OH! I almost forgot to mention that Justin and I went to the Neosho Citywide Yard Sale again this year. It’s the first weekend in April, which also happens to be my birthday weekend, so it seems like it’s meant to be. We went last year, and it was fairly successful, though the real draw was getting away together for a day and the BBQ at Big R’s in Joplin. HEAVEN. Here are some of my finds.
1960s Dog Show trophies! Got these at a thrift store in Joplin, and the cashier told me they had had tons of them that had already sold. <Insert sad face here.>
The lamp on the right came from the same church sale that I got some stuff from last year. Their prices are ridiculous — that lamp was $1 and works perfectly.
This desk was a great price and is currently at the booth.
My favorite find…
This print was at the BEST sale. She told me she would be dragging more stuff out of her basement the next day (Saturday), that she had stopped unloading when she had filled up her tables in the yard. I just politely nodded my head because, living an hour away, I would not be returning, but when I got back in the car Justin said I should have asked her to take a peek. I really should have. I could have asked nicely and worded it so she felt free to say no…I just don’t have enough nerve to do things like that. Just the day before, Kristie had shown me a giant framed print at the estate sale they were working on — it was of some hunting dogs, and Kristie was thinking of buying it. It was a newer piece, not old at all, and did not look anything like what Kristie loves, and when I said that, she explained that the draw were the dogs — they were like the hunting dogs her father had when she was a child. So as soon as I saw this, I knew it was PERFECT for her. I feel super-guilty about the subject of Kristie and dogs — she has collected them, in all forms, for years, and recently, I started buying them for myself, so now I am that annoying friend who copies you instead of getting her own collection. I had gotten this old oil portrait a month or two ago:
I feel like it’s contraband that I have in my house that needs to be turned over to the proper authorities (that would be Kristie) but I knew she would much prefer the hunting dogs, so I turned that over instead.
Speaking of Kristie, she and I went to an auction last week that was pretty awesome, except I couldn’t afford any of the things that I really loved. We had spotted the ad a full month before the sale, and were pretty hyped over the descriptions and the pictures, and the live preview did not disappoint. Unfortunately, half the town was hyped about it as well, and it was standing room only the night of the auction, which started at 3:30. Kristie and I agreed that we might as well make plans to stay for the whole thing — in for a penny, in for a pound — and we ended up dedicating over 7 hours to it, pulling out of the parking lot just after 11. We were pretty punchy by the end of it, and I even ended up bidding on something by accident — I had been sitting there, all night, waiting for a set of four hummingbird pictures to come up:
Oh, I absolutely love those. I was determined to get them, and it was laaaaaate by the time they came up — Kristie and I had gotten into a discussion about something and were looking down at the iPad and when I glanced up, one of the assistants was holding them and people were bidding. Without even thinking, I just jumped in, and ended up winning them (OR SO I THOUGHT) for $8, which was AMAZING. Until the auctioneer came towards me holding two window shutters. At least they were only $8! I ended up dropping out of the bidding for the hummingbird pictures when it hit $31, which, really, isn’t bad for four really pretty prints, but it seemed like it was going to go pretty high so I got out while the getting was good. I did end up with some goodies, though.
I got three of these glass cabinets for $30 each but they’re not going to work for what I had pictured them for, so they’re either headed to the booth or Craigslist.
I absolutely adore this fan, which will be headed to Etsy as soon as I get it cleaned up and photographed.
Even though I left without getting some things I had set my heart on, I had such a great time. Kristie makes me laugh like no one else on the planet and I just love the people watching at auctions.
Some other recent purchases…
I got this kitchen set and a ton of this plastic food in a big bag at Potter’s House weeks ago. I’m still mulling over what to do with it. I put a few lots of the food up on eBay with a Buy it Now price but so far, no dice. The Kitchen set is pretty highly desirable BUT this one is not in great shape, so I’m not sure it’s worth taking pics and listing it. Meanwhile, it’s taking up room on my dining room table so I need to make a decision pretty quickly. You know, because of all the dinner parties I throw.
I bought these deer at a flea market to keep — they were a buck fifty each! Who could resist? I love the sleek, mid-century look to them. I googled them to find out more about them and discovered that they sell for nice prices on eBay, so on eBay they went — they sold last week for almost $60! Not a bad return on my $3!
Speaking of deer…I paid too much for these at a thrift store ($5 a piece) so had to mark them too high in the booth. They probably won’t sell. All part of my nefarious plan to keep them.
Remember Booth #2 I was telling you about a couple of posts ago? I got this beautiful class picture there a while back — $15, and it’s really big — about 2.5 feet wide. I took it apart and cleaned it up and now it’s hanging in my gallery wall in the living room, right above my other group shots. I’m telling you, that booth needs to be visited on the regular.
Okay, guess that’s it for this little mid-week report. Hope all is well with you and Spring has settled in permanently to your little world!
