Thursday, February 23, 2012

Looking around

Whew! Where have I been? Well, thinking about blogging, among other things. Like putting in plenty of hours at work. Too bad I don't love my job. (No one to blame but myself for that problem!)

Truthfully, though, I've had a troubling couple of months. Some pesky health problems. Puzzzling symptoms, doctor's appointments, tests, more tests, still some tests to go. New prescriptions, and co-pay after co-pay after co-pay... for now, I'll just say that there's nothing real serious going on, just troublesome and wearying. And as with so many of us, the first thing to get dropped is the blogging. (Although my family might argue that the home cooking and housework suffer first!)

But I'm determined to get back in the saddle! Soon.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Goodwill Hunting, Part II

How sweet is this little teacup and saucer? The colors are so cheery -- it reminds me of Japanese quilting cottons. The little teapot shapes are melamine teabag coasters. The one on the right is a nod to the Red Hat Society.
Below is a page from the Cross-Stitch book from the last post. Some of the projects are "dated" (bad) as opposed to "vintage" or "retro" (good). In another 25 years or so, "dated" will mature into "vintage". (Copyright of the book is 1991.) Moot point in the case of the tea cozy, as I can't recall a tea cozy I didn't love. (Okay, maybe if it was decorated with Smurfs or worse yet, Care Bears....)
I love soup plates, and I love this pair is a big score.I can't seem to resist any of the needlework books put out by Better Homes & Gardens in the '90's, even with the occasional project that makes me cringe a little.In the above photo, everything was from the GW shop, except the little heart-shaped pincushion on the left. I just thought it looked cool with the bright thread and button colors.
I made it when I was a girl. I didn't realize I still had it, and ran across it recently. The plastic bag was so intriguing, just $1.99. And the zippers! A variety of lengths, and all in colors I tend to wear:: JaCkPoT!I had such fun discovering what was in the bag. It was hard to get a look at the buttons; it was the thimble and crewel/embroidery needles that grabbed me.
And look at the interesting screwdriver on the spools - I've never seen one like it. I assume it goes with a sewing machine, like for adjusting the tension on the bobbin case?
The buttons are okay; I think my favorite is the MOP one next to the thimble, or maybe the 3 large ivory leather ones...or the few little itty-bitty baby ones.I couldn't pass up these Folkwear patterns. They were among a bunch which were "dated".
And I thought I'd try this one for the pants and vest.
I haven't often bought thrifted clothes. I get so discouraged, being a plus size. Most of the really cool vintage stuff is tinier than I could possibly ever wear. (Not many women in the 1940's and '50's were 5'8", and they certainly didn't have my "robust" figure.) I haven't typically had the patience to look through the overstuffed racks. But, I'm warming up to it. On one trip, I found the silk scarf below, which features two of my better colors: the soft blues and the corals. Behind it is a black knit velour skirt, long and narrowly cut. I wore it to church on Sunday with black boots and a pretty top. Looked great, super comfortable. $2.50!
And finally, another trip, LL Bean's ladies' blouses (with darts!), and some light sweaters, all in my color palette (I think I am a Summer, according to the "Color Me Beautiful" book I picked up for $1). All 6 for probably less than $20, as have learned to shop the color-coded tags for the 50% savings! I should have discovered thrift store shopping a long time ago.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Goodwill Hunting, Part I

