One of My Happiest Happy Places: Vintage Market Days STL

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I'm pretty easy to please, to be honest. Give me a mild day with a breeze, some food trucks on hand, and any event with tents and booths and things to look at and maybe buy, and I'm a happy girl. Live music is just a bonus. I've joked for years that you could land me at a Harley-Davidson vendor fair and I'd still be delighted. There's just something about booths and tents and music and the smell of cooking food.

So when I found my way to my first Vintage Market Days, back in the fall of 2013, arm in arm with my bestie Katie who was visiting from out of town, it was like angels singing from heaven. Not only did this market have all the elements of an Emily Good Time, but this market... THIS set of tents: THIS was carefully curated to bring together all the trinkets and treasures and thrift shopping and flea market hunting and craft/art fair handiwork of all the various other tent-y events I already loved, but ALL IN ONE PLACE. Condensed. Intoxicatingly specific. Junking AND art. Old things waiting to be repurposed AND new-old things already lovingly refurbished and set out for sale. Artisans AND trash-gatherers. 

And food trucks. 

And funky, vintage, catchy live music. 

This is Vintage Market Days. And they're oh so cruel/amazing because they hold this market TWICE a year. Not once. TWICE. Fall and spring. And I've managed to get myself there at least six times of the eight times they've held the VMD in St. Louis. It's just my happy place, you know? 

In the past three and a half years I've been going, I've brought home a dollhouse, little chairs, handmade fabric dolls, pillow covers, succulent plants, wire baskets, quilts, props for my photography business, gifts for my kids, and on and on. And on and on and on. I vow one day to bring home a refurbished dining room table set and probably a lovely hutch of some kind... someday. I look for both every time and find courage to walk away every time because it's not yet that season for me. But they're there. So many amazing things to look at, even when you're not buying. The Vintage Market Days is a sensory feast. 

This spring, I got to bring my other bestie, Genny, and I toted Larkin around with us. Last fall, I had returned again with Katie, who was again visiting from out of town. (In 2013, she came to shoot our family photos when Quinn was still small, and in fall 2016 she came to meet little Larkin.) We walked six-week-old Larkin around the market days and she slept the whole time.♥  It was so good to return and still have this sweet baby girl who was so content to be worn as Gen and I browsed and ooh'ed and aah'ed at the treasures.

But enough words... have I effused enough? Do you wish you were there with us? Guess what: I took a bajillion photos this time (with permission from the vendors and the VMD owner, woo hoo!) and I'd love to show you some of my favorite moments from the latest VMD last weekend.  If I managed to remember to grab contact/website info for various vendors, I tried to include it for any of you who might want to do some couch-surfing shopping. 

We started our day taking the obligatory selfie in front of the VMD's incredible rusty metal sign. 
It's a must! I mean, isn't that the coolest sign? 

One of the first booths we stopped in our tracks for was the huge corner booth for
Come On In Antiques. There were endless things to ogle:

Come On In Antiques:
This gorgeous yellow flower display was in another nearby booth... Maybe Boxwood and Brass?? I can't remember. 
But I loved the sunny abundance of the display!

At the far end of the line of booths, there was a huge tent set up for some premier vendors who wanted  a little more shade and room. Dominating this tent was the incredible booth of Whimsy Willows. This is the first year this vendor has been at our VMD, and she's a perfect fit. Ashley Wilkinson, the owner, designed the booth herself and carries a huge variety of regular and plus sized clothing that speaks to the bohemian gypsy spirit. Lots of florals, lots of lace, and so many trendy cuts and styles. I sure hope we see her back in the fall: I need to save up and treat myself to something extra cute, I think.

Whimsy Willows:
Also in the big tent was a beautifully staged booth with trinkets and throw pillows, Cottage Collections by Suzi Ulkus. So pretty!
Cottage Collection: Suzi Ulkus 636.394.1628
And oh THIS booth: Winnie & Tulula's. Last fall was the first I noticed them, and they stood out for their lush, cozy, gorgeous monotone linen bed displays. Very appropriate for fall, the beds were covered in grays and off-whites, and I wanted to lie down and nap among the linen ruffles right then. So imagine my delight to see this booth again this spring, and in the middle of their other monochromatic bed displays (as gorgeous as ever), there was this utterly colorful SPRING display. Forget monochrome, I'll take THIS bed, please. Can you even handle the floppy, abundant, soft, elegant long ruffles of it all? This is all in linen. LINEN, people. Someday when I can afford it, I want my whole bed dressed in Winnie & Tulula's. *sigh*
Winnie & Tulula's: 214.395.4970
This fabulous old shelving unit, styled to perfection with Ball jars, plants, and other ceramic details, was it the JMG Design booth. I swear if I had a place for this tall vintage shelf thingy, I'd have bought it right then and there.
JMG Design:

Another fun booth, The Trendy Cottage, had a knack for styling her corners of her booth in "themed" treasures. This was her "strawberry display". So cute! She had a dozen other equally cute corners with other themes. 

