Button, button, who’s got the button?

I sure do! If you are a vintage lover like me, you probably have a hoard of vintage buttons, too. In jars, in tins, in vintage suitcases – I have them stashed everywhere just waiting for the next fun project to come along. Over the years they have become jewelry, Christmas trees, the perfect embellishment for handmade gift tags – and yes, they have even made it onto a shirt or two. I love collections of things. I don’t look at a jar of buttons as just “buttons” – I look at it as the fruit of years of labor of some thrifty person who cut them off coats and shirts and purses and pants.

When I was very young, I can remember going to the “button store” with my mom. Yes, an entire store dedicated just to buttons! She would be looking for just the right one to finish off one of her beautiful handmade projects. Sales staff would bring out big trays loaded with buttons of every size, shape, color and material. It was a button lovers’ paradise!

Maybe you didn’t visit a button store as a child, but did you ever play “Button, button, who has the button?” Wikipedia provides a perfect description of the game.

“Button, button who’s got the button is a game of ingenuity where players form a circle with their hands out, palms together. One child, called the leader or ‘it’, takes an object such as a button and goes around the circle, with their hands in everybody else’s hands one by one. In one person’s hands they drop the button, though they continue to put their hands in the others’ so that no one knows where the button is except for the giver and receiver. The leader, or all the children in the circle, says “Button, button, who’s got the button?” and then each child in the circle guesses. The child guessing replies with their choice, e.g. “Billy has the button!””

Sounds exciting right? I can vaguely remember playing as a child. Hey, we had to do something to entertain ourselves before the internet and video games!

The old tradition of collecting buttons started long ago when people lived in a much thriftier and less disposable society. According to the website The Quilter Community, button collecting in America came into it’s own in the late 1930’s. The Depression Era encouraged this hobby because it was affordable. Gertrude Patterson talked about her button collecting on her radio show. She told listeners that when they collected 992 buttons, they would find their true love.

How many of you had a grandmother with an old cookie tin filled to the brim with buttons? Those that did must have had a grandmother with more than 992 because they found their true love and you are here to tell the story!

What is not to love about buttons? They are just tiny works of art after all – just like some of the beautiful examples above.

Don’t have a button jar of your own? Haven’t found your true love? Better start collecting!


Ashtrays are smoking!

I sell a lot of items in my Etsy shop – Lizzie Tish Vintage. Nothing flies off the virtual shelf faster than a mid century funky ashtray. I have sold over 100 of them over the past couple of years. From kitschy figural astray to travel souvenirs to exquisite Murano glass pieces of art – they all sell!

Why this sudden demand for these utilitarian pieces of art? I speculate that it is the legalization of #cannabis in many states across the US that has created this boom in demand. Smoking cigarettes is still a dirty little secret – displaying an ashtray would certainly let that cat out of the bag. But cannabis – ahhh – now that is something that is hip, acceptable – and now legal. Display away!

I am not a smoker – cigarettes or other indulgences – but I do love hunting for ashtrays! Go figure!

Here are a few of my favorites I found during a quick search on Etsy. Love to promote my fellow Etsy sellers. Full disclosure – one of them is mine. 🙂

Happy smoking!


Royal Haegar Leaf Shaped Ashtray



Drip Glaze Teal Beauty!il_fullxfull.1555661136_7fan.jpg

I LOVE these! Cool placement of the cigarette rests!


Wowza! At $420 this rare beauty is for the serious collector!



I love everything about this! The colors, the shape, the price! Check it out!

I have sold so many ashtrays that I have dedicated an entire section of my ETSY site to them! Looking for the perfect addition to your coffee table? Check them out at https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/LizzieTishVintage/tools/listings/section:22161727

Far from reality.

A powerful reminder of how lucky I am…


Have you ever thought that many things that we see as normal, other people see as a luxury? Eating in restaurants represents the daily living in our lives, going to the doctor is normal and netflix represents a very important need in our downtime, otherwise what would we do on our day off?

I could talk about many things that are normal for us. But we often fail to realize there are many people who have never been to the cinema. A few months ago, I had a conversation with a group of young people and one person in our group was of different economic status. In our conversations, we talked about movies and what movies we’ve seen recently.

I watched the person who was of different social status, and I noticed she was silent. I tried to change the conversation, and we moved on to discussing different things. But…

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Why am I so obsessed with EGG CUPS?

Egg Cups – I have amassed well over 150 of them at this point. I stumbled into this collection obsession. Many years ago my mother gave me a few egg cups that belonged to my grandmother – “Nana” as I called her – and an obsession was born.

