Tag Archives: estate sales

“You’re a good shopper.”

3 Mar

Back out at the farm sale once again. Cows a-grazin'!


I could live here. It's really charming. And the house is in really good condition, with hardwood floors.


When I asked, "Have you any wool?" they got all Baaaaaa-y and ran.


A tight squeeze, but it worked! Thank goodness for sun roofs!!

Is it obsessive to visit the same estate sale all three days it’s open? Is it telling when you offer up identification at check out only to be told, “That’s okay. We have your info on ALL THE OTHER CHECKS you’ve written?!” What about “Where’s your pile today?!”

I did run into mom and daughter duo Mickey and Brandi (I really have no idea how to spell their names) from Austin’s Accumulations TWICE. In San Antonio. From Austin. Maybe I’m not the only one who is junk crazed! I even graciously offered up a great canvas feed bucket to Mickey, though I threatened to punch her if she ever resells it. She assured me she’d bequest it to me, which got a little morbid for my tastes. Anyway, it was Mickey who gave me the high junking compliment: “You’re a good shopper.”

And with the help of some really awesome men, everything got wedged into the 4-runner… though it may take the jaws of life to get it unloaded.


Spring break in Llano

23 Mar

Last week I finally visited my space in the lland far, far away…Llano.

There was beauty there — much of it in my mom’s front yard:


{Texas Mountain Laurel is in bloom. It fills the air with a scent reminiscent of grape kool aid.}

I revisited the photo above after a particularly dirty day in the world of estate sales. After picking through a couple of extra-crunchy boxes of who-knows-what yesterday, I realized that in any given week, I’m more likely than not to lay hands {accidentally, of course} on rodent droppings.

Are you still with me?

I know it’s against all etiquette standards to discuss poop, but in this business I run across a lot of their business, if you get my drift. 

Anyone else in the same boat?

What kind of lives are we leading?

We’re lucky we all haven’t succumbed by now. And what a sad world it would be without the contribution of junkers.

Okay. Now that I’ve gone all goth and discussed death in the same post as poop, I guess I owe you some more beauty:

{Mom’s church pew — in close-to-perfect condition. Six attached seats form the long and heavy pew.}

Come visit us at Whimseys in Llano and sit a spell, won’t you?

It’s nice this time of year.

My newest BFFs

22 Mar

She trusted me to price for her.

On my very first day, I priced. And so did the other newbie.

{Masking tape, a Sharpie and a pair of scissors are my new best friends.}

I was told to trust my instincts. I was told I couldn’t screw up. {That last bit of advice was extremely helpful.}

I asked the important questions: 1.What do we do about lunch? 2. What are you anal about? {Yes. Really. } 3.What do I do if I see something I want to purchase?

The day went by quickly. And my {self-diagnosed} adult-onset ADD kicked in only once, so I asked to go price the yard stuff.

That helped.

Today we finish pricing this sale. Tomorrow we start working on a different sale.  So far, setting up isn’t that different from setting up for one of my own garage sales, only 100 times more intense and much, much more massive.

And after two full days of pricing, I’ll probably be dreaming of sharpies, tape and scissors. Sounds kind of like a new game, doesn’t it? {sharpie writes on tape, tape binds scissors, and…oh, never mind.}

May your ink be plentiful, your scissors be just sharp enough and your tape stay tacky.

Like a backstage pass, only better

21 Mar

I’m excited.

I’ve waited a long time for someone to pop the question, but it finally happened:

I’ve been asked to help a friend with her estate sales. I’ll be working off and on for her through May. Starting today.

I feel like I’ve been given a VIP backstage pass … or even better — a paid vacation.

Today we’ll be pricing a sale that opens Friday. Tuesday we’ll begin working on another sale.

I have no idea how much this gig pays. {I was so excited, I didn’t think to ask.}

I have no idea if she allows early buying.  But since I’m sacrificing valuable junking time to work for her, I can’t help but think that she’ll be okay with me getting first dibs…

I usually buy the stuff everyone else passes over anyway, right?!

WooHoo… my lunch is packed… bring on the junk!

Wish me luck!

Pretty {old} pictures

14 Jan

So I decided NOT to be among the 200 or so junkers patiently awaiting  entry into an apartment estate sale yesterday. WRONG DECISION. 

When I arrived shortly after noon, there was no line. And there was hardly anything left. There were a few beautiful pieces of furniture remaining and a handful of smalls.  I had been told that everything in the sale was from the late 1800s and early 1900s — right down my alley. But I couldn’t be there early, so I waited.

AND YET… for some reason, there was some beautiful Victorian-era ephemera mysteriously left behind. FOR ME:  Victorian Christmas cards, the likes of which I’ve never seen in person. A German Bible from 1864. A tiny German book in mint condition from 1844.  Old postcards, calling cards {in German}, and quite a few photos. 

Just take a look at this:

All that writing, that teensy tiny writing… straight lines…fountain pen…dated 1903. Who could manage that? On a good day I can’t write like that. And the writing is so microscopic, I don’t think I could read it even if it were in English.

Here’s the flipside:

There’s something to be said for penmanship, for certain. 

