Collections: Thoughts and Things Celebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.


Today Collections:  Thoughts and Things celebrates its two year blogiversary.

With a click of publish, this will be my 234th post. Woo hoo! Now why doesn’t seem like there’s a least a bit more space in my brain?

In lieu of a cake, here is a photo buffet. Each links to a blog post for a clickable mini-history.

Vintage Dance Cards Jr Prom 2

First Post. Vintage Dance Cards

Antique Kings Safety Goggles 1

One of my favorite collections, vintage glasses

 Hand-stitched antique gown. And speaking of heirlooms, or just plain looms, I have a few . . .

Antique Baby Gown

Can’t imagine trying to button the row of tiny pearls on the back of a wiggling baby.

A surprise find right under my nose. OK, just above it.

The BOAT, UW gold medal crew

The Husky Clipper

New on the blog was joining Instagram this summer–too much fun! All of my favorite things literally at my fingertips: architectural details, thrifty finds, Paris and ponies. Oh, yes of course, my family, one of whom now has me hooked on corgis.  Speaking of corgis . . . an Australian postcard stamp. I love the colors.

Queen Elizabeth II Australian Postage

The Queen looks quite lovely, even with the shark postmark heading towards her hat.

While following steps in the How to Start a Blog  video, I wrote this for the ‘about me page’.

I quite love finding old things, everyday things, and celebrating them. I try to mix beautiful/useful with reduce/reuse/recycle with an occasional dash of feng shui.  For the most part I am craftily challenged, have a brown thumb (plants lean away from me) and I may be APP (A Procrastinating Perfectionist).   Employing a ‘use what you have decorating’ theme, while juggling the ever-changing schedule/needs/charms of my favorite collection–four kids.

Breathe, Be Grateful, Smile, Take your vitamin.   And welcome to my collections of thoughts and things.

Reading it today it still holds true, except for the plant part, I am fairly close now to a certified black thumb.

Thanks to my family & friends, & old garages. Inspiration abounds, and I’m looking forward to year three.

A birthday cake. Kind ofCelebrate, Create, Contemplate. Repeat.

Celebrating @ Creativity Unleashed link party!link party palooza banner

Here’s The Key To . . .

Sorry.  The post title is a wee bit misleading, I’ve got      well,     actually    nothing. Not the key to happiness or wisdom or success. Or even to where those missing socks are. But I do keep trying. With four kids, I am confident in saying choose wood floors wherever possible. However, I do have a collection of vintage keys.

These are the oldest keys in the collection. Collection of KeysIn the duo below, the top key was used to open the front door to my grandparents house. Bent from 100 years of use, or from one really frustrating incident?  The little key on the bottom is just plain cute.

 Antique Skeleton Key, and buddy

A trio of the same style key, yet different weights, lengths and cut/teeth types.Trio of Vintage KeysThese small utilitarian objects spent a majority of time waiting, or in a dark pocket or purse.  Gorgeous detail and patina, and in the just the size of a thumb. Wonder if anyone noticed when it was in use?

Vintage Key Detail It’s always fun to find a unique old key in a junk drawer. I wonder what each key opens? A mystery that fits in your hand.

Skeleton Key Details

Key wards or bits

Here is another set of ‘keys’ I’ve collected. Halfway thought January is an ideal time for me to remember, reflect, and/or readjust.

Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” Andy Rooney

So true. “Life’s a journey not a race” is a phrase I remember hearing first at kindergarten orientation.

It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” Dale Carnegie

I am a Worrier–yes with a capital W.  Re-channel that energy! It doesn’t help the future, past or present. Unless a tree falls on your house, then worry.

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.” Eskimo Proverb

This I oh-so-believe, for both stars and rainbows. (Yup, I have rose-tinted glasses to balance out the fretting.) Plus it’s such a nice way to remember others, for the kids and for me.

Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic‘ who waved off the dessert cart.” Erma Bombeck

Carpe diem, and please bring me a chocolate mousse.

The universe is always speaking to us. Sending us little messages, causing coincidences and serendipities, reminding us to stop, to look around, to believe in something else, something more.” Nancy Thayer

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending . . . Kermit the Frog

And that just might be the key.

