the old switcheroo.

In the past I have always gone to the ECCO neighborhood sale the first weekend in June.  I’m not going to lie, I mainly go for the tacos.  There is a family in that neighborhood that makes authentic tacos and sells them out of their garage during the sale.  But early this past Saturday when I printed out their map just before heading out I discovered that ECCO had only 21 houses participating this year.  I’m not sure what happened with that, but when you’re used to sales with 80+ participants, 21 is a small number.

So I did a little googling and discovered that the Kenny/Armitage neighborhood had moved its sale from Memorial Day weekend to this past weekend instead.  I always wondered why they chose a holiday weekend in the past.  It can’t have been good timing for many.  It was obvious that more households were participating as a result.  There were 74 homes on their list.

So I pulled a last minute switcheroo.  Instead of ECCO, my sister and I headed to Kenny/Armitage.

The weather forecast was fairly dire.  The chance of rain starting by 9 a.m. was 80%, 100% chance of rain by noon.  So we went prepared with hats and rain jackets, but we actually stayed fairly dry until about 11 a.m.  We had a few things in the car by then but we were hardly full up.  Still we thought about packing it in at that point.  But then we saw just one more sign, and then just one more, and, well, you get the picture.  A little rain never hurt anyone, although it does make life difficult for those having a ‘yard sale’ rather than a ‘garage sale’.  Besides, I feel really sympathetic for those people who have gone to all the work of having a sale only to have it rain on their parade.

Some of our best bargains of the day were found after the rain started.  One plus to a rainy garage sale day is that it keeps the crowds down.  There were very few shoppers out and about in Kenny/Armitage.

Our very first purchases in the morning were hostas.

Probably not terribly exciting for you guys to see, but these were probably one of the best bargains of the day.  The small ones were $1 and the larger ones were $2.  The guy selling them had a gorgeously landscaped garden full of a variety of hostas.  He was just dividing off some of them to control their size.  I bought three, but my sister bought six!  These weren’t your run of the mill boring hostas either.  One of mine is a Sunpower, and my sister got a couple Guacamole’s.  I’m a big fan of ‘garage sale gardening‘, why pay $20 for a hosta when you can get it for $2?

It was a sort of garden-y themed day.  I also found this fab garden pedestal for $15 …

By the way, that is my own Guacamole hosta there on the right, and June on the left.

Another garden item I purchased was this clay pot brush.

I never knew they made such a thing, but it has a really stiff bristle that is designed to brush the dried dirt out of your clay pots.  How fab!  It was just $2.

I also purchased this vintage enamelware pitcher for $2.  You don’t normally see them with a flower design on them.

I thought this one would make a great vase for my peonies, which are just starting to open.

However, as is sometimes the case with vintage pieces like this, this one was not watertight.  So I thought I’d share my trick for dealing with that.  Just use a jar that fits inside to hold the water and the flowers.

I’ve learned the hard way to always test vintage containers for their water tightness before I fill them with flowers and place them on my table!

The last garden-ish find of the day was a box full of glass cloches.

OK, a couple of them look more like cake stand domes rather than cloches, but potato-potahto.

I love using these to bring more interest to a vignette.  Everything seems slightly more important when it’s under a glass cloche.

Even just a simple photograph.

You may have noticed that I used the largest one while staging the Bunker Hill Blue buffet that I shared on Monday.

A couple of you left comments about my luck in finding a mannequin at the Roseville sales last week, but you’ll never guess what.  I found a genuine dress form this time!

She’s wearing a rather unattractive and slightly holey grey jersey right now, but once I get that off you won’t even recognize her.  I’m saving that transformation for another post.

The guy I bought her from said he found her in the attic of his house.  Every time he went up to the attic to look for something he was freaked out by seeing a headless woman out of the corner of his eye, so he had to get rid of her.

As for the desk, it was such a good bargain that I couldn’t possibly not buy it.

It’s going to need just a little help from my handyman Ken in the form of some glue and clamps.  But aren’t those knobs kind of fantastic?

I’ve reserved ‘find of the day’ status for this amazing vintage portable typewriter.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

It’s quite small and even fits on the Colliers’ Atlas that I purchased last week.

