a few of my favorite neighborhood sales.

Before I get on with today’s post I’m wondering if any of you can help me out.  Last Saturday there were a whole bunch of new visitors here on the blog, and I got quite a few new followers.  So, first of all, welcome to all of my new followers, I’m glad you are joining us!  Second of all, how did you find me?  I’d like to thank whomever it was that shared my blog, but since it seems to have been a Facebook thing, my stats don’t tell me where you all came from.  So if you’re willing, please share how you found out about me in a comment.

Earlier this year when Mr. Q and I were trying to decide when and where to go on vacation this year we ran into some scheduling problems.  Between both of our day jobs, both of our side jobs (mine is furniture artist/blogger, his is wedding officiant), scheduling my occasional sale and numerous other things on the calendar it was hard to find a time that we could both be away for any significant length of time.

So when we found the cruise to Norway & Scotland that we’re taking next week it seemed like kismet.  It worked perfectly with our work schedules.  It wasn’t until after we had booked it that we realized we’d be missing Mr. Q’s grandpa’s 100th birthday!  Argh!  Luckily the party is scheduled for the day before we leave, so we weren’t aren’t going to miss the party, just the actual day.

We’re also going to be gone the day my sister closes on her new house.  Dang, I would have liked to share a champagne toast with her the first time she opened the door to her new home with her very own key.  But, we’ll be home just a few days later and in plenty of time to actually help her move (she’ll be doing some painting and cleaning before she moves in).

I also think I’m going to miss the lilacs!  They generally bloom during the last half of May, while I’ll be gone.

But what I didn’t even think to factor in was which of my favorite neighborhood garage sales I would be missing!  What was I thinking planning a trip right at the height of garage sale season?!

In a recent comment, Carol asked me to share some of my favorite sales so I thought I’d do that in a post.  Even though I’m missing out on some of them this year, maybe some of you local readers can check them out.

It’s tradition to kick off the start of garage sale season with the Bryn Mawr neighborhood sale.

Bryn Mawr is always the first weekend in May.  You can check out some of my previous posts about Bryn Mawr here, here and here.

Bryn Mawr is an extremely popular neighborhood sale.  There is traffic congestion, limited parking, and tons of people.  Many of the residents have a sale every year, and in some cases that means they pull out the same ol’ stuff each year, then pack it up when it doesn’t sell and pull it out again next year.  It also means you probably won’t find any really amazing bargain prices.  Usually I manage to come home with at least a few fun things, but this year I didn’t have much luck.  The few things I found didn’t even merit a photo or a blog post.

Although you’ve already missed them, there are several other great neighborhood sales to pick from the first weekend in May including Tangletown and Summit Hill and I may try one of those next year instead of Bryn Mawr.

Another big favorite of mine is Linden Hills, and that’s one I will be missing this year.

Much like Bryn Mawr, Linden Hills is very popular (ie. crowded) and it has a great festival-like atmosphere.  Last year they even had live music.  I’m not positive, but I think Linden Hills is always the first weekend after Mother’s Day.  This year it’s on May 20.

Yep, I’m bummed to be missing it, but since I’ll be spending that day in Stavanger, Norway I guess I can’t complain, right?

The Hale-Page-Diamond Lake neighborhood sale is also on May 20 this year.  If you’re looking for something a little less crowded than Linden Hills, Hale-Page might be a good choice for you.  You can read about my last trip to Hale-Page here.

I’ll also be missing the Roseville city-wide sale this year on June 1 – 3.  This is one that I discovered last year after a tip from a blog reader.  I was on vacation from the day job so was able to get there on the first day of the sale, which is a Thursday.  My friend Meggan joined me and we had a great time.

Since I do work full time, sales that start during the week usually don’t make it onto my list.  I prefer to stick with Saturday only sales whenever possible.  Otherwise all of the good stuff is long gone before I can get there.

Although you don’t usually find many garage sales on holiday weekends, believe it or not the Armitage-Kenny sale is usually held on Memorial Day weekend and so I was assuming I’d miss this one too.  But this year they have moved it to a week later on June 3.

