Category Archives: Collecting

Collecting

Disney Pin Trading on the Cheap

A look back at our Disney trip — even though it’s years later, trading pins is still the way to go to keep the kiddos happy!

When learning that a trip was planned to Disney World, an acquaintance suggested pin trading for my six year old grandson Eli. So we decided to give it a try. I already knew that pin collecting is extremely popular, but was amazed at how many actually do participate.
It all starts with the Disney Cast Members (Disney employees not dressed in costume) who participate in pin trading. They wear a lanyard with pins or have a pin pouch attached to their belts. There were lots of Cast Members who trade pins, including quite a few of the staff at the stores, those monitoring the lines at the rides and many just walking around.

Want to trade pins?
Just ask a cast member to trade and as long as they are not busy with someone else, they happily oblige. In five days of pin trading we only had one grouchy person who obviously was not enjoying that part of her job. The pins the Cast Members trade include older pins, current pins found at the stores and recent issues.

Buying Online
The problem is Eli also had to have a stock of pins to trade. I knew that buying at the parks could be expensive, so before we went we checked other options. There are numerous online vendors that sell Disney pins; After checking out the options, we bought 30 pins from a vendor selling authentic Disney pins for $1.35 each. No choice, bulk only, but postage was included.

When the pins came in the mail, there was a great assortment of pins, many Eli wanted to keep for himself. But we suggested he take them in case there was a trade he might want more. Perhaps buying 30 pins was a bit much, but it kept Eli busy and happy with pin trading almost the entire time. And at $1.35 a pin, was much cheaper than the $6.95 – $12.95 for the individual pins available at the Parks.

And if you’re lucky the youngsters will be so busy with trading
they won’t even realize they’re collecting on a budget.


Pins Everywhere!

There were Disney pins everywhere. Kiosks and almost all stores had a selection, with a few stores devoted to pin collecting with literally had walls of pins. Make no mistake about it, Pins are a huge business for Disney and along with thousands of pins, there are also pin accessories. Books to put them in, refills for the books, lanyards of all descriptions, and decorative charms to hang from the bottom of the lanyard.

A Lanyard is a Must
Eli wanted to buy a couple of pins, but after convincing him to wait a day or two, he wound up finding the pins he was interested in during his many trade sessions. We did buy him a Chip n’ Dale lanyard and pendant, along with a small pin book.

Wearing the lanyard signals that one is a pin trader and he was approached by a few other youngsters to see “what he had” for possible trading.

Focus Focus Focus
As with all collecting, it’s best to focus in on a particular theme and character. There are so many categories in Disney pins, that one can easily get carried away. Luckily, the bulk pins we bought had several of Eli’s favorite Disney characters – Chip ‘n Dale. He quickly decided he would look for Chip ‘n Dale pins. There were loads of them, so he wound up with quite an assortment. Two pages worth! He did pick a few other pins, such as the Disney characters with Star Wars costumes.

His favorite pin trade? A Wall-E pin that was selling at the stores for over $12
.

The first pin trade is the hardest.
Eli was a little hesitant at first, but quickly got into the spirit. After a few trades he said “my friends who went to Disney World didn’t do this, this is fun. Wait till I tell them about it!” It gave him something to do besides continually checking out all the stores and filled time while waiting in line. It still can cost a bit of money, but there is a lot of bang for the buck when buying pins beforehand.

Tips for Pin Trading

  • Focus on particular characters or themes.
  • Get a supply of Disney pins before leaving for the Parks. Look online for bargains, but make sure they are authentic. (check seller feedback)
  • The first pin trade is always the hardest, once you get a smile and a pin you’re looking for, the rest is easy.
  • It might take a bit of time to find the ones you’re looking for, take your time and approach everyone with pins, but don’t feel you have to make a trade.
  • Some folks collect only Hidden Mickey pins. A small Mickey head silhouette is on each pin, these pins cannot be purchased and are only available from Cast Member trading, but appeared to be readily available in trading.
  • The character lanyards are fun to have, but are certainly not necessary. On a budget? Have a small pouch that the pins can be secured to or bring a lanyard from home.
  • There were a few different styles of Disney pin books at the parks, we bought a small one with refillable pages, but it quickly filled up. We’ll probably get a larger book for his pins, but will save money by looking online.
  • Want to get in on the fun, but don’t have enough pins to trade? Another option is to look for the mystery packs at Park stores. There are usually two pins in a pack, you don’t know what you’re getting, but the pins are lower in price. Still costly at $5. each, but excellent trade material.