The Key?

Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” Buddha

The First Hunt

I always enjoy “Show me what you got” posts. Here’s the haul from my first thrifting escapade of the year. Just a bag full. Nothing earth shatteringly amazing, but still enjoyable after a month off.

The magic words “Half off of everything” rang through the split level just as we arrived.  Much of the house was already emptied, but fueled by a salted caramel mocha, I was ready to try to unearth a treasure.

A windstorm left us without power for almost two days over the holiday break. Our gas fireplace provides heat, we had plenty of candles and after the first evening power was restored to most of the area.  The market, businesses and gas stations were up and running, and traffic not bad (or worse than usual).  Tiny pockets were left without power, including us. Except for dead cell phones and loss the fridge/freezer contents, we were fine.

So it’s no surprise something practical caught my eye first. A collection of phones were in the garage, with the half off sale this Trimline was just .50¢. Worth a chance.Landline and matchesWith the restock of matches, it came to a whopping .65¢.  (The phone worked like a charm later when plugged in. vs. the phone I thought was a landline but had a battery and didn’t work during the power outage .)

Also in the garage was a metal tray from a tool kit. Hmmm, I have a soft spot for industrial things.

Red Metal Tray

Red. Metal.  Possibilities. I left the screws and handtools, and for $1 the tray was mine.

Family game night, with or without candlelight, will be enjoyable with this addition. Rough on the outside, pristine on the inside.Family game night

While not take-your-breath-away-finds, these tins and wooden spool will join other collections.  I’m going put the chalk to use.

Tins, Sucrets, ChalkNothing like a bit of blue on a gray January day.

Blue bowls

Always useful for organizing, or even baking bread.

Always useful

So then there’s this,Apple sheet

What is it? A sheet?  With apples? Why oh why would you buy that? Was there something else in your coffee? Not exactly sure. (I usually avoid most linens. A tablecloth, maybe an apron on occasions. Bedding, never.  Am I out of shopping shape?)

Unusual, no stains, did not appear used. 50¢. Fine, it was great deal, but what will you do with it? Well, I have a high school sophomore who could take it for spunky spin on toga day. Or used it as a drop cloth for the next messy craft project. Maybe cut in to squares used to wrap class valentine goodie bags.   Bleached and folded, it’s ready for at least one use.

A cardboard box full of bags from stores long closed was filled with various items and tucked in a corner. It did have a treasure. A vintage clothespin apron with a quartet of appliqued lambs in an embroidered pasture. Sweet.

Vintage Appliques Clothespin Bag

My resistance was down as I also bought another linen from the box.  This handmade full circle skirt with detailed flower petals and appliqued leaves. Tone on tone top stitching on the (tiny) waistband. Someone invested a lot of time creating this, maybe for a special event or performance, and it was stuffed in a box.   Somehow, I felt sorry for it. Another .50¢. What was in that coffee?

Vintage Full Circle Skirt

It bled like the dickens in multiple Oxyclean baths. Now a light pink, it twirls and swirls on my sophomore, so if the toga idea isn’t a go. . . Or, it will make a fine tree skirt or, well, something. I’ll try.

This first hunt of the year was completed for less than $5, about the same price as that mocha, and a fun afternoon back in the treasure hunting trenches.

Theme of the day? Gotta be “It was just .50¢.”

Vintage Appliques Clothespin Bag

That’s A Wrap

It’s a brand new year. Welcome 2015!

OK, it IS almost the first Monday of the year. I wanted to share a holiday chuckle to wrap up 2014.

For Christmas, I will sometimes add an additional element to gift giving.  Perhaps a scavenger hunt or obstacle course that involves solving puzzles, creating poems, or completing sequences of Fibonacci numbered jumping jacks. A note taped under the dining room table is not unusual.  Or each of our four girls may open a cryptic clue that added together reveals the family gift.

For example, last year our two oldest daughters wanted then same thing for Christmas. Something green–cash. It fits every time and doesn’t leave a wonky gift card balance remaining, but takes a but moment to open, plus it would their ‘big’ present. Hmmm. Like many, my family is up before dawn on Christmas morning. The two teens each opened a small box that told them to search the rest of the house for their present. Our entry, living room  and stairway are two stories tall.  If they had looked up while rushing down to find their stockings hung with care, they might have noticed two mylar balloons floating untethered on the ceiling. Each with a little ribbon wrapped around a small plastic bottle with their name on it, and the cash inside.  And a longer ribbon hanging down, but not easily reachable.  It was an adventure for all of us to follow them. It took a bit to reel in their gifts.

Which brings me to this year. Christmas morning I opened a beautifully wrapped gift. Inside was a bag of Bugles. And. Nothing else. Hmmm.

My family knows that Bugles and a diet Coke are my go-to truck stop snacks about 450 miles into our semi-annual 600 mile trek to Montana. It may happen at 350 miles if the snow is heavy. Or if there’s extended grumpiness from the back seats, I might add a Twix to the mix too. I know, I know, but to date, in car meditation hasn’t worked for me.

Anyhoo. The magic of Christmas has me wondering . . . Bugles? My mind started to snowball possibilities. It must be a clue! It can only mean road trip, right? Where? When? Pet sitter, kid sitter, what to pack? We have good friends in Oregon, it could be there.  Heck, would we need our passports? Canada is just a 200 mile drive, I wouldn’t even need Bugles.   The kids started to get excited too, oh yes what does it mean?  Dad? Dad!

“Um. Well, actually, I know you like Bugles, so I got you some for Christmas.”

The crispy salty treat was a nod to many miles already  logged on the road. With six schedules including 4 kids at 4 schools, it would have been a crazy logistical undertaking to plan a surprise. I looked past the gift instead of at it, what a goofball! Whew, time for coffee and cocoa.

The Bugles will be even more tasty when not crunching in fitful fistfuls on rural highways. Currently in the pantry, but I don’t think they’ll be there for long.

BuglesAnd I think I’ll plan a weekend in Canada for the family in 2015. And that’s a wrap.



Merry Mailed Memories – Vintage Christmas Postcards

So much easier to store than a globe collection is a collection of postcards from the early 20th century.  Here some Christmas cards on display this year. Something different will catch my eye each year, from the colors, the embossing, the postmarks &/or the hand-written messages. The first and last cards are my favorites.

Collection of Vintage Holiday Postcards

1915 Santa Xmas postcardA Merry Christmas from 1915. This is one of the few postcards I have with an image of Santa Claus. The vivid & jolly  illustration is currently tucked into our tree.

These very l-o-n-g stockings were hung by the chimney with care. UndatedStockings were hung by the chimney with care. Card below was sent 12-26-1917, and it’s from Rudolph (!)

1917 Christmas Postcard

 “Dear Brother, Just a line of thanks for the handsome Xmas gift which is just fine. your Brother, Rudolph”

1917 postcard greetingWritten December 26th, a very prompt thank you card.

From 1912, could that be a Figgy Pudding?

1912.  A plethora of pintafores.

 Cards with Christmas greens

December 25th postmark

From the vase of poinsettias, a Dec 25 1909 postmark

The other card with a Santa image is from 1913

1913 Santa Christmas postcard

Detail from above, more of a Father Christmas image?

1913 Santa Detail. Postcard from 1909 with an angel. I adore this font.

1909 Christmas Postcard

The colors on this 105 year old card are so peaceful & clear.  Hope.

1911 Christmas postcard detail

Wow, I Could’ve Had A V-8 in 1958

Last week I helped a friend Christmas shop. The mission was to locate a vintage frog item for an upcoming gift exchange. Chatting and catching up, we shopped merrily away. We saw pigs, dogs, dolls, pigs with wings, but no frogs.  However, I spotted this out of the corner of my eye. I had to take a quick second peek.  Seeing “The Cunninghams” caught my attention initially, as I was also shopping for a Cunningham gift. Vintage graphics are a favorite for them, and I thought this poster might just be ideal.

