Friday, April 22, 2016

A beautiful spring morning in RVA, and I'm reminiscing about a glorious treasure hunting day yesterday. My friend and I shopped all day, hitting  an estate sale and two thrift stores. And in between, there was PIE!

My friend Ruth Ann is a super dedicated grandmother to a two year old and a one month old.  She is blessed to live close to her daughter, and she helps out every day; cooking, cleaning up messes, and rocking babies to sleep. But she was starved for some treasure hunting. So... In need of some down and dirty shopping? Who you gonna call? Sharon, of course!

We began the day at an estate sale in a semi neglected neighborhood at the edge of the city. . Sweet old bungalow, good stuff, but not the best ever. Lots of pretty glass in clear, pink and green, but it was priced out of my range. I bought one Christmas tree pin and a $5.00 zip lock bag of jewelry. Couldn't resist it.

Ruth Ann and I are firm believers that sheds are magical places. We always haunt them at sales, and we are always rewarded. Last year Ruth Ann found a complete chalk ware nativity set in a shed full of artificial flowers. See? Magical!

So, after completely searching the bungalow, we headed around to the back yard to check out a pair of small sheds. Clearly, these had been the man cave of a fisherman and do it yourself-er for many years.  I found an old tin bucket and two adorable little 1960's rubber dolls made in Hong Kong.  Perhaps a daughter played with them in Dad's shed long ago and left them there.

We completed the sale in an hour, and the day was young. My girlfriend asked if we could please please shop at the Salvation Army store, already a regular feature in this blog.

This place never disappoints me, and yesterday was no exception. I found vintage children's clothes as I always do here, two pieces of Bavarian China, a  MidCentury ice bucket, and a new rug for my son.

But my greatest treasure at the Salvation Army was a unique gift for my Mom, whose birthday is coming up. It was a small Staffordshire plate with two holes at the top to hold a ribbon for hanging. It has a transfer ware design in soft rose featuring swallows and vines. it also bears a verse which says:

When this you see,
Remember me;
Tho far apart
We chance may be.

A perfect gift for my Mom , who lives in Florida six months out of the year. I'm going down for her birthday in three weeks and I am thrilled to have something special for her.

Ok, sorry for the digression. We finished up at the Salvation Army and it was time to choose a lunch spot. We headed from the city out toward a rural area and  chose the Cold Harbor Diner, a back in time spot which does a booming business beginning at 4 a.m. They serve breakfast all day, plus old timey diner favorites. And best of all, with any meal, PIE is 99 cents!

We should have eaten light to save room for pie, but we did not. I had the open face roast beef sandwich, and Ruth Ann had a BLT which must have had a pound of bacon on it. So much bacon that she took a leftover container of bacon home for breakfast.

And then came the big decision... what kind of pie is best for treasure hunting? We both chose chocolate cream, and we were not disappointed.

Tired and full, I asked if Ruth Ann had had enough  shopping and eating for the day. She had not. She was quick to remind me that a large Good Will store was only a mile or so away. Why not complete the day with a Good Will stop? Why not indeed.

The Mechanicsville Good Will, already featured in this blog, is always fun. Yesterday wasn't our best haul ever, but we so enjoyed being together, comparing notes on life, and laughing about growing old.

We finished our shopping at 5:00; we had begun at 10:00. What a great day! We headed home with a headful of great memories and a carful of treasure.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Spring may have finally landed in RVA. I sure hope so!

Today has been a beautiful April Saturday. After a cool start, the sun is now beaming down on bright green grass and azaleas of every shade. Today is why I continue to live in Virginia.

Even though I was tired from working all week, I decided to hit one yard sale today. And, since I haven't seen much of my husband this week, I invited him along. A date and treasure hunting rolled into one!

I heard of the sale through a girl I know only slightly. My reputation as a treasure hunter led her to call and invite me. She and her sister are moving from their childhood home after a lifetime of accumulation. They grew up in this home, she told me, and have never really felt like disposing of many of their parents' things. She also told me that she and her sister were ready to part with their collection of Barbies. No old ones, she clarified, but hope springs eternal...

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, so excited about what a lifetime of treasure would look like. When we pulled up at the house, I was truly surprised that there wasn't more stuff sitting in the yard. I must remember that not everyone has been as blessed with stuff as I have.

I chatted with the two sisters as I made a circuit of the yard. First, I picked up an old wooden rocking baby bear from the 1960's. That alone was worth the drive, I decided. In a few minutes , I had accumulated a beautiful cut glass pitcher, an armful of doilies, and an old  hand painted lemon dish which my mom will love.

