Treasure Box Wednesday: Never Too Chicken for Thrifty Adventure!

Saturday the rain came down in buckets at times, but the lure of a day out adventuring for this chick was just too strong to deny. And as a result I came up with what I consider pretty nifty, thrifty fortune...

I had popped by Construction Junction just to see what was junkin', and didn't get very far in the store before I spied an unframed 24 inch by 40 inch antique stained glass window with a crest on it...
...For $25.

Let me just write that again: $25.

It's the panel above in the lower center. You can see how it coordinates with the crest windows I already had hanging. So, well, I had that baby in my hands in about three seconds flat and didn't even look around the rest of the store before I was heading to the register.

And it's probably just as well, too, as the window continued to cause a little stir on its way out the store. Folks in line pondered its history, marveled at its price and one lady even called her friend over to see it.

Talk about timing! And with a quick assemble-it-yourself frame I pieced together from Michaels' to sturdy it up, it's very happy in its new home.

Another favorite item of recent finds was this colorful vintage print of a cherubic little girl, chicks and her beloved St. Bernard in a farmyard...

The print was just so incredibly cheerful, I was unable to resist. It's hanging in my hallway now, so I can enjoy the scene as I pass through daily.

And lastly, I uncovered this cool old playbill from a performance of Richard III...
Long-time readers might remember I have Edwin Austin Abbey and Millais prints in my livingroom related to the Richard III tale, so I thought this play information, in its very medieval-looking frame, would be a nice addition. It's a bit worse for wear, but then Richard III didn't exactly have a cakewalk reign, either.

Anyway, that puts the lid back on today's Treasure Box. If you missed Sunday's post on eccentric knitwear modeling in "The Spinnerin Wives" click here.

Otherwise, perhaps I'll see you for our next post. Just as an FYI, I may move it to Monday, as I have a friend visiting this weekend and I doubt there's going to be a whole lot of blogging time. But I'll see you soon!

The Spinnerin Wives

There's little I love more than going to a thrift store and uncovering a collection of Spinnerin Yarn books, because I can guarantee--we're in for an amusing ride.

I still don't know whether this company had a streak of whimsy, or was dead-serious about their Yarnwork Couture. Are we laughing with them or at them? Only history, the photographers, and their marketing folks know for sure.

Like two I'm featuring today: "The Talk of the Town" from 1962 and "Best in Vests" from 1969. I mean, you just can't make this stuff up, folks.

For instance, here we have the region's Thieves' Guild, practicing for their annual Pickpocketing Competition and Association Barbeque...
Who can get the wallet out of the completely unrealistically-dangled handbag first? The winner gets a free pillbox hat (knitted, of course) and a Jackie Kennedy collector's plate in milkglass.

After that, there will be the manacled three-legged race and the 100-meter avoid-the-store-detective dash. As the music group The Smiths said, "Shoplifters of the world, unite and take over!"

Now, here, we have proof of what an excess of Aquanet can do...

Marnie and Peggy have been stuck together for the last 24 hours. It's something of a social experiment. Will one fight the other in attempt to survive? Or will they work together for the greater good? So far, things look rosy. They're actually sharing knitwear. Marnie went for the sweater, while Peggy chose the skirt.

Only when resources beyond wool-fiber start to become in short supply will we truly see what these women are made of.

My money's on Marnie. She looks like she knows more than she's telling right now.
Moving on, here we have the initial idea that spurred William Goldman's "The Stepford Wives." Originally, all Spinnerin models were built to specifications like this one, who was just a larger cast of the original 1950s Barbie doll mold...
Actress Joanna Lumley, and Ivana Trump, were also made out of variations of this mold. When this particular version, B19467, was originally produced, she was known for her position in Bamburgers department stores-- though typically wearing something a little bit more racy.

Last, WHAT did the photographer tell this group in order to get this particular pose out of them?...

"You're coy, but not too coy..."

"Nervous and cutesy, which is endearing, but also just slightly constipated...

"You're thumb-biters, the lot of you, and are in therapy for it... No, no, no-- not you, in the middle, you've got scoliosis and your scarf is choking you... Okayyyyy: go!"

Well, that about winds up this particular Spinnerin Yarns post. May the week ahead of you unravel into something fun.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Beauties in Bloom

Given this week's treasures of a nifty, thrifty kind were shared on Sunday's post about the Regent Square neighborhood yard sale, I thought today's Treasure Box might take the time to share a little beauty of a different kind.

My Helen Hayes roses are gloriously in bloom right now... Or rather, I should say "were." An enthusiastic rainstorm stripped them of many of their petals. Which is why I'm so glad I captured them in pixels when they were in their glory.

