Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some Photos from the Porch

The following are some random photos of part of my space set up for the May sale. I broke the memory stick in my ancient Sony camera yesterday and had to order a replacement from a specialty obsolete technology store on the Net. Teresa loaned me her camera which I used until the battery wore out. (Hello again Mr. Murphy). More photos later.

The following two photos are of my neighbor Steph's space. She is the "Queen of the Smalls".

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mr Murphy Ain't My Friend

"We have met the enemy and he is us", Pogo 1970. Seems that the Irish star of misstep and aggravation, Mr. Murphy, had a couple of drinks with Mr. Flannery yesterday.

Mr. Murphy, is the proclamator of Murphy's Fourth Law of Thermodynamics. Not to be outdone my such lesser luminaries as Issac Newton, who could only conjure up three such laws, Mr. Murphy, probably in an alcohol induced state of higher conscientiousness, proclaimed his own universal law of society, if anything can go wrong, it will.

Yesterday I could not get out of my own way, or Mr. Murphy's, in getting set up for the occasional sale. The erstwhile Duncan Phyffe coffee table which has been painted pepto pink, then Easter candy yellow and finally toned down with a slather of aged oak gel stain, again crossed my path.

Now this table is a $5 refugee from some estate auction. It had wobbly legs, sagging joints and a stained and unstylish top. (Not unlike your correspondent). I, for some unknown reason, decided that it had potential. Its real potential now appears to be processing it for its BTU's by rapidly converting it to ash.

I removed one of the two tripod legs, then glued and clamped each leg set into a nearly stable configuration. I painted and stained the table and the legs. For the piece de resistance I cut and glued a 1950's over the sofa print of a woodland scene to the top. This involved resetting my steel carpenter's square a couple of times because it was a couple inches short to make a full cut. (Now how can two sides be square and the connecting lines not meet properly?) After making the de riguer blood sacrifice, because this portion of the project required the use of a sharp object, I finally got the print to lie flat and nearly square.

Remarkably the print's October tones matched the pinkish-yellowish-stained brown finish of the table pretty well. I reinstalled the errant leg, using not just wood glue, but Gorilla Glue, clamps and screws. I left the clamps on the table and placed it in my pickup for transport to the Porch.

I disassembled the multi clamp matrix from the table and gently set it on the tarmac of the parking lot. I'll be damned, the table sat flat, level and without a creak or wobble. I was very pleased with myself. After only 200 hours of work I had turned this $5 piece of junk into a $25 piece of art. Then along comes Mr. Murphy.

It seems the that there is a proper direction to point the tips of the the tripod legs. One foot of each tripod must point to the other and the center of the table. This gives it symmetry and prevents one foot from extending beyond the edge of the table. In my desire to make sure that the tripod never moved again, I had permanently fixed one of the legs 180* out of position. So today, with my Saws All in hand, I will be attempting to perform a tripodectomy and rotation right here on my driveway.

Mr. Murphy, have 'em set us up with another round.

Mr. Flannery

The Lament of the Occasional Sale

Procrastinator -- me? Nooooo. There's plenty of time. I am in my self induced monthly dilemma concerning setting up my space at the Porch for the occasional sale. The May sale starts tomorrow (which leads to another existential question, how does the May sale start in April?). I am in my usual dither about not having my pieces ready, not having my merchandise priced, not liking the way my space looks, not liking the pieces that I'm selling and worrying about failing to meet my personal standards or those of the shop.

The weather has been terrible, there is still snow on the ground from last Friday's dump. The tools cannot be found. I put them away and now can't remember where I put them. The pieces need to be excavated from my garage, but where do I put the excavated debris while the piece is in process. All good excuses. Most available and utilized in some form by me every month. The problem is that I am a procrastinator. Never do today what can be put off to tomorrow. Besides if I die between now and then I'll never have to do it.

I'll get my space finished today. Some of my stuff will sell. Some of my stuff will remain. The space will look presentable, the goods will look fresh and different. And I will swear that I will be ready early for the June sale.

