Treasure Hunting at What Cheer Flea Market -- August 1, 2014

by mary August 31, 2014

August 1 marked the 2nd What Cheer Flea Market for 2014 & the weather was perfect!  The What Cheer Flea Market is held 3 times a year -- May, July/August, & October.  Sometimes, the July/August market is so beastly hot, it's hard to walk through the whole thing -- especially since it's held at the county fairgrounds, with much of it on the race track where there is absolutely no shade!  This time, however, was a most pleasant exception!

I found several things to use in jewelry making, including this old skate key.  I loved to roller-skate in the bank parking lot across the street from our house when I was a kid & remember having one of these hanging around my neck!


Also found more of transluscent dice similar to what I found at the May market, plus a couple nice bright blue dice,

and this really cool vintage composition boot charm -- I'd never seen anything like this before,

and these tiny perfume bottles that should make great pendants for necklaces,

and these license plate charms, old buttons & little bakelite dice in this box of junk one dealer had.

I've already used the pair of buttons in a pair of earrings,

and one of the license plates in a car-themed charm bracelet.

I also found a couple of things for displaying jewelry . . . first, more frames,

plus an old slide case -- I think it will work really well for displaying earrings.

Lastly, I found several things for my own collections . . . including these Halloween cake toppers,

and this vintage lucite, confetti & seashell clamper bracelet.

Probably my favorite piece of all, though, is this amazing vintage black felt beanie covered with tiny Cracker Jack/gumball charms.  At first, I wasn't sure if I should get it, but Steve convinced me I would regret if it I didn't.  He was so right & I am so glad I got it!  I'm thinking I might wear it to one of the shows I do.

So, all in all, another great day at What Cheer -- with lots of fun finds for jewelry-making & display, & for my own collections.

To see the earrings or charm bracelet shown above or more of my other jewelry, check out my website at

And, as always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday -- August 27, 2014

by mary August 27, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage outfit is a really fun maxi with fabulous red dahlia print from the 1970's -- another one of my favorite decades.  (Actually, I think any decade from 1920 through 1970 is one of my favorite!)  I picked up this dress earlier this summer.  I especially love the dahlia print & the large ruffle at the bottom.


While maxi dresses are generally associated with the 1970's, they were actually first seen in the 1960s where they were embraced by early hippies.  Oscar de la Renta is credited with creating the first maxi & with popularizing the trend.  By the mid-70's maxis were everywhere!

With today's maxi, I decided to wear this silver filigree heart necklace that I made with red crystal beads & rosary chain to pick up the red in the dahlias.

I also chose one of my favorite whimsical charm bracelets to go with my outfit.  This one features Cracker Jack/gumball charms of little dogs that look like gummy bears, alternated with silver hearts -- because we do love our doggies!  I like the way the colors of the dog charms picked up the colors of the dress & the way the hearts in the charm bracelet echoed the hearts in the necklace.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading and for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Treasure Hunting in Wisconsin (and Iowa) -- July 2014, Part 4

by mary August 24, 2014

For the last phase of my July Wisconsin visit, I headed out from Kewaunee towards Hwy 151 southeast towards Iowa, with stops in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and Dyersville & Fort Dodge Iowa. 

Around noon, I made my first stop in Mt. Horeb for lunch, & was pleasantly surprised to find an antique shop, where I found several goodies for jewelry making & for myself!

Jewelry-making findings include a small pair of brown plastic dice, a clock key, a reindeer charm, & a layered wood "claw" charm.

For myself, I found this cool vintage beaded necklace -- I'm guessing from the 1920s or 1930s.

I also picked up this plastic lucite (?) bracelet -- not sure yet whether I will keep it for myself or use it in my jewelry-making.  I'm thinking I will start by wearing it & see where that leads me . . .

After Mt. Horeb, my next stop was Dyersville, where I spent the night.  Before retiring, though, I visited the Plaza Antique Mall, located in an old movie theater.

There, among other things, I found another gift for Steve -- I think I'm set now for almost a full year of holidays! 

