Fave Find: Vintage Nesting Houses
You may recall that Erin and I found a little gem of a store in Clinton Township a few weeks ago. I’m not sure how but the first time I looked in this glass case, I missed this treasure. It wasn’t until I asked the owner if I could see something that I noticed those vintage wooden nesting houses hiding in the back of the case on the bottom shelf.
I freaked out a little because they were really familiar to me but I couldn’t place why. Then I remembered that we had these same houses when I was a kid, but I haven’t seen them in my parents house in years, so I’m not sure what happened to them.
When I described them to my mom, she didn’t remember them, but then this past weekend I showed them to her in person and she immediately remembered them. But she had no idea where they went.
Anyhow, it seems like you can find some of your own on Etsy!
Fave Find: More Girls on the Telephone Figurines!
A few months ago, I found an adorable little figurine of a teenage girl talking on the phone, but she was cracked, which broke my heart. Shortly after, I created an eBay alert for “girl on telephone figurine” and have since started my very own collection! I’m sort of bummed that I have to rely on eBay for them (I like the serendipity of sales!), but what can ya do?
This little blonde is the first that I purchased and she’s by far in the best shape. She’s also of the “Lego Japan” variety, which are my favorites.
Since starting this search, I’ve discovered that the teenage girl on the telephone is a theme that many other makers also used—it seems to have been popular in the 1950s. After finding the blonde girl, I obtained my very own solemn girl on the phone—just like the one that I had noticed back when I first posted about these!
If you look closely, her nose is jacked up, which wasn’t part of the description. The seller gave me a partial refund, which was nice.
Next up was this totally awesome bank! I got it around Christmas, which I remember because Erin secretly told Adam to get it for me, and he got all annoyed that I bought it for myself. Oh well! I didn’t want to risk having someone else swoop in and get it!
The last few of these I just purchased recently. These two came in a lot together. Obviously I only wanted the femme-y boy, because the girl is clearly undergoing an exorcism. How else would she get into that position?
Look at that nerd!
Ok, and finally, here are my favorites. They are just so dang adorable!
They’re not salt and pepper shakers, so I’m not sure why this person had two of the same figurine, but they sure are cute!
There are two more Lego girls (like the first one I found) that I received in the mail last week, but that story is an entry of its own, so I’ll save it for another time.
So like Sarah mentioned, we headed back to Windsor on Wednesday so I could try to buy those antique moccasins that totally burned me last time. Kudos to Sarah for actually getting to my house on time. We made it to the auction only 15 minutes late, and luckily the moccasins had not been up on the block yet. In fact, the only thing we seemed to have missed was this giant box of VHS tapes:
Here’s how I probably looked waiting for the moccasins to be auctioned:
I won’t keep you all in suspense…I didn’t win the moccasins. I KNOW RIGHT?! Unbelievable. Here is how it went down:
The moccasins went up for sale and the same auctioneer from last time (my mortal enemy) started them at $100. He went down to 50, then 40, and when he got to 30 dollars I bid. I didn’t want a repeat of last time where I think he is going to go lower and instead he ends the item. So here I am, the ONLY bidder on these for $30.
At this point, no one else is bidding and he starts doing his final countdown before he says “SOLD.” All of a sudden, one of the EMPLOYEES starts bidding. (Very fishy I know.) I’ve seen workers bid at an auction before, but this was strange considering how badly the auctioneer did not want to sell these to me last time. And why did she wait so long to bid against me?
So we go back and forth and get up to $85. At this point, I am convinced they are trying to bid me up on purpose, so I bow out. The auctioneer seemed genuinely surprised that I did.
To be fair, I did see this female employee leave with the moccasins, so she probably did buy them. I felt at peace. I got a fair chance to buy these (FINALLY), and $85 was more than I wanted to spend. At least it was my choice, and not someone else telling me I couldn’t bid.
So with that all settled, it was on to more treasures. I bid on and won this amazing old box from the Canadian Salt Company.
There was still a little bit of salt in the bottom of this, which I was sure the border agents would think was cocaine when we tried to reenter the States. I didn’t tell Sarah about this because she already acts like a crazy person at customs. Not really a crazy person actually, but more of a deaf mute frozen in terror.
