Category: Thrifting

vintage pyrex galore

vintage pyrex assortment on my coffee table

I was still knee-deep in fabric laundry from the rummage sale, but Halloween was approaching and I didn’t have any ideas left. So I stopped by my favorite thrift store since it was a Monday – 25% off everything, every Monday – and I had a good feeling.

No luck with Halloween, but that doesn’t mean no luck.

cart full of vintage pyrex

happy birthday to me!

I made my usual rounds, checking the clothes for costume inspiration (none), checking the furniture just in case, checking the fabric because I love to ever challenge my fabric storage capacities. Housewares comes last in my standard counter-clockwise lap of this particular thrift store, but when I went down the first aisle, I knew it would be good. Two vintage Pyrex bowls! They always sell so quickly – and there were two! What a lucky day!

vintage pyrex assortment on my coffee table

Then I turned down the next aisle, and there were shelves full. I probably stared for a second with my mouth agape… and then I realized another lady was looking intently through them. So I did something slightly rude: I started to grab random Pyrex from the shelf and stack them in my cart. I’d sort later, but I wanted to claim as many as I could.

vintage pyrex - americana and gooseberry

My rival and I quickly made amends. She did not call me out on my rudeness (to be fair, a lot of rudeness happens at this particular store). When we both ignored a particularly ugly print, I laughed, “it’s so ugly!” and she replied, “The uglier the better.” I told her about my incredibly ugly Cinderella bowl that’s tan, with brown speckles and brown mushrooms, and how I just love it, and she laughed, “I think I have a trivet of that!” By the end of the shopping trip, I had relinquished half the contents of my hastily gathered cart, and she had volunteered a few pieces that matched the ones I wanted to buy. We had become Pyrex buddies: crazy together.

vintage pyrex - quilt stars

I ended up with a healthy cart full… 12 in all. I couldn’t pass them up. Almost every single one is in perfect condition, and when one is smooth to the touch on the inside and without scuffs on the outside, I simply must give it a good home. Plus, it was two days after my birthday: I had no chance at trying to deny myself a splurge.

I already have a good collection of Pyrex bowls and casseroles. I hate to call it a collection, but I don’t think I can deny it after this trip. I try and keep them in constant rotation in my kitchen: mixing bowls, salad bowls, casserole dishes; and when I have a group of friends over for dinner, I love using an assortment for serving. I try and keep as many as I can from collecting dust – even though the insides are shiny and white, they look even better when loaded with food.

ladies board rummage sale: the haul 2014

What would this blog be without a roundup of my finds at my very favorite annual rummage sale? I’ve explained all the details in my 2013 recap, but, in case you missed it, here’s the important information: multiple horse barns full of everything you can imagine; an awesome old guy named Wiley who works the glassware section and prices everything at a quarter; ladies in the fabric section who can’t believe how much fabric I buy. Does it sound good enough yet?

Every year, my mom and I plan our attack strategy in advance. In the beginning, circa 2007, I was all about refashioning clothes, so the “fill-a-bag” clothing was always a high priority. The years after that had varying craft priorities: furniture, screenprinting supplies, books. This year, we approached the sale as seasoned veterans. We knew what we wanted to see, and we knew what to skip. We managed to leave the sale without any clothing, and even skipped the book barn altogether. From there, the logistics were simple. We’d start in furniture (where the coolest things go fastest), run through housewares, then take our time looking through fabrics.

We opted out of the $5 early-bird entry, instead arriving promptly at 8:45am to prepare for the 9am free-admission opening. As we watched the early birds load their vehicles with treasures, we were relieved – nothing super cool had been claimed yet.

When the doors finally opened, we began perusing the aisles of furniture. My apartment finally has nearly all the furniture it needs, and of course my mama doesn’t need much more furniture at her house, but you never know if you’ll find something special. My mom bought a small stool, not quite as adorable as my 2010 hassock but definitely a good $5 find. Pricing was odd this year – many pieces of furniture were hugely overpriced for a secondhand, charity sale: some dressers were running between $100-200, and a few dining sets even exceeded that range. I tend to enter Extreme Bargain Mode on rummage sale day, and anything more than $10 feels like I’m forking over half a paycheck. So furniture wasn’t a big hit for us this year.

rummage sale 2014 - green vinyl bar chairs

But when I saw these chairs, at $10 each, I got excited. Green vinyl bar stools with steel legs – and they have a funny little back? How quaint and comfy! And how within the rummage sale budget, at $10 apiece! But, alas, they were sold to an early bird. No stools for me.

rummage sale 2014 - orange vinyl bar chair

But wait! Half a turn away, a lone orange chair awaits. An even better color, even cuter in its single-ness, and not-yet sporting a “sold” sticker. Great news for Sam! My first purchase of the day.

rummage sale 2014 - soup cracker soup crackers soup mug

From there we headed to housewares, something I can never get enough of. I corralled an armful of (matching!) wine glasses, a big glass pitcher, a meat thermometer, a yellow bowl, and this incredible “soup crackers soup crackers soup” mug (which begs the question, what do I eat out of this?). I approached my buddy Wiley from last year, and went through my pile.

