably be using them for winter holidays, surrounded by greenery and candlelight, so small imperfections won't matter but I do want them to add to, and not detract from, the festive atmosphere! I think I can remove the paint with fingernail polish (at least that is what blogland tells me, so it must be true), so please advise!

I also was able to feed my obsession with vintage Christmas tree ornaments. I found this unique group of felted ornaments, some in need of a little TLC but in the all-important turquoise that I love so. I can't wait to add them to my vintage theme tree, which is now standing in my sitting room, waiting for lights and ornaments. I will definitely be posting some pictures once it is completely decked out in vintage finery!

I also purchased a box of what I thought at the time were plain vintage Christmas ball ornaments; in fact, I almost put them back on the shelf. But since it was a complete box, and the box itself was still in good condition and was kind of cool looking, I brought them home and am so glad. When I took them all out, they are not balls at all but teardrops! What a find!

I also picked up this set of three vintage candlesticks. Yes, they are brass, which is definitely not my favorite metal finish, but I adore the shape and thought I could do something to freshen them up. A quick bit of research confirmed they are vintage Telaflora candlesticks. From the label on the underside, I'd guess maybe 1960s but I could be way off on that. I'll have to do some brainstorming to come up with a plan to update these--a new finish for sure but something that will highlight their striking shape.  

Before departing the housewares department to move onto the books, I selected one final item. I simply couldn't leave this little wooden bark-trimmed bowl behind. Not when I am still collecting props for a woodland fairy birthday party. Actually, this bowl would be quite versatile; I am sure that I could use it in the implementation of a number of different party themes. And if you are still shaking your head over the thought of someone actually paying money to bring this bowl into their home, be comforted by the fact that it was 65 cents. For that price, I'd be content to let my son use it to scoop up dirt in the backyard.

I also scooped up some more books for my kids, nothing terribly noteworthy except for one cute little vintage book that I might give to a friend. So to wrap this up, I am going to leave you with a thrift transformation that is still in progress. Remember my little stool?

Well, I cleaned it, popped out the top, removed the dated fabric, mixed up some homemade chalk paint and got to work giving it a makeover. I'm not quite finished, but this is what it looks like now.

Obviously, it needs its seat back, and I have purchased some fabric but I'm not quite sure I like how it looks with the frame. Not sure you can tell from this photograph, but the paint actually has grey tones, not ivory. So the fabric really needs to have a grey undertone, too, and I just didn't do a good job matching it up when I selected it. I think the piece could be very cute, and deserves a really fabulous fabric, so I think I need to make a return trip to the fabric store. I also want to finish waxing the piece. The wax made a huge difference, I was surprised. Anyway, I'll keep posting updates until it is finished--hopefully soon!

So that's it. Not sure I'll be able to make it out again before Christmas, but if I do, you can be sure I will share my finds with you. In the meantime, I will post pictures of my vintage tree once it is up. Good luck with your Christmas preparations, all!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Frugal Friday

Hello, I'm Anne and I'm a thriftaholic. I felt a little bit guilty this morning when I made the decision to skip the preschool sing-a-long in favor of a little field trip to a new thrift I just learned about. In my defense, it is only open twice a week and it is a bit of a jaunt so I can't just go there on a whim. And today is the only day in quite awhile that I'll be able to get there. And do they really need another voice for the "Wheels on the Bus" chorus? I think not. Do I sound defensive?

I did uncover some treasures, so it was all worth it. (Although I have already promised my daughter that I won't miss the next one, okay? So please no judgment!)

Here is a cache of vintage Christmas ornaments, all in good shape and in my favored color palette. Lovely!

I also picked up a couple of non-vintage angel ornaments. I am thinking I will probably do an all-angel theme tree someday soon so I had better start looking for sweet angel ornaments!

There was a small collection of vintage aprons, and although I contemplated purchasing the lot, I decided to take just the cutest one. I love this adorable fabric, don't you?

I love these old Christmas sewing kits--a brand new sequined Santa napkin ring kit and a partially finished sequined ornament kit.

This little footstool was too cute to pass up. It will be one of my next projects. I plan to paint the wood a creamy shade and recover the seat to give it an update. Since it is small, I have a good chance of getting to this before Christmas. It would fit perfectly in my sitting room, but my girls are already fighting over who gets it for their room, so we may resort to a lottery.

