all’s well that ends well.

I’m getting a rather late start for this year’s garage sale season.  I usually kick it off the first weekend in May with the Bryn Mawr neighborhood’s Festival of Garage Sales in Minneapolis.  But I wasn’t even thinking about garage sales when my sister and I booked our trip to Disney World, so I missed out on that.

But this past Saturday my sister and I managed to get out to the Linden Hills neighborhood for their sales.  It was a beautiful day, if a bit chilly at first.

I didn’t come home with much though.  Certainly not compared to previous years (2022, 2018, 2015).  Still, I thought I’d share what I found with you guys.

My first buy of the day was a pair of owl bookends.

I’m not sure what material they are made out of, but they are very heavy (as bookends tend to be).

The old books were a good find, and I especially liked the crown on the spine of the one shown above.

I also picked up this little wooden shelf thingie.  I think this one will be fun to reimagine somehow.  You’ll have to wait to see what I can come up with for it.

As for those little trees in front, those are the same little Christmas trees that I purchased last year at the same woman’s garage sale (she has a giant box of them).  Once you fluff out the limbs they look like this …

I purchased some last year and put them in vintage flour sifters as holiday décor.  So I grabbed a few more to hang onto until next Christmas.

For some reason I couldn’t resist this vintage lampshade.

Isn’t it fun?  Here’s the other side …

I think it would be perfect for someone’s lake cabin.  I just need to find the right lamp to put it on.

I purchased this small chippy step ladder from a gal who said she bought it at a boutique for ‘lots more’ than she was charging for it because it has such a great patina.

I don’t disagree.  It does have a great patina, but not such a great color scheme.  I’m just not a fan of the orange and pale yellow combo.  I’m planning to give it a new look, while also retaining some of that patina.  Wish me luck on that one.

I did find a few other small things, including some items that I’m gifting to others so I don’t want to spoil the surprise by sharing them here.  But overall, as you can see, I didn’t find much.  In fact, I decided that the find of the day status goes to this …

Homemade macarons!  I love macarons, and these were delicious.

The trend towards neighborhood garage sales only providing an online (and unprintable) map using Google My Maps isn’t working very well for me.  Sure, I can bring it up on my phone, and even get directions to a particular sale from wherever I am.  But a phone is just to darn small to see the entire map, and you can’t put a big ‘X’ through the sales you’ve already been to on your phone.  We end up going in circles, and ending up back at sales we’ve already been too, and eventually having no idea which areas we’ve seen and which we haven’t.  Especially when there are 70+ sales taking place.

So after a fairly frustrating couple of hours trying to make our way around, and not finding much, we called it quits early.  We then went to lunch, followed by a visit to a thrift store where I found some ironstone.

So, all’s well that ends well, right?

Now I’m off to clean out my workshop, pressure wash and seal our deck, and maybe even start painting some things.  But how about you?  Did you find anything amazing at garage sales this past week?  Would the macarons have been your find of the day?  Leave a comment and let me know.

east isles and lowry hill.

I did a little garage saling this past weekend.  Starting on Friday, I went to a handful of sales with my friend/picker/former co-worker Sue.  Then on Saturday I went to the East Isles/Lowry Hill neighborhood sales with my sister.

East Isles and Lowry Hill are side by side neighborhoods in Minneapolis that are chock full of stunning houses like this one.

In fact, the houses and their accompanying gardens are so fabulous that I took a few photos and plan to share them later this week in my ‘Sunday mornings in the garden’ post, so be sure to stay tuned for that.

I brought home a nice pile of little goodies from the various sales.  I managed to photograph the small haul from the neighborhood sale, but after that everything got jumbled up including a few things that Sue had found for me earlier.

I was working around three vehicles, a huge yellow dumpster and several pallets of roof shingles to get this photo, so excuse my neighbor’s truck in the background.  They are starting on our roof replacement this morning.

I passed up quite a few cool things that were priced just a bit high for my budget, but I did find a few bargains.  So I brought home a rather random bunch of things.

