Searching for Inspiration

Hi, Friends! January and February have been a bit crazy around here, and I haven’t rustled up a lot of vintage news for you lately. I got so desperate for some vintage shopping a couple of weekends ago, I drove two-and-a-half hours to Springfield, MO, where they were hosting one of those “world’s largest garage sales” at their fairgrounds. We do this in Fayetteville, too, and it’s pretty awesome — it’s HUGE, and there are many booths that genuinely have garage sale prices. Not so in Springfield — I would say about 95% of the booths were flea market vendors with the associated high prices. The thrift stores in town were badly picked over (probably because of the traffic generated by the big garage sale in town) and when I tried to explore a huge flea market in town, I got a call from Justin telling me he was on the way to the ER with Jack, who had fallen and bonked his head in the driveway. I know when I’m beaten — I packed up and headed home to join them at the hospital (I DID stop at Big R’s BBQ in Joplin — our favorite BBQ joint in the world — for dinner for Justin and me so I am far from mother of the year). Jack’s head was fine, thank goodness, but the day as a whole was a bust.

Without any fun finds to share with you, I thought I would do a Link Love post with an emphasis on tips on running a booth — I don’t know about the rest of you with flea market booths, but January through March are incredibly trying times for me, as sales flag, my finds are diminished, and my creativity seems as dormant as the Spring flowers. A little inspiration might be just what we all need right now.

I follow Booth Crush on Facebook , where they frequently post lots of flea market booth eye candy. Their blog posts are reliably informative as well, like this good one that rounds up ideas on packaging smalls for your booth.

I’ve linked this post before from Vintage Show Off before (Denise is no longer posting there, but the archives are a treasure trove of flea market booth advice), but it’s worth posting again — some eye-opening, sober reality about how much we’re REALLY making with this gig (here’s a hint: not a whole lot).

The Polka Dot Closet has a series called “What Sells and What Doesn’t”, where vendors from various parts of the country post pictures of their booths along with what does well in their neck of the woods. Looks like there are only seven entries, and the last one was in 2013 (Hey, Polka Dot Closet! Bring back this feature! It’s really interesting!) but there’s lots of good info and some pictures of display ideas you can use for inspiration.

Shades of Blue offers a pretty good run-down on what makes her antique show experiences successful. Some gorgeous photos in that post.

This is a great (if somewhat off-topic) article about using your local flea market as a business incubator — this is what I see folks like Shara doing with her hand-made creations that she tries out both in her booth and at the Junk Ranch. Great reading for someone who has ideas for a small business but isn’t sure about how to get started.

I’ve been reading about Tracey’s adventures in flea market booths for years (though I haven’t followed along lately — once I had the kids my blog reading unfortunately went waaaaay down). She’s got a gorgeous eye for display — you can peruse the archives for lots of tips and tricks.

Sue offers a tart and honest narrative on the ins and outs of the flea market booth business.

You probably already read her blog, but in case you don’t (what’s WRONG with you?) Shara at Monkeybox posts excellent summaries of her booth and market set-ups and successes.

And of course, trusty Pinterest has tons and tons and tons and tons of gorgeous boards dedicated to flea market booth inspiration.

Hope you find something bright to inspire these last dark days of winter. Spring is on its way, and along with it: garage sales! Hang on, friends, we can make it!

A few shots around the store and some Link Love…

Friends, January is my LEAST favorite month. It always has been, but since staying home with the kids, it has gained a special kind of animosity from me as it’s the month right after Christmas and their birthdays, so they’re usually coming down from two weeks of over-excitement, and the weather is bad so they can’t go outside, and it’s gloomy, and cold, and there’s no good vintage shopping, and things are just BLECH. We have had a few nice days this month, an anomaly, and I’m beyond grateful, as they have gotten to the point where they like being in the backyard and I can get them out of my hair for an hour or two if the weather is just right. But still, it can be rough: Justin just left for a business trip and won’t be back until Tuesday evening, so this is a particularly rough beginning to the week and I am not looking forward to it.