I always enjoyed the fact that Armitage-Kenny was so quiet compared to the other neighborhood sales.  I’m sure that was because of the holiday weekend.  In 2015 we came home with fake tattoos and plastic spoons and not much else.  Although Debbie found a great table with benches.

The East Calhoun neighborhood’s ECCO Super Sale is the sale I usually pick for the first weekend in June (also being held on June 3 this year).

Last year I found a stash of vintage cameras at reasonable prices at ECCO and I even gave one of them away here on the blog since it was a duplicate of one I already had.

Speaking of vintage camera hauls, I hit the mother lode at the Nokomis neighborhood sale in June 2015.

Eureka, right?!

But both my sister Debbie and I love Nokomis for another reason as well.  Our parents both grew up in this neighborhood.  We always make a pilgrimage to our grandparent’s former houses that day in addition to hitting the sales.

The ‘find of the day’ from last year’s Nokomis sale was a croquet set that my sister bought.  I just loved the black and white graphic on it.

This year the Nokomis sales will be held on Saturday, June 17.

Organized neighborhood sales tend to take a hiatus after Nokomis.  There isn’t much going on in July or early August.  It’s too hot for garage sales!

But they start back up again in late August with the MacGrove sale which will be on August 26 this year.  MacGrove is another of my favorites.  Last year I got a gorgeous french desk at MacGrove …

Here is how it looked when I was done with it …

Vintage luggage was the find of the day two years ago at MacGrove.

The St. Anthony Park sales and the Lake of the Isles sales take place in the fall.  I couldn’t find dates yet for this year, so you’ll just have to keep them in mind and watch for dates later this summer.

If any of you locals make it to Linden Hills while I’m gone, be sure to let me know if you find some great stuff.  Or, on second thought, just tell me it was a bust this year so I don’t feel so bad about missing it, OK?

what am I going to do with that?

You just never know what you might find at a garage sale.  I try to keep an open mind when I’m out hitting the sales.  If something has a vintage appeal (i.e. it looks good and old) I often buy it even if I have no idea what I’m going to do with it.  There is nothing more annoying that seeing a really cool project somewhere and then realizing I passed up the exact item needed at a garage sale two weeks ago.

Today’s project is definitely falls into the category of ‘what am I going to do with that?’, but I bought it anyway.

It’s an old newel post.

I paid $15 for it, which is a little high in garage sale money (which has way more value than typical money).  I felt a little sad when I saw it there because I knew that the sellers had callously ripped it out of their older home and probably replaced it with something new and with far less character.

I knew it deserved better.

I brought it home and put it in my carriage house where it got buried behind 50 other potential projects.  It sat and gathered dust for a couple of years.  Ha!  Maybe not really better treatment after all.

Then a few weeks ago I was surfing the blog world and I ended up on the Liz Marie Blog looking at her Cozy Farmhouse Winter Entryway (click that link to visit) and I spied a fabulous chippy black newel post.  And she just had it leaning up against the wall.  Duh!  So easy, and so fab!  And I knew just where I could find a newel post … sort of … somewhere out in the carriage house.

So I headed out there in sub-zero weather and started digging around.  I unearthed it from a pile of cast off remnants and hauled it in the house.

I started by cleaning it up, then sanding it, then cleaning it again, then adding a layer of Homestead House’s Salad Bowl Finish because I wanted some more of that perfect chipping.  This time I used a little more wax than I did on my original ‘perfect chipping experiment’ with the Buttermilk Cream mirror frame.  I wanted a really beat up chippy look similar to the inspiration photo.

Here’s how it looked after the wax.

Then I painted it with just one quick coat of Miss Mustard Seed milk paint in Typewriter.  Once dry, I sanded to distress and found that I got plenty of chipping.  I vacuumed up the dust and chips and then added a layer of Homestead House Black Wax.

post-3

And then in answer to the question ‘what am I going to do with that?’, I just leaned it in the corner of the piano room next to my Paris subway sign.

post-1

Easy peasy.

post-4

Chippy architectural salvage for $15, not bad right?

winter silver.

