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Treasure Hunting

Archive for June 2010

Montana Memories


    Continuing my Treasure Hunting series featuring noteworthy collectors, creative types and entrepreneurs, I’m introducing Jana Roach.

    Roach lives near Kalispell, Montana in the beautiful Flathead Valley, and as one of the creators of Montana’s Vintage Whites Market, she spends a lot of time searching for lovely things to sell at her monthly sales which run from May through October.

    “ If you told me 10 years ago that I'd be partnering in a seasonal vintage market & making my own goods for it, I would have laughed,” she says.

    But, when thinking about what first sparked her interest in old things, Roach isn't surprised. And she gives all the credit to her mother.

     “ My mom used to take me to every garage sale in town and every antique store in between,” Roach says.  “She has the best decorating touch, so I got to watch her take things she would buy for pennies and turn them in to beautiful, functional, decorations in her home.”

    Growing up in a home filled with her mother’s finds was a powerful influence and now it is a bond the two share. “The history behind each piece sings throughout her home,” Roach says.   

    Both her parents like to excavate old homesteads looking for antique bottles, many dating to the 1800s. They display the bottles in a bathroom window creating a stained-glass effect.

    “Slowly, over time, I came to appreciate this and even looked forward to calling her and raving about an old funnel I bought for $2, or a stool that was rusted and dirty that I got for free out of the city dump,” she says.

    Now. as an adult with her own home and family, Roach continues the family tradition.
    “Now, I get excited every time I find things to fix and repurpose.  I hardly buy anything new if I can help it,” she says. “The thrill of sharing that with Mom is still there, as is the thrill of sharing it with an online community of  men & women who are just as excited about junking as I am. Roach established that online connection through blogging.

    The catchy quote on Roach’s blog, “Just a girl who likes to make things, buy things, look at things, eat things, do things, want things, and loves everything and everyone.  Except for bees,” captures the lively spirit she brings to antiquing. The blog has more than 500 followers and through it Roach is chronicling the recent purchase of an old farmhouse online.

     “Being able to connect with someone through words and sometimes even voices is almost therapeutic.  I've made many lasting friendships,” she says.  “(But) I have to credit my wonderful mom as the reason I absolutely love - and wouldn't want to live without - treasure hunting.”



Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at

Kathleen Cavender sale

    Those of us who love old things, ordinary objects that show the wear of many hands, are the curators. We gather and collect and admire our finds. We bring them out for others to admire. We hold onto our treasures. And when those pieces have a family history, we hold them even tighter.
     But, for many of us, a time comes when letting it all go is the right thing to do.  For Kathleen Cavender, that time has come.

The Art of Collecting

    Most people in Spokane have at least heard of Kathleen Cavender. Her paintings hang in some of the most prestigious collections in the city. Her jazz band, The Kathleen Cavender Band, plays the best rooms around town. She is a mover and shaker in the Spokane arts community. For the last 37 years, she has also been a curator, living in a home filled with family history.

      “My grandparents migrated to Spokane from London in 1912,” Cavender told me. “The story goes they were supposed to come over on the Titanic, but arrived too late.”

     The disappointed - and fortunate - family had to take another ship, accompanying a cargo of the family’s belongings

    “This could just be one of those family stories that has become more and more exaggerated with each telling,” she admitted.  “But it makes for a good story, don’t you think?”
Eventually, Cavender’s grandmother was no longer able to hold onto the family heirlooms and they were offered up to the rest of the family.

    “When my grandmother was moved to a nursing home in the late 70s, my mother said we could go to her apartment and glean what belongings she had left behind,” she said.

Kathleen wasn’t able to go until after everyone else had had their pick.  

    “I was in a panic, but when I arrived, I found that my brother and sisters took only the practical things: the Corningware dishes, the microwave, flatware and bedding. All of my grandmother’s precious antiques were there waiting for me. “

    When Cavender and her husband purchased a turn-of-the-century house in the Canon Hill Addition neighborhood in the late 1980s, her grandmother’s things fit right in.

