Thrifting in Miami

It rains the next day so I head off to the local thrift and antique stores that I always visit when I’m in town.
The crabby old guy who owns Dietel's Antiques just had open-heart surgery a few weeks ago but there he is back in the saddle with his shirt unbuttoned low enough to show off his stitches. Unfortunately, his disposition is now worse than ever. After one too many nasty comments from him about how much I am willing to pay for some mid-century glassware – which he refers to as “cheap crap” - I walk out vowing never to return. I leave my pending purchase of glassware (all of which has been languishing in his store for at least a year) sitting on the counter. I’m sad about leaving these treasurers with someone who doesn’t appreciate them, especially three beautiful antique cut glass saltshakers with sterling tops and some Ritz Blue glass by Hazel Atlas including three Sailboat items, but they will have to wait for someone else to rescue them from this horrid little man. Every time I drive by his store for the rest of the trip I stick out my tongue *pffft!!* Silly, but it makes me feel better and it amuses my passengers :-)

I visit a vintage clothing store across the street and OMG what a blast from the past! When I was young, I loved to go dancing at the local clubs – this was during the Disco era and my favorite outfit consisted of an aurora borealis iridescent white sequin tube top with wide leg pink bell-bottom pants and shiny white patent leather platform sandals with 4-inch heels. I could have purchased an identical ensemble right then and there, but I restrained myself, lol!


On the Road Again - Destination Miami

We have an uneventful drive to Florida stopping at a couple of very disappointing “flea markets” full of cheap imported new junk in semi-permanent locations. Not my idea of a flea market!

It has been raining off and on all the way to Florida but that makes for pretty rainbows and beautiful sunsets. In Florida it can rain while the sun is shining – I always thought that was soo cool! Finally, when we hit Miami it’s nice and sunny and Iggy loves it. Nothing like a nice nap in the sun, ahhh… this is how a little dogs life should be!

When we arrive at my mom’s house in South Miami I discover that there is *gasp* no internet! Sometimes I can pick up an open signal but not this time. No flea markets, no internet… this is turning out to be more of a vacation that I had planned, lol! It’s wicked hot in Miami and Meg and I camp out in the Florida room next to the AC instead of in my old bedroom.

First thing in the morning we head over to Miami Beach, specifically South Beach, one of the nicest beaches in the country. In addition to miles of shoreline with beautiful soft white sand, South Beach is known for the Art Deco architecture and it’s everywhere – even the McDonalds is in a deco building! We spend 5 hours in the sun and surf and despite the liberal use of sunscreen – ouch! We are a couple of typical sun burnt tourists – how embarrassing for a native Floridian.


NYC - High Rents Killing the Antique Business??

Jessica’s apartment is only 5 stops from Manhattan, about 12 minutes on the subway and within walking distance from the very hip Williamsburg. Spacious and cheap by New York standards, her railroad style apartment has an open hallway from the kitchen through the living room and bedroom to the front room. There’s also a roof you can use as a “deck” if you climb out the kitchen window. Her friends from Manhattan are always amazed at how large her place is but it seems tiny to me. The bathroom has tiles falling off, there are water stains on the kitchen ceiling and the wood floors slope quite severely. All this for only $1300 a month! One could pay the mortgage on a very nice house in Columbus for less but as Jess says - it would be in Columbus.

She shares her place with her babies Nancy and Fuzzy. The kitties didn't appreciate Iggy coming to visit them and didn't want to play. Iggy loves cats. He used to live with two cats and they played together all the time so he was a little disappointed that these kitties didn't want anything to do with him.
I go to sleep but my girls stay out late and sleep in the living room
I have to admit that the front room where she has her studio is perfect with two big windows and plenty of room to work on a large canvas.
The next morning I take the L train to Union Square remembering an antique section close to the park. However, when I find the right street there are only a few stores left the others having closed or moved due to the economy and high rents. The remaining stores carry mainly European antiques – somewhat disappointing for a collector of American glass. I stop in a couple of vintage clothing stores and OMG – a purse like the one I just (happily) sold for $37 was priced at a whopping $125 – I guess the rent has to be paid somehow.

