25 October 2015

A LITTLE JAUNT TO THE END OF THE EARTH

German tea set

Yesterday we took a joy ride.  Having been pretty sick and housebound all week, I was feeling quite a lot better, so I checked estatesales.net to see what was going on in our area.  I found one  sale that had incredible stuff, but it looked like an antiques shop, not someone's house.  Curious -- so we decided to go.


Assorted silver and cut crystal





Thank God for Steve Jobs and his iPhone!  We would NEVER have found this place without it.  The sale was listed as being Montevallo, which is a little college town outside of Birmingham, and is, in fact, where my late cousin with the pretty red and white kitchen you all loved, lived for the last 30 or 35 years of her life. However, I had no earthly idea of all the isolated rural areas around there, having just always thought of it as that nice little college town south of Birmingham.





Let me tell you, there are some very remote areas around here when you get outta town!  Once out of Montevallo, we saw mostly mobile homes, many of them dilapidated, their yards covered up in junk, on these roads where one county road turned off the next and the next and the one after that.  An alternate route (which turned out to be a red dirt road!) was shown on the phone, which I was very glad we didn't take, although we did see where it came back into one of the "main" roads on the way home.  I think we might have needed an ATV for that one!


Wouldn't these be fabulous with the frames painted bright red, green, blue, yellow, turquoise -- any very bright color in a high gloss?



Really pretty little birds-eye maple chest

Gorgeous carved Chippendale style mirror


Aren't these little guys cute?
I was tempted, but I kept my eyes on the prize!

This Baker secretary was a dream!

We passed several Fall Festivals with crudely hand-lettered signs  at tiny country churches and schools, little kids in their Halloween costumes lined up for various activities.  Many people along the way were having yard sales, but they weren't anything I would have stopped for. What struck me most was that the whole area looked like the folks who lived there had just given up on life. 
Those fuchsia plates - divine!

This gorgeous LaBarge mirror almost gave me cardiac arrest --
lust, craving, all those wanton things!

When at last we made the turnoff which the iPhone indicated was our destination, eventually we saw a couple of nicer doublewides down a graveled lane, one with a sign indicating that it was for sale by owner, but no one was about.  Was this it?  Uncertain, we started to u-turn it, but then I saw a very small sign that said "Garage Sale" up ahead at a curve in the lane that went up and over a hill.  Gamely, we kept on going, telling each other, "This is quite an adventure!"  


This was one of the pieces I had on my list to see.  It was VERY large --
and very gorgeous!  19th C. French.


A vista with a lake, a big house, some outbuildings and an antiques STORE(!) spread out before our eyes as if unfolding on an HD widescreen, all of it wooded and hilly, very, very pretty.  All the broken down trailers and shacks and downtrodden looking people we had passed on the way for the last 45 minutes gave no indication that we were going to arrive at this!


loved this mirror!


I had looked at the photos on the web-site the day before, and I saw all these fine things you have been looking at, plus many, many more.  I was pretty sure we were being lured into some kind of a trap, or maybe it was a joke, but  just possibly, it was really there?  When I finally saw the place, I had to laugh at the absolute absurdity of it all.  Were we in a Fellini movie? 






We parked and went in, and there were two women, both with "Yankee" accents, obviously not from the South, and they informed me that "he was wheeling and dealing -- make any reasonable offer."  I wondered who he was, and after we had been there a while, he eventually turned up and reiterated that deals were indeed possible.  The man was absolutely enormous, and he sounded like a Yankee, too.  I thought, could this get any weirder?


hand-painted box

French chandelier

Isn't this Havilland Limoges chocolate set sweet?

All three were very nice and chatty.   Several other couples drifted in and quickly out, evidently finding the inventory too rich for their pocketbooks or taste.  We continued to study the wares.  I had immediately zeroed in on several items I was interested in to begin with, the reason for seeking out the sale, but I played it cool.  I knew I would not pay the ticketed price on any of it, so I was going to see if and how much he would deal, sooner or later.  


marble top French plant stand



signed original Louis Icart pencil etching from the 1920s

I found out that he is indeed a dealer, has exhibited for years at the Scott's Antique Market near Atlanta once a month, and he is going to do maybe one more show there, and then consign his remaining inventory to a big antiques store in Mobile.  So if you are down that way, keep your eyes peeled! 



