Monday, July 22, 2013

Chalk Paint Experiment ...

During my flea market adventure over the weekend - I scored a great little table for $15.  It is the perfect height for taking photos for the products in the store.  However in the state I found it, it's not quite right.
I like the little rim that goes all the way around, I think it can be a great prop table.  instead of the great big hulking table I am currently using.

Oops Paint
White Dry Non Sanded Grout
So I saw a recipe for making homemade chalk paint.  Which apparently is quite popular right now.  However, at over $34.00 a quart I am not in the market for chalk paint.  I do however have a bunch of oops paint I got for $5 - $7 a gallon - and apparently all I need is unsanded grout $7 at Home Depot
I mixed about 4 heaping tablespoons of unsanded grout with some water to make a paste and mixed until smooth

I added the paste to the paint in a seperate container that I could seal
  It did make the paint a bit thick.  I had heard that you don't need to sand or strip a piece prior to painting it when using chalk paint - EVEN better for me - it's the lazy persons paint!  So here goes nothing...  It went on pretty good, definitely needed 2 coats, and actually I ended up touching it up in a few places.  but over all I liked the effect, how easy it was to use, and look out it made the paint go farther, so ...

I think I will be painting a few things with chalk paint.  I just got some really great oops greens, that really nice calm teal green color and I have some mirrors,  tables, a few chairs ... look out 

And if you decide to try chalk paint for yourself, be warned the recipe above is my own measurements - not exact by any means - and I would suggest you maybe start with the amounts you feel comfortable with.  From what I hear this stuff sticks to alot of stuff ... Oh and finish it off with a coat of Minwax finishing paste, to seal and protect - 

Have fun!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Flea Markets and Estate Sales Whoo Hoo!

So I went to a Flea Marketing today with my friend Robin and I must say, I think we scored a few great items.  Mostly I am happy I found a little table I can use for the photos I take of items I sell on Etsy.  I have been using a table that was a tad to tall, this one is shorter and longer not round - and I paid $15 for it.
It needed a coat of paint but still a great find. I am going to paint it with homemade chalk paint, will let you know how it turns out in my next blog post.

I think I have gotten a bit jaded with the flea markets, since I have been having such luck at the estate sales and yard sales this season.  When I walk through a flea market and talk to the dealers I know they got the stuff at an auction or estate sale and I want THOSE prices!  not flea market prices.  I used to think flea market prices were the greatest.  But combined with the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of a great deal - I think estate sales and yard sales have the flea markets beat. I am going to try some auctions before the summer is over.  Will keep you posted on that adventure too.

But I must say there is something about a field of venders with tables lined up as far as you can see.  It makes treasure hunting easy.  Especially when the vendors are willing to make deals.

not sure who would love this - but there is something at a flea market for everyone!

But then the estate sale/yard sales - you know the ones, they have a ton of stuff so they add estate sale to the signs to get the bargain hunters to stop.  Those sales can be awesomely great finds, if they are really trying to clean out and just want stuff to find new homes.  Professionally run estate sales are great too, fun to go to and I try to attend a variety in the area and get to know the companies and how they organize them.  Some companies start out with high prices and don't bargain at all, they are out to get the best prices for their customers.  Which isn't the customer shopping!  Some companies will do half price on the last day of the sale.  One local company sometimes runs the last day with fill a bag sales, fill a bag for $5.  Love that!

Yard sale/Estate Sales - The ones run by the family, they are just tired of looking at it.  They want to sell the house, make room for something, or need the money.  So please buy the stuff - sometimes they want to deal and have it move out, other times they are more interested in sticking to a price they set - it can't hurt to ask - "what's your best price" or "would you take ___"  I usually start out lower than I am willing to pay, but if I think an item is already priced fair, I don't bother with the haggling.  Some people  love to haggle no matter what.  I prefer to get a good/fair deal, so that both the vendor and I feel good about it. 

some of my treasures today

Vintage 1950's chair and stool $5

Vintage lamp and shade great condition if I told you what she paid you would be jealous! I know I was!
Vintage shade on the lamp - perfect condition!

more treasures - can you tell I love the crates!

Until next time - it's a Fleaosophy ...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

One persons' Junk is my Treasure ...

Look what I found! Vintage Lincoln Beauty Ware Chrome Canisters - Probably from about 1950.they measure flour and sugar each 9.5" tall, 7" deep, 4.5" wide at the back 

coffee 6" tall, 7" deep, 4.5" wide at back 
tea 3.25" tall, 7" deep, 4.5" wide at back
now I found them  in the basement of my friends grandmothers house.
her mother had finally decided it was time to clean it out.  I love that. My friend thought everything was junk, I told her I think it will all be treasure!  and I found a few treasures - actually more than I could take.  So I decided on just a few items and I loved these - 

So here are a few before and after photos - and a little tip for cleaning chrome

the set even comes with the yellow flour scooper.
To clean rusty and pitted chrome I use small squares of tin foil and water - a light going over depending on how badly it is pitted can greatly improve the chrome - something about the friction of the tin foil against the metal fills the pits in and it also removes rust - 
works wonders!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Thrift stores, Goodwill and Deals or no Deal

I love thrift stores!!  I have been shopping at thrift stores since before they were cool. Maybe they still aren't cool, and only I think they are?  I always did think they were cool, but then I loved going through the neighbors trash on bulk trash night and wandering around antique malls at the age of 9 so maybe I am just a freak of nature...

