Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One (Big) Stash and a Chest From the Vault

Once upon a time, I found the Grail of yarn stashes at the Milford, CT Goodwill Super Store.  Someone had dumped 4 bins of yarn off and I managed to get to them before anyone else. I got a basket (so as not to go crazy) and filled it. I was very choosy. None of it was marked with any prices so I wasn't sure how much I would be spending. At the checkout, I asked the clerk how much they were. "$1 a ball." He said. "That's the answer I was looking for." says I. $28 later I had $400.00 worth of yarn give or take.
Goodwill Yarns

Included were: 
9 hanks of Plymouth Baby Alpaca chunky weight
12 hanks of Koigu Painters Palette Premium Merino fingering weight. Purples went to Mom, the rest to me.
5 balls of Tofutsies sock yarn
2 balls of Opal-Gifted to Dan.

I have never had a yarn score like this before or since. It may have been a once in a lifetime event. Have I knitted through it? Not even close, it's living in the (very full) Lane cedar chest with the rest of my stash.

This was purchased from the West Haven Goodwill during a half-off all furniture sale. The price?

Wait for it...

$20!!!  As near as I've determined from it's serial number it's from the 30's.
I think this had a former life as a repair project because one leg is very nicely sanded.

Someday, I hope to get it refinished.
And yes, the chest is a standard size, the cat sitting on top of it is just really big.
I kept trying to get him to move out of the picture but he was not having it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Good Day

As promised, more vintage towel madness. I had been trying to find a way to make some art for art's sake for a few months when I found this at the Old Lady Thrift Store:

Another excellent Wert linen towel. I fell in love with it. I love the colors, the design. the general mid century vibe.
So I thought, why not enhance it with some embroidery thread...

And then I thought, why not quilt it...

And then I thought bind it off with some vintage fabric....

And by the time I was done, I had this wall quilt.

I love it.
 It's hanging in my bedroom to greet me with "Have a Good Day" when I get up.
More to come...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Tray Update

Today I am Thankful for the interwebs, since they allow me to share all of  the crap in my home with you.
I am also Thankful for my latest tray:

Florida from Foxon Goodwill. So much better than the white, right?
And the state got an upgrade from one flower to two and a fancy red border.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If You're Fond of Sand Dunes and Salty Air...

Quaint little villages, here and there,
(You're sure) You're sure to fall in love with Old Cape Cod.
(That old Cape Cod)

Another prize find from the Old Lady Thrift Store. Another towel bar. Another fabulous wall hanging.  Now if I could only figure out a cool way to re-purpose those two tone vintage bath towels I see all over the place.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stratford Antique Center

Last weekend I finally discovered a local antique mall. The Stratford Antique Center in Stratford, CT. I have been driving past this place for YEARS and had no idea it was there. In it's defense it is a very nondescript blue warehouse building.

I found it to be a very reasonable place to shop. The expensive things were expensive, the rest reasonable. Nothing super cheap, but I rarely go to these places to buy. I wander around like it's a museum. I look for things I have to compare prices. For instance, this aluminum Mirro cocktail shaker.

I purchased one of these from an antique store in Ferndale, CA about 12 years ago. I paid $18 for the shaker and jigger, no box. Here it is MIB for $14, but it appears to be missing another item. Was it a stirrer? A long handled bar strainer? Maybe someday I'll find out!

I found this ships wheel to be very reasonable for $29. Garth would have gotten this for Christmas had I not found this one months ago:

Photo courtesy of Garth's Facebook

$3.99 at Savers. And it's from the Nayaug Yacht Club
As usual, I saw many Cigar Store Indians. Some for sale, some not. These two are super cool and quite inexpensive, $52 each! I don't think they are going anywhere soon, so they may eventually come home with me. I'm still deciding.

This guy won't be coming home with me. I can't remember the exact price, it was somewhere in the $300 range. It's pretty damn fabulous. A two-tier fiberglass shade, and I love how the base lights up. It kind of reminds me of the Space Needle.