V-8 Holiday Calendar Inching my way to the wall of the packed booth for a closer look, it said “With Saturday Evening Post Covers”.  Covers, as in plural. Hmmm. Thrifting happy dance–there are additional pages.  While not complete, it IS an enormous holiday countdown calendar. I love advent calendars, even one with a retail vibe. The more, the merrier. Each 3’x2′ page could be a holiday decoration. The minty green border could fit into many Christmas decorating schemes today.

I mulled, and we continued to meander through other booths and stores. Where are the frogs? Could have easily started a scary plastic Santa collection.  Lots of vintage games, ornaments and red rolling pins featured. I lingered over an Ohio Art globe for a moment, or two.  Then I saw the second sign, 25% off today.  After some seasonal deliberations, ho ho ho the calendar was mine.

 Friday, December 19

December 19 V8 calendar

Surprise! The days are the same as 2014. The Post covers are from the early 50’s, the years aligned in 1958, so I’m guessing this is a 1958 store promotional display.

The Saturday Evening Post illustrations each provide a little snapshot in to Christmas past. Filled ashtrays at a party would be now be rare, but the wonder of Santa, and the bustle of Christmas is everlasting. Artwork by Amos Sewell, Benjamin Prins, Norman Rockwell, and more.  I cannot find anything similar in V-8 vegetable juice advertising or through the parent company, Campbell’s Soups. Which makes the find that much more fun.

Each page has a reminders of what a holiday shopping list should include, turkey, ham, fruit cake and cookie ingredients, and wait for it  . . V-8.

Not sure how I’d feel about hot V-8, but a Bloody Mary might be in order to toast this find. December 19 detailA red cardboard holder remains at the top, so it could be displayed on an easel.  As we are easel-free, framing pages and hanging singularly or in a grid would be an option. Big binder clips are the answer for this year.

This is the last page remaining.  Hoping the duck is a present, not dinner!December 20, 1958

Cunningham page has been gifted to the Cunningham’s. And I’m on a quest to give and/or display the rest.  Which reminds me, 4 shopping days until Christmas, I had better make a list for the market because we’re cookie baking tomorrow. Some things never change.  Thanks V-8 for this terrific collection. Merry Merry!


Would You Like A Box With That?

This time of year? Why yes I would, thank you very much. Especially if it’s a vintage box.  The graphics on the outside can be as decorative and enchanting as what’s on the inside.

Shaggy Pine Candle Box 1

Shaggy Pine Candle Box 2A

Shaggy Pine Candles. I’m guessing made shaggy by the fact that they’re not dripless?

German Glass Ornaments

German Glass Ornaments

Variety of merriment in vintage boxes

Antique Cuddle Kids BoxThis pea=green box with sweet graphics contains antique Christmas tree candle holders.  Each metal holder has a tint of color, a tiny detail and soot from use. (!)  I do not think this is the original box. (Don’t search Cuddle Kids, unless a fan of scary dolls).

Antique Christmas Tree Metal Candle Holders 1An early Santa riding a reindeer on this old blue & white box, and perhaps an one of the angels who spoke to the shepherds prancing with a star?

Antique Christmas Ornament BoxAlas, the following box is empty, but Paine’s Balsam Fir Incense is still available. The descriptions of the aroma make me very curious. A family owned business since 1931, and the website describes their 89 year old star employee and two company dogs. I think I’m in.

Balsam Fir Insense BoxThis box from Knott’s Berry Farm contains a holiday treasure, a set of tapers pristine and at least 50 years old.

The address is Candle Kitchen, Box 15, Ghost Town.

Candle Kitchen at Knotts Berry Farm

At long last, the candles are headed for the Christmas mantel

Two tiny vintage boxes of mini-flocked trees.

Flocked baby bottle brush treedNow time it’s to get the contents, and the boxes, on display.

This is as close the antique candle holders will get to a tree.Antique Christmas Tree Metal Candle Holders 1

Merry December!

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Pyrex Lab Glass

Do you have something non-traditional that you collect? I practically squeal with delight when I find a piece of lab glass.