It’s warm! It’s sunny! THE YARD SALES ARE BACK! They’re not what I would call plentiful, but when I get up early on a Saturday, there’s somewhere to go. Granted, this past Saturday I slept in, but I’m planning on that being the last late Saturday morning I have for quite a while. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to get myself out of bed at 6:30…it’s been a while, folks. When you’ve been staying home for over a year, you kind of forget what it’s like to have to get up before the sun does and hit the road running. Our mornings around here start around 8 am, when the kids have a little iPad time and I check e-mail/Facebook/Instagram, etc. We start our mornings real sloooooooooowly around here.
Before I launch into my finds of the last few weeks I have to give a shout out to my girl Shara over at Monkeybox. Three times over the past week or two, she has texted me to alert me to a thrifting or yard sale-ing opportunity. Do you have a junking friend like that? Someone who cuts you in on the deal? I haven’t ever had one before I met Shara. For most of the time I lived in Chicago, I didn’t even have any junking buddies. My thrifting habits were considered an eccentricity by my circle of friends; some of them liked the things I would bring home and decorate my apartment with but none of them would consider going shopping with me. That changed the last summer I was in Chicago, when my wonderful friend Shannon and I made it a regular habit to hit the yard and estate sales on Saturdays. Shannon is a yard saler from way back and had always talked about going to yard sales together, but she is a young person with an actual life and was often too busy on Saturdays to make a date. That last summer I was there, we managed to hit up quite a few sales and had a fabulous time doing it. Our tastes overlapped enough for us to be interested in the same sales but were different enough that we weren’t going after the same merchandise. And I LOVED having someone to talk to about the sales we were going to — that was the best part of the whole experience, getting back in the car and talking about the weird/fabulous stuff we had just seen. Unfortunately, I was unable to convince Shannon to leave Chicago for Arkansas (go figure) and thought I was back to yard saling being a solitary experience…but I have had the pleasure of meeting so many people here who share my passion for junking — not only Shara, but the lovely Laurie; Amy, who is responsible for bringing exciting flea market opportunities to the area, Linda, who has an astonishing five flea market booths under the name Possum Valley Vintage; a whole bunch of the sweet women who have booths at Daisies and Olives — Barb, Carrie, Mary, and Martha, just to name a few; and, of course, my wonderful friends Kristie and Bailey who run Rescuing the Past Estate Sales and who know everything about everything that was created before 1982. Before I met these people, my only chance to talk about my passion was through the blog, and I have been so fortunate to make so many wonderful pen pals through this format (in fact, my friendships with Shara, Bailey, and Kristie started because of the blog). However, having a local network is an entirely new experience. You might think there would be a competitive edge in these relationships, and, if there is, it is entirely friendly and good-natured; I think the joy of sharing our passion for vintage, old, and antique cancels out any kind of negativity. I love reading blogs like Yard Sale Bloodbath and Dig This Treasure, which detail the travails of yard sale friends, and love reading updates from Laurie and Amy when they go on their junking trips together. In short, I think it’s important to find people who share your passion and to always remember: there is plenty of junk to go around.
Which brings me to Shara and her multiple alerts recently: the first one occurred on a Thursday. I had just given the kids their lunch and sat down at the computer to check e-mail. Shara sent me a link to a Craigslist yard sale listing with a note that said that she was thinking of going but that it was awfully far away. People, I was in the car backing down the driveway before I knew what hit me. I wish I had saved the ad — I remember old jars, old books, old furniture, and old frames being listed…you had me at “old.” Luckily, Justin was home from work (he had his gall bladder removed that Monday, so I wasn’t above leaving him with the kids for an hour or two) and since it was almost nap time, it seemed reasonable for me to disappear for a while. I called Shara from the road and she said she had decided not to go but to let her know how it was. Well. A long, windy, forty-five minute (albeit beautiful) drive later I pulled up in front of a house that had a ton of stuff ON tarps but even more stuff UNDER tarps in their front yard. Turns out the stuff UNDER the tarps was sold. I happened to pull up right as the man who had purchased all that stuff was loading up his truck — he had been one of the first shoppers there that morning and was just getting back to load up. The ad said the sale began at noon, and it was 2 pm; after talking with the homeowner I found out that when she showed up to get the sale together at 10 am there was a long line of cars waiting for her and she actually started selling that early — so I had missed a LOT of stuff. I am still not over that. It was a junkers DREAM sale. The owner had purchased the home and all of its contents and, as it turned out, it had been occupied by a hoarder. We throw that word around a lot, but this was a case of a TRUE hoarder. The owner told me it was a pretty disgusting process to clean out — beside the house was a flat bed trailer piled six feet high with stuff they were taking to the dump. It was only later that I realized I should have had the nerve to ask her to poke through that pile, because I kept overhearing her and the people who were helping her expressing surprise at the stuff folks were buying — great stuff like garden fences, wooden gates with great patina, and weathered barn wood. Lord only knows what they threw away. The stuff under the tarp, that the guy was loading up, was AWESOME. A really old drop-leaf table and an antique wooden file cabinet were two things I was slobbering over; Linda, who had hit the sale an hour or so before I did, said she saw tags of $10 on them. The folks holding the sale didn’t really care how much things were worth — they just wanted them gone. I got 5 or 6 great old frames for fifty cents each, and paid a dollar for what I thought, at first, was two Cathrineholm enamel bowls:
It was only after I did a little Internet research that I discovered it was actually a fondue pot.
