Have you ever been to an auction?

You know.

The kind of auction you see in movies.

The one where the entire room is full of unique and awesome and amazing things mixed in with some bits of absolute randomness.  Everything is for sale.  Everything is auctioned off.  You get a number at the front counter and when you want to bid you raise it in the air and sometimes there’s a bidding war and the price goes higher than you ever imagined.

And sometimes.

Sometimes when everyone talking or not paying attention or leaves their seat to go to the concession stand to buy nachos and Mountain Dew…

…you get the auction find of a lifetime.

We have an auction just like that a couple miles from my house.

I went this Saturday with yoga pants, a positive attitude and super cute go-to-the auction hair.  I was looking for a few pieces for the room for this project.

The building was packed.  There were people everywhere and the walls and front of the space were lined with items to be auctioned.  There were old shovels and galvanized metal buckets and bedroom sets and old tool containers and boxes of vintage patterns and quilt scraps and tables and chairs and boxes of dishes.

Treasures as far as the eye could see.

My heart beat a little faster just stepping into the room.  I walked the perimeter and looked at the boxes and picked up this and turned over that.  Suddenly, a glint of something vintage and metal and spinny-looking caught my eye.  Tucked into the corner of the room between plastic lawn furniture and stacks of tools was a windmill.

Not just any windmill.

The kind of windmill you see in a home on HGTV that they’ve just renovated that’s full of chairs and couches and bookcases with an empty space on one side of the room that needs a little something and then the designer stops by a junk store and finds the perfect vintage windmill and you sigh and think that only happens on television and you wonder why…

….why can’t I find something like that?

And then you go to an auction.

When the windmill came up for bid, I was ready.

I put my card in the air and prayed everyone had stepped out for nachos and Mountain Dew.

The bidding started at $5.00 and then went to $10.00.

My heart raced.

I had to have that windmill.  It had to be mine.  It was calling my name and telling me it would look so cute in the family room next to the bookcase.

I placed my bid as the numbers swirled around the room, faster and faster and faster. 

It went to twenty and then twenty five and then thirty.


Hold on, I told the windmill. We got this.  I won’t let you down.  I stared straight ahead with the face of a general fighting a war in the middle ages and refused to look away.

Determined, I raised my card higher.

And higher.

Waving it in the air again and again, uncompromisingly digging in my heels as I raised that card one last time and….

….accidentally bid against myself.

Someone else might have been embarrassed when the auctioneer mentioned it and corrected the bid.

Not this someone.

This someone had bigger fish to fry.

This someone had a prize to claim for $35.00.

This someone realized that the windmill was hers, tossed her number down, gave a shout of victory, ran across the room and hugged it….

….all the way home. 🙂

PS  It’s about five feet tall and I think it’s going in the living room.  I spray painted it white and I’m going back to distress it to let more of the metal shine through.

PPS  One quick note.  We are closing out the sale of the burlap curtains at midnight tonight.  You can still order until then.  Click here to see details.  (They are on sale right now for 25% off, too. Just enter the code:  welcome2017 at checkout).

I can’t believe the response.  You guys are amazing.  Here’s to the marriage of smocking and burlap. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Becky Becky

    Congratulations! It's a keeper for sure. I've being going to auctions since I was a little girl. It was a favorite pass time of my parents and they passed that love to me and now my kids love auctions too. Go figure.

  2. Image for Ann Ann

    I love auctions and we have a lot of barn sales here in the piney woods of east Texas. What is super cute go to the auction hair? I've got to see!

  3. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    Oh I love it! I too have been to one of those auctions...once when we lived in TX. You know, the kind where the auctioneer is talking a million miles an hour and you don't even really know what you are bidding? I bought a rusted wrought iron gate that I still have 15 years later. Sometimes, we just find the "find" of a lifetime right? Amazing! Nancy

  4. Image for Leandra Walker Leandra Walker

    As a "kid" I used to say I wanted to be tall so I could go to auctions and see over the crowd. I love auctions!

  5. Image for Sue Sue

    What a "find"! I would have had to claim that windmill as well. Great job! And I have also bid against myself. It is a bit embarrassing, but oh well. You got what you wanted! Can't wait to see this in your house!

  6. Image for sandi sandi

    Yes, yes & yes!!!!! We even went to one in Vienna once before we learned German or the numbers & came away w. a wonderful piece of furniture! Also in Greece w. no Greek --- if you think they are fun in English & move quickly let me correct that thought! :-) I am so happy that windmill found it's perfect home!

