Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Quick Trip to the Thrift

I made a quick trip to the thrift store and it was my lucky day! I found some great vintage & pyrex stuff...

A vintage bathroom rug - unused, with the tag still on it. It goes perfectly in my pink bathroom with the wall art swans I just listed on Etsy. Too bad I'm not keeping either one...

A yard cut of fabric, for use in quilts & yo yos. When I got it home I found that it had been hemmed and had actually been used as a tablecloth.A set of Pyrex Butterprint mixing bowls -- just missing the second smallest one.
A gorgeous blue Pyrex divided dish (unfortunately, no lid) and a small brown casserole. I don't normally like the brown Pyrex, but I really like the simplicity of the white flower pattern. I'll need to look up what it's called.Hopefully there will be some good estate sales to hit tomorrow with my friend Bargain Hunter. I'm really looking forward to the warmer weather coming so there will be some garage sales to go to, too!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'Wish I'd Thought of This' Wednesday

One of the great things about blog-surfing and shopping on Etsy is seeing all of the really creative things that other people have thought of. I found Fancy Lamb on Etsy recently and just love what she does with old books. If you aren't interested in collecting old books and just want to see what she makes, skip the next paragraph or two and go right to the end!

When I was in high school, I started collecting 'antiquarian' (old) books, buying them from a wonderful store in downtown Cincinnati called Bertrand Smith's Acres of Books. It was an wonderful early 1900s building with 3 floors and a basement filled floor-to-ceiling (12' ceilings) with books -- all old and all priced the day they came in. Since it was open for over 50 years and the books were never repriced, there were some real treasures! There's nothing left of the Cincinnati store -- it was torn down to put up a parking lot (literally). The owner (no longer Bert Smith) had only a few days to salvage what he could with the help of volunteers. All the rest of the books were demolished with the building and ended up in a landfill -- what a waste. I lived several hundred miles away by this time and was heartsick thinking of all those ruined books and knowing that I couldn't go help save them!

Anyway, back to the treasures... My first book cost a quarter and was a 'Complete Works of Shakespeare' with tissue thin pages and pictures of old actors in their Shakespearean roles. It's still one of my favorites!Most of the books I bought from Acres were what are called 'gift editions' and most were published between 1860 and 1920. They were classics and poetry collections with beautiful cover work and usually had gilt edges; published with the intention of people giving them as gifts. These mostly cost me about $2.50-$5 and were easily affordable. Soon I started collecting illustrated children's books. The last children's illustrator I bought was a few years after I had children and cost well over $100. When I bought that one and paid that much (with a young family) I realized that it was time to quit! That book was Peter Pan in Kensington Garden, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, who's still my favorite children's illustrator. His books are hard to find in bookstores (though easier on sites like Ebay) and keep going up in value. Now to the 'wish I'd thought of that'... I love old books so much that I've always been what I think of as a book purist -- I don't like the framed illustrations torn from them or feel that they should be defaces. So I was surprised to find that I really like what Fancy Lamb does with hers. She takes common mid-century hardcover books (even textbooks), cuts off the covers and makes journals out of them. She even sprinkles some of the book's original pages in the journal for interest. They're nicely bound and just the titles on the covers give me lots of ideas of who I could give them to for gifts. That brings a whole new meaning to 'gift edition'! Visit Fancy Lamb's Etsy shop and see all of her nifty journals!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Harlequin (Not the Romances)

I finally broke down and joined the Homer Laughlin China Collectors' Association (or HLCCA). They put out a little magazine called 'Dish' a few times a year and offer some HLCCA members-only Fiesta items that Homer Laughlin makes for them. Other than the magazine and deals, I'm not sure what the benefits are, but I don't really care. I just like looking at the pictures in the magazine. Should I even admit that?

My first copy of Dish came yesterday and after looking at it I've realized that I like Harlequin the best of all the HL patterns. I have some egg cups and a sugar bowl that I bought years ago, but now I wish I had gotten much more back when it was cheaper. Here's my wish list (pulled from google searches, because they're not in my kitchen:

TeapotCreamerGravy boatSalt & Pepper
Unfortunately, it's all really expensive and hard to find at sales. HL only made it for Woolworth's, so there isn't as much Harlequin out there as garden variety Fiesta. Oh, well -- that should just make the hunt even more fun.

Do you have a favorite Homer Laughlin pattern?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Junkin' Finds Friday

It's been a busy sale week -- there were over 40 sales to choose from! My friend Bargain Hunter and I headed out yesterday to an estate sale out in the country. It was so much fun! As soon as we pulled up and saw the old farmhouse and barn, we knew it would be a good one.

I got lots of the usual things: aprons and glassware, pottery and kitchen stuff. The whole front room was dedicated to paper ephemera -- I was so excited to see it all!
Old cookbooks from the 1930s - 1960s and some child-rearing books from the 1940s
Two needlecraft books -- McCall's 1955 & an Embroidery book 1936
A Speed-o-Weave loom from the 1970s with box
A lot of old patterns that were mailed to the farm wife in the 1930s as premiums
Lots of monogram patterns in different sizes
Some little advertising grocery lists from 1955, complete with the list pads and pencils and some old seed packets that still have the seeds in them. This red plaid cloth covered binder is so cool (I know, I'm such a nerd...)

