Saturday, March 29, 2014

thrift store spoils, ch. 21: Marimekko Oy, Dansk, and Remington Steele meets Strawberry Shortcake

I have become a Me-TV junkie. For those of you unfamiliar with the channel, "Me" is short for "memorable entertainment." That is, classics. (Don't you like the retro logo above?) 

These are shows that are quite often potically incorrect, without apology. (Oh, the freedom!) 

They are unafraid to feature cigarette smokers, sunbathers, and seatbeltless passengers. (You won't find twerking here, though. Thank the good Lord.) 

And they are as vintage as vintage gets. 

And I'm glad that I've been able to introduce some of these classic shows to the kidsshows such as Gilligan's Island, Columbo, and Wonder Woman. And for the first time in my memory, I, myself, can watch Remington Steele in syndication.

I spent the 1980's as a high school and college student, and (not that you asked, but) my must-see shows of the decade were Magnum, P.I. (duh!), The Dukes of Hazzard, Cheers, Hart to Hart, and Remington Steele

Yep. I liked Doris Roberts before she became Raymond's mom. And I liked Pierce Brosnan before he became 007and even before he gained the extra muscle that made him even more attractive. And, I must say, the only accent more appealing than a British accent is a Southern one. (Thus, the inclusion of the Dukes in my list!)

Me-TV broadcasts Remington Steele on Sunday afternoons, and I use my handy-dandy DVR function so that I can watch it alone later in the week. So this week's episode ("Steele Knuckles and Glass Jaws"with a plot obviously piggybacking on the Rocky movies' boxing theme popularity during the decade) has, in one part, our debonaire Mr. Steele going undercover as a wheeler-dealer (a role not unfamiliar to him, given his mysterious and suspect past), during which time he meets briefly with a shady character in a diner. Vintage dishware alert!

Check out what's sitting on the counter in front of them: an Anchor Hocking milk glass mug featuring Strawberry Shortcake. (I think this is the exact one.)

Why is such a precious mug sitting in such a seedy scene, you may be thinking? I have no clue. Irony, perhaps?

I was never a Strawberry Shortcake fan; instead, I was of the older Holly Hobbie generation. But my little sister was the prime age when Strawberry Shortcake became uber-popular in the 1980's. And I think I remember that she had a Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox?

Anyhow, just thought I'd share the vintage sighting surprise that occurred while I watched vintage TV.  

Now on to the week's finds.

I picked up this simple, white veggie bowl by Merimekko Oy (Pfaltzgraff). It's in great condition, with some crazing only. Marimekko has sold well for me in my Etsy shop, so I'll list it there.

I also found this classic metal trivet, made in Japan. Truly kitschy-cool. Hey, who doesn't like a practical kitchen item that also demeans (good naturedly, of course) the authority of the man of the house? And check out the weapon bread roller at the bottom. 

This Mrs. Clause salt shaker is also made in Japan. Isn't the detail on her face sweet? Alas, the pepper shaker was nowhere to be found. A day in the life of a thrifter.

And this mug is by Dansk. I know very little about it right now, only that it reads "Dansk Designs Denmark" on the bottom. I'll learn more and then list it on Etsy, I suppose.

This pair of owl mugs is unmarkedno "made in Japan" or anything. (I assume they're vintage 1970's, though.) I got them because pairs are good to list. They also remind me of the several houses (rented and owned) we had growing up. Owls were always represented, and the decor always included a healthy amount of brown.

These are items I found and bought for Mama. As I've mentioned before, she's a fan of yellow. The Opal loaf pan is Pyrex, of course. And the platter pattern is "Fresh as Spring" by Mikasa Light 'n Lively, made in Japan. I think I've loved every Light 'n Lively pattern I've come across.

This Tupperware Servalier canister set was marked at $4 for all eight pieces. I texted a photo to Mama, told her they were a pale yellow, and asked whether she wanted them. "Yes!" she responded. (I believe they're officially listed as Harvest Gold, by the way.)

And that's it. 

If you're so inclined, check out some Me-TV. Thrifters who are vintage nuts should be watching some vintage TV!

