Thrifting

Thrift Tales #7: I’ve Peaked.

Lucky #7, this may possibly be the best Thrift Tales post there will ever be.

Massive hype I know, but I’m not sure how I could top myself. I was happy enough with a fun little haul early in the month, but the past 30 days have snowballed into an incredible run of luck like I’ve never experienced before. I found not one, but THREE of my all time “white whales,” which I still can’t believe, especially given my recent dry spell. I’ve also seen so many amazing things that have given me decorating ideas for the new house and nursery.

There’s so much to show you that I hardly know where to begin, so I’ll start with what I consider to be a “soft” white whale I guess? I say that because there is a bit of story to it…

Papasan Chair Frame, $50.

I’ve always loved papasan chairs, romanticizing the cozy reading nook and their essential role in it as my ideal of home perfection. I never had room for one in our apartment, so when we moved into our first house it was one of the earliest additions I made to my new office space. I found a frame at an awesome subdivision garage sale, that wasn’t in the best of shape, but not bad either, and I paid only about $10 for it. With a new cushion from Pier One, a long held dream was finally realized.

I used my chair for many years, but eventually there were space issues and I had to get rid of it. I wasn’t too torn up about it though because I knew we wouldn’t live here forever and I gave it to my sister, so it was still in the family at least. Besides, I knew I could always get a new one from Pier One when we moved into a new house… then of course, Pier One started going out of business. I loved Pier One’s cushions so I decided to buy one before they closed, thinking it would be pretty easy to find a frame later.

WRONG!

Now, here we are moving, so when I pulled the cushion out of my closet to pack I thought I should start looking for a new frame. Well, I never thought it would be so difficult to find a frame without the cushion included! I’ll save you from the boring details, but basically it wasn’t happening new. At that time, I wasn’t seeing any in decent shape secondhand either.

Eventually this gorgeous frame came up for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. I know that isn’t a “steal,” but it was a good price that I was happy to pay. I couldn’t even get one new and many that came up secondhand had very worn bases from the rubbing of the two pieces plus popped strips on the back or other damage. This one had only very light wear and tear and $50 is half of what I would pay if I could get a similar new one from World Market, which I can’t anyway.

I called it a “soft” white whale, because while it’s something I’ve always wanted, I have had one before, and it’s not like it’s an incredibly rare item or anything. However, I had something I adored back in my life once more.

The next item though, a true white whale, is quite rare, valuable, and may possibly be my greatest thrift find ever…

Vintage Card Catalog, $300.

*Drool…* If you do much antiquing or thrifting of any kind, you probably have some idea what a big deal this is. If not, just know that vintage card catalogs are having a moment. You can see them in the backgrounds of TV shows, movies, and magazines, and I don’t even mean as period set pieces, but as decor items in a modern home. Take this desirability as decor and combine it with how incredibly rare these are and the fact that you just can’t find things like this new and they are worth quite a bit… and then you still NEVER even see them available.

I’ve wanted either a card catalog or an apothecary cabinet for storage for craft supplies for ages. A few months ago I searched for something that fit the bill used or new, but eventually had to give up. They just aren’t out there. Apparently because of my searching back then, Facebook Marketplace suggested this item to me.

I agonize over everything I buy, and dragging my feet almost cost me on this piece too. It was $300, which may sound like a lot, but it isn’t at all for a vintage card catalog. However, we are moving! Right now! And we don’t even have a new house yet! We have to move into an apartment! So this would have to go straight into the storage unit and $300 isn’t chump change to me, especially right now with moving and a baby on the way. I knew that it was well worth the price though and I very much wanted it, so I made it happen.

If you do much buying online through things like this then you know some people work off of a priority system where the first person who contacts them is the person they work with until those dealings fall through, then they move to the next person who contacted them. Others, operate on a first-here-with-the-cash-gets-it basis. As a buyer, it can be hard to figure out which of these scenarios you’re working with sometimes. I thought I was operating under the first situation, then it became clear it was the second. I had to leave work early and fly there with the cash. I apparently only beat the next person by 20 minutes. I almost cried when my pregnancy bladder made me stop to pee on the way, despite doing that right before I left the house… for a 30 minute drive. On top of that, I didn’t have all the cash I needed. Thank God my mom saved the day. Her house was on the way, and I made a pit stop there for cash and a restroom! I can honestly say I don’t think this would have been mine without her. My whole family came to help get it loaded, so it was really a team effort and I’m so grateful for everyone’s help.

I’m immensely excited about this thing and I haven’t been able to play with it at all. Straight into the storage unit it went. It still has all the cards inside, which I don’t know what to do with, since they are just plain printed cards. I guess I will just recycle them, though I feel bad about it. If you have any suggestions, drop them in the comments! It’s missing one pull rod, so hopefully I can find a replacement online.

Neatness bonus points for this item since it originally came from one of my old schools. What if I actually used this thing years ago? I am SO pleased with this find and I can’t wait to set up my new office space and store my craft supplies in it!

My third white whale is another true white whale in that it’s the earliest antique I remember wanting…

Vintage Bentwood Rocker, $135.

I was fortunate to be exposed to thrifting and antiques as a child. I don’t remember the precise moment I fell in love with these, I just knew them as the curly rockers and that I wanted one.

