Fall 2015 Junk Ranch

I had all of Sunday and most of today to recover from our Junk Ranch weekend but I’m still just EXHAUSTED. It’s at times like this that I really feel all of my 46 years. As I was unloading the car yesterday, though, I was having all of these flashes of inspiration for my booths and for Daisies and Olives upcoming Holiday Open House in November — that’s what a really good junk show will do for you: inspire and energize you. And the Junk Ranch is a really, really, REALLY good junk show.

I have to keep reminding myself about how the Junk Ranch started out as a tiny little flea market in a church field with some 20-odd vendors — because on Saturday, when thousands upon thousands of shoppers flowed through the gates, when we were deluged for hours with folks buying our junk, when the line of cars went up the highway as far as our eyes could see — it seemed impossible that the small-town event that Amy and Julie poured their hearts and souls into had grown so large. It is certainly the largest event I’ve ever taken part in, and that includes the wonderful Vintage Bazaars that I used to do in Chicago. At one point on Saturday, as I was going to buy my lunch (purchasing from the food trucks is the highlight of my day, truth be told), I was just trying to imagine how difficult it is to pull of an event of this scope and magnitude — all of the food trucks. The live vendors. Over 100 different vendors. The parking. The crew that totes the big items to cars for folks. It is just inspirational to me that these two women had this vision and have made it into this gigantic, epic junk party.

All right. On with the pictures!

I was able to do this again without getting a babysitter, thanks to my amazing husband. He took the kids to school and picked them up on Thursday, so from 8-12 I was able to load up the car and take two big carloads out to the site. I got the tent up and all of the display pieces out there, leaving only the merchandise that I didn’t want to leave overnight (the prints do not do well when left out overnight because of the dew). On Friday, he took the kids to work with him (amazing, right? he was getting off of work at noon, but still, to sign on to have the destructive duo distracting you for four hours is above and beyond the call of duty). I got to the site about 9 and felt pretty darn good about how much time I had to set up (the gates didn’t open until 1) until I realized, at about 10:30, that I had left my huge vintage photo prints at home. So back I went, for a round trip that took about 40 minutes. Basically, I finished pricing my last item about two minutes before the gates opened and the crowds started rolling in.

Santa did not sell, so he will be moving into my booth for the Daisies and Olives Holiday Open House. Almost all of my Christmas signs sold, though! And I finally got rid of that globe, but for a vastly reduced price ($20). What the heck, people? Globes sell like hotcakes, but Shara and I both have had one exactly like this one and it was next to impossible to sell. Apparently, in the world of globes, bigger is most certainly not better.

I only sold one of the oversized photo prints (the globe print in the yellow frame) which was disheartening. I had high hopes for those. But I will try them in the booth and see how they do. It’s just more expensive to get them printed that size so the price point is higher than my other prints — but it’s still a bargain for art of that size.


So Friday was not a good day for my prints, framed or unframed. I think I sold, maybe, two. I was pretty discouraged. But then Saturday dawned and they were FLYING out of my booth! It was such a relief. I have wanted to display them like this since the first Junk Ranch — but the gusty wind has always  been an issue. Last show, in June, I figured out that if I used TWO strings of twine and clipped the prints at the top AND the bottom, they set up was sturdy enough to withstand the breeze. And it’s a GREAT way to get most of the designs really visible.

You can see the huge line we had before opening on Friday in the background.

It never fails: the night before a show, I become convinced that most of what I have is crap and it’s never going to sell. I was especially sure that these two giant cow signs were colossal failures and that I would have to pay someone to take them (which I would have HAD to do had they not sold because they were a carload by themselves). So I priced them super-low — the big round one was $42 and the oval one was $24. The gates opened on Friday morning and I see a blur out of the corner of my eye — two people, a man and a woman,  running over to the signs. They both wanted the two cow signs but the woman ran a little faster and snatched the price tags off of them; the man bought the meat and poultry sign. All in the first minute of the show! So there you go. Obviously, I still haven’t figured out what sells well and what doesn’t.

(Here’s a better shot of that sign with two little cutie pies standing next to it.)

So that’s it for my booth. As always, my best junking pal Shara and her Monkeybox full of goodies was right next door.

