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.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Harkerware Jackpot

I used to find Harkerware in the thrifts pretty frequently. Not every outing, for sure, and not always in patterns that I wanted, but at least monthly, I would find a piece or often more at a shop. Lately, however, it has become a rarer sight. And I hadn't seen a single piece in at least the last four months.

But last week, my luck changed. I had a very successful shopping trip to my current favorite thrift store, and scored a number of pieces in one of my favorite Harker patterns, the teal green Corinthian. Just look at all this!

Four dinner plates, two dessert plates, two bowls, and a serving platter. All in good to excellent condition. There is a small discoloration on one of the rims of the dinner plates and the dessert plates are a little worn so I thought about leaving them behind but I'm very glad I didn't. The prices were very reasonable, too, which is notable because this particular thrift has been overpricing their china and glassware for quite some time.

I also lucked out and found this matching covered dish on the next aisle over.

Lately, I've been collecting so much white china it is nice to spice things up a little with some color. And definitely something a little bolder than my usual turquoise. These dishes would actually be very pretty around Christmastime.

I hope you have had some luck finding some pretty treasures lately, too!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Advent Wreath, Thrift Style

Every year, I make an Advent wreath to mark the days leading to the Christmas season. Usually, I make a simple wreath of greenery with four tapers in the traditional purple and rose. I love the spare beauty of those wreaths, which befits the season, but this year I wanted to do something a little different.

I started with a sturdy square wooden base that I picked up on clearance (I believe I paid $5) at a home furnishings store a couple of years ago. I actually had the intention of turning it into an ice cream cone holder of all things, but that idea derailed and I needed to find another use for the heavy wooden tray. It did not take me too long to realize it would make a perfect base for my Advent wreath project.

Inside the wooden base, I placed four thrifted flower pots, which I filled with sand to weigh them down.

Then, I placed a thick taper candle (which were also collected in thrift shops) into the sand in each pot, three a pale lavender blue and the fourth a soft rose pink. I laid a bit of moss on top of each pot to cover the sand and add another layer of earthy texture.

Around the inside edge of the base, in a wreath-like shape, I arranged fresh greenery, a combination of variegated boxwood and spruce branches. To add interest, I tucked a couple of thrifted pinecone picks into the greenery.

I then added a set of silver plate Christmas angel ornaments which I found new in their box at a church rummage sale last year. They are absolutely perfect for an Advent wreath, as they read "hope, love, and faith," which correspond to the meaning of each of the purple or blue candles that traditionally appear in an Advent wreath.

Unfortunately, there were only three ornaments in the set, so there was no "joy" to correspond with the third, or rose, candle, but as this candle is different from the others, I see no reason why that ornament can't be different as well. So I made my own "joy" ornament, and placed all four among the greenery with some vintage violet ribbon as the final touch.

And here is the final product: a simple yet beautiful Advent wreath to lead us through this season of preparation and anticipation.