Tagged: flea market

ladies board rummage sale: the haul 2014

What would this blog be without a roundup of my finds at my very favorite annual rummage sale? I’ve explained all the details in my 2013 recap, but, in case you missed it, here’s the important information: multiple horse barns full of everything you can imagine; an awesome old guy named Wiley who works the glassware section and prices everything at a quarter; ladies in the fabric section who can’t believe how much fabric I buy. Does it sound good enough yet?

Every year, my mom and I plan our attack strategy in advance. In the beginning, circa 2007, I was all about refashioning clothes, so the “fill-a-bag” clothing was always a high priority. The years after that had varying craft priorities: furniture, screenprinting supplies, books. This year, we approached the sale as seasoned veterans. We knew what we wanted to see, and we knew what to skip. We managed to leave the sale without any clothing, and even skipped the book barn altogether. From there, the logistics were simple. We’d start in furniture (where the coolest things go fastest), run through housewares, then take our time looking through fabrics.

We opted out of the $5 early-bird entry, instead arriving promptly at 8:45am to prepare for the 9am free-admission opening. As we watched the early birds load their vehicles with treasures, we were relieved – nothing super cool had been claimed yet.

When the doors finally opened, we began perusing the aisles of furniture. My apartment finally has nearly all the furniture it needs, and of course my mama doesn’t need much more furniture at her house, but you never know if you’ll find something special. My mom bought a small stool, not quite as adorable as my 2010 hassock but definitely a good $5 find. Pricing was odd this year – many pieces of furniture were hugely overpriced for a secondhand, charity sale: some dressers were running between $100-200, and a few dining sets even exceeded that range. I tend to enter Extreme Bargain Mode on rummage sale day, and anything more than $10 feels like I’m forking over half a paycheck. So furniture wasn’t a big hit for us this year.

rummage sale 2014 - green vinyl bar chairs

But when I saw these chairs, at $10 each, I got excited. Green vinyl bar stools with steel legs – and they have a funny little back? How quaint and comfy! And how within the rummage sale budget, at $10 apiece! But, alas, they were sold to an early bird. No stools for me.

rummage sale 2014 - orange vinyl bar chair

But wait! Half a turn away, a lone orange chair awaits. An even better color, even cuter in its single-ness, and not-yet sporting a “sold” sticker. Great news for Sam! My first purchase of the day.

rummage sale 2014 - soup cracker soup crackers soup mug

From there we headed to housewares, something I can never get enough of. I corralled an armful of (matching!) wine glasses, a big glass pitcher, a meat thermometer, a yellow bowl, and this incredible “soup crackers soup crackers soup” mug (which begs the question, what do I eat out of this?). I approached my buddy Wiley from last year, and went through my pile.

“How much is this?” “A quarter.”
“How much is this?” “A quarter.”
“What about this?” “Hmm, a quarter.”

He’s the best.

I also ended up in that zone at the end of our visit – it’s always worth a second lap since there are many boxes under the tables that only get unearthed once some space has been cleared. I snagged a bunch of wire shelves and wire baskets for my kitchen cupboards (the kind that retail for ungodly prices) and a few similarly useful items. Not as fun, entirely practical, but a big win for rummage sale day.

rummage sale 2014: fabric cuts

I went a little crazy with the fabrics this year. The photo above shows all my big cuts; I also bought a bag full of small scraps. I’m trying hard to buy fabrics that will help me use what I have, so most of my scraps are white, natural, or navy cottons: perfect for linings or interlinings. In the piles above I also have a nice gray blend, a huge cut of navy cotton, and a white and yellow striped lining that I’m hoping to use in a skirt (or coat?!) someday. The white lacy piece is over 5 yards long, and it’s already earmarked for my bedroom curtains.

rummage sale 2014 - colorful fabrics

These colorful fabrics are the best. I want to use the vintagey one to make a cheater quilt, and the big bold checks would also make an amazing blanket. I’ve only been in my apartment for six months, so I still have homemaking on the mind.

rummage sale 2014 - blue floral fabrics

These fabrics are a matching set. No plans yet, but they’re darling and had to come home with me.

