Exploring the CentrePeace Showroom

In my continuing quest to find great places in the area that accept donated household goods, last week I visited the CentrePeace showroom just outside of Bellefonte (although they have a State College address). This site was suggested to me by the folks at the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store as a place that accepted donations of larger household goods and furniture, since the thrift store can handle only clothing and small household goods. (See https://marykisner.com/exploring-the-st-vincent-de-paul-thrift-store/)

CentrePeace is a non-profit organization created in 1975 to support inmates at nearby correctional facilities with their social and communication skills. (See www.centrepeace.org). Their most visible program, Project Restore, created in 1984, is a joint venture between CentrePeace, the Centre County Correctional Facility and the community. All goods are donated by the community to CentrePeace, keeping them out of landfills. Trainees and staff repair and restore pieces that are then resold to the public. The CentrePeace showroom now occupies a 7,000 sq. ft. showroom space at 3047 Benner Pike, State College… quite close to Bellefonte.

They are also open Thursdays until 8 p.m.

Benefits to Trainee Inmates

From the CentrePeace brochure I learned: “Trainees learn skills to repair and restore furniture, small appliances and other goods, while learning valuable job skills. The staff is able to mentor trainees by modeling behavior such as communication and social skills as well as enforcing a good work ethic.”

Benefits to the Community

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are welcomed to help work with customers and keep the show spaces looking great. Any volunteer with experience in woodworking, upholstery or appliance repair is welcome to help others learn those skills.

Downsizing Opportunities

Need to downsize YOUR stuff? Consider donating items to CentrePeace. Items can be delivered to their showroom…there is a sign as you enter the parking lot. If items are large or you can’t transport them, give them a call at (814)353-9081 and they will make an appointment for pick up, usually within a week.

Buying Opportunities

Interested in gently used or restored furniture and appliances? Check out their showroom! See photos below!

Tour of the CentrePeace Showroom

On the lawn and parking lot out front, they display easily moveable outdoor furniture.

Display cases inside show better quality donated items.

The main space looks like many furniture stores.
Here is a small refurbished desk for sale…$89. The slant front open to a desktop.

I thought this was really cute!

Now if I just had a porch!

Assorted appliances.
Exercise equipment!
Mattresses and chairs galore.

And finally, very important Mission Statement and Goals are defined in their brochure. Makes me want to step up and support this organization. How about you?

Please comment or email me directly at marykisner@comcast.net.

Exploring the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Are you thinking about spring cleaning, or at least cleaning out your closet and dresser drawers? Do you wish you could just box up tired decorating items and pass them off to someone without having to set up a garage sale? It’s unacceptable for me to just toss things in the trash to be buried in a landfill. It would be nice if someone could benefit from my cast offs. I started exploring places in my area where I could donate these items. Of course, Goodwill stores seem to be in every community, but I had also heard about the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift store in State College. I decided to check it out yesterday.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is an international organization of lay Catholics, called to serve the poor in local communities. The most important activity they do is to work with folks in need by providing material assistance such as rent, utilities, food or clothing, job training and emotional support. In south central Pennsylvania (Centre, Blair and Cambria counties) there are eight thrift stores, five food pantries, two food distribution warehouses, a youth ministry program, and two Family Kitchens! Their major fundraising activity is their network of Thrift Stores around the world. Donations of money, clothing and small household items are accepted and sold to support their work. The money stays in the local community.

The local Thrift Store has 140 volunteers who collect, sort, price and sell tons of donated items. Even the managers are unpaid volunteers! You can read more about the beginnings of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul at https://ssvpusa.org/ and about the State College store at https://stvincentstatecollege.org/.

The St. Vincent de Paul State College Thrift Store recently (2019) moved to a large building on the Benner Pike. It shares the building with Dick’s Homecare and is near the new Centre Crest facility. My specific goal was to see what they had so I had a better idea of what kinds of things I should donate.

