Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Etsy Shop New Year's Sale!

Happy New Year to my valued customers and friends!  It's 2014 and you know what that means!

It's time for our annual New Year's Sale.  Enter the coupon code YEAR2014 at checkout to receive 14% off your purchases now through February 5, 2014.

I still have an extensive inventory and need to make room for new auction finds this year.  Since Valentines Day is just a little over a month from now, consider picking up your sweetheart a vintage gift from the heart. Just click over to our Etsy shop on the right side bar and browse!

Here are a few ideas:

Blessings to you for a wonderful year ahead from Dancing Bumblebee Cottage!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eight Years

Eight years ago, you had a stroke that eventually took you far away from us. I remember that day as if it was yesterday and yet, it seems so incredibly long ago that I heard your beautiful voice.

I do know, however, you are in a beautiful place.  The almost weekly, if not daily, occurrences of oddball hearts still thrill me.  I woke up this morning to a paper heart on the great room floor.

I smiled earnestly as I do now.  The pain will always be there but it's tucked in a far away place so that I can instead revel in the wonderful, loving memories we shared throughout your life.

I love you, Mom.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy Family.

Back a couple weeks ago, when I was at the cottage in the midst of painting at Delavan Cottage, I pulled out one of the wall cabinets in the kitchen.  This is a perfect example of the Missouri Ozarks' make-do projects:

Upon closer examination:

Do you see the bottom? In the center it says "Happy" and what's left of "Family."

I smiled.  Indeed, this cottage is now being loved by a very happy family.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dollar! Dollar! Do I Hear a Dollar!

Instead of shopping at garage and estate sales, I'm an auction junkie, you might say.  While I'm not even close to the hoarders you see on American Pickers, I do like the hunt and for me auctions are the ticket, especially estate auctions in which every article of clothing sits out in the yard next to an air popcorn popper, the lawnmower and a dryer.  But intermingled with every day items are very personal vintage items that meant something to the previous owner but has no meaning whatsoever to the heirs or the executor.

Through these items, one can easily piece a life together.  Sometimes the seller is still living like at the auction I attended last Friday.  The auction was held in a large 4-H building on the fairgrounds and it was chock full of glassware up the wazoo, housewares and delightful vintage pieces.  As I perused around the tables an older gentleman asked me if I knew Ruth.  "No," I replied.  "Oh, Ruth is the most wonderful person you'll ever meet!  She was born here and has lived here her entire life.  Everyone loves her.  In fact, if you look down this row you'll see her.  She's the one with the cane and the black hat.  She talks to everyone, so you should meet her."  And then he walked away.

Still in the midst of scoping out items I wanted to bid on, suddenly Ruth wobbled carefully over to me and said in her sweet, shaky voice, "Do you like all my stuff?"  We began to talk and she mentioned that she was an antique dealer and she already had a sale just full of her antiques she collected over the years but this sale was "just" her household items.  "Oh, I've had my fun with these things but it's time to pass them on.  I've moved to the retirement center, you know, and I have two rooms there!  Two!"  She then chuckled.  "So honey, enjoy my auction."  And with that, she wobbled away to talk with others she knew.  Always with a smile.  There certainly wasn't a shortage of people who wanted to give Ruth a hug.  

Ruth is a collector with a kind spirit.

Her auction went quite well in the beginning.  The glassware went incredibly high and I was happy for Ruth.  I sat that part of the auction out because there was no room for profit, but before the auction started, the auctioneer asked Ruth what she would like to tell the bidders and she said, "Turn it all into money!" and that's exactly what was happening.  

She shared her story and thus the items I bid and won mean something and I will be able to pass the stories on to the new owners who buy from me. But sometimes it's the items, themselves, that talk like this suitcase from a Nebraska farm auction:

Or this blouse from a Missouri farm auction:

How about this photo album from a northern Missouri farm auction:

Or this quilt I purchased from an antique store in Kansas City and researched the family name and found lost long relatives that I returned the quilt to:

And finally this trunk from a northeast Kansas farm auction:

The items the auctioneer hands in the air aren't just things, they are pieces of someone's life.  That is never lost on me and while at times I get frustrated that some of the things I'd like to buy go way too high for me, I'm always thankful the seller is getting some worth out of the items.  But something happened Sunday that really bugged me and I'm very surprised I feel this way.

This auction was being held because the lady passed away.  Her house was up for auction as well as her entire household of items.  She collected antiques and had quite a collection of top-notch glassware and furniture and lots of it.  I was in heaven when I was looking everything over.  As the auction started, prices were in an expected range but as time went on, things were going so cheap. For example, an 1800's iron bed including the rails, headboard and footboard with a brand new, high-end mattress set sold for $25. Can you imagine?  And the auctioneers were getting frustrated so they just started adding more and more just to get an opening bid. I picked up a few deals but after awhile I felt badly, it was so cheap.  The final straw was when the glassware was being auctioned.  Depression glass, jadeite and beautiful pieces were not getting bids and sometimes there was so much glassware put together for a bid that I felt guilty even raising my hand, though others didn't feel the same way. I'm talking 20 pieces of glassware or more for a bid of $1.

It was the first time I really felt sad about how low things were going and before the auction ended, I left.  I did well and have quite a few things ready to list on Etsy, but I could have bought so much more!  But instead of looking at the Depression glass and thinking wow, this is a great deal, I was seeing the woman who carefully hunted each piece out, paid a good price and came home to lovingly display it among her collection.  And I felt like if I bought the pieces at the low prices offered, I was taking away the value she put on her collection. That I was looking out only for me and not taking into account the meaning and history behind each piece.  

At one point I heard one of the family members say, "We should just let everyone go and pick up what they want for free!  If it was up to me, I would have shut down this auction a long time ago."  I had to agree. 

I'm not in the antique/vintage business just to make a buck.  If that were the case, I'd sell clothing on eBay.  No, I'm in the business because I truly enjoy the stories, the history and the experience.  I feel that it's not just someone's used stuff up for auction, but it's the passing down of heirlooms from generation to generation.

And that deserves more than $1.