Thursday, April 3, 2014

Eye Openers

Sometimes amazing things happen. Well, scratch that, everyday amazing things happen. Currently there's humans in orbit over the Earth. The phone in your pocket has more processing power than the computers that put the first men on the Moon. In particular I'm amazed by the things that line up to make other things happen.

Take my new friend Felicia for example; She's been a reader of this blog for a while. Long enough to know that I have a particular obsession and last week she walked into a thrift store and she happened to look through the Catalog and Magazine section. She happened to pick up a catalog and her eyes happened to fall on a page that she knew would interest me.



To me, this find is monumental. It's the last piece of the puzzle. I finally have a (possible) name, date and seller. I'm not sure if the "Eye-Opener" is a clever catalog write up or that's what they called it.
For years I've only had "Taste Setter Collection" to go by. I assumed it was made by a company called "Sigma" only because they have a line of ceramics by the same name. So I had to assume right? I still don't actually know. I think I won't know that until I find someone who actually helped produce these. 

What I DO know is the lovely Felicia found this in a Neiman-Marcus 1972 "An Early Taste of Christmas Catalog". Naturally I went straight to eBay and asked all the sellers of vintage Neiman-Marcus catalogs to look through and see if they could find the pattern. No luck.



So right now it only existed in this mini catalog. I know a lot of you vintage hunters can empathize with the joy in finding out crucial information like this.  Of course me knowing this doesn't really change anything. It's not like people list it for sale under "Neiman-Marcus Eye Opener".

The catalog is a pretty important find to me. I can't thank Felicia enough and everyone who has helped in the search.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Vintage Nut Celebrates Taylorstone Cathay Day

In my first post here, I'd like to thank The Thrift Collective for generously allowing me to join such a super-groovy vintage lovers blog. Reading about others' thrifting highs and lows in an empathetic community is good for my kind: I get daily reaffirmation that I'm not the only nut out there who cannot (nope, I cannot) pass a thrift store without pulling into the parking lot to run in for a quick look-see. Much appreciation to The Thrift Collective.

Now, please allow me to share with you the inspiring thrifting adventure behind what I now refer to as Taylorstone Cathay Day. 

Of course, if you're not interested in reading a story, feel free to scroll down to more photos.




I don't normally venture into thrift stores on weekends. They're crowded and just not worth the aggravation. But a week ago I did stop in at my favorite GW on my way home from an ESL class I teach. It was just a little past noon, and I had to cruise the parking lot for a couple of minutes before I finally found a parking spot on the opposite end of the strip mall, over by the Dunkin Donuts. And even before I entered, I could tell that the place was indeed full of folks. Again, I don't like weekend thrifting. 

So why did I do it on March 15, 2014, a.k.a. Taylorstone Cathay Day? I'm crediting a supernatural vintage-stuff-whispers-to-vintage-nut-in-a-language-only-vintage-lovers-understand phenomenon. 

I felt a pull.

Enough. Let's skip to the near end. Check out the photo of my buggy that I texted to Mama in North Carolina as I headed to the register.




And after sending this image, I still found a couple more pieces to load in there. (Yay!)

Like many of you, I love the perfectly atomic Taylorstone Cathay pattern. And I do know that it's not uncommon in thrift stores, because I see lots of finds on others' blogs. I also consider myself a collector, in fact. (And by "collect," I mean that I've bought, maybe, six or eight pieces.) In fact, my first post on this blog included a modest Taylorstone Cathay find. So you can imagine the double-take I did when I happened upon the many precariously stacked Taylorstone Cathay pieces sitting on the shelves of a housewares endcap. 

Immediately and without regard to price, I knelt and began putting the pieces in my handheld shopping basket. (I never choose the buggy optiontoo cumbersome.) Of course, there was no way I would fit all that was there in that little basket. And, unfortunately, you can't holler "saved!" in a thrift store. Well, you can, I suppose, but there's no guarantee that it'll be effective.

