Sunday, May 6, 2012


May means the start of flea market season and despite a rainy start to the weekend, we enjoyed our first pick of the season at a nearby flea market. Do you ever watch "American Pickers" on the History Channel? Although the hosts look for totally different things than I do, I always enjoy watching them scour backyards, basements, and barns for treasures. After each pick, they summarize what they paid for each piece and what they think they can get for it in their shop in Le Claire, Iowa. So in "American Pickers" fashion, here is recount of just a few of my treasures (I promise not to bore you with all of them).

My first find of the day was this vintage fabric cutter, a handy sewing tool that has been made since the 19th century but this one is not quite that old. Yes, today's rotary cutters and rotary cutting machines are nice but none make the wonderful pattern on this machine! The dealer wanted $30 for it but we were able to negotiate it down to $20. With mechanical things like this, there's never any guarantee they're actually in working condition. Because of this risk, we'll often try to negotiate the price down. They key is to be reasonable with the dealer. I usually start by asking if they have some dicker room and if so, what their best price is. Turns out we lucked out and the cutter worked great after we adjusted a pressure mechanism (A handy husband is indispensable for such tasks!)
Paid: $20
Worth: $125-$200 (one recently sold for $197 in an online auction)

Being a quilter, I can't resist the allure of vintage wooden bobbins and spools, and one dealer had a terrific assortment of vintage beehive bobbins—just 50 cents a piece! The larger bobbin pictured was only a $1. I have seen these go for as much as $10 a piece but I suspect their actual value is somewhere in between.
Paid: $7 total
Worth: $25 total

In the same booth where I found the beehive bobbins, I spotted even more bobbins of different sizes. This trio of drawers was packed with them—all for the reasonable price of 50 cents each.

My next finds—a small milk glass candlestick, a 1960s glass flowerpot, and a Japanese vase (marked Japan on bottom)—were at the $1 bargain table. Truth be told, I don't think milk glass is worth a lot these days but I'm sure an antiques shop would charge more than a dollar for this Imperial candlestick made in the 60s. I plan to use it as a pincushion base!
Paid: $3 total
Worth: $12 total

As a longtime houseplant lover and magazine garden writer, I enjoy growing rex begonias. They typically have intriguing foliage, so there is no need for blooms. I found these lovely two miniature rex begonias (one in a vintage Haeger pot) for just $3 each. I rarely find rex begonias in our area, let alone miniature ones. If I want them, I have to mail-order them, which is quite expensive.
Paid: $6 total
Worth: $20 total

No, I'm not into mixed drinks but I do love the pink and green graphics of this vintage cocktail recipe booklet from Southern Comfort, and at 25 cents, the price was right. It even has a cute owl graphic inside!!! Who knew?! Yes, call me fickle but I bought this booklet for the graphics alone.
Paid: 25 cents
Worth: ?

And here are a few neat things I saw but didn't buy. These painted corbels probably once adorned a vintage Victorian.

I can just see someone enjoying this well-loved vintage spinning wheel. Conveniently, the booth next to it had a bunch of wool for spinning.

This fun vintage phone caught my eye. I've noticed they are making reproductions in other colors, including pink! I recently put a pink one on my wish list on my Pinterest page.

One of the dealers had a bazillion vintage buttons, many of which she attached to playing cards.

I thought this little red flower bed of pelargoniums was adorable.

There always seems to be a bunch of four-legged friends at the flea market, and this little guy was especially friendly. I am not really a dog person but you couldn't help but love him. Every time I tried to snap a photo of him, he would come toward me so finally his owner restrained him long enough for me to take one!

After we wrapped up at the flea market, we headed to another nearby town to check out some antiques. This antiques shop is located in my hometown.

The shop is owned by the widow of my junior high school English teacher and is located in a former playhouse. There is even a resident cat, a Maine Coon beauty that reminds my cat, Caesar, who passed away several years ago.

After checking out a few antiques shops, we drove by some of my favorite houses in town. Some family friends used to live in this inviting Dutch Colonial.

We capped the day off by watching the beautiful chestnut colt,  "I'll Take Another", win the Kentucky Derby. I can remember watching the Derby on television ever since I was a youngster. I was too young to remember the last Triple Crown winner, Affirmed, but I hope we'll have another one soon. I can remember seeing the twin spires of Churchill Downs when we passed through Louisville on our way to visit relatives in Lexington, Kentucky. At the Kentucky Horse Park, I learned a lot about some of the greatest horses of the past century—Man O' War, War Admiral, and Secretariat, and of course, the only three fillies to ever win the Derby—Regret, Genuine Risk, and Winning Colors.

If you've made it through this long-winded post, congratulations and hope you've enjoyed the tour!


  1. Oh! I did enjoy your tour, thankyou! I wish I could have been with you, I love flea markets. That little red flower bed was cute. And the antique shop in that playhouse looks like fun! Have a great week!

  2. Another great day of treasure hunting for you!

  3. All those treasures have me drooling! Especially the small sets of drawers - those are my ultimate weakness and I'd like to buy every one I ever see! LOL Looks like your flea markets are awesome!

  4. Enjoyed the entire tour, especially all the quilts draped on church pews! I also learned something new - I've never seen or heard of "beehive" bobbins before. Now I'll be on the lookout - they're very cute!

  5. Thanks for the tour Kimber - I enjoyed that!

  6. Kimber, I did enjoy your flea market hunting trip and I also enjoy American Pickers. I wanted to go to flea markets this weekend but didn't have the time. Thanks for sharing. Mary A.

  7. I loved all of your treasures.....I've never heard of beehive spools.....cute! And those quilts on the pews were gorgeous! I wish we had such fun flea markets here. I really need to start traveling! lol

  8. What an amazing day, don't think we have anything like that around here, maybe I need to check. I don't think I have ever seen so many beautiful old cabinets. Sounds like you had a perfect day.

  9. Wow, what a great flea market. You got some neat buys.

  10. Kimber,
    Thanks for the great flea market pics. I love a good flea mkt, and that looked like a good one. Have fun with all your treasures!

  11. You know all these pictures of wonderful things to buy are very hard on a person that cannot get over to Iowa buy these treasures. Last week you just happened to show a giant tin sunflower and I think I have told everyone about the thing and this week you show all these wonderful cabinets that I just cannot get my hands on. I really need that sunflower and now I really need one of those cabinets! Iowa certainly has some wonderful weekend activities!

  12. I just love going to a good flea! My honey and I went yesterday too. I found a few sweet things I couldn't live without. Funny how that works.

  13. I enjoyed looking at your blog posts.
    I too am interested in small quilts. I've started a blog about small quilts and doll quilts. I love your dolls and doll beds. Thanks for an enjoyable trip through your blog. -Judy

    1. Welcome to blogland, Judy! I hope that others will find your lovely blog by clicking on your link. I see that Carolyn has already.

  14. Wow! it looks like a busy and fun day out!!


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