Unfortunately, it’s on the top part — there should be another enamel platter to go underneath and then the mechanism that holds the little burner underneath. I’ve got it on Etsy right now but I had no idea how to price it — it’s at $32 (the full fondue sets go for between $75-$110) and that might be a little high. I guess I’ll let it sit for a bit. If I were a collector, I would totally buy it and use it as two bowls!
I also got this drawing:
There is a very old label typed on the back of it that says “An original brush drawing. We bought this in London in a large collection of miniature drawings. Not later than 1840.” When I bought it, the woman selling it said, “Oh, I hope you find out this is worth a lot of money! You have to let me know if you do find that out.” I said, “Oh, I’ll totally come back and share the money with you,” and she said, “No, no, no, I don’t need any of the money, I just want to know.” I have no idea how to research this. There is no author’s name and I know nothing whatsoever about art. So I have no idea what to do with this.
I LOVE these two prints, which were…FIFTY CENTS! Are you sensing a pattern?
The woman who had owned the house previously, whose stuff this was, must have gotten these at the thrift store, because those price tags look like thrift store prices. I think I’m going to find a place to put these in the house.
I got these random drawers for a buck a piece:
Time to search “what to make with random drawers” on Pinterest.
My FAVORITE buy, though, were these:
These are HUGE! Around four feet tall. I got four of them for…are you ready? FIVE DOLLARS A PIECE. Window casings just FLY out of the booth and I have never had any this big, so I have high hopes for them. The bummer is that I broke one on the way home. Really mad at myself. But people also buy the frames, so I should be able to sell it, just for less than I could get if it were intact. Wouldn’t it be amazing to use one of these for the door of a cabinet made out of reclaimed barn wood? If only I had the talent and ability to make that happen!
It was a really fun sale, despite the fact that I had to watch all that great stuff be loaded up, right in front of my eyes. Sometimes, you’re not the early bird, and you just have to live with it.
Shara continued her status as my Junk Guardian Angel by texting me on Friday about the cutest little armoire that was selling for $15 at a yard sale she was at — it was insane that it was still there, at about 12:30. Once again, I was in the car before I realized it and headed to check it out. This time, I had just sat the kids down at the table, with their lunch plates in front of them, and said, whoops, never mind, we’re going to run a quick errand, and rushed them out to their car seats with bare feet. Bless their little hearts, they didn’t even complain. Apparently, they’ve already made peace with the fact that their mama is crazy. This is the CUTEST little cabinet in such a usable size — a little under four feet, I think.
This is a terrible picture of it — it’s so cute, with Art Deco hardware and styling. Why would that have sat there until 12:30 when it was only marked $15? Actually, I wondered the same thing about the huge windows at that hoarder’s sale — the entire sale had been picked over, yet those were still there, the Cathrineholm pieces were still there, the brush drawing were still there…there’s ALWAYS potential, no matter how long a sale has been open!
The other time Shara texted was earlier in the week, from Potter’s House, my favorite thrift. She said it was loaded with good stuff. Since Justin was home recuperating and the kids were asleep, I was at the liberty to hop in the car and meet her there — we had the best time, shopping for around 45 minutes. Shara, you are the best junking friend!
I made what I thought was a really exciting find a couple of weeks ago — a bunch of tintypes at a Salvation Army in a town about 20 minutes away that were priced at only seventy five cents each.
I do not consider myself any kind of antique dealer — most of my finds, at best, are “vintage.” It blows my mind to hold in my hand something that is close to 150 years old. To think of it being passed down generation after generation of a family. How on earth does something like this end up at a thrift store? If you had photos like this of your ancestors, can you even imagine giving them away? I was pretty excited about the find, but after taking the time to photograph each. and. every. tintype. and put them in lots of four on eBay, only two of the lots sold for just a little bit above what I paid for them. So, bummer. I have no idea what to do with them; I would love to keep them, but don’t know how to display them or use them in some meaningful way.
At that same Salvation Army — which I really need to frequent at least once a week because they have some truly cool stuff there and it’s much less picked over than the stores that are in town — was this neat wooden serving piece.
This is it after I oiled it with mineral oil, MY FAVORITE THING TO DO. I really want to keep this, but since I couldn’t come up with a single thing to serve on it and the last party I held was three years ago, I reluctantly priced it and sent it to the booth. I think it might sell on Etsy but I couldn’t figure out what to call it in order to get some attention on it.
And now, some random finds from the past few weeks…
A pair of fashion prints.
A very bad picture of a very cute vase.
These are 1940s authentic cobra skin pumps — poor cobra! Those heels are nearly four inches…what the what? I think these are so cool, and they were only $2, and I found them at 2 pm. Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the potential for greatness at a yard sale is always there, no matter how late the hour!