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, April 27, 2008

I Attempted to Set Up My Space Today

I brought some more merchandise into The Porch in Buffalo. I didn't get much done. There is a pile of unpriced and unsorted stuff. I will get to pricing and set up tomorrow.

Mr. Flannery

PS - These are photos of some pieces that are already set up at The Porch and then some at Second Hand Rose. I have nothing to do with them (which is why they're set), they just looked interesting.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ho Ho Ho The Green Giant was Laughing at Us

Minnesota has lived up to its reputation of being the theater of seasons, all lousy. We traveled to Le Sueur for the flea market and farm equipment show and it rained. We walked from dealer to dealer and it rained. The weather was miserable. I found a huge ship's light sitting on the trailer of a non-attendant seller, while it was raining. I went back 4 times, while it was raining, sleeting, drizzling and raining, he was not there. Finally, when I found him, he had just sold the light to someone else, for $15, and it was still raining. He was having coffee earlier "because no one would be out there in the rain to buy anything". Bahhhhh.

The sellers were set up in the gravel roaded fields. The higher situated roads were bad, the lower roads were swamped and the dirt drainage swales on the sides of each road, that needed to be crossed to reach the goods, were quagmires. Many of the sellers were stocked with tractor parts and all other sorts of heavy metal. Trucks and tractors hauling trailers full of heavy goods over soaked roads mixed the gravel, dirt, and specks of grass into a cake batter consistency. It was a miserably muddy day.

Kris, Mike and I had a wonderful time, but that was in spite of the weather, not because of it. One of the few items that I purchased was an oil painting of sailing ships at dock. (Who else goes to an antique farm equipment show and buys a maritime oil painting?) I also bought a electric charger windmill propeller and the front cowling from a small Allis Chalmers tractor.

We got home, soaked, mud caked, sore and tired. The greatest indignity occurred this morning. I awoke to 4 inches of snow on the ground. Bahhhhh (again). I have had more than enough of the theater of seasons and just want a little Spring.

Mr. Flannery

Thursday, April 24, 2008

To the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant - Ho Ho Ho

Very early tomorrow morning Kris, Mike and I are going to head to the antique farm machinery show near LeSueur. LeSueur is in the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant and the headquarters for the agribusiness. Its not that Kris or I are that interested in farm machinery, there is a huge flea market associated with the show. The past few years, Kris and Mike have not been able to complete the entire market because it is just too big. We are going to pack up my truck and trailer for our adventure. The weather is predicted to be soggy and given that the sale is in a bare field, muddy.

Mike is hoping to find a couple of old fanning mills. He cuts the machines into pieces and uses just about everything for a variety of shabby (but not foo foo) projects. The tops make interesting tables. The weathered lettered side boards with the names like Hero or Winner are wonderful in a number of made up pieces. Mike and Kris even have a Smut Cleaner (which is a smaller fanning mill type machine) in their yard as decoration. And it is handy for any smut that may need to be cleaned.

Mike and Kris promise that there are piles and piles of interesting pieces to be found there. They are also certain that the trailer will be needed in addition to the bed of the truck. I'll take them at their word, but 5 AM and "sprinkles" certainly are not enticing me to get up and going.

I was cleaning some smalls today getting ready for the occasional sales next week. I found what is one of the most foo foo plates that I have. It is pink and blue with air brush and decal flowers. Royal Bonn, made in Germany, circa 1900.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Air Traffic Controller is Needed

It is a glorious day on the tundra. The sun is shining, there is a slight breeze from the south and working outside is a gift rather than a punishment. The ice is just about gone from the bay that I live on. There are only miniature icebergs rafting across the bay and disintegrating as they hit the shore. The main part of the lake is still in ice, but its hours are numbered.

The best part of working outside today was the reappearance of all of the water birds. As soon as the ice on the bay opened three swans landed next to my dock. The loons, at least three different pairs, are swooping in and calling frantically. A squadron of Canadian geese honked as they overflew my house and circled in for a noisy landing on the bay. There are mallards, wood ducks, coots and a bunch of gulls and pelicans. All this activity started this morning and was going on all around me as I puttered on some shabby projects.

