Friday, November 22, 2013

Restocking the Booth

I made it out to the booth today.  I admit, it had been a little too long between visits but with the SUV in the shop for over a week and then my sprained ankle, it was just a little bit difficult to get out there. I knew I had to go soon, because of the coming Holidays and I had put aside quite a bit of merchandise just for this time of year.
A sort of "Before" picture. I brought in 6 boxes and some more shelving to make more room for displaying the goods. The big shelves in back are looking bare and sales have been sluggish, so I hope all the fresh merchandise will get things moving!
A proper "After" photo.
I moved one of the shelves I had on the side into the middle and a new slim shelf is in front of it.  Customers now go in and around and there's more to look at with the center shelves.
A little rolling cart replaces the shelf I had there and I made it into my baking section with all the vintage bake ware, cookie cutters, and the vintage Sunbeam stand mixer.

Close up shot of the new slim shelf.  A few of my vintage Holiday glasses. I'm such a glass hoarder, it was super hard to give these up! I tried to give them room to shine and not crowd them with other things, and if a set sells, the staff at the mall are really great at moving things around to fill up your empty spaces.
Here's where the shelf I moved ended up, right behind the slim shelf.  I like it here much better.
I was in a hurry and didn't really get to arrange the bottom shelf the way I wanted to-- the place was busy and I wanted to quickly get out of there before I lost any sales to potential customers.
A little table display on the left side of the booth.  I like how this turned out.
I came back home with about half a box of stuff because I just ran out of time and I couldn't find a place to put some of those things on display.  I have a small wire Christmas tree that I cannot find and I wanted to use it to display and sell ornaments.  I thought I could do without the tree and just leave them in a bowl, but it didn't look right to me, so they came back home with me. I've made a promise to myself to get back out to the booth after the weekend and add a few more items and meanwhile, find that tree!!
Don't forget, Check out my Instagram: @516Vintage
Link at the top right of the page!--------------^

Monday, November 18, 2013

Fine, Fine, Fine

We had an extremely full weekend.

-An hour at the DMV to renew license tags
-Picked up SUV from the shop
-exactly 3 yard sales
-Grocery store
-Thrift shop
-Pulled 10 boxes worth of merchandise to clean and sell at a last minute road-side stand on Saturday
-Go to sleep after 1am

-Woke up late
-Loaded the SUV with boxes and folding tables
-Set up stuff next to a friend and hoped for the best
-Come home at 4pm, a little richer than when we left the house
-Clean house for company on Sunday
-Bake a cake for a birthday dinner on Sunday
-Bath night for every one

-Woke up late
-Guests already here!
-Entertain, entertain, entertain
-Make dinner for company
-Sprain ankle and tear up knee
-Manage to keep injuries secret from Guests
-Say good-bye to Guests at 4pm
-Collapse on couch and prop legs up then defend them from 5-year old that wants to use my legs as a bridge

I'd insert pictures here, except I didn't take any and you really don't want to see my torn up knee. I don't have a weak stomach, since I'm the Mama Doctor around here and I have seen my share of bloody gashes and scrapes and cuts. I can look at gross pictures of injuries and say "ouch!" and walk away. This was the first time, ever, that my stomach did a flip-flop when I pulled up my pants leg and saw the flap of skin hanging back and a big bloody gash where the skin should have been. For once, I couldn't say "ouch" and walk away because the injury was on me!

I sprain my ankles often-- little minor ones at least weekly; big, major, limping ones once a year or so. Apparently my Grandmother had weak ankles, so I can blame my DNA, I suppose.  I was just walking beside Andrew along the gravel driveway, headed back to the house and the next thing I know, my left ankle gives out and I land on my right knee and hands. The pain from my ankle nearly caused me to black-out, another first. I managed to swim out of the pool of dizziness and get the ground to stop spinning out from under me and sit down on the ground. That was when I noticed the fabric of my pants around my knee felt wet. I pull up the leg of my pants and when I saw the wound, I burst into tears.

