Blech. That’s all I have to say. I woke up this morning in a funk and can’t seem to get anything worthwhile done so I am going to procrastinate by writing a short note to you guys! Yay! Housework be damned! Laundry be damned! Quality time with toddlers be…damn. I am a terrible mother.
I am just feeling so unmotivated lately! Part of it is that I am in the midst of the biggest junking block I’ve ever had (it’s like writer’s block, only instead of not being able to come up with ideas to write about, I can’t find junk to buy). I haven’t had a real find for quite a while now, and my booth is showing it. When I went in to stock on Friday, the booth was as empty as it has ever been in the two years I’ve been at Daisies and Olives — it was downright echo-y in there. The biggest issue is that furniture is virtually impossible to find around here. I so miss the Chicago days, when little bedside tables, dressers, and buffets were a dime a dozen at yard sales and thrift stores. You should see our Craiglist ads around there — they ask exorbitant prices for furniture, and I guess they’re getting what they’re asking because it’s so hard to find. I have been refreshing CL like a maniac lately, trying to find a bargain, and if you watch it like a hawk and jump on a deal when you see it, you can occasionally still find something worthwhile. I am just having such a problem paying over $50 for anything I’m going to resell, which is ridiculous, because if I can pay $100 and sell it for $300 that’s a dadgum good profit. Parting with $100, though! It’s so hard! There’s a curio that just went on today for $145. I THINK I could paint it and resell for over $300 but it just makes me so nervous to risk it.
This weekend, I did manage to find two things that I think were pretty good deals. The first is this dresser:
Super nice size, not too big, not too small. I paid under $50 for this, so I got a steal. I won’t have to do a thing with it, just transport it to the booth. She had about 15 responses right on the tail of mine so contacting her quickly was the key to getting this.
The second thing I got this weekend was a table, bench, and two chairs set — in hard rock maple. Really beautiful finish and solid as a rock as far as condition is concerned. The table has a watermark on it, so it would at least have to be refinished if I were to keep the wood finish…plus, wood just doesn’t sell. All that’s selling right now is painted furniture. I’ve never felt bad about painting something before but I think I’m going to feel pretty bad about this. It’s just so early American, though, without painting it.
You can’t see the set very well because I’m too lazy to drag it out to take a better picture. The table has two hinged leaves on it and when they’re up, it’s huge. I think I’ll price these pieces separately — I’ve been scouring the archives of Vintage Show Off, a blog about flea market booths, and she suggested doing that. Of course, first I have to paint it. Thank the heavens I got that paint sprayer. I’ve got a post in my head about painting furniture — I’ve been using so many different kinds of paint lately — I just need to sit down and write it.
The other exciting thing I got this weekend that I didn’t take a picture of was five old windows for fifty cents each. Fifty cents! Have you ever?! They’re not selling that well lately but for that price I can price them way low and surely will sell them then. OR, I might work on some Christmas wreaths to display on them, similar to these that I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. Ugh, I’ve got so much Christmas work to do and I want to get all of that in the booth by the end of the first week in November! Thinking about that makes me want to curl up and take a nap.
In house decorating news: I finally ordered some curtains for the twins’ room. I have been looking for fabric for a year now, pinning samples, visiting fabric stores, hemming and hawing around, but I finally decided to just order some ready-made. The biggest problem was getting the right yellow since the beds are a yellow-goldy color; these aren’t perfect, but they’re GOOD ENOUGH. Lord have mercy, enough brain energy has been given to this momentous-but-not-really decision.
That little design on them is supposed to be white, but instead is some weird, bluish-grey color. It makes them look a little dingy to me, but I’m trying to let them grow on me since I’m so sick of thinking about curtains. So with the purchase of the curtains, their little room is done! Which does not mean that I will not continue tweaking it. Of course I will, because there’s so much cute vintage kids’ stuff out there. When I was pregnant, I bought SO MUCH vintage baby stuff for their nursery that I’m still finding it tucked away in cabinets and boxes. I would have had to install floor to ceiling shelves on every one of their nursery walls to display everything I collected. It’s just irresistible to me.
Here’s a look at their room.
About a year and a half ago or so, I pinned this link to a girls’ room. I knew I was using it as inspiration but it wasn’t until I looked it up to give credit to Ginny Phillips on Instagram that I realized HOW MUCH inspiration I was garnering. The walls are the same color, the beds are the same color…and I didn’t do any of that on purpose! I think it’s just an example of how much influence an image can have over you when you love it. The beds were actually supposed to be white, but I didn’t have enough white spray paint the day I wanted to paint them and I was too lazy to load the kids up to buy some more. And the walls in their nursery were this same blue — I feel like painting the walls blue gives me permission to be a little more girly and still have the bedroom reflect that both a girl and a boy sleep here. Buuuuuuut…it’s pretty girly, all the same. Jack doesn’t seem to mind too much.
This is the little benediction we recite every night before bedtime. Hoping it eventually sinks in to my reprobate children’s brains.