     “The house dictated its need for antiques and we certainly had them,” she said. “Since that time, we have added and added and added to the collection. “

    The beautifully restored house is filled with family mementoes and all the things the couple gathered. But things change. Cavender is looking forward to a future that doesn’t include a big house full of big pieces. So, surprising even herself, she has decided to sell most of that collection.

     This Saturday, Cavender is holding the first of a series of sales. If you are still hunting and gathering to fill your nest, this is the perfect opportunity.  Until, that is, it’s your turn to let it all go.

    “Hunting for treasures has been a wonderful hobby for many years,” she told me. “But how many Ansonia clocks does one person need?”

Saturday’s sale will include at least one of those clocks.

     “The memories will warm the corners of my heart for a very long time,” Cavender added. “But I am ready for a change.”



What: Kathleen Cavender sale
When: Saturday, June 26 (Saturday Only. No early sales.)
Time: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Where:  1717 West 10th

First Finds: Rolane Hopper, The Vintage Barn

    Sometimes it’s hard to remember just when we fell in love. Was it at first sight, or did the feeling grow from familiarity and time spent together?

    Looking back, I can’t remember when I first fell for time-worn objects, for items that had a history beyond my own lifetime. Growing up in a family of collectors, I spent my childhood in a house filled with fascinating old things. It was an association I carried with me as I made my own way. When I left for school, my dorm room was decorated with an old lace tablecloth and a sterling silver bud vase. (I wrote about that in my first Treasure Hunting column in 2003)

    Now, my house is filled with family heirlooms or treasures that I brought home from an afternoon spent at the flea market. Some are as dear to me as any old friend.

    Recently, at an antiques show, as I talked to many of the dealers and collectors, I began to wonder just what triggered that love in each of them. So, I decided to ask. I sent emails to some of the people whose sense of style, entrepreneurship and creative drive, I admire. I asked them to tell me their love stories, to share the experience or object that stole their hearts.

    The responses were fascinating. I’ll be sharing them here on my Spokesman-Review Treasure Hunting blog and I hope you’ll enjoy them, too.

Honoring a Family’s History

Rolane Hopper didn’t just fill her home with relics from farm life. She bought the farm. When she and her husband purchased a 1909 house on the remaining 10 acres of what had been a 150-acre homestead in Rathdrum, Idaho, she knew she had found her perfect place. Hopper started blogging about her experience and promptly founded a successful antiques show held at the vintage barn on her property. When I sent out my query asking for junking love stories, she was the first to reply. Here’s what she sent:

    “I remember my first ‘find’ and the unexpected excitement I felt. I was 17 years old, living in Burbank Calif., when a friend invited me to a local auction. I was hesitant. I had always loved vintage clothing but had never really gotten into furniture. I started bidding on a HUGE old trunk, circa 1911. What I won at auction was a family’s entire history all locked inside this great old trunk. It fascinated me. The family Bible, birth, wedding and death certificates, photos, deeds to family farms. I still have it all. Including a beautiful picture of a girl, possibly on her wedding day.
    In a way it made me sad to know that this family gave this to auction. I thought the best I could do was honor and preserve the family memories as I found them.”

    See what a single bid at auction can do? For Rolane Hopper it was only the beginning. Now, she brings crowds to her home each summer to shop for their own vintage treasures. In addition to her own barn sale, she is a vendor at The Farm Chicks show in June and she sells a line of merchandise on her website.


  •     The next Vintage Barn sale will be held July 10 from 9am - 4pm  Click here for more information or to follow Rolane Hopper’s Vintage Barn adventures. 
  • To see photos of Rolane Hopper's trunk and contents, click continue reading


Boutiques and Blooms

I got up early to get started on what promises to be a busy day. My first stop was the Boutiques and Blooms sale at the home of Holly Dalke. The sale is part of the Inland Empire Gardener's Club Spokane in Bloom Tour.

Dalke's beautiful white farmhouse is the perfect setting for such a summery event. Local antiques and crafts vendors set up their tents and displays with fun vintage wares and handmade items. Dalke, owner of Shabby Stems, provided one-of-a-kind greenery with funky items planted with lush perennials and annuals.

