With August in the rear view mirror, I am taking a look back at the castoffs I collected from various thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales over the past month.
Some of my favorite finds were fall decor pieces. Honestly, I pick up seasonal pieces year round, but it’s more fun to find them in season, knowing that I can display them right away instead of having to put them in storage for six months first.
The cat in the pumpkin looks vintage, but it’s actually a reproduction made by artist Teena Flanner. She creates paper mâché pieces using 19th century chocolate, candy, and candle molds.
The cat was obviously holding something originally because there’s a tiny hole between her paws. I’m probably going to fill it in with a little bouquet of faux flowers before I set it out for Halloween.
The terra cotta jack o lantern I bought is not vintage either, but I just love these guys. I have two or three others packed away with my Halloween decorations, so I was thrilled to find another one.
He’s stamped “Craven Pottery, Inc. , Commerce, CA” on the bottom. His jack o lantern brothers pictured in the company’s online catalog all come with jaunty hats. My guy didn’t have a hat, but that’s OK. I think he’s perfect just the way he is.
My favorite find of the month is probably this empty bottle of Badel Sljivovica Old Plum Brandy. Badel is a Croatian distiller. So far I haven’t been able to find any information about my little bottle specifically, except that he apparently had a female partner with a blue scarf.
I think he’s vintage. He’s definitely made well. Just look at his leather hair!
I guess he’s technically not a fall decoration, but his Tyrolean style hat reminds me of Oktoberfest, so that’s what I’m going with.
And if you haven’t figured out by now that I have a thing for kitschy holiday decor, the turkey candle I bought might convince you.
This guy is a Gurley Candle, meaning he was made by the Gurley Candle Co., which operated out of Buffalo, N.Y., during the second half of the 20th century. I used to find Gurley Candles all the time for next to nothing at thrift stores. They’ve become collectible in recent years, though, so I don’t find them very often any more. When I do see them, they’re usually at antique stores selling for $5 or $10.
I considered myself lucky to snag this one at a thrift store for 69 cents.
Here’s a close-up of the Christmas collectibles I bought:
The vintage green-handled bell and red level are not truly holiday decor, but they looked so festive I decided to include them in this group.
I’m actually planning to use the level for its intended purpose and keep it in my kitchen junk drawer, so the next time I hang a picture I won’t have to traipse out to my husband’s workshop to get his, like I have for the past 20+ years. My new old level cost me $3, and I consider it money well spent.
The Arthur Godfrey album dates to 1953 and plays at 78 RPMs. According to eBay, there are supposed to be four records in the set. Sadly, my box only had three in it. (But I only paid $1 for mine; the ones on eBay were going for $20-$30.)
I tested them on my turntable last week, and they all worked. The sound was a little crackly, which is to be expected considering their age, but there were no skips. It’s possible that I might force my family to listen to them during our next Christmas gathering, but I mostly got the set as holiday decor.
The faux holly leaves and metal poinsettias are both new and in really good shape.
The metal poinsettias are actually napkin rings. As I’ve never used napkin rings in my life (we’re more a paper-plate-and-plastic-silverware-type family), they will probably get repurposed in a craft project.
I always have my eye out for art when I’m thrifting, so I was happy when I found these three prints for $1 each.
Actually they looked like this when I bought them:
I repainted the mat and frame for the Brooklyn Bridge print and bought secondhand frames for the other two.
I also bought these two game boards as art.
With my new additions, I am now the proud owner of four handmade wooden checkerboards and six handmade wooden cribbage boards. I keep saying when I get enough, I’m going to create a game board gallery wall. I think I’m getting close.
Sadly, my favorite part of the cribbage board won’t show if I hang it on the wall.
I’m not sure if the signer was the woodworker who built the board or the owner of it, but I love that she signed and dated it. (And that it’s from 1930.)
Here’s one more find in the art department: a pair of red corbels.
They’re definitely not old. They have a “Made in China” sticker on the back. But they have a vintage look to them, and I’m totally into the architectural-salvage-as-decor trend, so I will find somewhere in my house to display these.
In the “I’m Not Sure What I’m Going To Do With It, But I Had To Have It” category, there’s this chippy green metal folding chair that I got for $3.
I guess when we have company over at Christmastime to eat off my plastic silverware and listen to my crackly Arthur Godfrey record, one lucky guest will have the honor of sitting on it. 🤣 It’s a little wobbly, because one of the back legs is missing the rubber cap that the other three legs have, but I should be able to fix that.
The white pot and woven basket that I bought are probably a little more useful than my wobbly $3 chair.
Neither one is old, but I thought they were both pretty and practical. And they were dirt cheap. I already found a saucer to set underneath the pot. Now I just have to find a houseplant to put inside it.
This red and black parts organizer is another practical item I brought home. It was $6 and probably the most expensive secondhand item I bought all month.
My plan is to use it to store hardware and parts for the junk turkeys I make, although so far all I have in it are some random beads and a bunch of vintage googly eyes that I thrifted for 99 cents.
They don’t make googly eyes like this anymore, friends. Seriously. These have a metal back and shank. Not sure what I’ll do with them, but, as with the chippy chair, I knew when I saw them that I just had to have them.
That’s all for this month. Thanks for reading! Let me know what your favorite find was from the past month. And if you have any insights on my finds, please share! I always love to learn more about the pieces I collect.