The Real McCoy?

I thought I’d share my first “is it real or is it a reproduction” story.  I honestly didn’t know a thing about figuring this stuff out, so I reached out to a pottery expert; thank you Jean Bushnell for your insights!

I sent the first set of images below to Jean and asked if this McCoy Windmill Cookie jar is worth $30?  Jean replied back — is there damage? Chips? Crazing? It was produced in the 1960s, so there should be some wear.  If it’s real, it could be worth double.

Yay!  But wait… no crazing whatsoever.  No chips.  No damage.  In fact, despite the fact that the paint had come off this one looks pretty darn clean. Perhaps it’s just in mint condition? Nicely packed away all of these years?  Unlikely.

Next, Jean asked for the measurements as it should be 10.5 inches tall with the lid which mine was. Things seemed to line up okay here. Decisions, decisions.


I decided to search for a REAL McCoy Windmill Cookie jar online and have included some side-by-side photos for comparison.

realmccoy    sidebysidemm

Upon doing more research, including eBay sales – which ended up being not much more than the purchase price, I ended up walking away.  Do you think I made the right decision?  Please tell us your real vs. reproduction stories below! Happy thrifting!

Goodwill… more like Greatwill!

Since we are on the topic of thrift store reviews, I would like to include an experience from another Thrifty shopper…

Erica at the Goodwill in Westminster made my first real adventure into the furniture rehab world a great experience. I was interested in a small table that had been priced at $20 a few days earlier. I really didn’t have time to find a customer assistant, but couldn’t get it off my mind. It was cute! When I went back a few days later, the table was there but wasn’t tagged. That’s when I found Erica who introduced me to the inter-workings (new word) of Goodwill’s business model – from receiving, production, distribution, re-distribution, and on to the floor for sales. Quite an operation run by some of the nicest people around. I have a whole new respect for what they do.

She asked me what I thought the price of the table should be. I said $10 and she said how about $6.99! When I asked her how they price items, she told me that all personnel are encouraged to help customers make a value offer when asked. If an offer seems too low, the sales agent will suggest a value price, but at the end of the day making a customer feel they’re being treated fairly and getting a good deal is most important. Each store has a daily sales quota, and it’s very important to have repeat customers. I’m in. A whole new world of thrift shopping! Who knew…obviously Thrifty Rehab does (wink, wink)!

Thanks for your input Pam!  Please keep your experiences coming in and as always, happy Thrifting!

Thrift Store 411

The most frequent question I am asked: where do you find the best deals?  This is difficult to answer, as I cannot lump or label any one company, so instead I’ll relay my experiences prefaced with the fact that even though I am always looking for a good deal, I am not a “bargainer.”  Thrift stores collect money for charities – worthy causes, and my aim is never to shortchange or haggle prices.

ARC on Quebec and County Line was where I found my first score and where my addiction began.  I picked up this vintage electric desk fan; excellent condition mechanically and visually – $9.  Of course I have been back many times since and have not found anything remotely as memorable and believe me, I have savant-like memory when it comes to thrifting (real life, not so much).  Recently they had an antique sewing desk marked at $80.  It was in serious disrepair and needed more TLC  than the average person has time.  Weeks later it is still there but now at 50% off — still not a deal.  I told an employee that if they would part with it for $20 that I would consider taking it.  The employee abruptly told me that they won’t take less than what it is listed.  Combine this with the fact that most items are suddenly outrageously priced, my local ARC went from my favorite, to least favorite.  Don’t even get me started about my experience at the ARC in Loveland, CO.  On the flip side, I had a stellar experience at the ARC on Colfax & Pierce in Lakewood — the employees helped me fill my car with 3 stuffed cart loads.  I apologized to the young manager about getting so much with a small car.  Her comment was “don’t worry ma’am, I’m really good at Tetris!” She is a keeper and so is this ARC.

Goodwill has several locations near me and all locations are fair and the employees are all helpful.  I got my beautiful dining room table & chairs at my local Goodwill for $80.  Beth got this gorgeous hutch for $50 and Pam got a full sized hutch for $50 — stay tuned for their up-cycle stories & pics!

I have to admit that for the longest time I didn’t even know that Savers was a thrift store but now that I know, they are a regular stop.  The employees are SUPER nice and friendly, so I give them 5 stars.  One deal was this antique wicker-back rocker for $7.

