Monday, September 30, 2013

Vintage of the Day: Last Pair of Ball Jar Salt & Pepper Shakers

Well, if last week wasn't a total "Vintage of the Day" fail. It was.

Jeff (my business partner, not to be confused with my life partner, Kyle) and I recently accepted a really big project with We'll be doing recipe development and photography. We both do the recipe developing, I do the styling, and Jeff takes the pictures.

It's exciting and pretty amazing, but also time consuming. We're doing 100 recipes a month! So, I'm adjusting to this new schedule (and a new space, right behind the new house... more on that later) and really dropped the ball on my Etsy store last week.

It's pretty amazing that as soon as I stopped adding an item a day, I stopped selling an item a day. So I'm back to it. This time, I'm parting with the last of this lot of tiny Ball jar salt and pepper shakers. I've bumped up the price a bit, because these have been my best sellers by far. I hope to get my hands on another lot and relist them soon.

Tiny Ball jar salt-and-pepper shakers: $12. 

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I'm drowning. In work. Which I realize is a good problem to have, but it's keeping me from doing the things I want to do, like update my Etsy stock, or tell you all about the huge recipe development and food styling project my business partner and I will be doing for Oh, and I really want to tell you about the vintage sink I bought off of craigslist today. Well, I got the bottom of it. I have to go back for the other half tomorrow because it turns out that a huge vintage sink on a stand doesn't completely fit in a Nissan, Versa. Nor does it fit the idea of the sink that Kyle had in mind. More on that later...

That little steam of half-consciousness, folks, is all I can muster. I realize this is the worst blog post in the world, but it's time for me to sleep. I plan to have sweet dreams of a sweet vintage farmhouse sink on a sweet vintage turquoise stand.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vintage of the Day: More Tiny Ball Jar Salt & Pepper Sets

This tiny vintage Ball jar salt-and-pepper set has been so popular I've already sold out of all four I had listed. Luckily, I had a few more tucked away and just listed two more. 

Tiny Ball jar salt-and-pepper shakers: $10. 

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Finders Keepers: Vintage Mirror

Since starting this little frugality project, my shopping problem hasn't so much gone away as its gone the way of thrift stores. So, since I'm making less money, at least regularly, I guess I'm failing, big time.

If I hadn't quit my job, it probably wouldn't be an issue, but I'm probably still spending the same percentage of my income on shopping. Not everything I buy is for my own personal pleasure, of course, but I'd be lying if I said some of the thrift store shopping I've been doing lately wasn't for me. I mean, most of it is either for food styling props or my vintage Etsy shop, but some of it is definitely for me.

My little second-hand shopping problem was worsened — or made better, depending on how you want to look at it — by the fact that I discovered my new secret favorite thrift shop after my nephew's 16th birthday party in the suburbs a few weeks ago. It was packed with amazing housewares, including multiple vintage dish sets.

Exhibit A (which is available in parts in my Etsy shop):

Exhibit B (which will soon be available in my Etsy shop):

The only reason these beautiful mustard dishes aren't listed yet is because I want them all for myself. In fact, we've been using them as our primary dishes for about two weeks now. It's the first time I've ever wanted matching dishes. But at some point I made the stupid mistake of bragging to Kyle that the plates were going for $10 a piece on eBay, and he reminded me (again) that my eye for great vintage won't do us much good if I keep everything for myself.

Ugh. Fine. He's right. Again.

So, today, I swapped these back out for my mismatched stoneware. I hope that when I do list them, that they go to a good home. Maybe even to someone who will have me over for dinner. (Please serve pork. In tacos. With lots of hot sauce. And many margaritas.)

But I'm not parting with everything.

You see, I have a thing for vintage mirrors. And since our trip to Chicago, I've been on the lookout for a mirror similar to the one in our room at Longman & Eagle in Logan Square. I even took a picture so I'd remember it.

I'd been looking online, and hadn't found anything I liked for less than about $150. But on my second trip to the second of many locations of my new secret favorite thrift store, I found this beauty for $15:

I don't exactly know where it will go — especially because it's really heavy and I've already had one vintage mirror fall off the wall here — but I want it to be someplace I'll see it every day. For now, it's on this ledge in our bedroom, which is great since it's covering one of the glue traps I put out for those shithead spideymonsters.

