Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foreside Consignment

What is there better to do on a long holiday weekend then BBQ and socialize with family & friends?   Visit your favorite resale shop between all of that socializing of course…
This past weekend I was in Maine with my family and decided to pop by a somewhat new shop that opened last winter in Falmouth.  Foreside Consignment Gallery is on Route 1 and my first visit to them was last December about a month after they opened. 
Foreside Consignment Gallery
211 US Route 1
Falmouth, ME

My assessment after my winter visit was that this shop has GREAT location and so much potential.  The product selection was eclectic and interesting and prices weren’t bad considering its location (in a town “with money”).  The only downside was they were really light on stock – understandable considering it was only 1 month open and right after Christmas.
Well, this weekend as I was driving by with no intention of stopping there was a huge sign out front that said “Estate Sale” and what appeared to be a fair amount of furniture in the parking lot for sale.  Now you know I’m not passing that one by…
May 29th Foreside Consignment Estate Sale

What I found was a friendly sale with so much selection both in furniture, accessories and miscellaneous goodies it was hard to not load my car up!  Apparently the owner of this shop comes from a family of dealers – father, brother, sister.  The “estate sale” goodies were items that were leftover from an auction her brother had held.  Beautiful furniture items, really.
I was chatting a bit with the woman at the register (the owner’s cousin) and was heartened to hear that in the 6 months that this shop has been open that business was busy enough that she now needs 2 people working in the shop.  So nice to see a small local business thriving!!!
She said that inventory turns very quickly and I can tell you I did not see a lot of merchandise that had old tags on it.  This shop is one of those whose price tags are color coded and have prescheduled discounting every 30 days so you can see exactly how long the merchandise has been sitting in the shop.  The back of each tag will look something like this:
Foreside Consignment Gallery
Pink Depression Glass Compote
After April 17th                      $62.51
After May 17th                       $41.69
After June 16th                      $37.50

I love this set up – it ensures quick turning of inventory (you’ll always find something new) and gives the customers opportunity for discounts without having to ask!
Foreside has new consignment as well as antiques so if you are looking specifically for antiques you need to be alert to what’s reproduction and what’s old.  The somewhat smallish shop is entirely consignment so the mix of merchandise really is eclectic and subject to change depending what is brought in by sellers.  All in all good stuff!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fresh Blooms

And today after much anticipation...

we have IRIS!!!
Since I moved these last summer I was not at all confident they would ever bloom again.  I"m so happy to see their pretty purple blooms and so many more buds not yet opened to come.  My black thumb did not win this time...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bonding with Nature

There is not much more a truer statement than to say I’m not a bugs & dirt girl!  I don’t camp, I don’t hunt/fish and I’m not a gardener. 

That being said, while I do not enjoy the digging in the dirt part of gardening I do like the end result so it’s a means to an end for me.  Unfortunately (for fortunately, for my neighbors who get to enjoy the flowers) my house has way too many gardens that were planted by the prior owners.  From what I’m told Mr. Johnson who lived in my house for 60 years was quite an avid gardener which was made sense given all of the mature bushes & perennials that were in the gardens.  His gardens were considered at one time to be the prettiest in the neighborhood.  Well Mr. Johnson apparently had been ill for a couple of years so when I moved in the gardens were terribly neglected and overgrown.  Let me tell you this was nothing if not daunting for the girl who had never even mowed a lawn before I moved into this house I really had no idea what to do with them.   So year one was mostly clean out.

This garden is in front of my house - right
next to my driveway.  This pic was taken
about 2 weeks before I bought the house.

This is the back part of the front garden -
taken the same day as the prior pic

This is behind my house - it's where the Peonies reside
today but this was just after I moved in and the Pachysandra
was WILD

This is my vegetable garden (pre-vegetables).
 It is just behind my garage at the back of my property.
Year two, was a continuation of the clean out and I actually started to plant some flowers.  I had perused some gardening books but frankly found most of them far beyond my level.  I don’t know or really want to know about fertilizer mixes, soil types or what the Latin name of the pretty pink flower is.  I just want to put it in the ground and see it bloom!  So with no real strategy I just headed to the plant store and bought a bunch of what I considered pretty flowers and a few veggies.  I did know enough not to buy plants with full flowers on them but to lean toward the plants with buds not yet opened and I knew to buy periennials instead of annuals so I wouldnt have to replant each year.  I also got some very helpful tips from one of my Aunts about shake & grow fertilizer & keeping leaf eating pests away.  For the most part I was quite happy with how it all turned out - the only obvious mistake I made was planting everything a bit too close together.
This is my front garden last year.  This was taken mid-Summer. 
Everything got BIGGER by Oct...

