endings…and my list of super fun places for antiques/vintage/unusual

The shopping center where Resellers in Frazer is located was sold. I wrote about it December 1st. Resellers will be around until the end of month I believe.

Alderfer Auction is doing the merchandise liquidations in a series of auctions. I bought a small Eastlake side table for a fraction of what it was worth. It has a slate top and I thought it would make a good plant stand.

I went over to Resellers today to pick up my table and to preview what would be in the final couple of Alderfer Auctions.

The photo above shows my side table withOUT the slate top. Here it is with two Clivia plants on it:

There are a couple of more Resellers Auctions through Alderfer. Here are some preview items I thought were interesting:

I have gotten some wonderful things from Resellers over the years. Josh Unruh the owner has done a terrific job. You can also find him up at Stoudts Black Angus Antiques up in Adamstown, PA.

Resellers had a great run. I will miss it.

I hear the warehouse that Resellers is located in will be split up into multiple stores? Don’t know if that means two or more than two.

Resellers closing will create a definite void in my opinion. There are several stores which try to be like Resellers, but they never have been quite able to capture the eclectic mix they created.

So where should people go to treasure hunt once Resellers is closed? Here is my short list:

1. Brandywine View Antiques 1244 Baltimore Pike. Chadds Ford, PA 19317

2. Classic Home Consignment 113 E King Street, Malvern, PA 19355

3. Habitat for Humanity ReStore Caln
Caln Plaza Shopping Center
1853 East Lincoln Highway
Coatesville, PA 19320

4. Habitat for Humanity ReStore Kennett New Garden Shopping Center
345 Scarlet Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348

5. The Loft at Knots and Weaves 218 East King Street, Malvern, PA 19355

6. Old Soul Decor 119 W. Market Street, West Chester, PA 19382

7. The Rusted Rooster Marketplace 510 Route 313 Dublin, PA

8. The Smithfield Barn, Downingtown, PA (you can find them at places like Clover Market and Gas Works in Frazer, PA)

9. Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square – New Garden Shopping Center 345 Scarlet Rd, Suite 12 Kennett Square, PA 19348

10. Consignment Shop at Surrey 810 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, PA (the older ladies who work there are delightful, the manager less so)

11. Jake’s Flea Market 1380 Route 100, Barto, PA (obviously not open in the dead of winter as it’s mostly outdoor – keep an eye on their Facebook Page and website they will be back in April)

12. The Clover Market – with several locations seasonally in Bryn Mawr, Chestnut Hill, Kenneth Square, Collingswood NJ. Follow them on Facebook for the most up to date news.

I will also remind people to keep an eye out for Caring Transitions of Chester County sales and auctions. They are truly a hidden gem. I also recommend them highly for their senior downsizing and estate services.

Please note I have not been compensated in any way for my personally curated list above. These are businesses I patronize.

Thanks for stopping by.

barn sales and barn sales

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So….I like barn sales. But I am discovering there are barn sales and there are barn sales.

I have gone to sales in barns where the barns are completely renovated and it plays host to a specialty store or antiques or antiques and collectible store. Those types of situations are where I expect traditional retail pricing.

The barn sales I go to normally are true barn sales, much like garage sales meet a flea market in a barn. These barns are former working barns now packed to the gills with all sorts of stuff. It’s a little dusty, and you have to dig, should bring a flash light….and you can dicker on price and sometimes barter. Things are priced to move. A picking paradise.

However, cropping up on places like Craig’s List and garage sale boards are this weird hybrid cross between the aforementioned. They call themselves a “barn sale”, but…..other than the barn or barn-like location are they really a barn sale?

I mean no disrespect to these folks deciding to hold sales in their barn, but $100 for a pair of not particularly large nor spectacular decorative pillows that might be $19.99 each in Home Goods is not barn sale pricing.

And I have never known a barn to grow an over-abundance of milk painted, chalkboard painted, chalk painted furniture. But then again, I just like the look of real wood, I am not a pastel princess. I can also gussy something up myself and don’t necessarily wish to buy a piece of grown-up furniture that looks like cotton candy.

Yes in Chester County we are seeing different shades of barn sales. I guess I am just a traditionalist and prefer the barn sales that really are barn sales. Sometimes a little dusty and dirty, places you can really find some amazing treasures.

And interestingly enough Merriam-Webster defines a barn sale thusly:

Full Definition of BARN SALE:

garage sale

First Known Use of BARN SALE

1953

Noun

Thanks for stopping by!