I present them to you today, with just a few verses courtesy of one of the 1910-ish illustrated poetry booklets I got recently from the Pottery City antique mall. These are by Ella Wheeler Cox from a book called Blossoms...
Sunshine and Shadow

For the longer I look on the bright side of earth,
The more of the beautiful do I discover:
And really, I never knew what life was worth
Till I searched the wide storehouse of happiness over.
It is filled from the cellar well up to the skies,
With things meant to gladden the heart and the eyes.
The doors are unlocked, you can enter each room,
That lies like a beautiful garden in bloom.

Summer Song

I am glad as a child in this beautiful weather;
I have tossed all my burdens and trials away;
My heart is as light-- yes, as light as a feather;--
I am care-free, and careless, and happy to-day,
Can it be there approaches a dark, drear to-morrow?
Can shadows e'er fall on this beautiful earth?
Ah! to-day is my own! no forebodings of sorry
Shall darken my skies, or shall dampen my mirth.

And just to keep today's post on a theme, I'll leave you good folks with the following...


If in any way I have helped a soul,
Or given a spirit pleasure,
Then my cup of joy, I shall think is full
With an overflowing measure.

Hope to see you Sunday!

Princely Bargains at the Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale

I was a baaaaaad blogger.

You know, I fully-intended on this post being one simply brimming with local color. It was going to have atmosphere. A sense of being there. And it would showcase one of my very favorite Pittsburgh events of the year-- the Regent Square Neighborhood Garage Sale.

But a little something ended up getting in my way this year: me.

I was too much in the zone to remember I blogged.

Oh, I started out okay. I put on my favorite pair of walking shoes. Because this event is like marathon thrifting combined with a Stairmaster workout...

You don't just journey around the neighborhood. No, you hike-- up and down stairs, around alleys, and through backyards.

Beginning at 8am, as the sun is just peeping over the treeline, we devotees to other people's junk were making our way through city streets, looking for the tell-tale balloons tied out front, that signaled potential treasures awaiting.

Right away, I came across my first purchase... A McCoy planter...
(It's the one on the left.) The lady hadn't finished putting her items out yet when I spotted it. It's just like a pink one my buddy Josette had gotten me for Christmas one year, which I love. I couldn't resist.

I did, however, resist taking a photo of the lady's tables, all nicely displayed. "Camera? What camera?" I completely forgot I was supposed to be taking pictures! Yup, I just tucked my find in my bag and hastened on to other yards and garages.

At another stop my friend Scoobie, who had joined me for this thrifty extravaganza, had debated on a mission-styled table for her home. At $5, the price was certainly right, but the color wasn't. Could it be adjusted? Would it refinish properly?

By the time we came back around again to take another look, money had changed hands and the table was being loaded into someone else's vehicle. There's not a lot of time for decision-making in the Garage Sale World. Prizes are snapped up by the second.

Like I snapped up this little crystal chandelier-- another $5 purchase.

It's like a little brother to the Shabby Chic one I just hung in my blue room. And now, confident I know how to hang it (since the other one was such a success) I'll find a spot for this at some point. Or perhaps, as so often happens, it will find me.

We moved along toward Braddock Avenue, the main thoroughfare of Regent Square, and the antique shop there, Le Mix, was having a sale. That's where I snagged two pieces of my beloved Anchor Hocking moonstone depression glass...
The goblet in particular was a favorite discovery. I hadn't laid hands on any of those yet in my collection.

By this time, it was 9am, and time for the Mifflin Avenue church rummage sale.
We entered here at the red door, and headed past the bake sale temptations (quickly, quickly, must avoid the desire to buy delicious baked goods I'll wish I didn't have in the house later) and slipped down into the basement...
Scoobie came up with a $4 crystal candelabra with a marble base-- cheaper than thrift store prices!-- as well as a puzzle.

I netted myself this lovely old rose-printed plate...
It's a whiteware piece from Dresden, Ohio, and based on the mark, my whiteware book indicates it's from around 1909 to 1913...
No youngster!

After the rummage sale, we hit the sales on the opposite side of Braddock Avenue, leading Scoobie to a book sale. The girl does love her reading material-- and it really isn't a proper day of shopping unless she's found a book or two. Joyfully, the sale came through for her.

We roamed hither and yon, but it came to be that our luck had pretty well peaked with the book sale. So with aching legs and glee in our hearts, we went to D's Hot Dog Shoppe for a couple of chili cheese dogs, some fries and a moment of rest.

This would be the spot where I'd insert thephotos of lunch I'd taken, if I'd remembered to do that.

