Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrating the 4th a little early

Today I am joining Joan @ Anything Goes Here to Celebrate the 4th of July with a Vintage Holiday Blog Party
. Of course the 4th of July celebration marks the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, a powerful and masterful document eloquently composed by Thomas Jefferson. It is a time to show our patriotic spirit and pride of this great country. U.S. History especially Colonial Times through the Federalist period, is my favorite time period to study. As you will recall, I have my degree in History, with a minor in Art History. If allowed, I would ramble on about the history of each of the signers of the Declaration, the events that followed the closing of the Continental Congress, but I shall show great restraint, and instead showcase a few things I found that are related to the time period of the Revolutionary War and its principle figures.

George Washington's Breakfast published in 1969, is the story of a young boy and his quest to find out what George Washington ate for breakfast. Now this book appealed to me as a child because the boy actually researches his question through the use of the library and ultimately the Smithsonian. I too as a child showed a passion for history, not so important about the dates but more the why and how things took place. Yes I did this, even at the young age of ten, when I studied everything I could about the Revolutionary War. No wonder I loved this little book. By the way, George Washington ate hoecakes, cornmeal cakes that would have originally been made on the back side of a hoe, and now in an iron skillet. He liked his hoecakes with tea. Hmmmm Tea, isn't that what started the War?

I found this framed book/magazine page some time ago. I was interested in only the frame and the piece of cardboard on the back of the frame, a panel from a chocolate box with amazing graphics from the 50's, but for the moment have kept everything intact. The page displays the Jefferson Memorial (from Architect's Design) with a quote from the Declaration.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

No this is not a medal belonging to a Revolutionary War hero, but it is Vintage. I received this award in 1977 for outstanding excellence in U.S. History from the D.A.R, Daughters of the American Revolution. 1977 High School student, boy do I feel old.

I found these adorable cloth flags this weekend at a lawnsale and thought they looked good with my ironstone collection. Some of my pieces (not shown) do date back to the late 1700's.

A Johnson Brothers plate showcasing the home of Betsy Ross.

A Johnson Brothers plate showcasing Philadelphia Hall, where 13 British Colonies became the beginning of the United States of America.

We just celebrated Memorial Day in remembrance of the fallen heroes of Two Great Wars, that were suppose to be the last of the wars, to end all wars. Unfortunately, there are too many wars that have followed, including our recent war, the war on Terrorism. Each life that has been lost in service to our Country should be and needs to be remembered. It all began in 1775 with the men and women at Lexington and Concord sacrificing family, homes and lives for our Freedom and Rights that we so fortunately and with great privilege share today.
Happy 4th of July!

Got it at Goodwill

Monday, June 28, 2010

A good haul for a weekend of lawn saleslaw

Well this weekend's sales were so much better than last week's, although the temperature was still just as hot. I filled up the car with goodies which is easy to do as my car is so small. Fortunately, it is 4 doors and I can creatively pack my treasures. It is like watching a dozen clowns come out of the small car at the circus when I start to unload, and unload, and unload.

My first sale of the day was at the Lion's Club annual sale. It started at 7:00 and I arrived there at 20 minutes before. I pull in just in time to see a truck pulling out, their first customer of the day. Now I still found a ton of treasures there so it makes me wonder just what other goodies I missed. Oh well. That is what I get for hitting that snooze button the second time. For the next 15 minutes I had the sale all to myself and found an old meat grinder, dishes, books, pottery and so much more, all for $20. The gentlemen running the sale were all in the 70's and they were cracking jokes and other such silly banter. I asked them if I should pay extra for the entertainment. They were delightful.

Okay, if you read my last post about my "sputnik" dishes and fried devilled eggs, you will recognize these plates as being the same pattern. My heart skipped a beat when I saw them, 10 plates for $.50 cents. Unfortunately, no cups. Nonetheless I was still pretty giddy about this find. I just think it is so funny that this is the second time that after posting about a certain collection, a week later I find more of that collection! I might have to post some of my other harder to find collections and see if it works.

