More beautiful thrifty finds

Our continuing winter weather has kept me indoors a bit more than I would like – it’s not so much the snow as it is the bitter cold – but I did finally venture out to see what was new at the Goodwill. Not much in the dish department, but textiles were another story.

I did pick up this sweet little Haviland Limoges saucer – lately I’ve been enamored with Limoges!



I found four butter-yellow placemats – a color I’ve been looking for!



I also nabbed a set of 5 reversible placemats in softest blue and yellow. They weren’t marked as far as a brand, but I suspected they were a match for my Pfaltzgraff Summer Breeze bowls and platter – confirmed when I got home.





Also in the textiles area was this large square waffle-weave cloth with pretty ribbon work. I wasn’t sure what it was – maybe a tablecloth? – until I took it off the hanger and completely unfolded it. It’s a lined fabric shower curtain!



Finally, I bought this stunning Wilendur tablecloth – the yellow rose design is repeated in four panels around the cloth, which measures about 40 x 40 inches.



A recent visit to my favorite antique mall also yielded this pretty set of 8 Fire King berry bowls. I have a serving platter and four dessert plates in this pattern as well, so these are a nice addition.



Thought I would leave you with a picture of what March 2 looks like in Iowa this year. It started snowing (again) in the late afternoon on March 1, so this is what we woke up to on Sunday morning. The temperature was minus-five!



More soon,



Quiet on the homefront again

Are you enjoying the post-Christmas “return to normal” at your house? I am – my poor office had became a bit over-whelmed and unusable because it’s the room where I stashed a lot of the accumulated clutter so that Christmas decorations could be showcased. I haven’t been able to use the room for its true purposes… officing or crafting… since right after Thanksgiving.

But last weekend I finished putting away the decorations, so this weekend it was finally time to reclaim the Mom-cave! I did take the opportunity to purge and organize some of that clutter, but mostly I was just trying to get this space back to its normal “pretty and calm.”

I didn’t take any “before” pictures, but you can safely assume that except for a path to the closet door, every flat surface in here was stacked with stuff that didn’t belong. By Saturday night, however, the work area looked refreshed and restored – and you could once again see the floor!



And the sitting area looked warm and cozy once again.



Sunday morning I was fussing with some of the items on my desk, and was captivated by how sweet it has begun to look with all the pretty containers, most of which are hand-me-downs or thrift-store finds.





The bunny watercolor is an image I found on Pinterest – I simply printed it out onto nice heavy photo paper, and slipped it into a dollar-store frame.



The tin on the left is part of a nested set of 3, acquired from Walgreens at an end-of-season clearance last year. I used free graphics from The Graphics Fairy (and a bit of lace trim from my stash) to adorn the Mason jars. The lamp base, shade, and urn are all thrift-store treasures. The doily peeking out under the urn was made by my great-grandmother.



Thrifted pitcher and vase… jewelry on-hand, and another of Great Grandma’s crocheted doilies.



This is probably the most expensive item on the table – I purchased this large bunch of big rose blooms from Hobby Lobby a couple years ago. They weren’t on sale and I think were $7.99, but I had my trusty 40%-off coupon so they cost me around $4.



I painted & embellished this thrift-store clock a couple years ago too – it works great!



And this little Norcrest “French Bouquet” thrifted dish is a new-to-me favorite.



The part you can’t see here are the items under the desk – I purchased a couple additional storage tubs and re-organized my craft supplies into categories. I had been shoving everything into three containers and it was a complete (and frustrating) mess. Now I have tubs labeled for categories like fabric/trim/ribbon, beads & bling, paint & glue, etc. It’s so much easier to pull something out if I don’t have to dig through three large containers, and it’s a lot easier to put a new item away according to its classification.




I enjoyed my weekend playing with my toys – and I did a little bargain-hunting too. More about that soon! How about you – how is your January going?




Thrifty fabric finds

My recent thrifting trips have been most successful in the “linens” department – I’ve found some wonderful bargains there of late! I don’t necessarily buy a fabric item for its intended purpose. Tablecloths, curtains, and sheets, especially, are great sources of fabric because they typically come in such large pieces. I don’t pay particular attention to what the item is – I simply look at the color, pattern, and condition. Here are some recent finds that most likely will find their way into some other project:

This beautiful hunk measures about 5 x 7 feet in size. It’s a heavy drapery, and it’s lined with a similar amount of good heavy cotton. Its companion piece is a valance some 18 feet long. The valance is cut in an arch shape, but it’s trimmed in 18 feet of sweet tassle fringe. I picked these up for just $2.50 per piece.




