Friday, January 29, 2010

My inspirations

Salvage Nation
This is another of my favorite etsy sellers - she has the best stuff and she is a basket of fun!
Only my father understood my drive as a young child to clean out the bottom drawer of everyone's dresser and store the treasures I would find in brown grocery bags. I had fourteen aunts and uncles who were more than happy to see me visit and do my cleaning. I am certain of this, because one Christmas, Dad gave me a card table and told me that I should use that instead of his metal t.v. trays when I had my "little sales" in the front yard.

While other kids were watching Saturday morning cartoons, I was out front flagging down the neighbors to show them my latest finds. I just couldn't help myself, it's as though being a "junker" is part of my DNA.

It's the thrill of the hunt, the joy of the find that has put me in the business of antiques and collectibles. Also, paying for two girls to go to college , spurred me to learn about on-line venues, I began 12 years ago on ebay.

I'm not a purist, only selling one genre, but I'm all over the place, as I truly do love all things old. Now that is saying something as I am approaching sixty, so most folks would consider me pretty vintage, myself ! My kitchen bowls are old pyrex, I've burned up three Sunbeam mixers, green, pink and blue and our kitchen silverware was is a 1945 "everyday" set. The clean lines, the simplicity, the aura of the pieces simply inspire me each day.

" The Merm" as I call her in my mind ask me how I find stuff. I share my strategy with just about anyone who will listen. I'm not your typical shopper, I call myself a finder.

I start in the garage at estate sales, always do. People put some of the oldest and most valuable items out in the garage. I have some amazing choir charms in the shop right now from a high school choir contest. I know how hard kids work, practice and even pray to win one of those medals. I had to have them and watch them be turned into pieces of jewelry, small works of art, just like the kids.

In my tour of the outer regions of an estate sale, I find the boxes of paper, the tons of magazines, that no one wants to go through one sheet at a time. I am currently listing it bit by bit as I read it, let it air and get it ready to go. Very soon, I will be listing a letter from Joe McCarthey (it's how he signed it) but you know him as Senator Josephy McCarthey.

Once I finish in the garage, I'll go into the house and I start at the very back and work my way forward. Once again, people tend to put the most interesting pieces into boxes, under tables, even in little grab bags.

Never be afraid to ask, especially if you don't see what you are looking for when shopping. I see a house with a sewing machine but no fabric or buttons, that is odd. "Do you have any fabric or buttons?" Usually I get the answer, oh gosh, we have boxes full but didn't think anyone would want them. "I do, I really do."

Be open and honest with everyone, tell them what you plan to do with the items. Some people think if you say you collect or sale or whatever, the price will go up. I find by telling people I sale items to artist and collectors, they remember me, call me and tell me what they will have at their next sale, next estate or in their booth. It's nice being the first to know.

Living on a farm, I know the value of reduce, reuse, recycle, it's been a part of me for so long, that I even scoffed when in the early 80's it became the thing to do. I didn't realize it was something people had to learn. Now I am just completely in awe of up-cycled art and jewelry. At antique shows or flea markets, I'm constantly taking my friend by the hand and saying, "see, look, it's steampunk, can you believe that wall hanging was once a yearbook and two magazines." Altered art literally makes me weak in the knees. I love paper and the beauty of its blends, what is being done in altered art and collages is just breathtaking. Don't even get me started on the darling greeting cards everyone is creating. I wish I had that eye, that talent.

Ephemera is my weakness, I keep way more than I could ever sell. I have authentic Victorian paper in the etsy shop right now and I have a hard time believing I ever found it. Paper when properly stored can last three lifetimes, as these pieces prove it. I just see that young girl standing at the dance waiting for her program card to fill up with suitors names wanting a turn at a whirl on the floor.

Currently, I am on a numbers and letter kick, it's the journalism major in me. I had to actually melt the lead, pour the letters, create the letterpress and then print the items when I took my college printing classes. I have filled the shop with letterpress, but also letters and numbers in all sorts of mediums. I'm staying busy filling special request for Christmas, names, phrases, addresses.

It never seems like work and I meet the most wonderful people. I enjoy doing antique shows, going to flea markets and creating the on-line shop. When it becomes a chore or it doesn't bring happiness, I'll stop. I don't foresee that ever happening.

I only sell what I love, just in case one day I have to live with it !

Bonus : shop with me and mention "the merm" in the conversation to seller, and I'll refund 15% of the purchase price ! or send a convo and tell me you are Abode and I'll make a special listing with a reduced price.. only thing excluded are the items in the sale section.


Linda de Azevedo said...

What a fabulous piece of writing! I am enchanted!

karlee said...

where do you find or hear about the estate sales in the SLC valley? I found one once, on my way to West yellowstone.. random junk piles but I found my swag lamp for only $5!!
I love reading your blog, I love shopping at your store even more!