Vintage Phoenix Finds

We really made our way around the Phoenix area this week! On Monday, we dropped off the dressers I found on Offer Up to the refinisher. He is a very nice man and we hope his work is as nice as his personality! This should not be a difficult job though as I am looking for the dressers just to be smoothed out and stay their natural color. We then headed over to Brass Armadillo's Phoenix location. It was similar to the Goodyear location as there were also many rows of collectible booths but we did find some great decorative items for the house. Overall the best one was this bed tray which will be for Mother's room. I recognized that it was a unique quality piece right away. Mother thought it was a frivolous thing to buy but I thought it was reasonable at $65 and we were able to get a dealer discount as well. We were finishing our walk around the store and I told Mother I was going to go grab it. I flipped it over and found it was a MacKenzie-Childs piece! I know their pieces were very expensive to buy new so that sealed the deal. There was a booth with cute price tags, stamps and scrapbooking supplies at great prices and Mother had fun shopping there. We found a cute jug for the ledge that separates the kitchen from the dining room and I found some really cool floral wall sculptures. They look great in their natural state or could be painted, I know I can use them somewhere. At these malls they are willing to call the dealers with offers. I offered 20% off and the dealer accepted the offer on the wall art! Lastly I found a metal riser / display piece for only $6 and this will be put into use in the breezeway. After returning home I did a little research on the bed tray - it turns out it is valuable! One website had one that they were offering for $475 and it sold, another sold on First Dibs for $585. It is from the 1990s. For now we are keeping it - it is quite large on Mother's queen size bed but she will also plan to use it to give her sideboard dresser some height.

This week while scrolling through my Facebook feed I discovered this awesome app called Pixelcut! It does a lot of different things but so far I have only tried removing backgrounds and replacing them with new backgrounds. This is what I did with the bed tray photo. It did not even take one minute to do and does a great job. I was also able to resize and center the photo on the square background in no time flat. The pro version is $60/year but I think it is going to be worth every penny in making my photos look more professional and save me tons of time. They have a square template which I use for online selling but also sizes for a variety of social media outlets. Bye bye Photoshop for most of what I do!

Tuesday we needed to make a return trip to the refinisher with Mother's antique bench which I found on Facebook Marketplace for only $40. It was a work in progress so the refinisher will complete the job and keep it to its natural color as well. Mother is going to take a vintage kilim rug and use it to upholster the bench. Her project to reupholster a French-style chair with a similar rug was a huge success! Now we just have to find as good of an upholsterer as Alfredo. After that we headed over to Cave Creek Rd. Melinda had introduced me to this area on my first trip and we had not yet been there this time. We really like the store called Anything Goes, I have had good luck every time in the past. I did find a metal necklace display with pegs on the bottom for rings and Mother found a few little things but that was about it this time. Unfortunately the store on the corner which we also like was closed.

Friday we decided to check out a couple of area estate sales. I have been periodically checking for the Phoenix area and had not yet found a sale I was willing to get up at dawn for. Around here the sales start early, typically 8:00 and end early, usually 1:00 because it is so hot in the summertime. However this week I spied a set of Chinese guardian lions (commonly known as Foo Dogs) that I just loved. I am not into superstitions but I do believe that guardian lions are a great decorative element for any home and I do like their concept of protection. They come in pairs - one is female and one is male. The female represents yin and has a baby lion under her paw, she symbolically protects the people living in the home. The male represents yang and has a round ball under his paw, protecting the structure itself. The sale was located in Fountain Hills, which is thought of as the Lake Forest of the Phoenix area. We enjoy visiting Fountain Hills and have been there several times for their farmer's market and a few of their shops. We were not able to leave as early as I had hoped and it ended up being nearly 40 minutes away. We arrived at about 8:07, only to see a guy loading the lions into his car as we pulled up. We toured the sale anyway, the prices were very reasonable but we did not find anything to purchase. I was definitely disappointed to drive all that way and miss the lions.

After Fountain Hills, we headed to another sale in North Scottsdale which was starting at 9:00. Unfortunately we were about 30 minutes away so we did not arrive until 9:17. I wanted to attend this one because they had a good amount of Native American jewelry for sale, including a vintage squash blossom necklace with a matching cuff bracelet and earrings. We opened the door to the townhome only to find a line to view the jewelry cases. We patiently waited in line but the man at the counter was waiting on the same woman for at least 20 minutes, she was being waited on when we arrived. She was taking too long to decide whether she wanted to purchase anything so we did say out loud to each other that it would be a good idea to have a time limit. She bought a few pieces and finally wrapped things up. There was a young man ahead of us who was only interested in the loose gemstones so that was good. So then came my turn - I said I was a serious buyer and interested in a quantity purchase but the man said he could only show me one item at a time. I felt the people behind me breathing down my neck. I am a very fast decision-maker but I would like to see the items and know the price before purchasing. I was able to get a bundle deal - no discount on the squash blossom set but I got about ten rings as well. The other items were either damaged or priced too high. I was given a total and asked if I needed to go pay at the cashier behind me as I had a credit card. The man said cash only on the jewelry! I said I did not see this in your ad and the impatient people behind me said "OH YES IT SURE IS, IT SURE DOES SAY THAT!!!" I just ignored them said I can give you a $200 deposit and run to the bank for the rest. I even left Mother there as collateral. The home was located in a large development so it was a 7 minute drive to get to the bank. I was gone less than 20 minutes. Mother said the lady behind us was so aggravated, she threw a necklace back at the man and stormed out. I am sure she was mad that I scooped up a lot of stuff and did not have the cash on hand to pay for it right away. Mother said while I was gone someone else asked about the squash blossom set and the man actually opened my bag and showed it to them, then said when I do not come back he will sell it! Mother said "OH NO, THOSE ARE OUR ITEMS!" He must not have realized that she remained there as she was seated in a nearby chair. I came back to pay only to find that same first lady back at the table again going through the items she had already purchased! I did not say anything but patiently waited my turn because I thought I would take another quick look at the case. A couple of the women working at the sale noticed this and asked the man to stop what he was doing and just take my payment. We complimented them on their company T-shirts and matching masks. One of them even had jewelry to match! It turned out she just relocated here from Crystal Lake, she was there for 10 years while her husband worked for Motorola and he retired. It was definitely an experience but I guess worth the trip as I will have some new Native American pieces to show these coming two weeks. I checked the ad later and found the cash only policy on jewelry was listed further down in the description. I had only read the Terms & Conditions which just listed the forms of payment they accept. I mentioned this to the man but he did not say anything. This definitely should have been listed in the T&Cs because it is a condition of the sale. Now I know the drill should I patronize their sales in the future. I did not have the chance to walk the rest of the townhome but Mother said there was nothing to see.

