Thursday, September 27, 2007

What Must I Thrift?

I'm sure everyone has her own idiosyncratic mental list when thrifting. You know, those things you just *are* going to buy if they cross your path. On mine:

• Restaurant and restaurant style dishes--Buffalo, Jackson, etc.

• Sewing notions, especially packages of bias tape in odd colors. But not thread, which might be too old and weak and ruin a project. Always zippers. I'll never have to buy another one in a fabric store.

• Fabric yardage if it's at all cute. If not for me, then to pass along.

• Gift wrapping supplies--curly ribbon, little fake flowers, great bows. Also crepe paper rolls and fold-out tissue wedding bells!

• Ironstone china.

• Pillowcases in terrible seventies yellows and brown--perfect for car travel.

• Books on vintage homemaking and sewing. Grace Livingston Hills.

• Pieces of handwork, even if they're tacky. Given the right setting, almost any little bit of embroidery will sing! (See above: pillow created from a pretty tasteless piece of crewelwork, but I think it came out cute!)



Mrs.B said...


I just finished The Honor Girl and you were right, it was WONDERFUL!! I finished it in two days and want to read it again.

Many years ago a read a GLH book and didn't care for it but The Honor Girl was fantastic! Of course my copy of THG is from 1927 which made reading it even more delectable.--I love the smell of old books. (o;

What GLH should I read next?

Alicia said...

Flat sheets - so handy for picnics, extra bedding, impromptu tents, Halloween costumes...

Old Christmas balls - I have this really cool wreath I want to make from them if I ever find a good stash cheap enough

Children's books - especially non fiction or old fiction series like Trixie Belden

Inexpensive baking pans for shipping baked goods to siblings in college

And to Mrs.B - I don't really care for GLH as I find her plots predictable, but I LOVED Crimson Roses. I read it in college and actually read through some lectures (not my habit at all)! I'm sure I'm missing out on some other gems. My mother loves them all.

Mrs. Bonnie said...

Old books, esp. cookbooks(I've snagged a couple of dandy's),and childrens, Nacy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Trixie Belden.
Baskets(good ones, not "80's Kountry), maternity clothes,fun kitchen items, patterns,and handwork. The thrift stores near us are more miss than hit, but I love going anyway.
I did my first bit of "Dumpster Diving" and brought home a great little vanity bench with a vintage (albeit water marked) table cloth pinned 'round the seat top. Very fun.

Anonymous said...

These always catch my eye:

vintage books: etiquette and manners, children's cookbooks, homemaking-cooking (before 1970), foreign language fairy tales

modern: Dorling Kindersley illustrated dictionary/how-to books

Name brand Snow gear (ski pants, parkas, EMS hiking, etc) in current colors and fabrics. Gently used ice skates and roller blades for our "come over and play" stash


vintage women's coats for craft


Small, real dishes to scale for 18" doll scenarios

Peter Spier hardback children's books, or paperbacks if in perfect condition. I SPY, Look-Alikes in perfect condition.

deb meyers

Polly said...

-silk scarves with hand rolled edges
-old home ec textbooks
-things that are tartan
-100% wool sweaters, to shrink and make things out of -- good for kids mittens and legwarmers.
-Victoria magazines

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

People often ask me how I've developed the "vintage" look in my home. Thrifting!

I always look for:

Pretty Plates
Silver serving pieces
Beautiful teaspoons

Vintage Linens
Vintage hankies
Old Books

Pearl necklaces (it's the June Cleaver thing)
Antique picnic baskets & luggage

Magazines to cup up for scrapbook

Old Victoria magazines to leave whole :)

G.L.H. said...

Golly, I thought I had a few must- haves, but I think I would pick up any item on any of these lists!

Mine include vintage children's books, hankies, needlework and trims, wool blazers to felt (or make 18" doll coats out of), aprons, my Old Curiosity Shop dishes that I collect....

Your pillow is so funky and fun!

For Mrs. B, Re-Creations is similar to Honor Girl, Crimson Roses is wonderful. Another Home-makey one is April Gold. So many more to love!

Rebecca said...

anything crochet/knit. Especially sweaters for my children (or furture children! hehehe) afghans, etc.

Anything embroidered.

Lace tablecloths.

Vintage sheets and pillowcases.



blue glass and delpht

Antique drinking glasses-they are heavy on bottom and are made in several different colors. I am TRYING to accumulate enough that I can get rid of all the others. It is hard though-because they are a rarity!

Rebecca said...

and I can't believe I forgot:

BASKETS! the big kinds to lug things about it...covered or not. Circular or not. The more the merrier! I have baskets throughout my home. My little girl has baskets for collecting things outside-flowers and berries.

If I must take something somewhere-it goes in a basket. Potlucks are transported in baskets. Picnics in baskets. Crochet stuff in baskets. Yep. I am addicted.

Anonymous said...

Old bottles in interesting shapes and colors... beautiful soap dishes... old interesting rocks... pottery... small boxes to keep my art supplies in... any vintage art supplies like wooden figures, hands, brush holders, easels... old "how-to" books and a few cookbooks... loose cut-crystal prisms to hang in my kitchen window like Pollyanna did :o)

Lovely Lady Laura said...

