Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rolling Pin and De Vault Feemster Vegetable Peelers

Over the last couple of weeks, I have come upon some more kitchen lovelies. At the estate sale where I found the Le Creuset oval cocotte, I picked up two neat looking vegetable peelers for 10¢ a piece.

I thought they both looked so unique with their shape and handle. Inscribed on both the aluminum and plastic yellow one are "JANFEE De Vault Peeler W.R. Feemster Co. USA". The older aluminum one notes Chicago and Detroit, while the cheerful yellow reads Brooklyn and Michigan.

Now that I have had time to do some research, it looks like these are old potato peelers that are quite collectible. One site I visited indicated that an aluminum one was from the 1930s but I'm not quite convinced they are that old. Does anyone have any idea?

The following weekend, a church basement was featuring a 50% off sale, and I scooped up this great rolling pin with bright red handles for $1. Not really sure if it's vintage or not, but it was clean as a whistle, and looked great.

I'm looking forward to putting these newbies to work in the kitchen. =)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vintage Melitta Coffee Tea Pot in Mint Green!

Before I jump into this terrific tale, I want to thank you all for commenting and following! I have made it easier to leave a comment by removing the "Word Verification" requirement. I hope you will keep stopping by and telling me your thoughts!

Without further ado, here is a piece I have been seeking for some time... a vintage Melitta coffee or tea pot!

The first time I saw this piece, it was through a window at a thrift shop that reserves special items for a monthly auction. It was a complete set with the matching ceramic filter, but the bidding was already past $60 by the time I came along.

The mint green colour and simple style caught my eye at the time, and I have since had this on my thrift wish list. Melitta is a German company founded in 1908 with the invention of the drip-brew paper coffee filter. Melitta is actually the name of the woman who came up with the invention, then became an entrepreneur who started the business.

The spout has an interesting hole with a ridge leading back into the pot. Apparently this is a feature of Melitta ceramic coffee pots that makes the spout drip-proof. It is actually quite clever; I suppose it guides the liquid back down the spout.

The interior of the pot is glazed and glossy. Even though it is missing the matching ceramic filter cone holder that sits on top of the pot (in place of the lid when making coffee), it's in great shape and can be used as a teapot.

The underside of the pot is unglazed; I have seen a vintage Melitta with an original label reading:  "Caution - Never put coffee pot on direct heat! Always use asbestos plate between source of heat and your coffee pot."  You won't find me putting this piece on the stovetop, that's for sure.

Interesting tidbit... This teapot is unmarked except for the faded Melitta label shown above. You see, the topper drip cone was embossed with the brand as part of the set, so a permanent marking on the pot itself was unnecessary. The $5 price sticker at the Salvation Army was placed OVER the Melitta label!! I actually believe this is the only reason we were able to come along and find this little treasure before someone else snatched it up.  =)

Linking up to ATG's Thrift Share Monday!

UPDATE: I just found another vintage Melitta pot in a buttery yellow colour! Read all about it here!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Promotional Pyrex Green Blue Leaf Twin Server!

I really have to say, Pyrex pulled out the stops with their promotional pieces in the late 50s. I was fortunate enough to find a great piece from 1959 in a beautiful milk glass with green and blue leaves on it!

This piece was originally sold as part of a set with a pair of bowls on a brass carrier cradle. The box set was referred to as the Pyrex Twin Server. I looked high and low but was only able to find this singleton... I purchased it during a half price sale and paid one whole dollar.

A friend of mine actually commented that the pattern reminded her of the Cathrineholm lotus leaf pattern. I think the blue and green hues make me think of it too! I like the way the blue fades into the green colour, and how the crisp lines remind me of holding a leaf to the light and seeing its spindly texture.

I am loving the way it looks perched on the classic fave, my blue fridgie that I like to use as a loaf pan...

I have been really lucky with finding some promo pieces over the last few months... If you are interested, check out my Pyrex Blue Scroll Bowl, my Christmas present Pyrex Dandelion Divided Dish, and my first promotional piece, the Pyrex Rooster Pan.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tomato Seedlings and Garlic Growing Update

Spring has Sprung! The days are getting longer and we are coming out of the dark and gloomy... I'm really excited about getting back into the garden! Here's a shot of my tomato seedlings at 13 days.

I am growing a number of heirloom varieties from seed and am hoping they turn out well. Last year I started seeds in late April and the tomatoes ripened too late in the season. I am re-using old containers from salad greens to sprout the seeds - this will be their home for about a month until they grow "true" leaves and are ready to be transplanted to their own pots.

Remember last October when I planted some Red Russian garlic with my Pyrex Delphite's help?

After five months in the soil, protected with leaf mulch, here's how they look now. In July they will be ready to be pulled up and dried for use. Did you know this hardneck garlic variety can keep for 3-6 months if properly stored??

