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Treasure Hunting

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Vintage garden table gets a new look

There are finds and then there are the finds you find all over again.

In 2006, I was invited by a Treasure Hunting reader to join her for a day of antiquing. I met her at Apple Annie Antique Gallery in Cashmere, Washington and joined Soap Lake Collector's Club for lunch at the diner there in the mall. After lunch we spent several hours looking around the mall. I bought two pieces of green Fiestaware and we were saying goodbye when I noticed a pile of items just inside the door. One of the dealers was just bringing in new merchandise and had dropped it off at the door while she moved her truck and got down to the business of tagging and displaying.

One item in particular caught my eye. It was a small round, weathered, wrought-iron table. The glass was missing but otherwise the shabby white table was in great shape. I could see it in my garden or sitting beside a favorite chair.

When the dealer walked up I asked her what she wanted for the table and she studied it a minute and said, “How about $18?”


I brought it home and put it in the garden shed until I could find a place for it. We sold the big house in the suburbs soon after and downsized to a cottage in the city, I got rid of a lot of things, but I brought the table with me. I knew it had potential.

For the last five years the table has been in the garden shed here in the city. Waiting until the time was right.

Maybe it was the unexpectedly bright sunshine on a February day, but I woke up this morning in a mood to do something different around the house. After my coffee, I moved a few things around. Declaring the end of the worst of winter, I put the white cotton slipcover on the sofa and replaced the heavier oriental rug with a lighter jute rug. I also moved the leather ottomans I've used for a coffee table since moving in.

Staring at the empty space in front of the sofa, wondering what would look good and still do the job, I remembered the iron table in the garden shed. A quick trip to Pier 1 for a new glass top and it was done. I've got a brand new look built around a fine old find.

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

Vintage linen for the Thanksgiving table

    This Thanksgiving, as I usually do, I'll decorate the table simply with a few favorite items: a carved wooden pheasant, a vintage table cloth, the family china and silver. We'll sit down together to eat favorite foods, celebrate and enjoy one another's company.

    But this year I do have something new, or, rather, old, to bring to the table. Recently, on a trip to the Gulf Coast, I attended the Peter Anderson Festival in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. As we walked toward the booths of artists and artisans, we passed a small antique store. The owner of the store was holding a sale before closing the doors forever and everything was deeply discounted. I didn't have much time so I went immediately to the section of the store where all the linens were displayed and picked up three pieces. I have a thing for heavy, hand-sewn French linen and I'd immediately noticed three little pieces, two table runners and a small tea towel, on a shelf.

   I held up the linens and asked for a price, in a bit of a hurry because I needed to catch up with the rest of my party. The owner looked at what I held in my hand and shrugged.

   “How about $2?” he said. “I told you everything needs to go.”

   I was thrilled. The pieces would sell for much more than that anywhere else. I handed him the $2 and ran on to find everyone else.

    This year, when I set the table, I'll add two miniature pumpkins that grew on a vine in my backyard; they are the last remnants of my summer garden. (You can read more about the pumpkins in my Growing Green column.)Tucked around them, I'll add one of the linen pieces I brought home from the south.

    I've been so busy lately, I haven't had much time for treasure hunting and I've missed the adventure. The few minutes I spent in the antique store were a treat. As was the bargain.

     I can't think of a better way to dress a holiday table.


Cheryl-Anne Millsap writes for The Spokesman-Review. She can be reached at


Back to School: Lunchbox redux

This morning I packed yet another lunch. I've been getting school lunches ready for more than 20 years so it's second nature to me now. My first child started school in 1991. Three more followed.

Now, the oldest is out of grad school and part of the workforce. The youngest is in high school. There are only two more years of school lunches to go.

As I folded down the edges of my daughter's brown paper sack this morning, I remembered the plaid metal lunchbox I carried when I was in elementary school. That brought memories of milk in paper cartons, freshly baked peanut butter cookies and the clatter of conversation and laughter at the long tables in the “lunchroom.”

Several years ago, I picked up a similar metal lunchbox and kept it in my kitchen. But, when we downsized several years ago, I sold it at a garage sale. (Over the years, I've developed a “catch and release” philosophy toward antiques and collectibles.) I wrote about it in a past Treasure Hunting column

I'm working from home but I think I'll make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and pour a cold glass of milk. Cheers!

GardenStone Creations: Harvest Treasures & Local Motion

    Too often, women who love to spend hours looking at vintage items at a flea market or in an antique mall, do it entirely on their own or they go with a group of friends. They wouldn’t think of having a husband around.
    This is definitely not the case with Kelly and Monte Tareski. The couple, who own Cascading Creations, share more than a business. They share a love of junking that has found an important place in their relationship.

    “I have always had a passion for the weathered and worn out item,” Kelly told me.  “As a child, I remember going to the Southern California flea markets  and spending all day digging, hunting for the perfect piece of junk and at a young age being able to negotiate the ‘right price.’”

    Eventually, Tareski wanted more than just fun. She wanted to make a career out of rescuing and re-imagining vintage items. Fortunately, her husband shared that desire.