I grabbed this pretty pair of vintage pillowcases.

I love the heavy weight of the fabric in vintage pillowcases.  They just don’t make them like that anymore.  These are a little yellowed in spots, but it’s nothing that a good soak in OxyClean won’t fix.

I’ve been grabbing vintage copper when I see it.

This tea kettle will make its way into the shop to be sold.

You may have noticed the pair of crocks.  They aren’t legit crocks, and by ‘legit’ I mean they aren’t Roseville or Red Wing pottery.  Also, the previous owner had drilled drainage holes in the bottom of them, so that would make them perfect for use as planters.  I can see them with some mums in them for fall.

I went ahead and dressed them up with some label transfers.

I purchased those zinc lids for $1 each.  I have a few vintage ball jars that don’t have lids, so I thought I’d stock up.  In hindsight, I should have grabbed more of them to have on hand, the seller had a big pile of them.  Drat, more garage sale regret!

When shopping garage sales, you have to buy things when you see them, even if they are out of season.  I grabbed a few summer garden things and will store them until next spring, then bring them into the shop.

I also found a trio of bunnies.

I’ll hang onto the bunny mold until the Easter season, and the bunny pull toy will get a paint makeover by then as well.

As for the other bunny, he’s a door stop and I’m considering him the find of the day.

The entire time I was working on my potting shed makeover, I was struggling with the lower half of the Dutch door.  It doesn’t stay open on its own, and the bottom of the door is high enough above the brick step that a traditional door stop is too short.  I had to resort to using a small chair to hold it open.  So when I saw this doorstop with its … um, I don’t know what you would call it, a pole?  Anyway, he’s perfect!

I hesitated slightly over the $20 price tag, but I’m glad I splurged.  This is going to be a super functional piece for me.  I may end up giving him a rusty finish, but he also looks pretty good as is.

Speaking of paint makeovers, I’ll be painting up both of these boxes.

I think the one on the bottom was a cigar box, but the one on the top is cedar and is a Lane.

Just out of curiosity I googled the Lane box and found 4 of them on eBay ranging in price from $19.90 to $58.  I got a chuckle out of the $58 ad because they called it a ‘salesman sample’.  I’m fairly sure this was never intended as a salesman sample, what do you think?

This ironstone pitcher was too pretty to pass up.

As was the ribbon.

I tend to pick up pretty, quality silk ribbon when I see it.  I’ll use it for gift wrapping, or for bundling vintage books to sell, or even just as a photo prop.  The ribbon was $4, which felt a little high to me.  The seller had a few more rolls in different colors, but I decided to just splurge on one.  In hindsight, $4 was probably a bargain for 100 yards of silk ribbon.  I should have grabbed a couple more!

Speaking of too pretty to pass up, I also found another bluebird platter.

This one is too large to display with the rest of my bluebird china …

so I’m planning to sell it on.  It’s 18″ across!

If any of you locals are in need of a bluebird platter, let me know (price: $20).

I also picked up this stand with a glass dome.

It’s a little hard to see the scale in that photo, but it’s around 21″ tall.

Last, but not least, I purchased this antique side table.

I plan to strip the top and paint the base, and I’d better get on it because our temps are really starting to drop.  Fall is definitely in the air.  It’s possible that this may be my last neighborhood sale for the year, I’m not sure if there are any held in the last half of September.

Hope you enjoyed checking out my garage sale haul.  What would you have picked as the find of the day?

nothing earth shattering.

I went to the Longfellow (Minneapolis) neighborhood sale the weekend before last and it was pretty much a bust.  I brought home a couple of jigsaw puzzles, another glass canister, a shovel with a beautiful wooden handle, and this E. Swasey & Co crock.

The crock has some pretty good chips and dings in it.  I ended up giving it a quick refresh by filling the chips in the upper dark brown area with some paint to make them less noticeable.

