Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CA Highway 99

As a last minute decision while driving from Los Angeles to Sacramento I forwent the uneventful I-5 route for the uneventful Highway 99. I-5 is a long stretch of highway right through the middle of nothing while Highway 99 runs through the valley cities of Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and many other little towns you didn't know exist. Highway 99 takes only a little while longer and is the ideal route if you're concerned about your car breaking down, or in my case interested in thrift store detours.

My little thrift stops tacted on a good hour and a half to the already long six hour drive, which if I had actually had any luck whatsoever may have been more like a nine hour drive. But as it turns out thrift stores in uninteresting towns are pretty, well... uninteresting. Quite the bummer since the last time I ventured up to northern California along Highway 101 I went home with a few of my favorite finds.

Let this be a lesson to anyone interested in a thrift store road trip that will take you through CA, forget about Highway 99 and head straight for the 101. It's a much prettier drive and definitely more prosperous.

With that said, I continued from Sacramento to Red Bluff the following day along Highway 99, it's a horendous two lane road with many-a-stop lights. This stretch of 99 is scattered so frequently with thrift stores that it may very well be worth the headache. If you ever find yourself this far north in California that is.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Exploding Pyrex

Have you received this email that's been going around about Pyrex? The one that's been going around for about three years and states that Pyrex "explodes" - EXPLODES! As I understand it this is the result of moving your Pyrex from the freezer to the oven, the extreme change of temperature has been known to result in some pretty scary stuff (I'll let you Swag the results rather than show pictures here, because frankly, they're disgusting and I like to think of Selling Vintage as pretty).

As we're currently witnessing we lose a lot more than quality when we export labor to only import goods that were already being made in the USA, but the concern here is with the loss of quality. According to my measly amount of research, literally an hour tops so if I got anything wrong correct me PLEASE, it isn't clear if the 1998 buyout of Pyrex by World Kitchen resulted in the export of labor to China, according to Wiki it is and according to it isn't. But what really matters is that vintage Pyrex is made of Borosilicate Glass and modern day Pyrex is made of Soda-Lime Glass, Soda-Lime Glass is apparently cheaper to produce and the result is quite the explosion.

Let's break it down, not only does buying vintage save our precious resources but it saves our asses as well. Vintage Pyrex is prettier than it's modern day counterpart, just check out all of the fantastic vintage Pyrex Patterns over at Pyrex Love. And it's cheaper! Tell me, why do we buy new when we can buy old?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Estate Sale Things

Friday I was able to find time between jumping downtown to the flower mart and designing flowers to hit up the Estate Sale of an Encino women who recently passed. She clearly lived alone for many years, there was not a sign of a masculine figure to be had. All three bedrooms had closets packed full of clothes, the dressers were bulging with accessories, she had more handbags than I care to ever own, if owning too many handbags were a possibility. Clearly this was a women who entertained, spent formal evenings out, and had the money to do so.

Frankly, I was overwhelmed! If heading back on Saturday were a possibility I would've taken full advantage, but alas it was not. So I spent hours weeding through closets, drawers, boxes, bedrooms and bathrooms. The house threw up half it's belongings in the backyard, where I met an old man from down the way who fathomed over the plausibility that one person could have owned this much, to which I let him know I am well on my way. I don't know if he was more intrigued by the fact that I planned to resell the things I was buying or "watching" me rummage through the junk.

Most people tend toward courteous, some actually friendly, so its hilarious when you encounter the grabby people, like this women didn't collect enough over the decades to go around. There was this one women who literally lied to me when she said a whole box of items were hers, really she had yet to go through them - oh SNAP! But boy was I pissed when I saw the rockin' green and blue pairs of elbow length gloves she pulled from that bin.

I have a real soft spot for anything that pretties up an outfit, namely purses, scarves, gloves and jackets. But I have a hard time selling these things, and it's not because I want to keep them all. Actually, maybe it is, but it's also because I don't know what I can sell them for, nor how to display them. The cost of vintage clothes and accessories run the gamut mainly depending on who's selling them.