Shara kept her amazing collection of blow molds captive for the duration of the show. Until almost all of them sold, that is. We saw more blow molds blowing out to the parking lot. Very popular!

Her kitschy Christmas wreaths are glorious. This one sold!

Mmmmmmm….look at the deliciousness….

Wagon full o’ fun.

Look at this cute, cozy little set-up! I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute this would be for Christmas photos. Alas, the chair and tree sold and Shara decided to pull that cute little table since it would make such a cute display piece.

The only bad part about being a vendor at this show is I get precious little time to be a shopper — Shara almost never roams around and that makes me feel guilty about asking her to mind the store, since I can’t return the favor. I still leave my booth, more than I should, really, and I found some amazing vendors at which to spend my moola.

Harley and Maude’s  is a custom jewelry designer who was set up in the little ranch house this time around — her set-up was SO CUTE and this picture DOES NOT do it justice — it was dim in there and I was in a hurry to get back to my booth so I didn’t get a good shot. But she makes the absolutely cutest stuff and I actually ended buying a Christmas present for a family member who shall remain nameless.

Romi’s  is run by the two nicest guys — their booth is in Thru the House in downtown Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They had four booth plots (I think) and their space was set up exactly like a store — it was hard to believe you were outside in a field when you walked under their tent. They had a great mix of antique, vintage, and new.

Ohhhh, that bench. Those prints…

I meant to go back and buy this puppy from them but time got away from me. He was only $6!

I got in a hurry and neglected to get the names of these fine vendors with marvelous stuff, but enjoy the eye candy…

And of course I made it home with some goodies. Here’s my stash.

That AMAZING word card is from Monkeybox, the print is from Sweet Pickins (and used to belong to Amy, founder of The Junk Ranch, so as you can see, I have mighty fine taste!), and the chalkware horse was purchased before the show opened from Rustic Soul Vintage Goods. It was one of those things — you see it, and you know it MUST belong to you. Don’t know if you can see the price, but it was only $20 (and it’s really big!) — when I turned the price tag over I was fully prepared for it to read $50 or more but Ashley is a fantastically reasonable vendor.

This show just continue to grow every cycle. It’s just HUGE. And not just quantity — the vendors are truly quality vendors. I feel lucky to be a part of it.

Next: attention to the booths must be paid. Daisies and Olives was extremely busy during the weekend (it’s only a few miles away from the Junk Ranch site) and I know I need to go and straighten and take stock. And Christmas is coming! Lots to do!

But I’m going to have to wait until my feet stop hurting.:-)

Hope your fall is going well, friends!


Boothy News.

I’m finally starting to get back on track with stocking the booth and was relieved to get my check this month — it’s the first really good check I’ve had in a while, which is nobody’s fault but my own. Stocking a flea market booth is a lot harder than people realize (a lot harder than I realized before I got my first booth) and takes up a lot of time and energy…neither or which I’ve had since March or so. But I’ve started finding some bigger furniture pieces, finally, which is the hardest piece of the puzzle, and have actually been painting them and getting them to the booth, which is the second-hardest piece of the puzzle. Furniture is SO hard to come by where I am. You wouldn’t believe how much furniture I passed by while in Chicago this last time — we didn’t have room to transport anything big but MAN it was hard to pass up because it was all so plentiful and CHEAP! I really should plan a buying trip where I pull a trailer to pile it all in. When I signed on to take the bigger booth, my mantra was “all I have to do is sell a big piece of furniture for $150+ and I’ll have rent for that month” but that was easier said than done. But, of course, summer is a much better hunting season than winter, and I have quite a few pieces out in my garage, ready to load in to the booth this week, just in time for the college kids to return to town.

Here are a few pictures from my foofing expedition this past Friday.

I’ve had those crochet pieces for a while, waiting for me to make a garland out of. I finally did it and was underwhelmed with the results, because the pieces are so small. They make for fairly anemic garlands. But I thought they looked better all hung together like that.

I’m finally selling this set of down-insert pillows. I bought them — probably ten years or more ago — at the Junior League thrift store in Evanston, IL. They were ridiculously cheap and are SO well-made, I couldn’t resist, but I’ve never really had a place for them. They were on the guest bed for a short period of time but the cat liked them too much there so they’ve been put up for years — I figured now might be a good time to get them to the booth, with the apartment-dwellers shopping soon.

