Look what I found

While I was going through my iPhoto library to pick out photos for our wedding slide show, I found these pictures.

They’re from a campaign stop that Obama did in a park just a few blocks from my house.

This was before Obama was even in the lead amongst the Democrats. I think Hilary was expected to win the caucus at the time.

I remember that it was really hot and everyone was pouring sweat, but Michelle still looked as put together as she ever does.

Just wanted to share!

Blue glass canning jars

One last vintage post for ya.

I stopped at a garage sale on my way home from breakfast this morning, and I found these four blue glass canning jars. I only paid $2 for all of them, which I consider a great deal. I am collecting blue glass jars to use for my wedding, so it’s always great to find them, especially at a low price!

But it got me thinking that I don’t know much about these jars (which are much beloved in the blogging world) so I did a little online research.

From what I can tell, unless you find a canning jar that is incredibly old or has a unique color (like amber or green), you’re probably not going to get rich collecting these jars. But the blue ones are worth more than the clear ones, and given their popularity with my generation, they are definitely worth finding and selling.

Here is an excerpt from a really good article I found. It’s a few years old, but I doubt the information has changed much since then:

If the jars are “Ball Perfect Masons” or “Ball Ideals” and blue in color they are probably worth in the neighborhood of $5 ea. This will be true of many (but not all) of the old blue or aqua colored Ball jars. If they are clear they will probably be worth $1-2 each.

As you can see from these Etsy listings, there’s a range in what people are selling them for, depending on size and quality.

I bought a whole box of jars from a woman at a craft fair who wanted to get rid of them at the end of the day. She sold all of them to me for $20. She also mentioned that collectors like the jars with lids, which might increase the value a little. You can see that reflected in some Ebay listings.

Dating them seems like it’s a little tricky, but from the articles I’ve read you can tell one made with a mold by the seams on the side. If the seams go all the way up to the top of the jar, then it was machine-made and a little newer. All of the jars I have appear to be machine made.

Some of them have numbers stamped on the bottom, but I don’t think that increases the value. Unless you have a number 13, which isn’t necessarily rarer, but more intriguing to buyers.

One of my jars has a bicentennial logo stamped on the side, so you can tell it was made in 1976. The others I would guess were made sometime between the ’30s and the ’60s.

Apparently there is a way to turn clear glass jars into blue ones if you’re looking to save money. I’m not sure how I feel about that (i.e. sending a bunch of fakes into the world), but it makes it clear that people really are crushing (ha) on blue glass lately.

Summer of love: Celebrating with Erin

Erin and I have been best friends since we were highly awkward seventh graders (with much embarrassing photo evidence to prove it). And now we are both getting married in the space of a month. This weekend we’re celebrating her shower in our hometown, Lawrence, Kansas.

I couldn’t be happier for these two.

I feel like I’ve said that sentence a lot this summer. That’s a good thing.

What is this?

It’s a vintage pouf!

I have a special place in my heart for this object, which my mom brought me, because I make knitted poufs for one of my Etsy shops.

Mine look like this:

I thought these were kind of a modern Scandinavian creation, but it turns out they have totally been en vogue before. This one is clearly from the era of scratchy acrylic yarns, which thankfully has passed. It must have taken a great deal of work because it’s crocheted with several strands of thin yarn held together (mine are made with extra bulky strands that knit up quickly). And the colors – wow.

But overall it’s totally the same concept as what I sell now. A squishy, round pillow that’s a little silly looking but so much fun.

Fun storage around the house

I had been keeping this lacey milk glass bowl in my bedroom to hold watches when I’m not wearing them. Once I had a pair of earrings sitting around and I realized that I could just hang them in the little holes of the bowl. Voila, jewelry stand.

And by the way, I could not resist buying this necklace from Ephemera.

I also love my magazine rack.

It’s actually an old milk bottle crate. I had to put some felt on the bottom of it because it’s so scratchy, but it’s been sitting in my living room holding rolled up magazines for years now, and it still looks great.

I just love the worn surface. Also I love magazines. Maybe too much.

What is this?

This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever picked up. I found it at a local flea market, having no idea what it was except that it looked like a coffee pot. It turns out that it’s a vintage percolator that uses a vacuum system to suck the water up from the lower pot, perk it through the grounds in the top pot, and then drop the water back into the lower part, which you can detach and use for serving.

