Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vintage Thrifting in Central Florida, a Pictorial

As my husband explained to my Father-in-Law outside of the Ocala, Florida Goodwill Thrift Store, “This is Amy’s Fenway Park.”

As a little girl in the decadent 1980s, I resented that my mother bought so much of our goods at thrift stores. Nowadays, I’m simply grateful for having inherited her serious skills in the art of thrifting. I don’t like to boast, but I can find treasures in even the bleakest of second hand stores. Wasteland deserts of flea markets and yard sales turn to gilded gardens under my gaze. The trick is, of course, that I’m likely looking for things others could care less about. You can have your auction worthy antiques and collectibles. I’ll take diamonds in the rough, thank you very much. Lately, I have a passion for vintage fabric and crafting materials, stuff I can refashion into objects of considerable desire. Here is what I procured on our recent family vacation to Central Florida. Not all the items I found on this trip can be strictly categorized as vintage—some are best described merely as ‘used.’ However, I was picky and only took home those things that spoke to my soul. An intimate bounty, to be sure, but nonetheless charming.

On the way home from a lovely tour of the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm, we made a stop for Mexican food in the small town of Dunnellon, Florida, which happened to be dotted with thrift stores. Knowing I couldn’t convince my companions to visit every single one, I chose a shop that looked as if it had the widest variety of wares. Painted on the building was one word: Thrift. Good enough for me. Lucky me to have found these two bundles of vintage fabric—$2.50 for the orange flowered cotton and $1.00 for the brown.

And these yarn rope wooden dolls. I’m sure they have a proper name for their use, but I’d never seen such a thing before. My Mother-in-Law explained to me that one wraps yarn around the little nails, flips each loop over the other, and eventually, through the hole in the middle, a rope of yarn is formed. $1.35 each. Delightful!

A new day and the next stop was the Hospice Thrift Store in Ocala, Florida. Not wanting to take advantage of my Husband and Father-in-Law’s generosity in driving me around, it behooved me to hustle in and out of each store visited. There were two on the agenda that day and The Hospice Thrift Store was pocket sized, making shopping at a clip all the easier. Lucky for me, I came across this perfect little vintage hankie from Liberty of London for $2.00. Love at first site.

I also spied this unusual Victorian-esque framed butterfly in the fifty cent bin. Yes, please.

Later that day, at the Ocala Goodwill, I found this truly radical LL Bean anchor skirt, just a few seasons old, in my pre-pregnancy size for $4.50 and this Super-Country, baby-sized, homemade quilt for $2.00. They also had an amazing pair of new, old-stock Bass boat loafers, circa 1978 in size 9. While they were two sizes too large for my wear, I would have snatched them up right quick, were it not for the $12.50 price tag. Though I found them on the rack without a tag, the kicker was that when I requested the price, the manager took a good look at my husband and I, whispered something to the cashier, and then proceeded to quote an amount far above the other shoes available. City folk. She saw us coming a mile away.

Onto Lady Lake, Florida for the small consignment shop, New2U. Normally, I don’t care for the previously sorted, curated stock of consignment stores, but I came across something I couldn’t live without at this one. I have a collection of Vera brand scarves that started with a set of graphic psychedelic napkins purchased at this church thrift shop ten years ago. Since then I’ve acquired half a dozen or so scarves. I’ve gotten really good at spotting Vera prints with remarkable accuracy. This one was a classic at $2.00.

Next stop was by far my favorite of all Central Florida second hand stores: Ye Olde Thrift Shoppe. First of all, the name is truly kitsch-tacular. It is run as an auxiliary by volunteers—always the best kind of second hand shop, for my money. The store resides in a sweet, little house whose insides found me overwhelmed with heart-racing, gather-hungry fever. In an old upright trunk, I found the following pairs of gloves, my favorite is the long felted, mossy green pair for $1.00. The most expensive of the set was the long, pale pink pair selling for $2.00.

In the same trunk I found two coordinating Vera brand chiffon scarves for $1.00 each. Major win.

This super sweet kerchief with a repeating green pattern of village houses. Again, $1.00. Love.

And these lovely interchangeable purse bags missing their button-on wooden handle. Nevermind, the lining fabric is worth the $1.00 per.

Also was scored in the very messy and unorganized—and therefore wonderfully dreamy to rummage through—section of the Shoppe, these lovely boards of rick-rack, of which I have a particular fondness. Fifty cents a piece.

A thick and old spool of orange-red, stiff, burlap-like ribbon for $1.75.

A pack of 100% cotton pipe cleaners, perfect for crafting. Or cleaning your pipe. Thirty-five cents.

A gaggle of “Craft Circles” for fifty cents, perfect for making lovely little things like this.

And who can resist a vintage unicorn appliqué for ten pennies? “Not I,” said the fly.

Upstairs found me some darling, deep brown flowered table napkins—$1.50 for the set.

And a twin flat sheet of the prettiest pink flowers for just $2.00. So many things to be made from this beauty.

And just when I thought my thrifting was done in Florida, at an early morning yard sale in the retirement community of The Villages (we commuted around by golf cart!) I came across this impossible find: A Wilton cake decorating storage case teeming with cake decorating goodies—all for $2.00! That’s two dollars, Folks. No zeros missing. A special shout out to my friend Denise Delaney and her awesome blog, The Iced Queen, for inspiring this new interest—as if I needed another interest to occupy my time.

I would call this vacation a thrifting triumph. What made all of these rather disparate purchases seem like destiny was that they all fit nicely into the three suitcases we had budgeted for. What sent the whole scenario into the stuff of legend? The airline didn’t charge us the standard $60.00 for the third bag. Gorgeous.


  1. triumph indeed! we have one of those wooden mushroom weavers, tobias had them when he was a kid and called the act 'corking'. made a scarf for a penguin once..

    1. So fabulous! So is it a corker??? Love it.

    2. tobias confirmed 'corker' and with some crafty googling i got 'knitting knobby','spool knitter' and 'french knitting' plus look at this turtle! http://www.grandriveryarns.com/accessoriesjpg/Corkette-samples-L.jpg