“Thrift Store SCORE!” {11/4/11}

Now I have no idea how this happened, but apparently it’s been a whopping TWO AND A HALF MONTHS since my last “Thrift Store SCORE!” – This is a record people. As I was sitting at the table with John last night planning today’s blog post, I paused and asked him when the last time was that we had brought something home from the thrift store (besides the tiny something I’m about to tell you about). He said he couldn’t remember.

This, my friends, is huge.

If you’ve been keeping up with us, we used to have this thrift-centered feature every single week. but it started to fuel my urge to constantly shop at second-hand stores…We were quickly running out of room to display and set things, even though we bought some really special pieces in that era. Here are a bunch of my favorites:

So proud of those finds…And NOTHING was over $150 – In fact, most of it (except for the two dressers and the side table) was under $20! I think that little table-top clock was $1 πŸ™‚

But anyway, the amazing thrifted treasures we were able to dig for and bring home slowly started to fill up the house. So then I cut the feature back to once a month, thinking this would keep my wallet feeling a little cushier. It did the trick! Instead of feeling the need to buy SOMETHING every time we went downtown to scour the crowded warehouses full of old furniture, records and figurines, I started to look for only the most special of objects. I got picky! So much so, that even the monthly “SCORE!” posts got cut down…

But time has passed and, almost three months after my last big second-hand purchase, I finally found one very important thing to bring home from the store…I dare you to find it in this next photo:

No it’s not the Grace Kelly collectors Barbie doll (don’t hate – I’m a MASSIVE, clearly devoted fan and there’s nothing wrong with that!) or the brushed nickel lamp. It’s not the books or the picture frames…

Today’s “Thrift Store SCORE!” is this teeny tiny little antique metal bell!

I know my mom is probably smiling like crazy when she sees this, because she knows E-X-A-C-T-L-Y why this itsy little piece of cheap souvenir metal made the cut for our feature today.

So here’s the story: Ever since my little sister and I were kids, our mom and dad were sure to take extra special care of us whenever we got ill. We were given the five-star treatment with milkshakes for achy throats, bland-but-yummy grilled cheese sandwiches made to order for sensitiveΒ tummies and any movie, blanket, teddy bear we wanted in our time of need. I was more often than not the one who was sick – I tend to be a bit whiney and pathetic when I have the slightest hint of an illness…Sorrrryyyyy mom and dad…But the other VERY important thing that we got when we were sick was a bell.

This bell was a special bell that my dad bought on a business trip to France. It has a French inscription on the side and is made out of a heavy cast metal with a wooden handle and bronze sheen. To me, that little piece of hard, heavy metal was the absolute epitome of comfort, because I knew that any time we needed something day or night, all we had to do was give the bell a quick jingle and help (in the form of mommy or daddy) would be on its way.

I don’t have a photo of the bell on hand right now, but it looks little like these…

Times have changed and I don’t have the luxury of parental comforting anymore (at least when I’m sick, although I’m pretty sure mom would move in for a week to take care of me if I asked her to). Now the torch has been passed to John to be the comfort-giver when I fall under the weather, and I now have the responsibility of taking care of HIM! I knew that I needed to find a substitute for my childhood bell when, two months ago, both John and I caught a cold and needed a little on-call TLC. I remember telling him the story of our French bell one day as the two of us were in pjs for the third straight day, sipping on soup to quell the pain.Β We eventually recovered (YAY!!!) and the hunt was on for our new family bell.

Last weekend, as we were making our rounds through the ancient buildings downtown of Estate Specialist, one of us (I can’t remember who) picked up a tiny metal bell. We both paused and said “huh…” as we turned it over and inspected it. Right color, right metal, right weight (although a bit lighter), and it even had an inscription (although not in another language). SOLD!

For $1.05!!!

Even though the words engraved in the metal aren’t exactly as lovely and artistic as the one from my parents house, I love that it’s a nod to our home state of Virginia. You can probably read what it says in the photo above, but just in case it reads “Ringing for caverns of Luray, VA.” Luray is about two and half hours away from us here in Lynchburg – I think we’ll have to go visit someday soon!

We haven’t used it for its real purpose yet, nor are we anxiously awaiting this moment. But I can tell you right now that, seeing our little bell sit like a sentry beside the bed gives me a sense of well-being that I can’t describe πŸ™‚ I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Thrift store treasures aren’t so much about the piece itself, but about the story that goes with them…

Have a great weekend everyone!

(Photo credit for bells with wooden handles: here)

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211 thoughts on ““Thrift Store SCORE!” {11/4/11}

      1. pezcita

        My grandma has a clock just like that! I’ve always loved it, even when it scared me with those dark, pointy rays. They last forever, so you certainly scored a good bargain!

