Why 'My Mink Betty'?

Why 'My Mink Betty'?
I'm not your common, everyday twenty-something year old and when I graduated from High School I got an equally uncommon gift. My parents found for me a beautiful 1940's mink stole at a garage sale. It had belonged to the woman's Great Aunt Betty who had married late in life to a man with money and had only allowed him to buy her this one luxury. The unusually styled stole has the name, Betty L. Jones, embroidered in the satin lining so that's what I call her. They never had children of their own and the mink was passed to Aunt Betty's niece and on to her daughter. Until it got to me, no one since Aunt Betty had worn it. Now Betty the mink and I go to the theater together on special occasions and I hope that someday I can take her to the Symphony or the Ballet. Although Betty hadn't been worn or loved for many years she was waiting for someone to love her again as are most other things I look for when thrifting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

"A Very Thrifty Picnic" and "Cooking With Vixen"

Tomorrow, July 31st, there is a huge "all church, all county" picnic in my area and a few of my friends and I are going together.

Before we could have our picnic I needed to acquire things like plates, silverware, cloth napkins, and other picnic essentials. Not being made of money AND being into everything vintage, I have been picking things up over the last week and I managed to get everything I needed and more.

No single item in this picture cost me more than $7 and much of it I already owned.

The silverware I got at the estate sale where we found A Bag Of Used Soap. It was $6.00 and all pieces are in what my mother calls the "twinkle star" pattern from various companies but much is Oneida. The drink cooler (named Wallace) is from the same sale and cost me $3.00. The Federal glass salt and pepper (pictured later) cost $1.00 for the pair.

The silverware caddy came from Goodwill for $3.00 And all the pyrex is from Goodwill as well. The most expensive item is the 4 qt Red Cinderella bowl for $7.00

The red and white checked tablecloth (above) I bought at Fred Meyer's on clearance at the end of May for around $2.00 and it's been waiting for a sunny day ever since.
The quilt (under the mixing bowls) I found at a garage sale for $1.00. The underside is red and white mattress ticking while the top has some great feedsack prints.
The plates I found in a garage sale's free pile.

I think they were once someone's fine wedding china but they were too chippy for their purposes; perfect for mine!

Also not pictured are some cloth napkins, a couple of white melmac plates, and a pair of gemco ketchup and mustard pump bottles (they look like hand soap bottles!) that I found today.

And I'm going to be using our new Town and Country Radio Flyer Wagon (it's supposed to be someone's birthday present but not 'til we fix it up) to cart a lot of these things, along with coolers full of food, from the car to the picnic site. We got it at Goodwill a couple of days ago for only $12.99. It needs some work, but it was a great steal (new it costs $114.00 on Amazon).

Today I made a wonderful new friend, Vixen, the reindeer apron. Here we are when we first met!

It's like we were made for each other! I just had to have her (I love aprons) and at $0.50 how could I refuse? She was just begging me to take her home! I went back today to the same sale at which I saw the Bag of Used Soap and found her along with a few other fun things. She and I had great fun baking today even though she tried to eat everything (it was right at mouth level and all).

As I am "the one who bakes" among my friends, my contributions in the way of edible things for tomorrow are pumpkin bread (which I baked in the butterfly gold pyrex that I scored for $3.00 today) and raspberry pie!

Vixen and I attempted to make Chocolate Chip cookies from a years-old mix but they didn't quite turn out.

My mother (being sweet) says that they look like Pralines while my father (like a ten year old boy) says that they look like fake barf puddles. Vixen was pleased that they turned out so flat because that way she gets to eat them even if she does have to fight my dad for them.

In all, my picnic items cost me (not including the pyrex that we already owned) $16.50. I am very pleased with the total cost and excited to use it all!!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy thrifting! I'll post more next time about the sales we hit today.

