Each week my mom and I would say something to each other along the lines of, "Well, this could be the last garage sale day of the year", but then the weather would remain pleasant for another week and we'd be up and at 'em first thing in the morning the following Saturday.
All good things must come to an end at some point though, and snow is usually the quickest way to quash yard sales up here in Canada, so when the first flakes began tumbling down in late October, we knew the year really had to come to end (baring any indoor swap meets/church bazaars that may transpire between now and next spring).
I had mixed luck on the vintage front over the summer and fall of 2012. Some weekends yielded up little to nothing, while at others I had to refrain for the sake of my budget from purchasing everything that caught my eye. Though (save for the pieces in this post) I didn't spy any mid-century clothing or accessories at any of the dozens of sales we hit over the past few months, there were some fantastic vintage (and antique) treasures to be had amongst the endless piles of outgrown children's clothes, 70s microwave cookery books, and board games with half their pieces missing.
Much as with the lovely vintage pieces we unearthed last spring, now that the last of the autumn yard sales is behind us - and before the rush of the Christmas season gets completely under way - I wanted to share my favourite finds from the past few months with all of you. I hope you'll enjoy seeing this fun array of vintage pieces as much as I loved finding them.
British Columbia a Centennial Anthology ~ $0.25: I have a major passion for Canadian history and Canadiana, and should either one happen to overlap with my passion for the past, all the better! This book, which was printed in 1957 to mark B.C.’s first centennial, is a good side tome dedicated to the history of the province’s early years, and is made all the more wonderful by the fact that it was written fifty-five years ago, when the memory of the 1800s was still alive in some peoples’ memories.
The Campfire Girls On The Farm & On The March books ~ $4.00 for the pair: My mom spotted these two books while we were at an excellent (perhaps, in terms of the sheer number of pre-1960s items, the best of the season) yard sale in September and brought them to my attention right away, as I collect some types of Girl Guide and Girl Scout memorabilia. Though these are in fact Camp Fire Girls (not Girl Guide or Scout) books, their charming covers, age (they’re both from 1914), and subject matter instantly made me fall for them (and now I can say that I have my first Camp Fire Girls items).
Trio of vintage Christmas recipe booklets ~ free: Every now and then while at a yard sale, someone will give you something for free, either as a gift with purchase or simply because you expressed interest in it. The later was the case for these three charming mid-century Christmas cookery booklets, which came from a friendly elderly gentleman early in the summer.
Aunt Martha’s Hot Iron Transfers 3275 Nursery Rhymes ~ $0.10: I've always enjoyed stitchery, but haven’t done very much of it in the past few years. Perhaps with the cold weather and indoor hibernation season upon us now, I’ll bust out the embroidery floss again and try making some of these cute nursery rhyme themed stitcheries this winter.
Storage container full of thread and a few sewing notions ~ $5.00: Though the green plastic storage container itself is broken and falling apart (I had to give its contents a new home), it was the wealth of thread inside that I bought it for. The threads here date, I believe, from the 1960s to 90s, with most being on the older side of that time frame. There’s easily thirty spools, many of which haven’t been used much, if at all, and which I can put to use on all manner of paper and fabric craft projects.
Plastic thread holder racks ~ $1.00 for the pair: Remember the new home I mentioned giving the all that great thread pictured above? Well these racks (which aren’t vintage, but they do have a nice classic look to them), which – no joke – I found on the very same day a couple of hours after I scored the thread at a different yard sale – is it. Talk about serendipitous second hand shopping!
Framed print of Thomas Gainsborough's Georgiana Cavendish Duchess of Devonshire ~ $2.00: I have a deeply rooted fondness for all things Georgian era, very much including the resplendent art that was created at the time, so when I spotted this little print of one of Gainsborough’s best known works, I knew it was destined to come home and hang on our living room wall.
Decorative floral pattern cloisonné bell ~ $1.00: Though there’s nothing to instantly distinguish it as being vintage, in person this bell has a very classic feel and slight patina to it that make me feel it may be a few decades old. No matter its age though, I think it’s absolutely beautiful and will be including it as part of my holiday decor every year now.
Adorable unicorn decorative container ~ $0.50: Much as with the bell above, there isn’t any marking, stickers, production dates, etc on this super cute unicorn box, but it has a somewhat vintage look and feel to it (the eyes, especially remind me of oodles of vintage animal figures from the 40s and 50s I’ve seen over the years). The glue around the pink feathers has yellowed a lot with age, but other than that it’s in very good shape, and even if it’s not vintage, I love it dearly.
