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, September 14, 2015

The Estate Sale Mysteries #27: The Case of the Missing Prices

As I said in my last post, August was a great month for Estate Sales.  It was the second week and I was looking at pictures online of upcoming sales when I spotted something in a picture of a bed covered in toys.

 It appeared to be a box containing a Strawberry Shortcake doll from the 1980s.   I received a Strawberry Shortcake Doll House for Christmas back in 2011.  You can read about it here.  I still don't have many dolls (despite being very much in love with Strawberry Shortcake), so you can imagine how excited I was to see one at a local sale.

As I looked at the picture, I realized that there was not only 1 box, but 7 boxes, possibly more, and one of them appeared to be the elusive Purple Pieman

(photo obviously borrowed from the internet)

while another was definitely Cherry Cuddler, both of whom are high on my wish list.   I know this means nothing to you unless you are also a Strawberry Shortcake nerd, but to me this was very exciting.  But wait, was there any chance that I could actually get my hands on those boxes?  These babies sell for big bucks on ebay, so I would have to beat the dealers to them.  I checked and they weren't on the list of items that were for sale, and you could hardly tell what was in their awful pictures.  That was a good sign; maybe nobody else would be looking for them.  There was no sign-up list to worry about.  All I had to do was be first in line on Friday morning.

There was also the question of price, since I have limited funds, but I hoped they would be reasonable and I could get one or two of them.  If nothing else, I wanted to at least see them.  So I called my friend Wendy and we made plans to go.  I wasn't able to be the first in line as we had a few errands to run that day but I was hoping I might be able to find them anyway and at least see them up close.

That sale was a mess.  The house was huge and things were just all over the place with very little apparent efforts to organize anything and few marked prices.  After searching through the entire house (basement including bedrooms, kitchen, living room, study, 4 bedrooms upstairs and a few bathrooms) I finally found the room that had the train from the photos.  But the bed was now covered in clothing and the dolls were nowhere in sight.  There was just the box for a Berry-Shaped Carry Case (which I own several of) but no dolls.  Everything was just so disorganized.  I wanted to ask someone in charge if the dolls were still around somewhere but I couldn't find any workers in the house.

I found this bedspread in one of the last bedrooms.

Doesn't it remind you of the curtains from The Sound Of Music?  There is plenty of fabric and I'm quite excited to turn it into a gathered circle skirt.  The material is standard woven curtain type fabric that resembles canvas and I'm hopeful that will mean a skirt that doesn't need a crinoline to look full.

We also saw a blonde mink stole that I was very interested in until I noticed a large hole between the lining and the fur of the collar so I sadly left it behind.

When we left the house and returned to the garage I browsed the jewelry table and picked these up for $1.50 total:

stunning pink and red rhinestone earrings with screw backs

and some beautiful silvertone rhinestone shoe clips

I asked for a price for the bedspread and was quoted $3 which I deemed acceptable because of the low price on the jewelry.  I also asked the woman in charge whether or not the Strawberry Shortcake dolls had sold and if she could remember what they were sold for.  She didn't remember them.  It was so weird and kind of frustrating as I just wondered, (maybe if she didn't remember them, that meant they didn't sell for a very high price) but I wasn't about to search that whole house top to bottom again. 

My parents also went to the sale on Sunday.  Usually the last day of an Estate Sale everything under $50 is half-price, but half-off no price is still no price, so it was hard to tell.  After they had found a few things that interested them, they had a question about price, so Dad trudged back upstairs and went outside where BOTH of the people running the sale were located and requested a price.  He was met with the response of "Is that all you're buying?  Show me everything you want and I'll give you a price on all of it."

What the heck?  No individual prices?  How do we know what we want to buy if there are no prices?  We're not antique dealers.  We just want to find a few nice things we can afford.  Frustrated, Dad left the item with the cashier for safekeeping and went back to Mom.  They looked around a little more, and when they got back to the kitchen, there on the table was the item that Dad had given to the cashier for "safekeeping."  AARRGH!   By this time they had had enough of these "professionals" and were ready to leave.

They negotiated a price of $15.00 for everything in this picture,


plus this 4 Qt Turquoise Club Aluminum dutch oven.

The dutch oven was charred black all over as if it had been used in a campfire, but Mom put it in her biggest pot, added a scoop of dishwasher detergent and boiled it for about 30 minutes.

After that the grime just wiped off.

I don't think these Nancy Drew books from the '60s have been read even once, their pages are so tight.


I love the illustrations on the facing pages.

The iced tea spoons are silver-plated.  We see the Fire-King relish dish often, but never with all it's gold leaf edging intact, so Mom couldn't leave it behind.  The creamer and sugar bowl are in the Dewdrop pattern.

Mom likes recipe card boxes, but better than that are the vintage 3x5 cards.  The ones they make today are so thin they are worthless. Dad found a metal stabbity thing (Yes, that's a word.  I made it up myself.).  It's an ice pick with some advertising on it.

Mom's favorite find is that little cardboard box.  It is a disposable specimen cup - weird, but that's why she likes it.