Most important have fun with the collecting. It’s not only for kids, lots of adults were also happily involved in the trading.

The Curtains That Ate the Christmas Tree.

A look back . . .

Before the Fall


Yes, I really do know better. But the day after Thanksgiving sales had me pumped up and I wasn’t thinking. At least not about turning off the rotating Christmas tree stand as I normally do when leaving the house.

A rotating Christmas tree stand is a wonderful way to show off your ornaments. We’ve used the EZ Rotating Christmas Tree stand for several years with a six foot white metal tree filled with gold glass ornaments. We finished decorating the tree and it looked spectacular.
The golden glittered ornaments sparkled as the tree rotated, each piece getting the spotlight as it came into view. Satisfied, we left the house to do a little more shopping.

An hour or so later we drove up to the front of the house and noticed the tree in the window. It looked very close to the glass. Like touching it. I don’t normally panic, but I did!

When we get inside to investigate, the six foot metal tree, with over 100 Patricia Breen (very fragile and expensive) glass ornaments, is at a 45 degree angle touching the window. It’s held up ONLY by sheer curtains that are completely twisted around the top twelve inches of the tree. The sheer curtains are actually holding the tree very securely, but at the 45 degree angle.

It took us over fifteen minutes just to untangle the curtain and we could only do that by taking the curtain rod off the window and the top portion of the tree off. Remember, we still have over 100 glass ornaments dangling from the tree. Two of us are holding the tree and the third person is trying to get the curtains and tree separated from each other. The curtains were very tightly wound around the tree.

We finally untangle everything and gently set the tree upright, but the tree is very wobbly in the base. I tighten the screws, but it still tilts at least ten degrees.The next day all the ornaments are taken off and the tree is put back in the original stand that came with the tree in an effort to make the tree stand straight.

It doesn’t.

The metal trunk appears to be straight, but the whole tree tilts in the holder. The next step is to get 3/4″ dowels and white duct tape, and tape the dowels to the metal trunk very tightly. The tree is finally stable, straight and doesn’t tilt. Next I wrapped gold garland around the dowels and tree trunk to hide the dowels.

And to answer the questions I know you are thinking:

  • We love the EZ Rotating Stand and will continue to use it, but not with that tree!
  • The closest tree branch was at least 15″ away from the curtains when the tree was set up.
  • Not one single ornament fell of the tree during the whole ordeal and none were broken.
  • Ornaments were not wired on, just were hung with long decorative hooks.
  • I always turned off the rotating stand when leaving the house, but apparently the sales were too big a draw that year.
  • The tree was never able to be repaired and was thrown away after the holiday season.

Levis: The Jeans that Won the West

Note: This was an article written by Joe Caro that he was generous enough to share with Collectibles readers on About.com. The article has been redirected, so it’s being reproduced here for your reading enjoyment.
– – – –
Levi Jeans — at one time or another, they were called britches, trousers, overalls, pants and finally jeans. They were guaranteed to shrink, fade and wrinkle and were originally made from brown, canvas sail-cloth intended for use as miners’ tents and Conestroga wagon covers. Invented by a 24-year old German immigrant dry-goods salesman, they are as American as apple pie! We know them fondly today as “501’s”.

When a young Levi Strauss arrived in a bustling, noisy San Francisco in 1853, the rush for California gold riches was still in high gear. The son of a Bavarian dry-good peddler, Levi expected that the mining camps would welcome the buttons, scissors, thread and bolts of fabric that he had brought with him, along with yards of canvas sail cloth that he intended to sell for tent-making and as covers for the the Conestoga wagons that dotted every stream and river.

Opening a little store on California Street with his brother-in-law David Stern, they were immediately successful and their reputation and business grew. It is reported that Levi was often found leading a pack-horse, heavily laden with his merchandise, directly into the mining camps throughout the region. The story goes that both prospectors and miners, often complaining about the easily torn cotton “britches” and pockets that “split right out” gave Levi the idea to make a rugged “overall” trouser for the miners to wear. They were fashioned from bolts of brown canvas sailcloth with gold ore storing pockets that were nearly impossible to split.

Exhausting his original supply of canvas, as the demand grew for his long-wearing overalls, Levi switched to a sturdy fabric called serge, which was made in Nimes, France. Originally called serge de Nimes, this name was soon shortened to “denim”. And, with the development of an indigo dye, the brown color was soon replaced with the now familiar deep blue, the trademark color of most jeans made today.

