Tag Archives: thrifting

Vintage Ice Tongs 

vintage walnut ice tongs, Hasegawa Happy Hour, vintage barware My parents came up to visit over the weekend and brought our anniversary gift. Part of the gift was these fantastic vintage ice tongs that they found in a vintage shop. Don’t my parents know how to score a vintage treasure? (And they know me so well…and Naoto, too, though he didn’t squeal like a school girl when he saw the box.)vintage walnut ice tongs, Hasegawa Happy Hour, vintage barware The tongs came in their original box, an added bonus. (And yes, I will totally keep the tongs in their box!)vintage walnut ice tongs, Hasegawa Happy Hour, vintage barware I love the Mid-Century style illustrations of cocktails on the handle. I think they are going to make a great partner with my vintage penguin ice bucket at our next Hasegawa Happy Hour!

Thanks, Mom & Dad! xo

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New Vintage Stationery

vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and YellowstoneMy parents came up for a visit this weekend and they brought me a few vintage treats including these fantastic old souvenir stationery sets. The Yellowstone is almost full but sadly the Abraham Lincoln one has one sheet left of each design. vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and YellowstoneI’ve never been to Yellowstone, so I’d feel like a cheater using this stationery, but I think using it for a nature lover would be acceptable, right? (This stationery seems like a good enough reason as any to bump Yellowstone up on my travel wish list.)vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and Yellowstone vintage souvenir stationery, Abraham Lincoln and YellowstoneI have been to Springfield, the state capitol of Illinois, several times so these Lincoln landmarks are all familiar old friends from school trips and family trips of my childhood. I think every child who grew up in Illinois has rubbed Lincoln’s nose at least once. Since there’s only one sheet left of each of these designs, I probably won’t be writing letters on this stationery, but maybe I could use them in a mini-scrapbook of my next trip to Springfield? (First I have to get Naoto on board with a mini road trip!)

Have you seen any souvenir stationery lately? It seems like the best kinds of souvenirs (stationery, handkerchiefs, plates) are all things of things of the past now.

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Old Painting = New Art

P. Rambert oil paintingIn January when I went thrifting with my parents, I found this old painting. It was only twenty dollars, it’s an actual painting, not a print, and for reasons I can’t explain, I really liked it. The painting is signed P. Rambert, which means nothing to me, but apparently people on Ebay think some of his paintings can fetch $50-550…mmhmmmmm. P. Rambert oil painting I’ve been working on hanging up more art (again) and so I tried this one in the living room near the lamp. (I do think the matchy-matchy pillow looks a little ridiculous…an interior decorator I am not!) I didn’t plan to keep it there, but it’s grown on me and I’ve really liked having some color on the wall! (I think my desire for spring and something other than grey skies and a grey home is getting to me!)

Am I the only one who freezes and fears decorating decisions?

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Easy Printmaking For Kids (& Adults)

printmaking for kidsLast week, I quickly shared about my thrift store find, Tomie dePaola’s Things to Make and Do for Valentine’s Day. When I got to this printmaking craft, I was really excited because I’ve done something like this before. I think it’s a really fun project–for kids and adults–and a good introduction to block printing without investing in a ton of materials.

Here are the instructions starring Tomie’s cute kids and cuter cat:Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Day styrofoam print project 2, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Daystyrofoam print project 3, Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's DayA few notes:

  • I know styrofoam is a horrible thing for the environment and a few cities in the U.S. are banning the use of styrofoam take-out containers. Think of this as re-purposing something evil. I got my styrofoam trays with fish and vegetables at Mitsuwa.
  • I used a brayer because I already had one on hand from a printmaking class, but a rolling pin works just fine and may be even better for kids since it’s bigger and easier to handle.
  • The book suggests poster paints. I used Martha Stewart craft paint because I had some already. It worked fine, but it did dry quickly. So, I tried oil-based printmaking ink, which I also had. It worked perfectly but I would highly suggest you don’t use it if you are working with kids. It’s messy, permanent and dries so slowly.

printmaking for kidsI made my “block” by tracing the outline of the Japanese character for “friend”. I flipped it around and traced it onto my styrofoam with a sharp pencil. I went over the outline a couple of times to make a deep enough channel to get a clean outline. If I had pressed too lightly, the outline would not be as clear.printmaking for kidsMy prints are imperfect, but that’s okay. It takes some practice to get the right amount of ink on the styrofoam–I need some more practice! And, if this oil-based ink ever dries, I will cut them apart into little cards and send them out as Valentines.