So I stood there, trying to figure out how to go grab a cumbersome buggy while still protecting my great find from other shoppers (none of whom seemed the slightest bit interested in whatever the heck I'd discovered). But then a GW employee who recognized me as a regular (heck, most of the employees there know me as a regular!) happened by and told me that there was more of the set on the opposite endcap. I think I said in reply something like, "Holy moly." He asked whether I wanted it. Heck, yeah!

So the nice man began putting all of those pieces from the other end-cap in another basket for me. And now I had an ally protecting my "saved!" pieces. I commandeered a buggy at the front of the store. Then back at the housewares aisle, I thanked the nice man and put everything he had gathered into my not-really-so-cumbersome buggy. I also told him that the hubby was going to freak, because I wouldn't be coming home with one little Russel Wright plate today, but with pretty much a whole stinkin' set of 50-year-old dishes. The nice man asked me to then please refrain from mentioning to the hubby his involvement in my adventure. 

Thinking like a seasoned thrifter, I then roamed the rest of the housewares aisles looking for stray pieces from the set. That's when I found two oval platters. Holy moly, again.

My buggy held the following:

  • 13 dinner plates 
  • 10 salad plates
  • 10 bread & butter plates
  • 10 soup bowls
  • 16 cups with 16 saucers 
  • 9 additional cups without saucers
  • 2 oval platters
  • 2 veggie bowls
  • 1 creamer
  • 1 sugar bowl with lid
  • 1 gravy boat with its saucer

It took quite a while to ring up my purchase and then to loosely wrap the entire set. (Duh.) The GW folks kindly found three boxes in the backroom to help me carry everything. During the process, the nice man told me that he had just priced and put the dishes out that morning and that he was glad they were heading out the door so soon. I think the staff believed that this was one of those sets that would sit around taking up space foreveras if it were manufactured by Gibson 10 years ago or something. Each piece was priced between 96 cents and $3.96. In the end, everything I got cost me just under $130, and that's including sales tax. Yay!

In the parking lot, the hubby called wondering where I'd gotten to. (As I mentioned before, I usually head straight home after teaching on Saturdays.) I told him that I had detoured to GW, but that I'd be home soon. Then I said, "Um, dear. This will be a day that will test the strength of our relationship."

He met me at the door when I got home. He shook his head and laughed. He knows me. I explained to him how incredible my find was. And for the umpteenth time, I reminded him that when we married over 25 years ago, we didn't register for china. (I've used that one to justify buying vintage dishes forever. And it works!) He went out back to smoke a cigar, while I unpacked and washed and dried everything. It took me almost two hours. 




The set looks to have never been used. There is no crazing, and there are no stains. Four or five pieces do have small chips. No biggie.




I love that the set includes the gravy boat with its handy-dandy plate.




I also got a creamer and a sugar bowl. Check out the oh-so-mid-century-mod wood lid!





The cups' insides are such a rich green.

A few days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, I returned to the GWon the off chance I'd left a piece sitting there by its lonesome, or the staff had just put out more discovered hiding in the back. And there was a piece: another sugar bowl, sans cool lid, but priced at 96 cents. I grabbed it. I'll probably never find the lid, but I don't care.




Also, a couple of days after Taylorstone Cathay Day, Mama happened across a salt shaker from the set, marked at $4, in a North Carolina thrift store. Did I want it, she asked. Heck, yeah! And in honor of March Madness, I'll declare, "Serendipity, baby!"

I think this will be our go-to nice set when we finally move to our North Carolina home in a few years. I'm planning on decorating with a mid-century modern/mountain theme. It'll work. I'm sure of it.

Thank you for humoring me as I shared my story. You thrifters understand. I know you do. 










 


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Woo Hoo!

This is the story of a collection four years in the making. If you've followed my harrowing journey, you'll know that the "Taste Setter Collection" is my white whale. These are pieces that are sometimes marked, have no information on them and any search on the internet will lead back to my own posts on it.

