Since I am a treasure hunting fiend, it only makes sense that I would beg to stop at every hole in the wall junk store that we passed by from California to the east coast. And after day 5 of flying by Goodwills, antique stores and roadside flea markets I finally got my chance.
As you can imagine, driving an 80 ft semi and trailer is no easy peasy pull in and park job. But we were leaving our last delivery and what to my wondering eyes should appear?!? A Goodwill. A little teeny place in a podunk town in Virginia. I was so excited to finally get my shop on. So Danny crammed that big ass rig in their tiny little lot as best he could and we ran in on a 5 minute timer! However, as I quickly discovered, not many treasures lurk here like in the big city. All of those awesome finds would be at the antique stores. With very large price tags attached.
Thrifting here is slightly different than thrifting at home. I have managed to scrounge up a few cool items between the antique & thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales and consignment shops. Problem now is letting them go. I want to keep em all! This is my 1st haul of treasures, some are available for sale now in my Etsy store –> www.etsy.com/shop/alomasantiques
So as most of my friends and family know by now, I closed my antique store and hit the road with my honey. We decided a couple months back that we needed to make some changes. We decided to take his trucking business coast to coast transporting goods. What does that mean? Well it means that we’ll be away from home, a LOT. We have 2 small dogs with us in a very confined space, we sleep in bunk beds, we eat on the run, we pee in containers, and we don’t shower everyday. And it also means that we’ll be seeing a LOT of the countryside….and (most likely) a lot of that will be from the passenger seat. But since we decided to make this change, life has been very different…in ways I can’t really describe, both enlightening, beautiful and even a little frustrating.
Our dogs have adjusted fairly well even though the first couple of days were terribly unnerving for both them and us. And we have adjusted pretty well too, except for the fact that our truck has been in the shop now for 13 days and we won’t see it till tomorrow – hopefully. So two weeks off and no work = no money. That’s poopy. But on the upside, we’ve already had some great adventures touring different places throughout Maryland and DC. Lucky for us we have a good friend that lives on this side of the world and we were able to stay with him and not need a hotel for the entire time. We’ve seen wonderful monuments, historical sites, antiques, and beautiful country. I wouldn’t want to be any other place right now. Until the next awesome place comes into view . . .
One thing about being a thrifter – picker is that there are many of us. In fact nearly every trip I make to the local thrift store I’m bound to spot one or two of “us”. Even if I peg someone as just a “regular” shopper I look at the contents of their cart to see what they’re buying, it’s interesting to see the kinds of things other people are drawn to. Of course I am always praying it aint the same thing I’m looking for! I’ve literally speed shopped many times to try and gather all the cool nuts before the other squirrel can get to them! But inevitably, you can’t get to all the shiny sparkly things before the other squirrel does.
I was in the local thrift store one time and I glanced into the basket of another squirrel and I seeeeen it. It was green, sparkly, vaseline glass – if you don’t already know…my favorite preciouseses are vaseline glass and immediately I as green as the glass with squirrel envy. I followed it around the store, casually of course, I didn’t want to raise any stalker alerts and I certainly didn’t want her to know I was pining for her treasure…then there would be no chance at all she might put it back. Usually the mojo I put out there – it should be mine it should mine it should be mine, works. I’ve scored several sparkly things this way, really I have! But that little green piece never made it into my grasp. I was so super sad. I mean seriously, this was months ago and I’m still sorry I didn’t get that nut before she did. It literally took everything I had not to reach right into her basket and take it as my own! Of course that would be horrible etiquette, and definitely no way to make friends! That is until recently, when I spied something that I really coveted and I couldn’t stop myself…
I had run into my friend Katie who has fabulous sparkly and fun stuff throughout her house. I walked up to say hi and before I could stop my inner squirrel, I reached right into her cart and grabbed a shiny small black carved “thingy”. I swooned over this mystery item and quickly apologized for just snatching it from her loot but I couldn’t help myself. I loved this thing and I didn’t even know what it was yet. Lol. Turns out it was a very old celluloid double daguerreotype frame from the early 1900’s. I wanted it so bad, but I would never ever tell someone “hey gimme that I want it”…but Miss Katie must have seen the stars in my eyes when I looked at it because she graciously handed it over to me and told me to take it…from one shiny nut lover to another – like it was no big thang!
