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.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Junking For Junk Food and MORE

The Week after The Junk Ranch, I wasn't feeling my junk ju-ju at all.  I was junked out.  But you know what I needed?  A cake.  Yep.  A big old cake with frosting.  I didn't really need it, but I wanted it.  I never eat much during the Junk Ranch itself and I was depleted of fluids and had low blood sugar.  So, my brain was saying, "Cake.  Cake.  Cake."  

Now, I had heard a rumor that the Salvation Army had starting getting the day old bakery items from Sam's Club and they were FREE.  So, I decided that maybe I would see if I had any junking ju-ju and maybe, just maybe there might be a little something for my sweet tooth there.  And, maybe something in the junk department too.  

When we walked in, I spotted the shelving full of baked goods, and The Bean spotted a huge stuffed Tiger sitting not to far from it.  He went to look at the Tiger while I went to the "Antiques" area  for a look.  You have to make a purchase to get a free bakery item and I had no intention of buying a giant stuffed Tiger!!!  I didn't find anything, so I went to look at the stuffed Tiger (with my eyes gled towards the CAKE area)  Then I got closer to the Tiger.  He was big.  Like, life sized. HUGE.

As soon as I got close to it, I could tell it was old. There was a tiny tear by his ear and I could see it was stuffed with excelsior.  I realized it was Mohair.  And he had huge glass eyes. Then it hit me, "I think this is a STEIFF!"  I told The Bean that I thought this was really something.  He said, "It's only $4.00"  SOLD!  (There was an old Christmas bow around his neck, which made him look tacky.  But, luckily, that came right off.)

It barely fit in the car!! Luckily, I had just left the booth and unloaded a bunch of junk, or I never could have squeezed him in there.  He weighs about 65-80 pounds, I think.  He is so heavy and just beautifully made.  

A lot of googling and research lead me to this:  He is a Studio Steiff, which means he was hand crafted by a team of people over the course of a few days to a few weeks.  Steiff made three different sizes of these Studio Steiff Tigers and he is the largest of the three.  He was most likely for a huge store - like a Macy's Steiff Christmas display.  His eyes glow in the dark, which is a little jarring when you forget he is sitting in the garage.  Ahem.

He's fantastic - don't you think?  Have you ever seen such a HUGE Steiff???

I've seen a value for him ranging from $350-$1800.  I really like that $1800 amount!  :D  He has that tiny tear by his ear that I mentioned and his mouth has been relined with a reddish corduroy. He is also missing four large carved wooden teeth.  I am assuming those were removed for safety.  Someone said he was faded, but his color is consistent, on his stomach and in the crevices of his legs where light would never hit.  So, I'm not sure it is actually faded.

I would LOVE to know where he came from right  here in my town.  Who owned it?  Where did they get it?  Where did they keep him?  Why did they get rid of it?  Fascinating.  

I shared him on a Facebook of thrifters and one of the members shared it on a Steiff page.  I got a lot of response to purchase him - but MAN - shipping would be a beast. (HA! GET IT!)  It would require a trip to the UPS store to be boxed up, then another trip to the BUS STATION to send him on a Greyhound Bus.  Apparently, shipping through Greyhound is completely normal  - but it is all new to me and it sort of freaks me out to think of buying a stuffed tiger a bus ticket?!?!?  Who am I?  Calvin - sending Hobbs off on vacation???  I'd really prefer to sell him locally or meet someone an hour or so away.  More money to me and not to Greyhound.  

I may take him to the Fall Junk Ranch just as a lure into the booth.  But, he's about as big AS my booth.  He'd be a great photo op too.  For now, he's in the garage taking up the space of a Smart Car.  Thinking, thinking, thinking.  I'll keep you posted!

But, here's what you REALLY WANT TO KNOW.  Yes, I got a cake.  A two layer white cake with buttercream icing and PINK roses - just like I get for my Birthday - and it was FREEEEEE.  And, it was DELICIOUS.  $4.00 for a $1000 Steiff and a $25 cake.  YES, PLEASE!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Spring Junk Ranch 2018 Recap

Man, the Junk Ranch seems to roll around fast, doesn't it?  Only a bit over 100 days until I do it all over again.  Spring Junk Ranch is hard for me - I don't really know what to take, so I just take everything I find.  It's just a hodge-podge of junk.  But, the way I set up my crates, each little cubby is a vignette all of it's own, so even though it is all different, it all flows okay.  But, will it sell?  Who knows until you get there.  I don't do gardening stuff and there aren't many holidays this time of year, so I struggle with a theme.  Fall JR is great, all the vintage Christmas I can scrounge up, vintage Fall, vintage Halloween, Vintage Thanksgiving, there's no end to it.  Easy to shop for, but lots of prep too.  I make a lot of it - and by that, I mean I buy random boxes of Christmas and then sort it all out and make dozens of vintage ornaments or baggies of like things.  There's a lot of prep work.  

