bryn mawr.

It’s finally here!  Neighborhood garage sale season!  And it started off with a bang this year.  There were multiple neighborhood sales to pick from.  But on Saturday my sister and I  stuck with my traditional favorite, Bryn Mawr.

bryn mawr

It’s actually called the Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales, and for good reason.  It is a lot like going to a street festival complete with food trucks, live music, porta potties and lots of people!

Bryn Mawr is what I call a walking sale.  In other words, you park your car, pull out your collapsible carts and you walk from sale to sale.  There is far too little parking, and way too many people to even consider driving from block to block.  Luckily my sister is game for a lot of walking, and by the end, a lot of pulling heavy carts laden with the spoils.

So Debbie and I found a great parking spot in the middle of the action and the first sale we came to had this display.

bryn mawr 1

Unfortunately that dresser was a bit out of my price range at $150, but it was still a fun way to kick off the day!

My garage sale mentor (also my Carriage House sale partner) Sue doesn’t do Bryn Mawr anymore because she thinks it has gotten too expensive.  And she is probably right.  But I still can’t resist the party atmosphere.

I went in not expecting to bring home a lot of furniture to makeover, but hoping to find a few treasures just to keep for myself.

bryn mawr 3

Debbie thought I was a little nuts for paying $8 for this …

bryn mawr 4

But I love the graphics on the box, and I know I’ll find some great uses for the cards inside.  Also, since I think it’s fun to share, I thought I’d share some of these cards with someone.  I don’t need all of them!  So if you’d like a chance to have some of these yourself, leave a comment today!  I’ll draw a random name or two from among anyone who leaves a comment here on the blog by midnight tonight.

bryn mawr 5

I also found a fun camera to add to my collection.  This one will be great as a holiday decoration too.

Bryn Mawr 6

I couldn’t resist this little shoe form.

Bryn Mawr 7

Or this red and green flour sifter and tiny green flower frog.  Wouldn’t the flour sifter be perfect with a red geranium planted in it?

bryn mawr 8

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that there is some great ironstone peeking out of these photos, as well as some lovely tablecloths to add to my pile.

bryn mawr 9

I also brought home this pair of old shutters.

black shutters

They already have the most fabulous patina, so I don’t plan to do anything except clean them up.  Or maybe I could add some stencils and turn them into ‘signs’ of some sort.  I’m not sure if I’ll find a spot for these myself, or if they’ll be put away for the next Carriage House sale.

I did score a couple of chairs so as to not return without any furniture at all.  I’ll be honest, I don’t generally like to deal with chairs.  With all of those round legs or square legs with 4 sides each, they can be a pain to paint with a brush.  Chairs are probably better left to those who paint with a sprayer.  But both of these were too hard to pass up.

First this one with its gorgeous detail on the back.  I have no idea what someone was thinking with the poor white paint job that didn’t include the feet, followed up by a half coat of a gold-ish color.

Bryn Mawr chair

Just check out that detail though.

bryn mawr chair back

How could I walk away from that?  I plan to paint this one with milk paint and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a nice chippy finish.  I’ll have Ken cut a new seat, which I can then upholster myself.

I also grabbed this chair.  It also has a wonderfully aged paint job, but a ruined cane seat.

planter chair before

I hemmed and hawed about throwing this one in the cart.  But it was only $5 and I knew it would make a perfect ‘planter chair’.

Here’s how to make your own planter chair.  Buy a chair with a round hole where the seat once was.  Add a hanging basket of flowers.  And voila!

planter chair 2

These are super cute on a patio or porch, or even just tucked into a garden bed somewhere.  They are great for moving around to a spot in the garden that needs a little more height, or to fill in an area where perennials are not currently blooming.

planter chair in garden

If you’re wondering how long a chair like this will hold up out in the elements, I’d say I usually can get 2 – 3 seasons out of them, but ultimately they will get ruined.  Since I’ve only spent $5 on the chair, I don’t feel like it needs to last forever.

planter chair close up

I’m giving this one to Mr. Q’s mom for mother’s day though.  I think she’ll get a kick out of it.

I’ve saved the item that earns ‘find of the day’ status for last.  I didn’t actually get this piece at Bryn Mawr though.  I took some time off at the day job last Thursday and was hard at work cleaning out my workshop when my friend Meggan texted and told me she’d seen an amazing bench at a garage sale just one town over.  She included a photo and told me that the seller said it was made from a bed that her parents brought over from Belgium.  That seemed like kismet, since my next trip to Europe will be to Belgium and my sister and I have been studying up in preparation.  It clearly was meant to be mine!  So I sent Mr. Q to the address with some cash and he came home with this.

find of the day 2

Isn’t it awesome?  I might even have to keep this one.

49 thoughts on “bryn mawr.

  1. OMG Love your find of the day! It’s amazing! Love the touring game as well, I actually have one as well, I bought mine because my husband and I always play a card game called Miles Bourne which is a knock off of the original Touring game and I thought it would be cute tucked in a cubby in my display case.


    1. I had entirely forgotten about the game Milles Borne! I’m quite sure we had that game as kids, although I don’t recall playing it. I had no idea that Touring was the same game, but I looked it up and it sure is. Thanks for your comment Karin!


  2. Even if the garage sales have gotten a little expensive in that neighborhood, it was a great way to spend a day with your sister. And your finds were excellent. I think the shutters are fabulous! The bench, however, is so regal – I think keeping that is a wise move.


