Weekend Finds: Taylor Smith & Taylor Blue Clarion Dishes

Thrifting with a toddler and a baby is the worst kind of thrifting. Carrying one and keeping the other out of clothing racks while rifling through boxes is a dangerous business. Needless to say it doesn’t happen very often. But one day at a small-town thrift store, the owner said, “And you do know about our basement.” What. I’ve been there almost a dozen times and no one told me about their basement clear on the other side of an adjacent business. Probably because of the two children thing.

I dragged them along with me and thankfully found a cardboard box marked “old dishes.” Old dishes indeed.

Dishes Overall

Inside was this fun pattern called “Blue Clarion” by Taylor Smith & Taylor. While I can’t find any information about this pattern anywhere, that’s ok because for six place settings, a large bowl and large platter the price rang up as $7.

Dishes Closeup

Dishes CupMy favorite part is the unexpected pop of blue in the cup. I think I will be lugging my kids down to the basement room more often!

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March Garage Sales

I didn’t find many sales last week but I did find a few. Thursday my mom and I went to a church sale and found a few goodies.

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I couldn’t resist this “Made in Germany” wooden child’s caulk board for $0.50. It was hidden in a pile of newer picture frames.

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I snagged these old trays for $0.25 each. Not sure what I will do with them yet but they were too cool to pass up.

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My last find was this set of of bright orange vintage light fixtures. $7.00 was the crazy price I paid for the set.

Friday my sister and I took a small road trip to a sale advertising her favorite, Wedgwood. Our trip was a success and she bought her fill of Wedgwood. I didn’t snap a picture of her haul but, for me, it was a morning for smalls. Here are my finds from two garage sales.

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Tiny Swedish wooden candle holders priced at $0.20 per set. The pig is missing its match but this little pig was my son’s favorite and it was just given to him.

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Blue mason jar $1.00!

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A large 1950’s metal musical Easter toy for $0.20!

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I found one sale to stop at on Saturday morning about 10 minutes from my house. The sale started at 7am and I got there right at 7 o’clock. I somehow was able to shop the sale by myself for about 10 minutes before anyone else showed up. Maybe it was the 30 degree weather that kept all the non-crazy people at home. Prices were great! I bought an old camera for $1.00 and this amazing antique hutch for $75.00!

Antique hutch

This picture was taken at the sale and “yes” those are homemade 1980’s Strawberry Shortcake doll being displayed on it.

Not too shabby for March garage sales in Iowa!

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Before and After: Mid Century Bookshelves

When it comes to sprucing up vintage furniture, sometimes small changes make a big difference. Every day I see people chalk painting or aggressively altering vintage wooden furniture that really only needs a little love to look amazing. I’d like to think I saved the bookshelves in today’s post from a similar fate. You may remember these from a few weeks ago.


Honestly they weren’t that bad. What may be hard to see in these photos is some loose veneer, random surface scratches and missing spots of paint from the hardware. Those were easy fixes with a little wood glue, Howard’s Feed ‘N Wax and spray paint. But the most notable damage was a crudely punched hole in the back of the cabinet on the left. I appreciate the idea that someone might want to put stereo equipment in there, but the hole was unsightly. It also didn’t help that the backing material was just a linen-looking vinyl wallpaper that looked cheap compared to the cabinet. The fix? This is why I always pick up fabric and wallpaper scraps at garage sales. A $1 roll of grasscloth wallpaper came to the rescue.



The difference is subtle and maybe a little difficult to appreciate in these photos, but trust me, they look better than they probably ever did. The grasscloth adds a luxe feel and contrasts well with the rattan, but it still feels very much period appropriate. This is also a good trick for hutches or shelving that have fake vinyl woodgrain backings. Small changes can make a big difference.

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My New Secretary: A Love Affair

I apologize if my post title lured you in with the expectation of sordid details, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I truly am smitten with my newest acquisition.

IMG_7301It’s a Drexel Declaration secretary! Tambour doors, slide-out desktop, and those legs—it was lust at first sight.


Though I loved it at first sight, I didn’t really think I was going to get it. When I saw the ad it had been posted for over five hours. I figured my chances were nil, but I sent the email and waited. Miraculously, the next morning I discovered I was first in line for not only this, but also a matching bachelor chest.

IMG_7307This bachelor has lived a rough life and he’ll be needing some cosmetic attention to repair numerous scrapes and a sizable dent in the top. I’m anxious to try a steaming trick that I’ve heard puts damage like this back on the level. I’ll keep you posted on that process.

IMG_7310If you’re a long time reader of the blog, you’re probably already aware that I have a bit of an obsession with Drexel Declaration. It all started with a single coffee table six years ago and has now grown to over 20 pieces. You can check out some of my other pieces here, here, here and here.

Original Drexel catalog. Image from Retro Rennovaiton

Original Drexel catalog. Image from Retro Renovation

Declaration was designed by Kipp Stewart and Stewart Mac Dougall for Drexel in 1958. The design was inspired by the craftsmanship and detailing of Shaker furniture melded with a modern aesthetic. The result was a fully packed line of refined and solidly built mid-century modern pieces. There were two hardware options: white porcelain pulls or brass pulls with Formica inlays. Most of my pieces have the porcelain pulls, I’ll probably be on the lookout for replacements so I can switch out the brass pulls on these new pieces.


One of my favorite aspects of Declaration is the level of documentation each piece has. I’ve yet to find an unmarked or undated piece. Manufactured in 1962 and 1966, these pieces are among the youngest in my rapidly growing collection.


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Weekend Finds: Fruit and a Folding Magazine Rack

Normally when I’m out shopping for vintage goodies there’s a find or two once in awhile. This last weekend, I happened upon our local Goodwill with low hopes. Just a stroll through I thought.


Normally I’m not one for fake fruit. Seriously, why when I have so much real fruit already cluttering up my counter? But there is something a little fun with fake wooden fruit. Besides, it was the first and last time I got to utter the phrase, “The price is on the banana.”


My next few finds I can’t decide which is my favorite. This Danish fish platter is pretty unique and I love the illustrations. How practical it actually is will be another story…


This find still shocks me. All the glasses, no chips, stir stick in place, everything mint. Normally I feel like all the donations get thrown into a bin and if a glass shatters then oh well. But somehow this made it through. And for $2.99 it came home with me and will stay high out of the reach of sticky baby hands.

Magazine Rack

This Danish folding magazine rack from Nasco Yugoslavia is my favorite find lately. I’ve purchased a lot of magazine racks in my day but this one is the nicest. I think five minutes later to the store and it would have been gone. Especially for the price of $3.99.

What about you all? Have you found anything exciting? We’d love to hear!

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