Monday, April 27, 2015

Thursday Sale Bonanza -- Lots of Lefton and Christmas Kitsch

I think it's a basic principle of business that you're supposed to spend less than you bring in.  That gets really hard when the weather warms up!  Just when the flea markets and yard sales are starting up again and there are lots of bargains to be found, people are busy outside and not spending as much time in antique malls and shopping online (and they're going to flea markets and yard sales)!

As I try to not-buy-as-much (as-if I could...), I avoid the looking at the temptation of the weekly emails from estatesales.net and gsalr.com.   I owe a big THANK YOU to my friend Bargain Hunter for giving me a heads-up on a really good sale last Thurday, loaded with Lefton figurines!  

It turned out to be the left-over accumulation of a former antiques dealer who'd passed away last year.  Most of it was her 'barn stuff' -- you know, the boxes of collected odds and ends that don't make it into the booth or to a sale (bits of china, linens, broken down pictures and frames).  There was an entire table of Lefton and made-in-Japan figurines, though, and I was the first one to it!
Look at all this SWEET Lefton!
Not Lefton, but sweet nonetheless
The caption on the cookie jar lid says it all...
It all needed a good cleaning (but who doesn't love playing with their thrifty finds?)
Besides the great kitsch, I also got a couple of quilt tops -- one had piping around the edge to finish it off, but no back fabric.  Rather strange!
Love this butterfly quilt top -- I'm thinking of bringing my quilting skills out of retirement to finish it
This is the bound block quilt
This plastic half apron appealed to my love of strange souvenirs.  It's from the Hiawatha rail line that goes from Chicago to Seattle.  I think it's from the 1960s

These were an odd (and luckily, inexpensive) impulse buy -- 2 legal document packets from 1927, dealing with a property dispute in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  They'll probably be good for a scrapbooker to use.
Once I'd taken the bait and gone shopping, I looked for more sales close to home and found one just a couple of miles away (a rare occurrence)!   Since they opened the first sale 1/2 hour early, I was able to check out and race over to the second one and get there just as everyone was going in.  I made a beeline for the basement, hoping to get a green ceramic Christmas tree I'd seen in the picture.  I got it and that was just the tip of the iceberg!  I ended up with 2 box-flats of great vintage Christmas, plus some other odds and ends.
TWO ceramic Christmas trees + a Holt Howard Santa + a Royal light-up snowman!
The tall angels need to be rewired, but are really hard to find.  Napco and Enesco NOEL candle holder sets are always popular.  The little angel shelf sitters with lambs are so sweet -- even though one has a repaired wing, I couldn't pass them up
I think Santa's creepy -- much creepier at home than he had been at the sale.  He looks like the drunken love-child of  Joe Piscopo and Kris Kringle
Black transferware tray, Texasware-type bowl, West Bend penguin ice bucket and an Oven Serve bowl.
Dogs playing poker -- who could resist?
So, in the space of about an hour and a half, I had spent all my shopping money for 2 weeks!  Well worth it, though, don't you think?

This Friday and Saturday are theM-15 Heritage Yard Sale and also Davisburg Antiques.  I'm really looking forward to both of them, since they were great shopping ops last fall.  I'd better get some more shopping money out of the bank!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wish Granted!

Just as I was hoping that there would be more sales soon, there were three decent-looking ones this morning!  I should have gone to my packaging supplier to get more styrofoam peanuts & bubble wrap, but went shopping instead.  None of the sales were close together, so I used a lot of gas (and covered about 100 miles round trip!), but it was fun hunting.  They were in the opposite direction from the supplier, so that errand will have to wait for another day.

I got a fair amount of stuff for not much money -- always the big bonus of yard sales and family-run estate sales!

The Cootie game is from 1949 and had the bonus of enough pieces to make 4-6 more cootie bugs + the pieces from an old-school Mr. Potato Head (the kind the you poke into a real potato)  Doesn't the burger look like a McDonald's ad burger?  It's a 1950s patty press  -- the attention to detail they used to put into inexpensive items always amazes me.
 The star of this sale was the Pyrex Friendship divided dish with painted lid.  Everything else paled in comparison.
They practically gave me this wooden plant stand.  I think it will make cool booth display until it sells.

I don't know what sales tomorrow will bring, but I might just stay home and work on booth & Etsy prep -- we'll have to see if the temptation of finding a bargain is too much to resist!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bring on the Yard Sales!

Now that Easter's over, I'm ready for the yard sales to start popping up -- aren't you?  The weather has been so cold and rainy, though that there just haven't been many.  Last week there was only one local one -- ONE (not the best cure for cabin fever)!  There was the first church rummage sale of the year, though, so I headed out for that.

