Thursday, August 20, 2015

Unbelievable "Finds" Me: Aqua Gooseberry

As a collector of all things vintage, it is hard sometimes to pick favorites. However, for me the choice is easy; Pyrex is the favorite. I have collected Pyrex for about 10 years and have developed quite the collection. Most common patterns and pieces I have so to have something really special come way is a rare treat.

Treasure hunting has a lot of perks but nothing takes the cake like the people you meet and the stories you hear along the way. Dealers and collectors build relationships that form a very electic club or community to which I am happy to belong. Through my "community" I was able to meet Canadian Cheryl or the pen lady as I sometimes refer to her because of her passion for collecting pens. Cheryl and her husband travel each year to Southern California to escape the coldest winter months and soak up the sun. Cheryl loves to find treasures from estate sales to auctions which is how we met.

So, hearing from Cheryl the middle of July came as a surprise. However, I knew it had to be good, when she said she found some interesting Pyrex at a local thrift store.

Cheryl writes:

This so NEVER happens to me! I was in a thrift store yesterday and spotted this Pyrex set. I knew Gooseberry, I knew Cinderella and I knew turquoise, but it wasn't till I got it home that I saw it was the English JAJ Crown Pyrex which you lust after. THEN I found out how rare the bloody thing is. What do you think? I bought it to use, but now I'm not so sure! I 've attached 2 pictures, but can send more if you'd like a better look.

You can imagine my excitement to see these in the photo. I emailed her back wanting more photos and asked more detailed question about condition. But the biggest question I had is are these for sale and how much?! A few email exchanges later we had determined that she wanted to sell and I wanted to buy. I knew Cheryl was about to do really well on her recent find but I told her to hold off telling me the entire story until after we had worked out a fair deal for both of us. The end result is I did get my coveted bowls and I paid up for them, but I believe was fair deal. But wait until you hear Cheryl's entire story.

Cheryl writes:

Here’s the story. I volunteer at a cancer resource centre in Oshawa and also crochet small blankets for their paediatric cancer programme. Kids get chilly when they’re having chemo and each child gets their own “bankie” to cuddle under. Yarn is a bit costly, so I go into thrift stores, buy old crochet or knitted blankets, undo them and re-use the yarn. In Ontario there’s a chain of thrift stores called Value Village (Valoo VillĂ ge or the Vee-Vee Boutique to the regulars – kinda like Tarzjay), the diabetic society collect clothes and household items, sell them to VV as a fund raiser and then VV re-sells them. The stores are all big, bright and well laid out, not the cheapest, but not unpleasant to shop in. So, there I was last week, I found two nice big blankets and thought “I’ll check the kitchen-ware aisle”, there at the end of a shelf priced at $12.99 (sorry), was a Pyrex Cinderella set. My kitchen has turquoise accents and I thought I’d buy it for myself. I have a Cinderella set in Homestead and a newer (non-Cinderella) set in 4 shades of blue that are my regular bowls. When I got home, did the research and found out what I had, I re-thought things! l suspect that the bowls came over here in the 50’s or 60’s with a woman who emigrated from the UK, a lot of the things at VV are donated by families emptying out parents’ homes if they can’t be bothered to yard sale the stuff. She obviously never had a dishwasher and maybe she wasn’t much of a cook, that’s why they got such little use. Who knows. If it had been a fabulous piece of Fire King Philbe though, I would have been reluctant to sell, THAT.

So that's the story of the $12.99 Turquoise Gooseberry Pyrex found in a Canadian thrift. Notice she said sorry in her email. Yep, Cheryl got a great return but I am so happy she thought of me instead of ebay! I got a fair deal and we kept it in the family lol. Here are my bowls that arrived safe and sound thanks to careful packing.

Nicely stacked!
Side by side!

In the Pyrex in pantry with all the other Pyrex friends! Special thanks to Cheryl for thinking of me. It was also a great reminder of the wonderful community of collectors that I get to be apart of and that my next treasure may show up in one their hands. Now to find a coveted pen that Cheryl will

Have A Wonderful Cherry Picked Week Y'all!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Long time, No Blog: when weddings and travel get in the way!

It's been a crazy summer so far. I haven't stopped to blog once. But, that doesn't mean I stopped looking and buying. I have so much to share.

Where have I been? Well, I was busy during the month of June because my brother got married. It was really crazy but turned out beautiful.

Then I went to Nashville. That city has changed so much in the last few years. It was filled with country music, hipsters, and tons of vintageness everywhere. Hatch Show Print is one of the places I always visit while in town. It is one of the country's oldest print shop businesses still creating and designing the same way they did from day one. I always buy concert posters from left over jobs. The graphics are killer. I will have to share more about those in a future post.

