Things from Thing Stores

Eclectic accumulation via thrift store shopping

40/8 Veterans Flea Markets: 2016 Dates

Potential VENDORS, please READ:

I am not affiliated with this flea market, so I can’t answer questions about it here on the blog. To rent a space, email the veterans at fm40and8@sonic.net, or leave your contact information on their answering machine at (707) 522-9391. Speak slowly and clearly, and spell your info, because, as they say, they’re “old, slow, and hard of hearing.” (But they still have their senses of humor, obviously!)
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Coming May through September, my favorite flea markets of the year!

One Sunday a month throughout the summer, local veterans hold a huge flea market in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa Veterans Building. Why do these elderly veterans and their spouses put in so much work? Because this flea market funds several substantial scholarships for nursing students at Santa Rosa Junior College — and veterans appreciate nurses.

These are huge flea markets with locals and many out-of-town vendors. Support the nursing students by arriving hungry and buying a hot dog, or a danish and coffee, from the snack bar. (If you’re a vendor, see my note at the top of this post for flea market contact information.)

The 2016 dates are all on Sundays, open to the shopping public from 7:30 am  until around 3 pm:

  • May 8
  • June 19
  • July 10
  • Aug 14
  • September 11

Support our veterans by supporting nursing students, and if you find any amazing deals along the way, feel free to brag about them in the comments section below.

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.,Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, California

(P.S. The smaller MojoSales Flea Markets occur throughout the year, also on Sundays, also at the Veterans Building. Their contact email is MOJOSALES@HOTMAIL.COM.) 

Holographic “Laboratory Atlas of the Pig Embryo”

My absolute favorite area of collecting is holographic books. “Holographic” indicates that the book was handwritten by the author, so the category includes diaries, journals, autograph books, and letters.

These are one-of-a-kind items that thrift stores often just throw away, so ask for the person who sorts book donations and tell them you’re interested. Several local thrift stores save out vintage scrapbooks, diaries, and ephemera for me. If an item is priced under $5, I always buy whatever they’ve saved for me, because I don’t want the staff to have to try to guess what I might want. I have some WWII-era scrapbooks, a handwritten hardbound journal book of recipes from the 1930s, and several filled diaries that I’ve saved from the landfills this way. Most were priced at $2.99 for me. Why so low? Because the thrift store staff also appreciated the item and wanted it to go to someone who would preserve it.

When I first saw A Laboratory Atlas of the Pig Embryo at the flea market several weeks ago, I passed on it. (Champagne tastes, beer budget.) Today the price had come down enough for me to acquire it.

This is a bound lab notebook, printed in 1936 by The Wistar Institute Press. A mimeographed syllabus for a 1942 course is tacked to the title page with circular gummed reinforcements. This was a working course notebook with many preprinted pages, but most of the pages are blank so the student could make drawings.

Like journals and diaries, this is a unique volume, coursework completed by Joseph Schaefer of Minneapolis. This area of collecting not only preserves history, but it also connects us deeply with specific individuals from the past — just as we hope someone may connect with us long after we are gone.

 

Laboratory Atlas of the Pig Embryo 02 drawingLaboratory Atlas of the Pig Embryo 03 illustrationLaboratory Atlas of the Pig Embryo 01 cover

 

 

Purchased at Mojo Flea Market, held at Santa Rosa Vet’s Building, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016

Paid: $15 

Bad Donations

The Valley Fire is bringing out the best and the worst in people as we respond to the needs of evacuees and those who have lost their homes. A friend of mine was sorting clothing for the Red Cross mountain of donations and was appalled at both the choices and the quality of some of the items supposedly sent to help the fire victims — old party dresses and worn-out pillows? Seriously?

I have to think that people generally have good hearts, but when donating, we hate to admit our stuff is “used up.” So people think other folks “won’t mind” broken appliances (“somebody could fix this”), books with missing pages (“somebody could collage with this”), mugs with chipped rims (“they can drink off the other side”), clothing with stains (“somebody might be able to get that stain out if they tried”), etc.

Pick of the Litter Thrift store gets a lot of my donations, and they’ll told me that they take donations, cherry-pick what they want, and send the leftovers to the Salvation Army. Some of those clothes end up as “rags” that may be donated overseas. (And the Go Local concept applies to charities as well: instead of supporting the monolithic Red Cross, you can make targeted donations for Valley Fire relief at Redwood Credit Union.)

My personal rule of thumb is — if the quality of an item would embarrass me to give it to a family member or a coworker, or if it needs explanation about what’s wrong with it (buttons missing, zipper doesn’t work, electrical cord tends to short out) — don’t make a thrift store put it in their dumpster, just to keep it out of my garbage can.

worn-out shoes

Worn-out items go in the garbage can, not the donation box.