Remember I said I had a plan for that pile of silver pieces from the winter garage sale?

winter-silver

With the addition of some greens and some ribbon …

winter-greens

I used the tray on the bottom of the pile and the creamer and sugar to create this …

winter-silver-tray

I used hot glue to attach the lid to the sugar bowl so that it stays on.  I can always pick the hot glue back off if I ever decide to turn it back into a functioning sugar bowl.

I saw this idea on pinterest and it immediately popped into my head when I saw the silver pieces for sale so I decided to make one myself.  I get most of my best ideas from pinterest!

I hung this tray between the two windows in my dining room.

silver-and-gold

I turned the second silver tray into a chalkboard.

silver-tray-chalkboard

Fair warning, I had a little trouble with the sharp chalk pencil that I used for my design scratching through the paint.  Although you wouldn’t notice it unless you look really closely.  If I had stuck with regular chalk I think I would have been OK.

I hung it over the Belgian bench in my dining room with some fresh evergreen branches tucked in the top.

bench-with-silver-2

And the last tray I bought because I couldn’t resist how pretty it is.

winter-silver-close-up

It’s the perfect size for catching water draining from a geranium that I am over-wintering in the house.

Do you ever bring geraniums in for the winter?  I love having just a few around because they remind me that summer is never really that far away.  The trick is to trim them way back when you bring them in to keep them from getting too leggy in the weak winter sun.  Place them in a bright and sunny window.  Mine sometimes even bloom over the winter.

winter-silver-plant-plate

I see a lot of silver pieces like these at garage sales and thrift stores.  No one seems to want them for their traditional purpose, but if you think outside the box you can still make use of them.  Do you have any great ideas for using vintage silver in an unexpected way?

the rare and elusive winter garage sale.

First things first, I used a random number generator to choose a winner for my blogiversary giveaway and that winner is Tamara Pompilio.  Congrats Tamara!  I also want to take another minute to thank all of you so much for the kind comments left on that post.  They served to remind me that there are plenty of you out there reading along and that really motivates me to continue trying to provide some awesome content for you!  So let’s get on with that, shall we?

Last Saturday my sister and I experienced a phenomenon rarely seen here in Minnesota.  A winter garage sale.

winter-garage-sale

I feel a little like a wildlife photographer who finally got a shot of the rare and elusive snow leopard.

My friend and Carriage House Sale partner Sue gave me the heads up on this sale after seeing it posted on Craigslist (thanks Sue!).

winter-silver

Debbie and I had to make two trips to the car to load up all of our goodies, so that gives you an idea of how much stuff we found at the sale!  I have a plan for that pile of silver, by the way.

It helped that the person selling was a bit of a collector and was moving to a much smaller place.  She’d already had several sales where I’m guessing things were priced higher.  This was her final ‘everything must go’ sale.

winter-sale-2

And she literally meant everything.  We took things off the walls like that ‘Washroom’ sign and the enamel soap dish in my first photo.  I also purchased two rugs right off the floor (and they had the dirt to prove it).

And this birdbath came right out of the garden.

winter-birdbath

As I mentioned in my post about finding vintage ornaments at garage sales in the summer, it’s always a good idea to grab off-season items when you see them like these Halloween books.

halloween-books

I saved ‘find of the day’ status for this gorgeous old camera.

winter-sale-find-of-the-day

When I came across it in a pile of other items it looked like this …

winter-camera-before

It is in pretty rough condition on the outside.  And I’m guessing that a lot of of shoppers didn’t even realize what it was.  When Debbie and I first got it home we couldn’t get it open and I was beginning to think that was probably why it was priced at only $3, because it was permanently ruined.

But I asked Mr. Q to take a look and he used a little ingenuity and got it open for me.