I did finish a project that is making all of our lives better, January or no January: we have a bonus room — a room up about six stairs, above the garage, with odd wall and ceiling angles, that I’ve just used as a general catch-all junk room since we moved in. There’s a bed up there and poor mom has to sleep in middle of this colossal pile of junk when she comes to visit. It bothers me every time I add to the pile of crap but hasn’t bothered me enough to inspire action…until two weeks ago. I FORCED myself to start in the attic: we added plywood to the joists to maximize our storage, I went through every box, and organized everything. Then I moved some of my junk from the bonus room to the newly-created space in the attic, consolidated the rest, and freed up 2/3 of the room to use for the kids’ playroom. Before, all of their toys and art supplies had been in the dining nook off of the kitchen — but it always looked messy and didn’t afford them much room to actually play with their toys. Now they have nearly an entire room to themselves, and it’s UPSTAIRS, and I can SHUT THE DOOR. The first week, I couldn’t pry them out of there. The sparkle has muted somewhat but they are still all too willing to trot up there when they get too loud or crazy downstairs and it really has made a huge difference for all of us. Plus, all of their art supplies are out where they can see them and there’s a nice big table for them to work on. It’s glorious.

I usually do get the urge to purge at the beginning of the year, but I rarely follow through (I am intrigued by the newest rage in organization, but haven’t read the book — have you? I think there’s too much purging involved for me to actually follow it!)…still, I’m attracted to new STUFF that promises to make me a more efficient, organized person and I noticed a few things around Daisies and Olives last time I was there that would be PERFECT for someone in the thrall of a New Year’s Organizational Frenzy.

Small Town Girl, the booth on the other side of me, had a bunch of the cutest little desk-top storage items, all vintage-themed.

And Helena Handbasket, the booth that was catty-corner to me, was making me feel all organization-y with some of their items.

This wire shelf is FANTASTIC and I had to stop myself from buying it for the playroom.

And ooooooohhhhhhhhh this desk topper just begs to become part of someone’s craft room STAT.

And now I shall leave you with a few links to peruse…

Another organization book to salivate over — if only I didn’t know myself so well…I would buy it, look at the pretty pictures, and then put it down to gather dust on my very disorganized shelves.

I might check this book out — it looks like it might be fun for the kids and I to go through.

I LOVE the idea of this website. I don’t know about you guys, but I spend a ridiculous amount of time aimlessly wandering around the Internet — I’m obsessed with Making a Murderer right now, and I started a FB group just to talk about it, which results in even more time spent finding interesting articles about it. I need to get a little more disciplined about the time I waste and try and put it into something more productive! I have been thinking about taking an online course lately, either in Illustrator of maybe even a photography course — anyone ever do that?

Speaking of online courses…this guide has a plethora.  I also think Clickin’ Moms has a pretty good reputation for photography classes (I’ve never taken one, though) and I’ve heard good things about for tech classes (again, I’ve never personally taken any from there). I would really like to research taking a writing class online. (Can you tell that my interests are unfocused and all over the place right now??)

This science website is great to have on hand for when your kids ask you tricky science questions and you want to pretend like you know EVERYTHING.

Get out of town to somewhere warmer this January, but not before you compare flight prices. 

Honestly, I was all set to make fun of this book but then I read the first review on Amazon and I’m kind of intrigued: “The book itself is basically an exercise book that allows you to move through at your own pace and fosters mindfulness which is something I think most of us toss aside when life gets busy or difficult. I’ve had some more clinical workbooks in the past and I think I actually prefer this less formal, more inviting format. One night as I was filling out one of the first exercises, my husband looked over and asked what I was doing. I told him I was listing 10 things that I do everyday that don’t cause me pleasure and then crossing out the ones that are not essential. That ended up sparking a great conversation between the two of us that lasted quite a while and we both identified small things we could each change that would really have a positive impact on our day to day happiness.” Sounds promising!

(These links were culled from Found and Forget, a treasure trove of interesting places to visit on the Web.)

Okay, friends, signing off to begin two-and-a-half days of single parenting. (I know there are people who do this on a full-time basis and never whine about it — but I’m a wimp.)  Keep a good thought for all of us and do what you can to make Tuesday come quickly! Talk to you soon.

