Janet's Vintage Finds

My Favorite Summer Estate Sale Finds

This summer I spent a fair amount of time at estate sales and tag/garage sales searching for inventory for my vintage Etsy shop and also just because I enjoy browsing for unique decor for my own home. My tastes lean towards eclectic with a mix of vintage and modern. For example, my living room contains a modern looking white leather sectional and glass and chrome shelving mixed with  early-to-mid century pieces, including a 1920s reupholstered armchair, an antique clock, and midcentury marble-topped side table (one of my summer finds).

I love finding interesting pieces that become focal points and conversation pieces in a room. And I relish the search. It’s so much fun to browse when you never know what you might find.

Here are a few of my favorite recent finds. Some link to current listings while others are things I kept for my own home or have already sold.

Midcentury Madness

Midcentury canister set
I spotted this canister set at the Brimfield Antique Show in Brimfield, MA, just before summer started. I especially love the pink color and the retro font used on the labels. They now sit on my kitchen counter where we use them everyday.
Midcentury side table
Another treasure from the Brimfield show that is now prominently featured in my living room. I absolutely loved the rounded, midcentury cupboard and removable marble top on this side table.











So Kitsch!

Antique wicker hen baskets
Love these wicker hen baskets that I found at an estate sale. Perfect for a farmhouse kitchen!
McDonald's good morning fireking coffee mugs
I couldn’t resist these 1970s McDonald’s “Good Morning” coffee mugs. Can you believe that the fast food giant used to serve its java in FireKing/ Anchor Hocking milk glass mugs? Times have changed.
Inarco coffee pot daisy pattern 1960s
Another retro kitchen find made by Japan’s Inarco in the 1960s. The bright daisy pattern on this coffee pot is so pretty against the glazed olive brown backdrop. So many nice details, including a handle textured to resemble a stem and a pumpkin on the tip of the cover.

1950s Fashion Statements

1950s red suede clutch by Holzman
I love this 1950s Style-Art clutch by Holzman that I picked up at an estate sale. Cherry-red suede with black leather piping and wrist strap and a fabulous rhinestone snap closure. I was so pleased when I opened it and found a compact mirror, comb, and change purse tucked inside! (still listed in my shop).











Red and gold rhinestone brooch 1950s.
I used to pass by the jewelry cases at estate sales but lately I can’t resist. There are so many pretty brooches, earrings, and necklaces from the 1950s-era. This one was special with sparkling red rhinestones on antique gold. It sold soon after the listing went up.











Retro Rustic Decor

Marble stone rustic coasters
I’m loving rustic decor lately so my eye was immediately drawn to these textured marble stone coasters that were on display at an estate sale. Vintage Set of Studio Vertu marble coasters with weathered metal stand. I later found out they were hand made by Studio Vertu in the 1990s in Cincinnati, Ohio. (click photo to see listing)




Stan Langtwait clay and ash owl wall plaque
I have an obsession with owls and I seriously considered keeping this wall plaque for myself. But I am trying to restrain myself from accumulating (hoarding?) too much stuff so it is now listed in my shop. This piece also has an interesting history as it was made with clay mixed with volcanic ash from Mt. St. Helen’s in Washington State, and signed by the artist Stan Langtwait.

5 Simple DIY Ideas for a Vintage Mudroom Makeover

DIY mudroom coat rack

I love DIY remodeling and home decor projects, especially when I can repurpose a used or vintage item. I was super motivated when we first moved into a new house last summer and tackled some things right away, like converting the sunroom into a mudroom where we could store our coats, boots, sports equipment, etc. I turned some old bookshelves into shelving units, made a wall coat rack, and completed a few other DIY projects in relatively little time with materials I already had on hand.

Read on for some simple vintage-inspired mudroom decor ideas that you might be able to make with things you already have or finds from garage or estate sales. Some of these are my own projects and some are ideas from other bloggers that I’d love to try someday.