My brother loves to hit the thrift stores and garage sales so he has been keeping an eye out for things for me. So, when I arrived in town for his wedding he had quite the stash of Pyrex waiting for me. Take a look!

Amazing right! The Friendship was a $1 garage sale find and the aqua was found at a thrift store. My brother knows exactly what this Pyrex collector wants and loves! I was able to fit all of this with my clothes in my carry on baggage. I'm sure this must of had security thinking some interesting thoughts as they scanned my bag. Oh, well the Pyrex collection must move forward!

I will be back with more summer fun finds soon. Heading to an auction!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

It was/is a Sign! A Pyrex sign...

I have collected Pyrex for about 10 years now. I have actively collected advertising for about 15 years. The advertising collection started after I took several advertising and marketing classes in college. I had a professor who was obsessed with branding especially John Deere. We studied all the great brands and I developed an appreciation for the art and creativity that goes into each piece.

Naturally, when I discovered there were advertsing pieces other than print ads available to purchase with my favorite brand Pyrex I was thrilled. Of course, I combined my 2 collecting categories and my new obsession was born. Pyrex advertising store displays and signs from hardware stores, general stores and department stores are my focus.

I recently acquired this piece. The seller found it in a barn and it was super grimy and rusty. But the fact that it exists is quite amazing. It is rare. However, I have seen part of this piece before. The Thrifter Sisters at had found one and posted it as their very first blog post!

My sign needed some work because of the dirt and rust. I took the entire thing apart and because there was not any paint left on the outside metal I sanded it down to remove the rust. I decided to paint the outside a light hammered blue. I chose the paint color based on the fact that my other general store display from the same era was that same color and texture. I also decided at over 4 feet wide with the side brackets that I would not have room to display it in my tiny kitchen. I decided to only display the Pyrex sign part for now.

It is a great sign and it is right at home sitting above my refrigerator. I am so happy to add it my collection.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Reveal: From Rust Bucket to Bombshell

I posted several weeks ago about a double drain board sink and vintage steel cabinet I picked up. I was not sure I could save the cabinet or if I wanted to. It was really bad. Here is a reminder of what it looked like when I picked it up.

So much Dirt...
So much rust...

And so much grime and oil from being stored in a garage/barn. Once I decided to clean up the cabinet. My first thought was to do a quick pressure wash/paint and sell it on craigslist. My goal was to pay for the double drainboard sink I paid for and was keeping. After getting into the project I decided to do a little more and a little more detail. I took the entire cabinet apart. I removed the chrome handles and polished each one. I removed all the drawer fronts and cleaned every nook. The more time I had into this project the more invested I became. I sanded down every square inch of this cabinet. I then pressure washed the entire thing again. Paint was the fun part. I chose to use Rustoleums Heirloom white paint. I also used glossy black paint on the toe kick.

This project kicked my butt. I estimate I have over 40 hours of work into this. After doing the math, I figured if I paid myself $10/hour I would need to charge at least $400 for the cabinet. I think at my booth I would need to charge at least $500 because of commission. I feel right now I have more blood, sweat and tears into than I think I can get out of it. So, what did I do?

I kept it! I made room for it in my kitchen. I think she looks like a bombshell. I reused the countertop on my previous cabinets and added a new coat of stain. I can't say that I would do it again. But, I can say I'm glad the project is over and it tured out the way it did!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Out of Town fun in a Vintage Wonderland

I was kickin it in vintage style on a recent trip to Florida. I stayed at the Cabana Bay Resort in Orlando. It is a Universal Studios hotel. They have completely renovated and restyled in a 1950s 1960s vibe. It was super cute for the price. The only things I would improve would be the sound proofing of the rooms and the food could be better. I would stay there again. The pools and lazy river were great!

They had a bowling alley and arcade room. Also, movies at the pool each night. The bar had the best drinks!

In addition we spent time at Universal Studios and visited Harry Potter World. Which was amazing! I am not easily impressed by theme parks but the attention to detail was incredible! The rides were great but the Harry Potter Books came alive in every inch of it. I even had some butter beer!

I didn't stop treasure hunting even though it did slow down. Here are a few things I've picked up in the last few weeks.

The mini indent ornaments are my favorite Christmas finds so far this season. The Elvis musical jewel box was just too kitchy to pass up and the Foley red handle potato masher is going in my stash/collection.
The Uncle Sam iron bank is going to be added to my patriotic holiday display. The vintage lantern is going to be added to my new summer porch decorations. I was able to pick both of these up at auction this week!