The woman working the fabric section asked me, “So, will you have used all these fabrics by the time we’re here again next year?” I laughed a quick, “No way,” but in my head I wanted to say, lady, let me buy some fabric guilt-free… I know I’ll never use it all but it’s just so pretty!

rummage sale 2014 - large quilt embroidery hoops

This giant frame was exactly what I sought for a recent craft project! That’s the best part about rummage sale day: it always sparks new projects, but sometimes it helps finish an old project that’s needed something special. And the giant quilt hoops are destined for wall art as well, of course.

rummage sale 2014 - wall of embroidery hoop art

I decided not to pull inspiration from the embroidery hoop wall art that was for sale in the Crafts barn. I don’t think my apartment is in need of quilted ducks! But, of course, this is always the best part of the rummage sale: laughing with my mom about the crazy things we find… and laughing even harder (sneakily, of course) when we see someone buying such crazy things! I’m sure they laugh at me, too, lugging a garbage bag full of fabric around. “Clearly she won’t use it all,” they say. They’re right. But I’ve got to stockpile for a winter of sewing, and it’s going to be wonderful.

I already can’t wait for next year. Rummage sale day is truly my favorite day.

my favorite rummage sale : the haul 2013

rummage sale in the horse barn

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year: Rummage Sale Day. Every fall, the “ladies’ board” of a local hospital holds an enormous rummage sale. And enormous is quite possibly an understatement. The sale takes over four horse barns – a giant show arena and three smaller structures – and even that much space can hardly hold the amount of stuff up for grabs.

The photo above shows the big arena in the distance behind the trees… and this photo was taken on my way out, so 90% of the cars had left already. Plus there was a ton more parking behind me. It’s a big deal.

rummage sale in the horse barn

The main arena holds furniture, housewares, frames/art/knicknacks, and clothing. The shot above includes a bit over half of the space – that’s the furniture and home side. The other half of the barn has tables and racks piled with clothes. There’s another barn filled with books, another with toys, and yet another small one with holiday decorations. We always skip toys and holiday because we certainly don’t need more of that kind of stuff.

This year, I managed to avoid buying any clothes – or any furniture! And as much as I love a good treasure, it’s a relief to come home without any big new projects.

rummage sale in the horse barn

It’s a completely crazy event, filled with tons of stuff, tons of junk, and tons of people. Sorry guys, I would never buy a couch at a rummage sale. But they sure have a lot of them if you’re interested.

rummage sale in the horse barn - glassware

It’s overwhelming in the best way. My mom and I go back and forth throughout the event from, “oh, that’s kindof cool,” or “oh, that is hideous!” It’s hilarious and wonderful. We spend the whole time laughing at ourselves, at each other, and at the terrible stuff that ends up on those tables.

rummage sale in the horse barn - fabric tables

Since I didn’t “fill-a-bag” with clothes this year, I was happy to see that the fabric selection was excellent. There was another table not shown here, and I had a blast.

rummage sale in the horse barn - my scrap fabrics

After picking out a few of the measured/cut fabric pieces, I found the boxes of scrap under the table. Fill a bag for $1.00, my favorite game! I pulled a bag from their selection and immediately burst out laughing, because the bag I had randomly selected was HUGE. Some of the scraps were quite large, and I was especially thrilled to find lots of wool scraps in all different colors. I’ve always wanted a small wool collection and it seems I’ve inherited one from somebody awesome.

rummage sale in the horse barn - ugly hassock

This rummage sale is also the home of my original hassock! I think the one I picked up was just a bit better than the one for sale this year (shown above), would you agree?

It’s one of my favorite events, for sure. Ready to see my treasures?

rummage sale - fabric cuts

These are the fabric cuts I picked up from the fabric table. On the bottom are a boring gold bottomweight (that should match my favorite gold-and-white stripe from IKEA) and a white knit with cute turquoise motifs. Then two small cuts of plaid wool, $1 each. Finally we have the gorgeous off-white fabric in the back, it’s a really high quality home-dec weight with green birds and peach flowers and the front of the fabric feels like cotton but the back is satiny. Just lovely. And the cool purple/pink/gold stripe on top is only 12″ wide – the picture shows the full width – but the piece is huge and the weave of the stuff is incredible. I can’t wait to turn it into the world’s easiest table runner!

