Paper Dolls for Boys

Raising 2 crafty boys and thrifting every chance I get.

Favorite Thrift Ever August 11, 2010

Filed under: Thrift Scores & Pat and Charlie — twlowenstein @ 12:24 pm
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People are always asking me what my favorite thing I ever thrifted was.  Okay, no one has ever asked me before.  What the heck?  It’s the perfect question.  So if someone were to ask me this thoughtful question I think I would have to answer a roll of waxed twine.  It’s been 4 years and it seems like a magical replenishing spool.  I have used it to package my etsy packages, wrap birthday presents, as clothesline to hang kid art, in craft projects and just as a beautiful piece of functional art sitting on the counter with a pair of scissors sticking out at the ready.  I love it.  I’m using it at the moment to wrap around my paint by number frames (more details to follow on exciting new plan of action concerning my PBNs).  Will photo both projects when finished but in the meantime, I was wondering:  What is your favorite thing you ever thrifted?  Could it be more exciting than mine, probably not but give it a go.  Link back with a post on your blog or if you don’t have one or are lazy, just leave a comment!

Let’s hear it:

Potty Mouth Mama

The Rinrins

Ranch Dressing with Eartha Kitsch

Thrifted Treasure

I’m starting small, let me know if you want me to add you to this link.


I’m Not One to Brag, April 20, 2010

Filed under: Thrift Scores & Pat and Charlie — twlowenstein @ 7:15 pm
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unless I’m talking.

Feel free to join me in bragging over at my new Thrift Therapy group on Flickr!

Today was a beautiful thrift day.  It was a mother/son hang out day.  My oldest son, 7, has the eyes of a hawk and can spot good thrift with the best of them (so very proud).  We hit 3 thrift stores and came away with some vintage love.

I plan to paint the frames pink or something, anything, other than that yucky wood.

I got the pillow for 1 dollar.  1 DOLLAR!!! The art work came from another thrift store for $4.99 a piece.  More than I like to spend at the thrift store but it seemed a match with the pillow.  I often find that thrifting days have an unintentional theme.  Today had a yellow thread.

I have a couple pair of these skates now.  I am past my skating years (ok, weight) but in the day (read: elementary school), I happen to win a speed skate contest at the local rink.  So maybe it should have read, “I’m not one to brag, unless I am talking OR typing”.

That does indeed say “50 cents”.  I already put it on the shelf in my kitchen.  I am a sucker for anything with it’s original packaging.  Bake King!

An old napkin holder that I plan to use in my craft room for holding paper.  No plans for the tiny coaster yet, but I snapped it up mostly because it’s metal and cheery.

My son spotted these bowling pins.  We are debating turning them into candle sticks or planting them in the garden.  What do you think?

My son also spotted 2 of these for a quarter each.  Seeing as how we were feeling like SUPERWINNERs, we bought them.

I think I squealed when I spotted these.  Planning to use them in the garden, pot some plants in them, maybe plant them to look like mushrooms or maybe just put on kitchen shelve.  Any ideas?

This tape dispenser isn’t vintage but it was cheap and it’s a perfect combination of functional and quirky.  The bug was a big fan.

I had a hard time taking a good photo of this.  It’s solid brass, ugly beautiful and cost 3 bucks.

I hope to spray it red or rust it out and rewire it for my craft room.  I say that but I have never had anything rewired in my life.  Expensive?  Reasonable?  I think it’s going to work in the space.  Photos to follow one day.

Another day of thrift therapy, I will go to sleep happy.


I’m in the Mood to Brag February 13, 2010

It’s been written about before, by myself and more eloquently by others, but thrifting is a modern day treasure hunt.  People either have the hunger or they don’t, more scores for the rest of us!   A few weeks ago I scored big.  I was in line to pay for a couple of vintage children’s books at the Good Will when a woman dropped off a couple of big blue boxes.

The boxes looked beat to hell but what was inside was unused.

I imagine she got them as a wedding present and they had been sitting in her basement for ages.  The biggest box contained 4 column candlesticks.

I paid $9.99 for them.  SHAZAM.