Since I started obsessing over these pieces I've only ever seen the Ice Bucket, Plate, Mug, Pitcher, Glass and Tray. These are the only pieces I know to exist. There could be more out there but in my relentless searching I've only seen these pieces and now I own them all!



A few days ago I got an email from my new favorite person Dawn of Cherry Picked Finds.  She had found a tray and a plate at an Estate Sale. She was looking for info on it and remembered seeing the image on this blog. We agreed on a trade and yesterday the tray was in my hands. To say I was happy is a gross understatement. To my knowledge this is the complete collection and I got my missing piece. To quote Keanu Reeves "Whoa".



For those curious the only pieces marked are the plate, pitcher and mug and this is what it looks like:


Pretty nondescript right? I don't even know what the name of this collection is. I know it's as old as 1977. I know that "Taste Setter" is also a name produced under the brand "Sigma" which is a defunct Japanese company but I don't know if it's the same "Taste Setter". I know that everyone sees something different, a sun, a lion, a face...so, I mean...try an eBay search for that and see how it goes. Frustrating doesn't begin to describe it.

So many people have been on the lookout and some have actually found pieces and sent them to me. I can't tell you how amazing that is and how grateful I am. I still OF COURSE want more. I will always hoard these pieces.

As of today I have:
1 Tray
2 Ice Buckets
2 Pitchers
6 Glasses
6 Plates
8 Mugs


So again, a million thanks to Dawn and everyone who's sent me pieces and to those of you who keep their eyes peeled for it. You guys are amazing!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Thrifting Roundup: Scandi-licious and Holy Grails

The thrifting gods have truly been shining on me since Christmas. It seems like every time I walk into a thrift I find at least one squeally good thing. Scandi-licious stuff, kitschy kitchen, you name it. Here’s a quick look at some of the recent highlights.

One day I was all about green ceramics. Below is a JIE Gantofta Sweden dish – lovely deep green colour with brown speckles. My next stop that day was a Sally Ann where I literally tripped on a box full of Hoganas Keramik Sweden plates and individual covered soup tureens. Is it me or are green ceramics great to photograph on white backgrounds?



Another day my thing was Scandi clear glass: Iittala Tsaikka glasses with labels intact and in their original box; a triangular paperweight designed by Valto Kokko for Iittala that depicts fish swimming by a forest (this one is in danger of being added to my permanent collection); a Bertil Vallien designed boxer paperweight from the Boda Kennel Series; and a Iittala Ultima Thule three footed bowl designed by Tapio Wirkkala.



Then I did a run on Scandi ceramics with a bunch of Figgjo Lotte dishes:



followed by a score on a Figgjo Saga wall plaque.



I’ve scooped up some Bodum Bistro cups with their cork coasters, a very large Jorge Wilmot owl, some Melitta cups with their 70s holders and a very nice Aseda Sweden green glass vase designed by Bo Borgstrom.



I’ve snagged a few great rustic pieces like this beautiful oak library card catalogue cabinet (flew out of the shop as a gift for a librarian! How fitting!), a bentwood sifter with incredible patina and a Roll-Rite glass rolling pin.



I was especially happy to find this Pastoraali vase designed by Esteri Tomula for Arabia Finland stuffed in with the crappy vases at a local thrift – and even more pleased with my attempt at an artsy photo!



But, finally, the highlight of any of my thrifting ever. A few years ago I became aware of the prices for Noritake art deco pieces after finding a small condiment set that was snapped up on Ebay within 25 minutes of my listing it. I’ve had my eyes peeled for more of the collectible pieces, particularly any of the lady plates and considered them to be my holy grail of thrifting. Well, holy grail found.  When I spotted the plate below sitting in the souvenir plate section at a thrift store, my heart skipped a beat.



