Friday, January 31, 2014


Thrifting is hit or miss these days.  I hardly ever find any Pyrex at my local thrift shop because the manager there takes them all before they even get to hit the shelves! I know this because a friend of mine started working there and I asked him to keep an eye out for me. That's when I found out why I never find any Pyrex there, she hoards them all!!

When I go to the big town, I try to stop at the thrift shops there, and there are many in one small area of town, which conveniently is on my route downtown. There are 2 big national shops, 3 local shops, and a bunch of consignment shops all within 10 miles of each other. My problem is I can never get there early enough to find the good stuff, because I just am not an early bird. I don't usually get out of the house until after 10 am!

Anyway, we had a pretty good day yesterday at the thrifts. Andrew found some HO trains and a display car and I found a Pyrex lid at one shop. Even better at the next shop when sitting pretty on a shelf was a pristine yellow primary Pyrex bowl, the biggest one!  It was nice and shiny and hardly any wear to it and priced at $6.99.  I have this theory that if I grab a cart walking in the store, I never find anything. Go in without a cart and boom, boom, boom, my arms are full! Such was the case this time-- the Pyrex, a pretty turquoise pot, and some vintage pillowcases.

Don't see a yellow bowl up there, do you? I put the turquoise pot back because it was an aluminum pot and quite honestly, I'd never use it, even though it was so shiny and pretty. As for the yellow bowl, well, there's one less primary yellow bowl in this world because of me. So sad.  I set it down on some white thing so I could get a better look at the pillowcases I was looking at, and then all of a sudden I hear a crash, which was so loud and I look down and there, shattered on the concrete floor, is my bowl!! Two thoughts flashed through my mind-- "wahhhh! My bowl!!!" and "Crap! I'm going to have to pay for it!"

 Lucky for me, there was a worker standing nearby who witnessed the whole thing and walked over to me and said, "Don't worry about it."  I apologized and started picking up all the big pieces and used my foot to scoop over the tiny shards when the guy came back with a broom and dust pan.  We worked together cleaning up the mess and I said, "Guess I'm going to have to go and pay for it now," and the guy goes, "Nah, don't worry about it!" He made a little joke, I guess to make me feel better and I walked away with just the pillowcases. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for a broken bowl, but I'm so sad to have broken it.

Heading to the little town tomorrow to run a few errands and we'll stop at the local thrift shop. Fingers crossed I find a Pyrex bowl and I don't drop it this time!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Auction of 2014

Living in West Virginia means yard sales and flea markets taper off in October.  There might be one or two odd yard sales here or there, but it's pretty much done with by then.  So I rely on auctions and thrift stores for my treasure-hunting fix. I was looking forward to an estate auction back in December, but it got snowed out and postponed all the way to April! It's been weeks since I've found anything good at the thrift stores, just little items now and then, but nothing big that fills up my car and makes me do a happy dance like a football player doing the touchdown boogie!

Finally, an auction was advertised in our local paper and it wasn't too far.  Let's go, let's go, I plead with my husband!  I don't have to beg too hard, he wants to go, too!

There were some old toy cars and a bunch of Pyrex we had our eyes on and maybe a few other things if the price didn't go too high. It was held at a fire station and the turnout was pretty good.  I think other people are wishing for yard sale season to start up again, too! After the tools and outdoor stuff was over with, a lot of people left, so I thought I had a pretty good chance getting what we wanted, but here's where I learned something new: This was a consignment auction.  So what does that mean? It means that unlike an estate sale where the auction company can't be bothered to auction off every little item and instead group things into lots and you get the whole box for one low price, a consignment auction is someone using the auction company to sell an item for them and most times, it has a reserve price. And stuff that I thought were being sold in lots because they were grouped in a box? Wrong! It was just easier for the helpers to bring them to the front and then hold up every single item to be bid on.

Holy cow!!  That auction took forever!! It was moving swiftly and yet slowly because of the amount of items to be auctioned off.  Thank goodness for iphones to play on! They finally got to the section where the small goods were located at, but it was still a long way off before they reached the cars and Pyrex.  Cars went for way more than we were willing to pay, unfortunately. I finally went up to one of the helpers and asked them to do the Pyrex stuff next, because we needed to get back home to the kids.  I figured we would have been home by 4 and it was already 5!! Thankfully, the guy was happy to do so and after 5 hours at the auction, all we came home with was the two Pyrex dishes below.

I'm happy with them.  They are in pristine condition and I paid far less than if I had gotten them online or even at my local thrift stores. I don't think we'll go to a consignment auction again, now that we know what we know now.  I'll stick to estate auctions, but hey, I got my fix and something to show for it, right?!

