Minnesota Souvenirs on the Cheap

My husband and I are both inveterate thrifters.  If there is a garage sale, flea market, thrift or junk store near us, you can bet we’ll pop in for a look-see.  Our trip to Minnesota was no exception.  During the heat of the afternoon when the fish weren’t hitting, we’d go poke around local stores and sales to see what we could find.   We ended up discovering some really fun stuff, chatting with some fascinating people, driving some pretty back roads, and we did it all for very little money.  Behold:

Above is a wooden train whistle found in a thrift store in Willmar ($0.49), a charming print by James Jean from a shop in Northfield ($3.00), a small tin globe from an antique store in Spicer ($5.00), a set of matryoshka doll measuring cups found in Northfield, and two jars of buttons found at a sweet grannie’s garage sale outside of Willmar ($0.75 for both).

I was especially pleased to find the print in Northfield because there is a medieval-style meditation labyrinth on the Carleton College campus there.  I feel like the matryoshka doll measuring cups were sort of cheating since they are new and they were one our priciest finds.  But I’ve always been delighted by matryoshka dolls, even though I’ve never had any.  Getting them in a functional form (each body part is a measuring cup!) seemed like a less creepy way of making that dream happen, given that I am a grown woman. 🙂

Check out the View-Master trivia game we found at a thrift store in Spicer:  all of the parts were there, including 2 View-Masters  (a steal at $1.99).  Then at a garage sale outside of Spicer we experienced some hardcore “Minnesota Nice”.  We found the old souvenir plate featuring Mitchell, South Dakota’s Corn Palace for $0.10, and when my husband asked about a lure he’d found in a tackle box they were selling, they offered it to him for free!

The embroidered piece came from a garage sale at a cabin a few doors down from where we were staying.  I chatted with the kindly elderly woman running the sale for a while.  She used to breed Shelties.  My husband was rather startled to walk up on us right as she was telling me about the time one of her prize bitches gave birth to a litter of 9 puppies.  Apparently she scolded the dog “But you only have 8 teats!”  and the look on his face as he overheard this was priceless.  I think I was as tickled to find this piece of Norwegian embroidery as she was to know that I knew what it was (and for $0.25, no less!).

Here we have a fun print of G.I. Joe’s Storm Shadow we picked up in Northfield.  I can’t remember the artist’s name, and it’s only signed with his initials:  M.K.  At $15.00, it tied with the matryoshka measuring cups as our most expensive purchase.  Another gorgeous print by James Jean ($3.00).  Below that is a Hypno-Twist exerciser.  Doesn’t that look like a broken something waiting to happen?  And yet, awesome. We found it at a junk/antique shop in Spicer ($5.50).  I couldn’t resist the CD soundtrack for Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me when I found it at a St. Cloud thrift store ($0.99).

Bargains galore and we got to meet some interesting, kind people.  Good stuff!

The one that got away?  This amazing, crazy-comfortable vintage couch we found in a thrift store in Spicer:

It was only $10.00!!!  Alas, it would not fit into or onto my mom’s car, or this baby would have come home with us.


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