Flea Markets are insightful.

Today we spent the day at the Hartville Marketplace, a lovely multi acre facility that comes to life weekly with vendors that vary from the routine produce and fruit growers to people selling “stuff” they accumulated in a lifetime. Almost anything you can imagine or want to search out you will probably find there. Amazing perennials at end of season bargin prices, or that knock off pair of sun glasses that look like Gucci-Fendi-Chanel-etc. Old tools, old furniture, new stuff still in wrappers, cheap import stuff, and wonderful local made products. I always have a plan of what I am going to look for.. and I try to not stray from that plan, because it can become addicting to find other things.

I went determined not to part with my money, but looking for a lid to a sugar bowl that matched my mother’s set of white china with a silver lilly of the valley pattern. Years ago in one of those frustrating family gathering mishaps the lid of the sugar bowl crashed to the hardwood floor and splintered into a bazillion pieces beyond any attempt to glue back together. Having looked at various thrift stores, and searched online at china replacement company sites I refused to pay the exhorbatant price to replace a lid… if it was to be found I wanted it inexpensively! Wandering the gravel aisles, and surveying tables, and booths set up by a multitude of vendors it was not looking promising until… one vendor had a hideous greasy blackish tarp layed on the ground, and various things scattered on the tarp – old rusty wrenches, bits and parts of light fixtures, odd metal parts, stray serving spoons that looked well used… and there it was… glistening even though it was coated in dust and years of grime and neglect. It was the exact copy of the “Golden Rhapsody Lilly of the Valley” bone china sugar bowl. It exists! Now for that moment of sizing up the vendor… will he haggle, does he know what he has (unreasonably high prices) or doesn’t he have a clue? Deep breath, thoughts rumbling around… lets ask – “Hey, how much for this sugar bowl?” His eyes looked at mine, like a bad western movie… could almost hear the clint eastwood sound tracks playing in my head… and then…those magic words “50 cents- but you take it all – bowl and lid and that is my only offer. No negotiating.” Sold! Sold – did he have a clue what he was not making in this deal? He could have asked a few dollars, maybe even a 10 spot- but he chose the perfect price. Sold. Inside I did the happy dance, and scooped up my prize as I paid the man. And it is a story that plays out in the lives of countless others who make that pilgrimage to the marketplace.

On memorial day I didn’t have a thought of what I was there for, but had my business in mind… so what can i recycle or rescue from someone and repurpose? Then my neighbor called our attention to a stand that had folding tables heavily layden with huge amounts of necklaces and jewelry – tangled together, knotted up, heaping over, mixtures of great beads and cheap plastic worthlessness…. in that heap were prizes for the picking… vintage beads to be repurposed. And I hit the mother load that day…peach colored faux pearls, antique copper fluted beads, delicate small copper seed beads, amber faceted elongated beads, turqoise (yes, it looked like polished real turqoise) beads, Odd copper beads, and so much more… After picking out a number of necklaces, now tired from neglect or age, I asked the vendor for a price. She said my treasure was a mere $10 for the lot. WOW! Score.
Another amazing find today was a strand of beads – delicate ruby colored czech glass squares, seperated by delicate silver seed beads, and odd rounded ruby czech glass balls that had a differnent finish on the sides – with only the faces revealing the red glass. Near the clasp was a silver tag “Mary Millsaps”. Looked it up on the internet and found that this is costume jewelry made in Savannah Georgia, of good czech glass. Score. Delicate, not too overpowering or heavy, and definately interesting. My strand resembled the outermost strand in this photo.

So am I addicted to the hunt for supplies for the business? Yes! Yes, I am excited for the hunt because I never know what I will find. Yes, because I know I am putting things back into circulation – upcycling beads for a new purpose. Sometimes the hunt is better than the actual find. Often it is the stories that come with the adventure. Always it is a good day out in the sun, spending time with my hubby and nice neighbors!