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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Just Like the Egyptians

Last Friday, my mother was awake at 3AM as she so often is (don't ask me why) and she decided to check Craigslist for estate sales. Lo and behold, there was the sale to end all sales: there was a picture with PYREX in it!!! The sale was scheduled to open an hour before my first class that day so Mom woke me up and told me about it, asking if I wanted to go with her. We took separate cars, and I went in first to sniff out the Pyrex. Mom was looking for some vintage cookbooks she had seen advertised.

That sale was packed; we could barely move around. The Pyrex turned out to be over-priced, and Mom couldn't find the cookbooks, but I managed to snag a few things before I had to leave for class. It was an effort just to get near enough to the check-out table to make a pile of things for Mom to pay for later. The line went through two rooms of the house, and several people did not take kindly to what they assumed was me cutting into the line. After a number of dirty looks, and one lecture, I managed to stash my finds and escape unharmed. Ah, the things we do for vintage. This is what I found:

A glasbake mixing bowl for sunbeam

An enameled refrigerator drawer, which someone just handed to me :)

A Westclox Travalarm - I just love the style. The cream colored part closes over the face like a roll-top desk. The alarm works, but unfortunately, it doesn't keep time. Dad's thinking about opening it up and seeing if he can fix it.

And a copper-colored jointed owl necklace. His name is Octavius Augustus.

The other necklace is my Benjamin Bunny scrabble tile I bought at my favorite Antique Mall this summer. When I was four, My mother cross stitched a little picture of Benjamin Bunny onto a blue corduroy jumper for me. (For those of you who understand counted cross stitch, it was 18 count and corduroy is too thick for such tiny stitches. She swore, "never again!") This was my favorite jumper and I didn't want my mother to wash it because I was afraid the picture would fade. In the interest of keeping it stain-free, the jumper wasn't allowed out of the house or near anything sticky. I still have it today.

This is what Mom found:

Tupper(ware) Silent Partner poker chips set, dominoes, some free Fisher Price wooden people, and this neat little tin.

The unused ribbon is inside, and it's for a Remington, which is the brand of typewriter I found back in July! I'm not sure it fits my model, but I like the tin so much, I'd have bought it empty.

Passports from 1947!

Aren't their pictures wonderful

This couple apparently spent a year in Paris, and made at least one trip to Geneva. There were also some other papers with the passports, including a driver's license and some French bread ration stamps.

This was tucked in one of the boxes. We hoped to find the camera, but no such luck.

It was fun to read, as it was intended for a child. Love the Brylcreem hairdo on that kid. I also found it interesting that a roll of film only had 8 pictures on it.

A "mystery for girls" from 1934. I wonder how it compares to Nancy Drew. And although you can't tell from my crappy picture, that's a copy of Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cook Book. We bought that by mistake, because Mom was holding it when I had to leave and it got in my pile of stuff. But it was only a buck, and it turns out to have been illustrated by a young Andrew Warhol. So if you're interested in teeny little pictures of measuring cups, mixing bowls, and a fish or two drawn by a famous artist, I have the book for you, lol.

There was one other item that Mom had seen in the pictures for the auction that was on our list:

Our neighbor had asked us to look for one for him, but I will also be using it for a project I'm working on that I will tell you about in a future post. We got all of that for $23.00.

Then Mom headed off to a few other sales.

She found this hardly used set of Tupperware canisters for $2. The largest one is missing it's lid, and the lid to the next biggest one shattered after she got it home. I read online somewhere that Tupperware can get dehydrated, and that if you have some in a cupboard not being used, it should be taken out every 3-4 months and soaked in water to keep it soft. I guess these had been in storage for a long time. Time for me to soak some Tupperware.

She also found a whole bunch of Pyrex compatables pieces in my favorite pattern, Spring Blossom. She was quite excited, until she realized they really were pieces. There was the underplate for the gravy boat, sugar bowls, but no lids, etc.

She bought them anyway, as they were part of a huge box of miscellaneous dishes, mostly Pyrex and Fire King that was only a few dollars. For the most part, they were not remarkable, but there were a few nice pieces, such as two very faded Amish Butterprint small refrigerator dishes, and four opal white 12-oz square bowls.

And then there is this interesting little tea cup. That's a marijuana leaf on there. And if you look closely, all the "flowers" are also marijuana leaves turned on their sides. Do you suppose that whoever originally bought this knew what it was? Or was someone having a little private joke with this design? This looks like the kind of tea cup that came with my grandmother's snack sets, but those belong to an era I don't usually associate with stoner decor. It has no markings and I couldn't find anything about it online.