I am so lucky that my "real" job as a traveling daycare photographer gives me the opportunity to find and explore thrift stores all over the state, and in some cases in other areas of the country too! So what is a good thrift store, and what makes a good bargain?

 In Baltimore and Maryland, in general there are several thrift store chains - we have Value Village - which also goes by the name Savers, and 2nd Ave. I think they are trying to make their image seem a bit more chic; well maybe with the 2nd Ave name. The Salvation Army still has a few locations - they were really great with prices, although they stopped bargaining a few years back. Recently one of the few Salvation Army stores shut down due to fire or some sort of catastrophe in the building. I was sorry to see that one close. It was right across from a Goodwill, but ahh Goodwill, how I love and hate you at the same time.

 Goodwill does good things - please don't get me wrong and I have found some awesome items at Goodwill. I know Goodwill has helped thousands and thousands of people over the years. However things have changed. Goodwill has changed it's pricing to try to match retail stores. If they know they have a treasure, they price it as, well a treasure. I saw a painting in a Goodwill store priced for $150 last week - $150 at a Goodwill! I would think that may not be such a bad thing - except that a large portion of the money they are making on the FREE DONATED Goods goes to pay the CEO's. yes there have been reports that the CEO's are making upwards of $400,000 a year. A non-profit CEO, making that much well is just wrong. Especially since the reports are that some of the workers that they are "helping" don't even make minimum wage. Many earn only 20 cents an hour. They are paid on how fast they work. REALLY? Now on the flip side of this I can understand if they are on disability and can not make more than say $700 or $800 a month. But to only pay them pennies on the hour, is shameful; and to then pay the top CEO's over $400,000. Well, words can not express the disappointment.

As other options. there are church thrift stores, and privately owned thrift stores to support. For me it is the thrill of finding a new store and supporting the locally owned business; recycling, keeping items out of landfills and of course the thrill of finding an item at an amazing price to love for years and years! (or to share with someone who will love it, I can't keep it all, because that's called hoarding, and they have t.v. shows about that)
Here are a few of my latest thrift store finds .... Later I will talk about Estate Sales, Garage Sales, Auctions and Dumpster Diving - all great (fun!) ways to find great things. and then what to do when you get that great item! Keep it, fix it, paint it or sell it??

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Setting up my Photo Studio for Product Photography

I have many loves, photography being one of them. So it is perfect that in order to have a vintage store on-line I have to take photos of all the great things I find while hunting flea markets and garage sales. (Wait till you see what I found this weekend!) but that is another post!) After a great day of hunting flea markets on Saturday, I took time to finally clear out the basement on Sunday. I had been taking photos where ever I could find the space, which was getting harder and harder to find. I also wanted to create a consistent look with all my pictures. So I knew in order to do that I had to set up a place where I could add the products and it would be ready to got when ever I was ready to take the photos. Oh, did I tell you that is what I do for my real job - yup - I am a photographer - I get to go to daycare centers and preschools and take photos of little kids. I have the best job in the world! And now I have the second best job sharing my treasures, I couldn't ask for things to be any better! However, product photography and taking pictures of little kids are completely different things - and sometimes I think the kids may be easier! at least funnier ... So here are some shots of the basement in progress and after it was done - using everything I already had around - and the light set up I got from EBAY about 2 years ago for under $200.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome to Fleaosophy!

Hello and welcome!

Fleaosophy is not just a blog, it's not just a store, it's a way of life!

If you have been bitten by the Flea Market Bug you know what I am talking about - you see a yard/garage sale, an estate sale, drive by a  flea markets and your palms start to sweat, your heart races and you think of all the wonderful vintage, rusty, old treasures that await - you just have to park the car and go find them!

I was bitten by the bug when I was 10 years old.  My mother rented rooms out when I was growing up and we had a lady that lived upstairs, Mrs. Wilson.  Mrs. Wilson collected Scotty dogs, and worked in an antique mall.  When I turned 10, she gave me my first items to start a collection of horses, a set of encyclopedias from the turn of the century and an old 1890's sewing machine. 

I learned to love antique malls early.  Wandering around, looking at everything trying not to miss a thing. I loved the musty smell of old books.  Later on my grandparents would take me to a  flea market near their home in Florida.  Yes, I was bitten by the bug early on.

Today,  I find great treasures, clean them up, sometimes I up-cycle them into something new.  Then I pass them on to other treasure hunters who may not have access to the great flea markets and sources I have.

Stay tuned for photos of my adventures, my finds, and tips for how to use them, and love them all over again.

and you can also check out my most recent finds here