And thanks extended to Sir Thrift-a-Lot, We Call It Junkin, and Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm for the opportunity to link up.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

thrift store spoils, ch. 20: Taylorstone Cathay Day

Allow me to share with you the inspiring thrifting adventure behind what I now refer to as Taylorstone Cathay Day. 

Of course, if you're not interested in reading a story, feel free to scroll down to more photos.

I don't normally venture into thrift stores on weekends. They're crowded and just not worth the aggravation. But a week ago I did stop in at my favorite GW on my way home from an ESL class I teach. It was just a little past noon, and I had to cruise the parking lot for a couple of minutes before I finally found a parking spot on the opposite end of the strip mall, over by the Dunkin Donuts. And even before I entered, I could tell that the place was indeed full of folks. Again, I don't like weekend thrifting. 

So why did I do it on March 15, 2014, a.k.a. Taylorstone Cathay Day? I'm crediting a supernatural vintage-stuff-whispers-to-vintage-nut-in-a-language-only-vintage-lovers-understand phenomenon. 

I felt a pull.

Enough. Let's skip to the near end. Check out the photo of my buggy that I texted to Mama in North Carolina as I headed to the register.

And after sending this image, I still found a couple more pieces to load in there. (Yay!)

Like many of you, I love the perfectly atomic Taylorstone Cathay pattern. And I do know that it's not uncommon in thrift stores, because I see lots of finds on others' blogs. I also consider myself a collector, in fact. (And by "collect," I mean that I've bought, maybe, six or eight pieces.) In fact, my first post on this blog included a modest Taylorstone Cathay find. So you can imagine the double-take I did when I happened upon the many precariously stacked Taylorstone Cathay pieces sitting on the shelves of a housewares endcap. 

Immediately and without regard to price, I knelt and began putting the pieces in my handheld shopping basket. (I never choose the buggy optiontoo cumbersome.) Of course, there was no way I would fit all that was there in that little basket. And, unfortunately, you can't holler "saved!" in a thrift store. Well, you can, I suppose, but there's no guarantee that it'll be effective.

So I stood there, trying to figure out how to go grab a buggy while still protecting my great find from other shoppers (none of whom seemed the slightest bit interested in whatever the heck I'd discovered). But then a GW employee who recognized me as a regular (heck, most of the employees there know me as a regular!) happened by and told me that there was more of the set on the opposite endcap. I think I said in reply something like, "Holy moly." He asked whether I wanted it. Heck, yeah!

So the nice man began putting all of those pieces from the other end-cap in another basket for me. And now I had an ally protecting my "saved!" pieces. I commandeered a buggy at the front of the store. Then back at the housewares aisle, I thanked the nice man and put everything he had gathered into my not-really-so-cumbersome buggy. I also told him that the hubby was going to freak, because I wouldn't be coming home with one little Russel Wright plate today, but with pretty much a whole stinkin' set of 50-year-old dishes. The nice man asked me to then please refrain from mentioning to the hubby his involvement in my adventure. 

Thinking like a seasoned thrifter, I then roamed the rest of the housewares aisles looking for stray pieces from the set. That's when I found two oval platters. Holy moly, again.

My buggy held the following:

  • 13 dinner plates 
  • 10 salad plates
  • 10 bread & butter plates
  • 10 soup bowls
  • 16 cups with 16 saucers 
  • 9 additional cups without saucers
  • 2 oval platters
  • 2 veggie bowls
  • 1 creamer
  • 1 sugar bowl with lid
  • 1 gravy boat with its saucer

It took quite a while to ring up my purchase and then to loosely wrap the entire set. (Duh.) The GW folks kindly found three boxes in the backroom to help me carry everything. During the process, the nice man told me that he had just priced and put the dishes out that morning and that he was glad they were heading out the door so soon. I think the staff believed that this was one of those sets that would sit around taking up space foreveras if it were manufactured by Gibson 10 years ago or something. Each piece was priced between 96 cents and $3.96. In the end, everything I got cost me just under $130, and that's including sales tax. Yay!