But, hey, you are here to hear about THIS Junk Ranch!  So, here it goes.

The cons: 

It was hot.  Sooooooooo hot.  I pretty much sat in my lawn chair for two days and drank water.  I usually walk around my booth and mingle and straighten.  But, in that 98 degree heat  - nope.  I also feel the need to give you TMI and tell you that I drank over a dozen bottles of water and never peed once.  You're welcome.  Due to the heat, there weren't as many customers.  The ones that were there were shopping.  It was just not the usual amount, I didn't think.  But, who could blame them.  It was SO HOT.  Kudos to the brave souls that did come shop.  And thanks too!

I have always been the first booth insde the gate, so I make a big display on the backside of my booth that gets the shoppers attention.  This time, there was a vendor selling plants beside me.  And, that is perfectly fine.  I just did not see it on the map, so I wasn't prepared.  I already had my display pretty much up when they started bringing in truck after truck of plants.  By the time they were set up, no one could see my back display, which was half of my merchandise.  I think I only sold a handful of things on that side, so every time things sold on the inside, I moved stuff around.  (I know you're reading this Amy - and don't think I am complaining,  I just didn't see them on the map and didn't prepare for it.  MY BAD.  You know I LOVE YOU!) 

The pros:

It's THE JUNK RANCH BABY.  I'ts grown by leaps and bounds and given so much life and opportunity to the area.  As with any big event, lots of smaller pop up events have sprung up in the area on the same day.  That's all fine...EXCEPT that they make stabs at the Junk Ranch - FREE ADMISSION.  Avoid the long lines.  Blah, blah, blah.  They act like 15,000 people just happen to show up to go to their 20 vendor market.  Nope.  They come to The Junk Ranch and then they might hit up your little show too.  But, your show wouldn't be possible without The Junk Ranch.  Plus, the best vendors from around the country are selling there, so by the time four or five smaller shows pop up, the quality of the merchandise is going to start slacking.  Oh, I get really mad when I see the stabs and the posts and hear people talking smack about The Junk Ranch.  It's usually local in towners that won't go, yet people drive from Texas to New York to come shop.,  Their loss, I say.  

My, I do get long winded.  :)

Ok - let's see what I did this year.

I brought this vintage car picnic table to sell.  I really think it is cool, I have no real use for it, but damn it, I love that thing.  But, I mustered up my nerve, priced it and took it.  It folds up like a regular suitcase, but when it's open (as you can see) it becomes a small table.  The vintage dishes even fit inside.  I had found the three little chairs at the thrift for 99 cents each and the chickens at a Church Sale for $1 each the week before The Junk Ranch.  I had no idea what I would do with any of those things other than try to sell them.  But, as I began to set up, this little vignette happened.  It also happened to turn into a photo op for all the kids.  I saw people taking photos with it all weekend.  Funny this is - I don't think anyone even realized it was all for sale.  They just liked taking a photo with it.  I did sell two of the chickens.

The first to this nice lady who already had an identical chicken at hone, but decided she needed a second.

The second to this sweet little guy.  His parents told me that he had a dozen real chickens at home that were his very best friends.  But, the night before, something had come into the yard and killed eight of them.  He was devastated - running all around the yard calling, "Chickie! Chickie!!"  He clutched onto Slim (I had named them Slim, The Colonel, Popeye and Zax), broke out into a huge grin and blew me kisses.  That is the great thing about selling in person - I will always remember that little guy, his kisses and his new friend, Slim.  

Mr. Peanut found a new home with this girl.  I wish I had taken more photos of people with their purchases.  You never know how they will react when you ask to take their photo.  I never want to make anyone mad.  But, the ones I have asked have just been the sweetest about it.  

This is the side that was hidden by the booth next to mine.  I sold very little off of it, but I moved as much as I could as other things sold.  I ended up selling a good amount of it after all.  I just need to make a new layout for the future so I don't have anything risk being hid again.  I expected that accordion to be played all weekend - not a peep.  