What I did end up buying, were two tea towels for $10 each to fuel my artistic fire.
You'll see what I mean by that soon enough.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Others (Trays, that is)

Shhh... no one tell them they are not special enough to live in the kitchen with the others.  OK, they are special, but they are not of the same ilk so they get other honored wall space in my home.

Florida here has a white background. Doesn't have the same punch as the black does it? I saw a lazy sue version of this once but neglected to buy it because of the white background, its lazy susanness, and it was way overpriced for Savers. This one happened along shortly after so it had to come home, because clearly things don't just keep crossing your path for no reason. 

This Oregon tray is amazing. But clearly not the same manufacturer as the others. It's also specifically for the centennial. Just so we're clear, I will take any Oregon tray any time, any place, any price!

This tray had some rust stains but they were easily removed with homemade rust remover and a magic sponge.

Another Denio's purchase. This is from Disneyland around the time of their 35th Anniversary. Spooner saw it on my wall and  got really excited. Her sister purchased one in a Magic Kingdom gift shop for their Grandparents during the Anniversary Festivities. Spoon immediately alerted her family to mine via picture text. They were not nearly as excited 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coolonial Estates

I have been trying to make more of an effort to get my ass out to the Estate Sales lately. While I love my shops, I really do, I am becoming enamored of the freewheeling gamble that is an estate sale. Sure the thrift store is also a crapshoot, but it is always there, constantly cyling merchandise. An estate sale, now that is one sale at one place in time, never to be replicated.
I used to find them depressing. Even though an Estate Sale my be run by a liquidation company, the relatives are usually still floating around the house so I find it important to not be disrespectful. I imagine that watching people grab at their families treasures is depressing as hell. Now I just enter the home with the respect due to the rememberance of someones home. How did these people live in this home? How did these objects make these people happy? Not only do I enjoy looking at the objects for sale, but I enjoy looking at the home's architecture and appreciating its decor.

Last weekend I made it to an amazing estate sale in North Haven.  These folks had done a fine job of decorating in 1976 and never looked back.  The house itself is from 1966 in the Colonial Modern Style in North Haven, CT

Click  here for the NY Times listing and shots of the interior.

My favorite room was the kitchen. Pine cabinets with strap hinges. Plate rail around the top of the cabinets. Vacuform brick and wood panelling.  Sadly, the Times listing has no picture of the TV room off the kitchen. Hardwood floors with blue rag rugs, wood panelling, and matching colonial modern wood furniture.
The sale ran Saturday-Monday, which was weird, but fine with me as I have Sunday and Monday off. I drove over there early Sunday afternoon. There was still quite a bit of furniture left and some house wares. Everything was half off  and there were a few pieces that one could negotiate on.

I left with this fine swag lamp for $8:

I love the chain-pull-handle thingy.

This is my favorite part of the shade.
Books Bound and Iron Horse

I left with a few other small items but those will have to wait to be revealed after the holidays. I hemmed and hawwed over a wooden tea cart and even went back to look at it on Monday. Ultimately, I decided that they were asking to much. I have been looking for something so I can get my bar ware out of the kitchen and into the living room. The cart would have worked fine, but my spidey-sense told me to wait.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wert Kitchen Towels (just for show, not for dishes)

One of my favorite thrift shops in the area is The Barn Sale in Hamden, CT. I refer to it as the Old Lady Thrift Store. It's a nonprofit run by volunteer retirees. They are all lovely but their hours are whackadoodle. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday (my days off, sigh) Tues-Sat they are open at 9 or 9:30 am until 2pm.  Obviously it's so the ladies can watch their CSI and get to bed. I'm rarely in that neck of the woods anyway, but when I am you can be sure it's never in the morning.
Once, when I actually made it in, I rooted through their linen room and found a wee stash of new tea towels silkscreened by Robert Darr Wert for $3 each. One of them has become an art project which I will post about later. The other two hang in my kitchen like so...

I debated framing them, but they are odd sizes so that would be expensive. I debated stretching them on a canvas frame, but that's also expensive and as you can see, the Spice towel was printed off grain. Fortunately I live 5 minutes from an Ikea. I bought 2 towel bars and some clip hangers and voila! Instant wall art that can go in the washing machine.

