Elephant Trunk Flea Market

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Some might call me crazy, and others will totally understand, but I planned my Maine vacation around two things: the start of my master’s degree program and the Elephant Trunk Flea Market.

If you are an HGTV lover, more specifically a Flea Market Flip (FMF) lover, Elephant Trunk Flea Market will immediately ring a bell. It’s a giant flea in New Milford, Connecticut that often plays host to Lara Spencer and her FMF competitors. The gist of the show is two teams of two go through a flea market and buy old crap, transform the crap into something awesome, and then resell the awesome goods at a flea in New York City. You win based on making the most profit. Buy low, sell high.

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I love this show an unreasonable amount. I also think I’d kick ass if I ever got to go on the show. Some people do the most outrageous, hideous flips. Psh, my taste is impeccable and my stuff would sell in an instant! (That’s confidence, not cockiness… right?) HGTV PICK ME FOR FLEA MARKET FLIP!

But for real, my office mate and buddy Carrie and I love to talk about how we’d rock FMF. So when I knew we were going to Maine and would have to pass through Connecticut on the way there and back, it just made sense to stop at one of the featured FMF fleas. Originally, we planned to come home on Saturday, but since Elephant Trunk is only open on Sundays, we extended our trip for an extra day. Darn! 

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I should give my husband the kuddos he deserves — not all spouses would be cool with spending more money on a vacation just to go to a flea market. He’s the best.

Anywayyyy, we got to the flea market shortly after it opened to the public and the parking lot was already insane. You’ll see in some of the photos that it was supper foggy at first, but it cleared up quickly and filled up even quicker. Holy smokes, there were TONS of people! Right away, the flea market met my expectations — so many vendors, so much neat stuff.

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We weaved through the whole market in about an 1 hour and 15 minutes. I would have loved to have taken more time and gone slower, but we did have to get home at some point.

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Once we saw the whole thing, I knew what I wanted to buy. Don’t hold your breath — it won’t be exciting to anyone but me.

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Growing up, my dad had (and still has) these carved wooden mallard ducks. Many vendors had similar ducks, but one had a mini. I saw it and loved it. For a whole $7, it was mine.

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You are probably thinking, “What the heck — a whole post about a flea market from a DIY blogger and no crazy purchase?!?” Well, remember that we’d already spend a lot of cash monies on vacay and had my tiny car to drive home in. Plus, I’m working on two furniture pieces now, and didn’t reallllly need another project. The duck was just fine of a purchase for me.

By the time we left the flea to get back on the road, the parking lot was just nuts and the parking spot vultures were out. I was glad we go there early.

Overall — great experience. Brian liked it way more than I thought he would. There are so many different vendors with such a variety of things to sell that there is something for everybody. The two things I would say I was surprised by: lack of furniture, cost. It wasn’t that there wasn’t furniture. Many vendors had tables. But compared to the show where the contestants seem to have unending choices of desks, chairs, tables, etc., I thought there’s be more or a selection.

I also thought things were priced high. I guess all of the $15 tables and chairs sold at 5(ish) a.m. (you can pay an early bird fee and go before anyone else). Or vendors are more likely to bargain when a huge camera is in their face.

Complaints aside, it was awesome. I wish we had a giant flea market like it in Maryland. If you know of one that I am just completely unaware of– TELL ME!!!! If you have the chance to check it out, I recommend it. Who knows, you might find a little duck of your own.

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Hope Ornament: #BloggersforSandyHook

A week ago today, 26 lives were cut short by a senseless act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Today we blog for Sandy Hook.

As part of the #BloggersforSandyHook tribute I wanted to share an ornament I made for our tree this week.

In honor of the grieving community and the 26 people who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday in Newtown, CT., I made a “hope”ornament for our tree.

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I really like the idea of having this on my tree each year to remind me to hug my loved ones extra tight, especially at Christmas.

