Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Best Demon Clown Pottery I Could Find

About twice a year John and I trek over to Mount Dora to check out Renninger's "Extravaganza," a massive antique festival that almost defies description. It's like an outdoor flea market, except with old stuff, fair food, and over a hundred acres worth of shopping, which brings in sellers and buyers from all over the country.

Even if you're not into antiques, this thing is worth a visit. It's like exploring the junk-filled attic of Warehouse 13 in there, you guys, and you never know what you're going to see around the next corner.

Walking in from the car. This is one tiny back corner; the tents stretch out in all directions and go on seemingly forever.

Heading in through one of the many gates. A weekend pass is $15, or wait 'til Sunday and pay just $4.

One of my favorite games here is Find The Creepy, and lemme tell ya, that's a game that never gets old. (pun intended)

Demon Clown Pottery. For serving people's souls, I guess.

He wants a hug. 

Also your soul.

And I believe at the same booth:

A post shared by Jen Yates (@epbot) on

Funnily enough when I posted that vid on Instagram people seemed evenly split between "KILL IT WITH FIRE" and "Oooh, that'd look great in my guest room!" Which just goes to show: some of you are nuts, and this is why we're friends.

I took pictures of more than just creepy things, of course, because some of this stuff is Just Plain Cool.

Come, let's meander:

These lamps are whisper-screaming BioShock: Infinite to me, and if I didn't already have two sets too many in the garage I'd have tried to bring them home. Wouldn't they look gorgeous with black shades with metallic gold lining inside? Hnnnng.

Another temptation:
John and I stood staring at this and mentally searching our house for free wall space for about 3 minutes. Ultimately we agreed we had no spot for it, but DANG that is one cool photograph. Plus it had the curved glass I love so much in old frames.

Arg, writing these up is giving me reverse buyer's remorse, gang. Quick, let's look at something I definitely DO NOT WANT:

You know, like a casket. A wicker "cooling casket," according to the seller, who also claimed it would make a "great conversation piece." Uh. HUH.

Finding things like that does make Renninger's - or any antique shop - feel like an interactive history lesson. I've found so many baffling tools and whatsits, and it's fun guessing  - and then learning - what they're all for.

It's also surreal to see some of the most gorgeous, museum-quality furniture just sitting out in the dirt:

Obviously pieces like these are going to cost a pretty penny, but there are just as many booths and tables with cheap, fun junk to root through:

I'm always checking out the old toys. 

 Let's all stop, drop, and drool over these gorgeous drug store apothecary bottles:

And check this out: someone's old Disneyland snapshots!

Yay Jungle Cruise!

This next one is the definition of Creepy Cool:

That skeleton is a bottle; the head is on the cork. It came with 4 of those little skull cups beside it. It also cost a couple hundred dollars, which just goes to show you can't let the displays at Renninger's fool you.

Now these are just plain creepy:


Here's a fun find: a 1960's lipstick pack, still in the box:
That packaging! Even through the grime it had great colors.

Here's another look at what we're walking around in, btw:

Talk about a lovely way to shop. Right now the weather's a balmy 70 degrees, too: heaven.

Aha, here comes another near-buy - this mechanical skeleton bank is cast iron and TOO FUN:

Here's John demonstrating:

A quick Google search told us it's a new reproduction, though, and one you can buy online for less than the seller was asking. (Thank goodness for smart phones, am I right?) You can get it on Amazon for less than $40, so I'll be watching for a sale: I definitely need to add this to a Honeydukes display for next year's Potter Party!

This next seller had stacks and stacks of original vintage posters - mostly advertisements, but also maps and art - and they were all huge (three feet high) and gorgeous. This Red Cross one is so pretty it hurts:

So, so lovely.

More art: this wall hanging is like our airship we got here a few years ago, lightweight and with really neat metallic colors:

John was already negotiating to bring it home, but again, our lack of wall space got in the way. Plus it's not terribly steampunk, is it? I mean, we could make it work, but... eh, always better to err on the side of NOT spending more money, right? (You get a front row seat to the Jen Convincing Herself It's OK She Didn't Buy Anything show. Popcorn, anyone?)

And still MORE art, this time done in the traditional NOPENOPENOPE style:

Seriously, it was broad daylight and I got chills just looking at this from 20 feet away. [shudder]

Although, now that I'm looking at it from the safety of my desktop, I'm getting a real Odo-from-Deep-Space-9 vibe. Just me?

More cool stuff, a complete antique diving suit:

And look at the case for this engraved silver box:


They just don't make cool cases like this anymore. We saw so many perfectly-fitted, velvet-lined cases for everything from microscopes to booze bottles - and have you ever SEEN an antique ring box? All the grabby hands - all of them.

More atmosphere shots:

Renninger's has more breakables-per-square-inch - all on flimsy card tables and plastic tubs -  than anyplace in the state. It's terrifying.

I should note I didn't photograph the really fancy looking booths (there were a few), because I was getting a definite "no pictures" vibe from some of them, and I didn't want to ask. 

There was only one time I got in trouble for bringing out my phone: a stained glass booth, where everything cost multiple thousands. Still not sure WHY photos bother some sellers, but I'm no rebel, ha. I did a little googling, though, and I can tell you the light I was going to photograph looked something like this:

Cool bats!

This nifty piece has a compass in the top and 3 dials around the sides: a clock, barometer, and... something else I don't remember:

I love stuff like this. Super steampunky, elegant, unique - the perfect display piece.

But no, I didn't buy it. Seriously, I deserve a cupcake after all this self-control. (John?)