And yes, that is a giant tiki carved fork and spoon hanging next to them.  Another half off Goodwill purchase for $4.  Uncle Tim and Aunt Eva had a set just like them! (In their carpeted kitchen with the avocado appliances.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two from the Vault

Meet Kreacher. A Valet (house elf) from the Orange Goodwill, $5. It's still sturdy and in usable condition despite the brass being pockmarked. My guess is it lived in a basement or garage for a while.

Reproduction wooden bankers desk chair from Westport, CT Goodwill. It's comfortable, classy and was the right price at $12.00. Another half off color win! OK, it does have a wheel that likes to fall off, but it's easy enough to keep putting it back on until I fix it for real.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Roseanne Afghanadana

In my continuing obsession with other people's needlework I discovered this amazing granny square afghan at Savers for $5.99 and snatched it right up. Bonus: It's wool.

Whoever made it did an amazing job with their color choices.
Nearly every square is different. It really is the work of an artist.

My favorite part is the red scalloping along the edge. It really makes the whole thing pop and unifies it along with it's black "background".

It immediately reminded me of the granny square afghan on the back of Roseanne's couch. True story: that particular afghan was stolen off the set a couple times and eventually had to keep being remade and stitched to the couch. Version #3 now lives on the prop couch in the Smithsonian.

Mine lives on my bed. To the delight of the cats. Click on the photos to see a detailed close up of the cat hair.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The History of 13 Colonies

Last November while running Rep 2, I noticed the props dept. was using a black vintage metal tray with the state of Virginia painted on it in the show. "Neat" I thought, "That looks so vintage-y. I'll have to keep an eye out for an Oregon one."  A few months later I saw a RetroRenovation.com post on SF Troy and his Eichler ranch house. (Click over to drool, now close your mouth, we are not a codfish.) In his kitchen he has artfully arranged his GIANT collection of vacation platters or what I like to call State Souviner Trays. Soon after I discovered a Cape Cod tray at the Goodwill and an obsession was born.

They are the perfect thifters collecting item. Usually they are one or two dollars a peice, they are small and easy to transport. And I've noticed there is no correlation between the state I find them in and the state represented by the tray. For instance after my last trip to Portland I found:
Washington, predictable.

Texas, unexpected.

Nevada, not too far off the mark.
In the car my mother asked me: "Why is there a raincloud in the middle?"
Me: "That's a mushroom cloud, Mother." 
Mom: "Well, that's inappropriate."
Me: "Yes, yes it is."

I also found an Alaska Lazy Susan. Fancy!

Now my family likes to give them to me as gifts. Hence, this blog is kind of here so they can keep up and I don't end up with (too many) duplicates.  It's funny how you have to hunt them down in a thrift store. At Goodwill sometimes they are with the metal, sometimes with the dishes. At Savers I've found them both in the souviner area and the serving stuff.

Garth gave me Idaho, which he found in NY.


New Mexico, Wisconsin and Indiana were gifts from Mom for my birthday this year. 

It's so interesting how different they can be. Some are smooth metal with a matte finish, some are hammered with a shiny finish. Most of them have a black rim with gold swirling, some are gold with black. I'm assuming that has to do with the date of manufacture. I would like to find out more about how these came about and someday I will sit down at the computer and do the research. I do know thay are still being manufactured or were recently. My friend Janet has a new Texas one with white detailing AND a set of matching coasters. Dude, if I found coasters for any state, I would just up and die!

Oklahoma found in Sacramento.

Recent finds from the CT Goodwill in the last month: Louisiana, Mississippi, California,
and a non-Lazy Susan Alaska. Now the LS Alaska can be used as an actual  Lazy Susan somewhere.

All of these live in my kitchen in a ring around the room. There is a line of electrical conduit about 18" down  from the ceiling that runs around the walls without cabinets. It's a perfect space for these to hang. (Thanks SF Troy for the inspiration.) I love the way they look and am loving searching for them. Sure it would be easy to find them on ebay or Etsy, but I like the thrill of the hunt! And they are waaay cheaper when thrifted. I think a new one (or maybe two) is coming tomorrow when Garth visits. Can't wait!