    “Just in the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to turn that passion into a business. With Monte's passion for the same, it makes it very easy to go treasure hunting and we have so much fun together,” she says. “One of our favorites is when we get the call to go ‘pick’ at an old homestead.”

    Transforming a building on the grounds of their Airway Heights stone business, Tareski turned her new project, GardenStone Creations into an appealing and popular place for shoppers. She was able to find a way to combine her love of the hunt, with a desire to own a unique business.

    What came about is an outlet for local artists, artisans and creative types.

    “I am a huge supporter of local artisans and the buy-local movement,” Tareski says. “I am proud to say that I have my shop 80 percent stocked at this time with local merchandise from local businesses and artisans. I’m working towards 100 percent.”

    But, once a treasure hunter, always a treasure hunter. As proud as Tareski is to have started a business and carved a successful niche in the competitive antiques and vintage market in a relatively short time, what matters the most is spending time with her husband and having something positive and productive to show for it.

     “We not only love the hunt, but getting to hear the stories behind the treasures we find,” she says. “Then we love retelling those stories to our customers who purchase the items.”

Harvest Treasures ( For more info click Continue Reading…)
Saturday, August 14 at GardenStone Creations in Airway Heights, Kelly Tareski will present Harvest Treasures, an event featuring hand-picked vendors selling antiques, hand-made crafts and one-of-a-kind items.
Here are the details: For more information call 509.244.0900
Where: 1515 S. Lyons Rd, Airway Heights
When: Saturday, August 14

A deep-seated love

    Often, for those of us who are drawn to ordinary objects that have been used and loved, the things we rescue become part of the family.

     This is especially true of Gladys Hanning.

    “I have collected and brought home many pieces of furniture, paintings, books,” she says. “Our home reflects my passion for hunting these wonderful imperfect treasures.” She especially loves vintage art.

    “ For years I have collected still life paintings of fruit. Most of my canvases are signed, but by no one you'd know,” she says. “I discovered them at garage sales and auctions (paying) $25 at the most. I have filled the walls in our kitchen with these beautiful pieces of art.”
    Hanning says she learned to love vintage pieces from her parents.

    “Collecting has always been apart of our life,” she says, specifically mentioning her father's love of cookbooks. “He was a chef.” Her mother was also a treasure hunter and Hanning honors those finds.

    “Several pieces of furniture my mother purchased at garage sales for $5 have found a place in our home, as have my father’s cookbooks.”

    Like many who love the thrill of the chase, Hanning has turned a love of rescuing old things into a successful career.

    “In 2002 my daughter, Celia Hanning joined me in my interior design business, ‘Junebug Furniture and Design’,” she says. “With her background in design she has added an amazing and vibrant energy to our collection and offerings.”
     What started as a hobby has grown into a successful business. And a lot of mother-and-daughter fun.

    “Together we are passionate junkers. We can't drive by a yard sale without stopping, and of course, there are the early, early, morning estate sales,” she says. “We are always on the hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures to be repurposed, repainted and restored.”

    Now, with the popularity of Shabby Chic and junk decor, Hanning has put to use the skills she’s honed over the years.

    “My passion for junking began as a way of life and grew into an appreciation of the imperfect,” she says. “Comfort, simplicity and a sense of practicality are the key elements to my designs.”

    And nothing defines comfort and simplicity than that ubiquitous symbol of summer: the lawn chair.
    “Over the years I have found several metal yard chairs from the l940's. I have given each of my girls a pair and have several lined up in our driveway,” she says.”

    The chairs aren’t just part of the decor. One of her painted metal finds becomes a place to sit for a moment and reflect on the good life. And a good day’s work.

    “The best part is after a day of junking,” Hanning says. “It is the perfect seat from which to view not only our beautiful landscape, but the prizes of the day scattered around our driveway.”


Gladys and Celia Hanning, along with selected vendors, share their finds with shoppers at their annual antiques sale, 'The Mad Hatter Vintage Flea Market'.
Held each fall in the Five Mile Prairie Grange, this year's show is set for October 1st & 2nd. For more information read the Junebug blog

To see more photos, click Continue Reading

Finding inspiration in old ornaments

Continuing my Treasure Hunting series on what sparked a life-long love of vintage in local collectors and dealers, this week’s profile features Hollie Jantz Eastman.
Eastman is one of the co-owners of Funky Junk Antique Show.

    Like so many of us, Hollie Jantz Eastman’s love of old things was a habit that started at home when she was allowed to select several of her grandmother’s Christmas ornaments.

    “At the time it didn’t matter at all. “I just picked up the six different colored ornaments and put them in a box,” she says. “They didn’t go on my tree that year, but the next year I was glad that I had them.”

    Eastman had no idea just how much the ornaments would come to mean to her. Almost a decade ago, Eastman’s grandparents were killed in an accident just 10 days before Christmas and the ornaments gained deeper significance.

    “Those ornaments are just Styrofoam bells, fancied up with thread and glitter and paint, but they have come to represent the era that I love so much,” she says.  “The same in which my grandma started her life a wife and mother.”

    Now, Eastman finds inspiration and comfort each time she places one of the handmade pieces on her tree.

