Thursday, July 12, 2012

A $1 Treasure Hunt

Let's bring the party back to the words "Tea Party," shall we? I've always loved the look of vintage teacups repurposed as planters, so in an effort to keep costs down for wedding decor, I've embarked on a quest for teacups to use in lieu of vases for our bar and guestbook table centerpieces. Wedding flower arrangements can cost around $75-100 each, so you can imagine how that really starts to add up for 18 tables. Throw in the bar, the guestbook table, and cocktail tables to dress and you're running into the tens of thousands for flowers that'll die in a day.

And that's why I heart succulents -- they're hardy, adorable, they thrive on neglect, and people can take them home as favors. Check out the magic you can do:




Sold! A trip to the Melrose Trading Post, the outdoor antiques market that pops up every Sunday on Fairfax and Melrose Avenue, yielded a few cool picks for potential succulent containers. Melrose Trading Post is usually pretty hit or miss, more often than not landing on the "miss" side. But if you get there early enough, you can find some good treasures. With my innate Chinese bargaining skills, I got these for roughly $1 each. All were made either in England, the U.S., or Japan.

Made in England

These blue and white cups are by Pennsbury Pottery, which I didn't know about when I bought them--I just thought the etched blue designs were very cute and Americana-y. Turns out it's a Pennsylvania (Amish)-based company that produced lots of art pottery from 1950 until 1970, when the factory burned down. On eBay, some of their single mugs go for as much as $20 each.


These pretty Japanese teacups with gold designs were bargained down from $3 to $1.50 each for a set of five. The seller was a very nice Japanese lady who seemed happy to part with her wares. Maybe they're haunted.
Can anyone read the Japanese brand?
Emma and Pilsen are both amazed by my finds
After exhausting the Melrose Trading Post, I decided to check in an unlikely place: The Jewish Women's Council Thrift Shop, set right in the heart of Little Ethiopia down the street on Fairfax. A little digging and I found these gorgeous British espresso cups, and a few vintage books to use as stacked centerpiece elevation. These were also $1 each.


That's a Howe grade school reader up top, dated 1917 and stamped with students' names from the era. On Etsy, these are going for about $10 a piece. The second book down is totes appropriate for me: The Village Bride of Beverly Hills (it's not vintage, but it's very wedding-esque, right?)
A sneak peek into the Howe Reader:

Bob and Ella gonna meet Obama!
 I also picked up a 1918 copy of The Magnificent Ambersons, the Pulitzer-winning novel by Booth Tarkington, which was later adapted into a movie in 1942 by Orson Welles (and, I feel, probably influential in some way or the other on Wes Anderson's similarly titled The Royal Tenenbaums). A quick online search shows that 1st edition copies of this are going from $100-$450. Not sure which edition I got, but it's dated the year of publication and I got it for $1!

 Lastly, James Boswell's London Journal. A little snoreworthy, but pretty.


 As I was paying, I spotted these silver Indian goblets behind the counter.
They reminded me of this picture I'd pinned on Polyvore a few weeks ago:


So I snatched up those suckas for $1 each. They can make cute decorative touches for our dessert table as well. (Did I mention we're having a dessert table?!)


Here's my attempt #1. I just used succulent cuttings from my garden, but I think if I get smaller, cuter, stubbier ones they'll work juuuuust fine.