Of course, I didn't. I guess you'll just have to trust me it was yummy. :)

I did, however take a photo of some renegade roses, peeping through a neighborhood fence...

Like any good adventure, some of the beauty in it is completely free.

May the week ahead come up roses for you, too, folks. As always, thanks so much for reading, and for being a part of it!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Picture (Window) Perfect

The Treasure Box for this week echoes a bit. Though, admittedly, the things in it were both oddly thrifty and items I'm delighted to have uncovered.

One was this lovely little stained glass window panel I found at-- of all places-- TJ Maxx...
I'd been thinking someday I'd find an antique window at Construction Junction architectural salvage, or a flea market, to sit in the large picture window in my dining room. But my brain apparently had a really specific color palette in mind.

When I saw this one hanging on the wall of TJ Maxx, well, it was one of those instant, "Yes, that's the one-- mine, please," moments. And I had it in my hand and then at the cash register, breaking some land-speed records.

I'm really pleased with how it coordinates with all the Westmoreland county glass pieces I already had there.

The other item was one I forgot to show you all the other week, after my trip to Ohio. At just $5.50 for a plate from 1910, it was a steal. It's a fairly collectible Knowles, Taylor Knowles plate, and I liked the early 1800s style image...
It's called The Broken Jug, and the symbol, really, is a bit sad. I believe it's meant to suggest she lost a baby. Just look at how her hands are positioned. Even the gargoyle behind her seems to express pity.

But I thought the piece was lovely, if wistful. And I just need to find the right place for it.

On a happier note, and so you all don't feel you came all the way over here today for nothing, the reason I wasn't doing much thrifting this week was because I was off at Mel Brooks' play, "Young Frankenstein." (Which was hysterical-- excellent show!) And I have a rather funny experience to share with you related to that, if you have a moment and don't mind clicking over to my humor blog, Of Cabbages and Kings.

If any of you have ever parked in an unfamiliar city parking garage, I think you will be able to identify with my tale. You can check that out by clicking here.

Sunday, I hope to bring you along with me (in spirit) to the Annual Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale-- weather (and imagination) willing.

Take care!

Hoorays, Bouquets, and Happy Mother's Day

Every time I decide to tackle a new little household project, it's always prefaced with 1/3 "Am I going to actually be able to do this myself?" and 2/3 "Are the DIY gods going to let me?"

I mean, anyone who's ever done anything around the house knows: what you think might be this quick, tiny task can easily snowball into needing some completely unexpected specialized tools... Or, oh, retaining wall support... Or some contractor named Rocco.

And you look at the cracked plaster around you, and the exposed wires and the water shooting out of your pipes and wonder, "How did this happen when I just wanted to install a new light switch cover?"

(Okay, I exaggerate. But it does feel that way sometimes.)

So, I've had this plug-in crystal chandelier pendant lamp for a while I've been hoping to hang. And there seemed no more appropriate place to add it than in my very French blue sitting room.

But given it required ladders and drills and potential issues with a possibly-plaster ceiling, I was hesitant.

I pretended it wasn't sitting there waiting for me.

I chose not to notice it as it winked in the light to get my attention.

So today was the day I summoned my nerve, energy (and put Rocco on standby) and decided to hang it.
You know how silly you feel when you've been putting something off for months and then get it accomplished in under a half hour without issue?

Ah, but... Look! So shiny...
This was, by the way, a Target find. A Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic piece I stumbled upon and snatched up a while ago. I'm seeing less of her items lately, so I'm supposing the Shabby Chic trend is at the end of its run-- but I think sparkly never really quite goes out of style.

I also moved my favorite roses painting into a prime, centralized spot within the fire surround...

As it's a faux fireplace anyway, it's safe there, and the painting seems to add a bit of needed color. Anyway, it had to move it from its original spot, because I finally found what I'd wanted for the room's large far wall...
...A courting couple tapestry courtesy of Ebay. (For whatever reason, I got a crazy-good deal on the piece... and I was delighted how large it was, when it arrived. This is definitely why it pays to price compare!)

Below, you'll see what happened to those pretty Victorian illustrated books I got last weeked...
The colors in the vignette all seem to work well together, and the books were just too decorative to hide away in a bookcase.

I was also pleased to incorporate the crystal flute my mother had gotten me long ago...
I took flute lessons for eight years growing up, but this delicate glass instrument hasn't gotten the attention it deserved until now.

It's sort of wonderful to me that I happened to have found the right spot for it on Mother's Day.

And speaking of Mother's Day... For all you mothers out there (er, I mean that in the very best way), I send to you my most sweetly-scented bouquet of the season...
The lilacs are budding overtime this year. Just inhale that delightful perfume!

