What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Junk Ranch - Spring 2016 Recap

Okay folks  - I'm here with all the deets.  I am still not feeling like myself, but I realized that my chest hurts and my sinuses are giving me problems, so that must be part of it.  I think the dust just settled in my chest and is sitting there.  I've started Muscinex which is like the THE INVENTION EVER, so that will help.  I'm still tired, but I rarely get a full 8 hours of good sleep.  WHINE WHINE WHINE COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN!  :)

Wednesday I loaded the car with the tables, my crates and as much merchandise as I could squeeze in there.  Thursday morning I loaded the truck with the big stuff and the rest of my tables and set up stuff.  About 10:30, The Bean and I headed out to set up the tent, tables and staging areas.  The Breadman came out about 1:30 to bring us the truck items.  He started unloading things in his random here, there and everywhere method and I suddenly got VERY testy about that.  I like to put things where they go on the first touch of an item.  Does that make sense?  Why set it here, then move it there, then put it over there until you can put it where it goes???  I say put it close to where it goes the first time.  I know things will get shuffled and moved a bit, but I like it at least sort of close to where it will stay.  WHINE WHINE WHINE.  

After we unloaded we came home for another load of merchandise and some food.  Back out to the Junk Ranch to set up as much as we could until it was complete the next morning.  I owe props to The Bean for knowing exactly how I want things set up and how I want it to look.  He is like a mini me except he is a foot taller than me, but you know what I mean.  Thursday while I was setting up a couple women came into the tent with their shopping carts and started rummaging in my stuff asking for better prices.  I mean, COME ON - why are you in my tent blocking me from dong my work PLUS asking for better prices.  Not cool ladies.  Not cool. COMPLAIN COMPLAIN COMPLAIN.  

Friday morning I got up at 5:30.  It's funny how I never, ever get up early to go buy junk.  But I will get up at the crack of freaking down to go sell stuff.  Packed the food, lots of water and ice and headed out for the day.  The gates opened at noon and the lines were long both in the ticket line, the gate and on the highway.  It's always exciting when you see the people coming in droves.  It's a "If you build it, they will come" sort of thing.  This year the backyard behind the old farmhouse was opened up before the gates so that shoppers could hit the food trucks, buy a Junk Ranch t-shirt and listen to the band in the shade.  It was a good option for the early arrivals so they didn't have to stand in the hot sun in line.  They did have to tag team to keep their spots, but most people figured that out and handled it well. 

The gates opened at noon and here they came in like a flood!  Wheeee!  NOT COMPLAINING!

I had these old shopping carts in the shed for years.  A few weeks ago at a sale I bought the new liners for $1.00 each.  I cleaned up the carts, added the liner and put the #junkranchloot sign on the front for fun.  I set them out in front of the booth and the first guy in the gate bought one.  Then the crowds took over and it looked like someone had just left their cart sitting there, so I moved it and did the same thing on Saturday morning.  First lady in the gate bought it too.  Note to self - find more carts for next time!  

Time for booth photos!

I always set up two tables back to back and load them with vintage on one side and ephemera on the other side.

This side was out from under the tent and in the full sun.  I didn't sell a lot off of it.  Oh, I did sell quite a bit, but not enough to make a difference when it came to packing it back up.  But, I do cram a lot on there!  

The ephemera side.  I found that spinner rack for $1.00 and made packets of goodies to put on it out of my crafting stash.  

Lots of flash cards, bingo cards and the usual.  Most people just stand in this area and stare them tell me, "You have the CUTEST stuff!'  I appreciate that.  I know that Lara and I both have sort of different booths from a lot of the rusty and crusty, but not so different that we don't belong there either.  I hang my head in shame when I tell you that I do not have a single photo of Lara's booth. She had so much goodness  tons of signs, and her prints and a splash of vintage.  It was lovely and she sold a ton.  I am a bad, bad friend.  I usually walk around my booth visiting with customers and rearranging my items as they sell.  This time I mostly sat in my square foot of shade and tired not to pass out.  Literally.

Those Scrabble words - they still sell.  Not crazy like they used to - but enough to warrant taking that suitcase and throwing it out.  I opened a lot of packs to make certain words for people like names and special sayings.  I usually take the tin of letters, but I forgot this time.  

I had an odd area in front, so The Bean arranged extra crates and boards and made another set of shelves for me.  I sold that circus banner, which made me happy - love it when someone likes junk I make.  My homemade flashcards sold well.  The Dolores' Beauty Salon sign didn't sell, so I hung it in my bathroom.  I really wanted to keep it when I bought it, but thought I should try to sell it.  

See those framed flash cards in the middle?  Those were my best sellers.  

