Thursday, April 12, 2012

Low-Cost Fancy!!!

My niece was  here a few weeks ago and we got out the punch set. The punch set ties into my Seekerville post today, because it cost $2.97 from Eckerd's or Rite Aid or some such a VERY LONG TIME AGO!!!! It was a Christmas present from Dave's sister Beverly and I've used it multiple times, every year, for every purpose known to man...

And it survived all these years. See the gold "carnival" glass look?

Haley calls it 'fancy'.  And she sighed and said "Aunt Ruth has such nice things..." with a hint of longing in her voice.

I was no way, no how about to correct her, LOL!

And my grandkids LOVE THESE CUPS.  They sparkle. They reflect the light. The punch shimmers inside!!!!!


I love simple things that stand the test of time, so do you have any cool things you bring out for special occasions? They don't have to be pricey, just something that makes a memory?

Here's a pic of the cupcakes my daughter-in-law Lacey made for Easter:

Simple. Making memories. Not necessarily spending more money.

Jon made fancy Jello, like my mother-in-law used to make for my kids... And Emma LOVED IT!!!

 Layered Jello, sparkling in glassware. That's pretty fancy-schmancy in six-year-old world!

So what fun things do you like to do to make things special?  Share them with us... Over really good coffee and tea, of course!


  1. Love that fancy punch set! I'm impressed you actually own a punch set! I don't even own glasses. We drink everything from mugs in my house -- even juice. But they are happy coloured mugs with cheery stripes or polka dots to make them fancy!

    Most of of my special stuff comes from garage sales. We have this posh downtown neighbourhood that holds a garage sale every year at the end of May. You wouldn't believe the precious treasures available for a buck or two. Sigh.

    I'm always on the look out for pretty table cloths that I could never afford brand new. I've got a nice collection of trendy ones thanks to that garage sale. Just putting one on the table screams special to me. And I don't just wait for a holiday or company to pull them out!

    And I got this uber cool tiered dessert thingy -- not sure what it's really called, but it's the kind they use in fancy restaurants to present their desserts or tea sandwiches on. I always feel so elegant when I pull that out! I think I paid 75 cents for it.

    Oh -- and I got these neat coiled copper Christmas tree ornaments. Hard to describe -- thin length of copper scrolled into shapes like hearts or circles or cones with a gemstone meshed in somewhere and they're hung by pretty bronzy sheer ribbon. Well, I thought they were too pretty to hide away most of the year so I attached them to the edge of my wicker lampshade and voila -- fancy smancy all year round. It makes me smile just to look at them. Can you tell that the only male living in my house is a neutered one? :-)

    1. Kav, it might be worth a trip to NYC just for that garage sale!

    2. You'd have to go farther than NYC, Jan -- I'm up in Canada! But it's an awesome garage sale with antiques and everything -- mega city blocks long and wide and less than a month away!!!!

    3. Why was I thinking NYC? It must be the urban atmosphere...

    4. Oh, Kav, I love the wicker lampshade decorations! It reminds me of Pollyanna, when she took off all the candelabra prismed drops and hung them around the room to make rainbows for the old man!!! You've made me smile!

      Jan, we can go to Canada together! We'll drop in on Kav and Sue Mason. They must be like... neighbors. Because they're both in Canada!!!

    5. Ruthy! What a great idea! Valerie Comer lives in Canada, too!

      After all, how big can Canada be, eh?

    6. LOL! Just watched the video!!!! Hysterical. I live in Canada and I never saw that before...or heard of the Arrogant Worms. Honestly, you'd think my nose was in a book all the time!

    7. That's me in NYC, Jan! You're welcome to come visit. We have the Brooklyn Flea - a huge outdoor flea market with really cool stuff.

  2. Fancy is so fun. Low-cost fancy is even better. However, fancy seems lost on teenage boys. At least in my house. If we eat in the dining room any other time but Thanksgiving or Christmas, they wanna know "how come."

    I have loads of glassware, and I love dressing it up or using it in unexpected ways. At Christmas, I sometimes fill plain old Mason jars with red and green spice drops or red and green M & M's. It's a simple splash of festive color that, when grouped together, makes a big impact. Even candy canes in a small jar or vase. All it takes is a little thinking outside of the box.

    1. Mindy, I love doing that too. Mason jars filled with stuff are just quintessential awesome.

      My sister-in-law used to have the counter FULL of Mason jars, stocked with all the candies my brother loved... Sean's got my sweet tooth. We could live on cookies.

      But now he's behaving more. Sigh... He bakes a dozen cookies a day so he has fresh cookies and the candy jars are gone.

