Monday, October 30, 2006

what thrifting dreams are made of

vintage sewing box

i always keep an eye out for vintage sewing supplies, particularly for old wooden spools of thread but before this afternoon, had only found little treat bags of trims, lace, etc. today i was in a salvation army and noticed, tucked away on the bottom shelf of one of the front display cabinets (the "good" ones), an old wooden box full of thread, buttons and various old sewing bits. i saw that it was priced at $20 and i debated for awhile about whether or not it was worth that. then i had a better look and saw that it was really an old kraft cheese box converted into a sewing organizer, complete with nails for the spools to sit on and two little dividers to keep things orderly. by the time i realized that half the spools were, in fact, wooden and that there was an adorably dainty, slightly rusty pair of scissors tucked away in one of the compartments, i was already walking out the door with it, receipt in hand.

vintage sewing box

vintage sewing box

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New York City Flea Markets

Last weekend I went to New York City to visit Dawn and meet up with Jes, her mom and her friend Judy (I plan to post about the entire trip on my blog in the next couple of days). We had been planning to hit some flea markets for months and we were NOT disappointed. We went to an outdoor flea market first where I spent probably an hour going though these letterpress letters (I have an antique letterpress that I have yet to use, I am a bit intimidated but it, I admit!) and ended up walking away with some great letters and hopefully will get some time to play with them on my press.

We spent the good part of the morning picking though all sorts of treasures, but not until later in the day when we were at a different flea market in Chelsea that I stumbled upon my favorite find of the day. An old photograph book FILLED with well over a hundred photographs, mostly of children standing and posing for the camera, from the early 1900's. I normally never buy photos in a book since a lot of them in a book are usually not always what I want. I would rather buy them individually and get photos that I know I can use in a collage or piece of work. But the majority of this album is not only usable but wonderful! I plan on using some soon and then coming back and sharing with you what I created.

I also found a lot of other great paper items (some Victorian trade cards, other old photographs, etc) and also a lot of other treasures (see below) that I can not wait to play with!! If you ever head to New York City, let me know so I can give you the information on some of the flea markets to hit!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Craft of Thrift

knit lot 1

One of the best things about thrift stores can be the forgotten corners full of too much stuff that no one on staff feels like straightening out, or hasn't had time to look into. You know these parts of the store, and they probably give you a little electric jump when you approach them!

I often find that the craft and sewing sections tend to be full of treasures that aren't marked with prices, or are displayed in huge lots. This can be a golden ticket for the crafty thrifter who is looking to strike a deal. Oftentimes you can scoop up a bargain by buying in bulk. For instance, if they are selling something by yardage, but you'd like to take the entire reel, you can often get a break in price.

Whenever my local thrift shop has their seasonal "bag sale" event (everything you can fit in a plain brown shopping bag for $6), I head straight to the craft section, and take advantage of all the unwanted knitting needles, lace trim, and fabric I can get my hands on. I don't think that I would be able to continue crafting if I were paying full prices for all of my materials and equipment, and I encourage you to seek out a thrift shop for the same reasons if you want to try something new, but can't afford new materials. The best part is that if and when you abandon a project for good, you've only lost a dollar or two in the process.

Here are some of my favorite finds in the craft section of the thrift store:

Knitting needles in all shapes and sizes.
knit lot 5
knit lot 4

Jewelry and Findings.

Craft Encyclopedias and How-To Magazines.
entire set of do-it-yourself encyclopedias

Vintage Fabric.
gorgeous curtains

Vintage housewares to try and emulate.
sweet sunflower 2

Other things I can think of to look for include:
  • Sewing Notions.

  • Handbags that have clasps or zippers you can repurpose.

  • Clothing that you can rip apart and use for other projects.

  • Organization bins, or shelving.

  • Old cameras, frames, and photo equipment like tripods or camera bags.

  • Board games with interesting pieces.

  • Fabric jewelry boxes that you can customize.

  • Zippers, snaps, and buttons either on display or taken from clothing out on the racks.

My ultimate find would be to get a working, adjustable dress form very cheaply someday. I am always on the lookout for one! What are some of your favorite crafty things to look for when you thrift?

To thrift or not to thrift? There is no question!