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yes, I also brake for yard sales…and barn sales…and so on

chair

Chair $40 at Eclectic Market in Malvern, floral needlepoint pillow $8 at St. David’s Church Fair a few years ago, and chicken pillow $4 at St. Paul’s in Exton during AngelFest

Truly, you can hire that interior designer if you want to  but you don’t have to.  You don’t have to be design challenged and you can find the time.  I get inspiration from all over. People like Lara Spencer and Cari Cucksy inspire me.  Not Martha Stewart any longer. Besides her issue with bloggers she is way too comfy with pastel paints and washes and she is enough to make you dream in crème de menthe which is too close to Kmart green and similarly pastel nightmares, but I digress.

Lara Spencer used to be a host on Antiques Roadshow.  A lot of people know her from being an anchor of ABC’s Good Morning America, and from Flea Market Flip. Now she has a book I Brake For Yard Sales and a series by the same name that made what appears to be a limited debut on HGTV.  I say limited because HGTV is a little hard to figure these days.  They replay a lot of home crashing series but no real gardening shows any longer and don’t have a lot of air time (in my opinion) on some of these fun shows like I Brake For Yard Sales or Cash & Cari.

Chair one of a pair ($18 for both) from  Smithfield Barn, Downingtown. Sampler pillow embroidered by me and other pillow a gift

Chair one of a pair $18 for both Smithfield Barn. Sampler pillow embroidered by me and other pillow a gift

Why I love watching ladies like Lara Spencer and Cari Cuksey is because they show you it is not a beige, beige world and not everything has to be all matchy-matchy. They give you great re-purposing ideas too.

I have never needed to hire an interior designer or decorator. And I know a few who are amazing.  But in this economy, why not train your own eye and save some money?  At least do some of the leg work if not the whole thing?

I did our new house by myself with my sweet man (and a terrific carpenter who built us amazing bookcases and storage benches).  Fortunately our tastes are compatible.  Or should I say he is a man who will actually communicate about house stuff?

unknown watercolor - approximately $20 from Smithfield Barn in Downingtown.

unknown watercolor – approximately $20 from Smithfield Barn in Downingtown.

I guess I am kind of sort of quasi-traditional with a dash of quirky .  I like vintage and I like the lines of a lot of older furniture.  I like a more country or should I say less formal kind of look as in what some would call “farmhouse chic”, but if you are expecting mad for plaid with ruffles, gag me with gingham, so not my style. Yet I am not so casual as in Cindy Crawford icky denim love seats or lots of plastic things. Comfortable and pretty works but not a frilly gilded lily. And also a component of my home to be considered are things from my childhood home I liked and wanted to emulate.

And interestingly enough, my sweet man and I both had mothers who loved to check out estate sales, so you could say we sort of inherited this treasure-seeking meets bargain hunting fun.

I do think my style is uniquely my own and can’t be pigeonholed as one particular category because to me what I have done is a little bit of this a little bit of that.  I have put what I love into my home and it is a house where every room is used.  No, the living room is not for teenagers to play video games in, but neither is it some shrine to formal living and roped off with a velvet rope except for special occasions and sherry by the fire.

I like pops of color and am not afraid of color.  I don’t like wallpaper.  I can admire it in other people’s houses in small doses, but would rather look at a colorfully painted wall than wallpaper. I remember once being in a house in Massachusetts near where the Brimfield Antiques show is held.  You would have thought they house would have been New England fabulous, right? It was instead a  study of  contradicting and competing wallpaper.  Every room was papered and even the halls. And nothing complimented or flowed.  The house literally gave me a pattern headache. And the owner was so house proud too.  But they loved their house, so that was what mattered.

I have a glass bowl my sister gave me one year for Christmas about ten years ago.  It was inadvertently color inspiration for a lot of my current living room.  The bowl is a beautiful almost cranberry crossed with raspberry kind of color.  With it in mind I found a traditional Chippendale hump back sofa of similarly colored damask circa late 1950s or early 1960s  at Reseller’s in Frazer for $125.  Yes, really.  It was a lucky find that had sat on the sales floor until it was reduced, reduced, reduced.  It was in pristine condition and the only thing it needed was the legs dusted.

At the Eclectic Market on King Street in Malvern one Saturday last fall I found a vintage wing chair in a pattern that was palatable, and compatible to my sofa.  Yet it isn’t nauseating matching like furniture garanimals. And this sturdy chair was…wait for it…forty dollars. Yes $40.00.

It is that easy.  A little time and effort and it actually comes together. Not all on one day, but it does come together.

You all know by now that I love barn picking.  And yes, the Smithfield Barn in Downingtown is that awesome.  Kristin has a fabulous eye and thanks to her I can actually identify some country antiques now that might impress an actual farmer or if not that an antiques dealer or two.

