My Greatest Weakness…

Confession time.  My greatest weakness….is magazines.  And they are so damn expensive…but I can’t resist.  Those glossy covers, and beautiful photographs, and exciting and interesting ideas advertised on the front covers alluring and bewitching me to dive in.  My most recent guilty pleasure is the May 2018 issue of Country Living.  Would you like to have a read through with me?

The cover – – oh my!  The pastel pink and turquoise , the beautiful horse show ribbons, and the call to “Let’s Go (Bargain) Shopping” – how could I resist?

The theme for this issue is “The Thrill of the Hunt” – – definitely speaking my language!  I have absolutely experienced a frisson when locking my fingers on a beautiful, or rare, or very, very underpriced.  Country Living…you get me.

Page 8 “Editor’s Note”  invites us to antique alongside Editor-in-Chief Rachel Hardage Barrett’s Instagram account @rachelhardagebarrett.  While you’re on Instagram anyway, why not follow my account too?

Page 12 Sherwin Williams Ad  written in tiny letters in the corner is a call to “Download our ColorSnap app for color inspiration in the palm of your hand”. (You have no idea how painful that was for me to spell colour incorrectly twice! LOL).  I can’t believe the incredible features of this app – ColorSnap.  These are heady times indeed people! I’m absolutely GIDDY with the possibilities!

Page 17 “Wild for Mint Green”  yaaaaaaaaaaas! In the vintage world we often see turquoise and pink as the “must have”, but nothing says “retro” to me quite like mint green, in all of its shades.  The gorgeous jadite tea cup filled to the brim with wild daisies made my heart skip a beat.  And turn the page and there’s a handy guide to how to spot genuine vs. repro jadite with illustrations of maker marks.  Alas, no jadite, but here’s a few of my recent finds in mint:

Page 22 “Polished Party Barn”  My eye was immediately drawn to the collection of vintage hardcover books in the bottom left corner. But $59 per foot?  I can copy that for about a tenth of the price – but I had to check out to see what is on offer.  Check this out!  I am SO stealing this idea! Paper & String Books by the Foot. But if you think you can stand an explosion of vintage eye candy – check out the ColorPaks. whoa…I can even tolerate spelling colour and pack wrong to share that l’il linky poo!

Vintage books are irresistible to me.  Pop onto Pinterest and poke in “DIY Vintage Books” which is TEAMING with dreamy ideas.  I often use vintage books to style my painted furniture for photography. I’ve sold the books used in staging along with the piece of furniture a couple of times too, because the buyer liked the look so much. I also incorporate books into my crafting.

Page 24  Ellen Christiansen  A short feature about the set decorator for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – a series which takes place in 1958 New York City.  I haven’t seen (or heard) of this show – but I’m going to be checking it out! Okay …who am I kidding…. I found the first episode on YouTube and I’m watching it right now… OH THE PYREX!!!

Okay ….so that’s enough for one day. My mind will explode with all of the great finds, websites, images, and information in the first 25 pages.  I’ll share some more of this issue in the coming days.

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think about this post, and if this sort of content is something that you are interested in reading.  Also, are you as much a sucker for magazines as I am???

Researching Pyrex Online

If you caught my YouTube Video from Friday, you’ll see the nifty covered Pyrex casserole I got at an estate sale.

I can’t say that I know very much about Pyrex, except that some of it is HIGHLY collectible!  In a recent issue of Country Living Magazine, I learned about one rare Pyrex dish that sold for over $4000!!!!

I’d like to share a fantastic resource for you to use if you, too, are researching your treasured Pyrex pieces.

The Pyrex Potluck site is administered by The Corning Museum of Glass. It is the best and most comprehensive source for pattern information manufactured by Pyrex.  And if should be!  Corning made Pyrex!  I’ve been to the Corning Museum of Glass while we were on vacation a few years back.  It is well worth an afternoon if you are in the neighbourhood of Corning, NY.  It’s south of the Finger Lakes District in New York State.

The really cool thing about this site is, you can filter your search by colour, image, theme.  For example, in looking for the pattern name for my bright dish – I poked “sunflower” into the search box, and it found my pattern – even though it’s a DAISY, not a SUNFLOWER!

And you get great information – dates of manufacture, who the designer is, a comprehensive list of the pieces that were made in a particular pattern, several images, and sometimes images of advertising.  I am so glad I stumbled upon this truly helpful website, and I’m particularly glad that all of the information is accurate!



A Quick DIY – Framing Vintage Sheet Music

I purchased this piece of sheet music dated 1919 from the Salvation Army.  Something this special deserves to be preserved and enjoyed, so I whipped up a quick how-to video showing how easy it is to marry two thrifted items together to create a lovely piece of decor.  The main point is – – you don’t need special tools, and you don’t need special skills, so don’t be intimidated by the idea of framing art.  Just do it!