If you try this project, I’d love to hear about it! Happy Valentine making!


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Things To Make & Do For Valentine’s Day

Tomie de Paola Things to Make and Do for Valentine's DayI spent a few days with my parents last week and of course we went thrift shopping. I was in the store less than two minutes when this sweet book by Tomie dePaola jumped into my hands. It may be the best ten cents I’ve ever spent!

Tomie dePaola wrote Strega Nona and Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, two of my favorite books from my days working with children. His illustrations are charming and his stories are sweet and timeless. Things to Make and Do for Valentine’s Day is a how-to book with crafts, jokes, tongue twisters, games and recipes to share for the holiday.

The book is designed for kids, but I think some of the projects are fun for adults, too. I’m going to try one out this weekend and I will report back next week. If it works out, I may use the idea for my Valentine envelopes this year.

Have you planned your Valentine’s Day cards yet? I have my prototype ready…now the real work begins.

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Our Thanksgiving 2014

thanksgiving table 2014, centerpieceAnother Thanksgiving is in the books and the world (and our apartment) is moving on to Christmas. As usual, Naoto whipped up a delicious meal and my mom made a yummy spiced apple cheesecake for dessert. thanksgiving table 2014, table setting, yellow owl workshop placecard stampI wasn’t feeling especially inspired, so I set a simple table this year. I crafted a “centerpiece” from a turkey on a stack of books and some candles, similar to last year’s table. I used some thrifted paper turkey napkin rings and I made place cards with my Yellow Owl Workshop place card stamp. yellow owl workshop place card activity kit, thanksgiving placards, embossedI embossed the stamp in copper and typed our names. Simple…and with a table of four, it is really important that everyone can find a spot at the table! thanksgiving 2014, my mealIt was a delicious, relaxing day…I feel like Thanksgiving is the end of the calm part of the year, maybe that’s why it’s my favorite.

How was your holiday weekend?

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Thrifted Treasures 2

vintage accountant books, gold stars and stickersOn my drive down to my parents’ house a few weeks ago, I stopped in our favorite thrift store. I had fifteen minutes before they closed, so I hit the office section, the greeting cards and the dishes–my three favorites. The greeting cards were a bust. Although they had several boxes of Christmas cards to offer, nothing was vintage enough or sweet enough to buy. (I still have no idea what I’m doing for holiday cards this year.) And the dishes were equally disappointing, unless you like those country patterns of the nineties. (Think hearts and ducks and other country patterns.) vintage accountant work sheet pads and Presley

But the office section never disappoints! Within five minutes I snagged up all the best stuff: some Care Bear stickers, some jumbo gold stars, and most exciting of all, two vintage accountant work sheet pads. The largest is 11×16 and I love all the little grids and warm colors and the yellowed paper. The best part about the ledgers is that yellow tagged items were 50% off that day, so one was 75¢ and the other was 50¢. My bill at the register for all four items was $2.12.

I’ve already written one letter on the smaller ledger paper and I look forward to using up all four in mail upcoming mail projects!

When you go thrift shopping, which department do you head for?

P.S. For more thrifting posts, go here.

