prospecting for gold.

I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but the weekend before last was a total bust for garage sale finds.  My sister and I went to the Nokomis neighborhood sales.  Usually Nokomis is fabulous for us.  Not only have I found amazing things there, like this haul of vintage cameras from 2015 …

But Nokomis is also the neighborhood where our parents grew up, so it has some sentimental appeal.

This year it was a total bust though.  I came home with very little.  Most of the sales were really junky.  I’m always tempted to hand out flyers for a trash hauling service when the sales are that bad.

After that experience I was a little reluctant to head out again this past Saturday, especially when the forecast called for rain.  Plus the only neighborhood sale I could find was Prospect Park and there were only 26 sales (not the 80+ of my usual neighborhood sales).

However, this was the last weekend of sales before the July hiatus.  Neighborhood sales won’t pick up again until mid-August.  So I thought we should just go for it.  As an added bonus, not only was Prospect Park having their neighborhood garage sale but they combined it with a free garden tour (there was also a home tour, but you had to buy a ticket of some kind so we skipped that part).

Basically not only did we get to dig through people’s cast off items looking for treasures, but we also had free reign to snoop around in their gardens too.

I can’t even think of a better way to spend the morning, can you?

Especially when the neighborhood in question looks like this.

And as it turned out, it never did rain.  Instead it was sunny and the perfect temperature (around 70).

Our strategy was to hit all of the sales first, and then take the garden tour.  That did have us retracing our route for some parts of the garden tour, but the early bird gets the worm at garage sales so we couldn’t be lingering in any gardens until after the sales.

We mostly filled up my sister’s SUV.  Unfortunately I only have one bad, blurry photo to share of everything we found.

I accidentally switched off the Auto Focus on my camera without realizing it.  Oops.

But you can sort of see that I found a pair of old motel chairs, a pretty little walnut washstand and some fun galvanized pieces.

I also purchased a trio old canning jars …

They didn’t actually have any lids, but I just happened to buy a set of 5 zinc Ball jar lids at the junky Nokomis sales the prior week.  It’s as if it was meant to be.

I don’t know much about old Ball jars, but I’m pretty sure these are quite old based on the shape and the quality of the glass.  I found an online article on how to date a Ball jar, but it only helped with one of my jars.

Apparently the block letters for “BALL” were only used from 1895 to 1896.

If there are any mason jar experts out there and you know anything about these jars, I’d love for you to leave a comment!

I also purchased this Perfection Clothes Drier.

If you aren’t familiar with what this is, you hang it on the wall as shown and then when you want to dry clothes, the ‘arms’ lift up horizontally to the floor and you can hang wet clothes on them.

I’m going to clean it up and then carry it around my house looking for the perfect spot to hang it.  If I can’t find one, then I’ll take it to Reclaiming Beautiful to sell.

I also couldn’t resist a random pile of pretty plates.  What can I say?  It’s a sickness.

I already have a stack of pretty plates that I don’t know what to do with out in the photo cottage.  Last year I sold quite a few plates with words on them at Reclaiming Beautiful, but this year they aren’t selling at all.  They look adorable tucked into a planter or window box, see …

This will be the 4th season that I’ve had this one in my copper boiler planter and it is holding up perfectly.

I may have to try coming up with some sort of marketing idea so people realize that these plates aren’t meant to display in a cabinet, but rather to stuff into a planter or hang outside in the garden.

I’ve already added words to one of them using Prima Marketing’s Words to Live By transfer set …

But I may just have to keep the platter with the simple blue edge.

Isn’t it pretty paired with some ironstone?

You may have noticed that oval framed photo on the chair in the first blurry photo of my haul from Prospect Park.  I’m generally not a huge fan of those typical old portraits that are framed like this, but take a closer look at this one.

Isn’t that awesome?  I kinda want to live there, don’t you?

I’m going to clean it up and possibly paint the frame and then we’ll see what happens with this one.  Will I find a spot for it, or will I have to let it go?

And more importantly, will I manage to avoid breaking that convex glass in the process?

