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.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry, Merry Christmas!

How can it be Christmas Eve already?  Today I tackled the crowds at the grocery store and picked up the last of the gifts.  It will be a different Christmas here.  Thanksgiving never happened and now Christmas is delayed.  The Bean got sick with a terrible respiratory some or rather the week before Thanksgiving.  He just stopped coughing two days ago.  A little two weeks ago, I woke up to a chest full of congestion.  Later in the day at our usual phone call, I discovered that The Breadman had the same thing.  We've both been fighting it for two weeks.  Yesterday it was 74 degrees and right now it is 34 degrees, rainy and turning into snow.  Being out in that today made my chest a mess again.  My voice is non-existent.  But, I am soldering on and ready to have Christmas.  We are delaying it with my Mom because night before last, her blood sugar dipped to 26 and my stepdad called am ambulance about midnight.  They gave her glucose, an IV and made her a peanut butter sandwich.  She said she woke up and this strange man was shoving a sandwich in her mouth and she didn't understand what was happening.  Her sugar level came up, but now she is constantly checking it (she always did before too) and eating protein to keep it higher.  When she called me the next day (!!!) and told me, I totally lost it.  There wasn't a thing I could have done to help, but MAN, not knowing that happened until the NEXT DAY was brutal.  Thank GOD my stepfather was paying attention to her and realized what was happening.  Thank GOD he was there - she was alone for over a month when he had heart surgery. So, there's that to be grateful for right now.  That all sounds really whiny - right?  We are fine and will get better someday.  It just hangs on forever.  My Mom goes to the doctot on Wednesday, so hopefully he will have some insight.  Although, she has been feeling flu-ish and not eating much if at all, so lesson learned there too.  Hopefully, that is all it was.  FINGERS CROSSED! 

So, having said all that - I didn't think I would ever get all my decorations up this year.  It took me a long time, but I had messes in the house from the shows and things here and there that had to be put somewhere, then I had to box up everything in the living room that is normally out there, haul it to the garage, bring in the totes and then start the merriment.  Except, that a bare living room makes for easy cleaning, so I dusted, vacuumed and shampooed, washed the curtains and all that stuff.  And then I started decorating.  FINALLY.  

I should stop here to say that, OF COURSE, there are bigger problems in this world and heck, even in my own life, than me getting my decorations up.  But, it makes me happy.  It makes me feel like I am doing something that I am good at - making vignettes and displays.  I do so enjoy that.  I get to use the things that I have worked so hard to find over the years.  It makes me love my house, which I don't always love.  It makes me want to try harder to make it a house I love the other eleven months.  And on and on.  You get it, I know.  

Since I always put the same collections in the same places, that is easy - but I always set each collection up differently.  My kneehuggers always have a project or a theme.  I never by new stuff anymore - I just love the old stuff too much.  But, I went to Target and spotted a retro camper.  Ohmygoodness.  I knew right then and there that I was buying that caper and my kneehuggers were going camping!

And, so they did.  (It's such a bad photo - I have asked for gift cards so I can get a new digital camera, so we'll see if that pans out)  It's such a silly thing - all those kneehuggers sitting around a truck and camper.  But, it makes me grin whenever I look at them up there. 

Another new display this year was this Coke Crate. I love all of these cute little figures, but I have never actually used them.  I decided this year that if I didn't use it - it had to go.  So, you can see that I found a place for them.  I did cull out a lot of things to add to The Junk Ranch pile for next Fall.  

My village of Churches is another favorite.  All the pink and the glowing of the lights.  It's dreamy.  

Here's a video of the whole little town I've created with all the best things in the world.  

This photo of my Santa mugs had almost 800 likes on Instagram, which is a lot for my posts.  I guess people still love Santa mugs.  I know I do!

The Santa's in their usual spot.

All my tiny things in the tiny hutch.  