rummage sale - turquoise pendleton wool

And then this is my rummage sale Find of the Year. Nearly three yards of true Pendleton wool, in my favorite shade of perfect turquoise. For $8.

rummage sale - turquoise pendleton wool label detail

It even comes with this awesome label that you’re supposed to sew into the garment when it’s finished so that everyone knows how classy the fabric is. I’m so excited about this. My favorite dress coat (here) is already a wool in this color, so I’m not sure what I’ll make with it, but I have some time to decide… it’s going to take me awhile to work up the courage to cut into this stuff.

rummage sale scrap fabric bag

The fabric fun isn’t over! Here’s my giant, full bag of “scraps”.

rummage sale scrap fabric bag

rummage sale scrap fabric bag

The two stacks of solid colors in the back? Those are all wools. All of the pieces are decently sized, too – a perfect wool collection for me. My mom thinks I should make a quilt… how gorgeous would that be? I have been toying with the idea of a solid triangle quilt for some time, and wool would add a wonderful extra dimension. But that would eat up my brand new wool collection pretty quickly… we’ll see.

Then in the front are a bunch of cottons. On top is a vintage-look (or maybe real vintage, obviously) floral print that has the best colors ever. It’s a half yard and it makes me very happy. Below it is a red-orange, a full yard, with stripes printed on the diagonal. Can’t wait to use that one! Some less-exciting-but-useful pieces, and then some small beautifully textured home dec samples.

The total for all my fabrics: scraps, Pendleton, and cuts; was $20. Considering that’s less than what one yard of the Pendleton costs, I’m thinking I did alright.

rummage sale books

I snagged a handful of books, including that great German for Children and Fashion Tailoring… also a Lutheran Bible in German, and a copy of Vonnegut’s Bluebeard in special hardcover. That was especially exciting for me – I’ve made it a long-long-term goal to collect cool hardcover copies of Vonnegut’s novels, and this is only my second. It was a pretty triumphant moment. $6.10 total in the book barn.

rummage sale - glass canisters

Finally my small selection of housewares finds: four tall, clear glass canisters that are begging to be filled with something colorful; two small snap-lid canisters with pretty plants & kitchen utensils doodled on; and three milk glass snack dishes with the little knob handles that I just love. $3.50. The guy who priced these for me was clearly an awesome old man.

I feel good about this year’s finds. No huge projects, just some good, fun stuff. And of course that Pendleton wool. I can’t get over that one.

A day full of old stuff, fabric, fall weather, and laughing with my mom… it’s hard to beat Rummage Sale Day!

Here’s the site with the details of the Ladies’ Board Rummage Sale, in case you want to bookmark it for next year! Always a good time.

As always, click any image to see it larger!

the heaviest souvenir: my orange sewing machine

It all started in Hamburg, on the first Saturday of my 4-week trip.

I had heard wonderful things about the Hamburg flea markets, so I knew that was a required Germany adventure – it doesn’t get more “Sam” than flea markets.

I woke up bright and early, ate my requisite daily croissant-like breakfast item, and hopped on the UBahn toward Sternschanze, my destination for the “Flohschanze” flea market.

I emerged from the subway station into a bustling crowd in the morning sunlight. People and stuff and more people and more stuff! I crossed the street to enter the market area, and glanced at the first booth. The first booth. And I saw something in a bright orange hard plastic case.

orange sewing machine case at hamburg flohschanze flea market

I thought to myself, “whatever is in this case is dangerous for me. i shouldn’t even open it.”

Then I thought to myself, “or, maybe whatever’s inside this case is gross. maybe it’s dirty and rusty and old. maybe it’s not even orange.”

“but it probably is orange! i must see.”

So I opened the case.

orange sewing machine at hamburg flohschanze flea market

And, as my hopeless little heart had suggested, the inhabitant of the case was orange. The most perfect orange. With clean, shiny features and olive green contrast. The needle moved up and down. The pedal and plug appeared intact. She was perfect and orange and gorgeous.

But I was in Germany, and I still had a lot of traveling to do before I reached home again.

