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!

Various and Sundry.

(Hey, if you’re in Instagram, find me at PrettyQuirkyBlog for almost daily pics of what I’m finding here and there!)

First, before I forget, check out this project: Darrielle at D.D.’s Cottage and Design used joint compound and a stencil to make this awesome raised embellishment on a coat rack. Definitely filing this one away for future projects…so many options! Oh, and check out that cabinet she has in her current blog entry…dreamy! So glad I found her blog for inspiration. It’s nap time, and the weather is about to turn nasty outside, so I thought I would try and get a quick blog entry finished. My Dark Sky app shows a wall of thunderstorms headed for us, although the trajectory shows they might go right to the south of us. This app turns me into a bit of a weather nerd. If you have weather anxiety, as I do, this is a pretty good app to help calm your fears — or at least to give yourself an idea of how long the storm should last. It’s not good for future forecasts, as all it does is tell you what the weather is going to be like in the next hour, but it’s super specific — like, right now, it’s telling me that rain will start in 5 minutes and will stop 40 minutes after that. And there’s a little graph at the bottom that shows the severity of the activity — I can see that it will peak in about 10 minutes, stay at that severity for about five minutes, then trail off. On days when they’re predicting rough weather later on in the day I can watch it to see if I have time to take the kids to the park or run some errands before it starts storming — and it’s incredibly accurate. I think it was $2.99 but it really was worth it. I am feeling pretty productive today — in the last week or so, I’ve cleaned out the garage, cleaned up the project room, cleaned out the car, mowed front and back yards, finished my little bird wall in the kitchen, and took three new prints and two new arrows up to the booth. The arrow that I took up last week sold overnight, after my sweet store owner featured it on her Facebook page. I wish I had an easier way to cut those — I don’t have a miter saw and am kind of winging it on the 45 degree angles necessary to make an arrow, but I like to tell myself that their imperfection adds to their rustic appeal (ahem).  Here are the latest ones I put in the booth on Friday:I got that wood — painted in a deliciously chippy, buttery yellow — from the awesome estate sale in Fayetteville I went to last year. I had to crawl up into an overhead-storage bin in the detached garage to pull it down and nearly 1. pulled a huge heavy stack of lumber on my head and 2. stabbed myself multiple times with rusty nails. TOTALLY WORTH IT. Though I really, really, really, really need to go get a tetanus shot. I also finished two new prints to take to the booth last week……this one sold on Instagram on my way to take it to the booth! Someone saw it on my feed and arranged to buy it. That was a lovely surprise.Moving on to vintage finds: I haven’t had a ton of thrifting luck lately. I made seven thrift store trips in a row and did not buy one single thing. I don’t think that’s ever happened before! I’m not sure if I’m getting pickier or if the pickings have really been that slim lately. The kids and I went out to a few yard sales on Friday for a couple of hours — really, you should all be reaching for your phones to call DCFS because it’s pretty mean of them to drag them along on my yard saling trips. They really don’t seem to mind it, though, and, believe me, if they minded it, I would know. Per my usual modus operandi when desperate, I drove way to far for way too little payoff, and, because I learn nothing from my mistakes, did the same thing on Saturday, when I found myself out of local yard sales to go to; I found an interesting-sounding auction in Sulphur Springs, a town about an hour away. What the heck, I figured, it was a pretty day, a pretty drive, and I had nothing to lose. Except, you know, gas, and any profit I would make on whatever I might find. LA LA LA, I can’t hear you. The fact of the matter is, I love driving on a pretty day, I love seeing new places, especially tiny little country towns, and I love the suspense of not knowing if you’re going to find something great along the way. Stupid gas prices. ANYHOO. Here’s what I DID find this weekend.It is official, I now have a camera collection. I have this Brownie camera already, but I had never seen one with a flash. Must have been hard to be an unobtrusive photographer with this baby flashing, huh? I paid too much for this, $10, which is about what they go for on eBay, but since I’m keeping it, I’m trying to make myself feel a little better about it.I’m pretty sure I have established my love for busts on the blog. They’re just very appealing to me, and you can use them to display vintage jewelry. In fact, they would be great for display at the Junk Sale in June. Hmm. File that one away for later use. These will have to be painted because they’ve got multiple chips — I’m thinking a glossy white, maybe. They were $8 for the pair, satisfying my requirement to not pay more than $5 for a bust.This I got on Friday, at a thrift store in a town about 30 minutes away. I had to ask on Instagram to make sure it was a Paint-by-Numbers, because it’s the most well-done PBN I’ve ever seen. It’s huge, about two feet wide. I think it would  look a lot better to switch the frame out but I’m going to put it on eBay as is to see what I can get. It was only $2.This was from the same trip, different store. I’m keeping it for the gallery wall. It’s oil painted on some kind of fiberboard — not quite wood, not quite cardboard. I really like it.And here’s something that I didn’t find but wish that I did…this little doll dresser. My sweet friend Laurie texted me from her Goodwill, asking me if I wanted it and I almost dropped the phone, I was so frantic to text back YES. In ALL CAPS. I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep this. I just can’t bring myself to sell it.So the hour-away auction…wasn’t a complete bust. I did get the cutest little trophies ever:I got a flat of five of them for $5 and then promptly dropped one…so I have four to sell. I’m pretty sure I’ll make a little money on these — at least I’ll get my $5 back. I bid on a bunch of other stuff — outside, they had some rusty, chippy, metal stuff that was pretty cool, like a great round collapsible laundry basket on casters, but it all went too high for resale. At least, for my resale. I guess the people buying these things — I’m sure they’re dealers — sell things for a lot more than I do. I had absolutely no phone service whatsoever at the auction, which makes me incredibly nervous, so I took a break and drove up the road a bit to make a phone call home to check in, and found a cute little flea market. These places puzzle me. I got some good deals but I would say about 70% of the booths had their stuff priced unreasonably high. Who is shopping there, for heaven’s sake?? How do they ever sell anything? I sell at a store that has a lot of foot traffic and I couldn’t price my stuff that high.I got the little print on the left for $9, which was pushing it, as far as I am concerned, but I needed one more fruit print in the kitchen so I could officially say I COLLECT vintage fruit prints.This little puppy was SUPER cheap — I think $2 — because he had a dead, awful plant in his planter (really?? too much to ask that you dump that out??) and someone had written “Sandi” underneath the Please Get Well sign. I scrubbed that right off. I got two pieces of pottery, cheap, to add to my never-ending collections…I couldn’t pass up this cute little squat yellow vase — such an unusual shape.This little feller was $1.50! And that’s it for the weekend. I thought the auction house I went to — Butler Creek Auction Gallery — was really nice, and I might make the trip again. Not too crowded, really cool inside, nice bathrooms (very important, don’t you know). Maybe next time I’ll be able to afford a bit more to make the trip worth the gas.