I am obsessed with finding these old Rosbro candy containers - but I haven't found one all year long!  I had those candles in my stash - but I didn't realize they were Rosbro candy containers until I saw then in a magazine.  Whoop!  So,  I added to the collection without even trying.  Luckily, they all fit perfectly in that small shelf, but I am willing to relocate them WHEN I find more.  Cheap.  :)

I hit a thrift in a town I rarely go to and scored all these bottle brush trees.  They aren't vintage, but they look the same as the vintage trees, the price was right and there were about 150 of them, so HELLO, I had to buy them.  Plus, they were ridiculously cheap - I think about $12.0 for all of them.  Great for crafting, snowglobe making, tying to trucks and cars and on and on.  

I do so enjoy the month of December that I get a little sad on the actual day of Christmas.  I leave my things up through New Years and we take the next week to just chill and enjoy the season.  

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  Thank you for your friendship, the comments, the emails and the Christmas Cards.  It means the world to me.  Merry Christmas!!!!  Shara

Friday, November 24, 2017

Santa's Creeping In

Gosh, I never thought I 'd see that day that I had only blogged once a month.  So, I thought I better pop in here for a quickie before the month is over!  I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.  It was just the three of us here and we didn't fix any Thanksgiving food. Well, we did have pie, because you know - PIE.  I was supposed to host a big dinner on Sunday, but we are all fighting the crud - The Bean has it full blown - and I don't want my parents to all be around germs, so we postponed it.  Well, I postponed it, but both sets of parents just said to not worry about it and we will celebrate big for Christmas.  I guess that's fine.  But, I hate to miss any holiday with all of us together.  Plus, I am hankering for smoked TURKEY and mashed potatoes with loads of butter.  And more pie.  Because, PIE.  Luckily, I already bought all that, so as soon as everyone is feeling 100% we shall have that turkey.  And pie.  :)

Thanksgiving Day I drug out the porch decorations and got all my Santa blow molds set up.  Today I finished up the lights.  We used to do lights all along the roof line, but now I just do the inset porch.  I know that blow molds can be considered tacky to some that don't understand them COOLNESS of them, so I try to keep it all contained and together.  It has a nice glow from the street and I have noticed a few cars stopping to look.  I leave the big red "S" up all year for our last name, but I leave it up for Christmas for "SANTA".  

I'm sure it might still look like a crazy bunch to some people, but it just makes my heart sing.  I do love my Santa's.  I feel like I am really behind in decorating, but there's still five days left in November.  I have been itching to decorate for months (I kid you not) so the fact that it is actually time is VERY EXCITING TO ME!  Tomorrow I will drag in all the bins and let the fun begin.  

Last year I bought a white tree.  I have never had a white tree - have you?  I am wondering if it is really bright or puts off heat? That may sound silly, but we have a small, well insulated house and sometimes the heat of the tree really heats up the living room.  I think a white tree with all my vintage ornaments will be so pretty.  But, I don't want to be all blind and sweaty.  LMK if you have a preference, please.  

Off to bed with some Vicks.  You guys take care and thanks for stopping by.

PS I am having a vintage Christmas sale on Instagram on Monday. I'll have vintage Christmas, vintage handmade and other fun stuff.  Follow me on Instagram @sharamonkeybox  

Monday, November 06, 2017

That Other Show I Talked About

I did a Vintage Holiday Market this past weekend.  I have wanted to do a Christmas market for a few years, but hadn't found one that was affordable or close enough that I could do it.  Then I found this one and it was only 10 minutes from my house.  That was good.  The bad part was that it is sort of a competitor to my beloved Junk Ranch.  But, since I had already done the Junk Ranch and there wouldn't be another one until June, I decided that I would give it a try.  Honestly, I almost made myself sick over deciding to do it or not.  I am fiercely loyal to the Junk Ranch and all of these newer copycat pop up shows keep coming along and copying everything TJR does.  I get so riled up you would think that I was an owner!  I had pulled out the best of the best for The Junk Ranch.  I truly only took my leftovers and some things that I had depleted like Christmas flash cards and a few other handmade things. 

