Happy Days Are Here Again.

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, Phyllis, 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. 


April 21, 2014 - 6:22 pm

Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage I swear I would cut off my toes if I thought it would make me fit into those shoes! They are glorious. You might try them on Etsy–I’ve sold a few pairs of vintage shoes there. The color on those is so fantastic that I’m sure they will sell well! Have you considered Etsy for the tintypes as well? Use Found Relatives as one of your keywords if you haven’t already. Paper crafters and collage artists sometimes use that term so maybe it would help.

I can’t tell you how lucky you are to have real life junking friends! I’ve lived here for 10 years and I still don’t have any and just don’t quite know how to find them. 🙁 And the fact that you can count Shara as a RL friend makes you so, so lucky indeed! But I’m sure you know that already. 😀

April 21, 2014 - 8:34 pm

Shannon Love the frames on those fashion prints!

April 21, 2014 - 9:33 pm

mary scott Hi Lara, I have been watching you on Instagram. I have seen dealers use those old tintype photos as jewelry “cards” (for selling/displaying earrings/pendants). So I would think there is a market for them. Your wooden serving piece looks like monkey pod wood to me. See it on both eBay & etsy, & I wish you best of luck with sales.

April 21, 2014 - 11:36 pm

Shara I’ve had a really bad stressful and emotional day, but reading all this brought a smile to my face. (And Heidi’s comment was TOO SWEET!) Thank you!

Honestly why would anyone try to keep all the junk to themselves? I loved that little wardrobe, but I don’t have room for it and I don’t have room in my booth for it. But, it was SO CHEAP and SO CUTE – golly someone needed it!

Where shall we meet up this week? 🙂

April 22, 2014 - 4:54 am

Marci I recently found your blog through Sir Thrift A lot and love it. I live in Kansas City, but my middle son attends Arkansas (go Razorbacks!) and my twins (I have boy girl twins also) graduate from high school next month and my daughter is also going to Arkansas! We love visiting Fayetteville. I dont think I’ve been to your antique mall but I’ve been to that Pottery place. Glad I found your blog, I am your newest follower! Plus we like all the same stuff!

April 22, 2014 - 7:14 am

Chanelle ambrose Couple of great pieces of advice on your finds already…monkey pod wood and found relatives. Would also suggest putting those tin types up on Collectors Weekly as there are a bunch of folk on there who have loads of knowledge, find cool clues in photos and will be very supportive.
Sent you an email that I have free passes to Randolph if you were making a trip up (bring Shara) as I am doing three or four of them this summer. I am loaded for bear and the hubby is using words like hoarder.
I don’t really have a thrifting buddy. I’ve taken people out thrifting but it’s more like a tourist thing…

April 22, 2014 - 11:24 am

Shara YES! BRING SHARA! ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

April 22, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Denise I would have never guessed that was a fondue pot it’s great.
Have a nice week.

April 22, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Anne Hello, my name is Anne and I believe I have a booth where you have one, (D&O). I’m on the first row with the big green shelf. I see you have the same fever I have called “Junking”. I read your blog and realized we are connected through D&O. I have the same excitement you do when I go to garage sales and estate sales. I recently have bought, for a few dollars, some prints from artist that are signed and numbered. I will keep these for myself but it is so fun finding these little treasures. I really enjoy your blog. See you around.

April 23, 2014 - 7:55 am

Melissa Oh, those shoes! I wish they were my size, they’re so pretty! And those pictures… what an awesomely creepy find. Happy to hear that the good stuff is finding it’s way to you guys! You and Shara crack me up!

April 23, 2014 - 11:00 am

Into Vintage For about 73 different reasons, I think what you’ve written here is one of my favorite blog posts ever in the history of blogging. And junking. I’m happy to hear that you’re made such great junkin’ connections where you are and that they’re with with like-minded people who share! And how sweet of your husband to have his gallbladder removed just in time for you to attend that amazing sale. Sometimes the stars align perfectly. 🙂

PS Thanks for the shout out!

April 24, 2014 - 7:41 pm

Lara Jo Aww, Amy, thanks for saying that. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. And yes, that Justin is just SO cooperative when it comes to my second-hand needs! And may I just say, again, I am SO HAPPY to have you back online! I missed you!