I couldn't stay long, but I did have time to chat with GardenStone Creations diva, Kelly Tareski, as well as the ladies from Unexpected Necessities. Cedar House Soaps, A Country Hen and other vendors were there with lots of fun finds.

My finds? I brought home a couple of vintage aprons from Michelle Chastain's Audubon Home and Cottage. I prefer the full-length aprons to those that tie around the waist so I always pick them up when I see them. The faded vintage cotton prints are so sweet.

The day's not over yet. If you have time, head over to Boutiques and Blooms. For more photos Continue reading...

Saturday Flea Market At Moran Vista

So, if you’re looking for something fun to do before heading down to the Arena for the live broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion, here’s a little treasure hunting tip:

Moran Vista Senior Living  is hosting their 3rd annual Flea Market.

Here are the details:

What: Moran Vista 3rd Annual Flea Market

Where: 3317 E. 57th Ave.

When: Sat. June 12, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The Treasure Hunting Calendar

The predictable thing about spring and summer is that it’s the time of year that treasure-hunters are out in full force. And all that shopping and prepping and months of hard work done by dealers pays off in a big way.

This is the season to bring home the vintage bounty.

Thanks to all the readers and local entrepreneurs who sent notice of their upcoming sales. I’ve added it to the notices I picked up at Farm Chicks last weekend.
 Here’s the list so far. Feel free to add your event to the Spokesman-Review Treasure Hunting schedule because I’ll be updating it often.

  • June 19  - Boutiques and Blooms Inland Empire Gardener’s Club Spokane Bloom Tour , 9a.m - 4:30p.m., 3225 W. 7th Ave., Spokane, WA
  • June 26 - Warehouse Antique Annex 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 524 Church Street, Sandpoint, Idaho
  • June 26th - Today’s Country Store 11th Annual Tag Sale, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., 1008 Main Street, Sumner, WA. For more information go to or call 253-826-6646
  • June 26, July 24, Aug. 21, Sept. 18, Oct. 16 & Nov. 6. - The Queen of Tarte fall sales. Oregon City, Ore. For more info go to
  • July 10  - The Vintage Barn Antique Show 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  22277 N. Ramsey Road, Rathdrum, Idaho. $4 admission. For more info, go to
  • July 10,11 -  Latah Summer Market 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In the parking lot in front of Chaps restaurant at 4241 S. Cheney-Spokane Road, off Highway 195. (509) 624-4182.
  • July 10, 11 - Portland Antique Show, Portland Expo Center, Portland, OR. For more info go to
  • July 31  - Junk-in-the-Country Sale , Coeur d’Alene, ID. (More info to come)
  • July 31 - Barnhouse Flea Market, Battle Ground, WA. For more info go to
  • Aug. 14 - Clayson Farm Antique Show, 221 Hall Road, Yakima, WA 509.949.1341 For more info go to
  • August 14 -  Harvest Treasures produced by GardenStone Creations, 9 a.m. - 5p.m. 1515 S. Lyons Rd. Airway Heights, WA. For more info call 509-244-0900
  • Sept. 4, 5   - Funky Junk Antique Show 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oden Hall Grange, Sandpoint, Idaho. $2 admission. For more info, go to
  • Sept 11, 12  - Two Women Barn Bazaar: Spangle, WA  south of Spokane off Highway 195.
  • Oct. 1, 2 - The Mad Hatter Vintage Market produced by Junebug Furniture & Design: Five Mile Prairie Grange, W3024 Strong Road, Spokane,WA For more info go to
  • Oct. 14, 15 & 16 - 21st Annual Fall Craft and Antique Show, Northwest Washington Fairgrounds, Lynden, WA. $2 admission. For more info go to
  • Oct. 15, 16 - Palouse Trading Company Fall Market (Formerly the Junior League Fall Market.)  Southside Senior Center, Spokane. For more info call 509-979-6201

Weekly sales:

  •  2nd Saturdayz Market of Fine Taste and Curious Treasures. Second Saturday of the month at the Sandpoint Hangers at Warren Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98115. Early bird entry 8am-10am $10. Regular Shopping 10 a.m. - 3p.m. $3
  • Fun Junk: Piles of Old Stuff. Fri $ Sat 10 am. - 6 p.m., 3644 Mud Bay Road, Olympia, WA. For more info go to


Armchair Farming with Vintage Books

    Some people read thrillers. They like high-flying espionage and doomsday scenarios or murder mysteries with gory homicide cases solved by little old ladies or wise-cracking private detectives. This is the polar opposite of their ordinary life, but then that’s what makes the plots so exciting.

 Others read biographies of fascinating people, they want to know the most intimate details of the lives of celebrities or historical figures. Some women are never without a romance novel, stories of love and lust. Some men go for stories of fly-fishing or tomes on the Civil War.

     The point is that what we read is as individual as our thumbprint.  It doesn’t necessarily reflect who we are, just what we find fascinating.

     I have this weakness for books about farming. Not modern stories, but old books. I pick them up occasionally and then spend an evening reading about how to dig a well and where to put a greenhouse. The best way to operate a farm stand and how to raise geese. Mind you, I don’t want, at this particular time, to dig a well. I can’t see myself selling produce by the side of the road and I think geese are mean. But, that doesn’t stop me from reading about people who chose that life.

     I have four favorites in the bookcase. Occasionally, when they catch my eye, I’ll lift one out and sit down for a good read about onion growing for market. Or, how to keep your freeloading friends and family from showing up each Sunday for a home-cooked meal of fresh produce and grain-fed chicken.

   The oldest book, the beautifully bound “Garden and Farm Topics,” was written in 1884. It’s a complete “how to” manual for gardeners.      Another, “Winged Seeds,” is the story of a doctor and his wife who bought a run-down farm house and built a life in the country. It was written in 1923 and is signed “To the ‘Scavenger.’  

     “Five Acres and Independence,” published in 1935, is a “practical guide to the selection and management of a small farm.” It is more than a manual. It is also filled with quotes from other books on farming and animal husbandry. I especially liked this quote from Donald G. Mitchell : “If a man would enter upon country life in earnest and test thoroughly its aptitudes and royalties, he must not toy with it at a town distance; he must brush the dews away with his own feet. He must bring the front of his head to the business, and not the back of it.”

     And the 5th book in the stack is “How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method.” It is a classic 1961 “Organic Gardening and Farming Magazine” staff compilation and it’s still very relevant.

    My kids tease me about my farming books. But my youngest is determined to move us out to the country. She spends hours pouring over ads for farms and land. So, who knows, all that reading might come in handy one day.

Clothespin Cards

You know there's  a diamond in the sandbox. Somewhere. All you have to do is find it.

That's what it feels like to shop for one small thing in a crowded market or antiques show. There are so many things to look at, there is so much to catch your eye, it's hard not to be distracted and overwhelmed. Treasure hunting takes patience and persistence. You have to be willing to reach in and feel your way. Ah, but when you find what you've been searching for, it is all worthwhile.

Last weekend, at the Farm Chicks show, I spent a couple of hours shopping for two small cards. I had a couple of special thank-you notes I wanted to write and I wanted the paper they were written on to capture completely the spirit of the message. I knew that somewhere in the packed booths filled with everthing from furniture to fly-fishing poles, I would surely find two perfect cards or the materials to make my own.

I looked at a lot of possibilities: Funky vintage greeting cards and sweet antique postcards. Colorful retro children's flash cards with charming illustrations. Bits of vintage wallpaper. Scraps of ribbon. Old notebooks, yellowed with age.

Finally, stepping into Amy Prince's “Clothespin Cards” booth, I knew I could stop searching.  Prince, a creative crafter who lives near Portland, OR, mixes lively words, vintage paper and fabric and tons of creativity and the result is a fun selection of paper goods.

I selected two tiny notebooks made of vintage paper board bound with bookbinding tape and decorated with a quote absolutely perfect for the short handwritten message I would add. The hunt was over.