I got this in a Chicago thrift store before the kids were born for about two dollars. I had nowhere to hang it so it lived in a closet until I was decorating their nursery, then it seemed like a natural fit.
The bird print is an anomaly in my decorating scheme: it was purchased new, not used (gasp!) and was SIXTY DOLLARS (double gasp!!). I couldn’t believe I was paying that but I just loved the way it looked and its sentiment.
I ADORE their quilts. I have been on the lookout for something a bit more boyish for Jack’s bed but in the meantime, he gets my all-time favorite quilt EVER. The colors are so perfect on this one and it’s in SUCH great shape. I got it in Bentonville, a town about forty minutes away from me, on a Saturday when I was having no yard sale luck at all so decided to strike out for parts unknown. It was about 2 pm, and this little yard sale had this quilt and two others (that I’ve since sold) sitting on a table. I figured they were charging WAY too much if they were still available but I asked anyway and was quoted $8 apiece. OMG I wish someone had been videotaping me. I can’t imagine what my face looked like. I have no idea how on earth those quilts were still there but I’m awfully glad they were.
Emme’s quilt came from the yard sale of an older lady who had it market $60. I looked at it long enough to see the price, then moved on. She said “I thought I was going to be able to get a lot of money for that but I guess not. You can have it for $20.” For me, $20 is a lot to spend at a yard sale, but not for a quilt, I guess…and it was predominantly pink, which I was looking for for Emme’s bed. So I bought it. The End. What a thrilling story. Take a moment to calm yourselves before going on to the next picture.
This mirror is one of my most favorite finds EVER — $2! What a steal!
This hutch is where all of my vintage doodads for their room ends up. It’s pretty crowded right now and I keep trying to edit it but I love everything on it! That carousel was hand made by my Grandpa and those apes up there, holding Jack and Emme’s names, are from my dear friend Shara. My Mom hand-embroidered the little doll on that same shelf and the bunny is from my brother and SIL.
I just can’t stop buying vintage baby knick knacks.
I love these guys so very much. $4 at a the flea market where I had my first booth.
I bought this print from my friend Paula (Emma’s Back Porch at Daisies and Olives) and framed it in a $1 garage sale frame. I love it SO MUCH. It looks so much like Jack and Emme. It makes me smile every time I look at it.
The book ledges were actually Ikea frame ledges that I got for a buck a piece at a yard sale — they work perfectly for the books. The Solar System print came from In Retrospect, a flea market here in Fayetteville, and was $20, which was a lot for me, but I wanted something vaguely educational to fill up that wall above the books and this fit the bill.
I got that polka-dot lampshade at a thrift store for $5 to go in their nursery; the blue didn’t quite match then, and it still doesn’t match, but I just love polka dots so much that I don’t care. The lamp base was a $2 yard sale find. The little bust on the chair came from In Retrospect too. Can’t remember where I got that blue chair from. I swear, I used to be able to tell you where and for how much I got every single item in my house; now I’m lucky if I can remember where I got something last weekend.
Whew. That was a lot of pictures. Sorry to dump that all on you, but I’m pretty proud of this room. At the beginning, I briefly flirted with the idea of making it a calm, soothing space, sparsely decorated with neutrals, but then I thought, screw it. It should reflect their personality. So it’s bright and loud and (usually) cheerful. I also love that I found most things cheaply with which to decorate it, as you can probably tell by my insistence on listing how much I paid for each item.Also, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s clean for approximately 5 minutes, three days a week.
All right, I’m off to have lunch and try to shake my funk. Hope you’re week is off to a cheerful, happy start!
I just checked Shara’s blog and saw that she had updated with a post about the Junk Ranch and I was feeling very, very behind. I used to be pretty good about updating this but I think real life is pretty much kicking my booty lately. Every entry lately has begun with a litany of reasons as to why I have been so slow to post, and this one shall be no different. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this or not, but I work as a TOEFL rater for ETS — it’s a work-at-home-job where I listen to oral answers given by TOEFL test-takers and score them. It is PERFECT for me as I can stay at home, not worry about childcare, and the hours are totally flexible in four-hour shifts. I feel extremely fortunate to have lucked into this job. In the past, the only issue has been a lack of shifts that I’ve been scheduled for — it can be anywhere from four to ten a month, with most of the months garnering around four to six shifts — but last month I had twelve and this month I have a whopping 18! Very exciting news BUT it has ramped up the stress level a bit as I tried to get ready for the Junk Ranch and — if you read my Instagram you already know this — Shara and I opened a new booth! Because we’re crazy!! This one is in Fayetteville, where I live. Shara lives one town over and the town where we both have booths is one town over from THAT so this one is considerably closer to me. Plus, we just got shelves, which is a challenge unto itself, what with space issues and such, but still, the benefit is that they only cost $20/month, split between us, so we figured we couldn’t really lose, right? Shara hit the ground running and made a bunch of sales right off the bat…I’ve sold TWO THINGS so far. This is our third week, I think. So not so promising for me. I thought my prints would be for-sure hits because this place has a big college demographic, but I haven’t sold one print — and that’s the one thing I can count on in my booth at Daisies and Olives. So I have some thinking to do here. I made some Razorback items just for this booth:
I thought they would be a big hit but only one has sold. My sister-in-law today suggested I price them in bundles of 2 or 3 because they really don’t look that cute unless they’re stacked up in multiples and I think she may have a point there so I’m going to give that a try. I also made these signs, which I thought would be a hit with the cool, ironic college folk:
The Lewis Carroll block sold right away, the Hemingway quote is still there. And I also designed a new print to take down there:
Ah, Atticus Finch. I love you so.