Dick’s Homecare is on the right.
A small display in the entrance area with more information about St. Vincent de Paul and local support.

Entering the store feels like entering a quality Boutique! It does not feel like a Thrift store or a flea market. Very nice!

I was able to talk with the manager on duty who was very clear what kinds of things they accepted…clothing and accessories and small household items. Larger appliances and furniture would be passed on to Centre Peace…another charitable organization nearby. I think I’ll check them out soon. Prices were very reasonable…I was able to get a silk scarf for $1.00.

Volunteer staff ready to help!
Lots of jewelry.
Framed photos and prints all around the room.
Can you believe wedding dresses! I should have come here two weeks ago! Many dresses were priced at $50.
Donations of vintage items are displayed together.
Women’s tops and sweaters.
Men’s suits.
Men’s clothing.
Figurines, displayed well.
A few books.
Volunteers in the back room sorting away!

What wonderful service in this community! Selling items like these keeps them out of landfills, offers bargains to one and all, and the profits benefit the local community! A win all around!

So, if you are wondering where to donate your gently used clothing and household items, St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store will gladly help you out. If you’re looking for bargains to redecorate or add to your wardrobe, the Thrift Store may have just what you’re looking for! If you need assistance with anything, give them a call. If they can’t help you, they are well connected in the community to help you find what you need! Here is their contact information:

So, let’s get started on cleaning out all our “stuff” now that we know a place to pass them on! Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at marykisner@comcast.net.

Wonderful Lunch with High School Friends!

It’s been 57 years since I graduated from high school (hard to imagine, I know!). My small circle of close friends from those days are now scattered around the world and of course, many have passed on. However, a core group of folks who stayed or returned to the area, like Bert and I did, have managed to maintain or reestablish friendships over the years. Some of our parents stayed in the area and provided that link for many of us to connect again.

I’m not sure how long this group of women has been getting together once a month, but I discovered the group after our 50th high school reunion. What fun this has been for me!

Each month we meet at a local restaurant and enjoy an hour or two of great conversation. This month we met at Way Fruit Farm just outside of State College.

I took a lot of pictures and then discovered their website had similar pictures with detailed descriptions of how they started and the many activities they offer for the public. I had no idea they had been in business since 1826! Six generations have been on the property for almost 200 years and each generation has expanded or updated their products and the way they sell or distribute them.

If you are interested in learning more about them, check their website for their history and current offerings at www.wayfruitfarm.com. They are on Rt. 550 just north of State College.

While I waited for the girls to arrive for lunch, I took a few pictures around their store. They have certainly expanded since I was here last.

Beautiful flowers on the porch.
Seasonal items, from pumpkins to apple butter.
Great diagram of what produce is available and when.
Local meats and other frozen goodies.
Local produce.
Apples, of course!
Huge cabbages for sale…looked like bowling balls!
Pancake mixes, local maple syrup and honey.
Bulk baking items, like flour and sugar, so you can bake with all that yummy produce!
Local artists have a place to share their photos.
All sorts of handmade crafts.
Even old fashioned “penny candy” for sale.
Old fashioned soda…just like we remember from years ago.
And even a place for kids to play!
The lunch counter offers soups, sandwiches and baked goods to order.
With our group of 13 coming, we needed to move some tables together!
Very informal picture of some of us…I’ll keep it small!

This was a great way to rekindle old friendships and enjoy a good lunch! Thanks to all my old and new friends from high school for great conversation!

Check out local farm markets near you…you may find hidden treasures of food and fun! Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at marykisner@comcast.net.

Stopping by 224 Ridge Ave., State College

For several years I’ve been wanting to stop by the home I grew up in (224 Ridge Avenue) to take some pictures. My family moved to State College in 1947. My sister, Jean, was ten years old and my brother, Mark, was seven. I was born in November of 1946, so I was just six months old when we moved from New Jersey.

