Sunday, November 26, 2017

Decorating With FREE Live Greens

Hi friends. We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I have been packing up all the Fall decor around here. Christmas is now in full force. We still haven't decided if we are doing a live tree this year or getting a new artificial tree. I have had a beautiful flocked tree for many years now but honestly it has seen better days lemme tell ya! It may be time to break down and get a new one. 

Speaking of is hard to believe it will be here in twenty eight days. For all you junkers...that's only three  weekends in which we have left to go pickin. Here is a fun Christmas countdown site in case anyone is interested.  Just click here to bookmark it. 

We got a lot of questions about live greenery from the blog post we did on November 18th. If you missed that post you can click here to read it. This is going to be a follow up to last post.   

The most asked question we got was "Where can I find live greens" Well, try your own yard first. You will be surprised what you might find once you really start looking around. You may be saying that's great for you, but I live in the city. If this is not an option for you, try a family member or friend's yard. If plan B fails then visit your local nursery, hardware store or Christmas tree farm/lot. Those places clip off branches and then toss them out. I can't tell you at the free clippings I have scored at Christmas tree lots. Fortunately, now I live in a wooded area so I have a plethora of lush greens to choose from. 

A good friend of mine hit the jackpot at Home Depot. The stores that sell xmas trees clip off branches and then toss them in a designated bin. Of course, she asked first before she took some. She did ask if other Home Depot stores did this and she was told the ones that sell trees do. But if you decide to go this route just make sure to seek permission from a store manager first. 

If you are not feeling all Daniel Boone like then the stores that I just mentioned above also sell greens. They just don't make it known they toss this stuff out. 

The next question we were asked was how to preserve greens. That question is easy. Just as you would keep a Christmas tree in water, you will want to keep a spray bottle with water sitting around. Make sure to mist your greens two to three times a week and especially if these are indoors. If you are decorating outdoors like a doorway or porch railing etc, you will not need to give the greens as much attention. Cooler temperatures help to naturally preserve them longer. 

The best time to purchase greens is a couple of weeks before Christmas. Also, make sure your greens are fresh before you purchase them. 

The last question we got was what kinds of greenery are best. Honestly, it's just personal preference. I love to decorate with Cedar, Leyland Cypress and Pine tree branches. I have a couple of Magnolia Trees and a Holly Bush in my yard too so I grab a few sprigs off those too. 

Some other greens you can use are: 

~Noble Fir
and last but not least...mistletoe. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Simple Farmhouse Christmas Decor

When it comes to decorating your home or a booth sometimes it's the most simple decor that is the most beautiful. I love decorating with nature and bringing the outdoors inside. Decorating with live greens is one way I achieve this look.  

Today, my hubby and I were able to get out and do a little bit of junkin. We stopped by The Apple Barrel Antique Mall. I wanted to share some pictures from my favorite booth. They mostly sell handmade furniture with some vintage decor items mixed in. This booth is always simple and understated but it's still an attention grabber. I never see a booth name though. So, unfortunately, there are no social media links to share. 

 So remember when you get ready to decorate for the holidays grab some pinecones and pine branches or magnolia branches from your yard...or a friend's yard. Here is a picture from my booth where I use both. I put them inside a galvanized bucket with this glittery deer and I have an instant centerpiece.  
That's all folks. Thanks for stopping by.

This little fella is my partner in crime and faithful junkin companion. He loves to go pickin!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Booth Conference 2017 Recap

Attending Booth Conference in Huntsville, Alabama this past weekend was priceless. The owners Trish and Cindi of University Pickers also in Huntsville hosted this event. This was to my knowledge, the first of its kind for the booth industry. A big round of applause should be given to these gals because what once was just an idea for them, was quickly put into action. They strategically and tirelessly planned out every last little detail. They traveled all over the south-east promoting it and they finally saw it come to life at the Von Braun Center, November 10th and 11th. Two days were filled with guest speakers, vendors, panel discussions, food, fun and lots of laughter. Everyone learned a lot and had a great time. 
The opening keynote speaker, Jennifer Allwood, was incredibly inspiring. She created and runs a paint company, The Magic Brush. The story of how her company grew from the beginning to a multimillion-dollar business because of her hard work and dedication was nothing short of amazing.  Being a wife and mom her speech titled “8 Things I Wish I Had Done Sooner” was very informative. She gave us all tips on growing our business whether it is an antique booth or owning a store all while making sure to give the family the attention they need and deserve. Today she is a life coach and mentor of women in business.  If you have not heard of Jennifer, we urge you to look her up.