But look at the clasps on that green silk clutch, so cute, and I don't know if you can tell the blue one is suede, it's blue suede from the 50's! I had to buy them. And even though it was expensive it was impossible to let the beaded emerald clutch go. I bought six purses in all and I probably should have kept digging but I didn't want to be greedy.

Ah, what better way to whet my palette than to dive right in.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dirty Thirty

What a week! I turned Thirty on Thursday last week and designed the floral arrangements, including bouquet and corsages, for my friends wedding on Saturday. I was crazed. And in such a great way.

On Thursday my Facebook, email, and phone were out of control with many loving messages from friends and family. I went into Thirty with zero expectations and came out of the haze smiling from ear to ear. The gifts I received were memorable. My auntie made me a quilt, my friend in NYC sent me a flower arrangement, my boyfriend bought me the coziest robe just in time for the cold days ahead, and my mother searched out a beautiful piece of jewelry for this special day.

In a sense quilts and vintage goodies are designed from the same cloth. There's obviously a lot of hard work and love that goes into a quilt. This personal touch isn't something that attaches itself to many inanimate objects, and by no means does another persons used cookware compare to the dedication that goes into making a quilt, but they both tell a story.

This quilt tells a couple different stories. For me it holds memories of the baby blanket my aunt made for me, the one she finished while on a plane from southern California to Ashland, Oregon, the one I slept with until I moved out of my mother's house. It's an extension of the blanket I out grew, my grown up version of a safe haven. For her, it's a piece of many quilts she made over the years. Each of the fabric swatches come from a different blanket she selflessly made for someone else.

There's an unknown story that lies with the vintage goods we find at thrift stores, the things that have been used and discarded for whatever reason. These items can take on a story all their own, whatever you might imagine or whatever the future holds.

For instance, the items you see below or have seen throughout the summer months as I've entertained in the backyard abode. They'll all go on to be owned by someone else, they're all for sale, but for now while new memories are being attached to them I can't help but think that a 50's housewife was responsible for the purchase of this aqua ice bucket.

Or wonder for whose backyard this chair entertained.

For my friends and I they were perfect accompaniments to round out my birthday week. The Sunday Birthday Bash went off without a hitch. Everyone contributed a yummy dish or something to drink and me, the birthday girl didn't have to worry about a thing other than what I do best - pretty-ing up the house!

Thanks to all for a wonderful birthday week. Your presence either in person or digitally made turning Thirty a breeze!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On the Lookout: CatherineHolm

The funny thing about this thrift shopping gig, at least for me, is that half the time I have no idea if I'm walking right past a lottery ticket or buying up everyone's trash. And as much as I love the act of digging through other peoples junk in search of my treasure, the real rush isn't even in sight.

I always thought it would be fun to act, I have no talent in this department -- let's be honest, I can cry on demand but that's as far as it goes; I have no interest in the celebrity of it -- well, there are those... gifting suites but other than that forget about it; what I envy from the outside looking in is the research that goes into becoming someone else, the hands-on education. That's the rush I get from thrifting.

I come home having bought up the goods that caught my eye, those I considered priced reasonably enough to make a profit from or to justify keeping. And even when I know what I have in my possession I promptly hit the web for a quick value search. Sometimes I score, sometimes I strike out and sometimes I find a new obsession. That's the real score, when I find something from a designer I have never heard of, someone whose entire collection makes me yearn for more, to learn more, and typically spirals into several new obsessions.

You've seen these orange striped bowls before, I found them several months ago during my "orange period". Like many of the items I found around that time they sat in my home collecting dust, I loved them so much I couldn't part with them. But I also have no place for them in my tiny little home so I recently decided to do it, I put a few items in the store and a couple on Etsy. It was hard, I was mellower but something like what I imagine a child is when you take away their favorite toy - resistant, and vocal. And not two days later did I sell these... TWO!