I also will check out yard sales and estate sales and church sales and country auctions and resale shops and flea markets.

I love Frazer Antiques and the dealers who work there are so incredibly nice and patient with my 10,000 questions.  They are helpful too.

Resellers Consignment in Frazer is also a favorite haunt and they get fabulous stuff all the time – even vintage table linens, crystal, lighting fixtures, garden ornaments,  artwork and china.  Not just furniture.  But the trick to them is if you like it, buy it because much like the Smithfield Barn, stock move quickly because the pricing is reasonable.

And I can’t forget Garage Sale Chic Chester County.  Now there is a woman with a terrific eye! And without her I would not have my pot rack for $60 in my kitchen and the only floor lamp I have ever liked in my life.

I bought the  furniture pieces mentioned because among other things they are sturdy, classic pieces I can reupholster  some day and still love them.  And that is part of developing your eye: imagine what something might look like stained differently, or painted, or reupholstered.

I love going to places like Clover Market  (Ardmore, Chestnut Hill, and Philadelphia in the winter at the Armory) because I might spy something fun and quirky.  The true kings and queens of repurposing are vendors there  like Nanny Goat Antiques, Chairloom, and Brandywine View Antiques (who should also be visited and often in Chadds Ford), so I also always leave with great ideas.

I go to high-end antiques and craft shows to educate my eye as much as anything else.  I don’t really buy at those shows, I am not in the demographic they shoot for – I am just average. But you need to educate your eye, because that is how you learn.  And trust me, I have seen and be able to recognize some pretty amazing things in thrift shops and picking barns as a result.

I eBay too for small stuff like vintage table linens and locating the vintage plates and even cookware I like to use. I also will swap things with friends and so on.  I am an insatiable bargain hunter with a knack for barter (I am told another word for it is “hondle”.) It’s fun.

At the end of the day, I want my home to reflect me, not someone else who doesn’t live there.  I want it to be homey and personal. And what I hang on my walls isn’t running away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art or something. I prefer things I see by more local artists and unknowns altogether. One of my most favorite things is a watercolor in a simple wood frame I bought for $20 at the Smithfield Barn.  It’s no Wyeth and never will be, but it makes me happy.  I buy what I like.  It doesn’t have to impress anyone, I just have to like it.

little table from Berwyn estate sale a few years ago - about $15. Candlestick and dish $5 from Harriton Fair at Historic Harriton House ten years ago. Print on the table of Chester County Farmhouse a gift

little table from Berwyn estate sale a few years ago – about $15. Candlestick and dish $5 from Harriton Fair at Historic Harriton House ten years ago. Print on the table of Chester County Farmhouse a gift

Another example is the little painting my sweet man found for me recently. Nothing fancy, but some unknown artist did a print of a farmhouse I love to photograph and have photographed in West Nantmeal Township. To me I would rather see things like that on someone’s walls than framed posters of art reproduction. Do you have a First Friday celebration in your community or near by? You might pick up a cool piece of art at a First Friday. Or check out local art shows.  The art show prices are generally high, but if you like the artist, take down their information and contact them after the show. (For fun and funky art and high end crafts try Past*Present*Future in Ardmore )

Home is where your heart is, so to me that makes decorating where you hang your proverbial hat easy.  Assemble your home to make yourself happy.  I like looking at Architectural Digest, but I don’t want to live in Architectural Digest. I would rather live in something most probably found in Country Living Magazine, truthfully.

My photo of the same farmhouse in the print above!

My photo of the same farmhouse in the print above!

I do Pinterest.  It to me is like a giant cork-board.  I will pin rooms that inspire me, things I might want to try, recipes, and so on. I will also ask my friends how and what they did if I like what I see.  I am not dumb, I will not do work a professional should do so you won’t see me putting up dry wall and slathering mud on, but I can do basic painting if I have to and goofy things like sponge painting stair risers.

I do have a pretty good eye for color and special relationships and I can hawk a bargain. And most of all I still like looking even when there is nothing I need to buy.  Window shopping is fun and inspirational.

So while you might find some in the Exton or King of Prussia Malls, chances are you will find me in a consignment shop , yard sale, or barn hunting for treasures.

My late father always said if you can read, you can learn to cook and I think a similar vein can be applied to decorating your home. And taste evolves, so what you like today could be completely different from ten years ago and twenty years in the future might be different again.

All I am saying is start small and just try.  Then if you really don’t have a Designing Women gene, find someone to help you.  But they should understand that you are the boss and listen and have a compatible personality.

