Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm a-Pickin' - and I'm also a-Grinnin'!

(Hee hee - sorry for the terrible "Hee Haw" reference in the title - but it's pretty appropriate!)  :D

HOLY MOLY!!  I had the most amazing experience a couple of weeks ago - a real, live pick!

My friend Suze has a friend in Milwaukee who recently purchased a building in Milwaukee's trendy Third Ward.  This area used to be known as Commerce Row, and there were many wholesale grocers and produce warehouses there.  The building we were in just so happened to house one of these wholesalers for over 100 years!

And some of the items we found were almost 100 years old.  Oh my goodness gracious me.  You can see us picking through one of the ENORMOUS boxes in the warehouse, here:

I can honestly say that I've never been so filthy in my whole life.  There was also 100 years of dirt in that warehouse!  :D

Alright, enough talk - onto the actual ephemera we picked!!

Some of the items we found were in bulk, like these fantastic new-old stock cellophane celery wrappers:

Most of the ones we found were in packages that have never been opened, even though they appear to be 60-70 years old!  Here is the package, with a FANTASTIC Du Pont label on its side!  We must have about 1500 of these!  :D

We also found a couple thousand of these Schmidt-Gaertner tags.....

....also in their original boxes!  We have THREE full boxes of these!  :D

I also have enough checks for every ephemera collage that could ever be created from now until Rapture.  :) These are only 25 years old, but they'll be cut up or shredded anyway.  Plus - three colors!  :D

We also found TONS of these old Western Union and Chicago, Milwaukee and Lake Superior Telegraph Co. telegraphs!!  SO cool, and some of them even have those fantastic cinderella stamps still affixed!  :D

The most varied thing we found were dozens and dozens of these envelopes from the '20s and '30s....

....and each of them has different ephemera!  Here is what was in the above envelope - check out that AWESOME thermograph!!

There were also HUNDREDS of fruit crates.  The crates themselves were not in the best of shape, but we managed to salvage the side with the labels.  Here is the container with the best of them:

As you've probably figured out, I got that "I'm on crack" feeling when doing this pick.  The three of us kept saying over, and over, "Look at this!", or "OMG!  Check this out!!".  It was SO fun.  And it was so nice of Suze's friend to let us have first dibs on this incredible ephemera!!  WOO HOO!!!

As soon as I create any collages with this amazing stuff, I will post it.  Now, I'm off to the studio!  :D


  1. This was a blast, Mel! Remember my black dirt mustache at the end of the day?!?!?! Yikes!!! Lindsey was very happy to share his loot with us and he will be looking for more goodies when he finally clears out the building!
    I cannot wait to see your creations.

  2. Absolutely LOVE the fruit crates and the Western Union Telegraphs. Seriously I bet you did "trip out"! Cannot wait to see what you come up with!

  3. wow, what a fun experience that must have been! I think I would have gotten very easily sidetracked reading what each of the receipts was for, or what each of the telegrams actually said- I probably wouldn't have gotten anything done! (I love that area of Milwaukee, btw; my sister and I used to get Sunday brunch at a French bistro cafe down there whenever I would go to visit her.)
    Can't wait to see what you do with your loot!!

  4. I can only imagine how excited you must have been. It makes one wonder how many buildings that have these wonderful treasures are just trashed and cleared out with no thought to the history they are disposing.
    Enjoy your "new" finds.

  5. you hit the mother lode that's for sure - at least you can appreciate it all!

  6. Hi Mel, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris