Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't Pass Up a Junky Looking Shop

Returning from a quick trip to Door County this past week, Dear Husbola and I decided to take our time coming home--to hit the antique shops on our path of course.  We have made this trip before--so we have our mental list of shops that we always stop at--and we were eager to shop.

Dear Husbola and I have a rule--even if we not bought something at a shop in several years--we will still visit a shop in our path.  You just never know.

Years ago--we picked up a brochure for the shops in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin--and we visited all the shops.  There is a small one--off the beaten track, in a little town in the heart of cheese country.  We stop every year.  Great stuff-nice owner--reasonable prices--ALWAYS find things.  Always.  But the front of the shop does not say "Whoa there--STOP HERE!" Instead it says "Tired Town-Pass Me By".

This trip--what did we find?  A 1930s complete film projector, two gorgeous ornate electric church candlesticks, a huge ornate hanging chandelier from a church, a great little lodge table and a collection of great old industrial gauges--and a bunch of other stuff.

Really. Trust me on this.  Hope springs eternal.  Stop at that little off the beaten track shop--no matter what it's curb appeal-if any.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Unpredictability of an Auction

Dear Husbola and I headed out to a local auction on Saturday.  The usual AuctionZip perusal of the offerings did not turn up any auction too terrific--so we headed out to Sycamore to attend one.  The advertisement promised several estates--and the pictures did not promise much--but the weather was good, the calendar clear and off we went.

The auction was held in a large vacant lot--and outside were six flat bed wagons stuffed with box lots of "stuff" and the inside building was filled with what appeared on first glance as "just furniture." There were a few glass display cases filled with silver and jewelry and collectibles.

We decided to stay- (I should say I decided to stay and Dear Husbola reluctantly agreed.)-The auction began outside on the wagons of dreck--  a true household collection of Xmas decorations, kitchen gadgets, souvenirs from trips taken long ago and mish mash.  Sifting through quickly I was beginning to question whether we had made the right decision to stay and then I spied it.  A cardboard flat containing an early 20th century wooden box stuffed with early recipes. Accompanying it were several other folders of recipes.  Hundreds and hundreds of time worn, kitchen tested recipes on recipe cards--with lots of notations from the cook.  Yeppers--that was going to be MINE.

We also found a pair of great, late 50s industrial style drafting table, gray metal lamps.  Great condition-great look--just the industrial type that buyers are clammering for today.  Yuppers--those puppies were going to be mine too.

Throughout the auction we picked up a few other treasures--including a great set of Russell Wright dishes and serving pieces in the rare chartreuse curry color.  Mid century is hot hot hot right now.  Great.  The stuff I grew up with as a kid is now called mid century.  (Heck--I AM mid century aged for goodness sake.  But I digress.)

Ok--here the box of recipes are coming up for auction.  I have already written a clever blog post in my head about those recipes and a story about the cook.  A woman starts the bidding at $5.00.  Before the blink of an an eye--my $50 ceiling breezes by and the box of recipes soars to $125.  WHAT!!!!??????
I was stunned.  And I did not get them.  The woman who did had a "I will not be denied" look about her.  Wow.  Maybe she was a family member who was bidding from sentimentality.  Maybe she saw them as the start of a new best selling Illinois Prairie Land Farm Recipe Book.  Maybe she was just nuts.

Now--dejected old me was ready for the two industrial lamps.  Yikes--how high would I have to go on those?  Bidding starts.  I get them both for $10.  WHAT!!!!????  Two incredible lamps for $10.00??  I would have paid the $125.00 for them--and $10.00 for the recipe box-not exactly the opposite.

Go figure.  I'll never understand auction mentality.  Regardless- I hope to be attending them till I drop.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sure Signs that Summer is Slipping Away

No matter how hard I try--it is like hanging on the side of a cliff by the tips of my fingers--like Eva Marie Saint in North By Northwest.  Remember that movie?--she and Cary Grant are being chased by evil criminals over the crags of Mt. Rushmore and she slips and is hanging by her fingertips over the edge.

That is how I approach the end of summer.  PLEASE NOOOOOOOO!  Not yet!!!

But "yet" has arrived  The limelight hydrangeas are getting that early fall tinge.  Dear Husbola has been reminding me that the meteorological start to fall happened over a month ago and that Xmas is in "X" amount of months.   The petunias in pots are saying "I'm done".  Our show schedule is over for another year.  Auction goer garb now included a jeans jacket.

We are not doing any shows this fall.  We finished out the year at Elkhorn in August and are now zeroing in on keeping the shops stocked and starting some theme stockpiling for next spring's shows.  It does seem like it was just a short time ago that we were preparing for the Blumen Gardens and Rockford shows.  But it was seven months ago.


This has been a mediocre auction season.  I am not sure if people are moving less--therefore less auctions.  But our usual full calendar of good estate auctions is fewer and far between.  We are less willing to jump in the car and drive great distances and stay overnight on the "speck" of an auction in an area we are not familiar with.

Sales at Walworth and Odana have been strong this summer--we are very happy about that.  So we march into fall feeling better about the business than we have in awhile. 

There are plenty of shows this fall--we just do not do them.  The WADA show in Waukesha and the Fox Valley show are both in October.  There are plenty of area shows in people's barns and yards-more of those cropping up all the time.  Rustic settings with pumpkins and haystacks and attractive vintage whatevers filled with bittersweet vines.  Some even serve hot apple cider to shoppers.

But for me--I will just go out and give those darn petunias another fertilizer cocktail.

No More Concrete or Cast Iron Please

Dear One  and I spend many good hours wandering around looking for quirky things to sell.  There is nothing that makes a dealer smile more t...