When my mother passed away in 1988, Dad moved to Foxdale Village in State College. The home has had several owners in the last 30 years and it has been remodeled and updated over those years. While Dad had some contact with the folks that first bought the house from him, after a year or two he felt he didn’t need to stay in touch with subsequent owners.

The house was a Sears, Roebuck & Co. craftsman home built in 1926. Here are some pictures I have of the house around the 1950’s.

The front of the house.
The back porch with Paul, Jean, Ruth and me! Mark must have taken the picture.
The side yard. The house next door had not been built yet.
The front yard looking toward Atherton Street. Check out the car on the street!

In the 1960’s Dad had the house remodeled inside and out. The front porch was enclosed with huge windows and a fireplace. The back porch was turned into a landing that led to an enclosed room with lots of windows that became Dad’s office. I don’t know exactly how long the construction lasted, I just remember having to step over construction materials as I went through the back door in my senior prom dress!

The front door was relocated to the left side of the house.

I’ve been able to check the property out on Google over the years and lately I noticed the most recent renovation drastically changed the roof line of the house. Obviously, an addition to the back of the house increased the living space of the structure. I think a second story was added to the room my Dad used as an office. Here are two screen shots from Google maps:

View from above.
Side view. You can see the windows of the dining room, but I don’t think the footprint of the house has been changed.

I stopped by the house this week to take some pictures. I rang the doorbell, but no one answered. So much for thinking I could see the inside of the house!

First, I checked out the front steps…I know when the concrete was poured on the steps in the 1960’s, I signed my initials and placed a 1964 penny there. I guess it’s been covered up. These steps look much better!

I saw this plaque by the front door:

From the porch, looking down the driveway to the garage, the view is certainly filled with green plants.

When I turned around to go to the front sidewalk, I realized how HUGE the tree in the front yard was! I don’t even remember if there was a tree there at all. There may have been a large pine tree there when I was much younger. This tree has to be almost 30 years old, but it’s beautiful.

The people living here certainly like lots of plants and privacy hedges.

When I stood back closer to the curb to take a side picture, I can barely see the brick chimney on the right with the overhang from the tree in the front yard. Yellow siding and white painted brick certainly changes the whole look of the house. However, it is the best kept house on the block.

The Adams house next door is still there but doesn’t look like it’s been upgraded at all. Next to that is the brick apartment house on the corner of Burrows Street. From the evidence of assorted stuff outside the house, it looks like student housing.

As I drove down Atherton Street toward Boalsburg I was stopped at the light at Atherton and College Avenue. Imagine my surprise to see giant high rise apartment buildings on either side of the intersection! Things have certainly changed! I guess I should drive through town now and then just to keep up!

I guess things stay the same only in our memories! To my family, I hope you enjoyed the updated pictures of 224 Ridge Avenue! To everyone else, treasure the memories you have of the places you’ve lived! Enjoy!

Please comment or email me directly at marykisner@comcast.net.

Finding Vintage Fabric at Apple Hill Antiques

I’ve always been interested in vintage fabric. So many things left in attics and estate sales remind us of life in by-gone times. Those days folks did not use disposable paper products the way we do today. Now, I’m hoping to never need to figure out how to do without toilet paper, but I remember the days before paper towels, paper napkins and Kleenex. I still have an assortment of beautiful handkerchiefs, cloth napkins and dishcloths from my mother. The dresser scarves and crocheted doilies seemed to be everywhere in my grandmother’s home. I have found many similar items in antique stores and flea markets. Besides representing how my parents and grandparents functioned in their homes, I find them a great resource of one-of-a-kind beautiful fabric.

I recently visited Apple Hill Antiques in State College. This large warehouse-size building is divided up into individual sections for individual sellers. This building used to be the local roller-skating rink back in the 1970’s and 80’s. I have fond memories of learning to skate with my kids back then.

If you like to wander through small shops with an assortment of items, Apple Hill Antiques is a great place to visit.

Usually, I find it helps to focus on a specific time period or a specific kind of item from toys, glassware, furniture or textiles. Otherwise, I find the mixture of items overwhelming. When I focus on vintage fabric my eyes look for a certain kind of display.

Some items, like quilts, are displayed tucked into trunks.

Things like handkerchiefs and napkins are often piled into baskets.

Larger items like hand towels and tablecloths are often hung on hangers or racks.

I have a project in mind this time–Christmas Ornaments–so when I stopped by, I focused on smaller items. I was looking for edging on handkerchiefs or embroidery on hand towels. A few crocheted doilies looked promising.

Here is an example of what I hope to make…enough to give as gifts at Christmas:

Therefore, I’m looking for unusual edging on handkerchief or interesting doily patterns.

Apple Hill Antiques is a great place to spend time…to relive the past or to search for special items for your own collections. Here’s their flyer with more information:

You could even join their mailing list:

A great way to spend some time! Enjoy!

Please leave a comment or email me directly if you have questions at marykisner@comcast.net.

Exploring S. Fraser Street in State College

I had a mission today…get more comfortable using the Fraser Street parking garage AND shopping at The Nittany Quill. With only an hour or so this morning before freezing rain was supposed to start, I ventured out. Here’s a map of what I hoped to explore:

I have avoided exploring downtown State College for many years because of the parking choices. Don’t tell the Driver’s Ed. teacher from the 60’s that I still don’t enjoy parallel parking on the street. I have no experience with the routine of parking and paying in a parking garage. Usually Bert handles things like that but I’d like to be comfortable doing it myself.

I also rationalized that I didn’t need anything that I couldn’t get someplace else (Amazon is just too easy!). However, I really wanted to visit The Nittany Quill for a few things so it was time to explore and learn!

I did a trial run last week, which was my first exposure to the challenge of getting a ticket, parking my car, shopping, returning and paying at a machine, locating the car and exiting (without running over a curb). I felt a little more confident today. I also wanted to take some pictures of the surrounding stores on that block of Fraser Street.

First, I got to the parking garage and actually remembered how to get a ticket! Yea!

Looks pretty simple!

Once I left the garage (note to self…always remember where I exited the garage!) I headed down the street to the right to The Nittany Quill. They also have a nice website: https://www.thenittanyquill.com.

This is a very small, cute specialty store, focused on beautiful cards, framed illustrated sayings and supplies to do calligraphy. They also offer services such as creating custom wedding announcements and invitations. I was looking for some beautifully drawn cards with meaningful sayings and a new calligraphy fountain pen.

As I left the store I continued to the right up the block toward College Avenue. The Central Pennsylvania Dance Workshop is still there…signs pointing to the upstairs studio. The store on the corner seems to be an eye wear store called Spectacles. I think years ago that corner also used to have one of the few public pay telephone booths in town.

Across the street on the corner is a Dunkin Donuts. Continuing back down Fraser Street is a store awning that says Comic Swap. Sounds interesting.

Next down the hill is the alley (Calder Way). Then the rest of the block up to Beaver Avenue is one three-story structure with H&M on the ground floor and Target on the second and maybe the top floor. You can see behind that complex is a much taller high rise apartment building. This certainly changes the skyline of the downtown area.

After paying my parking fee at the machine on the ground floor of the parking garage and going in the correct entrance, taking the elevator to Level 2, I was able to exit the garage without hitting the curb on the tight turn out. I turned left out of the garage and stopped at the light on Beaver Avenue. (This felt strange because Fraser Street used to be only one-way), Straight ahead was the familiar State College Presbyterian Church! Yea! I recognized something!

I’m sure this adventure sounds rather silly, but I’m pleased I made the effort to do this. Maybe I can learn something new out of my comfort zone! Thanks for coming with me. Next time I’ll go up around the corner from the garage and explore that first block of Beaver Avenue. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to comment on this post, leave a comment on this page or email me at marykisner@comcast.net. Thanks!