Monday, May 23, 2011

Shopping for Vintage Paper

Thanks to everyone who left me suggestions and questions for my blog a couple weeks ago.  I am starting to sift through the ideas and create blog posts out of the things you want to see.  I had a lot of questions asking where I get my vintage items for my kits.  So I have written this huge post to give you a little background and some tips on where to find your own items (though my Etsy shop is also a great place to find items!!).  

I’ve been collecting vintage “things” since I was in high school.  Actually it may have even started earlier than that. I can remember my best friend’s parents having a garage sale and they had an old blue dome style hair dryer – I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen!  That was the beginning (of course the dryer sits in the closet of my old bedroom at my parents house – so I guess somewhere over the years it lost its cool factor – or I lost the space to keep it) From there it was vintage purses in high school and college. Then after college I spent a year of AmeriCorps VISTA working in a Habitat for Humanity ReStore – that was the worst thing for a vintage/thrift store junkie – I accumulated a lot of stuff over the course of that year – including TONS of books. 

1. What do you look for?  Anything and everything!  I don’t really go looking for anything in particular – I am always on the hunt for the basics – books, postcards, travel ephemera – but I keep an open mind – if it’s made of paper and I can find it for a reasonable price then I’m happy and I usually buy it.  I follow the scrapbook trends and typically attempt to find items that are trendy right now – those trendy vintage inspired scrapbook papers you love (October afternoon, jenni bowlin, sassafrass, 7 gypsies) – well they got their ideas from real vintage items -  I like finding the originals!

2. Where do you find it?  Everywhere – sorry Richmond area readers – not going to name my exact sources!  I find the most luck in what I call “local” thrift stores – typically those run by churches.  I find they tend to price their stuff the lowest and seem to have the best stuff.  I still check out places like Goodwill and Salvation Army but depending on the one you go to they can be overpriced sometimes and I find they tend to have newer products.  Habitat ReStores can be good – because they focus on building materials they often don’t care as much for their books and miscellaneous items and price them to move. 

I also check out Antique stores – particularly the large ones that have multiple vendors – often times they have sales and sometimes you can find a deal.  Of course a lot of times they are overpriced.  Though I say if you find something you love and you know how you would use it – buy it!

I don’t shop at garage sales – mostly because I don’t want to wake up early.   

I do love a good flea mall - though I HATE haggling! (also a reason I don't like garage sales)
I do shop on ebay – sometimes I can find a terrific deal though it takes A LOT of work to sift through everything – a lot of times people overprice or the bid price is low but the shipping is outrageous!  For that reason I typically don’t buy books on ebay.   To find the best deal you need to find someone who doesn’t quite know what they have (and have labeled it wrong  by leaving out the most important details – making it harder to find to the general population) and you typically have to buy in very large lots. 

I find that consignment shops are the worst places – this is typically because multiple people have to be paid (the owner of the item and the owner of the shop) so prices are often very high. 

3. What goes into a kit?  To see my kits you can check out my Etsy shop here.  You can probably see what goes into them – it differs by kit – could be text, illustrations, game pieces, postcards – anything.  What you probably don’t realize is the amount of sources that go into one kit.  Take for instance one of my Bird themed Kits:
 This particular kit has 31 pieces in it.  Those 31 pieces have come from probably at least 18 different books, magazines, or other sources.  I have hundreds of books I have broken apart to make kits ( or future kits - look for lots more this week!) This particular kit is a great value at only $7.75! To make it yourself it would cost far more!  (Sorry had to plug the store!)

I hope this gives a little insight into how I make my kits.  If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments (I will answer them in the comments as well!) 


Karen said...

oh by the way that big blue hair dryer, I threw it away. :-) Just is still there where you left it....along with all your other stuff. :-)

janine said...

I don't really care for garage sales either. I don't know why but I just feel weird going through other people's stuff while they watch It's a weird hangup, I know. One place I love dearly is a vintage resale shop close to where I live. It's basically like any other resale shop where people rent space and just tag/price their items. Often times the renter is not there and you can just sift through the stuff in their *space*. I have found some amazing deals over the years at this particular shop. The most treasured item I got there was a first edition hardcover of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. I don't think the owner knew what he (or she) had as I purchased the book for only fifty cents.

Jasmine said...

Great post Melissa!! Thanks. I am a garage-saler...I don't really sleep, so getting up early is no problem, and haggling I tend to take on like a sport...I LOVE it! Will be out looking for great finds...and when I can't will shop from you.
Thanks again,
Jasmine said...

Thank you for all the great info. Very valuable!
I really adore vintage paper too, it is an art in itself to collect :]

laurie said...

ok, call me lazy, but i would rather you do the work for me, melissa. your kits are well worth the money! i love the stuff i got from you!!!

Jasmine said...

Yeah, I just received my order from your WONDERFUL ETSY store!!! Thank you, thank you...I put a plug for you on my blog- hope that's okay!
A {Little} Dab of Glue