Monday, August 22, 2016

Eight Places to Find Vintage & Antiques Pieces for Cheap

I have started to get asked where I source all of my homes' antiques, so I thought I'd blog about it.  Now that we are finally done with one room in our little farmlette - well, the furniture part (we still have window treatments and wall hangings to go), I can also visually demonstrate the various places I get the vintage and antique items I place in my home. 

From cheapest to most expensive, here's where I find them:

1.  The Dump.  That's right.  I pick up other people's garbage.  Our dump (as you can read in this post) has several areas where people set aside unused items they would otherwise donate to a charity shop.  Except at the dump, it's free!  

See the little blue vintage hat box to the left of the dresser, and (partially hidden) the antique pail used as a garbage can?  Dump. I've gotten painted antique chairs, an antique drum table, a blue-painted folding hospital bed from the '50s, and, this last week, a whole box of antique bottles now on display in Lance's office.

2.  Goodwill pay-by-the pound.  Thrift stores (below) are great, but Goodwill's pay-by-the-pound is crazy cheap.  As in, I got this chair for $.50. That's right, $.50.

It's super comfortable and solid, likely mid-century.  I kept the dings and recovered it's lime-green upholstery with antique French grain sacks for $100.  Chair $.50, fabric $30, recovery $100, for a $135.50 chair I absolutely love.  Not bad!

3. Yard Sales.  If I possibly can, I stop by a yard sale.  Antiques and vintage items always have a story, but when you buy at a yard sale, you get to hear it.  Like the two antique dining chairs I got recently (currently being reupholstered) for $15 a piece - they were someone's grandmothers from French Canada.  The top bit had been hacked off - they told me when and why - and when I tore up the fabric, I found straw stuffing!  

I recently got the antique orange lantern (above) and yellow lamp with straw shade (below) from a yard sale in the Berkshires (Western Mass) for free - I only had ten Canadian dollars and a New Hampshire check, so they asked me to please take the items!

4. Thrift Stores.  The cobbler bench pictured above?  Goodwill in Manchester, NH for $5 (plus a chalk paint and sand job for another $30).  I also stop by thrift stores as I pass whenever I can and check out the furniture and home goods section.  It helps that my kids love playing with the unwrapped toys - Gideon's favorite thing.  I purchased the turquoise ironing board/chair/step ladder - already painted- from the Savers in Manchester for $13.  Favorite piece that finally found the right spot in our home.  I have gotten vintage baskets ($5), antique chairs for the living room ($5 a piece), Gideon's vintage Radio Flyer tricycle, an antique oil lamp, and the silver tray pictured atop the blue dresser ($10) and square antique mirror (10GBP), both pictured, all in mint conditions from various thrift stores.  The blue dresser?  120 years old with original paint from Goodwill in Concord for $60 - all I had to do was remove the wheels.

Thrift stores are great for antique linens.  I got the white hand-tatted lace-trimmed pillows from a local thrift store in Concord for $1/piece and the hand-made quilted pillow from a church flea market for $.50.

5. Craigslist.  Not to be used in other countries - it's Gumtree in the UK, where Craigslist is almost completely spammed out.  I purchased both our couches on Craigslist (currently at the reupholstered and not pictured), one for $100 (antique French settee), the other for $700 (Empire couch from the 1930's, recently recovered with down pillows) - the best place to look for large antique items, as shops have a hard time finding the floor space for them.  The bed pictured here likely would have been listed on Craigslist, but I got it from a new neighbor (now a dear friend!) for $300 - 18th century rope bed with custom-made mattress.  

6. Antique and Flea Markets

I loved Kempton Antique Market (technically Sudbury's) and Covent Garden's Piccadilly Market Antique Flea Market Mondays in London, and was amazed by Brimfield in Western Mass this summer.  You can find many antiques at bargain prices. I recently got a rare blue Persian rug for our living room at Brimfield and will be headed back in two weeks to try to find other treasures.

I also found the wash bin toile lamp pictured above atop the dresser at an Antique Market for $30. 

Flea markets are another treasure trove.  Here in New Hampshire, I can go to a flea market almost every day of the week during the summer, and have loved our local Davisville flea market, though it's only open Sundays; I can't recall having purchased anything there for the home yet, but am planning on going to New London soon, where many of the same vendors sell.

I found the following piece at the Brooklyn Flea Market recently for $90, down from $150.  A bit pricey for what I normally get, but that's Brooklyn I guess.

The antique chest came from a yard sale for $10.

7. Auctions

If you can find them, I hear they are great.  I am headed to my first on Labor Day - hoping to find a bed for Lance and myself - where I hear they are very cheap.

8. Antique Consignment Stores

I have had some luck with Consignment stores, mostly for dishes and small items, but also scored a few primitive (possibly 18th century) pieces, including a set of antique chairs on our deck and a stool by the fireplace (not pictured).  

With all of these places, the more you can hunt, keep an open mind (but also know what you are looking for), know value when you see it - both in terms of material and price, and know color schemes for various rooms, the more success you will find.  