It’s so iridescent I initially thought it might be fake. But it’s not. She’s real, she’s beautiful and she’s headed for Ebay. Prices seemed to have softened from their lofty heights but I’ll still do ok. For a look at the catalogue for a 2012 auction of one collector’s unbelievable collection of Noritake art deco go here Noritake auction catalogue 


Thanks for taking the time to read my post and good thrifting karma to you! You can see some of these items in my shop here Eight Mile Vintage on Etsy

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm a little bit gaga for vintage enamel homeware. I have accumulated a few items which will be EVENTUALLY up for sale through my work-in-progress online shop.. *cough*. I know that there are modern enamel pieces which echo the look of older ones, but they are just not the same. They're kind of like a Beatles cover band. Not bad, but you can't beat the original. I inevitably gravitate to enamel pots with bits of rust. They add a bit of character. A bit "rough around the edges". Like any of us who have been around a while.. *cough* squared. I follow quite a few Scandinavian collectors and designers on Instagram, and am envious of their drool-worthy enamelware on a daily. I have long desired a trip to Norway,Sweden and Finland, and maybe one of these days I'll get the chance to go. But for now, I'll have to allay my dreams by indiscriminately stalking Scandinavians on social media. I've said too much.
enamel bowls
enamel pot
enamel pot 2
enamel pot 3
I love all the above pieces, but particularly the enamel coffee/teapot. The floral pattern and that on the top are all hand painted. I just think it's so quaint and country, but the sad day will come when I will have to say goodbye to it. That's ok too :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Link your shop!

So I thought we could try something different. I know most of the readers and bloggers here have Etsy shops and wouldn't it be fun to feature some of them for a week?

Every day this blog will feature an Etsy shop and some it's its wares. It'll be a great way to find new stuff and new shops.

Whether you're a reader or a blogger go ahead and leave your shop url in the comments below and I'll pick out 5 to feature. If this goes well we might be able to do it once a month.

Thanks!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mid Mod Mom's weekly finds

Hello lovers of vintage,

This is Beatriz from Mid Mod Mom. The new year has been busy with family and friends visits and a  week trip to Atlanta, but I am back to my little routine of thrift and estate sale hunting. I did not find anything extraordinary this week, but I love every single one of my finds.


My fourth set of Takahashi teardrop salt and pepper shakers. This time in a beautiful red-orange lacquer. These are so mod and fun.


There is always a first time for every thing. These wonderful Braun alarm clocks have been in my thrifting list for a long time. My mom used to have a similar one on her beside table for as long as I can remember. Simple and beautiful pieces. Found the two at the same estate sale. There were many more alarm clocks where these two came from.


I believe both clocks were designed by Dieter Rams, one of the greatest designers of the 20th Century.


Another item that has been in my thrifting list is this lovely Pantalcraft wooden tray. Designed by Arthur Umanoff and made out of Taverneau wood with rattan wrapped handles.


I usually pass on most Couroc trays and dishes that I find, but I couldn't pass on one of my favorite designs. Isn't it great? In fabulous vintage condition!


Pair of salt and pepper shakers made out of what seems to be teak. Unmarked.


Enamel is a weakness of mine. I pick up evert single piece of enamel that I find, unless there is damage to it of course. This little dish was made by Bovano. Great colors.


Another regular of this blog. A Blenko water bottle. I could have a large collection if I had kept them all. I believe I have found a different color each time! This might be Amethyst.

I have yet to list this week's finds, but you are welcome to stop by my Etsy store anytime. Lots of mid-century modern and Scandinavian design beauty for sale there.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thrift Haul: Retro Art, Mod Carafes and the Sexiest Silver Robot Lamp You Ever Saw


Now that my clearance project is abandoned I'm excited to schedule more Estate Sale, Yard Sale, and Long Distance hunting trips. It feels better to focus on the new. I took one flea market trip this Sunday and came back with some unique goodies. Isn't the robot lamp above glorious? I'm going to repair it and add a vintage shade soon.