Here are the three favorite finds of the day (I know at least half of you will roll your eyes at these!):
2 orange corduroy throw pillows -- one with tucks and 'berries' and the other heart shaped. It will be SO HARD to part with these!3 hot pink plastic resin swans to hang on a bathroom wall.
I just flat out love these -- they're so tacky
A black cat desk piece -- he has a hole at the back for a pen, wire spirals for letters and a tiny dish at the front (for paper clips, I guess)
The day wasn't without its 'buyer beware' moments (I think I have at least one of these at every outing -- you'd think I'd learn!):
> A Harker Cameoware casserole that was in the garage should have stayed there! The dirt and stains are permanent and it has a crack I couldn't see through the dirt.
> 3 'Colonial Pattern' aprons new-in-package turned out to be plastic instead of cloth.
> An apron I bought turned out to be a button-on apron bib that was missing its skirt. At least the fabric is a neat yellow with cherries on it, so I can cut it up for something
> The dealer charged me .50 per pattern when the box was marked .25 each (and I was too intimidated to argue with her because the line behind me was so long

Oh, well -- live and learn (and have fun thrifting)!

Wednesday -- All About Me Day

Yesterday was cold and rainy -- Spring decided to go on vacation as soon as it arrived! So when the weather gets bad, the tough go shopping.

On a whim, I went to a local antiques mall because they were having a 15% or more mall-wide sale. I wasn't planning to buy anything for myself, as lately I've been concentrating on buying to sell. I ended up with a few treasures for ME, though -- and even paid mall prices for them!

These totally wonderful tomato salt & pepper shakers.
As soon as I saw them I just HAD to have them for my kitchen.
I'm sure I paid too much for them, but don't really care !
Don't they look great on the shelf over my stove?
This little (only 8" wide) carrier -- I'm a sucker for tinware and it's perfect for cookiesThis old coffee jar, which was 50% off! I love the jar's shape and the detail on the sides

Then I visited the local thrift and found a couple of nice things to sell:
A strawberry-shaped jam jar -- so cute and spring-y (is that even a word?)
A Fire King divided plateA syrup-type pitcher that's larger than usual size, with a larger spout -- does anyone know what this might have been used for?A collection of orphaned lids that I'm going to use for a project (more on that later)
I suppose in the grand scheme of things, a ME-day once in awhile isn't so bad. What I bought was lots cheaper than jewelry or a trip to the spa and it sure was fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy Thrifting!

I've had some happy shopping at my local Salvation Army thrift store! I've found a few treasures that I'm pretty excited about...

A so-cool yellow pitcher (my husband thought it had juice in it!)Three Pyrex 'Butterfly Gold' Casseroles or Mixing Bowls
Three small Pyrex plates -- this is the first Pyrex dinnerware I've ever had!
Four tumblers decorated with rosesFour little swanky swigs -- so sweet!
A nice old botanical print in a shabby chic frame

And my favorite piece (which might just stay here and not go to the booth) -- a Salem starburst cake plate -- SO RETRO!
It looks like there are a few good sales coming up at the end of the week and these happy purchases make me excited to see what I'll find!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Cheesy Project

I got this big cheese box at my Salvation Army on Friday. I think it's older because it's put together with nails, not staples, but I really don't know if it's old or not. Since my taste now runs to retro and not country, it's not my normal thing to buy, but it just looked like something that could be FUN! I guess if I can't think of anything to do with it, I can always put it in the booth to see if any country people are interested in it. I put my sewing basket next to it so you can get an idea of how big it is.

Do any of you have suggestions as to what I might make or do with this 'cheesy' project?

Friday, March 18, 2011

A lost 'treasure' found at last!

My booth inventory has been taking over our finished basement, so I've been re-arranging lots of things and going through cabinets in the process of organizing it all. Yesterday, I found a Christmas 'treasure' that I've been looking for for a long time!

In the 50s and 60s, decorating things with sequins was a really popular craft (a 1950s version of the Bedazzler...) My mother made lots of Christmas items decorated like this -- the same things we now see at estate sales and thrift stores.

She made the Christmas tree skirt in this picture, decorated with sequined lanterns and 'beautiful' gold fringe. I really don't like it, but use it every year anyway, just because she made it and I'm really sentimental like that.She also made these napkin rings, which I do like. The reindeer (top right) has been in my jewelry box for at least 5 years (probably closer to 10), waiting for the remaining 7 to turn up. It got separated from the rest when they were 'put away in a safe place' (translate: lost) after Christmas all those years ago. Because I never throw anything out, I was sure they'd show up sometime. Well, I just found them yesterday, in the folds of a tablecloth (isn't that where you would have looked?) I'm really happy to have found them & will take better care of them now.Now if the styrofoam-ball ornaments decorated with sequins & beads held on by stuck-in straight pins would only show up, too. Sadly, they're long gone -- but this is what they looked like...Do you have any fun craft memories from your childhood?