Barn Chic Antiques

Barn Chic Antiques

Sunday, January 29, 2012


Being in the right place at the right time is what makes any shopper successful. This is especially true of an antiquer. Hitting the Goodwill just after the most awesome corner shelf or ironstone dish is placed out on the floor, visiting an estate sale on the 50% day and seeing the perfectly chippy pie safe waiting for you, getting up early to tour garage sales and finding great blue glass Ball jars for next to nothing, finding and displaying merchandise in the booth just before that shopper who falls in love with a pricey cabinet comes really all is a game of 'just in the nick of time.'

Here are some timing stories of recent good fortune:

-searching Craigslist just minutes after a seller posts just the right piece; I found two great shabby kitchen cabinets, a red cart, and two green side tables on Craigslist.  

-selling a piece on Craigslist - can you believe that I listed a rusty metal shelf and then communicated with the buyer to later find out that she too is a vendor at the antique mall?! The piece went from my booth to hers.  

-running into two Craigslist sellers at the antique mall while I am in my booth, and the object I bought from them is there too! Is that not coincidental that they are there, while I am there, and that our paths cross?! 

-the annual Austin Summer Camp Fair at the Palmer Event Center taking place at the same time as the Citywide Garage Sale on Saturday; Andrew had a YMCA booth there and with it came a parking pass - we actually rode together AND I got to park in the vendor lot! What a stroke of great timing! I put that $7 savings toward the early shopping pass. 

-choosing to be an early shopper at Citywide yesterday and finding some great pieces that I would like to convince myself wouldn't have been there had I not gotten there to wear the coveted 'early shopper' nametag. 

-meeting a talented vendor at Citywide and striking up a conversation about her great stuff; mentioned I was at the antique mall and she asked me to describe where my space is. I explain and she says, "Did you have a large turquoise cabinet?" Turns out she is the proud new owner of that and a few of my screens. As she said, we are kindred spirits! Check out Janet's work at and her posts about the "blue hutch"

-having good sales again this week and getting to my Leprechaun-attacked booth to clean up yesterday's aftermath just before the height of a high-traffic day 

(today's evidence)

I thought my recent booth destruction was bad - this one took the cake. But, I did invite the Leprechauns back to do some shopping, and the invitation is still happily extended. 

and back to good timing:

-rearranging and stocking new merchandise and getting OUT of the booth just before deterring shoppers. My recent trend on the weekend is to not get to the mall before the middle of the afternoon, which is the mall's busiest time (I hope I stop that trend...). I hate being there in my booth while shoppers are in full force, usually because I think my presence prevents them from shopping in it. Today I got there right about 2, and there weren't many shoppers there until just as I was leaving at 3.  

-or, conversely, being at the booth when a shopper falls in love with your piece. This has happened to me a few times, and not only is it so nice to hear people say they like your style or merchandise, but it is also extra flattering when the shopper picks out a purchase while you are there.   

-having a friend host a 31 party just when I realize I need a better organizing 'booth bag.' I lost my camera twice in the same messy bag today. I can't count how many times I've had to pick up the spilled contents from the floor of the car. I can't wait to get a new 'utility organizing bag' so I don't have to search for my tape measure, pencil, staple gun, price tags, scissors, etc.

Andrew visited the booth with me today and helped me carry in new pieces. He hasn't been to the booth in quite some time, so he had some interesting observations. After he reads that I shared a few of them on here, he probably won't be back for quite some time again.

-Andrew: "Did you take my old baseballs?"  Sarah: "No, I bought those - they are vintage." Andrew (while customers are in the next booth): "You are charging $5 for them? They aren't even worth that new!" Sarah: "Well, here, they are worth more used than new. And they aren't $5, they are an additional 20% off, which makes them $4." (Side note: My baseballs may be overpriced, but I saw some in a great booth two weeks ago and they were marked $12 each!) I need to find those vintage baseballs he thought I took...

-Andrew, picking up a bag of candy hearts from my bag of items I brought it, "Why are these in here?" Sarah: "I thought I would use them for Valentine's Day decor in this bowl." Andrew, in condescending tone: "Are people actually going to eat them?!" Customers walking by.

Guess next weekend I will be unloading items without help. But I did appreciate it while it lasted - thank you, Andrew!  

The current state of booth #309:

As I see it, good timing is directly tied to probability. The more often I shop, the more likely I am to find that great bargain!  Looking forward to my next shopping adventure and sharing it with you!

