a carriage house flashback.

As it’s starting to feel like spring might be just around the corner … well, maybe not this week, but soon … I have been thinking about yard sales.  Are we going to be able to have any this year?  How long before people feel like they can be out and about, mingling with other shoppers again?  I suffer through garage sale withdrawal every winter, but usually about now I’m planning which spring neighborhood sales I’m going to make it to this year.

I guess we just have to accept the uncertainty for now, not knowing when we’ll be able to get our yard sale fix.

In the meantime, I thought we could all take a walk down memory lane and visit some of my previous Carriage House sales.

If you’re a little bit new to my blog, you may not be familiar with my former sales.  Up until 2016 my friend/co-worker/picker/garage sale mentor Sue and I used to hold occasional sales out of my carriage house.

I started keeping records in 2002, but we started the sales even earlier than that.  Originally it was nothing more than a slightly upscale garage sale.  But over time it grew bigger and better.

Usually we did a spring sale and a fall sale, but some years we just had one sale.

One thing I did find with this style of sale is that the furniture didn’t sell terribly well.  Furniture doesn’t tend to be an impulse buy, something you can purchase on a whim and know you’ll find a spot for.

We had much better luck selling the smaller items.

Genuine vintage items were always a hit …

including vintage linens.

Plus, the linens were always fun to display …

We even sold the occasional vintage handbag or dress.

Our final sale was chock full of amazing stuff.

We often had a table of baked goods at the sale.

In case you’re wondering, no, I was never the baker.  We had various bakers over the years.

At the fall sale we always had a section of vintage Christmas items.  They were rather hit or miss.  People aren’t usually thinking ahead to Christmas quite yet in late September.

One of the biggest problems with the sale was that we had really outgrown the carriage house.  As a result, a lot of our merchandise had to be displayed out in the driveway.  That tended to be a problem when it rained.

The weather was always unpredictable.  Sometimes it was ridiculously hot and humid for our June sale, and then freezing cold for our fall sale.  One year the severe weather sirens sounded just after we opened our doors.  You might think that no one would show up in that kind of weather, but on the contrary, it was one of our best years in terms of gross sales.  We just tried our best to stay dry under some tents and hoped nothing would get ruined.

As much fun as it was hosting the Carriage House Sale, it was also quite a lot of work.  The space where the sale was held is also my workshop.  In order to hold the sale I would have to completely empty out my workshop, set up the sale, hold the sale, dismantle the sale, then re-set up my workshop.  In the end, I just felt it wasn’t the most efficient way to handle things.  So I shopped around to find a place to sell my items on consignment and that’s when I ended up at Reclaiming Beautiful.

So the Carriage House sale became a thing of the past.  I’m still grateful for all of the people who came to our sales though!

You never know, some day I may bring the sales back again.  But probably not while I’m still working full time at the day job.

How about you?  Are you a garage sale fan, wondering when we’re going to be able to get out there and hit the sales without having to wear masks or worry about staying 6′ away from each other?

P.S.  Many thanks to those of you who left comments on my ‘social distancing glasses‘ post last week.  I took the advice that many of you gave and went back to my eye doctor.  Turns out the glasses were two degrees weaker than they were supposed to be.  That sure explains why the whole world felt out of focus to me … well, that plus this whole pandemic thing.  While I can’t do much about the pandemic, except stay home and try not to breath on people, I can get the glasses fixed.  So they have gone back to the lab to be re-made and hopefully they’ll work better when I get them back 🙂

thank you.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out for the Carriage House Sale!


After a chilly and slightly cloudy start, we ended up having a beautiful sunny fall sale day.

It was one of our best sales ever in fact!

The bake goods were not as big of a hit as we had hoped however.  In the end, almost all of them sold but they had a slow start.  It helped that a friend stopped by and purchased all of the rice krispie bars for a pot luck he was headed to next (thanks Jay!)


After doing the math, the profit that my sister and niece made was hardly worth all of the time they put into these.  They haven’t decided for sure, but it’s likely we won’t offer baked goods again in the future.

