Thankfulness….

When I think of the Thanksgiving holiday, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I feel totally and completely blessed.

It seems silly to complain at all, really. But just for fun….let’s talk about something that’s been on my mind that I’m NOT so thankful for: The price of mid-century modern furnishings these days.

I’ve talked about it before….and it seems to only be getting worse; as the popularity of the mid-century modern and retro movement gains momentum, so do the price tags of these items. Okay, okay….so I do benefit from that myself. I am an Etsy shop owner. I do make a very minimal profit on each an every item I find and offer for sale. However, my husband would tell you it’s just enough to keep me shopping and barely covers the cost of me driving all over the place “treasure hunting.” There are others that make a living, or supplement their incomes by sourcing, repairing, and subsequently selling MCM furniture. More power to them! However, with my budget, I’m better off on my own.

Recently I was in an online forum where we were discussing the price of items on the west coast. Comparatively speaking, most California prices are hefty, and it’s better to source what you need from people who are willing to ship to you from across the country. Or, you can do as the pilgrims did, and work for it yourself.

Take my advice and make it a habit to seek out your nearest thrift store. You might be really surprised by what you find. One of my favorite local shops is Angel View. There are stores in Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet and Palm Springs as well. Their organization supports and employs the disabled, so it’s not only fun; it’s also for a good cause. Let me tell you…I’ve scored treasures unlike anywhere else at Angel View. The trick is to go during the week in the early morning hours. That’s when the pickin’ is best. If you are a 9-5er like so many are, maybe make it an occasional lunch break outing. Find a Goodwill or Salvation Army near you, pack your lunch and head out for a quick hunt! Another tip is to sign up for EstateSales.net notifications. They’ll send you weekly emails on estate sales in your area. Most of the estate companies feature photos, so you’ll know what to expect before heading out the door. For you 9-5ers who can’t “thrift” during the week, most estate sales are featured on weekends-Fri/Sat/Sun.

Here are a couple of my most recent scores located at a thrift shops. They will be recycled and re-loved in my home:

Thrift find.
The coffee table in my den is a thrift find.
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline 14.99 at Goodwill - and $100 on Etsy.com
Sugar/Tea/Coffee/Flour aaaaand Bread Canister by Crestline. These seem to be pretty rare in this condition, and the only similar one I could find on Etsy is now going for over $100. Say what?! I had to scrub a thick layer of tar off this baby, but it was so worth it. Turns out tar is not just a nasty by-product of the smokin’ mid-century, but it also happens to be an EXCELLENT preservative.

 

Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She's not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she's mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.
Look at her! I found her, in all her original upholstery and glory this week. She’s not perfect, and needs a tiny bit of work, but she’s mine forever, and I would have paid out the nose for her elsewhere.

 

So take it from me, you lovers of MCM: If you’re on a modest budget and aren’t happy about the prices you see out there, do your research and get to steppin’! So as the pilgrims learned to sow the ground they landed on, you too shall reap the benefit of your own sweat and tears! And that my friends, is something to be thankful for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patience is a virtue…but revenge is sweet

Patience is a virtue…that which I do not possess.  I am convinced that right about the time this goal is achieved, I won’t be far from the grave. Ask anyone of my loving family members and they’ll tell you when I decide I want something, I will pretty much stop at nothing to get it. That can be a very positive trait or a negative one, depending on which way you look at it.  Wanna know why my preschooler can’t wipe his own bottom?! EASY! It’s SOOOOO much faster when I do it! Lines? I don’t do lines. I’ll go shopping at the crack of dawn to avoid them.  I have given up Starbucks completely. There are a couple reasons for that, but one of the main reasons is that I abhor the lines in the morning. You expect me to wait 10 minutes for coffee? For REALS, yo? Do you have any idea how much crap I can get done in 10 minutes? It’s just coffee…and I will brew it at home thank you very much.

That being said, I’ve written before about how important it is to be patient when looking for something you really want.( https://midcenturyobsession.com/2012/08/21/how-much-did-you-say-you-want-for-those-glass-grapes/ )

In light of my ongoing struggle to practice what I preach, I have a great story to share with my readers about how patience is rewarded….and revenge is sooooo sweet.  I made mention in one of my September blogs about a particular shop owner Henry of Vintage Treasures Antiques in Hemet who was friendly and passionate about his furniture. I must have caught him on a bad day at my last visit, because he wasn’t the same gentleman I’d met before.