Here are two pretty pieces from Two’s Company, just 25 cents each. I think these are either placemats, or napkins, although they are slightly off in size for either of those purposes. In any case, they may end up as something entirely different. I sure like the patterns and colors.



Found this rectangular tablecloth (about 50 x 70) in blue check with a fine light green stripe for just $1.50.



And finally, this pretty piece is a full-size flat sheet; it’s almost sheer when looking at a single layer, and the color is much paler than the picture is portraying. I love the white piping detail – very sweet and just $1.50.



Where else but a thrift store can one buy so much fabric for so little money! I hope you are likewise finding some wonderful treasures!

More soon,


Just in time for Fall

Here’s one of my favorite recent thrifty treasures: a beautiful Fall-hued print by Iowa artist Kemlyn Tan Bappe. I love everything about this 12 x 18 print, from the subject matter to the color palette to the Batik look.



Even neater is that the original art piece from which the print was made is a Batik print created by Ms. Bappe through her participation in Very Special Arts Iowa (VSA Iowa), a state organization on arts and disability.

This paper print came ready to frame, backed on cardboard and wrapped in plastic with a VSA informational leaflet stating that “Kemlyn is a contemporary Asian Artist who creates paper and batik and fiber art… (and)… has been creating art for 27 years. Kemlyn lives and creates with Dyslexia.”

The Iowa Arts Council also shares this information:

Kemlyn Tan Bappe is a contemporary Peranakan artist from Singapore. She is Nonya, a woman of Peranakan descent. The Peranakan are a colorful, ornate culture that developed in the 15th & 16th century when immigrant Chinese inter-married non-Muslim Malay in Southeast Asia. The Peranakan have their unique cuisine, dance, dialect and a distinctive flair for color and ornate patterns in their art forms.

Tan Bappe’s work can be found in collections internationally. She lives and works in Mount Pleasant, Iowa with her husband and three children. She is a member of Metro Arts Alliance. She is a teaching artist with the Iowa Arts Council Teaching Artist Roster, World of Difference, VSA arts of Iowa and is the recipient of 2009/10 VSA National Teaching Artist Fellowship.

I’m on the hunt now for an appropriate frame; this print was part of a recent “haul” of several wonderful bargains, including a couple of stylin’ jackets for my daughter, a comfy pair of slip-on shoes, some sweet floral wall decor, and a pretty porcelain lidded box.

More soon!


Quick stop makes my day!

Was on my way to the doctor today to get a “boot” for my aching left foot which has a severe case of Achilles tendonitis (ouch!) but I was very, very early. So, I stopped in at a thrift store in our old neighborhood to have a look around and found something I’ve had on my thrift list for a long time: an inexpensive twin-size white chenille bedspread! Just $2.95 for this baby – woohoo!



More soon,


Thrifty Spring finds

silks The colorful burst at left is simply the large bunch of silk flowers I bought today from Dollar Tree, which I’ll use to make my Memorial Day remembrances in a few short weeks!

Hi, friends! How funny that it was really feeling like FOREVER since I posted here… so I finally checked back in and it’s only been a week! Well, two weeks, really, since I have posted anything thrifty or vintage!

Anyway, Spring has been a long time coming around here! I got to take ONE motorcycle ride and then the weather got cold and rainy (and a little snow-spitty) again, so honestly I have no excuses for my absence except maybe just needed a little break.

You might remember that a few posts ago I lamented my discovery that Webshots had disappeared from the Internet, taking with it all the photos of my beloved patio from our old house.

Well I am thrilled to report that I found some of them – and I am working up a post to show you just how much fun I used to have each year turning my little slab-with-a-border into a happy, junky, gardeny spot.

For now, because I’m still working on all those pictures, I thought I would share with you a couple of neat little thrifty finds from this weekend:

First up, here’s a pretty platter from Anchor Hocking – I’ve always referred to this as “Fire King,” but I’m not sure that’s correct. At any rate, I have a few dessert plates in this same color/pattern and I’ve been on the lookout for a smaller, white, goes-with-anything serving platter – something special for my meatloaf! LOL Isn’t she cute? Just $1.99 –




I then found a pair of adorable little hand-painted dessert plates. These sort of fall into the “clay project” category, because I believe them to be hand-painted by a person taking a class rather than a professional. Take a look –






You KNOW I have such a soft spot for hand-painted landscapes, and these were just too sweet to pass up. They are both signed on the back with the name Irene Linfor.  The name is both etched into the clay, and then painted with a fine-line brush.


