Getting to Know You: Survey Says?

I know I blab on a lot each week about the sorts of things that I get all excited about when treasure hunting-- but I've been wondering what makes you all happy.
And so I thought it might be fun to just chat a bit about the kinds of things that make your hearts go pitty-pat when you spy them-- the way you decorate with them, and the kinds of places you go to uncover them!
  • What, if anything, do you collect? Do you have a favorite piece in your collection?
  • Do you have any preference between thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, antique malls or any other sources for your treasure-hunting?
  • Is there anything you get particularly excited about when you spot it?
  • Do you craft much? And if so-- what's your favorite craft?
  • Do you decorate your home in a particular style? (Say, Victorian, colonial, 70s retro, mid-century modern, etc.)
  • Is there a particular color that you gravitate toward?
Just to get the ball rolling so no one feels shy, I'll start--
  • I collect a number of things, including McCoy pottery, figural bisque pieces, Carnival and luster glassware, Fiestaware, and early 1900s transferware pottery. I also have a small vintage Pyrex problem. And I love retro cooking, decorating and crafting books-- particularly if their photos have a "what-the?!" factor. I have favorite pieces, but choosing among all of them would be like picking a favorite child. They all make me happy when I see them.
  • While I enjoy all forms of secondhand goodies-searching, I tend to go to thrift stores and antique malls more than garage sales and flea markets. It's a drive for me to get to flea markets, meaning I'd have to get up super-early in the morning just to be there at a decent time. And given my area's confusing, winding topography, tracking down garage sales isn't always easy. I might end up irretrevably lost-- and no, I haven't thrifted myself GPS yet. :) I should probably work on that.
  • I get really excited when I see what might be an interesting, possibly hand-painted lamp at a thrift store. Longtime readers know I have a lamp problem. I should have probably listed that above in the collecting area, but doing so would mean I'd have to admit I actively amass them. And I'm not ready for that step in the Lamp Addicts Anonymous program yet.
  • Re: crafting, I really enjoy painting; the success of it, however, is always teetering a fine line between half-decent and candidate for the Museum of Bad Art. And which way the project will veer is never obvious from the beginning.
  • My home is decorated in a combination of Victorian and Shabby Chic, with a bit of Eastern Indian and 50s retro thrown in for good measure. I like the idea of the house being usable and comfortable, so I aim for an atmosphere more than strict period styling.
  • Colorwise, I realize I seem to have some shade of green in almost every room. I find it soothing somehow. I'm not big on orange (I think I was scared by 70s harvest colors as a child), but I've grown to realize almost any color can work beautifully under the right circumstances.
So, those are my answers. What thrifty, crafty fun brings you joy? I'd love to hear about it!


Heidi Ann said...

I can honestly say I collect too many things to list. I love WAY too many different styles: art deco being one of my favorites. But I don't keep to any one certain style in my home because there are too many vintage things I love to limit myself. I love pastel pottery, collect pottery deer and birds, deco frames, antique books and postcards, vintage kitchenware and tools, dishes - vintage Christmas, etc. Lately I shop mostly at thrift stores, some yard sales - because antique shops are generally out of my budget anymore. I would take up WAY too much space if I tried to list everything that I collect and get excited to find!

Jenn Thorson said...

Heidi Ann- What a fun and fascinating combination of interests!

I'm curious how you originally chose the pottery deer and birds as a theme to collect in particular.

I imagine the pottery, along with the deco frames and other items, looks really right at home.

Thank you so much for sharing!

TexNan said...

I collect in the same general area you do, Jenn, which is probably why I'm drawn to your blog. I love any kind of mid-century pottery, McCoy or otherwise; I like anything in the Egyptian/art deco style, but that's harder to find; lamps are also a weakness though I make myself look away when I see them. Oh, and buttons; I have a lotta buttons! I'm a thrift store junkie but I won't drive away from a garage/estate sale.

I'm lucky enough to have a studio in which I sew and craft. I make tassels, felt flowers, handbags, and pillows.

I don't adhere to any decorating style. If it reads comfortable, I like it but find myself drawn more to a spare look than cluttered.

And I can't pass up anything in the old green colors: jadeite and depression glass green are my faves.

Jenn Thorson said...

TexNan- The great thing about your button passion is that at least they're small and easy to store en masse! Much easier to support a button habit in terms of space than, say, our mutual lamp addiction. :) (You'll have to tell me how you've trained yourself to look away.)

Melanie said...

Wow, that's a lot of questions for someone with a really short attention span, but I'll try....

I collect a lot of different things. Pyrex bowls, anchor hocking forest green glass, mid century furniture, old spice tins, vintage jewelry(40's & 50's), I used to collect lamps but realized years ago that it could get out of hand and so got rid of all but the ones of my grandmothers which now go very well with my mid- century theme. Favorite piece? Not really. I love them all some a little more depending on my mood.

