September 27, 2010

My Startling Find In A Thrift Store Side Table

Yes, I had a pretty startling find inside this little side table! 

 I purchased this at a local thrift store.  It was nothing special, but I knew with a coat of white paint it would sell in my antiques booth.
Now play along and don't scroll ahead!!

I removed the drawer then washed and painted, of course I don't have before pictures because who knew this was blog worthy!

I finished painting and then went to pick the cabinet up.

My fingers touched something right up under the front lip where the drawer was.  I thought, what is this!!??  There, taped up under the lip was a ..............

I was a nurse in a previous life and knew this was an insulin syringe and I also knew it was commonly used for drug addicts because it is so easy to obtain.

There I stood holding the syringe.  I glanced quick to my front gate...I guess I thought I was going to get caught, that the DEA was going to come busting in!  "But sir, I bought this at the thrift store, I redo furniture, it's not mine"  .............OK, no one was there.

I have never found anything valuable, or odd, in all of my years of thrifting .  Once in a while I will find a pretty button in a batch of plain ones.

I am always finding pictures of Jesus behind other pictures.

I think the previous owners feel like me...You can't throw Jesus out!
I am a good Catholic girl and I would go to 

 Hell in a 

So, I have Jesus taped up inside my craft cabinets and all over the garage, I rather like having Him around.

One of my fellow vendors at the antique mall purchased a box of old books and months later went to price them and found the center was cut out of one of the books and it was loaded with jewels!!

This brings me to the question, what have you found inside your thrifty purchases?  Anything valuable, odd, or like me, startling??


September 21, 2010

My Antiques Booth What Sells and what doesn't

I recently did a post on "Everything about renting space at an antiques mall".  

I thought it might be interesting to write about what sells and what doesn't, along with pricing.  Thank You, I had so many comments and emails from people that rent space and people that had been contemplating renting and took the plunge after the post.  I was surprised at how many of us  need an outlet for our creativity (Our houses can only hold so much).

I have rented a space for 7 years in Florida. Since we are all in different markets, malls, and states, what sells is going to vary greatly. 

 In no particular order, this is what sells for me.  These are the items that when I see them at a thrift store or estate sale my heart skips a beat and I whisper "SCORE" under my breath.  

Any linen, napkins, hankies, pillow cases, aprons, or tablecloths.  Here is what I have learned about linen.  Vendors that have just a couple of towels or 1 set of napkins may not sell them for a long time.  If you want to sell linen have a good amount, you will be the "Go to" dealer for linens.  You could do well by just specializing in one linen item, you could have many napkin sets or a large selection aprons.  Pricing is so important, I have found I need to keep the price at $20.00 or less with very few exceptions.  My rule of thumb is I have to be able to price at 3X what I paid in order to cover my expenses and make a profit. 

Picture Frames

It took me about 5 years to figure this out.  I sold 9 frames at the Labor Day Sale.  Pictures would occasionally sell, but far and few between.   A picture is such a personal preference, the right size, subject, and color, so it is not a surprise that they are a hard sell.  But frames, EUREKA, people buy frames.  I get almost as much money for an empty frame as I did for a picture.  I look for ornate frames, but can sell those that are not.  I spray them Heirloom white and price the little 2 X 3's for $3 - $4, and the 8 X 10's  for $12-$18 or more if they are really ornate. 


I never pass up a stool, this one sold in 2 days.  I have not had any luck selling just ugly brown stools.  I give them a coat of paint and then reupholster in a really nice fabric, this one is barkcloth.  With very few exceptions I price them between $20 - $25 for the little stools and $30 - $40 for an upholstered piano bench.

Hand Mirrors and Brushes

They may not sell in 2 days, but they will always sell.  I like to find the 2 sided mirrors and mosaic one side.

This one sold in a week for $16.  I price a brush and mirror set around $22.  When purchasing keep in mind the 3X mark up.

Mirror Trays

If I find a tray where the mirror is removable, I like to spray it white, leaving them gold also sells well.  I like to have a variety.  I price them between $12 - $18.

Little Tables

These along with linen are my bread and butter.  All but one of these little tables are sold.  The one that has not sold is the brown one.  Sometimes I just hate to paint a table if it is perfect, but I know if I painted this table white it would sell right away.  The larger white table in the back sold for $42, the 4 tier plant stand in front sold for $40 (Only because it was unusual)  the little table on the right sold for $28.

What does not sell for me is so many things!  