Hi! My name is Meagan, and I, like you, love tag sales, garage sales, thrift shops, antique stores and any other place I can find interesting, pre-enjoyed goodies.

I live in an old, converted schoolhouse in northern Wisconsin, where I put my thrifty finds to good use. Mostly pottery and textiles of all kinds find their way into my shopping bag (like this lovely green footed bowl and silky bee scarf, above), but sometimes I come away with something completely unexpected.

Like these boots that I found on Friday. For only $1. These hand-crafted Italian leather lovelies will surely keep me well shod through our upcoming winter. Upon stumbling on these beauties I did the furtive "glance over the shoulder" that so many of us do to make sure we are the only ones who noticed the fabulous find we now hold in our hands.

I can't wait to share my tag sale tales with you. Thanks, Jenny, for inviting me to write here.

Until next time ...

19th Century French Cafe au Lait Bowl

Rare French flow blue
cafe au lait bowl
with a silver trim.

Though cafe au lait bowls are common,
used in French homes
every morning, amongst family
and friends, to drink their coffee with milk.

They come in a wide variety of
colors and sizes. Antique ones
are becomming harder and harder
to find, especially for a good price.

How do you drink your coffee?

Photo by Corey Amaro

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Thrifted window seat cushions

In lieu of a rusted radiator, there's now a window seat in the bay window area of our living room. Built by my husband with storage underneath. The cushion covers are thrifted - the base fabric is a linen curtain from the 1940s - its wonderful brown trim was also salvaged and used on the pillows. Those are covered in upholstery fabric. First seen on a small armchair at a church flea market, being ripped by an overzealous dealer who wanted to know what was beneath. I dashed over and grabbed the torn slipcover, knowing that someday I could use it. It makes me happy to see it reborn and matched with green ticking on the window seat. Now my favorite place for morning newspapers and tea.

French Laundry

How to fold a Fitted Sheet

-First fold it in half,

-Run your hands over it make it smooth,

-Then tuck the corners inside each other and straightening them out.

-The folded sheet should look like it has rounded corners.

-Fold the half sheet in half again,

-Tuck the corners inside each other, all corners are tucked into one big rounded corner.

-Then fold again and again. Flatten smooth.

-In one of the fold of the sheet, add a perfumed sachet, place the sheet in the armoire until needed.

More about French antiques here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Finding wheat among chaff

I'm Jennifer, a transplanted Midwesterner, living in Pennsylvania for the past 25 years, and I'm so happy to be a contributer to this great blog. It's written for people after my own heart, who love to find the glinting piece of gold amongst all the junk. Although I love old things, I have no interest in walking into an antique shop. There's no sport in that - it's like shooting fish in a barrel (assuming you have the money, which I don't, but more to the point, there's just no thrill.) The joy is in finding something great in a box under the tables at the church rummage sale, in the recycling bin amongst all the tattered TV Guides, or tossed out on the curbside. It takes a good eye to spot a gem in an ugly context, like a vintage planter hidden by Avon bottles and home-made ceramics at Goodwill, and be able to recognize its beauty or potential. Unlike many of you, I'm not a visual artist. I'm a writer and PR person living in a big constantly-in-need-of-repair Arts & Crafts house in suburban Philadelphia with my husband Chris and our three boys. I've always adored old people, old houses, old things. I'm drawn to vintage linens, baby clothing and accessories, books and paper ephemera. Tales of finding such things will be my primary storyline here, I imagine. I've always wanted to be a correspondent! Thanks for having me, Jenny.


Hello! I am Aga and i delighted to be part of this blog. I am Polish , yet I have been living in Britain since 2003. 6 months ago my husband, Steve and I bought our first home together and as the house is fair size ( and has blue front door , ha ha), it can accomodate all my treasures and still have space for more...I i have plenty of excuses to browse, hunt,search , buy , transform, create...
I love things that are meaningful to me and make me smile everytime i look at them , or the photos I take of them ... there is nothing better than finding "everyday "treasures...old cups , tablecloths, tables, chairs, bowls... and adopting them :)

on this photo there is a tablecloth found in a second hand shop in Poland , that cost the equivalent of 2$, a bowl from a friend, and some raspberries from a local market. and together they complement each other and look like a prefect trio of friends :) well. sort of more of a team as there is more than one raspberry...

there are a few shops / charity shops etc here in UK where I love walking among the shelves , boxes and just being among those vintage objects , materials, and in the company of fabulous colours, textures, etc.....
I also love sales and the idea that you get more for less , and that something might have waited for you so looooong , and can be yours.

have a great day everyone ***

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Hello, hello!