The guys thought it was funny that I was going through a box of coat hangers that they were tossing out. I collect wooden hangers. The top hanger is from a store, sorry I didn't get a close-up of the store label, the bottom one is just a nice simple wooden hanger, and the fancy white one in the middle is my favorite.

It actually had a sticker on it marked Nevco Japan. The guys just gave me the hangers, after all, they thought they were just throw aways.

The photo does not do this vase justice. It it textured, gold, tan and white, the blue sticker you see at the top is marked West Virginia glass. Vase $.50 cents.

I love love love suitcases and will be using stacks of them in my shop for display. I got 2 suitcases, both Samsonite, both beauties, both for $1.00 each. They are in excellent shape and more importantly, no musty smell!!! That is one of the drawbacks to finding old suitcases.

I have been looking for an old lunch box for a vignette that I have planned and found this plaid beauty. It is solid; however, there is a lot of rust on the inside. But it will look perfect with my collection of Stanley Thermoses. The little bottle with the red metal cap was in a box of rusty nails and tin cans. Honestly, the whole box looked like trash, but that is why you have to be willing to dive in and dig. I took the photo before I had a chance to clean up both pieces.

This was my favorite find of that sale and for the whole day. A Philco radio. All its parts are intact and I should have taken a photo of the backside of the radio, the tubes are really cool looking. The radio can be tuned in for overseas and displays settings for Rome, Japan, South America and London. I didn't care if it worked, but was assured that it did. I plan on cleaning up the wood and knobs and using it for display only, anyway. I am researching the piece for the year it was produced. I then thought I would pull up historical information from that year, by certain dates and print it out as news bulletins to go with the radio in my shop. Just something for fun. The radio was $3.00.

This next piece came from a neighborhood lawnsale in Scarborough, that was a true neighborhood sale, with over 25 houses participating. I am not as familiar with the town and inadvertently went down the wrong road. The homes on this road overlooked the salt marshes and were easily all multi million dollar homes. When I saw the homes, I knew I had missed my turn, as these places didn't look like they did lawnsales. Oh my, can you imagine the treasures.

One of the houses from the neighborhood sale, was only selling plants and some garden stuff. The plants were nice; however, I knew that if I bought any, it would drastically reduce my cargo space in the car. Just as I was turning to leave, I noticed in the garage a shelving unit filled with the owner's own garden supplies, tools, gloves, plant pots. I could see this gorgeous blue and knew it was just not a pot from the Christmas Tree Shop. I asked the lady if she would be interested in selling it, that I just loved the color. She said yes and guessed that the price would be $1.50 like the other pots (the Christmas Tree Shop pots) that she was selling. I gave her $2.00 and told her to keep the change. I was feeling a little guilty. Here is the hard part. I love this color and it will look fabulous on a white table next to a glass jar filled with white shells, in my home. Or does it go in my shop?

Pickle server in its original box. $.25 cents. Church sale. To be the hostess with the mostess, one needs a pickle server, doesn't one.

My last find of the day. Neighborhood sale $8.00. Sewing machine base. I knew I could get it in the already stuffed-not-one-spec-of-available trunk- space-car, I knew I could, I knew I could. I would love to find just the right piece of wood, perhaps an old wooden sign, to make the top.

Yes, Saturday was a good day for lawnsales. Thanks for letting me show you a few of my finds. I am joining these fine ladies for a few vintage/thrifty finds parties. Won't you join me?

Just click below for your party invitation.

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures
Linda @ Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays
Diane @ A picture is worth a 1,000 words for Second Time Around Tuesday
Suzanne @ Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingie Thursdays

I got it at Goodwill

Monday, June 21, 2010

What to make for Dinner?