I LOVE thrifting but hate shopping in a dept. store and I haven't been to the mall in years!

I buy: pillowcases to use as fabric or an occassional flat sheet for a sewing project.
Children's books-they're only 50 cents. My grandson reads them and we pass them on to his school for the bookfair or we keep them for my niece who is in college to become a kindergarden teacher.

Magazines: Again, only 50 cents and I use them in my collage posters-except VICTORIA which I will NEVER cut again! I can barely contain myself until the first newly published issue arrives next month!!!!

Placemats: I cut them down and sew bias tape around the edges to make potholders.

Sunglasses-why pay soooo much money for something I am constantly loosing? It's nice to have several pairs so that you don't miss a pair when you loose them.

And lastly whatever little odd-ball thing that catches my eye and tickles my fancy.

AllyJo's Mama said...

Men's shirts I can cut up for quilts.

Vintage sheets or mega high quality new ones.

Vintage Christmas or Halloween stuff.

Paper goods, especially old stationary or cards.

Books, books and books...and then more books. I like children's books and cookbooks the most.


Old serving platters, because I use them to serve food but also to decorate.

Old Patterns

Silk ties for Easter Egg coloring.

Vintage clothing, especially dresser clothes.


Old pyrex and other dishes. I'm looking for Homer Laughlin and Fiestaware plates for the kitchen right now. My mom calls it junk!!! What's up with that? Grrrrr..

I'm not picky. If it's old, cheap and I like it, I get it. :)

Tamara said...

What a great post idea, Anna!

I look for wool sweaters for felting, fabric, quilts, good old baskets, pottery, old blown glass, pale green blown glass (for a collection in our bathroom), good old wood furniture with simple shaker or craftsman lines, casserole dishes for sharing meals with friends and neighbors, Pretty tins and other things that can be remade into beautiful gifts, old Christmas ball ornaments, Johnson Bros. dishes, and anything with plaid, pinecones, or autumn leaves.

However, our thrift stores are not terribly cheap, so I am very picky about the price, condition, and quality. I don't buy nearly everything that I see & like!

Missy said...

I don't really have a mental list so I ask my daughters what I bring home the most and this was their list.

Flat sheets-all I see is fabric for curtains,bags,headbands for my girls

Patterns- I can't resist them

Vintage books,Vintage dishes

Picture frames that I never use and I'm not sure why.

Quilts and blankets.

I didn't realize but I do always buy the same things.

TheThrifterAmy said...

My list:

1. Any Plesant Company/American Girl stuff

2. Vintage Patterns

3. Shot-Glasses for my cousin's collection

HopewellMomSchool said...

Anything scrapbook-ish to use for cheap, crative layouts. I keep hoping to find Martha-approved glass jars, but our thirft stores usually just carry J-U-N-K
fyi: I'm pretty sure I saw my Aunt working that pillow outside the camper when I was a kid in the early 70s!!!!

Natalie said...

Things I like -mirrors, unique glassware for candles and storage, some furniture, GLH and Golden books, certain old patterns. Currently looking for a brown teapot and some green glass wine goblets. Not many thrift stores that I know of in my area though, so I make do with the Salvation Army stores.

Lois E. Lane said...

Vintage children's book and cookbooks must ALWAYS be explored when I'm out and about. It's turned into a bit of fetish, much to the chagrin of my husband...

Anonymous said...

The pillow is very special! It looks like a scene from my part of the country right now! Thrifting is fun!

Katie said...

Sheets as a fabric source!! I never thought of that- what a marvellous idea!

But I've got to ask: Allyjo'sMom, how are silk ties for dyeing eggs?

Anna said...

That is a good question...what do silk ties have to do with dying I am interested too!!:-)I went to Allyjo'sMom's blog {which I loved!}..but could not comment as I do not have an account.
I look for Fiestaware like she said she did... also books, material and sewing supplies, homemaking books,cloth napkins,Grace Livingston Hill books, things others have asked me to find for them like certain books for homeschooling, pretty plates and cups or glasses or such to glue together to make cake stands for gifts, pretty throw pillows cheap to use outside or pretty pillow shams to cover them, almost anything that is floral!, I am always on the lookout for things others might like for little anoynmous gifts to them, books that catch my eye and fancy,.. and priced right to boot,clip on earrings {they are hard to find anymore here}, did I mention books?....
It was certainly fun seeing the array of the things we like to look for and how much we all like the same types of things!! What fun. Thanks for starting us on this thought....

Mrs.B said...


Thank you for your book suggestions, I've written them down and will be checking them out. (o:


Dee said...

Here's my list:

Children's books
Fabric or material that can be used for sewing projects (leather, wool, etc)
Pretty saucers (I use them to hold jewelry and other little bits)
Sewing notions
Wool or cotton yarn
Wooden toys
Quilts (haven't found one yet!)
Clothes for the children to play dress up

Kay said...

I don't have a list but I love your little pillow!

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