In the parking lot, the hubby called wondering where I'd gotten to. (As I mentioned before, I usually head straight home after teaching on Saturdays.) I told him that I had detoured to GW, but that I'd be home soon. Then I said, "Um, dear. This will be a day that will test the strength of our relationship."

He met me at the door when I got home. He shook his head and laughed. He knows me. I explained to him how incredible my find was. And for the umpteenth time, I reminded him that when we married over 25 years ago, we didn't register for china. (I've used that one to justify buying vintage dishes forever. And it works!) He went out back to smoke a cigar, while I unpacked and washed and dried everything. It took me almost two hours. 

The set looks to have never been used. There is no crazing, and there are no stains. Four or five pieces do have small chips. No biggie.

I love that the set includes the gravy boat with its handy-dandy plate.

I also got a creamer and a sugar bowl. Check out the oh-so-mid-century-mod wood lid!

The cups' insides are such a rich green.

A few days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, I returned to the GWon the off chance I'd left a piece sitting there by its lonesome, or the staff had just put out more discovered hiding in the back. And there was a piece: another sugar bowl, sans cool lid, but priced at 96 cents. I grabbed it. I'll probably never find the lid, but I don't care.

Also, a couple of days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, Mama happened across a salt shaker from the set, marked at $4, in a North Carolina thrift store. Did I want it, she asked. Heck, yeah! And in honor of March Madness, I'll declare, "Serendipity, baby!"

I think this will be our go-to nice set when we finally move to our North Carolina home in a few years. I'm planning on decorating with a mid-century modern/mountain theme. It'll work. I'm sure of it.

Thank you for humoring me as I shared my story. You thrifters understand. I know you do. 

As always, thanks to Sir Thrift-a-Lot, a living space, We Call It Junkin, and Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm for the opportunity to link up.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

thrift store spoils, ch. 19: Reed & Barton, Pyrex, and a Repogle globe

This week, my thrifting was infrequent and my finds were sparse. This was mainly due to a snow storm that kept the people living in this semi-Southern/densely-populated/suburban area (that would be Northern Virginia) trapped behind frozen, snowploughed mounds on Monday and Tuesday, but also due to a couple of surprise substitute teaching calls I received at the end of the week.

The good thrifting news? At least I wasn't tempted to buy more random vintage coffee mugs.  

But I'll move on to what I did find.

Check out this sleek, mid-century, silver-plated candy dish. (At least I think it's a candy dish. I found it described as such online.) It was made by Reed & Barton (the bottom reads "Reed & Barton/251/A"), and the inside enamel is chartreuse. 

Yes, chartreuse. 

Love, love, love it.

And I found this great vintage globe. I still need to do some research, as I'm not sure whether it's vintage 1980s, vintage 1970s, or what. It does include the USSR, making it older than my kids. So I'll go from there when I start digging.

It's by Repogle; it's the "Repogle® 12 inch Diameter Globe World Classic Series," to be exact. But there's more.

It's a raised-relief globe! So I can run my fingers over the Appalachian Mountains, my future home, whenever I feel like it! (It's the little things.)

This Pyrex mixing bowl, a 403, is in the Woodland pattern. And as I mentioned in my last post while noting that I'd found a small Woodland casserole, I'm aware that this isn't a favorite pattern for collectors. I also know that my mom, who now collects Pyrex, doesn't like it. She pretty much told me so when I texted her a photo of it from the thrift store. You see, she has a strange aversion to brownsimilar to my aversion to most yellows, I suppose?

But, dangit, I like this pattern. And I like coffee. I also like chocolate, pinecones, and rich dirt. There are so many delicious browns in this world!

Finally, I'll show you the plant stand that I bought. (Lousy photo, I know.) 

Granted, this thing could be vintage 2012 and originally purchased at Old Time Pottery, for all I know. But it cost me a buck-fifty. And you can't beat a buck-fifty for a plant stand. So I grabbed it, and now I'm boasting. This is why I like thrift stores.