I am faced with that question every day, no different from the housewife of the 40's, what do we prepare for our family to show them how much we love them? Well Fried Devilled Eggs and Upside Down Ham Loaf certainly comes to my mind.

I found this recipe in a 1945 cookbook published by Crisco. I paid $.25 for the cookbook which is the same price that it first sold for in 1945. As I was leafing through the recipes I came across this one. I love a good devilled egg, but fried? It sounded so sinful, that I had to try it. It is pretty darn tasty. Hard to describe, the texture, the taste, just plain yummy.

The Recipe:

We all know how to make a Devilled Egg. I usually mix a little Dijon Mustard, paprika, salt and pepper with the mayo. This recipe calls for vinegar and salad dressing with salt and pepper, enough to form a thick paste. You then put the mixture back into the egg half, leveling off the mixture for a flat surface. Next dip the egg into finely ground bread crumbs, then in beaten egg, and then back in the crumbs. Then fry. Of course the recipe calls for Crisco but I use oil. I love the suggestion "For an attractive luncheon plate serve with hot asparagus and fried tomato slices." As if the fried Devilled Eggs weren't enough.

Such a recipe needs to be served on the proper china. I have a fondness for cream, tan and aqua/turquoise dishes. The cup and saucer is one of my favorite pieces. There are some dishes that even for their age, you just keep finding them at every lawnsale or church sale. I will usually collect enough of the pattern to serve 12, and then sell the set, and start collecting all over again. But this one design that I simply call "Sputnik" has taken years to find the few pieces that I do own. It has no markings but I suspect because of the Atomic-theme design that it is from the 50's. The Pyrex casserole dish (Butterprint Amish) was from this weekend's lawnsales ($.25 cents) and the dish/planter is a Bauer piece from a lawnsale last summer, under $2.00.

Here is another cream/aqua piece that I have shown before, $1.99 Goodwill.

This next recipe is also from the Crisco cookbook, Upside Down Ham Loaf. I am not sure why it is named Loaf, it is cooked in a skillet on the stovetop. I haven't tried this particular recipe. Once again it is suggested to be served with Asparagus. Was Asparagus the "In" veggie of the 50's, because I know, that nothing says party like Asparagus.

Here is one complete place setting that I have managed to collect, cup and saucer, dinner plate, fruit bowl, and smaller plate. I have 7 dinner plates, 2 luncheon size plates and 3 fruit bowls, along with just the one cup and saucer. That has taken me 5 years to find. I have found some at lawnsales and the rest at Goodwill. It is interesting to note that the Goodwill pieces were not all at once, but rather here and there, mostly for $.99 cents. The cup and saucer were the most recent find at the new Goodwill store for a whopping $3.99. More than what I usually spend, but just had to have them. I It is the thrill of the hunt.

I always enjoy seeing notes written in the margins of a recipe. It usually means that the recipe was well received. For this Yellow Cake Crisco recipe, the penciled in notes indicate it is being more than doubled in size. 2 cups cake flour is being changed to 5 cups. Maybe for use as a Wedding Cake?

I hope that you enjoyed your little snack with me today. (We won't talk about the cholesterol.) I am joining up with all these fine ladies for a few vintage/thrifty finds parties and some good cooking. I hope that I made enough asparagus for all the guests. Enjoy.

Just click below for your party invitation.

Linda @ Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays
Rhoda @Southern Hospitality for Today's Thrifty Treasures
Cole @ All the Small Stuff for Tuesdays at the Table
Diane @ A Picture is worth a 1,000 words for Second Time Around Tuesday
Suzanne @ Colorado Lady for Vintage Thingie Thursdays

Got it at Goodwill

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lawn Sales and Opening of the Shop

Good Monday Morning to all. Well it was hot this weekend, so hot that even at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday morning at the lawnsales, I was wishing that I had put on shorts instead of jeans. I'm afraid it was a bit of a disappointing day for treasure hunting and of course the most disappointing sales were the ones that were the furthest out of my way. I wanted to ask "Really, you actually paid to advertise this sale, not even free Craiglist listed, but actual payment to a newspaper, for this, THIS sale!!! Really?" Maybe it was the heat talking, but I don't consider sales limited to 10 boxes of baby clothing/toys and tables full of old video games and bottles of new shampoo as "something for every one" sales. Who has 30 bottles of shampoo to sell? Perhaps the ads were a little misleading?