I also found this cool vintage wood purse with a bakelite handle to use to display jewelry.

And these letters, lucite & rhinestone belt buckle (I think), opal charm, & small piece of ball chain for making jewelry.

And several things for my own collections, including this 1920's gold beaded "flapper" necklace,

this fun pumpkin candle light for my vintage Halloween decorations,


and, the "piece de resistance" -- this fabulous 1910 - 1920 silver mesh purse!

The next morning, I drove on to Fort Dodge to spend some time with my little sister Nikki & her kids.  We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in the mall & our nice waiter took our picture . . . 

And, from there, I headed home to Des Moines.  All in all, a great trip -- saw lots of friends, had a wonderful time camping, & found some fun things for jewelry-making & for my own collections!


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What I Wore on Wednesday -- August 20, 2014

by mary August 20, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet outfit is a rainbow-colored maxi from the 1970's -- another of my favorite decades!  I picked this dress up last year, althought it had been in the shop for ages & I hadn't really noticed it.  But when Angie put it on one of the mannequins in the window, I realized I really loved the rainbow-colored stripes.  Plus I've gotten really fond of maxis from the 70s!

With it, I decided to wear a charm bracelet & matching pair of earrings that I made with multi-colored lucite charms I got in a lot on eBay.  I like the way the colors & stripes go with those in the dress.

Lucite was developed in the 1930's & became wildly popular for use in costume jewelry in the 1950s, in part because it provided a cheaper alternative to more expensive jewelry.  And because it could be died in a wide range of colors & opacity, it was also perfect for the bright bold blocks of color in mid-century modern jewelry.  The charms in this charm bracelet & pair of earrings are good examples of the bright bold colors that lucite provided.  Today, vintage lucite jewelry is often highly priced as a collectible item.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my handcrafted jewelry, go to


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Treasure Hunting in Wisconsin -- July 2014 Part 3

by mary August 17, 2014

Part 3 of my Wisconsin trip had me heading up to Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek for a weekend of camping with friends from college.  I got there Friday just as the early campers were finishing breakfast, so was able to join some of my friends for a trip into Fish Creek, & later for a good hike along the lake & bluffs, including a climb up Eagle Tower. 

Saturday morning, I checked out an antique show going on at the high school in Fish Creek & found a few goodies, including these vintage black glass buttons & gold bakelite buttons from one dealer, & the copper pin & celluloid-handled button hook from another dealer.  I plan to use both the copper piece & the button hook handle as pendants for necklaces.

Also found this great hat from the 1940s & hat box.  According to the Millinery Trade Review, Meyer's Millinery operated in New York City in the early 1900s.

I saw a lot of other really cool pieces including another great hat, a bakelite bowling ball & pin key chain, & some amazing compacts), but you can't get everything!

Later on Saturday, we had a "pre-wedding" for one of the young couples in our group (their official wedding is in September).  The ladies all dressed up & wore hats that I'd brought along with me, & the groom & some of the guys wore tuxedo t-shirts!   Here we -- or at least the ladies in our group -- are at the campground before the pre-wedding.

And, here's the whole group after the ceremony. 

We lucked out on the weather for the weekend -- mid-70s during the days & cool nights with great campfires & virtually no rain until about an hour or so after we had broken down our tents & left.  My only complaint was that Friday I had failed to seal my air mattress completely, so about mid-way through the night I woke up to find myself laying on the ground rather than a cushion of air -- first time I've slept on the ground in probably 20+ years! 

Sunday morning, after another nice hike along the lake & bluffs, I headed down to Kewaunee where I was spending the night with Pam again.  On the way, I stopped at 2 antique malls just south of Egg Harbor.

There, I found a couple of fun things, including more fishing lures to "disect" & use the shiny dangly pieces for earrings.

and this cute Halloween nut basket to add to my vintage decorations (Halloween is probably my favorite holiday for decorating!)