Window Frame Coat Rack. This is a very simple project that you can do in an hour or two. I found this old window frame among the odds and ends left in our garage by the previous homeowner and decided to make it into a coat rack for my new mudroom. It was originally a pale blue so I painted it to match other items in the room and added some vintage-inspired hooks that I found on Amazon. I was really pleased with how it turned out and it’s been extremely practical as well.


diy window frame coat rack
With hooks added and mounted to wall, it’s ready to hold coats, dog leashes, etc.
window frame coat rack diy
Mid-painting: You can still see the original blue peeking through.

Wooden Crate Boot Racks. Laura and Dana Putnam of Finding Home Farms made a vintage boot rack for their mudroom by attaching a variety of wooden crates with metal brackets. They provide detailed instructions here. You can often pick up these crates at garage sales and flea markets.

diy home decor ideas
old wooden crates have so many possibilities.

Bookcase Lockers. Our new house has lots of built-in shelving, so I converted some old oak bookcases that we’ve had for years into storage areas. I primed them before painting them to match the coatrack and added some adhesive hooks and fabric baskets for mittens, hats, etc. The bottom two shelves are lined with waterproof rubber trays that I got at Home Depot, so we can store winter boots without worrying about ruining the wood.

DIY mudroom shelving
We have had this old oak bookcase for years but our new house had plenty of shelving built in.



diy mudroom
The final project: space for hanging leashes, umbrellas, etc., and baskets for mittens.












Vintage Trunk Bench. My next goal for the mudroom is to add a bench and I love the idea of finding an old trunk like this one featured on LushHome. It would be fairly easy to add some DIY pillows for the top.

DIY mudroom ideas
Vintage trunks or chests make great benches or coffee tables.

Wood Plank Mats. XXX from How Does She used repurposed wood from an old fence to make this weathered welcome mat with a great vintage feel (see instructions here). I would leave the wood as is but might add a waterproof mat underneath so I could use it inside the doorway.


Wood plank door mat DIY


That’s it for now — I’d love to hear your thoughts and hear about other mudroom makeover ideas!

A Simple 1-Day, no-frills DIY Pantry Makeover

Pantry diy

When we moved into a new house last summer I had a seemingly endless list of things to do. My first milestone was getting rid of all the boxes, which until recently were still hidden away in disparate corners of the house. Then, perhaps ill-advisedly, I took it upon myself to paint the entire downstairs, which ended up taking months. Our basement is a bit of a labyrinth once you get outside the main room, which we’re using as a den/media space.

Fortunately, it includes a guest room which I’ve never been lucky enough to have in my previous houses. Then there’s a half-finished kitchenette that the previous owner started but then probably rethought after realizing the headaches that would come along with legally permitting a downstairs apartment. In between the unfinished basement area and the guest room is a nook that I’ve turned into a combination library, music, and craft room. I truly love having that space which has also been out of reach in other houses. All these spaces demanded attention — but more on those projects later.

Today I’m describing a satisfying one-day makeover of my kitchen “pantry.” I put the word in quotation marks because it is actually a closet. For the past 10 or so months, it has been stuffed with cleaning supplies, extra bags and other paraphernalia. I decided to take matters in hand one Sunday and do a no-frills makeover that would put things in order. Here’s a picture of the empty closet after I got rid of all the stuff and pulled out the ugly shelf brackets on the back wall:

Pantry makeover
Before the transformation.

I didn’t get too fancy with colors but I wanted to cover up the marks left by stripping the shelf brackets off the wall. So I gave it a quick coat of white primer that I had left over from another project.

Step 1: Spice Racks. I already owned a spice rack that we brought from our last house so I promptly attached it to the back of the closet door.

Spice rack pantry
Organizing the spices.








Step 2: Make more use of the door. Below the spice rack, I added a couple of hooks for oven mitts and a dispenser to organize all those plastic bags.

Pantry makeover
The pantry door.