ANYWAY, it is an experiment, and an inexpensive one at that, so whatever happens, it will be fine, but I was hoping that this would be a nice little stream of additional revenue that would allow me to pay for the kids’ school. Who knows, it may gain momentum, but right now it’s looking pretty iffy.
So we moved into that booth the week before the Junk Ranch, ridiculous, right? It’s like I’m TRYING to make myself crazy. That last week was me out in the garage pretty much full time, trying to put the finishing touches on a few things, like these scrap wood Christmas trees that did so well in the booth last year.
These are fun and easy to make and they sold completely out at the Junk Ranch so I will be making some more of those. Also will be making some more of these, which also did well. I think they’ll do even better when I can hang them up in my booth instead of having them on the ground.
And then a repeat of my little scotty dog sign from last year, which sold at the Junk Ranch.
Of course, I kept thinking “if I only had one more week!” but I think the universal truth is that you will ALWAYS feel like you need one more week at these kinds of shows. At least, all of us who are not Shara, who is easily the most organized and prepared person I’ve ever met. I just had to say to myself that I’ll bring what I have and it will be fine. And it was!
Thursday was supposed to be a load-in day, but we had terrible storms so we nixed the idea of setting up that day. I did bring the big iron birdcage and the iron bed since the rain wouldn’t hurt those things and they were so huge, they were a whole car load unto themselves. Then, later that day, when it seemed like the storms weren’t going to be as back as I thought they were going to be, I brought all of my wood stuff and laid it out on a tarp and then tucked a tarp over the top of it. That was an entire car load that I wouldn’t have to take on Friday, so I was happy about that, even though I DID feel like I risked my life to get it out there. By the time I got there, the rain was falling in a downpour — which I don’t mind so much — and the lightning was CRAZY — which I DO MIND. I am terrified of lightning, and there I was, unloading under a tree, with big iron things right next to me. I told Justin I realized I was kind of hopping on the ground, like I could avoid a lightning shock if my feet were mostly in the air. And I was chanting “lightning, don’t hit me, lightning, don’t hit me”. I must have looked like a lunatic. All I know is that I unloaded that car faster than eight teamsters getting paid by the day instead of the hour could have done it.
Friday started out beautifully: perfect temp, clear skies, and, despite the rain, the ground wasn’t too wet. I got there right at 7, swooped the car in, unloaded, and got the heck out, which was good, because poor Shara had a helluva time getting her car out once everyone else had pulled in. It was a bit of a mess but she persevered and left for her second trip, returning with my diet coke, which I had dumped over — I have dumped a full coke over every time we’ve done the Junk Ranch. I suppose I am baptizing the proceedings in some fashion. We had just about gotten our booths set up when the wind started. A fierce wind. A destructive wind. Tents went flying (not mine, because Shara, more prepared than your average boy scout, had an extra set of stakes that The Bean helped me nail into the ground. Had they not been so generous, my tent would be in Oz right now, offering cover to the Munchkins as they have a Fall picnic). It sounds so trivial to write it — “it was windy” — but I can’t quite explain to you the stress of that. First of all, we have our layout all planned out and if it’s windy, a lot of what we had planned wouldn’t work. Then it’s the constant fear that something’s going to break, and the chasing around the grounds of your stuff that’s flying off the shelves, and hearing other people’s stuff break, and worrying about the crowds being diminished because of the weather…it’s just really stressful. And there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it, no solution whatsoever, you just have to wait it out. It was pretty much windy on and off throughout the day — a few bad gusts here and there included — but we did have periods of calm, so as the day went on, I relaxed a little more. I had purchased two hollow wood doors from the Habitat store to hinge together to use as a display for my prints and it was quickly obvious that those would blow right over, taking about 20 prints with them, so I improvised by using one door on its side:
Not as professional as my previous plan, but it must have gotten the job done, as I sold most of my prints. (So why won’t they sell in the new booth, I ask you?? GRRR!) BTW, that Lake Cottages sign just will not sell in any setting and I thought it was so cute. It was in my booth for over a month and didn’t sell at the Junk Ranch. Sad tears.
My Christmas signs. The Holly Jolly one features my new favorite font for this sort of thing, Suede. It’s so sleek and mid-century.
Every single one of my bottles sold. I had them priced at $4 each, which, as it turns out, is way below what other booths were charging for them — but I got two huge boxes full of them for $2 each and then paid another $10 for the zinc lids, so I made a nice little profit off of the ones I sold.
