Friday, August 19, 2011

What's Old is New Again!

Ever feel like there was something different you wanted to do, but you just couldn't get around to doing it? That's me. There have never been enough hours in the day! And there still aren't. But slowly over the past year, my interests have evolved.

Growing up a farm girl in rural Iowa, I think I was always fascinated by old things. A bit of harness covered in cobwebs on a hook in a barn, a rusting harrow in a grove of trees, a windmill missing a few blades. Then I moved to Europe due to my career, and I realized I had had no concept of truly old! And talk about preservation and re-newing and repurposing! As far as I could see, unless a war (God forbid) brings down a building, it remains in use for centuries!

I surrounded myself with early to mid-nineteenth century furniture, mahogany and cherry, Queen Anne style. Brass beds and leaded glass cabinets. An upright piano with inlaid panels and brass candlesticks. Then, due to fate I guess, I came back to the midwest and had to leave all of that behind.

Skip ahead many chapters of my life, and find me semi-retired -- thinking about writing, realizing life is short, spending hours in my developing garden, discovering old glass and garden art. Slowly I start making suncatchers and totems. But as I search out materials at garage sales and charity retail shops, I find myself picking up and buying interesting pieces.

There are two pieces, separated but now back together, of Jeannette Glass Company carnival gold --that turn out to be a powder box and lipstick holder topped by a sweet swan. The two pieces picked up for 50 cents! The Tiffany & Co Imari bowl for $1.19! A lovely depression glass pedestal compote for 99 cents! All of this was destined for the landfill if I or someone else didn't rescue it and give it a good home.

Quite quickly I was evolving into a "picker" or "junker." I tired of cramming things into my car. We had a high mileage car that needed replacing. The time was right, and my dear spouse agreeable. We bought a low mileage small Ford Ranger pick-up that I immediately dubbed "Old Grey." Two days later, my girlfriend Brenda and I started out early on the famous Iowa garage sale that stretches 85 miles from Grimes to Manning, Iowa.  It sounded like so much fun, that my better half wanted to join me for a second day. Or was it the promise of the very best pecan caramel rolls in the country that I discovered in Woodward, Iowa? Hmmmm....

Suffice it to say that the garage is now full of rescued furniture waiting to be re-newed! But that led to the new quandary -- how to market it? I have an Etsy shop -- Avant Garden Deco, if you want to visit it. But what I have found with Etsy is that shipping costs are a deterrent to sales of anything very large or heavy. Even some of my garden art can barely recover costs when you have to pile on $25 of shipping.

That led to the next step -- a booth in an antique mall. The Re-New Shoppe will debut September 26, 2011 in The Brass Armadillo in north Des Moines.

This is my first blog post. I have much to learn about how to develop this, add photos, archive things. Bear with me, and do come back. There will be more surprises and developments along the way.