I was determined NOT to look at the Barbies, as they are definitely on the DO NOT BUY list. But, even though there were in fact no old ones, and even though I have an entire closet full of Barbies already, I looked. Just a little. I found one 50th Anniversary Bubble Cut that I don't have, for $10. I decided that I could treat myself to her.

When I looked around to find my husband, I saw something amazing. My  sweet Paul was SHOPPING. If you know Paul, you know that he is opposed to treasure, stuff, possessions, collectibles, antiques, knick knacks, and accumulation of any kind. So I was amazed to see him discussing price with one of the sisters. An uncommon sight.

Background ... this week we had our bumpy old driveway paved. Again. We are so tired of cracked asphalt that we went with something new. Basically, I think it consists of layers of asphalt over the old stuff, with a layer of cute brown pebbles poured on top. Then repeat.  Don't know if it will last, but we are hopeful that because it LOOKS different, it will last longer. The bottom of the driveway opens up into a kind of patio behind our house, surrounded by shade trees and flower beds. We are hoping that this new surface on the driveway will allow us to sit outside and enjoy the driveway as a kind of shabby piazza.

So, my husband was thinking seating. And he was dickering on, not just any seating, but an old set of wicker! Truly unbelievable. It occurred to me that it wasn't practical, and we probably didn't need it, but the shock of seeing my husband shopping caused me to remain mute.

Before I knew it, he had purchased two beautiful old wicker highback chairs and a side table. I was absolutely giddy with surprise and delight. I hurried to help load them in the pick up before he came to his senses.

After a discussion on the ride home, we decided to install the antique wicker on the screen porch and move our all weather wicker from Lowe's to the new piazza. We had a fun morning of positioning, repositioning, and repositioning, with an eye to what Country Living Magazine might do with the space. Tomorrow some painting may need to happen as well. The project may not be a success, and eventually, the driveway will succumb to the tree roots again.

But just now I am thrilled with our project and our hour of yard saling together.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A rainy afternoon in RVA. Time for searching for treasure in my basement and closets.

I had a specific purpose today. last night, an Etsy customer contacted me with a fascinating project. She is using a vintage theme for her daughter's first birthday party. She is looking for a vintage outfit for her daughter and for other babies who will be at the party. The mommies are also hoping to wear vintage. Of course, a photographer will be there to capture their adorableness in their vintage outfits.

What fun! After checking her daughter's measurements and mom's preferences, I went on the hunt through plastic boxes and closets. Found 5 beautiful possibilities for the birthday girl. All have been here for some time and probably would have been sold already except for procrastination, a besetting sin of mine. Treasure indeed --- one Castro, one Feltman Brothers, 3 made in the Philippines.

Two were in need of a button replacement, and I am so prone to procrastinate if a needle is involved. Another is a delicate 1940's baby dress which I have put off ironing because its fabric is so fragile and in danger of scorching.

Now I have ironed them all, but I must admit that no buttons have been sewn. More fun to write a blog post instead!

Thought my readers might enjoy seeing these pretty little dresses, so here they are.

So much fun!

Haven't had as much luck finding a vintage outfit for Mom, as my supply of ladies' vintage is not as deep as my supply of baby dresses. ( One can never have too many baby dresses...) But I sent her a few feelers, and we will talk again tonight.

While looking for baby dresses, I found something I have been looking for for months! Yes, this says a mouthful about my organizational skills. Last year, a girlfriend asked me to sell her childhood dolls, which date to the 1960's. The first two, a Tiny Tears and a Bubbles doll in her original box, sold easily. But the third doll, a large Effanbee baby doll, needed some TLC on her outfit. My friend mended the clothes, I soaked the clothes and dried them in the sunshine and then...I lost them.

Not lost them in the larger world, of course, but lost them in my laundry basket, which is really many many baskets. In the midst of the baby dress hunt, I found her sweet nylon panties, slip, bonnet and dress. I was thrilled and so was she! I have gently pressed them, and she is so happy to be a dressed up girl again!

On the whole, a productive rainy day at Pastel Vintage!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Just adding a pic of Carrie, Holly Hobbie's friend. Such a sweetie!
It's winter again in RVA. Cold wind, snow just a few miles up the road, and a freeze warning tonight. Meanwhile, azaleas, wisteria, and dogwood are in full bloom. Life in central Virginia is unpredictable, but the soaring beauty of spring here is worth the roller coaster ride.

