Friday, September 23, 2016

The Art of Thrifting: My Story

Welcome to a new series 
 Join me again here, Monday, September 26th for the first guest post in this series, written by my dear friend

I have had a sneak peak, and you are in for a treat!

Now for my story.

     My love of exploring and searching for treasures at the flea market is in my DNA and all began because of my mother.

She was a great finder and collector, and I learned through her how much fun the journey can be and how you can add beautiful things to your home in the process.

I started following her footsteps by going to the same local flea market she frequented on Saturdays, when our girls' activities didn't pull me elsewhere.

     She always got there earlier than I did. 
And even years later, when ovarian cancer was part of her life, she was always there bright and early.

I have a precious picture etched in my memory of turning down an aisle one Saturday morning at the flea market and seeing her at the far end with a scarf tied around her head, after a chemotherapy treatment had caused her to lose her hair.

This is not a sad tale friends-
although she was far too young to leave us (64).
Because even though I miss her every single day and my girls do as well, she is in us.

My love of treasure hunting is one of life's greatest pleasures, and my girls have that love as well. 
That is because of her.  

I started out buying pieces of milk glass and hammered aluminum because they called to me, and they were always on sale for less than a dollar.

Any Saturday morning when I found either, I was in heaven.

Over the years, I moved on to all sorts of things (art work, books, silver plate, china, pottery, kitchen ware, tables, chairs, lamps...), all the while creating collections or simply buying a unique item once.

All of these years of thrifting developed my personal philosophy about all of this, which is:

Build It and They Will Come

Remember this line from the movie Field of Dreams

When asked how I find things at the flea market, the key is I don't go looking for them.
They come to me.
In typical White Spray Paint fashion, this makes perfect sense to me.
If you are an avid flea market, estate sale , yard sale shopper you know what I mean.
Things appear that I need/want somehow.
It is serendipity at its finest.

Checks and Balances 

I don't 'over' haggle. I think it is rude and besides the vendor is selling a product he owns.
His price is his business.
My business is to decide if I will pay the price.
The only thing I ever ask is
"Is that your best price?"
If I can't pay that price, I say thank you , smile, and walk on.

It's a Blast 

I love it. I just do.
On Saturday morning I throw on my yard clothes- or a Mexican top, swipe sunscreen on my face and head out in Hauler 2.
I stop at the ATM, get cash, and head to the Chick fil A drive thru for a cup of delicious coffee.
My cart is in the back along with my hat and my shoulder strapped flea market purse from Guatamala.

As I arrive, I start saying good morning to everyone- sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish , and I am always greeted respectfully and kindly.

I head to my favorite vendor, park my cart and wait for the boxes to be hauled off the truck.

More often than not, my daughter Lauren is at the flea market with me, while my oldest daughter Heather is at the flea market in El Paso, and our youngest daughter Katherine is at estate sales or at local thrift stores in Dallas.

My mother's legacy continues.
It gets a little dicey once the boxes are unloaded, but I get that. It is after all a competitive sport. The fun is still there nevertheless.

You Might Be Horrified  

These places are not refined, and I don't care.
My favorite places are not antique stores or antique malls.
Whether it's a Ropa Usada Warehouse where I find books or digging through boxes with laser focus at the flea market or thrift stores, this is not for the faint of heart.

To that I say, to each his own.
This all feeds my introverted spirit, and I am as happy as I can be.

My daughters and I go to Round Top at least once a year where
treasures are certainly in a different type of setting, and we enjoy that too.
We are going next week in fact. 
It is about the inspiration and artistry there and the amazement at what the Warrenton (our favorite) vendors have created.

It is My Therapy      

Life has its ups and downs, and its highs and lows.
Somehow this is how I process.
This is how I reboot and regain my footing.


All of the photos above contain flea market finds.
I had fun finding them.

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Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

It is in my DNA too! While I don't go every week, I go quite often. I'm sure that I could live the rest of my life without buying any household goods. I have no needs and have plenty of beautiful things but I simply cannot help myself. I love the thrill of the hunt!

Nancy's Notes said...

Morning my friend! Oh Laura, your mother was such a beautiful lady, full of style and class! All of you are masters of the flea market game, your treasures turn into art! You've got it going!!

Fox and Finch Antiques said...