And now, for all your baby-stroller-with-a-giant-rabbit-head-on-it needs:

And speaking of stuff you wonder will ever sell:

What do you do with an antique wheelchair? 
But again, so fascinating; I've never seen one outside of a TV or movie screen before.

John's making me leave out the really bad stuff, which I guess is a good call - I don't want anyone mistaking my pictures for endorsement in any way - but I will say there are plenty of horrors to be had at an antique fair. Not only that, it's a two-part horror: 1) that the thing ever existed, and 2) that someone today might want to OWN that thing.

John and I had an interesting conversation about that, in fact: about the difference in keeping something in a museum as a cautionary education vs keeping something in a home for decoration. This isn't really the place to get into that, of course, but thought I'd mention it. Just some food for thought.

On a cheerier note, John and I were transfixed by the sound of this wooden phonograph:

This was maybe the most dangerous item for John. He turned to me and said, "We should buy that." Haha, such a kidder. I hope.

Right, I'll end with one more near-purchase, though happily you can find a lot of these on Ebay starting around $35, so I'm not TOO sad we passed it by:

It's called a Jefferson clock, and the hands seem to float in midair because the actual glass rotates in the middle. Isn't that awesome?? Yep, I may be making another saved search on Ebay soon.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Jen, are you really telling us you didn't buy ANYTHING?" Well never fear, concerned minion! I *did* buy a little something: a broken Donald Duck tin toy:

He's missing his feet, but if you wind him up, his... tail?... still spins around. (The tail is a white rubber piece.) I have no idea how old he is - Ebay was a bust - but for less than ten bucks I'm happy anyway. I am curious what he looked like new, though, so if any of you know anything or have pics, let me know!

Hope you guys had fun visiting Renninger's with me! This weekend John and I are off to the Celebration of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, so hope to see some of you locals there. And for the rest of you: oh yes, there WILL be pictures. MAGICAL PICTURES. Awww yeeeeeah.


  1. Awesome stuff! And yes, before you even said it I was thinking "Odo. Definitely." And is there a shrunken head in the background of the demon clown picture? Antique fairs are so fun. Also, I can't believe you didn't buy that car photograph, that would have been in my car, wall space or no. Thanks for the look-see!

  2. So much cool stuff! I think this is your Donald guy: https://pin.it/xjl2s2yf3dgo4x

  3. Found him! http://www.icollector.com/Linemar-Disney-Donald-Duck-Whirling-Tail-in-O-B_i8437869

    I don't see a date, but the other toys I see in this fashion are 1950's.

  4. "What do you do with an antique wheelchair?"
    Actually, I know a man heavily into Victorian costumes, who was looking at a very risky back surgery that could end in him never walking again. He bought two antique wheelchairs and renovated them, with the idea that if he'd be wheel-bound for life he could at least do it in style.
    Luckily he ended up not needing them, but I think he's taken them to ren fairs just to show them off.

    1. I had a friend looking for a wheelchair like this last year. He needed one for a play he wrote that was set in the Victorian era. Who knew they were such a hot item?

    2. I would also note that oddly enough that we had one of these wheelchairs in our my high school Nurse's office. Everyone used to joke about, who would actually EVER use it... Until the day we needed it. Our girl's varsity soccer team was out at practice and one of the girls fainted from not eating all day, the only wheelchair unoccupied at the moment was the antique! (the one new one was holding a student with a broken leg who thought crutches would be fine ALL day... he didn't quite make it). The bugger was not comfortable but more than adequately rolled out across an acre of field to pick up my teammate and transport her back to the school. Once we knew she was ok, we all died laughing about it... last I heard, the antique is STILL in the nurse's office, though rarely used!

  5. Oh I had that Mickey Mouse Hippety Hop! You don't want to ride that thing backwards. Mickey's nose hurts! We had it for awhile until I left it behind the car in the driveway and my dad backed over it. Whomp whomp.

  6. I want that first desk soooo bad!

  7. Those are definitely some amazing finds! I love that the skeleton poison bottle looks like it already killed that Mickey lying facedown next to it.

  8. That wheelchair gave me visions of Laura Ingalls pushing Nellie Olson down a hill to prove she was faking her paralysis.

  9. I know what to do with that wheelchair also! Theater baby! The problem with the antiques is they don't fold up very well, so you really need a good place to store them. Wonder if hubby would notice one in my basement? ;)

  10. Cool! I grew up in Canton, Texas - home to First Monday Trade Days. If you ever go to Texas, you would have a ball :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Monday_Trade_Days

  11. I would love to have an antique wheelchair to offer my local community theaters when they do period shows that have characters who need a wheelchair (Annie and The Secret Garden are the first that come to mind). It's so distracting when they try to disguise a modern wheelchair or attempt to make their own. It would be great to have a real one available.

    Plus I just think they're pretty! ^_^

    1. Agreed! Some theater will probably buy it for a show. I've worked on at least two shows that needed one. The first didn't have the budget, so they made something that looked sort of correct. The second show got one on loan from somewhere, I think.

    2. One of our local community theatres has a wheelchair just like that one that has appeared in many productions of "Annie" and "The Secret Garden" around town! I pushed the actress playing Madame Armfeldt around the stage in that chair as Frid in "A Little Night Music."

  12. I think there's a number of folks who love the Victorian era/steampunk stuff, but might need some help with accessibility, who would love that antique wheelchair.

  13. I'm guessing the reason that the people at the stained glass booth didn't want photos is because they are selling original designs and they don't want other people copying them. It's not very hard to make a pattern from a picture of a piece.

  14. That phonograph was super tempting. You have the self control of a saint.

  15. Do you have a link for the bat light fixture? