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Our friends, Smiley and Steel, have bought a new place on the other side of their lake.

It’s still on the sunset side of the water, which is great.  Even more exciting?  It has two bathrooms.

Smiley is in bathroom heaven.

Practical Man and I have 2.5 bathrooms in our way-too-big-for-us house but, even though we are toilette superior, we still sigh a little when we think of Smiley and Steel.

We too aspire to be waterfront dwellers on a mission to buy extra toilet paper for a newfound plethora of commodes.  But, we (I) have a 1974 Boler travel trailer, 1970 Fiat 500 and assorted retro and practical things (him) to coddle and protect.  There’s not usually a lot of space for this kind of large-vintage-objects-and-entourage hoarding nonsense on your average waterfront property.

So, we went to live vicariously through/oogle Smiley and Steel’s new bathrooms on the water.  They have been busy trying to get the phone company to install on the sunset side of the lake, finding the coffee pot and grimacing at the wallpaper borders on the walls.  It was a perfect excuse for me to create a vintage care package.

I took my inspiration from that vintage, “bid on my sandwiches and I might be your girl” tradition:  a boxed lunch.

Vintage, plaid metal cooler

A tisket, a tasket, my vintage metal bask…oh wait. it’s a cooler, not a basket.. I think that means this classifies as vintage AND practical!.

While a boxed lunch auction is certainly a retro notion, in true 21st century fashion, I barely made any of this boxed lunch…er, dinner, myself.

First, Practical Man cooked up a batch of his moan-while-you-eat-it, slow-cooker Goulash.

You can’t be shy with this stuff.  It’s really good and when something is really good like this is, sounds of ecstasy sometimes erupt spontaneously.

But, we’re all in this together so it’s okay.


P-M uses smoked paprika, instead of regular, in his recipe. It’s why I married him.

Plus egg noodles.  Does anybody eat eggs anymore?  Or noodles?

They seem very vintage, somehow.

noodles in a vintage bowl

Glorious pile of carbs

Then, I made my kitchen sink salad, named thus because I basically put in whatever I feel like.  Heirloom tomatoes (no, they’re not going “off”, they’re supposed to look striated and interesting like that!), spring onions, peppers, cranberries, sunflower seeds, feta…and more.  The pumpkin seeds that I throw in happen to be my favourite.


Did you know that pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, the same ingredient in cooked turkey that makes you nap?  If you’re suffering from insomnia, try 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds one hour before bed.  I had some as a snack one day without realizing the whole tryptophan thing and whoa Nellie.  I had to go to bed at 3:00 in the afternoon!  I do NOT need that kind of help since I’m already part Rip van Winkle.


For dessert, I made some of my “world-famous” brownies.  Brownies are my one claim to domestic fame and when I arrive off the plane in Europe, the first thing friends say, with a tone of desperation in their voices is, “WHEN are you going to make brownies?!”.


This whole pile might add up to breakfast for Smiley. At least, I hope so.

I know friends don’t count and Europe isn’t the world.  Kindly don’t shatter my “world famous” delusions.

I packed things in assorted vintage Tupperware containers (Good things come in fun, retro packages, haven’t you heard?)

I cozied everything into a vintage, metal picnic basket/cooler.

Please ignore the leftover bottled salad dressing (not vintage unless you count balsamic as vintage because it’s aged).

tupperware containers in vintage metal cooler

Don’t they look like they’re all friends in there?

I was wishing for some sassafras.  That seems like something that belongs in a vintage boxed lunch.   Even though I don’t really know what it is.

So, sans sassafras (but with some plain old sass), care package was complete.  Delivery successful.

Congratulations, Smiley and Steel on your new home!

If I could have sourced it, I would have also loved to include the perfect house-warming gift:  rainbow-hued toilet paper.

There’s nothing like blue, pink or green vintage toilet paper that coordinates with your furry toilet seat cozy, wallpaper, kleenex-box cover, and rubber, stick-down non-slip flowers in the tub to say a truly vintage, “Welcome Home”.

It’s bathroom heaven.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2013.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet         You might also like my latest book.