We got down to business, and I made a deal which was agreeable to both of us.  I bought this 19th Century English Mappin & Webb silver meat dome and platter.  I have wanted one for a long time, but never have run across one that suited me.  They were always too large, too expensive or too damaged.  This one was just right!  I figured it had been waiting for me all along -- I just had no idea the process of finding it was going to be so interesting.




If you are interested in contacting this dealer about any of these items (except for what I bought of course), I might be able to locate his phone number for you.  







21 October 2015

A WONDERFUL GIFT

My little Boho breakfast nook

You read it all the time -- what a wonderful group of people bloggers are.  It's so true!  I made the virtual acquaintance of Rita at Panoply around the time she began her blog.  I am in awe of all she has accomplished and all she does.  She was a ballerina, raised two daughters, earned an MBA, retired from her career as an accountant, and runs an antiques business with two of her sisters.  She is a gardener extraordinaire, with a garden space that looks like a miniature botanical garden in it's complexity.  She collects very interesting things.  (She also looks great in a swimsuit, but I try not to spite her for that.)  She writes posts about her daredevil adventures which practically make me wet my britches when I read them, although I am all the while envying her chutzpah.  Go look at  some of her posts where she is way up there in the bridge girders over some impossibly high river gorge, or the one where she is zip-lining, or mountain-climbing or long-distance hiking or deep-sea diving.  I could go on.  



She is also one of the sweetest and funniest people I have met in the blogging experience.  We have traded many emails, getting to know each other.  When I got an iPhone last year (finally!) for my birthday, she sent me a stylus when I complained about the tiny keyboard.  I mentioned I wanted a vintage tablecloth which reminded me of the ones I ironed when I was a child.  That is what my mother started teaching me to iron with:  the small kitchen tablecloths.  Then came the pillowcases, but I digress.



Today, feeling so flattened by that pesky cold that I came down with during our ill-fated go at a flea market last weekend, my spirits lifted enormously when my husband brought in a little package when he collected the mail.  I thought, what? -- I haven't ordered anything recently -- and when I looked at the return address, I remembered!  Rita had said she would send me a vintage tablecloth, because she had some in her antiques shop inventory.  


First I tried the red dishes and a plain tea glass

The Fiesta flatware is perfect!
I did it the way I was taught as a child.

I love it!  The design is somewhat different from any I have ever seen, except for the very graphic style fruit, but that is what makes it unique.  The multi-colored stripe border is repeated in a center square, which when laid out on a table is reminiscent of a god's eye.  Remember those?  Lots of people made them back in the 70s out of yarn and sticks.  Very boho!  Of course, this cloth is probably more like what I remember from long before that.
Then I tried the yellow with the lemonade glasses




Included in the box was a little bunch of lavender tied up in a vintage lace handkerchief, so sweet, accompanied by a lovely note.  I am keeping the note private because I was very moved by it.  The lavender went in my closet to keep it sweet and remind me of my friend.  

Then I tried the green Fiesta

Of course, I had to put the cloth on the table right away, and I tried it out as you see with different casual dishes, as this would have been an "everyday" tablecloth.  I did not do elaborate "tablescapes" as we did all the time a few years ago on the blogs.  What I did was think back to how I was taught to set the table for everyday when I was a little girl, since that was one of my little jobs.  We used a knife, fork and spoon, the fork resting on the napkin. The glass went at the top of the knife, just to the inside between the plate and the tip of the knife.  The knife blade always faces the plate!  (Shame on you Ballard Designs -- in your new catalog, you have the blade facing the wrong way in some of your fancy tablescapes.)  


I think the Mexican dishes and glasses are great with it!

When I was a little girl, no one ever stacked plates up to the sky or layered linens, or used napkin rings, and honestly, it was a very long time before I ever even heard of a charger.  Salads were usually served right on the dinner plate alongside the rest of the meal.  Dessert (if there was one other than a piece of fruit or a cookie) was served separately along with it's fork when it was time.  Life was so much simpler then, with candles used for only the fanciest "suppers" for the grown-ups, and they wouldn't have been on a table like this anyway. (Sounds like Hyacinth Bucket, doesn't it -- "Candlelight Suppers"?) That would have been when the boss or the preacher and his wife were visiting, with Grandma's  starched damask cloth on the table and when the Sunday dishes came out of the china closet. 