Dixie Belle’s Coffee Bean was a pretty good match.  I added a top coat of DB’s Gator Hide over the Coffee Bean to try and match the sheen on the pottery as well.  It’s definitely not a professional looking repair or anything, but it improved the appearance of the crock.  This one wouldn’t be collector quality, but it would be great for holding utensils on the kitchen counter or as a plant pot.

Normally I wouldn’t even bother sharing this with you guys, but I wanted to point out that I don’t always come home from neighborhood sales with a carload of amazing finds.

I was with my sister and my niece that morning, and by 11 a.m. we’d had enough so we gave up on the garage sales and went for brunch at the Longfellow Grill.  They have a lovely patio, and the food and mimosas were delicious.

But all is not lost.  I also popped over to a sale near me recently and came home with a few goodies.

The sled will go into my stash for Christmas, as will the metal ‘Christmas trees’.  The metal lockbox will be added to my growing pile of metal boxes so that I’ll have plenty to work on when the weather isn’t quite as nice.  True, it’s not a toolbox, but I’ve done a couple of these lock boxes and they turn out pretty cool too …

The doorstop will head to the shop …

As will the urn …

I found a spot for that funky wire thingie in my garden …

It was the perfect fit for this little concrete urn filled with pale pink double impatiens.

And that leaves the galvanized tote.

I cleaned it up and added an Everyday Farmhouse transfer to the side.

Then I had some fun staging it up with my faux flowers.

It will also make its way to the shop to be sold.

So, nothing earth shattering, but I did find a few goodies to share with you guys after all!  Hope you enjoyed seeing my finds, and what I’ve done with them.  Let me know if you have a favorite.

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?

the historic styles mini.

You may remember that I picked up this little mini dresser while garage saling recently.

I knew it would be a fun one to restyle.

I started by sanding it lightly, cleaning it and then painting the outside in Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.  Then I added some bits and pieces from I.O.D.’s Label Ephemera transfer to the top and front.

I really wish someone would come out with another typography transfer.  I just love this one, but I am getting a little tired of re-using the same wording over and over.  And of course, it also is retired so eventually retailers are going to run out of their inventory.  It would be fun to have something new, wouldn’t it?

I gave it a pop of color on the inside by painting it with Fusion’s Laurentien.  I wanted to use an all in one style paint, like Fusion or Dixie Belle’s Silk for durability.  After choosing some October Afternoon scrapbook paper to line the drawers, I decided that the Laurentien was the perfect color to go with the paper.

Rather than flipping up on hinges, or having a top drawer, this little dresser has a lid that comes off.

This piece would be fantastic as a jewelry box, but I chose to style it with crafting supplies.

I mean seriously, how cute would this be for keeping some of your crafting supplies organized?

But using it as a jewelry box would be a valid option as well.

I definitely prefer the ‘after’ version, how about you?

This one is for sale, so if you’re local (I don’t ship) be sure to check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

garage sale regret.

Do any of you suffer from garage sale regret?

You get home from a day of garage saling and suddenly realize that the painted wooden chicken feeder you passed up on would have been awesome hung up somewhere in the garden and filled with plants.  It was only $6, why didn’t you buy it??

Or you wonder why in the world you refused that 3rd vintage sled.  Sure, it was priced higher than the other two that you did grab, but still …

And you really should have snatched up all of the Rocket Ligularia that were $1 each, why did you only take two (because it felt greedy to take them all?!).

For me, it’s inevitable that after a day spent at a fabulous neighborhood sale, I will realize there were things I should have grabbed but didn’t.

And on the opposite side of that coin, sometimes I regret the things that I did buy.  Like this toy cash register.

I mainly bought it because I thought the little note attached, ‘I bet your grandpa can fix it!’, was clever.

Sure, it’s adorable.  But red isn’t my color, so I don’t have anywhere to display it myself.  So I added a little transfer scrap to it and I’ll bring it in to the shop and hope someone else will give it a good home.

Garage sale regret is simply part of the deal, right?  That’s the difference between garage sales and shopping retail.  If you don’t grab something right away, it will likely be gone five minutes later.  And you also can’t go back and return something if you decide you shouldn’t have purchased it.

