I rounded up all the castoffs I collected at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets over the last month and thought I’d write a quick post about a few of my favorite finds. Then I realized they’re all my favorites, so maybe the post won’t be so quick.
Anyhoo, here’s a photo of the secondhand finds that came home with me in July:
A couple of project pieces
I bought a couple of pieces for their makeover potential.
One of them was this paper mache chicken that I blogged about last week.
When I saw him in the thrift store, I originally passed him by because green and red chickens aren’t really my thing. But as I was shopping, I started to think that with his distinctive shape, he might be a great candidate for a concrete garden statue makeover. And since I was at a pay-by-the-pound thrift shop (the Dig & Save in Madison) and he was a featherlight paper mache piece that would barely cost me anything, I tossed him in my cart.
Another thing I bought at the Dig & Save with a makeover in mind was this little cedar box with a glossy photo of a loon on its cover.
Here’s what the box looked like after its makeover:
(I’ve been on a bit of a black and white grain sack stripe painting spree lately.)
Vintage school/office/art supplies
I love to look for vintage items when I’m thrifting, so I was thrilled when I unearthed this old box of colored chalk at the bottom of a Dig & Save bin.
The chalk itself is great, but honestly, the box that it came in is what really appealed to me. If looks right at home with the rest of my vintage school/office/art supplies.
I actually use a few of the supplies (like my Golden Rule ruler), but most of them just sit on a shelf by my desk so I can pretend it’s 1960 while I’m surfing the internet and complaining that my page is taking too long to refresh. #21stCenturyProblems
Vintage school supplies aren’t the only thing I collect. For example, I’m always looking for old clocks. Here’s my latest addition:
This one is actually a reproduction that I got for $2.99. It’s really heavy and well made. I thought it was vintage when I first saw it, but when I turned it over, I saw it had a Pottery Barn stamp on the back, so definitely not vintage. But still lovely. And it keeps perfect time.
I also found this Minute Minder, which is technically a timer, not a time piece, for $5.
Sadly, the timer mechanism is broken. I can move the dial, but it won’t tick backward. I don’t care. It had me at that art deco font. And its chippy black metal case. Sigh. Well worth $5 in my book.
Miniature Statue of Liberties
Another thing I’m always looking for are miniature Statues of Liberty, like this one that I got at a garage sale for 50 cents.
Here she is with my other mini statues:
The tiny one on the far right is actually a Christmas ornament that I bought on Liberty Island last summer when my husband and I were in New York. The rest all came to me second hand. I don’t think any of them are old or valuable, but it’s such a fun thing to keep an eye out for when I’m out thrifting. Every time I find one, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.
I also collect silver bells that I set out at Christmastime, so I was very happy when I found this one for 50 cents.
The other ones I have are all silver or silver plated. I’m not sure what this one is made of, maybe pewter or aluminum. (It’s really heavy, so maybe pewter?) Even though it’s a little different from the others, it’s the same size, so I decided it would fit in.
I also have a soft spot for all things Wisconsin, so this tray was another happy Dig & Save find …
… as were these View Master slides …
… and this gizmo. I assume it’s something a business person would have written a receipt on back in the day?
It came with that scrap of paper fed through it, and if you wind the silver dial on the side, the paper will slide forward and backward. The top part lifts up.
I bought it in part because it had the name and address of a Wisconsin business printed on it, but also because I loved the two-tone avocado green finish. I’m currently making plans to make over our office/guest room, and I’ve been buying a lot of vintage green accessories for it, so this might end up in there. (If anybody has any ideas for how I could repurpose it, or where I could find a roll of paper to fit in it, let me know in the comments section below.)
And finally, here’s one more vintage Wisconsin thing I found for a quarter at another thrift store:
I think these little advertising coin purses used to be a popular business giveaway in the 1970s.
I have already put this piece to use. With the coin shortage due to the pandemic, I’ve been trying to pay with exact change when I buy something small and don’t want to bother using a card, so this is actually proving to be not just nostalgic, but also practical.
In addition to adding to my existing collections last month, I may have inadvertently started a new collection with this guy:
I found him at a Goodwill for 99 cents. He’s not old, but I thought he was adorable, and for 99 cents, how could I not buy him? I pictured him sitting out among some small pumpkins or gourds in the fall.
I was absolutely thrilled with my 99 cent squirrel — until the next day, when I went to the Dodge County Fairgrounds Flea Market and found this guy:
Squirrel No. 2 is cast iron, and I liked him way better than Squirrel No. 1, so I decided he had to come home with me, too, even though the rational part of my brain said I really didn’t need two squirrel nutcrackers. This one looks old, but I’m guessing he’s probably a reproduction, just because he shows virtually no signs of wear and because he was marked $7.50. I ended getting him for just $6 because #fleamarket.
Vintage pewter vase/trophy
And finally, here’s one last find that had me doing a happy dance last month: a small (6-inch tall) vintage trophy.
I’ve been ogling vintage trophies for years, but honestly, every time I’ve found one in the wild, the price has been ridiculously high. So when I stumbled upon this little one for just $2.99 at the same Goodwill where I found Squirrel No. 1, I was over the moon.
I’ve already been using it as a vase. And bragging about my 6th place finish in the IVV Wanderung in Ebenhausen in 1979. 🤣
I bought a couple of bigger items, too, which will probably be part of the office/guest room makeover I mentioned previously, so I’m going to hold off on showing them until I post about that.
Until then, let me know what you think! What was your favorite find? Do you have any insights for me on any of my new collected castoffs? Let me know in the comments below.