The Clown Music Box



Every visit to my grandmother's house I would ask to see it, "Can we look at my necklace, Grandma?"

My grandmother had a teething necklace that she'd worn as a baby--the kind of thing that would be a choking hazard today, for sure--that she kept carefully tucked away in her jewelry box.  In the middle of the copper-colored disc, in addition to the tiny teeth marks, there was a small engraved "M".  Since my name started with an "M", too, she'd promised it to me from the time I was very young.

When she moved to an assisted living facility several years ago, she finally told me to take it home.  I wear it every once in awhile, but it's much less exciting to pull it out of my own jewelry box.

That same grandmother sent me this music box.  I had a small collection of music boxes for awhile when I was a little girl, but somehow this is the only one that's survived.  We played it a lot when the Kid was little to help him drift off to sleep.

Now it mostly sits on my dresser, but every once in awhile the Kid will ask to take it down and play with it.  We have very few things that he has to be careful with, but he generally remembers that this is one.  He carefully winds the key, and then watches with big eyes as the clown and dog spin.

"Someday, this will be yours," I tell him, "But for right now it still belongs to mommy." 

"But when can I have it?" he asks impatiently, just like I once did with another family heirloom.

"Maybe someday when you're a daddy yourself."

He laughs as if I'm telling him a funny joke, and goes off to play with his trucks.

I laugh--a little less hard--at the idea of him every being that grown up, too, and then I carefully put the music box on top of my dresser to keep safe for him until then.

Record Player Rescue Assistance Needed



I've been asking the thrifting gods for a record player for a few years now.  I know that I could just go buy one, but that feels like cheating.  I kinda want one to just find me.

And I thought it had, late last week, when my co-worker was cleaning out his office and had one to give away.  It was a little bigger than I would have liked, perhaps, but I loved the story that it had belonged to his grandparents.  He knew that the radio still worked, but wasn't sure about the turntable.  To sweeten the deal, he even hauled it out to my car for me.

Sweet Husband eyed my find skeptically.  "You say you think it works?" he raised an eyebrow.

"Only one way to find out," I replied.  "Go grab a record."

As we hadn't actually owned a record player--up to this point, I suppose--our selection was limited.  Sweet Husband came back with Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails.  As he slid the record out of it's sleeve, I couldn't help but be amused by the idea that this was probably quite different than the last record my co-worker's grandparents had played.

But the turntable was spinning, which was a good sign, and I was quite optimistic until we put the needle down.

Trent Reznor sounded like he had sucked the air out of helium balloon.

Obviously, the record was playing too fast, but there isn't a switch to change the speed.  Subsequent googling has also been no help, so I thought I'd put it to you all.

Does anyone know anything about old record players?  If so, is there a way to slow this one down and make it usable?  Or am I still questing for an old record player?

My Sure Fire Trick for Finding Thrifting Goodies




Are you ready for this?

Are you sure?

Alright, here goes....

Accidentally leave your wallet at home.

I just intended to run to the park to snap a few photos of Sweet Sister--that's why I didn't worry about bringing money.  But then we were all alone and driving right by the antique mall.  I like to look; she doesn't mind.  We swung into a parking space and headed inside for a quick walk through.

And then I found the little ironing board up top there.  And a few quilts that were inexpensive and in good shape.  And various and sundry other things that called out to me.  (None that we needed of course, but, you know, fun stuff.)

I was sad, but not really sad, until I saw that "Thomas" lunchbox.  

"That would make such a perfect Easter basket for the Kid!" I lamented to Sweet Sister.  But neither of us had even a dollar to bargain with, so we went home.

Once there, I put a bug in Nice Mom's ear.  "If you need an Easter idea for your grandson...."

"Well, let's go back and get it then," was her take charge reply.

"Now?" I asked, as if the antique mall were miles away instead of a few blocks.

"Right now!" she already had her keys and wallet in hand.

So we went right back, this time with cash in hand.

Of course, with actual money I could have grabbed a quilt or a jar or a cutie, tiny ironing board.  But I guess it turned out that all I really wanted was that little lunchbox, after all.

Antiques Road Trip

Is that the name of a television show?  I think it might be close, maybe?

In any event, we had our own version this weekend.

Sweet Husband had a surprise Saturday off, so we decided to head down to an antique store I'd heard was good.  I had been wanting to hit it up all summer, but--since it was about 2 hours away--we just hadn't quite made it yet.

I was hoping to find a new quilt, but unfortunately it was a bit of a bust in that department.

However, the Kid made out like a bandit with this old, mechanical train engine. And the ladies running the shop were so sweet to him, plying him with cookies and promising to mail along a spare engineer hat.

I ended up eventually finding a little, blue pyrex bowl (the one in the fourth picture).  I'll admit that I mostly bought it out of obligation--couldn't travel all that way to come home empty-handed--but I believe it will be nice for soups and oatmeal and things this winter.  I suppose that's at least zone-of-victory, right?

My New/Old Cutting Board


I was at the farmers' market...oh, a few weeks ago, when I noticed a man selling cutting boards and wooden utensils.  His boards were beautiful, so I stopped to chat.

"I really like this one," I pointed to a board that was a simple, single, solid piece of wood.

"Oh that," he replied, "That one's just meant to be decorative.  Like for a cheese board.  If you want a board to use you need something like this."  He indicated a much fancier board that was obviously several pieces of wood joined together.

"Hm," I frowned.  "Well, I have one like that, but it's falling apart.  I kind of want one that's pretty solid."

"Well, do you abuse it?"

"Yes, we use it pretty hard--several times a day on most days."

"But do you wash it in the dishwasher?"

"Oh my goodness!  Are there people that really do that?"  

He gave me a warm smile, "I'm pretty sure you don't abuse your cutting board."

We went on to talk about keeping the board moist--mineral oil or beeswax--and I ended up taking his card, thinking that--while his boards were too expensive for a whim--maybe I'd plant the idea in Sweet Husband's head as a Christmas present for me.

Then, the Kid and I wandered off to a church rummage sale.  

I was specifically looking for another jackpot of cloth napkins, which I had absolutely no luck on.  But deep amidst the weeds of the kitchen items, buried under two teapots, I found the cutting board I was looking for instead.

 It's not a perfectly solid piece of wood, but it appeared to have stood the test of time well enough for me to be convinced of its sturdiness.  Plus, it had all sorts of character--little scuffs and dings, a ring that I suspect may be from using it to cool too-hot pies, a few possible crayon marks.  

It was marked $3, but since it was half-price day it was only $1.50.  A little vinegar to sterilize it, and a little beeswax oil (a.k.a. spoon oil) to bring out the shine, and it was just the cutting board I had been looking for.