I once was about to buy a pressure cooker IN THE BOX at Goodwill, but while I was shopping, the Goodwill clerk looked it over and saw that part of the rubber seal was MELTED. So somebody ruined their pressure cooker, put it back in the original box, and donated it. Maybe they were thinking, “Somebody could use this as a flower pot!” But it’s cruel to poor people and other thrifters to donate things with hidden flaws, or items that no longer work.

Let’s buck up and admit to the amount of true garbage we generate.

Artist Backyard Flea Market, June 6

Sonoma County makers, creatives, and thrifters — head over to the arts area behind Juilliard Park, south of A Street in Santa Rosa, on June 6th. The artists in the galleries of the SOFA arts district will be hosting what promises to be an esoteric set of yard sales. Have you seen their studios and garages? They’re crammed with antiques and weird trinkets, some of which may be past the point of inspiration for the artists, but which could be the next big thing for you.

Artist Backyard Flea Market June 6 & 7, 2015

Artist Backyard Flea Market
June 6 & 7, 2015

The flea market will run all weekend, but the best stuff always goes fast. My strategy is to get there at the opening, do a fast first roam, where I stop to examine only that which I find irresistible, and then take a more leisurely second turn around the place, maybe when some of the later booths still have items coming out.

Chroma Gallery
312 South A Street, Santa Rosa, California  
for info: Frank Caton, fgcaton@aol.com
or: info@chromagallery.net 

Le Creuset cast-iron sizzle platter

Le Creuset cookware is pricey, but my sister swears by her expensive cast-iron/enamel Le Creuset Dutch oven, as do multitudes of online reviewers.

So, at the Mojo flea market yesterday at the Santa Rosa Vets Hall, I boldly inquired about the price of an oval cast-iron pan. “$15,” said the lady. “They’re worth a lot more. This one was $65.”  She said it didn’t originally come with a lid.

Underside mark

Underside mark

The price has gone up since then.

I currently have 3 cast-iron pans, one standard size and two large ones, but this one appealed to me both for the Le Creuset name, and because I thought it would work well in stovetop-to-oven cooking (e.g., for filet mignon) in my oversized convection toaster oven.

Le Creuset sizzle pan

a standard cast-iron pan with a Le Creuset sizzle pan

Researching at home, I learned that Le Creuset calls their current version a “sizzle platter,” though eBay users also call them griddles and fajita pans. After a cleaning and reseasoning, this pan should be a nice little workhorse. Hmmm, what else can I use it for? (If you have any ideas, please leave them in the Comments.)

P.S. “Le Creuset” translates into English as “the Crucible,” from the medieval Latin cubiculum, and refers to a pot used to heat other metals to the melting point.

A new Crossing the Jordan Thrift Store on Piner Avenue

Crossing Jordan tile floor

After a trip to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore home improvement outlet on Airway Drive, and the sidewalk sale at Harbor Freight on Piner, my sharp-eyed husband Eric spotted a “thrift store” sandwich board in an unexpected place, so we followed the sign. Yippee, a new Crossing the Jordan Thrift Store just opened, today! It’s a soft opening, as the back area with furniture is not yet open, but it’s currently chock full of clothing, with a unusually good selection of men’s clothing.

Eric found a lovely 2-button brown suit coat (100% cashmere) for $5.99, as well as a long-sleeved cotton shirt. I got me a couple pairs of shoes for $6 each (what is it with me and shoes?), including a nice pair of brown leather Wolky sandals with Velcro straps.

Crossing Jordan moustache shirt

Crossing Jordan under construction

Crossing the Jordan Thrift Store

1201 Piner Road

Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Check out the wild tiling, like your own red carpet to Oz! And somebody’s going to love that mustache shirt!

P.S. Grand Opening March 27-29!
Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 am-8 pm; Sundays Noon – 8 pm

Garbage Reincarnation in Roseland is moving to Windsor

I went by the Garbage Reincarnation thrift store, 949 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, only to find them in the middle of a move. One of the owners said they’d given the landlord notice because the $4,000/month rent is too much for them to continue there.

They’re associated with Industrial Reusable Materials, 470 Caletti Avenue, Windsor, and will be moving the thrift store inventory to that location. Industrial Reusable, which carries power equipment, appliances, and recycled metal materials, is open Monday through Friday, 7 am – 3:30 pm, and Saturday 8 am – 3:30 pm.

Sayonara, Garbage Reincarnation! What thrift stores does Roseland have left other than the infamous Dig (Goodwill’s yard for the hardcore at 651 Yolanda Ave)?