After we filled up the SUV, we checked out the gardens and continued to admire this lovely neighborhood.

I also noticed that the map showed a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the neighborhood so we decided to check that out before heading home.

The Willey House was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934.  It’s a privately owned home, and unfortunately wasn’t participating in the garden tour so we couldn’t go snooping around like we wanted to.  It was still interesting to see just this much of it though and to read about it online.

My sister and I definitely had a great time prospecting for gold in Prospect Park.  We may not have found any actual gold, but we certainly came home with some fab finds.  This neighborhood is definitely going back on the list for next year!

fab finds.

Last week was an amazing week for garage sales.

It seemed to be the week for enamelware, I found it everywhere I went.

I’m not a huge fan of enamelware just for the sake of collecting it …

But I love these pieces as planters for flowering annuals.

I also love dressing them up with some Prima Marketing transfers like these from the Everyday Farmhouse set.

Or some of the old French Pots sets.

I also found an awesome vintage scale …

I purchased this rice sack pillow from a mother/daughter duo who were having a sale together.  The daughter came up with the idea, and her mom did the sewing.

I purchased two of these wood totes from a guy who made them himself too.  And how convenient that they already have a base coat of paint.

I plan to give them another layer or two of chippy milk paint color, and then add either a transfer or a stencil to dress them up.

I also found some great furniture at garage sales this week starting with this mid-century piece.

It was too big for my sister’s SUV so I had to send Mr. Q to Minneapolis with our van to pick it up, but it was such a bargain that it was worth the trip.  It’s going to look amazing in Park Bench green.

This little washstand came from another lunch time garage sale.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do with this industrial stool …

Its feet are quite rusty, and you know I don’t mind a little rust, but I’m afraid these will leave marks on the floor.  So I’m going to see how well I can clean those up and then possibly seal them in some way.

I also purchased a 2nd washstand at the neighborhood sales last Saturday.  Somehow, despite my good intentions, I managed to forget to take a ‘before’ photo of it individually.

You can sort of see it there though.  It was already painted and really in rather good shape.  I’ve actually already re-fabbed it, but I can’t show it to you quite yet.  That’s because Prima Marketing has sent me an early shipment of their Summer 2019 release of new transfers and I used one of them on this washstand.  I’m not allowed to show it to you until next week and the suspense is killing me.  It turned out amazing.  You’re just going to have to be sure to check back next week to see how it turned out!

How about you?  Did you find any amazing garage sale or thrift store bargains over the weekend?

bryn mawr 2019.

My sister and I always kick off the neighborhood garage sale season with Bryn Mawr.  This sale is always held the first weekend in May and they seem to have incredibly good luck with the weather (which definitely can be dicey this time of year).

This past Saturday was glorious.  Ideal garage sale weather.  Sunny and in the 60’s.  And this year my niece was available to join us as well, so it was the perfect day.

I have to admit I don’t usually find much at Bryn Mawr.  It’s far too popular, and thus the competition for an amazing find is steep.  Check out some my past year’s finds here:  2015 and 2016.

Once again this year I didn’t find a lot, but I nabbed a few gems.

This rustic wooden crate with a handle was $4.   I didn’t love the muddy green color it was painted in, but I knew I could fix that.  And I already have.  I whipped out my Dixie Belle paint in Midnight Sky and quickly painted it.  It only took one coat to cover the green.  I added some stenciling, sanded lightly to distress and finished with black wax.

Ahhhh, so much better, right?  And so easy to do.  If it feels familiar, that’s because this is the same paint color and stencil that I used on my piano.

It was the handle that made me decide on black.  I definitely wanted to keep that ‘as is’ because it has the most deliciously aged patina.

I couldn’t fit the entire stencil on the front of the crate, so I used part of it on the sides.

I just love the delicate flowing font of this stencil.  So perfectly simple, yet it has a massive impact.

I also grabbed this antique child’s rocker.

It’s in great shape and the price was right.  The seller had lowered her price twice already because it just wasn’t moving.  It’s in great shape and will look amazing with some milk paint.