This was at the front when you walked up.  I call it the farmhouse area - old general store junk, farmhouse decor, etc.  The stained glass chicken lamps were in my house in the mid 1990's.  Not truly vintage - but they fit the theme and they all three sold.  

This was right in front - my bread and butter.  Scrabble words, Scrabble letters to make you own words, letter card banners and the oversize flash cards.  I sell enough Scrabble letters to pay my rent.  I keep thinking it is a phase that will pass, but KNOCK WOOD, they still sell. 

Random photos from around the booth.  I love using the crates for display and making a theme within each crate.  Sometimes I don't even realize what I have until set up and I see a baby head, a baby shoe planter, baby socks. a tiny dresser and I am BAM - Baby section!  

I took a taste of Christmas.  I sold some.  People wanted to dicker, but I wouldn't budge.  It will all sell at the Fall Show at asking price.  I mean, I give discounts when people buy multiples (without them even asking...) and I give discounts when asked nicely.  But, lowball offers just aren't cool.  Especially when my prices are already low.  

I made flashcard bundles for every holiday and occasions like "She's having a baby!", "We're getting married!' and everyday things like Gardening and Summer.  I sold a lot, but thankful that I made so many that I still have a good amount for the Fall Show.  They always sell better in the Fall when it's holiday time and gift time and nesting time. 

I bought someone's entire dog collection.  It fit great in this old cubbie I had, but it was on the backside and not easy to see.  I did sell a lot of them though.  

The other side of the booth had random "big" items.  Big for me - still smalls for most vendors.  I have and AWFUL time displaying bigger things.  It's just so much easier for me to put little junk in crates and set it up all cute.  So many of  the vendors have told me that they could NEVER do the little stuff like I do.  I could never handle truckloads of big stuff.  

I had to sneak some crates into that side too.  They're just too handy.  

A lariat, horse ribbons, old overalls and a horse book made a good theme.  I sold a lot of Horse Ribbons, thanks to a feature in Country Living - they are HOT!

I had a bunch of old USA state puzzles, so I made them into magnets.  They are in that old toolbox on the left (because I was an awful photo taker this time).  They sold really well, so I am on the hunt for more puzzles.

Lara's always adorable booth was next to me as always, but since I am the WORST FRIEND EVER, I have no photos to share.  

I say that because look at HER taking professional photos of MY  JUNK.  
I am the worst.  

It was the 5th birthday of the Junk Ranch, so they had all sorts of fun planned.  

All the vendors donated prizes to be given away.  
Plus there were t-shirts and tote bags to buy.

The line at the front gate.  It's always exciting to see the shoppers line up.  
If you build it, they will come!

This way to spin the wheel!

The prize wheel!  This was right across from my booth, and there was a LOT of yelling and excitement!  I gave away a couple gift certificates.  The first lady took a basket of old baseballs and the second lady got an oversize flashcard.  I also had an Instagram giveaway - first person got a $10 gift certificate.  It only took 8 minutes for someone to claim.  She took two milk glass mugs.  It was a lot of fun and my overall cost of the items they took was practically nothing.  So, I will be sure to do that again.  I like to win stuff so I'm sure everyone likes to win something!

There was thins great photo op wall filled with old game boards and board game box tops.  It made the greatest photo op.  At the end of the show. Amy brought me all of the game pieces and told me I could have anything on that wall I wanted.  I'm sure you can guess that I took it all.  It was too much great stuff to go to the landfill.  Thanks Amy.  I have got to be the only person that leaves the Junk ranch with more than I take.  I'm cray-cray.

So, there you have it.  The Spring 2018  Junk Ranch Rundown.  

PS  I've already started getting ready for the Fall Show! 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Twenty Sentences.

 1.  I am here.
 2.  I am alive.
 3.  The emails have started.
 4.  They ask if I am okay because I never post anymore.
 5.  I am tired.
 6.  The business is plugging along fine.
 8.  The Junk Ranch was this weekend.
 9.  It was hot. 
10. Like brain melting hot. 
11. 105 Heat Index
12. I am tired.
13. I saw all my Junk Ranch buddies.
14. I sold stuff.
15. I have stories to tell.
16. I am tired.
17. I'll be back.
18. I promise.
19. Pinky swear.
20. I am tired.

I Can See You!

Look at my Visitors!

Fellow Junk Followers