How is it possible that it’s September?

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.


Various and Sundry

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.

New Booth and the June Junk Ranch!

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!

The “new” house.

Pardon my absence, friends. It’s like someone pushed the fast forward button on my life around here — time is moving so quickly and I may have over-extended myself in a few arenas. First and most pertinent to this blog is that I have moved to a booth three times the size of my sweet little original booth! Rent has gone from $50 to $150 and I am sweating the difference. I moved in last week and am already panicking that I don’t have enough merchandise to keep it as full as I want it. But I think I’m just feeling a little stressed right now because I have the Junk Ranch Sale coming up on the 13th, and it’s so scary thinking of filling them both up. I will figure it out, though! And I have some pictures to show you, but don’t have time to edit them right now — however, if you find me on instagram (@prettyquirkyblog) I do manage to post at least a photo a day.

In the meantime….I put this post together about six months ago and never made it live. Shannon has been asking for pics of the new house, which isn’t really new anymore, as we’ve been here for a year, but I can’t manage to get more than one room clean at a time to take pictures. But I did get some shots of the dining room — though things have changed a bit, it gives you a general idea of how things are shaping up. What’s hilarious to me is that so many of the things I’m talking about being busy with in this post, originally written in August, are true right now, months and months later!

August, 2013

When will this house stop being the “new” house, I wonder? The kids still routinely address it as such, as in “Is Daddy going to be at the New House when we get home?” [Editor's note: they still call it the "New House."] I keep bemoaning the fact that I haven’t made it very far in any sort of decorating scheme and Justin keeps saying, relax, we haven’t even been here that long, but it’s been THREE MONTHS which seems like forever to me. The truth of the matter is that 1. I’ve been so busy trying to get the booth up to its maximum capacity and now I have the Barn Sale as well and 2. we don’t have any moola to do any decorating, so anything that we do has to be done with things we already own. And where’s the fun in that? Honestly, everywhere I look, I see something I want to change in this house. But before I start complaining, let me just say: we are so LUCKY. We are lucky to have a roof over our heads and food on the table. I’ll get into a rut where I’m thinking of all the things that need to be done to this house to make it more aesthetically pleasing to me and I’ll have a rush of shame that I can’t be content with what I have. But I don’t want fancy stuff, really; it’s just that I can’t help but see potential in the walls around me. And that potential includes making this house feel more like “us” than it does right now, giving it a more personal touch. The house was built in 1994, and a lot of its decorating touches reflect that particular era in house design. A lot of stuff is still builder’s grade, and was never updated or upgraded. I’ve never lived in a cookie-cutter environment; even in college, I always sought out the unusual spaces instead of the apartment complexes. (One of these spaces was a converted garage. I took my niece by there not long ago and she stared at it in horror. “You lived THERE?” she sputtered. “That is what you call CHARACTER,” I answered defensively.) In Chicago, our apartments were always vintage, with beautiful built-ins that helped to complement their shabby surroundings. So part of my problem is figuring out a way to make all of my old stuff appear natural in this newer, more contemporary setting.

I’ve got one little corner of the house KIND OF decorated at this point — the dining room. The living room and dining room are all one large room, with super-high ceilings and a ridiculous amount of windows. (Really, the house’s best quality is its plentiful windows.) The paint color is a dark, slate gray, and I really like this color, especially the way it contrasts with the white trim. I think we’re going to leave it this color (we can MAYBE afford to have one or two rooms painted — I would do it myself but the walls are seriously high and I don’t think I could even find a ladder that would reach — and I would rather save our money to change the red of the kitchen and the horrid, horrid mustard color of the master bedroom.) but I had to decide on what other colors to use with it. I fought against yellow for a long time, because that color combination just seems so overdone, but I just LOVE those two colors together. So cheerful, and since the gray is so dark, I kind of wanted a cheerful accent for it.

That’s my $40 table, painted Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin which, really, reads white in most lights. I spray painted the two yellow chairs — they were already painted, so I figured it was no biggie if I ended up hating the yellow. But I kind of love it.

I dug out all of my yellow pottery.

I painted the lamps and re-covered the shades for the second time. They used to look like this:

And then I covered them again but I can’t find a picture of it. BTW, I think I’m going to sell the monkey painting at the barn sale. I just can’t find a place to put it. [Editor's note: I didn't sell that art at the last barn sale, but am going to drag it to the next! Do you think anyone will buy it?]

UGH THAT LIGHT. I hate it. Doesn’t it look like something that belongs in a dungeon? Also, the floor is not my favorite. It’s a ceramic tile, sort of beige-y, and I just don’t know why you would choose that color when you have stark white woodwork throughout the room. We needed drapes, and I was all, $25 FOR TWO PANELS????? at T.J. Maxx, but, as always, you get what you pay for. They’re kind of like tissue paper. So I’m looking for some reasonably priced replacement panels unless my Mom wants to take pity on me and stitch some up for me.