I've linked this blog to:

Thrifty Treasures @ Southern Hospitality
Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm
Thrift Share Monday @ Apron Thrift Girl

Thursday, July 29, 2010

That 70's House

A few Fridays ago I went with my mother (who else?) to an estate sale about twenty five miles from our house. The sale was a crafter's dream. The woman who lived in the house was into EVERYTHING crafty. She had done Christmas bazaars for years and there were supplies and completed projects including plastic canvas, cross stitch, miniatures, tatting, and more plus the instruction books to go with all of it. Most of the projects my mother remembers from the early 1980s.

We spent a good amount of time outside looking through the craft tables before venturing into the house. As we stepped across the threshold we were instantly transported back to 1971. From the macrame lampshades to the various colors of groovy carpeting and window treatments, the house was a psychedelic dream(or nightmare).

This "groovy" window was in the second bedroom and had matching corkboard wall-art.

My favorite thing about this was that those corkboards were SO special that they weren't even for sale.

This owner had been quite the decorater. Every room in that house had it's own theme. The master bedroom was all red with crimson shag carpeting and fuzzy curtains with pompoms on them. I apologize for not taking more pictures, it really was shocking. Picture this: the last bedroom had a bright blue and green quilted curtain set and green carpet to match. I half expected to see Pete, Linc, and Julie hanging out on the back porch (bonus points for getting the reference!).

(Thanks to wikipedia for the picture.)

As we snaked our way through the house we had to stop constantly to look carefully at the abundance of things they had. We spent a fair amount of time talking to family members about the house and we found out it was built in 1971 (and apparently stayed frozen in time). They even had a rec room entirely in earth tones complete with a giant mountain scene latch-hook rug (which was thankfully also not for sale) and shag carpeting resembling chocolate marble cake with a strawberry swirl.

At first we thought prices would be really cheap as many family members said that prices were negotiable. After spending more than an hour perusing the entire house we went up to pay only to find out that the woman taking money was not flexible with prices. They had had an estate sale expert come in and price things for the family and she was not interested in bargaining down. Most things were unmarked and because we couldn't total it ourselves we simply took the price she gave us and after the half off it came to around $23.00; more than we had intended to spend but not bad.
Here's what we got:
A red Cosco step-stool
A rolling laundry cart (for the clothesline)
Blue baby shoe planter (pictured on the previous post)
A couple of books
Some housewares
And an assortment of craft and fun type items.

Out of the free pile we also got a bag of large plastic eggs from Legg's pantyhose - AND there's a pair in one! Score!

All they needed to be even more 70's was one of these in the driveway:

I apologize for not having more pictures of That 70's House. I wasn't expecting to start a blog any time soon.

What's the most ridiculous thing you've seen at an estate sale? Let us know.

I'm linking this post to:
Debbiedoos' Garage Salen Partay
(where I was featured for last week's post, Thanks, Debbie!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Christmas in July giveaway

Marie over at Lemon Drop Vintage makes beautiful charm bracelets and is having a giveaway. If you haven't seen her bracelets, you're in for a treat!

The drawing closes soon -- July 31st.

I also found another great giveaway over at www.decorchick.com that ends on July 31st. she's giving away a $50 Visa giftcard, go check it out!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

B is for Baby Planter

I'm joining ABC Wednesday today.

Last winter, beginning around Thanksgiving, my mother and I started researching and looking for green depression glassware to grow her collection (she hadn't gotten anything new since 1995). In her search to find out more about a particular piece she owns she stumbled upon The Thriftshop Romantic blog and, in doing so, discovered the Thrifting Blogoverse.

Along the way, she discovered the joys of baby planters, specifically what Jenn (@ Thriftshop Romantic) calls "lambie whammies"; basically any planter with a lamb on it. My mother then hoped and longed for a lamb planter of her very own and, as you should well know, once you've seen something online, it shows up wherever you're looking.
I soon found this cute little lamb at our local Goodwill and we brought her home.

Little did we know that the lamb would spawn our obsession with looking for baby planters. Since we found the lamb in February we have acquired 9 baby planters. One that we just found, and haven't photographed, is a pink bassinet from Napco with a music box attached to it.

Every time we go to Goodwill or to any estate or garage sales, the first things I look for are Pyrex and Baby planters. I often find more planters than we buy because we're too cheap for most Goodwill prices and we have limited space so we hold out for the cutest ones.

