Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mt. Vernon Antique, Craft & Flea Market

On the absolutely most beautiful weekend possible, the Mt. Vernon Antique, Craft & Flea Market was held at the Skagit County Fairgrounds. We were competing for the public's attention against Glenn Beck being given "Keys to City" (hey, our mayor wanted--as a comical retaliatory gesture--to give Bellingham's city keys to John Stuart which, unfortunately, didn't happen); competing with the City Street Faire; and competing with the Oyster Run (motorcyclists' annual pilgrimage to Anacortes).

While both vendor and customer attendance were down, this event continues to be a great place to unearth some pretty cool, funky stuff. It's low key and relaxed, spread out between gorgeous outbuildings vastly improved over the years by the hard-working people at Skagit County Fairgrounds.

In general, displays are set out on tables garage-sale style for public perusal. It's always a "treasure hunt" and early buyers are happily rewarded for showing up at 8:00 AM.

There was every type of vendor from antiques and vintage to collectibles, to automotive stuff, to tools and other "guy" stuff, to garage sale junque, to hand-made wood working crafts, to crafted birdhouses, etc., etc., etc!!!!!

The problem with selling at this market (which I did in spades) was that I couldn't be out shopping. (Insert withdrawal groans here . . . .) DeBob grabbed a lotta good schtuff!!!

You never know what people are going to be drawn to. This particular market is a tough one in which to sell antiques/vintage treasures, as most people are looking for cheap, cheap, cheap. But a few select, eagle-eyed buyers knew that my items--while a bit higher priced than most vendors--were real bargains compared to many shop prices!

At the last minute, we added the giant Victorian over-mantle mirror to my booth (first photo above). I honestly didn't expect to sell something that major, but it found a home in Federal Way. The deliriously happy woman who spotted it, said she had been looking for "forever" and had given up hope of finding the perfect mirror. C'est magnifique--it fit within a hair's width into the back of her 4Runner . . . wow!!!

Well, not much turnaround time to get ready for the October 11th Sand Point Antique & Design Market, but I've snagged some great new items for you to see! Autumn and winter antiques are my favorite . . . so, as always, there will be a "horn-of-plenty" in my booth.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


YES, it's a crazy-long trip to Portland to set up a booth from Bellingham. But I visit my beloved "outlaw" mom, Shirley, in Vancouver about once a month anyway . . . and I ALWAYS stop in at Stars & Splendid in Sellwood. Two lovely birds with one stone!

Fortunately, there was quality merchandise remaining from the July Barn House sale that was stored in Mom-o's garage. And I selected some new beauties too!

I've modified this month to create a basic, black & white overall feeling to my booth. It's challenging to make such a small area look right and--at the same time--populate it with enough merchandise to last a month!

Stop by Splendid and visit me--turn left as you enter, and Ormolulu is in the front window row of booths.

Absolutely darling Natalie of Sparrow and her sweet husband helped me out of a big pinch. My heavy swim lockers cabinet (alas) remained behind at Barn House, and I had no capability to pick it up. Natalie volunteered to help--I was astounded!

It was even MORE astonishing to see the two of them lift that heavy thing right off the truck and carry it into the shop . . . what STRONG young people they are!!!! Natalie, I hope you like those galvanized items from the Camas Street Faire--but I still owe you one! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Now I can sleep knowing the lockers have a home!

Didn't get a single photo of the Camas Street Faire . . . wet-to-the-skin most of the time (rain, rain DIDN'T go away, boo-hoo!). It was all I could do to keep smiling . . . and dumping buckets of water from my goodies (fortunately, lots of metal, glass & iron). My rented tent had no sides (unsmiley face and brief expletive inserted here), so you can imagine!

Nevertheless, I so admire the wonderful job that Laurie & Debbie of Worthy Goods did on their first show venture. That weather was one wild card, but the booths still looked just great!! You were very supportive cheerleaders and deserve a medal of honor--thank your family again for the sorely needed assistance. Wouldn't have made that three hour deadline without Debbie's father!!

It's a pleasure to share this sometimes rocky but always rewarding journey with so many talented, hard-working Kindred Roses (plug for Julie here).

Don't forget to stop by my booth at Splendid . . . and feel free to "fluff" if it looks tired :-)

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The antiques/vintage landscape has been my "home" for 24 years. I've evolved from a neophyte vintage plunderer to a full-time, antiques professional today. When I was younger, it was less expensive to buy vintage items for my home than retail furniture shopping . . . with my first venture into second-hand and antiques shops, I was hooked! This was loooong before it was as popular as it is today!!!

For those of you who know me, I've sold all up and down the I-5 corridor for many years--way before we had the wonderful shows and flea markets that exist today!