In addition to these finds, I also picked up yet another Advent wreath candle holder, some cute ski pants for my daughter, an American Girl Samantha board game that I'd never seen before, and a couple of toys for my son. All in all, I'd say it was a successful trip. Now I'm torn between staying home and working on some of my projects or heading out to explore new thrifting territory tomorrow. I'll keep you posted. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Last of the Stash

Here are the last few finds from my treasure-hunting weekend. I have had so much fun incorporating them into my home!

Here is a reproduction Russel Wright pitcher. Oneida came out with this line a few years ago and I purchased a black one then but this blue color was so lovely that I couldn't pass it up, even though there was a small chip on the spout (the 75 cent price tag was also an incentive!). My mother had a set of blue Russel Wright Iroquois dinnerware that we always used for holidays when I was a child and while this blue is not exactly the same shade, it is close enough to serve as a happy reminder of Christmases past. I plan to fill it with seasonal greens and perch it on my bookshelves in my living room.

I found these 1970's cuties at one of the Goodwills we hit that weekend. I am not a huge fan of the overly rosy cheeks, and considered painting over them before adding them to my son's vintage sports-themed bedroom, but after some quick online research I decided that at some point I may wish to resell them and altering them would decrease their value.

I'm always on the lookout for vintage greeting cards, wrapping paper and paper goods. I do try to be selective, especially with the cards, unless I can find a big batch for pennies. I picked these out of a large bin to add to my collection. Not the finest I own, but charming in their own little way.

My friend shook her head at me when I threw this next item into my shopping cart--a replica Plymouth Rock. I thought it was adorable despite the cheesy packaging and loved it even more when I unwrapped it and set it out next to the Gurley Pilgrim candles (a flea market find) at Thanksgiving.  I really wish I'd picked up the turkey candle, too!

This glass owl paperweight reminded me of my professor sister, and I may end up giving it to her at some point. Until then, it roosts on my desk.

I just couldn't leave this beaded lace collar in the dollar bin of a pricey stall at the flea market. It is in excellent shape and will be a nice addition to the fancy dress-up collection that I break out for special tea parties for my girls.

And finally, here is a small pinecone candleholder that I picked up intending to spray paint. I decided to use it as a pedestal for my vintage tree topper. I may still paint it at some point, but for now, I kind of like the aged bronzey color on my mantel display.

And there you have it. All of my finds from my weekend, except a couple that are earmarked for Christmas gifts. Perhaps I will share those with you after the holiday, when no surprise will be spoiled. I hope you enjoyed seeing my haul, and I look forward to sharing many more treasures with you soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Before and Afters

So, its pretty obvious that I love collecting vintage goodies, but I also love to hunt for things that I can re-design or re-purpose into useful and beautiful things for my home. I enjoy browsing in trendy home boutiques and catalogs, but I can't stomach the prices! Additionally, I like my home to reflect my personal taste and unique style and that means weaving in all the quirky collections and sentimental "stuff" that brings me such joy each day, and giving more standard household items my unique spin. I'm always looking for things that I can tweak to be more "me." Of course, I also love that re-purposing helps our planet in just a tiny little way. I'm making a concerted effort to reduce my consumption, and while this is far from easy, shopping secondhand makes me feel like at least I'm heading in the right direction.

Here are a couple of projects I completed this weekend. I found this candlestick at a thrift last weekend and brought it home to join two similar candlesticks I already owned. When purchased, all three were this brown color.

The color was fine, just nothing special. I've recently seen sets of antique white distressed candlesticks in stores and catalogs like Ballard's Designs, and I knew I could replicate them for much, much less than they were going for. Using heirloom white spray paint I already had, I gave them a good painting and distressing with coarse sandpaper. They now look like this:

Don't worry--this is not how I plan to display them! I am in the process of pulling out all my Christmas decorations and this funny vintage music box just seemed to land here. It will soon find a more appropriate home.
Here is another easy project that I completed yesterday. I also bought this--whatever it is--at a thrift shop last weekend. As soon as I saw it, I knew what I would do with it. It appears that it was meant to hold candles or tealights or something of the sort, as the base was covered with wax drippings. And it might look nice as a candleholder. But I had other plans. I absolutely adore this aquamarine color, and use it a lot throughout my home, especially at Christmastime. I knew immediately that I would clean it up, keep the base color, change the bow accent color, and use it to display vintage glass ornaments. This is the "before" picture.

