Stained Glass Window Opening Soon

The final transformation of the window above into the faux-painted oak and stained glass feature wall is taking just a tad longer than... well, normal post publication time.

So I thought those who were asking how it was going would forgive me if I postponed sharing the results until Monday or Tuesday-- when I could be assured it would be finished, and finished right!

I'm pleased at the way it's coming along, actually. And I think you folks might be tickled, too.

Right now I'm off to pop an ibuprofen or two-- climbing and balancing for hours on ladders is a great thigh workout, but not so spiffy on the arms, neck and shoulders.

Ah, but like all good projects, the pain balances out with satisfaction for a job well-done.

Here's hope the readers who got crushed with snow have been able to enjoy the quiet time a little-- and aren't in traction from all the shoveling. And for the rest, who haven't had to deal with this season's serious dose of Old Man Winter, well... Try not to rub it in too much.

Or at least wait until our Shoveler's Elbow goes away.

Talk to you all soon!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Warm Blankets and Warm Thanks

Sunshine and above-freezing temperatures are slowly transforming our arctic circle into more of a free-flowing puddle. The polar bears are packing their bags for cooler climbs. And I was actually able to peek my head out, groundhog style, for some brief lunchtime thrifting.

Interestingly, perhaps it was simple coincidence, or possibly where my brain's been at, but both items I discovered were of the snug blanket persuasion, and both came from Goodwill via Target.

The first is a still-in-the-package down comforter...
I've been coveting the one in my guest room for a while and thought this was a perfect opportunity to snap one up for my own bed. The right duvet cover and-- voila!... No posting will get done as the Thrift Shop Romantic enjoys some quality naptime.

The second thing I found was something I'd actually eyed up in Target, but I didn't want to pay the price... A deliciously soft pale green Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic blanket...

Still tied with Ms. Ashwell's signature pink ribbon, I had to chuckle that the Thrifting Gods not only presented this snug opportunity to me at an amazingly reduced price from the store-- but that it was in my preferred color, as well.

And lastly, before we go today, and on the theme of warmth-- I just really wanted to take the opportunity to thank you all for being such an enthusiastic, kind and creative bunch of readers.

In a time where the world feels a little off-kilter and strange due to the economy... where tempers flair and there don't seem to be a lot of solutions... it's a real joy to come here and interact with you all.

Your interest in everything, your ideas, and your humor truly do make every project-- in whatever stage it happens to be-- more fun, more "possible" and more worthwhile whether it succeeds or not.

Thanks so much for hanging out and learning along with me. I count your good cheer and curiosity as some of the best things about each and every week.

Paint It Back

"I see that white frame and I want to paint it back...."
-Misquote of the Rolling Stones, with apologies-- only they haven't seen my living room window

My house was built at the turn of the 1900s. And while a number of things remain just as they were over 100 years ago, other things have evolved over time to suit changing tastes.

At one point, this meant someone had switched the orientation of the staircase, in order to add a coat closet underneath.

In another case, it meant someone had closed off a doorway to the kitchen from the entry hall, making a new entrance elsewhere.

And, perhaps even later, it meant blocking up the side window in my living room (which directly faces the neighbor's unsightly wall), and painting the Window Frame to Nowhere white.

The thing is, the white doesn't mean you come into the living room and think, "Window?-- What window?"

Or rather, it doesn't mean I do. Oh, I see it. I know it's there busy being not a real window and serving no actual function. Just lurking oddly on the wall.

It throws the balance of the room off. If I believed in feng and shui, I would say it was violating the two of them in some kind of purposeful anti-Zen conspiracy.

Or maybe that's just the fumes from today's project talking. It's hard to tell.

See, I've decided that the troublemaker window really needs to be painted the same type of faux woodgrain that the rest of the woodwork in that room had been done.
So, we will see how it goes in the next week. I've taped off. I've added a coat or two of a "aged oak". It's by no means finished, but I'm optimistic...
Or it could just be those fumes again.

The plan is to hang this William Morris type stained glass window panel in the center of it, once it's done, and place a few of my leafy McCoy pottery pieces on the ledge.
So, while I'm afraid today's post is probably a little anti-climactic-- as I don't have a finished project to share at the moment-- consider it a preview of things to come. Things that could look so beautiful, it will bring a shining tear to our eyes...

Or it could go so dadblasted horribly wrong, it'll make us all laugh ourselves off our chairs.

So, either way... win-win, really.

But wish me luck, would you? :)

Treasure Box Wednesday: Everything in its Place

To quote Popeye, "I'd had all I could stands, and I can't stands no more." This was Saturday, after days and days of snowfall, which had kept me indoors, staring at the walls.

I mean, I love my house. But there is such a thing as too much togetherness.

So in spite of continual flurries, I decided I would make a truncated trip down Route 30, as long as the roads were clear.

But the Thrifting Gods were kind, and I uncovered a number of things I knew just where they would go.

I'll start with my most surprising discovery. See this little handled green crock?...
The chartreuse limey color attracted my eye as I have quite a bit of this color in my kitchen, between my pseudo-retro coffeemaker and toaster, and some Lemongrass Fiesta ware.

But turn the bowl over and...
McCoy? I won't even make you guess the price, because it wouldn't be fair. I'll just tell you: $0.79!!

That would be my cheapest McCoy piece yet.

Interestingly, at another store, one of the workers there was talking about how he feels there's no market for McCoy anymore. That he has quite a bit of it in the store, but no one buys it.

I'm not so sure about that. I think it might have more to do with the color of the McCoy rather than McCoy itself. As a McCoy amasser, I noticed his pieces myself as I went a-traveling. And I personally wasn't interested in it because it was almost all yellow. I haven't spied yellow as being a particularly trendy color at the moment.

I wonder whether if it comes back into fashion, people will be more interested in his pieces for their decor?

I just thought it was interesting how markets change.

Anyway, at the L&L Fleatique, I found a great mint green vintage desk lamp I simply couldn't pass up...
In great shape, with lovely lines, and an $8 price tag, I had it in my hand pretty quickly!

On my journey, I also snagged a bunch of these lamp crystals. I knew just what I needed them for, the question at the time was only how many I needed. Fortunately, I guessed correctly...
You can see them in their new home here...
And last, I got this pretty hobnail Moonstone bottle. I have been swapping some of the dollar store bottles I'd had on my stained glass window ledge for more interesting vintage pieces, so the bottle now resides here...
It's missing its stopper, but I don't think that really detracts from it's beauty.

So that's the story for this Wednesday.

Have yourselves a nifty, thrifty remainder to your week!

Clear Beauty in Westmoreland County Pressed Glass

Just outside of Pittsburgh, in Westmoreland County, lies rolling hills, friendly people... and a tradition of beautiful quality glass-making.

Not being a Pittsburgh native myself, my initial thrifting endeavors led me to wonder just how it was that I kept uncovering so many marvelous lustrous pressed glass pieces...

Dainty daisy-pressed carnival glass shoes... Iridescent moonstone hobnail bottles... shimmery pink or purple or aqua bowls...

And all typically between $6-$20 for these artistic-looking pieces!

Well, it turned out that beginning in the 19th century, Western Pennsylvania was an important hub for American glass-making and was home to Westmoreland Glass, Empire Glass, L.E. Smith Glass and the McKee-Jeannette Glassworks, among others.

L.E. Smith Glass, in Mount Pleasant, PA, has been making American pressed glass since 1907, and the style continues to have that turn-of-the-century look.

You can see the stylized "S" mark above. Both the two tall vases, and the shoe on the right-hand side are Smith pieces...As are this candy dish, and the bright aqua bowl here...
Interestingly, Smith Glass and Fenton of West Virginia are the only glass works from that era that continue to operate in the region today. Fans of pressed glass can even visit the Smith factory for tours. You can check out their web site by clicking here. I haven't gotten a chance to do the tour yet myself, but I think I need to take some time this spring to see the birthplace of much of my favorite glassware!

The Kovels Guide indicates that Westmoreland Glass was in operation from 1890 until 1984, in Grapeville, PA. These pieces bear an overlapping WG mark...
Like Smith Glass, the pieces are often thick pressed glass in a variety of colors and cut-glass-styled patterns. My favorites have a rainbow luster shimmer like this little candydish I'd thrifted...

This bowl alone weighs several pounds. I imagine so much Westmoreland and other pressed glass exists today because of its thick, durable consistency...
This little crystal tophat is also a Westmoreland piece.
I wasn't able to find a mark on this marigold carnival piece, but I suspect it, too, began life in Westmoreland County...
So while current prices for this type of glass-- at least in my region-- are very affordable, it doesn't make these pieces less desirable to me.

And if you're a fan of turn-of-the-1900s collectibles, you might just want a piece of Westmoreland County glass in your own home, to carry on that period feel!

Happy hunting!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Puppy Love

In preparation for the impending Snowpacolypse of the weekend, I went out late last week in search of staples (y'know milk, bread and microwave popcorn) and a brief amount of fresh air. This led me to the local Goodwill thrift store, and that is the site where I found my newest little friend...

He was sitting among the seasonal items, looking a little lonely as only beagle puppies can, and my heart went out to him. You can just tell from the careful paint job that this porcelain pup is a quality little fellow, with a bit of age to him-- in spite of his youthful personal appearance...

Of course, there are some paint flakes to his porcelain base. But you all know me; I'm not really bothered by things like that when an overall item has charm. And to me, my new best friend has charm in spades.

