Posted in Thrifting, Vintage Collecting

Managing Vintage Collections: My one rule

(Originally penned for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)

 In the short span of a few years I have gone from collecting nothing to collecting many things. Some of these collections were intentional, but a large number of them were accidental…as in, wow, I have 3 (or 5 or 15) of these…that’s a collection, right?! I have such a strong love for vintage but I realized in the last year especially that I have to be pickier about what I buy- because at some point you cross the line from collector to hoarder as my savvy and organized ReStore blogsister Jennifer Burnham from Pure and Simple Organizing often gently reminds me. How do you decide? It’s not easy, but  I think it’s much better to shop for vintage with intention, and this is a big part of it!

I am going to share the plan I instituted last year; it’s quite simple, really. My one main rule is this: if I cannot display it, I cannot buy it. This does two really good things for me. It forces me into some truly creative display and it also means I have to say no sometimes. As someone who adores all things vintage,  I’m sure you can guess which one is easier for me!

The creative display piece is fantastic- it means I get to come up with personal and meaningful displays and then add to them when appropriate. It means my walls and shelves are full of memories and this is what I truly enjoy. It means I get to scour and source magazines and Pinterest for clever display ideas and interpret them for vintage items- all things I love. Here are some examples:

Vintage Bar Trays, hung on wall:



Midcentury Bathroom Items in clusters on shelves:

Childhood Vacation spots:

Vintage Swans:

Saying no is harder. I have to say no to myself when I find a perfect object but know I have no space for it. I am also now approached quite often by people with vintage items to sell or even to give me. Saying no to someone who is trying to sell to me is definitely easier…the hardest thing of all is saying no to someone, a close friend or family member, perhaps, that offers me an item, or a group of items “because they know I like the 50s”.  Many people, myself included, just want an item to end up going to a home where it will be truly appreciated- so the intention here is always good and I understand that. And, don’t get me wrong, I have found many great items this way. But I can’t and shouldn’t have it all– some other people should be able to enjoy these nostalgic items too, right? Once I instituted my ‘must display’ philosophy this made saying no in these situations much clearer and actually a bit less painful.

Auntie Mame Mags and Books:

So far this is the plan that has worked for me. I allow myself one closet and some small storage areas inside my house- and that’s it. It holds me accountable to be sure I collect only the things I truly love and leave the others for someone else who will enjoy them even more than I would. And, I often swap out the décor inside my house, as I find new things or decide I will switch things around a bit  I know I can always donate items back so they will have a chance at another life with a new vintage collector that will appreciate it’s history or -best of all-have an actual nostalgic connection with the item.

How do you manage your collections and vintage hunting?

Posted in Thrifting

Quick Check Ins=Treasures

(Originally penned for the Habitat Metrolina Restore…)

People are always asking me how I am able to find such good deals at the Restore. One of the best ways to ensure that you are getting the best deals possible is to shop often. It makes sense; it’s statistical- the more you go, the more chances you have to find something special. But everyone’s really busy and it’s hard to make the time, right? I have the solution!

My shopping style typically is slow; I like to circle the store a few times and then really get in there, move things around and dig through for the treasure. But like most people I don’t always have time for that so sometimes I just stop as I am driving by and do a what I call a ‘quick check’. I allow myself  fifteen minutes to see what I can find, and that’s it! I walk in the store, set the timer and go. At the end of the fifteen minutes I head to the register with whatever I have gathered.

Here are some items from one such quick stop last week at the Charlotte Restore on Wilkinson Blvd.

These midcentury curved back club chairs and tufted sofa-all just waiting

for new fun upholstery:

The maple low side table, perfect for the chairs and couches of the time (like above):

That’s almost a whole living room for well under $200!

I gasped when I saw this fab-tastic Thomasville dining room set complete with 6 chairs and a leaf for the table- all in great condition:

Add this kitschy wooden carved fork and spoon wall art- perfect for every mid mod dining area:

There’s your dining room, also under $200.

There was a big exotic Asian influence during the midcentury as well. Check out this great planter which could easily be repurposed as a table centerpiece, perhaps on the above dining table  or could also double as a stylish catch all for TV remotes:

This beautiful ceramic tea set that could be used for either tea or home décor- or both:

That was a lot of value for a quick stop! Try the 15 minute quick check yourself and let me know what you find!

Posted in Gifts

Vintage Gifting tips and ideas for Mother’s Day

(Originally penned for the Habitat Metrolina Restore Blog…)

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching- mark your calendars for Sunday, May 7th! Why not get a little creative and clever this year? Giving vintage is a great way to give a unique gift that shows you put real thought into the person and the item! What does your Mom like to do or how does she like to spend her time? Think about that and start shopping early- looking for something specific is always a bit more challenging when you are shopping vintage. Here are some great vintage gifting ideas to get you started.

1. Does your Mom like to entertain?

ModB Gift Idea: Vintage Linens: tablecloths, placemats, and napkins.

2. Does your Mom enjoy fashion?

ModB Gift Idea : Vintage Jewelry and purses have been making a huge comeback for some time now and can often be found at the ReStores as well as this fab midcentury dish- perfect for storing and display of vintage pins and earrings.