 The Trendy Cottage:
Genny was stopped in her tracks at this jewelry booth, Tarnished Charm. She ended up treating herself to a few pairs of earrings. I was enchanted by this velvet and pearl book ribbon. *swoon*
 Tarnished Charm: 
Cabin Creek Mercantile was a booth with a great selection of items to look at, but what grabbed me most what that it selectively had this beef/cow theme hiding among the greens and ceramics and such. What a fun whimsical twist!

Cabin Creek Mercantile: 
Another show-stopper booth (and maybe also I am discovering I have a thing for how linen looks when it's in abundance) was the always incredible Spellbound Collections booth. In the fall, their booth was made from old windows and doors assembled to make a full BUILDING, topped by wings and a gold crown. Seriously impressive.
Also impressive is the racks upon racks inside, filled with more flowy, gypsy, boho funky clothing, much of it linen.  Another wall is filled with beads, and another display carries duplicate wooden wings and crown like the ones that top the outside of the booth. SO COOL. 

Spellbound Collections:

Lunch break for us included enjoying the food trucks while Larkin napped, and being treated to live music from Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, a vintage jazz and swing band that fit right into the vibe of the VMD. 
Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers:
After lunch, we browsed the second half of the booths, finding more fun things to photograph:

 Bella Vintage Home:
And then we found the Stapley Dolls booth, a favorite of mine. I've come to really enjoy the owner, Christy, and she impresses me every time with her craftsmanship and fresh ideas for her dolls, as well as her charming displays. I confess I've caved in and bought a doll from her not once, not twice, but THREE times, counting this last weekend. They're just TOO CUTE. I could make dolls like this. But why bother, when Christy Stapley does such a marvelous job at it?? So Lucy has one, Larkin has one, and now I have one for my very own. Ha! 

 (Please note how she has found perfect vintage books to add to her displays. PLEASE BE AMAZED LIKE I WAS.)
Stapley Dolls:
Next door to the Stapley Dolls, I met a new friend, the owner and creator at Birch Tree Bundles. This booth featured beautiful baby quilts in modern fabrics, as well as some really cute bibs, burp cloths, and other baby items. This girl seriously has such good taste in fabric. Why didn't I buy these bunny quilts, whyyyyyy????
 Birch Tree Bundles:
We wrapped up our three+ hour exploration once Larkin began getting fussy and the clock began to run down on my amazing babysitters' time. A few more quick photos of a few more too-cool-to-walk-past items, and we headed to the car, finally. WEARY, for sure, but so filled up. (Literally and emotionally!)

All in all, it was as fun as ever, and I came home with these treasures:
clockwise from top left:
1. Strawberry creme mini bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes (only the bag here, since I devoured the cake. YUM.)
2. Sweet regency-style doll from Stapley Dolls. Mine, all mine!
3. "Be Still My Soul" nail art from Boxwoods and Brass
4. Heather gray lace-bottom tank from Whimsy Willows
5. bamboo and fabric teething bunny from Urban Chic Baby Boutique
6. Dare to Be Different zip pouch from Come On In Antiques
7. "Grandma's Kitchen" scented soy candle from Beckley's Best Blends
 8. and 9. Weathered red bench and framed quote from two other booths I forgot to grab a business card from, so I don't remember who to give credit to! 


The next VMD here in St. Louis will be in the autumn, typically in early October. Keep in the loop by following their Facebook page here:


Thanks for letting me show you one of my happiest places. I love treasure-hunting, and love time with friends, love chatting with artisans.... It just fills me up. I hope everyone I know figures out their own happy places-- finds tried and true ways to fill up, too. It's so good, this feeling of knowing yourself enough to know what brings you joy. Thank you, dear readers, for being here. You also bring me joy. I hope you have a great rest of your week! 


  1. That is so awesome 🤗. To me places like that are sensory nightmare but I LOVE the pictures & even more importantly LOVE that it fills "your bucket" because heaven know we all need it from time to time! Can't wait to read what you find in the fall 😄

  2. Emily, I adore your blog!! It was so nice meeting you and thank you for the mention!! Picking out fabric's is the best part!!!! -Rachel from BirchTreeBundles

  3. I have said it before... I die! I die from all the vintage goodness! Why do I not live in St. Louis anymore??


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