Aaaaaaand that is all for now. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!
Linking up to Sir Thrif-a-lot’s Thriftasaurus.
Happy April, everyone! I can’t believe I haven’t checked in since February. Apologies. Were I in Chicago, I would be muttering about how lucky my relatives and friends in Arkansas were, what with Spring appearing around these parts in mid-to-late March and firmly and undeniably planting itself by the beginning of April. However, now that I am actually IN Arkansas, I have to admit that that is not the case thus far. It has been cool and rainy, conditions that are far from conducive to kicking off yard sale season. I do not really feel like it has been Spring yet, despite the days here and there where the weather has winked at the mid-60s. Now, I know, I have no right to complain, because there are many parts of the country that are still seeing snow…and looking forward, I’m seeing temps in the 70s for the rest of the week. I think my body just gets to a point where it demands that it be Spring RIGHT NOW, and when the environment refuses to cooperate, I become sullen and pouty. As Shara pointed out to me not too long ago, the first day we see temperatures in the 80s, we’ll all be muttering about how hot it is. The weather has just been so dadgum weird lately. Justin and I have talked a lot about getting one of those storm shelters put in — they dig up the garage floor and drop a steel box in the ground. I panic at the first word of tornado season so it would probably be worth it just for the peace of mind of having some place to go when the weather gets touchy. But we’ve had a lot of other expenses pop up lately and that will have to wait for a while.
Okay, so that is one long paragraph about the WEATHER, a subject I’m sure we’re all thoroughly tired of talking and hearing about. Moving on!
Yard sales have been sloooooowly but surely starting to rear their heads…the first really great sale I went to was in Rogers, about a 30 minute drive from my house. I was there to pick up an engineering print I was having printed at the closest location of Staples. A word about that. I LOVE Staples engineering prints. SO economical and cool. My local Staples, however, leaves MUCH to be desired. I have had engineering prints printed five times there and Every. Single. Time. there has been something wrong with the order (once they gave me someone else’s print; three times, they re-sized my print despite my explicit instructions not to, and the fifth time, the most recent, I called to make sure they had my file in the system and to reiterate NOT to re-size it, and the knucklehead who answered the phone confirmed that they had the order EVEN THOUGH THEY DID NOT); three times, it require an extra trip BACK to the store, 30 minutes away. The fourth time, my husband checked the print while he was in the store and then had to wait a half hour for them to print it out the correct size. This last time, I called ahead to confirm they had received my upload and instructed them not to resize the print. The guy I talked to said he would absolutely make a note of that so I happily set off the next day to pick up my order, only to be told at about 11:00 am in the store that they had never received my upload. But what about the guy who I had spoken to the night before? I asked. Yeah, he’s not working today, they answered. So Justin drove home and uploaded the file and I took my two impatient twins to run a few other errands, one of which was this sale that I thought I would hit while I was in the area. When I got back, no progress had been made. How much time do you think you need to complete the order? I asked. Twenty minutes, they said. Fine, I said, I’ll give you forty, and took the kids to get something to eat. Come back, order not ready. Still downloading, they said. It’s a big file! they said. How much more time? I asked, through gritted teeth, as my three-year-olds, who had now been in a holding pattern for over two hours, approached total meltdown status. Thirty more minutes to download the file then another 15-20 to print it out, they said. At that point, I had to admit defeat — I had another errand to run back in Fayetteville and had already spent nearly three hours waiting for this print. I was FURIOUS. I called Justin on the way home and he called the store to speak to the manager (I would have happily done that but with two toddlers in the back seat, it’s difficult to have a professional phone call) and asked that the prints be put in the mail (gratis) as soon as they were finished this afternoon. You know, to a city two cities over, which, with their contract with UPS and all, would have cost NOTHING, and this manager had the NERVE to tell my husband that the postage would cost more than the actual order and therefore they would not be doing that. Your wife could have waited another half an hour, the manager told him. Justin began to protest that this was the FIFTH time we had trouble with an order AND THE MANAGER HUNG UP ON HIM. OMG YOU GUYS I need to stop and take some deep breaths because this is making me mad all over again. Justin calls me to tell me he’s been hung up on and five minutes later I get a call from said manager who claims that they got “cut off.” Really, I said, because he was pretty sure you hung up on him. No, she assures me, she did not, and what’s more, they’ve had a change of heart and would be putting my prints in the mail free of charge. So that’s my Staples story. I have not been back since, and I’m sure the lack of my little $3 orders have not exactly sent them into a whirlwind financial uncertainty, which probably has a lot to do with the cavalier attitude of management. Still, I don’t think corporate would be that happy knowing that we were treated that way…I started to make a phone call to them but by that point was tired of the anger and just let it go. I was once a big fan of their engineering prints but my love affair is over.
Geez, two long paragraphs and not a photo yet. Here are two things I got at that Rogers sale, where I spent $60 somehow (talk about starting the season off with a bang) but didn’t take photos of everything I got.
