Monday, September 3, 2012

Good Pickin's

If you are reading this there is a good chance that you are a collector of something, admire antiques and/or enjoy a good flea market.  For me, all of these things are a part of NellsBelles' work.  Junk R Me and a good collectible find is a new possibility for a project. 

It's no secret that once you get out of NYC, prices get lower and many times people that are selling something or other are not interested in what the "market" at large can demand for it.  I travel regularly to two places where I make a point of stopping at any garage and yard sales I see and I also have dealer destinations in each place.  Every August I travel with my family to Maine to visit with our great friends who have a second home there.  My hostess and I make a point of visiting the Searsport Antique Mall. 

In the process of my recent studio renovation, I culled my stock so I knew exactly what I had in the studio.  Plates are in abundance so for once, I was not looking for dishes.  I am also trying to move in some new directions and so my modus operandi was to try to look with a fresh eye and stay open to objects that  I may not have seen potential in before.  Searsport is a "mall" with stalls operated by individuals so there are many viewpoints and collections available.  I enjoy this more than a shop that is curated by a single taste.  The down side is that there is so much merchandise screaming for your attention that I find I have to stay calm, slow down and take each stall, one at a time and focus on that merchandise as if it is the only store there.  Once I have surveyed that particular space I move on to the next stall and so on, staying very methodical in how I shop.  Also, I am rarely looking for large pieces of furniture or anything very big for that matter.  Larger things are my canvas and I often come by them in different ways.  I am looking for the odd item tucked away in the corner of a cabinet or in a basket full of miscellaneous "junk". 

 There are about 30 booths at Searsport and the whole visit took me about 2 hours.  As usual, I was attracted to the usual pre-WWII miniature figurines that I often use on my Memory Jars, the Lipton Tea ceramic miniatures that when I started using them I could get  for as little as 5 cents apiece (wow!  I just noticed that there is no longer a "cent" key!) but now are priced as high as $8.  You can see the 2 that I bought in the photo college - the kitty and Humpty Dumpty. 
Also note the 2 pre-war figurines.  You see that big dish of wooden fruit?  I walked away from it 3 times and I kept going back.  I got it all, including the dish for $15 dollars.  I have a roadside find piece of furniture in the garage that I was thinking of transforming into a baker's table.  Knobs and trimmings?  I'll see where that wooden fruit takes me.  Also of note are the plastic shoes with the red hearts.  I love shoes anyway and this pair is somewhere between Dorothy and Betty Paige.
I'll be in my next pickin' spot in upstate New York this Labor Day weekend and I'll introduce you to the Mabeys, a wonderful couple I have been dealing with since I started my business.
Wave Goodby!


  1. I love a yard sale, flea market or Antique mart myself Neely. Found myself trying to look closer into the stall photos you posted. Looks like you got some great finds! Congrats.

  2. Thanks for a great, fun article. I've been to Searsport many times. Many wonderful antique shops there to spend many hours hunting for good stuff.

  3. I love love love browsing antique stores, flea markets and the like! You never know what you are going to find. I have noticed though, that getting a bargain is becoming more difficult. It seems like everyone is an expert now and ask astronomical prices for things that you used to be able to pick up affordably. Looks like you got some good stuff though!!

  4. It certainly is harder to get a good deal these days. I went to Stormville over the weekend and it was fun - found a few little items. I've never been to the Searsport antique mall. Looks great. Can't wait to see your baker's table!

  5. All I can say is, me too! I love trying to find treasures amidst the junk. I've gotten some wonderful old asian porcelains over the years, because the owners can't tell their age. They've all gone to make excellent presents for Grandma!

  6. Just drove past there yesterday! Love your photo collage - reminds me of those I Spy books that my grandchildren have always loved!