Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Cheap Education

One of my favorite parts of garaging comes after I get home with my new-to-me goodies: finding out more information about each thing. All those years as a librarian made research as natural as breathing. I love to learn something new, and I really love finding out that I got something special.

Case in point: last Saturday I picked up my SIL Linda and we headed out for the town-wide yard sale day in one of Portland’s suburbs. Our first stop was breakfast at a newish coffeehouse Linda had heard of. Turned out she knew the proprietor, who gave us our favorite quote for the day: "Midlife crisis... couldn't find a man, so I opened a coffee shop." Sound very Portlandish to me!

We had fun driving around, though neither of us found much. But at one of our first stops I picked up a couple of pieces of clothing to use in some future upcycling project. There’s some damage on this wool skirt I bought for fifty cents, but the fabric is unusual and I like it. since it’s a maxi skirt there’s plenty of fabric that still good.

Nellie de Grab skirt

When I got home I noticed that the interior details are above the norm (pretty rare to see hem tape these days)

de Grab finishing

so I looked up the tag and found it’s a designer piece from the Sixties. (And for the record, I don’t dry clean anything. This baby got a nice cool handwash and did just fine.) de Grab fabricI wasn’t familiar with Nelly de Grab. Found some real eye candy of her designs from the 50s & 60s over on Pinterest. This Richard Avedon photo was probably my fave.

Avadon picture of Nelly de Grab suit

Fast forward to this week. Judy and KK and I were out on Friday finding what we could find. For once I seemed to be having all the luck, and once again it was mostly of the textile variety. Since I started upcycling old clothes into new, I’ve always got my eye peeled for interesting fabrics. I picked out some rayon shirts with matching skirts or pants in a box of clothing marked 25¢ each.

Another rayon shirtApril Cornell shirtSigrid Olsen shirtRayon shirt

When you find the matching skirt or pants, it’s beyond easy to remodel a shirt. So these should be in my closet and wearable soon.

I think it was Judy though who spotted this linen blazer in that same 25¢ box. (Forgive the wrinkles, it’s been washed but not ironed.)

Dries Van Noten jacket Linen, a quarter, what’s not to love? Zoe likes it a lot.

Zoe likes linen

She barely moved when I turned it over to take a picture of the back.

Van Noten jacket

I noticed that all the seams are finished with bias tape inside. This is definitely not something you see often on ready-to-wear.

finished seams

So once more I looked up the label

Dries Van Noten label

and found I have another designer piece on my hands. I’m sure this jacket is a few years old, but it looks like it was never worn. And his current jackets seems to sell in the $500 – 1000 range.

Pretty good for a quarter, I’d say.

At one of our last stops I found a cool pair of midcentury modern salt and pepper shakers. Couldn’t resist them.

Stelton salt & pepper

I took their picture with what I think is a hand-carved cooking utensil. Maybe a pasta fork? Whatever it is, the wood has the most satin finish I’ve ever touched, you just want to pet it. I liked the look of it with the shakers, which turned out to be Danish, from the 60s, made by Stelton of stainless steel and rosewood. Another new name for me.

At the same sale I spotted some small vases. I’ve been wanting something small to do little bouquets from the pots on my deck

Deck flowersFlower trough 1Flower trough 3

so I brought home a blue and a green.

vintage small vases

The blue is unmarked but the green one is from Norway. Isn’t that a great midcentury style?

Randsfjordglass label

The glass is lovely. Held up to the light it’s like green water solidified. And I’ve added another name to my mental database.

Randsfjordglass vase

Even better, it’s perfect for its intended use!

small vase


  1. Vintage clothing is fun isn't usual you did really well

    1. I've been enjoying some of your vintage finds on your blog. Talk about gorgeous fabrics on those scarves!

  2. Love the skirt fabric! It would make a great set of couch pillows. Your deck planters are looking wonderful too!

    1. What a great idea. I just hope Zoe outgrows her love of eating sofa pillows someday!

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I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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