Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day, Ebay and Rhubarb Pie

Happy Memorial Day!!  Quiet weekend on the Street With No Name.  We have packed the car for a trip to Madison and Odana Antiques this week.  We have had strong sales and need to restock and freshen the booth.  Treasures include a 1900s point of purchase display stand from the American Hoe Company and a terrific inlaid table with the date 1912 in the intricate design.

Ebay is calling my name--and I have listed a few things including vintage medicine bottles and an English needlepoint and inlaid slipper stool.  Needlework seems to be hot hot hot right now on ebay--and I still have several pieces to list.  In the shops--needlework can sit for months without moving.

Since it is almost 100 degrees today--what a great day to make oven baked bbq ribs and Dear Husbola's favorite rhubarb pie.  After all--the kitchen is already hot--what is a little hotter?
I love the Rhubarb Custard Pie Recipe from my Grandmother's vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook.  Pillsbury dough sure makes it easy.

Rhubarb Custard Pie- Circa 1950               400 degrees 45 minutes

Do not prebake lower crust.  Everything goes raw into the hot oven

Filling--4 cups raw sliced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash salt
1/2 teas cinnamon (says nutmeg but we prefer cinnamon)
3 beaten eggs

Top with crust.  Egg white wash and sprinkle sugar.  Make a few slits.

Enjoy your holiday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

NATO Summit or Elkhorn Antique Flea Market

As this year continues to just fly by,  my calendar tells me that May 19-20 are significant for a variety of reasons--the weekend brings both the NATO summit to Chicago and it is the antique flea market opening season in Elkhorn Wisconsin.

This blog will always be a "politics free zone" so I will not comment on the summit.  But I will urge you to jump in your car--and come to the nicest antiques event in the midwest.  The Walworth County Fairgrounds hosts this market four times a year--and we think the first is always the biggest and the best.

More than 600 dealers--in and outside--selling all manor of vintage treasure.  We will be in the North Hall--firmly in a covered space, concrete floor and next to good restrooms and the grilled brat seller.  Yeah we have heard that many customers never make it into the buildings--but we beg to differ.  Of the 10,000 folks who go through in a weekend--we get a large part of that--and enjoy doing the show.

So--if transportation nightmares  are not your style and personal safety is a priority, make the journey to Elkhorn Wisconsin instead..  Early buying starts at 1pm Saturday for a premium admisssion and Sunday starts at 7am till 3pm for five bucks.  Grab yourself a spring perennial, a bunch of home grown asparagas and rhubarb, a Lion's Club brat or a Future Farmer's of America breakfast sandwich, wander on good footpaths and under mature trees  and peruse stall upon stall upon STALL of vintage and antiques treasure--and leave the craziness to downtown Chicago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Discounts Are the Name of the Game Now

The hardest thing I find about the antiques trade is proper pricing.  Dear Husbola and I do not sell "common" items.  In fact--we find the usual stuff you see in most malls very boring.  Really--does anyone even LOOK at depression glass anymore?  Stacks of glassware and dishes are "dead in the water" as we say--if they sell at all--they are selling for a fraction of what they once were.

Shoppers are more savvy these days--they ask for discounts now far more often than they once did.  Everyone knows that antique sales have slowed--and the chances that sellers are more hungry for a sale has increased.  Shoppers know that--and are not shy about asking for "a  better price."  I know it--and I do it myself.

But some shoppers are so RUDE about it--it makes me want to scream.

Most recently, we set up and sold at the Blumen Gardens show in Sycamore Illinois.  It is our second year and we sold well--and 99% of the buyers and shoppers were pleasant, conversational and respectful..  But ohhh--that 5 % was a real wing ding.

Respect is a two way street.  Respect for our customers needs to bet met halfway with a respectful understanding that we do not get our inventory for nothing--and you ask me politely--I will discount politely.  Seems simple.

Take the woman who spent 15 minutes going through a large container of vintage sets of dice.  I had not intended to sell any--they were just decorating a large bowl--but when people started asking--I figured I would sell.  Now these were CHEAP!  REALLY cheap.  Her purchase came to six dollars.

"I'll give ya five," was her wonderful offer.

HAPPILY when a shopper is making a purchase of consequence--we give an attractive discount.  We realize that that is part of the antiques commerce.  When we sell in an antiques market setting like Elkhorn--we especially expect it. 

But--at a lovely indoor show--knocking a buck off a 6 dollar purchase?  No thank you.

I told this Wonderful Perspective Customer--"No--at that price point there is no discount."  At this point--she shot me a look that would have withered limestone.  Or curled the toes of the Wicked Witch of the East.

Funny--I forget all the great customers that weekend--and remember This One Treasure.

(PS-She bought them anyway---)
(PPS-Why the artichoke picture?  Just because it is spring and in season in France--and pretty!)

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...