Nana Molly lived with Grampa Bill on the first floor of a 3 tenement house in Lawrence – a mill city located on the Merrimack River in Massachusetts. They were “renters” who never owned property of their own. Grampa worked in the mills from the time he was 14 until he was 72. He never attended high school because his mother was a widow and needed him to go to work to support the family. His mom always told him there were “bad boys” at the high school anyway and she didn’t want him to get into trouble. Most of his working years were spent in a paper mill – a hot, dirty job that he never complained about. He felt fortunate to have a job that gave him the means to support his family – the most important thing to this once-orphaned man. Nana worked in a variety of mill jobs starting at a woolen mill, where she met my Grandfather, and many years later testing radio transistors for ITT. Grampa worked 2nd shift at the paper mill from 3 – 11 so he always had a big breakfast before he went to work. I loved staying at Nana and Grampa’s place and sharing this simple pleasure with them.  I loved sitting down for a cup of tea and toast and a soft boiled egg presented in a fancy little egg cup. We had to wait for the kettle to boil for our tea and then make sure we let it steep or the tea would not be just right. We had to meticulously peel off the top of the egg’s shell to reveal the warm, yummy goodness inside. We buttered our bread with margarine – or “Olio” as Nana called it –  taking care not to break the toast. As I look back on it, it was not the meal itself that I cherish from those days. It is the care that we took to prepare it and the time we spent together. The process taught me patience. In today’s hurried world of Keurigs and breakfast bars we don’t often have the time to let the kettle boil or peel an egg. What was a simple meal then is now a luxury in my busy life. Certainly not the food but the time we took to prepare such a simple meal and just enjoy each other’s company. We used tea cups and saucers for the tea, we put toast on a plate and cut it in triangles and we made it a “special occasion” by serving the egg in a dainty little egg cup.

Every time I buy an egg cup it reminds me of those special mornings. I don’t just collect egg cups – I spark a memory, I slow down and I connect with my Nana.

Fireplace Makeover with Reclaimed Barn Beam Mantel

Bad news – We had to completely tear down our leaking 20 year old brick chimney. Big bucks $$$$$. Who knew that chimneys could be so expensive?

Good news – Since I had to get a new chimney it was an opportunity to do a fireplace makeover!! 🙂

Here is the “before” picture of the fireplace and bookcases that my talented husband built.

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I wanted a more contemporary look and wanted to lighten up the room so we decided to paint the bookcases. This was a really tough decision because I knew that once they were painted I could never go back. We eliminated the arches for clean, more contemporary lines. I really love the look of stone so I decided on this beautiful stone blend.


I also wanted a reclaimed wood mantel so we scoured architectural salvage places and found the perfect old hand hewn barn beam.

Here is the final completed project.


It was a long, messy haul but I couldn’t be happier with the results! To complete the clean, light, more contemporary look I tried to be very strategic and selective when decorating the shelves and tried not to overload them. This was hard because as a collector and vintage Etsy shop proprietor I had to resist the urge to display all of my finds! A lot of the fun items that used to be displayed on these shelves will be finding a new home when they are listed on my Etsy site Lizzie Tish Vintage.

Leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you think 🙂



Angels among us…

It has been a week of highs and lows. We lost a couple of friends who were taken from this life too soon, I had a wonderful 35th reunion with some high school classmates reminding me just how quickly time passes and I experienced a random act of kindness. My family and I were about to take a bike ride on a NH rail trail on Sunday when my son’s tire popped. A Good Samaritan who had just finished her ride insisted he take her bike and we would meet up later in the week to give it back. How sweet was that? People are good. Life is good. Thanks to all of you angels who touched my life this week and reminded me of that.

Nativities and Nudies

We had a Sunday to kill in Worcester MA. We spent the night in Worcester after a Garth Brooks concert that made me understand why he has such a loyal fan base. My husband found an ad online for a mill space that had been used by companies that did estate sales and house clean outs. They had to liquidate everything and be out in 3 weeks due to urban renewal.

There was 40,000 sq. feet of treasures. I typically would jump at the chance to dive in but I felt overwhelmed. It was too daunting even for an avid picker like me. Rather than leave empty handed I figured I’d go through a few boxes that looked promising.

In that 40,000 sq. feet of boxes filled with remnants of people’s lives I found a package filled with 3 nativity sets. Each stand no more than 1″ tall.20160302_084629


20160302_084234Keeping each tiny creche company while they waited to be rescued by some industrious picker were these pinup girls by Ted Withers from the 1950’s. My, what an interesting life someone who saved these so long ago was leading!

20160302_093658The pinup girls and nativities are looking for a new home and can be found on my Etsy site – LizzieTishVintage. They prefer to travel together as the pinup girls found religion while they were stored away with no less than 3 baby Jesuses all those years 😉


Joy doll rescued from Savers gets a makeover in Thailand


I just love it when something I’ve found in a thrift store gets a new life with someone. This little Joy doll from 1965 was found at Savers for $1.00. Her sweet big eyes begged me to take her home.