I have not added candles yet (or taken off the blue paper on 2 of them, tacky!) but slapped them up on the mantel as a trophy, like the head of a beast.

The other box contained a set of hand-blown champagne flutes.  Also unused and nestled safely in their original box.  I paid $4.99 for those.

The woman who dropped them off was still there as I snatched them up and appeared horrified at the price I paid.  She kept saying, “They are Tiffany!”  “Stop thrift blocking, Lady!”. I wanted to say but did not want to antagonize her.  I tried not to make eye contact and scurried out with my spoils as quickly as possible but I could sense that it may have been her last thrift donation.  Pleased as punch I got to be her send off!

Do I like crystal?  Not really.  I had some non-Tiffany sitting in my basement for years up until our move last summer.  It was over cut and not my style at all.  Would I have looked twice at the candlesticks had they not been Tiffany?  Maybe not.  I am not ashamed to say that I am caught up in the wonder of the blue box just a little bit.  Not enough to buy anything at retail but thrifted?  You bet.

Plus they really are elegant and just calling out for me to rustle up a dinner party…


SOWA August 24, 2009


I wish I would have asked what SoWa stands for.  SoMA or SoBA I would get.  Anyone?


Every Sunday, 10-4,  in South Boston happens “New England’s largest outdoor bazaar”.  It’s open May through October 25th.  There is a Farmers Market, a Hand-Made section – which was an open air Etsy, and an Import Market.  Plus live music and food.  Good times.

3850144415_ff9f241028_bMy favorite was the antique market.  It’s housed inside an enormous hollowed out old factory. It was stunning.  The prices were also a little stunning.


Isn’t this beautiful?  I have a thing for old game boards and paraphernalia.  My husband & I got excited about this piece for above the mantel but the 250 price tag killed it.  I think that a big part of what I love about vintage is the hunt and the score.  The rescue!  When I buy or curb something I feel like I am taking an under-appreciated relic and giving it it’s proper respect.  If I were to buy a warped wooden wheel for 250, I would feel like a sucker.  Hmmm, how to justify these feelings with my Etsy shop (that SHALL RIDE AGAIN!).

3850978882_c9407b988d_bI like a shop that leads with a negative.  Another thing I will NOT being doing is buying this Chanukiah (name of the menorah for Chanukah).  I really love the this one.  Much of the Judaica is not to my taste but this is perfection.  Except the 300 dollar price tag.  I am assuming it’s silver so maybe the price is justified but I could not stomach it.


This little sock doll was fetching.  I think it was 22 dollars.  A lot of things were priced at 22 dollars.


I liked these red chairs and this vendor was selling a lot of wire gym baskets.  15 each if you bought 3 or more.  I thought that was fair but forgot to go back and pick some up.   Excuse to go next Sunday.

Bought at SoWa

This is the one thing I did buy.  It’s an illustration of Simple Simon and the Pieman.  It was an insert in the Boston Globe.


The vendor shrewdly gave my youngest the shell he was admiring, thus securing my purchase of the illustration.  At 5 dollars, I walked away happy.  As did my shell loving little guy.


Well… July 24, 2009

I am never too busy to brag!

Look what I found while dropping off tons of crap donations at the thrift store.



DSC_0015Ahhhh, old metal box you were calling my name.


Thrift Repurpose June 30, 2009

Edit:  I am just going to let this one ride & call it Vintage Photo Friday.  I am up to my eyeballs in boxes.  Will catch up with you all soon!

A while back on Vintage Photo Friday, there was some discussion & sharing of ideas for storing/displaying vintage photos.


I was excited to find inspiration in this vintage napkin holder at the thrift store today (Happy Anniversary Pat & Charlie)!  I picked it up because I am a sucker for metal and swirls, then I put it down thinking it wouldn’t really work with our cloth napkins.  But bam, I thought photos.  I also thought I would paint it but decided I liked the yellow with the photos.  Yellow is a color I am always surprised I like.


The photos in front are from my last trip to Brimmfield.  I am trying to scale my (non-family) photos down to just a few collections, vintage marching bands, vintage construction photos, and people at the beach.


I love the bathing suits on the people in the front and the suit suits on the guys in the back!


