Friday, July 30, 2010

Flea Market Friday: Fancy a Picnic?

Today I went to an actual flea market but didn't find anything. But on the way home, I stopped at a yard sale and got this great picnic basket!

It's really sturdy (as the 20-something girl who sold it to me noted) and for $5 I thought I could use it. I had a picnic basket already, but it was one of those modern wicker ones they sell at discount stores. It just didn't have any personality. So this one will work much better, plus it's a whole lot bigger.

We go for a picnic about once a week, so it will get plenty of use. I take my kids to the local library on Tuesday afternoons, where they have an outdoor lunch/story hour. Needless to say, I'm the only "vintage" mom there, so this basket will probably get me a few more looks. But I'm used to that by now, and thankfully my kids aren't old enough to complain.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greetings, Earthlings... (Or, The Fabulous Futuro House)

Ever seen a house that looks like a spaceship? (And not at Disneyland!)
Then maybe you've come across a Futuro House!

(photo copyright: Peter Dowden)

In 1968, Finnish architect Matti Suuronen concieved and built a futuristic home out of fiberglass. It was a modular design, capable of being carried to the home site easily by truck or even by helicopter. It contained a large room divided by plastic partitions into a small kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. The entrance was by steps leading up from the base through a hatch, much like a 1950's flying saucer on TV.

There were about 96 of them built, according to the website . An estimated 60 of them survive.

I have actually seen one of these in person; there used to be one about 15 miles from where I live now. It was back in the woods on a pedestal (like a flying saucer treehouse) and I have since tried to find it and couldn't. But tonight if the weather is decent I will drive by the site again and take a look, and try to get a photo.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: How does your Garden Grow?

This is one of those times where I wish I had a "smell-o-vision" widget for this blog. I woke up this morning to a delightful warm breeze carrying the scent of ripe sweet corn. One of my all-time favorite scents. It's one of the big reasons I love living in the country.

I have always loved this time of year for the sights, smells and tastes from my garden. Over the years living here we've really learned a lot about cultivating a garden, as well as how to make use of all the fresh vegetables.

And in true SusieQT fashion, it's all about maximizing our effort and minimizing our expenditures. After all, what good is growing your own produce if the process is costing you more than just buying those few things at the store?

So, besides the obvious, like starting things from seed (instead of buying plants) and composting instead of buying fertilizer, how do you make a garden both economical and enjoyable?

Trash-pick some hardware and repurpose it for plant supports!

I trash-picked a couple rolls of vintage twisted-wire fence a couple of years ago. I have always loved the nostalgic look of this fence, as opposed to more modern square box wire or even chicken wire. Plus it's incredibly sturdy. After all, it had survived 50+ years outside before I even got it.

It was a little bit of an adventure getting it home- thank goodness I had the truck and one (but not two...) work gloves in the back. I got a couple scrapes and bruises loading it up, plus I was like two months pregnant at the time. But I still love to use it, and it has come in very handy as a support for cucumbers (top photo), sweet peas (above), climbing roses and green beans. I only wish I had been able to take it all- I had to leave the biggest roll behind because it was too heavy for me to lift.

What else do we grow in our garden? I'll try to list it all, but I always forget something:
lettuce, spinach, herbs, tomatoes, green peppers, hot peppers, cukes, grean beans, potatoes, peas, pumpkins, chard, corn, onions, carrots, turnips, rhubarb, strawberries, grapes, blueberries. Plus apples, pears and peaches on our trees.

We try to be as self-sufficient as possible!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flea Market Friday: It's Christmas in July!

I love me some vintage Christmas decor! But we all know that the time to buy seasonal stuff is not during "the season"! I can't tell you the number of times I've been tempted to blow a stack of cash on something cool right before Christmas, but the cheapskate in me always remembers that the bargains are in the summer. (Plus, I need more Christmas stuff like I need a hole in the head. But that's another post for another time...)

I have accumulated most of my vintage Xmas decor at yard sales and rummage sales. For me, that's the only way I'll be able to afford it since vintage ornaments are so hot right now. I have probably 10 or 12 dozen vintage- maybe more- glass ornaments that I've bought for pennies over the years. Not to mention many strings of C9 lights and assorted other Holiday items I've found.

I found the door hanging above along with some other stuff at a yard sale a couple weeks ago. Each item was 25 cents.

This star will look cool on a vintage-themed tree. Lately I've tried to focus my Holiday collecting on tinseled items- those made out of metallic foil, like aluminum trees. This fits that bill, plus it's pink!