For treasure hunting about the only place I get to go anymore is the local thrift store. I need to get out this spring and go rummage saling. Flea markets are just too far away for me.

I get excited about all kinds of things when I see them. Usually it's something that brings back great memories or is just too weird for words.

Crafts, yes!!! I sew, knit, tat, paint, woodworking, do small upholstery projects... I don't know, I've got a whole one car garage converted to my "sewing room" and it is stacked full of projects. Favorite at the moment is knitting. I've even given up reading so I can knit in the evenings.

For decorating I'm leaning heavily toward mid-century these days, but like TexNan, I go mainly for comfortable.

My color of the moment is aqua. Love anything that color. But mainly I just like color. White walls or ceilings are not found in my house!!!! My living room has a lavender ceiling with deep gray walls.

Heidi Ann said...

Hi Jenn - I don't even remember why nor how some of my collections started. I probably found a bird - a deer - and another, and another- and kept going until I got crazy with it. I was just out of high school when I bought my first pieces of Jeanette Jadite, and moved on to green Fire King dishes, and colorful California Pottery (Fiesta was more expensive at the time so I never got started on that), I also collect forest green and ruby red glassware and dishes that I use at Christmas. Like I said - too many things to even try to list here! I'm a little nuts!

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- I don't see that dark green Anchor Hocking very often-- and when I do, it's just a piece or two. I bet it looks terrific all together. Your description of your lavender and grey room sounds really lovely-- very soothing. And like you, I love aqua.

With your knitting, do you listen to music or anything as you knit, or it is just quiet time to let the mind wander?

Heidi Ann- Sounds like you got an early start on your collecting! Funny how the pieces become such a part of our lives, they almost have no origin anymore. :) Jadite around here is still pretty pricey-- which is funny because so much of it was made here. Meanwhile, other types of glass that were local end up being really cheap. (I blame Martha Stewart for promoting Jadite there in the 90s. :) )

Jaffer said...

- What, if anything, do you collect?
Yes, Dust ! Lots of it !

- Do you have a favorite piece in your collection?
No not really, there are many different kinds of dust though but I like to spot out tiny quartz crystals from among them.

Do you have any preference between thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, antique malls or any other sources for your treasure-hunting?
- I prefer thrift stores and flea markets.

- Is there anything you get particularly excited about when you spot it?

Do you craft much? And if so-- what's your favorite craft?

- Do you decorate your home in a particular style? (Say, Victorian, colonial, 70s retro, mid-century modern, etc.)
I prefer they ways Saudi homes are decorated - one large rug and no couches but cushions to sit on or lean against the wall.

Westerners have this sort of idea of 'Middle Eastern' as an ottoman-Turkish harem. That ain't it and I hate that style.

Is there a particular color that you gravitate toward?

I grew up with mostly 'green' now I prefer a dull brown/biege.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jaffer- Heh, I forgot to list "dust" among the collections. Although I have yet to find the optimism in it you seem to have.

It's true about the Turkish harem imagery. Lots and lots of textiles come to mind.

Melanie said...

The only thing I get to listen to while I'm knitting is the television blaring because hubby always has it on. When I'm knitting I can completely tune out the idiocy.

Jaffer, I could send you some nice wind blown South Dakota dust for your collection. About half a pound blew in under my front door last week.

Lola LaFayette said...

I collect vintage barware, Theroms', kitchenware and colored pottery bowls.

I love my barware collection the most, although I get the most comments on my Thermos'. I display my Thermo's on the front window sills, so you can't miss them as you approach my house.

I prefer thrift stores and rummage sales. Garage sales are fun and a great place to find deals, but it gets awfully hot here in FL.

I have a lot of purses!! I love when I find a vintage or designer bag for a bargain. Two Saturdays ago, I purchased a Brighton purse for $1.00!!

My house is very eclectic. I have a mixure of antiques and uniques. The only new item in my living/dining rooms and den is my TV. All other furniture, accessories, decor was thrifted.

I prefer muted earth tones. Not a lot of pastels or bright colors in my house. I love the colors of the 50's.

M.Bug said...

Collect? Well, my husband says if you have 3 of anything it is a collection. So I collect wall clocks (love my starburst one) , monkey figures, Hull Art pottery (which began with one that belonged to my grandmother), Miller chalkware fish, and St. Christopher medals (I'm not Catholic or particularly religious, but this goes back to giving one to my husband to wear when the army sent him to Vietnam in 1971). I also have collections of things from my teenage years (Beatlemania stuff..I know I'm aging myself). Recently I redecorated a bedroom with furnishings and "knick-knacks" that all belonged to parents and grandparents of myself and my husband, so I consider that entire room a family treasure collection.