My name is Aimee and when Jenny invited me to join this lovely blog I couldn't resist! This is an old photobooth photo of me (1988)! I wanted something silly and fun, but also kind of old, to represent why I love to shop at thrift stores and yard sales... it's because I love old, fun things!

Most of my finds are things for the home or garden. I am attracted to things with a retro feel, things that are one of a kind, and kitchy. Most of my favorites have found their way to me, instead of me finding them. They come to me as cast aways from friends and family, and best of all, they come free of charge. I'm like a kitch magnet, attracting fun and fabulous things into my into my home!

I look forward to sharing my finds with you and seeing yours too!

well, hi there!

my first garment sewing attempt
this is me, leslie keating, a canadian married to an aussie and living in melbourne, australia. i've followed this blog for a long while now so when jenny put the call out for writers i was quick to put in my application and am so thankful that she's invited me to be join up. i am a certified thrift shopping addict. there is somthing about the search, the hunt, the high that comes with finding something beautiful, unique, something that has so obviously been loved before or maybe hasn't yet found the love it deserves... i just can't get enough. starting at the age of 15 i was a frequent visitor of the value villages and goodwills in my canadian hometown of edmonton, alberta (used to tag along with my sister and then plotted huge, citywide, daylong thrifting escapades on my own once i could drive) and kept the traditional alive when i moved to the great city of vancouver in 2002. now in melbourne i try to explore as many different "op shops", as they are called here, as possible, searching far and wide, driving up to 35km out of the city regularly for a few REALLY good ones. i also try to hit garage sales when i can and love a classic auction, although i haven't had as much time lately to explore these last two. i'm currently collecting ceramics, fabric, patterns, glassware but am always on the look out for anything that speaks to me. i have some of my thrift goods in a flickr set here but still have many that i haven't photographed yet (but will!). i'm looking forward to sharing my finds and experiences with vintage and thrift on the other side of the world and can't wait to see what the other contributors have to share!

ps. in the photo above i'm wearing a shirt i made from a huge, beautiful, vintage, embroidered linen tablecloth, found for only $3.99 and still keeps a smile on my face to this day.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Think Outside the Box

and right into the strainer! Nothing is for naught, and most things can be re-invented! Who would have thought an old strainer could make a perfect planter?
Think outside the box when it comes to old things, you'll be amazed at the ideas that can bloom!

Emily August

pod trays 4

Hello, fellow thrift store junkies, yard sailors, flea market fanatics, and dumpster divers. I want to quickly introduce myself and thank Jenny for inviting me to contribute to this wonderful little blog. I've had it bookmarked forever, and always hope to see new snippets of thrifting adventures posted here.

Thrifting is something that completely relaxes me, and gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I would say that right now my wardrobe is only about 25% thrift store finds, but it would be higher if I were a more average-sized person. Thrifting is a way of life. It involves various off-shoots like getting up at the crack of dawn to go to flea markets, yard-sailing, and spotting rejected furniture on the curb. It is dirty and humbling, and takes a lot of time and effort. Many times you go home empty-handed and angry, but it is worth all of the frustration for the good things you can find if you just keep looking.

I take yard sales and flea markets very seriously. They have taught me various histories of things like clothing styles, art movements, and the make of fine furniture. They have kindled the strangest of fires in me to collect things I had never heard of before. I have sold as a vendor at the Punk Rock Flea Market in Philadelphia, held my own yard sales, and participated in big church flea markets or multi-family garage sales. Man, I am addicted to it.

Thank you for reading my introduction, and I hope you enjoy what I have to say about vintage clothing, housewares, and all the goodies I will be sharing with you here. For a preview of what I'll be sharing with you, feel free to check out my flickr account, and drop me a line to say hello. I am new to, but not new to blogging, and can't wait to dig in with you all here at tagsaletales! Ciao ciao.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hi, My Name is Hope...