I couldn't resist these guys, even though I already have the Santa on the right (and I paid way more for the first one, grrr...).
So much for "focusing my Holiday collecting on tinsel items" LOL. Hahaha- that sounds like the museum curator in me coming out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thrifted Thursday: Apple juice (Bakelite) for kids!

I haven't been doing a lot of thrifting lately- it seems like I've been running all over the place with the kids- but I did get a chance to do a little shopping the other day. 

I've had some good luck over the past year finding Bakelite bracelets in the $1 bins at thrift stores. I have about a dozen now and I haven't paid more than $4.50 for any of them. I don't know if I'm just lucky or I'm seeing things other people don't, but what can I say- I seem to be at the right place at the right time, I guess.

Anyway, I stopped in to this thrift store with my kids. They were both kind of cranky, and I didn't really have much time to look at anything else, but I always make time to look through the jewelry. To my surprise I found three bakelite bracelets in the $1 basket. One was a simple ivory colored adult size bangle, and the other two were child-size applejuice (because of their transparency and color) bakelite bracelets.

Aren't they sweet? I've never seen vintage child-size bakelite jewelry before, so of course I snapped these up.

My daughter may not be old enough to appreciate these yet- heck, I just hope she doesn't break them before she does- but they're pretty sturdy. After all, bakelite was first and foremost an industrial plastic. So why not make kids' jewelry out of it? It sure beats lead/cadmium/whatever-else they make kids jewelry out of these days!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: How do you like your coffee?

Today's find is something I pulled out of a dumpster after a rummage sale. (The same rummage sale where I found all the vintage girls' dresses and Christmas cards, if you recall.) While the bargains at the sale are good, I always make sure to check out the dumpster in the days after the sale is over. *

I don't believe this was one of the items that didn't sell; rather it was probably part of the kitchen equipment for the church ladies that do a lunch and bake sale during the event. I think they cleaned out the kitchen and got rid of all the old appliances when it was all over. Besides this coffee pot, I found another coffee pot and a toaster. (Watch this space for a TPT post on that same toaster, a beautiful chrome two-slice Toastmaster...)

I had been hoping that it worked and I could use it when I had parties. That's why I picked out both of the coffee pots, because they were all jumbled together and I thought I'd grab all the parts and try to make one working pot out of both of them. But no dice on the Drip-O-Lator. Either I was missing something important or it just didn't work because when I plugged it in nothing happened.

But the shape was cool and there is no denying that this thing has that vintage industrial look that I love. So what to do with it? Turn it into a planter!

And the best part is that if I over-water it, I can just turn the spigot and drain the extra water out!

(*Note to my newest reader: Don't worry Mom- it's a small dumpster and I didn't have to climb into it! *)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Road Trip!

It's hot as hell here in the Northeast. But I hear Hell at least has a dry heat; here it's like a suffocating wet blanket with all the humidity.

So what do you do at home with two little kids when it's too hot to play outside? Find somewhere cool and take a road trip!

And there is nothing cooler this time of year than a cave. Caves have been a top tourist attraction for over a hundred years, and for some reason, they are still some of the kitschiest, most homespun attractions out there. Perfect for a vintage lover with a family, like myself.

Last week we took the kids out to Kutztown, PA to Crystal Cave, where it's always a cool 59 degrees. I totally wanted to just set up camp and live in there, but they wouldn't let me. (Apparently that's not the quite the "attraction" they had in mind...)

It was like 100 degrees out and I am carrying a bag packed with sweaters. Cooooool....
(Why is it so hard to get a good picture of both kids at the same time? LOL- my daughter totally needs a nap in this picture. )

Some photos of the inside. I actually took these pictures myself; I have to say they turned out better than I hoped.

No bats were harmed during the making of this blog post. (There are bats living in the cave, but only a handful and you can't see them on the tour.)

One of the things the cave has added since I remember coming as a kid is a sluice where you can "pan" for gems. You have to buy a bag of gravel in the gift shop, then bring it out and sift through the contents in the water sluice. Inside are an assortment of gemstone chips.

Well, you know me and how cheap I am- I made my kids go through everyone else's gravel that had collected on the bottom. They found some gems anyway and it didn't cost me a thing. Plus they got wet and it was fun!

Hi Dad! LOL

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: Ride 'em Cowboy!

I bet every one of you rode one of these as a kid. And how many of you got your fingers pinched in the springs? Or got your sock snagged on the sharp end of the spring? LOL- even as a parent I can't really complain about that. It's just one of those experiences everyone has growing up. Live and learn (or sue, these days.)