Last but not least, my favorite thrift store… drum roll… Mile High Thrift Store on Sheridan.  Mile High only takes cash, but you won’t need much as their prices are the lowest by far.  I would be there everyday if it were not for the location and hours Monday thru Saturday 9-6.  Now that you know about this little secret gem tell me about your favorites! Happy thrifting!



Americana Eagle Table

OMG funny story!  So I picked up this little table, mostly because of the detailed and intricate carvings on the legs.  If you look up close, there is a little half moon carved on the foot of each leg, so cute… but the top… no bueno.   I was literally seconds away from chipping this Eagle carving out, when I decided to a quick search.  And GUESS WHAT?! A similar table is listed on Bonanza for $399! Of course my table isn’t in perfect condition, but that’s not the point. The point is, do your research first!!!  Mr. Eagle almost got replaced with a mosaic (which honestly I still think would look better).


Mersman 2-Tiered Table

Every time I visit an antique store, I see one of these 2-tiered tables and I want one and guess what?! I got one! Although it’s use and practicality may be somewhat limited, I see this table displaying vintage trinkets, amazing jewelry and accessories… or of course, cupcakes!

I think it looks nice with light gray chalk paint but now that I have researched this little table, I hope I didn’t change its value…?  An identical one is posted here.  Please leave me comments if you happen to know!


Lil Rocker

Nothing is cuter than child sized furniture!  When I found this little treasure, I knew Kira must have loved it!   But now that Kira is off to college, her rocker can be enjoyed by others 🙂  I used DecoArt color Vintage for the base, and then added a touch of DecoArt’s color Smitten (coral) and DecoArt’s color Everlasting (white) for the vine/flower stencil in the middle.  I can’t wait to use more of the Smitten/coral color on a bigger project… the color is gorgeous!



70s style table transformation

Each thrifty purchase has specific requirements: it has to be light enough that I can move it around by myself, and it also has to have personality.  When I saw this little old table it told me that it wanted to be functional again and noticeable; mission accomplished 🙂

My new favorite chalk paint color = Honor  by @DecoArt, American Decor, Chalky Finish.  The blue color turns mystical after the Art Minds Clear Wax is applied.  Low grit sandpaper to distress.  Also used a screw driver, drill and a rubber mallet for removing the laminated center piece, where butterfly fabric from Hobby Lobby was applied with an adequate layer of Modge Podge to seal. Simple effort – stunning results!
   70stop    new2  new3  supplies

Craft time!

Recently, Thrifty Rehab partnered with Muy Bueno to make some beautiful crepe paper flowers for Dia de los Muertos.  The flowers are amazing and you too can easily create them! Go to Muy Bueno for DIY (do it yourself) instructions.

Turquoise Metal Plant Stand

I love how this metal plant stand turned out; click on the images to see more detail.  I found this at a little obscure place near my Dad’s home, simply called Global Thrift.  Unlike the typically neglected pieces I find, this one had been loved, painted and even bead-dazzled!  Someone obviously admired this stand too.  I wish I would have gotten a good image of the beads/gems that were glued on, however you can see where they once were in the before image below.

This was sprayed with Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer, color: Surf, finish: Matte.  The color is so nice that I incorporated it into a few more projects forthcoming, so stay tuned!  After the paint dried, it was distressed with 80 gauge sandpaper and then finished with dark wax.  I hope to work with many more metal pieces as they produce quick & beautiful results!

Original plant stand = $4, spray paint = $4


Vintage Scrolly Shelves

While visiting grandma in Loveland, CO we found this gorgeous 5-tiered shelf at the ARC.  Who could pass up this beauty?!  I typically have a $30 MAX budget on any one piece; this was my first “expensive” piece at $30. I had my kids pick this up so I could look at the bottom which was filled with spider webs and dead things. Because of this, they wanted me to leave it, but yah, NO —  this shelf needed me as much as I needed it!

I spent a long time trying to decide what to do with this piece as it was clearly, already awesome.  The dark wood is always pretty, but I decided that I wanted to lighten her up.  Since she is so spectacular and curvy, I used Annie Sloan’s more expensive Antique White to finish.  The backing needed to be replaced; I covered it with interesting fabric and love the final product!  Hope you do too!