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, November 10, 2010

Thrifting By Proxy

Do you ever Thrift By Proxy? That's when a friend is at an estate sale or a thrift store, sees something she thinks you will like and gives you a call. Just because you're not there doesn't mean you can't share the fun.

Like early this summer, when I was at a garage sale and called my Sean Connery obsessed friend Brent:

Me: Do you have twenty dollars?
Brent: No. Why?
Me: Oh, okay, never mind.
Brent: Wait, wait, why?
Me: I just found this framed picture of someone you might know. A man named Sean Connery. Ring any bells?
Brent: (incoherent excited babbling)
Me: He even signed it. I think it's from that movie "Hunt for Red October". Have you seen it? (I happen to know it's his favorite.) But since you don't have twenty dollars, I'll just leave it here.
Brent: No, no. I have twenty dollars. Buy it. Now.

Or the more usual calls to Mom on any Sunday, when I stop at Goodwill on my way home from church:

Me: Do you have five dollars?
Mom: Why?
Me: Pyrex
Mom: What kind?
Me: The five dollar kind.
Mom: (Thinking: $5... must be good) Is it still shiny?
Me: Pretty much. Some light metal marking.
Mom: What pattern?
Me: The kind that will cost you five dollars.
Mom: (giving up) Fine. Buy it. We can return it if I don't like it.


Me: I found you a present.
Mom: What kind of present?
Me: The goooood kind.
Mom: Is it Pyrex?
Me: Maaaaybe.

This is family code for "I ain't tellin'." When I was a kid, I would try to guess what was in the presents under the Christmas tree, and no matter what I guessed, Mom would never say "no." I could guess "a pile of dog poo" and she would say "maaaaybe".

Mom: (Playing along)Is it socks and underwear? That's what my parents always got me.
Me: I'm at Goodwill... do you really want socks and underwear from here?
Mom: No thank you. Did you use my money?
Me: Well, duh. Have you met me? Broke college student?
Mom: Okay, what did I buy myself?
Me: A surprise.
Mom: Oh, goody. It's such a surprise I didn't even know I was buying it.

Last Friday, Mom invited me to go to an estate sale with her, but I already had plans. My BOYFRIEND wants me to go with him to the premiere of the new Harry Potter movie next Friday, and I hadn't seen the last two movies yet. (I haven't read the books, either, please don't flame me.) So my BOYFRIEND was bringing the movies over for us to watch. (Btw, in case you haven't noticed, I have a boyfriend. And I am officially 12 years old.)

So Mom went alone, and in the middle of the movie, I received this call:

Mom: Are you busy?
Me: I can't talk. Bellatrix is at Snape's house.
Mom: Is $3.50 a good price for three Pyrex mixing bowls?
Me: (to the TV) NOOOO... don't touch her she's---- wait. Pyrex?
Mom: Spring Blossom Pyrex. [My pattern] Three piece set. Cinderella mixing bowls.
Me: How much again?
Mom: $3.50. Do you want it?
Me: Well, duh. Have you met me?

I have a very NICE boyfriend. He lets me interrupt Harry Potter for Pyrex. We support each other's obsessions. (Hey, at least neither of us is into Twilight.)

But that wasn't all Mom found.

She also got a green depression glass mixing bowl, something she's wanted for years. The yellow and green round casserole is the $5 Pyrex from Goodwill. The pattern is called Shenandoah, and my lousy picture doesn't do it justice. She paid $1 for another Tupperware cake keeper because it had this inside it.

This is a pie stacker, so that I can carry two pies in one cake carrier. (Pies are my favorite thing to bake.)
And... several free booklets, including:

The recipe book from the first Pillsbury Bake-Off (before they used that name) in 1949. Someone was offering this for $450 on ebay last week because it is supposedly rare. No takers. One did sell this week for $10, though. I just love the names of the winners... Mrs. Ralph E. Smofield... Mrs. Herbert Leslie Evans... Mrs. Casimir T. Subbie... I am NOT making these up... not the sort of names you hear these days.

This colorful little Coldspot manual is from Sears, Roebuck and Company. No date, but from the pictures, I'd say mid-fifties. That gold and silver chevron on the front is a close-up of the handle to the fridge. How cool is that? And can you see the adjustable watermelon shelf? I want one for my fridge. Plus, it boasts Recipes "that will make you an envied hostess," and they are surprisingly normal for mid-fifties recipes.

And then there was what she didn't buy. There was a wonderful wooden high chair for $40. We would love to have one, but can't afford that price.

Isn't that picture precious?

There were more estate sales on Saturday - the fun kind, that are run by the family, who can tell you about the house and the people who lived there, and who are more interested in clearing out the house than in making a lot of money.

The first one was run by a brother and sister who were clearing out their father's stuff. Dad found a bunch of stuff, like some pointy things, and some greasy things, and some rusty things, and a big bag of aluminum pieces that hold plastic pipes to form the skeleton of a pool cover that he's going to use to make a greenhouse... some day.