Thrift Haul and a bit about my recent Savannah vacation

I just got back from my recent vacation to the south-east U.S.  It was WONDERFUL!  We really enjoyed the break from the winter temperatures, ice, and snow. We were initially planning on Charleston, SC, but a colleague strongly encouraged me to consider the two hour drive to Savannah for at least a day or two, and I’m so glad we took her advice.  I can’t wait to go back!

I did visit quite a few thrift stores while I was there – and you can check out what I was able to find in this YouTube video:

One of my finds was this metal mold pictured at the bottom (with the cherries).  I had been looking for a third heart shaped mold to display in my kitchen.  The other two are alike in shape, but they are different shades and I really like that the darker one retains part of the original label in the centre.  I hung them up next to my kitchen window tonight.  I’m looking for a lacy valance for this window, and I’m sure to find something second hand soon!

I love Command hooks for temporary wall decor, especially because I am a renter.  I don’t want to put holes in the walls that don’t belong to me!  I was able to pick up a few packages at Big Lots when I was in Tennessee on Friday for $3 a piece – which I thought was pretty reasonable.

I will be taking down the string of stuffed fabric hearts at the end of the month (when I switch over to St. Patrick’s Day decor).  I got these in a bag of stuff at the Value Village a few weeks ago – I think they are someone’s craft project made up of scraps – I love them!!!


Junkin’ Journalling

I keep a Junkin’ Journal that keeps me organized – – ideas, shopping lists, measurements, dates of auctions, dates of town-wide yard sales, addresses of thrift stores located in new cities I’m going to visit. My preferred journal (I have several going at all times) is a Leuchtturm 1917 in an A5 size with dotted pages.   I’m a bit of a stationery snob.

So, for example – I printed out a picture of a desk that I am working on – I used a tape runner to fix it into my journal, and now I can write in measurements, make decisions about design, sketch out ideas.  It’s a perfect tool to help me save time – to devote to more projects!

I can also keep track of my collections.  I want to collect a full set of “Fairlane” by Steubenville Potteries – so I’m tracking my finds in my Junkin’ Journal:


Vintage Ironstone

I started collecting Vintage Ironstone in the last few months, slowly growing a beautiful ensemble in my hutch. I was inspired by all of the beautiful collections seen pictured in decorating magazines, blogs, and videos of farmhouse decor. It’s not easy to find – I come across a piece or two every week, but early in February, the thrifting gods must have been smiling on me, and I brought home a ton of beautiful examples for a song.

I don’t know much about it, to be frank.  But a little research revealed that  Martha Stewart is credited for the recent rise in popularity of white ironstone when she featured it on her show and in her magazine. Here is a link to a Martha Stewart video that is well worth the watch – it will help you to identify features to look for, and give you some ideas about potential values.

Another website identified that some of the most collectible pieces were “sugar jars” – something I had never heard of before.  Older examples are generally “chunkier” in style and have a bluish cast to the glaze and are also much larger than their modern counterparts.   That was good news for me, because a large bluish sugar jar was among my purchases.

Nanna’s Things

Nanna’s 100th birthday portrait – trying to look sweet and demure – a thin and false veneer for the sassy force of nature that she is!


My grandmother — known as  “Nanna” to EVERYBODY — until recently has lived alone in her apartment and filled her days with trips to the senior’s centre to play bridge, cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays, baking cookies, tarts, and the occasional lemon meringue pie, marathon-styled shopping trips (which would make Hannibal’s slog across the Alps seem like a cake walk) and keeping her hands busy knitting tiny hats for preemie babies and crocheting warm vests and toques for children in Afghanistan.  Stubbornly independent, she was fussing with her Christmas decorations a few weeks before the holidays, and tripped on a chair leg, fracturing her hip.  This is where I should probably mention: she’s 101 years old!

Surgery went surprisingly well – – I’m sure it was an unprecedented success for the young surgeon. But it was clear that she would not be able to return to solo flight in her apartment, and an extremely difficult and emotionally challenging move to a retirement home happened just this week.


Nanna on her 100th birthday flashing gang signs with me and Tim – one of the many great-grandsons

All of this has meant that a lifetime of belongings had to be broken up in a shockingly rapid pace in order to empty her apartment and comply with her demands wishes.  In the ‘first round’ of picks, I chose the Pyrex mixing bowl set (which I discussed in this blog post) and in the ‘second round’ I brought home the items pictured above.

I sorted out another box of things that I would like to bring home – though I left it in the apartment with a note that “Nancy would like to have these if no one else wants them”. It includes pieces of glass and china.  I’m also hoping to be the one to get the hutch from her dining room. But with eight grandchildren, and uncountable numbers of great-grandchildren, and yes, a burgeoning tribe of great-great-grandchildren, I know that I need to be gracious and share.

There was a very brief and minor squabble over the washing board – not even worth mentioning, except to highlight the extent to which these humble items are precious to us.

Next was the Yorkshire Pudding tins – so called, because nothing else was ever made in them.  I have never had a better Yorkshire Pudding than those that popped out from Nanna’s oven. I’m thinking I should probably get the secret recipe while I still can!