Have a chic week,


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Sunday, January 22, 2012


I'm loving my new marquee letters! I spent a good chunk of time sorting through hundreds of letters to try to spell out just a few words. The 'i' isn't very clear in the picture, but I think it is actually an exclamation mark - I just turned it upside down. As any teacher does, I have much experience with improvising! But this teacher is also constantly correcting papers and reminding students to capitalize the first letter in sentences, and especially the word "I." Guess I will make an exception this time. 

I went to the Big Red Barn Sale in Round Top last weekend and got some fun smalls, including this heart-shaped cookie cutter and several antique light bulbs that were on an old airport runway!

I also found some fun vintage Valentine's cards to add a little love to the booth.

Isn't this heart handkerchief fun?

See that red dish in the library card catalog drawer? It is no longer there due to yours truly attempting to slide the green table down and it shattering on the floor. :(  I can hardly believe that this is the first non-Christmas ornament that I have broken in the booth. That's not too bad of a track record for nine months I suppose.

I am looking forward to some good shopping at the Citywide Austin Garage Sale next weekend - I am thrilled that I have been selling lots of side tables, carts, and cabinets! Theresa, bring some goods for me to buy! My space is looking a little sparse; I have some inventory at home, but few pieces will fit in the small holes of the booth.

I am excited to reveal this shabby cabinet - it is so perfectly chippy! It is also the heaviest cabinet I have ever (attempted) to move. I have no idea how another girl and I loaded it into my car when I bought it.

The blue bookshelf has found a new home, as has that adorable suitcase.

Since the sale of the bookcase, the booth added a great Goodwill find - the tiered corner shelf.

It isn't in perfect condition, but with all the goods on it, the imperfections are hardly noticeable. Can you tell what's wrong with it?

 Stacked stools with an old encyclopedia.

I spent over three hours redoing the booth on Monday, playing Tetris with the new pieces I brought in and adding more burlap (unwashed of course) to the walls. BTW, I am sure I entertained a few shoppers as I attempted to hold the burlap against the top of the wall with my hands and use my feet to mark where I needed to cut the fabric. I think I looked like I was climbing a short rock wall with no rocks, harness, or spotters. Talk about improvising. Or maybe just stupid? I had a tape measure with me and just now realized I could have measured the length of the wall to get the right amount of fabric. Instead, my burlap looks like it was cut by a five year old. No worries - no one can see the bottom through all my junk in front of it.  

I took a break and walked around to a few of my favorites and had to stop and drool at Nancy's new larger space at the mall- I just love the industrial/garden/vintage/farm/shabby mix that she creates! So talented! 

It is always great to have vendors whose style you admire so close by.

Today was too nice of a day to spend in the car driving out west for shopping; instead, we cleared the front lawn of leaves and then I rearranged my junk in the garage. At this time last year, I had a smaller sedan and parked in the garage. Now, I have a giant SUV and it sits in the driveway, no hope of having any space in the junk-filled garage anytime in the near....ever. The sacrifices we make for antiquing!

i LOVE JUNK- and all my fellow junk-loving readers!

Have a chic week,


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Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Not to Wash


Here's what happened when I did:

So much for that pillow I had planned to make. 

But I did actually make this one! 

The fabric transfer paper didn't work quite as I had expected; I thought just the ink would go onto the fabric, but rather the whole surface pressed on (guess it was supposed to). Any tips on just put the ink on the fabric (besides running the fabric through the printer)? Let me know! My crafting skills are non-existent, but I know lots of you are so talented!

Special thanks to my co-worker and friend Susie who offered sewing lessons after school and helped me get inspired and (re)learn to sew! Despite having sewn a quilt for my dolls when I was in third grade, the last thing I made was a gym bag in 8th grade (shout out to Home Ec - a class EVERY kid should have to take but schools no longer [can afford to] offer it). 

Thanks to Susie, I now have a cozy pair of flannel pajama pants - I learned so much on this project, including how to read a pattern, how to sew in elastic, and how to work my Grandmother's machine. 
It is in great shape - thanks, Grandma!  

These pictures look like before and after pics from Jared at Subway, but a little elastic does wonders for fit! 

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. 
--Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Happy Birthday, Dr. King. 

