Saturday, April 17, 2010

Round Top Antiques Fair

I am bad. My family is big on holidays. Mostly, we get together and eat. Thanksgiving-turkey. Christmas-soup (I will blog about Stone Soup Christmas at a later date). New Year's-sauerkraut and pork AND black eyed peas. Easter-ham. You have to have a pretty good excuse not to show up.

This Easter, I decided to forgo the Easter get-together. I think this surprised most of the family because I believe they thought I would be doing the cooking! I took the coward's way out--I had my daughter tell everyone I wouldn't be there! Instead, I took some time for myself and went to Round Top, Texas, to their spring antiques fair. I had read about the fair in several magazines, and just decided it was time to go to find out what all of the hub-bub was about.

Conditions were perfect to go. I had some extra cash, thanks to the outstanding cascarones sales I had during the month of March (I sold more cascarones during March than I had all of last year!). The weather was great--not too hot, not too cool, no rain. The landscape was painted with the colors of the most incredible wildflowers I have ever seen. I had never been in that part of Texas before and it was very pretty country.

I left Austin for the 70-mile road trip at about 6:30 in the morning, thinking I needed to be in Round Top early to get a jump on the crowds. I also wanted to have time to scout a location to take photos of my Texas wildflower quilt (see my last post for that story). When I cruised on into the Round Top area at about 9 am, I was surprised that many of the vendors were not open for business yet. I commented on that to the first vendor that was open, where I made my first purchase of the day--a vintage mirror. He said that most of the vendors had been there all week, and this being the last day of the show, were pooped and a little slow-going. I could relate to that!

The fair is not confined to just Round Top (population 70 during non-fair weeks). There are vendors set up for miles leading into the town and past the town. A person could spend days at the fair and not see everything there was to offer. Since I was only there for the day, and I had no plan of attack, I pulled into the first free parking lot and figured I would just make my way through the maze. I was a bit disappointed at first because most of the vendors in this first tent were not selling anything vintage, antique, or even handmade. It was all mass-produced products. I didn't spend much time there.

I took advantage of the free parking and headed across the street where I spied things that were old. (Note about parking: most parking is not free, but it wasn't expensive when you did have to pay. The parking fees benefit community organizations.)

Now, this is where I wanted to be. Junk galore. I had been concerned that the "antiques" at the fair would be expensive and out of my range (especially since martha Stewart recommended this fair--I just can't imagine her loving the junk). There was plenty of antiques that could gracefully (and expensively) adorn any room at Martha's , but there also was a lot of merchandise that I would label as flea market finds.

After a while, some tents started to look like the tent you just left. So, I started to focus on finding vintage textiles. I will be soon opening another Etsy store to sell aprons made from vintage and new fabrics and embellishments (tentative shop name is Summer's Heartstrings), and I wanted to find textiles to construct my aprons. In one store, I sat on the floor with a basket of vintage fabrics and had a treasure hunt. Then the vendor brought over another box of goodies she hadn't even put out for sale. I hit the mother lode there. In another store, the seller had beautiful embroidered pillowcases, perfect to repurpose as an apron, and very reasonably price. Bought those, too. Found another seller with a table where everything was $1, and walked out with some pretty teatowels.

After about seven hours, I was pooped and only had $23 left. I had almost escaped to the parking lot when I spied a one-hole chicken roost. Hmmmm...I always wanted a I bought it. I don't think a chicken will every roost in it, but I thought it could be used as a cool prop for my cascarones.

I left tired, penniless, and happy.

The next fair is in June. See you there!

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