Saturday, August 6, 2011
A few hours of Bliss
Maine has a ton of flea markets all along route1. Today I chose the Montsweag Flea Market located off Rt.1 in Woolwich. It's filled with all sorts of goodies! Antiques, junk, old toys, handmade quilts, mittens and baby blankets. You may even find that car part you were looking for or the perfect nick-knack for your aunt Betsy who collects frogs. This flea market has it all. The vendors are friendly and helpful and most of them will allow you to haggle down the price.
And what makes it all even better.....I get to call this work.
As well as sewing handmade reusable sandwich bags and other handmade bags in my Etsy shop, I sell vintage goodies. So going to the flea market and picking up vintage treasures is actually considered my "job". How awesome is that?!
At the very first table I stopped at I found a whole bunch of vintage fabric. I wanted it all but settled for two pieces. The woman who ran the booth couldn't understand why I, or anyone for that matter, wanted this old stuff. She said she bought it in the 60's and was going to make pillows for her couch but never got around to it. She says she looks at it now and thinks it's old and ugly. So she gave me a deal just to get it out of her face. "I am sick of looking at it! It just reminds me of the projects I never got done....and it's ugly!"
Next to her table was a man selling old bottles and various parts and pieces of faucets, motors and fishing lures.
I took out the camera and started shooting pics of the bottles. This, I guess, made him think that maybe I'd be interested in buying the whole lot of 'em.
When I told him I wasn't interested in buying them, just photographing them, he tried again.
"35 bucks! And they're all yours! Then you can photograph them all you want all day long!"
I graciously rejected his offer again and explained that my mom used to collect bottles and all I would have to do is ask her and she'd pull her "lot" out of the attic for me and let me have at 'em. For free.
Still not satisfied with my answer he tried again.
"20 bucks! They're yours. I'll even throw in a few old fishing lures."
I said "no thanks" again and tried to get away.
I had almost made it too but then I got stupid and stopped to take a photo of an old bird cage.
And wouldn't you know? It was his! As I snapped the photo I heard him yell "That bird cage is on sale today only! 50 bucks will make it yours! and I'll include the birds that are in there too." The free dead birds ALMOST got him the sale but instead I decided to make a hasty exit as I yelled over my shoulder , "It's beautiful but no thanks!"
Now as much as I thought this bird cage rocked I didn't want it. Truth is I only brought $40 with me and I didn't have time to stand here and wheel and deal with this man all day. I'll go back next weekend. If it's still there I'll see if I can get him down to $20. Maybe I'll even get some free bottles or a fishing lure out of the deal!
Elaine Niemi at E-Plus Studio, who paints. Her work was like nothing I had ever seen before. Abstract but simple. I chatted with her for awhile about photography and art, picked up her business card and moved on. I could've bought 50 of her paintings but I was "working" today and therefor, not shopping for myself. I made my way over to a booth full of "stuff". I spied a vintage barbie travel case shoved in a box under the table. I snatched that right up and the lovely woman working the booth for her friend showed me to another box full of barbie clothes stuffed in the back of a storage shed. She told me to pick through and pick out 10 things to go along with the barbie case. Nice deal! Nice lady! I'll be back to see her again real soon.
I spent about 30 minutes picking through the barbie clothes. The excitement of it made me feel like I was 9 years old again. I couldn't help but think back on those times and how AWESOME it would have been back then to have the "go ahead" to pick through a box of barbie clothes and take what I wanted!
I paid the nice lady for my barbie case and the GI Joe I found for my son and moved along the tables. All of them lined with goodies and treasures for every sort of person.
I chatted with vendors and crafters got business cards and exchanged email address with a few.
Sometimes I find the vendors at flea markets to be the treasures themselves. If you really take the time to talk with them you'll hear some pretty interesting stories. I love to hear how an old lady came across a certain item on her table or the old man who sells military memorabilia tells a you about his time in the Navy. All of these people have stories and everything for sale on their tables have stories too. Like the old lady I bought the Cher doll from today.
She bought if for her daughter and held onto it long after her daughter moved out and had children of her own. She said she saved it for a granddaughter but all she got was grandsons. 10 of them in fact and 3 great-grandsons. So she gave up all hope of being able to pass it on to a female relative and decided to sell it.
But that's what I do...I sell my vintage goodies so others may enjoy them.
I guess it pays off in the end because I get to enjoy finding them in the first place. There's no greater feeling than when I get an email form a customer saying how much they love what they bought from me or how great it looks in their living room or kitchen or what memories it brought back to them. It's nice to know that what I do makes an impact on someones life, no matter how small it is in the grand scheme of things. It's pretty cool. I love my "job"!