(The photo doesn’t show the lid, but I have that, too. Also love the art deco design on the front of the bottom pot).

It’s called a Sunbeam Coffeemaster, and mine is a model C30A. The copyright dates show that this was made sometime after 1944. I Googled the name and discovered that these are prized among coffee snobs, and selling anywhere from a few bucks to more than $60 on eBay. I think I paid $6 for mine, but it does have a few issues.

The main issue with these is that they are often found stuck together because the rubber seal has hardened over time. It took me a long time to discover that the way to get the thing apart is actually just to run a cycle of water through it. The steam seems to soften the rubber and then it comes right apart. You also have to do this to get it back together. One YouTube video said that you can sand down the rubber, and I might try that.

Actually, you should watch the whole video because it shows you how the thing works.

Mine is also missing its original filter, but I just made a new one out of a piece of muslin. There’s a chunk of the decorative ring around the top that has broken off, too. Overall, though, I think this thing is so cool. And I did actually get it to work a couple of times.

How to tell old Pyrex from really old Pyrex

A vintage post for your Monday morning:

One of the very first items that piqued my interest in collecting and selling vintage items was a Pyrex bowl. My mom was already selling items in an antique mall, and she had been looking for the green bowl that went with the Pyrex primary colors set of mixing bowls. She had the other three, but wanted the fourth. I spotted it in someone else’s booth, and bought it for her for Christmas.

Then, around the same time I was at a flea market, and someone was selling a complete set for, I think, $75. That was a lot of money for me to pay for anything at a flea market, but something about those bowls just sucked me in. I wanted them, and I wasn’t going to leave that day without them.

So, by Christmas, we both had our own full sets. I still have those bowls. They are some of my favorite pieces, and I will never sell them. When someone asked me what I’d take with me if my house were burning down, I responded that I’d probably run out with a Pyrex bowl under each arm.

Anyway, the point I am finally getting to is that sometimes when people are new to collecting Pyrex, they want to know how much pieces are worth and how old they are. I found some information on Pyrex Love that I found really helpful, and I just thought I would share it. The primary color set of mixing bowls was first produced in the 1940s. Then newer versions were sold up until the ’70s. You can tell a ’40s set in two ways. First, the stamp on the bottom is simpler and has no number on it.

Later sets look like this.

The older bowls are also a little bit thicker. It’s kind of hard to tell from this photo, but the older bowl is on the outside, and when you put it next to a newer one it’s definitely thicker.

I’m getting pickier about the Pyrex pieces I buy just because there are so many out there in poor quality, and they don’t sell for much. I only buy them if they have no chips or cracks (a few scratches are OK), the patterns are in good shape, the patterns are fairly attractive to me, and they don’t show any signs of having been put in the dishwasher. Usually you can tell right away when this has happened because the paint is extremely faded. Most pieces I sell are $10 or less, but those primary bowls are different. I would put them closer to $20, and up to $100 for a set.

And if you want that green bowl, it’s here!

Brianne and Joe on APW


photo by Laura Wehde

Remember my adorable friend Brianne and her amazing wedding?

Today you can read more about the wedding on A Practical Wedding, probably the greatest wedding Web site out there.

I can definitely relate to the feeling that you want to please people close to you while staying true to yourself. Even for those of us who have been living on our own, or with our future spouse, for a number of years already, the wedding really does represent a letting go and a moving on in life.

Vintage posts + a sale

I’ve found over the last couple months that I don’t have time to do everything I’ve been doing. It’s not just the wedding — some of the things I do are taking more time than they used to, so other things will have to come off my plate.

So, I have shut down my vintage blog, and I’m just going to focus on this one. I’m going to put some of my favorite vintage-related posts here in case you didn’t get a chance to read them. And going forward, if I want to blog about collecting/selling vintage pieces, I’ll just do it here.

Also, I’m clearing out my Mary Marie Etsy store to make way for new goodies this fall and winter. From now until I leave for the wedding Sept. 15, everything vintage in the store is 20% off!

Happy shopping, and enjoy a few fun vintage-y posts.

Submit a recipe to Readymade

My friend Amy, who is one of the editors at Readymade, asked me to spread the word about their Community Cookbook project. There’s a story in the Aug./Sept. issue about those lovable church and women’s league cookbooks that we all have in our kitchens. They’re putting together their own version with reader recipes.

I submitted one, and I think you should, too!