Things from Thing Stores

Eclectic accumulation via thrift store shopping

Archive for the tag “flea market”

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, 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!)

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 

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,

ALF, ET, and Garfield seek Scooby-Doo

The TV sitcom ALF, which ran from 1986 until 1990, starred the distinctively coal-eyed “Alien Life Form,” aka “Alf.” At the time, ALF character toys even came with Burger King kids’ meals. While many vintage toys aren’t expensive on eBay (only a couple of bucks), the shipping fees can kill you, so I keep an eye out for vintage toys of that era at thrift stores and flea markets for my sister-in-law Andrea, who loves ALF.

Although Andrea is my age, she’s autistic, developmentally around 7 or 8 years old. When my in-laws lost their Mississippi Gulf Coast home in Hurricane Katrina, Andrea lost all of her favorite toys. She loves getting mail, though, so every so often my husband and I will send her a box full of thrifted surprises. While I have yet to find a replacement for the ALF with suction-cup feet that she used to put on the car window, I’ve sent her little ALF hand puppets, and I once scored some View-Master reels featuring scenes from the ALF television show.

Her other perennial favorite is Garfield, who, thankfully, is still easy to find on the secondary market. We’ve sent Garfield books, coffee mugs, stuffed toys, rubber stamps, and stickers.

My eyes perked up at the Mojo flea market on Sunday at a stall where a guy had bags of old toys, and I rummaged up two ALFs and an ET. Combined with the Ugly Doll and a few Wimpy Kid books already stashed in the “Andrea” bag, this will delight her.

Still looking for a Scooby-Doo!

Vintage stuffed ALF and ET toys from the flea market.

ALF’s shirt says, “Earth is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t wanna live here.”

Purchased at Mojo Flea Market, most Sundays at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Hall, Santa Rosa, California

Paid: $3

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