Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The return of Trash-picked Tuesday: DIY Terrarium

Welcome back to the return of a Practice in Time favorite, Trash-picked Tuesday! Back in 2010, I blogged about things I trash-picked every Tuesday for a year. (Yes, that's a lot of trash!) But if you go back and scroll through the archives, you'll see some pretty neat stuff.

That says an awful lot about our culture, that we can throw away things that other people find valuable. But the philosophy lesson is not what you're here for, I get it.

Anyway, I had this glass jar I got as part of the box lots at an auction I went to. I probably paid less than a dollar for the box, and this was one of those things included in it that I didn't need or want, so I had to figure out something to do with it. Well, I tried to sell it in my booth, as is. No one wanted it. Then I filled it full of fake eyeballs at Halloween and tried to sell it that way. No go. Filled it with Xmas balls. No sale.

So after spending an inordinate amount of time on Pinterest, I turned it into a terrarium:

What makes this so appealing to me is that I spent virtually nothing on it. The dirt I took out of an old plant pot. The river rock was in my driveway. The moss I picked up in my yard (the snow finally melted enough for me to get out there this morning). The shamrock is basically a weed growing in a container I had brought in from the patio. And the tiny African violet I started from a leaf cutting I found laying on the ground at Lowe's.

Doesn't it make you feel like a bit of spring in a jar?

It was pretty much a free project, and super easy. I have seen plenty of empty jars like this at thrift shops for a dollar or two, so if you have the inclination you can do this as well. It would also work great with an old canning jar. Just scrounge up some plant materials from your yard (or your neighborhood) for free!

And I bet if I put this in the booth now it will sell. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

More Camp Blankets!

One of the things I love to look for when I thrift/yard sale/etc. is camp blankets. These are brightly colored blankets made in the 1930s-50s, mainly of cotton. Most often they have southwestern/American Indian style prints or are plaid. They were made to be used while camping (duh) or for picnics, as car throws, or as bed spreads. They are quite durable and machine washable (yay!) and very collectible.

For that reason, I suppose, it's hard to find them for a decent price. I have been looking for years and only come across a couple. I blogged about the first one I found here, and then have since found three more. Of course, they are readily available on Ebay and Etsy (search "camp blanket" or "Beacon Blanket") if you want to pay the price. And you know that I don't want to, so I stick to searching on the cheap!

The first one I found was blue and tan, in an ombre pattern, a hallmark of the Beacon Blanket Co. (They only ever had paper tags, so there is almost never a tag to be found.) It went straight to my son's bed, and serves as a coverlet in summer and an extra layer in winter. I then found a pink and blue baby blanket, which is currently living in my antique booth, since my babies are well past that stage!

I picked another one up over the summer at a pound store for 99 cents. It wasn't in the best of condition, but I think a little age on these is charming. It is a tan check with a blue southwestern border, and probably one of the earlier examples of these, I would say dating to the 30s. At one time it had a fringe or whip stitching around the edge, but that is long gone. After a nice hot trip through the washer, it went on the back of our sofa, and my kids snuggle under it every day. (It's in the photo above.)

Since finding one for my son, I have been looking for one for my daughter. I even looked on Etsy trying to find one that was a bit girly (yes, she's in love with pink and purple- she's 4 and a half) and reasonably priced. It's surprising how many pinks and purples are out there; it's the 'affordable' part that is the kicker. But yesterday while thrifting, I scored one for my daughter, and I thought I'd share it:

I love the colors- pink and brown go so well together. And it's got a little floral motif- perfect for a little girl! The best part is that it was only $16.50, and I didn't have to pay to ship it (these can be heavy!) So now I guess I have a bit of a collection going on- these two plus this one:

They are so addicting- aren't they fun to look at? :)

Linking up (a bit late) to Thriftasaurus and Sir Thrift-a-lot!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

MCM Thrift Success!

One of the things I've learned in the brief time I've had my antique store booth is that Mid Century Modern sells. That was very much contrary to my expectations, since I live in a small country town. I loaded up on rustic stuff and country kitsch. And surprisingly, most of that is still for sale!

But the modern stuff really sells, and for that I am glad. I feel like I know that market pretty well, and can spot those pieces more easily than most. And there aren't many local dealers that sell it, so until they catch on I can have the buyers to myself.

I've been looking for that stuff when I thrift, and here's what I found today:

I bought this MCM vase. It is marked "PC (copyright) USA". I have no idea what "PC" stands for (anyone?), but I do know that I like the form and the contrast between the matte body and the glazed ovals. It's also hard to see in my photo, but the ovals are overlapping light and dark all the way around. 

