Field Trip!: Treasure Hunting in East Liverpool and Columbiana

Today, we’re going on a little field trip. Seatbelts fastened? Sunglasses on? Great! We’re ready to roll!

Oh, what’s that? One second, let me turn the music down...
Where are we going, you say? Why, we’re headed just an hour north-west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the home of American whiteware pottery and the birthplace of Homer Laughlin Company’s Fiestaware-- East Liverpool, Ohio.
It’s a lovely winding road along the way, with various residents of the four-legged kind...

But the real focus is our first stop-- Pottery City. It’s an antique mall with three floors of vendor booths!

We step inside, and immediately I find myself grateful to my readers who kindly encouraged me to make the pilgrimage here. Why it’s called "Pottery City" is totally clear-- for those of us who collect American whiteware porcelain, this place does not disappoint. And if you’re a collector of Fiesta, you might just find a treasure worth celebrating, too.

But there are so many other things to enjoy as well. Furniture, glassware, books... you name it.

I can’t resist this Carnival glass pitcher that matches some drinking tumblers I have...

A spelter lamp I plan to rewire and give a little love...
...And some unique votive holders in pink and lavender. Can you believe I'm escaping without actually buying any Victorian whiteware plates?...
No, me neither. There are some great things, but I have limited space and specific colors I’m working with. And anyway, it’s just as well, because we still have some more stops-- Good to pace ourselves!!
But first, a little lunch. A nice local cafe offers soup and sandwiches. I’ll have the French Onion soup and a grilled cheese. How about you?
At the end of the street we notice the Museum of Ceramics-- a tribute to the heritage of the pottery industry that arose during the Victorian era in this region and to a lesser extent, still exists today around East Liverpool, Ohio, West Virginia and Western, Pennsylvania.
I’d love for us to wander around, but maybe another day. We still have the drive to Columbiana, Ohio, a half hour north.
And what’s in Columbiana, you ask? Why, this:

In this place with a quaint, hometown feel, we’ll explore a number of antiques stores. Vivian’s proves to be a worthwhile stop. Sure, the first few rooms may appear to be standard gift shop fare, but as we head to the right and then toward the back, we find fun vintage and antique items mixed in among the gifts. Then as we step into the basement, we don’t mind the damp much as we realize there are goodies here as well. Like a lamp for $2.

Back upstairs and these Carnival glass goblets catch the eye. And at 4 of them for $8, this seems like a very good buy! Could you hold two of these while I juggle the lamp, this terrific turquoise whiteware plate I just spotted ($3!) and the other two goblets? Thanks! You’re a peach!

Let’s put these lovelies in the trunk, and head down the street, to the Columbiana Antiques Gallery. It’s a three floor antique mall, with vendors specializing in a wide range of items.

And THIS, this is where I find a bit of whiteware I can’t pass up. A turquoise advertising plate from GC Murphy’s five-and-dime of East Liverpool. Looks like it was George C. Murphy’s then!

We venture into one last antique store, but are becoming a bit weary. If we make the drive back to Pittsburgh via Beaver Falls, PA, we COULD stop off at the Antique Emporium in downtown Beaver Falls...
It’s a whole other three-floor antique mall! So I think this time we’ll just ride on by and save it for another day. It’s been a good day, and I hope you had as much fun as I did. For your convenience, I will include the addresses of the places we visited below.

Next week, we’ll talk about some inexpensive ways to accessorize a modern kitchen so it has a vintage feel!

Oh, and before we go, two things-- thanks so much to those who have entered the Nifty Thrifty Gifty Giveaway. I think I’ve confirmed receipt for anyone who’s entered... (And if you didn’t get a confirmation from me, let me know!).

And secondly, there’s still time for folks to participate all the way up to October 13. So if you didn’t get to read about it last week, then just click here!

Pottery City Galleries
409 Washington Street, East Liverpool, OH, (330) 385-6933

Columbiana Antiques Gallery
103 South Main Street, Columbiana, OH 44408 (330) 482-2240

24 S. Main Street, Columbiana, OH 44408-1361

Antique Emporium
818 7th Ave, Beaver Falls, PA (724) 847-1919

Nifty Thrifty Gifty Giveaway

Here at The Thrift Shop Romantic, I’m always blabbing about how you can find pretty, inexpensive vintage items at thrift stores. And so I found a fun way to pass some of them along to you, through the first-ever Nifty Thrifty Gifty giveaway.

