Best Wishes for a Restful and Rewarding New Year!

Maybe your New Year's Eve guests look a bit like this after bringing in 2011 with a bang... 

Or maybe a little rest and relaxation is in order to start the year off right. 

Either way, The Thrift Shop Romantic would like to wish you a very happy, safe and contented holiday. 

I will be back in the new year with more thrifted goodies, more treasure hunting roadtrips, more funny recipe books and decorating, more craft projects of varying success levels, and-- don't worry-- not TOO TOO many photos of kittens. :)
My cat Alice, however, would like to take time out of her kitten coma to remind you all to please not drive and drive this weekend... If the coppers get you and you lose your license, you won't be able to get to the store and buy your pets kibble.

Thank you. :)

Treasure Box Wednesday: Treasured Humor

I had kinda of an amusing incident at the Goodwill the other day, and I wanted to remember to share it with you folks.

I had taken my lunchbreak at a local Goodwill branch and found a couple of goodies to my joy, one of which was a CD with some tunes I'd wanted to add to the 80s mix on my iPod.

The sign above them read that the CDs were kept in the back, to prevent theft. Totally understandable. More thrifts are keeping the discs safe in folders at the registers, so items don't just "walk away." I've gotten a lot of decent CDs this way.

So I continued shopping and then took my purchases up to one of the store's two registers just like any old time.

First, the cashier and I commiserated on the choice of music, she sharing a fondness for 80s tunes, and having owned the album herself in her youth. All perfectly normal...

And then she grabbed the store PA microphone:

"Cyndi Lauper-- She's So Unusual. That's Cyndi Lauper-- She's So Unusual, could someone please bring that CD to the front register, please? Cyndi Lauper..." 

Her words echoed throughout the entire store like the voice of a very efficient, very music-savvy deity.

The woman behind me in line looked as startled as I was and we both broke out laughing. 

It's a really good thing I'm not shy about sharing my music tastes, though I have to say, I can think of very few albums I'd really want to have announced over the loud speakers to the Wide World of my fellow shopping Goodwillers.

I imagine they did this because they have two registers and wanted the disks in neutral territory, for easy access from both, but I think there has to be a slightly better way.

Anyway, I hope all of you fine readers celebrating the Christmas holiday find yourself merrily in tune with the season. Thank you all for making it such a great year here at The Thrift Shop Romantic.

I'm Dreaming of a Shatterproof Christmas

IIIIIIII'm dreaming of a
Shatterprooooooof Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the bright orbs glisten
And kittens listen
As IIII'm pleading, "No! Down! Noooooo!"

I had a sneaking suspicion that decorating the tree this year was going to be a bit... different... than other years.And I had barely assembled my nifty artificial tree when-- "BOINK!"-- Harry the Five Month Old Kitten appeared within its branches to demonstrate the reason I had thought going "shatterproof" in terms of Christmas ornaments this year was a pretty darned good idea.

It was nice of me, he felt, to put up this giant climbing wall for him.

"Tree kittens? I don't see any tree kittens! Where?"
Then there was the little question of adding the garland. I had some... um... help this year, but I suspect this kind of help will be more useful when it comes to taking down the tree instead of putting it up.
However, what I didn't suspect was that after a certain amount of requisite batting and climbing and biting, my furred buddies would lose interest entirely in favor of a few empty ornament boxes and a bit of Christmas ribbon. And I would be allowed to actually decorate the thing, and keep the decorations on...And it's still standing this morning!

I know. Shocking, right?
My optimism led me to decorate a tiny pink tree to put on top of my refrigerator, out of the reach (maybe) of touchy-feely paws.

I had found at Tuesday Morning some glass Alice in Wonderland ornaments from the same artist that did my dishes. So with them, and some mushrooms, top-hats and teapot ornaments K-Mart had had (completely unrelated to any Alice theme) I pulled this colorful little jobbie together.

You can see the White Rabbit, Queen's card men and a jingly little mushroom here...

And the Hat, Alice and the Cheshire Cat dressed as a snowman here.

Lastly, one of the teapots and the Hatter himself...
After all this, I guess I don't need to tell you, we were all pretty tired out...
Thank goodness for Trader Joe's shopping bags. They have a million and one uses.