Like this one!

This planter is the cutest I have ever seen. I almost missed it. I was about to leave Goodwill when I spotted it on the top shelf in the back. It is the most expensive planter we own at a whopping $5.99.

In trying to date our planters we found that the stylized R on the bottom of this sailboat stands for Rubens Originals.

Rubens Originals is particularly famous for head vases, but they manufactured many other kinds of planters. Planters were available for all occasions and could be bought at your local florist's shop.

Baby planters were especially popular and were widely produced by many companies (NAPCO, RELPO, INARCO, etc) and marked on the bottom with stickers or stamps. Some were sold in ceramic shops so that people could paint their own. You can tell commercially-painted planters from ceramic shop planters by looking at the base. Even if the planter has no maker's mark, if the bottom is unglazed it was likely commercially produced. If the bottom is glazed (with small unglazed sections from a tripod), it was probably painted at the ceramic shop.

In the 1980s cute and funny planters went out of fashion in favor of glass, baskets, etc. Baby planters can still be had today but they don't have the colors, the charm, or the stylings of vintage planters.
I have one that is not a baby planter per se but still gets to live with the cute ones. All I know about it is that it says Made In Japan on the bottom and is darn cute. If you have any information on this Wood Sprite, please let me know!

And I noticed this on the bottom of our lamb planter when I took them outside to photograph them for you all.

This indicates that, contrary to what my mother believed (based on the intensity of the pink) it IS old and is a Rubens Original. Our collection is supposed to end up in the bathroom eventually. Now all we need is a shelf to put them on...

I'm linking this to:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Typewriters, Barstools, and Pyrex oh my!

Last Friday afternoon, after deciding we didn't have money to spend garage sailing anymore, my mother sent me out with a list of sales and eight dollars. A good friend of mine whom we'll call Kitty went with me.

As it would happen, the church rummage sale that we went to first had one thing I have been waiting most of my life to own: a working manual typewriter. The machine is a Remington Quick-Riter and light grey with dark green keys. It has its case and none of the keys stick. I paid $5.00 for it and am quite satisfied.

Also at that sale I got a large cranberry colored Samsonite suitcase with a pink lining and a couple of old metal picture frames.

The next stop on our list was another church rummage sale where I found a few small things such as a postal scale, a wall-mounted hat rack, and a velvet painting souvenir of San Francisco.

After that sale I had only a couple of dollars left and was trying to find another sale when I drove past the most beautiful garage sale find of my life! It was a Yellow Crackle Ice Dinette Set. A fairly small table and four chairs, no lea,f and the vinyl on the chairs needs work but otherwise it's beautiful (sorry but I won't be able to get pictures of it until it's been cleaned up). I had to give them some money to hold it and go back home to get the ($15.00) cash but it was worth it. By the time I had loaded the set into our Kia Optima (which left almost no space for anything else) my mother called and asked me to swing by the American Cancer Society's thrift store for her.
I had just parked in front of a house in our city's downtown and was walking to the store when I saw three red and two black barstools sitting outside of a bar with a FREE sign taped to them.
(the dinette chairs are there in the background)

I had Kitty go check them out for condition and got on the phone with my mother because there was no way they would fit into the car with the dinette set already inside. After a few more phone calls to my father and mother both, I called a friend and he agreed to come pick them up for me.
About twenty minutes later I got home and unloaded it all and with only $20.00 I had gotten three things we've been looking for: a dinette set, a velvet painting (sort of), and a typewriter.

And since then we've just been finding better and better things and of course, it happens as soon as we don't have money to really be buying.

Today, in fact, we found these:

Those are Pyrex divided dishes with their lids; one is Snowflake pattern in Aqua blue and the other is an atomic-looking promotional pattern in black on white. Of all the pyrex we own, these are actually our first divided dishes! If you know anything about the promotional dish pattern, please let me know.

That's all I have for you today, have a great weekend and happy "sailing".

EDIT: I found out which pattern the black and white pyrex is. It's called barbed wire and it was a promotional pattern for fall, 1958.