This is a cute old set of homemade drawers — the drawers are actually old fruit crates, one of which still has a label on the back.
One of my all-time favorite finds — this puppy oil painting is too cute.
My friend Laurie had a sale a couple of weekends ago — she has gotten out of the booth biz and has been slowly culling all of her merchandise. She’s had one other sale recently — it was amazing, so I wanted to be sure to hit this one as well. It did not disappoint.
She pulled this cute bird off of a vintage lamp. I am in the process of building him a cool base. The little cheese boxes will make ADORABLE storage opportunities in the craft room.
I had seen this project (scroll down to the bottom of the page) a week before and pinned it, so I was DEEEELIGHTED to find all of the materials I needed to give it a try at Laurie’s sale.
And I got this cute doll clothes trunk for just $5.
That same weekend I picked up another ladder…
Yikes, almost hard to see it among all that junk!
Another weekend, I hit another great sale in Springdale — it was in a warehouse, and as it turns out, it was a girl who has a booth in my flea market who was trying to downsize her merchandise a bit. She had a lot of fun stuff, including two mixing bowls that I was, of course, immediately drawn to.
I absolutely love this, have never seen anything like it. She also had this yellow ware bowl that was unpriced.
I brought it up to get a price and she asked me what I would offer her for it. I HATE that. I really do. I have no idea what I’m supposed to say. I hemmed and hawed and she asked me to just be honest and tell her how much it would cost if I found it at a flea market. She said, “just tell me the truth, and I promise I’ll give you a good deal.” This tickled me to death. I had never had anyone try this tack with me before! So I said between $20-$25 (it had several significant chips) which seemed to shock her (I don’t know how she has a booth and doesn’t know anything about mixing bowls, although, her specialty is 1950s-1970s clothing and jewelry and I certainly know nothing about those items) and she settled on $6, which, despite the chips, WAS a good deal. I asked her how she knew I was telling the truth and we ended up laughing about it — then we realized we were at the same flea market and I was REALLY glad I was honest with her. I also bought this from her, which, again, is one of my all-time favorite vintage buys:
She is a little planter/vase and was $7! Not a chip on her! Sigh.
The booth business is going…okay. February was pretty bad for all of use in the area because the snow caused the stores to have to be closed so often. That was probably the lowest check I have had in a while. March picked up a bit, but I’m still making just enough to fund my vintage shopping trips and maybe pay for the kids’ haircuts and buy them lunch out every now and then. I wish I could figure out how to step it up a notch and make more significant of an income off of what is, basically, my hobby. I fear that requires getting a bigger booth so that I can fit furniture into it, and that scares the crap out of me. I have also been mulling over the idea of getting a second booth at another location, here in Fayetteville, where my more mid-century, hipper items might sell for more because of the college kids. It’s hard to think about how I could do more than I am now, though, with these two kids underfoot…they’ll be starting a summer program two days a week for four hours a day in June, so I’ll have to see if I can get significantly more work done with that brief amount of time freed up somewhat.
When I visit my booth each week, the first thing I do is shop the booth directly behind me — it’s #2, for those of you who frequent Daisies and Olives. It’s run by the nicest couple who attend anywhere from 3-7 auctions a week and update their booth 2-3 times a week. Their prices are AMAZING. This is not the greatest picture but take a look at this amazing mid-century side table they had for $42:
I don’t know if you can tell how truly cool this thing was, but trust me, IT WAS COOL. And I’m not even a huge MCM fan. Last week, I picked up this framed photograph:
It’s pretty big, over two feet wide. I have since taken it apart, cleaned off the glass (it came completely clean and is lovely, wavy, bubbly old glass) and put it back together and hung it with my other group shots. It was $15. The frame alone is worth more than that! I love that booth. Visit it often! But don’t buy anything I may want.
At some point in the last month, I got this baby off of Craigslist for $50:
She is tall and thin, all the things I wish I could be. I just loved how she could fit just about anywhere. She was handmade by the man the woman had bought her house from. I think I’m going to paint her, change the hardware, give her some feet, and use her in our bedroom — there are cuphooks screwed into the top, the part with the glass doors, and I could display my vintage jewelry there and use the drawers for scarves and what not. Although I do not have that many scarves. Three, maybe. But I’m sure I can find SOMETHING to put in all those lovely drawers.
This is going to mean nothing to you, because I did not take before pictures, but I painted the frames on these prints I bought over a year ago and now they go perfectly on the new wall color in the kitchen/family room:
I always liked the prints but the original frames were not good — avocado green with gold trim. Would probably have looked lovely in a home in 1974. I love the paint color we went with, BTW — have I mentioned that? It’s Sherwin William’s Koi Pond.
Okay, now I’m just (w)racking my brain, trying to remember what else I need to tell you.
I’ve made a few new signs over the past month or so, but not many, since I haven’t wanted to venture out into the cold, cold garage. I am most proud of this one — I have three oars that I’ve been hanging on to, waiting for the right project.
I had to hand-letter the oar itself, so I was pretty pleased with myself. This one sold pretty quickly.