And even now, while they still make similar riding horses, they're just not the same. By making them "safer" they're also less fun and less likely to be played with. The older toys are just more fun, and I have no problem bringing vintage children's items into my house for my kids, just so long as they're not a downright hazard.

My kids have never played a video game and have limited knowledge of the internet. I realize it is not realistic to keep it that way forever; but while they're still small, I want to introduce them to the simple things in life that bring enjoyment without batteries and buttons and LCD screens.

And those things that are free!

My cousin actually trash-picked this for me (see, I told you it runs in the family!) Her husband picked this out of the trash at an old estate house he was remodeling. It looked like it had never been ridden. I had an identical one as a kid and I remember bouncing on it back and forth to the point where the horse's tail would hit the ground. And if I was more tech-savvy (what can I say- I never played a video game in my lifetime either!) I would be able to upload the video of my daughter riding it to her heart's content. But you'll have to settle for a picture and imagine the sound of the springs- I know you remember what that sounds like!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thrifted Thursday- What's the Frequency Kenneth?

Over the next couple of weeks I will be showing some examples of my radio collection. For a long time I was really into radio collecting, and have quite a few nice pieces. I haven't bought any lately- I guess I just got to the point of having "enough"- and as a matter of fact I think this was the last one I ever purchased.

This is also probably the most expensive item I ever bought in a thrift shop. It's a working Zenith model A515-Y clock radio from about 1958. I paid $50 for it, which I thought was fair but not a steal. I loved the color, and the fact that it had a working clock and radio. It sits on the counter in my kitchen, where I seem to spend most of the evening.

I use it almost every day. There is nothing like waiting for the tubes to warm up and hearing that AM static crackle turn into a baseball announcer's voice. I'm a huge Phillies fan, and when they were playing the last game of the 2008 World Series, I was listening to the game on this radio while watching TV with the sound off. Hearing the legendary Harry Kalas call the last pitch on this old gem just sent chills right through me.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Trash picked Tuesday: Table for one

This is one of those odd Trash-picked Tuesday items that I've known my whole life.

How can that be?

Well, I actually trash-picked this from my own parents. This table used to be in our house growing up. It had been my Dad's before he met my mom; he had bought it up in New Hampshire and had it shipped down in the late 60s/early 70s. It's really cool- it's a huge slab of old-growth pine (like 6' x 3') with four legs screwed to the bottom.

So if it's so cool, how come it's trash-picked, you're asking? Well, over the years and through the trials of two kids growing up (that would be me and my brother)- like matchbox car races and stacks of homework books- the legs got really rickety and the things would collapse without warning. My parents finally got sick of it and threw it out. I happened to come over to visit the day they put it out at the curb, hoping someone would give it a good home.

I doubt they thought it would be me.

But I couldn't stand to see it go, so I rescued it and brought it back to my house. My husband fixed the legs as best he could- now only one is wobbly instead of all four- and we set it up in the living room. Our living room has kind of a rustic Western theme going on, so it fit perfectly. (In case you're wondering, the plaid sofa is about to be replaced, thank goodness. That was something my husband had before we got married.)

So now the table is seeing its second generation of matchbox car races, and hopefully it'll still be around for the third generation!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Flea Market Friday- A Clean Sweep

So my camera and computer are in now couples counseling and they're working through their issues. They seem to be at least talking to each other again.  I couldn't get a Thrifted Thursday post done yesterday, but we can do a Flea Market Friday post.

We went to a giant rummage sale on Tuesday. This is probably the biggest and best rummage sale around, that I know of. It lasts from Tuesday- Thursday, which while it seems like an odd time of the week to have a sale, is always very well attended. The prices are good, but not dirt cheap until Thursday, when they give you a paper bag and you can fill it for $5. But all the good stuff might be gone by then, so we went on Tuesday.

I ended up with a couple of vintage dresses for $2 each. One is a mid 60s knit that is a little snug, but wearable, and the other is a 1980s seersucker that is wayyy too big. If there was a place to try things on, I wouldn't have bought the seersucker dress, but that's the way it goes. I bought some other odds and ends, like a bag of vintage clothespins to feed my washline habit (two lines a day!) and some kid stuff.

But the winners of the week were a toleware trashcan for $2:

And a carpet sweeper for $1:

The trashcan is for my daughter's room- she has a vintage rose theme with a Depression-era bedroom set. In pink, of course.

The carpet sweeper is for my son- he is such a great helper around the house that I knew he would have a good time pushing this around. Even though it doesn't exactly get things super-clean, it at least picks up the crumbs! My grandmother had one of these (didn't everyone's? LOL) and I remember using it as a kid.