I added aged oak gel stain to a washstand that I had earlier painted red. I sanded and gel stained 8 shelves for an oak bookcase that I am going to set up at Gypsy Lea's. The top of the yellow legged antique lamp table was stained ebony and then aged oak. I have 4 other projects goings. The weather is good, the setting is fabulous and I will be getting many things done today.

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

May Occasional Sales in Buffalo

Damn! One week from today I have to be completely set up and ready for the occasional sale at The Porch in Buffalo. I am no where near ready and I am again beginning to stress on the set up issues.

If you have some time around the first weekend in May you may want to consider a shuffle off to Buffalo. It can be shabotage heaven. I have tried to assemble a list of the numerous shopping locations when you come to Buffalo. This is neither comprehensive nor all-inclusive, just what I was able to pull off the top of my head.

Buffalo Nickel (Donna) is a traditional antique store with a lot of shabby (not shady) contributors;

Second Hand Rose (Rose & Barb) the first of the occasional shops in Buffalo with a more cabiny, rustic and funky sort of edge to its shabotaged fare;

This & That (Myrna) 2 floors with lots of furniture and plenty of material for your shabotage projects;

Sweet Salvage (Donna, Pat & Tamera) in-the-rough and architectural salvage;

Barn Chix (Dawn) newly expanded shop with plenty of shabby and a variety of styles expressed by their large dealer base;

The Porch and Atelier (Teresa) 2 floors in the 1900 post office building, plenty of style with a French flair (and a bunch of Hogs in the middle of The Porch);

Behind the Picket Fence (Jane) general stuff with a thrift shop bent;

Three Sisters (Ann) two floors of good finds and shabby stuff;

Yesterday's Charm (Marge) great looking pieces in the old bait shop (but nothing fishy here);

Emmy Lynn's, kids clothes,

Lillian's, funky purses and accessories; and

Annie's Attic (Annie) another large traditional multi-dealer shop with lots of interesting stuff.

Maple Lake Antiques (Diana) is 5 miles west of Buffalo on Highway 55. It is a traditional mutli-dealer shop with good furniture and good deals (and more than its share of Hogs, with Russell, Steve and I all herding swine).

There are plenty of places to eat, a few to drink and most of the fast food chains to refuel during your visit. Hope that some of you can make the Sales in Buffalo.

Mr. Flannery

A Different Kind of Shop Opening in Buffalo

There is a different, but similar, kind of shop opening in Buffalo, Minnesota for the next monthly occasional sales (May 1-4). It is called Sweet Salvage and will feature in the rough, architectural and salvage pieces ready for the shaboteur to take to the next step. The owners are also considering a Sunday morning flea market in their substantial parking area. In my normal, I'm a big help, sort of way, I suggested two other names that were immediately rejected, Buffalo Chips and Sweat Salvage. And of course, if I ever sell from there, my area will be called The Sty by Hogs and Roses, with a sign over the entrance "This junk may look better through rose colored goggles". (And maybe a picture of my flying pig wearing rose lensed aviator goggles).

I really like the market concept and the idea of the flea market. The Wright County Swappers Meet, near Annandale, has been a successful Saturday flea market operation for almost 40 years. Many sellers would set up there on Saturday and then set up at Monticello or Medina on Sunday. Both of the Sunday venues have fallen apart. Sweet Salvage, situated on Highway 55 on the main route from Annandale to the Twin Cities, is in an excellent location for both buyers and sellers to supplant the other Sunday markets.

I described the shop concept and location to one of the shabbies. I said that it was just south of 55, kinda behind the Subway. She said "Where's that? I didn't know that Buffalo had mass transit." I replied "it doesn't, it has sandwiches". Oh my! And she operates a high powered SUV.

I will not be participating in Sweet Salvage for now. I am committed to 3 occasional sales and my regular antique shop at Maple Lake Antiques for this month. I wish the owners well and hope that more buyers are attracted to Buffalo, making for a better shopping and selling experience.