I’d been looking for a mid-century men’s valet rack like the one pictured below found on Ebay. It would be a great addition to our guest room-but I didn’t want to pay Ebay prices.  I was delighted when I spotted one in Henry’s shop. However, I knew he was a bit steep on his furniture, so naturally I was reluctant to hear the answer when I asked how much the unmarked wooden valet was.

The mission: Find a coat rack like this one for below the going rate.

My butt has great instincts, because it was puckered in waiting for the bottom line. Henry began by explaining how “this piece” was in his private collection and he’d brought it from home to put in his shop. I was a bit confused, because I’m not sure how that adds value….but I’m certain that was the point of the explanation: to idolize it’s worth. He paused to think for a second, and said, “I will sell this to you for $79.00.” I politely smiled and said, “Well, thank you but that’s a bit out of my price range.” I started to move away from the pricey valet, and he added, “or you could make me an offer.” I said, “No thank you. I really had no idea of its value and I was only curious how much it would cost.” He again prompted me to make him an offer which I made a point not to do for fear of insulting him with my comparatively meager budget.

As I perused the shop, I recalled that on my last stopover when I inquired about an unmarked table, he had given me the same story about how it was a piece that he’d used in his home. I looked around and noted that I was the only customer in his shop as was the case last time I visited. I quickly took inventory and was struck by the fact that the same merchandise that was in the shop three months before, sat there still. Perhaps I’m not the only one that thinks he’s a bit steep. But wait! Just as these things were running through my mind, in walked a customer and he and Henry engaged in lively conversation about old German record players. A few minutes later, I decided to make my way to the exit, and Henry interrupted the discussion to turn to me, “So why don’t you make me an offer on the valet? Do you want it? Make me an offer.” Reluctantly, I made him the offer he’d been pestering me for…damn the fact that he may be insulted because by this point I remembered that we were in Hemet, not Hollywood. “Okay. $25?” It was more of an apology than an offer. He snickered, and nodded to his gentleman shopper while replying to me disgusted, “$25 dollars? Those are Wal-Mart prices.” As I pushed through the doors to leave, all I could think to say was “Sorry….Thanks anyway.” I was furious after I left and went back over our exchange in my mind. What a jerk! Wal-Mart prices?! First of all, there’s NOTHING wrong with Wal-Mart, and second of all, your shop is in Hemet, a**hole! It’s not exactly crawling with rich people in the market for overpriced mid-century valets! I tend to think there are more of the populace concerned with making the mortgage or feeding their kids. Also: those who have been dealt a better hand? Not coming to Hemet for a visit. Did I say any of this to our Henry? Of course not. I shooed the angry thoughts from my mind and decided to let it go and just wait. This would be an exercise in patience, and I would find a stupid wooden valet some day.

This week on a family adventure day in Idyllwild, California, I did just that. Again, I found myself looking through an antique store mostly disappointed by the frilly crap I was seeing. Then I spotted it. A wooden valet almost exactly like the one I’d seen in Hemet. Only this one was sturdier. Not quite as delicate…certainly this ones cost would be about the same, or possibly more because of the wood? There was no way of knowing because it was unmarked as well. So I half-heartedly asked the gal behind the counter how much she’d want for the wooden valet in the back. She walked back with me to inspect it and said “$15 dollars?” I pretended to think about it for a nano-second and replied, “Sure. I can do that.”

Victory Valet

Friends and fellow hunters…I happily pass on this nugget of knowledge once again: patience and persistence pay off eventually. Revenge via redemption? It tastes of sweet, sweet honey. A revision to my September post is yet another gem for you: Should you be passing through Hemet; skip Vintage Treasures Antiques. Walk directly across the street to Finders Keepers on Florida Ave. I walked in after my little visit with Henry and found a gorgeous mid-century modern amber vase and the gal behind the counter actually offered me two dollars-off the already reasonable asking price. When I shared with her that I was looking for mid-century modern wares she candidly offered that Finders Keepers had a shop in Beaumont that I should visit, being that most of their MCM stuff is sent up there because of the market. Finders keepers indeed.

She’s Thrifty Thrifty Thrifty!

This week I’ll be featuring a few local thrift shops that will make your heart stop. Thrifting is one of the BEST ways to find completely unique pieces. Obviously you have to be selective or your home will end up looking more like a junk yard than a reflection of you; but the idea is to find things that give you a slight heart attack as you rip them off the shelf before anyone else spies your glorious find. Is it just me or does anyone else get that feeling? Just check out this space age lamp I got for $19.99 at the Goodwill. I actually- hand on my heart like something out of a film – inhaled loudly as I rounded the corner and it stood on the floor in front of me. This lamp stopped me in my tracks both literally and figuratively. It was love at first sight. Something inside of me knows it’s completely hideous, but on the other hand it’s beautiful. Does that make any sense? Hello!!?!?!?? The base lights up too! WHAT?