The gal who sold it to me said that her grandmother used to type all of her letters on this typewriter!

All in all, my sister and I had a great time at the Kenny/Armitage sales despite the rain, although we did miss those tacos!


ladies who lunch.

When I was a bit younger if you’d asked me if I wanted to be one of those ‘ladies who lunch’ I would have answered with an emphatic ‘yes’!

Who wouldn’t want to be free as a bird every day, with the disposable income required to meet your gal pals at fancy restaurants for lunch.  I could totally see my future as a lady of leisure.

But in reality I’ve pretty much had a full time job since I left school.  That was … um … egads … 37 years ago.  However, every once in a while I take a staycation and try to pretend for a week that I live that way all the time.  You know, I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet that I’ve been off work all of this week!

But I should have known that I’m not really cut out to be a lady who lunches.  I’m much more of a lady who skips lunch to go to garage sales!

So yesterday my friend Meggan (a.k.a. the thrift doctor) and I headed out to the Roseville city-wide garage sales for the day.  It was a total luxury for me to be able to go to a neighborhood sale that started on a Thursday!  This was the second time Meggan and I have done this sale, we did it two years ago too.

Once again we had a great time and we managed to fill up Meggan’s SUV, and in fact Mr. Q and I had to go back later with our van to pick up this pair of twin beds that I found.

Aren’t they going to be amazing with a coat of paint or two?

I also brought home a mid-century piece.

Technically I think it’s a table and it has these clever little pop out leaves that make it bigger, but I think this would work beautifully as a desk.  The blonde ‘wood’ is all Formica, and the legs are metal.  I’m debating painting the legs … maybe?  Or maybe just cleaning them up.  Either way I’ll definitely clean the piece up a bit, stage it as a desk and then see if I can flip it on Craigslist.

I also ended up with a bit more mid-century glassware.

The crazy thing is that I first purchased the set of tall glasses with a matching ice bowl at one sale, and then found the matching shorter glasses at another!

Seriously, what are the chances?  Cocktails anyone?

I mainly purchased this gorgeous Atlas for the color.  It’s the most lovely shade of green.

But it also has some gorgeous blue and green colored maps inside that would be awesome framed.

I also found this set of books that will be perfect for staging photos, or for filling up a bookshelf.

Obviously I couldn’t resist this little doll sized dresser.  It’s the perfect shade of aqua blue, and you know I’m obsessed with miniature furniture.  Since it was only $5, it had to come home with me.

As for this toy truck, the fact that it was the perfect shade of “Millennial Pink” sold me on it.  It’s missing its cab, but hey, it’s a Ford.  I can see it filled with succulents, or maybe with some pink vintage ornaments at Christmas.

I brought home a few other odds and ends as well like this sweet little copper watering can and a perfectly lovely little Oxalis plant that was only $2.50.

I also found my Lula’s sister …

She may not look like much yet, but I’ll work her over and add some vintage details.  After all, the original Lula started out in similar shape to this and now look at her.

I found a few more bits and pieces that I didn’t have time to photograph, so all in all it was another successful neighborhood garage sale.

All things considered, I think I’ll stick with not being a lady who lunches.  It’s so much more fun this way!






quickie garage sale makeovers.

I was hoping to have a fabulous vintage painted dresser to share with you guys today.  And actually, the dresser itself is done.  However, I haven’t had the chance to take photos of it yet.  I could have raced through some not very well staged photos in the driveway, but this particular dresser deserves better.  I kind of love how it turned out and I want to do it justice, so you’ll have to wait until next week for that.

Instead I’m going to share a few quickie garage sale makeovers today that I’ve finished in the the last couple of weeks.

I purchased this trio of goodies at the Tangletown sales back at the beginning of May.

The vintage chalkboard was the easiest makeover.  The chalkboard portion itself was in pretty rough shape from what I can only imagine were years of abuse.

So I sanded that down with my orbital sander and repainted it with Rustoleum chalkboard paint.

You might be wondering why I didn’t use milk paint for this chalkboard and the simple reason is that I wasn’t sure it would stick to this surface.  I’m not even really sure what the surface of this chalkboard is.  The label calls it a ‘slated blackboard’, but it didn’t feel heavy enough to actually be slate.  What is a ‘slated’ chalkboard anyway?  Do any of you know?