Hello. My name is Hope and I am a flea market junkie. Actually, I also love antique shops, tag sales and thrift stores, so, I guess it is fate that I am one of the new members of Tag Sale Tales (thank you Jenny, for letting me a part of this great site - I hope I live up to your expectations!) That is me up there taking a photo of a vintage Christmas ornament. I am the girl behind Paper Relics and known as thesoulofhope on Flickr. But for those of you who do not know me, my weakness is antique paper. Anything pre-1920 really, but I swoon over things from the 1800s. I love old hand written letters, tin type photos, postcards and advertising (in magazines or trade cards). I also adore old worn buttons and vintage velvet ribbon, old pieces of jewelry (especially shiny ones) and of course I am thrilled when I stumble upon a unique piece to put in my studio for storage or display.

I was born and raised in Connecticut. Tag sales were tag sales and I always have loved them. I now reside in Maryland, and no one here knows what I am talking about when I say TAG SALE. How can you not know what I am talking about? They call them 'garage sales' and 'yard sales' but never TAG SALES. It drives me crazy! I say I went to a tag sale over the weekend and all my co-workers are looking at me blankly having no idea what I am talking about! Oh well, tag, garage, yard, whatever you call it - I still love them!

I thought it would be fun to share my finds with you, and then take it a step further and show you what I do with them. So you will see things I purchase as well as things I make. I have started a flickr set for all the photos I post on this blog that can be viewed here.

My most recent find, and my first to share with you, was an old wooden crate with writing still on one side. It was actually quite a surprise to stumble upon. I went to an art and craft show this past weekend in a small town in Maryland. The entire town comes out for this event and people had tag sales lining the streets. I came across this one sale run by this sweet old man (who told me I had "a beautiful mop of hair" - how could I NOT purchase something from him?). I found a few goodies, an old journal with sales recorded in it and some buttons. I was happy and started to walk away. But, my eye caught something tucked under the corner of the table. An old wooden crate. It was in excellent condition, the wood is high quality (the photo does not do it justice since it is bottom up - my cute pup, Tuala, is in the photo to give you an idea of the size - she is a 28 pound Beagle). I picked it up to check it out and the price tag was $9.50. NINE FIFTY! I ran over the man to pay for it, and in all my excitement, I tripped (of course, you will all soon see what a klutz I am), and he told me he thought I was falling for him and next time to let him know so he could have his hands out to catch me (what a charmer!).
He gave it to me for $9 even.

It is so nice to be here - I look forward to sharing with you all! And stay tune for more tales soon... I am off to New York City this weekend to meet up with some blog friends (Dawn and Jes) and we plan to hit some flea markets while we are there!

Monday, October 16, 2006

...With those big blue eyes,
she seem to say,
"Buy it, buy it, buy it!"
Listening with my heart,
I took her advice,
bought it,
gave her a wink that said,

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

call for writers!

hello dear readers! i'm just popping in to say thank you to those who have written us and asked for more tales!

which brings me to the reason for this post. if any of you are interested in becoming a contributor for tag sale tales, there is currently an open call!

our blog isn't limited to just thrift stores, but also open air markets, antique malls, yard sales, open air markets, anywhere you can get a deal or steal that has a story! we want those interested in finding good fashion, home decor, trinkets and baubles, gifts and ideas that show you can make life interesting and beautiful while being on a budget.

so drop me a line (email me at jenny @ queenthings dot com) if you would like to help us out, i would really like to get voices from all parts of the world, please don't be shy.

just so you know what's going on with husband and our little toddler and i all in the transition for moving to another country in south america (you can read more here) and soon i will have some interesting stories to share, i'm sure of it! shopping will be a complete turn around from the amazing thrifting in virginia. so stay tuned! in the meanwhile, i'll hope to hear from you!

besos xx, jenny vorwaller

Collecting Little Things by Corey Amaro

I love going around a fleamarket listening to what calls my name...
most the time I do not go with something in mind,
rather I go with a tickle in my heart and a wide eye wonder-
trusting that something is waiting to find me.
...And when something this cute jumps out with a surprise, bubbly sting,
all I can do is laugh out loud, and count my lucky stars!
Somethings don't have to be valuable to be treasured.

Photo: Paper doll dresses up like a bee, giving me sweet honey!