I remembered to get a few photos during the set up to share with those of you who couldn’t be here.  OK, ‘a few’ isn’t really accurate.  I took A LOT of photos.  So I’m just going to share my favorites with limited commentary and hope I’m not completely boring you in the process.

Here’s ‘bay no. 1’ …






On the other side of the Carriage House, in ‘Bay no. 2’ we had a little more color.


The blue suitcases are all gone.


Vintage trucks were a hot commodity.  I had 4 of them and they all sold, along with all of the old books.


I think the cold weather helped bring out the Christmas spirit.  Much of our holiday stuff sold.


I still have the typewriter even though it was priced to sell at $18.  Perhaps a typewriter isn’t typically thought of as a Christmas decoration, but wouldn’t it be darling sitting on your sideboard with a typed note to Santa?  If anyone local is in the market for a brick red vintage typewriter, leave me a comment.

Pink however was not on the radar this time around.  Although the pink vanity itself sold, most of the pretty china on it did not sell.  I’m beginning to realize that I might be the only person left who can’t help being drawn to pretty floral china.


We had some outdoor vignettes set up as well.




Several people took advantage of the opportunity to stock up on ‘horrible hemlock’ and ‘witches potions’ …


I have a few hundred more photos, but I have to stop now before you all fall asleep on me.

But before I let you go, I want to send out a huge thank you to all of my ‘staff’.  I couldn’t pull this off without Sue, Cathy, Brian, Debbie, Kris, nnK, Judy and of course Mr. Q!  And behind the scenes, my handyman Ken who refuses to make an appearance at the sale itself for fear he’ll be recognized and mobbed by his fan club 😉

tips for shopping the Carriage House Sale.

I’m so excited that the Carriage House Sale is tomorrow!

Here are the important details:

When:  Saturday, Oct 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Please note we take cash only for purchases under $100, and cash or credit cards for purchases over $100 (no checks!).

I’m doing a little happy dance because although it’s going to be chilly, it’s not supposed to rain!

For those of you who have never been to the Carriage House Sale and are planning to come, you need to know that people start lining up before 9.  We’ll have the baked goods table accessible outside of the roped off sale area, so if you’d like some banana bread to nosh on while you wait you can purchase that ahead of the ribbon cutting.


At precisely 9 a.m. we’ll cut the ribbon across the driveway and let everyone in.  It will likely be a little crazy for the next hour or so.

We provide a pile of empty boxes which people grab and then fill up.  The boxes run out fairly early though, so if you happen to have a box handy bring it along.  You might even go ahead and put your name on it.

We also provide a holding area on the lawn near the photo cottage.  Sue is in charge of the holding area.  Placing something in the holding area is your commitment to purchase it.  Sue will guard it for you with her life and try her best not to let anyone else snatch it out from under you.  But we also hope that you won’t ‘hold’ a pile of stuff and then put half of it back later.  That seriously limits our chances of selling those items to someone else.

If you want to purchase a heavier piece of furniture (one that can’t be moved to the holding area) feel free to take the price tag, thus signifying that you are purchasing it.  If you want to purchase a smaller but still bulky item, like a chair or small table, ask someone with a name tag to put it in the holding area for you.  I’ll have several people mingling about just for this purpose and all of our ‘staff’ will have name tags on.

This year the left side (as you are facing it) of the Carriage House is all black, grey, white, silver and gold items.  Looking for a gold framed chalkboard?

gold frames

Or the French Wheat hutch, a white chippy chair or window?


These items will be on the left side (or Bay 1 as Mr. Q likes to call it).

The right side as you are facing it (or Bay 2) has all of the more colorful pieces, including those vintage Christmas items I posted yesterday.


There are also some adorable kid items in Bay 2 like the toy high chair (Paris, this one’s for you) …


We’ll have a garden section outside near the big rock beside the driveway.  If you happen to be looking for a darling white toy truck (hint, hint, Amy) it will be over there.

Check out the ‘laundry room’ area filled with vintage linens which will also be alongside the driveway.