These items were all from the Linden Hills neighborhood sale last Saturday.  Linden Hills is such a pretty neighborhood, lots of old craftsman style bungalows and tudor style cottages.  And it feels as though nearly every house has a fabulous garden!  It’s really just a pleasure to drive around (especially when your sister is doing all of the driving, thanks again for that sis!).  It’s a bonus to also bring home some fabulous finds.

In addition to the two sleds, the plants and the toy cash register above, I also brought home a few more goodies like two vintage totes.

The green one is wood, the pink one is metal.  I wonder if it was originally red and had faded to that pink shade.  Or was it always pink?  A mechanic’s tool tote in pink?  What do you think?

I also purchased these bits of wrought iron salvage …

These are really fun to add to a planter in the garden.

I bought this headboard for $5.

It’s fairly non-descript, but I have a plan for turning it into a sign.  The price was right, so I grabbed it.

It’s basically an automatic reaction to pick up any ironstone pieces that I find, apparently even chamber pots.

This one is pretty filled with some lobelia though.

I don’t believe this casserole is actually ironstone, but it would still be lovely displayed with ironstone pieces.

I picked up this teapot as a gift for my m-i-l.

I think she’s going to love it.

I googled it and found a little more info about it online (here), and prices ranging from $67 on Mercari to $339.95 on (yikes!).  I paid $3!  But, shhh, don’t tell my m-i-l it was only $3.

I picked up a pair of watering cans at Linden Hills.  Usually I’m thrilled to find just one watering can, so it was pretty exciting to find two.

This first one is pretty dinged up, has a broken plastic sleeve on the top handle and no rose on the spout.

In case you aren’t familiar, the ‘rose’ is the piece that fits on the end of the spout and allows you to sprinkle the water.

Vintage/antique watering cans are often missing their rose.  They tend to be more valuable with a rose, than without.  My personal theory is that it’s quicker to water a potted plant without the rose.  Also, the rose tends to get clogged up by debris.  So people often removed them, and then they were lost.

Funny enough though, my friend/picker Sue had recently found a rose that she gave to me.

This rose from Sue just happens to fit on this can.

So I added the rose, pounded out the dents a bit, removed the broken plastic sleeve on the handle and added a transfer.

This one will be heading into the shop as well.

And this brings me to my find of the day.

You’re probably wondering, what makes this watering can so special that it deserves find of the day status?  Well … as you know, I have a bit of a non-collection of watering cans.

And the truth of the matter is, most of them don’t actually hold water!  I’d say 99% of the time these old watering cans have rusted through in spots on the bottom and they are leaky.  So while they are great as décor, they don’t actually function.

As a result, I still use an ugly plastic watering can from IKEA when I apply water soluble fertilizer to my potted flowers.

But this watering can does hold water!  It also has a nice big spout (without a rose).  I’m looking forward to using it this year to feed my flowers.

So how about you?  Do you have any garage sale regrets that you still think about?  And what would you have chosen as the find of the day?  Leave a comment and let me know.

an old favorite.

Remember I mentioned that I purchased a vintage dry sink at a garage sale a few weeks back?  Well, here it is in its ‘before’ state.

How could I resist that?  It even had the old green pump still attached.  Well, part of it anyway.  The handle is missing.

This one was definitely the perfect candidate for some milk paint.  I just happened to have some Homestead House milk paint on hand in a color called Stone Fence.  I’d used this color quite a few years ago and I really liked it, so I’d ordered more of it recently.  It was just waiting for the right project.

I went very minimal on prep because I knew I’d be OK with some chipping.  So I simply cleaned the beadboard on all four sides with some TSP substitute, and then rinsed with clear water.  Next I painted the beadboard with two coats of the Stone Fence leaving the top of the dry sink unpainted.  Once dry, I sanded with 220 grit paper.

I then vacuumed away any dust, gave it a wipe down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth, and then applied my old favorite transfer called Seeds.

