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Feb 18 / Jamie


Peg Board

There are few things I enjoy more than going to the thrift store.  I can remember this being a favorite activity of mine from the time I was a young girl.  There is just something about the hunt, the lure of the undiscovered, and the unquestioning truth behind the statement tat one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  When I was 18 I found a 10-inch Griswold cast iron skillet for $10 in a thrift store in Wisconsin (I just checked ebay and it seems like the going rate is $150).  It was in perfect condition and may be my greatest find, ever. We cook with it all the time and tonight I used it to make bacon and eggs since we had breakfast for dinner.


Our local Goodwill is an amazing source of incredible finds (I found these amazing holiday plates and mugs there last December).  I actually don’t go very often, mostly because there is little that we actually need, and also because whenever I do go, I end up coming home with a car filled with too much stuff that I just couldn’t pass by.  Honestly, if money, space, and time were not factors (HA!) I would probably go every single week.  As it currently stands, my trips there are entirely dictated by the wardrobe needs of our children.  I swear that Big J grew two inches over the last two months and the only pants he had that fit him were pajamas and soccer pants.  I do like to keep my children semi-presentable while in public, so we headed to the Goodwill with the intention of buying him several pairs of jeans and trousers and maybe some new sneakers.


To say that my children love the “recycle store” (as we have affectionately and accurately named it) would be a severe understatement.  I think they could spend hours in the toy aisle which is always cascading with the most random assortment of cheap plastic crap and amazing vintage toys you could ever imagine.  They have found some very cool things, from a set of Voltron characters to a huge plastic dollhouse McMansion that was $4(!!!) to a huge stack of brand new board games (great ones like Exago and several other strategy games which is always our favorite kind).  On this trip, I found the set of pegboards seen below.  For $3.99.  I think there are about 20 boards in the box and they came with a small bag of pegs.  I checked online and one etsy seller has them listed for $6/board, so it seems like I found a good deal.  This is the part were I become for a moment *that* mom, but later that day after I came down from Baby M’s nap, I found the two big kids sitting at the counter diligently putting in pegs and telling me they had each made up a new game and wouldn’t I like to play?  Yes, please!

Peg Board

Miss C found a stuffed puppy to add to her growing collection, Baby M found a new toy bus, and we picked up 6 pairs of pants for Big J for the astonishing figure of $16.  I also snagged a pair of crocs and some ice skates for Miss C for next year.  But the biggest finds of the day came in the form of a Polaroid Land Model 100 instant pack camera for $4 which I quickly snagged for Mike and a Singer sewing machine in a mid-century modern cabinet that I didn’t get and left the store kicking myself about (but there’s a happy ending regarding the Singer).

Polaroid Land Model 100

Update: Mike got his first snapshot with his “new” camera.  Awesome!

Polaroid Instant Print
There is no question that some things were built much better fifty years ago than things built today.  Products were made to last and be durable.  We got a Royal Mercury portable typewriter a few trips ago and it works great.  The kids love it and find it fascinating.  Mike ordered a battery and film for his camera and hope to try it out soon.  If I had had more time and fewer children and been driving our other car, I think I would have brought the sewing machine then and there.  I didn’t write down a model number, but I knew it was likely a 1960s Singer based on the styling.  I told Mike about it and he chastised me for not picking it up.  I went to work that evening with plans to go back first thing the next morning to get it.  Of course, when I got home, Mike had beaten me to it.  He had loaded up all three children and drove to get the sewing machine and had set it up in the dining room.  So shocked and amazed.

Singer 600 Auto Reel

The machine looks to be in good condition.  The motor runs, but it clearly needs a thorough cleaning and oiling.  There were no presser feet and the front tension dial was missing, but thankfully, since this is a Singer 600 Auto Reel, a very common and popular model, getting replacement parts was very easy.  Hopefully, Mike (and Big J) will be able to take it apart and clean it over the weekend so that when the parts get here early next week, we can try it out.  We also have a few good sewing machine dealers/repair shops near us, so if we run into trouble, we can take it in. The cabinet is in pretty good shape, I will also try to buff it up and give it a good polish.  It was $50, which seemed expensive by Goodwill standards, but it a very fair price for what we got.  Maybe someone there knew 😉

Singer 600 Auto Reel

I really can’t wait to try it out, I have been watching videos on YouTube of people with the same machine and it just seems like a work horse.  I like the Brother machine I use now, but I use it a lot and I am worried it won’t last much longer.  Plastic gears are really rubbish. I made a new board on Pinterest for info about the machine, thankfully there seem to be a number of enthusiasts out there. You can also see more pics of the machine in our Flickr stream, where we hope to document the cleaning and restoration process.

There is nothing better than a successful trip to a second-hand store.  I wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors.


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  1. 1
    Jamie / Feb 18 2012

    Our local Salvation Army store is almost everything half off on Wednesdays. I get my kids the cutest $2 dresses and I’ve bought myself quite my fair share of jeans! It is about an hour from our house so we don’t go that often, but I love it! On my first trip I found a numbered lithograph for $.49 that is worth between $700 and $3000 that I’ve seen on Ebay. I was hooked after that!

    • 1.1
      Jamie / Feb 25 2012

      Wow, that is a once-in-a-lifetime find!

  2. 2
    Jamie Lee / Feb 18 2012

    Oh, I meant to tell you, too, that we call the Salvation Army store the “Treasure Store.” I let my kids pick “treasures” when they go, so everyone cooperates nicely (since I have 3 kids ages 6 and younger, it can be tricky driving so far and shopping for a while and keeping everyone in good spirits). The store has a huge section of knick-knacks, so my kids have their “collection” on an old CD tower I bought at a yardsale and repainted and lined with contact paper. Sometimes the knick knacks drive me crazy, but it works!

    • 2.1
      Jamie / Feb 25 2012

      That’s a great idea. I think the kids love being able to pick up little treasures.

  3. 3
    Jenny / Feb 19 2012

    whoa! what a great trip to the recylce store!
    i particularly love those peg boards!! lucky you! those kinds of toys just never go out of style in my opinion! you have me itching to make a few rounds at our thrift stores!

  4. 4
    Jamie / Feb 25 2012

    I love those pegboards as well. I went back to the thrift store that weekend and found ANOTHER Singer, a 603e touch and sew, this one in perfect condition!

  5. 5
    Katie / Mar 2 2012

    Oh my! I love that sewing machine cabinet! 🙂

    • 5.1
      Jamie / Mar 5 2012

      Thanks, it was an amazing find!

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