Now here’s the thing: whenever I see something like this, I become instantly curious about the person who is named on the piece. So I “Googled” Irene Linfor. The first search result is a link on, where I have an account. So I logged in and there was an Irene Linfor, born around 1900, noted on the 1930 US Census for the town of Anita, Iowa which is about 60 miles west of me. Her children were ages 5 and 2 in 1930.  My imagination quickly concocts a story about one of these children, keeping their mother’s artwork for decades and living here in Des Moines, then upon their passing, the items being donated to the thrift store just down the street from the very person who could appreciate them almost as much as the child who kept them! Fear not, Linfor children – Irene’s pretty plates are safe with me!

Here are the closeups of the scenes Irene painted:






These precious little plates were only 99 cents each – one of them is badly cracked and crazed, and I don’t know anything about the materials used to paint them, so I am calling them “food un-safe” and will simply be displaying them with love and appreciation.

More soon,


Weekend finds

Well I hope that you and yours had a wonderful Easter weekend – ours was very quiet, with our daughter off at college and the two of us having no big plans. Still, a good time to reflect and consider the “reason for the season,” and a lovely day, finally with some decent Spring weather!

On Saturday I did just the tiniest bit of treasure-hunting (and treasure-giving, as I donated a few items as well!), and came up with these little goodies that I wanted to share with you!

First, photos don’t do justice to this blue vase – the bowl portion is made of tin, but the base is heavier… or maybe it’s weighted for stability. Anyway, it measures about 10 inches high and the blue mottled finish is really stunning in person.




Next, I picked up five of these pretty little square scalloped bread plates by J&G Meakin – their ivory color goes with nearly everything in my cupboard, and they are made in England. I don’t know too much about the backstamp, but according to one source, the “sun” or “sol” backstamp was first registered in 1912 and “Sol ware” was produced from 1918-1963. So theoretically, these perfect little plates could be anywhere from 50 to 95 years old! At 79 cents each, I really just couldn’t say no.




And speaking of backstamps, I felt a little funny about the mark on this pretty plate. It says, “Limoges China.” Limoges, of course, being the location where beautiful French china comes from. I was suspicious because I thought that real Limoges pieces would normally also say “France” in addition to “Limoges.” I wasn’t sure if “Limoges China” meant something similar to “Royal Albert China”…  or if in fact it meant “fake Limoges china”… or even “something made in China in the style of Limoges.” At any rate, the plate is very pretty even with some crazing of the glaze. The gold edging is really bright and beautiful. And it was all of 99 cents, so I nabbed it solely for its loveliness. And turns out, I was right to be suspicious: shows this mark to be a “fake.” I still love the soft, romantic cottage roses and elegant “gilded” band!









What are YOUR favorite finds from this week?

More soon,


Gathering mode

I must be in “gathering mode” – I’ve been shopping like crazy, hitting the thrift stores and hunting down bargains on Ebay, and having absolutely wonderful luck! (I consider myself lucky that in addition to having the “hording gene,” I also seem to have the “purging gene.” I can be brutal in getting rid of stuff – do NOT hire me to clean out your stash!) I’m so excited to show you some of my recent finds!

First, after last week’s encounter with a local Ebay seller who had some beautiful Rose Chintz plates, I stumbled upon another auction for over 60 pieces of this lovely pattern – all with what I believe to be the original vintage backstamp. A few items were listed as chipped or cracked, but most of the lot was to be in good condition – so I held my breath and took the plunge as the first bidder, and won! A very large box arrived for me on Saturday, and it contained my Rose Chintz treasure:


Now all of this is not for me – I will be keeping a few pieces, and offering the rest for sale as soon as I can go through it all, touch each piece, look for chips, cracks, etc. – but by and large, it seems the auction description was spot-on with only a few pieces that are truly unusable. (But even those would make lovely props in a vintage vignette!) I am thrilled!

Also from Ebay were a large lot of colorful cloth napkins – some for crafting and some for the table:



And this pretty little original oil painting featuring a bold red teapot and dainty green cup. It’s only 8 x 6 inches in size, and I’m now on the hunt for a suitable frame:



This auction was also a great deal: a bargain price for a set of 6 dinner plates in Homer Laughlin Eggshell Georgian “Countess,” free shipping, and a motivated seller who accepted my “best offer” AND even sent me one extra plate! I am IN. LOVE. with this pretty, pretty pattern!



