Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mad Men Giveaway + Interview with Mod Shop "Bit of Butter"


It's Giveaway Tuesday time again! Today I'm offering a Mad Men themed mid century modern barware giveaway courtesy of my amazing new sponsor Bit of Butter. Giveaway details are after the interview, but first...

I had to grill Alison on how she transformed Bit of Butter from a hobby into a beautifully curated and successful Etsy Shop.


Hi Alison! Please tell the us a little bit about yourself.

Bit of Butter is the brainchild of Kevin and Alison, a couple of PhDs who had a little extra time on their hands! Kevin is a computer scientist and Alison is a medievalist, so we love collecting. More than anything, we love finding out the stories behind the items in our home and shop.

When did you start collecting mid century modern artifacts?

We moved to Seattle three years ago when Kevin finished grad. school and our IKEA furniture fell apart during our trip north.  We knew we liked clean, modern lines but we also loved the warmth of woods like teak and walnut.  Soon, we had purchased our first Danish-Modern lounge chair and the rest is history!  We got to know our new city by exploring thrift stores, estate sales, and picking up Craigslist finds.

[Tales From the Bookcase from the Bit of Butter blog]

Once we furnished our own home, we realized that other people loved the same types of things we did, which is when our Etsy store was born!

What is vintage hunting like in Seattle?

We love vintage-hunting in Seattle.  Since we are particularly fond of Scandinavian Modern, Seattle is the perfect place for us to explore!

What story are you trying to tell with your shop, Bit of Butter?

More than anything, our store features items we love!  We won't sell anything that we wouldn't use in our own home (and oftentimes we display items that are for sale in the shop on our bookshelves until they sell).  
We feature clean, modern items with a whimsical twist.  We try and research each item before putting it in our shop so that we can find out each item's back-story. 


I love the name "Bit of Butter" too, why choose that name for your shop?

(Is it because mod vintage is indulgent and delicious like a pat of butter? Or that we want to rub vintage all over ourselves like a pat of butter? Or swim in a pool of it...What, no one else wants to do that?!)

Well, originally Bit of Butter started as a blog that featured vintage recipes and kitchenware so we named it after the tongue-twister (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betty_Botter).  As our interests have morphed more towards mid-century items in general, the blog and shop have changed as well.  We still cook most of our meals using our vintage Copco collection and mid-century dishware, but now our blog is dedicated to our thrifting adventures! 

We also like to think that a piece of vintage is like the "bit of butter" on top of your favorite food -- vintage gives your home so much flavor and depth of character that you can't get when buying out of catalogues.

 
I am stunned by the amazing selection of mod treasures in your Etsy shop. Can you share your top 3 hunting/thrifting tips with us?

1. Thrift Often: We hit thrift-stores once or twice during the week and usually once on the weekend as well.  
2. Don't Feel Bad About Missed Opportunities: We've all had that moment when we're the second person in line for the estate-sale or Craigslist find.  Let it go!  There will always be another chair, book, record, or plate. 
3. Be Open to Adventures: We will drive 200 miles for a chair or an estate sale because we love each others' company and we love exploring different areas.  Don't be afraid to just start driving!  

What are sales trends you noticed in your reselling career; what sells well for you?

We sell a lot of Scandinavian Modern, which is good, because we love to find it!  We've also noticed that 1970s stoneware, especially modernist animal figurines sell well for us!

The photos in your Etsy Shop are gorgeous, any photography tips you can share?
We have an older digital SLR camera that works like a charm to take great photos.  We also use Picasa for cropping and color correction.  Usually we stage our photos on white poster-board or in our lightbox.  The biggest lesson we learned? Always turn off your overhead lights when taking photos because otherwise everything has a yellow glow, which can make items looks sickly and off-color.


You've done very well on Etsy. What are your top 3 tips for making sales? 

1. Only list things you like.  I see so many stores that have a hodge-podge of treasures but no real theme to their shop.  That's just not how we operate.  If we think something is hideous (and not in that kitschy this-is-almost-cute sort-of way) we won't buy it, even if it might be worth some dough.  Our shop is an extension of our love for Scandinavian Modern and mid-century design.  

2. Research, research, research.  Nothing annoys me more than seeing people sell enamel pans that are clearly marked Copco on the bottom without mentioning the company or the designer.  If there's a designer to research, you can bet we've looked for her or him.  Not only is it better for your buyers, but researching an item can often yield more money for the seller as well!