I love this little table. I found it at an old shed sale for TWO DOLLARS. The top was a mess but the bottom was in perfect condition, so I just left it as-is. It’s fold-down size makes it quite handy.

I can’t resist brass animals. I’m not sure they’re selling anymore but I buy them any time I see them.

I got this little cabinet for cheap because the glass was missing from the doors and then used my new FAVORITE napkin mod podge process on two wood inserts and VOILA, a new look for an old cabinet.

Those are pretty boring pictures. Next week should be a little more interesting as I’ve got a ton of new stuff to take and the booth will look stuffed full for the first time in a long time.

One thing I haven’t talked about much here is Shara and my booth at Fayetteville’s Funky Yard Sale — a giant warehouse-y flea market in the town where I live. We started out with a set of shelves but expanded to a pretty big booth in late April. For me, it’s primarily for my prints — I do have a few odds and ends there that are more “funky” and less vintage, meant to appeal to the college-age crowd (we get college kids at my booth at Daisies and Olives, too — lots of them — but they’re generally looking for things that are more vintage/shabby chic). Each of the booths have a totally different personality and there are very few times when I have bought an item and thought, hmmm, this could go in either booth — things I buy have a very distinct place in one booth or the other. Even with the prints, I’m slowly figuring out that what sells in my D and O booth doesn’t sell at FFYS — I sell more nerdy prints, less romantic/motivational prints there. This will be our third month in the bigger space, and our first where we should see some sales from college students returning, so I’m anxious to see how much we made. With the shelves (which were very cheap — we were each paying $15 in rent), we always made a sum that surprised us — when it’s not all of your stuff in a space, it’s hard to gauge how much has been sold, so we always erred on the pessimistic side and were pleasantly surprised at the end of the month. The same is proving true with the new, bigger booth, and we’ve been happy so far with the results — it will be interesting to see what sales are like during the school year. I need to get some pictures of that space for the blog!

Hope your summer is progressing nicely. It’s been in the mid-90s for over a week here. Doesn’t make me want to get out in the garage and paint, I’ll tell you that.

My Kind of Town.

We moved from Chicago to Arkansas two-and-a-half years ago, and, until last weekend, I had not been back. That’s not how it was supposed to be. In December of 2012, I promised my current crop of seniors that I would be back to see them graduate in June; but, unfortunately, by May of that year we had had to go ahead and buy a house (earlier than we expected as the house we were renting unexpectedly sold) and funds, and time, were tight. Then I intended to go during the Christmas holiday because I wanted to see the city all decorated again, but there’s never enough extra funding to take a trip just for the heck of it around Christmas. And at that point, attempts to visit just kind of petered out. BUT THEN. One of my best friends in the world, Shannon, got married last weekend. For a while it seemed like I wasn’t going to be able to go, which was inconceivable to me, because I couldn’t imagine missing her wedding. But Dad was sick; then, when he died, I didn’t think I had the energy or motivation to take such a long road trip. At the last minute, it occurred to me how good it would be for Mom to get out of town and do something fun, so I convinced her to hop in the car with me and head on up. The timing of the trip was too last minute to see everyone I really wanted to see (so sorry to miss both Chanelle and Bailey!) but I think it was just the thing we both needed AND, OF COURSE, I got to see Shannon marry a terrific guy. She was the prettiest bride I’ve ever seen.

Let’s be clear: the wedding on Friday was the primary focus of my weekend and the main event. And Shannon looked SO BEAUTIFUL and the wedding was gorgeous and the reception was SO FUN.

When I first saw her, I was afraid to hug her too tightly. She looked like a porcelain doll.

So while my focus was on Shannon and her wedding,  I couldn’t stop thinking about yard sales on Saturday. We had initially considered driving home on Saturday — I felt so bad leaving Justin alone for four whole nights with the kids — but in the end, I couldn’t resist spending the day doing Chicago yard sales, just as I did for the 17 years I lived there. It did not disappoint. PLUS, my favorite thrift chain (Village Discount Outlet) was having one of their 50% off the entire store sales, so I added that to my list of things to do on Saturday.