Here’s how it works. There are two categories for which I will show photographs with numbered objects in them:
  • In one set, the object is to guess, “Which Item in the Photos were NOT $1 or Less.”
  • In the other set of photos, the object is to determine, “Which Items Came From the Thrift Store?”
Participants have two chances to participate, and can receive ONE of two different gift baskets of fully-thrifted goodies that I’ve put together.
One basket includes a cute metal bird-in-a-cage music box, two vintage figurines, a sparkly pink candle in an antique rose-printed dish, two jars of buttons, two vintage table-runners, and a white barrel-like basket...

The second basket includes: two jars of button, two tea cups and saucers, a red heart-shaped pillow, a clear apothecary style jar filled with interesting red marbles, a red trimmed sewing basket and some vintage doilies.

If only one person guesses a category entirely right, they’ll receive one of the baskets. If no one guesses a category entirely right, or if there are multiple people who guess correctly during the giveaway timeframe, then the group with the most right guesses per category will be put into a drawing. (I want this to be as fair as possible for everyone.)

No one person can win both gift baskets; I’d like to spread the thrifty glee around. (And as I am paying for postage on this-- I’m limiting this to entries from folks in the United States only. I hope you’ll understand.)

I will accept entries up until midnight on Saturday, October 13. That should give everybody enough time to participate. The winners will be posted on Monday, October 15, with that week’s update. I will contact the winners via email, so make sure when you email me, it’s from a valid email address.

Okay-- on to the two categories! First one:

Which item in these two pictures was NOT $1 or less? Note: there are two numbered photos with six items total in this category.

Contents above, as you can see--

1.) Fairy candle holder

2.) Portrait plate

3.) Carnival glass tumbler

And the last set of items in this category...

4.) Jadeite cup

5.) Red rose embossed lampshade

6.) Vintage pink glass bowl

Got that set? Ready to move on? All righty!

Now for the next category and your second chance for a giveaway basket...

Which of the items below came from a thrift store? (hint: there can be more than one). There are seven different items in this category as follows:

1.) Marble topped pedestal table (above)


2.) Shabby chic style mirror (above)

3.) Green vintage vase (above)


4.) Vintage rose-printed vinyl dress box (above)

5.) Antique dresser box/jewelry box with still life (above)


6.) A set of chalkware bookends

And last in this category...

7.) Vintage lampshade

So just to sum up, to enter, simply send me an email (click here to go to the Say Hi page) with the following two categories and your choices for each:

--Which item was NOT $1 or less? Choice of:
1.) Fairy candle holder
2.) Portrait plate
3.) Carnival glass tumbler
4.) Jadeite cup
5.) Red rose embossed lampshade
6.) Vintage pink glass bowl

--Which of these items came from a thrift store? (there can be more than one) Choice of:
1.) Marble topped pedestal table
2.) Shabby chic style mirror
3.) Green vintage vase
4.) Vintage rose-printed vinyl dress box
5.) Antique dresser/jewelry box with still life
6.) Pair of chalkware bookends
7.) Vintage lampshade

When you email me, please list the category and then list either the item name(s) or the associated number for each.

Hope you have fun with it! And, remember, the results of the giveaway will be revealed on Monday, October 15, 2007.

Next week? We’ll take a field trip to East Liverpool and Columbiana, Ohio for antiquing adventures. I hope you’ll choose to ride along!

Bloggy Birthday Thanks

Well, The Thrift Shop Romantic is officially one year old. (Sniff! wiping a tear away). They grow up so fast, don’t they? Pretty soon it will want the keys to the car.

But this has been a truly AMAZING year, for which I owe you all my most sincere thanks. You’re undoubtedly aware by now I kid around a lot, but I also try to be up-front--

So I wanted to make sure I expressed how much I’ve appreciated your choosing to spend some of your valuable time here... For sharing your great stories and ideas... For your kind emails and encouragement... For your inside scoops on new thrifty adventures... And for putting up with my yammering once a week for a whole darned year.

Heck, I have family members who aren’t up to that! :-)

Because of this blog, I’ve experienced the fabulous, ornery sense of humor of the ladies who do trash-to-treasure projects. They’ve helped me realize that though pride and grace while curb-shopping might be an art, curb-shopping misadventures are their own masterpieces.

I’ve also gotten a chance to be a part of activities on the BlogCatalog forum, where my fellow bloggers have been insightful, inclusive, and have always been willing to share their online experiences. (Thanks so much, gang!)

I’ve been fortunate enough to break the third wall, so to speak, by exchanging goody packages in tangible decorating swaps with my lovely online Cottage Living forum friends. They’re some of the sweetest, most down-to-earth people you’d ever want to meet. It’s no wonder photos of their homes are so inviting.

I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and creativity of so many of my fellow crafters who have unhesitatingly shared their expertise and wit, and who have welcomed me into their discussions... One kind lady had actually contacted me specifically to participate more regularly in a certain forum-- and to be honest, I’d thought for a while that surely she must have had me confused with someone else! (Finding out I was mistaken was just a little bit awe-inspiring.) The strong sense of community of these crafters is amazing. It’s definitely not gone unappreciated.

