Unpacking, cleaning and sneezing and sneezing and sneezing

Before I start on the unpacking let me add another reason I need a truck and maybe a trailer also. Remember those fabulous metal tulip chairs a couple of posts ago? They sold for forty dollars. Each you ask? No, for all four!
When I get home, I can’t wait to unpack and show my DH all my new goodies and I have to say that initially he was less than enthusiastic. In fact, on some items he shared the sentiments of the townspeople at the auction! He doesn’t see the value in an old home projector or a pull up home movie screen, and he didn’t share my excitement about the grimy TV trays either, lol! He helps me unpack and I ask him to put everything in the garage because of the mold and mildew. I get an odd look when he sees the ancient suitcases that are falling apart until I show him the clothes inside. He thinks those are interesting.

There are about 15 pieces of clothing dating back to the early 1900’s including a pair of bloomers, an apron with handmade lace and a little girl’s pinafore. Everything is so cool but badly stained and what’s that smell! At first I *sniffle* think that the black blouse has black and white marbled buttons, *atchoo* but when I put my glasses on I realize that its mold covering the jet-black glass buttons. Ick! At this point I figure I have three *atchoo* options with these garments - I can throw them away now because they are so *sneezesneezesneeze* moldy, throw them away later because I’ve ruined them or maybe I can salvage them. Deciding that the black pieces and furs are too delicate to wash but too moldy to leave as is I spray them with an antibacterial cleaner. A bold and likely foolish move but it didn’t seem to hurt the clothes and it did kill the mold. I certainly don’t recommend it and I’m sure that the textile people are cringing. Promising myself to be gentle with the rest of the clothes and not to obsess over them I head inside. After washing my face and hands and finishing a sneezing fit, I go online to find some helpful websites and I find out I can wash the cottons so I start bringing them inside one by one and pretty soon, every available sink, tub and large bowl is full of whites or more accurately used-to-be-whites soaking in Woolite. I won’t even tell you what the water from the first soak was like – no that’s a lie I will tell you - it was disgusting, a dark blackish brown. And that was just one garment that had soaked for about five minutes! I think to myself “This piece is sure not going to get any cleaner in that water”. I change the water and go to check on the others and so it begins…

Next – My Life as a Washer Woman


Why I Need a Truck

The tools are done and the auctioneer moves on to a table with some postcards and other ephemera including some Shirley Temple items that I would like to have. I wait and wait and they start on some Indian artifacts so I leave the area for just a second and when I get back, another bidder has snagged the whole pile of Shirley Temple programs and promotional material for TWENTY DOLLARS! Ack!

While I am beating my head against the wall for being so stupid, I notice a 1950’s tole style T.V. tray in a pile of junk. I pick it up and aside from some minor rust spots and scratches it’s fabulous, and there are two more, yea! Just then, the auctioneer comes around the corner and asks for bids on the scrap metal pile. I quickly ask to bid separately on the trays; he says, “You want to bid on these?” I nod hopefully. “These trays?" he says pulling one out. I nod again. "Ok, sure” he says looking at me as if I’m slightly deranged. No one bids against me on the trays but the rest of the scrap pile goes for a decent amount.

The auction moves inside the house and I have the winning bid on a great pink frosted glass ceiling light fixture and shade which I had asked them to include in the auction. That makes me feel somewhat better after missing out on the Shirley Temple items. I ask the auctioneer if I can bring down the rest of the tray tables with the holder from upstairs and now everyone seemed to think I’m nuts for wanting these. He asks me if they’re the same as the other ones and tells me, “Just take them honey” while looking at me with something akin to pity as in “Poor thing, it’s nice that they let her go out by herself occasionally.” Meanwhile, another bidder gets an antique upholstered rocker for $2 (obviously I need a truck!) and no one wants a 1920’s pink velvet couch with the upholstery in excellent condition except for being extremely dusty. If I had a way (like a truck) to get it to NYC it would pay for thetrip to visit my daughter.
No one wants the beautiful woodwork, doors or windows either. If only I knew someone with a salvage company! (And a truck)

My car is jam packed (truck!truck!truck!) and it’s time to bite the bullet and pay up. But when they total up my purchases I’m very pleasantly surprised and have a happy drive back home thinking about all the treasures I just acquired!

Coming up next: Unpacking, cleaning and sneezing and sneezing and sneezing


Surprise in a Suitcase

Once the auction started things moved very quickly. I had never been to such a fast auction! If there were something you wanted, you had better not take a breath before bidding or SOLD! and on to the next box. I missed out on a couple of things but then I got the rhythm and snagged some near mint pink Boonton, pink Manhattan, and a pink casserole dish among some other things, some of which were also pink. Are you sensing a theme here? I think that the boys might have been living with their mother or at least in her prior home.

One of the things I bought was a group of suitcases. I like old suitcases for decoupage projects

and there were three or four in the group that were just my style. The auctioneer actually skipped right by them and I had to ask to bid. Apparently, no one else was interested because I got all of them for $2.