The Rustoleum chalkboard paint worked well on this surface, regardless of what it is.

Aside from cleaning it a little, I left the frame of the chalkboard ‘as is’.  I love how worn and well used it looks.

Once the chalkboard paint was fully dry, I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over it and then wiping it away with a dry cloth.  Next I used one of my favorite stencils to outline some lettering and then filled it in with chalk.  I added some butcher’s string to hang it, and that was it.

While I had the chalkboard paint out, I also added some to the kid-size folding chair.

Here it is before.

In addition to turning the seat into a chalkboard, I also added some Tim Holtz number rub-ons to the chair back.

Then I used one of my favorite methods for adding a chalk drawing.  Check out my ‘how-to’ post on that by clicking the photo below:

You may recall the chair in that post hanging on the wall in my kitchen …

I just love it, so when I saw the nearly identical little chair at the Tangletown sales I knew I had to buy it and make another.

Last up is the random piece of paneling that I purchased for a dollar.  I really don’t know what this came from, but I thought it would make a great sign.

I started off giving it a paint job.

I was playing around a bit with using water and chalk paint and blending two colors into each other.

I used Dixie Belle’s Stormy Seas and Savannah Mist which work beautifully together.  I don’t think I’m ready to attempt this technique on a piece of furniture yet, but it was fun to practice with it on this paneling.

Once I had achieved a look I liked with the paint I let it dry and then added a Prima Marketing transfer.  You can find this particular transfer on for $10 right now.

Part of the reason I purchased this piece of paneling in the first place was because I already had this transfer and I thought it might just fit perfectly … and it did.

In fact the design of the transfer mimics the raised detail on the paneling almost exactly.

I could not have planned this better if I’d tried.

Now I just have to head to my local hardware store and figure out some way to add hangers to this piece.  It’s pretty thin so my normal options won’t work.  It’s also pretty light, so I don’t need something heavy duty.  I’m thinking some sort of adhesive hanger will do the trick.

Be sure to check back next week when I promise I really will share that dresser, and as a bonus I might also have a gorgeous sideboard that I’ve been working on finished too!







the haul from Linden Hills.

Another one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods, Linden Hills, had their annual garage sale this past weekend.  My sis and I got up early Saturday morning and headed out to be there for the 8 a.m. start time.

There are several things I love about Linden Hills.  First and foremost, it’s a ‘Saturday only’ sale.  Since I’m a working stiff, I can’t get to the sales that start on Thursday or Friday (unless I take a vacation day at work).  All of the good stuff at those sales is long gone by Saturday.

Second, the Linden Hills Neighborhood Council provides a listing of all the sales along with descriptions of their goods, plus a map showing all of the locations.  Both are crucial tools for a successful garage sale experience.  I always try to pick the best spot for starting out in the morning.

Third, it’s just quite simply a beautiful neighborhood full of gorgeous old homes that is a pleasure to drive around in.

Before Debbie and I headed out Saturday morning I studied the list of sales and picked out one at the southern end of the neighborhood to start at.  The description said ‘Vintage furniture, linens & books.  Some small antiques.‘, so I was optimistic.

And we hit the jackpot!

I spent just over $100 and purchased a dresser, a vintage bookcase with a glass door, a 2nd vintage bookcase, two soon-to-be planter chairs, three old books, several sets of linen napkins (I’m going to try dying them with Dixie Belle paint, coming soon) …

some green depression glass, a McCoy pot, and a uniquely shaped Atlas jar …

I’ve already added a little something extra to the Atlas jar in the form of a Tim Holtz rub-on …

 and I also purchased three vintage milk glass light fixture globes at that first sale.

I especially love the art deco wedding cake globe.  In fact, I’m giving it ‘find of the day’ status.

I have a similar style globe on the light fixture on my front porch that I also purchased at a garage sale and I just love it.

So I was hoping that this one would fit my existing bathroom light fixture, and it did!