The show was inside.  That was one perk.  Level floors where I could build a display anyway I wanted and it wouldn't blow over or get dirty.  The downside was going to be walking each crate, board and table in and that would take a good amount of time  We got there early on Thursday to carry everything in and to set up.  That's when I discovered the biggest perk.....I could DRIVE INSIDE the BUILDING!  I drove in, right to my spot and we unloaded in less than ten minutes. So fast!  People that arrived after a lot of us had set up couldn't do that, so I was glad we had gotten there early enough to drive in.  I had all my diagrams drawn out because I am a total worrywart when it comes to shows and setting up my merchandise for peak eye appeal and to get LOTS of stuff in my section.  

Because I knew exactly how I wanted it set up, I was unloaded and completely done in about two hours.  Not having to deal with the canopy, walls, weights, etc. was a real time saver.  I was super happy with how it turned out after I was done.  

Lara brought in those three signs to add some big pieces to my area.  Most of what I had was super small this time.  I had to get every single thing there in one load and back home in one load.  I did it!  Well, that's not entirely true.  I gave eight crates away to a lady across from me that had admired their usefulness.  I have about 100 of them in my backyard (My Dad gets them for free and I sell them for him), so I was happy to share them and not have to haul them back home!

Let's have a look around.  

Big wire baskets full of vintage Christmas ornaments and crafty bits.  I love using that three tiered wire basket for display.  I honestly don't sell a lot out of it, but it holds the extra things that I am unsure how to display like beaded and candy garland and honeycomb.  I think I sold about ten things out of those wire baskets.  

Each crate or cubby had a theme or a vignette.  Santa mugs here. Not a one sold.

More Santa's here.  The two Annalee's sold.  

I like to fill up a space, then fill it up some more.  :D  I completely sold out of those Christmas flashcards at the Junk Ranch.  I sold 25 packs.  So, I made 25 more.  I sold one pack and that went to a lady that had come to the Junk Ranch after I had sold out.  Most people picked them up, thumbed through them and made a face - like what are these.  What would you do with these?  It was such a different crowd.  The monk choir in the back sold. And that Santa head with the big beard.

I had nearly sold of of vintage ornaments, so I worked really hard to find a bunch of new ones for this show.  Not a single box sold.  (Are you starting to sense a theme here?)

I sold out of cookie cutter garlands at the Junk Ranch, so of course I made more.  They did not sell.  One customer said they were a genius idea.  Then followed that up by saying she was going to have her Pre-K class make some.  So, apparently, my crafting ability is on a four year old level.  Nothing in this photo sold.

This was on the other side.  I used both of my banners which was probably too much, but I usually can't, so I did.  I sold a few red and green handled kitchen utensils.  There is an odd nutcracker in there and I swear to you, every single person that walked by picked it up and looked at it.  We made bets when someone would come by - will they pick up the nutcracker?  YES!  Take a shot.  Ha.  

I turned my domino pendants into ornaments complete with mercury glass beads. A couple people looked at them, commented on the fact that they are dominoes and went on to the next booth.  I head, "We could make those" more than a few times.  UGH, UGH, UGH.  Don't say that EVER!  Think it, make a note of it, write it down.  But DO NOT EVER SAY IT OUT LOUD.  Sure, they aren't rocket science.  But they are MY idea.  I scanned old packages that I found out in the wild,  I figured out the program on my computer to make them shrink to fit.  I found the old dominoes.  I researched and found just the right adhesive,  Spoiler alert - it isn't Elmer's glue.  I learned how to glaze them so there is a raised surface, how to carve the edges and on and on.  They can try to make them, but they won't be like mine.

Thanksgiving flashcards.  Guess how many I sold!  If you guessed, "Not a damn one" *DING*DING* you win!

Beautiful vintage ornaments gathered in old berry boxes.  Sold 43 at the Junk Ranch.  But, this weekend I sold......say it with me...."Not a damn one!"

My only new addition to this show were snow globe necklaces.  

Tiny green bottle brush trees.

And a few of the sweetest little PINK trees.