They also got me all this jewelry (not counting the ones I already showed you) for $3.25.  Most of it is just jewelry to take apart and use for other things but a few things are especially nice.

This is an enameled Trifari brooch that sells for as much as $15 online and I think it's lovely.  It will hopefully make a great shawl pin.

I am very much in love with the glasses cuff link and wish there had been a pair so I could use it as a sweater clip.  The black enameled earrings will become a sweater clip for sure.

We're happy with our finds, but I don't think we'll be attending any more Estate Sales run by this company.  It's just too much work. 

I'm linking up to these parties.  Please stop by and join the fun:

Show and Share
Vintage Bliss Tuesdays

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Thrifty Start to August

August was a great month for Estate Sales.   There were several to choose from each week, and Mom and I were able to find quite a bit of useful and interesting stuff.  We went to the first sale of the month on Sunday when everything was 50% off.  Mom picked up some everyday stuff like measuring spoons and Tupperware for next to nothing. 

I found a Tupperware Jel-N-Serve ring mold for $1.00 and a silver-plated cake server for 50c.  I've had the ring mold on my wish list for some time.  It unmolds much more easily than the aluminum ones and is very easy to take to picnics and parties.

 They had a whole shelf of these bar glasses from a defunct bowling alley, and I would have loved to have taken a dozen, but they wanted $2 each, even at half-off.  Fortunately they accepted my offer of $6.00 for half a dozen, so I was able to bring some home.


 Mom bought this Corning petite pan in the "Wildflower" pattern for 50c mostly because it had the handle.  Isn't it cute?

 These wooden Christmas ornaments were 50c and will go to the gardener, roller skater and bowler in the family.


 We were surprised to find this vintage Wil-hold sewing box with it's tray for $1.50.  Sewing boxes usually sell on the first day.  We also bought the metal contraption.  I don't think the sellers knew what it was.  We certainly didn't, but it was interesting and only 25c..  It was marked "Tack-It" and when we looked it up online it turned out to be a very handy tool for marking fabric.

 Here's a picture of Mom using it to mark a dot on a skirt I've been sewing.  She folded a little piece of tracing paper around the fabric, and then slipped the base under the fabric and lined up the bolt with the dot to be marked. Next, she held down the bar and smacked the bolt head with a hammer.  Voila!  Both pieces of fabric were marked perfectly.  It's a wonderful tool.  If you ever run across one at a sale, grab it.

I'm linking up to these parties.  Please stop by and join the fun:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jello Molds, Surfers, Rascals and Kinks

A few weeks ago the folks were running errands around town and stumbled upon a small family-run Estate Sale.  So Mom gave me a call, and I got to do some shopping by proxy. 

First they found a pile of copper and pink aluminum jello molds.  I added 2 pineapples, a bunch of grapes and a fish to my collection.

Then they dug through a big box of 25c kitchen utensils and came up with a twinkle star cake server for my collection, a fun souvenir of Acapulco bottle opener for my barware collection, a ladle, and a slotted spoon, both made in Japan of stainless steel and a quality you just don't find today.


They brought everything home in this beat up suitcase.  As you can see it had a piece of duct tape wrapped all the way around it.  It came off, but now the suitcase really needs to be cleaned and painted.  Then Mom would like to try transforming it into a table.


I had never heard of Skyway Luggage before, but they've been around since 1910 and are still in business today.

There was a stack of LP records for 50c each.  Several of these were brought home for the purposes of cutting up the cases and crafting with them so the discs were not checked for damage.

The Beach Boys - Surfer Girl - 1963
Time Peace: The Rascals' Greatest Hits - 1968

The Beach Boys are in my top 5 favorite bands of all time so that album, even in falling apart condition, was a definite yes that Mom didn't even have to ask me about.  I love the pop art style for the cover on Time Peace.

The Kinks Greatest Hits - 1966
I really like the photo collage on this cover and I'm hoping to try my hand at making a bag of some kind with a clear vinyl sleeve on the side to hold a record album cover.


double album

I'm not a terribly big fan of The Village People and why they were put together as a band but they are a great example of cheesy disco era marketing. 

I've been keeping an eye out for these Disney story albums for years as I would love to have a collection.  The discs appear to be in decent condition even if the covers are all kinds of beat up (like poor Snow White).  Robin Hood was the greatest find as it is my single favorite Disney film.

My mother has a collection of record sets that includes some Gilbert and Sullivan music and a fairy tale story record.  On that fairy tale record is a version of the tale of Sleeping Beauty that gave me the heebie jeebies as a child because they actually have Maleficent cackling.  Only once did my sister attempt to use that in place of a bedtime story and I'm sure she regretted it because she had to share a room with me.

Snow White is the most beat up of the story albums with spotting, wear marks and several missing story book pages so I am hoping that the record plays well.  If not, I have something for a fun record bowl!

I'm linking up to these parties.  Please stop by and join the fun:

Roses of Inspiration
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Show and Share
Vintage Bliss Tuesdays
Five Star Frugal

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