Happy New (Vintage) Year!

Happy 2016, sweet friends! I’m going to whisper a date in your ear and you tell me if it sounds as if it is from the future, full of science fiction promise and terror: JANUARY 7, 2016.

It’s straight out of Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, is it not???

Time just marches on, no matter how many times I ask it to stop. The kids are five now, and for the first time, I am mourning their growing older. I was never the kind of mom who wished they would go back to being babies — my abilities as a parent did not hold any particular promise from ages 1-4 (in fact I’m still waiting for that age when my talents DO hold promise) and I did not LOVE the infant/baby/toddler stages at all; in fact, I found them very challenging. But seeing their faces go from baby and chubby to angular and kid-like has recently started getting harder. It’s just weird, how fast human beings age at the start of their life. In five years, they went from four pounds and not able to do anything by themselves to forty pounds and basically in charge of EVERYTHING (as far as they are concerned).

But this is really fodder for the family blog so I will hush up now.

How has your New Year started out? We are gloomy here, with a recent rainstorm having moved through and a chill in the air. It’s been unseasonably warm, for the most part — 50s and 60s! Crazy! — but has recently started getting colder, which makes us all cranky because we have to stay in the house more. I haven’t been to a good sale in FOREVER — I can’t remember the last time I bought something great and old, and the booth is getting empty and echo-y. I have a few big pieces of furniture in there, but just got word yesterday that one of the dressers sold — opening up a huge hole that I have no way to fill! I am fully into the doldrums of winter booth-ing. It’s a tough road from January to April or so, but I’ll make it somehow. (I have actually fantasized about putting a fake wall in the back of my booth to cut it in half for the winter months so it doesn’t look so empty!) Justin has a business trip to Amarillo next week and I ALMOST said the kids and I would go with him just so I could try thrift shopping in a different town…but then I looked at a map and Amarillo, as it turns out, is rather out in the middle of nothing and I don’t think would offer three days worth of thrift store shopping so I decided not to. I would love to do that, though — just get out of town and try some fresh shopping.

As should be clear to you by now, I have nothing of worth to share with you, but I am trying not to let so much time go by in between posts…so I am now going to attempt to entertain you with some photos from around the house.

Two of my absolutely favorite things in the world: these tiny, three-inch dolls given to me by my friend Carrie. Their little feet are metal. Their eyes and noses are just dots — how do they manage to look so expressive? And don’t even get me started on that AWESOME striped dress.

My little pink girl has found her place among the pink pottery and she couldn’t look happier about it.

Shara gave me this ADORABLE spunky gal after I went on and on about her when she posted it on Instagram. I SWEAR I WAS NOT HINTING TO BE GIVEN HER but nor am I sorry I was. I think she’s Annie Oakley — she’s holding a little pistol in her tough little hand!

Here is my tiny print (purchased from a fellow vendor — I can’t remember who, now! — at Daisies and Olives), my tiny dollhouse bench, found at a yard sale (it’s a fancy brand that I can’t remember the name of now, but I sold a few other pieces on eBay and would have sold this one too but it has a bit of a bum leg), and my tiny little bride and groom. I suppose they are, like, a 25- or 50-year anniversary pair? I just liked the way all of the gold tones looked together.

Good vs. Evil on a bookshelf.

Hello, my beloved matte white pottery.

This particular shelf’s theme is Asia and dust.

Show me a bird. I will buy it. Every time. These are housed under the neat cloche-and-industrial-base pair I bought from Paula’s booth, Emma’s Back Porch.

The only other thing going on right now is some print design for Valentine’s day…

(BTW: I saw the movie. Very nostalgic. I teared up a few times when the strains of the old themes came through.)

Jane Austen, all pretty and pink.

That pie makes me HUNGRY. I am trying to drop some lbs and even cartoon pies look good to me.

Oh! And! Have some bonus links! These sites have been open in tabs in Chrome for months now, waiting for me to do a link love post, but I’ll just add them here since they’re perfect for the new year.  This one has some great, doable suggestions for making life more simple.  As an overly-anxious person, this one really spoke to me. And this link, supposedly, will take you to the only 12 exercises you’ll ever need. Hyperbole aside, they are exercises that can easily be done inside, at any time, without equipment, so they might be worth pinning. I realized recently that I am officially of the age (past it, really) when I need to consider eating healthy and exercising not to lose weight but to, you know, LIVE LONGER.