Monday, March 3, 2014

thrift store spoils, ch. 18: a missed opportunity, Pyrex, and Lillian Vernon

If you'd like to skip my story of the suh-weet mid-century modern item that I found but was unable to buy, feel free to skip down to my photos. But if you can relate to the thrift store agony of defeat, and if your misery needs a little company, please read my sad tale.

On Monday, I walked into my favorite GW about an hour after it opened for business. And right there in the front of the store, amongst several lousy, cheap occasional tables, was a mid-century beauty: a Gunlocke end table. (Confession: I didn't know for sure the brand upon first glance, but I could tell that it was vintage and very, very cool.) 

But, alas, kneeling beside it was a young lady. She was with what turned out to be her grandmother (not that I learned this by eavesdropping or anything), and they were discussing whether the table would work in a particular space in her little place. But they obviously had no idea that the table was such a great find; they were only considering its size and cost. 

The girl took the tag taped to the table (as you know, this is the thrifter's way of saying "saved") and moved on to look at cheap chairs. That's when I moved in to check out the table. The top was scratched a bit, which would be no big deal to fix, but the rest of it was in great shape. I turned it over, and that's when I learned that it was, in fact, a Gunlocke. GW had marked it at $20, but a 25% discount would be applied. 

Fifteen stinkin' bucks for that beauty. 

I wandered over to housewares and searched the table up on my phone to learn more about it, still hovering at a distance. (Okay. I was spying.) There was always a chance that the girl and her grandmother would change their minds about it and put the tag back, right? But, no. They bought the thing.

So then I had a dilemma. Should I follow the two of them to the parking lot and offer $25 for the piece? Should I at least stop them and educate them about what they hadso that they'd cherish the vintage Gunlocke in their care?

In the end, I did nothing. I was a chicken. Honestly, I kind of feared freaking them out more than anything. (Who wants to be followed to out to the parking lot?)

So by just a few minutes that morning, I missed out on a beautiful, vintage piece. I don't have a photo of the piece, and I can't find one online that I'm allowed to copy and post, but here's a link to one for sell on Etsy.

And here are the finds that I do have in my possession

I found two Russel Wright by Steubenville plates to go with my collection of these plates. (Okay. So I now have three of them in my collection. It's a modest start.) But I love the chartreuse. (The granite is cool, too.) I do have two piecesnot plates, but a casserole dish and a sugar bowlavailable on Etsy. I believe this set was manufactured from 1939 until 1959.

Neither of these Pyrex mixing bowls has chips, but the finish on each is a little worn. I'm not concerned, though. That just makes me more likely to use them! The green is a 402 (a piece from the Verde set, I believe), and the blue is unmarked.

More Pyrex. The 12-inch plate is the Terra pattern, which lots of folks don't like. One reason for this, I believe, is that the finish is flat. I mentioned in a post a while back that when I first came across other Terra pieces in a thrift store, I thought they were DWD. 

The shallow bowl is Pyrex dinnerware. I have a few pieces from this pattern, Ebony. And this size bowl is good for sour cream, salsa, whatever.

And my last Pyrex find is this round casserole. It's Woodland, 472. The lid is scratched up quite a bit and chipped on one handlebut the price was right$2.96. And I like this pattern. (I know this may put me in the minority.)

I love this sweet Lillian Vernon mug from 1983. And, yes, I placed an order or two from Lillian Vernon back in the day. This mug has a timeless reminder ("Call your mom") written across a pretty obsolete itemthe land line phone with a cord that you could stretch around a corner and into another room, begging for privacy. 

I tell my kids that I remember in the 1980s having to call Mama and Daddy collect and person-to-person from my dorm room just to get in touch with them. These days, I pretty much only text with my college student kids.

This bright Christmas mug is marked Waechtersbach/W. Germany. I love the simple image of the Christmas tree. I'll probably list this on Etsy shop next fall.

And lastly, I found more Tupperware canisters. This isn't my favorite color, but both were in good shape. And they're so stinkin' handy-dandy in my pantry.

Thanks to Sir Thrift-a-Lot, Magpie Monday and Thrifter/Maker/Fixer/Farm for letting me link up!