When the auctioneer moves on to the tools I start to load some things into my car. I pick out the suitcases I want and offer the rest to anyone who wants them, but even free no one is the least bit interested. I take another look myself and decided to check the interior of 2 ancient cases that are falling apart on the outside but would be ok for decoupage if the insides are intact. When I cautiously crack open the first one I see an obviously Victorian bodice on top of a bunch of other clothes. OMG, I had almost given it away, or worse, left it there to be thrown out! When I open the second case… Furs! Not good furs, definitely not stored well, but still furs. I check the rest of the suitcases hoping for … Money! But, no such luck.

The lesson I need to learn is to always, always, look inside of everything before tossing it or giving it away.

There’s still more auction left with who-knows-what treasures waiting to be found so off I go to look at what's coming up.

Next -
Why I Need a Truck


The Brothers Grim

I went to an auction yesterday way the heck out in rural Ohio. A very pretty drive from Columbus, once you exit the expressway it’s nothing but farms, fields, and churches at first, then a little while later there’s woods and smaller farms and the occasional pasture with horses or cows. I saw an Amish family with a horse drawn plow and a little further down a man on a tractor. The Amish way sure seems a lot more earth friendly, there’s not all that dirt being kicked up and blown away like there is with a tractor. Of course, it’s a lot harder and more time consuming. Every once in a while I would drive through a little town where it didn’t look like much had changed in the last 30 or 40 years, including the speed limit, and you better pay attention because I think tickets may be a major revenue source. And no, I wasn’t stopped for speeding; I was good - at least going through the little towns. ;)

After an hour and a half, I finally arrived at the auction where they were selling the estate of two elderly brothers who had lived together for a long time according to the townspeople at the auction and died within a week of each other. There were box lots laid out in the front yard with lots of goodies, old dishes and linens and suitcases and other miscellaneous items that one accumulates over a lifetime. On one side of the house were tools and lawn furniture including those cool metal chairs and on the other side antique furniture, including a huge old oak headboard and footboard attached with a wood frame, so gorgeous!

Inside the house was just sad. The house had a lot of potential and although small, I’m sure it was quite lovely in its day. Big windows with large oak frames, beautiful 6 panel oak doors, a front parlor, a front porch, a side porch, and a back porch, all enclosed and a big country kitchen with a washroom or mudroom off to the side. Upstairs there was a big open room on one side and two bedrooms on the other. At least, that’s the way I imagine that it was. The house had fallen into a sad state of disrepair and was dirty, full of mold and mildew, with a leaking roof, rotting structure and generally just falling down around the brothers’ ears. The relatives were tearing it down and all of the fixtures, windows, doors, moldings and whatever else could be sold were up for auction. Another woman and I were wondering why the relatives would have let the brothers live in such circumstances, it’s not as if they lived out of town. I heard two of them joking around with each other at the auction and I had to bite my tongue not to say, “How could you be so uncaring!”
That’s the 'good for me' but sad thing about many estate auctions. On the one hand as a buyer, I want there to be beautiful things being sold but on the other hand, I don’t understand why no one who knew the person wants to keep those things. It seems that many people don’t value the things, or in some cases the people, of the past.

Coming up next – Surprise in a Suitcase


How to Break Glass and Lose Customers

One of the biggest complaints I hear from other collectors is how many pieces of vintage and antique glass are broken during shipping. How tragic is that! I find it hard to believe that anyone would throw a beautiful piece in a box with “a piece of used bubble wrap and a couple of sheets of newspaper.” That’s a direct quote. Seriously, who does that?! What glass lover and aren’t the majority of glass dealers just collectors that can’t stop buying? would treat a bit of history that way? I sell online but I had never bought online and so I assumed that everyone packed as I do. It seemed reasonable to me that people would want the items that they are shipping to arrive intact and for their customers to be pleased. I was sure my friends were exaggerating to make a point. That is until I bought an item on ebay… dun... dun... dun *eerie music*

My college age daughter’s cell phone had somehow ended up in the shower – I didn’t ask, I don’t think I want to know – so we were looking for a cheap replacement and found one on ebay. It arrived in a plain envelope with a torn off piece of a used padded envelope with “for padding” written on it. I’m guessing he wrote that so we wouldn’t think that some trash had accidentally ended up in with the phone. Of course, the screen was cracked and we had to have a huge fight to get our money back, which we finally did… but I have gone off on a tangent.

The point is that now I understand why those collectors are upset. Apparently they were not exaggerating and people do think that one sheet of bubble wrap is sufficient padding. Are these sellers uncaring or just uninformed? Let’s be nice and assume that they mean well but they need some help in the basics of packing delicate items. So just in case you, dear reader, may be one of those people :) here are some hints on packing glass or any other delicate object.

1. Wrap the item in tissue paper – it’s cheap, it looks nice and an extra layer can’t hurt.

2. Use new bubble-wrap unless your recycled wrap is like new. Broken bubbles don’t protect anything.

3. Wrap the item in the bubble-wrap. If you can still feel the edges, use more bubble-wrap.

4. Roll your bubble wrapped item in one or two sheets of newspaper. I don’t know why this works but it does, maybe it protects the bubble-wrap. In addition, it’s recycling.