And this is the "after" :

I'm pretty happy with the results and I'm now itching to finish up a couple of more complicated projects that have been sitting around for awhile. What do you think of my handiwork?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thrift Therapy, Part Deux

Here are a few more treasures that were uncovered during last weekend's thrifting adventure. I am still going through everything that I purchased and figuring out what I will do with each and every piece. Some have already found their place in my home, some will be reworked and repainted and will then re-emerge to claim their rightful spot, and some will be tucked away for another day. I've been having great fun today transforming a few of the treasures and I will share the before and after shots soon.

It is no secret I love to bake, and a natural extension of that passion is a collection of vintage cake toppers and decorating implements. (At least, I think its a natural extension--I know some people may not agree and may actually think I am nuts! You know who you are...)

I found these delightful ladies at a large outdoor flea market, mixed in with a bunch of ragged vintage Christmas decorations. I thought they were adorable. I think they might be 1950's bridesmaids but I am not sure.

Now, I mentioned they were mixed in with a lot of Christmas didn't think I left them behind, did you?

I love these angels and have a few of them already. I guess now I am a full-fledged collector of paper cone angels! I don't think the bottle brush tree is vintage but it was cute so I took it, too. Hiding behind the harp is a little plaster cast angel. She will look sweet in one of my miniature nativity scenes that I set up this time of year.

After I paid for the Christmas stuff and cake toppers, I took one last look at the messy table. Covered in white fuzz, this adorable little stuffed deer peered up at me and I just couldn't leave him behind.

I tried to research him on the web when I got home. I never found an exact match, but I suspect that this is a vintage Dakin deer from either the 1950s or 1960s.

Also at the same flea market, I found two of these vintage Wedgewood plates. The shady dealer claimed they were 1840s, which I doubted (turns out they date to the 1880s), but for $4 for the pair, I couldn't resist. I had been hoping to find a few more plates to hang on my dining room wall. Because they are going on the wall, I didn't mind the single tiny chip on each plate. I did mind when the dealer tried to steal $20 from me, but unfortunately for him, I was paying attention and he was unsuccessful. But it was a good reminder that one must be careful when paying with cash and when dealing with people one does not know.

I have a few more finds from the trip to show you, and also some thrifty transformations that I've been working on. Check back soon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thrift Therapy

Thrifting time has been scarce this fall as I settle into my new surroundings and new routine. And although I recently have discovered a couple of shops nearby, it takes effort to get there and so I have found myself in withdrawal. What was needed was a whole weekend devoted to nothing but treasure hunting. Thankfully, my dear friend Gina has been bitten by the thrift bug and she was willing to meet me halfway (or almost halfway) to scout out some new territory.

And what treasures we uncovered! On Saturday, we hit several small thrifts shops before practically closing down (and cleaning out) Savers. Here are some of my favorite finds of the day:

A vintage sewing instruction book on how to lay out and cut a pattern. I can't imagine that this process has changed much over the years and I could certainly use the help.  I also found a few cute '70's fabrics that I will give to my daughter who is working on a nine-patch quilt inspired by the Little House books.

Next up, the only purchase I regret from the trip...a rooster covered dish. We had hoped it was vintage (Westmoreland roosters fetch around $35) but alas, after a bit of research I am pretty sure he is a knock-off. Not sure yet what his fate will be. I paid $4, and ebay tells me that even the no-name look-a-likes can command $15, so maybe his life will be spared and he'll reappear in my future vintage shop. 

This next find will look like nothing to most people but is precious to me. My mother, an excellent and prolific baker, had several of these forks that she always used for baking. They are heavier than the average fork and excel at mixing butter-based batters. My mother's forks originally came from the dining hall of my uncle's Black Hills inn. Anyway, when my mother died, I inherited one and I treasure it. The edges of the tines are worn thin from years of mixing and I love using it to bake, especially with my children, because I feel like my wonderful mother is right there with us. I was thrilled to find an identical one in the junk section of a large thrift we visited on Saturday. I believe it cost me all of a quarter. As you can see, the tines on this one are nice and even, just waiting for me and my children to bake up a storm and wear them down with memories.