Last, I tried some very old plates, "Blue Calico" Burleighware.
So far, I like everything I popped down.
I am sure I will get more creative with this cloth as I go along.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, and a look at how we used to set a table way back when.

And the greatest gift?  The friendship with another blogger, although the tablecloth and the lavender in a hankie is very nice, too.











19 October 2015

THE SALE

Sweet Husband anticipating the huge crowds!


Just after we got set up.  Our space ends where the rolling rack of clothes hangs.

Some old dude parked his SUV right next to our space (!), and he read a book, snoozed, checked his iPhone and ate while his meek little wife tried very hard to sell their junk.  She said their daughter was in the Peace Corps and they needed their space to store her things.

That horizontal line right behind the rug denotes the beginning of another seller's space.

In that area right behind us, the cutest little Asian firecracker you ever saw had her junk set up.  She bought the Mr. and Mrs. Santa couple who light up and dance before the sale even opened!  She then announced, "My husband gonna shoot my ass when I get home!  He say 'You already got six Santa, what you want with more??'"  She kept up a running tally of how much she had spent, how much she had sold.  At one point, she announced, "I spend 160 dollar, and I have sold 13 dollar!"  She decamped around 11 a.m., declaring "this the worst sale evah!"  She made my morning.




Some guy actually bought the ankle brace (atop the potty chair), but none of the other of  Ma's geriatric items sold.

The clothes rack got a fair number of looky-loos.  I did sell some for about 1/2 of what they were priced, the rest I donated.


One woman got highly P.O.'d because I wouldn't take her $100 bill for a Michael Kors top priced at $1.50!  I actually had two people try to give me a $100 bill for a purchase of about that amount -- the first one before the blooming sale even opened!!!  People, please -- you just don't do that! (I know that you, my wonderful blog readers, would never be so tacky!)  The woman next to me seriously chastised her when she tried the same trick over there, and the shopping woman whined, "Well, I am a customer after all..."  Yeah, possibly, but where is your common sense, dear?  No one has that kind of change right out of the starting gate at a sale like this, and you are being nothing but a damn nuisance if you are an "early bird" anyway while the seller is trying to set up!  Get a clue!



This area toward the East was across from us, and all of it was colossal piles of junk that had been donated to the KofC fellas.  Those "Fred Sanford" piles were the most popular things in the sale.  (Most Important Lesson #1 -- cheap crap not merchandised at all apparently sells)

Neither of us were feeling terribly well, due to lack of sleep, exhaustion, the ungodly hour we had to be there to set up, and some kind of a bug/virus/flu which had  descended upon us a few days before.  I had fought valiantly for three days prior, popping all kinds of stale anti-biotics past their expiration date, determined to honor my commitment.  

This was looking toward the west past the center section where we were.  These folks were obviously pros.  They had tents, racks, extra tables, shelves -- all manner of display apparatuses (or is it apparatae?) which we did not have.  I don't know how they racked up at the end -- didn't ask.

This is the view South toward the church from our space in the middle section.


This was mid-morning after I rearranged some things.  I did this several times, consolidating to the front things which I noticed were getting handled and looked at but not bought.

A lot of these old florals sold to my great surprise.  I let them go at 2 bushes for a $1.
I was going to get rid of all this anyway, so why not?

I put out these two large red hurricanes.  They were probably the most looked-at, talked-about and touched item I brought.  In the end, no one bought them, even at 2 for $3.  If I said it once, I said it a hundred times when the question "What do you do with them?" was posed, I always replied, "I put in fake snow and red candles and set them on the porch at Christmas."
I can't tell you how many jokes I heard to the effect that "I need that for a brandy snifter!"  I quit finding it funny after a couple of hours...



In desperation, I started putting wreaths on unlikely objects, trying to attract attention to them.