In other news, I've been selling things on my Instagram account, @516vintage and I am doing really well there.  So well in fact, I am making more than I make in the booth! At this rate, keeping the booth is making less and less sense so I put up 20% sale signs in the booth the last time I went in to restock and hopefully I can clear out at least half of it and then close it out at the end of February. The booth was fun, and I don't regret it. Now I know what it takes and I can say I've done it and no more wondering about it. Time to move on and pursue other avenues! Feel free to check out my Instagram shop and if there;s something you like, you can purchase it via paypal. Or just come by and say "hi!" I post pictures of other things besides sale stuff, so it's not all about selling things.

Happy 2014 to you, and here's hoping it will be a good year for us all!

Monday, December 9, 2013


We took Miss Kitty to a no-kill shelter today.
Not too happy about it, but it needed to be done.
Of all of us, Evelyn feels the most sad about it because Miss Kitty was sort of hers. Miss Kitty liked to sit on her lap and slept on her bed and I always told Evelyn that when she moved out, if Miss Kitty was still around, she had to take her with her.
Let's be honest, it's not my favorite thing as a parent, to take away something the kids love, but for the past... year? Ages it seems like, one of the cats (there are 5 in the house) has pooped outside of the litter box and everyday Andrew or I have to clean up the poop.  This gets old, really fast.
We got a new couch last year, a nice leather one, and about a month after we got it, one of the cats peed on it.  If you have cats, you know how strongly cat urine smells and no amount of cleaner or spray can completely eradicate it.  I was so upset, the pee was on the part of the couch where I usually sat and every time I sat there, I could smell the pee which made it miserable for me. The problem was, we didn't know which cat it was, so we had to wait and wait until we could catch the cat in the act.
We finally caught the culprit, and it was Miss Kitty.
Our previous house was criticized for smelling like cat pee from prospective buyers. I wasn't happy when I heard that and was quite embarrassed. When we moved here, we made the decision that any cat caught doing business outside of the litter box would be ejected from the new house. Imagine our surprise when we had to toss out 3 cats! Don't worry, all our cats and dog are fixed. No pee smells after that. Then we had to cat-sit two cats and we found out they didn't use the litter box and the owners decided they didn't want them back, either. So we tossed the fixed male outside, but the 
un-spayed female had to go to a shelter.
It has been a rule we've kept since we moved here more than 8 years ago. I love cats, and I accept the cat hair and the litter box chore, and the occasional hair ball on the bed, but I cannot love the smell of cat pee on the furniture or in the house, so Miss Kitty had to go.  If it was summer, I'd throw her outside and she can join the other outside cats, but there's a blanket of snow out there and that would just be cruel to take a spoiled housecat and toss her in the snow. So to a big no-kill shelter she went.
It's a nice shelter and I'm sure someone will fall in love with her and give her a home. We were gone from the house for 5 hours and I have to tell you, it was nice not to find poop outside of the litter box when we got back.
About the couch-- I recently found a recipe for a spray that is supposed to work wonders on dog and cat urine, so I mixed it up and tried it out last night and as of this morning, I don't smell any pee. I vacuumed the couch, and pretty much doused the bottom where the cushions go and the cushions themselves. It was all dry by morning and I no longer smell anything but the spray on the couch, but the cushions could use another spray, which to me is understandable, the foam in there probably absorbed the pee.  Tonight, I'm going to flip the couch over and spray the underside and the cushions again. I hope the spray works, because the couch is still in good shape and I'd like to keep it for as long as I can.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Restocking the Booth

I made it out to the booth today.  I admit, it had been a little too long between visits but with the SUV in the shop for over a week and then my sprained ankle, it was just a little bit difficult to get out there. I knew I had to go soon, because of the coming Holidays and I had put aside quite a bit of merchandise just for this time of year.
A sort of "Before" picture. I brought in 6 boxes and some more shelving to make more room for displaying the goods. The big shelves in back are looking bare and sales have been sluggish, so I hope all the fresh merchandise will get things moving!
A proper "After" photo.
I moved one of the shelves I had on the side into the middle and a new slim shelf is in front of it.  Customers now go in and around and there's more to look at with the center shelves.
A little rolling cart replaces the shelf I had there and I made it into my baking section with all the vintage bake ware, cookie cutters, and the vintage Sunbeam stand mixer.

