Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sunshine Came Softly Through My Window Today...

It is nearly May and we had to turn our furnace back on. In the old days, we would tough it out but as we get older, my husband and I are becoming sissies (as far as being cold is concerned). We even had the gas company come out and fill our propane tank so that we can have our fireplace on out on the sun porch - in freakin' April. Our long, cold winter lingers even though we have officially been in Spring for over a month. Are there any signs of this Spring? Well, I think I have a few.

Morels and the kitchen counter before the cleaning frenzy.

Since last I wrote, I have done very little thrifting. We had everyone here for Easter which means for about 8 hours of company we do a bazillion hours of cleaning. With 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a couple of not so fussy people, it is a major undertaking. Don't get me wrong, it needs to be done and having people over is the best way to get it in gear. We have, though, gone hunting! Yes, it is morel season and actually, this year has been better than we have had the past 3 years we've been in the country. I think that snowy winter helped the ground open up to this delectable treat. So far, we have managed to find 77 - not enough for sharing but enough for a couple of meals. In the old days, this would be a laughable amount since we would bring home pounds of them but going on the not so distant pasts hauls, this is a respectable quantity.

Another sign that spring is here can be seen in the wildlife (not the beer drinking kind although if it was warmer, the lake crowd would certainly qualify). We have seen four tom turkeys on our property courting the hens - the hunters would love this because they want to shoot them. My husband used to be one of them until I started naming the toms, the bucks, the fish, etc. How can he possibly shoot Tom Jones? Or Tom Selleck or Tom Hanks, for that matter.

The hummingbirds have started showing up, too. This is Henry - he was the first to arrive from his long trip from Mexico. He really wishes Spring would kick in, too, because he is cold - he loves to sit in the little tree near the dining room window but the other evening we looked out and he was shivering. You read that right - shivering. We thought maybe he wouldn't make it through the night but he was back on the tree the next morning!

Last week, on what seems like my 100th trip to the grocery store, I did manage to swing by the new flea market in Warsaw. It is quickly becoming one of my favorites as I always find something there and it's almost always cheap! Like this, for instance...

Here is a nearly complete set of china made by Universal Potteries that I picked up for $10 (there are 21 pieces). This is part of the Fascination series designed by Alf Robson (see more about it  here) in the Park Avenue pattern. It was manufactured in the late 1950's and is true Mid Century Modern. I love the delicate details of the pattern - a breath of fresh Spring air.  I can't decide if I am going to keep it or list it in my eBay store - I am leaning toward the latter only because it really doesn't match my other china or my dining room - it is almost too subtle.

Another item I picked up was this cute little vintage child's suitcase. It was more than I would usually pay for something like this ($10) but I couldn't resist the sweet felt pig amongst the flowers and butterfly. And the colors are just so fun and definitely, bring thoughts of Spring. It is marked Neevel which I found out was the largest luggage manufacturing company in the United States in the late 1930's and was located in Kansas City, Missouri (I guess it is probably worth more than $10 based on that information.) Anyway, it is returning home and finding its way into a baby's room in Kansas City (unless she changes her mind... about the luggage, not the baby)! 

Oh, and one more sign of Spring... my old sow dog brought me a possum to the front door last night. She really wanted to bring it in but after my screech, she sat it down and eventually, it waddled off.  Really, I wish I had a picture of it because she is old and weighs less than 30 pounds, nearly blind and can't hear well, but damn, her nose still works. The two younger dogs went in the other door because it was just too scary. Yep, Spring is here. So what signs have you seen? Are you finding any treasures? Hopefully, the sunshine is finally peaking through your windows, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cow Town Wanna Be? Maybe. Junking Paradise? Most Definitely.