April 24, 2014 - 7:42 pm

Lara Jo Melissa — I know, aren’t they beautiful? I can actually jam my size 8.5s in them but it does NOT feel very good. I think a 7 or 7.5 could wear them, but they’re narrow, as well. I’ve yet to find a pair of vintage shoes that would actually fit me.

April 24, 2014 - 7:44 pm

Lara Jo HI, ANNE!!!! It’s so nice to “meet” you. I can’t picture the green shelf but I am going into the store tomorrow to re-stock and will hunt down your booth then. I am always happy to meet other D and O folks! I just love it there. It really is fun to hunt for treasures, isn’t it? It’s quite addictive! Thanks so much for reading and especially for writing me. Hope we get to meet in person soon!!

April 24, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Lara Jo Denise, I know, and I was kind of disappointed, to tell you the truth…instead of two bowls, I had an incomplete fondue set! Oh, well. Thanks for writing, and hope your week was wonderful as well!

April 24, 2014 - 7:45 pm

Lara Jo Shara, I wouldn’t think of going without you!

April 24, 2014 - 7:48 pm

Lara Jo Chanelle: Wow, you’re right on the wood and thanks for the search term. I’ve already re-listed a few of the tintypes on Etsy to see if they do well. I am working up my nerve to put stuff on CW — everyone there (including you) seems so knowledgeable, I find it intimidating! But they do have such a huge knowledge base. I’m so excited for you about Randolph — if I make it up there (with my sidekick Shara) I will definitely take you up on your offer of free tickets. You’re too sweet. And taking people thrifting being a tourist thing…I’ve been there. I had a couple of friends who were consistently impressed by the clothes I was getting at thrift stores and decided they wanted to shop with me one weekend — the first thrift store we went into was deemed “smelly” and that was the end of that trip! They just didn’t have the FEVER.

April 24, 2014 - 7:52 pm

Lara Jo Hi, Marci! Thanks for finding me! You and I have a ton in common, it seems!!! Here is the question I always ask parents of B/G twins who are nearing adulthood: do they like each other? Do they get along? Mine, at three, are the best of friends and the worst of friends, but mainly the best of friends (My Jack introduced his sister as his “best friend” the other day) and I so want to believe that will continue. The next time you’re here, drop me a line if you want to do some shopping — Shara and I would be happy to go along! If you don’t visit her blog yet, you should — http://mydealoftheday.blogspot.com/ — she blogs about thrift stores and yard sales in this area as well. I have actually been talking to my friends Kristie and Bailey about going to KC one weekend — you guys have that First Friday thing, is that right? Is that a pretty good place to get old stuff? And it always seems like there are a ton of interesting yard sales, estate sales, and auctions going on there. You live in a great city! Thanks so much for writing and I look forward to hearing from you again!

April 24, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Lara Jo Shara, I have had a decided lack of Shara sightings this week. DISLIKE.

April 24, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Lara Jo Mary, thanks so much for the tip — you are right, I do believe it’s Monkey Pod. I’m going up to the booth tomorrow and if it’s still there maybe I’ll bring it home and try it on Etsy now that I know the right term! Have also listed a few lots of the tintypes on Etsy with your comment in mind…maybe the artsy folks will find them interesting. Thanks so much for taking the time to write me and share your knowledge — I really appreciate it!

April 24, 2014 - 7:55 pm

Lara Jo THANK YOU, Ms. Shannon. I actually painted those because they were a really ugly brown before!

April 24, 2014 - 7:58 pm

Lara Jo Ms. Heidi: I jammed my foot into them and it FELT like I had cut off my toes. Besides, I couldn’t begin to walk on heels that high! They’re ridiculously high! They are on Etsy right now…I’ve had a couple of questions about them but no bites yet. And the tintypes are on Etsy as well — I took yours and Chanelle’s advice and included the Found Relatives search term. I am lucky, I know. I don’t quite know how it happened, and I wish I knew how to get you real-life junking friends. I think Shara should send you a cut out of herself and she could ride along with you on your junking missions. You could call her on the phone and put her on speaker and it would be almost like the real thing. I am very lucky to have her as a friend, I know! Hope all is well with you…I know you must be crazy busy and crazy exhausted with your little one…