Desperate Thrifting.

Well, as predicted, we got hit hard. This was from the first day of hard snow, which was landing on about four or five inches of ice.

A week later, there’s still four or five inches of snow out there. YUCK. Everything is wet, cold, and muddy. I might as well be back in Chicago! This is supposed to be the mild-winter South! Justin stayed home on Thursday and Friday and went in late on Monday, so I got pretty spoiled, but we live on a huge hill and I didn’t feel safe getting out until Saturday and then I went with Justin — this town did not clean up the mess worth a flip and the roads were still icy. By Monday, I was desperate to get out, and when Justin got home early, I grabbed Jack and went to the thrift store. I figured NO ONE had been thrift shopping, so the pickings might be good. And they were. I mean, can you beat this tiny little Santa cup with Japan stamped on the bottom?

Well I CAN. How about eleven of his closest Santa friends? In their original packaging?

I love these beyond reason. I keep taking them out to look at them. But someone needs to tell me what the original purpose of these were — they’re so dang small.

Next up, this dough bowl.

Ridiculously priced at $3.99.

This basket, I think, is pretty nice, but I need a professional (Shara) to sound off on it. The handle is hand-carved.

So that was a fruitful trip to the thrift. Of course, the biggest thrill was ESCAPING THE HOUSE. Things get a little iffy when you’re shut up with two three-year-olds for an extended length of time. I did manage to get to the booth to drop a few things off — they had been closed for two days and had a really slooooooooow weekend, so I wasn’t expecting to find much of anything gone. And, in fact, the only thing that I had sold this week was almost all of the Christmas trees that I brought up last weekend, proving once and for all that they are the best sellers of my Christmas projects. This was the last one left.

Their popularity has given me the nerve I need to make some and give them for Christmas presents. I feel cheesy giving things I’ve made as Christmas presents. I don’t know why, because I love nothing more than to get hand-made things from other people as gifts.

Here are a few other signs I dropped off.


I also made another vintage ornament wreath. This will be the third, and the other two sold within one or two days of going into the booth. I need to work on those throughout the year, because they’re nice little money-makers. It’s just so hard for me to part with the Christmas ornaments! But they’re not doing anyone any good stashed up in my attic, for heaven’s sake.

I think I’m finished making Christmas stuff for the booth at this point. There are still quite a few items that haven’t sold yet (three porch signs and two trays, along with these latest signs I dropped off this week) and I don’t want to be left with a ton of Christmas stuff. I hope to be a little more prepared next year, maybe make things throughout the year instead of waiting until November to start on projects.

I forgot to take a picture of this box of marquee letters I got at the auction a while back:

There are anywhere from between 3-12 of each letter of the alphabet. I have no idea what I’m going to do with them but aren’t they just so cool? I was thinking punching holes in the top and making a banner.

While I’m skipping randomly from subject to subject, we got our tree up and decorated. This is the first real tree Justin and I have ever had. When we lived in Chicago, we always traveled to our parents’ houses for the holiday and so never bothered getting a tree — so this was quite the occasion for us. We have high ceilings in the dining room, where we wanted to put it, and I had no idea how expensive trees were — the 7- and 8- foot trees were $80 and $90! What the heck, man? There was no way I was going to pay that much for a tree, and right as I was about to say so to Justin, we happened upon the fluffiest 7-foot Scotch Pine you would ever hope to see for $35. These must be the most unfashionable of trees, I guess, but we love it.

Justin will be angry I posted this photo with the wadded up napkin (that HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR) in the frame. He spent about ten minutes cloning it out of this pic:

This peaceful scene did not last long as, at the time of this post, FOUR of my vintage ornaments have been smashed on the tile floor by some tiny little hands. Including one like this, a pre-1940s hand-painted mercury glass ornament:

That’s not the exact ornament, but mine was just like it. <Insert quiet sobs here.> I know, I know, it was my fault for putting them within reach. I thought they were old enough to handle the challenge but then I remember, they’re only three. Or will be in a three days! Where does the bleeping time go??

December 13, 2013 - 7:06 pm

Shara That does it. Next ice storm, I’m sliding on the roads and going thrifting! You have good logic – my logic was that no one could get out to donate, so therefore, there would be no new stuff. YOU WIN! Actually I’m thrilled that you went and bought what you bought instead of me going and buying it. Great finds. Love the tiny Santa mugs, but as you know, I have a plethora of them. I sold a couple at the booth for $3.00 each. I think the little ones were for kids to have a toast with the grownups. They are tiny because all the eggnog was spiked up with all sorts of booze back then. The basket is a good, good one. An oak splint basket. One I would have felt forced to purchase to rescue it, so thank you for doing so. It would be about $50.00 up on the Boston Mountains. I can tell it’s a big one because of the size of the PH tag. Awesome! The Dough bowl is great too. The price is ridiculous – thank goodness YOU got it!

The Marquee letters – I have spent hours looking for some of those on Craigslist. I had a big box of them and I made words just like I do with the letter cards and scrabble tiles and sold them in the booth for $2.00 a letter and they sold like crazy! You can make words, or banners or just sell the letters. What a crazy good buy THAT was!

(Good lord I leave long comments. Like you need a play by play of what I think about every single item………)

PS That photo of the babies by the tree is really just about the sweetest thing I have EVER seen. Have you tried to blow it up and look at their faces in the ornament?

December 13, 2013 - 8:27 pm

Chanelle My goodness that is such a sweet picture of your babies!
I feel your pain with the ornaments, my babies have broken far more than their fair share…yep…sniff. Tons of left over ornaments left over from my sale, mostly spun heads that no one seems to appreciate here. Crazy folk! I’d send you some if you’d like. I just don’t know what to do with them alll!