Quite a lot of Christmas items sold, but others did not.  I sold the two little red chairs and the Santa train but not the snowmen or the tree.  Other Christmas things were gone by the time I was taking photos.  Christmas junk was definitely the hot category here.

In that tin on the table, I had homemade blondies with chocolate chips and brownies with chocolate chips. Only one child took one cookie!

The husband ate a few, though, because I thought he needed to sweeten up his disposition a teensy bit.  He was getting a little cranky.

Even the wreath couldn't make this "equipment" more appealing...

And so here we are, closing up shop. They told us to box or bag anything we were leaving for donations. We left a boat-load.  A lot of other people did, too.  I would really have hated being the one to have to deal with this mess.  I hope it doesn't wind up in a landfill.  I think my altruistic bubble has burst, though.

At the end, there were still a few people pawing through the remainders, including some obviously very recent immigrants.  I told them to take whatever they wanted, because I was donating it anyway.  Their little kids had fun poking through and finding things that delighted them, so I didn't care.   

This is the first sale I ever had where the rug didn't sell.
Rugs always sell!  I did have one  looker, but she was afraid that one little dirty place wouldn't come out. I was only asking $40 for a Karastan rug in otherwise good condition, but I guess she decided to pass because she didn't come back.  Neither did the "photographer" who was interested in the Victorian chair for a "field prop" -- some people are just full of baloney, ya know?

The few items I brought back home included that big white basket which I occasionally still use, the set of white vintage pottery Barn dishes, the Victorian chair, the rose prints, the little snowmen, our breakdown round tables, of course, and my mother's old state plates.  Naturally we kept our sawhorses and folding chairs, too, just in case we are dumb enough to do this again sometime.  


But --  would I do this again?  Hell, no! I could have put all this crap out in the driveway and had someone pick it up, and we would have worked maybe one day.  We worked for two solid weeks, cleaning, sorting, pricing, planning, etc.    Wanna know the gory monetary details??  Get out your crying towel, you are gonna need it.  Keep in mind that the upside is -- we have more room in the attic.

The turnout was extremely disappointing to say the least.  Several people who stopped by said that unfortunately there were about 35 events like this around Birmingham Saturday, including various Fall festivals, etc., so I guess this explains the extremely light traffic.  Turnout was very, very disappointing.  The veterans were all complaining that this was the worst turnout ever.   

On top of being almost sick,  first thing after we got there, I whacked myself in the left eyeball with a lamp plug that flew at me from out of nowhere, and my eye watered for quite a while, making it a little hard to see clearly.  Thanks for letting me whine a little...  I am such a baby sometimes.

Here is long-awaited (and thank you for your patience) financial breakdown of our big day:

I started with a little “bank” of $60 in small bills.  The first customer offered me a $100 bill for a $1 purchase.  At the end of the day (noon) when I tallied up and took out that $60 bank, I had $70 over that.  I then had to give the KofC 25%, so that was $17 (I guess I shorted them 50 cents, just slap me silly), and then I took out the $30 the van cost to rent overnight, so I was left with $23.  Then there was the $6 I had spent on tags and stickers. So $17 was the GRAND PROFIT we made for two weeks of back-breaking work.  Never again!  It was all stuff I would have donated anyway, and this whole thing was for the birds, that heavenly light notwithstanding!  Please remember that we are in front of a church here, people, so I am not being sacrilegious.  









About that hat -- this hat from Target a few years ago was originally hot pink.  You may remember that it hung on my back porch in a decorative capacity for a while.  When I decided it looked tired, I took it into the garage and tossed it up on a hook and forgot about it.  When I was looking for something to shade my delicate fair complexion for this sale, my eyes fell upon it, and the wheels began to turn.  I looked in my spray paint cabinet, located the Design Master shelf, and found a can of 'Tangerine' which may or may not be discontinued, I don't know.  I brushed out the cobwebs with the whiskbroom out in the back yard, and then sprayed away.  I found an old favorite pin from my friend Terri and a ribbon from god only knows where.  This is what I came up with, and it got a lot of comments, all positive that I heard.  At least my face was not sunburned.  Sweet Husband has a red line in the middle of his forehead thanks to his funky little do-rag.  Haha!  I told him he should have worn a hat.





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