Thursday, May 29, 2008

Barn Door Table

I am going to make this old barn door into a table. The bottom 6-7 inches was rotted so I had to cut that part off. The door is held together by 10 million nails that were pounded through and then bent over. I had a good time trying to find a cut off line that wasn't dotted with rusted nails. Finally I put a carbide tipped blade on my circular saw and cut away.

The blade cut through some of the nails that were in its path. So now the one edge of the door will have metal pieces visible. I am going to lightly sand the top, then give it a coat of semi-gloss lacquer. The door knob set is going to stay in place. I have four porch posts to use as legs. I cannot decide whether I should make it normal table height or work island height.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Historical Perspective

Memorial Day, an important reminder of the sacrifice of our fore bearers in defending the United States, is another holiday that has become overwhelmed by our self indulgence and loss of historical perspective. Memorial Day is not memorializing the start of the summer bar-b-que season. It is a holiday to remember the dead of the Civil War (and later wars). It's purpose is to remind us of the terrible sacrifice made many generations ago to preserve the Union and destroy the special institution of slavery. Over 600,000 Americans died in the bloodiest war in our history. There was not a place that wasn't touched by the carnage. Whole towns and counties lost all of their mature men. The 1st Minnesota, from the far frontiers of the Union, suffered 82% casualties at Gettysburg. Thousands of wounded and maimed men returned home to pick up their lives after their comrades "Died to Make Men Free".

Mother Nature had a surprise of this generation of Minnesotans yesterday. A killer tornado struck east of my spot on the tundra. We had big winds and hail. The splashes in the lake are strikes from meteor like hailstones. It was sunny and calm 30 minutes later. So much for the theater of seasons.

Mr. Flannery

Friday, May 23, 2008

Does not take directions or work well with others.

I attended one of my favorite auctions last night, Dave Miller's in St. Cloud. He has been having auctions on Friday evenings for years. Well, he has now changed to Thursday evenings for the summer and completely disoriented my social calendar. When I complained, he mumbled something about having his own life and me getting my own life. He was not sympathetic to my plight at all. I have to adjust my entire TV watching schedule (and I have no idea if there is anything decent on the History Channel on Fridays). I spent the entire day today thinking that it was Saturday (so now I will have to Groundhog Day like revisit Saturday again tomorrow). Getting old, set in my ways and having no real life have finally caught up with me. I guess that I'll pop my beer for the month and contemplate cutting off the rotten part of a door that has 11 million nails in it holding the pieces together. Maybe the fireworks of a screaming saw blade hitting rusted iron will add a spark to my day.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Happened to Our Spring?

The Memorial Day Weekend, the proverbial start of Summer, is upon us. The summer like festivities have begun here in lake country. All that I want to know is "What the hell happened to Spring"? Two weeks ago we had snow and some of the lakes still had ice. I have cut the grass once, the early Spring tune-up cut to even out the clumps. How can Summer be starting this weekend?

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shabby but not Dirty

It is a glorious day on the tundra. The sun is shining, the breeze is moving gently off the lake. The bald eagle is sitting in the tree 50 feet above my work space. And I am getting things ready for the next sales. I am shabotaging things, white paint, repurposed wood moldings, door knobs to nowhere, the whole damn shabby experience. I have spent the last 3-4 weeks setting up and dancing with furniture. I have been to a dozen auctions since late April. Now I am using my saw, my biscuit cutter and my paint brush. I feel good, but oh so shabby.

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Oh My!

Ann, at Magpie Cottage blog, used this painting by Munch, "The Scream", to introduce a story about an acquaintance of hers who had bought a guitar for $60 at a local auction. It sold for $40K on eBay. OH MY!

Mr. Flannery

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beaux Art Folio

The auction that I attended on Saturday had a number of interesting pieces of furniture. The nice stuff all sold for more than my perception of wholesale. I have always been surprised by auction attendees who whine about dealers raising prices. It seems to me that a true dealer has to buy items at wholesale so they can be resold. A collector should be able to bid more than wholesale, which can be substantially less than retail, and outbid the dealer. But then people do like to whine, to complain about someone with more money, more knowledge or more guts than they have.

I only bought three items at this auction. One of them has me very excited. It is a 1907 portfolio of architectural drawings, Choix d'Elements l'Architecture Classique, by Gromort. There are 59 large separate folios of classical architectural elements and famous buildings. They are very frameable and probably would sell very well as individual folios. However, I really like them and they may have to live at my house for a while. I may even take them to the Antiques Roadshow appraisal that I have tickets for in July.

Mr. Flannery

Friday, May 16, 2008

Brookings South Dakota - We Won't Be Back Anytime Soon

Kris and I drove 360 miles round trip to attend an auction in Brookings South Dakota yesterday. The internet ad had great photos and we were hoping to score some furniture for the shops.

We got the the auction site just as it started, thanks to an unintentional 20 mile detour I took to Montevideo to view the Burger King. I was number 33 and the room was sparsely populated by potential bidders. Oh boy this had potential. Well all 32 people in South Dakota who have money to spend on antiques were there too. I bought some feed sacks, postcards (some are already on eBay) and a beautiful Victorian turned wood lamp. Too much time, too much gasoline, too much money for us to contemplate a return trip to South Dakota anytime soon. I can overpay for junk much closer to home without burning that much gas.