They're cool, but that's quick. I obviously didn't charge enough, but with no label I had trouble finding this one online... originally that is. I had learned about CahterineHolm maybe a week ago when I was researching Dansk, I hadn't come across this design and it didn't hit me until this very moment but THAT, that CatherineHolm that I had just been obsessing about slipped right through my fingers. I would've had to let go anyway, right?! I mean, they were just collecting dust. But still, I'm sad.

So, I introduce to you what will be a fairly regular post, "On the Lookout". You can learn from: A.) My mishaps, B.) My research, and C.) I can learn from you - feel free to write in with designers you'd like me to know about, ones you're on the lookout for!

*All designs on this page, to the best of my knowledge, are CatherineHolm designs by Grete Prytz Kittelsen a Mid-Century, Scandinavian designer. All photos that are not mine (mine are the orange striped bowls) link to the web page I "borrowed" them from.

**In the future I'll try to share more information about the designer and less about me!

On the Lookout: Graniteware

It's not that I love Graniteware, my home can sometime teeter on "shabby" but it's far too modern to accommodate such a country ware, but I am interested in it and in some instances I can image Graniteware looking modern in a mid-century styled home. But what I really like about this collector's item is that it's not the easiest to distinguish and that makes it fun to look out for. You see Graniteware, also known as Enamelware, was first produced in the late 1800's, production seized in the 1940's, but in the 1970's production started up again and these items are still being produced today.

It's said that the modern day productions are thinner and lighter, and that seems to be the best way to distinguish between the two. But take this spoon for example, how much could a spoon possibly weigh? Fortunately purchasing "these" spoon (three for $.95) didn't take much thought when I found them at a thrift store in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Maybe you've noticed, maybe not, but these greatly resemble camping supplies made today hence my even greater apprehension when deciphering their value. Take this teapot and the bowl below for example, I was at a loss when I saw them in the thrift store, and again I purchased them based on the fact that the price was right. It wasn't until recently that learned about the weight factor and I'm convinced that both of these items were produced after the 1970's.

I could be wrong, I don't know. I guess that's for the bidders on ebay to decide. But if anyone readers this has information to share that would be really nice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

R.I.P Gourmet

I love vintage, I love shopping, naturally I love thrift store shopping but I really don't have to tell you that do I? What you may not know is that my love for magazines goes back much further than even my love for vintage, to childhood, mother would shop and I would divulge in eye candy. Embarrassingly, my interest at that time didn't stray much from the Teen Beat and Seventeen genre, but Teen Beat quickly faded and Seventeen turned into Vogue, to Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, and culturally exciting titles.

I love Vanity Fair though it's going to be amiss without Dominick Dunne, the New Yorker remains on the subscription list, as do Architectural Digest and Dwell.

My third love, there is no order, is food. I wouldn't call myself a foodie -- just like hipsters don't consider themselves hipsters I'm sure -- but really, if I am it's amatuer hour at my house. Over the years the cost of dinner has increased with the development of my palette, and my interest in food and food related interests has increased as well.

Today foodies across the country are mourning the demise of Gourmet magazine. I have long subscribed to this magazine, the photographs are mouth watering, recipes inspiring, and the articles are educational and interesting... were. It's a sad day when a title close in age to my grandparents announces that it can no longer continue publishing.

It's long been newspapers fearing extinction but with 1,116 magazines having folded in 2007 and 2008 alone, not to mention the list piling up in 2009, and now this, it's apparent we'll be mourning the closure of many more titles as time goes on.

I never imagined this day would come, I've refused to acknowledge that print is on it's way out but it's starting to look like I'll need to hoard the magazines I love in order to keep them alive, even if I'll be living in the past.

R.I.P Gourmet

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oh! So, Blue...

Remember how I was telling you that my thrifting luck comes in color? Orange was full of enamel ashtrays and, oh those Fiesta Salt & Pepper Shakers. Most recently I've happened upon yellow but in between one of my favorite colors was forgot... blue. Here it is in all it's glory, you may have seen some of these before so I feel words are not necessary, just pictures.

