Treasure Box Wednesday: This and That

Saturday proved to be a beautiful day here in the 'Burgh-- balmy breezes and bright clear skies-- so it seemed like the right time to make a little jaunt to the Bellevue/Avalon section of the town.

Also, given the spring construction that's popped up-- and major thoroughfare's closed left and right-- it was about the only place I could go without being trapped in orange barrels and cones!

So let me show you one of my favorite things from this week... this lovely tin portrait plate I found at the Ohio River Boulevard antique mall.

And at 40% off, too! Now how lucky is that?

At the Red White and Blue, I found this excellent pink depression glass sandwich server...

I guess I better get cracking and make some nice crisp cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, huh?

I love the detail on this handle... I've zoomed in so you can take a closer look at that, if you'd like...

I also found a milk glass bowl-- quite ornate!-- for the lady I know who collects milk glass. I'd already gotten her a huge batch of it for Christmas... But I liked this bowl so much, I couldn't resist.

I hope she'll like it, too!

And, and of course, you already are probably familiar with this animated figural clock, from Sunday's post...

And lastly, I thrifted a couple of books.

You know, interestingly this week, was how much fun people seemed to be having thrifting. At the Red, White & Blue in Bellevue, a group of 20-something gals were there having the time of their lives-- laughing, trying stuff on, chatting to everyone.

One of them had found some flamboyant pink sparkly shoes and she was bubbling over, saying she simply couldn't resist them-- it was like being a kid again playing dress-up.

And I got to thinking that that's one of the best things about thrifting-- you get out of it what you bring into it. So if you're looking for something to educate... to entertain... to inspire... or just to comfort like when you were a kid... you really can find it there.

All you have to do is look!

And iff'n not? Perhaps you'll pop by Sunday for a brand new, not even previously-worn post?

Time for Some Clock Talk

You might remember my purchase of the little vintage clock with the swinging girl on the right a few months ago. I found it at the L&L Fleatique for $15, and it needed a little work to get it running again. (Cheers to my dad, for his handy-dandy MacGyver sensibilities that helped it to do so).

Then yesterday, at the Ohio River Boulevard antique mall, I stumbled upon another clock in the genre, and at an even lower price... well... I simply couldn't say no.

Of course, this got my brain ticking over just when these were made and what kind of trends spurred them on. So today, I thought I'd share that information with you.

According to the Jitterbuzz antique clock web site, from the 1700s onward, clocks had become a symbol of status and taste, leading to the creation of tall, elaborate grandfather and grandmother timepieces. But as homes transitioned from large family mansions to city apartments and more modest homes, there suddenly was no longer room for the great tall clocks of previous generations...

And this meant that the clock began to double-up with other decorative items-- y'know-- tchotchkies.

By the 1940s, clocks were elaborate figural displays for mantles or walls, including everything from ships and steering wheels, to stagecoaches and horses, and little animated figures like my children on the swings.

The Jitterbuzz site claims that the United Metal Goods company of Brooklyn, maker of my newest clock, "put the schlock in clock." And certainly the appeal of these clocks is subjective. But their depiction of the trends and interests of the 40s or 50s makes them very much a part of their... er... time.

Meanwhile, I found out a bit of information on the clock I already had. According to Roger Russell's well-researched site, my green clock was produced by Mastercrafters Clock and Radio Company in the 1948-49 timeframe.

It's Model 119, and called "Mantle Swingtime" or "Girl on a Swing." It was also the first motion clock to be made by Mastercrafters. Where auction information indicates the United Metal Goods clock plays music for the tiny couple to swing to, this one-- as far as I know-- never did.

But like the United Metal Goods clock, this has a little light, which lights up the scene behind it. And the figure swings in time to the clock motion.

Each clock uses a landscape print-- popular of its time, to create the background for the figures making up the pendulum.

Roger Russell indicates there were two types of prints used in the "Girl on a Swing" mantle clock. One, like mine here, has the little girl sitting in front of a little country house with a separate plastic fence in front of it. In another scene, apparently, she sits in front of a more modern-looking ranch home.

The print is in the Atkinson Fox style-- one of the things I liked about it-- though I have not been able to identify that particular print in my Fox book.

This clock came in two finishes-- "green onyx" as shown here and a "walnut," similar to the faux wood look of the United Metal Goods clock. The Girl on a Swing also came in a wall clock version.

I've also seen the Girl on a Swing clock case used with a bird-figure on a perch.

