Back to Real Life…

Art by Sue Betanzos.

Alas my real life doesn’t have as many bells and whistles or excitement, but is good in its own way, with its own small joys. Like burrito and movie night!! And catching up with neighbors. And getting the scrub jays to eat bits of walnut from my hand. (They’ll do it, but nervously!) I’m working towards “St. Francis status” with them.

And now that it’s cooling off…a bit, I’ll be able to get on yard projects again and maybe more decluttering. And this coming week I’ll be helping out a few afternoons at a summer camp. I’m on the board of the nonprofit that is one of the camp sponsors and all of us are pitching in.

And of course I still am sourcing a bit for my online stores even though sales are molasses right now. It’s time to get really picky.

Fun Thrift Store Finds

I did like this glass seed bead and wire leopard figurine, likely made in Africa. He is approximately 5.5″ tall and 10″ nose to tail.

And the coiled pine needle basket inset with walnut slices. I had walked passed this at least once before I had a “hold the phone” moment. This shows skill and was definitely worth buying. Likely made in the USA by artisans.

And this sweet retablo of a nativity scene on top and folks celebrating on the bottom. Likely Peruvian.

I find that folk art items add a touch of authenticity to decor. And sometimes a bit of the exotic.

On another day, this Victorian silver plate napkin ring jumped into my hands within one minute of entering the store! This one is made by Van Bergh Silverplate Co. featuring a wish bone and baby chick. I bought a bunch of similar napkin rings from an eBay seller a few years ago. As a family we picked our favorites to keep and use and then I added the rest to my Etsy store. Some Victorian napkin rings are insanely intricate and wacky and while just silver plate, can command big bucks…in the $300 and up range. This one is more modest, but still appealing.

I tend not to pick up India brass vases anymore. They are not worth much and most are so similar in shape and etching with hundreds for sale online. BUT I was struck by the shape, simplicity and patina on this one. Likely 1960s/70s, it has a mod, contemporary, unfussy look that could work in many decors. I found one listed on eBay that is polished, but I will leave mine as is.

Will list for $30.

I also spotted four of these retro Hannah Turner mugs: two owls and two peacocks and they appear in unused condition!! Aren’t they too cute?! New they sell for $24-28 individually and I got four for $7.79! I had found a Hannah Turner creamer last month so I knew these they were a winner.

I’ve already listed the owls on eBay.

Unexpected Estate Sale Drop-in

Then on Friday on my way home from a bank appointment (for another of those pesky executor tasks) I was within a mile of an estate sale that had just opened. I had an “Alrighty then” moment and headed for it.

It was an estate sale company I’d never encountered before but I found their prices reasonable and the staff friendly, and bonus, they provided little shopping baskets at the door.

This house had a lot of smalls though nothing was particularly valuable or wildly unique. (There was a vintage framed Bernard Buffet print for $70, but the image was not compelling. Though I should have researched it!)

There were lots and lots of holiday decorations for all seasons on multiple shelves, but none that seemed old or intriguing.

Purses and bathroom items. (I’ve never bought bathroom items, except for things in vintage tins and a perfume bottle or two.)

Miscellaneous stuff in the garage. Should have spent more time here.

In the end I just bought a few things.

Like this embroidered black velvet purse from India. The tag says “silver threads,” but it looks gold, which I’m guessing is what it is as a lot of these purses also used real gold thread. Love this over-the-top lavish embroidery. It’s unbranded, but in good condition and just lovely.

This old lightweight gold-plated locket was as sweet as can be with a choker-length chain. A bit of costume jewelry from long ago. Not sure about pricing, likely just $30.

There were quite a few books, but most seemed to be newer or nothing special. But my gut was telling me this one about astronomy–The Field Book of The Skies (1934)–might be good. And it is! It sells for $50 and up, even on Amazon.

Paid $2.
Here’s one of the fold-out diagrams.

This antique carving set with stag horn handles is a bit of a heartbreak.

Paid $18

I adored the sweet letter that had been kept with the set which it turns out was a wedding present.

But what the heck happened here to the knife?? I didn’t notice this damage/repair earlier. 😭 It looks like someone broke the knife and resoldered it terribly and off-kilter. Oh jeez.

Not sure what I’m going to do yet. I may sell off the pieces individually and the sell the knife cheaply as a “fix-it” piece or “supply” as the stag horn handle and ferrule are still usable.

My biggest purchase is a gift for my dad…but I can’t share that quite yet!

Overall I realize I could have stayed longer and dug a bit deeper. I didn’t because I wasn’t finding much in the the age, quality or quirkiness that I look for, but I don’t doubt there were some hidden gems. Still I’m happy with my few bits…except for the knife!

I close for now wishing you happy hunting,



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