Close up shot of the new slim shelf.  A few of my vintage Holiday glasses. I'm such a glass hoarder, it was super hard to give these up! I tried to give them room to shine and not crowd them with other things, and if a set sells, the staff at the mall are really great at moving things around to fill up your empty spaces.
Here's where the shelf I moved ended up, right behind the slim shelf.  I like it here much better.
I was in a hurry and didn't really get to arrange the bottom shelf the way I wanted to-- the place was busy and I wanted to quickly get out of there before I lost any sales to potential customers.
A little table display on the left side of the booth.  I like how this turned out.
I came back home with about half a box of stuff because I just ran out of time and I couldn't find a place to put some of those things on display.  I have a small wire Christmas tree that I cannot find and I wanted to use it to display and sell ornaments.  I thought I could do without the tree and just leave them in a bowl, but it didn't look right to me, so they came back home with me. I've made a promise to myself to get back out to the booth after the weekend and add a few more items and meanwhile, find that tree!!
Don't forget, Check out my Instagram: @516Vintage
Link at the top right of the page!--------------^

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fine, Fine, Fine

We had an extremely full weekend.

-An hour at the DMV to renew license tags
-Picked up SUV from the shop
-exactly 3 yard sales
-Grocery store
-Thrift shop
-Pulled 10 boxes worth of merchandise to clean and sell at a last minute road-side stand on Saturday
-Go to sleep after 1am

-Woke up late
-Loaded the SUV with boxes and folding tables
-Set up stuff next to a friend and hoped for the best
-Come home at 4pm, a little richer than when we left the house
-Clean house for company on Sunday
-Bake a cake for a birthday dinner on Sunday
-Bath night for every one

-Woke up late
-Guests already here!
-Entertain, entertain, entertain
-Make dinner for company
-Sprain ankle and tear up knee
-Manage to keep injuries secret from Guests
-Say good-bye to Guests at 4pm
-Collapse on couch and prop legs up then defend them from 5-year old that wants to use my legs as a bridge

I'd insert pictures here, except I didn't take any and you really don't want to see my torn up knee. I don't have a weak stomach, since I'm the Mama Doctor around here and I have seen my share of bloody gashes and scrapes and cuts. I can look at gross pictures of injuries and say "ouch!" and walk away. This was the first time, ever, that my stomach did a flip-flop when I pulled up my pants leg and saw the flap of skin hanging back and a big bloody gash where the skin should have been. For once, I couldn't say "ouch" and walk away because the injury was on me!

I sprain my ankles often-- little minor ones at least weekly; big, major, limping ones once a year or so. Apparently my Grandmother had weak ankles, so I can blame my DNA, I suppose.  I was just walking beside Andrew along the gravel driveway, headed back to the house and the next thing I know, my left ankle gives out and I land on my right knee and hands. The pain from my ankle nearly caused me to black-out, another first. I managed to swim out of the pool of dizziness and get the ground to stop spinning out from under me and sit down on the ground. That was when I noticed the fabric of my pants around my knee felt wet. I pull up the leg of my pants and when I saw the wound, I burst into tears.

I've got Guests! Dinner is just about to be served! I still need to play hostess! Andrew helps me up and I tell him to tend to the stove, I've left the peas on boil! He goes and I limp over to behind the cars where no one can see me. I wonder if anyone has seen me fall, but no one runs out so I think not. I need to walk past the big windows in the dining room where everyone is seated so I manage to clear my tears and carefully control my limp so that my walk looks normal as I head into the house.

In all fairness, I'm absolutely sure that my Guests would have been understanding and I could have depended on Andrew to take over and serve dinner, except I sprained my ankle in front of them before and my weight was mentioned as a probable cause which pissed me off and I really did not want to have a repeat conversation about weak ankles versus weight. So I chose to pop some Excedrin, slather Neosporin on a big bandage and slap it on my wound, wipe my eyes, and chant a mantra: I'm fine, fine, fine. I'm fine, fine, fine. I'm fine, fine, fine. It worked. They left without any clue that I was hurting.

Today, my ankle is as big as a grapefruit and hurts like hell. This is definitely one of my big, limping ones. My knee hurts and because it's cold and I'm wearing pants, you can't see the bandage and the 5-year old forgets that Mama has a big boo-boo there and keeps bumping right smack on it. I managed to wash it out in the shower last night and the skin is back where it should be, slathered in more Neosporin and covered with a bandage.