Take care folks, and I hope you all aren't shattered from too much pre-Christmas activity.

Treasure Box Wednesday: The Vintage Christmas Decorating Blow-Out Post

I've been meaning to do this for a while for you all-- to gather all of the major vintage Christmas decorating posts I've done over the years into one nicely-wrapped package o' convenient fun.

So if you have a minute and wish to take a gander at some sparkle, some trial-and-error, and some off-beat Christmas tablescapes, mantle decor, an insane amount of little decorated Christmas trees, and general whatnot, this might be the post for you! Just click a link below to unwrap the joy:

Tonight I need to spend some quality time Christmas wrapping. How much do you all want to bet that my kittens will want to "help"? (Translation: everyone will be receiving a quantity of kitten hair along with the tape on every package.)

Keep warm, folks-- it's cold out there!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Victorian Decorating at the Frick Mansion

I love it when it's possible to share with you all some of our architectural and decorative treasures located here in Pittsburgh, and one of my favorite local gems has been the beautiful Victorian mansion, Clayton, which had been home to the Frick family.

So I was truly delighted when I found this detailed tour of Clayton, and the Frick museums. I hope you'll have a moment to enjoy this video-- get to see the amazing textiles, learn more about how the Fricks lived, and learn more about the Victorian era.

I've done this tour a number of times-- both in the Christmas season, and during summer, when the flowers are in bloom. And there's a knock-out cafe there, too, which has become a favorite place for friends and I to go on special occasions.

And the best thing about this online tour? No fee necessary and you can take all the time you need to look around. :)

In an Octopus' Parlor

"I'd like to be...
Under the sea
In an octopus' parlor
On a tree..."

Okay, so maybe that's not quite how the lyrics go. But the humorous little aquatic themed Christmas tree I put together for my Dad did add a splash of festive color to the Pop's apartment at assisted living.

Since retirement, Dad has studied the sounds underwater creatures make. When you hear the recordings he's done with the hydrophone (underwater microphone/recorder), you'd be surprised how noisy it can be under the deep. Clicks, crackles, groans and boops are normal discourse down there.

So I thought Dad might enjoy a little bit of the tropics up here. Though he insists the fish typically don't wear earrings and carry handbags...

The ornaments came from Target, and as soon as I saw them I knew what I had to do.

Jaws might have turned out a bit different if the lead shark were wearing a hula skirt, hat and carrying a beach bag...
Still, this flamingo better look out if the underwater buffet isn't replenished by the cabana boys quickly enough.
I particularly couldn't resist choosing the crazy blue tree. I figure, if you're going to have an underwater Christmas, you might as well do it up right!

Anyway, that's all there is for today. I hope you'll join me on Wednesday for our next exciting blog post o' decorative and thrifty treasures.


Treasure Box Wednesday: Secret Christmas Treasures and the Biggest Thrift Purchase Ever

The Treasure Box might look empty this week, but that's only because most of the things I thrifted were not, in fact, for me. Post-Christmas I'll be able to share with you all the thrifted goodies I found for some friends who appreciate cool vintage stuff, either as stand-alone items or as part of thrifted gift baskets.

For me, I really only uncovered the nifty 70s blue carnival glass piece above and a couple of CDs. This was from the Salvation Army Superstore in West Mifflin.

My shopping buddy this day-- Dad-- however, went on to thrift what I believe was the most monumental item I can recall us thrifting in our lengthy history. At the Goodwill on Pittsburgh's South Side, Dad managed to get himself a very nice Dell laptop computer-- in great shape, running smoothly, and with all the bells and whistles he was looking for.

That branch has the only computer store in the region, and the guys who helped him seemed to really know their computers.

Dad was additionally floored because he got a 10% senior discount on the thing-- not something you get when you buy from a retail computer store, necessarily-- and a free laptop bag to boot!

So he's been having a great old time, using the laptop for all his computing needs, plus playing DVDs, enjoying a brisk game of computerized Solitaire, etc.

And me, I need to finish Christmas shopping. Somehow the holidays just keep sneaking up on me. You blink and there they are, waiting for you!

Tell me, how are you folks doing on your shopping this year? Are you close to done? And do you thrift any of your presents?