Truth be told, lab glass does not exactly inspire a wave of fond memories.  In high school, I took biology, survived chemistry, and proceeded to human physiology thinking pre-med might be my track.  Dissecting frogs, worms, hearts and eyeballs were all fine, but one meeting with a fetal pig and that was that; social sciences here I come.  Required science distributions in college were filled with ‘lab-free’ geology and speech & hearing sciences. Yet I love lab glass.

I appreciate Pyrex, especially sunny yellow pieces, but utilitarian beakers are my favorite.

Welcome to my laboratory. PyrexDESICCATOR 2The most recent addition is this Pyrex Desiccator**.

(Yes, I had to look that up. Just a lovely piece in a new-to-me shape and size.)  The jar with lid is about 10″ by 8″. Pyrex GLASS DESICCATOR 1

The heavy glass and industrial design is hardworking and pleasing. I like to think of it as now enjoying retirement.

The tiniest of beakers at 100 milliliters. 100 ml pyrex beakerIt’s perfect for keeping washi tapes handy.

100 ml beaker Washi

A trio of 800 ml beakers are useful for corralling other collections,

800 ml in case of party beaker

Vintage party supplies

800 ml flower frog holder

Partial collection of flower frogs

Rainbow of straws in beaker. (Thanks to J for sorting)

Rainbow of IKEA straws.

Displaying pieces creates a mad scientist vibe at Halloween, and fun to fill with treats for the kids during finals.

If I stuck with chemistry, I could perhaps tell you what this was used for.  The beautiful (to me) stopper was found separately and just happens to fit.

Mystery Beaker and stopper

1000 ml made by Pyrex.

The duo following are ideal for holding a single small bloom.

125 ml beaker

Tiny 125 ml long neck beakers.

 To give an idea of the scale of the pieces. Lab Glass collection

Lab glass can also be an addition to other holiday decorating.  Beakers can be filled with a multitude of things. During autumn, I might fill one or more with acorns. A stacked variety of Jelly Bellies look, and are, irresistible. Or employ one in everyday use as a container for soaps in the guest bath. A poinsettia we ordered from a munchkin’s fundraiser fits perfectly inside the new desiccator. Once we unpack our Christmas decorations, I’m going to fill around the plant with bells.

Merry Lab Glass

Merry Lab Glass!

For over 95 years, Corning has developed special glass for use in both chemical and life science laboratories. PYREX glassware is made from Type 1, Class A low expansion borosilicate glass that has become the accepted standard in chemistry labs across the globe.  from

Can’t wait to find the next piece.

**A desiccator is a sealable enclosure used to protect chemicals which are hygroscopic or which react with water from humidity.

November 24

Just for fun, let’s see what today might have been like more than seventy years ago.

Here are pages from two perpetual resource books, both published in 1942.

1942 Picture Almanac 1

The almanac is filled with a page a day of interesting facts, and a place for boys & girls to record the daily weather report.

November 24th is the birth date of  “Old Rough and Ready”, the 12th US President Zachary Taylor.  An adventurous tidbit is that his father fought along side George Washington.

And the tip of the day,

1942 American Bomber guide 1 It’s difficult to imagine a number of children learning to identify bombers overhead. ***

 American Bomber guide 2This guide would be helpful anytime if reading a novel set in WWII. (Need a suggestion? Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein) The Boeing B-17, the Flying Fortress, is huge. I wonder if this is to scale?

None of the pages in the almanac have been completed, but the cover is well-worn and many pages smudged. I know as a child I would have read it cover to cover.1942 Picture Almanac 2All of this learning makes for a ravenous student.

So, what’s for dinner?

 Let’s check the menu for in the Modern Meal Maker.Modern Meal Maker Menus 1942 1Perpetual recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Modern Meal Maker Menus 1942 November 1

Fried Apples & Bacon as potential as a tasty November dish, Spinach Balls, not so much.

Modern Meal Maker Menus 1942 2The cookbook also has timely tips for the month and season.

Modern Meal Maker Menus 1942 3

Would be fun to recreate a day of menus.