I found this lovely vintage basket style purse hiding in the windowsill at a small but lovely thrift shop. It was marked half price and I simply had to have it at $7.50. I especially love the metal clasp with its unique detailing. It reminds me of a Nantucket basket but I have so far been unable to determine its  age, maker, and value. Nevertheless, it will look charming in my bedroom, holding bits of my vintage costume jewelry collection.

After we hit up the small thrifts, we headed over to the thrift paradise that is Savers. Three hours later...I had a basket of treasures and some adorable fashions for my children, from mini Boden, Crewcuts, and Baby Gap. These flower power pants from mini Boden were a major hit with my daughter.

I also left with a huge stack of books, including a large supply of my girls' favorite American Girl books, many seemingly brand new.

This is actually the tip of the iceberg in terms of what I brought home. I will spread the spoils out so that I can get multiple blog posts to tide you over til my next outing! Until then, happy thrifting!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Is there an Elephant in the Room?

Let's hope so!! Much to my great delight, I have discovered a whole new genre of thrifty goodness! Last week, I nearly caused my husband to run off the road when I suddenly shrieked out "Oh My God!" as he was pulling out of a parking lot. He thought he was about to run over a pedestrian, and was none too happy with me when I confessed that my outburst was due to having spotted a sign on the church lawn across the street advertising a "White Elephant" sale this weekend. A white elephant sale? What was this? I had participated in white elephant exchanges at holiday parties in the past, but had never encountered a rummage sale with this label before. I whipped out my iPhone and quickly punched in a reminder.

After my morning hair appointment today, I raced to the other side of the center.  With great anticipation, I entered the White Elephant sale. It was small but seemed to have a nice range of items. I immediately was drawn to the two large tables of Christmas decor. I discovered a box of vintage bird ornaments, 50 cents each. I took two to add to my growing collection of feathered friends. Someday I will have enough to decorate an entire Christmas tree. Since I now have a little more space to play around with at home, I plan to have several Christmas trees each holiday season, each with its own theme. I may have to work up to this, and my goal this year is just to have three. More on this later, as I further develop my plans...

After carefully investigating the rest of the Christmas goods, I moved on to the china and glassware. I selected two glass containers that had nice shapes. I plan to use that looking glass paint to turn them into faux antiqued mercury glass. They will look awesome with the rest of my vintage Christmas decorations this year!  I will post an "after" shot once they are complete.

I also scored a vintage Texas Rangers bobblehead. I believe at the time this was made, they were called "nodders." I have no great love for the Texas Rangers, but this will look ever so cute in my son's bedroom, which is being furnished with a "vintage sports" theme. So far, I have collected old weathered table tennis paddles and a tennis racket, a set of ceramic quarterback bookends probably dating to the 1960s, and some felt pennants. I am just about ready to implement my decorating scheme, and when I do, I will post pictures of it, too.

Although I definitely plan to keep the nodder, out of curiosity, I had to sneak a peek on ebay to see if my little guy could fetch a few bucks. A couple of examples popped up immediately, with one going for around $30. Not bad, considering I paid only 50 cents for mine! 

At the same table as the nodder, I uncovered two pairs of unused vintage ladies' white gloves. I love throwing dress up parties for children, so these just might come in handy some day. Usually well-used examples go for upwards of $5 in thrift stores, so I felt good about getting both pairs for only $1.50. One came in its original bag; the other has pretty mother-of-pearl buttons at the wrists. These were a nice find.
And then I spotted a little nostalgic find: a book of children's seals from the 1970s. I grew up using this brand of decorative seal and although I don't remember this particular booklet, I have been searching for some (particularly the Christmas and Valentine's sets, FYI!). These are in mint condition, with all the seals there. Tucked inside the booklet were sheets of nature seals that I believe came from Ranger Rick or some other publication and also date to the 1970s. I might give those to my kids to use, but I will keep the Dennison's for myself. At least for awhile. I also picked up a cute mini Cape Cod souvenir booklet. It is in great condition and was just too cute to leave behind.
In the end, I decided I very much like White Elephant sales. The prices were very reasonable, there was a nice selection of goods, and no admission fee. I will be keeping my eyes and googling fingers on high alert for more!