Searching & picking in the moment – Metcalfe Early Morning Findings

To be a great picker you need to be mentally and physically living in the present- seeing and thinking in the moment, leads to acting in the moment.

I noticed for the first time today that there at times when I go into a sale with what I want to find or buy in mind. This mindset really inhibits me from searching [with maximum exposure] because my focus is unknowingly on that thing [object] I initially set out for. My brain and eyes are searching for a specific shape, size, category of thing and I am potentially losing out on other hidden treasures.

Going into a sale with – I want to find an antique this or vintage that – though this could be seen as strategic it actually is not the smartest plan of attack for all pickers. I am a random picker, I pick based on what strikes my fancy or I think others may like – I am not buying specific things to sell off to someone else.

IMG_5286I received a flyer in the mail this past week advertising a community school sale taking place in Metcalfe, ON today near my home town, I got there for the 8am start-time and it was already buzzing.

My picker ears instantly heard a man say, Sally already got the good jewellery [she is good at that] and a woman suggest Billy found a big box of old stamps. I immediately began scanning the room.

IMG_5287I snagged a few old vintage pieces of art, a wooden planter pot, scenic blue & white placemats, book on preserving food and few other little trinkets including some really neat pins.

It wasn’t until I was on my way out that I found a Fisher price 1965 little snoopy toy pull along dog which captured my heart. I am not entirely sure if I will keep for myself or give away to a friend.

I was ready to leave and took one more look around near the baby section [pickers gold is always hidden in these sections] and saw something hidden underneath a crib and a baby seat. It was a gorgeous country inspired wool wall hanging.IMG_5291

I went to the cash and purchased what you see [in photos] for $7. Community sales are always amazing because you get wicked deals, meet your neighbours and raise money for the local charities & establishments.

My best piece of advice today is you lose out on “the goods” when you are too busy overthinking things. Search in the present and you will be not only be the early bird but you will also get the worm.

I hope your weekend is off to a good start.

Wonders in the Woods


Grab a coffee, tea or “other” beverage and take a load off – have I got a story for you.

It was a cold day but for some reason I decided to put my tuque on yesterday [along with thick garden gloves] and grab a shovel. My mission was to clear out all the glass and garbage along the side of the river on my property. The photo to the left depicts my small yet thrilling area of focus yesterday.

Now this house I live in has some history to it and the more and more I dig, the more I uncover about what may of happened here over a hundred years ago. I have only just [at this moment] started to read a small paper that was written about the town I live in and I am fascinated to read more.

I will start off with telling you, I had uncovered two trailer loads full of scrap metal from just this area and the adjacent spot alone. Old stove parts and many unrecognizable items. After much effort exerted my shovel final struck something hard. My dog and I started to dig by hand and paw when we started to see an iron headboard appearing before our eyes. I must of spent an hour trying to get it out.IMG_2590

This scroll headboard is strong and is truly priceless to me. Iron bed frames were all the rage prior to World War I (1914) when the use of iron drifted over to making weapons. Before this time in the late 1800’s iron bed artisans suggested that not only was iron durable and elegant but it provided a more sanitary place in which to sleep. The value of iron headboards [or frames] will never go down, as in my mind they will always be an alternative for those that aren’t into a heavy wood.

What I found next was slightly creepy and not a stroll through the Sunday park…bones, bones and more bones. The occasional fella [boyfriend or neighbour] would walk over a say that’s an animal bone, I said I sure hope so.

Onto the next creepy thing…half faced dolly. Between the doll and the girly bed related object, I was starting to picture in my mind the little girl that once inhabited this land.

IMG_2596Wooden dolls were quite popular in the years leading up and into the mid 1800’s. Wax dolls then started to rise on the horizon along with Porcelain dolls. Between the 1800-1900’s doll makers also used composite [basicly sawdust and glue] to make the bodies and heads of dolls. These were on the scene primarily from the 1920’s-40’s.