Spring thrifting has sprung.
A former friend once said "Kansas City is a cow town. St. Joseph is a cow town wanna be." Whatever. At the time, this was funny because the quoted grew up in Podunkville, Missouri, not to be confused with B.F.E. which is where his brother was from, I'm sure. Later, it was truly discounted since he turned out to be an embezzler and married to two women at the same time - not to mention that he had the same name as a U.S. President who some deemed a crook (or was that his real name).  He got to spend some time in the joint with Big Leroy. True story. Anyway, St. Joseph, Missouri may or may not be a cow town wanna be but it is for sure one of the best spots for junking!

I started my thrifting week on Thursday. I needed to make a trip to my hometown to take my mom to an appointment. I purposely scheduled her appointment for Thursday as that is the opening day for many weekend garage, estate, and rummage sales. This particular Thursday did not disappoint.  I got on the road extra early so that I could stop at a church rummage sale on my way into town. When I arrived, there were a lot of cars in the parking lot which surprised me and not in a good way. Oh no, all the good stuff will be gone. Even when I first walked in, I thought this wasn't going to be productive because all I could see were people and clothes and I don't buy clothes at rummage sales. I was el wrongo! After the seas parted (get the religious reference - church rummage sale), there was a table near the entrance along the wall with a bunch of unmarked goodies. First I picked up a Westclox Big Ben alarm clock. I don't have TOO many vintage clocks and I definitely do not have a Big Ben so I snatched it up. Next to it was a vintage ceiling mount light fixture in perfect condition - score! Then I looked up and saw this painting:

Like, I don't know how I missed this when I first walked in. It is pretty big  - 37" square. I love the retro colors of gold, avocado green, brown, and a hint of red. It's a canvas painting and is signed "R. Styles". I did a search of the artist on the internet but came up with very little except that there are other people out there with some of his or her art that don't know anything about the artist, too. I am guessing this has to be from the 1970's. Do any of you know anything about R. Styles?

Okay, so this sale is starting to pan out. As I finally made it past the hall table, there it was... ahhhhhhhhh (like angels descending from the heavens).  You have read that I have had estate sale envy of you big city folk. Seems like every blog I read, you guys find some fabulous piece of mid century modern furniture and all I find are smalls. Not that I don't mind smalls because they are easy to tote around and easy to sell on my eBay store (not so shameless plug). But finally, finally I found a Kroehler chair and no one had cabbaged on to it. It was marked $5 - $5, that's unreal.  I looked it over and it is in great shape. It has a tufted back, I believe the original upholstery with just a slight amount of staining, and, wait for it, the original metal tag on the back. And it was sitting right next to the cashier so I rushed over and told them I wanted it. They marked it sold, handed me a bag so I could get some more stuff, and I was off again. Lucky me!

I perused the other tables but was short on time. I still ended up with 2 vintage tablecloths (one Simtex), a stack of vintage paper Christmas coasters, a Homco wall plaque, a 1984 calendar towel, a 1982 book "Garden Secrets", a PIT game from Parker Brothers (1964 version), and two souvenir plaques of Jamaica - none of these items were marked. I went to the cashier to pay and asked how much I owed them (besides the $5 for the chair) and they said "It's a free will donation. Whatever you want to give."  What? How can I be this lucky? I gave them $10 for the unmarked goodies and they seemed pleased. As I was walking out, I looked over and luck struck again... look what I found:

No, not the dog. That's my silly old sow (almost 16) - she found us long ago. This beautiful mid century floor to ceiling (low ceiling) gold cone lamp. Major score. It is not in perfect shape as it is missing one of these cool metal diffusers that attaches to the bulb in one of the cones and I think the top "mount" is missing but it is still sweet.  I ran back over to the cashier, gave them another $5 and loaded up my treasures.  Twenty dollars never felt so good. I looked up the chair and some are selling for around $300.  What a great sale!

Since I have babbled on so long about this one sale, I will wait until later in the week to share my other finds over the weekend. On a personal note, I want to thank the 16 people who are officially following my blog - that makes me feel special. And I accomplished one of my goals which was to actually post for Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday on Monday. It looks like a lot of people thrifted this weekend as she already has 56 links. Is your hometown your favorite place to thrift? What did you find that made you giddy with excitement? I know it has to be heavenly.