Wednesday, May 15, 2013

64 Years, 3000 Miles and Back Again

Vintage Photograph Abandoned Property Skagit County The Ball House

As some of you lovely longtime readers may recall, this isn't the first time that the photo above has been featured here on the blog.
The original post was back in October of last year and was titled Beautiful Abandon. This was The Ball House of Skagit County, Washington and it had quite the history. 

The Victorian style construction of the home in 1903, the terrible tragedy that provoked The Ball family to abandon the home in the 1930s, the decades of neglect and decay that followed...and the eventual collapse in 1996. Thanks to some internet research and  Bill Osbourne, the photographer who snapped and inscribed this shot back in 1949, I learned almost everything that I could about the infamous Ball House.

But a few weeks ago, I came to know something else. I learned that aside from some sketches and old photographs on the county website, no tangible photos existed of what was once an impressive stretch of property. I was contacted by Charlene, a resident of Buckley, Washington and longtime admirer of The Ball Estate.

For years, Char took her family camping in the Bayview area, where they would pass by The Ball House and see the slow and steady decline of the property. And then one year, nothing of the home remained at all.

After a few email exchanges, I decided that Char's personal connection and close location to the legacy of The Ball House certainly warranted selling her a prized piece of my vintage photo collection. 

If you're reading this, Char, I hope you and your family get to relive some of your past travels in owning this photograph. I would have loved to see what remained of the property in person while it was still standing.

I couldn't be happier that someone local to that area rediscovered the only tangible relic of a legend that no longer exists through Let's Go Thrifting! This little exchange only validates my own personally held credentials as a thrifter and hunter of cultural artifacts and further explores the mysterious cycle of secondhand shopping.

How did a photograph of a Skagit County, Washington home from 1949 end up in a Montgomeryville, PA thrift store in 2011? How many people in how many towns had their hands upon this photograph in those 62 years before it ended up in mine? And the cycle continues, as the only tangible reminder of what once remained of The Ball Estate now belongs to Char and her family two years after I rescued it from the Impact Thrift Store. 

Haunted House Skagit County Washington The Ball Estate Abandoned

Enjoy the memories, Charlene! And do let me know if you find a photograph of any legendary Philadelphia properties at your local thrift store.

The Ball House   
Skagit County, Washington
Photographed in 1949 by Bill Osbourne.
Thrifted in 2011 by Jackie Jardine.
Sold to Charlene of Buckley, Washington in 2013.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

My First Free Product Review: Palmolive Soft Touch

After hearing about Influenster from a friend a few months ago, I was a little skeptical.

I've never been a big fan of online surveys. What I purchase to eat, wear, groom myself with or clean with is my business.  Ya know?

But being the thrifty gal that I am, I thought I'd give it a whirl. And let me just say: If you have a few minutes to spare and a social media presence, Influenster is a pretty neat program.

Based on your likes and dislikes in product choices and reviews, you could qualify to become part of a testing market for various products...FREE FREE FREE.

How much? Oh. It's free.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Jackie. Come on. Nothing is free. There's a catch." Well if there's a catch, I haven't been pitched yet. It's as easy as signing up, making a little profile and answering brief survey questions. There's no phone calls. No spam emails. Nothing gimmicky at all. Really!

A few weeks ago, I was notified that I had qualified for a free cleaning sample to be sent to my house for product testing. And just the other day, I was surprised by a hefty package of two full-size 25 oz bottles of Palmolive dish liquid.

And here I was expecting a free sample to be...sample sized. Thanks, Influenster!  Now, let's get to washing those dishes.

I'm going to try to not let my thrift senses completely blind my better judgment. (Did I mention these were free?)

So on with the review:

My favorite pick between the two samples was the Palmolive Soft Touch Vitamin E.  While I enjoyed the scent of the Palmolive Soft Touch Coconut Butter, I think the overall performance of the Vitamin E was superior.

Of course, the Vitamin E is the perfect shade of pastel pink, which I love. And the scent, while not overpowering, is enough to make me a regular buyer.

Since I work with my hands all day long, getting nicks, cuts, scrapes and dry skin...using a dish soap that's easy on the hands is a big factor in purchasing. While both samples use the "soft touch" technology, the Palmolive Soft Touch Vitamin E really left my hands and nails lotion-soft.

The coconut butter dish liquid cleaned the grime off all of the pots, pans and silverware...but left my hands feeling just a bit too greasy. But that doesn't surprise me, since coco butter lotions have the same effect on my skin.

Maybe I'm partial to the color pink...or love that extra dose of skincare while washing the dishes, but Palmolive Soft Touch Vitamin E gets an "A+" in my book.

If you're a coconut butter fan and have extra-dry hands, you'll likely love the Palmolive Soft Touch Coconut Butter dish liquid. But for me it's a "B."

Both cleaned the dishes perfectly, even the ones that had been sitting in food remnants overnight. And I love that unlike most gel dish soaps, the Palmolive dish liquid rinsed from the glassware with minimal effort. I hate when you think a glass is rinsed thoroughly only to spot those soapy streaks on the inside. Don't you?