How many did I sell?


I did put them on Instagram and sold a few. 

The show was Friday from 12-9 which was entirely TOO late.  Saturday was 10-7 which made us load in the pitch freaking dark.  There was a Razorback football game a few miles up the road and everyone had to drive by the show on the way.  I thought that would be GREAT for business.  But, they came to waste a little time before the game.  Not to shop.  They had to save their money for their $25 Popcorn and Coke at the game.  Also, most of them just did not "get" the vintage thing even though the word VINTAGE was clearly part of the show's name.  I got a few "yard sale stink faces" at my stuff.  I did have a good amount of people that came in all smiles and LOVED it all. Memories, mentions of Mom and Grandma - the stuff that makes me love doing what I do.  They got it, they loved it.  They bought something.  That was good.

Rent was $150 and I sold about $200.  Not worth the time by far.  Oh the things I could have done with those two days instead of sitting there.  On Saturday, I got so bored that I listed things on ebay, Etsy and Instagram.  Nearly everyone around me was doing the same thing.  I brought a stack of magazines, read them and passed them on.  I saw those magazines made the rounds to ALL the booths.  "Would you like a magazine?  "OH YES! THANK GOD."  Sheer boredom.

So, lesson learned.  Stick with what I love and what I know is the BEST SHOW EVER - my JUNK RANCH.  (Love you Amy.)  I am done with shows so I am a free woman now.  Bring on the turkeys, bring on the Santa's!  You would think I would be sick to death of Christmas, but I am DYING to see my pretties. I have sold so much this year - I forget that I own the best stuff.  HOARDER and proud of it! 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Junk Ranch #9: The Rundown

I survived another Junk Ranch!  It was actually the best Junk Ranch ever for me in sales, meeting great people and generally having a great time. 

Tuesday I went to rent the U-haul Van.  Now, I am an adult, but I get really nervous doing grown up things.  I just didn't think they were really going to hand me over the keys to a vehicle just like that.  But, they did!  It was raining and I am not a big fan of driving in the rain, but I was a BIG GIRL and I drove that giant van all the way home NO PROBLEMO.  I rented it on Tuesday so we could half load up that day, then finish Wednesday in the morning, then go out and set up the tent and tables so we would be ready to just set up the merchandise on Thursday.  But, Wednesday was a wet drizzly mess so I lost a whole day getting loaded up.  Thursday we loaded up, went out and did most of the set up.  Instead of it being cool and drizzly, it was hot and muggy.  Absolutely miserable.  Now, about 75% of my booth was vintage Christmas and the idea of anyone buying Christmas in 90 degree heat sounded pretty far fetched.  I was getting nervous. 

Friday was hot too, but not as muggy, so that helped a little.  I finished up the last bits in the booth seconds before the air horn sounded to pen the gates and release the shoppers.  Three - two - one and here they came.  And, I swear to you - my booth and Lara's too, were packed within seconds.  I had people lined up to pay for about forty-five straight minutes.  One lady had things in her wagon and asked me if I would mind adding it up in there instead of taking it all out.  When I went over - the entire wagon was FULL!  Plus she had already gotten a white ceramic Christmas tree and The Bean was bubble wrapping it for her.  She bought some of almost everything I had made, plus a lot of vintage Christmas.  She had told her friends that when the gates opened, she was RUNNING to Shara's booth.  I don't think she reads the blog - but she had been watching my Instagram posts and knew just what she wanted to buy in my booth.  She spent $275.00 which is there record for anyone to spend in my booth!  I wish I would have gotten a photo of her with that wagon full of goodies.  But, I was so busy with customers waiting that I just had to go on.  

I want to say that when I saw all of the things in her wagon, I was so proud.  Proud that the things that I had found, or the ideas that I had come up with were appreciated by someone.  I don't mean for that to sound big headed, because I'm not like that at all.  But, I sit on the floor in the living room and watch old reruns of Friends and package up ornaments that I think are old and unusual, then I have to guess on a good price and package them up or whatever and I'm never sure if anyone will think that what I have is good junk or just junk.  I always put more time into my things than money.  I have time to fluff and foof and organize and package.  I enjoy that part.  When others see and appreciate what I think is good stuff, it makes me SO VERY HAPPY.