We ended the day with a fun dress up dinner party. We got to pick our favorite decade and dress the part. Each table had a fun centerpiece. 

 These two cuties are Carlie and Nikki. They own a store near Memphis, TN and they are going to be doing a shop interview with soon. 

Brittany Young opened the second day of the conference. Brittany considers herself a “Certified Celebrator”. She loves throwing parties, decorating, and encouraging others. She gave us her ideas on branding and partnerships. It is so important to brand yourself. When your business grows to the point that you need to brand, someone may already have your web domain. Brand now and buy your domain name while you are small to avoid problems down the road. Brittany is also a wife and mom. She balances her business life with her family life daily. She is a great example to those of us who feel overwhelmed every day. Running a business and a family is a huge undertaking but Brittany has done so successfully. 

The presenters had lots of valuable information and wisdom to share with everyone. Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of all the speakers and the ones I did get are not the best. In the vendor's area, they had great product demonstrations. I came away with so many great ideas on large and small projects. Many of the vendors gave away samples and had drawings for wonderful prizes. There were also materials you could purchase. I am so excited to get started on some of my projects. I am planning a special holiday season with my grandchildren this year. We are going to make many memories and fun things to keep for a lifetime. 

I am exhausted after the weekend but it was well worth it. I want to thank everyone that came to the Booth Crush session on Friday. I enjoyed meeting you all and hearing your stories. Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement you gave me. I think the biggest compliment of all was the lady that said she took 4 pages of notes. Scroll down the page to see some photos from the event. 

Josh and Merry Melton - Southern Chic Couture

Ruth Barnes - Southern Junkers

Thanks again to Stacey Anderson (owner) Queen of Hearts Antiques and Interiors (Marietta) for donating these precious little, pocket-size tape measures. 

These seemed to be a hit at the conference. Who doesn't love pink? Three were given away. There were some folks expressing interest in purchasing them. Please let us know if you are interested and will check on placing a bulk order to do better pricing. Email us at 
I think we will do a giveaway for another one. This will be for those of you that didn't get to come to the conference. Details to follow soon. Thanks for stopping by. Have a great night. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Three Easy Ways to Get Holiday Traffic Through Your Doors

We got an email the other day from a new shop owner. She just bought a small antique business earlier this year. She said sales have been slow and she wanted to know what she could do to get holiday traffic through the door. So we figured there might be other shop owners out there wondering the same thing. Here are several ways. 

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE Most shops big and small host a holiday open house. For those that don't, we highly recommend it. Get with your dealers and create a sign-up sheet for volunteers. Usually, a dealer will volunteer for 2-4 hours at a time. They can help with things like wrapping purchases, walking the aisles, assisting customers or replenishing snacks.  rYou can also create a snack list and ask dealers to bring in cookies, drinks etc. If everyone pitches in it will make things run more smoothly. Be sure to share your event on all your social media platforms too. 

PHOTOS WITH SANTA We all know parents love taking photos of their children. So hire a Santa this year and give them another great reason to visit. Most shops hire a Santa for the day which is usually a Saturday and they will offer refreshments too. 

HOLIDAY PHOTO BOOTH I have seen some stores set up a holiday booth or small area for customers to stop and take photos. This is usually left up for the entire month of December. If you are on Instagram this is a great opportunity to drive some business your way. Create a unique hashtag for your customers to use. Ask customers to share their photos by tagging the store in this unique hashtag. Then share some of those customer photos on your Instagram or Facebook page. Customers will be delighted to see their face on your social media and they will share it on their social media pages too. Their friends will see and so on. Hey, it's free advertising and nothing is sweeter than word of mouth. Don't forget to place a sign in the booth asking customers to tag the store in their photo. Your sign could be a handwritten chalkboard message something like this: 
(I'm using Queen of Hearts Antiques as an example #QOHHoliday17) 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

6 Tips For Better Price Tags

1. Make sure all of your items have price tags.  I know we are all busy and there are times when we are in a hurry and forget to price something. Tags may also get torn off during the shuffle of moving things around. When you stop by your booth plan to spend a few extra minutes scanning over inventory. 