      And he's in great shape. Brat. And just retired. Which means he should visit me more often, right????

    2. Mason jars? You mean you can use them for more than tomatoes and beans?

      Just kidding - I love to use the old mason jars for flowers. Green ones, super thick ones, brands that no longer exist...

    3. Yes! Fresh flowers in a Mason jar on one of my favorites too. Makes me feel so Little House on the Prairie -ish.

  3. By the way, I love your Carnival glass punch set, Ruthy.

  4. Sigh. Moving has taken its toll on pretty things at our house.

    But it's still just stuff, right?

    A couple weeks ago when we were visiting in MI and IN, my Dad wanted my brother and I to go through his stuff he had set aside for the estate sale this summer (Dad's moving into an independent living apartment in the same complex where my Mom is). Wow. He had stuff that both sets of my grandparents had saved, plus stuff he and Mom had collected over the years...and my brother and SIL are not sentimental people.

    We filled the van.



    My uncle's baby booties - the uncle who left home nearly fifty years ago, abandoning wife and children, and breaking his mother's heart. I keep the baby booties because they meant so much to her.

    A great-uncle's baby dress - he died at age 9 months from complications of bronchitis when the doctor couldn't get to the house because of a blizzard.

    Wooden spoons and a wooden butter paddle that generations of my female relatives have used in their kitchens.

    The dresser scarf my grandmother always had on her dresser.

    The silver coin purse Aunt Hattie (the flapper! How scandalous!) gave my grandmother when she graduated from grade school in 1914.

    My Mom's engagement ring - enough gold and diamond in it to maybe - MAYBE - buy a hamburger at McDonalds (my family has never had money...except for Aunt Hattie), but a treasure nonetheless. I'll pass it on to my daughter someday.

    And one thing I will always use for special holiday meals - the covered glass dish my Mom always used for jello salads on holidays. (But I will never, never make jello salads with celery and/or mayonnaise in it!).

    But the whole experience made me reflect on what makes a treasure a treasure - it isn't the value of what they're made of, but the memories of the people wrapped up in them - woven into the very fabric and ingrained in the wood darkened with generations of use.

    On the other hand, if I win tickets to Antiques Road Show (coming our way in July), I'll take my Mom's paper dolls from Gone With the Wind. Rhett and Scarlett and all their finery, carefully preserved by my grandmother since the 1930's.

    It will be interesting to see which is more valuable - the paper dolls or Aunt Hattie's silver coin purse :)

    1. Oh Jan, I'm drooling! Such a wonderful family legacy! And all those hints of stories are such scope for the imagination! I'm betting on the Gone With the Wind paper dolls being more valuable. I loved playing with paper dolls!!! Do they even make them any more?

    2. Oh Kav, check this website out:

      Just the most beautiful paper dolls ever!

    3. Oh, I loved paper dolls, too! Fancy colonial ones with beautiful gowns... Or modern girls with pretty hair and clothes! And Betsy McCall, the free paper doll that came with McCall's Magazine!!! My aunt would save each issue and let me cut out Betsy's monthly wardrobe.

      I loved it!!!

    4. Jan, those paper dolls are AWESOME! I could see me playacting with my characters.

  5. Ruthy I think my mother had a punch bowl like that. It wouldn't surprise me if she picked it up at a yard sale.

    The thing we have most of is --- drumroll ---


    Is anyone surprised?

    When my girls were growing up, whenever they had research to do, the first question was, "Daddy, do we have a book on ....?"

    Invariable the answer was not yes or no but how many do you need?

    Still, with all those books, my favorite is a copy of Godey's Lady's Book from 1867. My husband inherited it from his mother.

  6. What fun! I'm pretty sure my mom got me my punch bowl from a garage sale. But it's just plain, clear glass. Still fun to use! I need to share a strawberry punch recipe soon.

    I'm loving all the stories of the collectibles! I love to use my grandmother's china. And odds and ends she gave me like doilies and table linens.

  7. hmm I can 't think of anything. my mom had lots of 'fancy' stuff but we never used it. I remember the 'dining room table search' and how we used it maybe 10 times my entire life. the 'special' china was seldom pulled out (plus it's ugly IMO) and here I am reaching the point my brother and I need to go through my parents' stuff yet nothing that was special enough for her to put up for 'someday' was ever special to me since I don't have many memories associated with it except 'don't touch' :-( so a bit of topic change - what do you keep in a situation like this? do I continue to hang onto stuff because my mom did? or just let it go? I don't have kids to pass anything to.