And I’ve learned so much from other thrifters on, who are as cheap and obsessive about thrifting as I am...

And I mean that in the best possible way!

In an age where the instant and semi-anonymous nature of the Web tends to make the Internet take on a Wild West “Anything Goes” mentality, I feel extremely fortunate to have had the enriching, positive experiences such as the ones mentioned above.

So in the coming year, I hope to bring the same to you.

Like new decorating ideas, and interesting collectibles...

We’ll share crafting successes-- and failures (if for nothing else but learning and a laugh!)...
I hope to take you on more “Field Trips” to new places for cheap ‘tiquing...

And I have a little CONTEST I’ll be unleashing next week with real-and-for true PRIZES, just to mix things up a bit. (I hope you’ll come back to join in on that!!)...

As always, I’d LOVE to hear any suggestions for features you’d like to see or ways to improve the site. Or if there are any shops or blogs you believe should be included in the Resources section that merit a look-see.

I would like to thank you again for making this such a marvelous, memorable year. There’s no real way to express what it’s meant to me, but I hope this week’s blog has given you some sense of it.

Now-- have a nice big piece of virtual birthday cake! It’s calorie-free!

Accidental Rose and the Sculpey Improv

It started out as a simple challenge. “Let’s all do something with a tin ceiling tile and see what we create,” suggested one of the ladies on the HGTV Trash-to-Treasure forum.

And with a tin tile just sitting around in the basement, waiting for inspiration, I’d said, “Why not?”

I’d bought this tile for a couple of bucks at Construction Junction, and thought someday I’d be ready to paint roses on it. I had grand visions of creating this soft, dewy-looking bloom on architectural salvage... An homage to Shabby Chic I could be proud of... A shining testament to nature’s beauty...

I should have waited longer.

You see, no amount of inspiration, peer pressure, or wishful thinking will teach me to paint decent roses on cue.

Accidental roses? Roses that somehow end up looking reasonably rose-esque through no knowledge or understanding of my own? Sure! A one in five chance!

But when the pressure’s on, and I get to painting, my roses will only look like roses to a half-blind abstract art admirer...

One wearing, I might add, SERIOUS rose-colored sunglasses.

I was reminded of this not long into my tile project.

So I sat in my favorite chair in the livingroom, staring miserably down at the blotch on my tile wondering just how I could salvage this... er... salvage.

I could try to remove the rosely blob with a bit of water and a Q-tip. (It was gouache, after all)...

I could paint over the whole tile and start again-- losing that nice old tile patina...

Or I could pretend it never happened by sticking Sculpey to it.

You know by now where I’m going with this.

I admit, while I was rolling red and pink Sculpey around in my hands, I had a moment not totally unlike when I was varnishing Marshmallow Peeps for my Easter garland project. It was one of those brief moments of reflection where I questioned why any sane person would think there was even a POSSIBILITY that this was a good idea.

Ah, good times, these reflective thoughts. I nod at them. Give ‘em a smile and a “Hey, thanks for stopping by!” Then wait for them to pass, so I can really get something done.

It’s times like these, I also feel a little sorry for my housemate. She is, after all, just trying to carry on with her everyday life. To have a decent place to live, as she saves for a home of her own. Or just wants, say, a soda.

Yet every few months or so, she comes downstairs to find me threading Marshmallows and beads. Or gluing flatware to necklace wire. Or spies me completely red-handed from polymer clay.

She no longer asks what it is I’m doing and why, which should probably concern me. She just raises an eyebrow, gives a smirk, and continues on into the kitchen.

I can’t blame her, really. This last week I was lining a cookie sheet so I could bake plastic.

Only crafters fail to see the full surreality of these things as they happen.

Having baked the buds, I began to noodle around with it on the tin ceiling tile. The blue, somehow, looked a little TOO blue. The rose, rightfully, looked a little too plasticine.

So I gave it all a light coating of some white pearl paint.

There’s really nowhere else to go from here.

Yes, I look at the thing and think, oh, how far one ends up from the original idea sometimes. It says a lot about the pros and cons of creativity when a Shabby Chic-inspired rose painting on architectural salvage can somehow mutate into a three-dimensional art installation with plastic petals and pearl paint. And to tell the truth, I STILL don’t know whether I even like the thing or not.

Only thing I can guarantee is, no one else in the tin tile challenge will have anything like it. So, if only for a laugh, I have to believe my time was well-spent.

Hope you’ll come back next week as we celebrate The Thrift Shop Romantic’s first bloggy birthday! Have a wonderful week!