Of course there are the sales advertised as "Huge Neighborhood Sales" when its only 2 houses participating. Don't even get me started on lawnsale signs being prominently displayed, left over from sales that took place a week ago or more, signs that you see and automatically follow, like Pavlov's response, only to be sadly disappointed and cursing the laziness of the people who put up those signs. Oh it is all well and good to get your cardboard announcement of your sale tacked up to every telephone pole in town, enticing buyers to your house, eagerly anticipating the money you will make from a day's worth of sales. But, at the end of the day, before you count your dollar bills and quarters, how about collecting up all those signs you posted? I have a confession. I would love to go knock at the door at 8:00 a.m. and when greeted by the owner in their pj's, innocently ask if the sale is inside as I don't see anything set up out on the lawn and wait for them to stammer out an explanation that the sale was last weekend and they forgot to retrieve their signs. Yup, it was hot on Saturday, the kind of heat that makes a gal crazy.

Recently I have had a few comments as to the progress of my shop "2nd fl Thriftiques - Vintage Finds & Repurposed Treasures" so I thought an update was in order. The shop was set to open for June 26th, this Saturday; however, the landlord of the building was delayed in getting the floors refinished which set off a chain reaction of other delays, pushing things back a week. Since the next weekend is 4th of July and I can't compete with fireworks and barbecues, I pushed it back to the following week, July 10th. I'll admit, it is a little frustrating, but that does give me more time to get ready, to make everything perfect.

My family can't wait to have our dining and living rooms back to normal. I am using the rooms as a staging ground of final inspection of all items going into the shop, for cleaning, pressing, pricing and packing.

Fortunately, there is another empty space in the building that the landlord is letting me use as storage, while my space is being renovated. It makes it a lot easier to bring up boxes and furniture bit by bit over the next 2 weeks. Here is what I have brought up so far. Please disregard the office chair, photocopier and water cooler, not mine, and certainly not for the shop. As you can see, my display pieces of furniture are all being painted cream or ivory to all blend together. I want the merchandise to be the pops of color.

I have been busy painting bookcases, a 3 panel screen, several smaller shelving units, 5 tables, and a bench, so far, to be used at the store. I am getting used to cream color paint on my fingernails that doesn't seem to come off in the shower. Oh well, I call it my version of a french manicure.

Here is a little piece that I found at Goodwill. It is an ashtray and was only $1.50 (50% off sale). I knew it could work as a display piece.

So after removing the handle, and a bit of sanding, and a fresh coat of ivory paint, here it is.

I have the perfect little round table that I just bought this weekend for $4.00 that would go well with this stand to be placed on top. One of the first collections that I will showcase on this piece will be my vintage wedding pieces including cake toppers and other decorations, hats, pearls and gloves. The stand kind of looks like a tiered wedding cake, so I think it will make a perfect display piece.

I will be posting for my official Open House, but in the meantime, here is the info for the shop.

2nd fl Thriftiques
2nd fl 8 School Street
Gorham, Maine 04038
207 839-8147

Consignments welcomed. Thanks.

Got it at Goodwill

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A bird cage in the hand is better than being in the trash

The conversation always starts out the same with me asking a friend, a neighbor, or a stranger .. "You're not throwing that out, are you?" and ends with my husband asking "you brought home more junk?" Actually, his question is more of a statement than inquiry. He already knows the answer. Simply put, I just can't resist bringing home treasures that others might possibly-because-they-just-don't see-my-vision-yet, view as trash. I have always been this way. The term Packrat was what my parents endearingly labeled me as, but I preferred to think of myself as the majestic and noble bird, the Magpie, a creative scavenger. Architectural items, rusted pieces of metal, gnarled pieces of trees, sea glass, weather beaten boards and unusual rocks, were and still are my materials of choice. I also have a weakness for wooden chairs, broken or otherwise.

