Friday, August 7, 2009

The Gift of Thrift: Freshly Squeezed

Once again the gods of thrift were watching over me as I recently hit the thrift shops in Austin, Texas. I was seeking one item: a platter upon which to serve my pineapple upside-down cake at a celebration for The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage details, hosted by Leann Stephenson, The (might I add FABULOUS to her name) Vintage Laundress.

I found my cake's serving platter in nothing flat, knowing that my thrift karma was in good shape. But while was rummaging through all the dishes and odd plates, I found a little plastic bag of metal coasters for $1 celebrating the state of Florida. Immediately, it reminded me of my pal Mark Ciolli, principal at Carl & Co., who when he's not in New York, resides in his gorgeous Fort Lauderdale home.

I simply bought these because I loved them, and know how much Mark adores his Florida get-away. So I stacked them up, wrapped a satin bow on the set, and stuck them in my bag to offer Mark as an appreciation gift, not knowing that the six metal coasters would have much more significance to him.

Mark remembers as a kid growing up in the 1970s spying these metal coasters for sale in the 1970s at the Tasty House restaurant and gift shops, which were part of the brand-new-at-the-time Days Inn hotel chain., where Mark's dad was vice president/director of openings and operations.

For me, the coasters bring back fond memories of my family's trip to trip to Orlando, Florida, also in the mid-1970s. We drove all the way from Independence, Mo, in our 1973 Chevrolet Impala to Orlando, which must have been a two-day trip of full-time driving knowing how my dad likes to drive. It was the first time I touched the sandy beach of the ocean, and just the second time we'd ever stayed in a motel. And off course, we went to Disney World where Space Mountain was a fantastically scary roller coaster for a 10-year-old.

For more vintage memories, pick up The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating with Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon or Powell's.

Here's to many more memories of summer fun!

The Elegant Thrifter

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

Programing Note: I'll be on the New York edition of Open House, 8:30 a.m. this Sunday, August 9, on NBC Channel 4. Crank up the DVR!


  1. I love the coasters! I always buy everything vintage Florida for sweethomewherever!

  2. Isn't it funny how some of the things we come across while out thrifting uncovers buried memories of our childhood? I'm sure your friend will love these coasters - the bow you added just makes them all the more special!

    I'm glad you found your platter! It's amazing how we can find just what we need {or want}. My daughter needed to read the Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman over the summer for school and true to form, we waited until the last possible minute to pick up a copy. I was just going to order a copy online but while rummaging through a used and rare book store in Louisville last week, we found it - and right after she said "We're probably not going to find it in here." And too, a couple of weeks ago I was looking at my newish paperback copy of Nicholas Nickleby thinking about how lovely it would be to have an old copy. Lo & behold, I found an 1848 copy in the same bookstore.

    Ode to serendipity!



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