I found a cute little curio shelf that would be right at home in my apartment holding my hundreds of "smalls". ---->>> On Etsy


This was an impulse, I need to control myself better! I love anything vintage gun related and took home this somewhat shabby old gun decanter. I sold a similar Avon one so I may see how this does in my antique mall booth. Selling it for $12.00 if anyone's interested. (E-mail me)

Another plaque~?! I'm not supposed to be allowed to buy these but this one's huge (16" x 16") for a mere fifty cents, how could I resist? I remind me of the Dream Horror House (A Victorian painted glossy black by set designers) I wrote was my muse a while back. Or Foxworth Hall from Flowers in the Attic, just love the bold geometric shapes in this and solid color, it's a bit Halloweeny but could be up all year. I'll be writing more about the new Flowers in the Attic soon me-thinks, I'm excited to watch it for the set and costume design. I know it will be awful in some so-bad-its-good ways, too! See the plaque On Etsy.


I found a Libbery Carafe with the percolator (I believe it's called) and lid intact, a rare score for me! ---->>> On Etsy

I went back and worth on this one and went ahead and bought this "Etc." sign. I may paint it bright red-orange but it's on Etsy in it's original form for now.


Woah and yet another impulse was this nifty mushroom planter. I try not to buy more glassware but damn, a mere $1.00 to make it mine? I need more will power! It's on Etsy for a low price so it moves fast, hopefully!

Isn't she BEAUTIFUL!? She's quite similar to a souvenir lamp from Kyoto so I won't mind her being around in the meantime. I adore unique Japanese vintage pieces and love the mix of mediums here with paper, fabric, wood and glass being used and nice green detail, too. ------>>> On Etsy

And a final rule-breaker! Some big eye art plaques. For $1.00 each yet again they were hard to leave behind even though it's something that's a tricky sale. ----->>> On Etsy

UPDATES: If you didn't catch my new blog schedule I post on the weekends now. I posted two from the soul posts, one on Indie Biz Money Probs
 and one on my Project Progress for the week.

Also for those who've been asking, I still do blog design, banner design, product/business photography and freelance consulting. I just made a banner for the awesome Dharma Citta blog. E-mail if you wanna chat and get your business rolling. Don't let progress stop for the new year!

What did you score this weekend? Do share your finds and posts in the comments.

Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thrift Poll: What do you think?

I’ll admit that one of my weaknesses is lamps. Lamps, lamps, lamps. If left unchecked, I’d have a million lamps. I buy new lamps, thrift store lamps, I’ve supplied DIYed garage sale lamps to the EMV siblings. Lamps. So you can understand my excitement when I spotted this lamp sitting on the shelf of my local thrift store for a mere $8.



I find it retro-beautiful. It stands just 14" high. The saddled-up red clay pottery camel is standing under a palm tree. The chartreuse lampshade is fibreglass, in perfect condition, and has a black and gold scribble design with vinyl lashing. There’s no maker’s mark but I think it has a bit of age since the plug is not polarized. I grabbed it and ran it over to Mr. EMV, who was face first in a bin of old vinyl records.

“Look,” I exclaimed, “it’s so bad, it’s good!”

“Well,” Mr. EMV dead-panned, “you’ve got that half right.”

What!? Is it bad, not good? Is it kitsch, not cool? One man’s Jackson Pollack is another man’s poker playing dogs. What’s your opinion?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Long Lost Thrifter

Hai guyz!

Ugh. So, since my first post, the rest of 2013 looked something like this: Work insanity, sick, no wait, allergies, work insanity, more allergies, work insanity, work insanity, WAIT IT'S CHRISTMAS ALREADY?!, work insanity, new year.