  3. Once again you’ve brought us so much eye candy. I can’t wait to see the yellow/ white chair after you’ve finished it. A great rescue. Love the ironstone and tablecloths. I could see that sifter in a Christmas vignette with some cookie cutters, peppermints, etc. I love the graphics on the game and cards too. I need to look for some flower frogs. They always look so great when you use them. The bench, well, that’s definitely a jackpot find! Sounds like you had a great time too on your hunt.


  4. Great finds ! What would we do without our folding carts ?! I’d love to win one of the game cards if there is one that has a picture of some sort of camper as the vehicle. Thank you for the sweet offer! Adore that bench….how could you let that go once you have it, I don’t know. It’s awesome.


    1. Funny enough, both of my folding carts were themselves purchased at garage sales! But yes, what would we do without them? There were a couple of gals at Bryn Mawr that had some fancy off-road style carts with mesh fabric sides (rather than metal). I was a little envious of those! Sorry, no campers. Too bad, because that would be so adorable. I’ll still put your name in though!


  5. You’ve done it again, taken the ordinary and turned it into extraordinary! I think those little game cards would be wonderful made into greeting cards. We used to play a game called “Mille Bourne” (not sure of the spelling) which looks to be the French version of this game. Does anyone else remember playing that game?


    1. You’re the second one to mention that game. I didn’t realize that Mille Bornes and this game were the same, and I really haven’t though about Mille Bornes in ages. I do remember having it as a kid though, now that you mention it. These cards would make awesome greeting cards!


  6. You did score at Bryn Mawr! I’m finding a lot of the sales are getting spendy, which is a trend also seen in the thrift stores. Still fun to go, though 🙂 It was great seeing you and Debbie! I think it would be fun to do a sister/sister post on what catches each of your eyes at the same sales. I can’t wait to see what you do with that bench, I’m so glad it was still there. Good thing your trusty Mr. Q. was at the ready!


    1. That’s a good point Meggan. The market for vintage has grown so much that prices are going up everywhere. Totally still fun to go, and garage sales can still be the cheapest way to find things … just not quite as dirt cheap anymore. Love that idea for a post! Maybe we’ll try that at Linden Hills!


  7. Love to see what others are finding at local garage sales and I love your blog! Easy to read without all the annoying pop-ups and clean, beautiful pics if your work!


    1. Thanks so much Wendy. I don’t have lots of ads because I’ve chosen not to ‘monetize’ my blog. In other words, I’m not making any money from ad placement. In fact, I’m not making any money at all. I just blog for the fun of it. Aside from the occasional offer of free paint, my only reward lies in the enjoyment I get out of comments from my readers. So if you like what you see (or even when you don’t), please leave me lots of comments!


      1. I absolutely agree with Wendy – this blog is such a refreshing stop! Everywhere you go on the ‘net these days is choked with advertising rolling and flashing on the page, its gotten downright annoying. Thank you for not being one of those.
        Its like a visit to your garden, just cool and peaceful 🙂


  8. YES, you had better keep that bench…it is wonderful! Loving the shutters, too! Actually, it looks like you had an awesome day snatching some great finds. I am loving those cards with the graphics. A few of those could work with my “travel theme” decor. I was working, so missed the sale…but I did make it to Niagara Falls!


    1. Yes, the cards would be perfect for your travel theme! Niagara Falls sounds just a tad more exciting than garage saling at Bryn Mawr 😉


  9. I love all your purchases. I have a similar camera with touches of red. And that bench is to die for!


  10. Love the Belgium Bench …it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen…what a find! I’m in for a card…I am making a scrapbook for Jim’s Model T car, and the card would be a perfect addition. Also, love the flower pot in the chair…very cool reuse for chairs!


  11. Great stuff! Can’t find goodies like these in California without cruzing the whole state. Not in one day that’s for sure. Can’t wait to see before and after pics!


    1. Well, this is one of the benefits of living in Minnesota. I have a feeling that it hardly makes up for the difference in our weather though 😉


  12. I love every photo – the ironstone makes my heart race! Beautiful gift – that hanging basket in the chair is gorgeous. thanks


    1. Thanks Mary! I’m glad you like the chair. Since taking those photos, I’ve moved it up onto my own deck (since my hubby won’t see his mom until tomorrow) and now I’m finding that it will be hard to part with it. It looks awesome on my deck. I’ll just have to find another chair for myself 😉


  13. I love it all! I’m with you that chairs are a pain. But I don’t think you’re crazy for paying $8 for the card game–I think it’s adorable!!


  14. OMG! I have that camera! I was so excited when I saw that! I would have paid $8 easy for the game too, the cards are adorable! What a fun day for both of you!


  15. Lusting after the ironstone, shoe form and the shutters. How fun to have an event like that so close to home. The walking sales are so much better than the driving kind. Like a giant antique Mart.


  16. The graphics on that game box are delightful – I’m voting with you, not your sister. : ) Also, I love your mindset – if you just spend $5 on the chair, you are right – put it outside and enjoy the beautiful display, and when it ages out, replace it!


    1. Woo hoo, another vote for me 😉 (sorry sis!) I’ll put your name in the drawing and hopefully you can enjoy some of my $8 game cards too!


  17. Wow, those are some great treasures, Linda! If I found all of that in one day, I wouldn’t feel the need to attend another garage sale all summer … although I probably would! 😀 Thanks for sharing, Cynthia


    1. Well, that is the beauty of these neighborhood sales. A high concentration of sales in a small area. For every 10 sales that have nothing but junk, there is one with a treasure or two!


  18. I am absolutely flat out jealous that you have access to garage sales like those!!! Your finds are dreamy! All we have in my neck of the woods are yucky 80’s faux wood garbage 😦 I really need to plan a trip to the states! I hope you have a great week!


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