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?

mac-grove 2018.

Woo hoo, the late summer neighborhood garage sale season has started!  My sister and I headed out to one of our favorite St. Paul neighborhoods last Saturday, Macalester-Groveland.

After day long torrential rains on Friday, Saturday morning was at least dry although not exactly sunny.  The overcast skies were probably a good thing though because it kept the temperature down and we didn’t have to sweat our way through Mac-Grove.

We were on a mission, and we managed to come home with a full vehicle.

Yep, all of that fit into the back of my sister’s mid-size SUV.

As you can see, once again it was a good day for chairs.  I found another library chair that I’ll be painting at some point.

And I’ve been looking for an Eastlake style chair for a while now.  I want to attempt the ‘deconstructed’ look, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money in case it’s a dismal failure.  This chair was only $15, so if it’s a bust I’m not out too much cash.

I found a pile of galvanized flower buckets at the first sale we stopped at, so I grabbed all of them.  These are always fun to paint or to add transfers to.

I’ve already had some fun with the galvanized watering can that you can see in the first photo next to these flower buckets.  I removed the green plastic spout, washed the can with soapy water and then added one of the Prima Marketing transfers from their French Pots IV set.

I was curious to find out whether or not the transfers would look good over galvanized metal.  As it turns out, the answer is yes.  As long as you like a somewhat subtle look.

By the way, those are my Little Lime hydrangeas.  They are advertised as a dwarf version of the Limelight hydrangeas.  I can report that this bush is about half the size of my Limelights.  However, the flowers are much more green and they are starting to turn that pretty pinkish-bronze color while the Limelights are still fairly white.

Here are the Limelights for comparison …

Another purchase from Mac-Grove that I’ve already revamped is this simple chrome stool.  It was pretty dirty and had a skanky old vinyl seat.

I started by removing the seat.  When I flipped the stool over I found that there were metal tabs that were folded over to hold the seat in place.  It’s easy to lift them up and take the seat right off.

Ewwwwww!  It was pretty gross under that seat.

And as it turned out, there was an original layer of red vinyl underneath that boring grey vinyl too.

So I ripped off the disgusting vinyl and then cleaned all of the chrome with Brasso.  Then I recovered the seat with a layer of fresh cotton batting and the remnant from a feed sack that I had on hand and then just put it back on.

Easy peasy makeover!

I saved the Mac-Grove ‘find of the day’ status for this bed.

It was one of the very last things I purchased, and I was determined to get it in the SUV.  My sister’s girl scout packing skills really come in handy at moments like these.  And she’s always game to try to fit at least one more thing in the car.

It’s going to be so pretty painted, and I think that foot board is just calling out for a Prima Marketing transfer, don’t you?

the method to my madness.

Whenever I share photos of the haul from a Saturday spent garage saling I get lots of comments from people who say they wish they could find such great stuff themselves.

So I thought I’d share some garage saling tips with you guys today.  Because there definitely is a method to my madness.

Tip no. 1 – shop neighborhood sales.

This is a biggie.  It’s my number one tip because it’s definitely the most important one.

I like to focus on neighborhood sales for the simple reason that it’s efficient.  My sister and I can often hit 50 – 60 sales in one morning at a neighborhood sale because they are all close together.  The more sales you visit, the greater your chances of finding something good.  I’d say there is about one good sale for every 10 or so lame ones.  You know, the ones where you wonder why the people didn’t just rent a dumpster.

If you don’t know whether or not there are any neighborhood sales in your area, try checking the Craigslist garage sale postings frequently.  Some of our neighborhoods are still really old school and post ads in the newspaper too.  Once you find them, be sure to keep track of when they are held.  Most neighborhoods stick with the same weekend (like the 3rd weekend in August for example) every year.

There are two distinct neighborhood garage sale seasons here in the Twin Cities.  The spring season starts the last weekend in April and runs until the end of June.  The sales totally dry up by the 4th of July and tend to not resume again until late August and then run through the end of September.  I’m trying to wait patiently for them to kick in again this year.

Tip no. 2 – the early bird gets the worm.

I can’t stress this one enough.  The good stuff goes fast.  You have to get out there as soon as the sales open.  In general we usually find our best buys before 10 a.m.  After that the finds are hit or miss.

Tip no. 3 – shop the first day.

Everything I said above also applies to shopping the first day of a sale.  As you all know, I have a day job.  Every once in a while I can take a Thursday or Friday off work to get to one of the sales that starts on those days, but for the most part I stick with ‘Saturday only’ sales.

Tip no. 4 – going back for something.