I couldn’t resist the vintage hardware apron from a lumber shop in Milwaukee.

These aprons were featured in the March issue of Country Living magazine.

So I snatched it up.  Not sure what I’ll do with it yet, potentially just clean it up and sell it.

I’m giving ‘find of the day’ status to an adorable collection of vintage handmade wooden pull toys.  One of the pieces is signed on the bottom and says it was made by Uncle Karl in 1943.

Believe it or not, I paid $1 for the set and it includes the horses and wagon shown above, an elephant whose head goes up and down as you pull him, and a truck with a trailer.  Those last two pieces have already headed over to my handyman/neighbor Ken’s workshop for some minor repairs.  Once that’s done I’m going to paint them.  I’m just not loving that dull red and green.  I have some fun ideas for turning these into gorgeous, unique decor pieces that would be perfect for a nursery.  You’ll have to stay tuned to see how they turn out.

In addition to a ‘find of the day’, it seems like I always have a garage sale regret too.  Maybe I need to add a ‘regret of the day’ category as well.

As I was lying in bed Saturday night trying to fall asleep, I couldn’t help but think that I was a fool for passing up another dress form.  It was marked $45, but when the seller offered to let it go for $40 I still passed on it.  Why didn’t I snatch that up?  What was I thinking?  I could have easily made another of these …

Have you had some garage sale regrets?  If so, be sure to share them in the comments so I don’t feel like I’m the only one who has walked away from a good deal!


it ain’t over til it’s over.

Here I was thinking that garage sale season was over.

We’ve had snow and everything.

What kind of crazy people are still having garage sales in this sort of weather?

Well, apparently the Minnesota kind.  We’re a hearty bunch.

Besides, last Thursday and Friday were sunny and in the low 60’s.  Perfect weather for a sale.  Never mind that we had flurries again by Saturday.  We seem to be on a weather roller-coaster.

Nonetheless, I made hay while the sun was shining.  In the last week I brought home five pieces of furniture.

First, another bed frame that Ken can turn into a bench.

Then a pair of dressers from an estate sale.  There were literally only 20 minutes left before the sale closed when my friend Sue (a.k.a. my picker) and I showed up and the sellers were definitely in the mood to slash prices.  I got these for 75% off the originally listed price.

Also, I have to mention here that sometimes the staff at estate sales are not the most helpful.  I had to send Mr. Q back to pick these up and none of the staff would help him load them.  He literally had to get these down a flight of stairs, out of the house and into the van by himself.  All the while the staff just stood around watching.  Earlier in the day when I paid for them and said I would have my husband come back later to pick them up, I wish they would have mentioned something along the lines of “oh, by the way, we don’t help load so he may want to bring a friend,” but no, they didn’t.

Had I not already paid for them, and taken a drawer from each piece as security, Mr. Q would have walked away from the whole deal.

I purchased the next two pieces at the thrift store (where they were more than happy to help us load them).  A week ago Sunday both Meggan (a.k.a. the thrift doctor) and Sue (a.k.a. my picker) texted me to say that I should head over there to look at a piece of furniture.

I figure if two of your best spotters tell you to head to the same thrift store within an hour of each other, it’s time to throw a coat over your painting clothes and get over there.

Sue gave me a heads up on this dresser …

And Meggan gave me a heads up on a sewing desk.  I didn’t actually buy the sewing desk, but purchased this waterfall desk that was sitting right next to it.

I’d actually seen this desk that last time I thrifted with Meggan, but I passed on it then.  But there is just something about those fab old cup pulls that kept drawing me in, so when I saw it again this time I bought it.  I’m planning a simple makeover for this one, something that will allow those handles to be the center of attention.

And while I’m doing this sort of ‘show and tell’ post, I thought I’d also share this amazing pair of kid sized vintage folding chairs that Sue found for me.

They are so adorable.  It’s a little hard to tell the scale from that photo but they are only about 22″ tall.