I've got Guests! Dinner is just about to be served! I still need to play hostess! Andrew helps me up and I tell him to tend to the stove, I've left the peas on boil! He goes and I limp over to behind the cars where no one can see me. I wonder if anyone has seen me fall, but no one runs out so I think not. I need to walk past the big windows in the dining room where everyone is seated so I manage to clear my tears and carefully control my limp so that my walk looks normal as I head into the house.

In all fairness, I'm absolutely sure that my Guests would have been understanding and I could have depended on Andrew to take over and serve dinner, except I sprained my ankle in front of them before and my weight was mentioned as a probable cause which pissed me off and I really did not want to have a repeat conversation about weak ankles versus weight. So I chose to pop some Excedrin, slather Neosporin on a big bandage and slap it on my wound, wipe my eyes, and chant a mantra: I'm fine, fine, fine. I'm fine, fine, fine. I'm fine, fine, fine. It worked. They left without any clue that I was hurting.

Today, my ankle is as big as a grapefruit and hurts like hell. This is definitely one of my big, limping ones. My knee hurts and because it's cold and I'm wearing pants, you can't see the bandage and the 5-year old forgets that Mama has a big boo-boo there and keeps bumping right smack on it. I managed to wash it out in the shower last night and the skin is back where it should be, slathered in more Neosporin and covered with a bandage.

Another day or two of taking it easy (well, as easy as I can with 4 children), and I should be alright. Now that the kids are in bed, I can plop on the couch and prop my legs up and no worries about my legs being a bridge to climb on. Until next time, I've got Sam and Dean from Supernatural Season 8 calling my name.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

516 Vintage

I'm sure you've wondered (I hope) why I've been away from this space for so long.
I wish I could say it's because it was summer and life just got very full, or we went away on a 4 month overseas vacation. 
The sad truth is that Instagram has taken me away.
I am hardly on Facebook anymore, as I don't like the direction it has gone with all the advertising and people posting silly statuses and really, I don't need to know when you go to the gym or how yummy your coffee is. I still have an account there, and I check in every now and then, but mostly, I stay away.
Instagram on the other hand, wow!!
I love that you need to post a picture and it's up to you to caption it or leave it open to suggestions and there are no ads (though I hear it's coming). I confess that ever since I got my new iphone and I was introduced to Instagram, I've been completely hooked.
It's a private account, only for family and friends, and the reason I'm even telling you about this is because I've opened a second public Instagram account to help sell some of my lovely vintage goodies.
We still have the booth, 516 Antiques, located at Berkeley Springs Old Factory Mall, in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. It's doing alright.  I have had good months of sales and some slow months. I enjoy the booth very much, but sometimes I feel a tad overwhelmed when I have to pick out items from my stash at home and price them and pack them in boxes and then figure out the best time to head out to the booth and restock it.
How much easier would it be to just take a photo, list it with a description, send a paypal invoice to the buyer, then send it off in the mail?!  I don't need to leave my home and heck! I can stay in my jammies if I want to!!
So, I need to get the word out, get more people to follow my new account, @516Vintage on Instagram and just see where it goes from there, right?
If you have an Instagram account, follow me @516Vintage.
I've currently got these lovely handmade felt ornaments with embroidered spirograph designs on them with a blanket-stitched edge and a tiny red bell and a shrinky-dink holly leaf charm. I'm asking $10 which includes shipping. Only 7 available!!
I miss this space, and I'm trying to come back here and post more often.
Check out my new link to @516Vintage on the sidebar over there.
Hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Warmth and Light