3. Clean photos.  We hardly ever have extraneous items in our photographs because unless staging is done VERY well, it detracts from the item's beauty.  Doilies, potted plants, and random stuff does not help an item to sell!  (At least, not in our estimation!)



Hard question time: what are your top 3 favorite thrift finds?

That is such a mean question!  Okay...here's goes nothin'.

1. Our Russell Woodard Sculptura Chairs: We were on our way to a nearby island for an adventure and stopped by a local bakery for some coffee.  As we walked past an apartment complex we both noticed a pair of rusty old chairs next to a dumpster and immediately started walking towards them.  We had them powder-coated and the rest is history!  They are our favorite chairs!

2. Our Kay Bojesen Elephant: I (Alison) stopped by a recent thrift store for a quick once-over and stumbled across a beautiful wooden elephant.  I just remember thinking to myself "there is no way this is Bojesen..." and jumping up-and-down when I turned it over and saw the mark!  Kevin and I had just been talking about the items we'd love to find one day...this elephant being one of them!

3. Danish Modern Estate Sale: Kevin went to an estate sale for the couple who owned a local Scandinavian import company in the 1970s.  Every brand you ever wanted was there...we are STILL listing items from that sale in our shop!  It was the best sale ever!


What are some final bits of wisdom you can share with those of us who want to make reselling vintage a full-time gig?

Neither of us could do this without each other. Our vintage business has strengthened our relationship and our relationship has strengthened our business.  This shop is a labor of love, but it's also an example of what two people can do, even when they have full-time jobs and social lives!  It takes tons of support from one's family and friends for this gig to work!  That and a whole lotta love for what we collect!

Mad Men Barware Giveaway, You Could Win: 1.) Libbey roly poly set with matching caddy 2.) Stelton Danish stainless steel candle holders in original box 3.) Assorted vintage stainless steel and rosewood barware

Bit of Butter Mad Men Giveaway Entry Instructions:


1.) Shop
Bit of Butter and select your favorite item.
2.) Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite item is!
3.) Make sure to include your e-mail so I can contact you if you win.
4.) Follow the Bit of Butter blog and leave a comment on on this post for an extra entry.
5.) Follow Bit of Butter on Facebook and leave a comment on this post for an extra entry.
6.) Follow Thrift Core and leave a comment on this post for an extra entry.

Good Luck! You have until August 16, 2011 to enter for a chance to win vintage swag from Bit of Butter.

(The winner of last week's giveaway was Leann! I've e-mailed you to gather your shipping information!)

*
Bit of Butter is a Thrift Core Sponsor. Click Here to read more about becoming a Thrift Core Sponsor or contact me
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

118 comments:

  1. Oh, my goodness! Gorgeous things...but I especially love the Viking Glass Owl Tray. As if I need another owl. Ha!

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  2. Following Bit of Butter through GFC...thrift posts...yay!!

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  3. Liked Bit of Butter on Facebook...

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  4. I already follow Thrift Core through GFC and reader...one of my favorite blogs! :)

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  5. I just love the Takahashi Cat Planter!
    Samantha :)
    mmmbrains (at) gmail (dot) com

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  6. I also now follow the Bit of Butter blog (cute!)...
    Samantha :)
    mmmbrains (at) gmail (dot) com

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  7. AND of course I already follow Thrift Core! :)
    Samantha
    mmmbrains (at) gmail (dot) com

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  8. Another great giveaway!!

    I love the penguin canister!

    vintage_sweetheart@hotmail.com

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  9. I follow A Bit of Butter though GFC!

    vintage_sweetheart@hotmail.com

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  10. I'm already a follower of thrift core through GFC!

    vintage_sweetheart@hotmail.com

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  11. What a great interview. Lots of good tips in there too. I love that they love doing the business together. My favorite item is the Chippy Flower Power Canister set. Cute and a great deal!

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  12. And I also follow Thrift Core. :)

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  13. I love Allison's shop! I love the adjustable Tensor desk lamp.
    alexispayne(at)gmail(dot)com

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  14. I like the vintage decoupage purse the most b/c I like collage

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  15. What a cool shop! My favorite thing is mid-century appetizer fork set.

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  16. And I am following the Bit of Butter blog.

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  17. I have Liked Bit of Butter on FB.

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  18. And I always follow Thrift Core!

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  19. Hard to choose a favorite - but I've got to go with the green Descoware, the color is amazing!

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  20. Following the Bit Of Butter blog!

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  21. Following on Facebook (and Twitter!)

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  22. Already in love and following Thrift Core =D

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  23. I've wanted one of those lovely Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch ovens for quite some time now! That cherry red one is definitely my favorite. :-)

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  24. I already follow Bit of Butter on Facebook!

