Thursday, September 26, 2013

thrift store spoils, ch. 5: Christmas stuff and the coolest ashtray ever

I’m way late in updating my recent finds, because I’ve been crazy-busy with volunteer commitments.  But here I am. 
And I’ll start with my favorite.

Yes, it’s an ashtray. Does "nearly obsolete" pop into anyone's head? And, no, I don’t smoke. In fact, I was raised by a mother who badmouthed smoking every chance she got. As a result, I’ve never even taken a single puff of a cigarette. Ever.

My husband does imbibe in one or two cigars per weekend. But he’s another story.

Still, how could I pass up an ashtray with navy blue horse silhouettes and the words “Nydrie Stud” printed on it? Gotta love a household item advertising a stud farm, particularly one with accents in gold and grass green.

(Question here: Does this piece look vintage 1950ish? I'm thinking it does.)

I’m originally from Kentucky, you see, and I have a few equestrian accents in my home’s décor. In fact, the houses of most of my childhood friends contained  horse-themed items to one degree or another. That’s just Kentucky.

Anyway, there’s a story to this ashtray.

So after buying this at SA, I came home and looked up “Nydrie Stud” online. And, lo and behold, it’s a thoroughbred farm, rich in history and  located in Virginia’s Albemarle County. From the reporting I read, it looks like the place was put up for sale in 2005 and sold in 2008. The listing includes some nice pictures of this beautiful property. Check out the buildings' red trim and red brick.

I located Nydrie Stud on a satellite map, and (lo and behold, again!) the farm sits only about a mile and a half, as the crow flies, from property owned by my husband's brother and his wife. They live in a 200-something-year-old home that sits on a good deal of acreage near Scottsville. It’s a comfy and welcoming home that we visit as often as we can.

Okay. So you may be asking, “What’s the big deal? Who cares?”

Well, this story illustrates why I like to thrift shop. You see, I bought a pretty random item for 75 cents, because I thought it was oh-so-cool and because I like horses. Upon later research, I learn that I have a connection to the piece—albeit very, very indirect—through family and family get-togethers. But I also learned something new about an area in Virginia that I’m already quite familiar with. (We're gonna have to drive by the ol' stud farm the next time we visit Scottsville . . . .) And while looking at the property via satellite map, it was just plain fun when the light bulb went off in my head, and I thought, “Wait a danged minute. I know that other place. I’ve slept in that place, the house sitting just a short ways away from Nydrie Stud!”

And this mini-adventure began on a humble trip to a thrift store.

I really like melmac, and I have quite a bit of it. But this is the first time I’ve found it in this sleek charcoal color, and I love the shapes of the platters. These pieces are by Branchell.

Both of these Pyrex mixing bowls are in mint condition. They might be called Red Cherry and Blue Ribbon, but I'm just not sure. They're vintage early 1990s, and they cost me a buck apiece.

I love these sunflower yellow mugs with the sweet heart-shaped handles by Homer Laughlin. I wish I knew more about them. But as of this post, I haven’t been able to find these exact ones in a photo online. On the bottoms are stamped “HLC” and “USA,” with the Homer Laughlin logo in between.

I found another soup mug—this one with a little veggie whimsy.

 Okay. I have no clue why I bought this.

This is one-twelfth of a set of Louisville Stoneware 12 Days of Christmas punch cups. When I see Louisville Stoneware at thrift stores, I usually buy it. I have pieces that were given to me new in the 1980s that I still use regularly—proof that it’s good stuff. It’s also something that Kentuckians tend to collect.

Okay. I've written before that I don't necessarily like to buy Christmas stuff, that I prefer to mix and match solid colors for the seasons. The above item was an exception, because of the maker. The three finds below are exceptions, as well.

I had to buy this set of winking Santas by Holt Howard and dated 1959. The price was too right, and it was an entire set, after all. I was thinking it would be good to put in an Etsy shop if I ever get off my backside and open one. The paint on the faces is chipped here and there, but these guys are still adorable.  

The price was super-duper good on these two peppers and a salt, made in Japan like the winking Santas. I’m thinking one set would be good on Etsy because of ease of shipping for a newbie like me. I’ll use the other pepper as a kitschy Christmas decoration accent?

I saw these plates on the shelf and liked them from the get-go. Then I turned them over to find that they were produced by Blue Ridge Pottery. So I had to get them. I’m not a big fan of most of the company’s hand-painted patterns, but I really like this one. (By the way, the little design in the upper right corner of the plate is mistletoe.) I brought them home and looked them up online. Turns out they’re quite collectable (read: valuable). Score.