Modern Meal Makers 1942 3

Happy November 24th

***Note:  After some additional pondering, I realize I was wrong. (Some may now want to bookmark this post.) On November 24, 1942, children mostly likely were acutely aware of aircraft overhead.  So then I Googled. The Aircraft Warning Service was a civilian service of instated in 1941 to keep watch for enemy planes entering American airspace.  Many citizens learned to identify aircraft for both American and foreign airplanes. (One system is WEFT: Wing, Engine, Fuselage, Tail)

Vintage Navy CufflinkLink to the experience of one Ground Observer.

The Other Side of the Flea Market

For the first time, my thrifting buddy and I moved from vendees to vendors at a vintage market. (Must admit, we’ve completed significant amounts of  ‘research’  attending as shoppers.) The right sale? Not too big, not too small, not too chic, not too straight from a very old cardboard box in the garage.    We found a once a month sale with a little corner snack bar, gift bags for shoppers, with no entry fee. Just our cup of tea coffee. Now it was time to select and release some treasures back to the  universe.

To quote Frozen, “Let It Go”.

Time to part

Time to part.

From Flea to Shining Flea

From Flea to Shining Flea. Wash & tag time.

We bandied about the idea for over a year. This decision gave us a new understanding of the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’.   Between us, we have seven kids.  Finding a weekend that didn’t conflict with any sporting, school, vacation or holiday plans was quite a challenge.  How does the White House ever schedule state dinners? A date mercifully fell when the weather was both clear & mild.  With the help, and then subsequent ever-so-quick disappearance of said children and hubbies, we were able to set-up the space the night before.  A final fluffing in the early am, then we spent the rest of Saturday ‘on the floor’.  (Yikes, an old retail term just returned.)

Crazy busy.  The pictures are from set-up wonky in color and bit blurry. But here they are. The first two pictures are from my flea buddy’s side of the booth. Once the doors were opened, we were off.

Half of the booth. EP

Eggplant’s side during set-up

Half of the booth. EP

What an incredible amount of things can fit on, near and under three tables. My half is in the photos below. Taken during set up. Not much space left for anything short of offering to sell my earrings.  And yes, editing  is on the list for next time.

Vintage Market 1

Vintage Market 2

My side during set-up

You might spot a “Downton Abbey” moment below, with an empty water bottle near the tea tray. One of my favorite displays was a number of vintage travel pins hanging on a window screen. (Leaning on the shelf.)  Cute, cute pins at 2 for $1. Many compliments on the display. Yet not one sold. Phooey.

Vintage Market 3The pins were offset by the black & white US Navy 8×10’s I used to identify the ‘man stuff’ area. They sold. The vintage games sold. And the blue metal toy phone, loved but never displayed. A basket with antique postcards and pamphlets was almost emptied. Even sold some vintage records. (Yippee, just a ninety-seven more to go . . .)

I’d have bought these atomic mod candlesticks.

Nickel? Stainless? Aluminum?

Nickel? Stainless? Aluminum?

Well, I guess I did originally. But they came back home. The gentleman who purchased an unused embossed dragon teapot was thrilled with his purchase. He was born in the year of the dragon. (Then he read my palm–a first for me–but that’s a story for another post.) Definitely a win-win transaction.

My kids whipped up a fine faux frappuccino® as a pre-sale test for this 50+ year old turquoise beehive blender. Delicious. It was sold to another vendor with a retro blue kitchen.  I barely got it out of the box. So glad to have found a new home for it.

50+ years old, and made a fine  faux Frappuccino®Sales had a nice pace for most of the day. Entertaining to talk with people as a vendor. I love to find out what & why other people collect.  However, very difficult when asked, “Are you sure you want to sell this?”  Yes.    No.    Maybe?

It was a terrific starter sale. Immensely enjoyable when customers are enjoy quirky, quality items too.  We sold enough to downsize to one van load when we packed up for the day. We headed to St. Vinnie’s to donate on the way home.  Then time to un-wine-d, I mean celebrate the adventure. Whew.

A huge nod to all who collect, create & display the vintage magic we so adore on a regular basis.

Can’t wait to stop by soon.  Ahem, as research of course . . .

Working with a theme may be a goal for a second foray to the other side of the flea market.  Then who knows? Perhaps The Farm Chicks 2018?