Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Footloose and Fancy Flea: 7 Tips for Flea Market Success

We're Midwesterners, so to say we've welcomed Spring this year, is a smiiiiiiiiidge of an understatement.  Like a loyal pooch reunited with its long, lost master...we've jumped into Spring's arms, licked her face, whimpered with joy and made sure she knows how much we love her.

You heard us Mother Nature. We've never been more excited for yard-work, wasp-stings, dandelions and thunderstorms. Bring on the 4 am bird-choir and crickets chirping in the night.  We'll take it all... because with these signs of Spring comes the kind of road rambling, garage sale-ing, flea market-ing freedom we've been craving.  We are feeling Footloose and Fancy FLEA, people!!! Can we get an AMEN?!?!

Just so happens we're kicking off FLEA MARKET season with a sweet sale this weekend, May 3rd and 4th. YAY! It's the Kicks on 66 Sale - and we'll be cruising 90 miles of Route 66, stopping at Flea Markets from Joliet, IL to Towanda, IL. For more information about this sale, visit the  KICKS ON 66 SALE website. Follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter because we'll be posting treasures as they're discovered! If you see something you like, let us know, and we will be happy to reserve it for you.

Also, don't miss Urban Farmgirl's Main Street Market, next weekend, May 10th in Rockford, IL. This market is loaded with vintage and pretty things from over 50 vendors. We're so excited to see what they have in store!

Flea Markets are heaps of fun and a super opportunity to find those one-of-a-kind treasures that bring character to your home or space. Remember, you don't have to have a vintage "themed" room or space to bring in a few vintage pieces or artifacts. Forget about a one-toned look that feels old and one-dimensional... Collected style is about blending the old with the new to add character and interest to your space - and to help tell your story.

Whether you're new to Fleas or an experienced Flea Marketer  here are 7 TIPS for making the most of your Flea Market experience:

1. Arrive early, stay late.  It's true, the early bird gets the worm -  but bargains are often found at the end of the day.

2. Be prepared with necessities.
  • Bring your tape measure - and know the measurements of spaces you're trying to fill. 
  • Bring a rolling cart or sturdy over-the-shoulder bag for hauling your wares. 
  • Pack an umbrella (this usually guarantees sunshine!).  
  • Charge that smart phone! You may need it to look up comparable prices or brand names of larger vintage pieces you're considering. Plus use it to take pics, store measurements, etc.

3. Cash is king. Cash offer gets the best deals so make sure you have plenty.

4. Make an offer. Always ask the vendor for their best price but know that cash offers and bundled offers (purchasing more than one item from that vendor) usually yield better deals.

5. Every piece has a story. Ask the vendor about the item(s) you're buying. Know where it came from, how it was used, etc - this is the fun part about collecting treasures!

6. Inspect your items before buying.  Check table legs for sturdiness,  make sure lamps work, etc.  There are no returns once you get your item home...

7. Use your imagination. Remember that a gorgeous piece of furniture might be hiding behind mistreated exterior. If she has good lines and great bones, rescue her! A can of paint works wonders. 

Gosh. Spring... flea markets... garage sales? Sigh. Our tails are reaaaally wagging, now. 

Remember to post your fabulous flea market finds on our Facebook Page! We can't wait to see what you find.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Breaking Rules and a Thrifty Wall Makeover

If you've heard us say it once, you've heard it a thousand times. Never underestimate the power of a good thrifting adventure.  If you're one of those people who's all "Suuuuure, thrift stores are full of treasures, but I never find them...." or  "Ewww, thrift stores are full of useless junk ..." you should definitely keep reading.

A few weeks ago, we were called upon by a darling client (DC) - who asked us to help her finish a project that had been weighing her down for quite some time:  Hanging family pictures on the dreaded stairway walls. 

A self-proclaimed Type A, our DC had avoided the project many reasons - including her uncertainty around "the rules" attached to mixing color photos with black and white, candid shots with portraits, wood toned frames with metallic frames, etc. She also wanted to share her family's story - their love of the outdoors, history, teaching, their Irish heritage - but she was unsure how to blend it all together to create a look and style that made sense. She enlisted us to help her break the rules, rescue her from wall paralysis, and create the collected style she envisioned but couldn't achieve on her own.

At the in-home consultation, we talked our DC into giving us access to her decorative accessory graveyard treasure trove (you know you have one - maybe a dried floral arrangement or two, some bright, gold candlesticks, a few empty picture frames maybe?).  We sifted through her trove, uncovered a few gems, then set out to hunt and gather for more goodies that would help tell their story.

First stop? A thrift store, of course, because that's what this blog post is all about. And then... a beautiful thing happened called - we found a fantastic, storytelling, character-infusing collection of accessories, artifacts and frames for under $70.  Swear. Here's the list:
  1.  A nature-inspired, framed, original oil painting
  2.  A vintage mirror
  3.  Framed Irish blessing
  4.  A natural wicker vase
  5.  A small ceramic vase
  6.  An iron bird's nest
  7.  A framed cross
  8.  2 vintage, copper candlesticks with glass flutes
  9.  5 natural, wood picture frames
  10.  3 brushed metal picture frames  
With plenty of budget to spare, we purchased a few new items to complete the stairwell gallery wall space plus, spruce up the base of the stairway. We added a pair of gold candle sconces, some dried florals, a homey burlap wall hanging, a chalkboard sign and a collection of U's.  Our DC explained an apparent letter U maker conspiracy that makes finding a U equal to finding gold - so we snatched up every one we could find and created a U collage! Take that letter U makers! For all you letter U seekers, we found a few more at Hobby Lobby, one of which we Modpodged with book pages. Our favorite is this clever, little U created from a book...


Aren't they fantastic?! You can buy book letters here!

Next, with a quick trip to our DCs village office, we were able to snag a village map which we aged to perfection (dark wax is the bomb), honoring her request to represent their strong ties to the community in which they live. 

Our DC's treasure trove produced a few good finds as well - a fun Irish sign and a couple of metallic frames. We also rescued a decorative urn which was hidden beneath dated greens. After pulling those babies out, she was good as new! Tucked away in the sitting room cabinet, we found a pair of vintage books that we placed on a shelf. Unbeknownst to us, they were our DCs Grandfather's books from long ago. She was touched to see them displayed and we were reminded how much we love what we do.
We threw all of this collected deliciousness into a pot, seasoned it with a little craftiness and rule-breaking know-how... and voila!

A thrifty, wall makeover that made our DC and her family feel right at home - while we had fun breaking the rules!

We leave you with this, Collected Society....