  7. Image for Mary Casper Mary Casper

    I bought the stand at auction for 2.00. Then I had to find the actual windmill. That ended up costing me 20.00. If anyone wants one of these and don't have an auction nearby, they do sell them at Tractor Supply and Fleet Farm. But you are going to pay more than you did!

  8. Image for kathy kathy

    I love this post for several reasons. I wanted you to have that windmill. Also, it reminds me of a chalkboard that I have hanging in my kitchen. My mother (who is now 83) bought it at an auction when she was a little girl. She paid a dollar for it, bidding against herself. She said it made her angry when everyone laughed each time she bid. I guess her daddy thought it was so cute, he let her bid against herself. I can't wait to see the windmill inside your home.

  9. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    Good for you! Glad you got what you wanted. You deserve it! Will be waiting to see you stage it. Auctions make me nervous! Therefore, I don't have much experience. I prefer to see the price and walk out with it. The auctioneer speaks too fast and I am afraid I will spend $1,000 on a $10 item. Different strokes for different folks.

  10. Image for Lynda Ontario Canada Lynda Ontario Canada

    Oh my! I loved this post! One of my fondest memories was attending an auction just before I was married with my mother (who is now passed). I can still feel that cool fall day, the excitement of my marriage and still have my beautiful jardiniere! Love, love your posts:)

  11. Image for Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces

    Wonderful find!! It looks great painted white and will be a beautiful statement piece in your living room! I understand your windmill love...I have an old painted wood windmill...it is one of my favorite art pieces! I have never been to an auction...sounds like nervewracking fun!

  12. Image for Jan Jan

    OMG -- your posts make my day! I think we would be great friends if we only knew each other :) Thanks for the chuckle :)

  13. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Congratulations!!! So thrilled that you were able to get your prize.. I have a small windmill in my yard under a huge thundercloud plum. Every time I look at it , I am taken back to my childhood. While growing up in Texas, we had a windmill where we got our water. It was so wonderful and the water was so pure and sweet tasting. A favorite memory! Thanks for reminding me.

  14. Image for Pat Pat

    Congratulations!!! I love windmills and would have done just what you did...bid my heart out! Auctions are so much fun and the treasures you find and buy are always the greatest. Enjoy your new treasure.♥

  15. Image for Rowena Philbeck Rowena Philbeck

    I love auctions but sometimes it takes up the whole day. I have gone to several of our past professors that have retired then passed away. Very cool to see their homes and most were like museums of all their travels. I have bid and gotten several things. Its really fun!! Stressful at times. I love the windmill. Very cute!!

  16. Image for Nancy Bailey Nancy Bailey

    Oh my gosh - I held my breath until you said you got it! What fun. I've never been to a live auction - just eBay. I don't know if I could stand the adrenaline rush. Congratulations on your win. It will be an awesome addition to your home.

  17. Image for Julie B. Julie B.

    I laughed out loud when you said you had bid against yourself! SO something I would do! ;-) I'm doing a happy dance for you!

  18. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Love this! Isn't it wonderful when you see an object like that and fall completely in love with it (as much as you can an object) and know that you MUST HAVE IT and you strive until you GET it? Congratulations, friend. :)

  19. Image for Linda Miller Linda Miller

    A wonderful memory of my dad was when he taught me the "tricks" of bidding at an auction. It was hilarious and it WORKS! lol What a rush when the final bid is yours! I love auctions and the excitement of coming home with new treasures. Congrats...the windmill is adorbs! Have a terrific week!

  20. Image for Sherry fisher Sherry fisher

    Yay for you!! I know it will look perfect wherever in your home! For me, it was when I walked into our little Cancer thrift store, and saw it rolled up, leaning againt the back wall...the most perfect-shade-of-dark red rug, with cute little beige flowers all over...perfect size, clean, plush..it was love at first sight. Xo


    Such a cute windmill, KariAnne -- even if you did end up bidding against yourself! We love going to auctions -- especially estate auctions -- and usually come home with something that just needed to come and live at our home! Enjoy your windmill!

  22. Image for Bonnie schulte Bonnie schulte

    Love going to auctions, but have not been to one in a few years. I have this picture in my mind of you giving your shout of victory, and it just brings a huge huge smile to my face. I just know how happy you were at that moment. Congratulations on a wonderful bid!