Since I was completely unable to get a decent photo of my own bathroom light fixture (since I have the world’s smallest bathroom), I borrowed this one from the ModMercantile on Etsy.  If you absolutely love this look, you can buy a similar fixture from them for about $265.  I paid $10 for mine, bwa, ha, ha, ha (insert evil garage sale laugh here).

Anyway, yes, all of that was just at the first of sale of the day.  We couldn’t even begin to fit all of the furniture into Debbie’s SUV, so I made arrangements to come back later with our van to pick it up.  That ended up being a good thing because we filled the SUV up with other stuff as the day went on including this adorable little nightstand and another potential planter chair.

I also picked up this amazing vintage iron crib.

I just love genuine heavy vintage iron pieces like these.

The older couple I purchased it from were quite funny.  They said that they actually used this crib for their kids when they were babies and pointed out this was before people worried about silly things like safety.  They mentioned that they called it ‘the slammer’ because their kids were ‘behind bars’ and then chuckled at those happy memories of their babies in their iron prison.

I’m not precisely sure what the fate of ‘the slammer’ is going to be.  I had initially thought I would put it back together and turn it into some sort of garden bench like this example from pinterest …

but I’m missing some of the parts that hold it together so I’m not sure I can make that work.  The separate  pieces would be gorgeous in the garden with a clematis or something growing on them though.  So we’ll see.

Luckily even after all of that there was still room in the vehicle when we came across this lovely crystal chandelier.

The gentlemen selling this item said he replaced it with something that was more his style.  I was happy to take it off his hands!  I don’t really have a spot for a gorgeous crystal chandelier myself though, so I’ll most likely be selling it on.

Unfortunately by the time we got to the house with the $5 small farmhouse table there was just no way at all we could fit it in the SUV.  And I knew when I came back with the van for the pieces from the first sale of the day there wasn’t going to be any room for it either.  It hurt me a little inside to have to walk away from that table.  I hope someone else found it and is going to give it a new lease on life with some paint!

Meanwhile I finished up a sweet vintage farmhouse style dresser yesterday that I just need to get photos of so I can share that with you here this week, so be sure to stay tuned!

tangled up in Tangletown.

Last weekend my sister and I packed pretty much everything we love about summer into one weekend; garage sales, patio dining, gardening, and ice cream.

We started out at the Tangletown neighborhood garage sales.  This neighborhood got its name from its windy, curving streets.  Most Minneapolis streets are laid out in a grid pattern, so Tangletown stands out because it’s not grid-like at all.  I have to admit, those very structured grid-like streets in other neighborhoods make garage saling easier.  Numbered streets go one way, named streets go the other and are in alphabetical order … Aldrich, Bryant, Colfax, Dupont.  It’s so simple to find your way around in those neighborhoods.  Tangletown is a different story.  We found ourselves tangled up in Tangletown quite often, driving past the same intersection multiple times before realizing we’d gotten turned around again.

But that’s OK because it’s a very pretty neighborhood full of gorgeous houses.

We didn’t mind doing a little sightseeing.  In addition to the beautiful homes, we also stopped at the Washburn Water Tower to get a closer look.

The original water tower in this location was built by Cadwallader (seriously, can you imagine that name?  did they call him Cad for short?) and William Washburn in 1893.  It was replaced with this art deco version in 1932 which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The tall ferocious looking dudes with the swords are the eight ‘guardians of health’ that protect the water supply.

After checking out the water tower and hitting all of the sales in Tangletown we stopped off at a local restaurant, Wise Acre, for lunch.  I have to admit we mainly picked this spot because it had patio seating.

The atmosphere was fantastic, the service was friendly and made us feel right at home, but I’m not gonna lie, neither of us really cared for the ‘farm to fork’ style food.  We probably ordered the wrong things, or perhaps the simple fact is that we just aren’t hipster enough for this place.  The fries came with a homemade beet ketchup … yep, you read that right … ketchup made from beets.  It pretty much tasted just as you would expect it to, like beets.  It worked on the burger, but not so much on the fries.

After lunch we drove home, unloaded our garage sale finds and then headed off to my favorite spot to buy my summer annuals, Country Sun Farm in Lake Elmo.  Debbie and I both found lots of gorgeous flowers and we filled up the SUV again.

