Mamatoga Style: Garage Sale-ing and Vintage Shops

My love for vintage is a chicken and the egg enigma. On the one hand I think I was just born for a love of all things vintage, on the other hand I think I might be able to pinpoint the first time I fell in love with a vintage object, maybe the event that started my lifelong love of all things old and antique. When I was little there was a beautiful, massive old house in our neighborhood built around the turn of the century. The same family had lived there for generations, and they were finally selling the house and were holding an enormous estate sale. My Mom took me along with her and I found myself on the third floor of the huge house where the old nursery room had been. Up there I found a tiny little bag of glass marbles. The bag was handmade and tied with the prettiest pink silk bow I had ever seen. I swooned over these marbles, and I was overjoyed that I got to take them home with me.

Throughout my childhood my Mom would foster my love of antiques and we would always stop at antique sales, garage sales, estate sales and any vintage shop we would pass. Over the years together we found some amazing articles, some great finds and some hilarious and weird finds as well. My favorite part of finding little treasures is that they are one of a kind, to me at least. Most of the little things I find I have never seen anywhere else before or since. I also love imagining what the back story is for the things I discover. Who owned it first, what did they do with it, what were they like. I found a pair of vintage Karl Lagerfeld heels right here in Saratoga at that tiny little vintage shop on Phila and I always wonder about the woman who purchased them new and what her style was like. Here I'll share some of my favorite garage sale and vintage shop finds, the little finds that were once treasured by someone else, that I now treasure myself...

I went through a random phase of wanting to find unique and different antique table lighters, the weirder and bigger the better. This riding boot shaped one is by far my favorite though. When I bought it it was all in one piece, but a few years ago it got cracked by a rambunctious Finn. At first I had a minor freak out but now I love the little crack, it's like a tiny time stamp that makes me remember when Finn was so little.

This bench was a love at first sight situation, one of those decide to buy before looking at the price tag situations. Tucked away deep inside an antique shop in Troy, my Mom was nice enough to buy this for me as a housewarming gift when I bought the house we live in now. For most of the time it sits in the living room under my favorite John Singer Sargent print but on days we have brunch at home we pull it up to the kitchen table and pile it with pillows for a cozy bench for the kids.

This vintage children's badminton set was purchased at my favorite online place for vintage and antiques, Etsy! Now that the kids are old enough we are going to put a badminton net up in the backyard, and I wanted to find them a little child sized set for some fun family games in the summer. This beautifully made set is just beyond cute, and is kept beyond their reach until badminton season. It's amazing how easily badminton racquets can turn into pirate swords...

I spotted these antique beaded letters (French for "my girl") at an estate sale in New Jersey shortly after I found out I was going to have Levy and they are one of my favorite finds. I plan on corking the sharp ends and letting her have it in her room once she's a bit older and can suppress the urge to remove all the beads.

This piece was found in an antique shop in NYC years ago while my father and I were out walking after lunch when I was in college. It was wildly out of my price range at the time, and I hated leaving it there, especially since I'm an enormous Breakfast at Tiffany's fan. Luckily for me he surprised me with it for my birthday that year and it's been hanging in every bedroom I've had since.

I found this 1930's era gold clutch in a vintage shop in Pacific Beach in San Diego and knew it had to come back to NY with me. I love carrying it for a night when I'm all dressed up, but I also love taking it along to add a dose of glamor to a jeans and blazer outfit on a night out with friends.

This lamp is by far my favorite garage sale find of all time. The photo does not do it justice, but it is the most gorgeous little lamp I've ever seen. The shade is what makes it so special, a unique mix of an almost gold-ish silver (yes that really is a color) it has little pinpricks in it so when turned on the pinpricks glow like little constellations. It's just beyond dreamy.

Now that the weather is warming up I'm looking forward to discovering even more fun finds. The best part about garage sales or vintage shops is that they are a lot like life. No matter how unassuming or random they may look on the outside, you might be able to find an absolute gem inside if you just take the time to explore.