OPERATION: Fill the Suburban

For those of you that occasionally follow along with me on social media, you may have seen some mention of the 127 Yard Sale.  Below is a rundown of what we did, what we bought, what wished we would have bought, and what we will do differently for next year.

The 127 Yard Sale is also known as the World’s Longest Yard Sale.  It is always the first weekend in August (Thursday thru Sunday).  It starts in Gadsden, Alabama and ends in Addison, Michigan, basically it follows Highway 127 (bonus points to those that figured out the 127 part now!) through six states.  Six whole states and 690 miles of treasure HUNTING!! 

When my cousin, Angie ~ aka partner in crime, decided to test out the 127 waters with me, I was so excited.   This is a trip I’ve been wanting to take for a long time.  I started reading all the 127 info I could, tried to figure out the where and the what to take and the how to get there. My cousin lives in Nashville, and I, of course, live in Atlanta.  How convenient was it that Chattanooga (which is the on the route) is the halfway point for the both of us!

Our plan was to meet Friday around noon (work obligations prevented us from starting on Thursday) in Chattanooga at a hotel, drop a car and start the treasure hunting.  Angie had rented a suburban (it was free due to points!) to haul all of our bargains.  Right off the bat, that plan didn’t go as thought.  No biggie, but due to some bad weather, Angie ended up Atlanta with me and her daughter Thursday night.  So instead of meeting in Chattanooga, we drove together from Atlanta and picked up the suburban once we got there.  Angie did have some issues finding a rental company that actually had a suburban, it took several phone calls to make sure there was one at the lot for us.  I mean, I guess we could have used my Santa Fe….but, the bigger the better!

When we first starting planning this trip, we were wondering where we were going to stay once we started heading out. Highway 127 does not exactly go through a lot of urban areas and hotel pickings are slim.  There were a few campgrounds, but neither of us had a camper, wanted to stay in a tent or want to pull one behind the suburban….then my dear old dad had a fabulous idea.  Since Chattanooga was on the route, we could go south to Gadsden one day and north on 127 another.  Brilliant! Chattanooga then became our ‘home base’ for the three days of shopping.  

An almost fail on our part was not reserving hotel rooms early enough.  We both used points for our rooms, so that didn’t cost a dime.  I waited until about a week before the trip to reserve a night and had a nightmare of a time trying to get a room, thankfully it all worked out in the end and a special thanks to the lady at the reservations desk who was so patient with me.  Angie also reserved a night a few days before the trip….not sure if she had any issues, but we both said that next time we would reserve much further in advance!

Ok, so on to the actual trip.  We arrived in Nashville around 1 pm on Friday, we picked up the rental, headed to my hotel and dropped my car and a few things we didn’t want sitting in the car all day.  Loaded up the Yeti cooler with some snacks and water so we wouldn’t have to stop much for non-treasure hunting purposes, and then we headed out!  

View of Chattanooga from Signal Mountain

As far as where we actually went, I used two different aps/websites to get us going.  The 127 Yard Sale website has a page where vendors can post their sales, kind of like Craigslist, but for the 127 sale only.  Not many people actually put their sales on there, but it’s a good place to check.  I also used the Yard Sale Treasure Map app (I love this one!!).  We got a good sense of where most of the sales were close to Chattanooga and headed in that direction.  

On Friday we made 11 stops (if our numbers are right) in 11 miles, and that took us 4 hours.  Since we got a late start we finished about 5 pm and then headed to dinner in Chattanooga.  By the way, I love Chattanooga, such a cute city in the mountains!  JD and I spent our anniversary there one year and loved it, you can read about it here:  Anniversary trip

Back to the business at hand.  

Day 1 Finds!

North Face jacket for one of the littles

Saturday we started out about 9 am and headed back north of Chattanooga on 127 and picked up where we stopped the day before.  We lost track of stops, but I’d say it was around 15 or so and again, we didn’t make it very far.  We wrapped things up around 5:30 pm and headed back to Chattanooga for dinner and a few thrift store shopping along the way.

Ready for the day!

Angie & her 2nd day treasures

Tons of old (& new) signs

Really wishing I would have bought this one...only $75....I know...dumb move 

Awesome signs...that actually did light up!

BUT...the seller didn't want to sell just one..or two...

Here are the new 'old' signs!

$1 shovel for the parents

yep, these came home with me!

Probably the ONLY thing on my list that I bought

Sunday, we started a bit later, maybe around 10 am. This time, there were quite a few less sales unless we wanted to travel further out, but since we were all wanting to head home around 1 or 2 pm, we decided to stay in town.  We found 1 yard sale, an estate sale and a few thrift stores and came away with a couple more items.

All in all, we had a blast. I have to say I may have been a little disappointed with the finds or rather with what I didn’t find. Before starting out on our trip, I made a list of items I was looking for, along with some measurements to make sure they would fit the spaces I where I wanted them to go.  Here is my list:

As you can see, I only found one item! Well technically, I found a water hose reel at an estate sale, but after getting it home and putting it together, it wouldn’t fit our house and was a little on the cheaply made side….