Mr. Flannery

Set Up at Kari's Red Barn

Some random photo's taken during the Wednesday set-up at Kari's. Everything was properly placed and the Windex bottles were stowed before the shop opened on Thursday.

These painted oak posts are one of my few items for sale.

This weird split stick cabinet was mine also.

Please notice - the glowing street sign is for ROSE Court.

Mr. Flannery

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Another Auction Today

Auction season, with many outdoor estate and moving auctions, has finally started here on the tundra. I am going to go to Kari's Red Barn Minnesota to price the 4-5 items that I brought in for her sale and then I am going to go to a nearby moving auction.

Tomorrow I am considering attending a multiple estate auction in South Dakota. Friday there is my regular auction at Miller's in St. Cloud. And there are a number of choices for Saturday and Sunday. I really like the better weather and the much broader selection of auctions.

Mr. Flannery

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Making Some Pillows

I was looking through some boxes that had ended up in my eBay room. I found two nice pieces of fabric that I am going to have made into pillows. The Purina sack has an orangy yellow checkerboard and a faded blue lettering. The photo shows the piece doubled over, so I think that two separate pillows can be fashioned from it.

Unfortunately my sewing skills are non-existent. When I went to school, boys did not learn typing or home ec. Both skills that would have been much more applicable to my later life than metal shop or social studies taught by the basketball coach. So here I sit hunting-and-pecking away on a keyboard with 3-4 fingers at low velocity, eating my microwaved breakfast contemplating a sewing project. Shows you what the expert educators knew.

The second pillow will be made from this naval signal flag. The square yellow with black (now faded to gray) circle represents the letter "I". A signal flag pillow may make a nice accent to a maritime decor.

Mr. Flannery

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Have to Deal with Items that You Like

One of the interesting and frustrating things about the occasional sales is that you get an opportunity to hash over sales. What sold, what sold quickly and what you still have sitting there. Armed with this information you can reach the conclusion that you can shape your goods and inventory to maximize sales next month. That is the fallacy because the sample is too small, the market too short and the buyer too fickle to ever get a real handle on what is going to sell.

When I started selling in an antique mall I decided that I had the business figured out. I began buying inventory that I didn't like just because some other dealer had sold one earlier. The earlier sale usually occurred on my work day. I was shocked when the customer brought the item to the counter and paid real money for it. When I saw one at an auction after that sale I would bid it up and buy it because it will sell at the shop. A long time later that item is still waiting for a 2nd buyer.

I have come to believe that a seller cannot successfully sell items that he/she does not like. The item appears to gather the seller's thoughts and exude negative waves to any potential buyer. Long ago I decided that I am going to deal with items that I like. My taste may not be perfect, but at least I will be able to stand the piece in my house if I can't convince anyone else to buy it.

I really liked the birdcage that I bought last Saturday. I would have been pleased if it had to live in my house for a while. I am sure that it gave off tons of positive vibrations while on display at the shop. And it sold quickly for a good profit.

The items that most of us buy and sell are unique. We are not Macy's buying and selling 300,000 units of model 12bdc men's dress shirts. We have one to buy, one to sell and only one customer to find for each item we move through the shop. I now trust my judgment, trust my taste, and live surrounded by my market mistakes.

Mr. Flannery

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Back to Commentary on the Shabby World

Its been a long two weeks getting together for the monthly sales in Buffalo and then Sauk Rapids. There is one more sale at Red Barn Minnesota starting next Thursday, but I have committed to do much less for this sale. Kari has her semi-annual sale starting on Thursday and she will have out of state customers parked in her parking area over night before the sale. People love her stuff and the junk prepared by the other dealers that she lets sell there. I have never committed to the full space and she has always graciously permitted me to place a few pieces in with her stuff. I feel privileged to have my hogs considered good enough to fit in with the rest of the items.

I hope to get a few blogs written this week that sound less like commercials for my next sale and have a little more wry observation of the state of our business and a man's sojourn through the shabby world.

Mr. Flannery

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fabulous Victorian Birdcage

The grand opening at Gypsy Lea's has been good. My sales have been brisk. The customers have been excited by the concept and the merchandise. Kris and Gypsy have been nearly suicidal in their efforts to set and reset the shop. They were there at until three this morning resetting from Friday and setting Saturday.

I attended an auction a couple of miles west of Gypsy Lea's this afternoon. I bought a fabulous Victorian birdcage and a few other items. I brought them to the shop immediately, rather than taking them home and burying them in my black hole of inventory. The birdcage sold within an hour of coming into the shop. I was thrilled.

Mr. Flannery

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Set Up and Stuffed to the Rafters

I finally have some pictures of the set up at Gypsy Lea's. I used my old camera and am not very pleased with the quality. But you may get some idea of what the new shop looks like.

The 4 day per month occasional sale format will make this shop unique for the St. Cloud area. The hallmark of the shop will be the fabulous set up and incorporation of diverse styles and ages of inventory into a cohesive and fascinating display.

This is the "back" of the apothecary station that I bought last Saturday.

And the front of the same piece.

Bed, French doors, pillars, tin ceiling lintel, church newel post foot board.

Lots of light.

Art Deco back bar with abstract oil paintings.

Pumpkin pine cupboard.

Huge RRPCo Jardiniere on 16' bar.

Organ keyboard in a frame, violin case, guitar.

Fallout shelter sign, oak cabinet with green interior.

Mr. Flannery