This is definitely one of my favorite thrift store finds, ever. Finders keepers this time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vintage of the Day: 1950s Fire King Milk Glass with Gold Trim Creamer and Divided Tray

I'm really into gold tones lately, so I've been picking up "new" gold vintage stock. I've also been listing some I've had for a while, including these two pieces of 1950s milk glass from Fire King by Anchor Hocking.

They're new in the shop today and the creamer is only $6.50 and the dish is $14.


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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vintage of the Day: Pink Flamingo Pyrex Cup and Saucer Sets

More mugs today! Well, technically, I think they're tea cups. And the pattern is called either Pink Flamingo or Flamingo Pink. I've heard it both ways. (Tomato, tomato.)

I hate to let these pretties go, especially because they're in such great condition, but they should be enjoyed by someone who doesn't need her caffeine in 32-ounce servings. Find them in the Pyrex & Pennies vintage housewares Etsy shop today.

Set of 2 vintage Pyrex Pink Flamingo pattern cups and saucers: $22.


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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Decisions, Revisited

I haven't written much, if anything, about my experiences on and after September 11, 2001 since, well, September 2001. I feel like it has become so commercialized and politicized that I don't want to be part of that sometimes cheap conversation — even though people covered in ash were still running at full speed right past me to get away from the towers, and I had dust from the rubble blowing in through my fourth-floor windows for weeks after the attack. I think I'm so reluctant because to me, "Nine Eleven" isn't a thing, it's a date — a date on which something terrible happened. And "September Eleventh" shouldn't be used to sell tacky tchotchkes or make people who don't look like me feel like they have to wave American flags everywhere they go for fear of being shot.

I have, however, written somewhat extensively about my bad decisions. But not all of my decisions are bad, they're usually just… spontaneous. It's not like I don't put any thought into them, I just don't spend a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons when 9.9 times out of 10, I'll end up at the same conclusion, anyway.

No, I probably should not have accepted the first offer on car financing and driven off the lot with a Nissan Versa and an 11.5% interest rate, but I was able to get where I needed to go the day after my other vehicle had been totaled. And I'm not sure that with my credit I could have gotten a better rate, anyway. I know it was not the wisest move to tell my boss I was unhappy and wanted to leave my job before we had closed on a house, but I knew I wanted to leave, and it was better for everyone for me to get out sooner than later.

Sure, there are certainly a few small things I regret — anything I've ever purchased at Forever 21, every pair of heels I've bought, a few unused gym memberships, and that $28 canister of raw protein that gave my smoothies the consistency of something that had gone through the garbage disposal — but I'd rather regret doing something than not doing it.

I can't imagine any worse way to live my life than being afraid to do the big things because I might regret them.

Even if I fly by the seat of my pants, am in a ton of debt, and continue to live paycheck to paycheck, the decisions I've made are mine, and they've managed to get me where I am today. And today I am happy, healthy, grateful, in love, and excited for the future. I'm also way behind in work, but that's life (or at least my life, and a result of other decisions I've made).

I have a really hard time believing in fate — the idea that there's someone in the sky dictating what will happen with my life (if he or she is there, doesn't s/he have better things to do?). I don't even believe it was fate that brought Kyle and me together. I believe we met because we both made a series of decisions that led us to the same place at the same time. We got married because we happen to agree on the decisions we want to make together in the future (though I still haven't convinced him we need to install a claw-foot tub when we redo the main-floor bathroom), and we are willing to work through the not-so-fun stuff to get there.

I don't judge anyone who believes differently, but I wholeheartedly believe that where we end up in life is the result of the decisions that we make every day. Of course, I'm not a total asshole or idiot; I know that there are other factors way beyond our control — the tragic events of September 11, for example, the tornadoes in Joplin ten years later, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, as well as other peoples' bad decisions, including texting while driving, deciding to fly a plane into a tower, etc. Still, it's decisions that led people to New York City, Joplin, New Orleans, and that lead them onto the road every day. I'm not putting any weight or value on these decisions, or saying they're good or bad (these things could happen anywhere) I'm just saying we make them. We have to. Life is a series of decisions, and each one is based on decisions we've made before and the ones we want to make in the future.