Linking to Sir Thrift-a-Lot’s Thriftasaurus and Elizabeth & Co. 

And Suddenly…it’s May!

(Let me preempt your regularly-scheduled blog post by saying that there might be something wrong with the e-mail function when I reply to comments — I’ve heard from several people that you get your e-mail bounced back when you try to respond. Justin had fixed it so that when I respond to comments on the site, an e-mail was automatically sent to the commentor — but it seems that there is a flaw to the system. Don’t think I’m rude if I didn’t reply to your e-mail — I probably didn’t get it! We’re trying to fix it, though.)

Dudes, it was 88 degrees today! I think it’s safe to finally put up the last of the long-sleeved shirts and hoodies that I’ve been keeping around just in case (oh boy, now I’ve jinxed us all). I spent all day Sunday cleaning out the back yard — mowing, raking the leaves that had huddled in the corners against the fence, and hosing down the kids climbers. We borrowed a pressure sprayer from Justin’s parents and within thirty minutes we HAD BROKEN IT. It’s a nice, fancy one, too. It’s just like when I was twelve and borrowed my little brother’s baseball glove and lost it. I haven’t gotten any better since I was twelve. We have to take it in and get the cord fixed and then I’m going to (carefully) finish pressure-washing everything I own. It is REALLY ADDICTIVE. If you are a person who likes to clean, get yourself a power washer. But skip the step where you break it.

I’m just going to dive on in here and start telling you what I’ve found lately, because it’s been a while since I’ve updated. The weekend before last was…eh…okay. The last yard sale of the day was clearly the one I should have started with and I found myself wishing, once again, that I had the strange kind of radar that my friends like Barb and Shara have, where they somehow end up at the best yard sales first or, in Shara’s case, just end up at the best yard sales no matter what. I do not have that radar. I think I did in Chicago. Maybe I will at some point here.

I got this cute little milk crate-type-thingy that fits the bottles I bought from Laurie at her last sale perfectly. I texted to see if she had anymore so I could fill the whole thing but she had already sold them all (she had a couple of boxes worth — why didn’t I buy more?).

I know I got a few other things before I hit the great yard sale but apparently I didn’t take pictures of them. The great yard sale was being held by a daughter of a couple who had been antique dealers their entire life. They had made three big moves — from one state to another — over the course of their lifetimes and every time they moved, they moved two or three storage units with them, even though they weren’t in the business anymore. So the daughter decided enough was enough and she said that every couple of months she’ll go get some of the boxes, take them over to her parents house, and let them go through them to figure out what they want to keep and what they’re willing to sell. Then she has two yard sales a year. Her prices were pretty darn good. The best thing I got from her was this fifty cent dollhouse sofa:

It’s a German maker, Spielwaren, and I put it up on eBay where it sold for $37. Not bad for a fifty cent investment! The other thing I put up on eBay right away was this game, from 1915:

I had high hopes for it given its age and the fact that it was a complete set, but the board itself is in pretty poor shape. It only got one bid and sold for $10 (I paid $2) and was a pain to box up because of the length of the board. But I shouldn’t complain, given the success of the little sofa.

I bought a few pieces of  old children’s clothes for a buck a piece — this was the prettiest one:

This tiny little Redman hamper was $3. I guess it’s a clothes hamper, but one pair of my jeans would be too big to fit in it.