This is the back part of the front garden last year.  I had a
bunch of Iris in another garden I am planning or elimiating
so relocated them all to this spot.  So much cleaner and less
work than the massively overgrown tangle that was there before.
So this weekend was the first couple of days where we haven’t had rain and I have actually been home to get going on the gardens.  I always underestimate the amount of work it’s going to take to clean out & prep (as I do with most projects oddly enough).  Well after 2 afternoons of pulling, bagging, and digging, etc.  I have a couple of the gardens in decent shape.  It was not without making new “friends” though – in my vegetable garden apparently a patch of poison ivy thought it was a great place to start sprouting and while I was dousing it with Round Up one of my “friends” from last summer appeared, a little upset at having Round Up squirted on him….after letting me know of his displeasure he skulled away.  I’m sure he’ll be back L
Unwanted vegitation in my vegetable garden!!! 
Hopefully the Round Up will kill it so I can remove it
without developing an itchy rash..
This is my unwanted "friend" last summer...he thought
cooling off in my garage was a good idea.  I convinced
him it wasn't but now he apparently thinks the garden
is an acceptable alternative...it isnt!!!!
One of my less pesky new “friends” was a mother Robin who spent most of the afternoon following me from garden to garden.  She seemed so appreciative of the loosened dirt where apparently worms were prevalent.   I couldn’t believe how close she stayed to me…didn’t seem concerned at all by my presence (must have been the Chanel 5, she must have thought I was a flower ha).  Well, last summer I had planted a couple of peonies right next to a honeysuckle bush behind my house.  I had pulled a ton of pachysandra out of the garden to make room for the Peonis and towards the end of the afternoon today was eliminating the re-sprouts when Mrs. Robin flew about a foot above my head and landed in the honeysuckle bush – scared the crap out of me!  After my heart returned to normal I looked up and she was perched on the edge of a nest feeding her young…seriously it was maybe a foot from me.  So cool!!
Peonies..I wasn't sure they were going to make it after I
planted them last summer...they appear to be doing pretty
good though and the one on the left has a bunch of buds.
Can't wait for them to bloom so I can remember what color I bought

Mrs Robin's nest that is in the honeysuckle bush
next to my Peonies....there were baby Robins in house today.
I’m not even close to finished with my spring clean-up but did get a great start this weekend!
Front garden today (before I spread the cocoa shell mulch
which smells sooooo good)....if everything blooms it
should be quite colorful in another month or so....
....and I'll have fresh tomatoes, peppers, brussel sprouts,
squash (acorn & butternut), pickling cucumbers and

Monday, May 16, 2011

Imagine Seeing You Here...

Several years ago the oddest thing happened at an Antique shop in Warren Maine…I found my aunt!

Now, to start with I have a thing about seeing old photo’s in antique shops.  I always think it’s so sad that someone’s family photo is being sold because either no one holds a sentimental value to it or even sadder no one can identify who the person in the picture is.  I know it is wishful thinking that a hundred years later every person in every photo ever taken is identifiable and clearly I am putting far too much thought into this but with that being said I am still drawn to them and can spend hours just perusing through old photos.  Given all of this it’s fairly reasonable to conclude that as I routinely hit the antique shops vintage photos are always on the “shopping list”.
A little while back I was at Scuttlebutt Antiques in Warren Maine tagging along with my Aunt G looking for furniture for her newly finished summer cottage.  Scuttlebutts is on Route 1 between Waldoboro and Rockland Maine and I remember the building as a restaurant from when I was a child – it has the stern of a ship built on the side of the building so it made quite an impression on me as a child but it is now a fairly traditional antique shop.  On this particular day we had found a fabulous maple side chair and were off to the basement of this 3-story shop to continue the hunt. 

The basement of Scuttlebutt has a ton of merchandise in it (well organized, but a ton) and the walls are floor to ceiling pictures of every sort imaginable.  From Velvet Elvis’ to watercolor landscapes and oil portraits this place has everything.   In addition to old photo’s I am always fascinated by the art hanging in consignment/resale shops if nothing else but for its variety so Scuttlebutt’s basement really calls to me.  As I was quickly perusing the selection with no thought of really finding anything (Velvet Elvis aside) I zoomed in on a black & white vintage 1934 Waltham Training School for Nurses class portrait.  I was at a distance where I really couldn’t see the details but could tell it was a cool photo. 
Waltham Training School for Nurses
Class of 1934

