Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Burning House

I heard the site owner of the-burning-house.com interviewed today on NPR's Here and Now today. His site poses the simple question "If you had to escape your burning house, what would you take?". It all started at a dinnertime conversation about how our choices reveal a lot about what really matters to us.

I'm an almost addictive collector (and have been from my earliest memories) and I think that most of you are, too, dear readers. We all love our vintage Fiesta, Pyrex, bakelite, fabric, china and any other of literally thousands of things. We take pictures of them, blog about them and comment on each others' finds. We all love stuff.

In the end, though, it's all just STUFF! I was glad, as I made my own 'burning house' list, to find that there wasn't a mixing bowl or sifter on it.

My list is simple:
Turner, the dog
Leo, the cat
my Bible
old family pictures

It makes you think, doesn't it? What's on your 'burning house' list?

Monday, May 30, 2011

More Yard Work - Ugh!

We've had a really cool, wet spring and it seems like the only living things that like it are the weeds in my yard! All I see are weeds (and work) everywhere I look in the vegetable garden, my perennial beds and even in the mulch on the landscaped beds.

Well, yesterday we got a little more yard work to do. We got home from being out of town for a graduation party to find that there had been violent storms all over southeast Michigan -- winds up to 80 mph and even a tornado sighted. We lost two BIG limbs -- one on an apple tree (that took 2 others down with it) and one on the cherry tree. (The only good news about the cherry tree is that I might actually get a few of the cherries now before the birds do!)

The apple tree
One of the wrens' favorite houses is on the limb that fell -- I haven't peeked yet to see if anyone is living in itIt looks a little like lightning struck itThe cherry treeThe pond is REALLY high
(and you can see that we need a new dock -- which we don't know how to build...)
I'm really sad to lose the limbs and I know I'm whining about the extra work, but I'm really not complaining! Compared to the heartache and destruction that the people in Missouri and the south have suffered this spring, our little problems are nothing. Looking at our small cleanup jobs and seeing the trees down and flooded local river make me realize how much those families in the south have lost and how huge the job is ahead for all of them. My heart (and prayers) really go out to them all!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Too, too busy!

Last week I started working as a cashier at the antique mall where Bargain Hunter and I have our booth. Even though it's only been 2 days a week, when it's combined with my other job and all the things I've had going on, I'm just too, too busy! I've been too busy to blog, to work on any projects, to get the vegetables planted in the garden and even too busy to clean my house (oh, darn). I've done a little thrift shopping on the off days, though (never too busy for that) and will soon get some pictures uploaded.

You know what I've learned? Working retail is very different when you're a woman of a 'certain age' than it was when you were in high school! Eight hour days on cement floors really make one's feet hurt.

It's been fun seeing all the great stuff people find to buy, but the downside is that, as I walk the mall helping customers, I find lots of great stuff to buy, to! Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I dimly remember something being said to me about bringing home a paycheck...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fisher Price Happiness!

Garage sale shopping is such an interesting process, combining spontaneity and planning. When garage sale time comes, I check the newspaper & craigslist the night before I shop and try to map out the sales I want to stop at. I use yardsaletreasuremap.com to get a relative route, but in the end I rely pretty heavily on my GPS. That's where any control of the situation ends. If you drive anywhere in the suburbs, you know that the signs sprout up like dandelions in a spring lawn. They're everywhere; neon colored cardboard decorated with balloons & arrows. You'll be on your way to a planned stop and soon your GPS is "recalculating..." at every turn. I've learned, though, that it really pays to go check out those unexpected sales. I often find my best stuff at those.

A while ago, I followed one of those signs down the bunny-trail of the unexpected and hit the Fisher Price jackpot! I love vintage Fisher Price toys -- especially the Little People playsets. I managed to save most of the ones my boys played with, but am also always looking for other ones at sales and flea markets. I saw the farm silo first and grabbed it. Then I looked around and saw more Fisher Price in one place than I'd ever seen outside of a toy aisle. I took it all and got it ALL for less than $30 -- here it is:


School (1980s) - with a pull-out playground stored under it

Nursery School (the roof comes off and the other side of it is a playground) -
I've never seen this before and am keeping this for grandchildren-yet-to-be!

Swimming Pool and Silo

Parking GarageSchool bus from 1965 - the first year they made itA Plaskool set of Sesame Street blocks (not Fisher Price, but related)Baby Nursery setPlayground setThis AMAZING box of people and parts!Look at all the great stuff that was in that box!

Since I have all this FP now, I have to decide what I'm going to keep, what I'll sell and what I'll give away. I've been doing LOTS of research about Fisher Price -- I knew it was one of the major toy makers, but didn't realize just how much there was!

Fisher Price started in 1930 and the name was the combined last names of 3 of the 4 founders. They made metal and wood toys until the 1950s when they began using plastic, too. Buzzy Bee was their first toy with plastic on it. The 'Little People' started as 'Play Family' and began in the 1960s. Besides the Little People & playsets, they made the See n Say, Power Wheels, Viewmaster and lots of infant and toddler toys. The original Little People have now been replaced by chunky ones (apparently the original sized ones were thought to be a choking risk). Some of the new versions of the old toys look really different, but a surprising number still have the old designs.

