treasure hunting for awesome

by lizzie & isaiah on May 16, 2011 · 22 comments

Have I told you my family has had a booth or booths at the County Flea Market in Illinois for more than 35 years? They buy a lot of neat pieces at auctions, clean them up and resell them, but lately they’ve been building some radical industrial pieces from reclaimed barn wood. We’ve already commissioned them to build…just about all of our furniture.

The Kane County Flea Market is a beastly flea-bee with more than 4 fully occupied cattle and sheep barns and a huge outdoor lot full of vendors. There are hundreds of them. That’s just how we thought flea markets went…busy and busting with people hunting for treasure.

Turns out sometimes a flea market can be so small that you question whether or not you will pay the $5 parking fee to get in. Sometimes the vendors barely fill up one cattle barn. Sometimes there’s still dirt on the floor, because in Texas, they actually use their cattle barns year round.

We begrudgingly paid our $5 parking fee and the three of us, mom, Isaiah and I, started skeptically walking around mismatched garage sale finds and boxes.

Even when we started finding stuff that made us gasp a little bit, we weren’t sure if we had flea market Stockholm Syndrome…if we were just empathizing with our captors. We circled the entire football-field-sized barn twice before my mom spent $1 on the hand figurine.

It wound up being a pretty great day. We found some mysterious surgical equipment near the surgical/industrial cart we bought. We overheard some interesting conversation: “Are you a hoarder?” “No. I am a collector.” We provided endless commentary for my mom about the psychology of antique collectors and is that guy really selling that?

All in all, we were happy with our finds: The metal cart, metal stool, doodlin’ pad, cassette recorder (which Isaiah is ECSTATIC about. It was never opened from 1983 to yesterday. HE opened it. It’s actually worth a bit of money, but he likes it for the way it looks), the glass lamp and the amber oil lamps are ours. The rest of the beautiful finds are my mom’s, including that rad grid spoon trivet/soap dish and the fish figure. She did good, right?