If you would like to know more about how these humble plants started, make sure to check out my Growing Garlic tutorial from October!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vintage Bally Peep Toe Pumps

After all of your comments on the missed-out $13 Manolo Blahnik's, I have remained on the shoe lookout while thrifting. I was digging around at the local church basement when I came upon a beautiful pair of vintage Bally peep toe pumps.

The colour blocking of taupe and black was what originally caught my eye, and when I pulled them out for closer inspection, I saw that they were a great looking pair of shoes! The condition is quite good, and the "Bally Canada" tag on the insole is clean and clear. There is a nice fan-shaped detail just above the peep toe.

The interior and exterior sides of the shoe are different colours. I think they are a classic looking pair of shoes, but not in a fuddy duddy sort of way.

I always find that the leather soles are always a good indicator of a shoe's quality. These are marked "Cuir Veritable - Geniune Leather" on the underside. Bally has long been known for making quality shoes, and these shoes are still in great shape. I do wonder how old these shoes are, and why the lady who owned them didn't wear them more often!  I should mention that this church thrift sale is based in quite a nice part of town...

Believe it or not, the shoes were actually a perfect fit for me, and the price tag said $5. I'm not a regular wearer of heels, but how could I turn them down?

I hope everyone had a great weekend thrifting! Linking up to Thrift Share Monday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vintage Canon A-1 SLR Manual Camera

One of the first items we purchased off ebay was a vintage manual Canon film camera. Mr. SixBalloons is a bit of a camera buff, and he thought it would be nice to experiment with an old classic.

The Canon A-1 was introduced in the 70s, and was eventually sold between 1978 through 1985. It was a popular seller at the time, and remains a collectible vintage camera today. The A-1 originally sold for $635, which I would imagine was a princely sum at the time.

What I love best about this camera is that it produces photos with a slightly yellow hue... it reminds me of my childhood family photos taken in the 80s. Speaking of photography, we have set up a light studio at home and have been playing around with taking some shots in it. I took these white-background photos with the light studio setup.

We purchased this camera for about $40. The Canon A-1's were very durable and popular, and as a result there are still many of them functioning today. These cameras contained no plastic gears and were built to last.

We were also able to pick up some vintage lenses recently at a Salvation Army 50% off sale, so that will give us an opportunity to experiment further with this camera and our new DIY light studio!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Teak Bird: Mid Century Modern? Danish?

I picked up this great teak bird at a church basement a few weeks ago. I saw it perched on a shelf and it caught my attention right away with its plain expression, round body, and the delicate way it was attached to its pedestal.

I had read about the amazing Kristian Vedel birds designed in 1959 by the Danish architect, and wondered if this little guy was related in any way. Official reproductions of the Vedel birds are now sold in places like the Museum of Modern Art, but this doesn't appear to be one.

I think what is common between the Vedel birds and this piece are their charming lack of expression. It just looks like a curious little bird with a slanted head and big eyes. The eyes are actually made of a stone type material, and unfortunately my piece has a chip out of its right eye. I guess this contributed to the low price I paid of 50¢.

While trying to do some research on this piece, I noticed that some MCM Danish teak pieces have a hole for holding pencils or manicure tools. As you can see on the rear of this piece, it has one too.

I searched in vain for quite some time, but I was delighted to find that a flickr user from Switzerland had come upon a pair of these exact same birds! It was in fact this person who had identified the birds as possibly Mid Century Modern and Made in Denmark. We communicated about our mystery on hand, but have been unable to find more information.

If you know anything about this bird or can provide any insight, it would be greatly appreciated! Oddly enough, this has become one of my favourite thrifted finds. There are just so many angles from which to look at it, and it is a piece worth admiring.

I'll leave you with just one more close up, in case you are loving it as much as I am.  =)

Linking up to Thrift Share Monday and Ana's Friday Archive Dive!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vintage Le Creuset Flame Coloured Oval Cocotte!

The ever elusive Le Creuset vintage oval #26 cocotte is finally mine! It has foiled me twice, but it was third time lucky for me this weekend. The first time I saw this piece in person, it was in a beautiful turquoise aqua colour. I shared my discovery and decision not to buy it at this post regarding the Turquoise Aqua Le Creuset Cocotte.

Then last week when I was purchasing my Pyrex Primary Mixing Bowls from the seller who was moving out of town, she revealed to me that she has just sold an oval flame coloured cocotte exactly like it. In perfect condition. For $15.  EEEEK!  I was so stunned I couldn't even speak.

You may have seen this piece as part of Le Creuset's Heritage Collection which sells on Amazon, as I mentioned it as one of my Christmas wishlist items! Le Creuset brought this piece back in the iconic flame colour, indicating on their website that it is a "design directly from the Le Creuset archives of the 1930s and 1940s."

I almost chose to not purchase this oval dutch oven. You see, I went to my first estate sale ever on Saturday, and finally got in after about one hour in the lineup. There were many dealers in the batch of people that got in ahead of me, and there were no advance photos or anything - just the promise that there was "some" Le Creuset items. I peered wistfully into the window from my spot in the lineup as a fellow carried out a perfect Le Creuset Cobalt Blue dutch oven.