It's a cold, blustery day and there's snow in the forecast.
Nothing has actually touched the ground yet, but there were a few flurries.
I'll take that.
When it gets cold like this, I sure am grateful for the warmth of a house.
I seem to spend more time in the kitchen, where I can bake or cook and be near a hot stove.
I ended up baking cranberry orange bread today, something I haven't made in awhile.
 It was still warm from the oven when we sliced into it and it warmed us up from the inside out.
So good!
I used the recipe from the back of the cranberry bag, which is nearly identical to the one in my old Better Homes and Gardens cook book. Doubled it since one loaf would be gone in a day between the seven of us and if I'm already cooking one, what's the trouble of cooking two?
For Veteran's Day, our local food store offered a 10% discount on your entire grocery bill for Veterans. Since Andrew is a Veteran of the Navy, we took advantage of the chance to save a little extra on the groceries. Every little bit helps. Of course, since we're there, might as well stop in the thrift shop right next door, and did we get lucky!!
Look what we found:
An awesome mid-century lamp with a 2-tiered fiberglass shade!!
We have been looking for one since forever and they are usually out of our price range when we see them in antique shops. This one went for a mere $8!!
*happy dance*happy dance*happy dance*
I did a search on ebay and found 2 lamps just like this one, slightly different shades, and one with a pink base instead of white. One went for $100 and the other $200! This one is not for sale, we're keeping this one and as soon as I can rewire it, it will be used in the living room. I also need to redo the cord that holds the fiberglass to the lamp frame, since it's broken in a couple of spots, but that's an easy fix. The fiberglass shade itself is in perfect condition which is good news.
Little by little, our home is slowly looking more and more the way we want it. Slightly modern, but not at all like a museum, because we have to live here with little ones. We try and teach the kids to respect the vintage stuff, the new stuff, too, though there's very little of that here. I think it's sinking in because stuff is still around, though it might be a little more battered than when we first got it. There's a side table I'm a little sad about that has saw marks from a knife and one of the kids gouged a picture on the side of it (grrrrrr!) but for the most part, this is a lived-in house that happens to be filled with vintage stuff.
Gretchen told me once that she won't be collecting antiques when she grows up and if we give her anything old, she isn't keeping it.  Well, thanks for the heads up kid, I won't be sending you off with anything vintage! Maybe she'll change her mind someday, but we certainly don't expect them to like the same stuff we do when they grow up. I just hope we can instill an appreciation for vintage things and that they learn to take care of their things, no matter what age it is. Doesn't mean they have to like it, but take care of it.
Fingers crossed we find another mid-century lamp with a tiered shade!
And it doesn't take another 20 years to find it!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Yard Sale Finds

It's been awhile since I shared my yard sale goodies with you.
The yard sales are starting to wither away for the season and if I'm lucky, I can find one or two this time of year, but I'm going to have to rely on auctions and thrift shops here on out, until next year.
I've had some really great finds these past couple of weeks, though, and I'm really excited about some of my prizes! I was headed out of town with 2 of my girls for the day and I spotted a yard sale sign on the way. I thought it might have been that one house with over-priced junk, but something inside of me nudged me and whispered in my ear, "you never know, maybe it's someone else's sign." I am SO glad I listened because it totally was someone else's sale and before I even had the car in park, I already spotted this lovely pitcher and glasses set.
Aren't they beautiful? The pitcher and 9 glasses are in near perfect condition and I can just see myself using these around the holidays!

There was no price, so I picked up the pitcher and waved to get the lady's attention and called out, "how much?" You know I scooped this up when she held up 4 fingers!!! I can't believe she let this gorgeous set go for only $4! It's going to be hard to part with this one, so it's a keeper for now.
The funny part is I had no cash on me at the time and I had to borrow money from Evelyn! Good thing she brought her wallet! She kept track of what I borrowed and I paid her back, with interest!
The local paper advertised a church yard sale and around here, a church sale is almost always a guaranteed good thing. This church was right down the road from us, and I made sure I got up early for this one. It started at 8 and we were there at 8:15! And man, was I glad we got there when we did!
Anyone that knows me, knows I love vintage drinking glasses, so I'm always keeping an eye out for cute ones here and there. I consider myself lucky when I can find a matching pair. (I was Hugely Lucky with the pitcher and glasses set above!)

I spotted this set of 4 vintage car glasses. I see single glasses here and there, but not all in one place! Snag!

I also found this set of glasses in the original box. I grabbed it without checking all the other glasses inside and when I got home, I found one glass that didn't belong, and one of the matching ones with a big chip and a crack in it.  No worries, I had 2 just like this that I had found at other yard sales, so it's still a complete set! Sweet!