Giving up on the antiques, I decide to visit some wholesale bead stores and on the way, I notice this odd little sign so of course I head down the stairs to the basement of the church. At first, nothing catches my eye but then I see this darling doll and I have to take her home with me. There is a wind-up key on the back and she still plays “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”. When I find out who she is I’ll be listing her in one of my stores.

Next - we leave NY and head for Miami


Before the Crack of Dawn - Our Road Trip Begins

It’s still dark as my daughter Megan, her little Chihauhau, Iggy Pup, and I begin our road trip traveling first to NYC and then down to Miami Fla. My trusty car is packed with two 1950’s chairs and a large box of frames for my daughter Jess along with our sleeping bags, a tent, the dog’s food, bed and blanket, our pillows and blankets, clothes and 2 duffle bags of shoes. And yes, we do need that many shoes! The Ohio countryside is beautiful in the dewy morning light and soon we’re in Pennsylvania. A few hours later and we’re still in Pennsylvania, a few more hours and yep, you guessed it. It’s the most boring part of the 9-hour drive and the temptation to speed (or as I like to call it “make good time”) is irresistible. Finally, there’s Jersey City, which I am always happy to see – if not smell - and we’re very close to NY (not to mention no longer in Pennsylvania).

After an unplanned detour due to a missed turn, there is one final obstacle...

the dreaded Holland Tunnel. I hate driving through tunnels especially this one. It goes under a river and I spend the whole time looking for wet spots. What if there’s a leak? A small leak could cause structural damage and the whole thing could collapse and we could drown or be eaten by sharks! I know, I know, too many disaster movies.

We emerge from the deep and head for the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn and Jessica’s apartment weaving our way through the streets of Manhattan. I love driving in New York City! How weird is that? I think that’s because only good, or at least confident, drivers dare to drive there. Meg says I always drive like a maniac so I fit right in. Hmmm...should I be insulted or flattered?


The Heisey Glass Show

After the museum, we went to the “39th Annual Premiere Glass Show & Sale with 40 prominent elegant glass dealers from across America” as per the Heisey Museum site at http://heiseymuseum.org/hca/convention where a large number of dealers were selling... you guessed it - Heisey! We saw Karen again at the show where she was equally charming and informative. What a sweetheart! There were some people I recognized from the flea market earlier in the day and I was able to spend a little more time talking to them at the show. One of my favorite dealers is Kim Carlisle, so nice and very knowledgeable. He had an impressive collection of Heisey glass for sale including some of the really HUGE candy jars. One of them actually sold while I was standing there and judging for what it sold for and how delighted the buyer was, they must be quite rare! In addition, Kim can work magic on "sick" glass as his ad on Kovels (just scroll down to Kim Carlisle) says "Cloudy glass cleaned: the inside of vases, decanters, cologne bottles, saltshakers, cruets, etc., cleaned." At the show he had a before and after example and it was quite amazing! Karen and James (I wrote about them previously) heartily endorse his work. Kim also shared some "tricks of the trade" with me, I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you... ;) Just kidding, of course I'm going to tell you! Here's one anyway - only buy matched sugar and creamer sets. Heisey colors vary in shade and intensity and glass from different batches can be noticeably different when they are side by side. If you buy a sugar for example thinking that you will find a creamer later, it is nearly impossible to find an exact match. Here's another tip -Heisey glass isn't always marked on the bottom, sometimes the mark is on the side. On the syrups, the diamond H is on the handle. Of course, some Heisey isn't marked at all. None of the mold blown pieces are marked including the very collectible favor vases that can fetch up to $800 depending on the color, so it's definitely worth learning about these little beauties! Another fabulous thing about the show was that there were many of the same pieces that we had just seen at the museum. Right there in front of me. Where I could TOUCH them! Which I did, very carefully, usually just giving them an affectionate pat or two. With the more valuable and or rare pieces I just kept my hands behind my back. I wish I had more photos to share but I was so enraptured with the glass I completely forgot to take some shots of the most fabulous items such as a set of matching Hawthorne (I think)candelabras, 6 cups each if I remember correctly, and a massive tangerine punch set on a rotating pedestal - again, if I remember correctly. Next time I will be sure to use my camera instead of just carrying it around, obviously I can't count on my memory, lol! It was a wonderful adventure in Heiseyland and I'm looking forward to going again next year and maybe going to the select auction in October. I'll keep you updated!