I have become addicted, addicted I tell you, to estate sales.
It started simply enough. I joined a swap on one of my favorite crafty sites and instead of swapping paper goods as usual, it was a vintage / thrift store swap. How clever! Buy items for each letter of the alphabet and mail them off to your partner. For instance, J is for mini Jell-o mold; A for a chenille angel ornament, etc. It was a scavenger hunt and boy was I game!
Here are a few of the groups that I sent......
M is for Millinery.
K is for Keys.
P is for Poker Chips.
O is for "Over the Garden" Pamphlet.
Of course, I ended up spending MUCH more than the $1-$2 per letter. I was going to those "Antique Malls" we have here in Texas because I didn't know any better. I hadn't much thought of it before, just assumed that there was some special and secret source for their inventory. A source that would never be available to me. Even though I was paying retail prices, it seemed worth it because I could never find or inherit these lovely old things. Don't get me wrong, I still love them to death, but,
.........Cue the clouds parting, the chorus singing..............
Mecca, Nirvana, the Holy Grail for thrifty, vintage loving girls and boys.
I check this site daily, sometimes more than once, just to see what is going on. As the sale days approach, I check it again and again. And usually, just to be safe, one more time. You know, just in case.
Where to go?
What to buy?
Where are the hidden treasures?
As much as I admire the antique furniture, the lovely depression glass and the vintage clothes, my favorite finds are often the strange little bits of life that you find tucked away here and there. I find that the best estate sales seem to have one person working there that is of like mind. They go through and put together little bags of this and that and I can't seem to resist.
For a few dollars or less, you get small treasures and special trinkets which seem to beg me to question them.
Why was this saved?
Where did they find it?
How many homes has it had and how many years has this been hidden away?
What memories does it invoke?
I can assign whatever value I want and I tend toward the fanciful. It seems appropriate.
Here is one of my recent favorites.........
Small set of carved wooden feet, the black metal poodle, a ship in a bottle, vintage ink, a wooden rubber duck, a tiny windmill......... aren't they all just lovely?
For some reason, it reminds me of being a child, collecting shiny bits and hiding them away. A wooden letter in a pants pocket, a mailing label secretly taken from someone's desk, a metal lighthouse that Grandpa gave, taken to school in a backpack.
I guess I like the thought that they carry their own secrets, an unknown history and that maybe I am now a part of it. I like to think that some day, some where, after my time has come and gone, another person puts down a dollar and carries them on down the road to their next adventure.