Mr. Flannery

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pretty in Pink - Oh My!

If you feel the Earth shaking or if it comes to an end tomorrow you may blame me. I have been outside painting a rotten Duncan Phyffe style coffee table pink. I went to Walmart and had to select a shade of pink. Oh the thought of it makes my head hurt. I removed the leg that was wobbly and attached with the remnants of glue and screws. I pulled the metal foot caps so they do not get pinked. (I have always hated latex paint smeared on the metal feet of such a table.) I have put the first coat of cherry blossom pink on the scarred table top and decided that I may fill the table top with a portion of a Robert Woods print.

Babe is my working buddy.

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Shabotaging on the Driveway

After a dismally cold and gray morning the sun finally is shining on the tundra. The ice is still on the lake, but in the past 2 hours the ice on the bay has turned a snow cone flaked texture and the color has changed from medium gray to nearly black. If the predicted thunderstorms occur overnight, the ice will be gone before morning light. I have been around this lake for 38 years and this will be the latest "ice out" that I remember. So much for global warming. We live in a climate zone that is very similar to that in Western Siberia. (Only my ancestors coming here from Northern Europe decided that it would be great to head to the only part of America that is colder than where they lived. And, unlike the Siberians, my ancestors came here voluntarily and on purpose. Bahhhh!) Russian President Vladimir Putin once said that global warming wasn't bad for everyone. In light of our Siberian like climate, I think that old Vlad hit our needs right on the head.

I had a chance to start some shabotaging on the driveway this afternoon. I even had to strip off my sweatshirt to deal with the heat. I started up the pressure washer and determined that I need a piece for the carburetor to make it work properly. I will purchase that piece tomorrow. I sanded one old barn door and had Leigh give me some suggestions on the proper height and width that will be needed to make the small door piece into a sofa table.

The yellow painted oak lamp table sanded smoothly and will stain up nicely. I left the crackly yellow enamel on the legs, so I think that it will have a dramatic look. The two small writing desks have been sanded and are ready for new knobs and paint. One will be painted pink with round white painted wood knobs. The other will probably go white with black knobs (or maybe pink. I'll have to test that concept). I am getting so excited about working on projects and not just shuffling items in and out of the garage between the snow drifts. Before, during and after photos, soon.

Mr. Flannery

A Farmhouse on a Hill

I have friends from Seattle visiting this weekend. On Saturday we decided to do a little junking so we drove to Hutchinson to look at Antiques to Go and found that there was a flea market at the County Fair Grounds. We crawled around the stalls and found a couple of home baked breads and other edible treats. All I bought was a 1950's world globe.

We then toured the shop. There was a 9' x 12' piece of linoleum c. 1920s. It was mellow pinks, reds, blues and whites. The 2 foot squares were children's game boards, nursery tale figures, poems and songs. It was in good condition and so shabby that it almost screamed. Unfortunately it had already sold and was waiting for the customer to pick it up. I have never seen such a piece in my many years of antiquing.

We had lunch with the Colonel and then decided to take photographs of barns on our alternate route to my house. We were driving north on Highway 15 (a route that I regularly drive when I attend a weekly auction at Krone's in Hutchinson). I spotted a barn off to the right through the bare trees. I had never seen it before because it is usually screened by 1/4 mile of dense foliage. I turned off the highway and there it was. A huge red barn on a nice concrete block foundation sitting atop a 40 to 50 foot bluff overlooking a rapidly flowing creek and marsh. Next to the barn, built into the bluff edge is a 3 storey granary. The locations was fabulous, the panorama stunning. My friend suggested that this was "it". My comment was that it may be it, but the owner has to be interested in selling. I drove slowly up the hill and around the curve to the driveway and farm house. There is a rambling field stone wall separating the well kept, recently remodeled home from the curving gravel road. And at the base of the wall a plastic sign with a hand lettered telephone number, sort of sheepishly stating "For Sale by Owner".

