Treasure Box Wednesday: Luster, Shine and Glitter

Welcome, Treasure Box Wednesday friends! How's the week been treating you so far?

It was a treat for my inner-magpie this week, when a visit to the Red, White & Blue thrift store in Bellevue, PA uncovered a trio of interesting lusterware plates!
It's been some time since I've thrifted any unique lusterware, and this stack, just sitting among the glassware, was easy to take a shine to. Given the color and style of the pieces, it got me pondering those nifty thrifty questions for which I'm unlikely to ever have the answers...

Like, were these a part of a single person's collection? What did their house look like? Were they loved and displayed? And what happened that meant these beauties made their way to the thrift store?

Then I had another pleasant surprise this week, of the non-thrifting variety, that I wanted to share with you.

One of my favorite decorating magazines is Romantic Country. While it's sometimes just a tad heavy on the floral patterns for me (I'm more of a paint instead of wallpaper gal), it's always chock full of vintage goodies and soft colors. I just wish it came out more than four times a year...
So as I was leafing through it yesterday, enjoying a morning cup of coffee, I was shocked to see someone very familiar!... The internet's Good Lady o' Glitter, Rosemary Olson...

Now, I met Rosemary online some years ago when we both discovered the same decorating and crafts forums. She's a sweet lady with a terrific eye for creating magical, whimsical-style gift and decorative items, like tiaras, wedding favors and seasonal boxes.

So I just wanted to take a moment to say, "Congratulations on the lovely magazine spread, Rosemary!" I'm so happy to see you getting the recognition you well-deserve!

Shine on! (And don't forget to wash the glitter and glue off your hands before you try to frame that great photo spread. You'll stick.) :)

You can check out Rosemary's blog-- Rose's Petite Maison-- here.

Nefarious Knitting with McCall's

Okay, so, Spinnerin Knits may have thought they had the "Most Bizarre and Creepy Modeling for a Knitting Catalog" category all sewn up, in the 1960s Weird Crafting Competition. But McCall's really had some purls-- er, gems-- of their own. Like in this "McCall's Knitting Book 4" from 1968...

From the very front cover, we have a sense that 60s strangeness might lie within. Here we have big sister Marcia Brady with little sis, Jan. Marcia smiles vacantly with dreams of being high school student council president, but Jan may have other plans.

I mean, am I the only one that gets the impression young Jan has more on her mind than comfy cardigans here?

Does she not look like she's, perhaps, gotten a bright idea for a little, um, sibling rivalry revenge, maybe?Can we really prove that very Brady football to the nose was an accident? Or did Jan spend a year's allowance on a little brotherly bribe?

Only time and mysteriously missing footage will tell!

Inside the book, one of the first things I spied was this ad for a different McCall's instruction magazine-- this one "Needlework & Crafts." And there were a couple of things that just seemed "off" to me...

First is why Mom here appears to be animatronic...
And then there are the Toychests from Hell...

Who's dad-- Charles Manson? Gomez Addams? What kind of parent paints tiki-mask versions of cuddly animals on little Suzy's toy boxes?

I mean, what do you tell the kid:

"Ah, if you don't put your toys away, Mr. Fangy-man on your toy chest will be angry. And you don't want Mr. Fangy-Man to be angry, do you, Suzy?"

Somehow I don't think the cost of therapy is going to balance out with the amount of money they saved with this do-it-yourself paint project.

The toybox may have already gotten to young Mary here...

Something about this kid's expression makes me nervous. Like she's saying, "No, the house just burned down. It was an accident. Nothing to do with me. I just don't know why the nice Mr. Fireman found that lighter in my room. And a gasoline can. And that C4. And that nitro glycerine."
Of course, Mom is one of the Stepford Wives...

She's powered down right now, which is why she stares so. And why she's in what looks like an uncomfortable, unnatural position. But don't worry. She doesn't feel a thing. We just oil her up now and then, give her a new battery, flip her switch and away she'll go.