    “They have graced and glittered my Christmas tree every year and reminded me of my lovely grandma,”  Eastman says. “Since that bleak holiday ten years ago, Christmas has since begun to be joyful again for my family and me.”

    As a successful entrepreneur, Eastman spends her time searching for vintage items to sell at her own shows and other venues, and she has discovered an affinity for mid-century modern finds.

    “When I started junking for real, and made it into a life’s occupation, it was the vintage 1940’s and 50’s that I was drawn too,” she says. “And it is those vintage items that still speak most vividly to me.”

   Eastman finds personal inspiration, as well.

    “As I navigate the journey of being a wife and a mother,” she says, “all it takes is bringing out those ornaments on a December day to bring it all back into focus.”

Click here to learn more about Funky Junk Antique Show.

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

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

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...

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.”

New ideas for old things

I found this Country Living slide show featuring creative ways to update and re-use vintage finds and thought I would share.

I like the way most of the projects have a clean, upscale look. Sometimes, it's better to have a little more and a little less shabby…

Happy Hands Club @ the Funky Junk Sale

I snapped a few photos of happy people taking home treasures from the Funky Junk Antique Sale in Chattaroy this weekend. Enjoy!

Ashley Hanson found a pretty ring.

Chris Fehr snagged a new Canary print to add to her collection.

Skye Grow likes pop!

Mary Joe couldn't resist a barn-shaped holder for her photographs.

Jenna M. scored a bulletin board for her room.

To see all photos click below…

Sunday Junk


The Funky Junk Antique Show took place over the weekend at the Irish Dance Hall Grange on Big Meadows Road  and I looked forward to dropping by. I'm not a first-at-the-door-and-wait-in-line treasure hunter. I prefer to take my chances and shop after the crowd thins. True, I may miss a bargain, but I have more fun that way. Years ago when I had my own shop, I did my time. I pulled up with newpaper classifieds and coffee in hand and chatted while we all waited in line. But, not being in the business (I'm only in the businness of writing about the business, now) I prefer to  take my time and not get jostled.

Anyway, Jenna and I drove out to farm country and reminisced along the way. Our family used to live in the area and I've driven the roads around the Grange many times. We still have friends who live nearby.

When we arrived I was given a free T-shirt for being a Facebook Friend and we paid our admission. (Right away, I ran into my friend, Linda Hagen Miller.)  While I stopped to talk to friends and readers, Jenna did her own shopping. We had a great time.

To see photos of some of the vendors at this weekend's show, click below…

Love letter from a junker

I can't resist a love letter. Who can?

I got this in last week's mail from a long-time Treasure Hunting reader and thought I would share.

Dear Cheryl-Anne, I just found your Treasure Hunting blog at the Spokesman-Review again. I'm so glad to see you back writing about antiques. I followed your stories in the paper and in the Home section from the first one and I have missed reading about your finds. I went to the Antiques Roadshow and saw you there. I loved the magazine but I am glad the paper got you back again. Keep up the good work and maybe I'll see you at a sale some time. Sincerely, Amy E.

Thanks for the note, Amy. I'm thrilled to have the antiques and collectibles beat again. It's nice to be back in familiar territory. See you around.


Mid-century modern comes home

With a few minutes to spare, I stopped by an estate sale on my way to pick up my daughter from school. The bungalow, located on a street that links the regal Rockwood neighborhood and the up-and-coming Perry District, was full of people and not a lot else. I could tell most of the finds had already been found. And, that's ok with me. I'm not a get-there-an-hour-early-and-stand-in-line kind of treasure hunter. I hate the pushing and shoving when the door opens and, besides, I'm not afraid of leaving empty-handed. If something there is meant to go home with me, it will wait for me to find it.

After walking through the house, I went around to the basement. There were the usual things - garden tools, Christmas decorations and clay flower pots - but a chair caught my eye. It was a 1960s office chair. I loved the clean lines of the piece; the mid-century modern look to the slim strips of finished wood for arm rests, green nubby upholstery fabric and a wide roller base. I asked for the price of the unmarked chair. The man in charge of the basement sales asked me what I would pay. I asked what he had in mind. Neither of us said anything else for a minute.

Finally, the man said he would like to get $15 for it. I sat in the chair and liked the way it fit me. There was a good feel to the structure. It rolled easily and tipped back just enough to keep one from feeling like they were sitting in an upright kitchen chair. The fabric seat and naugahyde back were in excellent condition.

A woman walked into the basement and noticed the chair, and my attention to it. “I'll give you $5 for that chair,” she said. I glanced up at her and then at the man as he refused. She walked on.

I didn't really need a new chair, but I haven't been happy with the chair in my office. I thought I might have found a better option. I offered the man $10 and he accepted cheerfully.

When I got it home and turned it over to do wipe away the basement dust, I noticed the United Chair Company tag on the bottom of the chair and smiled. I have a friend who spent many years as an administrator  at United Chair in Leeds, Alabama before she left to go to work at the new Nissan factory.

So, my 1946 Spokane Cape Cod got a $10 dose of Southern-made, comfortable, mid-century modern style with a dash of nostalgia. Not bad for a 10-minute stop at an estate sale.

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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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