Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wedding Cake Knife

I picked up a really beautiful and practical cake knife at the hospice thrift store a few weeks ago. It is stamped with "Sheffield England" on the blade but I don't know much more about it, like whether it's a vintage piece or not.

I think it would be really nice for a wedding cake-cutting but I'm planning to keep it in my kitchen for cakes or pies for ordinary occasions. It's in great shape and cost me 50 cents! I even like this knife better than the silver cake server that I purchased a while back.

While I like the detail on the handle, I noticed while photographing the piece outside that the blade is shiny like a mirror. That's the pear tree in my backyard that you see. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pyrex Horizon Blue

I wanted to share a few photos of a really nice Horizon Blue Store and Serve casserole I found a while back. When I spotted this piece, it was the first time I had seen this Pyrex pattern. I thought it was nice how the floral band extended almost around the entire bowl, and how there were alternating pattern "panels".

This piece was missing its lid but still in great condition.

If you love vintage Pyrex (who doesn't?!), make sure to check out a couple of great blogs who have giveaways going on. Vonlipi's Favorites is a wonderful site with tons of information about Pyrex, and a Butterprint mixing bowl is up for grabs! Vonlipi's also got a bunch of other goodies that she'll be sending the lucky winner. One blog that's fairly new to me, Anonymous was a Woman has a giveaway for the coveted pink Gooseberry casserole! Check them out and make sure to enter before it's too late...!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hand-Crank Popcorn Maker

All you thrifters out there know that one of the most often-found kitchen items are popcorn makers. Usually they are the 80s air popcorn makers, some with their original boxes touting the health benefits of air poppers.

I came upon this great "Theater II High Temperature Popcorn Popper" at the hospice thrift store. It is essentially an aluminum bowl with a removable lid that has pouring flaps on either side, and a contraption attached to a hand crank which moves the kernels around the bottom of the pan. It claims to be able to reach the same temperature as commercial poppers, hence the name. This item retails for about $50 new, so I'm happy with the three dollars I paid for mine. I also found product called a "Whirley-Pop" here which looks almost identical and seems to function the same.

I have experimented with this product a few times now, and can confirm that this makes GREAT popcorn! The key is in the kernels being constantly moved around to avoid burning while allowing the fluffier popped kernels to rise to the surface. I have tried using regular pans and woks to prepare popcorn in the past, but usually end up with more unpopped kernels. Further, the lid on this product has steam vents, which allow the popcorn to stay dry and crispy.

I have always avoided microwave popcorn because that "butter-flavoured topping" scares me. As a teenager, I worked the popcorn booth at the local baseball stadium one summer. I'll never forget how our Supervisors asked us to avoid calling it butter, cause it's just some kind of processed oil! It always pained me when a customer asked for extra butter... because that's not what they were getting!

I like the fact that I can control what I'm adding to my kernels when I make my own popcorn at home. This little contraption makes it so neat and easy to make a successful batch. It's quite possible that my piece isn't vintage, but it's comforting to know that they haven't had to change the design after all these years.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Vintage Pyrex Promotional Rooster Pan

After a delightfully lazy Saturday morning, we decided to visit the local church thrift store in our neighbourhood. Thinking that it closed at 2pm yesterday, we took our sweet time and arrived at 12:55pm. Eek! We realized that it actually closed at 1pm and raced in for a quick look.

Once we entered, a nice volunteer told us that they were closing up soon. We did one quick tour, and I darted over to the kitchen section. The clouds parted, the sun shone through and I saw a Pyrex promotional Rooster Black casserole pan with lid!

The pattern was in perfect condition. There was no fading nor colour loss on the nice roosters and sunflowers.

This is a really handy size and I'm glad to add it to my collection. It's similar in size to the yellow casserole pan / fridgie that is in my Pyrex Primary set. I like the contrast of the black design on the milky white background; it really emphasizes the good condition of the markings. It's hard to believe that the piece was produced in 1958, according to Pyrex Love.

This was a real steal for $3!

I'm sure glad we made it into the thrift store with five minutes to go, or I would have missed out on this nice piece. :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Craigslist Find: Le Creuset Roasting Pan

I have had my eye on the large sized Le Creuset enamelled cast iron roasting pan for some time. I liked the fact that it could be used to sear meats on the stovetop, and then placed in the oven for roasting without having another pan to wash.

Luckily for me, a Craigslist seller recently listed one in great condition, with its box and original pamphlet. The #40 pan is white in colour, which will match my vintage Le Creuset saucepot. A new pan of this size is around $200 at places like Amazon, and I scored mine for a cool $30.

Inspired by my newly acquired piece, I roasted a duck in my new pan. I am sure I will get plenty of use out of this roaster with the holidays coming up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vintage Green Tupperware Grater

The unique jadeite green colour of vintage Tupperware always transports me to a bygone era! I found this grater plus storage container at the hospice thrift shop in perfect condition for 75 cents.

I love how they had matching items like salad spinners and rectangular storage containers in this colour theme. I'm not quite sure if I can find a place for it in my kitchen though. I had read somewhere that people used it to make coleslaws, but one attempt at grating carrots made for quite a mess. Next time I will try the cheese slicer and see how it goes.

I had previously posted about some great orange Tupperware measuring cups that I found; since it was such a beautiful day and we had just painted our window sills, I took the opportunity to take a few more photos.