I walked up to the graduation photo expecting it to just be a cool photo and started to look at the names of the women.  There was one in the lower left center with the name H Kempton…interesting as there was something very vaguely familiar about this woman.  When I looked closer it was MY AUNT HILDA!!!   She might have been 20-years old in the photo and Kempton was her first husband’s name (who died from the flu when he was in his 20’s) so it’s really a miracle I even identified her as her last name was named Paxman and she was in her mid-70’s when I was young.
Hilda Towle Kempton (Paxman)

My first thought was holy cow how did this get here and is there anyone else from this part of Maine in this photo (since Waltham Training School was several hours away in Massachusetts) or was it really originally Aunt Hilda’s picture?  And if it was, who put it up for sale?????  My next thought was I can’t leave her here – I have no idea where I am going to hang it or if it will just hang out in the attic but to leave her for someone else to buy…no way!  So I ponied my $28 up and now am still looking for a home for her in my home.  Aunt Hilda was the family historian when she was alive so the irony of me finding this at Scuttlebutt is not lost on me.  Crazy or what???
There seems to be a fair amount of repurposing being done with some of these vintage images these days which I personally love.  Outside of all of the cool cards & magnets here are a few that I particularly enjoy:

I found this awesome box made from galvanized metal with bathing beauties on the lid at Dwellings a lovely shop on Route 1 in Falmouth Maine.  It's particulary useful for "storing" candy :).
This isnt the best photo of this awesome little dish but it’s the only one I could find (I am really not much of a photographer).  It's a clear glass square dish with this handsome fella decoupage to the back; it was on my "must have" list from Hudson Boston.   Hudson is a cool little online company that has wonderfully eclectic things.

This was a stack of vintage photo's I spotted at Scarlett Scales in Franklin TN (see Hit the Road Part Deux blog post).  I loved how she took these pictures and framed them in simple glass frames with grey mats....it really shows of the artistry of the photo and is a much more distinguished display than the ubiquitous stack of photos in a box.  I have every intention of stealing this look for some of my own vintage family pictures!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hit The Road...How Could I Have Forgotten!

Holy Cow I can’t believe I forgot to tell you all about one of my favorite places to find decorative items in all of Atlanta!  Have you all heard of or seen a catalog for Ballard Design?  I kind of describe them as the French Countryish version of Pottery Barn – they have fabulous looking things!  Well, their corporate headquarters is in Atlanta and here’s the real bonus…they have 2 retail outlets in Atlanta!  One is on DeFoors Avenue right next to their corporate office off I-75 on the western side of the city and the other one is on Holcomb Bridge road right off Hwy 400, exit 7A in Roswell.  I always make a habit of visiting both stores on my visit’s because believe it or not they have very different merchandise in each.  The Holcomb Bridge location is a true “scratch & dent” store where they sell returns, overstock and damaged product at bargain prices.  The DeFoors location used to be more of a warehouse environment but has transitioned into half scratch & dent/half full priced retail.  Neither location has everything that is offered in the catalog but do have a random offering that I am never disappointed with.
This trip I was on the hunt for 2 items that I am obsessed with but unwilling to pay the full retail price for….

British Royalty Pillow
Brit Pillow Ordering Link

Terra Cotta Rabbit Planter
Now as I mentioned these stores are a hit or miss experience and if you are looking for something specific it’s not guaranteed that you will find it.  Unfortunately, I was out of luck on this visit – no pillow to be found and the only planter they had in the store was full retail pricing and let me tell you this baby weighs much more than it looks so packing it and shipping or taking it on the plane were not great options.
What I did find however was another fun pillow that was not only on sale but an additional 50% off!…

Antique Hare Hooked Pillow
I love accent pillows they add color/fun to a room without any permanent commitment.
And this lovely jute tote in Pink. 

Monogrammed Jute Carry-All

They had probably 50 or so of these totes in all colors that were monogrammed with apparently mistake initials or returned totes and really how is Ballard going to resell a personalized tote?  Well, let me tell you how, they put them in their outlet store and sell them for cheap!  I paid I think $3ish for a med pink tote with the monogram KPA – close enough for me (who really knows my middle initial is D instead of A right?  there are lots of great names that begin with A that I can adopt for a $3 bargain).  It’s a great size and accommodates a laptop and files nicely for a spring work tote.
Last year on my visit to Ballard Design I wasn’t on the hunt for anything in particular but I did find this lovely picture that now brings some brightness to my bedroom.