These two I’m kind of “meh” about, which seems to be the general public’s feeling toward them as well, as they’re still in the booth after three weeks on the sales floor.
Aaaaand one more project to leave you with…
I got this in Little Rock last summer for $2.50. Its only faults were a tear in the leather of the seat. I love its MCM sleek lines. I recovered the seat, even figuring out how to tuft it, and I think it’s quite cute. However, it’s been in the booth for two weeks now without a nibble, so I may be the only one who likes it.
Okay, that’s it for now. I promise that now that yard sale season is starting up, I’ll post more often…I’ll finally have something to write about again! Hope all is well and warming up in your neck of the woods!
Linking up to The Nifty Thrifty at A Living Space and Thriftasaurus at Sir-Thrift-A-Lot.
Hello, poor little neglected blog. I am so sorry I have not updated in so long. I am having a really hard time getting motivated to log in here, and I blame it fully and completely on this terrible, no-good winter we are ALL (with the exception of you lucky people in southern California) having. This has been a tough one, hasn’t it? My whole body has just felt tense against the cold for about four months now and I have had little-to-no impetus to get out in the garage and work with the jigsaw, or paint, or go through the massive pile of crap that’s out there to see what can go to the booth. I just want to huddle inside my house only there are these two demons in here with me, see, that create the opposite urge to flee no matter what the weather outside is. It’s quite a conundrum. We had a beautiful stretch of two to three days at the beginning of this week where temperatures were in the fifties and sixties and the change in my mood — in ALL of our moods, actually — was drastic and wonderful. We spent two full mornings outside, with the kids running around and me cleaning out my wood pile, cleaning and washing the car, and sorting through stuff in the garage that I forgot I had. I got two big projects done — remember those barn stools I got at auction many moons ago?
I had sanded down the tops during another freak warm snap we had some time back but had never moved past that stage. I decided to try and stain the top of the big one and paint the rest.
I feel a little “eh” about them. I do think the long would would be great at the end of the bed…the small one is an odd shape — almost square — that makes its utility kind of awkward. They’re up at the booth, taking a LOT of room, and I don’t think they sold this week as someone told me two days ago they saw them there. Business has been downright CRAPPY. I know I made rent this month, but it was touch and go there for a few days — I’ve never NOT made rent so worrying about it was pretty unsettling. I’m not counting on much of a check this month at all. This is my official one year marker — I started at this flea market in February of last year, and February was my worst month in that 12-month cycle, so it may just be a crappy month, period. But we’ve had several weeks of inclement weather and the store has been completely shut down for probably four or five days this month, so that adds to the lackluster sales. Of course there haven’t been any yard sales, very few estate sales, and I’m limiting my auction exposure due to my addiction issues (ahem) so I haven’t brought in a ton of new merchandise to take to the booth — which is good, because the garage is full. I have stuff under dropcloths out there that I’ve forgotten about. I’m going to take it easy on buying anything new for the next six weeks or so and see if I can’t clear out a lot of stuff that’s taking up so much room. Despite the gloomy weather, it should be warming soon, and I can get out there and paint what I need to and just get the projects done. It really starts to wear on you after a while, doesn’t it, having so much STUFF hanging around your neck and so many projects on your to-do list that have been there for…YEARS. I would like a cleaner slate going into yard sale season, you know what I mean?
Though I SAY I’m limiting my auction action, I did go to one a couple of weeks ago that looked promising. It was overcrowded and over-priced, yet I sat there for five hours because I had spotted a couple of things I couldn’t stop thinking about that I HAD to have. There’s that PROBLEM I mentioned. The last few times I’ve gone to auctions I’ve bought primarily for myself, not for the booth. A 50-50 ratio would even be okay, because then it’s like you’re funding your bad habit by buying some stuff that you’ll make a profit on by re-selling, but lately, everything has been for ME and has been way too expensive. Case in point, this set of bookends I couldn’t resist.
How adorable is this little guy? TOO ADORABLE IS WHAT. Which is why I found myself bidding him up to $27. Ridiculous. That is a fortune to me! I like my treasures cheap — a low price adds to the appeal and to the great story you can tell everyone.
The other thing I really wanted were two toy metal phones, which I have wanted for ages. And one was RED.
I love you, red phone. But I paid $14 for him and $14 for his little black companion and that just can’t happen. I needed to find him at some yard sale out in the country, buried in some box underneath a table, and when I pull him out the woman having the sale needed to say, “oh, you want that old thing? I was just going to throw him away, I didn’t think anyone would want that! How about a quarter?” And I would skip with him in my arms back to the car to tell everyone I know how little I paid for him. But no. Instead I sat in a chair for five hours and paid $28 for he and his friend. I’m grounded from auctions (you know, unless a REALLY REALLY good one comes along).