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  25. And I already follow Bit of Butter's blog.

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  26. ...and I'm pretty sure I'm now following the Thrift Core blog. I'm not sure exactly how to "follow" a blog, though. :-(

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  27. I am LOVING the silver roly poly tumblers. LOVE. ING.

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  28. Following Bit of Butter via RSS.

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  29. Following Thriftcore via RSS.

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  30. gottalittlespacetofill@gmail.com

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  31. You guys -- you all have made our day! We can't wait to see who the winner is! And because we're so happy that everyone found our shop, we're offering a 10% coupon if you want to purchase something. Just enter the code: THRIFTCORE when you check out!

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  32. Bit of butter is a great name - I love it! Firstly, after much consideration I like the silver roly poly tumblers best.

    email is charityshopqueen@gmail.com

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  33. Liked Bit of Butter on Facebook by my Faith Hope and Charity shopping page.

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  34. Following on bloglovin!

    fave item:http://www.etsy.com/listing/79317537/ken-edwards-tonala-mexico-ceramic-dinner

    e-mail is eschieama@gmail.com

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  35. My favorite item is the Blue Mountain Pottery Ceramic Pitcher.
    elysesw@aol.com

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  36. I follow Thrift Core on GFC. elysesw
    elysesw@aol.com

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  37. Have to go with the highball glasses and pitcher here: http://www.etsy.com/listing/68515091/blendo-highball-and-pitcher-set

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  38. Follow Bit of Butter's blog and Facebook.
    secondhandfirsthand@gmail.com

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  39. Follow Bit of Butter on Facebook: kyl neusch

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  40. I absolutely love the pretty anchor hocking shot glasses. Those would really class up my bar:)

    emily14680@gmail.com

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  41. And I am definitely following your blog now:) I stumbled upon it after googling "what plants to put in vintage planters". :)

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  42. The Bjorn Wiinblad for Rosenthal Aladin Plates.

    Eternal0@gmail.com

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  43. my favorite is the Favorite Mystery German Task Lamp in Cherry Red & Black
    karenmed409 at comcast dot net

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  44. Follow Bit of Butter on Facebook-Gumma Medlin
    karenmed409 at comcast dot net

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  45. Follow the Bit of Butter blog
    karenmed409 at comcast dot net

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  46. Follow Thrift Core
    karenmed409 at comcast dot net

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  47. i love the Stavangerflint of Norway Oslo Viking Hotel Plate Designed by Kari Nyquist!

    ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  48. fb fan xferriza2 danielle b

    ferriza2(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  49. I loved the penguin canister, very different and fun!

    julia8274@gmail.com

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  50. i love the Six Eva Zeisel Federal Glass Stockholm Tumblers in Ventura
    stracey2010@live.com

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  51. i like the Three Heller Plates in Yellow - Designed by Massimo Vignelli

    Email: Thierry321@gmx.de

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  52. My favorite is the Digsmed of Denmark Footed Cheese Board Made of End Grain Teak.

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  53. I follow Bit of Butter through Twitter.

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  54. Favorite item pair of purple gonder pottery pillow vases h-74. sprybyl@gmail.com

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  55. i like the White Georges Briard Ice Bucket with Birch Lid and Handle

    kathypease(at)gmail(dot)com

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  56. your google friend klp1965
    kathypease(at)gmail(dot)com

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  57. I like the White Georges Briard Ice Bucket with Birch Lid and Handle

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  58. I like the footed cheese board!

    jacihauth@hotmail.com

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  59. My favorite item on Bit of Butter is the Teak Table Danish Modern - Round - Designed by Hans Andersen

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

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  60. Bit Of Butter Facebook Fan

    Jason D nickolay

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

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  61. Follower

    Nickolay

    jason(at)allworldautomotive(dot)com

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  62. I love the Two George Z. Lefton Naughty Nun Figurines

    Hotsnotty2@hotmail.com

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  63. I love the Three Red Hearts dinner plates

    Knitting.blog@googlemail.com

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  64. I like the Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch Oven in Cherry Red - Made in Denmark - Designed by Jens Quistgaard!

    strycker@slu.edu

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  65. I like Digsmed of Denmark Footed Cheese Board Made of End Grain Teak!

    allies1986@gmail.com

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  66. I really like the Mid Century Brass Tribal Sculpture from the Frederick Weinberg Era

    emmyDOTcoffeeATgmailDOTcom

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  67. The salt and pepper shaker are my favorites...I like unique pairs and yours are the best!