Sea of Poppies Giclee Print

You never really know what you will find at Ballard but as I said earlier it is always worth a quick visit!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Hit the Road...The Final Chapter

Finally, here it is the final leg of my Southeastern adventure.  Ok, so what you need to know about this leg is that it was in one of my favorite cities in the country – ATLANTA!!!  To be fair, I lived in Atlanta for almost 10 years and am in many ways more comfortable in Atlanta than I am in my current city, Boston.  I understand the layout of the city better and more importantly I know GREAT places to find decorative resale items!  On this trip I was on a limited timeframe and really wanted to explore some new spots but I couldn’t resist some of my old favorite haunts.

One of my first stops was My Sister’s Closet at 5350 Peachtree Road Chamblee.  Now when I lived in Atlanta one of my best work friends and I used to head to My Sister’s Closet fairly frequently for lunch – who needs food when you have phenomenal thrift finds right?  What I love most about My Sister’s Closet is their variety – you can find just about anything here from consignment designer clothing to a broad variety of vintage clothing & accessories to home accessories (both vintage and modern).  Prices are reasonable and sales are frequent and generous.  On this trip I restraingly only purchased a pin tray for my collection, a vintage silver butter knife and a fab button pin. 
Pin Tray, Button Pin & Vintage Silver from My Sister's Closet

Treasures from Attic Treasures!
My next stop was at a charity thrift store just around the corner from My Sister’s Closet – Attic Treasures at 3534 Broad Street in Chamblee.  This shop is run by and benefits the Assistance League of Atlanta and not only do they benefit a great cause but they are one of my favorite thrift shops in Atlanta.  Now, this shop is a fairly traditional thrift shop and has many “Goodwill” type items but sprinkled among them are real bargains and real unique finds!  All of the clothing is recently dry cleaned and the wares are well displayed – nothing dirty or musty in this shop.  I ended up purchasing several items: a Robert Burns Spode Plate, a fun drink shaker, a depression glass sherbet glass, a couple of decorative metal pockets (one for Easter) and a couple of bargain skirts (Brooks Brother for $2.50 ea. – really!).  I cannot say enough about this shop and its hidden treasures.

Attic Treasures
3534 Broad St., Chamblee GA

Now, one thing about these two shops that are worlds away in their approach to thrift they are less than a mile apart in locale.  Also in the neighborhood are several other more serious “antique” shops – I am not exaggerating when I tell you it would not be hard to spend a whole afternoon just meandering through the lovely antique/thrift/consignment shops of Chamblee.
So my next day in Atlanta started in Buckhead at Architectural Accents.  I had not visited Architectural Accents when I lived in Atlanta but had read about them somewhere in a magazine and had put them on my "must see" list.  This shop is located near some of Atlanta’s finest antique shops in Miami Circle and as expected by its “high end” neighborhood Architectural Accents does not offer many bargains but does offer a fascinating array of architectural salvage – any kind of door, mantle, hardware, molding you can imagine can be found in this large retail space where it does appear bigger is better. 

Architectural Accents
2711 Piedmont Road, Atlanta GA

This in my world is an “idea” place – a great place to expand thoughts and gain great ideas that can be reused in your projects.  My great-grandmother was a seamstress and used to “shop” high end department stores to see what was in fashion so she could knock them off for my grandmother at a fraction of the cost the stores were charging.  As a result my grandmother was the most fashionable kid in town – this same concept is applied at Architectural Accents.
One of the things I was most looking forward to in Atlanta was going to an auction at Gallery 63 – for those who may not have seen the TV show the Auction Kings this is the auction house that is featured on that show.  I have been to a fair number of auctions in my time and none have compared to the auction I attended at Gallery 63. 

It started at 4pm and I stayed for several hours watching everything from jewelry to rugs to furniture to 20’ stained glass windows from a church in Detroit to hula outfits go up for auction.  There was a lot more physical movement by the Gallery 63 employees than I usually see at an auction and this contributed to a somewhat chaotic feel but also gave buyers at the auction much to hold our interest.  Things moved rapidly and that was lucky given the number of items that were up for auction.  I left around 7pm to get some dinner and when I drove by around 10 pm heading toward my hotel the auction was still going on – talk about a marathon auction!   Unfortunately this was not an auction that was being taped for the TV show but it was certainly a show none-the-less.    For those who have not ever been to an auction I highly recommend them – you can get the best deals and see a wider array of goods in a short amount of time than practically anywhere. 