I then bid on this old bottle from Bright’s Winery, which is the second oldest winery in Canada. I just liked the look of it, but might end up putting it on eBay.
The bottle came with a ton of other glassware that I will end up putting in our garage sale this summer. I also gave some stuff away to the lady next to me, which was great because it lightened the load a lot.
Next, I bought this old glass rolling pin, which Sarah thought looked very suggestive. In reality, I bought this to use while baking, as it was just last week I made pizza dough and realized I had no rolling pin.
The lady next to me said I need to get a cork for the end, and that way I can put ice water in the rolling pin while using it. Apparently the cold will help your dough roll out more easily.
I also bought this cool book for Zach, which has lots of useful information in it.
I’ve been thinking of upping the number of servants in our household, and this book confirmed that I probably should.
Here are some things we didn’t win:
Sarah and I both wanted those green canisters, but they ended up going for like $40 or something. If we got them cheaper, they would have been an easy eBay resell. Oh well.
This hockey game would have also been an easy item to resell, but it too sold for a high price, around $50.
And look at this great, retro table! It wouldn’t fit in my car, otherwise I’m sure Sarah would have bought it.
She also would have bought this Beagle, but she wasn’t for sale.
We waited around until the end of the auction because there was some stuff that Sarah wanted. I got us “2 Pop” again, and then went to wait in line to check out. For some reason, this place has a woman who can’t do math who checks everyone out. It literally takes 10 minutes for each person in line. I waited in line while Sarah bought her last items, and then paid for both of us when I checked out. This let us hightail it out of there pretty quickly so we were home at a reasonable time.
This guy in the background also had some pop, but he obviously brought it with him:
Also of note here is Sarah’s equally hilarious and confusing expression.
Update from Sarah: I don’t know why we thought that man with the two-liter was so funny but we did. Also, can you believe that beagle?! Oh my gosh, I was obsessed. Her name was Maggie and she was 7 months old. She also had on red nail polish. Her owner, a hipster-looking guy, told me that she was a “princess” which was sort of an odd thing to hear from a guy like that.
In the end, I got a few cool things. First, this cool map of the Detroit river from 1952:
I also got these cool old rulers:
And I also got this JC to match my Mary from last time.
He’s also busting out the immaculate heart…
Finally, I got two things at the end of the night that I had to wait around for. First up was this cool vintage book of valentines.
Also adorable are these vintage doll heads from Japan.
The only annoying thing about these were that the auctioneer made me pay $7.50 for them. Absolutely nobody else was interested in them, but he would not go down to $5 once he knew that I wanted them. Still, I have a feeling they’ll sell on eBay!
Despite the floods, we’re still buds…
My mom came along on Friday again—she’s turning into a true estate sale junkie, which is fabulous. She especially likes to come with us when the sales are really far away so she doesn’t have to drive all the way from her house on her own. I don’t blame her.
Both sales we were going to were in St. Clair Shores, which is pretty far away. On the way there, someone in the car mentioned that they had read that one of the sales had an update on it that morning that said the house the sale was in flooded and everything was moved to tents outside. Sounded shady to me, and sad, because it was raining. Sure enough, when we got there, the woman running the sale looked familiar, and then half of the stuff in the garage looked familiar. Turns out, some of the stuff was from that duddy sale we went to a few weeks ago. Part of me wonders if the sale wasn’t just at the house of the woman running the sale and she was just fibbing about the flood. The quantity of stuff in the garage was definitely not the entire contents of a house.
Anyway, we still found a few treasures. I found a huge lot of vintage cards and I can’t remember what Erin found but I do know she bought a really dirty (as in filthy, not sexy) book. Here is one thing we chuckled about:
They’re so versatile!
The only thing I remember my mom buying was a rubber faced monkey that she has up on eBay now.
The next sale looked more promising because it was overwhelmingly packed with stuff. At this sale, we discovered that my mom likes to take her sweet time, while we tend to be able to get in and out of sales quickly, even if they’re packed. You can sort of get a vibe in terms of what sort of stuff is there, and these people didn’t have a ton of the type of stuff that either of us are interested in. Still, of course, I bought a lot of things.