December 13, 2013 - 10:41 pm

Melissa Dang…I totally get the trapped like a rat feeling. It’s not so bad when it just you but when you add cabin fever-ish toddlers to the mix it’s just bad news. I’m glad you finally got to get out of the house!
And I love your trees and think your friends and family would be delighted to get one for Christmas!
Your Christmas tree is beautiful! I love how fluffy it is! Too bad about the broken ornaments. : ( My tree looks half pretty, since it is only decorated on the upper half because I can’t trust my grabby dude to leave it alone. Crazy little kids!

December 14, 2013 - 8:06 am

Marsha Yep, you got WAY more snow than we’ve had in Chicago…but it’s really cold here. I saw your post on my phone while riding the 151 bus back from the caroling in Millennium Park at the Bean Friday evening–and couldn’t wait to get back to see the photos on my laptop. What a great one of the kids and the tree! It’s gorgeous!! When our kids were little I had mostly non-glass ornaments with just a few old ones up top. But it wasn’t as shiny and bright as your tree. It’s snowing here in Lincoln Park now but not expecting too much in the city this time. And since it’s Saturday I’m staying in. Hassan is in Cairo where they just had their first snow in over 100 years…and he’s getting blamed for bringing it with him!! (Google “Snow in Cairo” for photos.) LOVE all your photos. Hugs to all…

December 14, 2013 - 11:11 am

Sarah Well my soon to be three year old just broke like FOUR of my best vintage mason jars this morning, so yea. There’s that.

That is the best picture of them ever though. So freaking sweet.

December 14, 2013 - 11:20 am

Janice I love that picture. I think it should be on your Christmas cards.

December 14, 2013 - 3:43 pm

Laurie Yep, Shara says it and I agree – that’s a really nice basket. I have a round shallow one with handles on two sides that I THINK was for laundry… the handles are carved like that and I love it dearly. It was at my grandmother’s and now it sits under our entry table and catches mail. At least it’s out and being used, right? It’s a pretty mail catcher. 🙂

I would paste some vintage papers on the back of some of those marquee letters… and I may be willing to buy some from you…

December 15, 2013 - 12:04 am

Shannon My mom has a set of those small santa mugs. There is a larger mug that holds eggnog. I’m assuming it’s small because of alcohol? But we just have plain eggnog in them each Christmas!

By the way…and don’t kill me…I was finally cleaning out my back room when your wreath fell to the ground. I thought it was fine because you wrapped it up so well, but sorry to say I think one ornament broke. I can’t bring myself to open it up since I haven’t moved that or the box of dishes since the day you moved!

December 16, 2013 - 7:12 pm

Chelsea Green Hand made Christmas gifts = AWESOME!
Do you have pictures of your ornament wreaths?

December 31, 2013 - 4:54 pm

Lara Jo I promise you I will make one of those Merry and Bright trays for you — feel guilty about that — thought I would have plenty of time to get to it. And yes, scroll down, there are some pics of the ornament wreaths. I sold two pink and silver ones this year, then put out a blue and red one, thinking a patriotic theme might sell, but it DID NOT. So I think I’ll stick to pink ones in the future. Or at least traditional red and green colors.

December 31, 2013 - 4:55 pm

Lara Jo Shannon, PLEASE don’t worry about it! I had forgotten I even left that for you. I can totally fix it. No big deal. I feel bad you’ve been storing that stuff for me!

December 31, 2013 - 4:57 pm

Lara Jo Laurie: That is a great idea. And forget buying some — let me know what letters you need and I’ll get them to you. You gave me those awesome magazine prints and that photo at your sale. I owe you and I have plenty of these. 🙂

December 31, 2013 - 4:58 pm

Lara Jo Janice: that would mean I would have to be organized enough to HAVE Christmas cards. Next year, I swear, I’m going to get it together and get some cards in the mail. I have this great idea of dressing the kids in their PJs and taking a photo of them peering up into the fireplace…we’ll see if it ever actually gets done. 🙂 Thanks for writing!

December 31, 2013 - 5:02 pm

Lara Jo Marsha: you are making me so homesick. Caroling at the Bean! I have been missing Chicago so much lately. I would be back in the city, probably, having returned from Arkansas, had we not moved down here. Of course, I’ve been checking your weather, and it is not looking so great — hope you are staying warm. Is Hassan visiting, or is he working in Cairo? I must say, as a Chicagoan, it would not be that pleasant to vacation in Cairo and get SNOW! Thanks for writing — I’ll talk to you soon!

December 31, 2013 - 5:03 pm

Lara Jo Melissa, thanks for your kind comments. You’re very sweet. And you are way smarter than I am, only decorating half of your tree. I should have thought of that!!!

December 31, 2013 - 5:05 pm

Lara Jo Chanelle, that is SO NICE of you. Have you tried selling them on Etsy? Spun heads are so desirable, if you trust what you read on all of my favorite vintage blogs!!! How could Chicago folks not get that? It is so strange how much the market can differ from one area of the country to another.

January 12, 2016 - 9:17 pm

Allison I have those same mini Santa mugs! Bought them years ago at the Kane County Flea Market. They were in their original package. Mine said they were for nuts or cigarettes! Probably for the ladies when they played bridge in December. Just moved right before Thanksgiving so I didn’t have them out this Christmas. Loving your blog. Found you on Pinterest this week.

January 17, 2016 - 12:05 pm

Lara Jo Allison — CIGARETTES! How hilarious. Can you see a bunch of 50-year-old women ashing into our beloved Santa mugs??? Thanks for sharing that, it’s fascinating. Thanks so much for finding my blog and taking the time to comment — I’m thrilled to have a new reader! It gets slow around here in the winter by by the Spring and Summer I should be back to posting about vintage finds…already counting down the days until garage sale season! Hope 2016 has been a great year for you so far. Thanks again!