Treasure Hunting at What Cheer Flea Market

Posted 8/9/2014

One of the things I love about making jewelry out of broken vintage jewelry & found objects is the "thrill of the hunt" -- especially when it takes me to flea markets like the one at What Cheer, Iowa.  The What Cheer flea market is held at the county fairgrounds & draws vendors from across the midwest who bring a wide range of interesting things -- from fairly high end jewelry to furniture to boxes & boxes of "everything's a dollar" junk -- so you never know what you're going to find there!  It's held 3 times a year -- May, July & October -- & because it's mainly outside, you also never know what the weather will hold -- from snow to rain to steamy hot to dust!

Last year, we ended up only going to the July one, since there was still snow on the ground in May & in October it rained every day.  We try to get there fairly early in the morning on the first day & generally make a day of it, arriving home late in the afternoon.  We love to just walk around & poke through the boxes of odds & ends to see if there is some treasure just waiting for us to find it!

The first What Cheer flea market this year was May 2 - 4, so we dropped Belle (our beagle) off for a day of play-care & headed down around 7 a.m.  The day was fairly promising -- temps in the upper 50s/low 60s & a partly sunny/partly cloudy sky.

So . . . here's what we found . . .

One of the things I had my eyes out for were old frames -- I want to get a whole bunch of different frames & replace the pictures with material & then hang them on a metal framework to display necklaces on.  So, I was excited to find 4 frames at different dealers at good prices.  Once I have enough frames & get the framework figured out, I'll do another blog showing the final product!

Another dealer had a box of old watches.  Although I didn't really want the watches themselves, I could see a bunch of watch parts at the bottom of the box, so I asked him what he wanted for just the odds & ends -- here's what I ended up with -- can't wait to use them in one of my next resin projects!

Another dealer had a huge tray of old dice at a pretty good price -- I picked out these because they were so different from what I had at home.  After I got home, I wished I'd picked out more so I could make both a bracelet (or 2) & several pairs of earrings with different combinations!

At still another dealer, I found this key ring -- I thought it was really funky & could make a fun pendant.

I thought this space needle might be fun to display with my space-themed charm bracelets & earrings.

These last 2 finds are just for me.  The Knickerbocker bunny will join my vintage Easter decorations (while I already have 2 like him, he's a different color) -- he's a bit worse for wear -- missing his glasses (although Steve can make new ones for him) & has a slightly damaged foot (that hardly shows), but he was only $1 so I couldn't pass him up!  I'm not sure what I'll do with the fiberglass lamp shade -- but like the bunny, he was only $1 & who can pass up fiberglass!

So, that's what we found at the first What Cheer of 2014 -- overall, a great day, nice weather & several fun finds -- not bad for our first outdoor flea market for this year!

And remember, to see my jewelry, check out my website at 

As always, thanks for reading & for supporting small businesses!