My final stop before heading to Pam's appartment was the antique ahop in Kewaunee, where I found these vintage Irish coins & a magic token.  Here in Des Moines, I've not been able to find any Irish coins, so I was excited to see these.

That finishes up Part 3 of my Wisconsin vacation . . . next stops Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin & Dyersville, Iowa; then on home to Des Moines!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday -- August 13, 2014

by mary August 13, 2014

This will be a bit of a different "What I Wore on Wednesday".  Today, instead of spending the afternoon at Dorothea's Closet Vintage, I was "Madame Zena, Fortune Teller" for Calvin Community's State Fair Day for residents.

Here I am as "Madame Zena" -- wearing a gauzy black dress with off-white embroidery, gelatin sequins & yellow beads from the 1920s over a black lace dress from the 1930s. I picked both up at Dorothea's Closet Vintage when Angie was having one of her "wounded bird" sales (i.e., very vintage items with character that have very visible &/or significant damage that she just couldn't bear to throw out).  My gypsy head-scarf is a vintage black croched belt studded with black sequins; & my bag is black crochet over a multi-colored lining with a lucite handle from the 1920s -- both these pieces are also from Dorothea's Closet Vintage.


Here's my crystal ball -- Steve made it for me out of a small clear glass gazing ball we had in the yard & a plastic base that he painted black.  The "cosmic energy" inside is cotton that he spray-painted pink & yellow.

And here are my fortune-telling cards -- I got them last summer at an antique shop in Cedarburg during one of my camping trips to Wisconsin.

While my jewelry is a mix of vintage & modern, to keep with the "What I Wore on Wednesday" theme, I also wore one of my hand-crafted necklaces & one of my charm bracelets.

The necklace is made from vintage crystal chandelier pieces, pearl beads & vintage silver chain.  I picked this necklace because crystals are said to channel positive energy, which seemed appropriate for a fortune-teller.

I chose one of my dice & card charm bracelets because it's said that dice can be used for divination, the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or unknown by supernatural means, & because I use cards to tell fortunes.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading and for supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Tresaure Hunting in Wisconsin -- July 2014 Part 2

by mary August 10, 2014

The 2nd phase of my July trip & treasure hunting in Wisconsin started at the I43-JJ antique mall near Manitowoc, & included Kewaunee, Sturgeon Bay & Algoma.  At Manitowoc, I found a couple of things for my jewelry-making, as well as a really cool 1920s purse for my own collections & several gifts for Steve!

I thought some of the dangly things on these fishing lures might be fun to make into earrings . . .

And I'm thinking this postcard display could work as a backdrop for some of my jewelry photos or at shows.  I especially like the mirrored surfaces of the frame & the fact that I can easily change postcards!

And here's the really cool vintage purse I picked up for my collection -- I love the lucite/bakelite chain handle & the material print!

I also found this fun bunny for my vintage Easter decorations -- not sure if he is composition or some kind of plastic.

From Manitowoc, I headed up to Kewaunee, where I stayed several days with my good friend, Pam.  On Wednesday, we went into Sturgeon Bay, where I picked up some more fun things!

We stopped first at Acme Beads -- one of my favorite bead shops because they carry new old stock (NOS) vintage beads from the 1940s - 1970s, as well as niobium earring wires.  As you can see, I found several that had to come home with me!

We also stopped at an antique shop, where I picked up more Scrabble & other letter tiles for jewelry making & displaying.  I also picked up the metal disk with "37" on it -- it's an old cow tag & should make a fun pendant for a necklace!

We spent Wednesday night at Red's Pub & Grill -- Wednesday is Open Mic night & Pam played her guitar & sang, & a number of other musicians performed as well.  I even joined Pam for "Blowin' in the Wind" & "Leaving on a Jet Plane"!

Thursday morning, we went for a nice long walk along Lake Michigan, & then headed up to Algoma for a lunch & a leisurely afternoon of shopping.  I was amazed at the number of antique/vintage shops & what we found there for such a small town!

At the first antique shop we stopped at, I found a couple of cute charms to use in jewelry-making -- I'd never seen the little tic-tac-toe charm before.