Sorry :(  I have been thrifting though. Sooo much thrifting whenever I get the chance. So, if you'd like to bear with me, here are some of my latest finds. Also, I'd like to share with you some of the items I've found in the past, so get ready for a journey through the past, present and future! *epic music*





Thrift store jewelry!! I have a huge earring problem. Like 3 large boxes full problem. And I've discovered lately that I have an affinity for large, ridiculous looking earrings. Check out the left side of the first picture; look at all that ridiculous 80s awsomeness. A lot of those I actually converted from clip-ons to normal earrings by snapping off the clip-on part and gluing on a post! It's so easy and I will never be deterred from another pair of clip-ons again. The more reasonable earrings on the right are all finds from history; the unicorns and the spiral posts are some of my favorites. My rule with earrings is that I won't spend more than about $1.50 a pair; I like my thrills cheap :)  The bracelets are also from the past, the one with green cord has three little quartz piggy beads and I wear it on the regular. Tell me thrifters, which of my collection is your favorite and why?









Vintage beads, charms, individual earrings that will become charms, buttons, and look, vintage gaming dice!! The DnD nerd in me lost it a little when I saw those babies. The long string of white beads are made of some kind of stone. The beads in the plastic bag, though hard to see, are awesome; they're swirly colored and in varying sizes. These little trinkets are all destined to be made into something one day, I've always enjoyed beading jewelry and seeing these trinkets inspired me to pick up the hobby again as soon as I can.


Glass panels! At $1.99 each how can you say no. Look at the colors! The sun and moon is hanging above our bedroom door, the fish are above the medicine cabinet in our bathroom, and the humming birds were a Christmas gift to a dear family friend who is completely 100% obsessed with all things bird.




Obsession #1, thift ponies  :)  All these lovely ladies came second hand. These were my favorite toys from childhood and I have literally been collecting them since I stopped playing with them. The girl in the second picture is going to be getting some new wings soon, hers were damaged beyond repair. The third picture is the newest addition to the herd, she was only 75 cents! Poor thing is pretty messed up. Her legs are bent all funny and she's very dirty. But with some time and love she'll be presentable again soon!







(sorry about the not-tidy background btw) Purses and wallets and bags, oh my! The brown bag is by The Sak, who makes very nice purses in that woven style you see. They aren't particularly ritzy but they are a pretty penny when new. That one and the ridiculous quilted horse bag went to my sister as two of her many Christmas gifts (in all honesty I love giving people presents and tend to go a little nuts with giving during the holiday season lol). The turtle wallet will be going to a friend of mine soon as a (very) late Christmas gift, and the striped canvas makeup bag is staying with me. It's made by Victoria's Secret and is actually insanely sturdy! I kind of love it.


A Vera Bradley kisslock wallet! Huzzah! $3.99 at Goodwill! Except...






Wah-waaahhhhhh :(  Anything I bring home second hand, I wash. I either scrub the b'jeezus out of it, put it through the dish washer, or throw it in the washing machine. All Vera Bradly items can be washed, and I have always had great success in doing so. Not thinking, I threw this baby in the washing machine and when I pulled it out... I swore a lot and kicked myself repeatedly. The frame is actually quite tough so bending it back in to shape has proved nigh impossible. Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix it? It's just sitting sadly, taunting me that I can't use it :(


The most recent jewelry finds! Two necklaces and some earrings. The earrings have some sort of southwestern looking creature on them, sort of looks like Kokopelli but I don't think he is. The silver and "turquoise" necklace needs a polish, but I need to actually buy some silver polish to make that happen lol. The other necklace is a crazy myriad of chains and beads and charms and it's pretty awesome.


Bonus! I posted these two glasses and the mug in my first post. They now hold my pens! Gel pens on the left, normal colors in the middle, and felt pens on the right. #perfect :)

That's it for now! I have more funsies but this post is already quite long. Coming next episode: glass items for wedding centerpieces! More Vera Bradley! A sugar jar, an Anchor Hocking Fire King bowl, and a cursed golden idol! Well, maybe not that last one :P

Bonus bonus: all these pictures were taken with my new-to-me Panasonic DMC-ZS8 camera that fiance found for me at the thrift store for $40 :)

Love,
Illy


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