Vintage tupperware meal trays - 4 for 10 cents!

Vintage tupperware meal trays – 4 for 10 cents!

I talk a lot about the bargains and great treasures I find at yard/garage/church sales.

They’re so much fun and where else would someone on my modest income and surrounded by big box stores score vintage tupperware meal trays or a 1920s Winnie the Pooh book or a belt made from a car seat belt?

But I have a teeny, tiny confession to make.

I’m a terrible haggler.

I know, I know.  I’ve probably just lost my membership in the vintage/garage sale club.

Haggling is supposed to be part of the experience but I get a terrible pain in my stomach (and the worry wrinkle between my eyebrows gets ever more in need of one of those creams that Ellen/Diane/The Other Diane/Andie recommend) every time I contemplate the scary part of garage sales.  Yes, the scary part where I have to waltz up to the owner of the vintage Tupperware meal trays or the 1920s Winnie the Pooh book or the belt made from a car seat belt and look them in the eye and actually negotiate the deal.

Scary because…

  • I have to act as if I don’t really care about the vintage Tupperware meal trays (when, in reality, I’ve already thought of ten reasons that could convince a jury of my peers why I absolutely. must. have. them.)
  • I have to conjure up a face that belies the fact that I have already silently sighed over the completely intact spine and gorgeous drawings in the 1920s Winnie the Pooh book.
  • I have to pretend that I just accidentally sort of stumbled across the belt made from a car seat belt amongst their boxes and that really, they’ll have to talk me into taking it because it kind of looks like junk.
  • And, plus, there’s a very de-valuing dent in the side of the buckle.  Uh huh.  Very de-valuing.

But, I can’t do that.  I have the biggest non-poker face in the world.   Chris Hadfield actually tweeted a few weeks ago from space that he could plainly see what a pushover I was for the vintage melamine cups I held–I thought, nonchalantly in my hand–all the way from the International Space Station.

I blush.  I stammer.  I can’t think straight or maintain eye contact what with the visions running through my head of me wearing a voopy dress, drinking lemonade from my vintage cups while hanging out with my handsome, Practical Man in our Boler.

I mean, let’s face it, I would just pay whatever price they’re asking for.   And often, try to to convince them to charge me more.  But, it’s not all my fault that I would pay through the nose.   They’re partly to blame.   After all,

  • their baby probably played with this Fisher Price car
  • and, they probably had their first kiss wearing this 1940s brooch.

Oh, who am I kidding?  If I had my way, they’d re-consider the whole thing and run back into the house, crying, object clutched to their grateful chest, never ever to be sold to some feckless bargain hunter like moi.

But Practical Man has no such fear.   In addition to having really great forearms, he’s a haggler extraordinaire.

He spots my blushing and stammering quickly and moves to block me from the garage sale proprietor’s (and Chris Hadfield’s) view.   Then, we have an eyebrow conversation which roughly translates like this:

Practical man:  “So, you want this?”  

Me, trying in vain to raise either one of my eyebrows enthusiastically (I am eyebrow impaired).

Practical man:  “So, that grimace means that you’re interested?”  (He can raise one eyebrow sardonically in a way I much admire).

I squeeze his large, haggler-heroic hand and he notices that I have an attractive sheen of hyper-ventilation and look as if I might need a higher dose of my anti-fainting medication.  I’m pretty sure that I look rather fetching and also, nauseous.

This is the official go-ahead signal.

I then turn and head  in the opposite direction, trying to look casually-dawdly and extremely interested in the moldy golf shoes that are lying on one of the sales tables, while simultaneously avoiding all eye contact with anyone who might have owned or loved the object(s) of my desire.

In other words, I skulk and feel even more nauseous.

Meanwhile, Practical Man (who is not just practical but also very charming) chats up the former owner of my treasure.   His normally mono-syllabic conversation style (very practical) suddenly blossoms into full-blown hey-isn’t-this-weather-crazy-and-how-long-have-you-lived-around-here-anyway-by-the-way-I-love-what-you’ve-done-with-your-shingles kind of garage sale unisex flirting.

I ask you:  why, oh why, would I ever shop at a big box store?