There are many wonderful things about Chicago yard sales. First, they start much later than yards sales in the south — 9 or 10, instead of 7 or 8. Second, I can show up at a Chicago yard sale at 1 pm and STILL find amazing things to buy. Third, it seems like EVERY Chicago yard sale has old stuff at it. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I bought something at every sale we stopped at and turned down sooooo many great things for lack of space (the passed-on purchase that hurts the worst was a pair of vintage cabinets out of a biology classroom — glass fronted and gorgeous and TWENTY DOLLARS. The thrift stores were equally as fruitful, and, in addition to some pretty great old stuff, I also got a TON of cheap clothes for the kids. They’re definitely set for all of next year and I even got a head start on their size 6 clothes as well.

It was a lovely trip, all the way around.

I shall now show you some of the things I bought.

This jaunty pair was at one of the first stops we made. There were also six soldiers lined up against the wall, but as I was texting Shara pics of Santa and Frosty, the lady running the sale shouted down for her mom to bring the soldiers up to her because she sold them to a friend on Facebook. I grabbed these two before anyone could take them away too.

Santa is pretty darn fantastic.

Our very first stop was advertised as an estate sale in a three-floor apartment building. It wasn’t. It was a basement sale with not-that-many items to choose from, and the ladies prices were kind of ridiculous on most stuff. But I got the cute little magazine rack there (the suitcase came from somewhere else) and I got this nifty heat lamp there.

I think this thing is beautiful — the base is heavy cast iron.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to sell it. It has a frayed cord, which didn’t stop me from plugging it in, because I’m an idiot, and of course, sparks flew and then it started smoking. So it definitely doesn’t work! But I think it’s so pretty.

I also got this print there. I paid $10 for it, which is VERY VERY VERY HIGH for me, but I’m planning on keeping it, so that’s how I justified it.

Not a great picture of it. It’s prettier in person. (I’m clearly feeling defensive about paying that much.)

The lady I bought this from said it was an old Montessori organizer for letters. It would make a cute shadow box for a kid’s room.

The round frames were thirty-something cents at the thrift store!

Cute little clock that still works! This sale had a TON of teaching stuff (boxes and boxes and boxes of it) along with some great old stuff and the BEST DOG EVER. His name was Spuds and he was SO SWEET.

I should have put this herd of flocked deer up with Santa and Frosty — they came from the same sale. That one in the back seems a bit sinister.

The Haegar swan vase came from Spud’s sale and the plates came from the thrift store. They’re all in perfect condition. This is one of my all time favorite patterns — Homer Laughlin Georgian. My intention was to sell these but I couldn’t bear to part with them once I got them home. So now I have twelve of them!

The deer were a yard sale find, and I took those platters off of the cart at a thrift store, before they could be put on the shelves. That color green is so delicious in person.

This set of porcelain canisters is in perfect shape, complete with their adorable porcelain knobs. Found them late in the day at a thrift store. Why were they still there?

Thrift store turkey platter…

…hammered aluminum trays with fabulous handles from a yard sale. This was an off-list sale that we passed and I screeeeeeched the car over for. I bought these trays and a couple of old prints including this one:

which I am planning on keeping and adding to my gallery wall. The other two prints I bought for their frames (vintage and fabulous). Everything I bought at this sale was $5.

I got this beautiful tray at a thrift store. It’s dated 8/9/46 and was from the Hinsdale Golf Club — some kind of award, do you think?

And this is the last thing I have to show you. This was almost the last thing I bought, at the last thrift store we went to. It’s painted cast iron. It is, of course, in desperate need of re-wiring and I have no idea what kind of shade you would pair it with, but I couldn’t leave it there — it’s just too pretty.

That’s the bulk of the purchases. The entire back of the car was filled up, though there was enough room for that second blow mold that I passed up out of fear of running out of room (DRAT). Of course, I really could have used a trailer! Think of the things I could have hauled back! The furniture is SO CHEAP in Chicago and I had absolutely no room for any of it. Oh, my heart hurts.

Really must make another trip soon. SOON.


Painting My World.

