Category Archives: Talavera

Mexican Tin Ornaments and Thrift Store Scores!


A treasure trove of Mexican tin ornaments my mother found for me recently during a thrifting adventure!

Mexican tin art is a mainstay on my Mexican Christmas tree every year.  I love the shapes and colors of these lightweight ornaments.  I’ve collected them since the 1990s and always look for stores that carry the ornaments in particular.  My last big haul was last year when I visited Austin, Texas at a cool store called Tesoros.  They had quite a selection to choose from and wish I could have come away with more but honestly…I had to leave some for the other shoppers too, right?!

Last week my mother paid a visit to my favorite thrift store – The Salvation Army in Hoover.  She confessed she went in only for a few moment and now two hours later she was still roaming around and finding all sorts of goodies!  After a few trips around the knick knacks, she spotted a sandwich bag with something shiny and colorful.  Turned out to be a baggie with 10 Mexican tin ornaments!  For one dollar!!!!!  She brought them to me that very evening and while they look a little worn, they are still so beautiful to me.  I think the wearing of the tin and the color gives them a certain antique character.  And I also think I might need a bigger Mexican Christmas tree this year with all these new ornaments!


The red color on this ornament is brilliant and this is one design that I didn’t have – happy to add to my collection!

Meanwhile, this past weekend I went to the grand reopening of another favorite thrift store – the Salvation Army store in Homewood, AL.  The place was a madhouse!  I found a few items but nothing that I couldn’t live without, especially with the length of the checkout line!  Then I went to the jewelry counter – which was also packed – and gave it a look.  Loads of beautiful things…still that growing line was a concern.  I turned to walk toward the door when I spotted a long table filled with Christmas pins!  Wow!  I felt like I hit the mother-load of pins – something else I love to collect.    I spotted one vintage Christmas tree pin and then another…and a lady holding one handed hers to me when she saw my interest.  I thought that was nice!  Then a saleslady showed up and said, “let’s put these in a baggie with your name on it and it will be ready for you when you check out.”  I thought – “ok, let’s do this!”  Then the saleslady started suggested pins and earrings to me to help me fill my bag.  It was rather amusing.  I’d say – “sure, put it in the bag!”  And she would!


Such a unique necklace! This Mexican tin piece is adorned with a nativity scene!

The most unusual item I found in this sea of pins was a necklace.  I wasn’t sure what it was at first all clustered together on the table, but it was made of Mexican tin – I knew that for sure!  The saleslady picked it up and said it was a nativity scene and she thought it was beautiful.  I agreed but then again, the necklace had me at “Mexican tin” and so I told her to add it to the bag!

Well, the line to check out got even longer while I was browsing these pins, earrings and the necklace.  I figured I would leave the store to run some of my errands and come back before 7 p.m. to pick up the jewelry.  Unfortunately, I didn’t make it back and figured it was just as well.  Wasn’t meant to be and all that.  Still, I kept thinking of that Mexican tin necklace and how unique it was…


So Monday at lunch I decided to take a ride over to the store and look around minus the 250 people who were there on Saturday!  I went right to the jewelry counter and much to my surprise there were no Christmas pins anywhere!  That was puzzling with all that they had on Saturday.  Had someone come in and bought the entire table of pins?  I checked the other jewelry counter and but found nothing there either.  Then I saw several baggies of jewelry on the back of the counter.  Mine was still there!  SCORE!!!  Was I excited?  You bet!  Couldn’t believe my good fortune!

I left the store Monday with a baggie full of vintage pins, the Mexican tin necklace and also a talavera pottery piece that I spotted right before check out!  The colors on this talavera piece are perfect for my kitchen.  It will be a nice addition to the Zuniga-Odom talavera collection!  This is why I love thrift store shopping so much – you never know what you’ll find!


A Trip to At Home…

A new store called At Home opened near my house recently.  I had no idea what this store was about but curiosity was piqued after my daughter went by and loved it and then my mother said she went by and bought a few things.

So today, after spending several hours with my daughter and our wedding planners (my daughter is getting married in April next year – more on that in a later post), we decided to check it out together.  There are still a number of empty spaces in the store  – some shelves are empty and waiting to be filled – but their Christmas items are out in full force and everything is color coordinated and presented by theme.

Since we were in wedding mode, we found a number of items in burlap in the Christmas section that will work nicely for my daughter’s wedding.  We made a note of those items and continued our exploration.  Then suddenly…I spotted an entire shelf unit of Mexican pottery!  YES!!!  Score!!!  So beautiful!!!!  And now I must have them…

IMG_7591These pottery items are rather large but I can see them gracing my deck next spring with lovely plants.  I can also see them on my front doorstep on either side of my front door.  So many possibilities…  Of course, this store now has my full attention since they carry Mexican pottery.  I’m just hoping they will continue to get a nice selection and a variety as the seasons change.  Time will tell, and I’ll be checking on them!