It was not until after World War II [which finished in 1945] that doll makers began to work with plastics. Other materials such as vinyl and rubber were used in later years.

There are a few ways to distinguish a hard plastic newer doll from composition. I will be testing out these waters tomorrow night.

Now back to the dig. It was getting dangerous for a while as I was pulling out sideways shards of glass from the dirt. It seemed to be never ending. I pulled out enough glass to fill two full garbage cans, if you can believe it. Then…out came the true to form bicycle seat along with a few other circular metal things.

The history of the first bicycle dates back to 1817 however it appears there was talk [or think] of something like the bicycle earlier than that through a sketch. Wouldn’t it be funny if I pulled out the rest if the bicycle?

I was riding high on my days finds when I remembered how a few weekends ago I came across something rather cool that had made it to my lawn scrap metal pile. I pulled it from the pack and really took an intense look at it. What is it?IMG_2594

It has a hook on the top of it [or bottom] and a really ornate pattern. I was thinking it may of been part of a light but I am rather unsure. If anyone has a clue or any indication please shoot me a message.

Wandering through the woods is one of my favourite things to do, it passes the hours and opens my mind to think about how things came to be.

Come back soon for more on my discoveries in town and around.









Painting the Picture on Artwork

“This was modern art, all right, and it wasn’t so bad. It made me smile. I decided that maybe if people didn’t try so hard to understand it, they would get along with it better.”

Michael Kernan, Smithsonian July 1997

ID-100151076My father is awesome at finding artwork that speaks to people. He always finds exceptional black and white art, fantastic frames and at times questionable pieces that leave you [me] in awe.

The one thing I have learned overtime from him [and my own experience] is what most people seem to be drawn to when looking for exceptional vintage or antique wall hangings.

“Even though people interpret art differently it has come to light for me what tends to be more popular in the eyes [or on the eyes] of viewers.”

Here are some types of artwork that are an easy buy and sell or something you can put in your own home that will leave people speechless or on a differing note begging to start a conversation.

1. Black and White Inuit Artwork – There is something really captivating about a white background which is snow without even the slightest brush stroke to depict snow. Running dogs and a sled painted or etched in black. The more modern looking the better! I have fallen in love with a few simplistic pieces that were just timeless.

2. Paintings that speak to the past – Fishing boat scenes down by the harbour, men on horses with guns and hunting dogs running below them…the list goes on.  Though there have been many advancements in the world as we know it, people still seem to be drawn to the activities that were once an everyday part of life and basic means of survival. Sometimes these items from the past can just jog our memory or remind us of stories our grandparents may of told us. For some people these hobbies, activities or jobs are a part of their lives today which makes these kinds of pictures even more valuable. Tip: War pictures [pictures that show people in combat/battle] tend to be a big hit with the gentlemen.

3. Horse and Bird Images- Anytime I have bought something framed that was horse or bird related [owls, sparrow, peacock/peahen] it has always sold ten times faster than anything with a Cat or other animal on it. I think there is something about these two creatures that is graceful and calms the mind. Horses and birds in my mind also symbolize freedom – who doesn’t want to add a little grace and spirit to their home?

P.S While on the topic of freedom I should mention sailboat pictures [and related objects] are also a big hit – both at the cottage and in the home. If you are flipping, look for a sailboat picture that is less modern and boasts more natural elements ex. wooden frame, realistic colours. More times than not the wilderness lover will be the one taking this kind of art off your hands.

4. Music Notes and Dancing – There is always someone who enjoys people dancing or an interesting bar scene with music notes and instruments galore. I would say this is a safe bet when buying and selling art since many people are passionate about the sound of music and/or playing music. Look for something with a little bit of a Jazz or Blues influence -it seems to be growing in popularity as the days go by.