I triumphantly write to you at the end of what was the first plentiful yard sale plunder of the season for me! It probably has a lot to do with the fact that I actually got up and out of the house before 7 this morning, for the first time this summer. I didn’t get a chance to take pics — I’ll try tomorrow — but I’m not sure how interested most of you will be in my treasures, as they’re almost all contemporary finds, nary a vintage find among them. It’s good for me, because the college kids are coming back into town shortly, and both booths need to be stocked with pretties that might attract a young, 20-something’s eye. I think I got a pretty good start on that today.

What I have primarily been occupying my time with, though, is painting our master bedroom (and eventually, bath). It is, currently a…tan color. Justin calls it tan. I don’t know what to call it. It’s hideous and depressing and I cannot imagine anyone actually purposefully purchasing this color at a paint store. Perhaps it was an oops gallon? Here’s a picture of the room (this is not our furniture — this is a pic from the original listing of the house when it was for sale):

Ya’ll are going to look at that and say, “hey, that’s not THAT bad.” But it photographs much lighter than it actually is. SHUDDER.

So when we painted over the VERY RED kitchen, I hired someone else to do the painting. I don’t know what I was thinking — that we were MADE of money??? But painting around the cabinets intimidated me and the walls are so high…and I’m lazy. A lazy, lazy person. But I can’t possibly justify the cost this time around, I knew I had to do it myself,  which is why it has taken me so long to get started despite my hatred of the color.

FIRST: I had to pick out paint colors. If I say this around anyone I know in real life they slowly start backing away from me, because I have a LOT of trouble with choosing paint colors. It is customary to call everyone I know to come over and stare with me at the stripes of different colored paint on the wall.  I am terrified of making the wrong choice. All that work, only to hate the color in the end? NO SIR. So I basically spent what an entire gallon of paint would cost in samples. Here’s a tip: get your samples at Lowe’s. There have only been one or two BM or SW colors they don’t have in their system. They’re the cheapest. Home Depot’s samples have gone up to three-something and Sherwin Williams is around $7 (for a sample!) and Benjamin Moore is even more. I realize that there is a slight danger of some color differentiation but I don’t think it’s enough to warrant paying twice as much for a sample — in fact, I ended up testing that out when I made my final choice. I was worried the Lowe’s sample might be different than the actual SW color so I went ahead and got a sample of SW before purchasing my gallons, painted both next to each other on the wall, and they were exactly the same.

I had decided that I wanted a fairly neutral, green-blue color with the emphasis on the green. Yay, a definitive call on at least the color family! Then I promptly fell down the rabbit hole. First of all, the light in that room is just plain WEIRD. It has a wall of windows that face the North, so it gets a lot of sun as the day goes by, but at the beginning and end of the day, it’s kind of an odd, cool light. Secondly, green-blues are FREAKISH COLORS. Look at the paints I got samples of and tell me that most of them, at least, don’t look fairly similar.

I know there are a few outliers — like Hazel — but for the most part, to me, all of these colors look very similar. Every single one of them looked like a COMPLETELY different color when I painted them on the wall. Now, this ain’t my first time at the rodeo. I know that paint on the wall looks entirely different than paint on the card. For that very reason, I paint wide, four- or five-feet swatches on the wall to take a good look. But I’ve never had any colors look this drastically different. I can’t count the times I came charging out of the bedroom and thrust the paint sample in Justin’s face and said “LOOK AT THIS PAINT IN THE JAR AND LOOK AT IT ON THE WALL. IT IS NOT THE SAME PAINT.” Silver Marlin in particular jumps out at me because it was plain SILVER on the wall. So strange. Most of these read overtly blue on our walls, too, which, for some reason, was unacceptable to me. I don’t know why; I love blue. I told Justin I can’t even put into words what color I was searching for, because it was all emotion that had no English words to describe it. But this was easily my most frustrating paint search to date. I was ALL UP in Pinterest’s grill for two weeks.

Finally, I settled on Sherwin William’s Contented.

On my wall, it doesn’t look anything like this, so I don’t know why I’m even bothering to show you! I found it on a site that called it a grey and it does look very grey in this sample — but it’s a very earthy green-blue on my wall. It’s a warm, earth tone. Very cozy with a hint of strong color but not so much that it’s not neutral. It think it will be fun to accent — I would LOVE to ask you guys suggestions on an accent color but since I don’t think this sample is a very good representation of what the color looks like in the room, I don’t know if that’s even possible. But if you have any ideas, let it rip.