Before I go on, allow me to complain: One particularly disappointing thing that happened at this sale was that there were a TON of cast iron figurines and larger statues, but they all ended up being reproductions. As Erin has discovered, original cast iron can end up being really lucrative. Still, I found one cast iron thing that I bought for myself because it was cute:
It looks big here but it’s a tiny little dish.
UPDATE: Since writing this, Adam pointed out to me that it’s an ashtray. GROSS.
I also found ANOTHER Max statue!
Erin cannot deny that this looks like Max.
One other fun thing I found was this mug, that I got to surprise Adam with.
He recently bought me a Keurig machine for my birthday and he started drinking “coffee” out of it (these weird coconut mocha cups) but I was horrified to discover the other day that he uses the same mug every morning. (Note: We have many, many mugs at our house. He just likes this one particular mug.) Now he can alternate. The “Paw” part is appropriate because I often call him “Daddy” when he’s acting like a dad (paying for dinner with coupons) or wearing dad-ish clothes. I hope he loves it.
One strange thing at this sale was the abundance of depressing decor. Here are just a few examples:
Worth noting: That is the second time I’ve seen that exact nervous breakdown plaque at a sale. Someone needed to give the man who owned this house a big hug.
Ok, back to happy times: I also found this weird doll. It’s by a Japanese brand called Senpo, probably from the late ’60s or ’70s. I know that dolls with these sort of faces can be valuable thanks to all of my stalking of Becky’s Flickr and asking her various questions, but I still can’t identify which ones are the most valuable. But this one is sort of cool because it’s also musical and rotates. Last night while trying to describe her clothing in my eBay listing, I got sucked into a Wikipedia hole of pages of fashion from various time periods. Whatever, I called it “Victorian”…
I found some other treasures, one of which I’ll write about some other time. The really excellent part of this sale was that everything was priced reasonably. The people running the sale were the same ones that gave us some good deals when we found Timmy’s Santa.
We knew we were in trouble when we finished going through the entire house and my mom had only made it into three rooms on the main floor. I told her we would go grab some food and then come back and get her and she was cool with that. On our way to find a Mr. Pita, we actually found a secret church rummage sale! I didn’t really think this was worthy of the secret sale chant but we did it anyway. The most exciting part of this sale was this sign, telling us that really excellent things were ahead:
We quickly discovered that we would not need to go to Mr. Pita, because this was a Greek Orthodox church and the ladies inside were cooking up some badass spankamankapita or whatever the Greek word is for SPINACH PIE. It’s a good thing because the “Mr. Pita” on my map ended up being someone’s house in the middle of a neighborhood. I still can’t figure out why that happened but we got some good laughs out of it.
Besides some tasty Greek treats, I found these two items at the church rummage sale:
Look, I’m shocked that Erin didn’t grab those earrings. One year ago she was wearing bedazzled velvet Christmas shoes, but now she’s too good for Santabear earrings? Also just an FYI, if you have a secret stash of Sandra Boynton items, try to sell them on eBay because there is a crazy market of cat ladies out there just waiting to give you their life savings for your fat cat gear.
We went back to the sale to pick up my mom, drove home, and then Erin and I had an argument about Christmas in her driveway that drove us both to tears. True story! Coincidently, I discovered this picture in a photo album last night while I was visiting my grandpa:
Clearly, not much has changed since I was six.
You’ll be relieved to know that we’ve completely recovered from this argument and are still friends. I mean after all, SOMEONE has to run this blog.
Update from Erin: It’s true, Sarah and I went all Cash & Cari on each other in my driveway. At one point I remember exclaiming, “JESUS CHRIST SARAH!” which means that I was both really mad and not scared of going to hell. I’ll just blame the whole thing on a drop in blood sugar because I’ve heard other people give that excuse before when they are cranky.
ANYWAYZ, I got some neat things at the first sale. The first was a Nippon gravy bowl that I had actually seen at a sale the week before. It obviously didn’t sell, and had made it here to this sale. Last week it was $15, but this day I got it for $4. I plan to put gravy in this at Thanksgiving.
