My Kind of Town.

We moved from Chicago to Arkansas two-and-a-half years ago, and, until last weekend, I had not been back. That’s not how it was supposed to be. In December of 2012, I promised my current crop of seniors that I would be back to see them graduate in June; but, unfortunately, by May of that year we had had to go ahead and buy a house (earlier than we expected as the house we were renting unexpectedly sold) and funds, and time, were tight. Then I intended to go during the Christmas holiday because I wanted to see the city all decorated again, but there’s never enough extra funding to take a trip just for the heck of it around Christmas. And at that point, attempts to visit just kind of petered out. BUT THEN. One of my best friends in the world, Shannon, got married last weekend. For a while it seemed like I wasn’t going to be able to go, which was inconceivable to me, because I couldn’t imagine missing her wedding. But Dad was sick; then, when he died, I didn’t think I had the energy or motivation to take such a long road trip. At the last minute, it occurred to me how good it would be for Mom to get out of town and do something fun, so I convinced her to hop in the car with me and head on up. The timing of the trip was too last minute to see everyone I really wanted to see (so sorry to miss both Chanelle and Bailey!) but I think it was just the thing we both needed AND, OF COURSE, I got to see Shannon marry a terrific guy. She was the prettiest bride I’ve ever seen.

Let’s be clear: the wedding on Friday was the primary focus of my weekend and the main event. And Shannon looked SO BEAUTIFUL and the wedding was gorgeous and the reception was SO FUN.

When I first saw her, I was afraid to hug her too tightly. She looked like a porcelain doll.

So while my focus was on Shannon and her wedding,  I couldn’t stop thinking about yard sales on Saturday. We had initially considered driving home on Saturday — I felt so bad leaving Justin alone for four whole nights with the kids — but in the end, I couldn’t resist spending the day doing Chicago yard sales, just as I did for the 17 years I lived there. It did not disappoint. PLUS, my favorite thrift chain (Village Discount Outlet) was having one of their 50% off the entire store sales, so I added that to my list of things to do on Saturday.

There are many wonderful things about Chicago yard sales. First, they start much later than yards sales in the south — 9 or 10, instead of 7 or 8. Second, I can show up at a Chicago yard sale at 1 pm and STILL find amazing things to buy. Third, it seems like EVERY Chicago yard sale has old stuff at it. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I bought something at every sale we stopped at and turned down sooooo many great things for lack of space (the passed-on purchase that hurts the worst was a pair of vintage cabinets out of a biology classroom — glass fronted and gorgeous and TWENTY DOLLARS. The thrift stores were equally as fruitful, and, in addition to some pretty great old stuff, I also got a TON of cheap clothes for the kids. They’re definitely set for all of next year and I even got a head start on their size 6 clothes as well.

It was a lovely trip, all the way around.

I shall now show you some of the things I bought.

This jaunty pair was at one of the first stops we made. There were also six soldiers lined up against the wall, but as I was texting Shara pics of Santa and Frosty, the lady running the sale shouted down for her mom to bring the soldiers up to her because she sold them to a friend on Facebook. I grabbed these two before anyone could take them away too.

Santa is pretty darn fantastic.

Our very first stop was advertised as an estate sale in a three-floor apartment building. It wasn’t. It was a basement sale with not-that-many items to choose from, and the ladies prices were kind of ridiculous on most stuff. But I got the cute little magazine rack there (the suitcase came from somewhere else) and I got this nifty heat lamp there.

I think this thing is beautiful — the base is heavy cast iron.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to sell it. It has a frayed cord, which didn’t stop me from plugging it in, because I’m an idiot, and of course, sparks flew and then it started smoking. So it definitely doesn’t work! But I think it’s so pretty.

I also got this print there. I paid $10 for it, which is VERY VERY VERY HIGH for me, but I’m planning on keeping it, so that’s how I justified it.

Not a great picture of it. It’s prettier in person. (I’m clearly feeling defensive about paying that much.)

The lady I bought this from said it was an old Montessori organizer for letters. It would make a cute shadow box for a kid’s room.

The round frames were thirty-something cents at the thrift store!

Cute little clock that still works! This sale had a TON of teaching stuff (boxes and boxes and boxes of it) along with some great old stuff and the BEST DOG EVER. His name was Spuds and he was SO SWEET.

I should have put this herd of flocked deer up with Santa and Frosty — they came from the same sale. That one in the back seems a bit sinister.

The Haegar swan vase came from Spud’s sale and the plates came from the thrift store. They’re all in perfect condition. This is one of my all time favorite patterns — Homer Laughlin Georgian. My intention was to sell these but I couldn’t bear to part with them once I got them home. So now I have twelve of them!

The deer were a yard sale find, and I took those platters off of the cart at a thrift store, before they could be put on the shelves. That color green is so delicious in person.

This set of porcelain canisters is in perfect shape, complete with their adorable porcelain knobs. Found them late in the day at a thrift store. Why were they still there?

Thrift store turkey platter…

…hammered aluminum trays with fabulous handles from a yard sale. This was an off-list sale that we passed and I screeeeeeched the car over for. I bought these trays and a couple of old prints including this one:

which I am planning on keeping and adding to my gallery wall. The other two prints I bought for their frames (vintage and fabulous). Everything I bought at this sale was $5.

I got this beautiful tray at a thrift store. It’s dated 8/9/46 and was from the Hinsdale Golf Club — some kind of award, do you think?

And this is the last thing I have to show you. This was almost the last thing I bought, at the last thrift store we went to. It’s painted cast iron. It is, of course, in desperate need of re-wiring and I have no idea what kind of shade you would pair it with, but I couldn’t leave it there — it’s just too pretty.