I picked her up, tentatively, testing her weight. I just picked her up for a second, so I thought to myself, “hmm, not that heavy.” I asked the man for a price – 25 Euros – then talked myself out of it and continued through the flea market. In fact, the reason I took the photo above is because I decided not to buy the sewing machine, I’d just take a picture instead.

Since it was the first booth I had seen, I wasn’t even sure if that sewing machine was special. Maybe all sewing machines in Germany were orange! Maybe everything was orange. Maybe I could find a flea market souvenir that would be easier to pack and would make my heart flutter even more.

I kept the sewing machine in the back (or front) of my mind as I explored. I’d have to take it on the UBahn home, then on the train to Berlin, then on the UBahn to the airport, then on the plane home. It was foolish, I told myself. I have a lot of sewing machines. I didn’t need another one.

I was completely set in my plan as I left the market. I passed the same booth on my way out, of course – this time it was the last booth as I approached the UBahn. I glanced back to say goodbye to the orange sewing machine I had seen… and I didn’t see it. My heart dropped a thousand feet. Had someone bought my sewing machine before I had the chance to say goodbye? I felt an unbelievable (and quite frankly, ridiculous) sadness – nearly despair – and looked around the corner of the booth.

There she was! Of course. She hadn’t even moved… after my wandering past so many tables I had forgotten that the sewing machine was hiding behind the box you see in the photo above. There had been no cause for alarm.

But of course, that alarm, that sinking feeling in my heart, was not something I could bear to experience again. I used my growing German skills to haggle with the seller, and gave him 20 Euros in exchange for my hübsche orange Nähmaschine. I picked it up… and groaned at its weight. My initial weight test had clearly been conducted with a swooning heart.

train compartment hamburg to berlin

I had a good story to tell in German class the following Monday, and my classmates had a good laugh and shared my concerns. The woman I was staying with in Hamburg said it was certainly a little bit crazy, but she may have also swooned at the sight of such a bright, pretty thing. I plugged it in, and all was well! Lights on, motor hums, zigzags even zig and zag! It only came with a bobbin, no top thread, so I’m not certain of its tensioning abilities, but it makes a solid, strong humming sound and is mechanically smooth.

Next, it was time to travel. I had a compartment to myself on the train ride from Hamburg to Berlin, so I had a good chance to recuperate after lugging my enormous suitcase and the sewing machine on the bus to the train station. I felt like I was in Harry Potter!

To get from the train station to my Berlin lodgings, however, I had to transfer twice – first from the train to the S-Bahn, and then from the S-Bahn to the UBahn, which required approximately 4 flights of stairs. I was comically miserable by the time I arrived at my room in Berlin, but my new roommate laughed at my sewing machine and called me crazy. We became friends, and I taught her how a sewing machine works!

orange sewing machine in luggage cart at airport

When it was finally time to head home from my wonderful voyage, I dreaded the sewing machine lugging reprise. Rather than deal with my luggage on the rapid transit again, I called a shuttle and it was a glorious relief. That, and the free airport carts.

orange sewing machine in airplane

My orange sewing machine and I flew together from Berlin to Munich. I had wrapped her in a towel so she wouldn’t bang against the inside of the plastic case if I had to lay her sideways. She fit perfectly under the seat.

orange sewing machine in luggage cart at airport

At Munich airport, she got to ride around in the cart again and we were both very happy.

orange sewing machine in airplane

Finally, I flew from Munich airport home. Despite what this picture suggests, I did not give up my seat for my sewing machine :) A nice man helped me lift her into the overhead bin.

I carried her through the customs line where, for probably the third or fourth time, I was asked, by a random stranger, “is that a sewing machine?”
And I never tired of responding, “yes, and it is bright orange. I couldn’t leave it behind.”

vintage orange sewing machine from hamburg flohmarkt

As I write this and relive this story, I know it was completely crazy. Every time I look at the sewing machine I remember how completely crazy it was to bring home a 16 pound – yep, I weighed it – carry-on souvenir home from Europe. But that crazy feels good. It feels like something I would do. And that makes me very happy.

vintage orange sewing machine from hamburg flohmarkt

And really, look at her. Can you blame me?