We stopped at Big Lots to pick up some Indian convenience meals. They have dracoliches for Halloween. I didn't buy one, but was really impressed with the clever construction. The eyes and mouth light up (your choice of red or blue), the jaw moves, and they squeal at you. They are the size of dogs, one about Great Dane size and one more spaniel size. Awesome if you're doing a haunted dungeon or other fantasy theme. :D So cute. Yes, I'm the wizard with the monster pet.
Then we happened to see that the mall had a flea market. We figured this would kill 10-15 minutes because shows there have mostly sucked for years. Last holiday spread barely filled half the main aisle, and most of it was commercial crap. :/ The first thing we noticed was that this was a real flea market. People had either secondhand stuff or their own crafts, and only a few tables were selling new items. Then we noticed they had really good stuff. And then we saw that the main drag was full, the side branch was full, and a couple vendors were stashed around another corner. I'm like, "Holy shit, this looks like it did when I was little! What is going on?"
Eventually one of the vendors tipped us that when Rural King took over the anchor position that used to be Sears, they bought the whole mall. So quite likely, someone new is in charge of organizing the events. Now I know that a sample of one is not a study, but .... ohpleasebeatrend ohpleasebeatrend. We picked up a flyer for a November event. The spinny rack actually ran out of flea market flyers between when we got there and when we left. I think a lot of people had the same reaction I did. Can I have my mall back now? Because that would be so very awesome. What happened today?
LOOT. WONDROUS LOOT. :D 3q3q3q!!!!!!!
Among the things we bought ...
The first booth in the main row was Deer Carvings. Much of the content consisted of rustic carvings on deer antlers, and some tine tips with holes drilled. They had some lovely handles, too, for knives or kitchen tools: solid antler with a slot cut in the middle, not just scales. Great prices. I picked up a whole handful of this stuff, some for myself and some for gifts or crafts later.
Noreata Fowler (firstname.lastname@example.org) had Avon stuff, including rather a nice selection of brushes, but what grabbed me were some very useful items I hadn't seen before, all quilted. The first is a bowl cozy, available in two sizes. You put your bowl in that, stick it in the microwave, and when it's hot you pick up the bowl by the points of the fabric so you don't burn your fingers. The other is a pouch for microwaving potatoes, corn, or a few other vegetables. We bought two sets, one for us and one as a gift.
Jean Arlins' Antiques & Collectibles (email@example.com) had a wide variety of items, including several handmade quilts at excellent prices. I bought two. (This should tell you how good the prices are.) One is a Drunkard's Path with white background and the path in brown calico. This old pattern has a zillion variations based on a quarter-circle piece and its opposite corner piece. Usually they're assembled to make sort of a wiggly path, which is the version I know. Mine looks similar to this but with a darker coffee-brown. The other is predominantly goldenrod with some white space, in a pattern I've never seen before. Now I'm not an expert, but I can name a good number of the common patterns and a few less common ones. This is a square block with a type of hollow star. The outer edges are straight lines, but the inner ones curve. Each corner is basically half of an 8-pointed star, and they're linked together by a piece that's straight on the outside but curved on the inside, so the white center is a convex square. If that's not weird enough, some of the connectors are a single piece while others are two pieces, an arc and a tiny triangle. So these two quilts constitute my big-ticket item from the Llewellyn check that just arrived for last summer's work. \o/ She still had at least a couple other quilts left, one of them a crazy quilt -- not the fancy kind made for sale, the kind actually made from scraps and knot-quilted with yarn.
Rich Kasper The Salty Thrifter had a variety of toys, some new and some secondhand. I scored a set of Spiderman dominoes. Instead of numbered pips, each card has a character picture on each end. You match them up and it plays just like ordinary dominoes, except you don't have to be able to count. The pictures are tiny -- the dominoes are ceramic and about thumb size -- but the silhouettes are distinctive. I grabbed it for the sake of having a visual-native game to add to our collection. <3 inclusivity win.
Woodcrafts by Jack (firstname.lastname@example.org) had a variety of items, many done with scrollsaw. What we bought were 6 plain wooden blocks with slots carved to hold playing cards, at $2.50 each. We own a ton of card games, and some have rules where you can wind up holding more than a dozen cards, which is hard even for someone with normal dexterity. For someone with dexterity issues, even a regular hand of cards is difficult or impossible. So we have these as an option now. The coolest thing they has was a nativity set puzzle for $25. It's the kind of scrollsaw puzzle I love where it's all cut from a single block of wood so that the pieces are tightly packed in a frame. It looks kind of like this but the design is better. That's a great item for Christian folks.
Down the side path was a knife dealer selling a very convenient version of a tool I've seen before, an escape hammer for breaking car windows (also with a seatbelt cutter and flashlight). Usually these things have a longish handle for leverage, but then it won't fit in your glove compartment. This one is short enough that it will, and at $10, much cheaper than usual. So we got one of those.
Moweaqua Currency & Coin (Moweaquacc@aol.com) laid out several tables of collectible coins. My partner Doug found two that fit a collection of his. There's at least one other coin dealer at the show too.
Heavenly Scents, Crafts & More is actually a store, but across the aisle and in the side space they set up a ton of tables with craft supplies, some antiques, and other stuff. This is officially a "get it gone" sale of excess material. Make offers, get deals. There's a $5 bag sale, which I took advantage of, and also you can buy things buy the box or flat if you see a whole bunch you like. There were some other sale tables with different prices too, and individual stuff. If you're in the Charleston-Mattoon area and you like crafts, definitely check out this one.
That's just the vendors we actually bought from. There were many others, and quite a few of them had stuff that one or both of us enjoyed looking at. Plus there's a new junketry store at the mall permanently, which we will definitely check regularly.
By that point, it was dark and we were hungry. We went to Cracker Barrel and had great food. I went for the trout like I usually do, but Doug tried the apple cider barbecue chicken with apple-cranberry chutney. That was impressive. If you're a Cracker Barrel fan, it's well worth trying. All of our side dishes were well-made too. \o/ We had no room for dessert.
For a day that started off a bit frazzled, it turned out spectacular. If you're in the area and you like flea markets, this one is well worth catching. It started on Thursday and runs through Sunday. But go early. Although the mall stays open until 9 PM, several of the vendors had already closed when left around 7:30.