That transfer could not have been any more perfect for this piece (although I didn’t use the entire transfer, there were a couple more lines at the bottom that I cut off and will save for another project)!

This is an old Prima Marketing transfer from before they parted ways with the I.O.D. sisters.  I was just looking back at one of my blog posts about a pair of twin beds that I put this transfer on back in 2018, and I mentioned in that post that the transfer cost $17.99!  Dang, what happened to those prices?!  Now you can’t find transfers this size for less than $29.99.  That’s a 65% increase in 4 years.  What’s up with that?

(Sidebar:  that urn planter on the left is another that I used Dixie Belle’s patina paint on to give it a rusty iron look, it’s really just plastic!)

The Seeds transfer came in a larger size (which is what I used on this dry sink), and a smaller version.  I used part of the smaller one on this chair …

I used this design on A LOT of pieces, and I was hoarding this last one for something special (the transfer is retired, so no longer available).

Just a quick q tip to say that I don’t necessarily recommend storing (a.k.a. hoarding) transfers for more than a couple of years.  They can dry out and then become difficult to apply.  I’ve also had them come unstuck from their backing and stuck to the protective sheet instead, and then they are worthless.

But I was ignoring my own advice and hanging onto this one until just the right piece came along.  Luckily, the transfer was still in good shape and went on fairly easily.

That being said, it can be a little more challenging to apply a transfer over an uneven surface like beadboard …

You just have to go slowly and continually press the transfer down into those grooves.

As for the top of the dry sink, I decided to just clean it up a bit.

I sanded it with 220 grit paper to remove some smudges of paint left on it by a previous owner, and then revived the finish with a coat of Dixie Belle’s Big Mama’s Butta.

It’s not perfect, but that was my point.  I didn’t want to totally remove the patina that showed its age.

The remainder of the piece received a top coat of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

As for the inside, I cleaned it and that’s it.  I like that it looks authentic inside with original chippy paint.

I think this piece would be adorable as a plant stand.  You could fill the ‘sink’ area with potted plants and store all of your plant supplies underneath.

In the end, this was the perfect piece for my last precious Seeds transfer, don’t you think?

This piece is for sale, so be sure to check my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

a pair of benches.

I picked up this rather non-descript pair of benches at the Bryn Mawr sales earlier this month.

They were literally the first thing I saw as I stepped out of the car.  I think I was a little over-excited at the prospect of returning neighborhood sales when I snatched these up.  They really weren’t anything special.  They certainly aren’t vintage.

They are pretty sturdy though.  So after I gave them a good cleaning, I hoped I could give them each a new personality with a little paint and some transfers.

I painted the first one in Dixie Belle’s Kudzu.

I added the I.O.D. Rose Chintz paint inlay to the shelf underneath.

And then I added the Fresh Cut Flowers stencil from The Stencil Market to the top.

It was a perfect fit.

I followed all of that up with some sanding to distress the edges, and then a couple of coats of Dixie Belle’s flat clear coat.

I painted the 2nd bench in my favorite warm white, Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth.

I covered the shelf underneath in a black and white gingham transfer from with prima.

Then I added a portion of their French Specialties transfer to the top of the bench.

Once again, I finished it off with a couple coats of DB’s flat clear coat.

As a sidebar, I took all of the photos for this post yesterday morning, and then yesterday afternoon this happened …

That white stuff?  It’s hail.

We had a massive hail storm.  It sounded like rocks were being dropped from the sky.  And really, they may as well be rocks … except they melt eventually.  Many of my hostas were totally shredded.

Just when they were starting to look really fabulous.

I have to steel my nerves to head out there this morning, survey the damage, and start the clean up.  But, on the bright side, I have lots of time to spend in the garden this summer.  Looks like I’m gonna need it.

So anyway, two somewhat different looks for a pair of formerly matching benches.

Which one do you prefer?

If any of you locals are in need of a small but sturdy bench, both of these are for sale.  Check out my ‘available for local sale‘ page for more details.

Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for supplying the paint and clear coat used on the benches.

stuff is happening.

Now that spring has finally sprung here in Minnesota, stuff is happening.  I have to admit, those last couple of months of winter were tough ones.  I’m going to have to adjust to being retired and figure out what to do with all of my time in the winter.  But that’s a (first world) problem for next winter.

Now that the weather has warmed up, the gardens are growing, garage sales are everywhere, and I can work out in my carriage house workshop … so, as I said, stuff is happening!

In fact, I have so much stuff to share with you guys this week that I’m going to post daily, at least on the weekdays.

First up for today, the garden.  I would say that this time of year is when my gardens are the most work.  I keep them packed full with perennials that don’t require much maintenance throughout the summer.  If I get everything pruned, weeded and mulched with compost now, before the plants get too big, the rest of the summer just involves occasional watering and deadheading.  If you want my top q tip for gardening, I think this is it.

If your plants take up every available space and you add a good layer of mulch, weeds have a much harder time taking over.

Here’s what my garden looks like once it has filled out (early June).

See?  Jam packed.

Of course, I know this isn’t easy if you’re starting from scratch.  Plants can be expensive (and the prices are going up this year, just like with everything else).  But you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg.  I recommend buying plants at garage sales, getting divisions from friends, or keeping an eye on Facebook Marketplace for people dividing their perennials.  You can often get them free, or in exchange for helping to dig them up.

My tulips seem to have done really well this year.  For the last several years, deer have treated my spring garden as a salad bar, munching all of the flower buds right off the tulips before they could even open.  As a result, I decided to give up on planting tulip bulbs again last fall.

So now, of course, we seem to be having a really good year for tulips.  The red ones in my photo above are tulips that I planted at least 20 years ago.  They literally hadn’t bloomed in years.

Now I wish I’d planted more tulips!

Here’s another q tip for you.  Take photos of your garden regularly throughout the season, and keep notes regarding where you’d like to add things like tulip bulbs.  I plan to get more in this fall, especially since my neighbor has one of those fancy garden augers to make planting easy.

But wait a minute, this post isn’t supposed to be about gardening.  It’s actually supposed to be about sharing last week’s garage sale haul.

I went out on Thursday with my friend/picker Sue.  Now that we are both retired we can take advantage of sales that start on Thursday.  We went to a small neighborhood sale around Como Park in St. Paul.  Not all of the participating homes were starting their sales on Thursday (some started on Friday, some were Saturday only), but we were able to hit up all of the ones that were.

Although I didn’t bring home a huge load of stuff, I did get some really cool finds.  Plus Sue had a box load of stuff for me as well.

I found the mini dresser on the left (below) at Como, Sue found the rest of the items in this photo including that really, really tiny dresser.

I’ve already added an I.O.D. white transfer to the tiny oil can.

It’s hard to judge the size of it from my photos, but in total it’s only 6″ tall, but the can part is only about 2″ tall.

I like to add little clips to these and use them as photo holders.

And of course I’m going to give both of the small dressers a new look.

I feel like the combination of the cup pulls plus the scrolly embellishments on this one is too much.  I may remove those embellishments.  Or, I could remove the cup pulls and replace them with little glass knobs. What do you think?  And of course I’ll be painting both of them.

I also picked up these things.

I thought Mr. Q might like to have the books, since he tends to be a Goethe fan, but no, he didn’t want to keep them, so I’ll be selling them on.

They are a nice looking set to add to someone’s décor, even if they don’t want to read them.

Sue spotted the glass vessel at one of the sales we visited and handed it over to me.

Neither of us really knew what this was, we just liked the ‘writing’ on it.

I googled it later and discovered it would have been part of a butter churn like this one.

Isn’t that kind of cool?  I think it would make a great vase, or one could fill it with pens and pencils on a desk, or use it to corral your paint brushes.

I purchased the camera from a guy who was a collector.  He was refining his collection and thus getting rid of some.