Then Mom went to Value Village on Monday, and they had a stack of matching snack plates in the same pattern. They wanted $2.99 for each one, or she would have bought one just for fun. (She paid about 12c for the cup)

The last thing Mom found on Friday was something she's been thinking about getting ever since we moved into our house in 2007. We have a 26-inch TV that sits in a corner of the living room. It has never looked quite right there. It either needs to be in a big entertainment center or should be replaced with a bigger TV. Mom has had this idea that we should be able to get a 34" TV for very little money since there are so many people who are upgrading to flat-screen HDTV and will want to get rid of an old set. And we'll be fine with old technology for a long time. (Heck, it's not even vintage yet.)

So we've been watching Craigslist for free or cheap TVs, but most of them have been too big, too far away, or need work. But Friday, Mom found a guy who advertised a moving sale and had several 36" TVs for sale for $10-$15. Plus, he also mentioned a huge free pile (Mom loves a free pile.) The sale wasn't due to start until 2 pm, so Mom politely waited until 2:05 before she showed up. By that time, whatever free stuff there had been was gone. The poor seller, who was still setting up when Mom arrived, had been ambushed by early birds all morning long and hadn't been able to get much done. He spoke very kindly of them; said they were mostly elderly folks who were just driving by early to verify the address for when they planned on coming back at 2 pm. Yeah, right. Some people!

Fortunately, he still had 2 TVs left. So Mom got a 36" TV and a stand for $20. Score! She also got a large oak bookshelf that screamed 1986 for $15. Since they were too heavy for her to haul home, she arranged for Dad to get them with the pick-up on his way home from work.

Somehow, she assumed Dad would call a couple of strong friends to help get the TV out of the pick-up and into the house. But when he arrived she realized she was being elevated to "strong friend" status. Ha! Had he forgotten who she was? When they were first married 35 years ago she could fake "strong friend" status, but now? I suppose she should have been flattered that he thought she was as young and strong as when they first met, but somehow it wasn't making her feel all warm and fuzzy. (Thankfully, I wasn't home when he arrived.)

My father is a pretty resourceful guy, and he's got a lot of stuff around the house, so with the help of some plywood, some straps, a pair of car ramps, and a furniture dolly, they managed to wrestle the TV into the house... only to be stopped by their inability to grab that TV and lift it 18 inches up onto the TV stand.

Mom said, "We just have to think like the Egyptians did when they moved giant stones for the pyramids and lever it into place somehow." So Dad went out to the woodshed and came back with some pieces of cedar fence wood. He lifted one side of the TV up and Mom slid a board underneath. Then he lifted the other side up and she slid another board in on that side. Slowly and carefully, with much sweating and only a little swearing, Dad lifted the TV 18 inches. Then they used big furniture glides to slide it onto the TV stand.

Here it is on its tower of boards.

The TV works great. It's just in time for us to watch Shaun of the Dead on Halloween.

Mom and Dad say their favorite find this week was the TV. I'm torn between the enamel pan, which we've been looking for all summer, and the ribbon for my typewriter, which I didn't expect to find at all. What was your favorite find this week?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Free Roses

As it says in my information, I am a florist. That is to say that I am trained as one. I do not currently work in a shop but would love to work wedding flowers.

My parents bought our house three years ago. It's a small house but it's on a fair-sized lot. WE really haven't done much in the way of landscaping but my Dad is working on it slowly.

When we moved in there were three white rose bushes under my bedroom window. Now, as a Florist I know that white roses always come with more thorns and these are no exception! They are what I call "garden roses"; they open wide and full and don't have much of an individual stem to speak of, in comparison to your standard commercial varieties. They also don't have any scent. Or, well, one bush has a slight fragrance but nothing notable.

About two years ago, my father and I bought a rose called a "Mr Lincoln". This particular variety is a gorgeous deep red with a hint of fuschia and a strong, wonderful scent. Since that bush we have been looking into getting more that have fragrance but they all cost too much. (A floral hint: purple and lavender roses always smell good, there's something genetically linked to the blue in the color or something)

Early this summer there was an ad on the Craigslist FREE page for FREE roses. A man had dug about twelve bushes out of his front yard and wanted them hauled away. First come, first serve. Quickly, my mother and father and I were in the car, on our way. There was one other car driving up when we got there, and it became a mad scramble to find the ones with the best scent.