Saturday morning when we got to the field the rain started.  Not really rain, but enough of a drizzle and mist that I couldn't put out most of my things since they were paper and plastic.  The gates opened at 9:00, and the people still poured in and they were ready to shop!  Luckily, within the hour, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful day.  The line of cars coming in was non-stop from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm.

The shoppers on Friday and on Saturday are as different as day and night.  The Friday shoppers come for specific things.  They have lists and carts.  They are first in line and they RUN to certain booths to get the things they have seen posted on social media.  They have been on Pinterest and have ideas of things to make so they are on the lookout for those things.  Saturday means families a bit later in the morning.  They all have pocket money to spend and they buy what appeals to them.  A little here, a little there.  The kids have money and they are shopping too.  There was a little boy on Saturday that bought one Scrabble tile for 50 cents.  I wanted to give it to him, but I could tell him Mama was giving him a lesson on economics.  He had whatever amount of money he had and he could buy things until it was gone.  He had bought a button, a car and a scrabble tile, so I am pretty sure he was dealing with a dollar.  He paid for that Scrabble tile and tucked it into his pocket, happy as a clam.  (Exactly how happy are clams, I wonder?)

Okay, let's talk about what doesn't sell.  Halloween.  Oh, I sold the two blowmolds I had, and about a dozen handmade banners, but not much else. 

I did sell a few pieces and a few necklaces.  And the cookie cutter garlands.   And all the flashcards.  Well, I guess I sold more than I realized now that I look at the photos.  Still, it took ups a lot of room for no more than I sold.  The handmade banners fly out on Friday.  Just like in June.  Didn't sell a single banner on Saturday.  Just like June.  Weird. I sold a dozen on Friday, none on Saturday.

Another reason that the Halloween might not sell is that I have SO MUCH CHRISTMAS.  It pretty much takes over the whole booth and is all you see when you approach.  Let's have a look!

This is the side that showed as the people came (ran!) through the gates.  I am the very first vendor inside the gate.  So, I try to make a display that shows from the outside and goes around in and about so they can come in and meander.  My booth flows right into Lara's and people assume it is one big booth which I take as a compliment but is probably an insult to Lara's cute booth.  

One of the things I was short on was good ornaments in boxes.  I didn't have enough to make dozens, so I picked out three to six that matched or coordinated and nestled them in shredded paper in a berry basket and priced them accordingly.  I had forty three baskets and only had five when the show was over.  Now, the funny thing is that I took all 43 of them last Fall and not a single one sold.  I had them in the berry baskets, then in a cellophane bag to protect them.  I took them out of the bags and just lined up the berry baskets on the table.  I guess it worked, because they sold! I even came home Friday and made a few more out of just simple colored Shiny Brites and the sold too.  

I sold nearly every box of ornaments I had too.  Looking at these photos is interesting.  I see so much that sold. 

As the day progressed - and I mean about an hour into the show, I realized that I was making money and didn't need to sell a couple of the things that I brought in as money makers.  The Santa got pulled for my collection.  I had only paid $1.00 for him and I collect them.  So, there!  I had a Nativity blowmold set that sold to another vendor before we even opened.

That old toolbox has been to the Junk ranch the last three times.  No one ever even looks at it.  Probably because I usually put so much crap in it and on it.  It makes a great display item.  So, if it doesn't ever sell, I'm okay with that. 

That old pastel was painted in the 1950's by the choir teacher.  The boys names are on the back and it's signed by the teacher.  It's just too big for my house, but I just KNOW someone is going to love it someday. 


Inside, under the tent.  Little things here and there.  That Santa candy container was one of the things that I really didn't want to sell, but I really do't need it, but I really wanted it.......so, I put a fat price on it and waited to see what happened.  Then, a big wind came up and he it the ground and his feet popped off.  Sounds like an easy fix and a reason to keep him to me!

