Weekend Finds: Estate Sale Treasures

Today I’m sharing my finds from the amazing estate sale Austin posted about this past Tuesday. I got to the sale early on Friday and was number three to get in the door when the sale started. The house was packed in every room and seemed to be themed: vintage clothing, old toy and holiday, sewing and craft supplies, books and ephemera, and jewelry. Sounds fun, right?

I only bought a few things on Friday, but I was super excited about them. Like this $3.00 circa 1960′s Replogle 6 inch Moon globe I found for Angela. It maps the crater and landing sites.

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The first day of the sale I also found an amazing postcard book, that I will be sharing in a future post, and a circa 1940-1950′s Christmas card scrapbook. I paid $5.00 knowing it would be fun to flip through at home. A lot of the cards are very loose and most I will be able to easily remove from the book.

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When you open this card you find…

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More cards! So cute.

By far my favorite find in the album is this large matchbook/card. It’s in wonderful condition and will be so fun to display at Christmas.

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On Sunday everything was 75% off, so I found myself standing in line once again for round two of this sale and it paid off.

I headed straight for the toy and Christmas room where I also discovered you could fill a paper bag for $5.00. So I grabbed a bag and started filling. I picked a few toys including three pressed cardboard and paper farm animals with wood bases and a brightly colored game board which is now hanging in my hallway.

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After picking out a few toys, I headed for the Christmas room to fill the rest of my bag. I scored two boxes of pink glass ornaments, four strains of mercury glass garland, picks, Christmas elves, an old The Night Before Christmas book, and an amazing box made in West Germany with long Shiny Brite ornaments.

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photo (87) In another room, I found four “made in Germany” Valentine’s cards. Each card has a mechanical moving part.

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I couldn’t resist buying these two unused vintage boxes of birthday candles. They remind me of how old I’m getting because I realized I would have to open the second box to have enough candles on my next birthday cake. Ugh!

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And what’s a birthday party without Balloon drop? I would have loved this as a child. I just might have to use this.

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The direction say it can hold up to 50 balloons!

My last find was this very fancy early 1900′s purse…or is it? When you open it you find out that it’s a case to hold opera glasses.

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It still has a tag on the bottom of it.

I have one church sale to go to this weekend, but I will be mostly focusing on having my own garage sale with my mom and sister. Wish us luck!

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Gift Guide: Vintage Birthday Books

Hello everyone! How have you all been? Are you finding exciting vintage finds? I am finally ready to return to the “real world.” Let me warn you though: about 25% of my brain cells have been deleted and 25% are unaccounted for. While I may be getting slightly more sleep, I still feel off-kilter and crazy. I had a baby girl, Imogene, and she unfortunately has acid reflux pretty bad and it’s been a little overwhelming at times. She is two months old now and finally I feel like a sense of balance is slowly being regained.

This last weekend was my son’s fourth birthday. I can’t believe it! Although, turning four was much easier to take than turning three for whatever reason. A little thing I like to do for him is read these three books. They all have a common theme of celebrating birthdays. So if you need to pick up a present for a vintage-lover, check them out.

Dr. Seuss Cover

Let’s start with the most obvious vintage birthday book, Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss. Did you know he pronounced his last name “Soice”? Anyway…yes, this book is still being printed today. But let me tell you, the vintage printing is way more amazing. The colors are so incredibly vibrant in the vintage printing that it is worth it to search an antique store to find one. I found this copy for $3.50 and paid $10.00 for another one. Well worth it.

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This book is pretty long, so a toddler might only be able to get through half of it. But at four, Oliver can sit right through it.

A Very Special Day Cover

My next birthday book is A Very, Very Special Day by Frances Ullmann DeArmand. The illustrations in this book are so mid century.

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This book interacts with the reader a little more and keeps them guessing as to what this special day actually is. This year my son kept guessing what day he thought it was!


My last birthday book is Fortunately by Remy Charlip. My son thinks this book is hilarious and giggled all the way through it. One page is fortunate circumstances with colorful illustrations, one page unfortunate circumstances with black and white illustrations.

