The reason that I do not show more of my estate sale treasures is that, generally, I must move very fast to hide everything from Mr. Retro Renovation. He is not so amused by all the Stuff filling every storage space in the house these days. Yesterday, though, he left for a few hours and I was able to linger over and photograph my stash from the late 1940s/early 50s home that I explored on Friday. So what do I buy? Ever since my collage class and in reality, before, I adore “ephemera” — which is defined as things created that were never really intended to survive. Advertising is classic ephemera. So are Betty Brite cupcake holders. There are still some parchment paper bake cups inside. 13 more items after the jump.


Here’s more kitchen ephemera. This envelope – and tons of sandwich bags – were in a box of stencil patterns. The woman of the house was using the sandwich bags to hold each stencil piece. Drats, I meant to go back yesterday, last day of the sale, and buy all the stencils — because I wanted all the wax sandwich bags. I was afraid to buy it all on Friday. I thought the estate sale pro’s would charge me too much. But, I couldn’t go back to the sale because I got all busy — in my own kitchen. Oh well.


Is anyone looking for mid-century wood (mahogany? teak? walnut?) and stainless steel cabinet pulls?


These are really quite beautiful. 3″ spreads.


I bought five panels of fabric printed with Barbie outfit pieces that you can cut out and sew. Maryann Roy: Is there a market? What do you think each panel is worth? There are two outfits per panel.


An aluminum (?) plate from some kind of machinery. In the postwar era, Pittsfield was buzzing with manufacturing.


The folks who owned the home built clocks for a hobby. I was able to nab about five of these blueprints. Two (including this one) are particularly beautiful.These are probably my favorite things of the whole day. “Craftplans.” There were a bunch of clocks for sale, too. Gosh, maybe there will be one or two repeat sale days next weekend… I would love to go back. My head is always swimming after two-or-three hours of poking. Yes, that’s how long I usually take going through a really good estate sale house. I look in every nook and cranny. Then I go back again and try to SEE the house and everything in it. What was it like to live there? How did the people live? What were they like? What happened there? I always ask permission to take photos, and leave my card.


I got two of these. Notice how the pie plate says, “10 cents deposit.” Deposit???? What the heck is that all about? Were these for pies you bought at a bakery…and then you had to return the pie plate?


Okay, all you youngsters, listen close, but be forewarned that what I have to tell you is, well, shocking: You see, back in the day, we did not have Excel. Every input to the P&L… the Balance Sheet… Accounts Receivable… Accounts Payable… and the like… had to be WRITTEN DOWN and TALLIED UP by real people. Legions and legion of people, actually. Because you see, we didn’t have personal computers AT ALL.


I like to collect books and binders like this… thinking someday, I will transform them into collage books.


$4 for this cake server — it has a pressed glass bottom and a lovely chrome cover with a pretty decorative glass knob on top. Oh, and that’s a roman coin belt in the foreground.


Aha! The one and only thing I bought that I truly “needed”: An electric knife. Our electric knife — which, I am telling you, did not last more than a few years under very light use — AND I am sure it was expensive as it was a gift — recently died. Another case in point, Bungalow Bill, about the crappy quality of stuff today. Crap to the right of us, crap to the left of us. Crap crap crap.  (My first curse on the blog, I might as well go for it.) This vintage GE number cost me $7. It came in the original box – and the set is fit into this plastic holder thingy that I could hang on screws in the wall, if I so choose. I might.


Five yards of chintz, aka polished cotton. I have no idea what I will do with this. This was a colonial house – a Cape Cod. Everything inside was very early American. There were tons of beautiful pine dressers and the like – selling for a song.


Detail from the chintz — The White House.


I found a few sheets of vintage Schumacher wallpaper in the garage. Not big pieces. But so gorgeous. This is called Cabala del Lotto. Does anyone know what that means? Caballo=horse in Spanish. There is no Spanish word for “lotto” that I am aware of. So…I’m left guessing. Italian, right?


Another vintage Schumacher wallpaper. I didn’t see either of these papers on walls in the house, though.


They were sample pieces – the prices were on the back. Caballa del Lotto was $10.25 per single roll. The other paper was $7/roll.


The Cabalo del Lotto paper was designed by John H. Jacoby. I am in serious love with this wallpaper.

  1. Nancy Connor says:

    Can you tell me if you still have the teak kitchen pull and if so how many and how much. Thanks

    Nancy Connor

  2. mary says:

    I know its 4 years later but I am looking for pulls just like the teak and stainless above. 3 inch on center

  3. becci coker says:

    Hi I am so glad I came across you site. I googled vintage schumacher wallpaper and found you. I have an etsy site, so I always grab cool old stuff like you have on your site. I have so much stuff i don’t know if u buy but no big deal. If you would like me to send pics I think you’d get a kick out of this crazy old paper stuff i have collected. I am so into you site. Cool cool cool!

  4. Rick S says:

    love your site and know how addictive estate sales are.

    30 years ago I helped a friend who ran estate sales as a business. We were allowed 2 unadvertised “picks’ to purchase before the sale and could do some judicious picking after the sale was underway.

    My wife and I collect Early American Prescut dishes because we both remember it on the table growing up and there are many pieces to be found at sales for prices that make buying new dishes foolish. Seems like every 50’s & 60’s bride got some as wedding presents.

  5. Angela Swenson says:

    Were you selling the teak cabinet pulls on ebay at one point? I got 2 of these on ebay and want more. please let me know if you are willing to sell them.

  6. Sheila says:

    I remember those wax sandwich bags. When I was in elementary school they were the least desirable type of sandwich bag. The best were Glad bags with the fold-over tops, and the runner-up was a baggie with a twister tie. How dumb we were.

    The teak handles are just gorgeous. I wonder what they were for. It would be nice to find the manufacturer and match them up with some needy furniture.

  7. Vintigchik says:

    I am interested in the cabinet pulls!!! Love them! Let me know if you are still wanting to sell them. Thanks!

  8. Linda Blackmore says:

    I so love your blog. I’m so glad I found it, and I can go over the old ones and they’re new to me. I’m not suprised you like collage. I love altered art so much I now have enough treasures to last me and most of the people in the world who also love it for the next 20 years. I just can’t pass up the stuff that would be “perfect” in a piece.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Hi Linda, welcome. Yes, I love collage — I kind of think of it now as a metaphor for a lot of what I do. Tip: A good way to go thru the blog if you’re new is via the archives. They are in the “Quick Links” section at the very top right. Have fun!

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