Ok, she does not fit my “rules” but just look at her.  I wonder where she is going and if she is more excited than she is letting on.  Truthfully, I am not sure if it was her or the bus I was more taken with when I plucked her from the pile that chilly Brimmfield day.

Any more ideas for how to display vintage photos?  Leave a link if you feel like sharing.

More vintage photos this way:

Green Jello

Knot Sew Crafty

Sheep on a Spring

Pineapples & Artichokes


Through the Looking Glass

Handy Crafts

My Own Crafty Wonderland


Los Angeles is My Beat

The Bee Bonnet Report

Living, Laughing and Loving in Austin

A Jen Too Many



Cheetah Velour


Thrifting is a Thing of Beauty June 3, 2009

***I would like to apologize in advance for my liberal usage of CAPS in this post.  It’s my fingers getting in on the excitement of the day.***

For I had a banner thrifting day today.  And I really needed it.

I was feeling peeved about the closing date looking like it’s going to move back and just needed some cheap therapy.

I know you are supposed to appreciate and try to understand peoples’ differences but I can not fathom why a person would not love the heck out of thrift store shopping.

I went to a shop today that I had not been to before, and there are not many of those out there.  Someone told me about it and I can not remember who.  Whoever it was, I owe you a kiss, beer or babysitting (your pick).   The place was a treasure trove .  I am not ready to be as selfless as the forgotten one who pointed me in the direction of the shop in the first place, so it will remain nameless for now.  Sorry Kate, love ya!

Drink up the goodness below:


Little faux bois tin, with a touch of fake wicker (anyone know how to say that in french?) thrown in for good measure.

DSC_0016A beautiful vintage umbrella that functions.  It has the most delicate wooden handle.  I am thinking of doing something with it on the porch.  Ideas?


I picked up a funky old chair that is the color of the green in this lap blanket.  I am thinking of painting the new craft room teal and chartreuse and think the old chair with this blanket thrown over it will work nicely.  First I have to vaccuum what looks to be the excess fur of an entire cat clan off of it, cut the skirt off, paint the legs and fabreeze it with a vengeance.

Are you ready?


Then I came across this vision of crafty win!  Do you SEE it?


This little birdcage appeared to never have housed a bird (or their droppings).  It came stuffed with fake flowers that I generously donated back to the store.  The cool guy at the check out counter asked what I was going to do with this and like a dork, I replied, “I’m going to do something crazy with it!  Like paint it hot pink or something!!!”  Seriously, I said that.  Then just to try and dig myself out of the old lady hole I fell into I added, “I know.  I am CRAZY.  Lookout!!!!”  But if making a fool of myself is the price to pay for such thrifted goodness then a fool I be.


I also picked up a few pieces of Pyrex, a yellow mug, an orange leftover dish, and an avocado mixing bowl to add to my growing collection.

I loved the shop and the people working there so much that I trekked out to their second location.  When you are feeling the thrift mojo, you do not question, you ACT.

Initially the second shop seemed like the uncool cousin of the first.  It may have had something to do with the 20 month pregnant woman with the hoarsest smokers voice I have EVAH heard gabbing into her cell phone the whole time.  She was not RESPECTING the THRIFT.


I found this painting that is a little more “pop artish” than I usually go for but I felt like it was painted well and after I walked by it once, it beckoned me back.


But then, then I saw it.  At first I didn’t bust any sudden movements for fear someone else, like the lady standing RIGHT in front of it, would grab it.  Then I panicked and made an ungraceful lunge for it.  In the process I knocked over a few hideous photo frames which the aforementioned woman caught while giving me an annoyed look.  Again, DO NOT CARE.  Fool I be lady, get the F outta my way!  I caused such a commotion that one of the workers came over and said, “Let me help you get that down.” in her best talking to a crazy lady voice.  Do not care for it is MINE.

DSC_0002Oh good gawd I love it.  It’s massive, it’s fetching, it’s MINE!


It is the rare bird that looks better close-up!



DSC_0035Dayenu already but then I spied these beauties on the shelf and flipped when both skates were actually in the box.


PRISTINE condition.

You hate me a little bit, don’t you?