Speaking of my Mom, those are her leftover birthday flowers on the table.

The dining room is opposite the foyer, which I’m kind of happy with right now as well.

So that’s, what, fifty square feet that I’m satisfied with so far?

I feel a little paralyzed by the whole decorating thing, to be frank. In my apartments, it always seemed kind of easy and organic, with me slowly finding a place for all of my yard sale finds in a fairly easy way. But this just seems so serious. I always thought that, once you bought a house, you just had to decorate


Auction Action.

I was in the WORST mood on Monday. It had stormed all afternoon, the kids were restless, I had a somewhat distressing phone call regarding unfinished business in Chicago, and by the time Justin came home, I was ready to do something that would distract me from the noise going on inside AND outside my head. Luckily, there was an auction that sounded great scheduled for that afternoon. I got there about two hours in, and they were auctioning off stuff outside, in the pouring rain. Larry Williams is hardcore, people. That’s why he’s my favorite. There could have been treasures galore out there, but I didn’t care — it wasn’t worth it to me to stand out there in the rain. Me? Not as hardcore as we all originally thought, apparently.

Luckily, they were also auctioning off stuff inside as well, and my friend Kristie was waiting for me inside. She had had a bit of a yuck afternoon herself, and I was lucky enough to be able to tempt her to the auction with me. I do not have NEARLY as good a time by myself as I do with Kristie at an auction; I can usually count on three or four hours of non-stop laughing and buying. As usual, she did not disappoint. It wasn’t too terribly crowded, and after we found a seat — an awkward process in and of itself, as about half of the attendees were outside, leaving their seats unattended, and every time we tried to sit in a seat we were told “someone is sitting there.” I told Kristie I felt like the unpopular girl in the high school cafeteria NOT THAT I KNOW WHAT THAT WOULD FEEL LIKE. Ahem. Finally, we settled into our seats and tucked into the Popeye’s chicken Kristie had so graciously brought with her. Seriously, can you imagine a better recipe for a bad afternoon?

I got a carload full of stuff, and most of it will either be for re-sale or for display purposes, so I felt pretty happy with myself. I did buy a few things to keep, first and foremost being this cow print.

I have wanted one of the cow oil paintings that are really popular right now for a while, but they’re too pricey for me. So this knock-off will have to do for now. Shara pointed out that they’re TWIN COWS so they’re perfect for us. I really love this canvas.

The best buy of the evening came towards the end, which is the time you can ALWAYS find the best buy of the evening. I had spotted a flat of vintage handkerchiefs — all of them spotless, impeccably ironed, and packaged individually. Right at the end of the evening that flat ended up on a table with four or five other flats full of really bad linens — torn sheets, odd napkins, etc. — and they started auctioning choice of. I was completely shocked when I was the high bidder at $2. There were 48 hankies in that box! In perfect condition!

Of course, now the question is: will I be able to sell them? I have a tub upstairs of vintage handkerchiefs that I’m not doing a thing with, so I hope I can restrain myself from keeping 48 more.

Here are a couple of bigger things that I brought home.

I’m keeping the blue book rack for display purposes. I don’t know why I decided I needed that roll-y metal table. It looked charmingly industrial to me at the time.

I liked this little wicker cabinet and it went for $5. Will be in the booth later this week.

That lamp up there came from the Habitat store — they got a huge donation from a sorority house, because all the kids are moving out this week. You would not believe the stuff those girls left behind, just because it was too much trouble to pack up, I guess. Note to self: make sure my kids have a little more respect for how much things cost and how we try to keep things out of landfills.

I also got a few things at the end of the night for a buck that are going on eBay.

This sweet little made-in-Japan cupid sold for nearly $50 in a pair so I’m hoping I can get $15-20 for a single.

This Arabia of Finland pitcher sells for between $25-$40 on eBay. I used to only sell things that brought really big bucks on eBay but 1. nothing really brings big bucks on eBay these days and 2. if you sell 3-5 items for between $10-$20 a week, it can really add up — I need to stop being so lazy!

I told Kristie that the whole experience feels a lot like drinking, every time we go. The night gets later and later, we get more and more giddy, and our decisions get more and more questionable. I frequently wake up the next morning thinking, “what the hell did I buy??” but it is ALWAYS a good time. Case in point: I thought I bought an old coffee burlap for $1 and didn’t bother unfolding it until I got it home.

Lord, I laughed so hard when I unfolded this on my kitchen floor. But, hey, it sells for $15 on eBay! Sure, it’s in questionable (okay, not questionable, BAD) taste, but I suppose if I can turn one dollar into fifteen…

Already looking forward to the next one!