I also picked up this cool clear lucite dangle/pendant with glitter inside . . .

and this fun book on Plastic Jewelry.

Lastly, I found this really fun witch goblin to add to my vintage Hallowen decorations -- she was made in the USA between 1960 & 1969, & measures 24" x 30", with hinged legs & arms!  The top of her hat & end of her nose are broken off, but we found a picture of her in one of my reference books, & Steve thinks he can repair her so she looks as good as new!

We stopped at one more antique shop & a consignment/vintage shop.  At the antique shop, I found an Eldon 1/32 slot car chassis that I gave to Steve when I got home, & a composition mannequin that hangs on a wall or frame -- here she is wearing one of my necklaces.  I'm not sure if I'll cover her with something like dress patterns or put clothes on her, or just use her as she is.

Our last stop in Algoma was the consignment/vintage shop, where I found this super cool beaded headdress.  The woman at the shop said it was from the 1920s; I'm not sure if that is true or not, but either way, I just loved it!

And that's it for Part 2 of my Wisconsin journey -- next stops, Fish Creek & Door County!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

What I Wore on Wednesday -- August 6, 2014

by mary August 6, 2014

Today's Dorothea's Closet Vintage outfit is a 1970's black maxi jumpsuit with embroidered rainbow trim around the neckline & full collar -- love this jumpsuit!  Rainbows were a very popular theme for clothing, album covers & posters, etc. in the 1970's.

With it, I've paired one of my Cracker Jack/gumball charm bracelets & a pair of lucite rainbow earrings to complement the rainbow pattern in the jumpsuit. 

The charms in the bracelet were given to me by a dear friend that buys & sells antiques/vintage because she knew I liked Cracker Jack/gumball charms.  I decided to use them all in a bracelet for myself, & think about her every time I wear it.

I got the rainbow pieces for the earrings in a lot of vintage lucite I picked up on eBay.  The brass rings come from a vintage chain.

To see more of Dorothea's Closet Vintage clothing, check out the shop's website at  To see more of my jewelry, go to

As always, thanks for reading & supporting small businesses!


Filed Under: What I Wore on Wednesday

Treasure Hunting in Wisconsin -- July 2014 Part 1

by mary August 3, 2014

I traveled to Wisconsin again in July for more camping & visiting friends.  And, of course, while I was there I did a bit of treasure hunting!  This post will cover the first part of my trip in southern Wisconsin.

I spent the first night of my trip in Waukesha visiting college friends Katie & Jed.  On the way there, I stopped at a fun little antique shop in Wales just off Highway 18.  There I found this fun little silver & rhinestone button that I think will work great as a pendant for a necklace.

We took a train into Chicago the next day (Sunday) with several other friends & spent the next day visiting Eataly (this upscale market downtown) & walking along the lakefront.

On Monday, I headed into Menomonee Falls, my hometown, for lunch & dinner with friends at AJ O'Brady's Irish pub & grill.  I always like to stop there, as it's right across the street from the waterfall that the village is named for.  We used to ice skate on the river just above the falls.

While there, I stopped at Purloin Studio, a really nice little art & coffee shop that's just up the street, & picked up a couple of interesting yard art sculptures for our garden.  An artist from northern Wisconsin makes them out of old spoons.

The next day, I headed north to Kewaunee via Cedarburg & stopped in at my favorite lapidary shop -- The Gem Shop -- & found some fabulous gemstone cabichons.  Starting at the center top & going clockwise, they are an aqua nueva noduler agate, druzy, butterfly jasper, regency rose, graveyard point plume agate, & condor agate.  I don't know which I like better -- their shapes or colors/patterns!

I also picked up some great beads -- including rose quartz, pink opal, white agate, howlite, tourmalated quartz, pietersite, & mexican red obsidean -- as well as an old geneva quartz watch.

A great start for my 12-day journey -- next stop, the I43-JJ antique mall at Manitowoc!


Filed Under: Treasure Hunting/Favorite Finds

About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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