“How much is this?” “A quarter.”
“How much is this?” “A quarter.”
“What about this?” “Hmm, a quarter.”

He’s the best.

I also ended up in that zone at the end of our visit – it’s always worth a second lap since there are many boxes under the tables that only get unearthed once some space has been cleared. I snagged a bunch of wire shelves and wire baskets for my kitchen cupboards (the kind that retail for ungodly prices) and a few similarly useful items. Not as fun, entirely practical, but a big win for rummage sale day.

rummage sale 2014: fabric cuts

I went a little crazy with the fabrics this year. The photo above shows all my big cuts; I also bought a bag full of small scraps. I’m trying hard to buy fabrics that will help me use what I have, so most of my scraps are white, natural, or navy cottons: perfect for linings or interlinings. In the piles above I also have a nice gray blend, a huge cut of navy cotton, and a white and yellow striped lining that I’m hoping to use in a skirt (or coat?!) someday. The white lacy piece is over 5 yards long, and it’s already earmarked for my bedroom curtains.

rummage sale 2014 - colorful fabrics

These colorful fabrics are the best. I want to use the vintagey one to make a cheater quilt, and the big bold checks would also make an amazing blanket. I’ve only been in my apartment for six months, so I still have homemaking on the mind.

rummage sale 2014 - blue floral fabrics

These fabrics are a matching set. No plans yet, but they’re darling and had to come home with me.

The woman working the fabric section asked me, “So, will you have used all these fabrics by the time we’re here again next year?” I laughed a quick, “No way,” but in my head I wanted to say, lady, let me buy some fabric guilt-free… I know I’ll never use it all but it’s just so pretty!

rummage sale 2014 - large quilt embroidery hoops

This giant frame was exactly what I sought for a recent craft project! That’s the best part about rummage sale day: it always sparks new projects, but sometimes it helps finish an old project that’s needed something special. And the giant quilt hoops are destined for wall art as well, of course.

rummage sale 2014 - wall of embroidery hoop art

I decided not to pull inspiration from the embroidery hoop wall art that was for sale in the Crafts barn. I don’t think my apartment is in need of quilted ducks! But, of course, this is always the best part of the rummage sale: laughing with my mom about the crazy things we find… and laughing even harder (sneakily, of course) when we see someone buying such crazy things! I’m sure they laugh at me, too, lugging a garbage bag full of fabric around. “Clearly she won’t use it all,” they say. They’re right. But I’ve got to stockpile for a winter of sewing, and it’s going to be wonderful.

I already can’t wait for next year. Rummage sale day is truly my favorite day.

thrifted: giant bags o’ vintage bias tape

pile of colorful vintage bias tape

My creativity has been having a dormant winter. The evenings are too dark for making, so I have unloved piles of fabric all over the house, waiting for me to stop hibernating and start sewing.

When I’m in this mood, I love thrift stores even more than usual. Somehow, they wake me up from my dark, wintery stupor and remind me of all the glorious creative pursuits that await me when the days become longer.

colorful vintage bias tape with pretty labels

Last weekend, Katie and I found a new thrift store and got some high-dollar finds: she left with a Le Creuset fondue pot and a Lauren faux fur vest, and I snagged a 200€ ski jacket for $5. But my favorite part about giant thrift stores like that one are the grab bags that dangle from every shelf. Bags of scarcely-related items grouped together for a buck or two… they might contain treasures and they often contain crafting supplies.

colorful vintage lace trim

Three of the grab bags were filled with packages of bias tapes and trims, and at $2 per bag it was a no-brainer. At least, it should have been… I was trying to be “good” and almost left them at the store because I didn’t “need” them. Can you imagine?

colorful vintage ric rac

They’re all bright colors, and a wonderful variety.

colorful vintage lace trim

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

Now I have a giant box of cheer, just waiting for me to start my spring sewing.

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

When I got home and tore through the bags (always an exciting moment because, even with those perfectly clear bags, you never know if there will be a surprise) I counted the goodies… 74 packages. I’d say that’s a good deal for $6 – even cheaper than the original 10¢ price tag on a few of the oldest ones!

And yes, that bin was empty before the thrifting trip.

bin of colorful vintage bias tape

I hope sharing my grab-bag rainbow helps with your winter gray. Do you have trouble creating when it’s cold and dark?