Garbage Reincarnation Thrift Store

Industrial Reusable Materials
470 Caletti Avenue
Windsor, California 95492
(707) 836-1692
http://www.garbage.org/locations.htm

40/8 Flea Market Dates for 2015

ATTENTION, for those who arrived here via a Google search:
This is not the website for the 40/8 Veterans Flea Market. This is “Things from Thing Stores,” a blog about shopping at flea markets and thrift stores.

I don’t host these flea markets, so don’t ask me to reserve a space for you or call you back; however, contact information for both the 40/8 and the MojoSales flea markets appears in the post below. Similarly, I am not Goodwill, Salvation Army, Pick of the Litter thrift store, Crossing the Jordan thrift store, Macy’s, the U.S. Government, or the Catholic Church — though I may write about those organizations on occasion.

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The granddaddy of all Sonoma County flea markets is the 40/8 Veterans series, held on one Sunday a month from May through September in the parking lot of the Santa Rosa Veterans Building,

Not only is it a huge flea market with both out-of-town vendors and lots of locals, but this flea market also provides substantial scholarships for nursing students at Santa Rosa Junior College. So if you’re making a destination trip, be sure to calendar these flea markets.

The dates are all on Sundays, open to the public from 7:30 am  until around 3 pm:

  • May 3
  • June 14
  • July 12
  • Aug 16
  • September 13

If you want to rent a space, email fm40and8@sonic.net, or leave your contact information on their phone line at (707) 522-9391. Speak slowly and clearly, and spell everything out, because, as they remind us, these veterans are “old, slow, and hard of hearing.” Yet they put in the effort to hold these big fundraisers simply because veterans appreciate nurses.

Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave.,Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, California

(P.S. The MojoSales Flea Markets happen more frequently, also on Sundays, also at the Veterans Building. Their contact email is MOJOSALES@HOTMAIL.COM.) 

Thrifting Tips

The Golden Girl Finance blog has a post with thrift shopping tips, which made me think of some of my own strategies. I don’t expect anybody with a lick of sense to give away their biggest secrets — such as which store puts out genuine gemstone rings at rhinestone prices — but here are a few of my tips:

1. Layers, coats, and lace-up shoes get in the way when you shop for clothing. Keep a pair of flip-flops in the car or in your cloth shopping bag and change bulky shoes before you go inside.

2. Standard wisdom says to shop on a store’s half-price day. My tip is to go the day before half-price day, when the selection is best. Everybody else is waiting until tomorrow, hoping to get that fantastic coat priced at $7.50 for only $3.75. Come on, folks — if you love the coat, get it while it’s still there at $7.50.

3. Ask about discount days or programs. I happened into a store on Student Tuesday, and I was taking a class at the junior college at the time. Thus, with the student ID, my flat file cost $60 instead of $75.

4. If there’s a section you especially favor, ask if they put out new stock on particular days, or if it’s random.

5. Sure, most of us do some reselling on the side to support the habit, but you’ll gain goodwill, karma, and the appreciation of clerks if you pick up after yourself, behave with grace, and even let someone else take away something they especially admire.

6. Find out if the store has a return policy, so you can buy clothing for your loved ones and bring it back for credit if it doesn’t work out.

7. Make a pass through all the sections. I’ve found amazing books set down in the furniture section.

8. If the staff has been especially helpful — such as the folks who helped me load furniture into my Volvo — go on, get ‘em a treat. A box of fresh strawberries was very enthusiastically received by the staff at my local women’s services thrift store.

9. Save money by texting photos of items you’re thinking of getting for someone else, to see if they actually want it.

10. I dunno – what are some of your tips?

The Great Sock Match-Up

I’m not squeamish about buying things at thrift stores that other folks disdain, such as socks, underwear, and bath supplies like shampoo and shower gel. (Hey, I’ll wear my sister’s underwear after it’s been washed, and I know where that’s been.)

Still, when I had an entire laundry basket full of solo socks, I had to face the diminishing returns of Too Many Socks. This afternoon I rounded up socks from all their hiding places, and after the Great Sock Match-Up, I can see clearly now that a hundred pairs of socks is more than any Californian needs. When it gets to the point that you can’t find two alike, so you go out and buy another half-dozen pairs, you have a Sock Problem.

Thanks to my friend TOE (“The Other Ellen”) for moral support and for helping me match up most of the vast collection. If I used the 80/20 rule again, 20 pairs of socks are my workhorses, and 80 are just for fun, so if I downsize half of those … nah, that’s still a little too much fun.

Results of the Great Sock Match-Up !

Results of the Great Sock Match-Up !

First pass: 60 pairs of socks are walkin’ to the Living Room. I’ll donate any I don’t wear at least once during sock weather — which is about 6 weeks in Sonoma County– so only the lonely mismatches will have to go to Salvation Army’s rag bag.

Value: a friend who helps you match your socks is a jewel beyond price 

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