At the Linden Hills sales earlier this year I purchased three large pieces of furniture plus two chairs at the very first sale we stopped at that morning.  Clearly all of that would have filled up my sister’s SUV and we would have been done for the day, which was not an option.  So instead I asked the proprietor if I could come back for everything later in the day.  I’ve done this quite a few times and I have yet to have anyone refuse to allow it.

However, if you’re worried about whether or not your stuff will still be there when you come back I have a great tip for you.  Take just one drawer (or shelf) with you.

Brilliant, right?  I learned that tip from my garage sale mentor’s sister.

If you take a drawer there is no chance the person can sell the piece out from under you.

Also, be sure to make note of the address and get the proprietor’s phone number.

Tip no. 5 – study the map ahead of time.

Most of the neighborhood sales around here provide a map and a listing of the sales.  Oftentimes they also include either a little blurb from the seller about what they have, or a chart of some kind indicating whether they have kid’s clothes, baby stuff, furniture, antiques, etc.  In most cases (although not always) the map and listing is available online in advance of the sale, usually at the neighborhood’s website.

For an example, check out this link to see the map and listing from the Linden Hills sales last May.  The sale we went to first was the one that listed “Vintage furniture, linens & books. Some small antiques.”  And that’s where I scored all of that furniture!

So if possible, study the map ahead of time.  Find the sales that have the sort of items you are looking for and be sure to head to those first.

Tip no. 6 – when all else fails.

When all else fails, money is no object, and you just can’t find any neighborhood sales, it’s time to head to your favorite outdoor antique market instead.  We have quite a few of these in our area and next weekend is one of the best, Oronoco Gold Rush.

My sister and I plan to head there again this year.  We don’t usually buy a lot because the prices are definitely higher than garage sale prices, but we do enjoy checking it all out.

And if nothing else, we’ll definitely come home with some homemade fudge.

I hope some of these tips were useful to you.  Do you have a favorite neighborhood sale in your area?  Or maybe an outdoor antique market that you always like to visit?  Anybody else going to Gold Rush this year?  If so, I’d love to hear from you in a comment.

cupboard door upcycle.

One of my favorite things to do is to re-purpose an item that someone cast off.  It’s not the same as taking an old piece of furniture and fixing it up, making it prettier with paint so that someone can continue to use it as a dresser (although obviously I enjoy doing that too).  I’m talking about true upcycling, where you give something a new purpose (like turning a door into a Market sign for example).  There is just something really satisfying about it.

After purchasing this pair of old cupboard doors at the Tangletown garage sales, I decided to do just that.

I started by painting one of the doors with Fusion’s Algonquin.

I love this color.  It’s a rich deep taupe.  But I mainly chose it because I thought it would work well with one of the new transfers from Prima Marketing’s line (thank you to Prima Marketing for providing me with the transfer).

One thing that is different about this transfer versus others that I’ve used so far is that it has a background color.  That sort of parchment look behind the black words and flowers is part of the transfer.

I wasn’t sure how that was going to work when it came to actually applying the transfer.  I thought it might make it more difficult, but in reality it made it much, much easier.  I didn’t have to worry about little bitty tails on letters that might not be stuck down properly.  I really just rubbed over the whole thing fairly quickly with the applicator stick that is provided with the transfer, and when I carefully pulled up the backing sheet … voila!  Perfect!

Although there is a background to this transfer that has some color to it, it is also fairly sheer.  So the color that you choose to put under it is going to make a difference in how the transfer looks.  I went with the Algonquin because I wanted my transfer to blend a bit with the background.  A white background would provide more contrast.

After the transfer was in place, I sanded the door to distress the paint.  I did not sand over the transfer, just the painted areas of the door.  Then I added some wax to get a consistent sheen over the entire piece.

Finally, I found some discarded wooden dresser knobs in my stash of rejected hardware and added them in a row at the bottom of the door.

The original wood stain on the knobs worked beautifully with the Algonquin and the colors in the transfer.

Thus the cupboard door becomes a kitchen towel holder.  Or a place to hang your bathrobe.  Or a pretty spot to hang some necklaces.

The people at Prima Marketing were kind enough to send a couple extra of this style transfer so that I could give some away today thus rounding out my week of of Prima Marketing transfer giveaways.

To be eligible to win one of these transfers all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post by tonight (Friday, June 29) at midnight (U.S. central).  I’ll draw two names at random and each winner will get one transfer.

To spice up the comments today I thought I would ask you guys to tell me who your second favorite blogger is (ha, I’m being sarcastic, of course I’m not really assuming I am your favorite).  But seriously, share another blog that you enjoy in your comment.  Maybe a few of us (including me) will discover some new blogs to love today!

The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $25, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, July 6, 2018 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.