Mom’s new booth

Here’s some exciting news — over the weekend I helped my mom get set up in a booth inside the Cordelia Junction antique mall.

I wrote about the mall (which has actual train cars as part of the building) on the Goodsmiths blog back when mom and I checked it out for the first time. We thought it was great, but wanted to see what else was available locally as far as a place for her to sell. Well, there just aren’t a lot of antique malls around here. Most places are either junky stores or really high end places that didn’t seem to fit with what she sells. So we ended up back at Cordelia, and it’s just perfect.

She decided to start off with a small booth and see how it goes. Hers is upstairs right next to this super cool space full of retro midcentury stuff (swoon).

Mom hasn’t had a ton of time here to thrift yet, but she does have a LOT of jewelry. Come check it out if you’re in the area!

I was so excited to repurpose the crappy mirror we found in the garage.

Also, don’t forget to follow mom’s shop on Etsy. Someone needs this fab vintage swing coat!

Road trip: Orange County

Believe it or not, in all this time I’ve lived here I’ve never actually been to LA. And since my sister lives in Orange County, I decided it was time to head to SoCal and visit her. My mom flew out for the weekend so we could have our girl time.

Vlad-y cat.

Megan and her boyfriend Matt have the sweetest orange cat named Vladmir. I’m allergic to cats and don’t usually like them very much, but he charmed me and snuggled with me at night.

We actually ended up saving LA adventures for another trip and mostly stayed in Orange County. One of our favorite pastimes is shopping, and man were we in the right place for that. I haven’t seen such a sea of shopping since I was in Las Vegas!

But first we actually headed to Pasadena for a little thrifting. My mom did some research and found out that the Rose Bowl flea market was going on during our trip.

It is absolutely huge, so we braved some intense traffic and finally made it there. We knew it was going to be good when we saw about a million hipsters streaming out of there carrying tables, chairs, and all sorts of cool stuff.

My mom got a nice hat and (my favorite!) blue dots Pyrex bowl. She also got the green mixing bowl to complete her Pyrex set.

Post-shopping we filled up on yummy Chinese food at Sam Woo’s. It was the first time I’ve actually gotten to have the full experience of sharing a bunch of dishes at a table with the lazy Susan in the middle. We were even able to polish off a four-pound lobster!

Later on Megan showed me how to make the yummiest cookies, which I will share with you soon.

After some more shopping at one of the most epic malls I’ve ever seen, I had to head home. I missed my puppies, and I wanted to have a little Valentine’s Day dinner with Mike.

I had a blast though, and can’t wait to go back and put on my tourist hat. I also have a loooong list of LA restaurants to explore. Recommendations are appreciated!

Vintage wire baskets

Sadly, when I moved I had to get rid of my only vintage wire basket that I had been using to display items at craft shows.

I think that was a mistake. Looking around for new ones on Etsy I found that they are very expensive!

Locker baskets from Glasdeer’s shop.

Older baskets from blueflowervintage.

Plain basket from Glassnmore.

I am thinking either a gym locker basket or an egg basket would be perfect. Actually several of them would be perfect. People seem to love digging through containers — that’s why my suitcase has been so handy.

Black egg basket from LoveItBuyIt.

Red egg basket from moxiethrift.

For now I am putting my mom on the hunt for these, and I think I will go to the Berkeley or Alameda flea markets and see if I can find anything.

Or maybe the secret is ebay!

Vintage container gardening

As soon as I saw this article, I knew what I had to do with my bare front porch.

I had a minimal budget for gardening, but I already had both an old wooden soda crate and a wooden ammo box, plus a bunch of succulents growing in the front ‘yard’. Mike had always imagined the ammo box overflowing with pinkish flowers — the perfect ironic planter.

But first I started with the soda crate. Since the slats in the bottom had big openings, I decided to plant a succulent in each slot in its own little container. And I discovered that empty yogurt cups out of the recycling bin were the perfect width, as long as I cut the rims off. You just poke a little hole in the bottoms for drainage.

They were a little too short, though, so I used some pieces of egg cartons to boost them up.

I filled them about halfway with some sandy/rocky soil I got from the side of our house (which I ended up covering in weed blocker and mulch later on in the weekend).

I very delicately separated out a few plants down to their roots and replanted them in the yogurt containers. Then I popped them into the soda crate.

I was about to stop the project when I ran out of yogurts. But when I went to Home Depot I discovered a section devoted to succulents of all shapes and sizes and I pretty much cleaned them out. I am a fiend for those things.

I still didn’t have quite enough to fill the crate, but I discovered the succulent secret: some of them have more than one plant per pot. I managed to get three of them to separate into two plants, just enough to finish my project. I also tucked in some old soda bottles. And after topping off the containers with potting soil, I covered the tops with peat moss so that you couldn’t see the tops of the plastic containers.

I am so happy with how it turned out.

Sometimes your crafty vision really does turn out exactly how you thought it would.

For the ammo box, I lined the bottom with three 8×8 cheap foil trays and added rocky soil to the bottom for good drainage. Then I just bought a half flat of colorful annuals that like shade and planted them inside. After a couple days they perked right up. In fact everything I’ve planted has been super happy so far. Yay!

No more weeds! Whew.

Have you used any fun objects as planters? I always see this one house when I’m out walking with a bathtub planter and it makes me smile.

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.

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!

Up to my ears in vintage

The Mary Marie shop is absolutely bursting with vintage finds lately. Here’s a peek:

I’m still devoted to my handmade wares, but this journey into vintage has taken me a lot farther than I ever expected to go, and I love it. There’s so much out there just waiting to be found, so many things that have withstood the test of time and will still fit just right into someone’s modern decor.

I think there’s a lot more I can do besides selling a few things on Etsy, but that remains to be seen. For now, I’m just learning all I can and having a ball thrifting.

Rachel Gold’s cross-country vintage journey

Yesterday I got to meet the adorable Rachel Gold, a fellow Etsy seller who is moving from Philadelphia to L.A. and stopping at cities along the way to go to thrift stores and meet vintage sellers from Etsy. What a genius idea! I wish I’d thought of it.

Anyway, she wanted to stop by and see how I’d decorated my house with various vintage items, and I was more than happy to show my stash. Read about it here.

I tend to think of myself more as a crafter than as a collector, but it was fun to go through my house and realize how many thrifted items I do have both as useful things in the kitchen or as decor.

So thanks to Rachel for reminding me how cool vintage items can be, and also for connecting vintage lovers all over the country through her journey. I can’t wait to see what she does with all the interviews she has collected. Stay tuned!