Buying garden supplies is exhausting work, so we headed to Nelson’s Ice Cream in Stillwater next.  I didn’t manage to get my own photo, but I found this one online which pretty much shows the average serving size of ice cream at Nelson’s.  This was much more our style than the beet ketchup.

I went with the Blueberry Cheesecake and Debbie chose Peppermint Stick, both of which were amazing.

The next morning we got up and headed to the Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales.  And Festival really does belong in the name.  They have all of the ingredients required for a festival; live music, food trucks, portable toilets and lots of people.

I didn’t come home with much from either of these neighborhood sales, but I did find another amazing vintage ironing board that I plan to turn into a sign.  The woman who was selling it mentioned that her daughter found it in the attic of the house she recently purchased.

I love that the label shows shows someone ironing while seated.  Hey, even if you can’t stand for long periods of time you can still do the ironing with this adjustable ironing board.  How convenient!

I also found some mid-century barware and some faux ice cubes that I plan to use for staging a piece of furniture that I’ll be sharing on Friday.

I also brought home a couple of piles of miscellaneous small stuff.

I found some odds and ends to turn into signs or chalkboards.

Well, technically this one already is a chalkboard.  But I’m going to see what I can do to refurbish it.

I suppose the fact that I chose the fake ice cubes as the ‘find of the day’  speaks volumes about my finds (or lack thereof).

 But then again, the ice cubes really are realistic and I’m going to have so much fun using them for staging future furniture photos.

All in all, it was an awesome kick off weekend for garage sale season 2018.  I hope you’ll stay tuned to see what I do with some of my garage sale finds.

april blizzards bring may flowers.

It seems hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago we had blizzard conditions.  But then spring seemingly arrived overnight, which is typical here in Minnesota.

And that means my other two favorite seasons have finally arrived as well.

Gardening season and neighborhood garage sale season!

This weekend my sister and I are heading to both the Tangletown neighborhood sales and one of my favorites, Bryn Mawr.  Keep your fingers crossed that we find lots of goodies.

But first, to get in the spirit of things I pulled out a couple of garden themed garage sale finds from last summer to give them a quick makeover.

Normally I don’t paint my galvanized watering cans, but this one had a bunch of orange paint spilled on it that was not very attractive.  And the tall metal flower bucket was just not quite doing it for me in a dry brushed red.

The flower bucket got three coats of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Linen.  Once dry, I sanded it to distress and then added one of the Iron Orchid Designs ‘French Pots V’ transfers.  Once that was in place I very lightly waxed the entire thing with Miss Mustard Seed clear furniture wax.

Although I did wash both the bucket and the watering can with soapy water, I did not sand them at all prior to painting.  I find that milk paint tends to adhere well to galvanized metal pieces liked these that have a dull finish.

The watering can got two coats of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Flow Blue.  Then I also sanded it to distress and added a coat of Miss Mustard Seed clear wax to bring out the richness of that gorgeous blue.

By the way, I went with Flow Blue because I had a bit of it left over from painting the desk I shared on Monday.

Remember I said that all I bought at Junk Bonanza were some magazines?

  One of them was the new Flea Market Style gardens issue.

If you enjoy adding junk-tastic finds to your gardens, you should be sure to pick up this issue.  It’s pretty fab.

It’s still too early to actually start planting here in Minnesota, and not much is up in the garden yet.  However, I have plenty of scilla in my gardens.  Scilla is a tiny bulb and it’s always one of the first things to come up and start blooming here.  It will even fight its way through the snow if necessary.  It multiplies rapidly, deer and other critters won’t eat it, and it can withstand very cold winters.

However, as with all things, there are two camps of thought on that.  What sound like great qualities to me are exactly the qualities that others say are bad.  They consider scilla to be a invasive pest, taking over areas where native wildflowers once flourished and becoming impossible to control.

I’m kind of bummed that I even came across that info online, because I love seeing the scilla come up every spring as the first sign of life in the garden.  Now I’ll just feel a little bit guilty about enjoying it every year.

By the way, I added that graphic to the clay pot using Fusion’s transfer gel.  I don’t think I ever blogged about that, or if I did I can’t find it now (which is why that ‘how to’ page is going to be so handy!)

