My daughter has long since wanted her bedroom redesigned once she reached the age of 18 saying that it was too childlike and needed to be brought up to the modern age. I guess that was her roundabout way of telling me that I was an old Foggy and really needed to get my act together. So last week we decided to tackle it as a father and daughter team and give her room a complete makeover so that she felt more comfortable bringing her friends over for the weekend. First we had to clean the room out which was no small undertaking given that she had crammed her drawers and cupboards full of old clothes as well as fully filling under the bed. We spent nearly 2 hours cleaning out the clothes and packing them in garbage bags to go to the goodwill, and I felt sick about how much those clothes had cost when they had been bought. We then pulled down the blinds and curtains to let a lot more light into the room. She wanted to hang a dream catcher in the window so that she didn’t have any bad dreams as well as it looked very funky. Her desk needed to be painted and she chose a wild yellow colour which when finished made it look like a canary was sitting in the corner. We had decided to pull up the carpet as well and have the floorboards sanded because we were lucky enough to have wide wooden floors under the carpet. Unfortunately the sanding was going to take a complete day and then another day drying so after we had finished cleaning up we had to wait another week before we could continue. So this weekend we have been out shopping and chosen new blinds and curtains as well as new linen for the bed so that the room will feel clean and crisp when we have finished. She does want to paint the walls, but I told her that now the floors have been sanded it would be a bad choice because we could splatter paint on floors. She agreed and thankfully we won’t have to spend the money or the time painting.
Most Sunday mornings a open a store with valuable knickknacks at the local markets. I’ve been running this stall for over 10 years and have become a well-known fixture of the market seen in my area. I usually always get the same location right next to the information centre and sandwiched between the gelato stand and the coffee wagon. This is a particularly good place to be because it means that I always get the adults at the coffee wagon as well as the kids and their parents at the ice cream shop. Most of what I sell could be regarded as expensive curiosities but I prefer to think of them as priceless antiques. Last Sunday I had a particularly good day because in the week before I had managed to pick up a number of retro fashion aprons from and embroidery shop which was going out of business. I lay the aprons out on a large table in front of my stall and invited people to try them all to see if they fit well. Because they had a retro look I had lots of ladies coming over to check them out. Many of them had the old-style rustles that everybody loves although I must admit it just reminds me of my grandmother. Lots of the patterns were very from the 50s and looked like they belonged in one of those old-style kitchens with the melamine tables and old chairs. Over about three hours I sold nearly 20 of them to a wide range of women and even a few men who wanted to buy them for their girlfriends who they thought would love the old style look and feel. It really was one of my most successful market days and made me aware that I could make money on soft objects as well as antiques and jewellery. During the week I will go back to the out of business embroidery shop and see if they have any more old stock that they want to get rid of. I may even consider selling things like old jeans in the future.
The last three shops were congregated on the corner of two roads each overlooking the other and I suspect that often the owners would stand on the footpath’s eyeballing each other to see who was selling the most merchandise. I didn’t often go into the second shop because it was housed in a very old building that I often worried would collapse around me while I was in it. Today it had lots of objects on tables at the front on the footpath with a very bored looking young woman sitting on a chair watching the stock. When I walked over to have a look she looked up rather grumpily as if she was at a good place in a book and I was coming to interrupt her. I browsed through the things on the tables but then noticed hanging in the window was some beautiful old Chinese wind chimes which looked like they were over 100 years old. I asked the girl if she could go in and get them and bring them outside telling her I wasn’t willing to go inside because of the state of the building. When she brought them out they were as beautiful as I thought they were, made of pure brass and engraved with some sort of Chinese lettering that was inlaid into the metal. The hook on the top was fashioned in the shape of a Dragon and the dome over the chimes look like a traditional pagoda. It was a very beautiful object but unfortunately unlike my previous purchases this object was well out of my price range. I asked the girl to put it back in the window and commented that I will be back in a week to have another look if it hadn’t been sold. I told her that it would need to reduce in price significantly before I could afford it and she seemed to feel that the owner would be interested in making a deal. I didn’t have enough money on me that day but I’m hoping next week that I will be able to buy it at a price that I can afford.
This second shop was called Staines and Stones which the owner had told me referred to the area he’d grown up in Brooklyn New York. Over there he said antique shops were on every corner although they were really seen as antique shops but rather as pawn or thrift shops. He had immigrated to Australia in the early 70s and had taken over the shop from the previous owners who have had it for two generations since 1927. The original shop was only one level with the owners living on the top level so that they could keep the shop open seven days a week. When he took it over he had converted the top level to shop space so now there were more goods in there than ever before. He did tend to specialise in larger silver and gold objects which in the past I have always found too expensive because the yuppies in the area had been coming in for the last few years and buying lots of things driving the prices up. I checked through everything on the bottom floor and then made my way up a set of rickety stairs through to the upper level. Up here he tended to have more valuable objects so that it was harder to steal them. As I suspected much of it was too expensive for me but I did notice a beautiful silver candelabra with eight candleholders and a very ornate design. Surprisingly it was within my budget and I thought it would look good at the front of my market stand and perhaps draw customers over to have a look at my other goods. I purchased the candelabra and he showed me how to polish the silver before I left to make it look almost brand-new even though I suspect it was a good 50 years old. I then moved on to the last two or three shops which in the past and never really provided me with many things because they tend to be more modern and stylish.
For many years now I have enjoyed going into the city on weekends and looking for antiques that I can bring out to the suburbs and sell at the local markets. Over this time I have found many wonderful antiques and jewellery that I have successfully made a decent profit on when I’ve resold them to other customers. Usually I go to some of the more quirky suburbs around the centre of the city to find the more interesting antique objects because these are the old areas of town and much of the objects in the shops are from elderly residents. This past weekend I went to West End which has a whole street of antique and junk shops which have been there since the early 1920s and has provided me with many a valuable find in the past. I got there fairly early on the Saturday morning because many of the shop venders put out new objects first thing in the morning because they know most of the serious buyers will be there as soon as they open. I was on the lookout for small jewellery type objects because they sell well and are easy to transport and take care of ,causing little to no problem for storage. In the past men’s rings, women’s wedding rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings have all proven popular amongst my clients. One of the first things that caught my eye in the first shop was a beautiful set of antique rosary beads which the owner assured me had belonged to a catholic nun who had lived up the street for many years but had passed away in recent times. It was a beautiful object and well within my budget, so I bought it along with a set of men’s cufflinks with gold inlay that I already had a client ready to buy. It was a very successful first shop to enter and I was feeling just as optimistic when I went into my favourite shop in the street , an antiques store run by a Jewish immigrant from New York.