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?


  1. My word!!! You all didn't score, you WON!!! Great finds!!!

  2. Such awesome finds!! The old passports are simply out of this world! What I'd give to be transported to that era and spend a leisurely year in Paris :)
    My favorite find from this week was actually a working Brownie camera complete with box and user manual! Sad that they discontinued making film for it though...

  3. Great finds! Hey, your "stoner" teacups--I saw the same exact ones at Goodwill on our travels a couple weeks ago. They came with matching snack plates like you mentioned. I thought of buying them just for the laughs, but left them there for others to giggle over.

    We had a Toshiba just like that monolith there. Worked great, but when we finally had to carry it out, it just about broke our backs. We weren't thinking like the Egyptians!

  4. This was such a great post! Full of wonderful finds. I loved it all but think the typewriter ribbon box is awesome and the passports(maybe my fav). Love the Spring Blossom pattern pyrex, pieces aren't bad since you can sometimes find missing pieces in thrifts. I'm hoping to continue to add to my small collection.

  5. Thanks for linking up with Junkin Finds! I almost forgot I'm the new hostess!

  6. Heavens! Now THAT was a busy day!

  7. Great finds, but I was waiting for the Egyptian part. Now I get it. Smart thinking.


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