Are you all well? Happy and healthy? I hope so. If not, I hope brighter days are on their way. Let’s talk soon!

These are a Few of My Favorite Things.

So, the busy season that was late summer/early Fall is now behind me. We had the students coming back into town in August, a big craft show in September that the booth had to be in tip-top form for, followed by the Junk Ranch, followed by the D and O Open House — I’ve pretty much been working non-stop on the booths for three months now, so it’s nice to be able to take a little breather. I’m heading into that part of year when it becomes difficult to find merchandise, so I really shouldn’t be slowing down — here it’s Saturday morning, and I’m sitting at my computer instead of tracking down any late-season yard sales — but I’m TIRED! We also had another death in our family, a favorite uncle, and it was sudden and fast so I’m dealing with the accumulated sadness of our losses this year and I think I just need some down time.

I was motivated to take some pictures around the house this week because I’ve been feeling kind of frustrated with the progress I’ve made since moving in here two-and-a-half years ago. I am still staying at home with the kids, though, so we’re a one-salary family, and there just isn’t any extra to put into major projects around the house that are primarily aesthetic and not strictly necessary. I did finish painting the master bedroom, though, so that’s huge, and have gathered some pieces for that room — basically, I have SPOTS around the house that I’m satisfied with, instead of rooms. But it’s a start. I’m in the process of listing things I want to do and I’m going to assign them a priority so I can start using some booth money each month on a project. I think if I can just continue to make small progress, I’ll feel better about it.

SO. Here are some SPOTS in my house that I LIKE (positivity! pass it on!).

I know I’ve shown pictures of this cabinet in the foyer (if it can be called that, it really is more of part of our living/dining room). I have switched it over to be all matte-white American pottery. I got this off of Craigslist when we first moved here for $150 and it remains one of my favorite CL purchases. There is a herd of cattle to the right of it.

These are just cheesy reproductions — I would LOVE to have an actual cow oil painting but GEEZ LOUISE have you seem how much those cost?

Across the room from this is my buffet in the dining room and my multiplying cloches. I can’t say no to a cloche.

The tall one in the back on the piece of industrial metal was purchased in my friend Paula’s booth (Emma’s Back Porch at Daisies and Olives). I love it. It has two little tiny brass birds inside of it. The print you can see just a bit of is the engineer’s print I had done at Staples last year. It’s about to be thrown over for this project — I have a shower curtain from Society6 on my booth-funded list. I just have to pick on out of the million cool ones they have for sale here.

A couple of months ago I got frustrated with the bookshelves in the living room, which had just become a gathering place for every little thing I brought home from yard sales and thrift stores without any real style to them. So I rearranged them, culling a lot of crap. My favorite part of the shelves now is the side with all of my colored pottery on it.

Makes me pretty happy every time I walk past it.

Moving into the master bedroom…I love this little corner.

(You can kind of see the paint color I used for the BR in this picture). That painting was found at a benefit yard sale for FIVE DOLLARS. I love it SO MUCH. The frame was originally a hideous green, but once I gave it a coat of cream chalk paint, it was a masterpiece. And matches the wall color so well. Those two chairs were $50 off of CL — SO comfortable and make the bedroom look a little more cozy.

I had it in my head that we would buy new bedside tables once I had painted the bedroom, but then I saw how much they would cost new and how difficult it was to find two matching used — so I painted the red ones we had used previously. These came from the Village Thrift Store on Milwaukee in Chicago and were half off the day I bought them, making them a grand total of ELEVEN DOLLARS for the pair. Geez, I miss Chicago thrifting. I hemmed and hawed about the lamps for about a week, because brass just seems so seventies to me, but I love the shape of these and one of you brilliant people had suggested using copper as an accent color in here (it was JENN! I went back and looked!) so I decided to go for it. Now I kind of love them — and they were $20 for the pair. Still looking for bedding. I think I’m going to get a matelasse or chenille spread in a cream and then layer it with a quilt. Nothing new is inviting to me, even if I look at expensive options (which I couldn’t afford, anyway).