And for our last photo... In case any of you were wondering what happened to Little Orphan Annie once she grew up...
Notice, she finally was able to get the cornea operation to help her eyeballs look more like other peoples'. Her Sandy, however, went on to train as a seeing-eye dog and help other children without irises and pupils.

Hope you got a chuckle from eyeballing this week's post. See you Wednesday, when the Treasure Box opens on the latest thrifted fun.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Brushing Up on Brush McCoy Pottery

There were just two things in the Treasure Box for this week-- one of which I shared with you good folks on Sunday.

The other was a vase that had caught my eye several weeks ago, in a McCoy display at the We Miss Back When antique mall in Apollo, PA. The color and shape were absolutely my taste. Regular readers probably know by now my love of these organic-looking art pottery pieces in cool pastels. And this one seemed so finely-done.

The mark on the bottom of the vase said "Brush Company." And because I had already selected a more inexpensive, small McCoy piece from the mall, I ended up passing on the vase. Budget just wouldn't allow.

It was this week, I was in the area and finally made the purchase for my collection. (And on sale, no less!)
Interestingly, the vase does seem to be a part of the McCoy company's lengthy history. The company had many names, many mergers and many smaller companies branching from it since the turn-of-the-1900s, and the Brush Company was one of those early iterations.

If the vase is truly from the Brush Company itself-- and not a part of the later merger called "Brush-McCoy"-- then the vase had a very small window of opportunity for production.

According to my Collector's Encyclopedia of McCoy Pottery, the Brush Pottery company was a one-kiln operation in the Putman section of Zanesville, Ohio in 1907, started by one of the later general managers of McCoy pottery, George S. Brush. Due to a fire, the Brush Pottery only existed from 1907-1908.

Brush-McCoy began in 1911.
So I still need to verify the mark on the bottom of the vase to determine if it's really just Brush Pottery or not, but either way, it's probably a pretty old piece.

No matter-- the point, as with anything a person collects-- is that I love it. The smooth, creamy matte finish... The leafy, feathery shape... It sits with McCoy cousins in its color palette as a central focal point like it's always lived there.

And I was wondering-- do you folks collect anything that you've had to do some research on?

Trying Not to Diffuse the Message About Vintage Torchieres

I made a mistake a few years ago, and I don't want you folks to make it, too.

I remembered this for the first time this weekend, when I found a lamp that I adored-- which was one I don't expect everyone to appreciate as I do. (Yes, we all know I have Lamp Addiction. There's a Twelve Step Program I don't care to participate in at this moment.)

Anyway, at Denise's Antique Mall in Indiana, PA, on Saturday, I found a gorgeous lamp for $20 which I felt needed to come home with me. One of brass and a rainbow-hued lustrous, Carnival glass style... One which made me happy just to see it. (And, honestly, at $20, plus decent wiring and lightbulb, I knew I would find the right place for it.)
The lamp, in spite of its very art glass feel, (it's made by a company called Rembrandt I'm still researching) came with a milk glass torchiere shade. And the moment I looked at it, I remembered...

This is not a torchiere. This is a regular table lamp, with a DIFFUSER which needs a fabric shade.

And a quick examination on eBay told me that many folks are very confused about the history of these nice old lamps with diffuser shades. I realized in an instant-- you folks deserve to know the truth.
A diffuser is a milk glass shade that was common in the early electric lighting periods, and was used specifically so very bright bulbs would bend and soften light in lamps coming through fabric shades. Meaning you would plop a fringed, drum or bell shade right over it.

Basically, so you would get consistent solid light, and you all would not see one very bright light bulb!

Today, at antique stores and thrifts, we're left with the base lamp, and the diffuser-- because so many fabric shades met unpleasant fates. So to our modern eyes, it looks like we're buying a torchiere lamp, with a built-in milk glass shade...

But it's not necessarily true! The diffuser would almost act as a harp, allowing you to set a wider, fabric shade over the top of it.

I'm not thrilled with the color of the shade I currently have, but it gives the feeling of what a proper shade might look like over a diffuser.
About two years ago, I had bought what I thought was a nice torchiere light with a milk glass shade. I knew I wanted to put a real harp and fabric shade on it... and gave the milk glass piece back to the charity organization to resell...

