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 vintage holiday

Vintage Halloween- something to search for year round!

(Originally written for the Metrolina Restore Blog…10/15)

Traditional blow mold trick-or-treat buckets.

Are you ready for the upcoming spooky Halloween holidays? It’s October and I happen to know some people that have had their decorations up since last month! It’s no joke- Halloween is now the second most popular holiday for holiday home décor after Christmas! But why buy new when you can use vintage items to decorate and get them at a discount? Vintage holiday items are always a bit harder to find but it always helps to know what too look for, so here are some things to seek and find to help you get ready for your Halloween with a vintage flair!

ModBettieProTip: Some Restores put these vintage holiday items out when they receive them and others wait until the season. These are definitely items you should put on your “grab-em when you see-em” list whenever you come across them in the stores because they are getting a bit harder to find. And they are just so much fun to pull out and use when the season hits!

Keep in mind that since you are gathering items for Halloween, the shabbier and older something looks is typically better, so this is one of those times when seeking something “mint” or in very good condition just isn’t necessary.

Blow molds, jack-o-lanterns, ceramic or glass pumpkins– these are always popular and of course I love the older ones much more than anything that is being currently produced today; the pumpkins can easily transition into Thanksgiving displays!

Cat and Jack-o-lantern blow mold from 1960s
Vintage popcorn style wall décor.
This clear glass pumpkin jar could be filled with candy for Halloween and then decorative fall items for the rest of the season.

Scary Clowns-Okay, ever since the movie Poltergeist, I have always been afraid of clowns and I know I’m not alone! These are definitely one of those items that you can collect all year long and then group them together for a spooky display at Halloween, and they are especially scary if they show some shabby wear- EEEK!

That smile is.absouletly.meanacing.
The googley eyes and red eyebrowns on these plastic cups still give me nightmares.

Halloween Themed Glassware: there have been several companies (Cera, Fred Press) that made “Name your Poison” type barware- these are highly collectible and typically hard to find but I did a touchdown happy dance once when I did snag one for $1.00! So keep your eyes peeled….

Name Your  Poison midcentury double old fashioned glasses from Cera.

Chalkware is a whole fun category of wall art items that I find so strangely fun – like fruits and veggies with faces -or eerie, like these Halloween appropriate devil children:

One part cute, one part creepy!

Halloween colored kitchenware and serve ware– Now is the time to pull out all the orange, red-orange (and black) vintage kitchenware, both glass and enamel that you have to make a fun Halloween display-

Pyrex new dots and Catherineholm enamelware in Halloween Orange

And here’s my favorite fall and Halloween upcycle trick:

Use planters as a pumpkin display– use your mod bullet or chrome planter for pumpkins! Sometimes I add mums around just to make it extra colorful.

There are so many other fun midcentury and vintage Halloween items to collect and display- what are your favorites?

Pyrex barbed wire divided dish- perfect to hold candy for the trick or treaters this time of year!

Posted in Vintage Books

The many uses for vintage cookbooks…even if you don’t cook!

Do you remember your grandmother’s cookbook? It held all the secrets of her special meals and the extra love she put into them. Cookbooks are often passed down in families with secret recipes and birthday meals included in the margins. Cookbooks are a huge part of vintage nostalgia and our history and you can often find these gems in many differing iterations at the ReStores.

Why do I love midcentury cookbooks? A number of reasons- and absolutely  NONE of them are because I like to cook!

1. Fun for decorating in the kitchen and for giving as gifts.

These large editions that were part of a series from Better Homes and Gardens and Betty Crocker have beautiful pictures; this one would make a perfect wedding present for newlyweds:

2. The graphics are typically A-dorable!

I just love ’em: cute cartoon housewives cooking in full dress; they make me smile every time. And the tips are also fun…

3.Many times the pictures use items from my vintage cookware collections.

This is fun to see this  Pyrex Pink Scroll casserole in action, for example in this 1960’s casserole book.

4. Wacky dishes and food combos.

We all know this is huge fun to read these recipes and wonder how and why people really ate this stuff! Any gelatin recipe book will be chock full of hours of entertaining dishes:

5. Hints of the past.

I happen to love it when the previous owner of the cookbook has made notes, inscribed the book or kept additional recipes in the books; they are often found this way with fun items hiding inside, just waiting to be discovered! I like to think of them as bonus insight into the story of the previous owner and their cooking past.

Make sure to check the ReStores in the vintage book section for all versions of these fun vintage cookbook finds. And the holidays are coming…so remember they make great gifts for any of the cooks or bakers too!

Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage decor

Mid Mod Clean Out: How do you start?