I don’t know if I am doing it right or wrong. I just know what I like (and I know my limits.)  It has been a process of trial and error over time. Kind of like when I experimented  years and years ago with purple eye shadow. Some ideas work better than others.  After all if you hate the color the walls are painted, you can always paint them a different color.

And oh by the way, this coming weekend is an OPEN barn weekend at Smithfield Barn.

vintage memories

Yesterday I wrote a post about my Smithfield Barn score (a $5 vintage patent leather purse from the 1950′s or 1960′s with the linen lining in pristine condition.)  I posted a photo on my Facebook wall and what I got in response has provoked this post.

What happened was, one photo of one old pockie caused a few of my friends to share stories of seeing similar bags.  It was very special and very cool, and I thought about it and not only want to share what two said but the underlying reason as to why we might like certain vintage things – as  in not just because something is collectible.

My friend Regina wrote:

I had one just like this once.  It was my Mom’s. I think she gave it to us for dress up. Happy memory. 🙂

My friend Karen said:

My great grandmom had a “pocketbook” like this. Ahhh the memories of sitting in church next to her, opening and closing the bag, peeking to see what was inside…I could always count on a stick of doublemint gum being there for me. I miss her so much, she was such a refined “lady.” I can still remember the gentle fragrance of palmolive soap on her skin, her white gloves and the pretty hankies she carried in that bag.

How cool were these memories being shared?  Of course other friends reading this now are thinking “which Regina and which Karen” because I know them in multiples, but macht nichts or matters not.  What matters are these amazing memories. 

And then it hit me.  Why do we like certain vintage items over others?  How many of them have distinct roots in pleasant memories?

I know that is so for me.

My mother has a love of Tole trays,  Heisey glass, oil lamps and old linens.  I have so many memories of going to flea markets, estate sales, and even garage sales growing up when she was on the hunt for things.   Old linens remind me of her and her mother because I have distinct memories of them ironing them.  They both loved the look of crisp, pressed linen and when I see an old tablecloth I can almost hear the sizzle of the steam iron and the sweet smell of spray starch.

Pie birds.  I have the traditional blackbird, and yet another thing that reminds me of this grandmother.  She was a crazy amazing pie baker.  She also liked milk glass, and while I never recall her having chickens, I thought of her when I found my chickens at the Smithfield Barn.

Wooden spoons.  Every great home cook I have ever known has had some fabulous old wooden spoons.  When I see them, I think of a few people and the fabulous things they prepared for guests in their kitchens.  Without expensive food processors and other gadgets.

I also just love looking at this stuff at sales and markets.  I also spent many a weekend up in places like Adamstown looking, looking, looking and at antique shows.  My father always said it is just as important to educate your eye and not just buy to buy something.  That and never buy at most antique shows because the show prices are on.

The vintage  pocketbooks do remind me sometimes of things my mother had when I was little….and oh my she had cool stuff during this era including a pair of impossibly high-heeled  paisley high-heeled pumps that I can still see in my head to this day they were THAT fabulous!  BUT that is not the only reason.  Vintage purses are something in fashion I just like.  The designs, the fabrics, the leathers, the structure, and the quality.

A cool vintage purse, much like a piece or two of vintage jewelry can really take a look from ho-hum nice to interesting and fun.  I will even carry one of these bags with jeans.  And they  do have a memory I haven’t shared: the hunt for these cool vintage bags is something I do with one of my best friends named Barb.  From the Pennywise Thrift Shop to Second Hand Rose annually at St. David’s Fair to the Smithfield Barn, whenever I see vintage purses, LOL I always think of her. That and pink tea cups.

Old books.  Old books are old friends, and not only do I purchase them because I want to read them, or have and want to own a copy of something again, I have a memory.  That memory is of a rainy Saturday here and there spent with my father in what were the dusty stacks of the Owl Bookstore at Bryn Mawr College.  The bookstore is no more, but wow do I have great memories of that place, not just being there with my father.  The place was run by the most amazing older ladies, volunteers.

For me, adding vintage or gently used items to my decor or whatever is not just about saving some money or a “look”.  A lot of times it is about the memory attached.  Another example is my late cousin Suzy.  Her living room reminded me of the grandmother we shared mixed with my mother.  Memories influence us.

Do you have memories attached to anything vintage you own or collect? Tell me about it.

vintage glasses

I love vintage glasses. I pick them up at church sales, thrift shops, garage sales, wherever.  You don’t have to spend a lot and you can’t beat the fun and colors.  I prefer clear to jewel colors.  No orange and mustard colored glass for me.

Seriously?  How can you not like these glasses?