We Americans, as a rule, love junk.
But what is junk, really?
According to 45-year-old Timi Weathers, who runs Come Junk With Us of Snohomish, it’s just about everything you own, everything in your house that you think you need but maybe don’t.
And it’s not a bad thing at all.
Junk, by Weathers’ definition, can be old or new, expensive or free, found or created.
It is often prized by the owner. Home decorations, accessories, garden art, collections, jewelry, quilts, flea market treasures, antique store finds and even family heirlooms are all junk.
Weathers, who charters bus trips to vintage flea markets throughout the Northwest, will celebrate the evolving and increasingly popular hobby of junking with Ruffles &Rust, a vintage-inspired flea market Friday night and all day Saturday at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe.
Weathers, whose business has taken off in the past year despite the recession, is bringing together more than 50 Northwest vendors for the event.
That includes artists, crafters and antiques dealers selling a wide variety of goods. Many of the vendors have been featured for their exceptional creativity on blogs and in magazines such as Flea Market Style and Country Living.
Junking is just the thing for a recession-hindered nation of people too strapped for pricey vacations, Weathers said.
It’s also a greener way to live. Taking cast-off items and repurposing them isn’t just creative, it’s a smart, economical use of the planet’s finite resources, Weathers said.
“It’s home decorating,” Weathers said. “It’s crafts.”
It’s thrifting and antiques shopping, quilting, knitting and jewelry making.
It’s old sheet music turned into beautiful flower rosettes. It’s adding rhinestones, lace or glitter to something old to make it more chic than shabby.
When it comes to furniture, especially, it’s about recasting and re-creating.
“This isn’t Auntie Mabel’s secretary selling for $500,” Weathers said. “It’s Auntie Mabel’s secretary painted the new hot color and now it’s $150.”
Die-hard shoppers and crafters who haunt antiques shops and home decorating boutiques in search of unique and found objects are nothing new.
But this faction of mostly women is growing larger and stronger thanks to numerous blogs and Facebook pages, Weathers said.
“I would say in the last five years, it’s taken off,” Weather said. “It’s a blogger’s underground.”
Shopping for vintage and often-repurposed items for decorating and crafting has become a veritable power sport thanks to numerous vintage-inspired shows popping up in the Northwest.
Such events — including The Farm Chicks show held annually in Spokane since 2002 — are why Weathers started her business, which was featured in the September issue of Romantic Homes magazine.
She was tired of attending shows alone and wanted to create a sense of community for other junkers, too.
She already had a blog about her hobby and knew she wasn’t alone. She was also “restructured” out of her human resources job and needed a new way to make a living.
“I love going to these shows. They are so much fun; the people are so wonderful,” she said. “I wanted to share with everybody and give them the opportunity to go experience what I love.”
Weathers enjoys watching social circles blossom at her events and on bus trips, which sometimes include overnight stays.
“It’s been so fun to see the friendships and business relationships that happen,” Weathers said. “We always have ladies that say, ‘Oh, I don’t have anyone to go with. None of my friends like this kind of stuff.’
“Our response: ‘You come with us, and we will introduce you to 40 new friends who do share your love of junk, crafts, and travel.’”
• What: Ruffles &Rust, a vintage flea market with more than 50 Northwest vendors, including artists, crafters, antiques dealers and quilters.
• Where: Evergreen State Fairgrounds, 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe.
• When, how much: On Saturday, market hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is $8.
• Sneak preview: Get a jump on shopping and socializing. A $25 ticket will get you into the market from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Friday night and all day Saturday. You’ll get first crack at shopping and a chance to mix with other enthusiasts at a Bloggers/Facebook Fan Ball, open to all.
• Tickets for Friday are for sale at www.comejunkwithus.com via PayPal and at local shops such as Annie’s in Snohomish, Glitter and Ivy in Monroe, The Well Dressed Home in Bothell, Bountiful Home in Edmonds, Poppyseeds in Stanwood and The Shed Antiques in Arlington. Saturday classes:
• Beth Evans-Ramos, an artist, instructor, author and former co-owner of The Salvage Studio in Edmonds, will teach two classes Saturday: “Baubles and Bling Bracelets” ($45) and “Relics and Ribbons Necklaces” ($65).
• Prices include admission to the show. Sign up before the show at www.comejunkwithus.com to learn more about the classes and what tools to bring.
• Information: See www.comejunkwithus.com for a list of vendors and websites. Call 425-218-5968 with questions.
Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037; email@example.com.