As an antique shop owner, I send you tons of appreciation for giving flea market sellers respect. Some flea market sellers repair, clean, and restore; but all of them have found it and hauled it. They often build a 10% "come down" cost right into the asking price. I don't do that in my shop because I offer the lowest price I can. It is discouraging to have someone walk up to my desk, put a Bakelite serving piece on the top, and say, "I'll give you a dollar." when I have it marked at 2.50. (That happened last week.) It's a business and there is a lot for sellers to learn. I don't think one person could learn it all in a lifetime. I don't get to shop at fleas as I'm open then. Wish I could. You have illustrated that a person can be sharp enough to start collecting something they love or like when the prices are inexpensive and use them in so many delightful ways.
I loved this sweet post about collecting, flea marketing and most of all the tribute to your beautiful mother.

My thrift store addiction said...

Wonderful post, Laura! So fun to learn more about you and your history of treasure hunting and such sweet memories of your mother's legacy.
I agree about bargaining--I ask the same question, also once nicely. I've found most vendors don't mind this approach and if they can afford to come down even a little, will.
I got just got back from Roundtop/Warrenton! I went with a sweet young friend who had never gone before and we had a blast! We've decided it just may become an annual tradition. I've discovered the week prior to Antique Week is my favorite time to go. Almost all of the vendors are set up and the only crowd was at Royer's, which I'm sure you know was well worth it ;) Blessings, Cecilia

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

Great post Laura and I'd say your would qualify as the Queen of Thrifting. I have never gotten into it but it sure looks like fun. But, I do LOVE a good sale and rarely buy anything " that isn't on sale, so maybe I am a "thrifter.;))))

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh it sounds like tons of fun. I would love to go with you.

Katie Mansfield said...

It is my therapy too. Wandering the aisles of antique mall or thrift shop are so relaxing after a stressful day. I got the love of antiques and thrift from my mother as well. Love this photo of your mom. So sweet. I am sure she is missed.

Stacey said...

Sounds wonderful! Your mom was beautiful. I think that thrifting is such a neat common bond the girls in your family have in common. I'd love to go with you!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Oh Laura, your mother is beautiful! I'm so glad she lives on in you and your girls!

Thrifting is in my dna but I didn't inherit it from my mother. She was never much of a shopper. I don't know where I got it but I do love it!

I'd love to go to Roundtop one day or to Brimfield, or both. But I love my local and not so local places where there is treasure to be found as well!

bj said...

My thrifting DNA came from my mother and two daughter and one of her daughters love it, too. We have planned for yrs to go to Roundtop...maybe this year.
This is a great post.

Cecilia said...

Laura, your mom was beautiful. I love how you keep her alive in your heart through thrifting. My mother loved antiques and the sea and I love them too. I've only been to Round Top once...I'm a Canton can find me in the flea area mostly although I sometimes walk through the pavilions for ideas and browsing. I try to respect the vendors too by greeting them and asking if something is their best price. It is so much fun. I really enjoyed your post!
Cecilia B.

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

I love this post, Laura! I remember thrifting with my dad as a the DNA, for sure!

Jeanie said...

Oh Laura, we are so on the same page. I don't haggle either -- I'll ask for best price too, but unless it's very expensive I'm not going to take away from what must be a topsy turvy income. And I go all different types of places, too. But what really resonated was that both our mothers were collectors -- it's in our gene pool, I think! And both died too young from ovarian cancer (mine was 58). Your mother is so lovely and I love how you keep her passion alive -- and that your girls do, too! said...

Enjoyed your story Laura! Especially that of your mother's perseverance. I have the same innate hunger for thrifts, yard sales and estate sales, although due to a health issue, I can't go right now. I sure do miss them. Looks like you have some lovely pieces!

Susan Nowell @ My Place to Yours said...

What a great series! Virtually everything in my house is a "thrifty" find. Most are from auctions (a favorite date night activity!), but others are from dropping by tried-and-true haunts to see what's new. Obviously we're kindred spirits! Interesting, too, is that we both are mothers of two daughters and have two grandsons. We're also both Texans—although I was transplanted to Louisiana for 6 years and then to Tennessee for the past 15. I'm glad I discovered your blog, Laura (thanks to you leaving such a nice comment on mine!). I look forward to reading more from you and your "thrifty" guest posters.

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