If you hate crowds and lines and chaos in general, consider coming to the sale a little later in the morning, say around 11.  The crowds will have come and gone and there will still be some great stuff left.  Definitely not as much great stuff, but certainly still some awesome things.  It will be easier to look around at your leisure and see everything we have left.  We always feel like some of our best items get overlooked in the early morning rush just because of the chaos, and then there are also those items that were ‘on hold’ and then put back on the shelf.

We try to keep the checkout lines moving, but it’s a challenge during the busiest 30 minutes of the sale.  We will have two lines side by side.  Your cashiers will be nnK and my sister Debbie, with packing provided by nnK’s mom Judy and my niece Kris.  Be sure to say hello to them!  As I mentioned, we take CASH ONLY for purchases under $100, but you can use a credit card for totals over $100.  The credit card thing tends to slow down the line.  This is totally my fault because I’m not good with techie stuff, so please be patient!

Hope you can make it to the sale!

And for those of you who aren’t local, not to worry, all of this craziness will soon be behind us and we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming here on the blog so be sure to stay tuned!


happy festivus.

I know October is a little early for Christmas decorations.  And I’m the first one to complain when the retail shops start setting up their holiday displays in October.  But when you only have one sale a year and it’s in October … well, you have to cover all of your bases.

And we just happen to have a pretty healthy selection of vintage Christmas at this year’s Carriage House Sale.

Have you admired my tree full of vintage ornaments in the past?


Well, now is your chance to start your own ‘non-collection’ of ornaments, these are only $1 each.


Even if you don’t want a tree full of vintage, how about just a few boxes stacked up somewhere for $4 to $8 for the entire box.


Some of the boxes are adorable in their own right.


How about displaying a big glass jar full of ornaments on your kitchen counter.  You can go with more subdued pastel colors rather than the traditional red and green.


(Sidebar:  can I just point out those delicious blurred colors in the background of my photo?  That’s a combination of my Tiger Eye sumac and my Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea.  We have just really started to get our fall colors here in the Twin Cities within the last few days.)

Maybe add a darling red gingham tray with a festive message leaning on your kitchen back-splash.


We have several vintage sleds on hand, these are perfect to display on your porch with some greens added, or maybe a pair of old ice skates.  I’ve added some festive stencils that I recently purchased on Etsy to a couple of them as well …


I may end up deciding I need to keep one of these for myself!

Don’t forget about plates with winter messages …


I’ll be adding one of these to my dining room Welsh cupboard for sure.

And Sue’s darling Christmas stockings …


Yep, it’s a little early, but Christmas will be here before we know it and you’re gonna want to be ready.  Let us help you with that at the Carriage House Sale!

the baked goods table.

Remember the green table I purchased a couple of weeks ago?


Pretty much everyone who commented voted for leaving the legs green.

You all spoke and I listened (not necessarily always the case, but this time it was).  But I did strip the ugly reddish stain off the top.  Once that was done I let my sister take over.  She sanded down the top and then she and I both stood back and studied the table.  We were in agreement to just add clear wax and keep the top rustic and pale.


Debbie also waxed the green legs just to clean them up a bit and give them a little protection from the elements.

I’ve decided that this table is the perfect size to use as the baked goods stand at our sale this weekend.  This year Debbie and Kris (my niece) are baking up a bunch of delicious fall goodies to sell.

I pulled the table out to do a dry run of how we’ll set it up on Saturday.


Of course it will be loaded with baked goods instead of these other things, but it was fun to play around with it some.

I’ll use my favorite wood crates to add height and display space.


I tucked a few things under the table for the photo, but they work so well with the green legs I may just have to display them this way for the sale too.


Some of these items on top of the table were just to fill in space for now, these spots will be filled with delicious baked goods by Saturday.


For now I’ll be hanging onto the green legged table, just because it’s such a convenient size.  I’m debating adding some casters to it so I can move it around more easily.  It would make a great work surface in my workshop.  Then again, things rarely hang around forever at my house!

laundry day.