We got out with two bushes: one lavender that I wanted and one variegated peach/orange cream that my mom wanted. When we got them home, Dad had to prune them all the way back and plant them, hoping that there hadn't been too much damage done when they were dug up.

They've finally bloomed and they're beautiful. It's amazing what you can find on Craigslist for free.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thrifty Birthday Weekend

Friday was my Dad's birthday.
He was given the day off from work, so Mom found an estate sale with lots of tools. He called a friend, and they all set off for an adventure in the country. I had school, so I missed the fun.

It was a very interesting sale, and just right for my Dad. The estate had belonged to a man who was big on self-sufficiency/survivalism. He had guns, BDUs (camouflage uniforms) , cases of MREs (military food), buckets and boxes of long-term storage foodstuffs, and lots of tools. He also had books on politics, history, religion, survival, medicine, guerrilla warfare, military tactics; even a copy of the unibomber manifesto. On the way home, they found a couple of other sales, too. Here's some of what Dad came home with:

An electric belt sander, an air-powered orbital sander, a scroll saw, a brace and bit, a stud finder, a bag of giant hooks, 2 brass faucets (for making rain barrels), 4 big casters (for making a rotating compost bin), cowboy boots, a Spec-Op handbook ('cause he's a guy), and 2 big C clamps, because he only had 12, and you can never have too many C-clamps. (You know, like Pyrex) He said he already has enough BDUs and MREs.

He also got some DVDs - Westerns and War, of course (ok, plus one for Mom)

And some books

Apparently the guy was very concerned about hiding his guns and valuables. Hmmm... I wonder if the people handling the estate read this book and found all his stuff.

They also came home with this for the garden.

What? You don't use plastic forks in your garden? Well, neither do we, but Mom plans to. You see, we have a lot of cats that roam our neighborhood. And they all think that our empty garden beds make purrfect (Yes, I went there) places to plant their poops. Cat poop, along with the poo from other meat-eating animals, is bad for the garden (unlike chicken manure). We cover large areas with chicken wire until the seedlings come up, and that helps to deter them, but there are always small spots of bare soil.

Mom read online that if you take dead branches and stick them in your garden, they make it difficult for a cat to find a soft place to plant her bottom. But we don't have an endless supply of small dead branches. So next spring, before the new crops come up, our garden will have rows and rows of plastic forks standing guard against marauding cats and their poops. I can't wait to see it.

Mom got something too. A couple months ago she found this cool Paula Dean glass bacon press at a garage sale for $1.
She was rather excited until she got home and realized that it wouldn't fit into the round dutch oven she uses to cook bacon. But as you can see, it does fit into the square electric frying pan she found.She also plans on using it to make rosettes this Christmas.

I got presents too:

A couple of CDs,

a1976 Batman Pepsi glass (surprisingly popular on ebay), a Pyrex opal white divided dish, a copper souvenir ashtray from Missouri, and a copper-colored aluminum volcano mold.

Then on Saturday, I got out our 1957 PINK! Sunbeam Mixmaster that I found at Goodwill for $25,

(It was even prettier before the tape monkeys at GW got to it and the tape pulled the paint off. Grrrr!!)

and my vintage ovenex pans

and baked this Devil's Food Cake for Dad.

Doesn't it look yummy displayed on my new cake plate?

Then the fun continued on Sunday. After church, I rushed over to the mall because Dad had received a card in the mail to redeem for a birthday gift from one of the stores.

He very generously let me keep it.

I also did a little thrifting myself this week.

Another Relpo baby planter!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thrifty Finds & Vintage Recipes

Sometimes I find just WHAT I was looking for, but not WHERE I was looking.

I was out running errands the other day and Mom called to tell me about a great sounding estate sale she found on Craigslist, so I hustled on over and found...
nothing I wanted.

But as I was driving away, I passed a yard sale, and thought, "Why not. I'm already here." And boy, am I glad I stopped.

Pretty, pretty, Pyrex. The large Pink Gooseberry 404 Cinderella bowl, a 401 Scroll bowl, and

TWO of the Spring Blossom Cinderella bowls (441,442). All on my wish list. All for $12.00. They have some scratches, but are still shiny. The seller also gave me a Butterfly Gold butter dish for free.

A few days later, Mom and I went to an estate sale and bought...

an unopened can of baking powder and
a half a bottle of 409 cleaner (to test for bakelite).
Whoopee! (not)

But once again, as we were driving home, we stumbled upon another estate sale.
This is what we got:

I had been looking for a cake pedestal and dome for months. The only place I could find one was at the antique malls, and they wanted at least $28 - too pricey for me. This dome is not quite as big as the pedestal, but for $5, I'm very happy.