I'm linking this to:


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Bag of Used Soap

My mother and I went to a garage sale at a beautiful house with some pretty slim pickings and an estate sale at a less impressive house with a lot of stuff. Here are some pictures; sorry I didn't have anything more fun for you.

The garage sale was at a beautiful house built in 1898.

And the award for the most racist honey advertisement of all time goes to....

Her house was beautiful and she was very nice. We found some lovely picture-plate books on Victorian houses and a few small things.

The estate sale was at a modest mid-century home with too many things to look at. The couple there was moving into their RV and selling EVERYTHING from their house. They had all the essentials: clothing, dishes, books, toiletries, oil funnels, tools, furniture... but the milk crates were not for sale.

Here's most of what we actually bought:

We got a few more things than that including a yellow paint-splattered Cosco step stool for one dollar which I hope to be able to clean up. Did you see the wire-metal grocery cart? We got TWO of those! All the silverware, as well as a not-pictured drink cooler, is for a church picnic I have coming up (and it's even Oneida).

And the strangest thing I saw (I regret not having a picture of it) was a ziploc bag with around 14 bars of opened, and possibly used, soap. I am just dying to see the inside of their house because I can only imagine that they had twelve bathrooms and one bedroom.

In all, it was a pretty great day for estate sales.

I'm linking this post to:
Debbie-Doos' Garage Salen Party
Frugal Fridays @ The Shabby Nest
It's so very thrifty @ It's So Very Cheri
Frugal Finds @ It's a Blog Party


It's a Blog Party

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

That family with two houses now has an Apricot Kitchen!

My maternal grandmother was the daughter of a navy chaplain stationed in Hawaii in the late 1940's. She was swept off her feet by a young naval officer who was devoted to her. As he advanced in his career they moved frequently and sometimes lived in less-than-stellar accommodations. By 1965, when my mother was in fifth grade, they had nine children. When they moved to San Diego, CA they couldn't afford a big enough house on the private market and the largest one available in military housing was a three bedroom half of a duplex. So my grandfather marched off to the housing office and "convinced" them to give him both halves of the duplex. My grandfather became infamous throughout the neighborhood for getting himself two houses.

Now, in those days, decor in military housing was in the "barracks style". The exteriors of buildings came in three stucco colors: dirty pink, seasick green, and never-to-again-be white and you could have your interiors painted any color you wanted, as long as it was white.

When my grandmother's birthday rolled around, my grandfather asked what she wanted and I am told the conversation went like this:

Grandpa: If you could have anything you wanted for your birthday, what would it be?
Grandma: I'd want the kitchen painted, but that's not allowed.
Grandpa: Details. What color?
Grandma: But that's not allowed.
Grandpa: Details.

Soon afterward, a ripple went through the neighborhood about "That family with two houses now has an Apricot Kitchen!" Complete strangers would knock on the back door and conspiratorially whisper "Do you have an Apricot Kitchen?...Can I see it?"

The most ironic part about this all is that my grandmother had divided the house and she, my grandfather, the toddlers, and the oldest daughter (the presentable family members) lived in one half. Their side was decorated tastefully and shown to company. The other side was where the kids could be kids and family time was spent. Unfortunately the Apricot kitchen was in the half with the toys, kids, and old couch and not the area that company ordinarily would have been shown to first.

Nevertheless they always let people in to see the Apricot Kitchen.

The secret Apricot Kitchen was never formally photographed but I think you can see a stripe of the paint along the door frame.

PS: This was my mother's tenth birthday. Don't you just love her haircut?!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Somebody Stole my Butter!

Right now, if you walk out to the extra large standing freezer in our garage you will find exactly 27 pounds of butter. What does this have to do with thrifting and vintage? You'll see...

Last week Tuesday, my Mother and I finally went to the local Habitat for Humanity Re-store (which we've been meaning to do for a while) and look what we found.

Yes that is a vintage Hotpoint fridge!

And that IS the price. It is about 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall and doesn't have much storage space in it for food but it DOES have the original shelves and trays.