One thing you probably haven’t figured out from these photos is that this camera is ginormous.  Here it is next to a similar camera that I already owned, just to give you an idea of its size.

winter-camera-sizeSee?  Ginormous.  OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is almost a foot tall.

By the way, I purchased this camera without getting it open because 1) it was only $3 and 2) I had a massive pile of other things in my arms that I was trying to juggle.  Normally I would recommend making sure you can get the camera open and that the bellows are intact before you buy one.  I did end up with a camera like this once …

vintage-camera-with-bad-bellows

Those bellows were permanently stuck to the back of the camera.  They are very fragile, so trying to force them out would likely just rip them to pieces.

So I was very happy to find that my latest addition to my non-collection of vintage cameras was in good condition on the inside!

By the way, that snow you saw on the birdbath arrived overnight Saturday.  On Sunday I awoke to this gorgeous view from my window …

winter-landscape

I ran outside in flip flops just to capture a couple of quick photos.

winter-snow

That snow practically looks fake, doesn’t it?

winter-carriage-house

Luckily all of this snow arrived after the winter garage sale.

Do you find many winter garage sales in your neck of the woods?  Or are they as rare and elusive as snow leopards like they are here in the frozen Northland?

st. anthony park.

Somehow I was thinking that neighborhood garage sale season was over.  Luckily my friend Sue gave me a heads up on the St. Anthony Park sales this past Saturday, so Debbie and I headed out at the crack of dawn to see what we could find.

SAP is another gorgeous neighborhood full of older homes in St. Paul, MN.  My sister is often so busy admiring the homes that she forgets to keep an eye on the road!  For us half of the fun of these neighborhood sales is getting to prowl around residential areas admiring the houses and the gardens without anyone calling the cops.

sa-park-2016

At our very first stop of the morning I grabbed so many things from the ‘free pile’ that we had to make a trip back to the car before we even looked at the items for sale!  Then we had to make two more trips to load up the car with our purchased items including the darling table with green legs.  I’ve already started stripping the top of the table because it had been very poorly refinished, but my sister thinks I should leave the green legs.  What do you think?

sap-green-table-legs

After our second stop I was nearly out of money and the car was pretty much full.

By our third stop I had to carefully make room to squeeze in this fantastic oak desk chair.  I’ve painted a few of these chairs in the past and although they can be putzy to paint, they always turn out fantastic.  My sister grabbed the pair of linen throw pillows.

sap-chair

By our 4th stop, I had to borrow some more cash from my sister to buy this phone.

sap-phone

I purchased this spatula just because I like the typography on the handle, and I purchased the book just because I liked the photo on the jacket.

sap-book

I thought the spatula would look good mixed in with some wooden utensils.

wood-handle

I’ve saved ‘find of the day’ status for this washboard.  I’ve never seen one with a galvanized top like this before.

sap-washboard

I might keep it, or my sister might want it, or it might end up in my sale.  At this point it’s anyone’s guess.

mac grove 2016.

There have been slim pickins around here for garage sales since the end of June, so I was very excited about the MacGrove neighborhood sales.  It’s certainly not the biggest, but it is one of the only ones going in late August.  I look forward to this one every year, check out my posts about 2014 and 2015.

My sister picked me up bright and early on Saturday and we headed out.  And actually, it wasn’t really all that bright.  It was overcast and cool, and every once in a while we’d get a little drizzled on, but luckily it didn’t rain heavily.

mac grove title

The very first sale we stopped at had the little blue suitcase, that wicker case and the darling kid sized ice cream parlor chairs.  You know I couldn’t resist those!

mac grove kid chairs

The second sale we stopped at had the desk, or console table … I think it could be used as either … and either way, it’s gorgeous.  I’m giving it ‘find of the day’ status.

mac grove find

That old ‘antiquing’ style paint job has to go.  I’m envisioning it with a chippy milk paint makeover.  I hope I can do it justice!

Things kinda went downhill from there though.  We found a smattering of stuff here and there, but nothing really amazing.

