Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Painting Furniture

I'm not typically one to paint furniture. Not that I don't appreciate or like the shabby look, it just takes too much time. I'd rather be hunting down some great pieces! But every once in a while, I'll get the urge to paint something I've picked up. Last night I was working on this set of nightstands. They both had some water damage to the finish but were otherwise solid. I'm using Annie Sloan Paris Grey and I'm planning on finishing them off with Briwax clear wax and maybe some dark wax to add a little age to the finish. Not sure about the dark wax yet, or if I'll distress them.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Finding Treasure in Unexpected Places

I'm trying out the Blogger iPhone app, so if this looks a little weird, thats why!

Today was a surprise day off. My mom usually watches our daughter during the week while my wife and I work. She had a Doc appointment she had forgotten about so I took the day off my full time gig to hang out with my little cutie! I decided to venture out and take her with me to an auction. Usually the auctions I attend are estate sales and antiques/housewares related. Today we attended a vehicle and equipment auction. I've been thinking about picking up a cargo van to use instead of my personal vehicle. I put a ton of mileage on it between my full time gig and buying and selling junk. Plus, moving furniture and goods in my Jeep has already resulted in some scratches and dings. I'd like this Jeep to last.

I've never been to a vehicle auction, and this one in PA had dozens of trucks, vans, big rigs, and construction gear. I didn't anticipate on finding some real treasures mixed in, but sometimes you have to think outside the box! I found some AWESOME aqua stools. They were sold by the pallet, and I bought the entire lot. I also picked up some factory parts baskets, used in an industrial parts washer, but would look great filled with pretty much anything. I also picked a great 60 drawer bolt cabinet!

I took the little princes with me, and she was pretty awesome! With waking up almost 2 hours early, driving an hour and a half, and walking around a loud auction yard, she was amazing! There were a couple other kids there, so she got in a little play. I also let her climb on and into all the equipment! Front end loaders, backhoes, big rigs... Pretty much anything that she wanted. Turned out to be a great place to take a 3 year old!

Like I said, I found some junk treasure, and a playground all in one!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Last Day in London

Today was our last full day in London. It was also the first day the sun peeked through the clouds and the wind wasn't viciously tearing through our coats!  I'd say it was around 50º, which is downright balmy!

This morning we were woken by the sounds of drums and bass, and loud cheering.  Looking out of our window, we saw THOUSANDS of people.  This is an odd sight as we are staying in the Docklands, which is an "in transition" area of London.  Up until about 15 years ago, this was the main shipping area to get goods into the city.  With the change to container based shipping, the shallow waters couldn't handle the larger ships needed.  The area was mostly empty warehouses for years.  They have recently begin developing it as rents in central London are around £5000 a month!

But enough of crazy London rents and real estate.  It turns out, they were holding the open auditions for the UK X Factor, outside of our hotel!  When we ventured out later in the morning, we sat near an older man who auditioned, and made it through the initial round.  He was calling his family members telling them he made it through and to cross their fingers for him!  I'd put him in his 60's, and I heard him sing a little verse on the train

We decided to make one more venture out to the Spitalfields Vintage Market.  We were going to go to Portobello Rd, but it's a bit touristy these days with high prices.  I'm glad we changed it up as we've never been to Spitalfields.

The old Truman's Brewery takes up blocks and is now home to pubs, restaurants, vintage stores and artists studios.

These guys had some great vintage globes, as well as an 1800's globe in a clear box.

I loved these metal bistro chairs and matching table, all from the 1950's.

Right after I took this shot, the storekeep warned me to not take photos of his stuff, lol.

Cool trapdoor in the floor of a shop.

The market was a mix of mostly vintage clothing, a little antiques, a little flea, and a little farmer's market.  All in all a good outing.

Riley eyeing up which pie she wants for lunch.

I adore old Factory lighting!  Wish I could afford it!

We finished up the day by going to Kensington Gardens and letting La Petite Fille run around with the rest of the kids, finally getting a respite from the cold.  It's been a harsh March in the UK, with an estimated 5000 deaths due to the cold snap they experienced. We were glad Riley got to see some sun and mingle with the other children.  The park was swarmed and there was a wait to get into the Princess Diana Memorial Park with it's Peter Pan theme. 

Kensington Swans


Last tube ride, with the exception of heading to the airport tomorrow!

Even with the cold, all three of us a had a great time, saw some great sights (& sites), and can't wait to get back again someday.

Adios London!  See you again soon!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Our day at the Newark Antiques & Collectibles Fair (photo heavy)

Today was our big excursion to the Newark Antiques and Collectors Fair in Nottingham.  We came to London to see the sights (and sites), and our trip happened to coincide with this amazingly large Antiques and Junk Fair about an hour train ride out of London.

This is the largest Fair of its kind in Europe, and vendors come from all over to participate and sell their wares. If only I had my own cargo container and an unlimited bank account! I picked up a couple small items (some French grain sacks, a brass compass, some antique keys, a couple of cool bottles), but everything I wanted was too big, and with the exchange rate, too pricey.  It's a 2 day show, with day 1 costing £20 and day 2 costing £5.  We went on Day 1 and I'm glad we did.  From what we saw, Day 2 had about 1/2 of the vendors as Day 1.  Many people actually sold out!