And, of course, there’s the kids’ room, which was the first thing I finished in this house, and which still makes me smile when I’m in it (that is, when they haven’t torn it to pieces, which is ALWAYS). I know I’ve shared pictures of it before, but indulge me. (It was inspired by a photo of Ginny Phillips’ daughter’s room on her blog.)

So THERE are some happy spots in the house right now. I get kind of bummed out when I’m in someone’s house and it’s all beautiful and coordinating and designer-like — it seems like it’s a more “adult” way of decorating. But I don’t know if I would ever be able to do that, or if I were able, if I would be happy like that. I think I need old stuff around me to make me comfortable! But look who I’m talking to — I’m preaching to the choir! Viva la eclectic vintage! I’ll just keep conquering the house, one spot at a time, until you won’t be able to believe it was built in 1994. 🙂

Holiday Open House at Daisies and Olives!

The annual Open House at Daisies and Olives is a BIG DEAL. This year, Martha closed the store for the three days prior to the event so that the vendors could come in and work their booths without worrying about being in the way of shoppers. I was there Tuesday for five hours and then came back late Thursday to take some pictures — both times, the store was packed with vendors working in their booths harder than Santa’s elves. The theme this year was “Friends in Flannel,” and Martha had our flannel shirts printed with the store’s logo, as you can see below — these are the gals that were working the food table. Oh, yes, there’s food, the vast majority of which is home-cooked cuisine — and it’s all delicious.

I popped in to help out for a few hours today and this was my view as I was trying to make my way to the counter:

It was crazeeeeeee busy, and this was the middle of the day, around 1:30. It is QUITE a popular event. And it should be. Bragging is unseemly, and I shouldn’t do it, but I’m going to, anyway: Daisies and Olives is a REALLY good flea market. It has always been one of my favorites, even before I had a booth here. It has gorgeously styled booths and unbelievably reasonable prices — a combination rarely found in flea markets these days. And it’s HUGE. Martha has built a hugely popular business and I’m lucky to be a vendor here.

On with the pictures!

Let’s start with my booth, because I’m selfish that way.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen this awesome antique tool caddy. I got it at an auction, and it was a miracle I won it — I just happened to be one of the only dealers there who would be interested in such an item and lucked into it. I love it SO MUCH and it’s hard to part with it, but upon the advice of my friend Carrie, I have it marked really high so I would be THRILLED if it actually sold at that price.

That’s the good old Frosty that I got from Chicago when I went home for Shannon’s wedding. And that mirror I got for a song and then spray painted it — not my first choice, but it was gold and gaudy and plastic and SOMETHING had to be done. I had intended to use my sprayer and chalk paint it but the sprayer finally went kaput. I had a Critter, which I liked, but it is NOT built to last. See that rack holding all of those prints? Best junk buddy Shara GAVE that to me. Just GAVE it to me. Because she’s awesome like that.

I went a little crazy on the Christmas prints. I’ve never done framed Christmas prints before, so we’ll see how they fare. (UGH those neon green tags. I cheaped out and bought 1000 of them for $12.99. I am just so sick of paying a ton for price tags. But they’re hideous, and ruin the look of everything. I am brainstorming on how to fix this.)

This is a piece I’ve had for probably close to a year and just now got around to painting it. I was trying to decide whether to keep it or not. Its narrow profile makes it kind of unusual and practical. I don’t have anywhere to put it right now so out it goes.

Oh, these stools! How I love them. I found them on Craigslist and bought 35 of them from an enterprising guy who was shockingly business savvy despite his young age. I have never in my life bought that much stock all at once and it was SCARY but they are selling briskly so I’m not too worried. Yet.

I worked on the booth for FIVE HOURS and my feel and legs were so tired afterwards. It’s good to totally refresh like that, though. I get so sick of things after they’ve been sitting in the booth for a while.

Okay, now for some shots from around the store.

My friend Paula was one of the folks who arranged the front of the store. Beautiful.