Ok, so on to ALL the items I bought (they may have not been on my list…I mean a list is just a starting point anyways….)

·      Take a Hike Shirt $1
·      Fossil Brand Dress $2
·      North Face Jacket for Soph $5
·      Vintage Blue Corbels $60 (most expensive purchase and most favorite)
·      Shovel (for my parents) $1
·      Wine stopper $0.50
·      Cute maxi dress at a thrift store $7
·      Water hose reel $2.50 (this is the one mentioned above)
·      Flavored smoker chips for our smoker $1.50
·      Jars with spring lids $1
·      Drop cloths $0.50

I spent a whopping $82

Here’s what Angie came back with

·      Lululemon Jacket $8 (favorite purchase)
·      Candle holder $1
·      Wine Decanter $2
·      Herb Box planters $3
·      Blanton’s Lids $3
·      Wine Bucket $3
·      4 Plant Stands $11
·      Coach purse $3
·      Tiki Torches $2
·      Patio table $5
·      Chandelier $2.13

And finally, what Piper found

·      Brass planter $1
·      Vintage mirror $2
·      Eno Hammock $10 (her favorite buy!)
·      Succulents Free
·      Army jacket $3

In short, we failed in filling the suburban….we tried, but we just didn’t make it happen.  But we still came home with several items that we each had been wanting. So that was a win! 

Top 10 Takeaways from the weekend ~

1.    My dad’s idea of making Chattanooga our ‘home base’ was definitely a win.  I don’t see how anyone can actually make the entire trip in four days…..there are just way too many places to stop!  

2.    Suburban – great idea as well.  BUT, there was an item I wanted to buy and it would have fit in the suburban, but I didn’t know if it would fit into my car to bring it home….measure your car to see if it fits before you go if you have to travel to take it home….Side note…now I am not so disappointed and the seller lives in Chatsworth, so I may still get it…maybe….

3.    We packed a Yeti cooler with stuff, but we didn’t really use it like I thought we would. I think this was because we stayed in in the same town at night…We took some water bottles, protein bars, crackers, apples, turkey, and a few other things…We ended up tossing the turkey because it went bad and still came home with unopened water bottles and the majority of the food….But, it will still go on the trip next year.  I like to be prepared.

4.    Even though the sale advertises Thursday through Sunday, most of the true yard sales were only Friday and Saturday.  Next time, I would want to get to Chattanooga Thursday evening and hit the road early Friday am, shop all day Friday and Saturday and come back home to Atlanta Sunday am.  

5.    Notice I said ‘true yard sales’ above….that’s because there were a lot of places that advertised a lot of vendors, like 30 or 60 in one place.  These vendors are people that travel and sell as a business and have to pay for their spots along the route…there in turn making their products more expensive than yard sale prices….don’t get me wrong, I found my corbels at one of these places and they had some fun stuff…but just keep in mind, you won’t be paying yard sale prices here…if you do, celebrate it!!!  Ok, so point here is that next time, unless I’m looking for something I’d find at an antique market, we will stick to the real yard sales. 

6.    And to add onto the above point, the neighborhood sales are the best!  A lot of sales in one area that you can most likely walk to every single one.  And the prices are better than the multi-vendor stops.

7.    Barn Sales – I’ve heard about these, but we didn’t get to go to any! So sad, next time we will make it to one!!!!

8.    Cash is King! (Can you tell I am a Dave Ramsey fan??)  Seriously though, the place I bought the corbels would only take cash even though they were a business…and they had items for sale for $400!!! In the age of Venmo, PayPal and swipe things, they would only take cash…..If I had had room for some of the larger items I wanted, I would not have had enough cash…just a thought…

9.    Pack rain wear…..so while we only got rained on by a few sprinkles, there were places where it had rained more and the ground was very muddy…luckily, I took someone else’s advice and packed a pair of rain boots.

10.  If you see something you like and it’s unique (or at least looks like it) buy it.  I am having non-purchasing remorse over one item….it was a large metal sign (see above!), it may have been newly painted, but it looked old and was the right size for the space I wanted to put it in…but I listened to my husband and said pass…..thanks JD……Looking back at my pics, I should have bought it.

If anyone reading this has ever ventured onto 127 for the yard sale, I’d love to hear your pointers!
Here’s to next year and the treasures we will find!!!  And thanks to Angie and Piper making it a fantastic weekend!

Biggest Build Yet!

Nope, we didn't build a house.  Or even a play house. We built a table!  I know, I know, you have probably seen a MILLION table 'how to's' in just the past week alone.  And honestly, that's why we thought we could do it.  After all, according to Pinterest - anyone can build a table, right?  All you need is screws, a drill and some wood...right?  WRONG!  Ok, so maybe McGyver can build a table with less than that, but we quickly learned that even though we thought we had all the tools needed, we actually needed more (yay! more tools!!!)(not being sarcastic, I do love my tools!).  Perfect example, I have asked for (and received) a table saw, wet/dry vac, nail gun, and a composter - ok so a composter isn't a tool necessarily, but still!)

