Flea Market Memories

I don’t know how many years it’s been since I’ve been to a flea market.  So I surprised myself by wanting to check out the neighboring town’s event at the North Haven Fairgrounds.

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There were the typical booths of junk nobody wants and the typical booths of quirky stuff that nobody wants and the typical booths of collectible stuff that very few people want.  My mother was one of those people, trolling for her “bag lady art,” sculptural assemblages of found objects.

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There were the bored booth attendants and overly friendly booth attendants and desperate booth attendants and the rare busy booth attendants.


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I slowed briefly to look at this cookie jar.  Then I decided it fell on the wrong side of the cute-kitsch to awfully cute continuum.

I paused at the honey booth, with North Haven honey bees right there and working.  I sampled the organic body butters that smelled less like cucumber and mint than lanolin.  This flea market was just a little bit sad.


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Until I hit the Jackpot!  There were Kristine and Gail at the “Live and Let’s Dye” booth, with big smiles and hot purple rubber gloves.  Here were spirits after my own.  So I did it.  I stopped and made a tie dyed tank top, just like my mother and I did when I was a child, in the backyard with big vats of single dye colors.

Kristine informed me that dyes have changed, and although we were carefully gloved, these dyes, well, I don’t know, are somehow new and improved.

First, I decided on a design–spiral in the corner (versus in the center).  Gail dunked my2014-07-26 10.50.15 t-shirt into a vat of water with soda ash, which makes the color adhere.  Then she began twirling the shirt with the spiral in the left corner, as I specified.

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Doesn’t this look like the perfect cinnamon bun?2014-07-26 10.50.29



Gail then used rubber bands to secure the “bun.” Wherever there’s a band will be white on the shirt.

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I picked my dye colors, using the their wonderful handmade dye chart, and I was off and designing.

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Flip it over and repeat.


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Then the rubber-banded, newly-dyed shirt went into a ziploc bag.  Now I had to wait six hours for magic to happen.






Two hand washes (one with rubber bands, the other without) and one machine wash later, here’s my North Haven Fairgrounds Flea Market Memorial Tank Top.

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This is just how memories are made.

2 thoughts on “Flea Market Memories

  1. Rena, I tried to respond to this a while ago on my ipad and this would not take my message. I am not often on the Imac because my husband is working on his lectures for the fall classes. this story about tie dying is wonderful . What fun. I love the story about you and rose doing this in the back yard when you were young. I too gave my children art lessons but we never did that. The five of us worked on the breakfast room table. I think that is why they are so creative today, as are you. You have wonderful colorful memories of your mother. I know she would approve of the side oriented design. I would like to see a picture of you wearing it. Happy days!

    • Thanks for your comments, Julianne! I think the “comment problem” should be fixed, and you can use your ipad. And yes, these memories are so wonderful and help keep Rose alive! I know you’ve done the same for your children!

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