If you want to make one too, here is what you’ll need:

  • Gold paint
  • Thin paint brush
  • Crystal beads or gems (26)
  • White ribbon
  • Christmas ball ornament (it can be any color)

Using Martha Stewart gold metallic paint and a thin paint brush, I painted the word “Hope” onto an ordinary glass Christmas ball. I chose to write the word in basic handwriting versus anything fancier — I like that it looks like something a kid could have written, plus I don’t trust my ability to paint in cursive. I then added 26 small dots all around the word “hope” to symbolize those who passed away at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lastly, I painted one gold star as a tribute the bravery exhibited that day.

After the paint was dry, I carefully went over it all a second time so it really popped on the ornament and on our tree.

Next, I removed the silver top of the ornament and placed 26 crystal beads inside, again, one for each life lost. They are super sparkly and look really pretty inside the ornament. The beads I picked are plastic and sort of chunky, and I’d imagine that little girls would have loved to make necklaces out of them.

As a last step, I put the silver cap back on and tied a white ribbon to the top of the ornament. I added a bow where the ribbon meets the ornament as the final touch.

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I was having a heck of a time taking a decent picture of the ornament and didn’t do the best job. It is beautiful and because of all of the gold paint, crystals and white ribbon it looks rather ethereal — which seems very fitting.

 

To all those grieving in Connecticut: May your lives be filled with hope for a better future and your hearts be filled with the happiest of memories of the loved ones lost. You are in our thoughts this holiday season and inspire us each day to hug our loved ones a little bit tighter. 

I am truly sorry for your loss.

Jess

Holiday Wine Charms

I welcome today with open arms after yesterday’s tragedy in Connecticut. I was in a real funk after hearing about the shooting (rightfully so) and couldn’t quite snap out of it all day. Even though we had our holiday party at work and I got to come home to my hubby and my puppy, I couldn’t shake the terrible sadness I was feeling. I can’t even imagine what that town is going through right now and my thoughts are with them in this unthinkably difficult time. I am so thankful to get to see my little brother today and my sister and my parents… they are all getting extra big hugs from me for sure. Today is a new day and will most certainly be a better day, so with that said, onto a few happier things.

Today is my best friend’s birthday! Dana and I have been friends forever. Seriously. We were next-door neighbors when we were born and have been friends ever since. Sure, we were forced to be friends. But years of our parents making us play nice turned into a fantastic friendship that I know I’ll have as long as I live.

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Weren’t we cute? I’m on the left and Dana is on the right. And that’s my momma 🙂 She’s so pretty.

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And here we are today… Dana is on the left this time and has a lot more hair, but we are more or less the same.

Love you, Dana! Happy birthday.

And now onto the craft!

I’ve already shown you how to make wine charms, but did you ever think to make holiday-themed wine charms as inexpensive Christmas gifts? I hadn’t until this year, but as I was wandering the aisles of Michaels I Stumbled across holiday buttons and picked up a pack of holiday lights and cookie cutter buttons. Holy cuteness.

In case you forget how or simply missed the post on how to make wine charms, it is super easy. All you need are different charms or beads, pre-made hoop wire, and pliers. Add your beads and charms onto the hoop wire, then bend the end of the wire into a right angle so nothing can fall off. Put this bent end into the eyelet on the end of the hoop wire, and your charm is finished! Just make sure there is something obviously different about each charm so when they are used people will be able to remember which is theirs (although I never remember… oops.)

The first set I made were a Secret Santa gift for my coworker Julie. I made her a set of three wine cork ornaments and these wine charms to go with a nice bottle of wine. I used the Christmas light buttons and a few silver beads as accents to make this adorable set of wine charms. She really liked them and said she didn’t have any wine charms at all before! Sweet.

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Then I made this set of cookie cutter charms. The colors are all very similar, but each charm is very different: Heart, tree, gingerbread man, star. I have two sets of these and will be giving them out as Christmas gifts. Gah, they are so cute.

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All in all, these probably cost about $2 per set. So if you need an inexpensive gift, these are a great idea.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Hug your loved ones and make wine charms 🙂