I like thrift stores and my husband likes flea markets and yard sales, so we go to all of them.

I get excited if I find any reasonably priced item that will add to my collection....or make me have enough of something (3....remember) to call it one. Recently I found 2 sun gold petal glass saucers by Federal Glass that I bought to add to my one small dessert bowl in that same pattern which I had for years. Ta-da....a new collection!

I used to embroider, but got out of the habit. Now I work in the yard, research my family tree and read.

Our home is decorated in every style. Inherited dining furniture in Duncan Phyfe style, den in retro/eclectic/comfortable, 1 bedroom with inherited/vintage furniture and 1 bedroom with antique tiger oak furniture (one piece was manufactured/dated on April 9 in the early 1900's...April 9th is our wedding anniversary & this year was #39). One bedroom is my husband's for his record collection, movies and other things he collects.

Color? Nothing dull. Computer room is red, aqua bathroom, light green bedroom. New paint in store for dining room is gold (and if you remember, I have that arched stained glass piece I intend to hang there). One bedroom has wallpaper, but soon that will disappear in favor of lovely lavender walls.

Jenn Thorson said...

Melanie- Heh, sounds like you're a Zen knitter-- the world goes away and you are one with the knit. :)

You are generous to offer to share your dust with others. :) I always knew you had a big heart!

Lola- You are officially the first person I've heard of who collects Thermos'! Do you go for camping thermoses or ones from lunch boxes, or is it no-holds-barred Thermos collecting?

M. Bug- I love that you seem to have a lot of personal reasons for the various things you choose to collect. And it's terrific that over time you've been able to find other pieces to things you currently have.

It's interesting too we have folks with a really wide range of color tastes-- from subdued and calm, to bright and zingy.

I'm really enjoying getting to hear the things you all are into. It's wonderfully diverse, and I want to thank each of you who have taken the time to share your lives and answer the questions.

It's really great to be able to create a picture of the various folks I'm "talking" to each week.

M.Bug said...


After posting my comment here earlier, I decided I needed a new blog about my collections. I started Three Makes A Collection today and thought you might like to read my first post. Here is the link:

Hope you like it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Peggy- Oh, how fun! I love the title-- sounds just right, based on all you'd written. I hope you have a blast blogging. It's probably one of the most rewarding hobbies I've picked up over time, and I hope you'll find it fun, too!!

Lola LaFayette said...

I collect old lunch box metal Thermos'. All of mine have their lids and glass inserts. I have various sizes.

I saw a picture in a magazine once where there were a couple displayed on a shelf. Today, I have probably 50 of them.

They are very inexpensive and make for great conversation!

Richard said...

Among other things, I enjoy collecting old medicine and soft drink bottles. It's most fun to dig for them yourself, but flea markets and antique stores are neat to explore, too. We also enjoy Victorian-era furniture, too. I once cane-weaved old chairs, (my dad taught me), but sadly, I don't have time any more to do it. Thanks for the neat post idea and for such a nice blog!

Jenn Thorson said...

Lola- That's really wild-- I love hearing about it when folks collect stuff that isn't the typical fare like that!

Richard- Ah, uncovering buried treasure, eh? :) I would imagine cane weaving would take much time AND patience. I give you great credit for taking it on.

Serena said...

Hi, Jenn! Sorry for such a late post - many months after your original one! I've been away from your blog for many months and have just come back recently and am trying to catch up. When I read this post, I couldn't help but chime in myself!
I collect children's books (trying to recapture my childhood!), magazines (I mostly get them brand new off the newstand, although I have purchased some off eBay), stuffed animals, cookbooks (like magazines, mostly new ones), and costume jewelry (also new).
I don't necessarily go the secondhand route to purchase for my collections. As you can see, I start most of my collections brand new. However, I do like to visit thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales to find hidden gems I never knew I wanted. There's an amazing thrift store out here (San Francisco Bay Area) that has 50% off sales every month. Great items at great prices. But my most favorite place to shop is the annual Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Big Book Sale. I am a book lover and love vintage books! We just had our 2010 sale, and as usual, it was spectacular, San Francisco being a big city with lots of serious readers.
I recently picked up crafting over the last year or so. I love paper crafting - cardmaking, paper theatres, etc. I love taking classes at a local store, Castle in the Air. They have the most amazing craft/art classes, taught by true artists! I can't say enough good things about them :0) Anyway, my thrifting and crafting cross over in that I seek out vintage children's picture books to use in my crafting projects. (No cutting up of 1st editions, though!) The pictures are just right for my paper crafting and altered book projects. I love it that I can take something old and discarded and give it new life in another form.
I am not much of a home decorator myself. I am so not gifted in that area :0(
Thanks for letting us share our passions with you. Keep up the great work!