So there we have it, my honest to goodness review.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have some more cleaning to do.

Bubbles, ahoy! 

If you're interested in seeing how your purchasing power can earn you free goodies to sample and review from Influenster, click on over and set up a profile. Talkin' about being thrifty, folks. Ya can't beat free! 

"I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes." 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day, Mildred!

Fresh from my collection of vintage photographs is  this stunning snapshot, personally inscribed by the photographer.

This is Mildred and her son Kenneth, circa 1940.  I'm loving Mildred's bright smile and perfectly coiffed victory curl. And despite her physical disability (note the shorter leg and walking stick) she's a proud and capable mama.

Happy Mother's Day to all the proud and capable mamas out there. 

And congratulations to one in particular...

Congratulations to my friend, Liz. 
John will grow up proud to be your son.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

This Just In: New Items Added to Etsy

Jiminy Cricket, 1980s.

Manhood and Marriage, 1916. 

Knee-hugger elf and pal, 1950s. Made in Japan.

These items and more are available for purchase at my Etsy shop. Also, I'm excited to announce a new shopping venture for Let's Go Thrifting readers looking to buy quality goods directly from me. I'm working on launching a page right here on the blog where I'll be offering items that don't quite meet Etsy requirements. Designer labels, obscure art and decor, out-of-print books... the works. It might not be vintage or handmade, but I think some of you will take a look around, maybe find something you like.

Stay tuned for more info on that, and as always thanks for reading Let's Go Thrifting! 

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Lovely Little Desktop Addition

It's not that my desk was bare. As my reference material, reading and writing projects prove, that's hardly the case. But following a recent purge of excess items to my Etsy shop and to the donation bin, my desk seemed to be all business. After moving a few things around, I decided it needed something new. 

It needed something fun, something whimsical. Something like this vintage silhouette Wallace Berrie & Co 1978 frame. I scored this swinging silhouette from Goodwill for $1.97 and knew just where to put it. 

And if you're wondering why that name sounds familiar, Wallace Berrie & Co...also known as Russ...also known as Applause... was the manufacturing epicenter for quirky-cute finds of the 70s and 80s. Remember troll dolls? Smurfs? Those wide-eyed "I love you this much" resin statues? We have Wallace Berrie & Co to thank for all that. 

What lovely thrift shop additions have you found lately?

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Let's Get Crafting: A Wicker Shelf Makeover

Back in April, I was fortunate to attend the Bagels and Bargains event at Impact Thrift. I won a $25 gift certificate and brought home this cream-colored wicker shelf, among other vintage goodies....for free!

Freshly inspired by the event hostess, Denise Sabia of The Painted Home blog, I embarked on my very first DIY craft makeover.

So how did I transform this very basic, bland shelf into a display piece and functional homage to foreign travel?

First, I hit the Home Depot for the supplies...a plastic tarp to protect my lawn, an all-purpose indoor/outdoor primer and a can of the brightest, boldest pop of color I could think of. For this project, I went with Rust-oleum Deep Blue in a gloss finish.

It wasn't long before I learned that the elements were not my friends. Come rainclouds, wind and high pollen...nothing wanted to cooperate on a schedule that worked for me. But finally, after finding the ideal time for priming and two coats of spray paint, I was ready to take my wicker shelf to the next level.

And the next level involved recycled maps, Mod Podge, ribbon and more than a bit of patience. 

My main takeaway in making a decoupage from my beloved maps of Japan is this: The thinner the paper, the least amount of Mod Podge needed. I  just went Mod Podge mad, slapping that  wacky adhesive all over the place. This made it  quite difficult to get the creases and wrinkles rolled flat. 

So, if you're a first-time decoupage DIY-er like I was, go light on the Mod Podge. Let it dry between layers and just roll on. 

Literally, roll on. You should have seen how messy my first attempt was prior to busting out the sponge roller.  But with the time and the patience, I made it work. 

I even made the bold decision to add some sparkle to the top of the piece, after  decoupaging two heart-shaped maps of the Tokyo metro line. I sealed the secondhand deal with Mod Podge High Gloss Acrylic spray, and stopped to admire the finished product. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that the entire project, step-by-step, was a true learning process. Mistakes were made, ones that I made a mental note not to repeat in the future if I can help it. Case in point, the Mod Podge mess.  But don't let me dissuade you from venturing on your own thrift DIY makeover. Plan out a project. Gather the supplies and get to it! It really can be a fun process once you get your hands dirty with all the paper scraps, glue and glitter. 

In the end I really love how this project came together. It's bright, colorful and it reminds me of a time when I felt most adventurous in my life. 

It's not perfect. But, hey. It's me. 

Tools Used:
Rust-oleaum Primer
Rust-oleum Gloss Spray Paint in Deep Blue
Sponge Applicators and brushes
Fabric scissors
Exacto Knife
Sparkle Mod Podge
Mod Podge Gloss
Mod Podge High Gloss Acrylic Sealer
Mod Podge heart stencil
5/8" black ribbon with white trim
Recycled maps of Japan
And of course...
**Safety goggles, gloves and ventilated face mask for painting**

What craft project are you planning?