I’m not yet sure what I want to do with them.  Do I paint them?  Or leave them in their kinda fab original patina?  Do I keep them, or sell them?

I haven’t made up my mind, but in the meantime you’re going to see them again on Friday when I share the makeover of this dresser …

and there’s going to be a giveaway along with that post, so be sure to stay tuned!

my kind of Monday.

There’s nothing better than walking into the office on a Monday morning to be greeted by the sight of a fab vintage suitcase.

My picker had been busy hitting the estate sales last weekend, while I, on the other hand, was busy painting.

By the way, if you don’t remember my last post about my picker, my friend/co-worker/garage sale mentor, Sue, is now my official picker.  In other words, if she sees something when she’s out and about that she thinks I would like, she picks it up for me.

So when I saw the suitcase sitting there in my office, I knew she’d found it for me.

I didn’t immediately take the time for a closer look.  I hadn’t had my coffee yet, and a girl has to have certain priorities.  I ran into Sue at the coffee machine and thanked her for finding the suitcase and she said it’s not just the suitcase, there’s more inside!

Apparently Sue had been at an estate sale where everything that fit into a grocery bag was $5 for the whole bag.  So she filled one up for me!

Isn’t the needlework on this pillowcase fantastic?

I’ve never seen little flowers like those before, have you?  It must have taken quite a bit of time, not to mention floss, to stitch all of those.

I’m not sure what I’ll do with this price tag stamp.  Maybe I’ll even use it for its intended purpose!

As I unwrapped the items bundled up in newspaper I found this beautiful green transferware tureen, or is it for gravy?  It’s rather small for anything else.

But isn’t it gorgeous?  I’m trying really hard not to add a transferware non-collection to my list of other items that I absolutely deny that I collect.  But sometimes these things are just really hard to resist.

The other item wrapped in paper was this sweet ironstone gravy boat.

Here’s the mark on the bottom.

I’ll fully admit to perhaps having a few more ironstone gravy boats than one can legitimately claim are simply for serving gravy.  Especially if one doesn’t actually even know how to make gravy.

But still … do I have to admit that it’s yet another item that I deny collecting?

And underneath all of the goodies packed into the case …

the keys to the suitcase, or are they the keys to my heart.  You tell me.

Now that’s my kind of Monday.

lynnhurst/fulton 2018.

Last Saturday my sister and I had several neighborhood sales to pick from.  I wish these neighborhood organizations would get together and divvy up the weekends so that we wouldn’t have to choose between several good ones one week, and then have none the next.

But alas, we chose the Lynnhurst/Fulton neighborhoods because they had a nice online list and map available while the others didn’t (or at least not that I found).

And I think we chose well.

Once again we filled up my sister’s SUV, and once again there were lots of lovely houses to admire as we made our rounds.

The day started out with a bang when the second sale we went to was giving away free Mimosa’s with a $10 purchase.

What an awesome combo, Mimosa’s and garage sales.  You can’t go wrong!  Somehow I easily managed to spend enough for a free drink, but Debbie was driving so she had to pass.

I finally got lucky and found a few vintage ornaments this time.

But I think everyone is shaking their heads in bewilderment at my purchase of the Mary statue.

But as soon as I saw her I was picturing all of those Jeanne d’Arc Living magazines …

A beautiful statue of Mary seems to be a staple in those gorgeous French Nordic homes filled with brocante.

I thought she was beautiful despite her missing arms.  I’m debating trying to find a way to make that look more intentional instead of just broken.  We’ll see.

My sister and I each purchased a rusty metal obelisk for the garden.  The only odd thing about them was that someone painted just the tops with silver spray paint …

That looked kind of tacky, but I knew that would be an easy fix using the Dixie Belle Patina paint that I used on my rusty garden pedestal.

I also came home with a couple of pieces of furniture.  I’m calling the china cabinet my find of the day.

Mainly because it was an incredible bargain, and it was a bit of a miracle that we fit it into the back of my sister’s vehicle.