The teeny-tiny star cookie cutter in the centre of the photo cut the top crust of itsy-bitsy mincemeat tarts baked every year in  the dozens and dozens she would  share with her family – a favourite gift being a Christmassy tin full of “Nanna Cookies”.  Nanna believes that miniature cookies are more genteel and therefore the optimal size in all cases – which is sufficient explanation for the set of six nearly microscopic cookie cutters shown pictured in their box.  She also maintains that there is far too much sweetness in everything – I can’t bear to reveal to my deluded family that the secret recipe for her famous chocolate chip cookies came from the back of a Chip-its package with the measurements for sugar slashed to 50%. And of course, the chocolate chips must be semi-sweet, not full on sweet!

I suspect that these beliefs about cookies have been one of the contributing factors to her longevity – and I’m not referring to dietary restraint here, specifically – no, I think the lesson her is: we should take delight in even very small pleasures, make diligent efforts to share with everyone around us, and to create lasting memories with our loved ones.




Vintage Glass: Identified

I’m pretty good a recognizing a quality piece of vintage glass, but I’m not very good at identifying it.  I just can’t even begin to figure out what search terms to use.  I mean…it’s glass, right?  And it’s …umm….. yeah, I don’t know.

I enjoy watching Michelle Levinson of Thrifting 101 on YouTube and I’m amazed by how she can identify the manufacturer and date of origin, and even an approximate value. I’m sure it’s the result of hours of study and research, but she makes it look effortless. Luckily for me, I found a Facebook group dedicated to vintage glass identification, and I am watching–and more importantly learning–in the back ground.





Last Friday I picked up a beautiful piece of glass at the Thrift on Kent for $1, and I just knew it was a great pick! But I have knowledge of the details – maker, date, value.  So I posted a few photos of my find (and a few other recent picks) and this is what I’ve learned.  It’s 6.25″ across. Imperial Lace Edge no. 7455B Belled Nappy, Blue Opalescent, early 1930s.  Hazel Marie Weatherman , author of Colored Glassware of the Depression Era, called this pattern Sugar Cane. It came in several colours: Amber, Crystal, Ritz Blue, Green Opalescent, and Green









This ruffled bowl is 5.75″ tall, and about 6.75″ across. It has an iridescent sheen to it. There are no discernible markings. The good folks on Facebook identified it as  Hearts and Flowers pattern by Northwood in pearl iridescent glass, circa 1912.



This is marked Fenton. 7.5″ tall, and 6.25″ across. I had it filled with glittering Christmas balls as part of my holiday decor.  I paid $2 for it at a thrift store. It is a no. 9222 CG Comport. Since it has a logo, it likely would have been made in 1972 or 1973. 1973 is the last year these were produced. This pattern was a copy of the Tiffin/US Glass “Rose” line. Frank Fenton had new molds made when he discovered the pattern and fell in love with it. It was originally called “Roses” but later catalogues called it Rose. The colour is “Colonial Green” – sooooo 1970s!


No markings that I can detect. 6.5″ wide, 3″ tall. This diamond shaped compote is by Indiana Glass in “Pineapple and Floral”.  I saw a photo of the same piece in milk glass…I waaaaant one!


This is black with no markings I can detect. 3.5″ across, 3″ tall.  Hazel Atlas produced this depression glass pattern in the mid-1930s under the name of Cloverleaf. The major pattern has a band of three-leaf clovers encircling each piece. Here’s a link to the official Hazel Atlas website.  This sherbet bowl came in several colours: green, yellow, and pink.


 Overall, 5.5″ across and about 2.5″ high. A member of the identification group commented: “This looks to be Anchor Hocking Vitrock, aka Flower Rim. From the 1930s.” This helpful opinion gave me enough information to do some more research.  This creamer is Vitrock by Hocking Glass, and was made between 1934-1937, making it authentic Depression Glass.

Thrift Haul for the week ending 01-28

I had REALLY tried to be a little less spendy this past week – and focus more on selling some stuff!  I’m going on vacation in less than three weeks, so it would be nice to have a little extra “mad money”, but I’m incorrigible!

However, despite the LENGTH of the video, I did make fewer purchases – I swear!

Now, for my find of the week! I am restyling a spare bedroom in a “nautical” theme to match the octopus dresser I painted. Initially, I was horrified by the $19.99 price tag, but then I saw the original tag!



Wanna Watch Me Wash Dishes? Cleaning Thrifty Finds

Here’s the basic cleaning supplies that I use for freshening up thrifty vintage purchases.  The video posted below demonstrates how I give new life to dirty and dingy enamel ware, milk glass, and grubby bisque ornaments.

It’s well worth your time to give the icky items a good look to see if there is something beautiful under that layer of dirt.  One example from today is a vintage Pyrex mixing bowl that I picked up today for $2.50 – a wildly inexpensive price.  (I’ll show it off in my next thrift haul video!)

At the end of the video, I’m trying to decide whether to leave the enamel coffee pot “as is” or whether I should let it stand with a bleach solution in it.  Well, I’m glad I made the effort – the interior of the pot is sparkling!