Step 3: Organize the Cleaning Supplies. As I mentioned, I was also using this closet as a place to store my cleaning supplies. I didn’t want to mix them in with food-related items but there seemed to be enough space for both. I purchased this 3-tiered chrome shelving unit for about $30 and slid it into the bottom half of the closet.

Pantry makeover storage unit Pantry makeover


Pantry Makeover cleaning supplies organization


Step 4: The Back Wall. On the back wall, I installed a top shelf for paper towels, etc., with hooks below to hang a few awkwardly-shaped cooking utensils. I also added two more spice racks.

Pantry makeover





Step 5: Side Wall #1. On one side wall, I hung two organizers for pot and pan covers, which I always find difficult to store and organize in drawers or cupboards.

Pot and pan organizer pantry

Step 6: Side Wall #2. I decided to move some of the cleaning supplies to a mesh basket that I attached to the wall. Here, I put specialty cleaners such as silver and copper polish. The other basket holds foil and plastic wrap. These mesh baskets are often sold as desk organizers but are perfect for pantries too.

Pantry organization


Step 7: Finish. The final product isn’t perfect but I’m pretty happy with how much more organized I feel.

DIY pantry makeover

Having everything hanging on the walls as opposed to installing traditional shelves makes it seem far roomier and a bit like a walk-in closet. I’ll probably make improvements as I go along but overall it was a very satisfying one-day makeover. I’d love to see your ideas for a DIY pantry!




Here are a few (much more elaborate) DIY pantry projects that I admire and would love to try someday when I have more time:

Sericin Pantry After_1_resized
From “Classy Clutter: DIY Meets Design.


How To Organize A Pantry
From “The Glamorous Housewife
organized kitchen pantry reveal
From “Four Generations, One Roof.”




Blogpantry 006
From “Whatever: Be the Best of Whatever You Are.”


Home Design Round-up: 5 Inspiring Decorating Ideas

I’ve been reading lots of home design sites and finding some great design ideas and inspirations. These are a few that caught my eye.

  1. Copper Pot Display. I can’t imagine actually possessing this many copper pots and pans, nor keeping them this clean and shiny all the time. However, it makes for a beautiful display, especially in a rustic or farm kitchen. I also really like the glass-paneled cabinets showing vintage tins and canisters. (photo from Copper Pans | Kitchen Design Ideas (houseandgarden.co.uk).

copper pots hanging in a chateau kitchen- design ideas


2. Horseshoes. The wedding blog DeerPearlFlowers posted some creative ways to incorporate horseshoes into your western wedding. As a symbol of good luck, the horseshoe is a perfect design element for this happy event. Check out how nicely they complement these floral displays.  (Also love the wood crate).
Design Ideas: rustic-succulent-wooden-box-and-horseshoe-wedding-centerpiece

Design Ideas: Rustic-Red-Barn-Horseshoe-Winter-Wedding-Centerpiece

3. Retro Kitchens. Country Living Magazine recently published “11 Retro Diner Decor Ideas for your Kitchen.” This was one of my favorites. The white cabinets accented by pops of green and red make this kitchen so bright and colorful. Along with the pretty yellow flowers, it makes me think of starting the day on a beautiful spring morning.

Design Ideas: retro kitchens
Love the green chairs.

4. Textile Accents. I love the little touches in this apartment decorated by San Francisco interior designer Soledad Alzaga. Note the fluffy rugs and pillow coverings and the round mirror above the mantle. (Photos from Desire to Inspire).

Design Ideas: Textile accents in redecorated apartment      Design Ideas: textured pillows fluffy rugs

5. Contrasting Colors. Love the dark cabinets with the wood floors, stainless steel oven, and white counter. Such a clean look. Note the lights hanging over the sink and pots hung conveniently by the cooking area. (From Industry Standard Design; Photo source: www.thekitchn.com).

 . Design Ideas: contrasting colors and materials in kitchen

Have you seen designs that inspire you lately? Would love to see your ideas in comments.