Isn't that orange colour great? I'm not much of a baker, but I think it actually makes me want to cook up some chocolate chip cookies!

I can definitely find a place for these practical and cute measuring cups in my kitchen. The bright orange colour makes them easy to spot while cooking too.

I'm really relieved that none of these finds had any of that funky old Tupperware smell that some pieces seem to have... I was lucky that both sets are in great condition!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Royal Blue Victorian Velvet Chair

Thanks to those who commented on my previous post where I debated whether or not to pick up this royal blue Victorian beauty from my local Value Village.

After thinking about the chair all night and figuring out great locations to place it in my house, I came to my senses and rushed back to the store the next day. Lo and behold, the chair had been moved but was still for sale! I quickly sat down to test drive it again and refresh my memory.

The chair is definitely in great shape. The velvet is unmarred and the tufted buttons are all intact. Even the velvet on the back of the chair is clean and bright. I just can't believe that there is no pilling or rips anywhere! I also love the wood frame on this chair; it does have some scratches but that just adds to its character, right? :)

While I was poking around looking over the chair, a number of other shoppers stopped me and remarked on how great a deal the $25 chair was. I was getting thumbs-up's (and a couple of jealous looks) from the clerks and customers on my way out of the store!

I'm really happy with my purchase as it is a great accent chair that is functional and comfortable. A friend who stopped by the house yesterday called it "photogenic". It's definitely something nice to take pictures of!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vintage Velvet Chair Advice Needed!

I made a quick stop at the Value Village after work today and spotted a couple of gems in the furniture section.

These beauties stood out amongst the huge stuffed animals and worn-out looking floral couches. What surprised me the most is that they are in such beautiful condition! They were clean from top to bottom, including the backside and underside of the chairs.

I've long dreamed about finding a really nice velvet wingback chair in a great colour with nice, clean fabric and a comfortable seat. These guys are making my head spin though - they're a little different from what I've been pining for, but the wood detailing, fabric, and colour are making me think twice. I left them there but I am still thinking about them. They are $25 a piece.

I took the Comfort Test and had a seat in each one. The blue one is a little lower to the ground and has a slightly squeaky seat, whereas the red guy is higher, has comfortable solid oak arms, and no squeaks. To me, the blue one is a bit more fantastical whereas the red one seems like it could blend into any scene...

What do you think, should I hit the gas and grab one or two of these?

UPDATE: I came to my senses and went back for the royal blue chair! Read all about it at this post.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vintage Silver Spoons

I was visiting my new favourite local thrift store the other day and came upon a bounty of silverplated spoons. I normally don't notice cutlery, preferring to focus on larger kitchen pieces and bigger utensils instead. However on this day, I overheard a lady inquiring about pricing, when someone pointed out how all cutlery was 10 cents a piece.

This was enough to pique my interest. Within the pile of junky forks, spoons and knives, I noticed a batch of spoons that were tinted with the silver hue. I dug around and found ten beautiful tarnished silverplated spoons and happily paid a dollar for my loot.

These two sugar spoons are my favourite. I just love the shape and design of the spoons!

I always enjoy a good mystery, so when I went home, I googled the markings on the back of each spoon and got some interesting information. One of the spoons had a picture of a young girl and the name "Marie" etched down the length of the spoon.

It turns out that Marie is from a set of five collectible spoons that were promotional items from the Palmolive Soap company in the 1930s! in 1934 in Ontario, Canada, five identical quintuplet girls were born and survived. They became a media sensation, and were exploited for commercial purposes. It is a sad Canadian story that has been well documented. Customers would send in "soap bands" as proof of purchase, and 10 cents in exchange for a commemorative spoon. It's funny that I paid the same price for the spoon some 75 years later!

My finds also included four spoons of the same pattern. From the markings and some helpful guides on the internet, I discovered that the spoons were produced by Wm. A. Rogers in 1936. The pattern is called Meadowbrook.

The spoons aren't worth all that much considering that they are silverplated, but I really enjoyed sleuthing to find out some history about the spoons. I plan to try some ways of removing the tarnish and seeing how the spoons turn out, just for fun.

I think the spoons would look great tied individually as a gift tag with a nice ribbon on top of a wrapped present. Is that a bit too strange?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sunny November

Today's a beautiful day in Vancouver. It has been quite dreary over the last few weeks, but today for some reason, the sun came out and it was actually quite warm! Quite lucky considering it's November. It made me think of some great summer finds...

This Pyrex Colonial Mist bowl always makes me smile. I stumbled upon it at a volunteer-run thrift shop that supports the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). This place has quirky volunteers, and quirky customers. When I first spotted it, it was filled to the brim with dried macaroni pasta. There wasn't anywhere to dump the noodles, so I brought it up to the till and asked the price. She said "So, do you want the pasta?" I immediately said no and she quoted me $4. I wonder what it would have cost me if I indeed wanted the noodles ;)

Another item I found a while back at the local Value Village is this cute little cooler, the Little Playmate made by Igloo. I believe you can still buy these new, but I think mine is charming and has an 80s feel to it. It's a really convenient size and I often keep it in the trunk of my car to keep my groceries cool on my way home.

Summer feels so far away, but at least we have Christmas coming soon!
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