September 29, 2012

the art of antiquing & a trip to renninger's market

What's antiquing all about? How do you make money off it? Aren't you just reselling other peoples' junk?

I've been asked these questions by a number of people, particularly people who know me through school or work who've seen my website and are wondering how I acquired all that stuff and why.

Antiquing is a hobby in which people collect items from the past, at least 20-30 years old, which have either historical value or personal value to the person buying them. It could be a Raggedy Ann doll that's beat up and worth nothing commercially but means the world to someone who remembers her favorite childhood toy. Or it could be a rare book for sale at a garage sale for $1 but in actuality is worth $500. Some people ride bikes, some people garden. Others antique.

I spent this Saturday at my favorite place to treasure hunt - Renninger's Antiques & Farmer's Market. It's on a massive plot of land in the rural town of Mount Dora. Once you get off the Florida Turnpike you'll notice an increasing amount of hand-painted signs advertising gator jerky and boiled peanuts.

Ahh, the American south.

It's a bit of a drive from Orlando but it's like an amusement park for antiquers so it's worth it. There are dozens of indoor & outdoor shops which are set up like little cottages and barns. It kind of feels like you're on a back lot set of an old Western movie.

Within the shops, some of the items are organized and some are just piled on top of each other. It's up to you to accept the challenge and dig for buried treasure. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find something wonderful hiding under all the dust & grime. Antiquing at the outdoor shops @ Renninger's isn't for the faint of heart. From May until October the temperature is in the high 90s so you're going to get your hands dirty and your ass sweaty, no doubt about it.

This trip was a successful one for me. I gave myself a strict budget and adhered to it (and even had enough leftover to buy a hot dog & lemonade from the concession stand). I ended up with a lot of cool pieces. For me, a good buy is one that I think others will be interested in buying, but if it doesn't end up selling, I love it so much that I'm happy to keep it on my bookshelf at home. That's what I take into consideration when antiquing.

So in a nutshell, antiquing isn't just buying other peoples' junk that they're throwing away and trying to make a quick buck. Those of us who devote our weekends to it are in it for the thrill of the chase - spending hours sifting through piles of debris looking for a hidden gem that has been forgotten, that we can bring back to life.

September 28, 2012


This is my first real live blog.

Over the years I've had countless journals, both real (bound paper notebooks) and virtual, but this is the first one with a purpose other than to rant about my feelings. This one will focus on my hobbies & work - my vintage shop on Etsy and also my candle business that started on Etsy (but is soon branching out to the wide world of craft fairs)... and I might throw some book-talk and poetry in for good measure.

It's funny because I've never been much of a business-minded person. At least I never thought so. I've always hated the idea of bringing work home with you. I grew up in a house where we had dinner as a family every  night and without fail the first (and oftentimes only) topic of discussion was one or both of my parents lamenting their jobs -  how difficult their coworkers were, how frustrated they were about a project they were given, etc. I grew up dreading listening to this, and now that I've been in the workforce for a good 12 years, this hasn't changed. What has changed is that I'm now the person complaining about the corporate world and how unfair & uncreative it is.

A bit of about me before I get on with the intended blog content: I put myself through college and am now paying off multiple student loans with a meager paycheck. Oftentimes I'll charge food & gas to my credit card so that I can ensure that my loans (and rent and utilities) are paid off each month. I'm by no means living in squalor but it's definitely a struggle, the kind that puts knots in your stomach right before bed and weighs heavily on your shoulders when you wake up each morning.

You go to college imagining that when you get out a glamorous, high-paying job will be waiting for you. You can't imagine interviewing for any position and being turned down. Once they meet you, they'll love you and be impressed by your fresh-out-of-college hipster savvy and your shiny new degree, right? Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. You're viewed as a fetus with no bankable skills, just a lot of books & papers under your belt. In our current economy, the job market is cutthroat and a degree (especially a liberal arts degree) means nothing if you don't have the experience or the connections to seal the deal.

So what's an unmarketable girl to do? Work jobs that she knows she hates but that help pay the bills because there are no other options. Or there is another option but it's called being a starving artist and that's only fun until about noon the first day. So I racked my brain one night at work and subsequently opened up a side venture to make some extra spending cash. This side venture was the above-mentioned vintage shop on I've done better than expected my first year but it's still nowhere near enough to live off. It's enough to pay for gas and maybe a Moe's burrito or two each month but that's about it right now. So then I decided to start the above-mentioned candle business.

And that's where I am right now - trying to get these two ventures running at full steam so I can rely on them to pay the bills. That way I can focus on my true passion which is writing poetry, not answering phones at a Sea World resort.

Due to long and complicated reasons which I won't fully get into right now (all I'll say is I have an international move coming up this winter and I need to move in with my parents for a few months so I can save some money for it) I recently quit my job at said resort and will be focusing all my energy on my Etsy shop & candle business for the foreseeable future. It's a bit of a risky maneuver but one I feel in my heart I need to take to be happy. Sometimes you've gotta take life by the balls and say, "I'm gonna make money selling candles at craft shows, dammit, and you can't stop me."

I have 4 craft shows lined up from now until December and I plan on signing up for more so hopefully I'll have one every weekend. While I'm living with my parents I want to stay away from working for the man as long as I can. So I'm embarking on a holiday-season adventure and will be documenting my triumphs (and possibly failures) in this blog. I have a background in retail and have a really strong product with my candles so I know I can do well... but will I do well? I guess that's where logic ends and faith begins.

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