Monday, November 22, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: Take your medicine!

I've mentioned before that we have a cabin in the mountains in a rural part of Pennsylvania. And since it is so rural, there has never been trash pick-up. People used to dump anything they couldn't burn into the woods, and I suppose many still do. It is a favorite hobby of mine to uncover these old trash dumps and find things I can re-use. Usually it's old milk pails or sap buckets, or most commonly, bottles.

All of these, except for the largest one in the back, are probably medicine bottles. The ones on the right have a really unique shape, almost like a pocket flask, in that they curve slightly to fit in a pocket. The round one at the left is one of my favorites in that you can see bubbles in the glass meaning it was hand-blown.

This one is marked with the doctor's name. Back in the early days, many doctors (and later druggists) mixed their own formulas, and patented the mixtures (hence the name "patent medicine"). The traveling medicine show became famous for quakery with showmen selling cure-alls that of course did not do a thing. But until medicine became highly regulated by the FDA, it was always "buyer beware"!

This one is not a medicine bottle at all, but a soda bottle produced by a local bottler. Neis Beverages were sold in this area up until 1956. I found this one at a local park that had once been the amuseument park Menlo Park, which also closed in the mid-1950s. I was walking along the hiking path and just happened to notice a glimmer of glass under the dirt. I dug it up and this is what I found.

It's cool because it's a link to the park's past- I can just see people waiting in line for the carousel (which is still there and operates about once a month- rides are 25 cents each!) and sipping on a soda from this bottle. There are a couple "ghost parks" around here, and I just love the idea that nature has reclaimed them in such a short time. Some of the features are still evident, like concrete pads from rides and rusty lights dangling from the trees. Even some of the places I went to as a child are no longer there- here's a cool website if you remember places like Forest Park or West Point Park, or even the grandaddy of them all, Willow Grove Park!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thrifted Thursday: Flamingos for Friday!

OK, so I'm a day late and a dollar short.. or something...

I've been trying to adjust to my daughter no longer taking naps- she gets very cranky in the afternoon, but will not sleep. That's a recipe for a cranky mom as well, and especially bad for my computer time.

But I had to share my latest find at my new favorite store, the Habitat ReStore. We went last weekend to buy some furniture for my brother's new place (hopefully more photos of that soon) and of course had to shop for housewares as well. He has literally nothing besides clothes and the bedroom set he's used since he was seven. (Time to upgrade that as well, I say!)

And as much as I profess to not be interested in buying anything anymore, I still seem to come home with something:

A round container with hand-painted flamingos marked "Miami Beach, Fl"- you think I would pass that up for $2?
No chance, especially when inside is a set of 8 plastic coasters that perfectly match a set of anodized aluminum cups I already have!

And as a special bonus, my daughter is playing a matching game with them right now, putting all the cups together with the like-colored coasters. Counting and color recognition, all in one! That means these are an educational purchase, right? Or at least something for her to do while I take a few moments to blog!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank you to all our Veterans!

Please take a moment today to thank a veteran and reflect on what they have done for us. Without their service to our country, we would not have the freedom to express our opinions on forums like these.

I have had the priviledge of knowing and working with many veterans in my previous job, they are all true heroes. I especially want to mention those that have passed away since this time last year, Bob Clancy (Lt. Cdr. USN, Ret.) and Sylvester Lapkiewicz (Col. USMC, Ret.). I miss these gentlemen every day and wish I still had them here to talk to.

Since today is Thrifted Thursday, I want to show you some of my collection of WWII sweetheart jewelry. I think this is appropriate for today, because it was a memento of loved ones overseas. I collect it because it helps me connect with the time period on a personal level, and also because I can't bear to see someone give the stuff away. I guess it's the museum curator in me, but I feel like I need to give these pieces a home where someone will appreciate them.

I am wearing one of the Buzz Bomb Alley bracelets I got over the summer, and I can't help but think about the airman that created them. I can picture him sitting in the Quonset hut waiting to be called for a mission, hearing the bombs fall outside and thinking of home. Creating a bracelet out of coins and scraps of aluminum to send to "Honey" so she would have something to remember him by. I often wonder if he made it home.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trash-picked Tuesday: Take a seat!

This is kind of a before-and-after Trash-picked Tuesday project that I've been meaning to get up for the last several weeks. I had these two dinette chairs in our barn left from the previous owners. They had great bones but had obviously seen better days. As you may recall, I already have a 1950s dinette set with four chairs, so they stayed out there until I had a use for them. Now with Tom moving into his own place and needing some furniture, I decided I would try and clean them up a bit to take over to his house. (I'm tired of eating pizza around an old cardboard box while sitting on top of 5-gal buckets when we're over there working.) Besides, they match a dinette table he already has- courtesy of our cousin ;)

The seats were ripped and mice had gotten into the padding, so I removed that. If he wants to spend the time and money on replacement cracked-ice vinyl, I'll replace them eventually.  For now, we'll just use tie-on chair pads. I scrubbed the chairs with Comet and let them dry.