Here's what it looked like when I left for the rummage -- really foggy & chilly...
The pickings were slim, but I found a few little goodies.  Next I went to an estate sale that about 10 miles away and 2 miles down a wet dirt road -- what a waste of time.  It was WAY overpriced...most of the items were even higher than they would be at an antique mall.   I got there an hour after it started and the tables were full (no surprise there).  I did find a New York World's Fair souvenir glass and a really cool glass coffee table, though.
Very appropriate for a Catholic church rummage sale -- Jesus on the Mount of Olives
Not great finds from the rummage sale...plus the World's Fair glass from the estate sale
I think this coffee table is pretty cool -- it looks like it should be on a sun porch or with casual furniture, though.
Finally, I went to the only yard sale in town (and wished I'd gone there before the estate sale).  It was family run and the prices were all over the place, but the house had been decorated in the 60s and not updated since.  It turned out to be a day for wall decor, as I got several bits of 1960s plastic (Syroco-type) and some oh-so-lovely metal peacocks.  Not my taste, but I know that they'll sell.

Three seasons of a four-season Syroco set from the 70s
My big investment of the day (still not much)!  The frame is plastic, but these convex mirrors are always popular
Here are the beautiful peacocks!
Here are two things from the thrift last week that I forgot to share, and they were really sweet finds!
aluminum food tote
Red Regal aluminum cake carrier with a bakelite handle -- so cool!
It's been near 70 for the past two days and it feels (and looks) like spring!  Maybe the yard sales will be better this week -- I hope so!  I hope you have better sales where you live, too.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Girl's Gotta Play Once in a While!

If you think I haven't posted in a while, you're right!  There just isn't enough time in the day.  Shopping takes time away from prep work and prep work takes time away from working online and blogging (and then there are dishes and laundry, too).  For the past 10 days, we've had the annual Spring Sale at the antique mall, so all my energy in the weeks leading up to it was focused there and everything else has had to wait its turn.

Still, a girl's got to play once in a while...
My friend Bargain Hunter surprised me last Monday with an invitation to go shopping -- she normally works on Mondays, but had the day after Easter off.  I had to choose between shopping and doing housework and booth-prep work; a hard decision, I know, but I chose shopping!

We went to several shops north of us and found that many of them were closed on Monday...not fun!  Still, we found some good stuff at Swan Creek in Perry and Battle Alley in Holly.  We ended up at the mall where I have my booths, Livingston Antique Outlet, and shopped the Spring Sale.

Here are my goodies from Monday...
I'd never seen a round canister like this before  -- I'm in a yellow & white phase.  The little paper hat is from  Pickin' Chicken in Miami, Florida
These paint by numbers are wonderful!
Another horse item...I'm into western stuff lately, too
No shopping trip is complete without vintage Christmas!  (The pose doll's not Christmas -- she just looked cool sitting on the box...)
In other news, here are some things I've picked up in the past 2 weeks at my local thrift and at the antique mall's sale:
Such great finds!  The royal family and the soap pitcher will stay here, I think
I found all this on one quick dash to the thrift.  A pink gooseberry 444 bowl -- score!
Now it's time to get back to work.  I've listed 10 things on Etsy in the past 2 days, so I have to keep going while I'm on a roll!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Road Trip! Replacements, Ltd

I love a road trip -- especially to places I haven't been before.  AND I'm a sucker for a factory tour -- offer to show me the behind-the-scenes operation and I'm on it!  Maybe the fascination goes back to the factory tour segments on MisterRogers and the old Sesame Street look at how they make crayons (remember the one that started & ended with the little girl looking at the crayon)?

So, a few weeks ago, we drove down to Florida and went by way of North Carolina so we could stop at Replacements, Ltd -- you've probably heard of them and may have looked up china or silver online.  I was excited to see the brick and mortar building, which (according to their website) is " 500,000 square foot facilities (the size of 8 football fields!)" and home to "an incredible inventory of 12 million pieces in more than 400,000 patterns."

I had some china to sell them -- odd plates, serving pieces and place settings.  Being a seller is quite a process!   The first step is to send them your pattern name and they send you an 'offer to purchase' which is good for 30 days.  It names every piece made in the pattern and what price they're currently paying for that piece (or 'not buying' if there's no demand or a backlog).

Next, if you're delivering you china like I was, you make an appointment and then check in at the sellers' entrance.  They take your china to a table (there were rows and rows of these tables, with many workers evaluating) and look what you brought.  They'll either pay you full price from the 'offer to purchase', half price (if the item has wear) or refuse it outright (if they find a flaw or something they don't like).
Evaluation tables ... The colored plastic cups represent their evaluations -- some are for 'full price', some for 'reduced' and some for 'refused'.  
Boxed pieces on skids, waiting to go tot he storeroom
Shelves & shelves of evaluated pieces, just waiting to be put away.  The brown 'stacks' at the back are the ends of rows of shelves.
You can either wait or go away and return later -- they'll call you or text when they're finished. I learned that Replacements has people all over the country who are certified suppliers for them -- some of them were delivering while I was there and had full pallets of boxed china, silver & crystal, piled 3 & 4 boxes high, so they didn't hang around!  One of the workers told me that many of the suppliers shop all year and then deliver their items once or twice a year instead of shipping it.  The certified suppliers get a higher price for their stuff than I did as a one-time seller, but they have to pay a fee to be certified and get the master catalog of purchase prices.