Selling retail in this economic environment is difficult at best, and the sign of the times has created customers of an entirely new genre in the marketplace . . . reuse, restore, repurpose, etc., is front and center in most merchandising publications.

This has left a tough challenge for dealers who are "old school" antique proprietors, as interest in the fine items has waned a bit . . . or, maybe, moved into more creative uses of these incredibly well-made but maybe not so functional-for-today items.

I personally walk the line between really fabulous, antique items that scream quality from a scholarly past . . . to the new, hip usage of oddities and vintage curiosities. Nobody wants to be boring, and nobody wants a strictly "Pottery Barn" or "Ikea" living room (yawn!).

To survive the test of time, an antique today must be up to "coolness" standards that are as unique and difficult to understand as our current political climate!

My dilemma has been, how to properly market these gorgeous desirables (to me at least) from the perspective of today's hip buyers? Answer: PACIFIC GALLERIES in Seattle, Washington!!

Truly, there is no panacea for solving the constantly evolving question about "what does the customer want"? If you haven't been to Pacific Galleries lately, you deserve the treat! Don't assume you "can't afford" what is there. Dealers have evolved to capture your attention. But don't assume a "sale" is a reason for buying! Buy what you know you love at a price you can be comfortable with. ALWAYS feel free to contact the dealer through Pac Gal to discuss what will work for you!!

For everything, there is a season . . . and as autumn approaches and you examine your interior spaces, take a look at your options from a recharged perspective. The addition of one carefully curated item in your room--even if above your normal budget--can add surprise and depth that will truly stand the test of time (and not fall apart after four years)!!

I don't know where this path is taking me, but I'm glad to be here . . . aren't you?! We all share a common passion for fabulous stuff and friendship that links us together in the pursuit of something that is way beyond ourselves--the true nature of desire comes from something deep inside, and that is our ultimate bond.

Welcome to Madison Park 14 at Pacific Galleries . . . this is my best, and I hope you enjoy!!

xoxo Debi

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

MEET NIA . . . .

This is the multi-talented Nia Sayers of Summerland Style.  She is a repurposing and salvage style expert and is Bellingham's ReStore window decor diva.  Her designs are like a magnet, drawing people in to see what new, one-of-a-kind items she has created.

Nia's passion is upholstery, and you can see her spirited approach to finding new life in old pieces of furniture!

This pale blue sofa is so dreamy . . . 

Check out the sink in her bathroom--an old wok!!

You can find Nia at the upcoming Funky Junk Sisters Show or check out her great website--I haven't even shown you the tip of the iceberg here!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It's a rare occasion when everything aligns in perfect unison for a show . . . great weather, awesome new finds fabulously displayed by great and talented dealers, and (especially) happy customers rapidly plucking abundant treasures~~

The nature of each show seems to take on a life of it's own--depending on the headline news, the temperature outside (and in!), and the "mood" of the crowd.  Whenever I try to guess what will sell, I'm generally wrong . . . 

It's truly difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of the buying public, as the whims of trend ebb and flow.  Magazines, blogs, Ebay, Craig's List, etc. have forever altered the landscape; and that landscape changes rapidly!

My philosophy is to present what I like--after all, if it doesn't sell "you know who" gets to keep looking at it . . . 

One of my favorite things about shows is that--like the lucky customers--I get to see what is in the mind's eye of so many other junquies in one fell swoop.  It makes me delirious with joy and inspiration and helps me stay the course during tough economic times.

I hesitate to consider this latest show as any lasting indicator, but it was certainly a boost for my morale and optimism.  We are all figuratively the Little Engine that COULD and CAN!!!!

Many, many years ago I decided to follow my passion--leaving behind a lucrative career in high tech.  It has been like climbing Mt. Everest and has certainly been no overnight sensation.  But I can't wait to get up every day and do what I love, love, love--YIPPEE!!!

However, I do think the whole "do what you love~~the money will follow" thing is a bit overrated and oversimplified.  You've got to be willing to survive the highs and lows.  That's harder than it sounds, but worth all the effort!

If you attended the show, I wonder if  you felt the same tingle of warmth and happiness that I did?  It was the most fun I've had at a show in a long time.  If you didn't go . . . I'm sorry!

With crisp, clear mornings and signs of autumn on the prowl, my eyes yearn for rich, harvest colors . . . the changing seasons are a real gift in the Pacific Northwest.  So many people have suffered under weather conditions so horrible this year.   And while I feel so badly for them, it's crystal clear why I choose to live here!

Thank you, thank you, thank you FABULOSO customers and friendly dealers for a fantastic experience this past Sunday.  It was a banner day that makes me count my blessings!