2. Make sure your price tags are legible. You always want to make sure your tags are legible. If the staff is busy they may not have time to call you. It's unfair to them as well as customers that are waiting in line. I think hand written tags are very personal and I love seeing pretty cursive handwriting. If you are like me and have chicken scratch you could always print your tags. If printing is not an option for you, use rubber stamps for the price. I've seen tags where dealers write in the description info but use rubber stamps for the price. Rubber stamps are so inexpensive and you can them at any hobby store. 

3. Be very specific with your item descriptions. The more descriptive your item is the less chance for tag switching. For instance, if you have a yellow, McCoy planter, don't just put "yellow ceramic planter" Be sure to put the maker, the color and the shape etc. 

4. Give some item history on your price tag. Most people love to know the history. I'm not saying you have to do this for every item. But for those special pieces try to include the history. If that cute fence gate came off a 100-year-old cottage, be sure to include info on your tag. The next time you are picking be sure to ask questions when applicable. Let your price tag tell a story. 

5. Place a layaway tag next to your price tag. This next idea is great and I have only seen it done at  The Queen of Hearts Antiques and Interiors  If your store/Mall allows layaway then place a reminder tag on items that are applicable. A lot of customers may not know or maybe they forget this is an option. Seeing a tag might just be the nudge they need to purchase one of your items. 

6. Have a cute price tag. I'm hanging my head in shame on this tip. I'm guilty of having plain, boring tags and every time I see a cute price tag -- I always say I'm going to step up my game. I need to practice what I preach because I'm a sucker for cute packaging. I have bought things in the past because it had a cute tag or ribbon or a little something extra. 

How cute are these next tags? I once had a dealer tell me (not this dealer) that she only uses large tags. I asked her  why and she said she had found over the course of her thirty plus years of selling it gets the customer's attention. Her logic was if they see a nice piece they may assume it's too pricey and not look at the tag. But if it is a large tag in their face, then they see that it is an affordable item and I just made a sale. The other reason she uses large tags is to discourage theft on smaller items. 

We have done posts on tags before so we won't go into depth here. If you are new or if you happened to miss those posts you can read them here. You will also find links to where we have shared free tag templates that you can download and print from home. 

The Skinny on Price Tags       
Creating Your Own Price Tags

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tips for Cleaning Furniture

I recently purchased a dresser from an antique store. When I got it home I discovered they threw in a little something extra for me...a rat's nest. Yes, you read that correctly. Now let me tell ya, I've picked in some pretty dirty places where you might expect this sort of thing. However, purchasing it from a nice antique store was unexpected and definitely a first for me. Let me state for the record this dresser was not painted. 

A few days later, I was at another antique mall and spotted a really cute painted dresser. As I was inspecting it, I opened up one of the drawers to discover dirt, cob webs as well as a spider. Now, who knows...Charlotte may have just crawled in there, but it was evident the other mess had been there a while. I was a little grossed out and reminded of my previous incident so I didn't bother to look through the rest of the drawers. I just moved on to the next booth.

On my drive home I started thinking about dealers that take short cuts. I know most dealers don't, but it's unfortunate that some certainly do. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because they are new at this or the flea market type malls are not as strict. It always sends up a red flag for me. It makes me wonder if a dealer doesn't take the time to clean then have other steps been skipped in the process. Whether a piece of furniture is painted or left in the original condition it should be clean and ready to place in a customer's home. 

Yesterday, we thought it would be a good idea to post a booth tip regarding this topic. We shared it on our Facebook page. It definitely generated a lot of buzz, so we asked our readers to share some of the ways they clean their furniture and we thought we would share them here. 