The material these clocks are made of is called "tenite," which Wikipedia indicates was an early plastic-- a cellulosic thermoplastic, to be specific-- first created in 1929 . It was manufactured by Eastman Chemicals, using softwood as a raw material.

It thought it was also interesting to note that Mr. Russell located the "Girl on a Swing" clock in a Joseph Hagn wholesale catalog around 1950, and it retailed at $15.95. More than I actually paid for the item in 2008!

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this little venture back time.

And as for me-- it's time to go!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Tops at the Shops

Well, there's simply nothing to top off a sunny spring weekend like some fine vintage shopping! Apollo and Indiana, PA were our destinations this time. And it was at Denise's Antique Mall in Indiana that I found something I never, ever anticipated...

The top half of a Victorian Eastlake mantle!

Now if you've been reading a while, you've probably noticed that my dining room mantle-- while Victorian-- is missing one of these babies.

Yes, indeed, within its oaken top, there are telltale holes for where a mirror or shelf unit like this used to sit. But it was lost to time during some previous ownership. Instead, a vintage dresser mirror has been hung, to curb the sense of emptiness.

But I never really expected to find something this elaborate for a good price!

It's got plenty of places for Victorian knicknacks... And while you see it here, terribly dirty, it's got all its knobs and curlicues. So I think it should clean up nicely.

So, you'd think this was quite enough for one day, wouldn't you? I mean, really, how lucky can one gal be on a single day?

Ah, but we also hit the "We Miss Back When" Antique Mall in Apollo, PA! And there, I found this excellent McCoy pottery vase in the Wheat pattern...

A fun piece of Judy Garland sheet music ($1!)...

And this super-heavy pink sandwich glass bowl with carnival luster!

Oh, and earlier in the week, the Salvation Army Superstore yielded treasures, too. Like these five brilliantly-bright 50s aluminum bowls for just $0.99 a piece. (I laughed because they were $5 a piece in the antique stores!)

And some gorgeous shell pink milk glass made by the Jeanette Glassworks. This was done in the late 50s to early 60s, and it's not very easy to find pieces in this color.

Oh, and before I go, I thought you all might get a chuckle from this... Every time I go to Indiana, I go past the old Indiana Courthouse and try to get a photo of the Jimmy Stewart statue there. Jimmy was born in Indiana, his museum is there-- sometime I'll take you all virtually with me-- but in all the times my troop of folks sped past on our journeys, I never once got a good shot of the statue.


You all have no idea how very far away this was, from a moving vehicle and over the top of a minivan, too. He's a tad blurry, but the fact that Mr. Stewart showed up to greet us at all was shocking...

So I got a good snicker when I cropped in and discovered our "Elwood P. Dowd" of Harvey was just standing there as pleased as Punch.

And with that, I leave you with a quote from Harvey I always liked:

"My mother, she used to say Elwood-- she called me Elwood-- she said, 'In life, you can be oh-so-smart or oh-so-pleasant.' I recommend pleasant."

I hope you all have a pleasant week ahead of you!

  • Oh, and if you missed last Sunday's post on the winners of the Nancy Drew journals, click here.

Take care, friends! I hope to see you this coming Sunday.

The Case of the Nancy Drew Journal Giveaway Winners

It's a mystery no longer! Who are the two winners of the Nancy Drew journal giveaway? The evidence is in. Let's recap the investigation with dramatic flashbacks.

All entrants left a comment on the original Nancy Drew giveaway post here on The Thrift Shop Romantic, and there were some terrific stories about beloved books-- so I thank you all for sharing them with me.

Then, each of those names was written onto a small folded slip of paper, and put into a Pyrex gooseberry-patterned bowl. Because we did not have a hat handy and believe in improv.

To make sure no evil work was afoot, we had two independent observers to insure the drawing was above board...

They didn't duck out on their duties.

And then the winners were drawn...

Congratulations to Peggy and Caroline on your winning entries! Please email me at thriftshopromantic (at) mac dot com with an address you feel comfortable with sharing, so I can mail you your journals!

And me, I have some actual off-line places to be today, so I'm afraid this will be a quick post today. But never fear-- Wednesday promises a Treasure Box of thrifted goodies to show you. And Next Sunday's post? Well-- that will remain another mystery. For now.

Otherwise, I hope you see you this coming Wednesday! Thanks to everyone who participated this last week!

Treasure Box Wednesday: April Showers and Whatnot

April showers bring...

Er... bring.... (checks calendar)...

...Okay, so if you rely on proverbs, some flowers are just a wee bit ahead of their time.