I don’t know how many of the pieces I purchased yesterday will end up in the shop.  My mom visited today and took some of the photos with her. They’ll be in my far-away space. But I told her I wasn’t sure I could let them go…yet. But then I did.

When I die, my kids will probably be so confused, trying to decide which photos are old family photos and which ones “were just Mom’s obsessions.”

The higher the hat, the closer to Heaven?

Happy weekend…see you in Round Top Sunday?

Hide the evidence {please}.

13 Jan

So we’ve progressed from singing Jingle Bells  at estate sales to snapping photos of junkers, even when they’re looking a little … vintage:

Are all these crazy things happening because of the reality show rumor? Or is it just the friendly way of Texans?  And why didn’t I jump behind the tree with Mickey?  He’s one of my favorite flea market vendors, and you can only spot his shoe in this picture (borrowed without permission from Crystal’s Estate Sales’ FB page, by the way).

And honestly… chatting outside was more fun than shopping inside {mostly new stuff}. I did score a vintage dress, however, AND immediately updated my tall girl’s wardrobe. A woman, who happened to be shopping during the wardrobe change, told me the dress was what they used to call flocked nylon.  Pictures to follow at a later date…

Tomorrow, first thing: shower, makeup and clean clothes… just in case …

The story behind the junk

6 Jan

When I’m on the junking trail, I have a habit of asking for the back story on what I’m purchasing.  That’s how I found out that even though they came from Michigan, all the hockey skates I purchased at the fall show in Warrenton WERE NOT owned by Red Wings.  There are shoppers and dealers who roll their eyes when they see a novel written on a price tag, but I like knowing the full story.  I also like to pass on these stories to my customers. Sometimes I even share the entire story about where and how that item came to be in my shop space.

I was thinking about these things as I worked on a couple of pieces for the shop.  I know nothing about their history, but I like the stories behind their acquisition.

I bought this green garden chair a few weeks ago at an estate sale in my ‘hood:

The sale was right around the corner from my house. And while I had never been inside the house, I had helped the elderly woman who lived there with her mail a time or two. I was excited to be going to a sale in my ‘hood. I’m never the first in line at any sale.  And this specific estate sale company prices to sell the first day. So if you aren’t one of the first people inside, you miss out on almost everything.  My husband dropped by the house on his way to work and put my name on the list. I was number 19. As soon as I’d dropped off my son at school, I walked over to the house to get my number. What I got instead was a lecture.  “Some little bird told me that some of you are putting your names on this list and leaving,” said the woman running the sale. “If that’s the case, you can’t have your number. This will be the honor system. And if you weren’t here, and you take a number, someone will tell me.” Crap. What’s a girl to do? I didn’t know her stinkin’ rule because I’m never at her sales early. Plus…why have a list out early if you’re gonna make everyone stay for hours, waiting for the sale to start? When my number was called, I went up to her, took my number and told her that I hadn’t been there. That I lived right around the corner, and that I had kids that had to be taken to school. I told her this was my only chance to be at one of her sales early. She wasn’t happy, but she didn’t grab my number out of my hand.

I found quite a few good things at that sale and had to return the next day to pick up the furniture I had purchase. While there, I spotted the green iron garden chair. It was tethered by some sort of root system. {I couldn’t tell if it was a theft deterrent or if the plant was just out of control.} A really nice man helped me free the chair. There was no back on the chair, but I still thought the price was good for half a chair. I could picture it on someone’s porch or in a garden with a potted plant in its lap.  But then I spotted the back of the chair, buried in the overgrown garden.  Sure. I can put it back together!  Well… I ended up wiring on the back. I still think it’s cute. And at the bargain price of $26, its new owner can have it welded if they choose.

My second project of the day involved a framed mirror. The mirror was broken, so the owner had covered it with a doily to mask the cracks.  I intended to take the mirror out of the frame, paint the frame and sell it.

Taking it apart was a bit more difficult than I imagined. I had to break the mirror to get it out.  But breaking a pre-broken mirror shouldn’t carry any bad luck, right?

And finally…while I was dropping off the garden chair at the shop, I got a tip about a potential curbside grab. I was short on time. If I tried to find the house, I’d be late picking up my son from school. So instead, I drove across town to get him, bribed him with a milkshake (large), then drove back across town to cruise the ‘hood, looking for “cute” chairs. I found the pile. I was unimpressed with the chairs, but I did grab this:

I had left my door open the whole time and was using my 13-year-old son as a junk sounding board. “What do you think?”  “I think this is weird,” he said. “Are you embarrassed?” “Kind of. I just think it’s weird that you’re taking someone’s trash.” But mostly I think he was concerned, as was I, with the next-door neighbor who, while disassembling a bike, was making really huge gestures to some invisible friend. We didn’t linger.

The end. All in a day’s {and DAY’s} work!  Want to join me next time? I’d prefer a buddy who likes to make a curbside grab when it presents itself! And it’s always fun to have a friend with whom you share your junking adventures. Maybe that’s why I’m telling you about my day here. To loosely quote Say Anything: “It always feels so good to tell you things. If I didn’t, it would almost be like it never happened.”