Don’t Fence Me In: Shopping in Laramie, Wyoming

This week is all messed up!  First, I’m not writing a book review of Atomic Kitchen by Brian Alexander like I promised on Facebook because then we would have two book review posts in a row (Kathy is doing one on barbecue pamphlets for next week).  Then Kathy and I had to shop on Thursday because Kathy’s new neighborhood is having a garage sale on Friday and of course she has a ton of stuff that needs to go bye-bye–so of course she’s having a garage sale and I’m tagging along.  The garage sale isn’t that big of a deal, just a gentle curve in the road; what bothers us more is that the wind has been blowing in northern Colorado like someone let all the hot air out of a nearby state (insert your favorite state here).  And I’m pretty sure our regular readers know how we feel about the wind.

So, just to convince myself that it could be windier, I drove up to Laramie with a good friend to shop their flea markets and vintage stores.  Wyoming’s state motto is Equal Rights, referring to the fact that it was the first state to allow women to vote.  I think a secondary motto could be It’s Good for the Windmills, or All of Our Mosquitos are in Nebraska; I’ve rarely been there when the wind wasn’t blowing.

We saw tons of stuff, both good and bad.  I think that this poor pincushion doll could have been good with just a little work.  She seems to know that things are amiss–she won’t make eye contact:

Pin cushion doll

Her bodice needs work and I’m kind of concerned about the scale of the whole thing.  That’s some big-ass skirt even if it’s cute dotted swiss.  Plus whatever is under the skirt is too hard to poke a pin into unless you want them all bent at a right angle.  The vintage glasses holder is well enough, but without my glasses I can’t even see the holder much less read its amusing caption.

Strange wooden carved and painted cats guarded the entrance to a hat booth:

Cat in the hatI think the cats wearing hats would have tied the whole thing together, but then they might owe Dr. Seuss’ estate some royalties.  We saw several really cute hats, out of our price range, and then there was this mess:

What the heck is going on with this woven hat?We both hoped it was a costume or a joke but that’s as far as our imaginations would stretch.  It wasn’t in a free pile, which is a joke all in itself!

Wyoming has tons of ranches, so it’s not surprising that they also have lots of horns on hand:

Horn chair

This isn’t my kind of thing–those antler light fixtures and furniture don’t amuse me much either.  I’m wondering if anyone could even sit on this without breaking the curved tips off the legs.  Another problem is the transition from the seat to the legs; their solution looks clumsy.  I’m also pretty shocked it wasn’t upholstered in hairy old cow hide.  I’m thinking that this chair might be a problem if you have dogs; those horns might just be irresistible!   After spending big money on this ($650), you might be irritated if your Great Dane tried to bury it in the backyard.

Right next to the booth full of ethnically insensitive stuff (Little Black Sambo, Mammy dolls, etc.) which made us shudder, there was this poor little souvenir:

Florida shell souvenir

You can see that shells have been tortured to create cheap, touristy stuff for a long, long time!  We think they were aiming for whimsy, but this landed in another bucket all together.

This stuffed animal was supposed to be cuddly; it missed:

Creepiest Monkey ever!I’m not even sure why it’s so creepy–maybe it’s the knowing look in his eye or the smirk on his lips.  Connie and I both immediately felt sorry for the kid who was given this thing.  We noticed that the monkey had lots of wear on his face; maybe his little owner kept him face down most of the time.  I know I would!

We had a bang-up lunch and then headed out to an antique store near the restaurant.  This place was packed with stuff!  We both were amused by this hand-powered bread machine:

  Bread Maker side view  Primitive Bread Dough Maker

There were directions on the top, “Put in all liquids first and then flour.  Turn 3 minutes.  Raise in pail …”.  It must be easier than mixing bread dough by hand, especially when you baked all the bread your family needed.  The pail portion had painted china rounds on it for decoration.  It was a sweet touch for such a big, utilitarian object.

The antiques store displayed and sold wood- and coal-burning stoves for the shop next door:

Green Kitchen Wood Stove The color is accurate–it was a delicate light green and in fabulous shape.  If it hasn’t been reconditioned then I’m not even sure it was ever used; the stove top and oven were pristine.  The upper portion was a warming area for plates or food that was ready.  As lovely as this is, it sure represents a lot of effort just keeping it hot and cooking.  People worked hard in the “good old days”; don’t even get me started on doing laundry by hand!

We went upstairs and about fell over backwards when we saw this:

Perhaps the ugliest lamp ever!  Turning on the light didn't help!

It has to be the ugliest lamp I’ve ever seen.  The plastic Dracaena (Dragon plant) was pitiful, fooling no one; the shades resembled round, lumpy, green and orange alien brains.  Just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, Connie reached over and turned on the lights.  We stood staring at it shaking our heads in wonder.  As in, “I wonder wtf the owner was smoking when they bought this thing for their living room?”  It looks like something from the set of a horror movie, lurking in the cave where you’re trying to take refuge.

Thank goodness the next thing we looked at was the cute little lusterware teapot:

  Owl tea pot  Lusterware Owl teapot

It was so sweet and cute, just the antidote for that horror of a lamp!  I hadn’t seen the owl pattern before; it’s funny how things cycle in and out of fashion.

In the basement, there lived an unfortunate dinette set from the ’70s:

Ohh, green dinetteOlive green, plastic wood top and plastic chairs.  I can remember growing up in Michigan and hating to sit on those plastic covered chairs with bare legs in the summer.  You would stick to them–rather painfully!  I’m sure it was practical to have those kinds of materials with kids, but what about a linoleum or enamel  topped table and wooden chairs?

I have to ’fess up and admit that I bought something, and even paid way too much for it:

1930s Grasshopper pin

It’s a piece of costume jewelry from the ’30s all painted and glittery with rhinestones.  This pin is the coolest and most peculiar grasshopper I have ever seen.  I paid $27.50; heck I could have bought a hat for that!  It was on a piece of paper and when I got home and unpinned it I found a repair to the pin-back that wasn’t mentioned.  Oh well, I still think it’s awesome!

Don’t forget our Mother’s Day giveaway:

Mother and Child printAll you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this or next Friday’s post.  If you would like one additional entry, go to Facebook and leave a comment on one of this week’s or next week’s posts.  We’ll draw a name on Mother’s Day and contact you.  Beloved Husband wants me to mention that the picture measures 7.5″ × 9″.

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8 Responses to Don’t Fence Me In: Shopping in Laramie, Wyoming

  1. tkarengold says:

    This post cracked me up. The lamp is truly scary. I love that antique store in spite of the green dinette set. It makes for an interesting shop when the owners set up rooms.
    As for that monkey-faced creature – he has a teddy bear body and that could be part of his personality problem.

    • kathy & deb says:

      It was a fun antique store–she had some cool stuff. Poor monkey–there wasn’t much that could help him at this point! His eyes followed you; I felt like I was in a Stephen King novel!

  2. While it was definitely windy in Wyoming, it was fun to poke around some new stores. I think there are more treasures to be found.

  3. Monica says:

    Was this all at an antique store or were some things in a thrift store? Fun article! (not an entry)

    • kathy & deb says:

      The first things up to the monkey were at an antique mall with lots and lots of booths. After lunch it was all at one antique store that had three levels and was bursting at the seams with vintage wares.

  4. very interesting items Wyoming is an interesting place. Not big on the antler chair those antlers look much better on their original owners. : (

    • kathy & deb says:

      Wyoming does have some different kinds of Wild West stuff that I didn’t take pictures of–saddles, chaps, boots, barbed wire, etc. I’m with you on the antler stuff.

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