Welcome to my blog! Here is where you'll finding me rambling about a variety of subjects, including my family, vintage, thrifting, Etsy shops I love, and more!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What are the Chances!?

Okay, so I was at antique shop a few years ago, and I saw a basket of old photographs, and decided to look through them.  I always find them so interesting, and wonder about the people in them.

But one picture jumped right out at me!  It was handsome Gary, I guy I worked with like 20 years ago!  He lives in the same town as us and his kids go to the same school my kids do/have, so I see him occassionally, but we haven't really had time to chat much.

When I found this picture I tried to do some research on Gary's family, to see if it was actually a member of Gary's family.  After trying for awhile, I didn't come up with too much, but I still knew he had to be related to Gary, I swear, it looks just like Gary!

So today, I went for my usual Saturday spin class, but the instructor never showed up, so I decided to workout on my own in the gym.  Guess who showed up there!?  Yep! Handsome Gary!  So we talked for awhile and caught up on stuff, and then I told him about the picture! Sure enough, his grandfather was from Sandusky, but I think he said he didn't know much about him.

I'm going to carry this picture with me so the next time I see Gary I can show it to him.  Maybe I can even get a picture of the Gary I know so I can show you just what I mean!

So what are the chances of this happening!?

Enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Love Barbies!

I loved playing with Barbies as a child!  I had quite a collection, that is, until my Mom sold them all when she moved from our house to a condo!  I didn't figure it out until a few years after she had sold them.  That is when I started becoming obsessed with vintage Barbies!  Several years ago, my daughter, Lindsey and I, pretty much had a pasttime of buying vintage Barbies and Barbie clothes! Lindsey ended up with quite a collection, which is stored somewhere in our house right now!

I managed to dig up some of the collection and had put pictures up on Flickr awhile ago.  You can find them at www.flickr.com/jenscloset.

I happened to be at ToysRUs about a week ago (hadn't been in there in such a long time since my kids are older now).  I was there to find a gift for my nephew Bobby, but I just had to check out the Barbies!  I'm so excited, they have a new collection of reproduction Barbies!  So, how could I resist!?  I had to buy this 1964 Ponytail Barbie!  Check out that adorable pink dress (I think I had that one)!

I also have this cute 35th Anniversary 1963 Midge set, and I KNOW I had that dress when I was little! It was one of my favorites!

The cute black Barbie case and Allan box (it's just the box) are the real deal, vintage!  Those are Lindsey's.

Since Lindsey was recently engaged, I thought I'd bring out the pretty repro Barbie the Bride! 

This is really just a tiny percent of our collection. Someday I'll get it all out and play with it!

My birthday is in May, and I'm hoping for another reproduction Barbie!

Have fun-don't forget to play!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I made it into Vogue!

Okay, so it wasn't actually me that made it into Vogue, and it's not the magazine.  But it still is so thrilling!  Check out my milk glass hobnail vase on http://www.vogue.com/!


Hope you like it!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Vintage Research

I don't retain information very well!  Yes, I'm the first to admit that!  I'm lucky I remember my own name! (It's Jen, right?)

I'm always amazed at the information some of my other vintage-seller-friends have stored in their brains!  They've come to my rescue more than once with great info!

I have a pretty good eye when it comes to knowing if something is actually over 20 years old or not.  I buy the things that I love, so if they don't sell, that's okay...I can keep them!

I bring home my loot, and then start researching.  The internet is a good place to start, it's amazing how much good information you can get these days!

I am constantly borrowing books from the library too!  That way, if I find ones I really like, I go on over to Amazon.com to buy them (you can get used books that in in excellent condition, at a great price).

I've acquired quite a collection of research books.  The ones I'm showing now are some of my all time favorites!

Some of my favorite milk glass pieces are Westmoreland and Fenton.

Here's one of my favorite's for researching Westmoreland.

Two of my favorites for researching Fenton: Fenton Art Glass Hobnail Pattern, by Margaret & Kenn Whitmyer, and The Big Book of Fenton Milk Glass 1940-1985, by John Walk.

For my china shop I love this reference book for markings:

Pictorial Guide to Pottery & Porcelain Marks, by Chad Lage

My latest book purchase was The Hazel Atlas Glass Identification & Value Guide, by Cathy & Gene Florence.  I have some many pages marked, as I have several pieces that are listed in this book!

I learn new things everyday about vintage and antiques!  It's fun! 

Happy Hunting!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Front Page Treasury

I rarely have any of my items make the Etsy front page, but I was bored this morning, so I thought I'd check http://www.craftcult.com/ check it out! You can enter your shop name, and it will tell you when you've been on the front page! And there it was....March 11th! and I had no clue!  There were more, but I was too excited to look further, but I'm sure going to check!