Hula Outfits being modeled by Cindy

So much stuff, so little time

One warning to keep in mind when bidding at an auction though – most (if not all) auctioneers charge a “buyers premium” of 12%-20%.   Be sure to factor this additional cost in when you are bidding as it really is part of the total you will end up spending for your item.  I usually factor 20-25% (for easy math) of my bidding price to account for this buyers premium as well as sales tax.  Clearly the auctioneers have it made – the sellers pay a commission for them to sell the products and the buyers pay a commission on top of the sell price – they collect from both sides!  Even factoring this in as I stated earlier you can find great bargains at an auction…just don’t get too carried away with the need to “win”.  Set your price and stick to it and you will do ok.
There are so many more placed I wanted to visit while I was in Atlanta but there is never enough time…  One of my favorite haunts that I did not have time to visit this trip is A Classy Flea at 1355 Roswell Road in Marietta.  I love, love, love A Classy Flea and I highly recommend setting a couple of hours aside to inspect every nook and cranny – plus the name is just a great one!  Next time rest assured they are top of the list.

A Classy Flea
1355 Roswell Road, Marietta GA

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hit the Road...Part Deux

Well I made it back from my adventures in the Southeast and have been so crazy busy trying to “catch up on my life” that I’ve only just now had a moment to catch you all up on the second part of my trip.  So for those of you who don’t know Nashville is only about a 3 ½ hour drive from Atlanta – and let me tell you it’s a lovely drive.  So pretty (for highway driving that is) and if I had stopped everywhere I had wanted to it would literally have taken me 3 days.  Unfortunately, I did not have all of that time available I was limited to an afternoon on this trip but trust me I will plan another visit to Nash-lanta and hit all of the places I missed this trip!
Some of the places that I did have time to visit were:

The Downtown Antique Mall on 8th Avenue in Nashville was among my first stops.  I’m not sure anyone who doesn’t frequent antique or thrift shops would ever stop at The Downtown Antique Mall.  It is within a couple of feet of a railroad track and let me tell you for the 30 min or so I was at the D.A.M. it was frequently shaking with the trains passing by.  It is also located in an old factory warehouse and not in particularly good shape.  But as often is the case, the D.A.M. falls under that old adage “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. 

The Downtown Antique Mall
612 8th Ave S

They have a wonderful array of items – everything from vintage iron pieces to glassware to mid-century furniture to vintage clothing and lots of it!  One of the advantages of being housed in an old warehouse space is clearly room for lots of goodies!  I don’t think anyone could not find something to love in the D.A.M. except perhaps the noise from the trains of course.   While I did leave without purchasing it was mainly because I was short on time and even shorter on suitcase space.  Next time I’m bringing an empty one!
From the D.A.M I headed to Franklin – I had stumbled upon Scarlett Scales Blog and discovered she had what looked to be a fabulous antique shop on South Margin Street in Franklin and don't you just have to visit a shop in the south named "Scarlett Scales".  Well what I found was not at all what I had expected – it was an extremely small little shop but full of just lovely things.  I was tempted by just about everything in the store – very French country (Americanized of course) and many reproductions mixed in with her antiques.  Not an eclectic mix at all but it didn’t need to be – it was very well merchandised.  And I challenge anyone needing a hostess gift to leave here empty handed.  She also has a lovely website for those wanting her wares that are not in the TN area:  http://www.scarlettscales.com/

Scarlett Scales Antiques
212 South Margin St
Franklin TN
There were quite a few shops in this neighborhood unfortunately I only had time to visit one more before I had to head south.  Fortunately I selected the Arbor Antique Mall to pop into.  I could have spent all day here!!!!!  Their merchandise was so well displayed and clean – no musty antique smell in here.  It feels like you are wandering through someone’s home that is jam packed full of interesting and beautiful things and the ladies who run this shop are Southern hospitality at its finest.  I purchased several items (forget the full suitcase, I remembered Fedex) and really could have done significant damage had I more time.  There were 4 huge glass cases just full of gorgeous costume jewelry…I drool!  I will definitely put this on my list of must revisits.
There were so so so many more places I wanted to stop on my Nashville leg of this trip.  I will definitely be planning another visit soon.  I will certainly head back to Franklin as well as hit Wonders on Woodland who I have read such fabulous things about and had an opportunity to admire from the outside (sadly they were closed the day I swung by) as well as carve out enough time to make all the pit stops along the way to Atlanta.  There were so many signs advertising Antique shops along the way it was killing me to just keep driving.  I just kept consoling myself with…”just think of it as an excuse to come back”.
All in all it was just an appetizer for what Nashville has to offer in the decorative resale market.  I am still looking forward to the rest of the meal.  Atlanta next…