I hope you enjoyed!

Friday, October 2, 2009


When I embark for a thrift adventure it's not typical for me to have an agenda. Usually it's a spur of the moment decision, albeit one that occurs on a fairly regular basis, that takes me on something of a cross town scavenger hunt. Granted I'm always on the hunt for furniture, it's a big love of mine but rarely is there an agenda. However, I do find the thrift gods shine down on me when it's most appropriate.

I'd been wanting a set of Pyrex Primary Color Nesting Bowls for about a month when I came across an incomplete set for what I thought was a little more than I would like to pay, but I sucked it up and bought 'em knowing very well that I may have to bid on Pyrex Green at auction or hold out until I got lucky. Fortunately for me luck was on the horizon, I picked myself up the missing link in Colorado for a mere $.25 making the $20 I shelled out previously worth the investment.

Recently I packed that drawer beneath the stove a little too tightly and now I can't open it (suggestions are more than welcome). What made me sadder than the fact that Scott now has trouble baking a dozen cookies is that ever so pretty cast-iron enamel casserole I found so recently it hadn't been photographed is now trapped, TRAPPED! But you know what? Within a week I came across a yellow Le Creuset pot AND that beautiful Dansk Paella Pan. The luck!

What I find interesting is that there seems to be themes, color themes, in the majority of items I find during a period of time. I never did get around to posting Blue, but you remember Orange? It was awesome! I loved so much of the stuff I found that was orange, it would've been great in any color but orange was the theme that month. Maybe you've noticed that yellow seems to be the most recent theme. Most of these ever so fun finds I came across in the recent weeks past.

Isn't it funny how that happens? Do you notice consistency in your thrift store finds or am I just looking for it? It's looks like the sun is shining down on me this month.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Birthday Present

It may be that I'm a bit self-obsessed, you see my birthday is coming up, it's a mere week away, and naturally I love my birthday. I've always looked forward to the big day, and like most things in childhood it never could come quick enough, but boy it sure was gone in a flash. Still, I can't say I've always LOVED my birthday. But that changed when I met my friend Morgan who introduced me to the concept of Birthday Week and broke wide open the most delicious can of worms. I learned that during birthday week I always get my way, and I like getting my way, because who can't give into a sweet plea of "but... it's birthday week!". There aren't many gifts better than that.

In fact, how often do you remember what you got for you birthday years after it's passed purely because it was the most unexpected and perfect gift? I'd say I've received a few, and that's being generous, in my pushing (I'm just going to say it) thirty years. One of these gifts I was using just today and decided it would be an appropriate time to share this with you. A beautiful set of green three leaf clover teacups in just my taste.

All I can say is three maybe four years later I still pull these out of the cupboard thinking LOVE LOVE LOVE. Thank you Julie! Verbatim. Yes, Julie is thought of often.

Julie I've known a very long time, we talk infrequently but she knows what her friends like. She's sweet and creative and well, her birthday is the day after mine so it makes since that she's all honey and graffiti rolled up in one. This is turning into quite the ode to Julie but her birthday is coming up too and she deserves it. I have only one more thing to say about Julie and that is, she was hitting the yard sale circuit and turning a dime long before myself, and you guessed it, maybe, did you guess that Julie got these pretty little clover teacups at a yard sale?

She did. Look, these dainty green teacups are from Neiman Marcus and were made in Japan! Awesome, I know.

So... yup, my birthday, October 8th, yup, 1979! It's... strange. It's even more strange to think that it's strange, because age has never mattered much to me before, but for the first time in ten years I could give it or I could take it. I guess I'm not taking full advantage of the birthday week. It's high time I start!

What's the most memorable, favorite, worst, whatever, birthday present you've ever received? Now, now, it's birthday week people, don't even THINK about leaving me high and dry! After all, I know who you are.