Now to check my other two shops!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Opportunity Knocks!

When opportunity knocks, I'm right there to answer the door!

I'm always thrilled when I receive a convo from Adam, from Etsy Press!

When he contacted me a few years ago, it was because Brides Magazine wanted to feature a pair of milk glass candlesticks in their magazine!  I had to ship them via overnight, but it was well worth it.  Brides Magazine was nice enough to send me some of the state Bride Magazines that my candlesticks were featured in!! http://www.mymilkglassshop.etsy.com/ !

I've received a few convos from Adam about some other things, but nothing came of them.

I just received another convo today, and shipped out something to arrive in NYC by 10:30 am tomorrow morning.  I'll give more info on it if anything comes of it!

Adam was surprised at just how fast I was at getting this done!

So when opportunity knocks, open the door!!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've been blogged

Not only was my shop blogged about, but it comes all the way from Norway!

She bought these pretty plates!

and some pretty vintage tea towels!

and the best part...she blogged about my shop!


Check it out if you get a chance!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Happy 14th Birthday Bobby!

I cherish my nephew, Bobby!  I cannot believe he turned 14 today!  I hope he knows he always has my unconditional love.  So does his Mom, my sister (and yes, she's younger, as she loves to point out), Susan!

How cute!

I've wanted to write a blog about Bobby's Dad for quite awhile now.  I thought this was the perfect day!

His name was Steve.  Not only was he so darn cute, but he had such diverse talents!  This guy could take apart a computer in minutes, and put it back together in seconds!  How could that same guy also know how to sew!?  Yes, I said sew!

Steve loved the sweets!

What I remember most fondly about Steve was his warm, genuine hug, everytime we got together!  And that smile, wow!

Steve and Bobby!

I still feel his presence, his warm, sweet presence.

It's true, even if someone you love his gone, physically, they're still in your heart.

One of our summer get togethers

That cannot be taken away.

Younger Steve-so sweet and innocent!

Bobby, I knew you realize what an amazing Dad you had!  I hope I can help to keep the memories of him alive for you!

You are sweet, thoughtful, and intelligent, just like your Dad!  I know he is so proud of you!

I am too!


Aunt Jennifer,

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Count Down to 2000!

I'm so excited!  4 more sales to go in my Etsy shop, until I hit 2000 sales!

I absolutely love running my 3 Etsy shop, Jenscloset (I don't like the name, but I'm stuck with it), was my first!

I've learned so much since 2008! 

I'm forever tweaking my photography, I know that's a must for a good shop!  I still don't get on the Etsy front page treasury too often, so I guess I still need to work on that!

Shipping has been another challenge; not so much the packing of fragile items, but getting an accurate shipping quote, so I'm not loosing money.  I learned the hard way on several occassions through the years.  I've learned to quote for the farthest distances from my zip, and always refund shipping if it does come out to be less.

My last blog was about customer service.  I've always been a stickler for good-no....excellent customer service!  I expect it when I'm purchasing anything, and so I try my hardest to give the best customer service!

Of course, describing the item you're selling is important too!  I do find myself using the same words way too often, such as "lovely", "beautiful", and "elegant".  Guess I need to work on that a bit!

I love every aspect of running my Etsy shops. 

If you know me, you know I love to talk!  That's a good thing, since marketing your shop is so imporant too!  I began twitter as a way to market my shops, but I've gained a bunch of friends from it!  I try not too post my listings too often, that would be considered spam!

I have this blog, plus my "beauty" blog.  Check it out as http://www.fabfortyandbeyond.blogspot.com/ -I'm going to be updating it with a blog about my new favorite mascara!

A lot of research goes into running vintage shops.  I am always learning more, and have my favorite vintage friends (not that I'm calling them old), that help me out from time to time when I'm stumped on a particular item.  I borrow books from the library, and when I find a favorite one, I'll buy it on amazon.com.  Some of my favorites are my milk glass books, and a porcelain marking book.  You can find so much information on the internet as well!

I would say the only negative to my shops, is the storage!  I am forever feeling guilty that our house is now more of a "warehouse" than a home!  Oh, and that brings me to another point!  I have come up with a few ideas for storage and organizing.  I will number a box, and when I list an item, I put that number on the listing, so when I sell it, I can go straight for that box.  I also keep a excel spreadsheet to cross reference. Okay, so that was actually my daughter, Lindsey's idea!

I also have a ton of shelves (thanks to my husband, Bob).  They're even in my living room now!

So, here's to my 2000 sales!!  I wish everyone success!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Excellent Customer Service is so Important!

I appreciate each and every one of my sales!  I try to show my appreciation to my customers in several ways.

The first is to acknowledge the sale as soon as possible, with a friendly convo to thank them for their order and let them know when I will be shipping their item.  (I usually ship within 24 hours of the sale.)

I always add a thank you letter with an offer for 10% off their next order, and 10% off to their friends, if the pass my business cards out to them! 

I wrap in pretty colored tissue paper with a ribbon, so it feels like they're receiving a gift!  After all, we work hard for our money, and when we decide to purchase something, it should feel like a gift!

After I have prepared the label, if there is a shipping refund due them, I will send them a convo with the amount of the credit.

I love the added touches, and most of my customers seem to appreciate it too!

Here's a few of the wonderful feedbacks I've received:

"Great customer service - Jen was patient and willing to work with me (happily grouped 4 items together!) The packaging was great (lots of bubble wrap), as though I was unwrapping a gift! Quick shipping, and quality was as promised."

"Wonderful seller. Great communication! Package shipped quickly, and glassware arrived securly wrapped and undamaged."

"Great seller! I received my earrings within days in a cute gift bag with a personalized note attached. They have a beautiful sparkle, and I can't wait to wear them on my wedding day!"

"Lovely items, just as described, packaged very well, would shop here again!"

I know there are a lot of wonderful vintage (and handmade) shops on Etsy, many of them are my friends.  I want to try to stand out in the crowd as much as possible!
Check out http://www.jenscloset.etsy.com/ http://www.thechinagirl.etsy.com/ and http://www.mymilkglassshop.etsy.com/ -fun vintage for all!
and THANK YOU for visiting my blog!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vintage Wedding Decor

Classic milk glass bud vases!

Perfect elegant decor for weddings!  http://www.mymilkglasshop.etsy.com/ has plenty of milk glass for weddings and showers!

As you can see, I have a huge quantity, and a great variety!
Great variety!

Milk Glass Bud Vases

Be sure to check out my shop!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy B-Day Dad!

My Dad and my daughter Lindsey

What do you give the guy who has everything!?

A blog, of course!

This blog is dedicated to my Dad on his 80th birthday!  Wow, where has the time gone!?

I'll start with a few of my Dad's accomplishments 

My Dad & Mark

My Dad was an Actuary before anyone knew what an actuary was (and I know, most still don't)!

He also started his own actuarial firm back in the last 70's, just at the time he was putting several kids through college (5 kids in our family), and paying for my wedding!  I tried to find the picture of him from my wedding where he was pointing to the pockets in his tux to let everyone know he was now out of money!

He is still well known in the actuarial field, and was quite a salesman in his time!  He literally started the company with no office.  He would make phone calls and have meetings at the Cleveland Athletic Club (which I now believe is gone-I loved that place!).

My Dad, Lindsey, Katherine, and nephew Bobby

And that is where I got the courage to start my own business!  My Dad has always been a very positive and "never say can't" kind of guy!

I am very proud of all he has accomplished, but, when all is said and done, what really matters?


My Dad, me, and some of his grandkids (and his sister the clown!)
My Mom and Dad devoted their lives to raising 5 children, and they did a great job, if I might say so myself!

Being the Dad of 5 kids, he was often called the "toilet paper man" and the "cereal man" at the grocery store!  I'm imaging that it had to be tough financially, but I never felt that growing up.

My Dad would make the most unusual places seem like we were at Disney World! 

My Dad & Lindsey-they were always together!

My favorite memories are of visiting an old run down train station, car rides where he'd pretend he missed our street, a snowy Christmas Eve pulling us on a sled down our road.

So I grew up rich!

Thanks for being the most funnest (and I don't care if that's not a real word) Dad ever!

My Dad at the office

Thanks for the memories!

I love you and Happy Birthday!

Your daughter, Jennifer

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Moelleux au Chocolat

Before I get to this delicious recipe, I must say congrats to my daughter, Lindsey, and her fiance Thomas!  Newly engaged, such exciting news!  Cheers!  We also met Thomas' parents, what an interesting and fun couple!

We were gone for a few days checking out some colleges for my younger daughter, Katherine.  That was fun! 

Lindsey lives in Columbus, so the hostess-with-the-mostest, had us over for dinner Friday night!  My son, Mark, was even able to drive in from his college!

Thomas grilled delicious steaks.  Lindsey made the most incredible pasta primavera (recipe to come soon), and she even made it without cheese, just for my daughter Katherine!  There was also asparagus (one of my favorites).  Oh, I almost forgot the delicous appetizer, mushroom caps (also recipe to come soon)!

But the best was the "Moelleux au Chocolat"!  Translation, hot gooey yummy chocolate cake!  Lindsey even made a homemade caramel sauce to go over it!

She said she gets most of her recipes from cookingchannel.com (and yes, she does get a few from me)!