Many more things don't sell than do sell.  If you have a booth long enough you will see trends, things that use to sell and don't right now.  I am not saying the following won't sell, but it will not be a quick sale for me.

Little trinket boxes, they use to sell, but not any more.
Teacups and saucers they are not selling right now.
Figurines - Ladies/ animals etc.
Florida souvenirs use to sell, but not now.
Clear glassware of any kind (Colored glassware sells better)
Books (Cookbooks are the exception, they sell well, especially cookbooks by church or civic groups)
Avon bottles

Well, this is what is, and isn't, selling in my neck of the woods.  If you would like to share, we would love to know you're  top sellers in your booth or online store.

Please see the updated post on what is selling in 2013 HERE
To read what is selling in other parts of the country click HERE for a complete list

Thank you for your kind comments, they are soooo appreciated!

September 14, 2010

Shelf Redo and Free Porcelain Rose

Transforming an ugly little hanging shelf with paint, wallpaper, and a free porcelain rose.

Everyone but us would pass right by this ugly little $3.00 shelf. 

After a few coats of heirloom white paint and Laura Ashley wallpaper.


Now I just did not like this key hole detail

This is where the free porcelain rose comes in.  I did a tutorial HERE 

Basically it is just chiseling flowers off from old nick nacks.

This flower came off a broken candy dish and It fit perfectly over the key hole in the shelf.

But still had a lot of the candy dish still on the back

This is where my Dremel came into play.  I did a post HERE on the Dremel.  You can see the part here that had to be ground down,

I ground it down and added a dab of paint

I adhered it to the key hole with E-6000 glue

So there you have it my little shelf with a free porcelain rose.  This was another project that I wanted to keep, but we all know we can't keep everything so, I put this in my antiques booth for $28.00

Don't pass up the broken or chipped nick nacks with flowers from estate sales or thrift stores, they can be used for so many altered art projects.  Here is a couple of examples using chipped off porcelain flowers.  These items are available at my online store The Polka Dot Closet.

Happy Crafting with your free porcelain roses.

I'll be linking up with these parties this week. 

September 9, 2010

When I See Wedding Dresses I Think Fabric!

Yes, lots and lots of fabric!  

The Community Thrift had a sale on wedding dresses at 50% off their already low prices.  They ended up costing between $2-$4 each!  How could I pass them up.  OK, you should have seen the people stare at my cart heaping with dresses.

All I can see is yards of netting. 



 This one still had the tags.  I hope it was "Her" that changed her mind!


Silk hand made flowers and more buttons.

Maybe I could make pillows with beautiful lace.

Or more wedding stools

Do you think this is maybe tooooo thrifty?  Am I the only one looking at dresses, tablecloths, or sheets and thinking fabric?

Happy Crafting,
Have I told you lately how much I appreciate all of your comments?  I do!  No one in my real life gets what I do, I would never show them the dresses, they are hidden in  my closet. 

September 3, 2010

A Cute Little Button Bottle and My New Best Friend!

I found a huge bag of vintage buttons at the thrift store and picked up some old Nescafe bottles at an estate sale and created a "Bottle of Buttons".

I always search the garage at estate sales.  I found a bunch of these old bottles filled with screws and bolts.  I saved the hardware and filled the bottles with vintage buttons.

I printed button labels from Graphics Fairy ( listed under "labels")

Now, I would like to introduce you to my New Best Friend......
 Mr. Walnut Ink Spray! 
 I met him at Jo-Ann Fabrics in the "Stamp art" aisle.  Love at first sight!!

I used a spritz of walnut ink on the labels to give them a slight antique look.

I sprayed the jar caps and gave them a spritz of walnut ink also.

I added hand dyed and stamped muslin strips and vintage lace (When I showed the jars to my Mom she said she would like them better without the lace and muslin, maybe?)

Then I just couldn't leave well enough alone!  I had to put one of my polymer clay roses on top and gave that a little ink spritz.  You can see the tutorial on How to Make the Clay Roses HERE.

Then I added a button...Stop, enough already, Stop, a good crafter knows when to stop!
O.K......... So there you have it, my "Bottle of Buttons", I put them in my antiques booth.

O.K. so, am I the last one to meet Mr. Walnut ink?  
Could he be replaced (Look I just met him and I already want to replace him)? Could I just fill a spray bottle with diluted paint or stain?  HUMMMM.
What other projects could we use Mr. Walnut ink on?

Happy Crafting!