Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hunger Games

Estate sales.  I have seen numerous blog posts about estate sale how to's, the best type of estate sales, favorite estate sale finds, finding great estate sales, etc...In fact I may have even written one or two myself.  This is not going to be one of those posts.  I'm here to tell you what estate sales are really like, at least from my perspective.

When trying to describe the estate sale process to friends who are not dealers and have no frame of reference except the occasional impulse stop (late in the day of course) I've used many analogies.  I've likened them to a zoo where all the animals have escaped, compared them to the TV show 'Survivor,' lately I've even begun to describe it as dealing with a bunch of pirates.  This morning it hit me though, estate sales are like a real life 'Hunger Games.' 

When you become a regular player on the estate sale scene you start to familiarize yourself with your fellow competitors, especially the ones vying for the same prize as you.  Each one has different tactics and weapons.  They may not be literal archers or swordsman but don't get it twisted, they are in fact warriors.  There are opponents who use physical force, perhaps body checking, shoving, elbows wherever it counts (yes this has happened to me and no I pose no physical threat at 5'4" and 110 lbs.) There are the ones who are speedy, fast as lightning.  Some seem to be equipped with the ability to miraculously grow 10 arms and grab every item in the room with in 5 seconds (I call them Hoovers.)  Then there are the ones that use their minds instead of physicality.  Jedi mind tricks. 'You don't need this sale, there's a better one 2 miles away, go ahead I'll take over the numbers so you can go.  You don't want this item, look at all the flaws, it's so overpriced, what is the company thinking?' (They then proceed to buy said item the minute you set it down.)  Beware the mind games, they may hurt less than a knock on the head but can be just as devastating.  You will kick yourself (mentally) for days afterwards.

Furthermore, these sportsmen (and women) may have sponsors in the form of companies or other dealers that they've formed alliances with.  Don't take for granted that though you are number one in line you will get the item you want, it may not be there anymore, it have been conveniently (for someone else conveniently) moved, it may have mystically vanished and ended up in number 21's bag.  You got there at 5:45 in the morning and were number 127 on the list?  Don't think number 1 didn't call up 126 of his closest friends and tell them to get there butts down there by 10:00am. 

The only rule seems to be that there are no rules.  When they say all is fair in love and war I'm sure that the term 'war' included estate sales.  Sometimes it's an all out brawl, sometimes is a passive aggressive cold war.  Keep in mind that while you may have formed an alliance with someone at a previous sale, all bets are off at the next one.  Also, the guy in line screaming his lungs out about 'fairness' (especially in regards to names on the entry list or giving out numbers) is probably the slipperiest, shadiest one of all.  The sweet old lady who kindly asks you what you're there for, she's there for the same item & now has a leg up because she knows what you want but you don't know she also wants it. 

In the end, it's all about survival of the fittest.  Using your wiles, playing the game.  For some this means duplicity, for others outright aggression or intimidation.  For me, I try very hard to put my blinders on and run my own race (sometimes it works, sometimes I end up a sweating, screaming mess in my car yelling at every driver on the road on my trip home.)  But at least in this game if I do lose at a sale I live to fight another day. Usually.  (In all seriousness though, if I'm mysteriously missing, check the locked closet.)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Real Dress Forms of Oakland County

Episode 1: Meet the Ladies:
(From left to right:)

Jemima: "I've got legs, and I know how to use them."
Prudence: "I've been around longer than any of these ladies and I can tell you, bigger IS better."
Beatrice: "Don't get it twisted, I'm not just a Bauman 14, I'm a Bauman 14P!"
Pippa: "I'm tiny & I can wear things the other ladies only dream about!"
Celeste: "Perfect size, two last names, collapsible shoulders, up & down petal, I've got it all .

