Portland Flea Expands to St. Johns

Portland Vintage Buttons

I confess. I love old stuff. I have always loved old stuff.  I will always love old stuff. Only now I call it vintage.

My five-year-old self spent every Saturday at Grandma’s house rummaging through her drawers, closets, and attic looking for “treasure.” There were hand embroidered handkerchiefs, neat stacks of crocheted doilies, salt and pepper shakers from every trip she had ever taken, boxes of cast off high heels, old pictures, gaudy jewelry, gallons of colorful buttons, and other strange and wondrous “stuff.” Grandma never threw anything away. These things represented HER LIFE. I would select one or two  compelling items and ask the usual question: “Grandma, do you need this anymore?”

When I got the loot home, it went into a special treasure drawer. Occasionally I would sort through the drawer and rearrange things.

By the time I got to college, one friend described me aptly as a “thing groover.” I took it as a compliment.

Nothing has changed. Today, I have an entire garage stacked with plastic containers (thank you Costco!) filled with MY LIFE. There are 30 or so vintage tea plates with matching cups and a dozen pedestaled cake stands–which I used on two occasions to produce full blown afternoon teas. It took a month of scouting all the vintage stores in the greater Seattle area to get the matching tea set. And the vintage glass cake stands are gorgeous. How can I possibly part with them now–or ever?

And then there are a dozen or more containers filled with vintage cookware and utensils, which I still collect. I use LunaCafe as the excuse here, because you can’t have too many great photo props, right?

One year, as an EBay newbie, I went a little manic and ended up with a stunning collection of American mid- century, hand-blown glass decanters. I call them my “perfectamundos.” They are arranged in thoughtful trios of contrasting colors and shapes on top of the kitchen cabinets. They aren’t going anywhere.

Even I can see that this obsession is a little crazy. But it’s so much fun, I’m not looking for a cure. These days though, rather than buying every amazing thing I see, I take photos. It seems to satisfy the inner craving to possess the odd, the old, and the beautiful.

Portland is a great city for vintage and antique lovers of all persuasions. There are so many fascinating vintage shops and malls to peruse. And now there is one more. It’s Portland Flea, and it’s coming to St Johns.

As they say on the website, “Billed as Portland’s Antique and Vintage Market, Portland Flea is a weekend gathering place for scavengers and collectors of rare, quality goods. Here you will find a marketplace featuring more than 20 local vendors of antique and repurposed furniture, vintage clothing, and collectibles. These are things you will not find elsewhere.”

Ah, those magic words: These are things you will not find elsewhere.

Hope to see you there. If I try to buy anything, please stop me. :-)

Portland Flea

  • Second Sundays: The Colony in St Johns: 7525 N Richmond Ave. (10am-4pm)
  • Third Sundays: Union/Pine: 525 SE Pine St. (10am-4pm)


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