Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, A Super Solstice, and All Good Things

I wanted to wish you all a happy holiday season, no matter what you may be celebrating right now. And I thought there would be no better way to talk about the joys of this time of year-- like thoughtfulness and friendship-- than to share with you the delightful little illustrated card my friend Tahira "TJ" Lubrano made and sent me from all the way in the Netherlands.

TJ's a whiz with the watercolors. And her illustrations, which appear on everything from cards to buttons to children's clothing (and soon, a childrens' book!) are always happy, whimsical fantasy creations, like these smiling cupcakes that appear on the inside of my card...
You can check out her illustration blog here--

And her Zazzle shop here---

(My favorite of her items is a little baby outfit coated in happy cupcakes-- )

Anyway, just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a happy, safe and joyous Christmas, and a shiny New Year!


A Little Bit of Humor for Your Thursday

Hiya, folks! I'm sorry, I haven't been out hitting the thrift stores this week; rather, I've been working on my novel's sequel during my lunch break and then doing Christmas wrapping in the evenings. (I cannot believe I'm just about done. This is super-early for me and the lack of panic I get to enjoy is almost unsettling!)

Anyway, I don't like to leave you good folks empty-handed. And I thought you all would get a kick out of the post today on my humor blog, Of Cabbages and Kings, detailing a rather unexpectedly funny series of phone messages I've been receiving on my answering machine these past weeks from some persistent strangers.

The post is called, "Orange-Ray Junior, Where You At?" Just click here to check it out.

As an aside, how is everyone's December going so far?

Wishing you much health and joy,

Treasure Box Wednesday: Gifting Goodies and Goodwill to Men (and Women!)

The thrift store and a New Jersey antique mall helped me start the gifting season right this year, and I thought I would share a few of those items with you today.

It all began with this Gone With the Wind plate I found at a Pittsburgh Goodwill a few weeks ago. It's for this nice lady I know who adores the film and has been collecting Gone with the Wind items like dolls and figurines. I thought the plate would be perfect.

Little did I expect that when I went antiquing over Thanksgiving back home in New Jersey with my friend Josette that we would stumble upon this second Gone With the Wind plate featuring Scarlett O'Hara in her green drapery dress. (Apologies to Mr. Gable for that light reflection on his face. We're not as advanced an operation here at The Thrift Shop Romantic as 1930s Hollywood was, I'm afraid. :)

Then, would you believe it, when we popped into yet another antique mall, Josette happened to spy this plate featuring Gone With the Wind's Melanie. They're all from the same series.

So it looks like the Belles will be ringing out this holiday season. Southern Belles, that is.

Lastly, another family friend is passionate about woodworking, and the one thing he jokes about receiving every Christmas is, "No tools?" He loves older tools with character-- wooden handles and made by manufacturers like Yankee or Craftsman/Sears. Well, he is going to be one happy man with these two beauties I picked up at the same mall I got one of the plates!...

He may just cuddle the drill all holiday long and tuck it beside his pillow like a Red Ryder BB Gun. You never know.

So that's the Treasure Box for this week. Do any of you choose resale items for your gift giving? I'd love to hear about it.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Tumblers, Tupperware and Terrific Tablelamps

Hello, my dear friends! I know it's been a long time, and I'm sorry that I've been out of touch. I haven't forgotten about you all. And to make my neglect up to you, I have a very photo-filled Treasure Box Wednesday post to share, overflowing with vintage goodness.

Many of these more recent treasures came from the Pottery City antique mall in East Liverpool, Ohio.

I think we'll start with these cheerful Fiestaware tumblers I found, brandishing the familiar art deco ridges that Fiesta is known for. I had found some short glasses a year or so back that were very similar to these, but I didn't know they'd made these taller glasses. Perfect for any sort of icy beverage! And they look so cute with my vintage polka dotted glasses.

Then there were these pair of hand-painted and signed rose lamps...

They may look a bit familiar to regular readers. I had, in fact, one of these already which I had bought from the Red White and Blue thrift store when there was a store across the street from Kennywood Amusement Park. (Yes, that's how long ago it was!) I had seen it across a crowded room, seized it immediately, and for the past ten years or so, it has been the lamp to which all other vintage lamps in my life have aspired. I had always hoped to find a second one to put on the other side of the Victorian fainting sofa in my dining room. So recently I got my chance...