Saturday we went to Uptown Market - Phoenix. We have attended in the past but no later than mid-February. This time, the market was about four times larger than we had ever seen! We bought some fresh produce, tortilla shells and soap from a great vendor. Located inside this vendor was a bread vendor I had wanted to try. Every time I had seen them in the past either we were heading out of town or it was too crowded to get to them. This time we hit the jackpot! I selected a dark oatmeal / molasses bread for Mother as well as English muffins, buttermilk buns and hot dog buns. I read the hot dog bun package and laughed when I saw it said only children under 12 can put ketchup on their hot dog! I mentioned it out loud and the man said you must be from Chicago! I said yes, of course and he said we are too! Then when I checked out I saw the other man working the booth was wearing a Chicago Bears mask. It seems wherever we go we run into people from the Chicago area.

We grabbed a breakfast burrito from a booth and it was absolutely delicious! Eight dollars but well worth it, mine had fluffy scrambled eggs, chorizo, tomatoes and feta cheese. Mother's was supposed to be pork but she said it tasted like beef, which was fine with her too. I picked up some cookies from my favorite vendor from Fountain Hills and we were able to grab the rest of the fresh pasta from another booth. Mother chose a short ribs entree with mushroom ragout for $25, I bet she will have it for dinner tonight. She was also able to get a butternut squash pesto from another vendor along with their fresh pasta. I went back to a pie booth that I missed the first time but ended up passing on the pies because they were very expensive ($21!) and did not look any better than grocery store pies to me. We enjoyed eating our burritos and dog watching. One person had three French bulldogs, two different people had Great Danes and we even saw a Schnauzer and a Schnauzer mix. There were dogs of all shapes and sizes! Mother is afraid to bring Vivi anywhere for fear she will bark. Not one dog at that market emitted as much as a peep, even the Schnauzer! Maybe Vivi would be content to take in all of the sights and be too busy with that to think about barking.

After the market we ran a couple of errands including Trader Joe's. Later in the day we had some packages to ship along with some Amazon returns to take to Whole Foods for Mother. So of course we cannot go to Whole Foods without buying anything! It turned out to be quite a shopping day and hopefully all of this good food will last a long while. The grocery shopping is amazing here, there are way more great choices than Chicagoland. We have not even been to all of the chains yet. One of these Saturdays we will tackle the Scottsdale farmer's market, it is always so crowded I need to park in the parking garage and walk a half mile but they have great offerings as well.

Kuochun is super excited because he was able to land vaccine appointments this week. He said he was taking a nap and Margot woke him up. He decided to try the Walgreens site one more time and was able to get in with two evening appointments, March 5 and April 2 in Niles. Walgreens gives out the Moderna vaccine, while Mother had the Pfizer. So far he has been feeling fine but mostly relieved to be in the process because at his age he is at higher risk.

As far as jewelry goes, Mike came by on Friday and prepared six cases to send to the sales in Arlington Heights and Inverness next week, providing there is room. I plan to send sterling silver, Thai fine silver and Tibetan jewelry to Inverness and sterling silver, Southwest Style and green jewelry to Arlington Heights. It will be the weekend before St. Patrick's Day and the Arlington Heights household is Irish, perfect timing! I would like to get on a schedule of rotating cases, so there is not so much stress trying to get jewelry prepared before Mark arrives to pick it up. I am going to send another box of jewelry home soon but between all of the running around and estate sale work I have not been able to get much priced lately. I have a St. Patrick's Day theme charm bracelet from highly collectible brand Lunch At The Ritz and I would like to get it home before next Thursday. I will buckle down and get to more jewelry pricing because I would like to get as much of it priced as possible before I head for the Gem Show. The first show starts exactly a month from today. I will complete the silver but the ultimate goal is to at least get any items priced that do not need repair or stones replaced. I think it is possible and I am hoping to dip into the repairs too.

Normally this would have been the weekend to hold our Spring pop-up sale at home base but since the Gem Show was delayed due to the pandemic the pop-up sale will need to be postponed as well. I will probably shoot for April 29-May 2, the weekend before Mother's Day. I have a definite plan for attacking the Gem Shows and I will be on the lookout for new finds. Not only will I be able to present all of the Gem Show finds at the pop-up but there will be many more exciting silver and costume jewelry pieces to show. Also, Mother has been making Southwest Style jewelry like crazy and I need to start tying it all off and getting it into circulation before she loses momentum. That is my cue to sign off, until next time!