After making it through most of the winter without a snow day, much to my daughters' dismay, today was our second snow day of the week.
For me that meant it was time to pull out the roof rake and tackle the strange snow sculpture that always forms after a heavy snow on the roof above our deck. Getting there wasn't easy because I had to trudge through nearly waist-high snow to the back yard.
But (huffing and puffing), I made it. The sculpture, which was probably about 5 feet high, eventually went down. And actually, so did I. At one point, I landed on my bottom and wondered after several feeble attempts to get up, if I might be there until spring.
P.S. There's still time to leave a comment and enter the bunny paper giveaway. I'll draw a winner Saturday after noon.
That's your clue to where this long and rambling post is headed. Hang in there and you could be rewarded with a giveaway.
So here's the story: Over the weekend, I took my oldest daughter to another college audition, which meant a few hours of junking fun for me.
Our trip took us to the far western corner of New York state, to the stretch between Buffalo and the Pa. line, where the landscape is dominated by miles and miles of this.
Those are grapevines, and in that part of New York state, grapes are grown for both wine and grape juice. One of my stops was Westfield, which was the headquarters of Welch's Grape Juice for many years. I hadn't been through the village for a long time -- probably 20 years -- but I remembered three really cool things about it. One was that some of the lights along the main street -- Route 20 -- were shaped like grapes. The other two things involved old movie theaters -- one in the village with an Art Deco facade and one on the edge of town that was a drive-in movie theater attached to a hotel.
So guess what?
The lights were gone. :( All I saw were ordinary street lights, and now I'm beginning to wonder if I just imagined those grape lights. Does anyone know if they existed?
The Art Deco theater -- the Grand Theater -- was gone. :(( It was torn down in 1994, and where it stood are statues of Abraham Lincoln and Grace Bedell, the little girl who asked him to grow a beard, who was from Westfield. It's a nice monument but I'd rather have that old movie theater.
And theTheater Motel was sort of gone. The hotel is still there but the drive-in is gone.
So Westfield was a bust, which is why I have no pictures to share. And so were the antique shops in town. One was closed and the one that was open was way over my budget.
And it had been a really long time since Peggy's had been open. I was sorry to have missed it because any place that bills itself as "enchanted" is something I want to explore.
So I wound up in Dunkirk, a rather unenchanting place, in the dirtiest, dingiest Salvation Army store that I've ever been in, and believe me, I' ve been in a lot of them. But what it lacked in charm and cleanliness, it made up for with a waterfront view of Lake Erie and some memorable finds.
Which finally brings me back to this, my treasures large and small. (Didn't I tell you it would be a long journey?)
Those spun heads made my heart skip a beat or two. Unlike Magpie Ethel, who seems to have a GPS for them, I never find anything this great. In fact, the last time I found spun heads, it was almost two years ago.
And what's that underneath those heads? Well, it's this.
The world's largest (and heaviest) roll of Easter wrapping paper. I'm guessing it came from a floral shop and would have been used to wrap around those pots of Easter tulips and daffodils. I don't really know how old it is but it was with a roll of really ugly shower wrapping paper that looked 1960s-ish, so that's my best guess.
Now, here's the giveaway part. Leave me a comment between now and noon Saturday and I'll send a randomly selected reader a generous chunk of the paper -- at least a couple of yards. You'd better "hop" to it.
For the most part, this blog is G-rated. Except for today's post, which is PG-13. That's because I found this tucked away in a whole bunch of iron-on embroidery transfers that I've accumulated over the last year or so.
It's left me scratching my head for several reasons. First, because I found it at the estate sale of a retired school teacher. And second, because I don't know where one might display the embroidered portrait of a pinup girl.
Here's the image on the larger sheet of transfers, which also includes another pinup gal on a scale, plus a dainty motif for a GUEST TOWEL. Now I get it. These are for guest towels for the ... Playboy Mansion?
If you want something more demure, I've got that too. I've often seen these women and their enormous skirts stitched on dresser scarves and pillowcase covers.
I also have more than my share of day-of-the-week transfers but none as cute as this snail on ironing day.
And I have lots of transfers that make no sense, like horses in a cactus fields with scottie dogs. I guess you had to cut these images apart, unless of course you wanted horses in cactus fields with scottie dogs.
Occasionally I find something tucked away with the transfers, like these Meyercord decals, which came from a recent sale. I've seen these decals a lot on old furniture but I've never come across a sheet of them.
I've also never seen anything like these Vogart appliques, which at one time, probably in the 1950s, were "the Smartest Latest Needlework Craze." Who knew?
I didn't plan to collect cute Valentine's planters. But now I have 3.5 of them.
First I found this one at a garage sale. It's marked Inarco, 1963.
And then this one, found at the thrift store. It's marked Relpo and has a price sticker on it from a local floral shop.