Only to discover that was part of the original lamp I'd kept.

So, I figured, what is The Thrift Shop Romantic if not a way to help others head off the goofy mistakes I made, and help preserve the best in vintage goodies?

This new lamp is now residing in my bathroom-- which I know sounds wholly unromantic, but actually, is perfect because I neglect no room, and there are many rich Carnival glass colors already in it!

For more information on diffusers, click here.

My lightbulb moment gave me a whole new perspective on vintage lamps. May you have your own lightbulb moment this week!

Cheers, folks!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Deco Delights, Hollywood Hearthrobs and More

Riiiing! Rinnnnggggg!
"Hello, who's calling, please?"
"It's Lady Luck. And do I have some secondhand goodies for you!"

That's how I felt on Saturday after spending the day journeying down Route 30 in the direction of Ligonier and Latrobe. I ended up going to a few places I don't go regularly-- like Rossi's Pop-up Flea Market in North Versailles. And I'm really glad I gave it the time, because it turned out to be one nifty thrifty day.

I'll start with my favorite item, simply because I'm so excited to share it with you all. It's an art deco styled push-button phone I found at the L&L Fleatique in Adamsburg...

Note, it's not trimmed in red-- no, that's just the reflection of my sofa through its crystal-look rim! How cute is that?

Now, I know obviously there were not push-button phones during the 30s and 40s. But I instantly loved the shape, the incredibly art deco feel to it. Why, it's deco right now to the font of the numbers...

Another Fleatique find seems to have leapt right out of the time machine from my childhood. Great for storing small, otherwise scattered office supplies, it also called to mind my lengthy crush on ol' Doctor Jones...
You don't see many metal character-printed lunchboxes these days, and if you do, they're either all rusted out or the vendor knows its collectible and is asking a small fortune. At $8, I really couldn't say no.

I also picked up a copy of the book Chocolat-- the original text the delightful off-beat movie was drawn from.
At Rossi's Pop-up Flea Market, then, I found a Cape Cod Avon plate for one of my friends who collects it...
...And a fourth moonstone Anchor Hocking dinner plate for me!...
Now I can do a full table setting for four. Given how challenging it can be to find certain pieces of this stuff, I'm pleased I was able to track down this one.

And that pretty much puts the receiver down on today's Treasure Box.

If you missed Sunday's little humor post on "The Crotchtastic World of Retro Knitting" (trust me, that title will make sense once you see it), click here.

And otherwise, perhaps I'll see you this coming Sunday for our next post!

The Funny, Crotchtastic World of Retro Knitting

Trying to get a leg up in the world of high fashion knittery? Well, the models in this 1966 Spinnerin "Incredible Fashions" catalog sure are... and in virtually every picture!...

The cover sets the tone. This young lady demonstrates that while her knit dress may be terribly cute, a fashionable lady may need to... um... air out the general thigh-ish, crotch-esque region periodically on a hot day, lest she mildew... And there's no shame in doing that.

Like our friend "Carefully Casual" here. She's practicing her lunges for ski season, perhaps...

No matter where you are, a few lunges will help keep those legs slim, your balance strong, and your butt firm!

Or maybe you're just hanging out with friends... What stylish young lady doesn't feel more comfortable letting it all hang out?
It's the perfect way to pick up guys! None of that tiring second-guessing required!

See? These girls have it!...
Hands on hips, stick out chest, display crotch... you got it, girls! Perfect!

Even Barbra Streisand here knew the power of striking a leaning bowlegged pose...
It's what ultimately got her the lead role in "Funny Girl." Yeah, she can sing, but boy does that Barbra know how to display her nether-regions!

And wouldn't Clint Eastwood have wrapped up his "Good, Bad and the Ugly" quicker if the bad and the ugly had only seen him do this little pose?
They'd have been so distracted, he would have won the gunfight with ease!

"Wonderfully Uninhibited," this style is called. And yes, yes, you might say it is. Muy crotchtastico!