The white plastic door in the top right corner is the freezer compartment, barely large enough for a few ice cube trays or a stack of those new-fangled TV dinners! It has a glass tray underneath it and in the bottom of the fridge is the original enameled vegetable drawer with the glass shelf covering it so you can see the state of your food.

I began inspecting the inside of the fridge and found a bonus gift! A single pat of squishy butter preserved in a ziploc bag that was tucked into the freezer compartment. YAY!

My mother was IMMEDIATELY on the phone with my father. I believe the conversation went like this:

Mom: If I buy a fridge, will you haul it home for me?
Dad: I'm not hauling away someone's nasty garage sale fridge.
Mom: I'm at the Habitat for Humanity store. That one you won't go to because you say it never has anything good. (Completely ignoring the fact that none of us have EVER been there before.)
Dad: (sigh) We don't need a fridge.
Mom: It's a cool vintage fridge, I'm thinking 1940's.
Dad: (thinking..."cool fridge") Where are we gonna put it? (We don't have a very large house let alone much room for a new fridge)
Mom: It can be your new beer fridge. It'll fit in the garage. It's not very big.

And the next thing I knew, my mother was throwing her wallet at me and ordering me to pay for it while she guarded it like a mother bear guards her pic-i-nic basket. It even came with a 30 day return policy guaranteeing that it worked. While we were paying for it, I watched a man inspecting the fridge and when I went to put the sold sticker on it and take pictures, THE BONUS BUTTER WAS GONE! I hope he's enjoying his old squishy butter because he can't have the fridge!

We perused the entire store and saw lots of potential for future visits but of course we had already found the best item in the place. I can tell you that we will be back soon.

On our way out we chatted up a delivery man and he told us that not only had the fridge spent fewer than 24 hours in the store, it had come out of a man's 1929 cabin and it was working when they got it in.

When we got home we did a little research to try and figure out the year on the fridge and, based on old ads we saw on Ebay, we think it's a 1948 or 1949 model. We also discovered that people who are obsessed with butter (like my mother) can't resist old Hotpoint refrigerators (who needs ice cubes when you have butter?!). I guess it was meant to be ours.

And this is the 1948 advertisement that looks most like our fridge (note they're STILL obsessed with butter!).

Right now, if you walk out to the Hotpoint refrigerator in our garage you will find a pot of clam chowder, three onions, and ten pounds of butter. HA! We didn't need your stinky squishy pat ANYWAY Mr. Rotten Butter Man.

I am linking this to Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays and also to Thrifty Thursday at Bloggeritaville.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How I Came to Love Vintage

Even as a child I always liked things that could be described as vintage. I grew up with household names like Pyrex and Samsonite, and the soundtrack to my life has always been Broadway and Golden Oldies. When I was a child my mother and sister would take me to antique malls to look around but we rarely bought anything. My mother collected green depression glassware and records and took me to musicals and showed me old films. I became enamored of Judy Garland and the glamour of old Hollywood before I was out of elementary school and I longed for ermine and pearls. Before I was old enough to enter high school I had already started collecting Original Broadway Soundtracks on Vinyl and received a long-awaited record player for my thirteenth birthday. As a gift to celebrate my graduation from high school I finally got the mink stole I had always wanted and, around that time, my mother and I started frequenting Goodwill and estate sales and made a few more finds like a vintage sweater clip and a beautiful two-sided hand mirror. Someone might argue that my mother raised me to like vintage things but I'd have to disagree. I didn't have to be raised to appreciate vintage, I'd always loved it. I was raised around it and wanted vintage things for myself but I wasn't stopped from having new things while growing up; I simply appreciated the older things in life. I have always liked personal items most of all when looking at vintage things, the sort of things that people handled and used on an everyday basis. They tell a story of the owner and what he or she liked or did with their lives as well as what was fashionable or luxurious in earlier times.

In all, I have always liked vintage things. They tend to be better quality, more stylish, and more fun and they just don't make things like that today.

I will soon be blogging here about vintage, thrift stores, broadway, floral design, and anything else that comes to mind but in the meantime, here are some photos of items I should be blogging about.

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