Note: You may make more money off something with a saxophone or piano on it – I have been asked time and time again- Do you have anything with a saxophone or piano?  I know somebody who plays…

Many different people could tell you what they think is popular art (what styles may be trending) in the market today. The key thing to consider is not necessarily what is a popular type of art (ex. Abstract) but to think -what object do people want to see on a canvas? what object do I want to see in my space?

My best tip: I always buy artwork (paintings, drawings etc.) that evoke an emotional response first and foremost.

I will go back to the drawing board and for next few years will work on the fine art of selection.


Second Hand Shopping on a Saturday

Well Hello!

“Buy what you don’t have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

There were garage sales galore this weekend and no shortage of second hand items to get my hands on. Though there were many tantalizing items in view I actually only bought a few things I needed this past Saturday and a few things I just couldn’t pass up.

ITEM #2: The Lamp (A Need)


I am starting with my second score of the weekend today which was a Mustard Yellow Vintage Metal Tole Table Lamp. I got this cheery light from a girl who had a driveway full of antiques. I had a blast looking at her stuff and was a happy camper when I snagged this item for $5.

Tole means: enameled or lacquered metalware, usually with gilt decoration, often used, especially in the 18th century, for trays, lampshades, etc. Source: I learned more about toleware this evening. 

ITEM #3: The Cookie Jar (A Want)

Value Village was a contender this weekend as I picked up this Hand Painted Ceramic Round Biscotti Cookie Jar with Handles for $5.99. Some of these Italian containers sell online between $100-$200. There is nothing better than a sturdy cookie jar. In my last house I actually used a cool similar jar I had as a good home for dog biscuits. These containers are a good way to hide not-so-sexy dog bones in a very convenient easy to grab spot. I may put biscuits for myself in this one this time around.

IMG_2244ITEM #4: The Orange Plate (A Want)

This white & orange ornate plate caught my attention immediately when I was gazing in the aisles at VV. I am easily smitten with anything floral that boasts disturbingly bright colours. I paid $3.99 for this plate which offers no clear “identity” markings on it. To keep in check I always view different resources on How to Identify Antique Dinnerware.

It will be used for decorative purposes for sure it is a little too pretty for fork scrapes. I am still confirming the ages of the two items above. If anyone has details on this plate please let me know. I thought it was rather unique. It does not appear dirty – it is actually so shiny in person and where it is white looks like a pearl glaze.

IMG_2243ITEM #1: The Functional Baby Blue Desk (A Need)

At a later date you will see photos of my first find of the day which was a $5 Desk from a yard sale that is in need of some refinishing.  I will show you a before and after in a later post. I have eclectic knobs for this blue baby.

I can’t hardly wait to add these pieces to my new place. Looks like I am moving to the country within the next month and will have a ton more for you on all my antique and vintage hunting adventures.

Refer to my recent Tip of the Week – Second Hand Clothing Shop (in Store) Like a Pro for more on second hand shopping.

Will keep you posted,





Appraising and the Antiques Roadshow

Antique ClockIn follow-up to one of my first posts What is the Difference between Antique, Vintage and Retro?:

Growing up watching the Antiques Roadshow I always admired the strict attention to detail placed on the objects when they were being appraised. The passion, history and hidden value of the items brought on the show – simply excited me.

According to Michael Flanigan, a Baltimore American furniture expert and regular face on AR the word “antique” generally refers to an older object valued because of its aesthetic or historical significance. Read more on his thoughts.

I like to check out the Antiques Roadshow Facebook Page from time to time to keep updated on some of the action and brush up on my antique knowledge. I look forward to the day when I can just look at anything and be able to share the full history behind it.

I thought it would be fun to incorporate the thoughts of one of the seasoned antique professionals today. The more I learn the more I want to one day become an appraiser myself.

I have started to check out different sites on the net that offer appraisal services such as valuemystuff.   It is definitely good to see what services are already out there for the population. Come back soon to hear more on How to Get a Stronger Eye for Antiques and prepare yourself to one day become an appraiser.

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.
Ralph Waldo Emerson