I can't believe that the 2,977 people who died that day were "fated" to die, that their loved ones were "fated" to suffer, or that we were "fated" to get into a really long, really expensive war in the Middle East. The people who died in the World Trade Center attack were just at the wrong place at the wrong time — a result of a series, maybe even a lifetime, of decisions. Yes, even — or especially — if those decisions were made out of necessity, or for purely altruistic reasons.

The decision that kept me from being in the wrong place at the wrong time on the morning of September 11, 2001 wasn't necessary or altruistic. In fact, it was selfish, and spontaneous, and probably would be considered "bad" by many people.

The evening before, I was in Astoria, Queens, visiting with my cousin and his girlfriend. I had been working as a stockbroker's assistant on Rector street, just a few blocks from the World Trade Center, and I was complaining about something or other (probably the $300 a week I was making). It was supposed to just be a summer thing, but somehow I had been convinced that I should train to be a stockbroker so I could go on the news and become a financial reporter [insert hysterical, knowing laughter here]. Mostly, I was pushing paper — my least favorite thing in the world to do, especially if there are numbers on said paper. I hadn't really admitted it to myself that I hated the job, but after a few gin and tonics, I admitted it to my cousin and his girlfriend.

"Why don't you just quit?" they asked me. And I thought about it: Why don't I just quit? So, I made the decision, and then further decided I needed to do it right that minute. I had never quit a job without giving at least two weeks' notice, and I'd been working since I was 14, so this wasn't my first time leaving a job. But once I admitted it to myself, I knew I could not handle another two weeks, or even two days in that office.

So, I probably put back a few more gin and tonics for liquid courage, and got on the train toward lower Manhattan. Since I had keys, I figured the easiest thing for me to do would be to clear out in the middle of the night and leave a note (very much like Berger's Post-It in "Sex and the City"). And that's exactly what I did, though I don't think I used a Post-It. I took the shitty jacket I'd bought at Filene's Basement and was keeping in the office in case we had an important client pop in. In return, I left my keys and a note that said something along the lines of, "I'm so sorry. I can't do this job anymore. I don't want to be a stockbroker. I hope you don't hate me." (See? I told you it was a lot like Berger's Post-It.)

I don't remember what happened the rest of the night. I probably sent my cousin and his girlfriend (now my dear friend) an email telling them how much my heart was pounding from the rush of what felt like something much more scandalous than just a really immature way to quit a job. I must have, because the next morning, I was still logged into AOL, which turned out to be a really good thing since no one in New York could call in or out on their cell phones that day.

Sometimes bad decisions lead us to the best places. Who knows what would have happened had I not listened to my gut, and instead had tried to do the responsible, respectable thing? If I had, I probably would have gotten off at the World Trade Center subway stop instead of my regular station, just to catch some extra outside time. It was a gorgeous day.

I made a bad decision. Other people made good decisions. I was lucky. They weren't.

Maybe you believe that it was fate that I had drinks with my cousin and his girlfriend that night. Maybe I'm all wrong and it was. But I'm no more special than the nearly 3,000 people who decided to go to work that day. I just made a bad, spontaneous decision, and, as it turns out, I'm lucky that I'm still here to tell the story. (By the way, just to show how ingrained this idea of "fate" is in our brains, I had to stop myself from using the transition "as fate would have it" right there.)

I'm not even sure what, if any, point I'm trying to make here. Only that I made a decision that most days, most people would have been considered bad. And that maybe we shouldn't be so afraid of making bad decisions every now and then, because we never know where they might lead us, or even better, what we might learn.


P.S. I asked my sister to read this before I posted it in case I sound like I'm on drugs or something, and in her response was this (which I think so much more articulately sums up what I'm trying to say):

"I don't think things happen for a reason, but rather when we appreciate the present it forces us to be grateful for everything that happened in the past. Just like this, you are grateful that you make rash decisions. In this way, I can believe that everything works (and will in the future) the way it should, without believing that it is pre-determined."