That’s the bulk of the purchases. The entire back of the car was filled up, though there was enough room for that second blow mold that I passed up out of fear of running out of room (DRAT). Of course, I really could have used a trailer! Think of the things I could have hauled back! The furniture is SO CHEAP in Chicago and I had absolutely no room for any of it. Oh, my heart hurts.

Really must make another trip soon. SOON.


July 25, 2015 - 12:05 pm

Laurie I’ll say this again: we need our own shop!! Then we can take road trips to Chicago and write them off!!

I agree on the silver platter, probably an award. And I LOVE the DC print!!

Finally – I want to know when you lost those platters with the green bands for sale. 🙂

July 25, 2015 - 12:34 pm

Shara Oooooooooooo. You got some really great things. Maybe when I grow up and I could go with you sometime. Wheeeee!

July 25, 2015 - 12:48 pm

Anne Holcomb Always fun to read your post and love your finds.

July 25, 2015 - 12:49 pm

Kathy Epley Lara Jo, So happy you and your mom could make this trip!! And you’ve got a great guy at home with the kids so you could celebrate your friend’s special day. AND…you came home with treasures! Someday, if and when I have a sale, it’ll be called a ‘treasure sale,’ not garage sale, though it most likely will be held in our garage… =) I love the swan vase, and I have several hammered aluminum trays that I use regularly….I love them!! In our state, there is a big flea market 3 times a year, and I have never gone yet, but hope to this fall….not planning on taking the farm truck; the Pilot will have to be big enough. And if an item won’t fit, then I’ll tell myself it will just have to bless some other person’s home! But that’s probably the hardest part…especially when the item is awesome and the price is so great!! Glad you had a great time!

July 25, 2015 - 12:58 pm

carol My son is trying to convince me to move to a different state and start a new adventure. You and Shara could “pimp” me out to be your personal shopper or I can drive a very large size UHAUL so we could scour the country.

July 25, 2015 - 1:08 pm

Marla I love the deer and the painted cast iron lamp.I think that lamp would be so adorable with a pink or white chenille shade.

July 25, 2015 - 2:30 pm

Heidi@TheMerryMagpieVintage I’ll tell you what, I am flying to Chicago and renting a u-haul, driving around the Midwest junking for 2 weeks and driving that sucker home loaded to the ceiling. That kind of junk just does not exist here in Denver in the quantities and prices you are finding it. That silver golf award makes my heart go pitter-pat!

July 25, 2015 - 3:06 pm

Theresa in St Louis Your finds are wonderful – love reading your blog! Just an FYI Homer Laughlin Georgian is the shape of the china, the pattern name you have is Chateau (in blue). I have a set of Homer Laughlin Cashmere and it is also the Georgian Shape. Hope this helps if you ever look for further pieces to match your plates.

July 25, 2015 - 4:37 pm

Pam @ House of Hawthornes You gotta plug something in to see if it works, right? The heavy duty lamp is gorgeous. And I love Santa!!! Great finds! I wonder why it’s cheaper in Chicago though?

July 25, 2015 - 7:19 pm

Lynn So glad you decided to take your Mom and go to the wedding. I love everything you got! You’ve got the eye for it, girl – fabulousness!

July 25, 2015 - 8:43 pm

Chanelle Sorry to have missed you but thrilled you got here, and had some solid much needed fun!

July 27, 2015 - 10:52 pm

Shannon Now it HAS GOT to be a yearly trip! 🙂

So, so happy you made it!

July 28, 2015 - 2:40 pm

Laura C I’ll help you and Shara drive the U-haul on the Chicago trip! You found “pure awesomeness” on your trip. As to the cabinets…two words for you…bungee cords!

October 5, 2015 - 3:24 pm

Lara Jo Thank you, sweet Lynn!!!!

October 5, 2015 - 3:26 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Pam! My only guess is that goodies are more plentiful in Chicago. Every yard sale I went to had great stuff and I remember there being hundreds of listings when I used to live there. Heck, look at what our girl Chanelle finds every day in her thrifting adventures! More people = more junk = lower prices. I guess. Of course, it also means more competition for getting the good stuff, too. Whatever the reason, I’m hankering for another trip up north before it gets cold!

October 5, 2015 - 3:28 pm

Lara Jo Hey, Theresa! Thanks for the tip — I did not know that. I need to go back and edit it with that new information. Chateau. What a beautiful pattern name! Thanks so much for that info. BTW, we’re considering a family trip to St. Louis sometime this fall — you guys seem to have an abundance of museums suitable for children and, of course, there’s Six Flags. And I am dying to go yard saling in St. Louis. It just seems like there would be a ton to rummage through there. Do you think your yard sales are awesome? What about your thrift stores? (Can you tell I’m in the mood for a junking road trip??)

October 5, 2015 - 3:28 pm

Lara Jo Marla, chenille lamp shade is a stroke of genius on that painted cast iron lamp. Good call. Now I need to work up my nerve to re-wire it. (!!!!!)

October 5, 2015 - 3:29 pm

Lara Jo Ohhhhhhhhhhh, Carol, don’t tempt us! My dream is to drive cross-country with a uHaul! Think of all of the treasures you could find!!!

October 5, 2015 - 3:31 pm

Lara Jo Kathy, that’s what I need, a “farm truck”. Pulling a trailer scares me to death (I pulled a trailer full of junk when I opened my first booth in Arkansas — way down from Chicago, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. But a nice little pick-up truck that I could stack to the rafters and bungee cord down would be perfect!