But let's not tell 'em, shall we? Because we know a true lady likes to arrive just a teensy bit after the party has started, anyway.

As you can see, the daffs are dillies this year... Very lacy and bright. And those azaleas I was so worried about just a week or so ago?...

...Have never looked better! So vivid and pinkish-purple, you'd think they never felt a snowy crystal upon their petals.

And the Grape Hyacinth? Well, anyone who's watched "Keeping Up Appearances" knows a Hyacinth is one very resilient gal...

Why, look at that bouquet!

And then some treasures are promises to come. Like these bleeding hearts. You can just see the hearts beginning to take form there on the right...

And the first buds of the mossy phlox...

The front yard is just beginning to the bloom, and the backyard is color to come. In a few weeks, it'll be a dazzling display of pale blues, lavenders and pinks!

And then... then there are the ones that plant themselves.

Who is this bit of greenery with the pink buds? I have no idea. It was not planted by my hand. Perhaps Mother Nature would care to weigh in? Do the leaves look a bit like Verbena?

No idea. But I think I'll leave it as it's planted, at least for a while. Who am I, after all, to tell Lady Spring I know better than she does?

Before we go today-- if you haven't already left a comment on the giveaway post, don't miss out! I'm giving away two Nancy Drew journals to two lucky winners! The drawing winners will be announced Sunday.

Thanks muchly, and see you on Sunday!

Investigate This: TSR's New Look, Plus Nancy Drew Journal Giveaway

(peering through magnifying glass) something seems... different.... somehow!

Well, I guess we don't need to do much detective work to see that The Thrift Shop Romantic has gotten a makeover. Designed by the talented DesignBug, the template was created to be cleaner, wider, and hopefully easier to navigate.

And now, in addition to the usual post archives, you can also access Favorite Posts, projects through the main site, and Thrifty Places to Go, listing thrift stores, flea markets, antique shops and more in the Western Pennsylvania/Eastern Ohio region. I hope you'll check it out!

I'm pretty excited about it. So to celebrate this new look and new functionality, I thought I'd share the joy with a little giveaway.

I know a few of you expressed interest in the cute Nancy Drew writing journal I'd found at Half Price Books, so I bought two more to share with you...

How do you enter the giveaway? Just leave me a comment here on the following topic--

Have you kept any of your books from childhood? And if so, what's your particular favorite?

--and before next Sunday's post, I'll do a drawing and announce the winners. All comments will get entered-- there are no right or wrong answers here. I just thought it would be a nice discussion to get going.

You can only win one journal, but you'll get two chances.

In the meantime, I'll be updating the site with the new header, as well. It may take a little time, but soon, it will all be smooth and cohesive!

And for my readers celebrating Easter or Passover, I hope you have a joyous, peaceful holiday!

Treasure Box Wednesday: The Land of Snow and Fog

Sometimes Mother Nature tosses you a curveball. And boy, does she have one wicked arm!

I mean, let's just take a look at last Friday, shall we? Last Friday, I left my home in the morning to a thick gray mist...

A very thick mist...

I mean a very, very thick mist... Like, where'd the downtown skyscrapers of Pittsburgh go? They were there yesterday, weren't they? I was so sure of it.

The whole ride, it was like Hollywood fog. A horror movie fog. The kind of fog Adrienne Barbeau would be packing her bags because of. And that some other director would be trying to recreate for a mediocre remake.

This fog was not creeping in on any little cat feet, either, no sir! It had big honkin' boots on and it planned to stay a while...

For instance, you should be able to see a river or three off there.

But as morning passed, the fog gave way to sun. And a lovely sunny day. And spring temperatures. And a warm weekend that was perfect for errands. And the wind was balmy... and deceptive.

Deceptive enough to trick the azaleas to pop their buds. And the cherry trees to get all dressed up in pink or white.

Or white...

And so this was this morning. April. Snow on the car, snow on the daffodils. Snow on the azaleas...

Can't you just hear them weeping a bit? The poor dears!

Here, the snow drifts into the backyard. You can see the flurries glinting in the light, captured... frozen in time before it froze my plants...

But then, it was gone. It snowed steadily today, and yet... the moment passed. But the azaleas are still asking for a light sweater.

And the cherry tree has decided to pretend that nothing odd ever happened...

Such is Spring!

  • If you missed Sunday's post, "Looking at the Sunny Side of Life" with a vintage promotional booklet, click here.

Otherwise, bundle up! (Or wear shorts. We'll see what happens next.)