Posted in Vintage 50s, Vintage Collecting, vintage upcycle

Accidental Vintage Collections: Milkglass Novelty Mugs

(Originally penned for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)

As we have discussed before, sometimes you don’t always set out to collect a certain something…but maybe you find a few similar items and they look cool together and boom! All of a sudden you find yourself hunting around for said item everywhere you go ‘just to add a few more’ to the group. (I like to call this an accidental collection.) My own favorite example of this are vintage milk glass mugs. I picked one or two up initially because they were fun and cheap, then I started researching them online and would hunt them down when out and about!

These are so easy to find and typically so affordable- on a really great day they can be as low as a .50 each at the ReStore! And some of them are considered highly collectible and valuable, like the Snoopy series pictured here:

The styles are so varied: you can find footed, d-handle, c-handle with every type of design imaginable. And the advertising versions of these mugs are their own collecting group in and of themselves.

Vintage milk glass mugs were typically made by all the vintage kitchenalia manufacturers that your know and love like Pyrex, Fireking, Glasbake, Federal, Hazel Atlas- even Avon and others- so these can easily become an extension of any of those collections you may already have. Beyond that, they are just so durn useful! We’ve complied a list of ways we’ve seen them used to add color and fun to home decor spaces below; what else have you seen?

They can add great fun to any office desk by collecting an array of pens & pencils.

A group of them can organize remotes in the den or living room.

On the vanity or in the bathroom they can be used as a vintage holder to collect travel sizes for guests or cotton swabs/cotton pads.

In the bar or kitchen they can hold mixing or serving  utensils- or double as a spoon rest for use while cooking.

And of course you can use them for their intended purpose!

My dog doesn’t understand that this pic isn’t about her.

In addition I also think they make fantastic unique & thoughtful vintage gifts in pairs or singletons, filled with your favorite tea, coffee, candies, or possibly a great book to encourage the perfect slow break!

The ReStores are full of possible treasures and the myriad of uses for these fun vintage mugs  are endless- what interesting ways have you found for them?

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, Repurpose, reupholster, Upcycle, Vintage 50s

My furniture guru teaches me to look and see vintage furniture in a NEW way…

Oh, I have been hanging out with the very creative and talented Dennis Calderon of Revived Furniture Gallery for the last several months and wow—the things I’ve learned! You may remember the fabulous Danish Mod chair blog post from last month where we upfitted a great ReStore find with new cushions. Well, now we’re taking the next step and redoing an entire chair–which at first seemed almost unsaveable! But Dennis showed me the way, and taught me some valuable vintage furniture upholstery lessons in the process!

It’s all revealed in my most recent post as a guest blogger for the Metrolina ReStores Blog!




Posted in carpet, Recycle, Vintage 50s

These are a few of my favorite (vintage cleaning) things…

novelty cleaning prods

When I recently did the February ReStore ReNew Event on Midcentury 101 at the Gaston Habitat ReStore I had a extremely popular section on care, cleaning and maintenance of midcentury items.

So, I am taking the good advice of my ReStore blogsister, Jennifer Burnham and recapping my very favorite top three items to revive, clean and care for midcentury and vintage goodies. This is just really good info to pass along to fellow vintage lovers for several reasons because not only is it important to be able to keep your 40, 50 or 60+ year old items maintained, but it’s also very helpful to be able to quickly identify what can be cleaned off an item vs. a permanent flaw that you’ll have to live with when shopping in resale and vintage stores.

(….read the rest of the article  written as a guest post for the Metrolina ReStores Blog.)


Happy Cleaning!

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?

Posted in aluminum Christmas tree, Vintage 50s, Vintage Christmas, vintage ornaments

Aluminium Christmas Tree Love-One with a story, one without…

So much of what I adore about vintage items lives in the story they tell. If I am buying from a thrift store or antique mall…I get to wonder about the past owner and imagine the story that goes along with the item. If I am buying the vintage item from someone who actually owns it, then I get a real story about the item’s history and past. I love both these scenarios!

Christmas is a time when many people traditionally put out and enjoy the only vintage items they own- ones from past Christmases! This makes Christmas extra special and fun for vintage lovers I think. When I moved into my 1956 ranch last year, it seemed only natural that we should have a period specific aluminum Christmas tree, complete with color wheel.  Just as an aside, because aluminum trees are aluminum, they are conductors of electricity and not safe for use with lights, thus the birth of the color wheel! I started my big search and realized this may not be an easy find and according to what I was seeing on Ebay & Etsy, it may be expensive! Didn’t I feel lucky when one  popped up in a nearby town on Craigslist last! I couldn’t wait to see it,  so I happily traveled about 45 minutes to view the item.

xmas tree closeup

When I got there I found out that the tree was being sold by a man who was cleaning out his mother’s estate. This had been one of their Christmas trees growing up-the one she used for their sunroom, he said. To my personal delight, it had been pristinely kept in the original box, with the adorably written and illustrated midcentury instructions still intact and each aluminum branch still in it’s original brown paper sleeve. The color wheel worked, even though it’s original box was long gone, it too had been kept with obvious loving care. I was over the moon! The gentleman also told me he’d throw in all of her decorations for that tree if I was interested. How could I resist–to not buy them would be like splitting up siblings! I left that day with a 7ft Sparkler Pop Pom Aluminum Christmas tree with color wheel, 13 boxes of  beautiful vintage ornaments and a blue mercury glass garland-I couldn’t believe my luck. And bonus- it came with a vintage tree ‘skirt’ that is actually a handmade strapless vintage slip!

Pom Pom box
Pom Pom Sparkler Original Box
Pom Pom Sparkl;er 7ft
Pom Pom Sparkl;er 7ft

I love this tree so much that both this year and last year I actually put it up before Thanksgiving, much to the horror of many of my friends- but ahh, I don’t care! I want to enjoy it and give it some time in the house; the man I bought it from told me that his mom had been sick for several years and hadn’t put it up for that last 5 so I figure it’s like making up for lost time. Each year as I put up the tree and unwrap the ornaments I think so fondly of the  original lady of the house who took such sweet care of this tree and her family and I feel a real responsibility to carry on the tradition.

Vintage ornaments were each cushioned by tissue for storage by original owner
Vintage ornaments were each cushioned by tissue for storage by original owner

This year I happened up on another Sparkler Pom Pom at my favorite antique mall in Charlotte Sleepy Poet. This one was a sweet miniature 3ft version of the tree I already have, but it was found at an estate sale in the original box, unopened! How could I resist this? So I bought this one too- it was a great price- and I just  can’t help but wonder who about the story for this little tree: who originally owned it and why o’ why  didn’t they ever put it up? Did they get it on sale one year and forget about it? Did they have a house with a bunch of aluminum trees and this was just an extra? Or, did they watch the Charlie Brown Christmas special in 1965 and decide,  like many people, to only have a real tree from then on?  I’ll never know, but I do enjoy thinking about it.  I used some of my vintage ornaments from my 7ft tree and  of course it’s adorable. It does need it’s own color wheel though….

xmas tree light
Big tree Little tree
Big Tree and Little Tree
Big Tree and Little Tree

Check out this link on Etsy to learn more about The History of the Aluminum Christmas Tree.