I got some other odds and ends, like this cute peach pitcher and this marble thingy:

And this cool platter…

But my favorite buy was this framed print. I actually paid $10 for it, which is an enormous amount for me.

The mat is like a linen-y fabric. I don’t know if you can tell in this photo but the maid is peeking into a note she’s taking to her employer on a tray.

I just love everything about it. I’m keeping her, just don’t know where she’s going to hang yet!

This weekend was this huge yard sale event, sponsored by our local newspaper, that was held at the fairgrounds. They’ve tried this sort of thing before, I was told, and it was terribly unsuccessful, so I was a little wary about wasting my time hitting this sale first when I could potentially be missing some great yard sales elsewhere (Barb didn’t go the fairgrounds and said the yard sales were practically empty because everyone was shopping at the fairgrounds). Luckily, it started at 6:30. Wait, did I say LUCKILY? Ugh. I had to get up at 5:30, which is very nearly physically impossible for me. The plan was to be one of the first through the doors at 6:30, do a quick pass of the place, and be back at my car at 7 where I still had a chance of being first on the scene to sales that started between 7-7:30. However, when I got to the fairgounds at 6:10, I joined a loooooooong line of cars that were not moving at all. They were charging an admittance fee to this thing, and apparently had no way of setting up the entrance so that people would have to stop and pay before entering so their plan was to take money from the cars before letting them park. Only they weren’t going to do that until 6:30. So I had to wait. When they finally started collecting money, it was obvious they were overwhelmed by how many cars they had waiting — three people were out there going from window to window…then I realized they didn’t have change on them. If someone handed them a $20, they had to run get change. OMG. You guys. If I wake up at 5:30 to be the first through the door you had best not get in my way. I was SO cranky by the time I parked my car. The good news was there weren’t many people at all shopping when I started to I feel like I got first pick of quite a few booths.

This was my big splurge of the day, for $15.


I really do love it, and I know it was worth $15, but my plan had been to sell it on eBay — but it weighs about 20 pounds, no lie. I don’t know how I would ship it for anything approximating a decent shipping cost because the box is going to be so large and heavy. This COULD all be rationalization for keeping it myself.

My irritation spiked when I hit this table with about 25 old games stacked on it. I asked the guy running it how much his games were and he said, “Oh, I don’t know.” So I wait, thinking he’s mulling over prices. Three minutes passes while I continue awkwardly shuffling around the boxes until it becomes obvious he’s not thinking — he’s just not going to answer. So I say, “Were you able to come up with any price?” and he asks me which ones I was interested in. I pick up four boards — just the boards, not a complete game — and he quoted me $25. Eh, too much to re-sale. Then I found this game.

Can you even imagine anything more boring than a bird watching board game? But the graphics of the board and the game pieces were beautiful.

He quoted me $10 for this and $5 for this awesome, wood Ten Pins game.

I talked him down to $12 for both, which is  little rich for my blood, but I’m pretty sure the bird game will sell on eBay and I’m going to keep the Ten Pins game to use as decoration. I just love the colors.

Stuck inside the Bird game were pieces to ANOTHER bird game — Bird-O. The illustrations were beautiful.

I got two more readers, because who doesn’t need twelve million readers all stacked up and tucked away where no one can even see them?

It is official. I collect chickens. I do not know how that happened but there you have it. 

The first thing I bought was this vintage religious print for $3. Amazing price.

It appears Jesus is praying in front of a Kia, but that is merely the reflection of my car, which you already knew, because Jesus only drives American-made.

I know I got a couple of other things but that’s all I took pictures of. If you haven’t already, you have to go over to Shara’s site to see the fabulous things she got when she showed up at 11 am. I am telling you, she could show up at 4 pm and still get 10 times better merchandise than I get.

I finished up with the sale and went to a few other yard sales with my sister-in-law, but we didn’t get much. I got some fabulous things for the kids at one sale but there wasn’t a lot of vintage to be had out there. I found myself finished with my list before 10 am and sat in a parking lot for about 10 minutes, trying to figure out where to go next…I couldn’t bring myself to go home so early! I drove about 40 minutes to an auction in a neighboring town that sounded good but by the time I got there, everything I would have been interested in had sold. I did stop at a few places along the way, though.

This is the world’s most perfect pink lamp.

Weeelllll, it WOULD be, if it worked. Since I only paid $1.50 for it, I’m not too upset, and think I’ll keep it to get it re-wired so it can (eventually) be Emme’s bedside table lamp.

I got these feedsacks for a buck a piece. The only reason I know they’re feedsacks is because 1. the guy selling them told me and 2. the size of them and 3. I can see where the seams were ripped out. All the feedsack material I’ve seen in the past has had very small repeating prints on it. Is this more recent feedsack material? Imitation feedsacks? Help me, Internet, you’re my only hope.

And that’s all I’m going to throw out at you tonight. I am, as my kids say, seepy. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Linking up to Sir Thrift a Lot ,  A Living Space’s Nifty Thrifty,   and Elizabeth & Co.