Audrey Hepburn: Painful Childhood Influenced Her Work on Screen and Off

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn: “Princess of all our fairy tales,” says People Magazine (Winter 1993)

I came across a 1993 issue of People magazine recently. A Special Collector’s Issue devoted to the life of Audrey Hepburn that came out just after Audrey’s death at age 63, from colon cancer.   I remember saving it and pouring over the pictures. She’s always been my favorite Hollywood star (see my previous post on the style of Audrey and Grace Kelly).

I started reading the articles and was reminded of the difficulties she overcame before rising to stardom. We came to think of her as living among the beautiful and privileged but she first endured a harsh childhood spent partly in Nazi-occupied Holland. Born Edda Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Audrey’s first great sorrow was the divorce of her parents when she was just 6. She adored her father and lived with him for a while in London but he mostly ignored her. She later returned to live with her mother–who was of part-Jewish ancestry–in Holland, just before it was invaded by Germany. Over the next few years, her uncle and a cousin were executed by the Nazis.

Audrey Hepburn childhood
Audrey was shy and awkward as a child

Audrey’s mother survived by posing as a pro-German aristocrat but still had her home, property and bank accounts confiscated by the Germans. Audrey’s half-brother was sent to a labor camp after he refused to join a Nazi youth group. The Germans forced the family to evacuate in 1944 and Audrey found herself living in a crowded house in a neighboring village. One day, she was snatched off the streets by German soldiers to work in their military kitchens but escaped to a deserted cellar. There, she nearly died from malnutrition before being rescued by Allied troops in 1945,

The images of war always haunted her and I think this is part of her power on the screen. There are many beautiful movie actresses but, to me, Audrey rose above the pack. She had such a kind face and eyes that could simultaneously express joy and sadness. Think of the scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s when she’s sitting on the fire escape outside her apartment singing “Moon River.”

Roman Holiday
Audrey and Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday”

Audrey started off in show business in Holland but her first Hollywood hit was “Roman Holiday,” in 1953, for which she won an Oscar. Soon after came Holly Golightly in “Breakfast,” the part she became most famous for. Here’s how People describes that role’s impact on style and attitudes at the time:

“Holly was the wanton gadfly of the Kennedy generation, with “Moon River” its love song. Young men fell hopelessly in love with Hepburn when she and George Peppard dropped their cat and dog masks and kissed in front of their elevator; young women descended on American’s major cities wearing beehive hairdos and extravagant dark glasses. Daring to be different, defying the world with her wistful exuberance, Holly in 1961 was the pre-dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”

Breakfast at Tiffanys
In Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast at Tiffanys
With “Breakfast” co-star George Peppard

Her beauty was a mixture of girl-next-door and royal princess. Here’s how the New York Times described her in its obituary:

“Descriptions of her beauty and appeal inevitably included the word “gamine.” She was boyishly slender, with an aristocratic bearing, the trace of a European accent and a hint of mischief. ‘A Wild-Eyed Doe’.”

By the time I came to know Audrey’s work, she was already in her 50s, and I admired her even more as she aged. Her second “career” was working as a roving special ambassador for UNICEF, driven by her own experiences with living in a time of wartime suffering. I remember seeing her on TV visiting children in Ethiopia and other countries. Her celebrity status helped bring needed resources to people suffering during civil wars and famines. She was in Somalia in 1992, just a year before her death.

Audrey Hepburn unicef
Audrey’s second career: ambassador for UNICEF


The publisher’s letter notes that People magazine had never before devoted an entire issue to a single movie star. When Audrey died, the staff started sifting through all the information and pictures and finally decided that a mere article could not do justice to Hepburn’s extraordinary life. I completely agree. I hope you enjoy seeing some of the pictures from that issue — I don’t think she ever took a bad photo.

Audrey Hepburn broadway early career
“Gigi” was her first big role in Broadway
Audrey hepburn style
Audrey’s style had a big influence on fashion trends



Audrey hepburn on bike
Audrey was always stylish, never pretentious








  • Source: Content based on articles in the Winter, 1993 Special Issue of People magazine. Photos taken from the same issue.
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