I was so excited I darn near hugged her. I felt a little guilty about my behavior as I walked away with it clutched in my hand…but I sure love that she was selfless enough to give it up to a fellow squirrel. It will be loved and treasured for a very long time!
Once I arrived at what I just knew would be the mother of all estate sales, I quickly realized by the sheer number of cars and people that this would be a daunting task…I had to dodge people and cars and mud holes all the way down the dirt road for nearly a mile on foot to the front gate. I felt like I had arrived at an amusement park because of the lines and the tables and the “security” posts. I only arrived 30 minutes late and I couldn’t believe how much stuff people had at the checkout line. I heard them call out numbers like #967, etc. I was thinking holy smokes, was that how much they spent or was that what # they were serving on checkout?!? I also saw LOTS of people walking away empty handed. Where they just lookie loos? Where the prices too high? What’s the deal? I heard one lady say there was still some stuff left…uh, I hope so! This thing just started for petes sake. Lol. This is supposed to be the mother load, the honey hole, a pickers Disneyland! There better be some stuff left. Red Flag #3.
They were making people wait at the gate to go in because of the limited amount of space but luckily I only had to wait a few minutes. I was getting all tingly and excited, I couldn’t wait to grab a basket and do some damage with my paltry allowance. As I entered I saw not one basket (they advertised there would be some upon entering), I didn’t even see anyone holding anything the resembled a shopping basket. One of the ladies “working” there told me they ran out about 5 people into the sale. Hmm. Ok… And let me just say, pictures do wonders for glamorizing and over inflating events, things and places. When I strolled thru the gate and realized that this little wood shack/shed was the first “town” bldg, I was already disappointed. Red Flag #4. It was more like a wood shed with a roof that someone slapped a sign on and threw some stuff in. Boo. Incidentally someone had already bought an ENTIRE building in the little “town”…contents included…so no one got to look at or buy anything from that one. Double Boo.
There were so many people inside each little bldg that you had to peer under and around them to see if you even wanted to get stuck inside to snag some loot. Everyone had to look at every little thing, which is OK, but couldn’t they look a little faster? I had treasure to find! Again I remind you that I was only 30 mins in after the gate was opened yet I couldn’t see any of the things I had swooned over in the photos…nary a one. The prices were at full retail and some beyond that, in my opinion. I was even surprised that none of the faces in the crowd looked familiar, I expected to see so many people I knew here. I did eventually run into two of my very dear friends Damon & Tara Jorde…and thank goodness because they had to help me out of this madhouse!
The entire event was such a massive let down. I guess in order to get anything at all you had to be the 1st one thru the gate, which from what I heard wasn’t much better. Some poor guy arrived at 4:30AM to be the first one into the sale (gate opened at 9AM) and even he didn’t get what he wanted…apparently whatever it was ( I think an old cigar indian), was pictured on the estate sale website but no one said it was NFS (not for sale) until he arrived. So even that guy missed out. In the end, even after all the Red Flags, I spent too much on a few items that I liked rather than items I could resell for any profit, except for a fabulous vintage bean pot. Why? Because I HAD to buy something for all my trouble, after all it was my first day off in 3 damn weeks…I wanted something to show for my efforts! I got to cut in line with my awesome friends (thanks guys) and did I mention I didn’t bring any cash for my bounty – rookie move #2 – that’s a huge one (again, thanks guys)!!! Perhaps if I hadn’t felt so rushed the whole time, ushered in and out of each space so quickly so as to not get stepped on or elbowed one more time…perhaps then I could have actually enjoyed part of the experience and then I wouldn’t have buyers remorse on my overpriced stash…just sayin.
p.s. on another note, any antique dealer or reseller worth their weight in gold knows that you NEVER ever put any kind of tape or label that isn’t residue free on something that can affect the finish of a vintage or antique item…everything I purchased and everything at the sale was ticketed with blue painters tape with prices written on it. NEWSFLASH…just because this tape doesn’t pull wall paint off doesn’t mean it won’t stick to stuff like painted signs and paper. . .not a wise choice. Luckily I am cautious when removing price “tags” but even still I pulled the original surface from a few pieces…
A few days ago I spied a post on FaceBook about an “EPIC Estate Sale in Valley Center – Entire Western Town! Must See!”. Apparently some gentleman built this entire “town” on his property and it would be the sale of a lifetime with over 30yrs of antiques and collectibles. I clicked on the link and immediately swooned over the oodles of goodies. Too bad I really couldn’t go. I decided I was saving money for a new display case in the store and I really DON’T need to go to this Epic event…or do I?