Tiny vintage skunk figurine ~ $0.25: Speaking of darling animals, how cute is wee little skunk that I found hiding in a box of old, dirty tools, of all places? Completely cute, if you ask me, which is why I had to rescue it and bring it home to live with me in my craft room.
Vintage plastic fawn figurine ~ $0.10: At the same yard that the skunk came from, in a different mixed box, I spotted this precious little plastic deer poking its big ears and pretty blue outs at me. The paint is a bit chipped, but the piece is still in sound shape over all, and for a mere dime, how could I pass it up?
Pair of vintage rubber reindeer decorations ~ $0.50 for both: I love (!) vintage Christmas decorations, but own very few, so I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more while out shopping and yard saling. These two deer were the only ones I found all summer (and fall) long, but that’s ok, they’re cute as a button and a great start for my budding vintage Christmas decor collection.
Vintage pink mother and baby elephant chain figurines ~ $3.00: If we were dishing out an award for the cutest yard sale find of the past few months, I think we’d have to bestow it on this terrifically darling pair of pink pachyderm. Found at a garage sale just a couple of houses down from an address I lived at for a few years as a youngster, this wonderfully kitschy piece stands out as one of my all-time favourite yard sale finds.
Tiny vintage Victorian Southern belle figurine ~ $0.10: This little lass is so small, fitting easily into the palm of my hand. She’s very sweet and I just love the mint green hue of her lovely dress. She’s not marked, but I can’t help wondering if she was perhaps a free prize that came inside of the box of some product at one point, as her diminutive size really gives off a vibe of such.
Blue, white and black floral print teacup and saucer ~ $2.00: I’ve been on the hunt for some lovely vintage (or vintage appropriate) teacups and saucers to start a collection of all yard sale season long, but it wasn’t until a sale in October that I finally found two (the second one is pictured below) beautiful cups, in good shape (aka, un-chipped and complete with their matching saucers). I adore the unexpected hues and serene floral design of this charming set, don’t you? (If anyone should happen to know the pattern name, which is not indicated on the cup or saucer, of this pattern, please let me know.)
Royal Albert aqua and white daisy teacup and saucer ~$2.00: Though the maker (Royal Albert) is indicated on the bottom of this set, the pattern name is not. If you happen to know, please share the name in the comments on this post. I love this cheerful, springtime perfect pattern and have already enjoyed several lovely cups of peppermint tea in over the past few weeks.
Vintage Pyrex glass baby bottle ~ $0.25: I’m always on the hunt for vintage Pyrex pieces while out yard saling (and thrifting), but I’m usually thinking about mixing boxes and casserole dishes, not baby bottles! I love a unique item though, so as soon as I saw this classic hexagon shaped Pyrex bottle, I pounced on it right away and am now using it as a bud vase.
Vintage Red Rose Tea tin ~ $3.50: Founded in 1894 in New Brunswick, the Red Rose Tea company is one of Canada’s oldest beverage company’s, so when I spotted this wonderful metal tin, I knew it had the potential to be quite old. There’s no date on it, and the paper label is a bit worn/beat up in some spots, but despite its delicate nature (the label’s, that is), it’s still is fairly good shape for something that I’d tentatively peg to be from the 1900s-1930s. It’s a nice sized rectangular tin that’s still in good shape inside, so I put it to use as a storage container (for scraps of lace) in my craft room.
Vintage Nabob, Jameson’s, and Empress spice tins ~ $3.50 for all five: At the very same yard sale when the Red Rose Tea tin came from, I found this little collection of vintage spice tins. Some still feel like they have spices in them, but of course I’ll just be using them as decorative pieces! (Ooooh, the Nabob ones all have recipes on the back, so I was thinking it would be fun to do a vintage recipe post featuring them in the future.)
Metal Edwardian Pepsi Cola serving tray ~ $5.00: I contemplated doing a post unto itself for this tray, but was so eager to share it with you, that I didn’t want to put off doing so any longer. As you can see, this tray is clearly damaged. It’s been bent in the middle, the paint is chipping, and it has definite signs of wear, however, it’s gorgeous and it comes with an interesting backstory.
According to the man that I purchased it from (who also happened to be the seller of the Red Rose Tea tin, the vintage spice tins, the Campfire Girls books, and the woven purse in this post), this vintage tray was purchased by a chap he knew at an auction some thirty years ago. That fellow, the seller told me, paid $650.00 for it at the time (and indeed, there is a faded old handwritten price tag on the back of it still with that price on it). I don’t know why, but the man didn’t take it with him that day, instead he arranged to have it shipped to him in the mail. En route however, it was damaged quite badly (“bent in half” was how the seller described it) and arrived in much the same state you see it in today.
