The thrill of the hunt! It's my favourite time of year! Rain or shine, fall is the time when vendors brave the weather and haul out their once-loved goods to give one more kick at the can and sell off treasures that some of us just can't live without. I believe that the most vibrant and personalized spaces are created with a clever and artful mix of old and new – and even better, old made new. It's so much more interesting to be able to tell an intriguing story about a unique piece of furniture, a lighting fixture or an unusual accessory when someone asks: "Where did you get that?!" For me, "I found it at HomeSense" just doesn't cut it. Don't get me wrong – I can't live without a visit to HomeSense at least once a week! But sometimes objects need a story to give them life and prominence in your home. That's why I love junk hunting! [caption id="attachment_461" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Brimfield after a torrential rain storm on opening day. Now, these pieces have a story or two to tell![/caption] I kicked off the fall junk hunting season at the Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market in Brimfield, Massachusetts, where three times a year over 5000 vendors set up for a week of peddling their cool junk and valuable antiques to visitors from all over Canada, the United States and Europe. After two full sunny days (once the storm had passed!) and several miles of walking through the maze of booths with my friend, both of our heads were spinning with stories, ideas and plans for next year's visit. Here are some of the fun scenes I discovered on my trip to Brimfield. I hope they inspire you in the hunt to find something special on your next antiquing adventure. Pre-show inspiration Several scenes caught our eyes and inspired us along the way. Our first stop was Lennox, Mass., where we spent the day shopping before heading to the flea market fields of Brimfield. We spotted one pretty antique shop that we just couldn't resist. My friend bought the green shutters seen below to hang along the driveway fence of her 150-year-old home. They were a steal at $10 each. [caption id="attachment_458" align="aligncenter" width="300"] We loved the way the antique shops displayed their antiques and collectibles. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] Once inside we were inspired by the eye-catching ways that everything was displayed. Stay tuned! I'll share some interior photos with you in an upcoming blog post. Below is a little taste of how one antique shop displayed inexpensive glassware in their window. It would be easy and affordable to recreate this look in any window. [caption id="attachment_459" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Coloured glassware displayed on glass shelves in the window of an antique shop. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] Junk heaven! After getting inspired by what we saw in this lovely antique shop we headed to Brimfield to see what else we could find. I needed more coloured bottles! Whether you're looking to add to a collection or start a new one you're sure to find just what you're looking for at Brimfield. It was a collector's feast for the eyes with miles and miles of booths laden with treasures to suit any budget, style or interest. Here are a few of my faves. [caption id="attachment_462" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Booths were crammed with antiques, collectibles and unidentifiable objects. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] You never know what you'll discover in the booths at Brimfield... but it sure is fun looking! A popular collector's item, these fun-loving Fiesta dinnerware pieces (seen below) will brighten up any kitchen. [caption id="attachment_463" align="aligncenter" width="300"] First designed in the early 1930s, Fiesta dinnerware is still being produced today by the Homer Laughlin China Company in West Virginia. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] It was fascinating chatting with the some of the vendors, who were eager to provide the background and history for their collections, from vintage posters and artwork to glassware and furniture. I loved the cabinets seen below, which were a style I'd never seen before. They were salvaged from old hardware stores. [caption id="attachment_464" align="aligncenter" width="300"] These unique hexagon cabinets were originally used to hold nails and screws. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] Expect the unexpected! Here's a booth that caught our eyes! No longer used by the lobstermen of Maine, old float ropes have been recycled into colourful mats by local crafters, with proceeds going to support the implementation of environmentally sound practices in the Gulf of Maine. [caption id="attachment_465" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Only at a flea market or antique show would these eerie mannequins look right at home among nautical accoutrements. Photo by Karen Kirk.[/caption] Karen's junk hunting tips
1. For annual fall antique shows and flea markets, arrive early to ensure a good parking spot and first dibs on the good stuff.
2. Bring cash as bartering is welcome and most booths don't accept credit cards.
3. Bring your own bags or boxes .
4. Wear comfy shoe s and a hat, and pack rain boots in the car.
5. When in doubt, buy it! It won't be there if you have a change of heart.
6. Do a little research on the Internet before you go so you know what to expect to pay for things. Now, tell us about your favourite flea-market find in the comment box below. Next time: Great ways to display your collectibles.