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IMG_7595Of course, when I’m with my daughter (or any of my kids), we have a great time cutting up and today was no exception.  Down one aisle, we spotted some New York storage boxes that looked like suitcases.  This immediately bought the musical “Singing in the Rain” to our minds and the song “Broadway Melody” where Gene Kelly struts across a stage swinging his suitcases and singing “gotta dance!”   My daughter decided to recreate the scene and of course, I got a photo of it!  Oh…and I think I forgot to mention that it’s not unusual for me and my girls  to break into song at the drop of a hat.  It gets especially crazy when I’m with my sisters!  I love that this has carried over to my kids!

On our way out of the store, we passed the colorful Christmas trees again.  I remember our family having an aluminum Christmas tree when I was growing up in Puerto Rico.  My mother would put it on the marble coffee table and then place a four color wheel light next to it.  Well, now you can apparently get these trees in multiple colors!  My daughter found one in purple, her favorite color, and of course now she wants one.  The trick will be to convince her future husband that this is the tree for them!  This should be interesting…


Did I mention it was a fun day??!!!


Thrifting Treasures


No matter where I go, I look for thrift stores and these little treasures were waiting for me at a thrift store in Denver, Colorado this past June!

You know the saying…one man’s (or woman’s) trash is another’s treasure…well, it’s just amazing what you can find when you go on the thrift store hunt!

My sister Kanista, who lives in North Carolina, really got me hooked on thrift store shopping.  Her normal Saturday routine is to hit her local thrift stores and she definitely has an eye for vintage and unique!  When I visited her last year, she took me to her favorite places and we had a blast loading up on great clothing pieces and a few household items.  Her home is filled with beautiful finds.  Now, since I’ve started my own Saturday morning hunts, we text each other with photos of our latest finds!

In Birmingham, there are a few thrift stores that I frequent.  The two Salvation Army stores – one on Green Springs and one on Highway 150 in Hoover – are two of my favorites.  I especially love hitting them on Wednesdays when everything is 25% off.  On other days, they have a color system and clothing is 50% off.  Either way, you get a great bargain!  Another favorite is Lovelady Thrift store and I never fail to walk out of this store with something special.  I’ve been lucky enough to find a few Groupons too for $40 worth of merchandise for $20!

What I’ve been most surprised about lately is how much Mexican pottery I’ve been finding at these stores.  From a previous post, you know about my love of Talavera pottery – well, I’ve been adding to my collection with several smaller items.  I also keep an eye out for Fiesta dishes and my latest find was a large yellow platter from around the 1960s.  Couldn’t believe my eyes when I stumbled upon it at Lovelady a few months ago!

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IMG_7548Another place I love is a little place in Pelham called Treasures.  I bought a mink coat there last year – but that’s another story for another post…  Meanwhile, I found a really interesting Talavera piece there recently.  I wasn’t quite sure what it was until I got home and took a good look at it.  Turns out…it’s a soap dish!  I placed in my powder room which has quite a few Talavera pieces adorning it.

Some other items I’ve found are Mexican serape blankets that I’ve used quite often at Fiesta events.  I found one huge and colorful one at Alabama’s Thrift in Center Point last year.  It’s been quite useful for Fiesta promotion events to cover a table and set the scene for TV promos and other media events.


This is the first time I’ve found a Mexican blanket like this one. Usually they are just striped and very colorful.

These plates were found at Alabama’s Thrift in Alabaster.  I couldn’t believe my luck when I found not one plate, but three!  Very beautiful and the perfect addition to my family room coffee table.  A quick note about the Alabama Thrift Stores…they also have a color discount system and so it makes “the hunt’ all the more fun.

Meanwhile…tomorrow is Saturday and I’m itching to get out and see what I can find…so stay tuned!!!

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More Tales of Talavera Pottery

After scoring the “Hey Lady” Talavera pottery vase, (see previous post), one of my biggest Talavera pottery scores came from Home Goods, right next door to my local TJ Maxx.

I went into Home Goods one day with a specific purchase in mind and it wasn’t Talavera pottery!  The first thing that I do in any store is walk down the clearance aisles.  On this particular day, I headed directly to the clearance aisle and I spotted the most glorious sight!  TALAVERA!!!  Lots and LOTS of Talavera!  And it was on CLEARANCE!


La Maceta Talavera pottery that I found on the clearance aisle at Home Goods for $16 and $12 respectively!

