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, May 13, 2015

Life Magazine, Nov 3, 1941

Several weeks ago, on one of my trips to The Goodwill Outlet with my friend Rachael, we stopped in the furniture section and this is what I found sitting on a chair:

Yes, please, I'll take an Exciting Pyrex Flameware teapot.  And I won't even insist on a price of $1.75.  Nor does it have to be new.  (Although, how cool would that be?)  I don't only love colorful vintage Pyrex,  I'm also a fan of Flameware.  I have a percolator and a double boiler, but the one piece I have always really wanted is the teapot.  And yes, I would actually use it to serve cocktails.  For now, I will have to content myself with this really cool full page color advertisement.  I need to get it framed so it can hang in my kitchen someday.  

The funny thing is, I was just telling Rachael the other day about Flameware teapots and how I wanted one.  And then voila, I get the paper doll version.  It's kind of like when you ask Santa for a pony and you get a Barbie one.  Not exactly what you asked for, but still pretty sweet.

The Flameware ad wasn't the only thing I found.  It was part of a 12-page section out of a vintage copy of Life magazine.  I don't know who picked it up and placed it in the furniture section just for me, but I'm sure glad they did.  After a little research online, I discovered that it was part of the Nov 3, 1941 issue.

Look what was on the back side of the Flameware ad:  a very cute Thanksgiving themed advertisement for Rice Krispies Marshmallow Squares, featuring Snap, Crackle and Pop as Pilgrims.  If you read it carefully, I'll bet you'll find out some things you didn't know.  Like, Rice Krispies cereal puts new sparkle into breakfast.  The Marshmallow Squares are thrilling, sensational and gay!  Sounds like an MGM musical.  No wonder it's America's cereal sensation

According to Wikipedia, Rice Krispies Treats are widely thought to have been invented in 1939 by Malitta Jensen and Mildred Day at the Kellogg Company home economics department, so these were a fairly new recipe. 

Included in the 12-page section were two articles: one about the new production of "Ah, Wilderness!" on Broadway and one about a topiary garden.  But it was the advertisements I was interested in.

This advertisement for Chatham blankets uses elegence, quality, economy and even patriotism to convince people to buy their blankets.  You could even buy stunning matching housecoats at smart shops everywhere!  I want one of those housecoats; they are pretty stunning, but I especially like the beautiful hats they apparently wear around the house as they are getting ready for bed.  Beats me in my terry cloth robe, any day, lol. Those closet boxes were pretty cool too.

Am I the only one who finds a vacuum cleaner with "magic fingers" a little creepy?  On the other hand, this reminds me of one of my favorite movies, "The Sandlot," so that makes me feel a little better.

"Your feet tell your station in life."  Boy, life was sure easier in 1941.  You didn't need the latest electronic gadget or a new car to impress people, you just needed a good pair of socks!

And here's a very cute little baby to tell you how to wash your lambskin gloves.
I wonder what those makers of famous gloves are doing now that ladies gloves aren't as fashionable as they used to be.

This is a pretty stylish ad for winter underwear.  Longjohns have sure come a long way from their representation in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.  Look it up, it's worth it.

Another patriotic appeal not to waste things.

I have to keep searching for the Flameware teapot but I'm very glad to have found such fun advertisements that I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Thrifty Gift Basket Ideas

Remember the trip my friend Rachael and I took to The Bins last month?  You can read about it here.
We were searching for some raw materials to use for an annual fund-raiser my church does.  Every year members of the congregation make up gift baskets for Mother's Day and auction them off.  The proceeds go for scholarships to send people to our church camp.

I thought you might like to see what we made.  Remember the green book with the nice library binding?

I used the cover for a blank journal.

I kept the pocket in the back just for fun.

I made this set of coasters using sharpie markers and alcohol.  Aren't they pretty?  I will be writing a post later showing how to do it.   I also decorated a glass candle plate in the same colors and added a jasmine and coconut pillar candle.

These were all part of a Meditation themed basket.  It also contained a large mug, an assortment of bagged and loose teas, a tea diffuser, and a gift certificate for 2 lbs of coffee roasted to your preferences by a friend and her husband.  I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the finished basket.  I just didn't have the time between assembling the basket and the start of the auction.  This basket was the hit of the auction and quite a bidding war broke out. Some people REALLY love their coffee.

Remember this shadow box frame?