    kayyauney@yahoo.com

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  68. My favorite item is the Three Teak Salad Bowls by Galatix of England.

    unclebonald at gmail dot com

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  69. i like the footed denmark cheese table

    jordan.rickard1@gmail.com

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  70. ya more good ideas

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  71. i follow a bit of butter on facebook

    Jordyn Rickard

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  72. I like the Teak Table Danish Modern. Very cool!

    naeseemia@gmail.com

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  73. My favorite item is the Digsmed of Denmark Footed Cheese Board Made of End Grain Teak
    Thanks
    Jesskaufman at hotmail dot com

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  74. I follow Thrift Core on GFC as Mac Mom
    Jesskaufman at hotmail dot com

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  75. I think my favorite items are the Dorothy Thorpe Era Silver Wine Glasses! They are so stunning and unique!
    kitty32504 at cox dot net

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  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  77. I'm following Bit of Butter's blog with Google Reader!
    kitty32504 at cox dot net

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  78. I like Bit of Butter's Facebook page (Dara Nix)!
    kitty32504 at cox dot net

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  79. I am following you via GFC!
    kitty32504 a cox dot net

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  80. I like the Blendo Highball and Pitcher Set LeanS12(at)gmail(dot)com

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  81. I follow their blog via Rss feed on google reader LeanS12(at)gmail(dot)com

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  82. I liked them on facebook (Lean Sa) LeanS12(at)gmail(dot)com

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  83. I follow via Google Friend Connect LeanS12(at)gmail(dot)com

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  84. I love that round teak table!
    decadent87 at gmail dot com

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  85. Liked them on FB
    decadent87 at gmail dot com

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  86. Following thrift core :)
    decadent87 at gmail dot com

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  87. i love the madmen bar ware, still my favorite thing!

    laureneshapiro at gmail .com

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  88. My favorite item is the West German Blue and White Enamelware Fondue Pot, Stand, and Forks!!!
    mrlifox att gmail dott comm

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  89. Following Bitobutter on Twitter by the name, Foxblaze.
    mrlifox att gmail dott comm

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  90. Liked Bit of Butter on Facebook!
    mrlifox att gmail dott comm
    thanks for the giveaway!!!!

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  91. Following Thrift Core on Twitter!
    mrlifox att gmail dott comm

    ReplyDelete
  92. Following Thrift Core on Facebook!
    mrlifox att gmail dott comm

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  93. I really like the Blenko Water Carafe in Tangerine.
    dannho1958@gmail.com

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  94. I like the Boston Champion Pencil Sharpener; brings back fond memories. :)

    mutzismycat@yahoo.com

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  95. i like the Roly Poly Tumblers by Dorothy Thorpe in Silver looks retro like what i want to set my bar up as.

    david@Frontierlawn.biz

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  96. I like the Digsmed of Denmark Footed Cheese Board Made of End Grain Teak.
    traymona(at)aol.com

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  97. my favorite item is the Tipp City McKee Milk Glass Scottie Dog Spice Shakers with Original Rangette Rack
    susansmoaks at gmail dot com

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  98. I collect vintage kitchen ware and you have a brilliant collection - I love this: Three Georges Briard Cat T... very sweet, my family would love them :)
    tracyschultz@yahoo.com

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  99. I follow @BitofButter as mom2girls1974
    tracyschultz@yahoo.com

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  100. I follow you on GFC as Tracy taylor
    tracyschultz@yahoo.om

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  101. I like the Boston Ranger 55 Pencil Sharpener

    4robert2win(at)gmail(dot)com

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  102. Love the Teak cheese board

    Paradis1949@aol.com

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  103. Really like the Footed Cheese Board.

    astumpf@wi.rr.com

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  104. Following Bit Of Butter on FB...

    astumpf@wi.rr.com

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  105. i really like the Bjorn Wiinblad for Rosenthal Aladin Plates 1, 2, 3, and 4
    shellybuddahbelly@hotmail.com

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  106. The Four Nasco of Italy Aluminum Spice Jars

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  107. Thanks for the great contest! bahjeep@aol.com

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  108. I love the Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch Oven in Cherry Red.

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  109. I love the Dansk Kobenstyle Dutch Oven in Cherry Red. pkgrieve@gmail.com

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  110. shiggityshawn@hotmail.comAugust 16, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Vintage Boat Cup is pretty rad.

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  111. i love the Boston Ranger 55 Pencil Sharpener
    yanuzo at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete

I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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