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October 25

Flea Market Finds

The strangest thing happened on Sunday… My husband woke me up to go to the flea market instead of the other way around.  I’m not talking about who’s alarm went off first, I’m talking about me wanting to sleep in and my husband who now wanted to go to the flea.

I’m still teasing him about it, and he’s blaming his actions on his Chinese-politeness heritage, but I think he’s just using that as an excuse.  heh

I always love going to the flea, but our market opens at 6am on Sunday’s which is quite early for us.  As a result of the early-wake-up time, when I get home from the flea I nap for the remainder of the morning (till noon) so I can function in the afternoon/evening, otherwise I’m zombie-Liz the whole day.  I was actually looking forward to getting some much needed rest, but my flea-lovin’ hubby just haaad to go.  What’s even funnier is that he never buys anything, and he’s not shopping for anything either.  He just likes to go for the experience; he talks with vendors and shoppers and takes photos of strange, old items that are for sale.

While Felix is slowly browsing around, I’m on the hunt for all thing sewing or knitting related, along with fabric, vintage hats, purses, pottery, etc.  The first time Felix and I went to the flea together, he asked me what I was shopping for.  I thought it was a strange question at the time, since the magical thing about flea markets is that the ‘inventory’ always changes and you never know what you’re there for until you find it.  :)

I bought two of my four items with one vendor this Sunday.  He had 2 singer featherweight machines for sale, and had several attachments to go with them.  There was a box of singer feet, a buttonholer, and a singer hemming contraption I’ve never seen before.  I don’t have a singer machine so I hesitated buying all of the feet  but I  did buy another buttonholer for a sears-Kenmore machine (since the singer one didn’t quite fit on my machine) and I also bought a ruffler.  I bought both items for $6 and felt it was a very fair price to pay to try them out on my machines (Pfaff and an old JC Penny).  I’m kinda kicking myself I didn’t ask how much his featherweight machines were, but I probably don’t need another machine…

After a going to the flea for several weeks, I’m starting to get more confident with my haggling.  But I still think I probably overpay since the first price they give is usually low enough for me to pop on it.  (5$ for a McCoy planter… “Sold!”).  I’ve also found that the longer I stand around and debate on something, the vendor usually drops the price or tries to bundle items together for me.  It’s like an immediate sale happened.  (I wish that would happen in Anthropologie.)

I found a funny sewing-tool this Sunday that I also had to buy…. it was only $1.  It’s a “Tack-it” contraption.  Instead of making markings on your fabric with chalk, you use your the transfer paper on either side of the fabric and give the machine a little-tap and it transfers the markings.  I imagine back in the day this was pretty neat, but with so many different marking tools on the market today, I find this is more novelty than necessity.

I have yet to come across any more patterns since my big haul in August which is somewhat disappointing; I also haven’t found much in the way of fabric either.  But I really can’t complain too much since I’ve really found some incredible things since I’ve started going.  Next weekend is the last day for Wolff’s Out-Door flea this year so I hope the weather stays nice for the occasion and that vendors bring out lots more stock for me to rummage through, so I can get my fill of flea-market-hunting to hold me over till the Spring.

The last item I had to buy was a $2 navy, vintage hat.

I remember seeing the same box of hats two weekends ago, but don’t recall seeing this navy one.  So I’m glad I stopped to sift through it again today.  It needs a good washing before any extensive wearing, but I thought it would be the perfect little hat to go with my navy dress, that I currently have in the works.

Anyone have any good advice on how to wash my new hat?  It’s not made with fabric, but is more of a straw/linen material.  Should I just soak it in some “soak” soap?

 

The other really cool purchase I made over the weekend was a plant.  Not just any plant but a cotton plant!

My mom’s birthday was last week so she trekked to the city with my step-dad for a night out on the town on Friday, and then Felix and I spent the day with them on Saturday.  The one thing my mom wanted to do was to go to a plant sale at Garfield Park Conservatory.  There was hail damage to the building and some green houses, so they decided to hold a sale to raise some money.  We got there a bit late, but my mom managed to snag a cactus and we both also got these cool cotton plants.

Cotton-ball-enhance:

I’m not sure if they’ll last in my apartment over the winter, but for now it looks pretty awesome!  (I’ll probably end up taking this guy to my mom’s basement/hydroponic room over the winter for safe keeping.)  I can’t wait till the other cotton pod opens.  I’m contemplating using these little puffs in the raw for some holiday decorations or to use right on my face.  Then there’s seeds inside the cotton puffs I need to harvest so I get to plant more of them come spring time…  hip hip

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

  1. Amanda D / Oct 25 2011

    A cotton plant, so cute! And I think that Tack-It contraption is really cool :)

  2. Lauren / Oct 25 2011

    i love flea markets & lurking everyone else’s finds! i wish i could find a featherweight at my local flea – i did once, and the seller offered it to me for $200, and i am STILL beating myself up over it! nevermind that i didn’t actually have the money to afford it, i should have just eaten ramen & rode my bike for the rest of the month & dealt with it :)

    and omg that cotton plant!

  3. ali / Oct 25 2011

    Whatever you don’t soak your hat! I’d take it to be professionally cleaned by a hat maker since its not a conventional straw hat. I do clean my own straw hats but if it’s a complex shape then I’ll get it cleaned professionally by a hat maker who will be able to steam it back to its proper shape. The danger that you have is that while you might get it clean you may not be able to get it back to its proper shape.

  4. Meredith / Oct 26 2011

    Ooh, a cotton plant! I love those… there were quite a few growing wild in a nearby field (I guess they re-seeded every year?) when I was a kid, and I used to “decorate” my grandma’s porch with the puffs. I hope yours survives the winter in its pot!

  5. lsaspacey / Nov 2 2011

    I second that don’t soak your hat! Though you might try sponge cleaning it with a slightly damp but NOT wet sponge or cloth that will not shed all over the hat. I also would use a diluted, mild detergent like Woolite. I suggest you still research specifically for this information but the above is how I would do it.

  6. margie / Jan 23 2012

    Hi I am a milliner in training and whatever you do never soak a hat, unless it’s washable like a fabric hat e.g bucket hat. If your blocked hat gets wet it will not only have stiffener washed out (the glue that’s holding the shape) but it will completely wash the shape out. Trust me your hat will look like a big blob of a mess.

    Hats can’t really be cleaned properly so the measures in taking care of it are all preventative like proper storage e.g on a hat stand in a hat box. At least a hat box at the minimum to keep it clean, dust free and be sure to keep away from heat and other extremes of temperature.

    If it smells i would just air it out (but not in the sun) and if it’s got dust use a slightly damp sponge/cloth to carefully dab the dust off.

    Gently steaming with a clothes steamer with gentle brushing (if felt hat use felt brush or toothbrush) is also good but you must treat it delicately and be light to the touch. E.g You can’t man-handle it and just shove it in front of the steamer for an extended period of time (that will also distort the shape).

    Hope this helps,
    Margie

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