  1. twyf

    I absolutely love all of your finds! My sister and I are huge fans of yard/garage sale-ing and we’ve been hitting a lot of thrift stores and rummage sales to find items for centerpieces at her June 2012 wedding. I’m always on the look out for a fantastic new dresser to update, but I think the area we’re from probably limits our awesome discoveries.

    http://www.dameswhodish.wordpress.com

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thank you! It’s such a fun past time…I too am looking for things for my 2012 wedding!! I’m really enjoying the hunt for peices to make the event special. Thanks for stopping by – Will definitely check out your link =)

      Reply
  2. Seasweetie

    This is a wonderful find, and it brought back wonderful memories for me. My brother and I each had our own little bells for when we got sick – they had different rings, so if we were sick at the same time, my mother could tell who was ringing. I still have mine somewhere – and I think I have my brother’s too, as he’s not a mushy sentimentalist like me. And my daughter and I visited the Luray Caverns a few years back, so there’s another great memory. I’m a thrift store shopper too – I hope you get back to posting your lovely small finds!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      I’m so glad to hear of another with this memory!! I love that you had two difference bells – Good idea! I am definitely going to start making this feature more consistent in the future =) Thanks for stopping by our blog!

      Reply
  3. dorcas

    Wow! I wish my local thrift stores had furniture like that. I usually only come out with a couple of books after hours of sifting. I especially like your beautiful painting . And BTW the story about the bells was so sweet!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Bummer! A little travel time might be worth it for some cool furniture in thrift stores out of town…And thanks! Apparently I made my mom cry when she read it ;-D

      Reply
  4. underwhelmer

    I feel terrible for admitting this, but there’s a “dead people store” over here in Bavaria (that’s what they call it, I swear) that I’ve gotten some great furniture from… the shot glasses I picked up weren’t bad either.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Hahahaha!!! Sorry, I probably should’t laugh, but that title is mildly humorous…That’s essentially what our thrift store is too =)

      Reply
  5. DoF@theinfill

    When we first got together we virtually furnished our entire lives with thrift store or auction items. We bought a bell too, but not a hand bell (I have my mother-in-laws crinoline lady for that). The bell we bought is a ships bell that hangs on a strong, brass bracket. Very loud. Our house is single room deep and very long (bit like a train, I suppose). If folks are lurking down the other end or the house and your just about to serve up grub, then I ring the ships bell to gather all in.

    Reply
  6. shil

    Beautiful story, Carrie. Every article in our homes do need to have a story like that. Then, they will be worth the money we spend on them.

    Reply
  7. bamayesed

    Since I am a fellow thrifter, I was drawn to your story. I get emotionally attached to my finds too. I wonder who they belonged to in their former life. Loved your post.

    Reply
  8. lllouise

    Wow, that sideboard (I think?) with the drawer is the stuff thriftin dreams are made of. I clearly need to start expanding my thrifting roots and look out of town

    Reply
  9. uncommonprincess

    I love this post! My mom has always spoiled me when I’m sick. She still will, and if I’m not at home she’ll spoil me long distance, calling every day and saying things like “poor baby” and wishing that she could spoil me. My man jokes all the time about her spoiling me, but I think he might just be jealous that he’s only now getting to be spoiled by her. (Yes, she does the same thing to him.) I love thrift stores, and it’s actually something my mother got me interested in some time ago. Something we do together, so I really enjoyed your post. Love the bell, and all the other finds! I’ll be back.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      He MUST be jealous =) Moms are the best! Thrifting is definitely best when you have someone to go with. Glad you stopped by our blog and hope to see you back here soon!

      Reply
  10. rastelly

    I’ll be it has some wierd powers like on warehouse thirteen.
    Hope it doesen’t try to kill you or anything πŸ˜› I once whent
    to a flea market after watching the movie “Second Hand
    Lions” I found a small plastic figure that looked just like
    the Lion from the movie, I bought it and gave it a place
    of honer as my personal, second hand, second hand
    lion. Right next to a glass paperweight I like to imagine
    contains the trapped soul of an anciant elven wizard.