But as you may know, in my house, it is a case of No Good Lamp Left Behind. So the one that had originally been in the diningroom, which has a slightly different base and a different sort of shade, is now living happily and dramatically on top of the wardrobe closet in my bedroom. It goes really well with the little rose painting I have up there.

Other favorite goodies of recent weeks include these wonderful little pink lidded Tupperware spice containers. They've been ideal for storing bagged spices and chicken seasoning I bought in bulk in Western Pennsylvania's Amish area...

And at the Goodwill thrift store in North Versailles, I got these very useful red and pink Tupperware storage canisters. I can use them for cat food, coffee, breadcrumbs and brown sugar. I've never seen them in red before; usually the ones I come across are in 70s harvest colors, so this was pretty exciting for me.

So that's this week's Treasure Box Wednesday. Next week I will share with you some vintage items I picked up for Christmas presents. Whee!

I hope Turkey Day was kind to you all, and that you have a great week.

Treasure Box Wednesday: May the Thrift Be With You

Sorry for the e-silence last week. I had a record number of blog posts I had to write for a client for my day job (30, if you can believe that!) and my brain was too broken by Friday to even consider sitting down and speaking coherently to you good people.

But it wasn't because I didn't have any secondhand goodies to share with you. In fact, you'll probably get a chuckle from one purchase because, as wholly impractical as it is, it made me very happy-- a set of four Star Wars dolls from the 70s, which were exactly like the ones I used to play with at a friend's house when I was but a wee lass...

Inside this copy paper box lid was wrapped Luke, Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vader. (My friend had everyone but Vader.) Leia still has her belt and her shoes; Luke still has his belt, weaponry and boots; Vader is, well, Vader.

It was at the L&L Fleatique in Adamsburg, and I stood there in the booth holding the box when one of the employees came by. "Do you want me to put that up at the front for you?" (They have shelves up there so you don't have to carry stuff around.)

"Um, no, I'm not sure if I want it yet." Meanwhile, I was probably hugging it a little, a flood of happy childhood memories crashing over me.

"Well, you can think about it and decide at the counter."

"No, I'm still deciding." (hug, hug, hug-- I realized she was going to have to pry it from my hands if she wanted to get it up to that counter.)

So I pretty much knew then it had to come home with me. Leia still needs her hair wrapped back into buns and Luke's shirt could use a good soaking. But they're in incredibly good shape. Better shape than I am after almost the same amount of time. :)

I'm going to give it to myself for my birthday in December. Remember, they are not dolls, they are "collectibles." :)

On my travels that weekend, I also found this cute Wizard of Oz juice glass...

It looks like it's an illustration from the book version of the story, given one of the scenes shows Dorothy putting on the green glasses that make her see the Emerald City in the right light.

And last, I bought two cute little vintage custard type cups which were exactly like the ones my mother used to use to bake popovers.

Same colors, same style, I got these from an antique shop in Bellevue.

And so that rolls the credits on this thrifting saga!

Oh, and while I remember-- for anyone who was interested in a paperback copy of my novel, There Goes the Galaxy, Amazon seems to have it on sale this week. You can check that out here: Happily, it seems to be getting some good reviews.

Have a great week folks, and may the thrift be with you!

Treasure Box Wednesday: A Kindness to Treasure

So, I haven't really been hitting the thrift stores lately; time has been at a premium, and I just haven't needed anything. This weekend I am, however, headed down Route 30 for an antiquing/thrifting adventure with some friends, which should present the perfect opportunity to share new goodies with you all for next week's post. But today's post is about a treasure of a different kind I thought you all would appreciate.

Last week I was at the grocery store and there was an elderly lady in front of me with a number of bags of groceries. Initially, I wasn't paying it much mind, but soon it became clear there was something wrong with the debit card she was using, which I later learned was for foodstamps.

She swiped it a few times, then the cashier came to help her, and it was sounding like there was some sort of error with the account.

Well, the guy behind me in line realized the truth of the matter before I did. Apparently, because of the Columbus Day holiday, her new foodstamps money didn't make it into the account when it usually was there. And she was short about $30.

But this man, this complete stranger, diagnosed the issue in seconds and was there at her side like Superman swooping in to pay for the rest of this elderly lady's groceries.

She was astonished, hugging and smooching him up. I got all misty but I managed to tell the man what a lovely thing he'd done for her. He brushed it all off politely.

It got me thinking how one kind act like that appears like a shining ray of hope that everything isn't all anger and a lack of consideration for one's fellow man... or somebody's grandma.

