American Pickers Midwest Version

I’ve said it many times, ad nauseam, that writing this blog is a dream.


THE ultimate dream job would be scouring the nation’s famous flea markets, antique shows and walking streets getting paid to pick merchandise for some successful shop owner. Now wouldn’t that be good? In fact, you could say that I’m one step closer to achieving this dream as my friend has asked me to look for some merchandise for her business. She is a new business owner and wants to increase her brand awareness, but doesn’t know what the best strategy is. I personally think that selling merchandise is the best option, particularly custom t shirts that you can create at somewhere like Imprint because lots of people are bound to hear about it if it’s printed on a shirt. That’s what I’d do anyway. I just love the whole concept of being able to pick some merchandise for shop owners. Kind of like a female version of American Pickers but better – American Pickers Abroad! Traipsing all over Europe with unlimited budgets. Pick, pick, picking everything we can fit into a can. Actually tons of people do live this life and God bless em.

So back to Jen’s reality. The reality is I sort of do this every Summer but its one month, one state, no pay. But alas I made my dollars go the distance and here’s what I bought, what I wished I’d bought and what I was able to pack in my truck back to Georgia.
We started out in a section of Lansing, called “Old Town”. A hip little enclave that would probably be twice the size if the recession hadn’t hit my home state of Michigan so hard. Came across this sign and I had to have it. Don’t ask me why. I thought it would be cute in a retro cool cottage or in a kids bathroom/bedroom OR in my garage where it will reside for now.

In the end it was the random “red hots” that got me. $32 “firm”. Wrap it up.

Next I came across these spools of vintage ribbon, the perfect width to add to the bottom of curtain panels. I bought the bronze colored spool on the bottom left but am kicking myself I didn’t buy them all (except for purple). No offense but purple’s my least favorite color. They all reminded me of Suzanne Kasler’s dining room palette below. I think they were four bucks or less.

Suzanne Kasler’s blush colored dining room. She chose to double side the panels one side taupe, one side pink in case she ever tired of the pink. According to her book, she hasn’t yet.
One lump or two? Ball and claw silver sugar dome. Made in England $5.95.
More shots of shopping in Old Town…
Vintage shoes and hats
A great clothing boutique named “Grace“.
Then it was off to the lake at a usual stop, Elk Rapids Antique Warehouse on 31. A history of great finds, including a vintage Hermes scarf found for a fashionista friend’s birthday for $30 in the box.
I was thrilled when I walked in and found this painting I spotted last Summer and had to walk away Jen. Here it was again still at $95. I offered $80. Deal. Dig it.
Loved this vintage Barbie case for a modern day make up case but walked away. It was $32. Cheap by ebay standards. In the end it wouldn’t fit in my carry on and as much as I love ya Babs I’m not checking a bag. Still would have been fun though.
Loved this lamp for someone. I think it was $118 with the original burlap shade. Regretting I didn’t snag it.
Instead a folk art horse. Six dollars. Will make a great Christmas ornament too.
My last great find at the warehouse, this Mary McDonald-esque jewelry box for my vanity table at $26. Flipped it over to read “made especially for J.L. Hudson”. Sealed the deal. Michiganders are nostalgic about Hudsons (we add s to things) and Jacobsens. We loved Jakes! Buried Mom with her Jac’s credit card and the day they announced they were closing their doors, I was sad for us both.
Mary McDonald’s dressing table where she keeps her jewelry in pink Murano ashtrays by the dozens. Scanned from her fabulous book.
Brooch was purchased at a trunk show last Winter. The color combo was gorgeous and reminded me of this beautiful upholstered bench I’d saved, pictured below.
Not to beat a dead horse but look to fashion to inspire interior design. People are starting to wear gold jewelry again, maybe why we’re seeing more brass faucets and hardware??
Another “wish I would have” was this fake fur coat with leather belt for $65 from Jacobsens! Would of been nice to have a piece of history. I may call and see if its still there. I pictured it with jeans, boots and a beanie cap ala Ali McGraw in The Love Story.Moving on.

Deep sigh.

When it comes to buying birthday gifts vintage is the ticket. You’ll find one-of-a-kind classics, repurposed, made in America, all with a story that didn’t burn up oil, the ozone or harm a child in arriving to now. Well a friend of mine celebrated a bday while I was gone and is a big buyer/seller of vintage wares. Hence these red, white and blue specs she rocks with this outfit.
I found her this to match! Perfect and priceless at $18.
$14 dollar vintage hand bag for moi. Wyandotte Street Fair via Dolly Rocker’s Handmade and Vintage.
My “five and a half” year old daughter suggested I pin the chocolate charcoal brooch to it. Good eye Soph.
An $18 religious relic. Have a thing for them. Grand Haven antique store.
Ikat maxi dress for $14.99 at Kmart! Worn with stella and dot Casablanca Bib Necklace.
My sister-in-law is moving to contemporary interiors and as a result I am the very lucky beneficiary of this gorgeous gold trumeau mirror. Thanks Kate! xo

Vintage ornaments, $1 each. I love the patina of old ornaments.

Beautiful painting that caught my eye in a Ludington antique store.

Last to make the trek is this old mail sorter, ready to hang if desired. Purchased two Summers ago to merchandise items in my antique booth that I’m on hiatus from. I paid $99 thinking that was a bit hefty but chalked it up to a worthwhile business expense at the time.

She’d never fit in the car until this year. I think I’ll put her in my office for now to house all of my random curiosities sort of like this beautifully styled photo in Potterybarn.

I so hope you enjoyed this post of my treasure hunts. All in all I invested a small sum for a lot of good I think.

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your week and weekend!!! Today is my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten. Look out. I’ll leave you with this sweet sentiment a friend sent me via Pinterest. Enjoy!


“I wonder what you’re doing right now.
And if everyone is treating you kind.
I hope there is a special person,
A nice friend that you can find.
I wonder if the teacher knows
Just how special you are to me.
And if the brightness of your heart
Is something she can see.
I wonder if you are thinking about me,
And if you need a hug.
I already miss the sound of your voice.
And how you give my leg a tug.
I wonder if you could possibly understand
How hard it is for me to let you grow.
On this day know that my heart breaks,
For this is the first step in letting my
baby go.”


  1. I laughed (you always make me laugh), I cheered (Hermes scarf, Soph, K-mart dress), I drooled (MM jewelry box, painting, trumeau), and I CRIED ( my perfect b-day gift!!!)Love it, loved this, love you!

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