The buyer filed a claim with the postal service got his money back, but for a long time he couldn’t bear to part with the tray, so he held onto it for many years before passing it along to his friend, the current seller, who he knew had a passion for antique and vintage collectibles. It was from that man that I bought this tray, with its gorgeous art nouveau design, getting the price down $2.00 from the $7.00 sticker price he’d been asking for it originally.
I know there are tons of fakes and reproductions when it comes to vintage Coke and Pepsi collectibles, but there’s virtually no doubt in my mind that this metal serving tray is from the Edwardian era. The construction, aged metal, design, even the paint texture all feel old to me. And so while this tray isn’t in perfect shape, and it certainly met with a tragic accident thanks to the postal system at one point, I’m grateful that both men held onto it and that it now gets to live the next leg of its life nestled – and much loved – amongst other antique and vintage pieces at my house.
Dean Martin Everybody Loves Somebody record ~ $0.50: As all my fellow yard sale goers know, there’s no shortage of old records out there, but these days it’s getting harder and harder to find ones from great classic artists for good prices. I love buying vintage records, but am very selective with what I purchase, and try to find ones from artists that I truly love and know I’ll play often. There’s no question that Dino falls into that category.
Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits ~ $0.75: Much like Dean, Ol’ Blue Eyes is another much loved vintage singer whose records I’m always on the prowl for. This best of compilation has a number of his top hits on it, and has already been in heavy rotation since I got it in July.
The Sound of Music soundtrack record ~ $0.50: The Sound of Music is my second favourite musical film of all-time (Grease takes top billing), and its soundtrack was amongst the first CD’s that I remember owning as a youngster, so there was no way I could pass up this great 1960s record.
Ward Allen Presents Maple Leaf Hoedown Volume II ~ $0.50: At the risk of contradicting what I said above about trying to stick with buying records from artists I know and adore, sometimes you spot something that is so cool and kitschy that you simply must add it to your collection even though you’ve never heard of the artist before. Loving all things vintage and Canadian as I do, there was no way I could leave this fun, toe-tapping record behind (and I’m so glad I didn’t, because it’s really lovely actually and filled with beautiful fiddle playing that reminds me so much of my late maternal grandfather who was an excellent fiddler).
Dennis Day Sings Christmas is for the Family record ~ $0.50: Much as with yesteryear holiday decorations, I have a passion for vintage Christmas music and am trying to build up my collection of it this year (and beyond). I love the expressions on the (large!) family’s faces on the cover of this record, plus the fact that it had an introduction from Jack Benny.
Christmas Songs and Carols 24 Favourites ~ gift: My sweet mom picked up this record for me one Saturday when I wasn’t feeling well enough to hit the yard sale circuit myself, as she knew I was on the hunt for vintage Christmas albums. The charming cover art alone is worth buying it for, and the songs themselves are all timeless classics, so I’m really glad she snapped it up.
Black, purple, and orange bangle bracelets ~ $0.50 for all three: While I don’t think any of these bracelets is particularly old (the wavy purple one feels the oldest to me), they definitely have a classic, vintage appropriate vibe and were such a good deal, I just add to buy them to add to buy ever-expanding bangle collection.
Vintage woven handbag with bamboo handles ~ $1.00: This cute little woven bag is in a great shape (both inside and out), and the bamboo handles are so, so fun and wonderfully tiki party appropriate. The seller was asking $2.00, but I talked him down to a dollar and am thrilled to finally have a bamboo handle purse to use all summer long.
Vintage tooled leather western horse and Maya calendar handbag ~ $15.00: This purse was definitely the priciest single purchase I made at a yard sale all summer and fall long, but it was more than worth it. The seller turned out to a friendly, lovely young woman who buys and sells vintage items in the neighbouring town of Summerland, especially home decor pieces, and we ended up chatting for a good ten minutes or more. She told me about some of her vintage interests and I chatted about my blog and lifelong love of vintage fashion. I had a blast meeting her and really hope our paths get to cross again sometime.
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The wintry weather usually digs in hard and fast, remaining in place until March, or some years, even April, around these parts, so in all likelihood that's when yard sale season will pick up once more. It will be tough to go without hitting the streets, classified ads and map in hand, bright and early on the weekends for the next few months, but I like to think that I can use this time to start stashing away my spare change for next spring.
That way, when the proverbial trumpet is blown again to announce the start of 2013's yard sale season, I'll be especially ready - coins a jingling in my pocket - to begin the endlessly appealing hunt for vintage treasures once more. I can hardly wait!