I spray-painted it white...

and used mod podge to add a piece of scrapbook paper to the back and waterproof it.  Then I glued the back on to turn it into a tray or shelf for use in the bathroom.

It became part of a bathroom basket that included my homemade body scrub (coconut oil, sugar and cinnamon), 6 crocheted face scrubbies and a crocheted "loofah" bath pouf, all made by Rachael, 3 bottles of Revlon nail polish, a bottle of nail oil I blended myself (apricot, baby oil, and orange essential oil) and several face masks.

I bought these pieces of silverware to turn into herb markers.

I already had these Currier and Ives pots that we got at the bins 5 years ago, so I filled them with herb starts.





The pictures are a little fuzzy, but that hides the bad job I did with the stamping (and that I misspelled lavender, oops).  This was my first try.  I'll get better, right?

These all became part of this kitchen basket.  I made some Tunisian crocheted washcloths and a trivet/hot pad.  I added a jar of my Mom's spice rub for vertical roasted chicken, some decorative recipe cards and a piece of vintage Tupperware: a "Sweet Savor" for storing syrup or cream.

I added the Tupperware because Mom and I made this.

It's a travel recipe notebook.  We used a vintage Tupperware brochure we found at an estate sale.  We laminated each page, so they could serve as dividers, making six sections for recipes, and filled it with about 100 lined pages.  The pages of the brochure actually had some handy information about how long you can keep foods and what freezes well, etc.

I carry a notebook with a similar purpose to this in my purse.  I can take my recipes to my friends' houses when I cook for them and I can share my recipes when someone asks me for one.
 I hope whoever received this notebook likes it as much as I like mine.

I had the actual baskets in my room holding beauty products, so I swapped them out for 3 dollar store totes.  As you can see, we were able to put together three gift baskets, without having to spend much actual cash.  I hope this will inspire some of you to do the same when you need a gift or a prize. 

I'm linking up with these parties:

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Vintage Inspiration Party
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ravelry Swap Reveal: Part Three

This is Part Three of the Ravelry Swap Reveal.
Part One can be found here
Part Two can be found here.

I've already shown you the yarn and fabric related items I sent in my swap.  
Remember the theme was "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,"

so I thrifted this Pyrex mug in the Terra pattern.  I chose it because of the orange and brown color, and because of it's unique shape.  Unlike most Pyrex mugs, this one is very thick, has no handle, and holds a generous 13 ounces.  Besides being a mug, it makes a great pencil holder, or a pot for a plant.  Plus, it's sturdy enough to ship easily.

I also sent a selection of my storybook envelopes and blank cards.

I found out my swappee likes Star Wars, so I cut up some old Scholastic story books based on the original trio of movies.

Then I added some Disney and Sponge Bob, including extras because she has kids.


And I made some new ones from a book I picked up at the Goodwill Outlet.

It's full of these really cool satellite photos

printed on nice, glossy paper.  Isn't the color distribution lovely?

She's also a Harry Potter fan, so I went in search of something to use as the cover for a notebook.

I found this paperback book at the Salvation Army Family Store for $1.00.  I just love the graphics.

I peeled the cover off and trimmed it down to make a front and back cover for the notebook, and kept the spine for a bookmark.  Then I went looking for something to use to stiffen up the cover.  I found two pieces of Grafix medium weight chipboard left over from a project I did a few years ago, that were just the right size.

I tested a scrap of the chipboard first with my bind-it all machine and it punched right through it, so I thought I was all set.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I selected a nice piece of scrapbook paper to use for the interior lining of the cover, and used spray adhesive to glue the book cover pieces to one side of the chipboard and the scrapbook pieces to the other side.  Now all I had to do was trim down the edges to make the covers.  
One problem.  Nothing I had would cut through the chipboard.  I thought I remembered using scissors before.  Apparently not, because they wouldn't do it.  I don't know what I used before, maybe black magic, witchcraft and trickery.  I tried the Exact-o knife.  No dice.  I tried a linoleum knife.  No way.  I started calling friends and finally found a Fiskars rotary paper trimmer to borrow, and even it had a tough time cutting the chipboard.  I had to do ten passes with the trimmer to cut all the way through, but I finally got it. 

Then I saw it.  The spray adhesive was loosening up.  Aarrgh!  So I very carefully peeled back the paper in sections, painted a layer of white glue, rolled a rolling pin over it to get out any excess glue, and pressed it under a stack of books.  Then I repeated this procedure for the other three faces.  It was quite a learning process, but I finally had my front and back cover ready to be punched and assembled.