I have been working on prints, lately. I’m trying to get better at the chalkboard prints, but it’s slow going. I see so many of them online that are just gorgeous but those people obviously have a better grasp on Illustrator than I do. This one did pretty well in the booth — it sold within a day or two:
But there are two others that have been sitting down there for weeks and weeks now. TAKING UP ROOM. I just know that I could be SUCH a great graphic designer if only I had twelve hours a day to sit in front of the computer and monkey around. Is that too much to ask? Twelve hours a day? Sheesh. Here are a few more prints that I’ve been working on.
I’m kind of thinking of doing a whole series of these romantic book quotes. I especially love the Gone with the Wind print…that was my very favorite book for years and years and years. I just SWOONED over it. I read it in fifth grade, against the wishes of the school librarian, who let my frenemy (we were very, very competitive with each other) Kenny read it but not me — she said she thought Kenny was more mature and was more ready for the content of the book than I was. NO, IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS A BOY. Man, did that chap my hide. I marched off to the city library and checked it out myself. I SHOWED HER.
Hm. What else can I tell you? During the warm snap, I got a bit done in the garage, and dug these framed prints out of a box to bring them inside. They were in the booth for months at a bargain basement price and never sold. I realized they were the perfect color for our kitchen, which was painted in December. So I hung those suckers up! Nothing like shopping out of your own garage.
They are pages from the most beautiful book called In and Out of the Garden by Sara Midda. If you ever find that book at a used book sale or thrift store, buy it. It has gorgeous illustrations.
I did get the kids out this week and hit four different thrift stores — I just needed a fix and hadn’t been in a while, so despite the fact that it was 20 degrees outside, we piled in the car and went on the hunt. Four thrift stores, and this is all I came home with:
This lovely, old picture frame (the glass is wavy with bubbles) for $4.50, which is going in the gallery wall in the living room, and
this pretty (but nothing fancy) little vintage bracelet for $4. Both items came from a thrift store in Springdale that I rarely go to (Shara, it’s the one on Robinson — is it Council for the Blind?) because their prices are outrageous. Anything that is even slightly old gets separated into their glass cases and marked at prices that I would gawk at in an antique store. I swear, they have quilts in there that have been there for a year now because they’re ripped and stained yet they are marked $85. The worst part is, they seem to get some really, really good stuff but they mark it way too far out of reasonable range. But, I wonder, are all thrift stores getting stuff this nice only I never see it because it’s priced low and so it flies off of their shelves? I miss the days when I had the luxury of visiting Chicago thrift stores two times a day. Oh, that was the life!
The only other thing I have to show you is the progress I’m making on my wooden dough bowls. These have been out in the garage for a long time, gasping for moisture.
Just looking at that picture makes me itch with dryness. I bought some Howard Cutting Board Oil and went to town on them. People, it is the most satisfying job I have ever done. I told Justin last night that I wish my job was oiling dry dough bowls. Like, that’s what I did for a living, day in and day out. For two days now I’ve sitting down, listening to my iPod (I’m listening to Five Days at Memorial, the story of the hospital in New Orleans where a doctor was accused of euthanasia during Hurricane Katrina. Riveting and emotionally draining. Really good book.) and just methodically oiling these bowls, again and again. Today I was getting impatient at the kids’ attempts to put off naptime — I wanted to shout, GO TO SLEEP SO I CAN OIL MY DOUGH BOWLS. It is just so satisfying. Look at them now!
And I’m not even finished. I want to oil them at least twice more tonight and then let them dry overnight so I can get them in the booth tomorrow. WHAT CAN I OIL NEXT?
BTW, isn’t that chair gorgeous? Have I ever told you guys that my grandpa MADE those chairs, with his own two hands? Does it not blow your mind to think of someone working with iron like that? I was so lucky to end up with two of these after my grandmother died. They are two of my most treasured possessions.
I hope you are all surviving the winter with your sanity intact. It’s just so, so awful but I promise you that Spring is right around the corner. We can make it. I know we can. Keep the faith.
Instagram has made me a terrible blogger. It’s just so easy to snap a picture with my phone and throw it up on Instagram with a pithy comment, and then I feel as though I’ve blogged about it, but I really haven’t. Also, as I tell Shara, I have imaginary conversations with you guys all the time in my head and end up feeling like I told you about the last awesome thing I bought/sold/found/left behind already. PLUS, it’s January, and cold, and grey, and there just haven’t been a whole ton of thrifting/yard sale opportunities lately. EXCUSES, EXCUSES.
And, actually, today was gloriously warm — nearing 70 degrees. Tomorrow, down to 22 degrees. I know better than to complain, though– my old employer, Chicago Public Schools, is closing the system down for an amazing third day this winter due to extreme cold temperatures. In the seven years I worked for them, the school system closed once, when we had nearly two feet of snow, and then for only one day. Polar Vortex, indeed. I hope that all of you are staying warm and have at least a day or two of respite as we have been having. Today I spray painted a few frames and finished a sign while I could get outside…and cajoled Twin A into posing with the finished product.
So…I’ve been getting a little too into the filters on Instagram. Forgive me my artistic license.