Even more vintage glasses!  It's really unusual to find this many in one place, and I had my arms full until one of the little old church ladies handed me a box for them. The yellow polka dot one was the imposter that was in the box of 6 glasses, and we now have a match to our pink swan glass! The two glasses on the far left are vintage peanut butter glasses from a company out of Pennsylvania and both command high prices. The flower glass is of a Columbine flower and the 2nd is a dachshund glass. 
A close-up of the cute dachshund glass.  This will sell quick in the booth!
And how much did all these glasses cost me? Well, we also picked up a toy robot from the early 80s, some nice metal picture frames, a crocheted cotton string potholder, and a vintage glass creamer. Our entire cost was $5.60! Sweet!
 Back in my young, single days, I used to hang out at a friends' place and he had this awesomely warm blanket that I claimed whenever I was there. Repeated requests for it to become mine were turned down, saying it belonged to his (deceased) mom. I think it was plaid. This was before you could find a computer in everyone's home and ebay wasn't really a big thing yet and it never occurred to me to go hunting for my own blanket. Fast forward to present time and I was walking around the thrift shop and I spotted this blanket hanging from across the store. I knew exactly what it was and made a beeline for it.  Sure enough, it had the same heft, the same weight, the same quality of my friend's blanket! Only $7 and it was mine. It's a big one, I think a bigger one than his, and I can tell it's already going to be my favorite blanket. I love that it looks kind of like a Hudson wool blanket, too, with the stripes.
Further research tells me it's made from a German manufacturer, Biederlack, out of Cumberland, MD, which is only 25 miles from us! They have since closed down, but I bet there were plenty of people from around here that worked there, which explains it's presence at the thrift shop.  I have seen cheap copies, thin and flimsy, that fall apart in the wash. This, you can tell, is high quality and so, so warm. Perfect for these cold West Virginia nights!
 The most recent auction we went to yielded a box full of vintage salt and pepper shakers, for $7. I didn't count, but there were about 20 complete sets. I will turn around and sell most of them at the booth, but this one is a keeper. Isn't he cute? A bunny and a magician's hat!
Time to get busy and start pricing items to sell in the booth this week!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Family Photo

Trying to get a decent family photo is so hard to do!
When we were stacking the wood, I kept thinking about how nice it looked and what a great background it would make for pictures. Light-bulb!! The family photo for the Christmas card!! Yes! Now try and get all 6 of us smiling and looking at the camera at the same time. While I set the timer on the camera and run back and forth trying to beat the timer... whew! Even bribing Peter with candy didn't help.
Sure wish we could afford a photo session with a decent photographer, but have you seen the rates on those private shoots? I could feed my family for a month at that price! So I do the best I can with what I got. We'll try again tomorrow, after breakfast, when we all have full bellies and hopefully Peter will be content to sit still for a little while.  Guess I'll make chocolate chip cookies tonight for a better bribe!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Day