    Reply
      1. rastelly

        I’ll pass up a million knick knacks, then one will
        just call to me, for no reason at all, so far I have
        two, thanks for responding. πŸ™‚

  11. barbhughes1

    When I was in radio, I was asked to be a ‘celebrity bell ringer’ for the Salvation Army. They let me keep the metal bell – on the front handle is has a red plastic sheild with the words “The Salvation Army”, and on the back engraved on the handle of the bell is says “In Appreciation…the Salvation Army”. Whoever is sick gets the bell next to their bed, but otherwise it’s housed in my doll cabinet in the living room. Great blog about thrift:) If you wanna go even further-to the free side of thrift- check out the Free Swap blog at http://swappositive.wordpress.com Maybe some day if your house ends up getting too full of stuff, you can use the stuff you no longer need at your first free stuff swap:)

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      How cute!!! I love that story! Thanks for sharing =) And I am definitely going to look into the swap – Thanks for the tip! I can see us needing to do that on down the road once I inevitably fill our house ;-D

      Reply
  12. Eleanor Simmons

    I know that table. My in-laws had stacking end tables to match. They came from the Art Shop in Toronto. It was very expensive when they first purchased them. I remember them talking about it and looking at them for year. The stacking tables have found a restful place up North. Visited by the family every summer.;-)

    Reply
  13. Learn To Beatmatch

    I remember being younger and just of the thought of the thrift store would make me cringe in embarrassment, now I go in them like nothing, and the great deals and vintage furniture I find is so worth it.
    Great post
    -Ron

    Reply
  14. womaninthemid

    Thanks so much for the photo gallery of your thrift store finds. I especially love the end table (I may dream of that tonight…) and the clock, oh that clock! It took my breathe away! You have inspired me to start digging a little more! However, I did recently find a signed print of one of our favorite places to go for a day trip for $2.50! I had it reframed and it is hanging over our couch now. I love that it has a story, so much better than just buying something new.

    Reply
  15. Boy Mom Blogger

    Very nice! Very impressive! Did you have to refinish any of those furniture pieces? You have a good eye. I love shopping at thrift stores too – but some people just have an eye for the good stuff πŸ™‚ Although sometimes it takes practice

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thanks! Amazingly, no – We didn’t have to refinish anything! But I probably should in some places…It does take practice…And, in my case, restraint =)

      Reply
  16. hearttypat

    that’s a steal! I never could find such a bargain at thrift stores/flea market… and when i could, it’s overseas and i don’t think i wanna spend more on shipping than the item itself! bummer!

    Reply
      1. Bosstiger

        well i really like your theme, and the content of your blog, also you have chosen a DIY category for blogging, and the way that you are present your work is simply, clean and straight, i like your work, keep it up this way πŸ˜€

    1. Bosstiger

      you should use autodesk’s homestyler it is the perfect tool for the interior design, i think that this application will boost your creativity and expand your abilities, have fun πŸ˜€

      Reply
  17. pietzilein

    This is the sweetest story I have ever heard about such a tiny thing as this bell.
    You do have a great taste in furniture and decor. I’ll be sure to check back πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Awwwww…That’s so nice of you to say! I’m glad you liked it =) So glad to have you stop by our blog and definitely hope to see you again!

      Reply
  18. Leah

    One of my all-time favorite activities is treasure hunting at my local Goodwill. It’s amazing what you can find. Looks like you scored some great treasures!

    Reply
  19. divaofdelicious

    I could live in thrift stores!!! Sometimes I think I do…many things in my house are thrifty finds…I can never have enough retro plant stands. Love this post too…looks like that 70-lishious clock is stealing the show.

    Reply
  20. swabby429

    Very nice items. I do the thrift store cruise almost daily, but my small town doesn’t get many of the high end things I see on your page.

    I like art glass and pottery, so I’ve at least found some noteworthy items for my collections.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Hi there! When I go into a thrift store, I just jump right in. I try not to get overwhelmed by the big picture of a room crowded with junk, but instead keep an eye out for something that jumps out to me. Something in the right era I’m going for (mid-century modern), something with a metallic sheen (I love bronze figures), or a piece of art that has the colors I use in my space. It’s almost like I look out over the room and blur my eyes until I see a flash of color or the right type of line and then I head that direction for a closer look. It’s like the pieces find me in a way =)

      Reply
  21. Chickens, Cows & Children

    Amazing finds!! I love your story about the bell too! I tend to go looking to my favorite thrift store looking for clothes and always forget about the furniture. I have been trying to retrain myself to hit the thrift store when I have a need & not go to the regular retail places first. My last great find was an awesome date night dress. http://chickenscowschildren.wordpress.com/2011/10/26/thrift-store-shopping-date-night-edition/ I love your blog & will be a new follower!!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      I really need to work on clothes thrifting…People find SUCH good stuff (including your dress – love that!) – So thankful to have you as a new follower!!! =)