Have a chic week!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Drive Bys and Leprechaun Invasions

So the title of this post may be (ok, is) bizarre, but I promise there is more behind it than just a crazy title to make you look (though it worked, right?!). Both are actually related to my antiquing this week! So the term 'drive by' may make some think of a violent act, while others may remember the term to reflect what you and your girlfriends did during high school (drive by the house of your crush...or your ex! Not that I ever did this.). At this stage in my life, though, the 'drive by' is what junkers and pickers do just before bulk trash pick up day. That's right, you drive really slowly down the trash-lined streets in search of those great finds that cost, well, nothing but possibly some pride. 

I was first inspired to assist the city in recycling neighbors' unwanted goods after purchasing an amazingly great old scale from a lady off Etsy. She was super nice and I was just getting started with my Etsy shop, so we corresponded several times. I asked her where she found this great piece and how she could offer free shipping on it. She told me that she actually had found it on bulk pick up day - say no more, I was sold! If I could score great pieces like this, and for free, I was in!

Check out that green patina! I'm in love! (Yet another purchase that has found a home in my house.)

This past summer I did my first "junkin' drive by" in my neighborhood. Well, technically, I started with the 'run past.' I would wait until the temperature dropped from 120 degrees to about 112 and then head out on a little jog in my neighborhood. The great thing about the run/walk past version of neighborhood trash stalking is that you don't look quite as sketchy. You stop and stretch for a bit, examine the goods, stretch some more, and then venture on. I might have looked a bit foolish criss crossing the street a time or two to check out the piles, but I was running when it was boiling hot - it was an established fact that I was a fool. 

I spotted a few things I was really interested in and I wanted to go fetch them before the guys with the trucks and massive flat bed trailers got to the goods. Seriously, do you have people like that driving around your neighborhood during bulk pick up time? I made the mistake of attempting to strike up conversation at the gas pump with a guy whose trailer was filled to the brim with old grills, broken patio furniture, and abandoned mattresses(?). I asked him how he finds out about the bulk trash days around the city - apparently he didn't want to let me in on the secret as he didn't say much.

Anyway, it was dark when I got home from my run, so I upped the sketchiness factor ten fold when I got into my dark vehicle and slowly cruised the street searching for the house that had the garbage I wanted. I find the house and load this into my truck:    

It is an awesome old column - I am awaiting the right opportunity to showcase it in the booth.
Perhaps this spring?

Another item that has a useful function in our garage (holding all of our junk) is this small table. I made my husband pull over so I could grab this.
Andrew has actually been my accomplice in two out three drive bys; he also secured a great old pottery planter for me that I sold at the booth! Kudos to him for his assistance is saving treasures from the trash.

The point of all this is to say that today is bulk pick up day and the rain has held me back from shopping the curb! I hope I am not missing out on anything good...

Invasion by Leprechauns
Part two of this blog post has to do with the booth. I went on Saturday morning to take in a new cart to stack on another cart, since I sold the great industrial cart on Friday. I couldn't believe it! I take in another typewriter cart and this is how it looks when I leave around 11am Saturday. 

Theresa, if you are reading, two out of three of the pieces in this picture came from you!

Sunday morning I go back in because I thought that I sold the metal rack that the ornaments/skeleton keys hang on...but there it was, tucked back in the corner. This is what I walked into:

Notice the two carts in the middle of the booth. Just behind the first cart was a pile of books and the smaller grey stool that was stacked on the cream-colored cart. There were dishes everywhere, skeleton keys in random cubby holes of boxes, handkerchiefs on the floor, typewriter on the cabinet, and moss balls scattered throughout.

I'm not exactly sure what happened, but I finally realized that I sold the red cart. My sales report said that I sold a metal rake...hum. I thought they meant the metal rack...but alas it was neither of those. I am guessing someone was being a thorough shopper and comparing all the carts. They just went with one and left the rest in the middle of the booth. Well, at least they bought one!

All of the chaos of the merchandise took me back to kindergarten - all my Heyworth Grade School buddies can relate right? On St. Patrick's Day, our wonderful teacher Mrs. Kearny would allow the Irish 'leprechauns' to visit our class during recess and literally turn the classroom upside down! Things were a mess, the chairs were on the window sills and stacked on the tables, our backpacks were hanging off of the flag stand, funny notes were written around the room...I thought it was magic and it was obviously memorable! [Kinda like my middle school classroom each day after school now except not quite so magical.] So I would like to think that the leprechauns visited my booth (and just forgot to leave little notes).

I did what I could with the ten minutes I had before closing time. These are always good problems to have! I hope the leprechauns visit every weekend and like what they find!

Loving this vintage baseballs! A little bit of spring..

Sorry for the long-winded post (as always). Thanks for reading!

Have a chic week,

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