I bought this bamboo planter for me- I collect yellow and green mid century planters, and this fits that bill.

These are pieces of Homer Laughlin Riviera Ware, a cousin to Fiesta Ware. I love Riviera, and if it were more plentiful would try harder to collect it. The colors are similar to Fiesta, but the scalloped shape is distinctive and so 1930s. These were 50 cents each; clearly the thrift did not know what they had!

This last is a bit of a dilemma. I saw this last time I was at this store and didn't buy it. I didn't love it. I still don't. But it really has a mid century vibe going on. It's an unsigned oil painting with a lot of heavy texture, and it's a landscape, which I haven't seen much in mid century art. Landscapes always sell, plus it has a kind of bleak minimalist look. 

It does have green tones that match my green bench, plus I like the size of it. 
I don't know, what do you guys think- keep it or resell it?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pink and Butterprint Pyrex all at once!

Today is a beautiful day here in the Northeast, and after dropping off my daughter at preschool this afternoon, it seemed a shame to head right home. So I thought I'd do a little thrifting- I was hoping to cash in on some after-Christmas clearances at my favorite store close to home.

Well, I had some good luck there with holiday stuff last week, but I guess by this week it was all gone or all packed up for next year. I poked around the nicknacks a bit and then headed back to the housewares. The shelves were pretty crowded but I spotted some pink under it all. A flamingo lasagna pan!

I was pretty excited about this because 1) I collect pink Pyrex (who doesn't?), 2) I have never found a colored pan this size, and 3) I use my clear Pyrex lasagna pans all the time. Woohoo!

So, the trip was already a success.

Then I headed back to the section where they keep the nicer antiques- and don't you hate when a thrift store has a separate section for "antiques"? I have seen some Pyrex there before and it was all overpriced and crappy. Not good.

But today was a good day- three Butterprint fridgies! Two of the large 503s (only one with lid) and one 502 with lid. I scooped them all up and headed to the register. (Even though I already had a 503 at home- these are absolutely mint, and my other one is not.) Once I got them home and washed, they are beautiful- I only need one more 502 to complete the set.

I also found a state glass for 50 cents. It was a great day- so glad I went! And the total for all was $22.00- not too bad for these pieces I think.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

SusieQT's Vintage Vault: the things I keep for ME

Resolved: to post more in 2013. OK, there, I said it, I will do my best to get back to posting more regularly!

All this time, I have been quite busy thrifting and listing things in my Etsy shop. I have never been too sure if you all really want more of the "look what I found thrifting" types of posts, or the "visit my Etsy Store commercials", so I thought I'd try to commit to blogging a bit about the things I already have and treasure.

Ever since I was little, I loved the past, and have always tried to read/see/experience as much history as I could get my hands on. When I was in 7th grade I fell in love with Big Band swing and my interest in the 1930s and 40s took off. A little bit later I added the 50s to the mix. And so I started collecting things from those eras. I have also been fortunate to inherit some really nice things from my family- and it always helps when they know you love those types of things!

There are a lot of things I have acquired over the years, and since I have taken the leap into reselling, I am aware of how hard it can be to find some of this stuff. It has literally taken me decades to find some of it, and, well, I guess I ought to let you all in on some of the things I keep only for me.

First up, every girl loves jewelry; I know I'm no different. But did you ever think of jewelry for your shoes? Fiona over at In the Heyday recently posted about her shoe clips that she made and it got me thinking about some that I own.

I love marcasite. It is sparkly and sophisticated without being too showy. It has been very popular and relatively affordable since the Victorian era and the first few decades of the 20th century, and was probably most desirable in the 1900s into the 1920s.

I inherited these shoe clips from my Grandmother, who was born in 1910. I believe she would have worn these in the late 20s, but they are probably older than that and most likely belonged to her older sister or mother.

They come in a very elegant blue embossed leather box.

You can see how glittery they are, without being overtly sparkly. I would love to wear these to a dimly lit supper club and hear a dance band!

I have two sets- a square one and a round one. Both are backed with black leather. The clips have the manufacturer's mark (can't make it out) and "Paris", so I'm sure they must have been quite expensive back in the day. I think they could also have been used as glove cuffs or dress clips.

 I posed them on one of my favorite pairs of vintage shoes- I bought these blue velvet peeptoes years ago at the NYC Vintage Show and they are actually a bit big for me!

Stay tuned- I have tons more in the vault!