Did you hear about the Birkin bag snafu? According to recent customers who paid $20,000 for the privilege of carrying the iconic Hermès design, the newly purchased handbags emit a strong scent of marijuana, especially when exposed to heat. (Imagine that.) The smell, transmitted through badly-tanned leather, then infects other items in close proximity. Outbreaks are spreading and it's a real scary situation.Read More
One of the necessary tools in this trade is a well-developed sense of smell. Almost everything I buy must pass the sniff test because certain scents can be neither eradicated nor disguised. Who wants a pillow reeking of mothballs or cat.
I honed my sniffer skills on the front line of a war with stinky boys. Call me Inspector Javert but no one gets away with anonymous passing-of-gas around here. If someone in my kitchen or worse, in my car, cuts the cheese, my nose is attuned to certain nuances that allow me to identify the culprit. It is to the point now where my sons are like Jack Donaghy who informs Liz Lemon, "I only pass gas once a year. For an hour. Atop a mountain. In Switzerland."Read More
I came across this tome of wisdom recently and couldn't resist purchasing it. Written by Nicholson J. Eastman, M.D., in 1940, this fourth edition was published in 1963, the year after I was born. So I wanted to know what kind of advice my mother received from the medical community. Lousy advice, that's what she received. Poor woman!Read More
This Sunday, I say good-bye to a dear friend whose too-short life is being celebrated at a memorial service. She lived up the street from me and though our children attended different schools, we became instant friends in our exercise class. I loved her sense of humor, her quiet but unshakeable convictions, and her grit, which was evident in our workouts but grew to gargantuan levels in her short but intense fight with that evil of all evils, cancer.
When I launched my shop, my first order came from her. She placed it from her hospital bed. Not just because she loved the plates I was selling, but because she loved me. She believed in my idea. And for that, there are no words.Read More
If you are a resale junkie, this is that magical time of year when estate sales abound. I am a woman whose business is the hunt and I promise you that finding great stuff is not as simple as being at the right place at the right time. There is skill involved too once you get there. Here are eleven ways to outsmart the competition at estate sales.
No. 1 - Bow Down to the Estate Sale Boss
Behind every estate sale is a boss. They are a tough lot. And for good reason. Can you imagine coming into a house with a lifetime's worth of accumulation and sorting it, researching it, pricing it, and selling it to bargain hunters within a very short period of time? They are the opposite of hoarders. They are purgers. They don't tolerate sentimentality so don't even try. The best of them have precise systems in place to speed up the process. Just find out what they require and do that.Read More
Since launching this site, a number of people have asked where I shop. Where don't I?!
I shop resale stores, antique shops, live auctions, Craigslist, barn sales, estate sales, online auctions, and Ebay. I shop these markets in the U.S. and overseas.
I have the best luck at estate sales and live auctions, and the worst luck on Ebay, where I have been burned more than once.
But today's post is about another favorite source -- college towns. You would be an idiot not to shop them.Read More
I am writing about this adorable collection of brass miniatures because tomorrow I am going to list it on the fabulous new website Hunters Alley as an experiment. I want to see if adding a secondary marketplace increases traffic to the new shop. I'll let you know how that works out.
But before it gets snatched up by someone like me who finds it irresistible, I thought I should mention that it was the very first purchase I made off of Craigslist. And this post will fall under the category of 'Mistakes' because I made a big one that day. I went alone, into a seller's house.Read More
Nothing like a box of business cards to make it feel official. Mine arrived last week and I love them. They were designed by the very talented Catherine Brautigam of Lone Shoe Graphics here in Milwaukee. She designed Finder Not Keeper's logo as well. (Talk about a kick ass mark, hers just rocks.)
The typeface on my card is Whitney. It is a sans serif font, which means that the letters don't have little feet and hands on the ends of them. It was originally designed for the Whitney Museum in New York and is clear and compact.Read More
Some collections come together in a very abstract way.
Not this one. It is an homage to the art of smoking. The accessories on their own are interesting but the poster with its smoke-obscured face is what gives the whole set its edge.
I found the poster at an estate sale of a deceased hippie who was also a hoarder. Those hoarder houses are always the best but they're very exhausting because you can't relax your radar for a second or you'll miss something amazing. (Really, hoarders are modern day archivists. They just lack the credentials and the proper facilities.)Read More
It was a resort called Northernaire, and it was frozen in time in the 1950s. Our family went every winter to ski, sled, and skate in woodsy Three Lakes, Wisconsin. The owner, Carl Marty, loved animals. He trained his beautiful Saint Bernard dog, Bernice, to be a nursemaid to the many orphaned creatures living there.Read More
Pa Ingalls would have been an internet early adopter. He packed up Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, Jack the bulldog, and poor patient Ma into that covered wagon more times than Steve Jobs asked us to update our iTunes account.Read More
The second I saw this painting, I was smitten.
I asked the shopkeeper for more information about the artist. The signature on the canvas was E. Frattin. An internet search revealed nothing. So I walked away from the painting.
But that adorable man stayed with me in my mind, which is a sign that walking away was a mistake. A few weeks later, I checked back in to the shop. The painting was still there and the shopkeeper wanted to sell it. She offered a deal. And I took it.Read More
I was wandering the aisles of my favorite garden store when it hit me. I noticed that each year, the garden store created more and more mixed planters. These are the planters with a variety of flowers and greenery, beautifully scaled, paired for sun or shade, each plant's blooms complementing the other. And every cart had them. People love the mixed look but they don't have the skill or the time to put them together.
It's the same with accessorizing a home! No one is offering a finished look that is more personal, unique, authentic. Why not?Read More
My business is finding wonderful vintage and antique items that are unusual and matching them up into collections that are chic and fun. These collections are an easy way for people who struggle with decorating to add instant soul to a space. But deciding to go out on a limb with this idea was not easy. Here are ten truly honest reasons:Read More