I’m not sure why this one didn’t make the cut for him.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to show you guys how these cameras work, and especially how to identify them if you see them and they are closed up (as this one was when I found it).

They really don’t look like much when they are closed, right?

There is always some sort of lever or catch that opens it up.  In this case, I had to ask the seller how to open it because it wasn’t obvious.  I was trying to slide that little lever on the lower right in the photo above, but you had to lift up rather than slide.

The case opens up and then the lens can be pulled out all the way.

So the next time you see a closed case like this, be sure to take a closer look.

Sue had also brought me a camera, along with this little train case.

Check out the back of this camera …

Doesn’t that look complicated?  Imagine having to putz with that before each shot.  We’ve got it so easy now!

In true Baader–Meinhof phenomenon fashion, I came across another stoneware pitcher.

If you aren’t familiar, the Baader–Meinhof phenomenon “is a cognitive bias in which, after noticing something for the first time, there is a tendency to notice it more often, leading someone to believe that it has a high frequency of occurrence.”

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that I found a similar stoneware pitcher at the thrift store back in April …

but we’ll see if finding these pitchers really has a ‘high frequency of occurrence’ this summer!

I’m still picking up nice copper pieces when I see them.  They seem to be selling like hotcakes at the shop.  If only I could raid my handyman Ken’s kitchen!  His wife has a serious collection of vintage copper … and when she originally purchased it, it was not vintage.  I’m sure those pieces have been in her kitchen since they built their house 50 years ago.

That gorgeous ironstone platter is one that Sue had and is now passing on to me.  It’s a nice big heavy one, and just check out the mark on the back …

I sometimes will hang an ironstone piece on the wall backwards just to show the mark because they can be so pretty.  I’m not sure if I’ll keep this one, or sell it on.  I have to look around to see if I have a spot for it first.

I’ve saved my ‘find of the day’ for last.

Now, I’m sure this primitive dollhouse made out of an Old Dutch Cleanser crate isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it totally charming.

I just love that someone made this out of simple items they had on hand, and they took the time to paint a couple of the ‘rooms’ in different colors.

And add those shaky looking windows painted onto the sides.

But I bet some little girl absolutely loved it and spent hours playing with it.

I’m not sure what the fate of this piece will be.  I may keep it, I may let it go.  Those little cubbies (rooms) could be used for all kinds of things …

I like the idea of using it on a potting bench.

Hmmm, yeah, I may not be able to part with this one.  I’m considering turning my photo cottage back into a potting shed this summer, so this is going to go in the pile of potential décor for the potting shed.

So tell me, what is your favorite from amongst my finds this week?  And if you’re local, did your tulips do especially well this year, or is it just me?  Also, are you OK with five posts this week, or will it seem like I’m flooding your in box with blog posts?  Oh, and P.S., there will be a giveaway included with one of them, so be sure to stay tuned for that!

the festival of garage sales.

The Bryn Mawr neighborhood garage sale in Minneapolis has traditionally been the one that kicks off the summer garage sale season for me.  I can’t even remember when I first started going to this sale, but I’ve been going to it for a long time.

Then, along came COVID in 2020 and of course Bryn Mawr was canceled.  I was hoping it would be back in 2021, but it wasn’t.  But this year, it was back!

This sale is officially called the ‘Festival of Garage Sales’ and with good reason.  It does feel like a festival.  Especially this year.  It was packed with party-goers, um, I mean garage salers.

It’s not just the crowds that make it feel like a festival.  It’s also the food truck, and the police officer directing traffic, and the people having a tailgate party with snacks and drinks, and definitely the guy serving margaritas.

I really typically don’t come home after Bryn Mawr with a ton of finds, but it’s just so much fun to go to this sale.  Really, it’s the people that make it so fantastic.  There was the guy who was drinking a glass of wine at 10 a.m. because he asked his wife to bring him a drink expecting water, but she brought him wine.  Why not?

And then there were the ladies who were explaining what a peach emoji represents, which drew us into an entire conversation about the not-so-secret meanings all of the various fruit and veg emojis.

