Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thrifty Acres - Groovy Or Goofy?

Hello! While perusing secondhand wares, the line between groovy and goofy can be a fine one. Such was the case yesterday when I attended a garage sale that promised vintage items along with more current household goods. 

Unfortunately, the vintage stuff was priced pretty high, as in prices closer to those in antique malls. So I took a pass and instead, honed in on this:

A plant hanger made of turquoise-colored acrylic beads. It measures 42" in length.

Close-up of the beadwork.

I use the term "thrifty acres" in my blog in honor of the locally-based hypermarket chain, Meijer - in years past, it was known as "Meijer Thrifty Acres". Thus, the original tag on the plant hanger made me smile:

Couldn't get a clear shot of the tag, but it shows that my purchase had been made in Hong Kong. Judging for the looks of this tag, I'd say that the plant hanger had been made in the 60's or 70's. 

Groovy or goofy? Like I said, it can be a fine line, but I liked the color of the beads. Plus, the two bucks I paid was much more in line with my budget than the outrageous prices the seller was charging for her other vintage goods!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vacation Post #4 - Random Shots

Hello! This will be my last vacation post and will cover a variety of places we visited.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, located in the charming downtown of Dublin, OH. Jeni's is a small chain based in nearby Columbus and is famous for unusual ice cream flavors. I was told I could select two flavors for my small-size cup order, so I got Queen City Cayenne (chocolate and cayenne pepper) and Salty Caramel - both were excellent. I first read of this chain on

We bought some pretzel goodies from Snyder's of Hanover, PA. Factory tours are available, but not on the day we were there. 

A bit of a luxury hotel feel at a price we could afford: the atrium of the breakfast area in the Hunt Valley, MD Embassy Suites. 

 Andy Nelson's Barbeque, Cockeysville, MD. Again, a recommendation, and I really enjoyed my pulled pork sandwich.

The Joseph Priestley House museum, Northumberland, PA. Among other things, Priestley has been credited with discovering oxygen, but my husband, a chemical engineering professor, says that this credit may  be incorrect. Nevertheless, we wanted to tour the house, but when we got there, we learned that it's only open on the weekend. Sure enough, we later read in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette that the Priestley House was hosting an "Oxygen Day" two days after we left - bummer. Besides tours of the house, a reenactor was going to be on hand to portray Priestley. That would have been interesting. 

No visit to the Williamsport is complete without a stop to Purity Chocolates near Allenwood, PA. The candymakers were taking the day off, we were told, so I couldn't see any chocolates being dipped or peanut brittle being made, but I could see what they had made yesterday - cats, horses and pumpkins. 

A huge solid chocolate turkey awaits decoration - its tail will get decked out with autumn-colored sprinkles. As I've said before, bring this as a hostess gift and you will be invited back every Thanksgiving! 

Well, that's it for my vacation posts - hope you have enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed my vacation!

Vacation Post #3 - Pine Creek Rail Trail

Hello! After spending a few enjoyable days in the Baltimore area, we headed up to Williamsport, PA for the remainder of our vacation. During previous visits to this area, we've done many hikes over the sometimes-rugged terrain north of Williamsport. However, it was hot and humid last week, so I suggested going on the Pine Creek Rail trail. We had the option of renting bikes from a local outfitter, but decided for our first-ever excursion to walk instead. 

We drove to an access area just beyond the village of Waterville, walked as far as the Dry Run Comfort Station (toilet facility), then returned to the access area; this was a five-mile round trip. Locals had told us to be on the lookout for timber rattlesnakes and black bears. We have seen both in the region during past trips, but they were absent this time. 

The Pine Creek Rail Trail was an easy walk and we enjoyed nice scenery every step of the way:

A few shots of Pine Creek with hills all around. 

Man-made scenery: an outhouse located near the trail. 

Cabin located along Pine Creek - looks wonderful, doesn't it? A local told us such cabins typically stay within the owners' families, which should come as no surprise. Still can dream about owning one, though!

A fair number of people were out on the trail while we were there, all  but us on bikes. One cyclist had a pet trailer attached to the back of his bike so that his dog could go along for the ride. I also saw a few people wading or fishing in the creek. It is a very scenic area, so it was nice to see others enjoying it as well!

Vacation Post #2 - Women's Industrial Exchange

Hello! While in Baltimore last week, we visited the Women's Industrial Exchange. This non-profit began shortly after the Civil War and was incorporated in 1882. It has been at the same address since 1887 - in a building that dates to 1815. 

According to a brochure from the organization, it was begun to "help women in need discreetly earn a living", and currently "the Exchange continues to serve its non-profit mission as an outlet of hand-crafted goods made by women and men intent on supporting themselves with dignity". 

I had first read of this organization in Jane and Michael Stern's first Roadfood book; they touted the old-fashioned atmosphere of the Exchange's handmade goods and tearoom fare. 

Well, this is the 21st Century, so the tearoom menu has been updated and some of the crafts look a little slicker than they probably had when the Sterns first visited (if I remember correctly, their first Roadfood book came out in the early 1980's). We ate lunch in the tearoom, where the pasta salad and veggie wrap had the same odd tangy flavor to them - whatever had been used for a viniagrette wasn't exactly to our liking. However, my side order of macaroni and cheese was fine, as was my ice tea. And the complimentary biscuits couldn't have been better!

The Exchange shop carried soaps, baby toys, children's clothes, jewelry, tote bags and so on. Most of the prices were quite reasonable. 

A few photos:

Signs outside The Women's Industrial Exchange.

I bought the above, which is a tiny stuffed cat on a keychain, at the Exchange. A neighbor girl takes care of our cat while we're on vacation, so besides paying her, I also like to bring her a little something picked up on our travels. Thus, a cat-shaped item seemed appropriate. It was so adorable I wanted to keep it for myself! However, I know that I can always make one if I feel like it. Not sure if I would do as neat a job as this crafter had, though - from past experience, I know that miniature shapes can be a pain to sew and stuff. Whoever made this stuffed cat had done a very nice job!

Vacation Post #1 American Visionary Art Museum

Hello! We were on vacation last week, hitting a few stops along the East Coast. One highlight of our visit was the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore. As the museum's brochure explains, it is "full of the most outstanding creations born of intuition and self-styled imagination." 

No photos are allowed inside, so I can't show off such things as a large 3-D wallhanging made entirely out of various colored paper plates, carvings made of styrofoam drinking cups, a robot family constructed from metal scraps (the museum held a "wedding" for some of the robots several years ago), a huge pink poodle vehicle, embroidered pictures stitched with unraveled socks and other unique pieces. 

Outside photos are allowed, so I hope that the following give you a sense of the museum's quirky nature:

Decorated bus parked near the museum entrance.

Close-up of the front of the bus.

This sculpture is on top of the museum's entrance.

Seen behind the museum.

Close-up of the goofy sculpture seen in the previous photo.

Glittery "tree" near one side of the museum.

More fun outdoor decor at the museum!

Awesome egg sculpture. The brick building behind it is another museum building. There are a total of three museum buildings: one with a typical gallery floor plan that houses most of the smaller works, and two buildings with more open floor plans for displaying larger works like the pink poodle - and a homemade hot air balloon decorated with crosses and various religious sayings. 

I will leave you with one final photo, a banner hanging outside. The "welcome to fantastic art" is very apt - it is a fun museum and I recommend it to anyone visiting the Baltimore/DC area!