I’m of course beginning to think of things I want for the nursery and I’ve heard some people say you want to nurse in a chair that isn’t so comfortable that you’re more likely to fall asleep as you could suffocate the baby! I thought a hard rocker would be a good solution for those situations, so naturally I remembered my old flame here. What a perfect opportunity!

This was another Facebook Marketplace find and another price that wasn’t a steal, but was one I felt good about: $135. Depending on quality and condition they seem to run about $100-$300 on average.

This rocking chair is known as a bentwood or “Thonet” style rocker. Austrian furniture maker Michael Thonet pioneered his technique of steam-bending wood to create curvilinear shapes in furniture into great commercial success in the 1800’s. The most widely used and recognized of his designs was the No. 14 or “Vienna” chair, which will quickly call to mind the image of a cafe or bistro for many. As for the rocker, Pablo Picasso himself was even a big fan!

Mine is not branded and only has a “Made in Thailand” sticker. These have been made since the 1800’s, so they can be hard to date. The seller dated it to the 1970’s and that would be my guess too.

Just like with the card catalog, this one went straight into storage and I have not spent any time with it. I’m glad to have one of my first items for the nursery though and also thrilled to finally own one of these longed for beauties!

So those are my three white whales, but the rest of my finds are every bit as charming and fun, including one more piece of furniture…

Solid Wood Bench, $75.

I was very on the fence about this one. I agonized over it so long, when I finally did decide to get it, I was sure it would be gone. Here we are, days from closing on our house and moving into an apartment, with no new house in sight for us… it’s not the best time to be buying furniture. I didn’t feel bad about the other pieces though, because I had definite plans for all of them. With this one, who knows if I will have a good place for it? I liked it so much I finally figured, sure I will! And if I don’t, my mom has made it clear that she will take it off my hands, ha!

This was yet another Facebook Marketplace find and I liked it far more in person than I even did from the listing pictures. I didn’t realize it would be so substantial! Not much I can say on it besides look at how gorgeous it is. It’s solid, sturdy, and well-made. I will probably use it as an entryway bench or maybe in a sunroom… it really just depends on what fun nooks we have in our new house.

I love a good before and after shot. You can see below what it looked like before cleaning, after cleaning, and after oiling. Wood loves Howard’s Orange Oil! This thing soaked it up.

Lastly: my collection of small items, which is what usually makes up the majority of my thrifting hauls. I was very happy with the little gems I had already found before my recent windfall.

I’ve done a lot of secondhand shopping lately because I’ve really needed to get out of the house. If I’m home, I’m obsessing about house stuff. I’ve needed distraction! One Saturday my mom and I traveled down to one of our favorite flea markets. This is the kind of place you could easily spend all day in, but we only had a couple of hours. Here I brought home my first thing for the baby since we found out…

Dragon Watercolor Print, $0.

Okay so this one was actually a gift! My best friend’s mom is an antique dealer and she has a booth here. We had discussed a piece of furniture she had, so I texted her that I was going to check it out while I was there. That piece didn’t work out for me, but I literally gasped out loud when I saw this charming painting.

I LOVE dragons and all things fantasy. I already have a large dragon plush for the nursery and I couldn’t believe how perfect this was. It is adorable! Of course I scooped it up. I texted her I was getting this sweet thing instead and she gifted it to me <3. She shouldn’t have done that! But I am so grateful and over the moon about it.

This was the only thing I brought home with me that day but we stopped at a shop on the way to this place where my mom bought her first items for the baby – her first purchase as a grandmother! So it was really the baby’s day and he is already being showered with love.

I think it was only the next Saturday after this when my mom and I along with my sister were back at the same place again. Last time, Mom found this gorgeous old pull toy, the Fisher Price “Queen Buzzy Bee.” I intended to get it and brought it to the register, but at the last moment I discovered it had some damage I had not seen. I chose to pass at the time, but buyer’s remorse haunted me.

Fisher-Price “Queen Buzzy Bee,” $13.

I’ll save more info on this item for a separate post because I managed to do a light “repair” on it which I would like to show in more detail and this is already a long one!

Besides this vintage toy, I found a beautiful mini watercolor painting.

Hummingbird Watercolor, $20.

It’s a sweet and simple painting and I love the color choices. A miniature painting for a miniature bird.

Lastly, we stopped at a new place marketing itself as a vendor mall, so the contents varied from booth to booth from antiques to original arts and crafts to boutique items. This new place was a big win! Isn’t adding a new shop to your rotation just the best find of all? I wrote just recently on my love for vintage ephemera and then I immediately hit a sweet little jackpot here with this boxed set of cards.

“Little Charmers” Boxed Card Set, $15.

I’m not great at dating things, but I’m guessing 1940’s or ’50s here. The box is in terribly degraded condition at the edges and back especially, but inside were 15 saccharine miniature cards with blank envelopes. I adore the cutesy illustrations of this time period. They speak for themselves so I’ll just leave you a gallery.

A cute extra to these though, is that they all have pop up interiors!

If you made it this far, THANK YOU! I know this was a behemoth. After all this I still have my usual gallery of items left behind for you and this one’s a doozy. As always, my heart still pines for some of these items. Let me know what you like best in the comments below!

Happy hunting!

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