I started seeing more and more comments on the thread and several other people had posted it shared and made it apparent that if I didn’t go I would never forgive myself for the awesome opportunity to own a piece of this collection. So I planned and plotted and at the very last minute (6am on the the 1st day of the sale which also happened to be my first day off in 3 weeks), I finally decided that I should go. If I didn’t I would regret it for the rest of my life, because I just KNEW the treasure of a lifetime was awaiting me at this sprawling Valley Center property.
Just a quick note about Valley Center, it’s a small rural area outside of Escondido (San Diego) and there’s some pretty nice houses and properties there…like multi-million dollar homes with green green acres and horse farms, so I completely envisioned this amazing and sprawling million dollar estate with all of its glittering antiques and cool junk just waiting there for me. Cause certainly, no one else would be interested in any of that “junk”…should be easy picking for a girl like me. Right? Wrong…so very wrong. But I’ll get to that a little later.
The 1st leg of my adventure found me about 20 miles PAST my exit because I ‘thought’ I knew where I was going and incidentally that mistake got me to the property nearly 30 minutes AFTER the gate opened. NOT how I planned my entrance to this EPIC event. Not GPS’ing the adress was a total rookie move, and I should know better. Red Flag #1. And what I saw when I arrived…100’s of cars trucks trailers and people…literally HUNDREDS crammed into every nook and cranny for nearly two miles. With no one to direct traffic, there were cars lined up and down the street, the private drive and many more parked in front of the house, traffic was pretty much completely stopped right in front of the only apparent entrance. Insanity before you even got to the gate? Red Flag #2. In fact as I missed the turn I drove past a few hundred feet to make a quick (and legal) u-turn in someones driveway…that’s when I actually saw the massive line of cars going alllllll the way to the entrance of the property. I believe I let out a “holy shitaki” under my breath and quickly found a place to nestle my little car into on the main road. I could NOT miss out on this…
I have been incredibly blessed to have the skills and knowledge to be web savvy…and over the years I have used those skills to build fantastical websites, blogs, online portfolios, etc … for other people. So the downside of all those mad skillz is…decisions decisions decisions. I can never settle on “just the right one” for myself.
I honestly had my website rebuilt and ready to go yesterday. After I, of course, completely obliterated it the day before and had to wait f o r e v e r for my hosting acct to reset. Anyway, I rebuilt it yesterday and when I opened it up this morning to begin adding to it I realized, it’s not good enough, it’s not pretty enough, no one will like it, it needs more bling and flash and pizZZazz. People will think it looks cheap. Talk about web envy, web complex, you name it…I got it. Every “artist” dislikes their own works and frets so over the perfection that nary exists. . .
So after much work, double, triple and quadruple revisions…I have finally agreed (with my inner voices) on what it should look like, how it should function and what exactly is most important to me to share with you . So in other words and in short I am after what seems an eternity, finally saying YES to the template, woohoo.
So this is it. It may have some flash and pizzazz at times, but mostly it will serve it’s purpose of sharing, cajoling and hopefully garnering an audience to listen to me, validate me, want my goods (my antiques that is) and in general just have a good time talking to someone other than myself!
Welcome to my all new web-blog. For years I’ve tried to combine and document my website, selling platforms and bloggy chitter chatter…and after all this time I think I finally got it together! Yay me. And yay you, cause know you can get more behind the scenes insight into my crazy life as a thrifter treasure hunter antiquer … is that even a word?!? Well nonetheless…I’m excited to be here and I hope you’ll find some cool junk, some cool tips or get a good laugh at my expense.