Here it is (oh, and her fiance described this cake as "life changing"!  Love that guy!

By the way, I ate this so quick I didn't get a chance to take a pic of it, but I did manage to save some of the yummy center!


for the cakes:

2/3 c butter, plus more for greasing
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour

for the caramel sauce:

2/3 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1/3 c plus 2 T cream
squirt lemon juice, to taste

Directions for the cake:

Butter 6 ramekins & line with a disk of parchment paper, & then butter the parchment.  In a double boiler, bowl or saucepan, very gently melt the butter & chocolate together over a water bath.  In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs & sugar until thick, pale & ribbony.  Beat in the flour, and finally the chocolate mixture.  Pour the mixture into the ramekins & chill.

Just before serving, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet, and bake until the top is set, 12-14 minutes.  Remove, let sit 5 minutes, before unmolding onto plates.  Serve with caramel sauce, or icecream would be great too!

For the caramel sauce:

Add a spoonful of water to the sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat & boil to caramel, approx 5 minuts.  Do not stir with a spoon.  Swirl the saucepan over the heat until desired color is achieved.  Don't let it get too dark!  Stir in the butter to melt (careful -it will splatter!), then the cream.  Add a squirt of lemon juice, to taste.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vintage Teapots

Vintage Teapots come in all kinds of styles, colors, and patterns!

This lovely blue floral Ellgreave Wood & Sons is one of my favoites!

This retro periwinkle Hall art-deco type is a true work of art!

This one is in my china shop!  You can't go wrong with classic blue and white from Sadler!

Another pretty blue floral pattern, this one is also a Sadler!

You can find a great selection of teapots and teacups http://www.jenscloset.etsy.com/ as well as my china shop http://www.thechinagirl.etsy.com/.

They make great gifts!  Perfect for wedding showers, and don't forget about Mother's Day just around the corner!

Create a pretty basket with a vintage teapot, teacup & saucers, some great teas, maybe even a good book!  The perfect gift for a sick friend, or just to let them know how much they mean to you!

Maybe I'll create a gift basket and show it off here!  I haven't posted a "Jenny's crappy craft" segment lately!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Rustic Spicy Tomato Soup

You know I love to make soups!  Here's my latest creation!

Saute chopped up white onion in olive oil and butter (can be bigger chunks).

Toss in any of your favorite canned tomatoes.  I added one smaller can of a mexican style chopped tomatoes for spice, a large can of stewed tomatoes (which I broke up a bit), and a smaller can of another type of chopped tomotoes that also had some spice to it.

Add italian seasoning, garlic salt, just a pinch of sugar (test throughout the cooking process to see if it needs a bit more), 1 can of chicken broth, and some salt.  Cook that at medium heat for about 5 minutes and then simmer for at least 15 minutes. 

I think took about a 1/4 of that mixture and put it in the blender with some milk (about 3/4"),you can also used cream, I just didn't have any so I used milk.  Blend that for just a quick few seconds, add it back to the mixture.  Again, take out 1/4 of the mixture, and blend another for seconds, adding a bit more of the milk or cream.  Add it back to your soup pot again and cook for at least 5 minutes more. 

I will test the soup at least a few times during the cooking process to see if it needs more seasoning, sugar, etc.  

I also made some rice separately so I could add a bit of it to anyone who wanted rice in their soup (like me)!

I love this because it still has texture, since the entire soup wasn't blended, there's still some tomato and onion bits!

Perfect anytime of the year!  I often make a big pot of soup so we can have it for lunch during the week!



Sunday, April 3, 2011

My China Shop

Pink & Platinum-Candelite

Asian Flair Platter


Art Deco Style-Tuxedo

Edwin Knowles Chalet Dinner Plates

Crinoline Creamer/Gravy Boat

I made my 100th sale in my 3rd Etsy shop, http://www.thechinagirl.etsy.com/!

I opened it just over a year ago, since I love china and I have quite a collection!  From dinner plates, to teacups and saucers!  Quite a few of my listings have plenty of pieces to match.  I have a variety of colors and styles.  Noritake, Harmony House, Limoges, and more!

I hope you'll get a chance to check it out!

Step lightly!


Friday, April 1, 2011

Your Shoes Untied

April Fools!

Yep, that's about as good as it gets for my April Fools tricks!  I do remember having lots of fun on April Fool's Day as a kid!  Another good one I remember, which of course, I fell for: a boy in my class asked me if I got the letter he mailed to me (I was so excited that he actually sent a letter to me!).  So of course, gullible me said "no", and then he took his foot and stomped on my foot (pretty hard) and said "oh, I forgot to stamp it!" Haha.  I'm guessing that was around 2nd grade!

I found this site for help with your April's Fools Day fun!


Enjoy the day!