Do you have a designated laundry day at your house?  Or do you constantly do laundry all week long?  As much as I hate to admit it, I am a creature of habit.  I almost always do my laundry on Sunday.  Especially in warmer weather when I can hang things on the line to dry.

Last Sunday was no exception, but this time I added in a load of vintage linens that were being prepped for the Carriage House Sale.  I like to soak my linens overnight in Oxyclean and then wash them on the delicate cycle.  I hang them on a bright and sunny day and leave them on the line all day.  Sunshine is a natural white brightener!


We’ve got a load of pretty linens this year for the sale, but please do not steal any of them!


I am a big fan of embroidered dish towels.  My mom used to make sets of these with the days of the week.  I like to use them, not just set them about for display.


Sue has been busy stitching up some fun things like these darling Christmas stockings made from an old tablecloth.  She’s only charging $6 each for these, I bet they will get snatched up in no time!


She also used embroidered table runners to dress up some pillows.


Isn’t the embroidery on these sweet?  I am always drawn to anything with bluebirds!


We also have some colorful 40’s tablecloths.  This one has definite ‘farmhouse’ appeal …


Funny, but the colors in it are very similar to the new line of Fusion paint colors.  I see Mustard, Cranberry and Bayberry.

And this sweet chenille baby blanket is totally adorable.


Prefer more earthy tones?  Maybe these are more your style …


All of these fabulous linens and more will be available on Saturday!  Will we see you there?

hello fall.


There really aren’t any great ‘sayings’ for fall.  It’s not like Christmas, which has a bazillion; ‘be merry’, ‘peace on earth’, ‘let it snow’, blah, blah, blah.  I’ve seen ‘happy fall y’all’, which is so not me.  Let’s face it, a Minnesotan can’t really pull off y’all.

But the simplicity of ‘hello fall’ really appeals to me.  I can get behind that one.

So much so that it has inadvertently become the theme for our upcoming Carriage House Sale!

It started with a simple chalkboard …


Then came some toolboxes.


The reddish-orange one is one that I chose to leave in its original color.  I thought it would work nicely with some fall mums.


The second toolbox is painted in another of Fusion’s new colors, Mustard, the perfect color for fall.  I have to warn you, this one might not make it all the way to the sale.  My co-worker Jodie has been eyeing it up so I’m pretty sure she’ll be nabbing this one from me.


I added the wording to the toolboxes using my Cricut machine and some adhesive vinyl.  I love how it turned out!

So then I had to add some ‘hello fall’ messages to old plates.


It was a no brainer to spell out ‘hello fall’ in vintage blocks.


Finally, I threw together a couple of ‘hello fall’ book page banners.


So, in other words, we are going to be more than ready to say hello to fall at the Carriage House Sale on Saturday!

small projects.

small projects

I’m starting to gear up for my fall sale.  That means I am focusing a little bit more on finishing up some small projects rather than just working on furniture.  These are the sorts of items that sell well at the Carriage House Sale.

I thought I’d share a few of them with you today starting with this little stool.  It’s obvious that this little stool had been painted at some point in its life.

stool stripped

Although the top of the seat had been completely stripped, there were patches of paint still clinging for dear life to the legs and bottom of the seat.  I’m always a little sad when I see things like this because I know I would have loved the patina of the original old paint.

I decided not to cover up those legs, but to try and replicate the paint layers on the seat.  I wasn’t quite as successful as I hoped, so in the end I added a stencil to give it a little more personality.

farmers market stool

I’m glad I left the legs alone though.

stool leg closeup

I also painted this little stool at the same time, since I had some MMS Luckett’s Green already mixed up.

lucketts green stool

I worked on a couple of wooden totes too.  My sister and I each bought a few of these at a garage sale earlier this summer and we are dressing them up a bit for my sale.

This one got a paint job in MMS Flow Blue, followed by a stencil.

farmers market tote

And this one got the French Market stencil, and I’m using it to create a Paris themed gift basket.

french market basket

I added some stencils to the cute little ice cream parlor chairs that I picked up at MacGrove.

ice cream stools stenciled

And I also doctored up this little stool that I bought at MacGrove.

macgrove stool before

A little Prizewinner paint and a new faux grain sack upholstery job did wonders for it.

blue stool 2

So as you can see I have been busy, busy, busy in my workshop.