And our young and versatile friend here demonstrates that she, too, isn't so young she hasn't learned the right moves...
You can see, the man in back is admiring how effectively she's learned the Spinnerin Straddle, in spite of her young years.

Well, that about stretches this spread to the limit for today. Join me again Wednesday when the Treasure Box opens on some great goodies.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Treasured Vintage China

It was a slow time for thrifting this past week. So while I don't have any new treasures to share with you, I do have some goodies I've enjoyed for many years.

Perhaps some of you long-time readers of The Thrift Shop Romantic might recall me picking up a few of these individual pieces over the years. But I think items take on a whole new life when you see them displayed together, in their element.

I have been picking up lusterware plates and cups at thrift stores for at least a decade. Same goes for chintz teacups and sandwich dishes I'd carefully chosen from places like TJ Maxx and the now-long-gone Royal Albert outlet at Grove City.

But it was only recently, I finally got the right place to display them: a turn-of-the-century oak china cabinet...
So it was with great joy-- and some really tough decision-making-- that I chose the pieces from my collection I would ultimately keep and display...

It was a little like choosing from favorite children. But, seeing it all together, I was struck by common themes...
Bright aquas and juicy greens... Deep red and pink roses.... Delicate lavenders... And lots of shine...
Teacups were mostly thrift store discoveries, and I'm struck with how cheerful a collection can be, though amassed for just a small amount of money.
I made a home for favorite 1900s whiteware transfer plates, and hand-painted saucers I thrifted for $1...
And I tried to group colors together that went together. Layering chintz and lusterware as if in sets, with only the color palette to really tie them.

Last, I had to include the only real heirloom in the lot, my great-aunt's depression era china, in a pattern called Aquitania...
(Not to mention a stray Fenton carnival glass bowl I "Fleatiqued.")

The china cabinet is my real, and consistent Treasure Box... My glass garden... Something I pass each day and enjoy at different times in new ways, as the daylight in my diningroom changes and transforms it.

I hope the rest of your week is filled with little treasures, too!

Birth and Rebirth in Collectibles Trends

Do you ever wonder about what specifically spawns certain trends in collecting and decorating? What makes a certain type of item suddenly become in demand, or even have a powerful resurgence after being ignored or reviled for decades?

I had often wondered this very thing in relation to the iridescent glass we think of as "carnival glass" today.

I have been fortunate over the years to pick up a number of carnival Indiana Glass Harvest Grape pieces from the 60s and 70s-- all inexpensively at thrift stores and antique malls.

But I was always curious what it was that triggered modern manufacturers to suddenly start remaking the colorful glass that had been so popular 50 years or more before.

Well, would you believe I recently found the answer to this, in casual reading?

Yup, I'd been going through volume three of the Imperial Glass Encyclopedia, when their section on carnival satiated my curiosity once and for all!
In the 1960s, not only did Marion Hartung publish books on the subject, bringing the glass back into the light (so to speak), but an article in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution newspaper (August 18, 1963) on the topic dubbed old Carnival glass the "Cinderella of Modern Antiques."

In response, Imperial, Fenton Art Glass and other companies began reissuing carnival pieces, many from their original molds. And the revival grew well into the 1970s.

This got me thinking about how it had taken some appreciation from Martha Stewart to get the collectibles community showing renewed enthusiasm in the creamy green glassware known as jadite...
While I've noticed costs for jadite have gone to more reasonable levels in the last year or so, there for a while antiques dealers were offering jadite for princely sums. Where Martha waxed poetic, the market agreed. Everyone wanted beautiful, soothing pieces made of this opaque, aqua glass.

So this got me pondering again: what do you think is a highly underrated collectible today?

As I've always been a fan of the Carnival glass, I notice right now I'm one of the few that finds it magical. Will it have its day again?

And I adore McCoy's art pottery pieces, particularly ones from the 1940s. It always makes me wonder why McCoy pottery ends up being about half the price of Hull, even though their style is very similar...
So my question is open to you folks:

Is there a collectible item out there that you adore and feel hasn't received the attention it's deserved?

What is your "Cinderella Among Collectibles"?