I found this vintage 2000s Tupperware canister in mint condition for 75 cents. I’ll use this every day. And I got the old, weathered duck to place in a planter. I do that lots—tuck sweet animal figurines in with my houseplants. Why not?

By the way, thanks, Sir Thrift A Lot and a living space, for the opportunity to link up. 

And much appreciation goes to We Call It Junkin for allowing me to join their link-up party We Call It Olde.

That, folks, is it for now. Happy thrifting.


  1. Love the winking Santa's! I left one of these sets behind last year, why I don't know, it was at a thrift!!

    I'm your newest follower!

    1. Yay, Jill! I’m glad you’re a follower. I started reading others’ blogs a while back, which helped me to realize that I’m not alone in this thrifting obsession. (That is, there other seemingly sane folks out there who feel compelled to enter every thrift store they drive by!) Then I decided to join in the conversation by blogging about my finds.
      By the way, I just followed you, too. Can’t wait to see what new Pyrex you find.

  2. Hi Lori, That Santa pitcher and mug set made me say Oh My Gosh out loud. It's awesome. Great story about the ashtray, small world, huh? This post would be perfect for my new link party that starts tomorrow, Oct. 1, called We Call It Olde - anything antique or vintage. I hope you'll link up! Take care - Dawn @ We Call It

    1. Dawn, I took you up on your kind offer and linked up just now. (Thanks.) And party on!
      And, yes, those winking Santas are cute, cute, cute in person—also a little bit delicate. When I was paying for them, the elderly volunteer taking my money said that she used to have some. I asked what she drank out of them (Punch? Egg nog? Apple cider?), and she said she didn’t think she ever did drink out of them, that she instead just displayed them.
      If I keep them, I’ll try to use them.

  3. I'm following too (Hi Jill!) because you just think like me! I'm nodding my head all through the Nydrie Stud story and thinking "how cool is that?" Yep, I "get" it! I love that connection. Plus, I love silhouettes and that's why I picked your blog to look at at Sir Thrift a Lot as soon as I saw it. Next, I about fell off my chair...a whole set of Howard Holt? I don't think I've ever found one piece! The Louisville that part of Hadley Pottery? It immediately reminded me of it but I knew it wasn't the same. I love the Hadley, but this pottery I haven't seen before and we lived in Louisville for a few years back when. Also my in-laws were Kentucky people. So, I'm excited about the pottery! I love blogs that show the treasures they picked up on a single trip. I do that too. Looking forward to more blogs from you!

    1. Jeannie Marie, thanks for the kind words and encouragement. And I’m glad that others appreciate the ashtray as much as I do. (It almost makes me wanna take up smoking!)
      As to the Hadley pottery: I never even heard of Hadley when I was a kid in Kentucky. It wasn’t until later when I began thrifting that I’d see a piece, think from a distance that it was Louisville Stoneware, and pick it up—just to discover that it was this Hadley stuff. And I think it’s funny that you weren’t familiar with Louisville Stoneware, despite living in Louisville yourself.
      Perhaps it’s like the Coke/Pepsi choice. Some folks are Coke brand, while some are Pepsi people?
      I do need to do some research, though. I mean, why would two companies operating in the same town produce products that are so danged similar—right down to colors and brush strokes?
      Yet there's still a market for both of them.

  4. Great finds. I love finding pieces that turn out to be connected to me somehow. I bought a vintage leather briefcase while on a trip. When I came home and looked it over it was from England with a man's name and address so I Googled him. Found out he worked in a governmental position for years and retired here in the US in my small town. He lives just a few miles from here. Love those Santas!

    1. Wow. One of those "small world" stories.

  5. I have to admit that I covet your punch cups -- I'm a sucker for anything with 12 Days of Christmas on it. Fun story about the ashtray!

    1. Thanks. And, yep, I had fun researching that ash tray.
      Really? Is this what I do with my spare time--research ash trays?
      Heck, yeah.

  6. Thank you so much for linking this to my first We Call It Olde Link-Up! Thanks to you, my first week was a success. I hope to see you there again each Tuesday with your antique, vintage, or history-related article. Take care - Dawn @ We Call It

    1. My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me! And I've had fun perusing your nice blog.

  7. oh my! those santa cups and jug are just too amazing!!