I had been collecting Santa mugs all year for the show.  But, only two sold.  Is it possible that the Santa mug love is over.  SAY IT AIN'T SO, JOE!  Nearly all that little stuff sold.  

Oh, the white ceramic tree.  I had posted it on Instagram and people were ravenous for it.  Offers to pre-pay, offers to come pick it up.  But, I had tagged it #junkranchloot so I wanted it to be at the show.  I priced it $68 which is a very good price for it.  I didn't want to ship it, even though it would have sold for a lot more.  Besides, there is something about seeing the buyer when they get it - that is priceless.  She was SO happy.  Honestly, I don't see the love for those things.  But, I am happy that people DO like them and that I can find them for them.  

I had this old herb drying rack and attached rope to it and a million clothespins to hold all the bagged ornaments.  But, it took up a lot of extra room outside my tent and I felt that wasn't fair, plus people were walking right past it.  I took the ornaments off, put them in big flat baskets for digging, and BOOM there they went.  The big carolers in the back sold to my friends that own Flamingo Springs.

I did take things other than Christmas.  I had my farmhouse area.  I do hate that dumb tent leg in the way.  Lots of farmhouse kitchen stuff.  

I made all these milkcap prize ribbon vases.  I think they are super cute.  If I do say so myself.  :)  The WWII Food Posters well pretty well in my booth and at The Junk Ranch.  There is a popular local blogger that has a similar one in her kitchen.  I think that helps sell it, but I don't know for sure.  

Red and green utensils are popular again with the farmhouse folks.  I had bought a nice lot of really pristine green handled utensils from a IG account and my girl Chanelle (ambrose on here) found me a lot of good red utensils in Chicago.  I had about $60.00 in them with shipping, but I sold about 80% of them and most were $15-$22 each.  So, that was a good investment.  

Cute stuff and ephemera under the tent in the shade, thus the dark photo.  

I keep waiting for the Scrabble words to die out, but people still love them.  

Cute baby things and toys.  Kewpies always sell.  Old wooden toys sell too.  Dolls?  People seem to be scared of dolls.  I don't get it.  

The backside, leading into Lara's booth.  I didn't fill it up as much as usual.  But, it looked good and I sold a lot.  

I bought the souvenir plates for the booth, but took them to TJR first and sold almost all of them.  Good to know!

Cute stuff again, because why not?

For some reason, I get presents at the Junk Ranch.  

Presents from Lara.  I mean, WHY WOULD SHE GIVE ME THIS FABULOUS STUFF?  That garland.  I want to be draped in it when I die.  Ugh.  

Stuff I bought.  Old seals for $1.00 a book and I traded some honeycomb for the trucks from another vendor.  I had taken about twenty different vehicles with trees tied on the top and sold them all.  I need more!  :)

More presents.  These are from my friend Kristie that shares a booth with Lara.  My love of Annalee runs deep!

These are gifts from the Rose Bud Queen.

I met her years ago at the Junk Ranch when she bought this beauty queen trophy from me.  Her intent was to hide it in her sock drawer and years later when the family cleaned out her stuff, they would be impressed that Grandma was a Beauty Queen!  Ha!  She has since become a friend of mine.  She recently went on a trip to Norway and brought me back a rock and some sand.  I love rocks form different places and have always asked for one when anyone travels.  She gave me her super special HEART shaped rock after she found out I collect heart shaped rocks.  (What don't I collect....)  

People are so sweet to me.  Thank you Lara, Kristie and Kelly.  

So, I am doing another show the first weekend in November.  I've never done another show so I don't know what to expect.  But, I will just take me vintage and set up as usual.  Fingers crossed!  

Oh yes- Junk Ranch money made a down payment on a new car.  New to us.  Only 30,000 miles, so that's new enough.  

Thanks for reading all this and coming along on my Junk Ranch journey!

I Can See You!

Look at my Visitors!

Fellow Junk Followers