It needs a bit of work, but my handyman Ken has already started on it, and once he’s done I plan to give it a completely new look.

My sister and I always stop somewhere for lunch on our way home from the sales, and last Saturday was no exception.  We had stopped at Applebee’s and were just starting to enjoy our peach sangria’s when my friend (and official picker) Sue texted to tell me about a sale near my house where everything was a quarter.  She said they had a nice twin size headboard and foot board and I should check it out.

So Debbie and I stopped there on our way home and sure enough they had the bed …

And as advertised, everything was a quarter.  Including this bed!

It’s missing its side rails though, so now I’m debating, do I try to find side rails that will work and keep it a bed?  Or do I team up with Ken and turn it into a bench?

Our other bench still hasn’t sold, so I’m a little hesitant to go with another bench.  But this would make a nice one, wouldn’t it?  Hmmmm.  Decisions, decisions.



east isles and lowry hill 2018.

Last Saturday my sister and I headed out to side by side neighborhood garage sales; East Isles and Lowry Hill.  Both are Minneapolis neighborhoods just off Hennepin Avenue.

It was the perfect day for garage sales.  Temps in the upper 60’s with a brilliant blue sky.

And both of these neighborhoods are worth the trip just to enjoy the gorgeous houses.

I had to snap a photo of this one with its German schmear finish.  Do you suppose they did that before or after Joanna Gaines made that technique more popular?

Either way, I kind of love this look.

Here’s one of my sister’s favorites …

She loves anything in Tudor style.

We didn’t come home with a huge haul this time.

I know, it doesn’t look like much.  My sister’s amazing girl scout packing skills were not required.  But it was still worth the trip for a handful of fab finds.

My first buy of the day was a pile of gorgeous ‘french’ dishes.

I put the ‘french’ in parentheses because even though those café au lait bowls look fabulously french, they are actually from Williams Sonoma.

There are no markings on the bottom of the little pitcher, so it’s hard to say if it’s authentically french or not.

But I do think this little plate is gen-u-ine.

It is marked with a Paris address on the back.

I know these little plates are sometimes called Bistro Tip Plates, but I can’t seem to find any information online about exactly how they were used.  Do any of you know?  I’d love to know more of the history behind them so be sure to leave a comment if you do.

I also grabbed this set of small plates with European cities on them.

And a lovely rectangular ironstone platter.

I’m guessing that those metal number thingies are from an old cash register.  I was hoping to find one with my lucky ’22’ on it, but I had to make do with a ’20’ and a ’02’.  I thought they might be fun to add to my lavender plants.

What can I say?  I just like numbers.

I’m sure you noticed the sweet little washstand with the very orange finish.

It will definitely be getting some sort of makeover in the near future.  It’s calling out for some chippy milk paint.

There are two more items that I didn’t include in that first photo.  First, this fountain …

I took a chance purchasing it.  It has a repaired crack.  The seller promised me it doesn’t leak, but you’re always taking a risk with garage sale buys.  But it was pretty cheap at $25 and I figured it would look fab in the garden even if it doesn’t function as a fountain.  I filled it up with water when I got it home and it does leak if the water is filled to the brim, but once it got down to the level it’s at now it stopped leaking.  So, my next step is to put the pump in and see if it actually functions OK as a fountain.

And finally, the item I’m considering the ‘find of the day’ …

A beautiful vintage glass tree topper to add to my non-collection (because I swear I’m not a collector!) …

Last year I found tons and tons of vintage glass Christmas ornaments at garage sales.  I’m fairly certain I brought some home from almost every sale …

Remember them all?

Boxes, and boxes of ’em.

This year I have found almost none.  I think I purchased two individual ornaments and that’s it.  So it was fun to find that gorgeous tree topper this time out.

Next Saturday we have a couple of neighborhoods to choose from for garage sales, but after that things are going to start to dwindle here in the Twin Cities.  It’s definitely starting to feel like fall around here and I have mixed feelings about that.  I love the cooler weather, but I am not a fan of the shorter hours of daylight.  How about you?