A few Saturdays ago, we woke up with absolutely nothing on the agenda. Given our DIY lifestyle, this type of project free weekend is a rarity. I’m one of those gals who can’t just sit around all day and “relax,” so Tom asked me, “What do you want to do today?”
“I think I’d like to go to the City Wide Garage Sale,” I replied. Now, Austin is one of those places where a garage sale isn’t really a garage sale. The CWGS is a weekend marketplace that’s open for vendors to bring in their antique/vintage/retro goodies for people like me to drool over. The CWGS is held about 10 times a year, and I rarely leave empty handed.
With that in mind, Tom asked, “What are you looking to buy?”
“Nothing,” I said.
“Nothing? Then why are we going to go down there?” He asked.
Silly boys. Don’t they understand that we go shopping for reasons other than buying something? I absolutely love visiting any and all vendor style events that I can find. I actually much prefer shopping at these types of events and stores than I do at big box stores and retailers that sell mass produced merchandise.
While we were at the CWGS, I explained to him the reasons why I was looking for nothing and everything all at once.
Reasons to Take Every Opportunity You Have to Visit Vendor Style Events
1. Quirk – Austin does quirk better than most anywhere I’ve ever been. All over town, you can find oddities displayed in unusual ways. One of my favorite restaurants holds a collection of Velvet Elvis paintings. A really great vintage shop has a cowboy ridding a giant rabbit above it’s storefront.
Although you may not be able to see an immediate need for a miniature bear rug (it’s a fake) or a taxidermy squirrel in a bowl of acorns (it’s not fake), Austin has them available to you just the same.
I certainly don’t want either of those in my home, but I would like to find a deer mount that someone was getting rid of. I hate the thought of that poor animal dying for someone’s sport and then being discarded. I think it would be much better in my home wearing tons of beaded necklaces. That’s definitely going to be a battle I have to fight with Tom, though.
Quirky doesn’t always mean animal carcasses, but these two gave me an idea for something fun to do in my own home.
2. Project Ideas – I love looking at projects other people have made using upcycled and vintage materials. The original book wreath was spotted at CWGS several years ago.
There are two DIY projects that stick out in my mind from this most recent trip. The first was a pair of old cowboy boots that had been spray painted turquoise and now serve as vases for fake greenery. The other were these really great lamps made from vintage cameras. This was probably the busiest of all the vendor booths. I’m not sure how many he sold, but people really thought they were fun. I see old cameras in vintage stores all the time, so this would probably be a fairly easy DIY.
3. New Products – Many vendors at antique shows sell products to be used in refinishing their furniture pieces. There are lots of waxes and wood cleaners to be found. During this trip, I got to chat with the Austin representative for a new line of chalk paints called Plaster Paint. It’s made in the USA and cost less than the more popular brands. I kick myself for not picking up a can at the show, but I couldn’t decide on a color (they have great bold colors as well as softer tones). I’m going to try this out the next time I have a piece that needs some paint.
4. Cool Stuff – Obviously, I’m always on the look out for cool stuff at these shows. It might be something I’ve been wanting with a can’t-pass-up price or it could be something that I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. This table of cool vintage clocks had me oohing and ahhing. People were just walking by completely oblivious to them, and I wanted to yell, “What’s wrong with you? You NEED one of these!”
Then, there were a pair of green chairs. I loved them and left them. All day long, I quietly obsessed and stewed about them. Did I have a place for them? Not yet. Did it matter? No. That night as we were getting ready for bed, I told Tom that I was going back for them the next day. He rolled his eyes, but knew that he didn’t have much say in the matter.
As destiny would have it, those cool chairs were still sitting in the same place. And now they are sitting on my very beige wall in my very beige room that’s next on my hit list.
I know that winter is generally a hard time to attend these sort of vendor events in some parts of the country, but the spring and summer mean that there will be all sorts of marketplaces like this popping up. I’ll definitely be heading again to Round Top in April and I’m hoping to hit a few of the smaller shows if they work into my calendar.
How about you? Do you enjoy shopping at vendor type events? What’s the best thing you’ve ever run across at one of them?