And my favorite, this little gal. She was at a fabric store that was going out of business last fall. No markings, however.
And finally, this cute little couple, who are the .5 in the 3.5 planters. They aren't a planter but they seem to go with the theme. They were one of my better St. Matthew's purchases -- for a quarter. There's a Made in Japan sticker on the bottom.
So there you have it. Another one of my accidental collections and it seems to parallel how I accidentally fell in love with my valentine, Mr. Vintage Soul, so many years ago.
Actually, I agreed to move in with him a mere 15 minutes after I met him, which probably makes me sound like quite the floozy. And, really, I'm not.
I only agreed to move in because I had a boyfriend I was quite serious about at the time. I wanted to spend as much time with him before I had to move 100 miles away to the town where I had just accepted a newspaper job. I thought that moving in with Mr. VS, who was working at the newspaper, would save me the time and trouble of looking for an apartment of my own for a little longer.
What I didn't know then was what a nice guy Mr. VS was (and a perfect gentleman too). I also didn't know how much he would make me laugh and how I would eventually fall in love with him. And how so many years later, he'd still be my valentine. I'm still his too, although he now tells me that he never thought I would say yes when he offered me that spare room. Since then I think he's come to expect the unexpected from me.
You run the risk of ruining something when you blog about it.
Case in point: St. Matthew's. After telling you how great it was, the pickings were mighty slim last Thursday. Big spender that I am, I parted with one thin dime for this heart-shaped cake pan and called it a day.
But what I didn't spend on Thursday, I spent Saturday at the first good estate sale of 2010. While it wasn't great, it was far better than the other sales I've gone to this year, considering the first one reeked so bad of cat pee that, well, that's probably more than enough information, right?
Maybe this sale was so much better because I was guided by the wisdom of Magpie Ethel, who was kind enough to pass along a few estate tips in an e-mail recently. I wondered, as you probably have, how does she find all that great stuff week after week. Soldier on, girl, she told me. Head straight for the attic, don't engage in idle chit-chat and remember, you're on a mission.
So that's what I did. And maybe it's not surprising that I found one of her staples.
Ribbon! Don't you just love the graphics on the big "Ribbons'' spool on the right? I do.
But it was what I found at the bottom of the box (hidden underneath all that ribbon) that made me laugh out loud.
Yes, you are looking at E.T. Christmas wrapping paper. Somewhere, but maybe not in this galaxy, there's probably a collector for this. I know it's not me.
But, fortunately, better holiday stuff was there too.
Some great old napkins. The snowman family is my favorite. The napkin on the left has a big Santa on one side of the napkin and a smaller Santa on the back. And Im sad to say that there was only one of those poinsettia plates.
My best attic finds came from a pattern cabinet that was tucked away in a closet. It was exactly like those you see in a fabric store, and I can't believe that anyone could have gotten that heavy metal thing up those attic steps.
Inside were lots of notions, including a lifetime supply of seam binding in every color.
And patterns. I grabbed the oldest ones, which included some from the '40s and '50s. There were also lots of iron-on embroidery patterns, which I'm adding to a pile that I've accumulated from other sales. I'll share those in an upcoming post.
But in the meantime, many thanks to Laurie and her inspiring tips.
On Wednesday evenings, I say a little prayer for Thursday mornings. It's a prayer that goes something like this: Dear Lord, let me find good stuff at St. Matthew's and not get whacked 27 times with a shopping cart.
Because when you shop at St. Matthew's thrift shop, both outcomes are likely.
And actually, you endure the second occurrence (kamikaze shopping carts) because of the good stuff that's dirt-cheap.
This is St. Matthew's, a massive stone church in East Syracuse. The Second Time Around Store, which is in the basement of church, is open only on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m and from 7 to 9 p.m. I've never shopped there in the evenings, mostly because the shelves are not restocked during the day, so to get the good stuff you have to be there early (lined up when the door opens).
And what is the good stuff? Well, how about?
Holiday items, which appear only seasonally. In addition to the occasional trinket for St. Pat's or Valentines, I found all kinds of items at Christmas, including these gift tags that were a dime each.
And vintage games.
Velvet millinery from a $1 hat.
And of course, religious items.
Of course not every week is a winner. Occasionally, I walk away with nothing or having spent only a quarter. And some weeks, there are several near misses with the aforementioned shopping carts that are "driven" by little old ladies who shouldn't be behind the wheels of a cart or a car. And, seriously, I have to question why there would even be shopping carts in a space that's pretty tight. And, finally, there was that one week that I was boxed in by a double--parked funeral procession. You can bet I was saying my prayers that day as well, seeing how the procession made me more than fashionably late to work.
But in these bleak days of winter, when my junkin' is limited to an occasional estate sale or a lucky find at the thrift, I really am thankful for my weekly stop at St. Matthew's.