Smart girl.

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Vintage of the Day: Colorful Fire King Mugs from Anchor Hocking

Here's what's new in the Pyrex & Pennies vintage housewares Etsy shop today: Colorful vintage Fire King by Anchor Hocking coffee mugs. Each is listed individually, so whether you want orange, blue, green, yellow, or the flower (it's called Daybreaker) pattern, you can pick and choose. I'll gladly combine shipping if you want more than one. Prices range from $5.50 to $8 each. I hate to let go of these, but I'm pretty good at finding them.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vintage of the Day: Gold Glam Glassware

Here's what's new in the Pyrex & Pennies vintage housewares Etsy shop today (these will come a little earlier from now on).

I'm featuring two of my favorite finds today: a beautiful seven-piece vintage martini or cocktail set with lots of gold trim and gold handles, and a selection of 24-karat gold Stetson vintage china. 

Seven-piece gilded martini or cocktail set. Six of these beautiful glasses, plus a tall pitcher: $90 []

Dinner/luncheon plates, appetizer/bread plates, and saucers/small plates in the Stetson 24-karat gold Greek Key & Shields pattern: $4–$40 []

These plates need a good home and should never go in the dishwasher or have a Magic Eraser or abrasive cleaner taken to them. If I didn't already have my husband's family's china, I would have tried to fill out this lot to make an entire set for myself. This is the most beautiful China I've ever encountered.

Find these items and more at the Pyrex & Pennies Etsy shop: "New" vintage items added daily. And if you're looking for something in particular, let me know, I love hunting with a mission.

Thanks for looking.


Introducing the Pryex & Pennies Vintage Etsy Shop

After talking about it for ages, then opening and quickly closing a not-so-successful booth at a nearby shop, I have finally started my very own vintage Etsy housewares shop, Pyrex & Pennies (of course).

I won't say I was forced into it, but the fact that I was quickly learning the difference between revenue and income lit a fire under my ass. Money is tighter than I hoped it would be right now (though once the freelance checks start rolling in, I should be just fine). And it got scary for a minute. After going through our bills and accounts a few weeks ago, I was just about to hit the pavement to look for a serving job when Kyle asked, "Don't you have anything of value you can sell? You have all of this vintage stuff you claim is so great."

My vintage stuff is great. So I am selling it. At least some of it.

I'm even slowly and somewhat painfully parting with bits and pieces of my vintage Pyrex collection. Not my most loved or rare pieces, or anything that I've been gifted by someone I love. But I'm ready to part with the pieces I picked up along the way just because I was collecting vintage Pyrex. And I'm acquiring "new" vintage Pyrex pieces to list, too. I must admit, though, I'm having the most fun finding and sharing all kinds of other great vintage housewares, like this amazing cocktail set, and these robin's-egg-blue TWA in-flight service trays.

I launched the Pyrex & Pennies vintage shop August 26, but really only populated it late last week. Since then, I've made three sales. My very first one — a set of tiny Ball jar salt-and-pepper shakers — was the most exciting $9 I've ever made in my life. This week, I've sold two vintage cake stands.

To stay relevant in search results and actually have the potential to make some real money, I've decided to list new items every day. I'm sure some days it will feel like a drag, but I am still Emily Farris, so this also gives me an excuse to shop regularly... and responsibly. My total bill for this morning's quick trip to the thrift store was the same amount as the cake plate I sold yesterday. Listing daily also keeps me from having to hide out for a week or so every month to photograph and measure everything. (Though I'd be lying if I said this whole thing wasn't a time suck. It is, but I love all of it.)

The best part? I'll be posting to this blog daily, because I want to post the day's vintage finds for everyone, but I promise it won't be the only thing I post. Pinky swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

For now, though, I hope you'll go browse the Pyrex & Pennies Vintage Etsy shop, and maybe even follow the example of Old Emily and spend, spend, spend!

I'm off to do what I am perhaps worst at: mail stuff on time.