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Thrifted Treasures

American Cancer SocietyA few weeks ago, I met my parents in Peru, Illinois (almost the halfway point between our houses) for some shopping. We always go to the thrift stores around there to see what we can find and I had a jackpot day at Lily PadsThe Story of a Cigarette coloring book was my favorite find…actually my mom found it and thought it was funny. I was slightly disappointed (but also relieved) that it wasn’t a promotional coloring book put out by the tobacco industry. Instead, it is an anti-smoking campaign put out by the American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society American Cancer Society American Cancer Society American Cancer SocietyIt is in really good shape, just a little discoloration on a few of the pages and some staple rust in the center…not bad for a dollar, right? Hank's Bar CoastersAnd another purchase that might seem weird to some, but feels perfect to me, I got these Hank’s Bar coasters for twenty cents. I bought them mainly for inspiration since I really do want to create some Hasegawa Happy Hour coasters for us. I’m going to add one to my coaster collection for now and keep working on ideas for my own.

Have you found anything good at the thrift stores lately? What constitutes a “jackpot day” for you?

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Whimsical Christmas Pins

vintage christmas pinsI have a significant collection of vintage brooches. Most of them could be categorized as “granny chic”. (You might remember when Mary added to my collection when she sent some fabulous selections from her grandmother.) But when it comes to the holidays, I like to wear whimsical kid pins from my own childhood (and thrifted gifts from my mom!)

The snowflake on the left is vintage Avon from my childhood. (You can see a better picture here.) I actually have two of them because I misplaced mine and randomly came across one in a box of junk at a flea market. I was over the moon to find a replacement for fifty cents! Of course, a week or two later, I found mine. (Doesn’t it always work out that way?) I love the sparkle from the Aurora Borealis stones.

The other snowflake is an antique store find. (It’s unmarked, and I couldn’t find one online.)

The bear in the box is from my childhood. I kind of remember it being a gift…but memories are fuzzy from way back then. He can be found here.

My mom bought me the owl at a flea market last year. It was perfect timing, since owls felt very trendy last year. (I’m still wearing him this year.) He’s vintage Hallmark and can be found here.

I’ve had the snowman pin since first grade. In grade school we drew names and did a little gift exchange every Christmas. Kyle S had my name and gave me a tiny box. This pin was inside. I remember feeling very special and grown up because I got jewelry from a boy for Christmas. My family still teases me about my attachment to this pin. I didn’t wear it for years because the pin part broke off of it, but my handy-dad fixed it for me last year and it’s in the holiday pin rotation again. He can be found here.

The Santa is from my childhood, I think. He’s vintage Hallmark (from 1981, according to his back) and can be found here.

The fawn is another flea market find from my mom. I love this one because of the green pipe cleaner wreath around its neck. He’s vintage Hallmark and can be found here.

Sigh…vintage Hallmark and vintage Avon…two of my favorite things.

Would it be weird if I wore all of my Christmas pins once on Christmas Eve? I kind of want to do it…like my own version of the ugly Christmas sweater.


P.S. Another sentimental childhood Christmas pin can be found here.

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I Heart Snack Sets & 1950s Entertaining

vintage snack setLast week while thrifting with my parents, I came across these snack sets. They were only $1 per set, so I bought all four. I justified this purchase (I already have another collection of four smaller snack sets) by noting that the plates on these are almost dinner-sized, so they would be more useful for luncheons and larger servings. The ladies at the thrift store encouraged me to buy all of the snack sets, but I resisted. (It was hard to resist.)

I have an obsession with snack sets. They make me think of well-dressed ladies getting together and playing cards or having a wedding shower, eating tiny sandwiches and homemade Jell-O salads and drinking tea or coffee from the tiny cups. I feel like now, when I get together with my friends, we are wearing yoga pants as we crack open a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers and call it a day. I long for the days of more polished entertaining.

On Sunday night I had some friends over for paper crafting. We ate veggies and homemade dip, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, roasted tomato caprese salad and other tasty treats off of the snack plates. We drank summer red wine out of the tiny cups. (There were frequent refills.)

I’m thinking of hosting a snack set luncheon when I return…maybe as a last hurrah for the summer? I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime…do you get all fancy when you entertain? I can’t be the only one who dreams of fancy parties with homemade salads and tiny glass cups, right?



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