Unlike my first experience at TJ Maxx, when I didn’t grab a shopping cart for the “Hey Lady” vase, this time I walked swiftly and with great purpose to the front of the store and grabbed one.  A plus to this visit was that there were hardly any people in the store at that moment.  So, there I was all by myself, with a cart in hand and a selection of Talavera Mexican pottery so gorgeous that I didn’t know where to start.  I began looking over the pieces and carefully but eagerly selecting the ones I wanted.  I placed them ever to gently in my cart.  So many assorted colors and designs!  YES!  I felt like I was in Talavera heaven!

By now I had about 5 vases of different designs and styles in my basket.   I was trying to decide on a rather brilliant colored vase I was holding when I decided to put it back on the shelf and give it some thought.  At that same moment, a woman rounded the corner and began taking a great interest in what I was doing and what I had in my basket.


Talavera pottery finds from Home Goods.

Women: “Ooooohhhh!….what are those?”  Me:  “They’re Mexican pottery pieces.”  Women:  “Ooooohhhh!  They’re pretty!” (as she heads straight for the piece I was trying to decide on but stupidly put back on the shelf.)  Me:  “Yes they are!” (growing anxious and resisting the urge to grab the vase back off the shelf!)  Woman:  “So what would you do with one like this?” (…as she picks up the vase that I NOW WANT and begins admiring it.)  Me:  “Well, with that one I would probably either put a plant in it or use it in my bathroom for hand towels or… (I rattled on with other amazing uses for Talavera pottery while my brain is yelling for me to SHUT UP!)  Woman:  “Oh okay!” (as she places the gorgeous piece in her basket and I continue to talk – while simultaneously kicking myself for being so incredibly convincing about the uses of Talavera pottery!!!)  I still wound up with some incredible pieces that day that now grace the wall unit of my family room.


Small flower pot vase from Alba Talavera, Guanajuato, MX. Found on the clearance aisle at Home Goods!

TJ Maxx and Home Goods still get Talavera pottery pieces on occasion, but now I approach them cautiously and act disinterested so I don’t attract attention!   On a side note, my “Hey Lady” vase cost me $70.  On this day at Home Goods, I bought 6 Talavera vases from the clearance aisle for about the same price.  I definitely hit the jackpot that day!







Tall Talavera Vase – purchased on sale at Home Goods.


A closer look at the details of one of the Talavera vases.


Closer details of one of the Talavera pottery vases purchased on sale from Home Goods. This one reminds me of a dragon fly…

The Legend of the “Hey Lady” Vase

I LOVE TALAVERA POTTERY!  I’ve been collecting this style of pottery for years and I have a story about pretty much every piece I have ever purchased…but this is the story of my first Talavera pottery purchase.  It is a rather large vase that sits on the stairs of my foyer.  My kids call it the “Hey Lady” vase and this is “her” story.

My "Hey Lady" Talavera Pottery Vase from TJ Maxx.

My “Hey Lady” Talavera Pottery Vase from TJ Maxx.

One day many years ago, I went to our local TJ Maxx armed with a $50 gift card and determined to find some sort of treasure.  After browsing the home section for a little while, there it was – tucked away in a corner, just waiting for me to find it.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  It was as though light from the heavens began shining down on this beautiful vase, lighting the way for me.  This vase knew it would soon be making it’s home in MY home!  I approached it, turned it around and admired the beautiful colors and then thought to myself – this is a BIG vase!  Should I grab a buggy and come back?  Would I drop it on the way to the register?  Would someone else grab it while I went to grab a buggy?  Do I take that chance?  You know how it goes…the moment you show interest in something at a store, suddenly everyone around you wants what you have!  And of course, this is exactly what happened.  I noticed people around me watching, just waiting for me to walk away so they could scoop my vase up.  So right then and there, I picked up this huge vase, cradled it in my arms like a baby and started walking carefully through the store to the registers.

IMG_6748Along the way, no less than 3 people stopped me and asked “Hey, where’d you get that vase?”  Me – “Back in the home goods section, but I don’t think they have anymore.”  (I know, I checked!)  I finally got through the checkout line and was heading to my car, still amazed at all the attention this Talavera vase was getting, when I heard a woman yelling – “Hey Lady!”  I kept walking.  Again she yelled, “Hey Lady!” – louder this time.  I slowed down a bit, not sure…  Once again, “Lady!  Hey Lady!”  I stopped and turned, realizing this woman was yelling at ME!  So I said, “yes?”  Yelling woman – “Hey! Where’d you get that vase?”  I told her “TJ Maxx” and she RAN back into TJ Maxx as I added, “but they don’t have anymore!”

By now I was laughing pretty hard, as I got into my car to head home and find the perfect spot for my much coveted vase.  I couldn’t wait to share the story with my family and after much more laughter, the legend of the Hey Lady vase was born!