Ok, so back to why I am writing this post.  The table.

As long as I've lived on my own, I've used an antique table that was given to me by my aunt.  It wasn't a family piece, but it was still special and I love having something different than what I could find at a big box store.  It was always big enough for me and a few friends.  JD and I even used it after we got married.  All in all, I'd say I've had that table for about twelve years.

Here she is in my first house...not a great pic...unless I wanted a pic of my dog licking her butt...
We were still unpacking {current casa}
another stellar photo.....

and the photos of when I listed her for sale
Apparently I don't believe in using my shmancy-fancy camera to take photos....


After we remodeled our kitchen and opened up a wall, our dining room felt even larger than it was and the small antique table just didn't quite fit any more. And like any other person, we took to Pinterest for ideas.

We loved the farmhouse table look - I know so original these days.

I saw tons of plans on how to build various kinds, but none of them looked like what I had in my mind.  I finally found a photo of the perfect table, but sadly it was just a photo with no directions.  We looked around at several stores and all of the tables we liked were at least $600! Just the table, no chairs!! And those tables were still not the 'perfect' vision I had in my head.

ah, the 'almost' perfect table.  

Backstory time.  Once a long time ago (before Pinterest- circa 2010), I wanted to build a window seat and didn't have any plans. So, I made my own and with JD's help, we built the window seat and I have to say it turned out pretty well.  So well that two different owners of a past house of ours, still have it in their bedroom.  OR maybe they just can't find the right replacement.....anyways, it has survived 3 families and 7 years.  Not too shabby.

designed by me! Built by JD and me!

Fast forward to present day (ok, not present day, but March of last year - yes, I am a little late on this one....).  I kept going back to that photo of the table that I realllllyyyy loved that had no directions...I did what I did back in 2010 and drew up some plans on how to build the table.  Not the prettiest sketch, but it gave us a rough idea of what materials we would need to build our dream table.

I think we got the point...
And so we bought the materials, borrowed a Kreg Jig and built ourselves a table.  Start to finish, I think it took us between one and two weeks to finish.

experimenting with the angles

Once we had all of the base parts cut and sanded, we stained the wood with Early American wood stain from Minwax.  A few lessons learned, don't use plain wood putty, it won't take the stain the same as the wood.  Try to find a wood putty that is already tinted and that closely matches the stain color you are using.

After the base stain color had dried, I rubbed some random areas with vaseline (where it would normally show wear and tear), then we used Valspar Chalky Finish paint in Kid Gloves and painted the entire base.  Once the paint dried, I sanded the areas to reveal the stain.  The paint came off super easy in the areas where the vaseline was, almost too well and I had to go back and repaint a few of the larger areas...my table looked like a giraffe! Not a good look.

I might have been a bit messy...
Now time for the top of the table.  We used four 2x12's.  We tried to distress aka beat them up as much as we could and then used the same stain as we did for the table base.  After a couple of layers of the stain, we used a clear coat of prolycrylic (Minwax water based in clear satin) to seal the wood.  You know, to keep it looking old....

No horrible smell *BONUS*
Now time to assemble the top.  We made a big mistake here.  Before we distressed the wood, we should have run the planks through my table saw to get them nice and straight....DO NOT SKIP THIS, IT WILL SAVE YOU MAJOR HEADACHES.  But since we did skip this, we had the headaches.

We thought we had purchased the straightest planks of wood from the store, and we probably did...but once we tried to join them together we found out we were wrong...big time wrong....Instead of going back and redoing our table top, we fought with the planks until we got them right.  This fight involved the Kreg Jig (we have since bought one, love it!) and strapping the wood planks together and using all the brute strength we could muster.

we had to use some extra wood to screw all of the top planks onto

Once the top was complete, we attached the top to the base, and voila! We had ourselves a table! Almost...

We adjusted the length using the 2x6 under the table

the non-painted stripe is where the table legs should have been - easy to fix - thank goodness

Ok, now we have a table!

We still need a longer bench for one side, but other than that, it has held up pretty well.  Meaning, it hasn't fallen apart on us in almost a year..

We do have new chairs that replaced the black ones.  They were Target purchases - four for $100! The fact that they were so cheap, might explain why I can't find them anymore to post a link here....but here are some similar ones. And the cloth ones on the ends were an Overstock purchase.  We got the pair for $75, they were in the 'AS IS' section - we still haven't figured out what was wrong with them.

We love our table, we love the way it fits in the dining room, and we especially love the fact that we built it ourselves.

comparing the new chair with the old chair

suggestions on a longer bench???

Overstock.com chair

The Target chair

So there you have it, our biggest build yet.  What's next?  You never know in a house as old as this one!

Oh - sorry for any grammatical errors...my proof reader is on a 15 hour flight to S. Korea....and as a UGA Alumni, he's extremely upset he's missing the college football National Championship.  So in his honor ~ GO DAWGS!!!!!


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