Oh-- and one more thing before we go for today: I thought some of you reading fans out there might enjoy this interview that Karen Wodke, a Yahoo correspondent, had done with me regarding the recent launch of my novel, There Goes the Galaxy. We talk about inspiring writers, family support, the love of reading and more. It was a really fun experience! Click here to check that out.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Heavy Metals and Cool Containers

Admittedly I've been a busy bee lately, but I haven't let it keep me from my appointed thrifty rounds. But before we get into the treasures for this week, I wanted to thank everyone who participated in my There Goes the Galaxy book giveaway last week.

And if you're still interested in getting your hands on a copy of the book in either paperback or ebook version, you can do that here:

Okay-- that done, on to the thrifty fun! My first purchase of the week was this excellent little vintage Pyrex refrigerator container in blue... for one whopping buck.

But my second and favorite find of the week was actually spotted by my shopping buddy Scoobie, who recognized these early 1900s cast iron curtain tie backs....

 ...And recognized them as similar to these terrific curtain rods from the same era she had gotten me...
Now, I haven't put them up yet because I still need a bracket to fix them to above my pocket doors. But I had a little brainstorm the other day I think I might try; I'm wondering if they might work, if I slipped the end peg into one or two large eye screws? What do you folks think?  (You can see the end of one of them on the far left hand side of the photo.)

I haven't been able to find vintage hardware that would work with them. But I am open to ideas. They're lovely and will really work perfectly in my red and green arts-and-crafts influenced livingroom.

Anyway, that's this week's Treasure Box coming to a close. Hope this week is treating you well so far!

Treasure Box Wednesday: Lucky and Unlucky Breaks

I have some pastel pretties to share with you this week, but first, I wanted to mention I'm doing a giveaway on my humor blog, Of Cabbages and Kings, where participants have a chance to receive one of two free copies of my new humorous space fantasy novel, There Goes the Galaxy. I know that kind of reading isn't everybody's bag here, but I also know it is for a few of my readers. Plus, it's free. We all like free. It doesn't get more thrifty than free. So I figured I'd mention it. You can check out the There Goes the Galaxy giveaway fun by clicking here.

Okay, that said, back to the order of business! I wanted to show you photos of the little mantle decor I've been working on. The newest acquisitions here are the two green and pink vintage lamps, which I got at the Salvation Army Superstore a few weeks ago...

They needed rewiring and shades, and oddly I found a pair of perfect shades at TJ Maxx the day after I bought them. They match my mint-green Victorian fire tiles perfectly.
The second item that's new is the blue Hull vase in the center of the display. I got this at an antique mall not far from the Greater Pittsburgh Renaissance Faire. The Hull vases on the ends, if you remember back, were also from the Salvation Army Superstore.
Above, you can see the blue Hull tulip vase just a bit better.

And lastly, when trying to rewire a different old lamp I had an experience I've never had before in all the lamps I've redone...
THAT is the metal base which was apparently totally cracked and missing much of itself, and it was replaced at one time by some cork panels. As I was working with it, it simply began to crumble apart. I know spelter is a soft metal, but WOW. Sooooo, I will be searching for a boring vintage lamp with a similar base I can take apart and put on the vase of this one.

This lamp vase is gorgeous-- pale green with handpainted roses, so it's entirely worth the effort. I just figured you all would find it interesting to see when these projects take unexpected turns.

And at THIS turn, we must end this week's Treasure Box post. Wishing you happy days as we make our journey quickly into October.

Treasure Box Wednesday: Lustrous Lovelies

While there hasn't been a ton of time available for thrifting lately, I did hit upon some little treasures in the past couple of weeks. One of my favorites is this figurine from Franklin Porcelain called Sophia, which I found at the Red, White and Blue in Bellevue.

You can see a close up on this dramatic lady here:
I love the matte finish, and the soft colors that work so well with my lusterware rose-printed china. For those curious, this is the mark on the bottom...
At the Goodwill Outlet on Route 30, I got a couple of pieces of lusterware, too. Like this little souvenir plate showing Niagara Square in Buffalo, NY...
It seems to have been a giveaway piece from a store there, sort of a promo item.

And lastly, I fund this nice luster Japanese teacup in orange and purple...
There was an extra saucer that came with it.

So that pours the last drop of this particular Treasure Box Wednesday. I'll be spending the rest of this week prepping the last few things for my novel's release. If you're interested in knowing more about that, you can check out my website here:

It should be available next week-- woo-hoo!