3. Was your Mom’s sweet tea or lemonade the VERY BEST you can remember?

ModB Gift Idea: Spring Pitchers and glasses with a note that hers was always the best….

4.Does your Mom pride herself on baking?

Mod B Gift Idea: Vintage cake stand or pie plate to display her perfect dessert!

5.Does your Mom love to travel or have a favorite vacation spot?

Mod B Gift Idea: Vintage framed postcard or map of favorite travel destinations. (Check inside vintage books for great pics and maps of destinations as well!)

Hopefully this is enough to get your creative juices flowing…what are some of your creative ideas for vintage Mother’s Day Gifts?

Posted in Gifts, midcentury, Uncategorized, Upcycle, Vintage 50s, Vintage Christmas

Easy Holiday Vintage Gift Giving Ideas from Mod Bettie- all available at Vintage Charlotte

It’s time to start thinking about vintage gift giving and as usual, you have a long list, right? Let me pass along my top quick and easy and memorable vintage gifting ideas so you can check some of those names off your list- pronto!

1.Vintage Trays and Tins

Everyone loves to receive your baked goods around the holidays…why not gift them in or on a reusable vintage tin or tray? It makes a beautiful and more memorable presentation than tissue or bags and can be used continually throughout the holidays!

Santa trays
Vintage trays with a nostalgic image are perfect to deliver holiday treats!

2. Vintage Ornaments

Of course I love these for their traditional use on the tree but they make such a heartwarming presentation when attached to gifts, used at table place settings/ or centerpieces, around the buffet table or even given as party favors throughout the holidays.


ornaments basket -LGB
Ornaments can be used to decorate gifts and add a vintage touch.

3.Vintage Mugs

These make an adorable presentation when gifted with tea, hot cocoa, candy or vintage linens. Vintage soup mugs can be gifted with gourmet crackers or bags of soup mix.

soup mugs
Dried soup with a vintage mug and vintage napkins makes a great gift!
Santa Mugs basket
Vintage Santa mugs and hot chocolate



4. Vintage Cocktail Glasses

Want to bring the best hostess gift at your next party?  Vintage Champagne coupes with a bottle of bubbly will do the trick, every time…trust  me! See also: vintage pilsners or mugs with a local craft beer, or some swanky lowballs with a favorite liquor- both an equally fab option.

Adding a bottly of bubbly to vintage chamapgne coupes makes you the most welcome guest!
Adding a bottly of bubbly to vintage chamapgne coupes makes you the most welcome guest!


So give the gift of fond nostalgia and give vintage for the holidays! Check out the Vintage and Craft Pop-Up Holiday Shop on November 15 from 11-6 at The Fillmore at the NC Music Factory for these and other great vintage gifting ideas from Mod Bettie and over 50 vintage and craft vendors; stop by and say hi at the Mod Bettie Booth!

Posted in Recycle, Thrifting, Uncategorized, Vintage 50s

ModBettie’s Rules of Thrifting and The Universe: Patience is a Virtue (Arrggggh!)

When you make a decision that you are going to re-do your house in midcentury and vintage furniture in the way that I have chosen to do- at first it all sounds really great: the hunting around, chasing stuff down, finding and getting deals-what FUN!

You start to feel that things are shaping up and there are some really great areas in your house of which you are proud …maybe you even put them on Instagram and you think it would be fun to blog and share your finds. It’s all rolling along nicely and then–something happens.

Your parents or your in-laws call, and they want to come over and see ‘all the fun things’ you’ve done to the house. Or, maybe its the holidays- pick any one of them, it doesn’t matter, and everyone wants you to host.

Or, your boss or your spouse’s boss or the First Lady calls and wants to come over for drinks or tea—eeesh! These events can be all-of -sudden enough to send any of us (read: me) into a bit of an override. Why? Because the house, although “shaping up nicely” isn’t ready or  “done” –whatever the heck that means.

Furnishing your house with vintage treasures does provide a very specific challenge: if you are on a budget and seeking them out one hunt at a time it is naturally going to be a big waiting game.

Now this can be a huge part of the fun if you adore the thrill of the hunt as I do, and makes the finding of a long sough-after item that much sweeter, believe me! But the opposing side of this is that these midcentury items are scarce so unfortunately you cannot conjure the perfect item at the perfect price out of the air for your house at any given moment when someone is coming over to scout it all out!

You have to WAIT until it arrives and plops itself in your way and beckons you to purchase it. You have to WAIT to find that perfect vintage sofa, couch or table-because these vintage items are just not readily available, and frankly that is a big  part of what makes them oh-so-deliciously appealing! So having patience with your hunt becomes truly important, and to me, quite honestly, is a reoccurring lesson in itself, and a probably a good metaphor for life.

You have to learn to ACCEPT your house as it is at any given time in it’s evolvement –even when the Queen of England has decided to come over, it’s your turn to host book club, or whatever else it may be that is sending you into a personal meltdown. Because, after all it is about the journey, and vintage seekers are always going to have a great journey and a fab story at the end to tell…

Patience may be a virtue, but acceptance is truly divine: both in house decorating and life!

How do you deal with thrifting as you decorate your home? Is it ever truly done?