I’ve actually been getting a bit more crafty than usual these days. I think I showed you a photo of the pennants I was making from vintage Little Golden books — I kind of upped the ante on these by backing them with felt. I think it makes them much more durable and they also hang a lot more nicely. Of course, it takes a lot more time and costs a bit more, so I have to charge more for them, and I just don’t know if anyone is going to want to pay $16 for them — but it’s really not worth making them for any less than that.
And you can see in the photo the quilt pennants — I have strips of a crazy quilt I bought over the summer that I’m turning into banners as well. I’ve also been working on chalkboard prints — because I’m always coming in on the tail end of a trend. This is the first one I made, currently framed and in the booth so we’ll see…
This is a bunch of stuff I took up to the booth on Friday. I tried to pull all my pinks, reds, and frilly stuff to hint at Valentine’s Day. That’s the biggest chalkboard I’ve ever made, I think — I would be just as happy if it didn’t sell because it would be fun to keep for the kids. To the right of the picture you can see the pallet bookshelf I made.
What a comedy of errors this was. First of all, I bit off more than I could chew last week and was trying to juggle too many projects. The bookshelf was finished except for the bottom — I needed to screw a piece of wood into the bottom and then finish painting. Every piece of wood I had that fit perfectly cracked when I screwed it in. So I ended up using a super thick piece of wood that wasn’t quite as wide as the bottom, stripped the screws, banged them in anyway with a hammer, and then it was sitting a little off-kilter. All because I got into too big a hurry and didn’t think things through. It’s out in the garage waiting for me to try and figure out how to fix it. First of all, it’s really too heavy to be practical, unless you wanted it to sit on top of a dresser or something. Oh well. Not all experiments pan out, I guess!
I haven’t hit any great auctions lately, and thrift store shopping has been a bit dry, but here’s a quick run down on what I’ve picked up since we last talked.
Some nights (okay, a lot of nights) I sneak out when Justin gets home from work and go thrift store shopping. I know it’s probably not the best time to get the good stuff but it’s so peaceful at the stores and such a nice way to wind down from a stressful day (which most of them seem to be lately, as Emme is entering a stage that surpasses the Terrible Threes and zips straight to Demonic). One day last week I found the dog on the right at one thrift store, which totally made me happy, then the other four at the next thrift store I went to. I was going to offer them to my friend Kristie, who collects dogs, and then take whatever she doesn’t want to the booth, but I have fallen in love with them and am trying to decide whether to keep them or not if she doesn’t want them. I seem to be adopting more and more of her collections which is going to make me seem like a stalker pretty soon.
Last Saturday I went to an estate sale around 10:30, having slept in instead of getting up early. As anxious as I am for yard sale season to kick into gear, I’m dreading the return of those early mornings. I checked Craigslist and saw this estate sale, but it didn’t sound interesting enough to get up early…big mistake. BIG MISTAKE. The first thing I saw when I walked up to the door was an industrial file cabinet with about thirty little drawers with a sold sign on it. Turns out it sold for $30. There was enough good stuff left for me to know that there was probably a ton of great, old items I would have bought. I got some aprons for a quarter a piece, a few Christmas tablecloths for a couple of bucks, and this wedding dress from 1962 for $10. Once I figure out how to steam the netting it will photograph much better. It’s headed to Etsy. I also got a vintage cowgirl shirt with embroidered flowers on the back for $2…also Etsy bound.
I also got this hat for $3, one of the best hats I’ve ever bought. I just love it. That same day I stopped by the Salvation Army near my house and found two more hats for $2 each. I haven’t bought hats in forever.
A couple of Saturdays back, Kristie and I took the 45-minute drive to nearby Ft. Smith for a flea market that Kristie and Bailey used to go to on a semi-regular basis. I got another quilt top there for $15 that I am passionately in love with.
SO MANY wonderful old fabrics. I don’t know what I’ll do with it. Kristie once got a quote from a quilter for finishing up a quilt top and she said it was over $200…so that’s out. I am no where near patient enough to finish it by myself. I would love to make curtains for a nursery out of it but it’s not big enough to use it that way in the twins’ room. I did go to an antique mall not too long ago where the owner of a booth had lined her walls with quilt tops…probably I will just keep it and look at it every two days or so.
I also got a big piece of vintage fabric that looks and feels just like a feed sack. It was only $6 and I know I’ll be able to use it for something.
And this chalkware guy, who is big (around two feet high):
I think he’s ADORABLE but I seem to be the only one who loves him. I think he’s going in the twins’ room, unless they give him the same stink eye that everyone else seems to.
And finally, I painted the stool/ironing board/step ladder thingy I got at Potter’s House a while back. Remember this?
On one of the few warm days we’ve had in a while, I scrubbed this sucker down and painted it.
And then I fell in love with it, which is highly impractical, because I picked a color that was all wrong for any room in my house. It really is a handy thing to have around as it serves many purposes. I have it marked kind of high in the booth so I won’t feel bad if it sells, and I won’t feel bad if it doesn’t sell. You know that game, right?
Today, as promised, it’s freezing cold weather again…but I know Spring is right around the corner. Let’s try and keep the faith!