If you need to research and identify Fisher Price toys, I've found this GREAT website: This Old Toy. Every playset, every little person, every animal and every part is identified and sorted by part number and year -- most with pictures! This is one of the most complete and well organized collectors' websites I've ever seen. The little people are even sorted by color of body and type of hair and each accessory in a playset is noted. Kudos to This Old Toy!

My favorite FP toy when I was little was my Timmy the Turtle (#150). I don't know why I loved that little pull-toy so much, but I still remember it and always look for one in good condition while I'm shopping. What's your favorite Fisher Price toy or playset? I'd love to read your stories and I'm sure others would, too. Share a comment or two here and let us know what you FP you remember! Here's a question, too, for my readers from the UK and Commonwealth countries (and there actually are quite a few of you): did you or your children play with Fisher Price toys?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Garage Sale Time

The weather is *finally* warming up and garage sales are popping up all over. It's a good thing, too -- with gas in Michigan over $4.00 a gallon, it's really hard to justify an 80 or 90-mile round trip to go to estate sales.

I went out by myself on Thursday and found a few good buys, all within 3 miles of my house (talk about saving on gas)!
Primary Pyrex mixing bowlsAnchor Hocking Savannah punch bowl setAn old crate, some US Savings stamp booklets and a few children's records to make into clocksOld homemade & brightly painted tool tote, little bench & little shelfAND (drum-roll, please) the prize of the day. . .this 1960s table! What do you think? I love the way it looks, but is it too much kitsch?
Then on Friday, my friend Bargain Hunter and I hit the sales in another part of town and found some more treasures. The best part of that day, though, was shopping with my friend. We hadn't been out together in about a month and needed to catch up! Here's what I found. . .

A large framed picture of Jesus, the Good Shepherd (dated on the back February 23, 1902 -- it was a wedding present)Two old Milton Bradley games and a string of 'Made in Japan' tin ducksTwo feedsacks and some cheese boxes that an old man turned into storage drawersA tin tray, 1960s tumbler, some recipe booklets (I just can't ever resist those) and a Pyrex butter tub, all from a church barn sale. The plaid plate was FREE at another sale!This really tall vase -- a lady told me it's for Gladioli -- and an old galvanized tub (another thing I can never walk away from)A couple of shabby chic pictures, a very cool leather souvenir snapshots album cover from Saskatoon, Canada, tiny tole trays, old utensils and a little Easter candy holderFriday's prize, though, was the bowl I posted about yesterday -- a Pyrex #404 Colonial Mist mixing bowl!
What did you find this week?

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Nice Friend

I just got home from a busy garage sale day and am busy cleaning and sorting, but I wanted to take the time to say a big THANK YOU to my shopping-and-booth partner, Bargain Hunter.

She saw this #404 Pyrex Colonial Mist bowl first and handed it off to me because she knows how much I like it. How sweet is that? Now I have both the 401 and the 404 and I'm half-way to a full bowl set!
Thanks again , girlfriend -- you're the best!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Few More Thrifties...

I picked up a few more things at the local thrift over the past few weeks and didn't get around to blogging about them.

This totally cool vintage orange beaded purse. It isn't my style or my color, but it just looked so summery and kept calling my name (I don't know how it knew it!)Another project - a little footstool with a horrible cover. Another woman at the thrift started to take this right out of my shopping cart (the nerve)! She looked all innocent and said "Oh! Was that yours? It's just what I've been looking for."
What do you think -- should I paint the wood or leave it as-is? I'm tempted to paint it something light and shabby chic and then recover it with a retro barkclothAn unusual large basket. I think of it as the 'Moses in the Bullrushes' basket, but it doesn't look very watertight. It's large enough to be a laundry basket, but has no handles. Hmmm...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to All!

I miss my mom!
Even though she's been gone almost 20 years, I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and tell her about a new sewing pattern I found or some craft I'd learned to do. I laugh with my knitting friends about her because she was a leftie and taught me to knit, so I learned to knit left-handed! And I'm constantly reminded by my husband that I'm still Libby's daughter (I'm not sure he always means that as a good thing, either)! I included this pic because it's my favorite one of her and me together. I love to think about her as a young woman -- we only really 'know' our parents as older adults -- and she looks so happy and carefree. I wish I could time-warp back and spend the afternoon with her then!

If your mom (mum) is alive, cherish the time you have with her! If not, share some of your fond memories with someone else so they can get to know her through your eyes.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Another Wonderful Wednesday

I haven't posted in a week -- I've been busy listing things on Etsy and took a trip to Traverse City over the weekend (I'll post more on that and some sales up there later). Yesterday was Wednesday, though (Senior Discount Day at Salvation Army) and I have to tell you that Wednesdays are turning out to be some of my favorite thrift days! I got some great treasures. . .
A solid blue Pyrex casserole and a small one in the Horizon pattern10 GREAT child's hankies!
I wouldn't have even seen them if I hadn't almost been run down by a man taking a washer & dryer to the checkout, because they were tucked behind lots of vintage clothes in a walkway display.There's Sleeping Beauty, Humpty Dumpty, lions, a squirrel, a cat and a bear and 3 weekday hankies. Aren't they sweet?I was walking out the door when I saw the most lovely quilt -- it's almost all feedsack.
The tag said '1940s or 50s', but I think it might be older. I would have bought it at full price but, once again, I was rewarded for getting old and I even got my senior discount!
I love these little birdie blocksI like these dogs in the donkey carts, too