Thrifted May 31, 2009

I have not been in a blogging state of mind lately.  I have not been writing much about us being in the process of buying a new house because a) it’s not that exciting b) there are many hurdles to jump before it really happens and c) I am saving up all my house themed posts for AFTER we move in.  You have been forewarned, I plan to bore you silly with the decorating details!

I have put my Etsy shop on hold, it will return specializing in funky ephemera (someday), but I haven’t stopped thrifting.  I wanted to share with you some great scores I got while in NC visiting my parents.  My father is a super collector of tins and this is one trait that hasn’t skipped a generation (unlike good looks and modesty that Daniel and I inherited from Granny and Granddaddy!).

Thrifted Tin

I am scaring myself in my advancing age.  I am turning into a crazy cat lady but without all the cats.  Turns out I collect vintage children’s toys and vintage products aimed at children.  I will admit to being slightly embarrassed by this fact but unable to curb the impulse.  Does this make me kooky or pitiful?

thrifted Tin Side

I mean could you resist these frolicking baby elephants?

YumInside of this beauty was a bunch of lovely vintage buttons.  I picked a few out to share.  I made button rings before and that was fun and easy.  Do you have any other ideas of fun projects to do with vintage buttons?

thrifted Buttons

And here is a peony in our yard after a big storm today.  I am going to miss that plant.



Charlie and Pat, Back in Action April 2, 2009

Filed under: Thrift Scores & Pat and Charlie — twlowenstein @ 2:17 pm
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My favorite little thrift spot is seasonal and they just opened this morning for the spring.  I was there 20 minutes before opening with the little one, to wait in line.  The folks who came after me formed a lateral line which would have sent me into a rage if it were anywhere but C&P’s.  The thrift “store” is housed in a garage and it’s a little tight in there but I managed about 9 laps around the place, adding more to the stroller each time.  First thing I picked up was a replogle vintage globe on a beautiful stand, 2 bucks – BAM.  Then I spotted a vintage Boston Public School desk and chair, it’s lower middle on the grid.  Or at least the underside is pictured, the desk has elaborate wrought iron legs and a wooden top with a beautiful patina.  The chair is perfection on a metal base.  More photos to come when they are not shoved into the back of the minivan.


Oh, and I got a COMPLETE box of vintage vocabulary cards for a quarter.  LOVE THEM THE BEST.  I have to go pick up my big guy from school so I’ll rush through the remaining scores:  vintage wooden kite string winder upper thing that is as light as a whisper, a mid-century lamp that I did not capture in it’s full glory – it has a double shade!, I got a milk glass chicken because it seemed like I should (not usually a chicken gal), a funky little metal bowl filled with seeds for 10 cents a pack, and a sweet little bird that I believe hangs out at bars and spits lime into drinks (at least that is my vision for her)!  Life is a little more sparkly with Charlie and Pat’s up and running.  It’s like someone hit the “vibrancy” on picnik a few times and I LOVE it!

Happy thrifting to you!


Altered Thrift March 23, 2009

Filed under: Craft,Thrift Scores & Pat and Charlie — twlowenstein @ 12:03 pm
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My favorite thrift store folks, Charlie and Pat, gave me two ceramic wall hangings when they were closing up their shop for the winter months.  I mostly took them because my granny taught me it was polite to take what is offered to you.  I have since found this to be a cultural/regional thing.  Southerners generally think you rude if you don’t take what is offered and Northerners think you rude if you do.  Just my take on it, feel free to share if you have a different opinion (I’ll let you decide if I mean that in a Southern or Northern way!).



Anyhoo, the hangings were ugly not to my liking so I painted them.  My original plan was to paint them one color but I couldn’t decide between the green or the blue and my craft group said go for it with both colors.  I hope to do one more coat of a high gloss finish but for now I hung them up.  I might have to take them down later as my husband diplomatically said last night, “I like what you have done with those, I’m just not sure if I like them enough to hang them in the living room.”



I think I might need to move my hippo and green man if they stay but more than likely they are headed to the craft room.  No worries.  It really was about the process for me on this one.  It was fun to paint and see them transform from fugly to less fugly (says me).

I had to stop myself from painting more things blue.