Moving to Southern California has more perks than just the weather. I am able to frequently pick up signed Hollywood memorabilia. This H.G Wells Time Machine photo is signed by Alan Young and Rod Taylor. It was also an auction buy. I always pick up signed stuff if it's cheap enough.

I hope everyone's sale season is off to a great start. Have a wonderful cherry picked weekend!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Real Vintage Kitchen Barn Find!

It started out as a normal non-vintage craigslist search for a cheap jewelry cabinet. The jewelry cabinet I had was no longer functional and was overflowing. After weeks of searching, I located one and contacted the seller. After a few emails I was on my way to get my $20 very large jewelry cabinet. I was super excited to find such a great deal.

The sellers house was only about 10 miles from me but was in the sticks. The seller had the doors open to the barn/garage structure when I arrived. I looked over the jewelry cabinet and handed over the $20. That is when this story comes to a screeching stop!

The place was packed. Being the wise picker I am, I asked the seller if she had anything else available for sale. She said take a look around. Ding ding ding! You don't have to tell me twice. I looked around and there in the back, covered in dust, was a double drainboard porcelain enameled sink with original cabinet. The sink was in great condition other than some over spray of paint from someone's garage project. I knew it would clean up. The cabinet however was falling apart and had some major issues. I didn't even know if it was complete. I ask the seller if she would be willing to sell the sink and cabinet. She said yes but she needed to check with the original owner of the property because some of the things stored in the barn were theirs.

Fast forward to 1 long week later. I finally got the call that is was available. However, the owner wanted $250! Which to be honest, the sink is worth that and then some. But I'm cheap what can I say. I offered a very low $40. Don't judge me lol! My low offer paid off and the seller came down to $100. Which I then offered $75. The seller accepted and I quickly loaded up the sink and steel cabinet into the back of my truck.

When you see what I am dealing with you will understand my low offer in the beginning of the deal. Take a look at this mess.

The first thing I wanted to do was get the sink cleaned up. I spent about 3 hours cleaning and removing the drain and faucet hardware. I did this first because I wanted to make sure the porcelain was not rusted through where the fixtures were attached. After the labor intensive process of removing the 65+ year old faucet and drain I discovered a near mint sink! Amazing! I don't know if the faucet is worth saving or not but that project is for different day.

The next thing was to see if all the cabinet hardware was there including some drawer pulls that had fallen off into the cabinet, the drawer rails, and drawer fronts. There was no need to continue to try and save the sink base if all the parts were not there. Good News is it is complete! Now for the hard part. Restoring the darn thing. Here are my options/ideas I have floating around in my head. A: restore and keep because it would make an amazing island (I already have complete set of aqua Geneva steel cabinets in storage for a future kitchen remodel) or B: restore and create an island and sell it for a profit and I get a free sink. Decisions, decisions... What would you do? Either way I have a huge project on my hands. Final outcome To Be Continued....this project is going to take several weeks.

Here is a close up of the cabinet and as you can see it was sold by Montgomery Wards and from my research it is late 40s early 50s! Wish me luck :)


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Swizzle stick foshizzle stick

We all know people who collect coins, stamps and Pyrex. But, have ever heard of a swizzle stick collector? Don't get me wrong I know many folks who have a jar full somewhere in the mix of all their vintage goodness. Those people are not the kind of collectors I'm talking about. I'm referring to the swizzle stick collector that attends the International Swizzle Stick Association convention in Las Vegas every 2 years, hunts down and categorizes them with intent.

I ran across an avid swizzle stick collectors collection at a family ran estate sale. It was insane. The amount of vintage swizzle sticks was overwhelming. The entire garage was filled with meticulously organized swizzle sticks. Plastic, advertsing, glass, pewter, silver, gold and everything in between. I talked to the family about their parents collection. They informed me that the swizzle sticks I saw was not even half of the sticks that their parents had owned. They had packed up an entire storage pod and sent it to be sorted and displayed in some museum. Can you imagine a swizzle stick exhibition?

So, what does one do when they are overwhelmed by a swizzle stick collection at an estate sale? This cherrypicker asked how much for allllllll of the sticks! NO, this is not a joke. The price was amazing! I bought them all! They were all organized in these specifically crafted folders and it was too much to resist. Take a look at a few of my favorite cocktail stirs I purchased.

These are a few of the boxes with the folders that all the sticks are organized in.


Christmas! Coca Cola and Donkey/Moscow Mule!
Lady Devils and pin up girls!

This was a fun and interesting find. I only hope there is a market for swizzle sticks. I hope to sell them in my booth and in my etsy shop soon. Happy Easter!