  23. Image for Christina in FL Christina in FL

    Girl, I am SO happy for you!!! I can understand the excitement of bidding against yourself. :) This is SUCH a cute find. :) I can't wait to see it after you've painted and distressed it a bit. I have only purchased one thing at an auction. I think my mother took pity on me when I was about 7 years old. I was the only bidder and bought a small, antique bible for $.50. :) I treasure it. This is even more off-center when you consider I was raised agnostic bordering on atheist. :)))))

  24. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Congratulations!! I'm happy you got what you wanted. I've never been to an auction. In fact, I'm afraid to go. I am pretty competitive and I know I'd find just the thing I've been looking for all of my life, even though I don't know what it is yet. And then the bidding would go bonkers and there I'd be digging MY heels in absolutely refusing to give up. Yep! Better to dream that there is something out there calling to me than going to an auction and not being able to afford it. :-( I can't wait to see the house finished!! You are doing such a fantastic job. Hugs!

  25. Image for susan b susan b

    I would have been bidding against you for that windmill (unless of course my husband was with me saying "what are you going to do with THAT?") - but then again he'd rather "take a beating" (his words) than ever go to an auction - so I COULD bid against you! My best was an old quarter sawn oak library table with drawer for $105. I told the auction hater I needed help getting it out of the truck and he actually REALLY liked it! Can't wait to see what you do with the windmill!

  26. Image for Rebecca Turner Rebecca Turner

    I just arrived home from a weekend trip through Texas hill country, where I saw quite a few old windmills that made my eyes smile and my heart yearn. But I want the land to go with the windmill, lol!

  27. Image for Ruth Ruth

    Love the windmill! I think when you bid against yourself it tells the other bidders "this girl means business " so they might back off knowing you will pay whatever it takes! At least that's what I've told myself when I've done it! Love your blog. I am also curious about the hairdo.

  28. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Congrats on the windmill! It is great! I wish so much your burlap curtains came in a shorter length, I need 63 inches:( Glad they are selling fast!!!!

  29. Image for Sue Sue

    My daughter and I took the 11 year old granddaughter to her first auction last Saturday. She can't wait to go back. The adults bought very little but granddaughter had the pickup half full. Great fun.

  30. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    Can't wait to see how you use your new treasure in the show house! I have never been to an auction. Wish we lived closer, so that you could introduce me to this new indoor sport!

  31. Image for Leslie Leslie

    I wish I had been there just to watch! Love that find but know you will make it look so much better!! Keep bidding. ;-)

  32. Image for Regina Regina

    I am married to an auctioneer :) He sells mostly Livestock & Machinery Auctions but the 'once a year' Household Auction he does in our Auction building is so much fun. At least I love to see all the treasures, he just sees junk.

  33. Image for norma vaughn norma vaughn

    "So, I went to this auction."...HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I SAID THAT!...my house is fulllll, outbuildings fulll and my children won't take another thing!

  34. Image for Jane Jane

    your stories are awesome! I can't wait to see it in your place...lookin so pretty. you've got the bug now... like the rest of us junkers!

  35. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I've never been to an auction, but it sounds exhilarating. I shall add this to my list of things to do this year. The windmill is an extraordinary find.

  36. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    My husband and I were bidding against each other, luckily the auctioneer realized we were married and put a stop to it!!!

  37. Image for Tauni Tauni

    Oh dear. You linked up to Show + Tell. I had to click when I saw it. HAD TO. And then I read. And I loved. And I got lost on your blog again. It happens every time. xo

  38. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I love auctions! If I could make a career going to them I would. I have been known to bid against myself but lucky for me the auctioner notices and puts a stop to it. Love your windmill. Since reading your post , I went to Auction Zip and found an auction that is this weekend. Guess what one of the items being auctioned is? The very same windmill you won. I may have to go and see how much it goes for. I love a good auction!

  39. Image for Wen Wen

    Oh my - loved reading your auction story - I have one where I literally bought a giant box of junk that had beautiful treasures in it ! It was $1 - funny thing is.... I was sure I was outbid until they brought it to My Feet! ~ WAS I HAPPY!!!!

  40. Image for Sandy Sandy

    I admit I didn't read the above comments, so this may be repeated. I so love the picture of the windmill in your yard/field. It's a beautiful photo that needs to be framed.

  41. Image for Charley Charley

    I have never been to an actual real (not TV) auction. It needs to go on my bucket list! AND buy something so cute for $30 bucks! I'd like it outside your big new window just to watch and guage the weather.

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