There were a few things that made me sad when the sold, and the two lidded jars were one of those things. Seeing them together like this made them infinitely more desirable to me! They didn’t sell until late into the second day, so I thought I was going to get to keep them.
And the monkey picture sold! Can I just tell you that it was the BEST conversation starter EVER. I swear, every single person that passed through came over and took a picture of it. LOTS of interest, and I finally sold it for $125 to a woman who flips houses for a living and needs interesting things with which to decorate. I was pretty sad about it, because it made people SO HAPPY that I thought I should probably keep it. And put it where, I don’t know, and therein lies the problem. So go in peace, monkeys, and have a long and fruitful marriage.
The iron bed also sold, for $75, which is considerably less than I would have like to have gotten for it, but it didn’t get a lot of interest and I was afraid that if I didn’t take that offer I would be forced to find room for it in the car for the trip home which would have meant a second trip and I just couldn’t do that.
Shara did SO WELL. She was constantly busy, and a lot of times it was with people buying multiples of her items. When you see these pictures of her booth you would think it took her ten hours to set up and twelve to take down but she’s got everything so well organized, it takes her almost no time at all.
Monkey Box Booth:
This was glorious — like a vintage Christmas lover’s dream — a bassinette FILLED with vintage Christmas doo dads, all done up in neat little plastic bags. You could dig to your heart’s content. She did very well with these items.
And one of my favorite things in her booth, these little adorable pendants. Kids LOVE these and spent long minutes picking out which ones they wanted to buy.
Displayed SO BEAUTIFULLY.
Friday may have been a bit stressful, but Saturday was LIKE HEAVEN. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the music was gorgeous. It was so relaxing and pleasant just hanging out with Shara and The Bean and enjoying the day. The shoppers were really friendly and great (although, I have to say, I really got sick of hearing “we could make that” about my Christmas signs. I realize it’s not brain surgery, but, come on, folks, it takes a LITTLE skill and know-how — one woman said to her Mom, who was considering buying a porch sign, “oh, we can make that ourselves — all we need is some white paint and wood.” URP. At least have the decency to whisper it!) and the traffic was pretty constant — although I had a long stretch of the late afternoon where I didn’t sell anything, then, suddenly, at 4:40, a lovely woman came under my tent and scooped up $100 of merchandise. That was nice. I always start these shows the same way — “no one is going to want my stuff!” — so it’s nice to end them having sold a lot of the stuff I brought. We also got to meet a blog reader, which is always nice! Marci at Parsley Vintage drove over from Kansas with her sweet brother and sold in a booth waaaaaaaay across the field from us. I didn’t get over there until the very end of the sale but she had some EXCELLENT stuff and I bought a small globe from her — I had been looking for one to finish off the little collection I have on top of my curio cabinet. They have all been too expensive for me until I found Marci’s booth!
I have to give MAD PROPS to Amy and Julie, the co-founders of the Junk Ranch — they have turned this thing into a bonafide event. You guys, the shopping there was incredible. SO MUCH great junk. The atmosphere — the food, the music — is so fun. And it’s so picturesque. I feel very fortunate that we are able to be a part of it — and so fortunate that Shara is there with me every step of the way — AND that her amazing, smart, helpful, resourceful son comes out to help her because he TOTALLY ends up having to help me too. I don’t know how we would do it without him. And her husband helped me load up the car on Saturday! I seriously take advantage of the whole family. Shara, I owe you and your family a gift card to somewhere great.
That’s it for shows until May or June, whenever the next Junk Ranch ends up being scheduled for. Now to ramp up for Christmas sales…I have hit SUCH a dry patch in the shopping arena — came up empty-handed at four different thrift stores yesterday and haven’t bought a lot stuff at yard sales lately. I’ve got to see if there are any auctions this weekend. And I need to make a whole slew of Christmas signs. Those of you who have booths: when do you generally put your Christmas stuff out? Last year, our Open House wasn’t until the last week of November and I waited until then, but I didn’t sell a single Christmas sign or decoration after the first of December so I’m thinking as early as November 1…too early?
My Facebook feed is rife with pictures of kids going back to school today…the second wave of such pictures after the first wave of Arkansas schools started a couple of weeks ago. Ugh. It’s weird, not working, because time really stops having any kind of significant meaning — I don’t get that excited about Fridays anymore (although I do get excited about yard saling on Saturdays) and one month melts into another until WHAM reality hits you SPLAT in the face when you check Facebook. It’s lucky that all you people have children going to school or I might trick myself into thinking it’s still June. The kids finished their summer program (two days a week, four hours a day) and loved it so much that Justin and I are scraping together the pennies to send them during the school year as well. That’s right, it’s all for their benefit, has NOTHING to do with me getting used to having eight hours of child-free time a week. We’re just selfless that way. They started that last week so I’m back to having a little breathing room a couple of times a week. So, I guess school has started for us as well.
