for the birds.

Last weekend was a big garage sale weekend around here.  There were multiple neighborhood sales to choose from, and I went out three days in a row (this retirement thing kicks ass).

I went to three different neighborhoods; Roseville, Highland Park and Nokomis (Minneapolis).

On day no. 1, which was Thursday, I went to Roseville with a fellow Reclaiming Beautiful vendor, Lisa.  Lisa has been flipping vintage finds for decades and she’s a pro.  I figured if nothing else, I could learn from her.

Actually, I should give a shout out here, Lisa is having a sale at her own home in Houlton, Wisconsin this week starting today!  For more details on that you can check out her Facebook page for Dahlia Cottage.

As it turned out, Thursday was absolutely the best day for finds.  I came home with loads of toolboxes!

I may not get to making these over any time soon, but I’ll have a great stash to tide me over with winter projects this year.

I also found some fun garden items.

It’s a little hard to see details in that photo, but those two tall pots are metal and I’ll be giving them the rusty treatment.  I also found two tall metal obelisk trellises that are going to fit perfectly in those pots.  That was pure kismet because they came from different sales.  The shovel in front will get cleaned up and then I’ll turn it into a Christmas decoration by adding a stencil to the bottom (sort of like I did with this one).

There is also a cast iron birdbath buried in that photo.

It has been drilled with holes because the former owner used it as a plant stand, so it doesn’t hold water.  It’s a bit shallow to plant directly with most plants I think, but I have a plan to give it a rusty patina and then plant some creeping thyme in it.  I think it’s going to look amazing.

I also brought home some smaller items on day one.

Some of these are seasonable sorts of things that I’ll hang onto until the appropriate season such as the lamb mold, the hunting dog platter and the wrought iron angel.

I always nab those glass cannisters when I see them at a reasonable price (in this case, $3).  I use them to store craft supplies.  And copper is a really good seller for me currently, so I try to pick up good copper pieces.

I had to purchase that little enamelware bucket.  It has a blue rim, which makes it perfect for adding a blue I.O.D. label transfer.

I also purchased a larger enamelware coffee pot and added a transfer to that as well.

There happened to be an estate sale going on in Roseville that Thursday as well, so Lisa and I stopped in.  She found a big pile of amazing goodies.  I ended up with a few fun things including some old Christmas ornaments.

And this totally adorable set of vintage toy kitchen items …

We had such good luck at Roseville on Thursday that Lisa and I decided to head back there on Friday.  Not all of their city wide sales were open on Thursday, there were over 20 that weren’t open until Friday.

We had a slow start on Friday, but once again Lisa found lots of stuff.  I came home with some fun items too including this old metal pie safe.

I like to pick up certain craft supplies when I see them such as pretty ribbon …

and of course I snapped up a pile of wooden knobs for $2 total.  These will make their way onto cupboard door signs (like these).

After starting out in Roseville on Friday and not finding as much as the previous day, Lisa and I moved on to Highland Park where I found this set of books in a homemade horse head bookshelf.

We also ended up at a sale that had Department 56 Dickens Christmas Village pieces for $5 each.  Although I swear I don’t collect these, and I’d never pay full price for one, I do have a growing non-collection of them that I’ve purchased exclusively at thrift stores and garage sales.

Five dollars was such a fabulous price, so I couldn’t resist picking up a few more.

And speaking of non-collections, I also picked up this pretty vintage tablecloth on Friday.

The price was right ($3) and I loved the combination of the teal blue and chartreuse.  I’ll add this to the stack in my pantry.

On Saturday my sister and I headed to one of our favorite neighborhood sales, Nokomis.  This was the site of the amazing vintage camera find of 2015.  But it’s also the neighborhood that our parents grew up in, and we have fond memories of visiting both sets of grandparents here.  We always swing by both of their old houses while we’re in the area.

But this year Nokomis was a total bust.  I made one purchase of a small metal plant stand that’s not even worth a photograph.  My sister purchased three Disney pins (for pin trading when we visit the parks again this fall, those of you who are Disney park fans will know what I mean).

And that was it.  I would say that 95% of the items were simply junk, and the 5% that were things I might have purchased were way overpriced (for me anyway).  Since when did $10+ become the average garage sale asking price?

I have a rule of thumb when purchasing items to flip.  If I can’t re-sell it for triple the price I paid, it’s a no go.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t sell this copper tea pot for $45.

What can I say, sometimes garage saling is for the birds.  We called it quits early, went and got some donuts at Mel-O-Glaze and then ate them on a bench overlooking Lake Nokomis.

My friend/picker Sue also found a little pile of goodies for me last week, including a much more reasonably priced copper tea pot.

This brings me to the finds of the day and there seems to be a bit of a bird theme.

For day no 1 in Roseville, the find of the day was a pair of brass pheasants.

I couldn’t seem to get a photo of them that did them justice.  They have long sweeping stylized tails, and they are heavy brass.  I’ll be taking them into the shop and someone is going to just love them.

For day no 2 in Highland Park, the find of the day is also a pair of birds.  In this case, some vintage folk art wooden whirligig birds.

If you aren’t familiar, a whirligig is basically an object that moves or spins in the wind.  In this case the wings on these birds will spin around, and if they are mounted properly the bodies can spin around as well.  They are often mounted on the roof of a shed, or on a pole in the garden.

All of these birds will be making their way into the shop where I sell on consignment this evening.  Unless a local wants to snatch them up first (sorry, no shipping available).  The pair of brass pheasants is $58 (SOLD!), the whirligig birds are $55 each.  But you’ll have to let me know quickly (you can email me at, or if you want to see them in person you can head down to Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater tomorrow.

What would you have called find of the day?

19 thoughts on “for the birds.

  1. I am in awe!! The garden things are my fave. I so wish I wasn’t 10 hours away. I think the find of the day has to be the whirligigs for me. How fun!


  2. THE BRASS BIRDS!!!! I’m in love!! If they actually make it to the shop I’ll take it as a sign that I must have them!! Great finds!🙌🏻👏🏻


  3. Hey Miz Q,
    I think the metal pie safe would be the find for me. You can’t touch those for under 50-65$ here.
    Your garage sales are so much more interesting. It is rare I find good vintage goodies at a sale!
    I enjoy your blog so much!
    Smiles, alice


  4. Wow, I am so impressed with your hauls. Like the wooden multi drawer piece and the birdbath. Don’t know why, but the pickings can’t compare…should I sacrifice to the thrifts gods for some better sales? How lucky for you, seven tool boses!


  5. Yikes Miss Quandie! Your garage sale options are simply unreal! And they seem so cozy and fun to go to……..I’d have to say that your gold mine of tool boxes seems like the win to me all those future projects assured! Could there be ANY metal tool boxes left in the greater Minneapolis area? You are a tool box sucking machine! Lol…….I also love the enamel ware……..


  6. So many good finds!! I have a non-collection of vintage tablecloths and I love the colors in the one you picked up. It’s funny, every time I see toolboxes at sales now I think of you 😊


  7. The tablecloth was my favorite and you got it for a great price! and I never find vintage Christmas ornaments anymore – they are priced high and sell fast. I enjoyed seeing all of your finds – thanks for sharing!


    1. I usually find the same with the ornaments, so these were a score. I have to tell you though, I nearly knocked another woman down to grab the ornaments that she had already snagged. The ones I purchased were her sloppy seconds. She had a couple of boxes of them that were even more fabulous than the ones I found. I draw the line at resorting to violence at garage sales though 😉


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