We meet up with the ladies at a summer shoot.  New girl Jemima is unaware that Celeste and Pippa are quietly talking behind her back.
  Pippa: "Jemima thinks she is so superior with those legs.  Just because she is the only one who can wear bathing suit bottoms doesn't mean anything.  
Celeste: "I completely agree.  She doesn't have it all, her shoulders don't even collapse."
Pippa: "Well, my shoulders don't collapse..."
Celeste: "But look at you, your teeny!"
Pippa: "That's true."
Jemima: "You two look so cute, love those bathing suit tops!"
Pippa: "Did you see Prudence? Doesn't she realize she is a little buxom to be wearing a two piece?"
Jemima: "I don't know, I like the mod print.  I like Beatrice's dress but it seems very wrinkly."
Celeste: "Um, Beatrice is Pippa's sister...."
Pippa: "I don't appreciate you talking about her like that."
(Prudence to Celeste:)
Prudence: "Seems like a nice group of ladies, I feel a little old though."
Beatrice: "No, never!"
The Bauman sisters break it down.
Beatrice: "I think everything went pretty well.  No major drama."
Celeste: "I don't know how I feel about that Jemima, saying your dress was wrinkly."
Beatrice: "Well I never.  Michigan is going through an economically hard time, I can't afford a tailor and a maid.  I tell you, those forms with legs really think they are something!"
Celeste: "And what's with Prudence wearing a bikini?  She doesn't really have the shape for it."
Beatrice: "She's Edwardian, they had a different shape.  Stop being so size-ist!  Although an Edwardian wearing a mod bikini does seem a little off."

It would seem the drama level was kept to a simmer, but what the future holds...wait and see.

(Most items available in the shop!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's A Sale!

Shop Sale!  Sale starts at 4:00 pm, prices as marked, 25% the entire shop!!!  New listings have also been added so take a look!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If A Tree Falls

So yeah, I have been sadly inconsistent about this blog business.  Trying to rectify?  Simply following up on a whim?  Well, I guess time will tell. :)

I'm getting that fidgety spring redecorating fever which happens, lets face it, more often than just once a year in the spring.  I am a rabid wallpaper fan, always have been, and though I brush it aside I consistently go back to wanting tree themed wallpapers (well obviously I have a tree thing, look at my blog wallpaper!)  Specifically, I always revisit Cole & Sons "Woods" pattern.  Some say it's overdone, but me, can't get enough of it no matter how many Pinterest boards its on.  I have a couple others pictured below that I also kick around so weigh in, opinions are welcome (though I can't promise I'll pick your favorite.) :)

And hey, on a side note: I do plan (best laid plans yada, yada,) on devoting more time to this blog with some really good give away contests so sign up, tune in, stick around.  You never know, you may just win something fantastic! :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Surprises Surprises!

I had a great surprise recently!  One of my all time favorite pieces was recently featured on the cover of a magazine featuring fellow seller (and dream customer) Nicole of ForgottenMuse.  Check out Nicole wearing the gorgeous 1920's velvet and fox fur coat here: Guilford Woman.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spend Thrift

Sometimes I go thrifting and find many items that I like.  Then there are days I find a few items I love, which is what happened today.  I had not planned on finding items to keep but these three are staying with me (at least for now!)

I was super excited to find these 1940's beauties just sitting on the shelf waiting for me!  I love vintage lizard shoes and they are in amazing condition.  To my surprise they fit almost perfectly so into my closet they are going.

I love vintage Etienne Aigner.  I have another Aigner belt that I wear all the time so this new one will see plenty of action.

Last and certainly not least is this vintage faux bois vase.  I have a serious thing for trees (thus my blog background) and this fits perfectly into my decor.  It's hard to tell from the pic but the finish is metallic, a combo of bronze and pewter which works for me since I like to mix metal finishes.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Buttoned Up

I was sorting through my sewing drawer today and came across my button tin.  As I'm sure other vintage clothing lovers have experienced, I seem to always end up with items missing one or two buttons.  This usually means that all the buttons need replacing and I can never seem to find the right ones at the right time.  Out of necessity I have over the years begun picking up vintage buttons that I like when I stumble upon them.  I have even purchased clothing that is to far gone to save just for the buttons.  I'll share with you some of the buttons I am especially drawn to.

I really love vintage rhinestone buttons, which for some reason I find especially difficult to find.  The four at the bottom left are intended for one of my coats (which was missing one button, of course) and have yet to be attached.

Perhaps my favorite of all vintage buttons are extruded celluloid ones from the 1940's.  I love that these 6 survived on their original card!  I don't have the heart to use them and they can be particularly fragile I have heard so maybe some day they will find a home with a button collector.

These vintage red and white sailor buttons are unbelievably adorable.  Again on their original card, just missing one button.  How cute would they look on a navy cotton dress!

A word to the wise (which I found out first hand) be careful when dry cleaning garments with vintage buttons.  I had a button melt down when I picked up a novelty print blouse with red plastic melted all over it.  I now remove the buttons before having items cleaned, it's a little extra work but it saves me the worry and problems in the long run. :)