I cleaned her up just a bit and listed her on my Etsy site – LizzieTishVintage. Within 24 hours she jetted off to Thailand for the makeover of her life. Her loving new mom was gracious enough to send me a pic. I am thrilled! What do you think of her adorable makeover?

Suzy Homemaker



If you are an avid #antique store junkie like me, one of the fun things you discover are toys from your childhood. Once you move past the “Boy I must be old!” feeling you get when your favorite #toy as a child is in an antique store, you can move on to reliving the fond memories it evokes.

photoDiscovering Suzy Homemaker, the “oh so wonderful” competitor to the #EasyBakeOven, had me gushing in the middle of an antique mall. Thankfully my husband was there to share my glee and convince me I didn’t need to take her home with me.

If you weren’t lucky enough (or old enough) to have a Suzy Homemaker oven, let me share with you what you missed.

The Suzy Homemaker was a pint-sized version of your Mom’s stove. It was produced by #TopperToys and launched in 1966. In a pretty aqua green with knobs that turned and an oven that really baked and top burners that warmed as well, it was made for hours of domestic bliss. It would never pass muster with toy manufacturers today because it had a light bulb inside that created the heat to bake your cakes but often would burn your skin if you weren’t careful. Mom wouldn’t let me near the big oven so I could practice my homemaking skills on this little cutie dreaming of the day when I would be cooking for my own family. To me being a “Suzy Homemaker” meant being like my mom.

Wikipedia has a different view of a Suzy Homemaker

“The term “Suzy Homemaker” has since become a common phrase in American English. The toy appliances and doll became much-desired toys among girls from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. As this generation grew up, “Suzy Homemaker” eventually became an insult directed at women judged as excessively domestic. It was used in this context by feminists initially, to imply that a woman was reactionary and overly conservative in her habits. In this sense, the “Suzy Homemaker” term meant any woman who embodied conventional social expectations without questioning them….In 1981, Newsweek magazine ran an article on the Future Homemakers of America titled “So long, Suzy Homemaker”. Social conservatives have been critical of what they see as a derogatory stereotype.”


 What? Was I the product of a generation hell bent on creating more Stepford Wives? Should I feel victimized somehow? After reading Wikipedia I somehow feel duped and my glee has diminished.  I became a marketing executive juggling a full time career and a family of 5 – certainly not the overly conservative, excessively domestic woman that they seem to think the Suzy Homemaker was churning out! Actually, if someone called me excessively domestic I would take it as a compliment because as hard as I try I’m no Martha Stewart!

I should let Wikipedia know that my older brother used the Suzy Homemaker just as much as I did. He became a plumber that also knows how to cook for himself. Suzy Homemaker was simply teaching life skills that everyone could benefit from. Nowadays they would call it “Little Homemaker” and market it to both girls and boys because after all, aren’t we all #homemakers?

Photo courtesy of #ClickAmericana.com


Yard Sale Withdrawals


Ahh… winter…the time in New Hampshire that you dread unless you are a “winter enthusiast” that embraces all of the bone chilling sports the snow has to offer. For the record, I am not one of those people. For me, January though March is one long struggle to keep myself busy with as few trips as possible into the great outdoors. When the temp dips below 30 I hunker down in my sunroom dreaming of Spring…and yard sales.

For yard salers like me, Winter is a wasteland. I miss early Saturday morning outings with my hubby in search of treasures. Would I miss it this much if I could go any time? I wonder if it is like living someplace where the weather is consistently warm – do you begin not to appreciate it because you have it all year round? In New England, Spring is like waiting for your next birthday when you were a child – and a present that you can’t wait to unwrap.

Here are a few things I’ll be doing this winter until I can get my yard sale fix.

Visit local antique stores – It’s fun to see what people are collecting and selling. Antiques have trends just like fashion. You learn a lot about “what’s hot” and “what’s not.” Make sure to ask the clerk what is selling. Chances are they we tell you mid-century is hot!

Go online – Ah! – the virtual yard sale – and open 24/7. Ebay, ETSY, Goodwill.com, local yard sale groups on Facebook – the list is endless.

Purge – I tell myself this every winter. I have grand plans for “the big purge” and preparing for my own mega yard sale in the Spring. After 22 years in the same house I envy people who move and are forced to decide what is worth keeping and what you can live without.

Go to the gym – For me, this is about as likely as “the big purge.” I always have such good intentions.

Work on my ETSY business – There are always lots of new things to learn about running my small ETSY business – better photos, better inventory, better promotion. I have found that the most important factor in running a successful vintage shop on ETSY is having cool stuff that people want. Stop by my shop sometime or drop me a line here on my blog or on Facebook. Blogging and chatting with other vintage enthusiasts about their latest finds also helps get me through the long New Hampshire winter!