This past weekend was the Clothesline Fair, held just down the road from Daisies and Olives, where my booth is. The store does quite the business during the fair — it’s a three day event, and attracts a crap-ton of visitors. (That’s my official estimate, by the way, so feel free to quote me on that.) For the past week or so I’ve been frantically trying to get stuff finished to take in for a major booth re-haul on Thursday. These pictures are terrible, my apologies — I was there for four hours and was just ready to get the heck out by the time I took these.
BTW, this is a cubby I got in Little Rock a couple of weekends ago while visiting my Dad in the hospital (quintuple bypass! it’s been quite a month for him). It’s turned up on its side in this photo.
I FINALLY dug the monkey picture out of the closet and got it to the booth. I know, I know, I love it, but I don’t see me having room for it anywhere in the house in the foreseeable future. I’ve got a really high price on it so it probably won’t sell but if it does, I won’t be able to be too sad about it. It certainly does liven up the place, doesn’t it?
Barb sent me a pic of the booth today — I zipped in on Sunday to straighten things out but somewhere between then and today a hurricane hit. A piece of furniture sold, so all the stuff that was originally on that is now on the floor or stuck somewhere else…I probably should have tried to run down there today while the kids were in school but 1. it rained cats and dogs today and 2. the entire household, including me, has a nasty cold complete with a lingering cough, and I couldn’t stand to move more than I had to. I’m taking it a little easy on the booth this week, after the rush of last week. BUT the Junk Ranch is less than a month a way and I have been thinking quite a bit about that. The last two times I’ve gone into it with no real plan as far as set up is concerned — last time was the WORST, as I put no prior planning into it at all. Shara and I aren’t sharing a booth this time (although we will be RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER because I wouldn’t want to do this any other way!) and I’m trying to figure out the best layout for what I’m going to bring. I have stuff I really want to hang — my prints and signs — and I’m determined to figure out how to do that…which means I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest, where I’ve pinned this idea – basically a hinged pallet wall — and this idea – two or three doors hinged together — and I think I’m going to use something similar on one side of my space. Then I can just hammer nails in and hang things, right? I’ll have to put feet on whatever I use to brace it — it gets pretty windy at times. Of course, now I need to get out in the garage and build my wall, PLUS make the things that go on the wall. In a month. Right? Right.
Oh, peeps, I have missed you. Even though I have been away from the blog for way too long, never fear that I have forgotten you. I have conversations with you in my head on all of my junking trips. FOR REALS. I am constantly writing posts and conversing with my Internet peeps in my head; I just never get home and get them typed into the computer. There are a few factors at play here, chief among them that my Dad had open heart surgery about two weeks ago and I have been a little preoccupied with his recovery. They just moved him today to a rehab center where we’re hoping he will regain his strength, quickly, and get home ASAP. Before he went in for the surgery his doofus of a doctor told him he could be home in 2-3 days. Ugh. It’s been nearly two weeks now and he’s still too weak to go home. My parents live about three hours away and I’m trying to time it so that I’m there when he gets home, but feel awful that I haven’t seen him since the surgery — it’s just so complicated what with the kids and my husband having, you know, a job and all. And somehow, the thought of taking three-year-old twins to a rehab facility to visit a man with a bum ticker doesn’t really seem like the smart thing to do. So we’re trying to figure out the timing on that. In the meantime, I’ve been furiously trying to get as many things as possible ready for the booth since it seems I could be out of town for some time here in the very near future and we’re heading into a very busy time of year for our flea market — college kids are shopping for apartment decor now, and then later in August there’s a huge craft fair and the store gets mobbed for four days in a row. I gotta tell you — that bigger booth is a LOT of work. As in, I work on it every single day. With the smaller booth I would gather things and paint a little, etc., for about three days a week and then coast the rest of the time; I can’t do that now. My hope is that eventually I can get out in front of the work — i.e., that I can catch up and have a store of things in the garage ready to go and get back to working about four days a week on it but right now I’m just making it week to week. There’s some guilt associated with this because I feel like I’m not spending enough time with the kids…I’m just hoping that I will find the rhythm of it soon and I won’t feel so frantic all the time. On the upside, I LOVE the fact that I can fit bigger items in there and that I can take inventory right away to the booth instead of storing it in the garage for weeks, waiting for a space to open up in my tiny booth. My biggest sales of the last month, however, have not been in the booth but on eBay. YOU GUYS. During the 4th of July weekend, I found this guy at a yard sale on the outskirts of Prairie Grove [EDIT: I forgot to say that I owe finding this to Shara! She texted me about the sale on Friday and I went on Saturday. They had pulled some other stuff out by that point. Once again, my best junking friend came through!]:I almost didn’t even buy it because it had a huge chip out of the rim…but I had never seen anything like it, and I thought, if nothing else, I could take it up to the project room and keep trim or something in it. I showed it to my friends Kristie and Bailey that afternoon and Kristie said, “Oh, I think you have something special there,” and sure enough, she was right. It’s a Nippon humidor from the early 1900s and all of that trim you see is called Moriage and it’s all HAND DONE. Which still just blows my mind. Bailey and I found an auction from a couple of months ago where a chipped one of these sold for over $400. So of course I got it up on eBay so fast it would have made your head spin. The bidding went to $53 on the third day and sat there up until five minutes before the auction ended. It was one of those auctions where you refresh-refresh-refresh-refresh and it’s the same price and then BAM all of a sudden the price says $293. HOLY MOLEY. There was a bit of difficulty in actually collecting the money — the high bidder didn’t pay and wouldn’t communicate at all with me — but luckily the guy second in line was still interested so at the end of the day I made $288 on my $4 investment. SWEET. I