      Reply
  22. newsy1

    I have a house in the mountains that is totally thrift store and since it is a 1930’s house I stayed with the era for furniture and “stuff” and people tell me it looks like antiques and not thrift store finds. I did get a bit carried away though over the years so my new rule is, if I bring something in I now have to let something go out the door. Otherwise we get a little cramped. Loved your post!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Oh that’s such a good tip – “if I bring something in I now have to let something go out the door”…Thanks for reminding me of that important mantra! And your house sounds absolutely lovely…

      Reply
  23. mamanne

    I also love great thrift finds… it’s a thrill of sorts! I would never EVER give my husband a bell when he gets sick (yikes!) but the bell caught my eye because we just spent a year and a half living in Virginia and one of the places we visited was Luray Caverns! It was great.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Well that’s good to hear – I will definitely have to take the trip to Luray then soon! And you’re probably right about men being in possession of a “sick bell”…John would never stop ringing it! ;-D

      Reply
  24. areyouwithcaz

    My mother would approve! I am just as nostalgic about my choices in life. I tend to throw out the funniest of things to keep my life as clean and simple as possible only to keep things like my mother’s bells. Although, one thing she always did when we were home sick was to first decidedly vacuum the entire house as a test to whether we were truly sick or not. Our reaction to the vacuum determined our level of sickness. To this day I loathe vacuum cleaners.

    Reply
  25. ryoko861

    I love a good thrift store! I have several in my area that I go to. My friend and I spend an entire day going from one to another finding the most amazing things! Love that clock you posted! I also love going to estate sales. You can “score” some awesome finds at those, too! I love when people share what they’ve discovered and bought! Makes me want to run out now and see what’s new at the stores near me!

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Glad you’re an avid thrifter too =) Our favorite thrift store is actually a big estate warehouse, where they get truck-loads of household belongings – Kinda sad in a way but at least we give their things a new life!

      Reply
  26. The_Observationalist_NYC

    I’m so jealous of your furniture! They look great! My parents now live in Virginia, and whenever I visit my mother and I try to devote a day for thrifting… I’ve found some really amazing vintage clothing there- and so cheap compared to New York prices!

    Reply
  27. Dale H

    Very nice collection! I had never thought of sharing such things, but my wife certainly does hit the local thrift shops and we have quite and extensive collection of some very unique items from over the years. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Reply
  28. tiallarising

    A bell is so helpful when I’m sick! Especially with a sore throat when it’d be fatal to yell across the house for someone to refill my glass of water. πŸ˜› That bell you found is really cool. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

    -Tia

    Reply
  29. Cathy

    I love going to thrift stores! Well, those for clothes at least. I’m not into vintage items but I definitely love scoring unique clothing in thrifts. πŸ˜€

    Reply
  30. sarahnsh

    Wow, you made out like a bandit! Congrats on all of the great deals you got it. I’m glad the little bell, just looking at it, gives you a sense of well being. I have a few things that I own that do the same, and it’s a great feeling. πŸ˜€

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thank you!!! Clocks are one of my favorite things to thrift – Love the old 60’s style ones. Even if they don’t work, I still grab them!

      Reply
  31. truefinds

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. As an estate sale professional, I’m always attracted to reading blogs like yours. I’m a bit biased, though, because I think you can get much better buys at estates sales than at thrift stores.

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Thank you! And I actually whole-heartedly agree. Our absolute favorite place to go for second-hand items is Estate Specialist in downtown Lynchburg. I guess I didn’t know there was a big difference between thrift stores and estate sales! Thanks for educating me! All of the items I showed in my blog post came from estate sales.

      Reply
  32. fairybearconfessions

    Wow! I’ve long been a fan of making someone else’s trash my treasure, but this was just inspiring. I’m going to have to start making better use of my thrift store. Loved the family story behind the new purchase! Congrats!

    Reply
  33. talkingearth

    Aw… this is the sweetest post I’ve read in a while. I think I’m going to call my mom and tell her I love her right now! Whenever it rains here in Chicago, I end up smiling a lot more than others… Rainy days in Florida (and it rained a lot) meant black-and-white movies on TMC, Lego playtime in my little brother’s room, and assisting my mom and sister in rolling up peanut butter balls and baking oatmeal spice cookies. Never had a bell for sick days though… lucky girl! πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Carrie Post author

      Well thank you very much! And it seriously warms my heart that it made you call you mom…I wish I could have hung out with you and your family on those rainy days! Sounds like a very sweet and comforting time =)

      Reply
  34. Betty Amazing

    That’s lovely!
    We can’t afford too much at the minute (first time buyers, reasonably low income) but we’ve been so lucky with hand-me downs and charity shop buys – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure! We’re off furniture hunting today, I’m hoping I find some gems! Those chairs in your photo are gorgeous! I would l o v e something like that!

    Happy thrifting! xx

    Reply

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