Another novel trademark, the riveting process, was patented in 1873 and was used to add even more strength to the pocket corners and stress areas of the pants, in addition to another Levi hallmark, using a double stitching or arcuate pattern on the hip pockets, to further increase pocket strength. In 1886, the Two-Horse brand leather patch was first introduced and in 1890, lot numbers were assigned to all products including lot “501”, which contained the first watch pocket.

It is interesting to note that Levi Strauss always disliked the term “jeans” to describe his … well… jeans! The word “jeans” it seems, is derived from the French word genes that was long associated with cotton trousers worn by Italian sailors. It is reported that Levi, and everyone working for him, referred to his denim trousers as waist-high overalls until long after his death in 1902. Not until the mid-1930’s did the company ever refer to them as jeans.

Originally designed as cinch pants to be worn with suspenders, the firm added belt loops in 1922, the red Levi’s tab in 1936 and removed the crotch rivet in 1941. It’s widely rumored that the crotch rivet removal was long overdue and attributed to a troublesome problem suffered by many cowhands while crouching near a roaring campfire on chilly nights out on the range. The story goes that the president of the company, Walter A. Haas, while wearing a new pair of “501’s” experienced first-hand what cowboys had been complaining about for years. Crouched down like that, it seems, the rivet at the base of the fly is mostly exposed to the fire and is an excellent conductor of heat. Shortly after his experience, and by executive order, this single offending rivet was removed forever!

Not a company to change its successful line of clothing without good cause, Levi’s continued to sell its denim overalls with both suspender buttons and belt loops until 1937 when they discontinued the suspender attachments. The next flurry of changes (after the removal of the crotch rivet in 1941) occurred in the ’50’s when the pattern was re-cut for a more tapered leg and pre-shrunk overalls were introduced. 1955 was the year that zippers were introduced to Levi Strauss’s famous overalls with other lots like “Lighter Blues” that marked the company’s entry into the sportswear business. The popularity of the Levi’s jeans grew to such an extent that during World War II the government declared them an essential commodity, and sales were restricted only to defense workers. Demand and price skyrocketed!

With the popularity of the Western movie and stars like John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, blue jeans were all the rage. What were originally designed as prospectors working britches now gained the irresistible aura of romance and adventure. The bad-boy, devil-may-care image of Marlon Brando and James Dean in the 1950s established blue jeans as the uniform of the day for the baby boomer generation. In 1960, the company dropped the word overalls from all advertising and finally started calling jeans — “jeans”.

From the California 49’ers to cowboys who were home on the range, to Rosie the Riveter, James Dean and Garth Brooks, the pants that young Levi made, especially lot “501”, have been with us now for well over 100 years. In over 70 countries throughout the world, everyone knows his first name, and continues to eagerly buy millions of of pairs of his pants that are still guaranteed to shrink, wrinkle and fade.

Selling Cookie Jars on Facebook

monopolymanI recently wrote an article over on Hubadub.com about the new ways people are finding to sell their stuff — the ABC’s of Selling Your Stuff on Facebook.

Having a garage sale, donating, eBay or perhaps selling on Craigslist has always been an option for clutter clearing, but over the past few years another avenue has opened up. Facebook. Yes, Facebook is not only a good way to keep up with friends, but also to sell and get rid of your stuff β€” good, valuable and even junk.

Facebook is also a great place to sell and buy cookie jars. The groups aren’t huge, but there are several on Facebook that are terrific for collectors to share their treasures, share their finds and also sell/trade jars.
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Ford and American Pickers — Join the Scavenger Hunt!

American Pickers Van

American Pickers Van

When I interviewed Mike Wolfe during on the early seasons of American Pickers, I was really surprised at the number of negative comments about, of all things, the guys driving a foreign vehicle. At the time Mike said, it was the only one that worked. Well that’s apparently in the past as it’s just been announced that the the 2015 Ford Transit is joining the cast of American Pickers.

To celebrate they company is having a scavenger hunt in ten metropolitan areas — find the scale model at one of ten antique stores across the country for the use of a Ford Transit van for two weeks.
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College Brackets, Mascots and Cookie jars!

tennesseecjIt’s the NCAA bracket time and I’ve already made my picks. My one claim to fame is the time I won $500. in a company wide contest. It’s also the last time the company ever had the contest, is it because an older woman beat out all the sports writers? I tend to think so!

But this one is all for fun, I’ve taken the College Mascots on cookie jars and lined them up in four divisions — the Cats, Birds, Dogs and Logos, with a few additions here and there. It’s your turn to pick your favorite mascots in each division. Three may be picked in each division and in about ten days we will go to the next round.

Make your picks here . .