No, not the movie with Matt Damon, but just the fruits of my recent forays into the 3 Goodwill stores in my realm. I drool when I see what others find, and am so sure that there is nothing as lovely in my stores, and that really is true when it comes to textiles. The pickings are a little better when it comes to dishes, though, and so I thought I'd share my recent successes. Really, there are quite a few pictures, and I think I will share them in more than one post, just to keep it sizeable. I had good light for picture-taking this morning, and got started in the southeast corner of the house, between two windows. Then I didn't like how they were coming out, and took a break to nose through the camera manual. Then Jeff dug the tripod out of the basement, and that helped even more. By then, the sun was gone, and it was snowing, but I plowed on anyway....(get it? I "plowed" on while it was "snowing"? C'mon people!)
Now that I've put evertything away and sit at the laptop, to type, the sun is out again.
The Amy Vanderbilt Cookbook was not a Goodwill store find: it was offered to me by a colleague who was de-cluttering. (?That's clutter?!) The oldest books I usually see in in GW are from the 1970's, and with apologies to 1970's fanciers, I personally do *not* fancy the 1970's. I don't have much use for any of the fashions, home dec, etc. after, say 1964. That's pretty unfortunate, since I turned 2 in 1964. I told you I was born in the wrong era.
We will re-visit that cookbook in future. It's one of those visits to the domestic ideals of another (pre-1964) time that I love so much (and I hope you do, too).
So, the pic below shows a little better close-up of the dear little creamer....when I was fiddling with trying to learn how to get better focus in the close-up mode. I should've turned off the flash, though. And set up the tri-pod. Here's the progression.
Before I read the manual (You know what they say, "When all else fails, read the directions!").
After I read the manual, and had the camera on the tripod, but forgot to turn off the flash.
After I turned off the flash, ahh... much better. I think this double-handled cup-and-saucer set is referred to as a "cream soup" bowl or set or something. You know, for the soup course you serve to your family when you gather to dine (in colder weather, as warmer seasons dictate a clear soup, or even a cold soup).
These next two aren't exactly "vintage", but are sweet nonetheless. I have admired Lenox's Butterfly Meadow for a long time, and never purchased any. Imagine my surprise to find this mug selling for $0.99! Snatched that puppy up right away, you can be sure! It pays to keep your eyes peeled when looking through all the cheap novelty mugs nobody wants.
And who could resist this little bone china vase from Towle? I can't wait to tuck some Spring buds in it, perhaps on my night stand. Wouldn't some grape hyacinths do it justice?
This next pic affords me the opportunity to link to my cousin's blog, here: Diane lives about an hour's drive away, and among many things we have in common is an affection for our red kitchens. Her kitchen is getting a facelift right now (see the blog!), and her red counters are no longer, as she prefers her "red" in accent doses, against a clean white background. Her everyday dishes are clean and simple white Corelle, but I found a few to mix and match in on occasion. I hope she likes the cheery red stripes. They have a vintage feel for me, reminding me of the stripes on Buffalo or Syracuse restaurant stoneware. The beauty of a GW-store gift is that it's hardly money wasted if my guess is all wrong!
I know I'm not alone in my fondness for Pyrex/FireKing/Anchor pieces. I sometimes collect the fruit-shaped pieces, mostly apple (I think made by Atlas), but today's is a strawberry, probably not very old. I especially *heart* custard cups. (The one shown is FireKing aand the handled bowl is Pyrex). I recently have been cooking more, and trying new recipes and bought some new Pyrex cups for measuring out ingredients, so that "measuring" is one step, and then "assembling" is another step, quicker and easier, like how the pros do things on TV. It seems way more fun (and less chaotic) that way, getting all your washing and chopping done at once. Then I re-dicovered custard. When I was growing up, my Mum used to serve simple desserts almost every night. Something baked, like an applesauce cake or some cookies, custard or rice or bread pudding, a bowl of sherbet or ice cream, often with fresh fruit or a stewed fruit sauce. (Have times changed or do most people still serve dessert regularly? I know I rarely do, as my boys usually prefer to fill up with hearty meat-and-potatoes meals, and would rather have extra biscuits or garlic bread than something sweet for dessert, so you can imagine who ends up nibbling leftover desserts....) I have made custard in individual cups lately, and I've discovered I can save leftovers in the fridge for snacking, etc. My next experiment is to see how they come out using eggbeaters and Splenda, as much as I loooove to make it rich with whole milk, eggs and sugar.
That's all for now. More next time.