By the time I got in, the place was fairly picked over. This was sitting on a table priced much higher than I expected and the condition inside was pretty terrible. I was so disappointed that I left it and went to pay for a couple of small items. The seller remembered me from emails with my condolences and our conversations about vintage Le Creuset that might be at the sale. She said she appreciated my emails and sold me the piece for $25!  She wanted to make sure that her mother's beloved piece of Le Creuset would be cared for by someone who appreciated it.

That was my first experience at an estate sale in Vancouver as they are not common here. Certainly there was a melancholy tone, but the sellers were upbeat and happy to meet people who appreciated their parents' collectibles.

Now here's the question - is the condition so bad inside that I should use it for decorative purposes only? Or would you be comfortable cooking in it?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pyrex Primary Mixing Bowl Set Completed!

This is a tale of re-uniting Pyrex bowls to create the timeless classic, a full set of Pyrex Primary Colors Mixing Bowls! You will not believe the serendipity and weirdness in this story of discovery...

I regularly see orphaned Pyrex bowls from the Primary Colour mixing bowl set. Because I had previously come upon an awesome haul of Pyrex Primary bowls and fridgies, I usually leave them on the shelf for others, thinking that perhaps they have a set to complete. However, I saw a craiglist ad for a seller who had a bunch of vintage stuff to sell, and I went to visit her after work one day.

The seller lives in an old brick building on the 5th floor, and it turns out she was leaving the country and had to sell all of her great wares. I made my way up and saw that she had three beautiful Pyrex bowls - the large #444 Butterprint (rough condition, but I just love the pattern), the green 403 and blue 401 in great shape. For $15, I just couldn't say no.

I figured with half of the complete set of Primary mixing bowls that I better be on the lookout for the red and yellow ones to round out the set! I kicked myself for all the ones I had seen and left at various church basements and Value Village's.

Lo and behold, literally within two days, an ad showed up on craigslist for another seller who indicated she had three Pyrex bowls for sale at $15: Yellow, Green and Red...

You will not believe this - She lives in the exact same old brick building as the first seller. This person was also selling them off because she is leaving the country at the end of the month! I thought this was pretty bizarre. Like two ships passing in the mist, these two young women live in the same building and had two pieces each of a full set!  Both sold their precious Pyrex because they were leaving the country, and I happened to the buyer!

I think it is pretty strange... what are the odds? I'm pretty excited about having another set of these beauties, plus extra Butterprint and Verde mixing bowls.

Linking up to ATG's Thrift Share Monday!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vintage Charlie Brown Peanuts Books

Although it can be time consuming, I often find myself drawn to looking at vintage kids books while thrifting. Inspired by my Vintage Sesame Street Books find, I kept my eyes open and came upon a couple of Peanuts books by Charles Schultz at two different church basements.

The first one I found was "Charlie Brown's All-Stars" book from 1966 with lots of baseball imagery and a story of Charlie's trials and tribulations on the diamond. Look at his old rotary phone in the image above! Can you believe the book was stamped as a Discard by an elementary school library?

When I look at these drawings, they have such a hand-sketched quality that I feel like I can see Charles Schultz's every pencil crayon stroke. Here is Linus getting measured up for his uniform.

The two books were in decent shape considering their age. The second book was an "All About Friendship" book from 1971. I think I paid a quarter for each book.

The Peanuts comic strip always seemed to inspire you to dream, didn't it? The image below reads "A friend is someone who dares to dream your dreams with you..."

Pig Pen is definitely one of my favourites. Who doesn't love this messy little kid?

This last one makes me think of an estate sale I am planning to line up for on Saturday morning... Hopefully it is worth the wait!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pyrex Prices at Antique Stores

I was peering into the window of a closed antique shop on my way home from work today and spotted some amazing Pyrex pieces. Unfortunately, one of the price tags I saw was amazing too!

This turquoise or aqua 2-quart round casserole came with a lid and rack that I had never seen before. I am not sure if they are original to the piece, as I thought these pieces typically came with a clear lid. Can you believe the $59 price tag? Ouch. It was a beautiful colour though, and in great condition too.

The store also had a beautiful promotional Royal Divided Dish with matching gold medallion lid in perfect condition. I wasn't able to see the sales tag but I'm sure it was out my price range. The royal blue colour on this pan is gorgeous!

Sorry for the quality of the photos, the daylight was burning away, and I was on the other side of the window... I assure you, they looked quite perfect in person. =)  I think I will visit this store again and check out the more humble Pyrex pieces outside of the window display. Who knows, there may be some reasonably priced gems back there.

UPDATE: I posted this over at Pyrex Collective and an astute reader pointed out that the turquoise bowl with lid and cradle is indeed the real deal. I'll post a link to a beautiful shot of it on flickr.
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