I know we all have our own way of doing things. It was interesting to read through the comments for dealer techniques and tips. I will certainly be putting some of these tips to good use on future projects. 

The first step I take when getting furniture ready for my booth is to give it a good cleaning. Well, most items anyway. You never know where something has been. It may have been stored in a musty basement or dusty attic or rescued from a heavy smoker. Some items I clean with vinegar and water. For other items, I like to use a product called: Krud Kutter. Just about all the chalk paints are no prep, but you still want to wipe your furniture down to remove any traces of grease, dirt, and grime. If you skip this step, the paint will not adhere properly. Mineral Spirits is also a good one. 

If it is a dresser, I remove all the drawers to get in the back of the dresser. I turn it upside down so any items that may have been lost will fall out. You will be surprised at some of the things you find. I have found loose change, love letters, old photos, jewelry and even a $20 bill once. 

I make sure to clean under pieces for those stubborn egg sacks and cob webs. I also check under tables and ledges as I seem to always find dried gum or stickers. The better an item looks, the more professional you look. Treat your furniture pieces as if they were going in your home. 

Here are some of our favorite comments, tips, and advice! These were all left by our Facebook readers. 

~Stephanie Thomas: I will give my furniture drawers a peroxide wash to kill the old smells. Nothing more offsetting than that old musty odor.

~Linda Wartick Jernigan:  I wash down with Murphys Oil Soap and follow up with lemon oil if the piece isn't going to be painted. Any nicks are touched up with a furniture marker, water rings are treated. My booth items build my reputation. I want clients to be able to carry it home and immediately put it in their home and be proud. And I want them to come back!

~Rebekah Bronico:  We use the air hose to get all the dirt and cob webs out after we are done sanding then give it a good wipe down.

~Terry Lea: We ask all our dealers and consignors to make sure their pieces are clean, free of odors, dirt, grease, etc. And we pretty much dismantle our pieces (remove all drawers, doors, etc.) and clean them before painting. I've turned pieces over on their backs and hosed off/sponged off bottoms that were full of webs, egg sacks, and dirt. 
Now, in fairness, I will say we have some elusive spiders in our shop that rival Charlotte (of Charlott's Web) in their nocturnal spinning abilities, and if we don't stay on top of them, they can quickly get quite a fantastic array of webs built in a few spots around the shop. But a rat's nest? That's a totally different story. Ewww.

~Barbara Loeb McMahon: Just open every drawer and wash with soap and water. If it is really stained and looks bad, paint them!

~Gay Cordes: I use my high powered leaf blower to clean all my furniture before I do anything. Love Howard orange oil cleaner, Murphy's oil soap. Love to line drawers with paper that I use a couple drops of essential oils.

~Julianne Blanford: I use an old paint brush to clean drawers etc. (I don't have an air hose) I am in love with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers!

~Tracey Martin: Oh my stars!!!! I would never!!! However, this has brought to my mind to open drawers and check out my furniture if it's been sitting in the booth awhile. I always dust them off, but have never taken that extra step, but will now!

~Barbara Condon Nesmith: I dust with a big paint brush-gets into those little corners on pictures and statues. I smell wooden pieces-if it smells like Mildew I won't buy it! I cannot stand that odor.

~Emily Kerley:  I use TSP inside and out.

I personally have not used TSP. But I have friends that use it. It's very affordable and does the trick! 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Junkin 101

Hi Friends and fellow junkers. We are so glad it's Friday and time for some weekend picking. Do you have fun junkin trips planned? Speaking of picking, we have a special guest on the blog today. Her name is Kathy Goodson. She taught school for 32 years. Now that she is retired she has two antique booths and a blog to keep her busy. You can check out her blog here. Her booths are located at Just Around the Corner in Lincolnton, NC. She was kind enough to do a blog for us on how to find, study and attend and shop estate sales. We are excited to share it with all of you. So if you are ready let's get started. Enjoy! 


Where do you find your treasures? I have two antique and collectible booths that I am always on the hunt to fill. I find most of my items at estate sales. If you are new to treasure hunting at estate sales here are some of my best Junkin 101 hints for you. Look at these treasures I found at a recent sale!