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Don’t worry, the ending is fortunate! Do you have any birthday book suggestions? If so, be sure and let us know.

Pinterest Guide

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Weekend Finds: A Good Old Fashioned Estate Sale

Lately I’ve been in less of a buying mood and more in a “get something—anything—done” mood. With years of refinishing projects queued up, my full attention hasn’t been on tag sales. When Tammy told me she had a hot lead on a sale and even sent me the posting, I perused the photos and dismissed it as a fussy old lady sale. I ignored her insistence that the seller never takes photos of the good stuff and skipped day one of the sale. Later, when Tammy called to tell me of the wonders she had found, I decided I couldn’t miss day two—the half-price day.


My first find at the sale was a pretty good indication of just how much I had misread the situation initially. This service for eight “Focus” flatware by Gense of Sweden really had me wondering what I must have missed on day one. Of course, had I gone, I may have been tempted to buy it at full price. It was a much better bargain on day two at $25. I have a couple similar sets of American flatware with brown handles, but I am totally in love with the unique shapes of these pieces. Aside from a couple teaspoons and small knives, I was pleasantly surprised to find the set was nearly complete.

IMG_5389Rounding out a tour of Scandinavia are some Danish candle holders. I can’t get enough of these turned wooden candlesticks. Most of mine are teak, but I’ve also got a growing collection of painted ones like this.

IMG_5412One of the difficulties of estate sales is finding large items right off the bat that you must lug through a crowded house until you can find a safe place for your items to be held. At this sale, my albatross was this Replogle globe.


The base is really cool and that’s what drew me to it. But globes are hard to carry in a crowd and somewhere along the way the knob that holds the globe together popped off the little spindle you see poking out to the right and disappeared forever. I actually came back to the sale on the last day (75% off day!) and combed the house for it, but it was nowhere to be found. It’s still pretty cool despite being slightly incomplete.


Often in intact estates you’ll see lots of great lights and other fixtures mounted to the walls that aren’t for sale, but in a basement bedroom I found two great wall-hung bedside lamps. I love the extension lamp’s simplicity, but my favorite is the counterweighted pull-down lamp. That slick brass arm that mounts invisibly to the wall is fantastic, as is the slatted wooden shade. I may rewire this with reproduction cloth cording and move the power switch out of sight, just to clean it up a little, but otherwise it’s in remarkable shape.


My favorite basement finds, however, were hiding in the Christmas room. You know you’re going to find great stuff when you see it packed away in ancient boxes that look like this:

IMG_5427And the ancient boxes didn’t disappoint. I found two boxes stuffed with bead sprays, picks, ornaments, elves and all sorts of Christmas nonsense from the 1950s. Many of the items were never used, still wrapped in their original tissue paper.


Then I’ll have to decide whether to unwrap them or leave them like this forever. But I’ll probably bust them out and stick them all over the house for the holidays.


I would love to have seen what went on in this house at Christmas. It must have been spectacular—or she knocked off a craft store at some point. We may never know the truth.



IMG_5414There was just so much stuff in the boxes that it took a couple hours to sort it all out when I got it home. Some of the smallest items were the most fun, like the hundreds of teeny, tiny spun-head Santa Claus and snowman embellished pipe cleaners I found in the bottom…

IMG_5415…or these Italian made Christmas cards embellished with hand painted wooden figures.


I nearly threw these out with a stack of ugly cards I found stuffed in with a candle until I felt the wooden pieces through the envelopes. I’m glad I thought to open them first. Although I will say the image of a toy-bearing angel juxtaposed with the three kings riding through a snowy northern European landscape is a tad confusing.

IMG_5424The best find in the Christmas boxes by far was this instant elf army. The gold lamé one is my favorite. To out-fabulous 12 other elves is no easy task.


In addition to the Christmas boxes, I bought some individually priced decorations including nearly two dozen of these amazing beaded wire snowflakes in two sizes.


I also got some great clear plastic candy container Santa boots.