How about you?  Got any small projects that you’ve been able to cross off your list?

throwback thursday no. 3

There are a few of you locals out there who have been coming to my occasional sales for years.  My friend Sue and I started hosting sales a long time ago.  Funny enough, neither of us really remembers how long we’ve been doing them.  I know it’s been more than 15 years.  We started out with just a very small ‘garage sale’.  Sue always had the most amazing stuff and rock bottom prices.  I just did my best to keep up with Sue.  Eventually our reputation started to grow.  In the early days we had an actual mailing list and would send out flyers via snail mail!  Imagine that!

2012 sale 1

Over time we gave our sale a name, the Carriage House sale, and we added an email notification list.  We experimented with adding various other partners, but somehow we always ended up back with just the two of us.

In recent years Sue and I have had so much inventory just between the two of us that we didn’t have room to add any more vendors!

2013 summer sale 1

At one point we had as many as three sales a year, then we scaled back to one, then we added one back and had two per year for a while.  We even had a Christmas sale a few years back.

xmas sale 1

For goodness sakes, why in the world did I part with this green scale?

xmas sale 4 Anyway, that sale was kind of a bust, so we never tried that again.

xmas sale 2

One problem with hosting a sale at my Carriage House is that there just isn’t enough space inside for all of the inventory, plus the shoppers, plus a check out area.  Obviously some stuff is going to be outside, including us.  That’s not a problem when it’s a beautiful sunny day.

2013 summer sale 3

But many of our customers still talk about the year that the tornado sirens went off and the sky unleashed a torrent of rain just as we were opening our doors.  Our flimsy tents helped a little, but when rain is coming down sideways things are bound to get wet.  It didn’t seem to discourage any of the shoppers, but some of the help (nnK in particular) were a little freaked out.

We’ve always had lots of great vintage stuff in our inventory.

2009 sale 1

vintage silver

super lectric fan

2014 Fall Carriage House Sale preview

And plenty of pretty china, although that doesn’t sell nearly as well anymore as it once did.

2013 summer sale 5

I ended up selling all of those pieces in a basket for some ridiculously low price.  I kind of wish I had kept a couple of those pretty tea cups now.

In addition to fun vintage pieces, both Sue and I also like to take cheap garage sale finds and add our own touches to them.

2012 sale 2

carriage house cutting board

Sue is also a very talented seamstress.  She made these pillow covers using an embroidered table runner (dresser scarf?)

pillows in a basket

Of course, I’ve always done furniture for the sale.

2013 summer sale 6

CH4 Summer 2014

And Sue does the occasional piece of furniture as well.

carriage house sues chairs

sue's settee 1

But sadly, historically furniture does not sell well (although Sue’s darling chairs did sell quickly). I generally end up having to put most of my furniture on craigslist after the sale is over.

We’ve always had a size-able garden section at our June sale.
CH5 Summer 2014

vintage sale

Both Sue and I are gardeners, and we often dig up and divide our own perennials before the sale.

CH11 Summer 2014

Last year we only had the June sale.  I found that after working a full time job, refurbishing vintage furniture and writing a blog, something has to give.  And after that June sale I was pretty burnt out.  I needed a break, so we decided not to have a fall sale last year.

Now this year, here it is the middle of April already and I don’t have any inventory accumulated for a June sale.  I have been focusing more on furniture rather than the small pieces that sell well at the Carriage House sale.  So, there will be no June sale.  We’re thinking about a fall sale though.  Maybe in the last half of September.  That gives us all summer to find and refurbish some amazing stuff.  My sister has agreed to be my garage sale wing man this summer and we’re already penciling in the neighborhood sales that we don’t want to miss.

In the meantime, I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane for throwback thursday.  In case you are wondering, yes, every single photo used in this post is from one of our previous sales and shows items that we did indeed sell (including that vintage green scale!)

thank you