Another day or two of taking it easy (well, as easy as I can with 4 children), and I should be alright. Now that the kids are in bed, I can plop on the couch and prop my legs up and no worries about my legs being a bridge to climb on. Until next time, I've got Sam and Dean from Supernatural Season 8 calling my name.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

516 Vintage

I'm sure you've wondered (I hope) why I've been away from this space for so long.
I wish I could say it's because it was summer and life just got very full, or we went away on a 4 month overseas vacation. 
The sad truth is that Instagram has taken me away.
I am hardly on Facebook anymore, as I don't like the direction it has gone with all the advertising and people posting silly statuses and really, I don't need to know when you go to the gym or how yummy your coffee is. I still have an account there, and I check in every now and then, but mostly, I stay away.
Instagram on the other hand, wow!!
I love that you need to post a picture and it's up to you to caption it or leave it open to suggestions and there are no ads (though I hear it's coming). I confess that ever since I got my new iphone and I was introduced to Instagram, I've been completely hooked.
It's a private account, only for family and friends, and the reason I'm even telling you about this is because I've opened a second public Instagram account to help sell some of my lovely vintage goodies.
We still have the booth, 516 Antiques, located at Berkeley Springs Old Factory Mall, in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. It's doing alright.  I have had good months of sales and some slow months. I enjoy the booth very much, but sometimes I feel a tad overwhelmed when I have to pick out items from my stash at home and price them and pack them in boxes and then figure out the best time to head out to the booth and restock it.
How much easier would it be to just take a photo, list it with a description, send a paypal invoice to the buyer, then send it off in the mail?!  I don't need to leave my home and heck! I can stay in my jammies if I want to!!
So, I need to get the word out, get more people to follow my new account, @516Vintage on Instagram and just see where it goes from there, right?
If you have an Instagram account, follow me @516Vintage.
I've currently got these lovely handmade felt ornaments with embroidered spirograph designs on them with a blanket-stitched edge and a tiny red bell and a shrinky-dink holly leaf charm. I'm asking $10 which includes shipping. Only 7 available!!
I miss this space, and I'm trying to come back here and post more often.
Check out my new link to @516Vintage on the sidebar over there.
Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Warmth and Light

It's a cold, blustery day and there's snow in the forecast.
Nothing has actually touched the ground yet, but there were a few flurries.
I'll take that.
When it gets cold like this, I sure am grateful for the warmth of a house.
I seem to spend more time in the kitchen, where I can bake or cook and be near a hot stove.
I ended up baking cranberry orange bread today, something I haven't made in awhile.
 It was still warm from the oven when we sliced into it and it warmed us up from the inside out.
So good!
I used the recipe from the back of the cranberry bag, which is nearly identical to the one in my old Better Homes and Gardens cook book. Doubled it since one loaf would be gone in a day between the seven of us and if I'm already cooking one, what's the trouble of cooking two?
For Veteran's Day, our local food store offered a 10% discount on your entire grocery bill for Veterans. Since Andrew is a Veteran of the Navy, we took advantage of the chance to save a little extra on the groceries. Every little bit helps. Of course, since we're there, might as well stop in the thrift shop right next door, and did we get lucky!!
Look what we found:
An awesome mid-century lamp with a 2-tiered fiberglass shade!!
We have been looking for one since forever and they are usually out of our price range when we see them in antique shops. This one went for a mere $8!!
*happy dance*happy dance*happy dance*
I did a search on ebay and found 2 lamps just like this one, slightly different shades, and one with a pink base instead of white. One went for $100 and the other $200! This one is not for sale, we're keeping this one and as soon as I can rewire it, it will be used in the living room. I also need to redo the cord that holds the fiberglass to the lamp frame, since it's broken in a couple of spots, but that's an easy fix. The fiberglass shade itself is in perfect condition which is good news.
Little by little, our home is slowly looking more and more the way we want it. Slightly modern, but not at all like a museum, because we have to live here with little ones. We try and teach the kids to respect the vintage stuff, the new stuff, too, though there's very little of that here. I think it's sinking in because stuff is still around, though it might be a little more battered than when we first got it. There's a side table I'm a little sad about that has saw marks from a knife and one of the kids gouged a picture on the side of it (grrrrrr!) but for the most part, this is a lived-in house that happens to be filled with vintage stuff.
Gretchen told me once that she won't be collecting antiques when she grows up and if we give her anything old, she isn't keeping it.  Well, thanks for the heads up kid, I won't be sending you off with anything vintage! Maybe she'll change her mind someday, but we certainly don't expect them to like the same stuff we do when they grow up. I just hope we can instill an appreciation for vintage things and that they learn to take care of their things, no matter what age it is. Doesn't mean they have to like it, but take care of it.
Fingers crossed we find another mid-century lamp with a tiered shade!
And it doesn't take another 20 years to find it!