Now, the rest is up to me.

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. You can reach her at

You can find more Clothespin Cards on Etsy.

MAC offered photographic treasures at Art Fest

This was one of those wonderful Spokane weekends. When there is so much to do it's hard to decide where to go next.

Saturday morning I was out at the Fair and Expo Center to be a part of the fun at the Farm Chicks Show. That afternoon, I headed out to Coeur d'Alene Park in Browne's Addition for the Museum of Arts and Culture's annual Art Fest.

I have a special fondness for Art Fest. I arrived in Spokane June 1, 1999. That weekend we headed straight to Art Fest to have fun. At that time, the MAC was being renovated so the show was held on the grounds of the museum. It was a special introduction to the art culture in my new hometown.

This weekend, I was able to chat with some of the artists whose work I collect. And some whose work I covet. Unlike that Saturday 11 years ago, this time I saw many familiar faces. Some who have become quite special to me.

We strolled along shopping and visiting, and we stopped to listen to the music, but the one thing I enjoyed most this year was the MAC's historical photo booth.

The MAC was selling duplicate photos from their archives. I spent almost an hour standing at the table going through boxes of fascinating photos. Many showed local landmarks and a few featured historical figures. It took a while to decide what photographs I couldn't leave without.

I finally made my selection and rejoined my family.

The photo booth was a big hit. People were having to wait in line to get a chance to go through the images. If they decide to do it again next year I'll be at the table for sure.

Farm Chicks bring in old friends and new

The thing I love the most about spending time at events like this weekend's Farm Chicks Antiques Show is that I get a chance to spend time with old friends. Over the years,  I've written about so many of the dealers and vendors I've gotten to know them personally. I've watched their businesses grow as they have followed my career.

Saturday was no exception. After a hug from Serena - I first wrote about the Chicks just after the first barn sale - I moved inside and ran right into the ladies from Coeur d'Alene's “Forget-me-Not.” Another pair of entrepreneurs I love to spend time with.

Moving from booth to booth I spent my time visiting with some of the hardest working women I know. They shop, transport, refinish, paint, repurpose, renovate and beautify 7 days a week. Setting up a space at a show isn't just a throw-it-together thing. They design elaborate displays and create magical vignettes. They dress the part. And, most inspiring of all, they love what they do.

I'll be back for more fun today. Sunday is always less crowded and there are just as many treasures to find. But the real reason I'll make another trip to the fairgrounds is the chance to talk with the people who make it happen.

The shopping is great. But time with friends is the best find of all.

To see photos of some of the finds and faces of year's Farm Chick's Antique Show, click “continue reading.”

Farm Chicks draw a crowd

I headed out the the Farm Chicks sale early. I wanted to see how many people would be lined up and waiting for a chance to do some serious shopping.

The photo says it all.

By 9 a.m., the lined snaked all the way from the ticket gate to the street. The entire length of the parking lot.

When the doors opened at 10 a.m. the the circus started. Dealers were ready and waiting. I walked around talking and renewing old acquintances and getting an eyeful of all the shabby treasures.

I’ll be posting more as the day goes along.

Symphony Upscale Sale: Selling For a Song

     I stopped by the Spokane Symphony Associates Upscale Sale today. I had too many commitments yesterday and couldn’t make the preview sale but wasn’t worried about it. The way I see it, if there’s something there for me, I’ll find it. If not, well, I’ll have a good time looking around and visiting with friends. Today was no exception.

     By the time I dropped in the sale was packed. As a Spokane Symphony Associates member this made me very happy. The SSA raises a large portion of the operating funds for the Spokane Symphony. The sale is a small portion of the money contributed each year - Christmas Tree Elegance brings in the big bucks -  but every dollar counts.

     Before I’d even gotten all the way through the door I spotted something I wanted. A small, shabby, slightly tattered handwoven rug had been placed on the floor to cover power cords. They hadn’t even marked it.  We settled on a price, it was put on a table behind the cash register and I moved on.

