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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Of Sewing Machines and Tomato Soup

We've had really nice weather this summer.  I mean REALLY nice weather.  It's been 70 - 90 degrees consistently with hardly any rain so far this summer.  Yeah, I know we need some rain, but I can't help but enjoy the sun.  Normally, the only month you can count on to be rain free is August.
What's a girl supposed to do when it's hot and sunny?  Why, go to the river, of course.  So a few Saturdays ago, my friend Ian picked me up and we headed out.  But not two blocks from home, what should I see but a giant pink sign hailing me.  ESTATE SALE!!!   It was actually flapping in the breeze, waving me down, imploring me to stop.

I had no money on me, but it couldn't hurt to look, right?  So after agreeing to take only five minutes (because Ian knows me) we stopped at a small family-run sale.  I did a quick pass through the house, and saw nothing remarkable until I got into the back bedroom.  There I found a nice little sewing table for only $10.00.  I have been looking for one for a few months to fit my Kenmore Model 1302 machine that I purchased years ago at a rummage sale for $3.00. 

 My Kenmore model 1302 sewing machine.

 Most tables I see fit Singer machines, which have rounded corners on the base.  My machine has square corners.  So I was very excited to see a suitable table for such a good price.  There was already a working machine in it, but I'd worry about that later.  Since I had no money, and the table would not have fit in Ian's car, anyway, I called my folks and asked if they would be willing to come get it for me.

Me:  Hey Mom, I'm at an Estate Sale right around the corner from you, and they have a sewing machine for $10.00.    Could you and Dad please go to the sale and buy it for me?
Mom:  An Estate Sale?  Two blocks away?  Where's my purse?
By the way, what do we need with another sewing machine?  We just bought 3 of them last month!
Me:  I don't want the machine.  I just want the table for my Kenmore.
Mom:  (To Dad) We have to go to an Estate Sale.   Right now.
Dad:  We HAVE to go to an Estate Sale RIGHT NOW?  Why am I even asking?
Mom:  We need the truck.
Dad:  Why do we need the truck? 
Mom:  We have to bring home a sewing machine in a table.
Dad:  ANOTHER sewing machine?  I don't even want to know.

When I returned from my day at the river, this was waiting for me.
 Pretty nice for $10.00.  Please excuse the lousy picture and all the junk.

The machine inside the table is a Kenmore Model 52, a mid-century machine with a very good reputation.  I will probably give it to a friend of mine who is interested in learning to sew.  It should clean up nicely. 

The prices at this sale were so good, Mom and Dad couldn't resist buying a few other things.


Kitchen wares for 10c -25c each.  Mom was especially pleased to find a Pyrex refrigerator dish lid.

This chrome cake cover and glass plate cost a whopping 75c.


 This train case was $3.00.  We've never seen a Forecast brand before.  It was sold by Sears in the 1960s. 

 The mirror is missing, but the rubber frame that holds it is still there, so Mom would like to try replacing it, but first we have to practice cutting curves in mirror glass.

 The Forecast appears to have been an inexpensive model.  It's a plastic case, without a fabric lining.  It originally came with a cloth bag that snapped to the inside of the case, but ours is long gone.  It's still a sturdy hard side case with lots of use in it yet.
Mom bought a few pieces of broken jewelry at 10c each for crafting with,

 including this lapel pin.  She thought maybe it was for a college or a professional organization, but couldn't find out anything about it.  Anybody recognize it?

 Mom also found a few booklets for 25c.

I already have a vintage fondue set, so she thought I could use this.


She knows I want a vintage Waring blender.  This is for a 1968 model.


 It's always fun to look at mid-century cookbooks. 

Let's see what they have in this 1968 edition.  
Do you like that my nail polish matches?


 Surprise Cake - The surprise is that the cake tastes like tomato soup!!?? 
"Jackie, what the He**!?"  (Gotta love "That '70s Show")
I am a big fan of Campbell's Tomato soup.  And I love to make cakes.  But I can tell you right now, I don't think they belong together. 

 They are not satisfied with messing with cake; they have to redefine "Cocktail."  I am a big fan of cocktails, too.  They are supposed to be colorful, flavorful, fun concoctions served in elegant or playful glasses.  Cold soup and beef broth with seasoning does not a cocktail make.  Blecch!

 Ok, this page looks a little better.  The Chili Beef Franks recipe looks normal.  But wait... Creamy Peanut Butter Soup?  Tomato soup and peanut butter?  Here we go again.  Did they just draw random ingredients out of a hat?  But since I can't even imagine what peanut butter and tomato soup would taste like, I'll concede it might be okay.  But what the heck is so "Special" about chilled pea and potato soup?  Sounds terrible.  I wonder if anybody actually used these recipes.

I think I'll just stick with grilled cheese sandwiches with Cream of Tomato Soup on the side.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Thrifting finds for June and July

Thrifting in the months of June and July didn't yield a lot of terribly notable finds but there were some gems.  Neighborhood garage sales are not usually our thing, but there is one neighborhood in town where you can find really nice things.  It is the fancy neighborhood overlooking the lake and is filled with million dollar homes, owned by people who understand garage sale pricing.  

I hiked all over the hills of that neighborhood, and was rewarded with this Le Creuset dutch oven.  
Isn't it beautiful?  I have been looking for an enamel pan for baking bread, but I never would have dreamed I could find a Le Creuset in my favorite colorway and at my price.

I was shocked to see that the price was only $2, and when I double-checked with the owner, she said it was because of the tiny chips to the interior of the pan.  As I will be baking bread wrapped in parchment, they won't matter at all.  When I brought it home and showed it to Mom, she asked me how much I paid, and I held up 2 fingers.  "Only $20?  What a steal!"  For those of you who don't know, a brand new equivalent to this pan retails for $300-$400.  Vintage pans usually run $50 to $150 depending on color and condition.


I found some interesting vintage booklets at the same sale (20c each).

I was especially pleased to find the owners manual to our 1957 pink Sunbeam MIXMASTER.

Inside the back cover are some very useful instructions for oiling the machine, as well as a chart showing that the mixing bowls were not only made in pink, they were also available in yellow and turquoise.  Wouldn't that be a nice thing to stumble upon at an estate sale - a 1957 Sunbeam turquoise mixing bowl!

I picked up a manual for the 1948 model, too.  Approximately 2 years after I found the pink 1957 12 speed, Mom found a white 10 speed model.  It looks identical to the 1948 one, and we suspect it was made a few years later.  It was interesting to see how things were different 9 years earlier, even though that's apparently the same old cake on the same old plate.  "Jackie, what the he**!?"  Doesn't everyone else love "That '70s Show" as much as we do?

In 1948, a MIXMASTER had 9 speeds, 3 fewer than ours,

and there were 13 attachments available, from butter churn to potato peeler.  All there was for ours is a food grinder.  I guess by 1957, people were buying stand alone appliances to do things.  Some of those attachments looked pretty cool.  I would love to have the high-speed drink mixer attachment

I thought this booklet was pretty cool.  It was distributed by the portable appliances department of General Electric in 1963 and encouraged people to "make the most of your electrical servants."

I would love to make the most of my electrical servants.  When is G.E. releasing their design for the robot butler?  The booklet included menu planning, recipes, party themes, buffet table set-ups, and even how to have two parties in one day.

I have never been a fan of Corning ware, preferring Pyrex, but when I saw this at Goodwill, I couldn't resist it.

It is a 1960 Corning 2.5 qt saucepan with handle, fin lid, and cradle in excellent condition.  I especially love the fin lid.  I paid $8.00 for it - an enormous sum for a tightwad such as me.

The candle warmer looks like it has never been used.

I also picked up this cheese dome decorated with piano keys for $2 because it seemed unusual.  I guess I was right, because when I searched the internet for it, I found absolutely nothing.

I also made a few trips to the Goodwill Outlet.  
I bought some useful boring things like clothes and jelly jars, but I also found a few treasures.

2 small enamel saucepans, 95c each.  I love the golden yellow one.  These will be used for a "camping" themed birthday party for the son of a friend of mine.

2 pink aluminum jello molds, 30c each.  I really like the pinwheel.

This is a picture from ebay.  I found a Fisher-Price Roly Poly chime ball just like this ($1.32) and gave it to a friend for her new baby before I could take a picture.  Mine was just as yellowed as this one, and had many scuff marks, but it cleaned up nicely with some help from Bar Keeper's Friend. 
 I love Roly Poly balls.  They are practically indestructible.  This one is 50 years old.

I picked up this book thinking I could cut it up and make a cute notebook, 
 but as soon as I opened it I knew better.


 It is full of beautiful illustrations of children from all over the world.

 Doesn't she look like a Spanish version of Snow White?

The illustrations accompany stories of life in various countries.

This book was printed in 1937, and so tells of a world very different than that of today.

I was not surprised to see that it is a Platt and Munk book, as they are known for their charming illustrations and I am a big fan.

This is my favorite illustration,

Kala and his father surfing with Diamond Head in the background.

Look, they all got together for an ocean cruise.
An improbable but charming illustration for the facing pages.
I happily paid the $2 asking price.

So those are my finds for June and July.  Which one do you think is the best?

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