Speaking of the Fall time (my favorite season) I got this awesome table runner and set of placemats. So cute! I asked the lady the price on this set because the sticker was hard to read. I think she thought I was asking for a deal because she said, “Well, it’s marked $3, but I guess I’ll take $2.” I just gave her the $3 because right before we checked out, another shopper at the sale was relentlessly lowballing this woman. It was awkward and sad.
The gross book that Sarah mentioned I bought was about flea market collectibles. It’s a cool book with helpful tips on common collectibles and antiques. When I use it to buy something valuable, maybe Sarah will be less apt to knock it.
The next sale was a nightmare. Cindy loved it and found great things, but I have no idea how she did it. The house was PACKED, but everything was awful. I hate saying that about someone’s stuff, but really, it was so awful.
Sarah mentioned this, but I’ll reiterate. The problem here was that almost EVERYTHING was a reproduction—and a cheap reproduction at that—but still priced like authentic items. Here are a bunch of cast iron banks and door stops that I got excited about, until I realized they were fake:
The thing about cast iron is that people collect it because it’s cast iron, so when it’s NOT cast iron, well, you get the idea.
And also like Sarah said, this sale had depressing things. Here was one I found:
Besides the sad plates abundance, the sale was also really crowded and hot, so I was happy when Sarah and I left to go get food and come back later for Cindy. At the Greek bake sale I ate a custard pie and a bit of spinach pie. They were good. I also ate a pumpkin bar which was obviously the best.
Update from Sarah: I didn’t knock the book! I said it was dirty, which you cannot deny.
Holy Grail: Girl on Telephone Figurines
I never thought I’d have one of these Holy Grail posts, because I’m not greedy and don’t need very expensive things to feel happy in life (unlike Erin), but then I realized I could have a Holy Grail that isn’t necessarily expensive—just something I’m dying to stumble upon.
ANYWAY, I was at a couple of sales with Adam over the weekend and found this adorable figurine from the 1950s. I am seriously obsessed with her.
If you look closely, you will see that she has a crack that was mended on her rear end. This is not ok. Even though she was one dollar, I wish she wasn’t damaged. Still, I love her so much.
After digging around on eBay, I discovered that people do occasionally sell these, and it appears that, unlike the collector pool for fine porcelain, nobody but me wants them! In my search for more by this company (Lego Japan), I found a set that is even more adorable and made by some other company, but someone bought them. LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE:
I love those two ’50s nerds talking on the phone. I am seriously so sad that I didn’t discover my love for these things just a few days sooner. Those ones could have been mine!!!
Update from Erin: I can see why Sarah likes that first figure…its hair looks just like hers. As for the second set, those are some seriously solemn phone talkers. I am assuming that both of them are on the phone with Capital One, begging for a increase in their credit limit.
All I Need
Last Saturday, Zach and I went out to breakfast and happened to pass by an estate sale. We only had $2 in cash on us, but I convinced him we should stop anyway.
In the basement of the sale, I saw these huge boxes of vintage Christmas decorations, so I started to rummage. One of the workers hurried over pretty quickly and informed me that I couldn’t look in the boxes because they were selling them as “grab bags” for $1 each.
This was intriguing to me. I had already seen some of the contents before I got busted, so I decided to take the $1 risk. I chose the largest, and heaviest box to buy.
On the top of the box it said something about being “all I need” to decorate multiple rooms. It also had a hilarious never-ending list of the years this box was used as storage. I figured I had made a good choice. If this box really had everything needed to decorate, then it must have the best and most cherished items in it.
When I opened the box, there was nothing spectacular at first. A lot of garland and plastic holly type stuff.
But then I started finding some cool things buried in the box! First were these angel figures, marked JAPAN on the bottom.
These have got to be worth my $1 investment! I’m guessing that Sarah might even want them because they look like her style and they are playing musical instruments. If she shows some interest, then I’ll wrap them up for her and count the days until December. Or she can pay me $1 now and have them…
I then found these candlesticks. I could tell from the tarnish that they were silverplated, which was confirmed when I googled the maker’s name on the bottom. These things are HEAVY! Almost 3 pounds EACH!
I don’t think silverplate is super valuable or anything, but again, definitely worth my $1!