We also got: a pressed wooden cheese plate that can also be used with the dome, a little pink pitcher to hold toothbrushes in the bathroom, a little blue stool, 2 small shelves (not shown), a ricer, a salt & pepper set, a Campbell's soup spoon, two wooden pestles, and some free vintage magazines, pamphlets and cookbooks.

I love looking at vintage recipe books. This one is quite unique.

Printed in 1960, it seeks to capitalize on the popularity of tv, by photographing each recipe as it is made, "just like the recipes that you see demonstrated on television." Some of the recipes are quite appealing, such as:

height of sophistication... celestial concoction... perfect...
(I guess they didn't worry about raw eggs and salmonella back then.)

Others are quite appalling:

Tempting combination of flavors... Cottage Cheese and Kidney Bean?? Who are they trying to kid? Tempting to hide it in a napkin... tempting to slip it to the dog... as if he would eat it... tempting to throw it in the garbage...

And this:

Appetizing... Aw come on! What did we Irish Americans do to them? Italian-Americans have pizza and pasta and marinara; Mexican-Americans have tacos and enchiladas; Asian-Americans have egg rolls and lo mein; Irish-Americans have... well, one dish, and they have to go and muck it up. Why? Were they mad because Kennedy was running for President? Was this some sort of a political plot?

A cookbook featuring Campbell's convenience foods - meaning food in a can...

like barbecued beans, which can be used as a base for:

Beans & Franks Apricot Garnish - okay, franks & beans, not bad...

Or Skillet Chops 'n Beans - a little heavy on the beans, but still pork + beans, ok...

Mexican Bean Burgers - what the heck? Since when are pork 'n' beans Mexican cuisine? And pork 'n' bean sandwiches?
Oh, I get it. A burrito has beans in it and it's kinda like a sandwich, so we'll just call it Mexican and nobody will notice how stupid...NO, NO, NO!!

Barbecue Bean Salad - Holy Mother of Pearl!
Salad greens topped with cold beans, then topped with mayonnaise...YIKES!

In fairness to Campbell, I should mention we received a free cookbook from them a few years ago and the recipes have improved greatly over the years.

We also got the Dec 1966 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine.
Here's an ad for Fisher Price toys.

I love that toy iron!

And a very interesting Kraft cheese ad.

Putting a little girl in a bubble bath to sell cheese...hmm... Not sure they'd do that today. But I am loving that cool modern bathtub. I wonder if it's a real tub or just something invented for the photo shoot.

And look at this 1943 Kerr Home Canning Book.

Apparently not all the government research was channeled into nuclear weapons. It would appear the National Nutrition Program was creating peaches as big as a human head. Yowzers!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Baby Planters

Do you remember our (mostly) baby planter collection?

Well, we found a few more.

This is a bunny.

She's wearing a flowered Easter hat and a pretty Easter bow and those are bunny ears flopping over the rim of her hat. So she must be an Easter Bunny. No matter what my friends and relatives might say, she's not a kitty or a hamster or a beaver. (Really, Dad, the Easter Beaver? Was growing up on the farm really that weird?)

I think she's the cutest bunny ever. She makes a great holder for my colored pencils. She had a few chips and flaws, but she was half off at the Goodwill and so cute I couldn't resist. She was made in Japan for the E. O. Brody Co. - I'm guessing in the late '50s or early '60s.
Look at this cute little baby.

Isn't she precious?

And she's riding a polka dot giraffe! Giraffes are my favorite animal and I never expected to find one in a baby planter.

Like the bunny, this planter has a few chips, but it's a GIRAFFE!!!!! The only marking is a stock number, so I don't know who made it or when, but it has a '70s feel to me.

This is the Napco bassinet that I mentioned in the earlier post, but which wasn't pictured. It's a pretty pink color and has a nice music box, but I wish they had tried to hide the screws.

The last find isn't a planter.

I doubt it's vintage, although it was made in Japan.

But it does have babies.

Lots of them.

Such a proud Mama Pig.

Those piglets kind of creep me out. They look like fish heads. But Mom loves it. She smiles every time she looks at it. We think it's a candy dish. The top of the carriage with the piglets lifts off. Or maybe it's supposed to be for cotton balls, etc. in a baby's room.

All of these came from Goodwill, for $2-$4 each.

I'm linking this post to
Thrifty Thursday at Bloggeritaville

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