I am still doing the thrifting and yard sale-ing thing, but I've also added going to auctions as a regular gig. I've gotten comfortable with the way the auctioneers talk and I've also tried to introduce myself to them so they are aware I am deaf and try to make it clear to me what the price is currently at.
 I must add that we went to an auction last weekend by someone new and he did the old school-style of auctioneer speak and I had the hardest time following him.  Even Andrew had to struggle to hear where he was at on the pricing.  I managed to win a few things for low bids, but the one I'm kicking myself over was for a really sweet enamel-topped table with chrome legs and I thought he was saying "eighty-eighty-eighty-eighty" in that really fast voice, which was over my budget, but then the next thing he says is "Sold! $5 to such and such"  Agh!!!  He was saying "eight!!!"  I would have gone for it!!  Ah well, I have no room for another table, but I could have easily taken that table and sold it for $100 or more.
On a happier note, we went to a yard sale not long ago that was advertised in the local paper for Friday only and located inside an old warehouse. The town we live outside of used to have several factories back in the 50s-80s, and most of them have closed down. One was a shoe factory and there were several clothing places, where women would sew outfits all day long. The warehouse the sale was held at used to be one of the sewing factories and someone bought the building and wanted it cleared out.
Anyway, we go and we pretty much were the only ones there, besides a bunch of guys responsible for getting the place cleaned up. It was a dream!! It was like going in and finding stuff that had been sitting there for years, unused, and then getting it all for cheap! I spotted about a hundred industrial metal chairs with wood seats that I immediately wanted to claim as my own, but where on earth would I put 100 chairs? And just how much were they gonna cost me? Imagine my delight when the price he quoted was reasonable and I bought 20!! 
The guys there were even kind enough to help me sort through all the chairs so I could pick out the best ones, pulling out the chairs that were missing the feet or had names written on the seat in markers. Apparently, the women were pretty protective of their chairs and most had names written on the back on a piece of tape or a ribbon tied around the seat back.
I'm really pleased with these chairs and I can't wait to sell them on my own in my booth or elsewhere. It's been more than 2 weeks since I found these chairs and I am still floating from the high of the find! Just in time, too, since yard sales are ending and now I'm pretty much dependent on thrift stores and auctions. Hoping to set up at a big flea market next year where I'll sell these chairs and the other items we have found.
There's an auction tomorrow we might go to. Wish us luck!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November First

Good-bye Halloween! It's been fun but I'm glad to put away the decorations and get my house back to normal again, at least until it's time for the Christmas stuff to come out! Now comes the begging and whining for a piece of candy and I admit, it's kind of nice to have a bargaining tool, like: "if you want your candy you better eat your lunch!" Not so much for the good eaters, but the picky eaters gobble up their meals much faster! 
Gretchen wanted to be a mummy this year. Actually, they all decided what they wanted to be this year right after they got home from trick-or-treating last year!  Amazingly, none of them changed their minds! Of course, I don't start on any sewing until the last minute because I thought for sure some body would have second thoughts. I don't know why I thought a mummy costume would be easy-- it wasn't! I had visions of sewing strips of muslin around old white clothing, which was definitely easier to think about than to actually do. Eventually, I figured it out and Gretchen and I were both pretty pleased with the results!

Evelyn as Chicken Nuggets, the bad girl in jail. I didn't want her to use her real name on her number sign, and suggested something like Crazy Harriet or Mad Mary, and she runs off and comes back with Chicken Nuggets. Alrighty!!  She got a lot of laughs with her chosen name so it was all good! Her costume was pulled with stuff we already had around the house, and the chain was a clearance buy from last year's Halloween sales.

Sylvia used Gretchen's costume from last year, so no work needed to complete her sweet witch costume. Not pictured here are the cute black and white stockings she wore, which was another clearance buy from last year.

Peter was skeleton boy and I had every intention of making his costume from scratch, well, semi-scratch.  I was going to sew on bone shapes onto black knit pants and a long sleeve tee, but from past experience, nearly everything I have sewn for this kid gets rejected! I happened to walk into the thrift shop one day and spotted this costume in just his size for only $4. A bargain when you think about all the hard work it saved me! All I had to do was sew up a mask, which you see here, out of an old shirt of Andrew's. It's a little wonky, but it does the job and he wore it!! The bone gloves were a clearance buy last year. I'm telling you, these kids have stuck with their costume picks for a year and I am amazed!! It was so nice to pluck stuff off the clearance shelves for next year and to see that they actually used them! 

I really love this shot in black and white.  It looks like a classic Halloween photo here and I keep looking at it. Definitely going in the photo book I make at the end of the year! 
Since we're so rural, we went to the trunk-or-treat gathering at the church in town. The weather was perfect all day ( see the kids barefoot in the above pictures ) which is kind of unusual for the end of October, but then just as we headed out for the fun, it started to sprinkle. No, no! Please! Wait until we're done!  But no such luck. It started to rain harder and then it was pouring by the time we got home. But that's ok, the kids had lots of fun and they got just enough candy to last a month or so. Would you believe they still had Halloween candy left from last year? Yeah, some of it melted in the bags and I had to dump the rest of it out.
So, November!  Glad to see you! Can't believe you're here already!
What have you all been up to??