went ahead and put my little bust that I found at the Salvation Army months ago up on eBay at the same time as the humidor:I love busts. I collect them, and have quite a few, but this guy has always given me the creeps. I paid $1.50 for him and sold him for $123. So that was a really, really, really good week on eBay. It’s been a while since I’ve done that well on there. Let’s do a quick run down of some fun finds from the last couple of weeks, shall we? On Friday, I went to a family-run estate sale that Shara alerted me to earlier in the week. The pictures they posted in the Craigslist ad looked amazing and I wanted to be first in line, if possible. I got up super-early and ended up third in line — not bad for me! The sale was supposed to start at 8 and I got there at a little after 7. One of the ladies who was running the sale was there, but didn’t have a key to the workshop where all the sale stuff was. The two guys who were in line before me — they’re regulars on the yard sale/estate sale scene – immediately started badgering her about how they could get in early. She was so sweet to them, never lost her patience, and even called the guy with the key to see how far away he was. He told her that the house was open and there might be a couple of items in there they could look at if they wanted to while they waited. So she took us down to the house, about 100 yards away from the workshop. When we got there, it wasn’t open after all. So guy #1 goes to the garage and opens a window, peers in, and turns to her and says, well, you could climb in through this window and open the door for us. !!!!!!!!!!! Here is where I had one of those conversations with you guys that I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I was thinking about Amy’s post on estate sale rudeness , and thinking about how it’s not that I don’t feel that urgency to get inside and see what’s there — I just manage to be CIVIL and show a little human kindness instead of letting the estate sale monster that lurks within me out to see the light of day. And I was asking you guys if you feel the same kind of urgency and whether or not you are able to retain a layer of civility in these circumstances. Not these two gentlemen. When she declined, because she said she was afraid of spiders, they turned to her 15-year-old, sweet, slight son and asked him to do it. He hesitantly moved towards the window, obviously nervous, and I said, NO, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THAT. And then I turned to the two gentlemen and said, if you want in so bad, why don’t you haul your own butts through the window yourselves? Oh, don’t you wish I had said that second thing? But I didn’t. 20 years ago I would have. I guess I have grown more polite since then. The window idea was quickly abandoned, and we all went back up to the shop to wait for the guy with the key. He was there by 7:20 or so and promptly let us in, which was really, really nice, given that their ad had a start time of 8 am. I spent about $40 there and got this little stack of stuff:I also got two old Coke crates that I sold later that morning for twice what I paid for them, which was probably too little. A guy who was loading some stuff in from another sale saw them and asked if he could buy them from me and I felt bad saying no! What the heck is wrong with me? He just caught me off guard. The other thing I bought was a typewriter case that I couldn’t get open. I could tell there was something in there, and it seemed like it was child-size, so I was excited at the prospect of what it could be. After fiddling around with it for a couple of minutes at home, I found this inside:It cleaned up pretty nicely but unfortunately, the carriage doesn’t advance, so it’s just for looks. It’s a very nice blue color — this is a crappy Instagram picture so it’s kind of hard to see how cute it is. On Saturday, I made the unfortunate decision to sleep in a little bit because I didn’t see many sales listed for that morning. There was an estate sale in Rogers that sounded promising — family-run, and packed to the gills — but 1.It’s a 30-minute drive and 2. the photos showed a lot of dolls. Like, a LOT of DOLLS. Wall-to-wall. But when I woke up Saturday morning I decided to give it a shot anyway. It started at 9 and I walked up to the house at about 9:40. On the way down the driveway I passed two people with dazed looks on their faces; one lady said, “prepare yourself” and when I asked if that meant it was good or bad she said that she meant GOOD and that the lady didn’t really know what she had in there. The second person I passed said “You’re not going to believe your eyes!” so as you can imagine I was pretty pumped to get in that house. It was a tiny house, packed from top to bottom with stuff. There were, indeed, a lot of dolls, but that was only a tenth of what she had. Other than chickens and dolls, there really wasn’t a theme — this lady had a little of everything. It made me ill to look at the boxes of stuff already sold by the cash register. Their prices were crazy — dirt cheap on some things and then, suddenly, really expensive. You just never knew what it was going to be. This was my favorite purchase:It was outside, and I think I was probably the first and only person to ask about it, because they sold it to me for $20. I had just looked at a huge bird cage the day before with longing — it was $150 and wasn’t nearly as cool as this one is.These were very cool — leather-wrapped horses. The big one is over 2 feet tall. They were kind of expensive but I think I’ll do okay with these in the booth. Plus, they’ll look so nifty while they’re in there. My other big purchase was a kids’ player piano. It came with a bunch of music rolls. Unfortunately, I can’t get it to work. I’m so bummed about it, but they were very honest and told me they weren’t sure if it worked or not. I checked eBay and I think I can at least make my money back by selling the music rolls. A few other small things…The water and the figure on the front of the boat are what sold this chalkware plaque for me — it’s pretty big — about 30 inches tall.I just love these two clocks. I got a few other things that I didn’t take pictures of…It was a FUN sale. I just had fun going through everything. I wanted to show you one more picture before I close for the night — this was another instance of me talking to you guys inside my head after making a purchase at a yard sale.I got all of those glass doorknobs at a yard sale at a gorgeous house in one of the historic districts in my town. The couple having the sale were young professionals and when I bought the doorknobs (all for $5!!!) the wife said, “those are actually the doorknobs that were original to our house when we moved in!” And I said to you guys in my head: can you even BELIEVE that someone would take these GLASS DOORKNOBS off of their doors and sell them for $5 at a yard sale? And you guys were all, WHAT??? NO!!!! THAT IS INSANE!!!! And that, my dears, is why we’re such good friends.