There's a retail store with lots of china, silver flatware and silver pieces.
Retail store
Fiesta at the retail store -- the tour guide told me it's one of their best sellers, which I found odd since you can get this at most department stores
Rows and rows of silver at the retail store
More silver
I loved the silver there (can't you tell?)  I got my first pieces of vintage silver when I was in high school -- I know it marks me as a nerd, but I used to ask for it for my birthday & Christmas, even as a pre-teen, and I still love it.  Their silver was amazing!
Can you read the price on this sterling tea service?!
Most of the china was either too new or too 'frou frou' for my taste.  I was surprised at how little mid-century was on display.  I know that they have it, but it apparently isn't as sought-after.
New china and collectibles
My favorite part of the retail store is back in the back -- Bob's Corner.  It's called that for the owner, Bob Page, and had lots of little bits of kitsch, all priced at $10 or less.  Some had flaws and some was perfect and it was fun to look it over, but almost all of it was newer than I like.

The storerooms have really high ceilings -- maybe 20-30 feet and rows of shelves that go all the way up, completely packed with merchandise.  They even sell newer collectibles and Christmas ornaments (Christopher Radko & ones like that).

They have one huge warehouse area (the original one) that's full of every pattern and item that they sell.  Then there's a second warehouse addition (recently built) that holds the backlog of those items!

There's a silver restoration service, a crystal restoration service and one for china, as well, but I didn't get any pictures of those areas, as they were behind closed doors and could only be seen through little windows.  I was amazed at how they could reclaim really worn dishware and completely restore broken crystal.

Their researchers are experts, too, at finding pattern names and identifying look-alike-but-not-the-same patterns (like some of the Noritake Occupied Japan ones).  I think they have the most fun job in  the whole place!

The last thing you see is this hallway, where they have their most popular china patterns on display.  Pretty impressive!
The most popular china patters
Would I take china to them again?  Maybe and maybe not... In the end, I didn't get as much for the china as I might have liked (nowhere near the amount they charge online) and not enough to justify shipping it to them, though it was fine for delivery, since we were going that way regardless.  There were just so many mid-century patterns I have that they weren't buying or not paying much for.  Still, it was better than donating it to the thrift store and I made a little money on it...plus I had the bonus of a new experience!  

If you're passing by Greensboro, North Carolina, stop by the store (and take the tour, if you have a half hour free) -- it's fun to see the operation behind the online site!  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pyrex as a Learning Tool -- Start Them Young!

We have one cabinet in the kitchen with glass doors where I keep all a little of my Pyrex, Coronation & kitchen glass collection.   Ever since my granddaugher (now 13 months) was old enough to hold her head up and look around at things, I've carried her over there and shown her the all the goodies inside. At about 6 months, she started really paying attention, but I didn't realize until this past week how closely she'd been watching.

I open the cabinet and say 'Pyrex!' and then start on the primary set first (don't all Pyrex collectors?)... 'Yellow, green, red, blue  (then, moving to the right) -- turquoise, pink and Flamingo pink!'  I take out the 'There'll Always be an England' glasses and the Coronation glass and the little flamingo on the bottom shelf and show them to her.  If I forget to go back to the little maple leaf cream and sugar on the bottom shelf and say 'yellow', she points to them to remind me.  I think it's a good way to teach colors (though her parents think it's pretty funny that I've been teaching their baby turquoise and flamingo pink).

So, last week, Mr. KV was holding her in another part of the kitchen and I said something about Pyrex and she turned around, looked right at the cabinet and started grinning!  If you ask her 'Where's the Pyrex?', she immediately looks at it and gets excited.  Only 13 months, just starting to walk and talk and she already knows the good stuff -- that's smart!

I can see a great time treasure hunting with my little buddy in the future -- I'd better save a granny cart for her!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mystery Stetson China Pattern - 1957

When I first began selling at the antique mall, I bought lots of odd place settings of china: dinner plates, cups and saucers, creamers and sugar bowls.  I thought that people would buy them -- after all, both Martha AND Flea Market Finds had said on television and in print that mismatched china was cool!  If they said it, it must be true, right?   Not so...most people don't want one or two plates unless they need that particular pattern.  Mismatched china IS cool, but people don't buy it!

So, I've been hunting and gathering in my junk inventory in the basement -- looking for all the odd bits and pieces of china that I've bought over the past 4 years.  We're planning a road trip to Florida and I'm planning to make a side trip to Replacements and sell them most of it.  What they don't want, I'll sell in a bargain basket at the mall or donate away.

I found several serving bowls in this mystery pattern.



It's clearly backstamped Stetson and is dated 1957.  I think it's pretty cool -- especially for spring entertaining!  I'm crazy about research, though, and a real perfectionist when it comes to identification and I can't find the pattern anywhere.  It's driving me crazy!  It's not on Replacements or any of the other china websites and a picture of it doesn't even come up in a general Google image search.  I searched Marcrest, too, because they distributed a lot of Stetson china.

Do any of you know the pattern name?  Was it distributed by a company other than Stetson or Marcrest?  If I can't find it, I'm going to have to resign myself to not knowing, but I hate an unsolved puzzle.

Have a great week, everyone!  (And, oh by the way, if you need any odds-and-ends dinnerware, just let me know -- I've got you covered!)