So, how about you?  Are you excited about gardening/garage sale season?  Got any great neighborhood sales near you this weekend?



a garage sale story.

I’ve mentioned before that my day job is at City Hall and it’s located in a fairly residential area.  That makes it somewhat convenient for lunchtime garage saling.

The other day I had to run a couple of boring errands at lunch, but I had about 30 minutes to spare so I followed some random garage sale signs.  It was a pretty fall day, cool but sunny, so I think a lot of people decided to throw together one last garage sale before the snow flies.

When I pulled up to the first sale I saw a little old lady sitting in a lawn chair all by herself.  I always see that as a good sign.  Little old ladies have the best stuff, usually at the lowest prices.

Not so this time.  This particular little old lady had easily over 100 jigsaw puzzles and that was about it.

  But tucked in among those puzzles was a gallon sized Ziploc bag with a set of ‘day of the week’ dishtowels.  Except they had only been stamped with the designs, the embroidery had never been done.  Clearly she had good intentions, but never finished the job.  The price?  $30!

What?!  Even if they were embroidered, $30 would be high for a garage sale price.  Especially a ‘little old lady’ garage sale price.

So, I walked away with nothing.

The next sale I found was being held in a garage that was chock full of mounted deer heads.  Literally, there were at least 20 of them on the wall.  In the garage.  They weren’t there as part of the sale, there was a very prominent sign that said “items on walls not for sale!”  Those things aren’t cheap, so it surprised me to see them displayed in the garage.  I mentioned something along those lines to the sale’s proprietor, a gentlemen probably around my age, and he said “you should see inside the house, that’s where all the best ones are.”

Oh my.

I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty seriously creeped out by stuffed dead animals of any kind.  But this is Minnesota.  There are many, many hunters here and it’s not at all unusual to see mounted trophies.  So I didn’t let that deter me because clearly this garage sale was being held by a Collector with a capital C (unlike me, a non-collector).

This person collected dolls, depression glass, chintzware tea pots, vintage wood working tools, figurines … and obviously, mounted deer heads.  An odd combination to be sure.  I asked the guy if this was his parent’s house.  Perhaps dad was a hunter and mom was the collector.  But he never really answered that question.

Had I come across this sale 15 years ago, I definitely would have nabbed the chintzware teapots.  I used to collect those too, but I got rid of all of mine except this one favorite.

Luckily for me … among all of the collectibles there were some vintage Christmas ornaments.

Unluckily for me, the ornaments were sorted into Ziploc bags (again with the Ziplocs!), fab vintage ornaments mixed with junky tacky ornaments.  And they were priced at $10 per bag, a little steep.  But then I did a little math in my head, each bag had around a dozen good ornaments mixed in with 4 or 5 bad ones.  So even though $10 felt high, it was less than $1 per ornament, so I grabbed two bags.

I ended up with a really nice assortment of ornaments, many of them shaped like bells or other shapes.

I was especially excited to realize I’d scored not just one, but two teapot shaped ornaments.

It’s amazing to me that those delicate little spouts and handles haven’t been broken.

I also grabbed this toolbox.  It’s pretty rusty, but I love the size and shape.  I want to try and save the design on the front, but we’ll see how that goes.

As I was checking out, the proprietor asked me if there was anything else I collected.

  ‘No, um, well, yes, to be honest, yes I collect a few things but I hate to admit it.’

I mentioned vintage wind up alarm clocks and he said “There are tons of clocks inside, do you want to come in and take a look.”

I glanced over at the 40 fake deer eyes staring at me from the walls of the garage, looked around and noticed that I was totally alone here.  I realized that this was the point in every horror movie where the audience wants to yell “noooo!  don’t go through that door!”  So I politely said “no thank you” and walked away with my bag of ornaments and my tool box.

Chances are probably good that I missed out on some great vintage stuff from inside the house.  Had I not been alone, it would have been a different story.  But you just never know.  After all, if I didn’t return from my lunch break how long would it take for my co-workers to start to wonder where I was?  And after that, how long before they guessed that maybe I stopped at some garage sales?  How many months before they find my body buried out behind that garage full of mounted deer heads?  I can just picture the ‘made for TV movie’ now, can’t you?