After yesterday’s antiquing fail, the Beefy Broads (Deb and Jen) were excited to put the past behind us and make antiquing our bitch.

DH and I picked up Deb and her partner, Caroline, and we headed to the Antique Mall in Verona, our old standby.  One of the largest antique malls on I-81, it’s hard not to find something that you love.  Leave it to Verona not to disappoint.  Within 10 minutes of walking in, I found my new craftroom lighting for a mere $32.

My new vintage glass light fixture.

I thought it was simply gorgeous as is……But, wait for it………..

OH MY!!!

Look at it lit up!  It is AMAZING!  Now, I know what you’re thinking.  Jen, you were complaining about not having enough light in your craft room, why buy a light that won’t help?  Hello!?!  Have you seen this beaut?  Look again.  I also found a pair of pinking shears (brand new) for $12, which is a fantastic buy since my grandmother’s aren’t sharp and it costs an arm, two legs, and your first born to have a pair sharpened.  Caroline found a great new pair of eyeglasses for $2.10.  She was even videotaped for a new commercial for the antique mall to boot (while holding  my light — so really, it’s as if I was interviewed, too).  I felt upon leaving Verona that we had more than made up for our antique disappointments of yesterday.

After Verona, we decided to try an antique store that we’d never been to in Lexington, VA – Duke’s.  We were pleasantly surprised.  Although it has about 100 stray cats hanging around the entrance and a ton of rusted junk strewn about the outside, it was a treasure trove.  I found a great, old picture frame that I plan to spray paint silver with blue flowers for my craft room.  Not sure what to frame, though……any ideas?

What shall I frame?

I also found a really beautiful, albeit largey, knit wool sweater.  After a burn test to ensure that it was indeed all wool, it was purchased for $20.  I will unravel it (with reverence for the person’s time and effort who originally knitted it) and it will have a new incarnation.  Again, any pattern ideas?

What will I become next?

Lastly, I found a bunch more sewing notions (buttons & bias) for $0.25.  Caroline and Deb bought a bunch of old books to make picture frames out of.  Even Todd came away with something, a pig picker.  It sounds disgusting, but really it’s just a large chisel for his woodworking.  (As a vegetarian, I needed to have that explained to me before allowing it in our home.)

With 15 minutes until 6pm, we decided to drive another mile to the other large antique mall in Lextington.  We just wanted to see if it was worth coming back to at some point.  Wouldn’t you know, another fantastic antique mall.  We decided to play a game to see who could find something worth purchasing first.  After agreeing upon the rules, we literally took off running through the shop.  Deb and Todd went straight for the tools, whereas Caroline and I split in opposite directions, zig-zagging through the store.  It felt like Bladerunner.

I’ll have you know dear readers, that as I ran I was selflessly looking for additional tools for Todd.  Aren’t I a good girlfriend?  While I didn’t find any worthy tools, I did see a nice wool sweater out of the corner of my eye.  At first, I thought that perhaps I had found another wool sweater to unravel for wool — but upon closer inspection, I saw that this was an Eddie Bauer sweater (one of Todd’s favorites).  Even more amazing was that the sweater was size large TALL.  What were the chances?  Often we cannot even find large tall in actual clothing stores.

So, I grabbed the sweater and ran up to the register.  No one else had found anything.  Todd quickly approved the purchase– and it was sold all within 1 minute of 6pm.  That’s what I call winning.


The Antiquing Roller Coaster

Friday after checking out of our hotel, we were super excited to go check out the annual Antique and Garden Show at the Nashville Convention Center (located conveniently right across from our hotel.)  We’d heard from a few fellow-confrencers that it was a good show and the Beefy Broads are always on the lookout for crafty things.  So, we headed over….stopping at a few Nashville landmarks on the way:

Nashville Visitor Center

Kiss a hero? Ummm, yes please.

Oh, the Ryman. Where art thou, Emmy Lou?

Finally, we arrived at the convention center.  And, everything started off fantastically……

Nasville Antique & Garden Show

We were immediately wowed by some of the artistic garden installations.  The first one, right as you walk in, was wild…..These green human forms were hanging over a garden pool.  Upon closer examination, I realized that they were human chia pets.  Way cool!  The flower’s fragrances were also intoxicating.  

Garden Installation #1

Human Chia Pet. I want one.

Surrounding the chia pets, were a bunch of floral arrangements in stumps.  Each had its own color scheme.  Among the flowers were some interesting additions — apples and artichokes.

Flower arrangements

The last beautiful garden installation was called the “Moon Bridge.”  It was really spectacular, as well.  The reflection into the pool below really sealed the deal.

Moon Bridge

We began walking around the vendor maze on an artistic high.  We were chomping at the bit to find vintage treasures.  What we should have noticed when we first walked in, but we were instead distracted by the beautiful garden installations, was that we were surrounded by obscenely rich people.  That should have been our first clue that this wasn’t our gig.  After walking by three booths where every piece was priced at over $5,000, we finally admitted that we were way out of our league.

I cannot describe to you the antique roller coaster low that we fell into.  We had been able to survive nauseating school bus rides and mind-numbing conference workshops only because we knew that this show was waiting for us.  We had giggled into the night about what we’d hoped to find — vintage sewing machines, eclectic knick-knacks, more sewing notions.  What we found instead were stuffy antiques and measly garden representation.  We were dejected.

We got our $15 worth by taking pictures of stuffy antiques that we, or my DH, could DIY.  Here are some of those:

We could totally make that. Price there? $250. Wow.

Sweet wooden bicycle

Great storage buffet...antique meets industrial.

Railroad Coffee Table at Convention, $8500. Same table at Duke's in Lexington, $350. Stuffy.

My favorite of the day.....

We tried to bolster our spirits by telling each other that we would stop at some fun antique stores on drive home.  So, we loaded up the car and rolled out of Nashville.  Unfortunately, we didn’t find any additional antique stores that looked worth a stop.  What we did see was a sign for Dollywood.  And, I don’t know how we didn’t realize it before, but Dolly’s hometown is only 5 miles off of I-40.

As we pulled off the interstate headed for Seiverville, TN, we began seeing all kinds of antique store signs.  Things were looking up.  And then, upon cresting a hill, we saw the great Smoky Mountains before us.  Good God almighty, they are majestic.  That alone was worth getting off of I-40 for.  Welcome back, antique high!  We decided that the first order of business needed to be food.  We were both starved.  With that simple decision, we sealed our antiquated fates.  What we had failed to realize was that it was close to 5pm.  After we finished our “lunch” and pulled up in front of our first antique store (which looked AMAZING BTW–old claw foot tubs and wagon wheels in the front yard, tons of glassware and old gasoline signs in the windows), we were greeted by the shopkeeper turning the “open” sign over to “closed”.  We tried another store and another store, where we were met with the same thing.  Oh Dolly Parton, why hast thou hometown forsaken us?!?  We even payed you homage by listening to “Jolene” on the way in……

We did the only thing we could, tucked our tail between our legs and pointed our trusty steed north.  The whole drive back to Virginia was accompanied by a raincloud, both literally and figuratively.   All of those enticing and mysterious antique stores just out of our reach……We were so let down.  But, the Beefy Broads are resilient and we were not about to give up.  Upon saying goodbye to our rental car and each other, we made a pledge before God and Shaggy that we would antique again the next day AND we would triumph.