(Post Originally written for Metrolina Restore Blog: 1/ 5/16…)

At the beginning of a new year I typically do what many people do: I hold a household-wide clean out. I typically have no problem getting rid of clothes and shoes I don’t want or wear but it is much harder to decide to part with a vintage item that I found and for which I now don’t have the space. Here are some of my tips for letting go of those vintage items that no longer have a prominent place in your home.

Ask yourself:

1. Can you repurpose it? 

Think about useful alternative for items in your house.

Examples: A decorative planter + coffee cup holder = accessory storage:

A vintage cooler makes a funky outdoor table for your porch or patio, and provides storage too!

Other quick ideas: pitchers can become vases or utensil holders, ashtrays and crudité dishes can hold and organize remotes,  jewelry or even makeup on a vanity:

2. Does the item no longer fit your décor/color scheme/ general vibe?

If it’s a furniture piece or décor item that you genuinely like, can you bring it back into use with a reupholster or coat of paint? Make the plans to do that asap- don’t let it sit and be a project in waiting!

3. Do you know someone that may want or need it?

Then gift it to them! How fun to give a unique vintage gift to someone that will appreciate it as much as you did.

4. Are you possibly just tired of it?

This one’s the kicker! I am always in a state of figuring out how to trade items out in my house, and because it’s mid century modest, I don’t have a ton of storage space. For example, I found a chair (or 2, or 3) 3 years ago and recently  I’ve found one I like even more. Time to swap that chair (or other item) out and take it back to the ReStore so it can live another life with someone else!

This time of year I work my way around to all areas of my house, making trips to the Restore as I clear out those items that I cannot repurpose, fit in to my current décor, or regift. Remember that the  ReStores will happily take donations of wall art, kitchenware, furniture, linens, books, lighting, jewelry, appliances and more- just ask! And you can feel good that your donation is going to help build homes for families in need so it’s a win- win for everyone.

Happy Donating!

Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage Christmas

Storing & Organizing Vintage Holiday Items

(Post originally written for Metrolina Habitat Restore 1/20/16…)

Have you put your Christmas away yet?


This is such a common question this time of year and I have already had several people ask me how I protect and store my vintage holiday items. Since for me this has been a strange and ever evolving process, I thought it might be helpful to share what I’ve learned!

Ever since I started collecting vintage Christmas I have been working to find a foolproof and organized system of storage from year to year. So much of what has evolved into my current system seems like complete common sense to me now but I really wish I had started out with this info years ago–it would truly have made life so much easier. With the help of some important organizing tricks of the trade from my blog sister Jennifer Burnham of Pure and Simple Organizing, I think I may have finally honed my forever storage plan! 

The biggest switch I initially made was moving everything from cardboard boxes to plastic bins for allow for more sturdy, stackable protection in my attic. These large plastic bins often show up at the ReStores, so keep an eye open and pick them up there at a fraction of the cost of new whenever you see them! Some of my items were just in large vintage cardboard boxes- these are fun to look at and read but just not practical for actual safe storage and will weaken over time. I highly suggest using clear see-through bins; this helps with item identification. My very favorite tip from Jennifer is to color code the lids of your bins to the season for ease of organization and quick identification in your attic, basement or wherever you store these items— brilliant, right?! So as of this year most all of my Christmas vintage has been switched to bins with red lids! I’m going to store spring & summer items in pastel bins, and fall in gray. I love the idea of being able to find my stuff at a quick glance; thanks for this great tip Jen!

Exactly how you pack these vintage collectibles is just as important to their longevity as what you choose in which to store them. When working with a group of breakables, 

I layer the sides and bottom of the bins with bubble wrap before I put anything else in for a layer of cushioning.

Anything breakable gets wrapped individually and often times put into a smaller cardboard box before it gets packed in the bin to provide an extra layer of safety against breakage. 

Other packing and storage tips: 

-I always pack collections and similar items together. If collections take more than one bin I will number them: 1/2, 2/2 etc. 

-I use masking tape or a label on the outside (rather than writing directly on the outside as I typically did on the cardboard boxes) so I can know exactly what I have stored in each bin. If I want to change it around next year it’s easy; I take off the old label or tape and replace with an new updated one. 

-Items that aren’t breakable but may collect dust (anything flocked, velvet or plush) get packed in individual plastic baggies. 

-Sometimes I pack unbreakable items down into a breakable container like shown with these flocked Santas in the large ceramic Santa pitcher. It then was swaddled in lots of bubble wrap before it was placed in the bin. 

It typically takes me much longer to pack it all away because everything has to be packed carefully so I can enjoy it just as much next year! This is not nearly as much fun as putting it all up- but very necessary. 

See ya next year Side Eye Santa…

What are your vintage storage tips? I’d love to hear them….  