Good gracious, you guys, things have been a little nutso around here lately. I have found myself, on more than one occasion, muttering “What have I gotten myself into?” as I sort through the junk I’ve got stored in the garage. Fortunately, now that I’m on the other side of the multiple events over the past month, I find myself optimistic about the future of my junking business, so I guess that’s a plus, right?
The insanity started with May’s work night at the flea market, when I casually mentioned to my friend Carrie, who has the most AMAZING booth at Daisies and Olives (seriously, she is so talented) that I had been tentatively thinking about putting my name in the hat for a bigger booth someday. Carrie pointed out that there was a lot of movement in the store right now — several vendors moving to bigger spaces, leaving openings — and encouraged me to talk to Martha about it that very night. Cut to me driving home that night, having all but committed to moving to a space three times my current space’s size! When I left home that evening headed for a booth re-foof I had no intention of making this move so soon. When I got home and talked about it with Justin, he pointed out that I had been complaining about sales stagnating lately and my suspicion that I had hit the ceiling on what I could earn with my small booth. Only one piece of furniture at a time would fit in there, and because having something big substantially cut down on how much other merchandise would fit, I would have to move it out pretty quickly if it didn’t sell — I didn’t have the luxury of letting big pieces sit for a while so their new prospective owners had time to see them. And I really think that my booth’s size and orientation encouraged just quick scans by shoppers instead of a slower perusal that would reveal all of the little things that were sometimes hiding in the booth. Talking it out with Justin really helped to calm my fears and realize that this was something that I had to try in order to figure out how far I can take this business.
The most stressful part of the decision, though, was that I made it less than a month before the Junk Ranch event — meaning I would have to fill a booth three times the size I was used to AND fill my half of the booth Shara and I were sharing at the Junk Ranch. I really started to panic but decided to take it one step at a time — fill the flea market booth, see what was left over, then get busy making signs and prints to make up any deficit.
Moving into the new booth was very much like moving into a bigger apartment after you had been used to making a studio work — such a relief and it felt like SO. MUCH. SPACE.
Stage One was getting the mirror hung.
I got this mirror about a month ago and while I think I Instagrammed it, I don’t think I had written about it on the blog. It was marked “$50 – firm” and though I have never, ever, ever, ever done this before on something marked firm, I asked the ladies having the sale if there was any way I could purchase it for $40. $50 just seemed to risky for me, but $40 made me feel comfortable about buying it. There were three ladies standing in a group when I asked, two sisters and the adult daughter of one of the sisters, and the daughter immediately said, “sure!” but no sooner had she gotten the word out than her mom YELLED, I mean, YELLED, “NO! Absolutely not! I just marked that down! It was marked $75 and $50 is a good price for that!” Now, she was yelling at the daughter, but really, she was yelling at me, because I had asked, and I felt terrible. Because, really, $50 WAS a great price for that mirror, it was just a figure that scared me. So I sheepishly told them that I would think about it and went back to my car. I drove about 100 feet, then turned around and went back to buy it. And as soon as I saw it hanging up in the booth I couldn’t believe I had ever waffled on it. It’s marked Not For Sale right now because it looks so good in the booth but I think I’m going to sell it next month…Carrie told me to start it in the high 300s (WHAAAAAAT??) and if I could get anywhere close to that, I should sell it. I think it will be one of those things where I mark it really high so I’m fine if it does sell and fine if it doesn’t sell.
I didn’t take any pictures with my real camera so you’re going to have to make do with Instagram photos, filtered to the hilt.
I love that I have three full walls to hang things on. Finally, a place to display my last pull-down map! This one sold within a few days.