5. If it’s a very fragile item, wrap it an additional time with the big bubble bubble-wrap that you have cleverly saved from something.

6. If you have more than one item in the box, it’s extremely important to tape them together, after you wrap them separately. More items are broken from hitting against another item in the box than from outside forces.

7. I like recycled boxes but make sure that the corners and sides haven’t been compromised by being dented or creased. I do admit that I have used these when desperate but I reinforce the bent part with additional cardboard on the inside of the box.

8. Make sure your box is big enough for 2” of padding around the item(s). It sounds like a lot but it’s not really. I like newspaper because it’s free and I can vary how tightly I crumple and how densely I pack it into the box. With heavier items, I use denser packing so that I don’t worry about the item shifting in transit.

9. A way to check if there’s enough padding is to push on the padding with the amount of pressure you think the item would exert, if you can feel the box add more padding.

10. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially paranoid I will push on the outside of the box to see if I can hear any bubbles popping. But that’s probably going overboard. (probably?? girl, get a grip!)

11. Shake the box, if you hear anything there’s not enough packing.

12. Write Fragile and Glass on the package. I actually don’t think this does any good– I’ve seen how packages are tossed around in the post office - but it makes me feel better.

13. Ship Priority, not Parcel Post. A small package gets a lot more beat up shipping by Parcel Post because that’s how many heavy, bulky items are shipped.

14. Oops… somewhere above step 13 you should seal the package securely with packing tape. (duh) If it’s a recycled box, be sure to reinforce the existing seals.

This is by no means a comprehensive list – it’s just my little hints. Please feel free to add your own hints to the comments!



Beads Glorious Beads!

In addition to vintage glass and collectibles, I love beads! Could it be the glass connection? Maybe, but whatever the reason its fun to spend the day at a bead show. The International Gem and Jewelry Show was in Columbus this weekend so of course I was there.

On Friday I bought these cool skull beads and these awesome naked ladies from J & K Trade Inc.

Deciding that wooden beads would make a masculine skull choker I picked up this bunch.

Janet Wolery of Contemporary Glassworks Gallery J Inc. has beautiful Swarovski Crystals, I bought some vintage crystals last year. However, this year I snatched up some of these gorgeous silver spiral tubes – she actually makes these herself! She also makes dichroic glass, so far I’ve resisted but maybe if I go back tomorrow…

Treasured Glass was the only Czech glass dealer at the show – everyone else had beads from China. It’s cheaper but Czech glass is sooo much nicer! Great prices and I finally discovered Vaseline glass beads. I’m a glass dealer so I know about vintage Vaseline and (unfortunately) new Vaseline reproductions and fantasy glass, but beads? I had no idea! If only I would have had these back in my hippie days, lol! I think they will be fabulous in a skull necklace.

I spent 3 hours at the show on Friday at which point all the dealers started to run together in my head. I was feeling good because I had shown some remarkable self-control and put down strings and strings of beads that I didn’t ‘need’ even though they were really pretty! I was gosh darn proud of myself but just when I was about to leave a lady at the exit gave me a free pass to come back Saturday and Sunday just in case I didn’t spend ALL my money. So I was there again today and maybe tomorrow.

I don’t want to waste the free pass after all! ;)


Celebrating Spring with a Pottery Sale

Spring has finally come to Ohio and not a moment too soon in my opinion!

The grass has greened up the pear trees are blooming all over the neighborhood and life just seems lighter and happier. The spring always makes me want to get my hands into the dirt and plant things so in celebration of the season I am having a Pottery and Planters sale. Buy one piece and get the second at 50% off!

Planters come in so many different styles that there's something for everyone, even the newest member of the family,

...and bringing plants and flowers inside is an easy way to add color and bring a fresh feeling to a room.

No matter what your decorating style from classic McCoy to MCM Shawnee there's a planter out there just waiting for you to bring some spring inside.


I Hit the Mother Lode of Depression Glass!

One of the disadvantages of participating in the community garage sale every year is not getting to shop the neighborhood. My husband won't let me leave because he's afraid he'll sell something valuable for next to nothing and then I'll be mad - this is based on an incident where he sold a cha-cha bracelet with about $15 worth of beads in it for $5 so there's some basis for his concern, lol! But anyway, this year my friend across the street calls and tells me that another neighbor is selling her collection of depression glass and would I like to look at it before the sale opens. Would I??!! I'm in my car and on the way to her house in a heartbeat! I walk into her garage and wow - (harp music) - be still my heart! Pink and green and yellow glass glows softly on a long table. It's almost a spiritual experience - if you collect depression glass then you know what I mean. I select a good number of items, pass on some others, head home, unpack, reconsider, go back and buy some additional items. I'm a happy camper! After the sale I get another phone call telling me that I can have anything that's left for half price. So back into the car I go with my garage sale earnings in my pocket which I promptly spend on more pretty glass :) When I have everything unpacked and set up in my living room I do a happy dance! I've never had so much colored depression glass set out all at one time and it's soooo pretty!

That's where I've been for the last few weeks, obsessed with researching, photographing and listing my new treasures. Ah, glass - it's an addiction and a labor of love.