Posted in Uncategorized, Vintage decor

Creative Fun: Use of Vintage Games in Home Decor

(Originally written as a post for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)  

I’m a gamer. Oh nooooo, not the newfangled and fancy video kind–unless you happen to have a 1980s Ms. PacMan arcade console around. I mean old-school games of the board and card variety. My affinity for games naturally extends to a love and collection of vintage games too and I own many from the 1950s and 1960s. I adore the graphics and retro-speak in the instructions, I love the swanky box pictures and 1950’s images; many of the boards from vintage games are true things of both fun and beauty- my favorites! I think they add a sense of fun and frivolity to home décor- and are not just for children’s rooms or  ubiquitous “man caves” either.

In our world of screens, electronic and online gaming, board games are emblematic of the midcentury time when people gathered together and played games in the same room with each other after dinner or on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon…imagine that! I love the nostalgia of it and I’m sure that’s why we still invite friends over for game night in my house on the regular and why I enjoy using  a games as part of my mod décor.

1951 Edition Monopoly by Parker Brothers

The Hotels and houses are made of wood, not plastic and the retired iron is present.

I have found games and game boards at ReStores tucked in places all over the store – sometimes with boxes, and sometimes without. These are one of those items for which you just have to be on the lookout- so keep your eyes open in all areas of the store. Check out a few of my favorite ways to use games and boards in mod décor below.

I love the actual of board portion of many vintage games so I use them often as wall art. This one perfectly matched many of the colors I used in my basement bedroom suite redo from last summer and BONUS- it contains the marbles in the metal portions on the sides- so we could take it down and play if we wanted! Vintage Chinese Checkers games have been very popular in décor for the past several seasons for use in wall art across the board (see what I did there):

Vintage Chinese Checkers Board with vintage poker chips in Bakelite case

This dusty game board that was one of my first vintage board finds was on the bottom of a shelf at a ReStore in sporting goods/camping area, under a ton of other stuff. It must have been part of a bigger set of gambling type board games. I immediately knew I would hang it- because: Vegas! I kept it’s year-worn patina and did not clean the board itself, although I did spruce up the wood frame a bit:

Red or Black? This one is dingy and I just love it!

Why not use vintage games in place of books on a book shelf? Many are in smaller boxes, fit perfectly and are typically more colorful and certainly more unexpected:

My hubs received 1956 Li’l Stinker one year as a Christmas gift.

The covers on this group of 3M bookcase board games-1960s games that were actually meant to stored together on a shelf like books -were too mid mod perfect to leave behind! But I have to store them facing out so I can see the swankola fronts of the boxes!

3M Book Case Games -ooooh the images!

Want to DIY those vintage game pieces and boards into something else? People waaaaay more clever than I have upcycled game boards and the pieces into stools, side tables, shelves, shadowboxes and more- get the details on a pinterest board with tons of ideas that I pulled together for you here:

Boxes made from vintage board games and pieces from HouseRevivals.Blogspot
Fab Chinese Checkers stool from Sarasota Salvage via Dishfunctional Designs

And here’s an old favorite game of mine from the 1970s: Mystery Date! There was an older version from the midcentury but in this case I wanted to own the one I grew up playing, of course:

I got the nerd as a pre teen and thought I lost the game–but hahaha- I won it as an adult – that joke’s on you Mystery Date!

Have you used vintage games in home décor? What games have you found at the ReStore?  Lets swap ideas!


Posted in Restore Field Trip, vintage

Another Get-Outta Town for Vintage trip: Lincoln County Restores

(Originally written for the Metrolina Restore Blog 3/13/16…)

The blog sisters of the Habitat Metro Restores made another trip recently to outskirts-this time to the Lincoln County Restore to find treasures! It’s not but about 45ish minutes out of Charlotte….

There was plenty of mod goodness to be found and some surprises!

We started off with this mod aqua and gold barware in several midcentury styles and for only $1 each:

Next, check out this 1960s NIOB wall measure perfect for decorating a child’s room- soooo cute:

And whaaaaat?! This ReStore has clothing! What about this groovy graphic skirt:

There were some fun midcentury games-can you get any more midcentury than bridge?

One to snag before next holiday season when everyone wants them: fantastic glass punch bowl with matching cups:

And check out this adorable chest for a child’s room with such fun graphics- don’t love it TOO much, because it’s SOLD:

We zipped across town to the 2nd Restore in Lincoln County and spied this long, lean, curvy sofa:

And this metal desk straight out of an episode of Mad Men:

And this fab leather rocker- for only $40:

And these are just the a few of the great items in the Lincolnton Restores

Convinced yet?!  You know what we say… “Get outta town!” to find those Restore deals!