Let's think for a moment about a chair, perhaps missing a rung and the seat split down the middle. That chair can be turned into a planter, a table, and even a shelf. The possibilities are indeed endless with the right imagination.

It is that vision of creative possibilities that led me to asking my friend Darcy if I could have her old birdcage. We were in her barn on a different mission when I spotted the black wire of the cage. It had belonged to her Grandmother and had been sitting for years up in the loft. That was my inspiration. Next I gathered a metal spray of ivy leaves that I had taken from the box marked "free Stuff" from last fall's church rummage sale. As you can see in the picture, it is that not quite brass and not quite copper look of the 60's/70's.

They both got painted Ivory, after all the plastic components had been stripped from the cage. I then purchased one of those birds everyone is talking about from The Dollar Store. I didn't like the way it was painted so I gave it a quick fix with some of the same Ivory paint.

The cage needed a base. Rummaging around in the garage, I found a basket plate, a lawnsale find from year's ago that was a perfect fit. Once painted the same Ivory, I had my base ready and now needed something to cover the whole at the top of the cage where the ugly plastic hanger had been. I used a carved rose wooden pin that I recently found at Goodwill for $.99 cents.

Here is a close up of the pin.

Since the ivy leaves were metal, they were easy to install up alongside the outside of the cage, intertwined with the framework of the cage.

I first covered the bottom of cage with grass, my dollar store bird and a few eggs. It was cute but not enough.

I placed a nest with eggs, a Christmas Tree Shop after Easter clearance special for $.49 cents, in an old ironstone bowl. The bowl is solid, no chips or cracks, just a slight discoloration on the inside, enough to have landed it a "free" pile of a sale. By placing the nest in the bowl, it gives the nest more of a presence. I wasn't sure if I wanted the bird inside or outside.

I was pleased with my little creation of free bits and pieces, but it was still missing something. Using some sheet music found at a recent lawnsale (3 large bags for FREE - A giddy lawnsale moment), I decoupaged the basket. That is what finally made the piece all come together.

Ta-Da. Here is the finished project of my Trash to Treasure. $1.50 (bird and nest) plus the paint for $2.50. My friend Darcy hasn't seen the birdcage since it's transformation. Her home is decorated in the Shabby Chic style. I have a feeling she is going to want her birdcage back. Oh well, she does have a birthday coming up.

I am joining three new parties today, Jane's Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous, Wendy's Frugal Friday at Shabby Nest, and Gina's Transformation Thursday at the Shabby Chic Cottage. I am a little nervous to display my creation along with all the other amazing projects shown at these parties, but here goes.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Got it at Goodwill

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Shelfski, known as "Putting your best side forward."

SHELFSKI: (noun) An item that is imperfect but not without some merit in use as a decorative object only, as in form without function. No, you won't find this word in Websters Dictionary nor can I say that I was creative enough to have coined the phrase; however, I did write up this proper definition.

I first heard the word from a flea market dealer while he was trying to convince me to buy a Weller vase that had a crack, albeit only a hairline crack at best. His remark needed no explanation, I immediately got the concept. With a Shelfski, the crack, chip, missing piece, paint discoloration and any other flaw, simply faces the back of the shelf. This allows me to display pedigree pieces of pottery, that I otherwise would not be able to afford such as Majolica and Roseville. I do not purchase a Shelfski with the intent of resale, but rather, personal use only.