We stopped, Larry took a picture of the sign and then wrote down the number. Leigh called the number from her cell phone. No answer, so we left a message. We then drove into the driveway between the granary and the house and heading right into the open end of the barn. The view was spectacular. The barn, the granary, the detached two car garage and the house. It was all we talked about for the rest of the trip home.

When I got home there was a message from the seller. In it he mentioned the house on Craigslist, assuming that we had seen the property on the net because there would be little likelihood of a random drive-by. I found the ad on the net. 5 acres, rambling stream and bird filled marshland, many mature trees, mostly solid buildings and a freshly remodeled house. The price seemed low and even owner financing might be available. We are going to meet the seller and tour the house at 3:00 today. This may be fun.

Mr. Flannery

Update -- The seller and I developed a scheduling conflict so we had to reschedule for sometime during the week. Oh well, that's OK. I get to work on shabotaging a table instead.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No Wonder the Garage Fills Up

My good friend Mike, who is very lucky to be married to Kris, was complaining about receiving no credit for introducing me to the Shabby world. I met Mike and Kris at a number of local auctions. Kris was actively involved in shabotaging and selling items at Second Hand Rose in Buffalo and Mike was actively involved in doing what Kris told him to do. I made my usual uncomplimentary comments about shabotaged furniture and Kris and Mike put up with me anyway.

Over time, they convinced me that selling good stuff in the shabby shops was a very good idea. They started me selling at Second Hand Rose Too, another Buffalo occasional shop that has since closed. They also introduced me to Teresa the owner of The Porch. Thank-you Mike and Kris for giving me the opportunity to meet and work with the shabbies of Buffalo.

A couple of years ago Kris, Mike and I drove together to a huge auction at a farm just outside of Wadena, Minnesota. The auction started at 10 AM and after operating in two rings for a while, it was still going at 5:30 PM. The final 20-25 items sold in the barn with Kris and I standing with the auctioneer. He was perceptive enough to say "I guess that you aren't going to bid against each other". My reply "not if she is going to ride home tonight". We filled the truck, we filled the trailer and we had to leave a couple of items there because we ran out of room. Kris had to sit at an angle in the back seat because the rest of it was filled with "delicate" items.

Now I am reminded why my garage is difficult to empty.

Kris & Mike with Trike and Trailer

Mr. Flannery

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Smilin' Spode

I was taking photos of some foo foo cups and saucers. They are Spode in the Reynolds pattern. It appears that the cups are flower encrusted skulls smiling at me. Much like the fruit figures of Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Archaeological Excavations on the Tundra

The shovels were out, the camera was ready, everything, but the lined off square meter grids, was in place for a proper archaeological excavation. Tombs? Old buildings? Nope. Just an expedition to start clearing my garage.

The temperatures reached the 60's, so I hiked out to the garage to clear and sort. The 4' x 8' utility trailer is parked on the driveway awaiting the sifted debris of excavati0n. The trailer is filling with the detritus of collection, 95% of the rubble consists of empty boxes and containers. Every time I bring something home from an auction the entire box, regardless whether it contains one item or is nearly full, ends up in the garage. Just sorting, clearing and combining the finds has opened a lot of space.

So what have I found so far? A box of trinkets that includes an 18" 14k Italian gold chain, 20 Susan B. Anthony dollars (which I remember buying for $17.50 at an auction resulting in a guaranteed $.75 profit after buyer's fee) and a 30 jewel 10k gold cased self-winding watch. A 1930's license plate topper advertising Colorado Springs that is already listed on eBay. Then there is the $97 check from an antique shop where I used to sell that I will try to deposit tomorrow.

I have uncovered two small writing desks ready to shabotage and a dresser that I painted like a Swedish flag 4-5 years ago. I knew they were there, but now I have visually confirmed their existence. I will be sanding and painting these items soon.

Mr. Flannery

As Seen from my Office Window

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are You Feeling Blue?

I am rewiring the hanger for this large blue glass Art Deco hanging globe. It will hang in front of the mirror and Art Deco back bar at Gypsy Lea's.

Mr. Flannery

This lamp is going to look spectacular

P.S. - A few more photos from yesterdays rummaging in the garage