No shopping opportunities early in the week, so yesterday I had a shopping trip through my basement. It's always profitable; clears out space, gives me inspiration, and reconnects me with forgotten treasure.

One of my best finds yesterday, sleeping in a cloth grocery bag, was a trio of Holly Hobbie dolls from the 1970's. These aren't rag dolls; they are the less common vinyl dolls. So sweet, with their squinty eyes, calico outfits and oversized bonnets.

Holly Hobbie was a favorite of mine in the seventies; my mom and I loved to send each other the greeting cards, and I think  I had rag dolls, collectors' plates, and framed prints. The character was created by American Greetings; then Knickerbocker made her into a rag doll, using the specs of Raggedy Ann.  Holly had two dear friends, Carrie and Amy, who also became dolls. Now they are popular girls in antique malls: dolls, figurines, even lunch boxes.

It was great to find these girls, bought as I recall at an online sale a few years back. I will sell them, as my overflowing doll case holds my very own Holly and her friends from decades back.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Happy April Fools' Day!

Any holiday is an excuse to go thrifting, even this one. My girlfriend who works in an elementary school is on Spring Break this week, so we decided to make a day of it. This may not have been our best shopping decision ever, as the stores we visited were overflowing with  shoppers: adults, children, seniors; it seemed that everyone in Richmond, Virginia was shopping today.

My friend had brought a box of donations for the Goodwill, so we just HAD to go inside and see what  exciting things they had today. This stop was before lunch, so the store wasn't too crowded when we began. I found a few tops for my grand daughter and a great Talbot's linen shirt for myself. No real treasure until I spotted these... a pair of Durango cowboy boots in my size! Black and cream with very little wear. The price... $6.00. Now we are talking Treasure!

I may sell them; I know I should sell them; but I felt pretty snazzy strutting around the house with them on when I got home, so we'll see...

Our next stop was Fantastic Thrift, a great thrift store in Richmond's Fan District. It's not on my beaten path and I don't get there often, so I was pretty psyched. I backed into the last place in the parking lot. I am terrified of backing my car up, so if I back into a parking space somewhere, it is a place that I REALLY want to go.

If you read this site, you know that I am never intimidated by a dirty, dingy, dark or dangerous shopping venue, but today Fantastic did me in. It was so crowded that  my friend and I abandoned the one shopping cart we could find because we couldn't negotiate the  crowded aisles with it. The noise of so many people was intimidating too; it felt as if someone was looking  over my shoulder every minute, urging me to hurry.

After about 30 minutes, I had snagged only one vintage dress pattern and one book; I discarded them and told my friend that I would meet her at the door. Still, not a wasted trip because I earned courage points for backing my SUV into that parking space!

Our last stop was  another of my favorites, Diversity Thrift. This is a fabulous quirky store which is full of fabulous quirky people... both the shoppers and the staff.

I have been haunting Diversity for the past few months because someone donated a doll collection. I saw the collection when it was new in the store and most of the dolls were pretty pricey. Through the magic of a thrift store color system, I have returned and have been able to buy a few dolls at 10% off, then a couple more at 25% off. Each time, the cashier has let me go behind the front counter to look closely at the dolls, who are housed on the prestigious behind the counter shelves.

Today I went  to check on the dolls first. I was thrilled to see that their color tag was 50% off this week! I determined that this would be my Deal of the Day and was hoping to take any remaining decent dolls home with me.

So perhaps  I wasn't thinking clearly. I went to the end of the counter as I have twice before and walked slowly around to the doll shelves. I said quietly to the cashier ,"I'm just coming around to see the dolls." Honestly, I have done this twice before. But apparently the staff of Diversity Thrift had intruder training yesterday and I looked like an intruder. Three staff members were there instantaneously, blocking my way. "YOU CANNOT COME BACK HERE", one mammoth tattooed girl announced.

Sorry, I said, it's just that I am hoping to buy some dolls and I really need to see them up close...

 This large tattooed girl was apparently frightened by me, an unarmed weakling with no tattoos; frightened enough to raise a pretty loud alarm. Another saleswoman swooped in and asked me which dolls I wanted to see, so I must have frightened the girl past the ability to function.

I reviewed the remaining dolls, and chose only one. No law enforcement was called and I managed to finish my shopping without incident. Other than the doll, the store seemed pretty picked over today. I left one 1970's prom dress because it had a dirty hem and appeared likely to turn into a project that might remain in my house for years to come.

So not the greatest day of thrifting ever, but my friend and I had a fun time being together and   vowed to do it again soon. After Spring Break is over.