Small Wonders 
* Gideon somehow picked up "meanwhile," and uses it appropriately.  We are all in stitches.
* Overheard this afternoon when I asked G to go get Esther out of her tent post-naps: Knock-knock.  E"sther, it's me, Gideon.  I'm your good friend, remember?  Can I get you up now?"
* Overheard the other day: "Did you have a busy day, Esther?"  "Guess what?  We have a problem in here [proceeds to describe the problem accurately - will spare you the potty-related details.]"
* E at the bottom of a slide: "Wow- fun!!"
* G& E will hold hands now when they are out and about - spontaneously, and without me asking them to do it.
* I am often asked if G& E are twins - I need to weigh them to see if G still beats Esther by a pound or two or not.

Three-D of our little girl.  See the note the doc put at the bottom?

Kids loved the National Constitution Center in Philly

They got to meet several of mommy's friends in Philly.

Dear friend Peggy Ducket showed us around the NCC, where she is a member.

Absolutely had to show them Independence Hall, despite the heat.
booties to visit the Temple Open House in Philly!
They made it!

Guess who is six months pregnant?!

Was thrilled to take my Penn supervisor and ConSource Board Member through the Philadelphia Temple Open House

Visiting New York was an adventure.  Stayed in Manhattan and spent our days in Westchester County and Brooklyn seeing friends.

G got a few hours with some of his best friends, Liam and Coco Clayton, and I got the same with my best friend, Sarah Jensen Clayton

This boy has become awesome at 1) dressing himself, and 2) picking blackberries
Now all we need is a motorcycle

Temple visiting teaching trip

This darling little 5 year old held Esther's hand almost the whole morning on temple grounds

Birthday tea party for dear friends

Eating her spaghetti on the beach (of the lake in town)

Farmers market - can you see the tiny performers?

Morning breaks in the blackberry patch 

Blessing of the animals - treats, candlelight vigil for deceased pets, and Sunday lunch in a pouch

Chloe got blessed!

Sometimes, you ride home naked because you've soiled your clothes, your brother's shorts, and the slide--sorry Hopkinton Rec Department - my preggo body couldn't fit up the twisty tube to clean this all, but I'll give you a call tomorrow!


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Prioritizing Play: A Mother's Job

I was in a big hurry to grow up.  I never liked my age till I was 27, when I was then finally "old enough."

This meant, of course, that play was not prioritized.  I enjoyed it, and was good particularly in college at taking advantage of Utah's great outdoors, but mostly because others were prioritizing it and invited me along.  Most other times, especially once law school and an intensive career began but also in high school, my work took priority. 

Now that I have children of my own, play has taken on new importance.  I feel like finding stimulating activities for my children is part of my "job" as a mother.    This often means play, and playing hard.

I am relishing all of the wonderful activities my children are helping me to experience, and the fullness it is bringing to my life. I still work hard, but can only really focus on that when they are asleep.  During waking hours, play is now the precedent, and I am loving it!

This last week has been spent on the road - the Berkshires and upstate New York, where we have played hard indeed.

In the Berkshires, we went to the Norman Rockwell museum and say the Boston Symphony play Mozart and Mahler at Tanglewood.  We didn't last terribly long at the museum, but I think both enjoyed the wonderful illustrations.   

Tanglewood was fantastic because we could sit on the grass and have a picnic while we listened to the music.  Both children were individually taken in to see the all-white orchestra - quite the sight - and really enjoyed playing while listening to the music. We got lucky to sit by a wonderful couple who adored the children.

Our first time to Tanglewood.  We are hooked!

First time seeing an orchestra, and first for me seeing one in all-angelic white.
On Monday, I took the children for a surprise to see 150 firetrucks collected by my friend (he also has 250 in Pennsylvania!) to commemorate the 9/11 firefighters with whom he worked as the civilian-military liaison, many of whom lost their lives looking for survivors.

Trucks date from 1901 to modern trucks.

The one on the left is an airport fire truck.

this is the oldest truck, from 1901

the kids got hopelessly dirty in decades' old dust!

Andy Lieder, fire truck lover.  Lucky to call this generous soul a friend.

Tuesday and part of Wednesday, we spent time with a dear friend from law school and her sweet children and chickens.  Gideon will hopefully be ready to raise some chicks come Easter when we prepare for our next animal acquisition!

Small Wonders:
* I was in a local store where the owner-become-friend is helping me prepare a few antique furniture pieces for modern use (mostly child-proofing them).  Gideon had tagged along and, unbeknownst to me, winked and simultaneously gave a thumbs up to my friend.  She was instantly charmed, I surprised (he had never done this before), and he delighted with himself.  It is now their trademark greeting.
* Esther's ability to talk and mimic continues to amaze me.  She can carry on a little greeting conversation: "Hi, how are you?" When responded to, she says, "I good!"
* I combed G's hair the other day - a rare occurrence, as he is usually in a hat.  He patted his hair and said, "Where's my lion?" I didn't track till I realized that his hair, which had gotten quite long, is curly and he thought it looked like a lion's mane.  Once realizing my error, I messed up his slicked hair, letting it go curly.  He got his lion back.
* We put Lance in charge of music when we ride together as a family.  After flipping through a few songs, Gideon called out from the back seat, "Just pick a song, please!"