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You Win Some, You Lose Some

Saturday marked the 6th Annual Great US Hwy 36 Treasure Hunt. I hadn’t heard of this event until my sister-in-law’s father mentioned it to me at our niece’s birthday party about a month ago. He, knowing my mutual love of treasure hunting, thought it would be a great destination for me. I agreed and actually managed to find some time to venture into the great north country to check out the scene. The Treasure Hunt is literally small town after small town filled with garage sales across the entire state of Kansas along Hwy 36. It took us just over an hour to get to the first town, Wathena.

Here, I ran into dream house number 1:

Between towns are miles of wide open farmland and beautiful hills — exactly why I love where I live.

We also saw some remnants of the flooding from the Missouri River.

In Highland, I found dream house number 2. Coincidentally my father lived on the second floor of this house while in college. He paid something like $35/month to live in this home. Of course it was the Seventies.

So the good news of this trip is that I got to get out of town, take a road trip with The Rock Star and our son (who spent most of the time distracted by Baby Einstein DVDs in the car), and spend time with my dad and stepmom, who came along for the ride. I love treasure hunting with my dad. He has a love for antiques and knows a lot about history, so I bring him along for help identifying treasures. He is the first one to jump up when I mention an estate sale, and no matter how I try to wear him out, he’s always right there with me. I will forever cherish these times we spend together.

The not-so-good news is that the treasure hunt wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. However, I did manage to grab a few items. For instance, this group includes a ceramic hand-painted 1979 owl wall clock ($3), a lovely green pitcher and stand ($1.25), an owl wall hanging ($.75) and an antique Ball Mason jar ($5). I’m particularly ecstatic about the jar. It was my first purchase of the day and though $5 was more than I wanted to spend on it, it looked very old and I was enamored. After some research, I found it dates 1896-1910, which is even older than I thought. Holding a piece of history in my hands like that makes me giddy inside. And I’m not sure if I’ll have the heart to sell it just yet.

I also managed to find a vintage Hull planter ($1), identical to one I just sold in my Etsy store last week for $8.

And a piece I was missing from my church rummage sale vintage china set. The piece I bought is the bowl that looks like a sugar bowl sans the lid. My MIL mentioned she remembers this china being given away in pieces at grocery stores as a child.

And finally, to end the day, and just to prove you’ll run into the funniest things in the country…

Tempting, but we passed. 😉
I also managed to get to an estate sale on Sunday where I found a few more treasures. Here is a mess of ceramic knobs (perfect for all my furniture projects), a 1981 loaf pan and metal holding rack, and a small pottery bowl. Add to this loot a bicycle helmet and the amazingly rustic magazine rack below and the whole lot was $19 at 66% off just minutes before they closed their doors. Sometimes it pays to wait for the best deals.

Overall I consider the weekend a win for family time as well as treasure hunting. Next weekend I should be in full-swing furniture refinishing mode to recoup some of the money spent on treasures. A promised air compressor/paint sprayer combo from Dad for mine and the Rock Star’s birthdays should be just the ticket!

Happy hunting! And as always, you can find my treasures for sale on my Etsy.


About Erin Shipps

Life in your thirties can sometimes feel like you're stuck between what has happened and what's yet to come -- like being amidship. But I'm forging through with thrifty household decorating, DIY projects, health advice, and just life. When I'm not crafting my local Kansas City magazine VintageKC, I'm busy being a rock star's wife and mommy to the most beautiful 3-year-old. Welcome to our world amid the Shipps.

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