Wednesday, August 3, 2016

How Collecting Vintage Dishes and Green Depression Glass Made Life Fun Again!

Anytime someone says “I'm bored!” my instinct is to offer them a bit of advice that once helped me: get a hobby, volunteer somewhere, or start a collection!

That's what I did years ago when life got boring due to a serious illness that forced me to stop working. Rather than whine or expect others to make my world better I took responsibility and found a way to add a bit of fun back into my life. Here's how it all came about.

One day, in need of a break from the routine, I visited a nearby thrift shop. It didn't cost anything to look and perusing the shelves usually proved entertaining, sometimes bringing back sweet memories from my childhood. On this particular day my eyes spotted a small plate with a familiar looking pattern. “Ooh, that looks like the pattern on my grandma's soup tureen from the 1950's which I have in my kitchen cupboard.” To my surprise the antique piece was priced at only 25 cents! Thrilled with my find I quickly bought the dish and thus began my start in collecting vintage dishes by Vernon Kilns.

Over the years I continued to look for the pottery, and now and then would find a dish, or cup, or bowl at a bargain price. Now days it's rare to find them in thrift shops. Most are in antique stores with much higher prices.

Green depression glass, with a swirl pattern, is something else I sought out for a few years. My interest in it stems from six green goblets I inherited from my other grandmother, along with her china. Two of my favorite pieces are the glass on a pedestal and the tiny dessert dish, the perfect size for my daily scoop of ice cream!


Hearing what others collect always intrigues me as there is usually a story behind the collection. My friend, Candy, has nearly 300 restaurant creamers most of which she displays in old Coke bottle wood crates. When I asked why she chose to collect creamers she told me: “Jim (her husband) said 'Okay, but it has to be something that won't take up a lot of space. No more antique furniture!'”

Another friend, Linda, is into frog figurines! Her yard is full of them, and a few can be found in the house. My sister her small bell collection out on display in a hutch, but also considers many of her Christmas ornaments--momentos from places she and her husband have traveled to over the years--her special collection. Tea cups and saucers, salt and pepper shakers, cookbooks, cookie jars, Precious Moments figurines, and Barbie dolls are also popular collectibles by women.


Men are also collectors. A July 10, 2016 Parade magazine article educated us about astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and his 120 ties collection, actor Justin Pinchot's love of vintage cars and toy robots and others. My brother is into rare coins and acquiring every one of Louis L'Amour westerns. And I'm sure we all know some guy who has a huge baseball card, watch, or gun collection. 

Some of the best places to spot a male collector is at the office. I had one boss, an art director, who proudly displayed his wide assortment of pencil toppers on a bookshelf for all to enjoy. Very colorful. Other things I can imagine the male gender collecting might be: Bobble heads, fountain pens, old metal signs, sports memorabilia, first edition books, tools, marbles, old cameras, and even lunch pails.


As for why people collect things . . . there is no one answer. Many do so out of the excitement of the hunt to find a certain item. Others out of a desire to preserve a bit of history which is one of the reasons behind Andre Villa's huge 1950's era collection of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, etc. He began his hobby at the age of eight which now fills up every room in his house. You can catch a glimpse of his huge collection via this Heartbreak Hotel video. 

A couple other reasons people collect objects is simply for their intrinsic beauty that enriches their world. And many collect for investment reasons, such as Dave, a family friend, who since a child has been saving all his Star Wars memorabilia, often preserving them in their original, unopened cases. He is one serious collector.


I don't venture out to thrift stores much these days, but awhile back I spent a few minutes in one and came across a vintage "Mary Had a Little Lamb" child's cup for a mere 50 cents. (Later found it selling for $20 on Ebay.) It fits right in with a few other lambs who are part of my bedroom decor.

Antiquing happens now and then, especially when someone wants to join me for a trip to Granny’s Attic in Temecula, CA. This big warehouse full of treasures from years gone by is a great way to reminisce with a friend as you walk the aisles. It’s amazing how much fun you can have simply by looking and remembering things from your past.

So the next time you find yourself bored, take my advice: choose something to collect and go visit your nearby thrift store.

Have fun hunting.

What do you collect? Would love to hear all about it in the comment box below.


  1. Ha! I have hobbies, collections and volunteer. When my kids tell me they are bored I don't get it. When adults say so it's even more baffling. Now I know why I feel that way. Good article.

  2. I know you knit, are an avid reader and do plenty of volunteering, but have heard what you collect. Ummm, could it be something to do with writing or perhaps pink pigs? Thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to read the piece and leaving a comment.

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  4. Is that my Dave you gave out a shout out to? He does love his Star Wars and Back to the Future collectibles. I started collecting Pyrex dot bowls until I got the whole set of green, blue, yellow, and orange. I'm still a sucker for bowls. Pyrex recently came out with a tribute to these bowls and I bought them as well. I'll try to insert a link to the image, but I'm not sure it'll work. Great blog! [URL=]

    1. Yep, that's your Dave. I tried to get a photo of his collection to include in piece but I was a bit late in asking so had to run without one. Your URL didn't work, but I like things with dots so I'm sure I'd be a fan of your Pyrex bowls. They sound cute. Glad you enjoyed the blog.

  5. I really think those dishes are the ones we use daily, which were my grandmother's. The pattern is Mayflower, I think. They are upstairs and I'm downstairs. Great article. I had a friend who collected giraffes and she got me started collecting pigs..creamers, butter dishes, etc. But I came to my senses and quit! I've also quit collecting books as I'm pretty much all Kindle these days and have been donating them here and there.

  6. The Mayflower is very similar to the Chintz pattern. Must have been a popular brand back in the 40's or 50's. Would love to see a photo of your collections and hear why you chose those items. I still love books, but have given many of mine away too and gone to audio.


Always happy to hear from anyone who stops by my blog.