I had two bins of them.  I sold over half of what I took.  Very popular.  I bought the flash cards on Instagram and then another lot on ebay.  I buy the frames at Dollar Tree - they are certificate frames - 11 x 14.  They are thin black frames that highlight the flashcards perfectly.  Ordinarily I wouldn't buy frames from the Dollar Tree for reselling, but these are perfect.  They are also very hard to find.  I bought all I could find locally, then I ordered two cases to be shipped to the store.  Only one case ever came and in the case that did come, seven of the frames were broken.  Whomp  Whomp.  It took me forever to get my money returned, but I finally did.  They only carry them around graduation, but I will always be looking for some to pop up.  And when they do, I will buy all I can find.  They sold for $15.00 each and I could have probably put $20.00, but I hate to be overly greedy.  It was fun to hear why people chose the ones they did.  The "nap" one above went to a young couple to hang by their bed.  I had thought it would go in a nursery, but their plan made me even happier!

Here is the other side of the booth.  I took what I thought would sell this time of year - picnic, camping and outdoor things.  I did sell some of those things, but I really sold my usual different than the norm things.  The oddball things that I like to buy and sell.  I sold that white cabinet, the little denim jacket (it said HOWDY on it) and the three tiered plant stand.  That Lions sign got picked up a hundred times, but it didn't sell.  I had kind of a fat price on it, but justifiably so.  

This cabinet is from an old mechanics shop.  The shelves held the record books and the row of hooks held the keys.  There are still pencil marks noting 1949 Ford on one hook.  It has been in my garage for about fifteen years, I kid you not.  I decided to take it and sell it.  But then as I was using it for my displays, an idea came to me for a way to actually use it at home.  So, I stuck a SOLD sign on it and used it for display.  Those pop crates fit in there like drawers.  Pretty handy.  

I took nearly my entire Thermos collection, decided to give it up for the betterment of the family and to make money and all that crap.  Lucky for me, none of them sold, so they are right back on my shelf where they will stay!  Can't say I didn't try!   I did love the way they fit in that pallet wine rack though.  I picked that rack up for $1.99 and used some brass stencils to put WINE on it.  It sold as well as the white cart. Those lights were cars and campers - sold those for $18.00!  

That big fan sold as well as the little lawn chair.  Selling that little lawn chair was HARD.  It was so darling!  The lady that bought it said she has a thing for little chairs.  Likes to find different ones for her collection.  That made me happy because that is why I bought it!

Sold that small gumball machine.  The larger one didn't sell.

My booth is in the same town as the Junk Ranch and most people hit the shops before or after they come to the Junk Ranch.  I left a pile of my old pink business cards in my booth with a map to the Junk Ranch.  If they brought me a pink business card, I would give them a free gift.  On Saturday, three women came running in waving pink business cards at me.  I let them pick out one of those book cover clipboard as their gift and they loved them.  Those were the only three that I gave away, but it was an interesting experiment.  I did it last Fall and only two people followed through.  I think I will always do it just for fun.

Lara and I share a check out area.  The sun was beastly so Lara had the foresight to stop and buy a 9' umbrella on the way back on one of her load trips.  Since I am a big old copycat, I went and bought one later that night.  They really only made shade for a few hours, but they really saved our lives.  Best money spent ever.  

I had this area in the back on Friday, but I moved it all up to the front on Saturday.  Sold some toys and a lot of linens.  Linens seemed to be popular this year.  *See that ICE truck we sat behind all weekend?  Kind of ironic to be sweltering and wanting a cold drink of water to see the word ICE behind you all the time.  Getting ice for the food trucks was the most popular job amongst the Ranch Hands.  I would have volunteered in a heartbeat!

 The feedsack pendants.  I took the whole printers tray full - over 350 pendants.  I love the way it looks all full like colorful candies.  I always take too many, but it looks nice all in the tray.  I sold quite a few and got lots of compliments.

I use this antique feedsack chicken quilt that my great-great grandmother made to show what feedsacks are and to demonstrate what the pendants are made from - but everyone wants to buy the quilt.  Even when I say my GGGrandmother made it they want me to say a price.  Like I am going to say it's a family heirloom then say it's $10.00?  Not.  

I had the vintage candy package pendants too.  Little girls and college girls like them.  

Vintage cake decorations.  

Sold that 1000 FT sign to the first guy that bought the first cart on Friday morning.  On the shelf you can see the Formica Sample keychains that everyone LOVED on Instagram.  I sold about 25 of them on IG and everyone was so supportive that they would be HUGE at the Junk Ranch.  But, one lady deemed them "Weird" and that was the only comment I had on them all weekend.  Now, that sounds like I am WHINING or COMPLAINING, but it actually made me laugh.  It's funny how crowds are different and like different things.  I can sell something in one booth that would never sell in the other booth or sell it at the Junk Ranch but never on ebay.  It's such a hard thing to figure out!  (But it gives me an excuse to BUY ALL THE THINGS).

I had an old Church Pulpit for sale.  Sold to a lady to give as a gag gift to her husband for Father's Day.  Their niece recently got married out in a field with horses and hay bales and asked him to get Internet Ordained so he could do the ceremony.  He laughed and said you couldn't do such a thing, but then did a little research and discovered that for $16 and ten minutes, you really could - so he did! She said buying from his Amazon wishlist is too predictable.  I wonder what he will think when he gets a pulpit and not Game of Thrones?