My sister and I also ended up in a 15 minute discussion of the pros and cons of the various Disney World resorts with the guy wearing a Disney World t-shirt who admired the vintage Mickey t-shirt my sister was wearing (FYI fellow Disney fans, he swears that the Be Our Guest restaurant is well worth the money despite what everyone says online).

I purchased a vintage American flag on a pole from a guy for $5 and as I was handing over my money he explained that he had a hard time pricing it because how to you put a price on patriotism?  Well, apparently it’s worth about 5 bucks these days.  He told me not to use it as a weapon and I promised that storming the capitol wasn’t really my style.

All joking aside, I am calling this my ‘find of the day’.  Not because I’m all that into flying the American flag (and in fact will be selling this one), but simply because it has this beautiful vintage quality.  The soft cotton fabric is gently faded, but not torn or tattered.  And then there is also the fact that my friend Sue had found some vintage metal flag pole brackets for me recently, so now I have the vintage flag to go with one of them.

We don’t normally get to see inside any of the houses during the Festival of Garage Sales, but this year one house was having an estate sale and everything inside was for sale.

I just had to snap a few photos of the attic because it was like taking a step back in time.

It was tiny, but it was filled with vintage trunks.

You just have to wonder how long these trunks had been stored up there, untouched.

As well as what kinds of voyages they’d been on.

In addition to Bryn Mawr (which is a Saturday only sale), I also spent some time at a couple of other local neighborhood sales on Thursday and Friday.  Now that I’m retired I can scoop up some of the bargains I always missed out on as a working stiff.

Here are the majority of my finds from the weekend.

Runner up for find of the day is this adorable Scottie dog boot scraper.

The price was right on this set of 4 canisters …

and I recently purchased another set of the I.O.D. Traditional Pots transfers so I’d been looking for more white ceramic items for the blue ones.

I made quick work of washing these up and adding the transfers.

I have to admit I mainly was drawn to this Watkins Household Hints book because of the color.

I also have this idea of putting together a grouping of stuff that will include this book, but I’m still working on it.

I think I mentioned last week that I’m grabbing vintage books in red and green for the Christmas season.  Well, red and navy works for 4th of July too.

I just have to share the book on the top of that pile especially.  This is one that my friend Sue found for me …

This was published in 1920, and FYI, it’s not at all valuable.  I see it for sale online for $10.  I just think the title is amusing, wouldn’t it make a great gift for a farmer?

I really don’t know why I was drawn to these fish shaped pâté molds.

The guy selling them said he used them as Christmas tree ornaments one year.

I found a tackle box that I’ll eventually paint …

and I purchased that black oval tin because apparently I have a weakness for oval tins.

That stack resides in my pantry, but there isn’t room for a 4th one to be added to the stack where it is.  So now what?  Clearly I’m going to have to re-arrange the pantry again.  Or maybe I’ll part with that striped one on the bottom.  I’m not sure.

By the way, I painted the pink one in the middle (here’s that post if you’re curious about the process).

If you’re wondering about the 3 canning jars filled with a brown liquid in my first photo, that’s syrup.

The Lakedon’s from Lakedon Family Syrup had a table set up at Bryn Mawr to sell their pure maple syrup.  They had three grades available and were kind enough to let us test taste all three to see the difference.  I hadn’t realized that there were specific grades of maple syrup, or that you could easily taste the difference.

Both my sister and I ended up purchasing three different grades; golden, amber and dark.  The Lakedon’s pointed out that the dark version has a stronger taste similar to molasses and is perfect added to baked beans.  Yum!  Can’t wait to try that.

I did bring home a few larger pieces; a vintage dry sink, a pair of small wooden benches, and a huge pot that I’m going to use patina paint on.  But it was raining yesterday so I decided against hauling them out of the carriage house to get photos.  I’m sure I’ll be sharing all of those projects with you as they get completed though.

So, I’m curious, what would you choose as the find of the day from my weekend haul?  Leave a comment and let me know!