A knitter’s paradise at Georgia Peach.

This is the top part of my friend Carrie’s booth, White Vintage Rose (you can follow her on Instagram @whitevintagerose). Carrie is amazing. Her styling and taste are impeccable. She should be a high-priced interior designer. I kind of hope she goes in that direction because I will save up my pennies to get her over to my house to tell me how to decorate it.

She recently started carrying a clothing line full of romantic, flowy, Bohemian clothes in gorgeous neutral shades.

A few more shots of the lower part of her booth…



Everything she does is just scrumptious.

Moving on to other parts of the store…

Adorable sign from Champagne Jane.

This is one of a pair of mirrors in the One West Wilson booth. I have no idea where I would put them but I WANT THEM. Gorgeous. They’re only $28 each — I think they’re worth much more than that. Someone go buy these before I do.

This vintage gold tree was also in One West Wilson and it is GORGEOUS. I couldn’t get a great picture of it because it was backlit…it sold almost immediately and at $60, I can see why.

These next few pictures are from my friend Paula’s booth, Emma’s Back Porch (follow her on Instagram @pkinion). She’s another person with a fabulous sense of style — her booth is always gorgeous, with a bazillion tiny things hidden away. You could look for hours and still find something new. One of the little nooks of her booth was done all in golds and creams. Beautiful.




Stunning display at my neighbor’s booth, Helena Handbasket, featuring beautiful items created by my friends Max and Lisa. (You can also follow them on Instagram @helena_handbasket_in_pg.) Max also makes fantastic, giant clocks out of pallet wood. I should have gotten some shots of those.

Festive, fun holiday pillows in the booth across the street from me, Maisons Designs Home (she also blogs here). These would be so great to throw around your house, on your couches and chairs, to give you house a quick boost of holiday spirit.

This was one of the displays at Four Funky Friends, who have a good chunk of the room that my booth is in. (You can also find them on Instagram @fourfunkyfriends.)  I would have loved to have taken more pictures of their beautiful booth but it was jam-packed with people while I was there! They just started selling some really cute t-shirts and they were flying out the door while I was working the counter.

Beautiful light fixture in my friend Barb’s booth.

Some vintage Christmas gorgeousness from Classy Trash.

These are vintage industrial bulbs from outside lights. They were in the Sweet Salvage booth and were gone LIKE LIGHTNING once the doors opened. They were really something else.

Some delicious vintage Christmas ornaments at Possum Valley Vintage. (You can also follow her on Instagram @possumvalleyvintage.) Linda had just started setting up when I came back to the store on Thursday, so these are the only two pictures I got of her booth, but take a look at her FB page and prepare to be wowed. She and her husband drive all over the country to find the most unusual and rare items. They specialize in cubbies and antique file cabinets, like the one you can see in the next picture. In the background is a FANTASTIC mirrored, arched door. FANTASTIC. Did I say FANTASTIC?


An adorable vanity (would be so cute in a little girl’s room!) in my friend Anne’s booth, Angel’s Attic. (You can also follow her on Instagram @angelsattic23.) She’s got some really cute hand-painted signs in there right now and that mirror you can see on the left side of the pictures is a stunner.

This silver bowl in my friend Susan’s booth is gorgeous and so interesting — it’s a Bridge award, and you can see the names of the champions from the 1970s engraved on it. Susan finds the most fascinating, unusual things.

Beautiful tableau in the Not-So-Plain Jane booth (love that name!).  (You can also find her on Instagram @notsoplainjanedesigns.)

Cuteness from my neighbor, Small Town Girl.

Fabulous candy canes made out of vintage materials in the Relics booth.

I know you’re probably overwhelmed with photos but this is the tip of the iceberg. I could have taken pictures of every booth, because they’re all amazing, but I was limited by time. If you’re anywhere in the Northwest Arkansas area, I would highly recommend you adding us to your junking stop. In fact, you could go right now! As I’m writing this, there’s still an hour left in the Open House! I can’t imagine how tired the D and O employees will be.  I was there for about two hours and the place was packed the entire time.

Here’s hoping those busy bee workers find somewhere relaxing to go after this long, busy day!