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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Where I Shop for Treasure



As a long time collector and an antiques dealer I am frequently asked "Where do you get all of your great stuff?" Of course, there is no single answer to that but I can share with you my 5 favorite places to find great furniture, home decor and collectors items.

1- Antique Stores
Image result for antiques sign
I grew up in Pennsylvania with parents who loved antiquing, so I learned at a very young age the thrill of poking around  for treasures in out of the way country shops. I remember my folks had a favorite dealer named Joe who had more of a warehouse type shop and a great eye as well as great prices. They still have many fine things they got from Joe and while I'm sure he's long gone his influence remains in my parents home.

Every city in every state has antique stores! When I travel I check them out. If you are buying for yourself antique stores usually provide a very good value for  your money. As a dealer I have learned it doesn't make much sense to buy from another dealer and try to resell an item - however, there are always exceptions 😉 

2- Estate Sales
Hepplewhite sideboard, mahogany,  purchased for $100 at an estate sale.

As a young wife and mother our little family moved to New Jersey. We quickly made friends with several other young couples who were also starting out in home ownership and furnishing a home. Our quaint little town of Maplewood was filled with colonial homes ripe for renovation. My friends and I made a habit of visiting the weekly estate sales in the area and snapped up classic pieces of furniture like Hepplewhite sideboards, Windsor chairs and Oriental rugs.

An estate sale is run by a company that will liquidate a home's contents on behalf of a family usually after someone has passed away, hence the term "estate". Typically all sales are as is, final and everything must go. This is a fabulous way to find everything from home furnishings, vintage clothing, tools, jewelry, collectibles - you name it! Be prepared to haul off whatever you purchase.

Estate sales are listed in your local paper, on craigslist and  you can usually subscribe to an email list that will notify you of upcoming sales in your area. 


3- Auctions
Chippendale dining table and 8 chairs, mahogany with satinwood inlay purchased at auction $1200

Another favorite activity of mine was going to local auctions. My friends and I would take our toddlers in tow and bid on furniture, art and tabletop items. An auction house usually sets up a preview day where buyers can inspect the items that will be offered. On the day of the auction you must register and be given a number. You cannot just show up and start waving your hand! If you are buying for yourself remember that you may be bidding against antique dealers who will then have to double or triple the price in their shop.That can give you a big advantage!

I have purchased many fine things at auctions both for personal use as well as my store. It's a fun way to buy, but set your limits and stick to them!  There is also a buyers premium that the auction house sets so don't forget to factor that in.

Of course, the internet has changed the auction landscape in the past couple of decades. I have also bought and sold many things on eBay. There are several reputable online auction houses. My most recent find is Invaluble.com
They run online auctions themselves of fine art, furniture and high end jewelry, collectibles and decor. Plus they have links to other auction houses around the country if you want to attend an auction in person. I've had great fun browsing their website!

4- Flea Markets

Long Beach Flea Market
Now we are getting to the real bargains. I love flea markets! I have been lucky enough to attend flea markets in Paris, Strasbourg, London, Pasadena, Long Beach, and the famous Brimfield's  flea market in New England. Honestly, I can't think of anything more fun than browsing an outdoor flea market on a weekend. 
I am usually shopping for my store and take home a trailer full(or container). Anything and everything is available at flea markets and don't be shy about bargaining! The vendors would much rather sell their wares than take it home. If I meet a stubborn vendor I usually move on, someone else will be willing to deal. I have my typical list of things that I am looking for - china and silver, rustic home decor, vintage linens and anything French!


5- Thrift Stores
Ironstone creamers all found at thrift stores

Thrift Stores are kind of the nuts and bolts of my inventory. Many people consider thrift stores to be nothing but junk, but you know the old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure".  I routinely find English ironstone, silver plate flatware and serving pieces, vintage linens, tole trays, pewter and ornate frames. Rarely do I find great furniture, however I did buy a Federal mahogany china cabinet once! (read HERE ) My favorites are Goodwill, Assistance League, and other church sponsored charity shops.

It's been so fun to turn my hobby into into my profession. I've learned a lot over the years! 
Happy shopping!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Decorating with Candlesticks


Do you love decorating with candlesticks as much as I do? I use candles in literally every room in the house. They can be formal or rustic, short or tall. I have candlesticks made of silver, pewter, crystal, brass and wood. I tend to group similar candlesticks together and I love to cluster them on a tray for a dramatic centerpiece. But they also are great for giving height to a vignette or anchoring other objets d'art. I especially use candlesticks during the holidays to add a bit of sparkle to a tablescape. On Christmas Eve we ate by candlelight. The grandkids were enchanted and it helped to set a quiet mood and made for a memorable evening.

Candlesticks are not expensive and can match any decor style!


























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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Old Brick House Vintage Market


I love the pop up antique markets that have become a thing in the past few years. They typically are open 1-3 days a month and either move locations around a given city or stay in the same home space to make them easier to find. As often as not a vintage pop up market will be housed in an old warehouse, barn or vacant store front. I think of them as kind of a fresh take on flea markets.

The greater Phoenix area has several of these that have become extremely popular with long lines of eager buyers waiting to get in as soon as they open each month.  On Friday my friend Lora and I were lunching in downtown Mesa when we noticed a sale going on two doors down. The Old Brick House has been in Mesa selling antiques and furnishings for years, but they have now re imagined themselves as a pop up shop. If you are into vintage, shabby, and unique treasures, this is the place for you!















Lora found a couple of fun items at very reasonable prices. I'm afraid I had to resist as I am still anticipating a move soon. No more shopping for me :(

Here is the Old Brick House schedule for 2017. For more info contact them at info@oldbrickhousevintagemarket.net
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Great Green Peppers



I returned home after several weeks away and the refrigerator was bare. There is a wonderful market near me that only sells produce so that is where I headed first thing Monday morning. The green peppers were on sale for 10 for a $1. That's right, a dime each! So of course,  I filled a bag.

 I have read that there are differences in peppers. Those with with 3 bumps are male and those with 4 bumps are female. Supposedly those with 3 bumps have fewer seeds. 

 I don't know, they looked pretty much the same to me...

With only two of us in the house 10 green peppers is a lot. So what to do? Freeze them of course! I hope you know how easy it is to freeze peppers. 

Simply core them and remove all the seeds. Some I sliced into strips and some I diced.
 Place them in freezer bags and pop them in the freezer.  They are so easy to pull out  and throw into recipes. I use the strips for dishes like stir fry, fajitas and sweet and sour meatballs. The diced peppers will go into chili, omelettes  and goulash. They will last in the freezer for a couple of months.


The remaining peppers are on tonight's menu. I have a couple of favorite stuffed pepper recipes that I found via Pinterest that I can share with you here, 


~Recipe for Stuffed Green Peppers with Brown Rice, Italian Sausage, and Parmesan~:

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Top 5 Posts of 2016

As the new year starts many people set New Year's resolutions. I'm more about setting new goals, such as  reading more books, taking a new class and traveling to someplace new. I really love learning new things and I find so much inspiration on the internet these days. My own blog is now 5 years old and it's been quite a learning curve. Thanks to all of you who read and follow my posts! Here are my most popular posts of 2016

Coming in at #5, my Thanksgiving post



Next at #4, my favorite reasons to shop at thrift stores



My third most viewed post was about these charming little collectors items,

I was surprised by how many of you liked my little flag pin collection


So here's the thing. My blog is about antiques and collectibles. I do also love to cook and entertain so I occasionally post recipes. By far my most viewed post was my Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe. Maybe I should do a cooking blog??

Happy New Year!

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