Treasures

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

Art Deco Oak Stand

So when I first opened my store I would hit the swap meet every Wed afternoon (my only day off) and shop till I dropped. On one of those awesome treasure hunts I came across a very unique and intriguing piece of furniture. I spied it from the aisle and immediately darted over to see what it was. I couldn’t see what kind of wood it was from afar, the finish was dark and gummed up…but the shape, well her shape was lovely. As soon as I got close to her I saw the grain, faintly under the dark grime…tiger stripes…this baby was very old quarter sawn tiger oak. The shape was even more of an enigma though, I had (have) never seen anything like it in all the time I’ve been refinishing, researching or selling oak. I’ve looked near and far and still have yet to find another like it!

After what felt like an eternity (just a couple of days) I got her stripped down to the bare wood, sanded smooth and ready for a new finish and a new life. I found a couple of spots that leached the stain and panicked. Luckily these areas where few and far between so I didn’t have to re-sand and re-stain…whewey! I took a steel bristled brush to the handles and the bf cleaned the metal handle clasps for me and once I put her back together I couldn’t believe how much she sparkled. It still pains me to think someone else may have taken her home and *gasp* painted her!

All I know about this amazing one of a kind piece is that she is a one of a kind KEEPER…I may very well never see another one like it, although I’m praying the oak Gods deliver me with a miracle twin sister cause TWO is always better than ONE! I wish I knew its history, but I know its future! A complete makeover and a forever loving home with meeee. I love the interesting lines that flow up to the original mirror. She will be living with me now and I am very delighted at how she’s turned out!

Spring Sale

Spring has sprung here in sunny soCal…and we couldn’t be happier. And its starting with the most lovely weather, perfect for picking and treasure hunting. We’re offering 20% off any item in the store for the next 3 days, starting today! Just print this coupon or save it to your phone and show us at checkout! Happy hunting =)

 

couponforwebsite

Gallery

Cast Iron Cookware

We have a nice assortment of vintage cast iron cookware…lots of old Griswold, Wagner and more. Please click on each picture below for more information and prices. We ship worldwide for an additional fee based on your zip code or country code. . .

Shiny Squirrel Nuts

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…

2015-03-07 07.07.36I 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!

2015-03-07 07.07.46

Mystery Ceramic Boxes…

I found these on a treasure hunt and I have no idea what they are. I was drawn to the shape, the color and then when I realized they were actually boxes…I was SOLD! They appear to be unmarked although one has a felt bottom. They are both exquisite and colorful and pretty and funky retro in all the right ways! I love them, but they will be for sale once I can identify them so if you know that are or have an idea…do tell! I love to skip to the last chapter sometimes.

Today’s Score…

Just when I think I’ve hit a wall; financially, emotionally or all of the above…something throws itself in front of me to distract me, make me happy, remind me of how much I’m blessed or annoy me more. Hopefully not the latter. Lol. For the past week, I have been faithfully scooting in to the store a little bit early each day to so I can get more stuff done. Cleaning, tagging, photographing, working on the blog, posting posting posting. Today however I decided that was a ridiculous idea and I would not sit idly by and watch anyone walk past my store with an awesome thrift store find…there’s a large store just a few doors down the street and lots of people are there everyday at opening to grab some loot for cheap! I never wanted to be one of “those” people that lurk at the front door of a business waiting for the lock to turn so I could rush in and frantically grab stuff that I want…however, things change and circumstances sometimes put us in that never say never mode.

So I hiked down the street ( half a block) with the attitude that I would probably only find a couple little chachkies and then go back to open the store without having put too much of a dent in my pocketbook. After all, I am trying to save money for a beautiful big lighted & locking wall case (or 3) to put all my lovelies in. After staring blankly into the void inside for a few minutes everyone came to attention to greet their new best friend, the lady with the keys! As a few other ladies stepped in ahead of me I had already decided that I would look at the furniture section first today. It seems that I am always just missing the coolest pieces by a few seconds or minutes cause my favoritest place in the store is the jewelry, or maybe the housewares…shoot I love it all. Why can’t I be in three places at once?!? So as we came thru the door leading to the furniture area, just the two of us…I saw it.

My Preciousssssss

It was tall, it was oak, it was glass, it had doors and I it was small enough that I wouldn’t need any help getting to my store…but someone else had their hand on the tag. My inner voice yelled NOOOOOOOOOOOO, that should be mine, I’m poor, I need that and I can afford it cause it was only $19.99!!!!! I know this lady, she works at the other antique store across the street from me…she also buys and sells stuff…I heard her pause and say something under her breath and then it happened – – – – she passed on it. Walked away. I stopped dead in my tracks and grabbed the ticket off the glass before I could even inspect it to make sure I really wanted it. I’m pretty sure I almost ran her over trying to get around her to whisk it off the case. Heck it could have been missing every shelf and had broken glass all the way around and I still would have been excited. I knew I wanted it and it should be my precioussssss. muhahahahaha. The little voice in my head starting squealing with delight as one of the employees came over to tell me how it was a very expensive custom made piece worth about $1000 (not sure about that) but um yah, it was dropped off by the guy that made it.

Handmade Oak Display Case

Handmade Oak Display Case

I felt like the winner of a grand prize, there were people walking by commenting on how lucky I was, how gorgeous it was, and oh my what a great price. I white fisted the tag all the way inside the store hoping that no one else would try to buy it out from under me…that was my precious and I didn’t care if I had to “walk” it all the way down the street I was taking it with me today! After quickly perusing the rest of the store for any little things I “needed” to buy I paid for my big score and sighed some relief. The staff at the Ramona Food & Clothes Closet are outstanding…I was fortunate enough to have the help of one of the guys in the back. He put it up on a 4 wheel dolly and took it down the block for me inside my store. Now I could be the envy of someone else watching as I toted my super duper special purchase in front of their store! Oh and the bonus? It matches my two existing oak display cases PERFECT.

To you, it may not look that grand. It may not look like such a fantabulous treasure. It may look ordinary and eh, it’s ok…but to me its a priceless gem that I NEEDED thrown in front of me right at that very moment. Woohoo me! Next stop….fill er up!

 

Epic Estate Sale or Epic Fail? Part #2

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.

2015-03-05 09.36.48

My only score – Vtg unmarked McCoy painted bean pot

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!

2015-03-04 15.34.50

My assortment of overpriced advertisement items

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…

Epic Estate Sale or Epic Fail? Part #1

1

Photo borrowed from www.estatesales.net

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…

…check back later for the rest of the story…