Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Neither wind, nor rain...

Just like the postman, nothing can keep me from my work. And my vital and serious work is unearthing treasures. Even though yesterday was rough going around here with Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc in our backyard, after a day and a half cooped up in the house with the kids, I had to get out for a spell. So I went to the closest option I have, taking all three kids with me. I had to bribe them with an ice cream treat but you do what you have to do...and I needed a fix.

I didn't uncover too many treasures today, just enough to make it worth the effort of getting all the kids dressed and in agreement. My favorite find, believe it or not, was this ceramic turkey. It is actually the salt shaker from a set of Thanksgiving S&Ps, but was missing both its mate and its stopper. Neither of those things matter to me, however, because I am going to fill in its holes and age it into a Pottery Barn-ish Thanksgiving decoration like I recently saw done on a very lovely and inspirational blog. (I need to learn how to link to other posts in the most proper fashion! It's on my to-do list.)

Then, I found this copper pedestal. The color was a bit too bright and shiny for my taste, but I loved the shape and size. I've been wanting one of these to use as a base for a fall floral accent for the second grade parent potluck I am hosting in a couple of weeks. I spray painted it antique textured bronze when I got home, and I think it turned out perfectly. I will post an "after" shot once I create the floral arrangement to go in it.

Then, another awesome score. As you may know, I simply adore vintage sewing notions and almost always snatch them up when I spot them at sales and thrifts. I found this trove of buttons, trim, snaps, and a red velvet tomato pincushion, all packaged sweetly in this beautiful wooden tray.

I also found a few goodies to add to my ever-growing collection of vintage cake decorations. I am not sure how old these are, since I have recently seen some new old-looking ones in the party stores, but they did look old and seemed to be of better quality than most newly manufactured ones. I am busy planning an old-time baseball party for my son's fourth next July, so these will be put to great use!
And just to keep the kids happy, the Thrift Gods provided for them, too. We found a brand new American Girl book and tiny jack-o-lantern treat buckets just the right size for their dolls. We used them tonight when we went to a Trick Or Treat party. Much cheaper than buying the American Girl doll-sized Halloween costumes that they really wanted!

Until next time, may the Thrift Gods be with you, too...

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Road Trip for Rummage!

My friend Paula came for a visit last weekend, and since we successfully hit a number of local tourist hotspots on Friday, we had time on Saturday for a little thrifting fun! Yay! We headed off towards Salem to hit a "phenomenal" church rummage sale, at least according to Craigslist. It was HUGE! We were a couple of hours behind our original schedule so we were definitely not in the first wave of shoppers. I always get nervous when I see throngs of people leaving a sale like that carrying garbage bags full of goodies--what if all the good stuff is gone? However, I always leave with a few treasures and this day was no exception.

The china and glassware section was large but nothing caught my eye. I found a cute argyle cardigan for my daughter in the picked-over kids' clothing area but was starting to get discouraged when we stumbled into the Christmas room. It was a small room with many boxes of ornaments and decorations. I began pawing my way through one of the boxes and started to unearth vintage ornament after vintage ornament--things were looking up! I ended up with some cute finds:

a choir of angels and a creche angel

a wise man for my creche collection

three Dwarves...uh, oh, I smell a new collection coming on...
an adorable tennis racket

a skier

and a plastic nativity set to add to my growing collection.
In the arts and crafts section, I found a large bag of these wooden candlestick holders. I have been wanting some of these for our upcoming Pioneer Party. Aren't they cute, especially at 50 cents for the bag? They will be adorable additions to party favor bags.

And then we found the books. The sale was close to winding down, and the lady in charge of the book section wanted things to move. I assembled a large pile of books both vintage and new, and she asked for five bucks. Done! My favorite was this mint condition Family Christmas memory album. When I got home, I did a little googling and discovered that this edition, in unused condition, can go for over $300 on online used bookstores. Complete insanity! Can't decide if I want to keep it for myself or try to sell it. I am leaning towards keeping it. It is just too beautiful to let go.

In the groove now, we searched for more local thrift opportunities and found a small church thrift shop nearby. I walked through the main room of the shop and almost left, convinced there would be nothing of value to me in the shop. But then I noticed a boy in the shop wander down a hallway and disappear into another room. I followed. Things were much improved in the next room, and as I continued exploring, I found a room completely devoted to Christmas decor and dishware. I couldn't believe my luck in finding this set of holly wreath dishes and a set of Christmas/New Year glasses, both of which I had been specifically looking for! A friend had scored a box of the same holly dishes back in PA on a thrift excursion, and I had been so envious. They are the perfect holiday dishes. Not too fancy, not too overdone, just a beautiful simple pattern. Love them so much and now really can't wait until Christmas to use both them and the festive glasses. I already had a couple of the glasses but now I have a full set. What unbelievable luck! And to think, I almost walked out of the shop before even looking in the back. Lesson learned!