And we got:

Twelve Corelle plates for $3.

For as long as I can remember we've had one plate in this pattern. It is fairly beat up and faded and scratched but when I was about five years old it was my favorite plate. I had a little bit of a princess complex (and by little I mean a huge one) and had decided that it was the princess plate because it was the prettiest. It was my job to set the table and so, at dinner every night, I made sure that I got the princess plate. I remember one night my sister made the mistake of sitting at the chair with my plate in front of it. I promptly informed her that it was my seat. She, being unimpressed with my delusions of grandeur refused to move and I bit her arm. My mother then looked at me, sighed, and said "Betty... princesses don't bite." I released her arm and, as punishment, was not allowed to eat from my princess plate.

Mom had decided just two weeks ago that she wanted to start acquiring this pattern for our everyday dishes and Voila! they appear. She was ready to pay the usual Goodwill price of $1 each . I was at Goodwill last night and there was a whole stack of dinner plates, lunch plates, and bowls. They wanted $13 for FOUR plates. I don't know what they've been smoking at GW lately, but it must be some good stuff.

Nesting dolls - $3. This will be a Christmas present. Is it for you? Maaaaaybe.

Two Shiny Brite flocked ornaments for 50c. I've been looking all year and these are the first ones I've found.

And the big ticket items:

Three Puzz-3D puzzles for $5 each. These sell pretty well on ebay, and Mom wanted to give it a try, but there was no guarantee that all the pieces were there. The sellers were certain that they were intact, because their father had been meticulous about his puzzles, and they wouldn't budge on the price, so we took a chance. It turns out that two of them are intact, but there is a piece missing from the biggest one. Oh well, Mom wanted to try putting one together anyway. We'll have to see how the other two go on ebay. We've never sold anything on ebay before, so it should be interesting.

Do you know what these are?

Mom: (Rummaging in a box of toys): Look, they have Yogi Bear bowling pins!
Man running the sale: Because you know what they are, you can have them.
Mom: Thanks, I'll show them to the Grandkids. They're pretty chewed up; missing a few ears.
Man: Yep.
Mom: You must have had a dog.
Man: Nope.

At which point the man's sister busts out laughing and points to her brother, who just grins.

They also gave us these. Hai Karate sells pretty well on ebay, too, but I've never seen it in plastic bottles, and these seem less than half full, so I don't think they're valuable, but they are fun.

We hit two other estate sales and the Goodwill. We got some miscellaneous housewares and books for next to nothing, and these items.

A Pyrex juice carafe for $1, an Airedale dog with two pups for $2, and a pair of copper-dipped baby shoes for $5. Bronzed baby shoes were on our list of things to look for. I had no idea there were copper ones. I like these better, and there is one for each of us.

Well, that was my weekend of thrifting.

I'm joining these parties to share.
Click on the links and see what others have found.

Junkin Finds with Linda @ A La Carte
Thrift Share Monday


  1. This post truly has it all...humor, thrifty finds AND Harry Potter!! My BF had me take a vacation day from work next Friday so we can catch an early showing of the new flick! I wonder if he'd put Harry on hold for Pyrex...I'll have to try that out :)

  2. I always love reading your conversations!!! Harry Potter, ahhhh. Eh, I give it awhile, you should read Twilight, it's way better than the movie. Anyhoo, if you want to part with those dogs(for next to nothing, lol) let me know!

  3. I am just happy both of you are happy. That is so much fun to call and ask someone do you want this?? Love it! If it's PYREX I would say yes for the right price. Enjoyed your post so much. Thanks for linking up for Junkin Finds Friday!!

  4. Hey, You could be my kid sister, you remind me of myself at your age!!! Awesome that your into collecting, it's a wonderful hobby! Thanks for visiting my blog and your sweet comment! Hugs, Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  5. Awesome stuff!Those nesting dolls are mint! And I have a penchant for the Silent Night Christmas ornaments. We had one when I was little and all of us loved it. My daughter inherited it from my mom. That and a plastic manger ornament. They have survived at the top of her Christmas tree through 4 grandsons. Excellent buy on the Corelle plates. We use them for every day dishes. They are light weight and don't break easily. Thanks for sharing. Now I am itching to do a little proxy shopping too!~Ames

  6. I enjoyed reading your Thrifting post! I love Pyrex, but usually don't see many good deals on it. I love old cookbooks, too--hadn't seen that Pillsbury one before! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. Estate sales Rock! Unless, of course, it's your stuff people are selling, then it doesn't rock so much. Thanks for coming to see my at my blog. Loving yours, I'll be back.

  8. I have that same #1 Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook...are you kidding $450...wish I could unload mine for that price, oh, wait you said they didn't sell it!

  9. Love those shiny brites...I wish I could find some while out thrifting:)


  10. Thrifting by proxy, lol! that's too funny!

    Love those Shiny Brite holiday ornaments. I see that brand ALL the time up here in New England antique shops.

  11. I love your posts. Your so cute. And I love those ornaments!!! Great price on them!


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