In my area estate sales are the goods from a person’s property who has passed away or is no longer able to live in the home. These sales have the largest potential for great finds as they will contain a lifetime of collections. I like estate sales better than auctions as the items already priced.

Rule 1 - Research the estate sale before you go. I use to find sales in a close range to my home. You can find it and similar sites online, or you can download the mobile app for your iphone or android. Once you find a sale, study the photos they have posted carefully. Most items will be pictured but many times box lots can still hold hidden treasures. The site will also have a handy GPS link to the address which is usually not given out until Thursday before the sale in my area as sales are usually on Fridays and Saturdays.

I like to take screenshots of things I'm interested in and try to determine where they are located on the property so I can get to them first. In the screenshots below I spotted Shiny Brite Christmas ornaments (love them), and I determined they were in a bedroom area. In the second photo, I spotted galvanized buckets. Those seemed to be in a basement or block outbuilding.

Luckily my husband goes with me so I can go for the Shiny Brites and he can go for the buckets. As you study the photos think about what you would be willing to pay for the items you like. I sell a box of Shiny Brites for $10-$15 depending on their style and condition. If they are priced $4 or $5 dollars I will get them. I also want that little red flocked reindeer but I won’t pay more than $2 for it. There seems to be a table there so maybe there are more items on the floor I will want to check out. I also saw some interesting things in the kitchen.  There’s jadeite bowl that was reproduced recently so I am not sure of its age but I would pay $10 for it. A fair price on the buckets would be $5 or $6 dollars each. Some other items I saw in the photos I may want to include a blow mold Santa (hot item right now), a red speckled enamel bowl, harvest enamel bowls and a great farm table.

Rule 2 - Prepare for the sale the night before by finding some large bags to put your stash in as you shop. Wear flat shoes and comfortable clothing appropriate for the weather. I also carry a small tape measure and a magnifying glass. I keep a small flashlight in the car to use if needed because basements and storage sheds can be dark. If you like to buy glassware, grab some newspapers to wrap your purchases in too. Carry your money and cards in your pocket and leave your purse behind. Most dealers take a debit/credit card, but be aware there may be up to a 3% charge to use plastic.

Rule 3- Get to your chosen site early. Most estate sale companies give out entry numbers at 7:30 or 8:00 if the sale begins at 9 am. But the line starts earlier than that. We usually pick up some breakfast to eat as we wait after the numbers are given out.

Rule 4- When the sale begins be sure to look around as you head to your favorite items. Remember, there are always items that are not pictured that you may want. Check the prices quickly on the items you were hoping to get. If they are in the range of price You decided was fair put them in your bag and head on to the next items. Other shoppers will take what you want if you do not move fast.

Rule 5 - Most estate dealers have a holding area with boxes for you to put your intended purchases. Be aware that sometimes people will “shop” these boxes while dealers are distracted helping others. That’s why I carry a really big bags which I will put in the holding area when full.

Rule 6 - After you have chosen your favorite items, and you are sure your picks are secure in the holding area go through the property again. You never know what you might discover. Items priced under $200 will usually be half price on day two. Even the higher priced items will be at a reduced price on day two. At an hour before the end of the sale on the last day, items that are left will be greatly reduced. So think about what you want, and start the process over the next day. If you are lucky item you want will still be there and be half price.

Rule 7 - Think out of the box while researching the photos and while on the site shopping. We bought a washboard at one sale and an old soda crate at another. My talented husband put them together and made a wonderful cabinet.

So remember those Shiny Brite ornaments, the blow mold, and the buckets?  Well, we were numbers 3 and 4 to this sale, and we got all of that and more. I did not get the table or the jadeite bowl, but I found lots of great junk that will look fantastic in my booth. I do so love vintage Christmas. So that brings us to

Rule 8-The most important rule to remember is …..  Always buy what you love and have fun JUNKIN.
Thank you, Kathy for sharing your junkin pearls of wisdom with all of us. We really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to be a guest blogger.