     By the time I left I had another small rug, this time a well-worn 1930s Iranian rug, and a stack of white linen napkins. The napkins were quite the deal at $2 for six. I was thrilled with my finds and happy to write the check. A win for all involved.

     But it gets better. Tomorrow (Saturday,) after 3pm., all remaining items will be half-price. That’s when the good deals turn into screaming deals. So, go. Shop, Spend and buy. The SSA has gathered a building full of treasures and they’re selling it all for a song.

Details: Spokane Symphony Associates Upscale Sale: Saturday, June 5, 8am-5pm at the former BlockBuster Video Building at 1312 S. Grand Blvd.

Read my boots

So far, the weekend is pretty sloppy. What with Art Fest, the Symphony Associates Upscale Sale and the Farm Chicks show, the weather could put a damper on all the fun.

So what? True treasure hunters never mind a little inclement weather. We’ve got all the tools we need to tough it out no matter what the season.

My newsprint rain boots are waiting at the door. All I need to do is slip them on and take off.

Rain? Bring it on. I’ll be puddle jumping, treasure hunting and having fun, fun, fun.

Girls Gone Wild

I’m curious. How many of you will be going to this weekend’s Farm Chick’s sale or Spokane Symphony Associates Upscale Sale in the company of friends? Do you hunt in a pack or are you a solo stalker, preferring to troll the aisles alone?

What’s your treasure hunting style?

I’ve been covering antiques and collectibles for the paper for years. (I started this blog  in 2004.) I grew up in the business, raised in a family of collectors and dealers. While still in high school I sold vintage clothing to theater companies and collectors around town. When my children were small I had spaces in antique malls in th city where I lived. Over the years I’ve had plenty of chances to observe the behavior of show-shoppers and it’s always interesting.  I’ve noticed a few “types”:

Girls Club: Shopping a sale or flea market isn’t just an outing. It’s a celebration. The day starts with a car full of girlfriends and a big breakfast, followed by coffee-to-go and sweet rolls in a bag. Arriving early is all part of the plan. Armed with caffeine, sugar and all the latest gossip, time spent standing in line passes quickly.

Honey do: Hubby comes along. You held the flashlight for him last Saturday so he could find that pesky rattle under the hood so, by golly, he can follow you to the antiques show and sale this weekend. Besides, it’s nice to have someone to carry your stuff to the car. This year, however, once he gets a look at the Farm Chick’s new Man Cave (decorated by Concept : Home) he might encourage you to shop a little longer.

Undercover (junk) lover: She forgot to set her alarm clock. She didn’t have time to shower. By the time she rolled out of bed it was too late to get all gussied up so she put on a baseball cap and her biggest pair of Jackie O. sunglasses and hit the road. Disguised, she glides right by friends who are distracted by pretty things.

The competititor: She wants it and it drives her crazy if you get it first. She prefers to go alone, without the distraction (or competition) of friends. She’ll take it right out of your hands if she thinks she can get away with it.

The bag lady: She comes prepared to haul a lot home. She’s wearing a fanny pack so she can reach her money, cell phone and lipstick without having to stop and rumble through a purse. She’s got a little cart with wheels and has two crushable tote bags for the extras. She left the compact at home and borrowed a truck. She’s wearing sensible shoes and cargo pants with extra pockets.

The appreciator. She rarely buys but when she does find a treasure she knows what she’s buying. She doesn’t get caught up in the frenzy. She takes her time and usually spots a bargain overlooked by the hard-chargers.

Whatever your technique, from lone wolf to girls gone wild, I hope you have a good time at the Farm Chicks show and wherever else you decide to do a little treasure-hunting this weekend.

(Drop me a line and tell me about your finds.)

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance columnist for The Spokesman-Review. She can be reached at


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About this blog

Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes about antiques and collectibles and the love of all things vintage. Millsap's Home Planet column appears each week in the Wednesday "Pinch" supplement, and she is The Spokesman-Review's female automobile reviewer. She is a regular contributor to Spokane Public Radio and her essays can be heard on Public Radio stations across the country. Cheryl-Anne is the author of "Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons."

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