And what did I learn?
                       1.  Chipboard is a pain in the asterisk.
                       2.  Chipboard is a pain...
                       3.  Spray adhesive isn't as strong as one might think.
                       4.  I really should build that book press I've been thinking about.
                       5.  Sometimes the ends do justify the means

Here's the finished notebook.  It was kind of a pain to put together, but it was definitely worth it.  I really like the way it turned out.

The inside of the front and back covers are lined with blue/pink/purple "spray dyed" scrapbook paper, and it is filled with sheets of blank paper.  The back of the bookmark was covered in orange card stock (this time spray adhesive worked).

Here's the back cover.

I had one other item to fit into the box.
I bought a bag of children's books at the Goodwill Outlet some weeks before the swap - 12/$1.00.

This cute little story is about a group of sheep who visit an English Tea House, cause trouble, as you can imagine, and end up lunching on the lawn by munching on the lawn.  I thought it was especially appropriate since I was sending wool, and it was Easter time.

And that's the end of the reveal.  I stuffed everything into a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Box and sent it off to Texas.  My swappee was very appreciative with her kind "Thank You"s.

I really enjoyed doing this swap, but I'm glad it's finally done.  I hope you all enjoyed seeing it.

I'm linking up with these parties:
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Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Week in Thrifting: April 20-26

My friend Rachael and I made a trip to The Goodwill Outlet last week, and here are some of my finds:

For those of you who aren't aware, The Goodwill Outlet (commonly known as The Bins) is where they send items deemed not good enough to be put in a Goodwill Store, or things that were in the store for several weeks and didn't sell.  Everything is jumbled together in shallow bins that people rummage through and almost everything is sold by the pound.  It's kind of a mess, and not for the squeamish.  You never know what you will find, but I usually find a bargain or two.

Like a Vera Bradley purse!!  It looks like it's never been used.  I cannot for the life of me figure out how it ended up at The Bins,  I'm just glad it did.  There are several pockets in it that should make it a great project bag for crochet.


A cashmere sweater.  Mom and I have already started unraveling it for the yarn, and I think I will try overdyeing it to get a darker variegated purple color.  It will eventually become a shawl for a friend.


I picked out the silk tie because I want to try using it to dye eggs.  The small skein of yarn feels like chenille, so I had to get it, but I'm not sure what I'll do with it.  The Santa needs some repair and will go into my Christmas supplies, and I couldn't pass up toy Corningware.  Rachael and I wanted something for a journal cover, and we really liked the pretty green pattern of the heavy library binding on this book.

Although the Vera bag is definitely the best deal, this is my favorite find.  It's a wool hat, I'm guessing from the 1930s or 1940s, and I would have rescued it from The Bins regardless, but the best part is, it fits my giant head.

Here's the label stamped inside.  I can't find anything about Henry Pollak hats on the internet, but there are an awful lot of them being offered for sale, so he must have been pretty successful. 

I was looking for something that could serve as a small tray and found this shadow box picture frame.  It will be repainted and decorated with scrapbook paper.  I was also able to find a few Shiny Brites and similar ornaments. 


These must be from the sixties.  They're wearing fishnet stockings.


Silverware - some to keep and some to turn into herb markers.

There was a whole bundle of wrapping paper pieces.  I searched through it all and finally chose these to bring home.

These three are my favorites.  Sweet little babies and a vintage-looking wedding shower pattern.  I'm hoping they will be strong enough to use for crafting.

In addition to the pictured items Rachael picked up a Tolkien boxed set in paperback.  We each got a few articles of clothing and I admit I bought some discontinued nail polishes.  I actually found a few colors I've been keeping an eye out for.

The two most fun things to find were a pristine women's motorcycle jacket from Wilson's Leathers for Rachael and a hilariously ridiculous knitting and crochet pattern book entitled "Sexy Little Knits" and filled with bikinis, crop tops and lots of mesh.

I found a picture of the book on Amazon.  According to the reviews there, this book is horrible; the patterns are full of errors and unworkable.  Good thing we only bought it for the laughs.

Our trip to the bins yielded several things we were both searching for and at a great price point.  I paid about $7.00 for everything I showed you.  What great deals have you been finding at the thrift store lately?

I'm linking up with these parties:
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Vintage Bliss Tuesdays
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Vintage Inspiration Party
Nifty Thrifty Sunday
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Frugal Friday
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