So I decided to display a few of my favorite Shelfski pieces for Rhoda at Southern Hospitality's Today's Thrifty Treasures, Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays, Diane at A Picture is worth a 1,000 words for 2nd Time Around and Suzanne at Coloradolady's Vintage Thingies Thursday. Please be sure to join these fun ladies for their parties to see what the other guests are showcasing on their respective days.

My first piece is the cream/tan Weller Vase (next to the birds). I had been looking for this color combination for my family room and was thrilled to find the piece. It was this seller that gave me the word Shelfski. He successfully argued that the hairline crack would not be seen on the shelf under normal viewing circumstances. (In fact, it took me a moment or two to even see the crack as I was holding it.) So for $8.00 I bought it and I love it.

My dining room is rose colored and until recently, the china cabinet contained pretty-in-pink dishes and glassware. I found this lovely Roseville vase at a lawnsale for only $1.00. I was surprised to have even found it as I recognized several dealers just leaving the sale as I was walking in.

Then I turned the vase around and saw the 2 chips along the rim. But hey, Roseville for only $1.00, I knew it would be perfect for a dining room hutch Shelfski.

This Nippon teapot, a $.50 cent lawnsale find, makes a lovely vase filled with peonies fresh from the garden.

One would never know that the backside is missing a chunk along the rim, especially, when filled with the flowers.

This is a McCoy plant pot (thank you Angela at I'm Like a Little Bird for the correction) purchased at a lawnsale for $1.00. It is a hanging plant pot. You can see the holes for the chain along the top of the planter. I love the color. It is in an upstairs bedroom (I removed the plant for the photo) and no one is the wiser as to it's little flaw .......

a rather large chip located on the underside of the planter.

The two cream pitchers on the right side of the photo were both recent Goodwill finds. Since I am redoing my diningroom china cabinet to a cream/ivory palette, I thought they would be perfect. However, both had very large cracks which someone had tried to repair.

Now I will spend $.25 - $1.00 at a lawnsale for what is obviously going to be regulated as a shelfski-only decoration. I will not spend $4.99 as each was marked, for something that most would consider simply trash. I love my Goodwill stores, don't get me wrong. It is just that the employees are taught to recognize certain names as being valuable, whether it is in housewares or fashions. They are so intent on the search for names, in this case Spode, that they don't consider the condition of the item. Don't even get me started on the ridiculous prices for dishwasher-over-washed-destroyed-design-and-scratched-up-Pyrex. Realistically, these pitchers should not have been donated, much less stocked on a Goodwill shelf. After a brief talk with the Manager, the pitchers came home with me, both for $.99 cents.

The discolored brown lines identify the cracks on each piece.

I know what you are thinking, aren't these the mushroom canisters that I just showed for my "Orange you glad to find such treasures day". Well they are the same, but not the exact ones. I just found these 2 pieces at a church sale this weekend. I had sizes 2 & 3, these are sizes 1 & 4. Both for $1.00. I was very happy. What are the odds of finding mushrooms 2 weeks in a row, at 2 different places. Mushrooms are just popping up all over. (It must be all the rain we are having .... sorry, lame joke.)

I didn't realize till I got home that the smaller piece had a crack and chip. On the shelf it is fine but I think I will be using it for holding pens and paintbrushes in my craft room.

My last piece isn't a proper Shelfski in the sense that the flaw is hidden from view. It is a piece I received from my mom that I grew up with and loved. It is a sugar canister that belonged to dad's mom, my grandmother, and her mother before her. From my earliest recollections, the crack was always a part of the piece. It doesn't matter. Whenever I look upon it, I am brought back to the kitchen of my childhood, where it was warm, safe and cozy, and always smelled of something good cooking. Not just a Shelfski, this is a priceless treasure.

So the next time you are at that lawn, church, rummage, tag sale or flea market, just remember, that the occasional Shelfski is okay. Just between us friends, don't we all have a few on our shelves and in our cupboards? Come on, you can admit it.

Be sure to check out all the parties and have a great day.

Got it at Goodwill