Inspired by my recent find I asked my very witty and spontaneous friend, Senta to be my guide on a tour of local Inland Empire thrift shops as I am still relatively new to the area. Knowing her penchant for a good laugh and her desire to find antique ceramics, Senta was going to be the right woman for the job. My girl came through! Our tour began at a yard sale in Menifee. I have to be honest; I was ready to drive right by as I haven’t had the best of luck with yard or garage sales in the past. Complete waste of time in my experience. No, I do not want your dirty kid’s stained teddy bear for $.50. I would NOT like to bring home bed bugs with me today, thank you very much. But I digress.

At this particular yard sale, we found what I’d only hoped to find someday but hadn’t uttered my wish out loud because it seemed so unlikely: I’d hoped to find a vintage school desk for my son. I invisioned him in our office with me, coloring or doing his little kid puzzles as I typed my next post…there I go again. Anyway, this beaut is what we walked up to when we greeted the yard sale in Menifee. I stand corrected: $25 bucks later, I was carting this sweet little thing to my trunk. It came complete with one single piece of petrified gum stuck underneath the desk. Vintage gum.

Vintage School Desk

The next stop of the Thrift-tastic adventure was the Menifee Valley Community Cupboard in Sun City. There were some pretty cool things here and they were very reasonably priced. I purchased a tea tin from Ireland for my Paddy husband for $1.  If you’re looking for kitchewares, glasses, ceramics or housewares, this is your kind of place. I also spied some really cool vintagey hand-made quilts in the back. In addition, there is an entire room dedicated to furniture.

From Sun City we headed to Lake Elsinore. Lake Elsinore is like a mecca for thriftgoers. There were 3 thrift stores on Riverside Drive alone. There was so much to do and see, we never even got past Riverside Drive. Thrifting here is not for the faint of heart. Bring your A game folks, because there’s a LOT to sift through. Our first stop in L.E. was The Lord’s Closet. It was a kind of hole in the wall place and I chuckled to myself thinking in jest, “certainly the Lord has something for me too.” And so he did! Ask and ye shall receive. Here’s the thrifty treasure I found at the Lord’s Closet!!!! I can’t wait to hang it in my master bedroom. It will grace the wall above Nana’s credenza.

Not only that, the gal behind the counter was positively delightful. She was so friendly and struck up a conversation with us. I will definitely be returning to this place! (Just a post-script here. Had I purchased this same item at a flea market, it would have easily cost 5 times what I paid for it.) And the people said, “Thanks be to God.”

The main destination in Lake Elsinore has to be Thriftique. They are so popular that they even have a Facebook page with 173 likes; pretty good for a Thrift store in the middle of nowhere. https://www.facebook.com/#!/Thriftique.LE The aptly named Thriftique is more like a shabby chic boutique that is a veritable wall to wall feast for the eyes. Thriftique was bursting with really cool collectibles. I didn’t see very many mid-century vintage pieces, but if I were a fan of french country or shabby chic, this place would be a definite gold mine. Thriftique did have an excellent vintage book collection that I will have to go back for. By this point in the day, we were starving and Senta started eyeing me like I might be good eatin’. Before we left to seek out some grub, I did score this mid-century serving platter for $3.50. Excellent deals to be had here.

Serving Platter

From what I understand, Thriftique is gearing up to open a sister shop in September, just next door to be called Vintique. I spoke with someone at Thriftique and they’ll have all sorts of different vendors and thus, all different types of wares. I get excited just thinking about it!

And so you see, some of the least likely places are the very best ones to investigate. I probably wouldn’t have ventured into Lake Elsinore for the purpose of thrifting, but thanks to my street-wise Senta, I’ve since determined it is one of the best places in the area to go! Keep an open mind…treasures are everywhere just waiting to be discovered.

P.S. Bring good shoes, light clothes and bottled water. This time of year, it’s scorching hot in the Inland Empire. Should you get to feeling hungry, be sure to stop by the Nana’s Pizza on Riverside Drive. My gal pal and I wolfed down the most delicious freshly made calzones we’ve ever tasted. Slap your Mama kinda stuff. I actually thought about rubbing the doughy crust on my face and trying to inhale the bread through my nose. It was that good.