On the last day of the sale, everything in the Christmas and toy room was “fill a bag for five dollars.” That kind of thinking causes you to fill a bag with weird stuff like this:


Of course it’s fun weird. The two Easter bunnies are Annalee Mobilitee dolls which, apparently, are a popular collectible and the product of a mom and pop company that ballooned into a multi-million dollar business by the 1970s. The “Watch-it Watch” is a branded product from the tv series Family Affair. It’s not bad for a kids’ toy, it has a Swiss-built movement. I couldn’t resist the Little Red Riding Hood finger puppets, although I don’t remember where the clown comes in.


This advertising ashtray for Resistol hats was another fun find for the five dollar bag.


There were a lot of vintage clothes at the sale and one of the things I picked up in the clothing room was this… bag? I didn’t really know what it was to be honest, I just though it looked cool. It’s open on one end, but has no closure. When I got home I reached inside to check for a tag and realized the opposite side is heavily insulated—it’s an oven mitt. A pretty awesome oven mitt, too.


I love the eclectic things you find in a complete estate. This spooky old gentleman definitely qualifies. This “painting” is actually painted over a tin photograph from about the 1880s. He’ll fit right in with my collection.


There was a fairly large collection of ephemera in the house and on the final day of the sale I found this lithographed, die-cut 1902 calendar. It will make a nice addition to my mom’s collection of Victorian paper goods.


My final find is a reminder to leave no stone unturned at an estate sale, I found this gem on the bathroom counter. This little kit is a perfume typer. Each little plastic vial—called nips—holds a particular scent and the user is instructed to break them open and wear each for an entire day until she can decide which types of scents she likes the best. I couldn’t find a company anywhere on it and I also couldn’t work out how you tell which scent is which. Presumably they are color-coded, but I couldn’t decode it. Still, it’s a pretty cool set.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve been to a really great sale like this and I’m hungry for another one. Maybe one of these days I’ll start listening to Tammy’s instinct.

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Milo Baughman’s Perspective

A couple weeks ago while making a stop at one of my favorite flea markets, I spied this interesting mid-century corner table from across the room.


I thought the form was interesting, but from a distance it looked like someone had peeled away all the veneer from the top, exposing some sort of particle board substrate. Upon closer inspection, however, I discovered the top was actually covered with cork veneer. Very interesting. In fact the whole design of the thing was interesting and well crafted. It needed a little work but it was still in very restorable condition, so I decided to spend the whopping 10 bucks to buy it. When I flipped it over to carry it out, I learned what it was.


Drexel is best known as a manufacturer of heirloom-quality traditional furnishings, but in the 1950s and 60s they were at the forefront of modernism with exciting lines designed by high-profile designers. The Perspective line is packed with impossibly chic pieces created by the esteemed Milo Baughman (best known for his decades of iconic furniture design for Thayer-Coggin) and was introduced in 1952.


I always love discovering Drexel pieces. In addition to excellent design and remarkable craftsmanship, Drexel pieces always have some unique touches. The use of mahogany on this table is not unusual for the early 1950s, however the fact that it is left natural (most manufacturers of this period opted for a cabernet-stained look) and rather exotically grained stock make it feel special. And that cork top—well, I don’t know what to think of that.


The only comparable table I’ve been able to find in research has a wood top, which introduces the possibility that the cork was added at a later date. Yet the cork is inlaid with such precision and there are no signs that the edge banding securing it or the cabinet that sits on top of it have ever been disturbed. So, I’m not really sure if it’s original or not, but I like how it looks and it will remain. Now I just have to figure out how one goes about refinishing cork…

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Before and After: “Cattail” Jardiniere Update

Last September, I posted a before and after on removing calcium deposits from an antique jardiniere/flower pot.

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I had been in search of this piece for quiet some time, so when I found it I didn’t let its condition get in the way of buying it. After a good cleaning, the end result was fabulous! At the time of this first post, I couldn’t show it off properly because my matching jardiniere pedestal it belonged with was somewhere in all our moving boxes just waiting to be unpacked. I have finally picked the right moving box and uncovered it!

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photo (76)I’m so happy the pedestal made it out of storage in one piece. Finally, my “Cattail” jardiniere is truly complete!

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