Another thing uncovered from a recent thrifting expedition is this painted (metal? spelter?) dish. I'm not sure if it was manufactured to look like an old spelter bowl that's been painted, or whether someone didn't care for the flat spelter finish of an actual vintage item, and gave it a lick of paint. Either way, I thought the effect was interesting. And at $0.50, honestly, what did I have to lose?
Lastly, I picked up two more off-season Christmas mercury glass candlesticks-- these in gold...
They had originally come from Target, and I actually have the matching bowl in my blue sitting room, currently filled with faux roses. So these may end up living there year-round, or they may get put away for next holiday season. I'm not sure yet.

But that pretty well wraps-up our, um, walkies into the wide world of thrift for today! I'm still trying to decide whether I'll be braving the Great White Way out there for yet another workday, or whether it's more prudent to stay home and wait it out. I'm leaning toward the former.

No rest for the weary!

Be safe, everybody!

Cold Weather, Warm Touches

Oh, the weather outside was frightful... "Frightful," in this instance, is defined as "having over a foot-and-a half-of-snow coating everything like a casualty in a Marshmallow Fluff plant explosion"...
In all the years I've lived here, I've never seen snow just sit straight up and pay attention like the snow is on my backyard fence...

So, since there really was no place to go this weekend, I decided to get some good old-fashioned cleaning and decorating done around the mini-manse. And for one accomplishment in the last two days, I have you good folks to thank!...

Yes, all of your input on Wednesday was not wasted regarding the desk I'd thrifted from St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. I listened to the Pro-Paint, and the Con-Paint sides of the Desk Improvement Dilemma we'd discussed.

And I decided that the outcome of a good cleaning and some scratch oil would determine which course I should take...

Well, as you can see, the desk cleaned up a treat. And the dark polish was just enough to minimize the dings and scratches to where they were no longer a focal point. So now the desk is residing happily in my blue sitting room...Along with, ironically, the pink needlepoint chair I'd thrifted at the Salvation Army years ago.

Where the pink chair had been, I moved in a brown tapestry chair that's a bit worse for wear, but I still like it a lot...
It's quite comfortable to sit in, and even though its seat is rubbed away in places, I think it's faded fabric has charm.

A small craft store investment in silk flowers that look dried have topped off this bowl that once held pinecones for Christmas...
And some becrystalled candlesticks-- also from the craft store-- now sit on the mantle mirror, along with some delicate rose garland...
Some serious pre-spring cleaning led me to swap some drug store painted bottles with some quirky hobnail glass pieces I've picked up over time...

And I decided the picture window might be the right place to display some Westmoreland glass vases I'd been storing. I love how the light hits the glass and lights them up.

Lastly, many long hours of cabinet purging has left my kitchen more organized than it's been in years. Anything surplus to requirement is being donated to the thrift stores-- meaning some of it technically will be coming full-circle.

The treat of the day, then, was finally getting this window display over the stove to feel cheerful and cohesive. You wouldn't believe the number of trial-and-error botched attempts, trying different items here.

Finally, when I saw this combo, I felt a lot happier and more relaxed about it. You just can't beat the clean sweeping lines of art deco pottery... And the Fiesta will be able to handle any spatters it encounters with a simple wipe of a sponge.

Well, that's all for me today. Between the heavy-duty snow shoveling and the cleaning, I'd say I'm about ready for a heating pad and a nice cup of tea right now!

Here's hoping tonight finds you all safe, with your heads above the snowline and power in your homes.

Treasure Box Wednesday: For the Love of a Desk

I had no sooner set foot in the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Monroeville, when my eyes fell upon the desk of my dreams. Not that I'd actually been dreaming about it, per se... I mean, I didn't know something quite so weird and wonderful would have existed...

But this carved ladies writing desk, with storage inside, was too unusual to pass up... I notified the cashier right away that it would be coming home with me, before any interlopers put a crimp in my future desk adoration.

As you can probably see, it's got some issues. Scratches and gouges to the finish, and some loose legs indicate a good suring-up and possibly a finish job in its near future. I'm debating painting it cream and using it in my blue room, where the courting couple designs would be wonderfully at home...

But it's a tough call. I think given its life hardships, I probably wouldn't be devaluing anything important by doing so. But neither do I want to slap paint on something I really shouldn't.

In terms of date, I'm thinking it may be from the Depression era. The lady pictured here in the center appears, if I'm not mistaken, to be wearing a 20s/30s sort of hat, along with bob hair...
I love the almost art-nouveau fluidity of the lines around the top.

Anyway, while it may seem anticlimactic after the desk, I also found some vintage tins this week. There were quite a few of them at the Goodwill on Carson Street in the Southside, and stylistically, they all seemed to be of one person's collection. I relieved them of three in the aqua and pink color palette...
Anyway, they'll be nice for gifting. Pretty on the outside, and containing goodies therein! (Also, I won't have to wrap things... which is a gift in itself because I'm lousy at it, and avoid wrapping at all costs.)

So that's today's Treasure Box Wednesday.

And I hope to see you this coming Sunday for more nifty thrifty fun!