I did pick up some more wooden spoons.  I’m not an expert, but these look hand-carved to me.  Does anyone know how to tell?  The seller was an elderly woman and she told me they were antiques.

mac grove wood spoons

I also brought home this trio of travel books.

macgrove paris

Unfortunately, I’m not planning a trip to Paris anytime soon.  However, I like to throw together some themed baskets of goodies for my occasional sale and I can see these books together with some other Paris themed items.

I also bought this lovely etched glass jar.  This would be perfect in the bathroom filled with cotton balls or q-tips.

mac grove glass 3

I also picked up this vintage looking (is it?  isn’t it?) split wood basket.

basket

With apple season coming up, you never know when you might need a basket like this.

We called it quits on the garage sales by about 11:30 because we were both starving.  We headed over to Grand Avenue and ended up at The Uptowner.  I thought my sister would appreciate the ambiance of this greasy spoon diner.  I think we both made a tactical error in ordering lunch items instead of breakfast though.  I don’t know what we were thinking.  In a place famous for its breakfast, why would you order lunch?

uptowner 2

Then, since we were at the corner of Lexington Parkway and Grand, I decided to show my sister one of the back ways to return to my house.  We drove north up Lexington, which is one of my favorite roads in the city as it winds through Como Park.  We ended up stopping at the Como Streetcar Station and taking a little walk around that neighborhood.

como house 1

The historic homes around Como Lake are gorgeous.

como house 3-2

It was the perfect way to cap off our day.

 

it’s raining chairs.

It’s raining chairs, hallelujah, it’s raining chairs.

Just when I mentioned that I should be stocking up on more chairs to pair up with desks, sure enough I hit the mother lode of chairs.  Well, perhaps it’s not as mystical as all that.  My friend Sue happened to stop off at a garage sale that was only about 3 blocks from my house.  When she noticed that they had a bunch of very reasonably priced chairs, she gave me a call.

I ran over there with my sister and niece last Friday evening while the Chinese takeout they brought over was getting cold.  Then I had to call Mr. Q and have him come meet us with the truck.  Then, I went back again the next morning and bought some more stuff.  And here is only some of what I came home with.

haul of chairs

The drawers and the cane back chair came home with me on the 2nd trip.  The rest is from the first trip.

There are also two more chairs that I already stashed upstairs in the barn for next spring.  They are chairs that once had cane seats, but now just have a hole where the cane was.  They make perfect ‘planter’ chairs, so I’ll hang on to those until spring.

And then, just in case I hadn’t brought home enough chairs, my sister-in-law popped by shortly after the Chinese take out was consumed and she brought me this chair.

harp back chair

This chair is already paired up with a desk I plan to paint in the coming weeks.

I also grabbed a pile of old windows at the garage sale.  I have a co-worker who makes really darling custom window signs for people, so one of these is for her (she only needs windows without muntins so only one will work for her).

old windows

The rest are for me, just in case I find the perfect spot for an old window.

I grabbed a few smalls at the sale too, including this fantastic cocktail shaker.

cocktail shaker

This cane back chair is one of the items I went back for on Saturday morning.

cane back chair

It had some lovely details.  I’ve already got Ken working on a solution for the seat.  Dare I even tell you how much this chair cost?  I can’t resist, it was only $3!

This pair of yellow chairs has already been re-styled …

yellow chairs

now they are white …

white chairs

My favorite of the chairs though is the crusty blue and white farmhouse chair.

crusty chair

Just check out that original chippy paint!

crusty chair close up

crusty blue chair

This guy is going to hang out with me for a while.  You’ll likely see him in a few furniture photo shoots.

And in case you are wondering about the drawers, yes I bought 3 drawers with no dresser.

drawers

People occasionally buy dressers that are missing drawers, but somehow these drawers were missing their dresser.  They were also only $3 each though, and they were worth that for the hardware alone.  I plan to use a couple of those key hole escutcheons on another dresser.  I have some fun ‘pinterest’ ideas in mind for the drawers once they have been robbed of their escutcheons, so stay tuned!