Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Flea market finds

A trip to a summer flea market is one of life's little adventures. You never quite know what you will find digging through chaotic piles, overflowing bins, and rows of eclectic collections. Some things are new, some are old and some just make you laugh out loud as you stumble upon items that don't seem to make any sense at all.

image above: accessories from designer Rachel Ashwell represent the flea market, shabby chic style

Recently, I went with my mom and sister on our annual journey to a flea market near the town where I grew up. We set out early--portable coffee cups in hand and a wallet full of cash tucked in our big straw bags--anticipating what this summer's collection of flea market finds would bring.

As we drove through the winding, tree-lined roads of Amish country, by-passing buggies and bikes along the way, I marvelled at how interesting this familiar experience really is--especially for those who drive from all over the country to see the Amish in their natural environment, as well as attend the flea market.

The flea market rows continue forever. We walked through row after un-shaded row, being careful not to miss a thing. Tucked between the stalls of tacky t-shirts and packs of batteries or magic markers, you can find antique accessories, handmade wooden furniture of exceptional quality, beautiful stone fountains, and Alpalca wool sweaters. The digging--and the discovery--is what makes this activity so rewarding. One thing is for sure, we never leave empty-handed.

My list of favorite flea market finds and other Amish-country treats this year:

"Language art" by Greg and Dilynn Puckett sold at The Village Trading Post
Language art uses black and white photography to capture every day items, using them as "letters" to create words. The result is an artistic approach to the beauty that surrounds us, yet often goes unnoticed. These can be custom made and are great for gifts with a special message.

The Village Trading Post
205 E. Main Street
Shipshewana, IN 46565

Lanterns of all shapes and sizes
A great addition to an outdoor lounging area, pathway or indoor tables and shelves. You can fill with small pots of roses, a grouping of candles or a sculpted piece of art. However you decide to use them, they add interest and draw attention to objects placed inside, cast a romantic glow when holding lighted candles, or add architectural detail if hung from a window or ceiling.

you can find lanterns like the ones to the left at

Stone birdbaths and fountains
Use the birdbath as a planter or to hold soaps and hand towels in a "shabby chic" bathroom-- or place them in the garden the traditional way. The fountains are classic and European in style--some are a bit more whimsical, others take on a simple modern shape that fit any style of decor.

Wooden plaque art with inspirational verses and phrases

If you venture to this part of the country, be sure not to miss:
Sweet Annie's store on Historic Morton Street for home and garden decor 260.768.7370

A slice of homemade pie (Dutch apple is my personal favorite)

The strong work ethic and quality craftsmenship displayed in everything the Amish create

For inspiration on how to decorate with flea market finds, check out Rachel Ashwell’s website and books on shabby chic style:

For more information on visiting Shipshewana, Indiana go to:


Phil & Kathy said...

Brianna, I LOVE IT! I hope other people start posting here, too. I feel weird being the only "reflector" at the moment. I love this site. You glamour girls are so inspiring!

Brianna said...

Thank you Kathy! You have inspired all of US! We learned from the best. Our mamas are wonderful:)