And I can finally realize my dream of doing a nursery-themed gallery wall. This bead board is so nice on the back wall but both it and the wood pallet wall require a drill to hang anything, which adds a bit of time when I’m hanging new artwork. Oh, well, totally worth it.
I’ll know more once I get my check for June, but so far, sales have been pretty brisk — I have sold a TON of smaller stuff. I have three big pieces of furniture in there right now and none of it has sold. So that’s a worry. Also a worry: finding replacements for them if they ever DO sell. Finding furniture around here is nearly impossible and the field is VERY competitive. In Chicago, you can find your pick of small pieces of furniture (little dressers, coffee tables, end tables, foyer tables) but here they are very few and far between. We participated in a neighborhood sale here last weekend and I watched as my neighbor’s furniture pieces were snatched up at 6:15 am, when the sale didn’t even start until 7. I won’t ever be that person. If I get to a sale at 6:57 and it doesn’t start until 7, my body stays in the car until the clock reads 7 on the dot. I just don’t have the nerve to risk inconveniencing anyone. So I’ll have to figure out a plan for getting more furniture…auctions in neighboring states are a real possibility except I’m limited there by what fits in my car and what I can carry by myself. Michelle suggested I start looking for a little used trailer to invest in and I’ve been mulling that over. We’ll see.
My loot for the Junk Sale ended up being a combination of signs, framed prints, and things that I tried in the booth but didn’t have much luck with. You guys remember last year, right?
I showed up with a 14 foot truck, packed to the gills. This year, I had two car loads full, which was all I could manage to pull together with the strain of filling a bigger booth weighing on me. It was just as well, because Shara and I, in a fit of timidity, had decided to share a space instead of getting one each. We were both afraid we wouldn’t be able to fill an entire booth ourselves. Which became HILARIOUS to me the minute I unzipped the tent to drop off my stuff the night before the show — I wish I had taken a picture — Shara had a MOUNTAIN of great junk neatly stacked on her side of the tent. My pitiful little collection looked like an ant hill next to her. She and her son, Christopher, had gotten to the site hours before I did and set up the tent and the tables. I am a really bad booth-mate. They did ALL the heavy lifting this time around. But her side of things looked AMAZING.
Y’all, her toadstools are the cutest things I’ve ever seen.
The ladies on the opposite side of us asked, startled, about halfway through the day, “Hey, where did the head that was staring out of the house go?” Shara explained that she had sold it and they sounded relieved. I guess the only things scarier than a disembodied head staring at you all day is the sudden, unexplained disappearance of said head. We could have been really cruel and snuck it into their booth at some point.
We sold the table her succulent planters were in right away and never did find a good place to display them — I think they would have sold like hotcakes if we had.
THIS GLOBE. In Chicago, she could have sold this sucker four times by now, at three times the money she’s asking for it here. It’s HUGE. Think of the person you know with the BIGGEST HEAD and then multiply that head by five and THAT’S HOW BIG THIS GLOBE IS. Plus, it comes with its own cool mid-century lucite stand.
I didn’t even take that many pictures of my stuff because I was just kind of uninspired by it. I couldn’t get it into any kind of attractive displays…I think I was just exhausted and overwhelmed by the recent booth move.
The market sign that you see the edge of sold, by the way. I’m still bummed about that. I really loved that sign and was sad to see it go.
The night before the first day of the show I stayed up until 3 am putting together some ephemera packs. I used to sell these on eBay but got out of the habit of putting them together because they’re kind of a pain — the worst part is that you make such a huge mess assembling them, what with taking books apart, making separate stacks, and spreading everything out so you can put a little of everything into the packs. I only sold two during the Junk Ranch but I’ve got them in the booth right now and have sold several.
Things started out a little slowly on Friday for our particular booth, despite the loooooong line that had gathered prior to opening. As it turns out, most people hit our booth last, so that would account for the slow start. But about an hour in, we got slammed hard and stayed pretty busy until an hour or so before closing. We were both VERY pleased by the end of the first day — lots of more people than the year before. I even went home and looked for some more stuff to bring out…I was pretty mad at myself for not preparing better, because I think I could have made tons more money if my side of our space had been up to par. Saturday was a very slow start but, again, by an hour or an hour and a half after opening we were doing a brisk, steady business for the rest of the day. Amy did such an amazing job with it this year — the farm it was on is beautiful, plenty of parking spaces, lots of good food, AMAZING music, and she must have worked her butt off to get the word out because there were probably twice as many shoppers this year as there were last year — and I was impressed with last year’s turn out. Shara and I both agreed that it is something we DEFINITELY want to do twice a year, with our own booths. And I need to get more serious about preparing for it as well.
The week after the junk ranch — this past Saturday — we participated in the neighborhood yard sales, where I got rid of a BUNCH of stuff that had been hanging around the garage, then had a family birthday party for Justin that night. I am TIRED. But have so many ideas and plans for filling the new booth. Gotta get busy!
Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. We are officially into summer, aren’t we? Hope yours is going well!