The chrome has really gotten rusty and pitted over the years, particularly where the back meets the seat. I spent several hours with steel wool and Nu-finish on the legs to get them to the point where the remaining chrome was shiny. Some places were completely worn away to the bare metal and nothing short of re-plating is going to help.

This is the end result- you can see the neat turquoise trim- too bad I didn't come across these 20 years ago or they could have been much nicer! But I think they came out pretty well for something that had been left for trash.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tom's new house!

Drumroll please!

(I know I've been promising this post for about 2 months, but haven't had the time to write it, so without further ado....)

My brother is finally moving out of my parent's house. At age 33, I think it's about time!!! (And girls, he's single and available, don't tell me the good ones are hard to find! LOL- but seriously, he's a really interesting guy, just living with Mom & Dad to save money...)

Being handy, he wasn't afraid to buy something that needed a little work, so long as it was in the right neighborhood. After months of searching he finally found a c.1960s rancher. After many more months going through the short sale process (there is nothing "short" about a short sale, believe me), he's finally getting the place fixed up.

We've spent the last several weeks helping him out with demo (two unfortunate 1970s bathrooms and a poorly "finished" basement), and now the painting and flooring is going in. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks, we'll get some updated "after" pics. But here is the "before".

The kitchen will eventually get new cabinet doors, appliances and counter tops, but for now is not a high priority, since he doesn't cook. Those yellow things hanging from some of the cabinet knobs are ceramic lemons- the house was full of cheesy stuff like that, and cutesy switch plates of apples, cows, and the like. All free to a good home, if you want them! ;)

This is the front door and entrance area, as well as the sunken living room. That is a wall of mirrors on the left. And before you say, "Hey, a mirrored wall could be kind of cool in a bachelor pad...", let me tell you that they were beveled edge bathroom mirrors put in all kinds of crooked. They amazingly came down fairly easily- no breakage and only one small laceration!

The sunken living room will bachelor pad central- Tom is really into the mid-60's modern look. The yellow textured-glass panel next to the door will stay.

The master bedroom- I don't know how anyone could sleep in here with those neon green walls, and puke green (original to the house!) carpet. Maybe the cow country border was soothing? LOL

That carpet was up within 24 hrs after settlement, the ceiling fan is history (angel pull and all), and my poor Dad spent days carving up those crappy cows with wallpaper stripper . The bedrooms will be painted a neutral putty color with white trim.

The master half-bath. Really good original tile in a sunny yellow will stay as well as the medicine cabinet. The vanity and toilet have been replaced though.

This part of the "finished" basement is not bad. Ceramic tile floors and good quality paneling might stay, depending on how bad the moisture is behind it. He's putting in a wood pellet stove down here to take the dampness out and help heat the house. I could definitely see a bar area down here eventually.

This is the horror show. We don't know what happened here, but suffice it to say that that "wall" of paneling stapeled to 2x4s, and that midnight blue paint is gone, gone, gone.... Why you would paint a dark basement dark blue is beyond me. And that wall? It's not a fun house mirror, it's paneling gone wild! A few simple steps, like a dehumidifier and a new Bilco door have brought the moisture level under control already.

So that's the "before". Things are already looking much better, and I'll be putting up another update soon!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thrifted Thursday: Habitat ReStore

Took a trip to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore this morning. If I had known it was going to be so gigantic, I'd have brought my camera to show you all the cool stuff there. I went in to it thinking that all they had would be used building materials, but there was so much more!  Imagine a gigantic salvage yard with furniture, books, mountains of LPs, housewares, etc. Not to mention at least 3 pink powder room sinks, for those of you with pink bathrooms. If there's one near you and you've never been, go check it out ASAP!!!

It was really a scouting trip to find out if there was any furniture worth buying for my brother's new house. There definitely was- some pieces of 40s moderne furniture which would be perfect for a bachelor pad. I don't know if "moderne" is the right descriptor or not -I wouldn't call it 50s/60s "modern"- but it has some elements of that angularity. I seem to see a lot of it in a dark cherry finish, which will fit in well with his paint colors (the house is being painted right now).

So by now you're wondering, 'OK, but what did you buy', right? ;)

Well, even though I've kind of sworn off buying things lately, I always am looking for glass refrigerator dishes. I did find a cute aqua Pyrex 502 with a lid for $2 (if you don't know what that is, head over to my friends at The Pyrex Collective ). There's no photos because it is in the sink taking a nice warm bubble bath; it looks like something burned on to the edges! But I'm sure with a little TLC it will be as good as new and I get to replace some more of my old yucky plastic containers!