Next up are the thrift-store finds. I nabbed this sweet serving bowl for just 79 cents at the Goodwill:



And I paid just under $20 total for these three treasures at my favorite antique mall, the Brass Armadillo, where it was 15 percent off day!


Here they are in closeup – first, a sweet little bust standing about 10 inches high. I had one of these years ago but it got broken and I’ve been looking almost 10 years for a replacement at a great price.



Next, a pair of white bread plates in mulberry transferware – and the most informative backstamp I’ve ever seen! I’m now on a mission to learn more about Miss Clarice Cliff – it seems she was more of an art deco designer for various English potteries, and did not like these formal “transferware” patterns. I, however, simply love them – especially in red or mulberry.




Finally – this pretty table runner in Spring hues of pink, lavender and soft gray. I think this may find its way into the next vignette on Grandma’s table!



Whew!! That’s been my fun for the past week – oh! And, I have finally taken the plunge and put a few things into an Etsy shop! You can find it here: All dishes for right now, but working on expanding as fast as I can!

I hope you have had some moments of thrifty joy this week – what have you found lately that you absolutely love??

More soon,

Sunday painting

I have a small collection of what I used to call “amateur paintings,” all picked up for a couple dollars or less at area thrift stores. Later I learned another expression for them: “Sunday paintings,” meaning pictures created by people who took up painting as a hobby or weekend pursuit. My collection centers around landscapes and still-lifes – barns, houses and floral arrangements. Here are a few of my favorites:

paint1 paint2 paint3

I even tried my hand at painting one – yes, on a Sunday:


Since I recently re-painted the Mom-cave, I’ve been trying to be really particular about how I arrange them. Slowly but surely, I’m getting many of them up on the wall.

paint5 paint6

I recently acquired this charming little beauty – the colors and subject were lovely, but it was missing a frame.


No matter, a few weeks later I spotted this 11 x 14 frame at a different store for just 99 cents. It has the routed edges on the insides so the canvas will fit down inside.


Today I took on a different type of “Sunday painting” and just applied a few coats of my off-white acrylic craft paint to the 99-cent frame. I put it all together and really love the result:


The tabletop above is still a work in progress, but I do kind of like the painting in its frame next to the creamy white pitcher.


Are there any type of “other people’s artwork” that you like to collect?

More soon,

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New thrifty finds

Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?

Well I haven’t been to London to visit the Queen, I can tell you that!

I feel like I’ve been in a sort of self-imposed exile from all of my decorating, vintage treasures, and good ol’ junk-hunting. Do you ever get side-tracked into another area of interest that pulls you away and suddenly you realize you’ve been neglecting something for awhile that used to make you really happy?

Yep, that’s me. A couple weeks ago I allowed myself to get sucked back into the world of politics – reading and commiserating with like-minded pol-junkies about some the stuff going on in this beloved U.S.A. of ours, and quite honestly it depressed me to the point where I withdrew a bit from reading and commenting on all my favorite beautiful blogs.

Add to that a new blogging project that I launched (well, am 99% ready to launch – no, it’s not a political blog! LOL)… and well, I’ve just been MIA around here for bit. I’m happy to say I did a little junking today and came away quite happy: I spent less that FIVE dollars! Here’s what I picked up.

A set of two deep-green fluted vases, each about 4 inches tall, 79 cents each:


A sweet little plate featuring my favorite Spring birdies for $1.99:


And this 11×14 frame for 99 cents, with the routed inside edges so I can fit a painted canvas inside it. I’ll be painting it off-white:


Also, before I went on hiatus a few weeks ago, I found this gorgeous covered casserole dish for $1.99. Now I need a “covered casserole” like I need another hole in my head, but this thing has SUCH a pretty shape, was in pristine condition, and the colors and scrolly design are really pretty. You can see the backstamp in one of the photos below – it is the Signature Collection, Queen Anne pattern, made in Japan.




Alongside it were cups, saucers, berry bowls, bread plates, luncheon plates and a sugar/creamer set, all in the same pattern, for 79 cents per piece. I picked up 4 each of the bread plates, luncheon plates and berry bowls – trying to leave some for someone else to discover, and trying to stick to buying what I knew I might actually use. (I actually tried to sell all these pieces on Ebay after I got them home, but no takers. That’s okay – I wanted to keep them anyway!)

How about you – what have you found lately?

More soon,