These guys were from Portugal and had a bunch of cool Industrial items, I loved these bins and racks.

This place was packed!  We got in around 11, which was later than I wanted, but you try getting a jet lagged 3 year old out of bed, fed and dressed before 7am!  The train station was a 45 minute tube ride from our hotel, but we made the train with about a minute to spare!!  It was an easy ride through the countryside.  La Petite Fille slept the entire way which allowed us to rest a little ourselves.

These folks had a truck full of bins stuffed with silverplate, brass, and copper. 

The weather was still pretty bad.  Cold with a very strong wind.  I'd say it was in 30's with a windchill that dropped it another 10º.  We bundled up as tightly as we could and braved the elements in the name of Junk! My wife and daughter were great sports and complained very little about the overcast & windy weather.  We took lots of breaks in the indoor areas, that were heated a little, but with hundreds of people constantly in and out, not much warmer than outside.

This area was more of the "Flea Market" area.  Antiques mixed in with household and bric a brac.

I found tons of pieces that I loved, but unfortunately could only bring home photo's. I usually take about 150-200 pics a day when we're travelling in Europe.  But, I was so busy looking at everything, I only ended up taking about 100.

One vendor had dozens and dozens of old frames! Anyone that knows me knows I buy as many as I can find.

The fairgrounds had a good mix of indoor and outdoor areas.  The indoor spaces tended to be more along the lines of fine antiques, silver and jewelry.  Which is nice to look at, but not really up my alley.  We tried to mix it up (mostly to stay warm) but going 

One of my favorite booths.  These guys were from Hungary and loaded up with great Industrial items.

I REALLY wanted to ship this rotating parts cabinet home.  £200 was a great price, but another few hundred in shipping wasn't.

Can't go wrong with old soda crates!

They also had stacks of these orchard baskets.  I wanted them all!

The last pair of industrial stools.  The vendor said he had 40 a few hours before!

Stacks and stacks of stained glass windows

I really contemplated buying this little stool.  I really adored the graffiti.

I have a thing for old copper cookware.  This piece was a creamer, and probably weighed around 12lbs.  £75 price was pretty good to boot!

This guy had TONS of stuff from the States.  I think I found my real calling.  Picking in the US and shipping it over to Europe.  Exchange rates are better!

He had about 200 of these cool little painted buoys. Not that old, but still looked awesome as a group.

Riley even found a new friend, an adorable puppy named Sandy.

Stacks of Explosion-proof lights.

This Dane took old metal milk crates and turned them into stools and furniture.  A great way to upcycle.

Industrial bins, ready to fill with whatever you need to organize!

I would have bought all of these dough proofing boxes!

Old suitcases always catch my eye.

My grandmother had this same set of chairs in her basement for years. 

I picked up one of these cool mercury glass seltzer bottles.

Old crockery!

Piles of old galvanized and zinc buckets.

The only vendor that was selling ASCP furniture.  

This trestle table was pretty awesome too!  English oak top and the base was from an English Army Field Hospital.

Great splash of Blue on this factory cart!

Should've bought it!  Fencing helmet and matching gloves.  Should've bought it :(

More industrial lights that you could shake a stick at!

Now this was weird.  I talked to the vendor, who was a personable chap, and he dated this apple box to the 1920's.  Definitely an odd sight.  I was initially attracted by all the advertising boxes.  He had a great selection of items.

Including this All Purpose Soap from before 1920.  The company was acquired by Lever Brothers and discontinued. 

Shot of one of the fields.

I Love BriWax and Mylands.  Wish I could get some gallon containers in the states!

Vintage English fire extinguishers. Topped with glass, these would make awesome end tables!

French wine mixing bottles.  

More leather suitcases than I could count.

Love old signs, but this stall was a little pricey and they weren't willing to offer a trade price.

My girls were awesome.  Our Daughter even found Mike the Knight!

We don't see these in the states.  I picked up one of the Tooth Paste containers.  LOVE old advertising pieces.

One of the barns, packed full!

I'd love to have this in my kitchen!  If only it wasn't so heavy.

Old ship spotlights, I wanted them all!!

Marine binoculars.

AWESOME periscope!  Mounted to an antique tripod.

Another ships spotlight.  I really liked the items in this booth. Very unique, and super expensive :(

All in all, it wasn't a bad day.  I picked up a couple cool items.  Saw TONS of junk, and spent some time with my ladies.  If only it was warmer!  As we were leaving the Fair (which was right next to a sheep farm) the Sun started to peek out from behind the clouds, too little, too late!  We made our way back to the train, in the warmth of the free shuttle from Newark North Gate Station.

This was a great fair to attend.  Many of the vendors would offer discounts "to the trade" if you asked.  If the exchange rate wasn't so bad, I would have made more offers and filled up a cargo container!  

I bet my wife would have made me ride in it all the way back to Baltimore as well! I hope you enjoyed my little walk around, I may do another post just to pop some more pics up for everyone to see.  The next couple of days we're going to hit some of the London Antique Markets before heading home.  I do miss my bed!

Sleepy eyes, but still loving being in London (especially London Bridge!)