I met lots of Instagram followers and a few blog readers.  Many of my favorite shoppers came by - Myra, Carrie and The Rose Bud Queen herself.  I have relationships with so many people that I only see out in that field.  They come to see Lara and I and to visit with us.  It really is such a fun weekend.  It's nice to feel liked and loved and hear nice comments about the things you have found, the things you have made and the way you have them displayed.  

I will say that when I left on Saturday night, I was so spent and sweaty and exhausted that I said I might not do another Junk ranch.  But Sunday morning, I started making notes for the next Show. September 30th.  It will be here before you know it!  

I feel very lucky to be a part of the Junk Ranch family and to be one of the vendors that has been there from the start.  The co-founder even called mE Monday to see how it went for me.  (Hi Amy!) I don't think most show organizers do that.  I could never do a show very far away, so I am lucky that it is so close to my house.  I made four round trips to the Junk Ranch and a run into town for dinner one night and I drove a total 60 miles.  That is awesome.  

So, there you have it.  

The Spring Junk Ranch.  Done.

The Spring Junk Ranch Blog post.  Done

Done and Done!


  1. I love a good flea round up. Love hearing about the set up, crazy customers, the elements and especially what sold. Find it all endlessly fascinating. Interesting about the shopping carts...I wish your weather cooperated better and I hope you recover quicker. Now get Lara rev' up for her review.


  2. Looks like it was a grand time. Your booth would likely be one of my favorites. And I would've bought more formica sample key chains!

  3. I enjoyed your journey of sales at the Junkyard Ranch. Now I'm going to be rude here and ask your age. Of course you can fib or be outraged that I even ask. But I feel that you are close to my age of 68 by the way you write. And the thing you like. If that is so, please be very careful in this heat. I gave up outdoor shows away back because it is so dangerous
    being in that heat for seniors. I really like following you and want to do so for a long while. Praying for you to feel better soon.

  4. The heat is the hard part!! When I've gone on the Worlds LOngest Yard Sale at times I thought I would melt! Glad you did well and I love love looking at your displays and all your stuff.

  5. High five for a job well done. I can't believe how much stuff you bring with you (well I can, but still). The heat would have done me in (and not at the age of 68 :) )

  6. I did a one-day flea here in OR in 100 degree heat and it just about did me in! Not sure how many outdoor events I have left in me! I love reading your posts and IG feed, especially ones about what sells/doesn't sell. I find it totally interesting how things sell so differently in different parts of the country, and online vs in person.

  7. I love this post and almost feel like I was in your booth. I was just outside in the terrible heat and humidity, so sympathizing with you doing a show in that weather. It just drains you. You have great stuff, glad you did well and hope you feel better soon. :)

  8. Suzanne @ Junkity Funkity302:01 PM

    You really DO have awesome stuff! I would have been one of those shoppers who said, "You have the cutest things and such GREAT displays!" and then I would have bought a crapload. The picnic stuff, squeakers, flash cards, linens...all good vintage deliciousness. Can't wait to see what unfolds in September.

  9. Thank you for sharing your awesome sales with the rest of us. I was eagerly looking forward to your recap. Sounds like you had an awesome time despite the heat. Hopefully, it will be much cooler in September (and NO RAIN!)

  10. What a satisfying post! It was everything I wanted and more. I devoured your post instead of my Chex mix - didn't want to stop reading. I have done literally hundreds of shows so I can empathize with everything you had to do (and the heat - you are a trooper!). At this point in my life, it would have taken me a week to recover so props to you! Your inventory is just lovable! So glad you had a successful show. Hope you find more carts before the next JR - I think you've hit on a great idea!

  11. Wouldn't that make YOU the Bean's mini-me??? Also, all these years of marriage and you still haven't figured out the way men work? We don't make sense and we're freaking proud of it!!! And then we look for a woman to clean up the mess we just made.

    I am so glad it went well. Between you and Donna, I've been sending out good show vibes for weeks. I can take a break now. I was worried about the heat. It's been just miserable around here.

    I would have totally bought that nap sign. Thanks for the tip about the certificate frames. I've got some old religious signs that I need to put in frames for resale and they are about that size.

    Please get some rest and get better. If your home remedies and meds aren't working, please see your doctor. It sounds like you might have something that could easily turn into pneumonia.

  12. You have oodles of wonderful items - so much to choose from.

  13. Big high-five on a successful sale. I hope you are getting some much needed rest!

  14. Yay!!! So glad you didn't feint. I'm always amazed at the amount of stuff you can get in your booth!!! You should get all fancy like and do a video on setting up for a show (like you're not busy enough as it is before a show).

  15. Shara, great sale, great photos and wonderful comentary! Loved it. One question.... Why in heck do they wait until noon to start the flea market in that terrible heat???? We go to Brimfield at 8:00 AM and we're done by 12-1 PM. I hope you're feeling better by now, but if not take Eddie's advice and see a doctor. 68 years old????? Not even close! xx


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