What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, June 23, 2008


When I worked in retail we had to conduct a thorough inventory once a year. That involved a lot of cleaning, organizing and counting. During my cleaning sessions lately, I have also been conducting Inventory at home.

My inventory results are in:

9 Vintage Flour Sifters
5 Bakelite Handle Cake Servers
26 Vintage Tablecloths
68 Vintage Cookie Cutters

Here is my quandary. I don't really need nine flour sifters. Well, I really do need one flour sifter as the last time I baked a cake I realized that I didn't have a usable flour sifter. But, do I need need nine old unsanitary, not for use, flour sifters? No. So, I decided to line them up and sort them out. I have a red handled sifter. Need that one. I have a green handled sifter. Need that one. An aqua handled one. Need that one. A beat up old worn Bromwell's. Like that one. A brand new vintage Bromwell's with the original 48¢ price on the side. Love that one. And, so on and so forth. I'm in quite the pickle with those darn flour sifters.

I have this old cabinet in my kitchen that I am forever putting things in that I pick up at sales. Often it is something small priced 10¢ or 25¢ that I just grab to save from the landfill. Not everything is a valuable treasure, just things that I see and love and bring home to protect. I really don't even know what all is in there now. One of the doors recently came off the hinges, so I took some photos of my treasures. I am going to dump it all out and take inventory of the contents later this week. So, until then, enjoy the photos and 'scuse the dust.

Look at all the goodies! Old typewriter ribbon tins, tin toys, old stuffed toys, kitchen items galore, old blocks, crockery, cast iron toys, glass insulators, wooden cheese boxes, an ice cream scale, skeleton keys, iron locks and lots of other things that spoke to me at one time or another. That little Mercury crock up in the upper right corner was one of the very first old things that I ever brought home. I researched it and found that it was used in the coal mines. I think it was worth about $25.00 back then, but I loved it because of the history of it and kept it. This teeny handmade beaded coin purse is one of my favorites. It is not much bigger than a silver dollar and it is beaded front and back to look like an orange slice. It is very old and oh, so sweet. It was missing a few beads, but my Mom, the bead master, fixed it good as new, I mean good as old. The little celluloid doll is sitting in a very old primitively handmade scoop. It is made out of an old welded can.
An unused 1966 Date Book. I need to pencil in "Shara was born" on August 15th. Love the little teeny acorn the funny pipe cleaner Koala is holding. Don't forget - 'scuse the dust.
That glass item in the center is a very old blown glass paperweight full of seashells. The shell in the center is engraved with some words that I cannot make out and it drives me crazy with wonder and the date 1907. So, it is 101 years old. I want to know what it says and why someone made it. The stack of coins under it are over scale reproductions of coins that were made in 1976 for the Bicentennial. Each week there was a new coin and you could only buy them at a certain bank. My Dad bought me one each week so I would have the whole collection. That rubber cowboy popped out of the dirt at my Mom's house one day. She lives in a house that was once the Church Parsonage. Every time it rains, treasures pop out of the ground. One day she spotted a bride and groom cake topper in the dirt. Dolls of all sorts. An old clothespin doll, a wooden beaded doll, celluloid dolls (some missing limbs, oh my!), rubber dolls and plastic dolls. Geez, is that another flour sifter in the background? Make that 10 flour sifters, then. Cripes.
Here's a corner of the kitchen cabinet that is in an awkward spot so I just use it for display. I just put all the old molds in the big jar yesterday. I have so many of those little molds. I really, really, need to only keep ONE mold of each size and design, but noooooo, I have at least six of each size and each design. It is a sickness, I tell you, a sickness. I found that little cast iron stove in the center not long ago for 25¢ and I adore it. As I cull out items and find others that I love more, some of these items may go by the wayside. But, not the molds. Or the stove. Or the old packaging. Or the crow on the pie. Or the.......... It's a pickle, I tell you. A pickle.
Here are the vintage cookie cutters in their new home - the giant four gallon Mason jar. See that, at the top of the jar? Space! Room! A place to keep collecting cookie cutters! Yipppppeeeee. I've posted photos of this jar before, and it is deceiving. That is a HUGE rolling pin behind it. It weighs 12 pounds and it is 2 1/2 feet tall. I bought it from a lady that made pies for a living at a diner. How she lifted that thing all day long is beyond me. She made pies for 40 years with that rolling pin. It was a part of her life 40 hours a week for 40 years. And, she sold it for $2.00 at a yard sale. Why am I such a sucker for other people's history when they don't seem to care about their own history?


  1. Is it really a matter of 'need'?? You'll know when the time is right and you are ready to purge - but jump on the purge-mode quick when it strikes, 'cause it passes even quicker!
    I do 'need' a rolling pin like that though! Bet the lady who used that didn't have 'BINGO Wings'!!!! (Come on, you know what I mean... picture those little old ladies yelling 'BINGO' with their arm raised and that nasty elbow-arm pit loose skin flapping in the breeze!!)

  2. Ooh, how I'd love to poke through that cabinet of wonders and have you tell me all about everything! Such treasures in there. You need to either start 1) an etsy shop or 2) a museum. :D LOL

  3. Oh Shara...you and I could have opened a store a few years ago! LOL! HOW I started to let go of so much of it...I have no idea! But I did! Woo hoo! Good luck figuring out what you need, love and can do away with! Tough task!


  4. You need to open a Museum of Wonders from Time Past. I'd be stuck what to keep and sell too; the main way I get rid of my stuff is by moving. The thought of lugging huge boxes for miles makes me ruthless....then I start collecting again!

  5. Anonymous3:20 PM

    How interesting your house is! And I have that same Ball jar! I bought it to make sun tea, but it was too unweildy to move in and out of the fridge, so last summer I started storing my cookie cutters in it too! We must think alike! I will have to take a picture. That other jar you have the molds in? That's what I've been making the sun tea in, but I usually pour it into a pitcher. I think I could spend hours looking around your house, like a museum.

  6. Anonymous7:47 PM

    I think it is so wonderful that you remember little stories about all your treasures. I tend to do that too!! As I get older I realize I need to get rid of some of my stuff or my girls will spend weeks after I'm gone saying "what was Mom thinking"!!! Love your blog and thanks for sharing, HTH Janet

  7. I have the same hard time with things I love to collect... I have never figured out how to weed out... They all seem so wonderful when I am looking at them...

  8. Wow that is amazing. Now my imagination is in wonderment of all the other treasures that you may have!!

  9. Great treasurers and stories. I started selling some of my treasures because I needed the space and the money!

  10. I probably dont need a lot of what I have found. But its fun to find! I would love to dig through that cabinent!

  11. Anonymous10:06 AM

    How fun! I have a cabinet in my kitchen that aspires to look like yours some day. LOL.

    Here's a link to the photo .. I'm jealous!



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