Novel News and Facebookly Fun

Having had the pleasure of "chatting" with you folks for almost five years now, come September, I know you are not only a creative bunch, but you have a sense of humor. So while I know this won't be everyone's cup of tea here-- and yes, I will get to the teacups and other thrifty goodies for you good folks later in the week-- I did want to mention my humorous space fantasy novel There Goes the Galaxy will be out soon, and it now has a Facebook page you can "like" to find out more.

I'll be getting the proof of the book in my hot little hands this week, which means if everything looks good, the print version of the book will be out in the next week or two. YAY!!

The book will come in a Kindle version, too; though I'm learning that my storytelling abilities are far stronger than my technical ones. So that conversion is still in-process.

Anyway, just wanted to loop you folks in. I've wanted to write books every since I was 11 years old and had read every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on. So this represents a huge thrill for me-- almost as exciting as a thrifted lamp. :)

Wishing you all a lovely first week o' September,

Lamp Lunacy and Porcelain Prettiness

Lamps: they are my mostest favorite thing to thrift. Favorite in kind of an obsessive, too-excited way, in fact.

An interesting vintage lamp gives me a thrill that other folks get over, oh, a new love, winning the lottery, or chocolate cake. (Though I wouldn't turn down any of those things, either.)

As a result, I have a lot of them in each room. And this is okay, given my house is an otherwise pretty dark little Victorian.

Lamps offer that warm glow that also warms my heart.

So when I saw this baby at the L&L Fleatique over the weekend, I could not leave it there.
It's not actually stained glass, but some sort of frosted plastic material made to look like glass. I imagine, based on the materials, that it was probably made in the 60s or 70s, when they started really incorporating plastics into lamps.

I thought the whole thing was sort of gaudily beautiful, which is often my quirky criteria for a good lamp. And the colors are just so inspiring to me when lit. It's now residing in my livingroom.

At the Salvation Army thrift store earlier in the week, I nabbed this glass, pink vintage ceiling light shade...
I plan to use it on my third floor office, where currently there is a white, plastic, very sterile Atomic Age shade which just doesn't work with the rest of the house. It should be a fairly simple swap, and at just $4.99 the price was right.

At only $5, was this frosted glass, depression era boudoir lamp of a lady in a belle skirt...

I'm not sure why it was marked to just $5, when it had been listed at $35, but everything in that area of the Fleatique was, so I couldn't pass the deal up. Again, because of lampaholism.

At the Good Samaritan thrift store, I got these two painted plates from Germany (I plan to hang them on the wall)...
And these Moonstone pattern cups. At $0.69 a piece, it was a very good deal.
Oh, and last, I got this nice little dresser jar from Germany the same day I got the pink lampshade. I think it would be handy for storing cotton balls, Q-tips or something like that.

So that's the thrifty goodness for this week. Quite a lot, really, at one time-- funny how that happens!!

Let's hope none of you are too "shook up" from yesterday's earthquake. I was standing at work, talking to someone and didn't feel it at all, while all my colleagues seated at their desks were really feeling it rock-n-roll.

The Porpoise of Learning How to Work the Video on Your Phone

Just thought you all might all get a kick of the video of the dolphins who followed my boat last week... Gosh, up here in Pittsburgh, the only thing that usually follows my vehicle is a tailgater who's waiting to zip into the fast lane. This is such a pleasant change!

And yes, I apparently DO "ooh" and "ahh" like I'm watching a Fourth of July fireworks display when confronted with unbridled Nature. Feel free to play the New Age music of your choice as accompaniment. :)

Morning Skies and Flying Fish, er, Mammals

Just a few photos from my recent non-vacation trip to Florida I thought you would enjoy. That's the wonderful thing about nature-- the beauty of the landscape can make it look like vacation, even when it isn't.
This was taken at about 8:30am, the morning sun and cloud turning the palm trees to silhouette...
Sun behind some clouds made for a dramatic view...
There's much more sky down there than there is up north, I'm just sure of it. :)
Some dolphins followed the boat I was on, for unexpected, impressive company...
There were about six or eight, including a baby, at one point. I could hardly believe my eyes, having never seen a wild dolphin down there.
Leaping, spinning, they must celebrate the joy of the morning, every morning. For me, I need a cup of coffee before I attempt that sort of thing. But they smiled their way through their morning exercise regimen.

Clearly, you can learn a lot from a dolphin. :)
Hope you're able to jump into the week smoothly yourselves, folks!