I knew I wanted to use either Sherwin Williams of Benjamin Moore. I’m a paint snob. But I’m only a paint snob because I’m SO LAZY. I figured out a long time ago that if you spend more money on the paint, you are far less likely to have to do more than one coat. Contented was a Sherwin Williams color and they just happened to be having one of their sales so I went with them. I strongly recommend you check the Internet for any sales/coupons before purchasing paint — BM and SW have frequent, GOOD sales (this time it was 30% off). I got the Duration line, which, I think is one step below their most expensive. I told the sales person I HATED gloss of any kind but recognized that I needed something with some degree of washability and she prodded me towards matte, which I am loving. Not as flat as flat but there isn’t a sheen at all. It’s perfect. I also like how the paint is somehow thinner than other paints I’ve worked with yet the coverage is perfect.

I started a few days ago and am doing a bit here and there, when I get a chance. Emme sleeps in there both for nap and at the beginning of the night (if we try to put them to bed in the same room, there’s a frat party going on before we know it) so I can’t work on it when they’re sleeping. I don’t mind taking it slow like this — in fact, I’m using a brush and not a roller, which REALLY slows things down. The last time I undertook a huge painting project like this was in Chicago; it was the year before we had the twins and I had just had surgery due to an ectopic pregnancy and needed something to take my mind off of the sadness of that. So I up and painted our kitchen and dining room. It was summer, I was off work, and I just listened to books on my iPod until I had the entire project done — it was therapeutic for me then and it’s hitting me the same way now…just a chance to concentrate on the same methodical motions and put some of the sadness out of my head. And it’s SO rewarding — you get instant gratification as you look behind you at your work! One more unexpected benefit of using a brush instead of a roller — I can’t believe how much less paint I’m using. I’m 3/4 of the way through and barely halfway through one gallon. I didn’t realize painting with rollers used so much more paint.

When I move into the bathroom, I’m going to have to figure out how to take down the builder-grade mirror. There are lots of tutorials of success stories out there, but I would like to find a few that tell about trying to do it and it turning into a disaster so I’ll know what to expect. Anyone ever do that before? And while I’m throwing questions out there, anyone ever put up their own crown molding? Am I crazy for thinking I might be able to do that? The biggest issue in this room is all the weird angles (see pic above) — don’t know quite how to handle that. But everything about the room is so builder-grade. I would love to add some personality to it.

I’ll be back to posting vintage goodies soon, I swear. Paint obsession won’t last forever!

Link Love.

I remain frustrated at how easily painted furniture chips and scratches, no matter what top coating I put on it. If I put something in my booth to sell, I want it to be of the highest quality possible. I’m intrigued by this Benjamin Moore paint — Cabinet Coat. If it’s tough enough for cabinets, I’m sure it’s tough enough for furniture. Of course, you have to trade the rustic, chalk-painted look for sturdiness, and I wonder if it would sell. Hmmm.

I just pinned this bathroom makeover because, basically, that is my master bath, with a few variations. The cabinet set up and the tub are EXACTLY like mine and they scream builder’s grade circa 1990. Painting it is on my list but I also like how dramatic she went with the cabinets and those curtains she hung are kind of genius. Definitely lent some personality where there was none before.

Do you follow Adored Vintage on Instagram? Oh, man. The clothes she finds. I can’t even imagine finding one of these dresses, much less the dozens she finds on a weekly basis. Sometimes I dream about hiding outside people’s houses and following them on their shopping trips. But that would be wrong. And creepy. I would love to have these framed and grouped on a wall. 

I am not a mid-century gal but this house tour is doing its damnedest to change that. I need some lace curtains in my life. And floor-to-ceiling shelves. And every paint color they chose is exquisite.

This has got to be one of my all-time favorite DIY ideas. By purchasing a cool shower curtain, you can fill up an entire wall with art that has a huge impact. I am TOTALLY doing this as soon as I have a spare $70 to spend on one of the cool shower curtains at Society 6. If I’m ever able to decide between the hundreds of options.