Merry Christmas, all!

Rummage Rundown

I didn't exactly hit the jackpot at my church's fall rummage sale, but I do feel that I got a few treasures, and certainly the fun didn't break the bank. I wouldn't say I have a method to my thrifting madness, but I do have a couple of favorite categories that I tend to hit first. That night was no different, so when I entered the sale, I made a beeline to the Christmas table. I'm not sure if I missed the good stuff, but I didn't uncover much. I did find a pretty silverplate Wallace Christmas bell dated 2000, in its original velvet bag, so I threw that into my bag. Next, I headed over to the kitchenware table. I spied a vintage aluminum cake cover, and knew I had to have it. I already have one, but this one is far better condition and it comes with a decorative glass plate rather than an aluminum one. A very good find!

I also found a small but very pretty old Johnson Brothers bowl, with a teeny tiny chip on the underside of the rim. I don't mind the chip because I want to hang the bowl on my dining room wall with some of my other china orphans and the chip won't show. Both the cake plate and the bowl together were $1. I adore vintage paper goods, and so I also couldn't resist these turkey day napkins. I wish I had picked up the matching hostess paper hand towels.

Among the less photogenic finds include several Crewcuts dresses and shirts for my daughters, in perfect condition, and a Boden tee for me. I also picked up a cheesy appliqued Christmas vest for my son that became the perfect vest for his "Colonial Minuteman" Halloween costume. I turned it inside out and exchanged the leather buttons for bicentennial-era vintage inspired pewter ones, and it looks fabulous! Right now, I am on a campaign to get him featured in the local newspaper in his costume--wish me luck!

Take Two

All right, after excruciating technological challenges, I am back up and running, albeit under a slightly different name. I am going to republish this post and then go forward, hopefully without interruption! So much to share--can't wait to show off my latest finds!

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I have been in serious, serious thrift withdrawal. In the Philly area, I had a number of regular haunts mere minutes away and the time to peruse them more than I should probably admit. I had my thrifting buddies who were equally happy to spend a morning or afternoon (or both!) digging through piles and boxes to find the treasures lurking beneath the detritus. All was well in the world. And then suddenly, I had to uproot my life and all my thrifting routines and relocate to New England. Surely there would be good thrifting among the Yanks, right? Over the summer, I made a few attempts to locate some new thrifting territories. Easier said than done! But now that the kids are settled into their new schools, I am going to take advantage of my few hours of peace each week to redouble my efforts to seek out the thrifty loot I just know is all around me, if I can just figure out where it is hiding.

This morning, my sweet little thrifter-in-training, otherwise known as my son, and I set out after we dropped his sisters off at school. First destination: a charity thrift in one of the 'burbs. This particular shop is small, and predominately populated by clothing but it does have china and glassware, a few books, and knick-knacks as well. I would call our visit a moderate success. I picked up this sweet little painted jewelry box for $5--probably more than I would have paid a few months ago but given my withdrawal symptoms (I needed a fix!) and the fact that this piece had cute little spindle legs, I just had to buy it.

I also picked up a couple of props for future children's parties. I have had my eye out for vintage muffin pans, and these were perfect! Small in size, no rust but plenty of beautiful patina, these will look stunning holding supplies for a party craft activity, regardless of party theme. More specifically, I envision throwing a hobo or camping party one of these days, and these little beauties will fit right in at an outdoor fall event and only set me back just under 2 bucks.

One of my most successful past parties was my oldest daughter's Woodland Fairy birthday party.  I invested a lot of time and effort in designing that party, but it turned out just lovely! Luckily, because I have two daughters, my younger daughter will also be having a woodland fairy party soon, and these cute little bottles will complement the existing design elements perfectly. Imagine delicate little posies in each of the bottles, or fairy dust? The possibilities are really endless. These bottles were  only 99 cents.

I also picked up these two frames for my latest home decorating work-in-progress: an historical family portrait wall. I am lucky enough to own some beautiful vintage photographs of both my family and my husband's family and have been collecting old frames to showcase them. These two are a nice smaller size and have gorgeous details like inlaid mother of pearl. Under a dollar each!

After departing the thrift store, we headed up the street to a used bookstore. I scooped up several American Girl books for $1.39 each (my older daughter reads one a day when she gets going so I need to keep her bookcase well-stocked) and a couple of interesting hardbacks for me for a dollar each. Then off to pick up another thrifter-in-training and a pit stop for a snack before heading over to a church rummage sale in Sudbury. It ended up being a used clothing sale and not much else, but my daughter scored a fancy boa that she loves for fifty cents and I found some really great clothing for the kids, including Hanna Andersson dresses and a mint condition American Girl hoodie, for $1 a piece.

You'd think I'd be done for the day but tonight is the semi-annual rummage sale at my new church, and you can bet I'll be close to the first in line!