Antique store score

There are few things in life that make me happier than rummaging around a dingy antique store. I grew up antiquing- from a young age my mom would drag us around to every town with a shop in it, exploring every vendor's stand. We spent hours at flea markets, including one that was run overnight. I've collected hundreds of odds and ends over the years, from skeleton keys to miniature oil lamps. It's just what I grew up doing.

Fortunately, even though he didn't grow up with it, Brian loves antiquing too. Maybe not to the level I do, but enough that we typically stop at one or two shops each time we visit the lake house. Enough that at least one shop knows us as the "camera couple" since we are always in looking for vintage camera gear. Although we rarely buy much on these trips, it is always fun to see what new wares the shops have.

This time was a whole different story. We stopped at one of our favorite haunts on the way back from the lake- the store is located in a town of about 7,000 people, which is pretty big for the areas we drive through. We went in with our eyes open for the usual stuff: cameras and gear, Filofaxes, stamps, vintage dishware, etc. In the back of my mind I thought it might be nice to find a few pieces for the wedding, but didn't have my mind set to it.

Then we landed on the Mason jar mother load. I've known since day one that I wanted these jars incorporated in our wedding. In all honesty, I believe that Mason jars are way over-used in weddings these days as more and more brides try to incorporate the vintage theme in their big day. But I have a different motive for using them. My mom was HUGE into canning, so much so that the first time I tried commercially made applesauce, I couldn't take more than a bite. Growing up, we had homemade salsa, beets, pickles, apple sauce, apple butter, mint jelly, red pepper jelly... the list could go on forever. We spent countless hours at farms and farm stands where she would haggle with farmers to get the best prices on less-than-perfect produce. She claimed that the slightly bruised fruit made the best jams. And she was right.

So the Mason jars are for her. Yes, they'll add that vintage look to the wedding, but they are more there to incorporate her into the wedding. And since they will mainly be used to hold flowers, her other favorite thing, it will be just that much more perfect.

Anyway, back to the jars themselves. We found a few jars in one booth that were in pretty nice shape. Before we knew it, we each had an armful of jars and we'd barely made it through the first section of the store. So we stopped at the front counter and asked if we could drop some off while we kept browsing. The two sweet ladies working said of course, and asked what we could possibly be getting so many jars for. When I told her they were for our wedding, the insanity began. "How many do you need?" they asked. "Hey, didn't so and so over at booth 63 have a bunch?" "Here, follow me, I know where we've got some more!" After about half hour of price checking, swapping, digging, and dusting off later, the counter was lined with no less than 50 Mason jars. They had many, many more, but we tried to keep the prices as low as possible unless a jar was too cool to pass up. But to pay $7.50 for a jar when we already had the same one with a $3.50 price tag? No thanks.

So, after sorting through and deciding which jars to keep, the ladies began totaling up the damage. For those of you that don't antique, this can be a laborious process since each vendor needs their own ticket. Then all the totals can be added up so we only have to pay once. The final numbers? Our 50 jars ended up coming from 17 different vendors for a grand total of $162.03. It sounds like a ton of money for some old jars, but I've seen them go online for two or three times that price. Plus, these will serve as our main centerpieces, and since I am doing all of the flowers myself, we'll save a ton of money in the long run.

When we got home, we just tossed them all in the dishwasher! There was just no way I was hand washing 50 dusty, dirty jars. And they came out perfect. Unfortunately, since then I've barely had time to look at them- we packed most back up in boxes and the rest are on our dining room table (above). I love how they are all different, from a few of the giant, half gallon jars all the way down to these mini guys:

We nabbed a few with awesome texture (see the grid patterned ones two photos up), and managed to get quite a few of the beautiful blue jars at awesome prices.

I completely fell in love with a pint-sized lavender jar- in all the years I've been around canning I'd never seen that color. But, that love quickly waned when I saw the $62 price tag. Just a smidge over budget!

Since I'm already rambling, what are we going to use all of these jars for? In addition to candle holders, some will be made into simple vases, like these from Indie Pretty Projects:

More will be used to decorate our outdoor ceremony, in lieu of a traditional aisle runner. This concept, from Ruffled, perfectly suits our simple, outdoor nuptials.

And finally, I am really eager to try my hand at making this, from Style Me Pretty:

I think these will be especially cool since I have access to a bunch of reclaimed barn wood after my step-dad helped tear down a barn on the condition he could have as much wood as he could haul. Hopefully there are a few long and wide enough planks to play around with chandelier making!

Wow, how is it that it's always the posts I think will be short and sweet always end up being the longest? Well, if you're still reading this, thank you for your patience. I promise I'll try to keep it shorter next time.

Any of you fans of antiquing? Vintage jars, maybe? Or did you have a mom (or dad) who made it impossible for you to eat store bought salsa? What's your favorite thing you have done with a thrifty find? As always, tell me all about it in the comments!

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