Wait, you can't smell it yet? Well, how about we get a little closer?...
Don't worry, the nose prints on your computer screen will come off with just a spritz of window cleaner. :)

Anyway, best wishes to all of you! Coming up this week, we'll have Treasure Box Wednesday as usual, and then Sunday, I believe I'll take you to the annual Regent Square Neighborhood Yard Sale!

If you missed last week's Treasure Box Wednesday, click here to check out a tablescape and some other goodies.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Posies and Placesettings

As we take a step or two into May, this week has been one filled with pleasant little surprises. Two of them, of the floral variety.

Folks who checked out Sunday's post on "Good Cheer"-- the early 1900s booklet of Edwardian positive thinking-- already know about one of these finds. But my haul of highly-decorative books of advice actually came in bulk. There were six all together-- and here are four of the most heavily illustrated...
I know I'd told a few folks on Twitter how I was going with one of my friends to the Fiesta outlet. She was looking for a few things in particular. But before we even made it into their parking lot, we were pleasantly sidetracked by a small local flea market.

When you see unexpected flea market aisles, and you have the time, it seems almost foolish not to at least get out and peruse! How could we resist?

And that's where I found a number of early 1900s postcards-- same style as the books, really!...
It was a nice mix of Christmas (which I strangely don't have very many cards celebrating), and general correspondence from the period. The "To My Dear Old Pal" cracked me up a bit. I think today's card would be worded a little differently.

Then at home, I have been playing around with some of my Anchor Hocking Moonstone hobnail pieces in the form of tablescapes...
I'm happy with how well the opalescent white shows up on colored tablecloths. When the light hits it just right, you can see a tinge of blue-green or red, depending on the angle. Jadite candlesticks, green hydrangeas and a Smith Glass iridescent vase complete the look...
I only have two plates so far, but as you folks already know, no good collection is ever built quickly. (Or rather I should say, 'no budget-oriented collection'.)

To carry the green and white theme over to the mantle in that room, I used some thrifted white cherub planters I had, another green hydrangea and candlesticks in a palette that's the reverse of the ones on the table...
So, that's what I've been up to this week, folks. And with that, the Treasure Box closes again until next Wednesday.

Take care!

The Power of Positive Thinking, Edwardian-Style

Some folks these days may believe that the benefits of positive thinking originated with "The Secret." But a little art nouveau-styled chapbook uncovered at the Pottery City Antique Mall this weekend-- dating back to 1907-- proves that we have been reminding ourselves to put a sunny spin on life for years and years now.

Today, I thought I'd share with you just a bit of their upbeat wisdom!

Personally, I think it would be impossible to remain in a rotten mood just cracking open a book so lushly and colorfully illustrated as "Good Cheer," published by the Berger Publishing Company of Buffalo, NY...
They don't make 'em like that anymore! All the beauty of early 1900s postcards seems to be layered into this little booklet. We begin, greeted with roses and Ruskin...

Happiness is everywhere
and its
spring is in
our own heart.

Turning the next page we get snippets from a number of well-known writers, all on the idea of keeping a positive perspective on the daily trials we face...

The day returns and brings us the petty rounds of irritating concerns and duties. Help us to play the man, help us to perform them with laughter and kind faces; let cheerfulness abound with industry. Give us to go blithely on our business all this day, bring us to our resting beds weary and content and undishonored, and grant us in the end, the gift of sleep.
Robert Louis Stevenson.

Life is a mirror; if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting.

The habit of viewing things cheerfully, and thinking about life hopefully, may be made to grow up in us like any other habit.

On Mondays, I may have to pop back here myself and, um, remind me of these things.

Here, we are treated to some rather magical blue wildflowers...
The page reads:

is like money
well expended in
charity-- the more we
dispense of it, the
greater our possessions.
Victor Hugo

In life
there is
but one sure
to live for others.
Leo Tolstoi.

Not that I previously viewed Tolstoi as a particularly perky guy-- but hey, we all have layers, I suppose. Some of the wisdom is shared in violets and verse...
Oh, heart of mine, we shouldn't
Worry so!
What we've missed of calm
We couldn't have, you know!
What we've met of stormy pain,
And of sorrow's driving rani
We can better meet again,
If it blow!
James Whitcomb Riley
Some of it in spreads of fiction and rural landscape...

But most of it is picked from fresh cheerful bouquets of reminder...
gilds the
edge of
life's blackest

Here's wishing you the joys of the week ahead, and the patience to find their hiding place if they get shy about in stepping into the light.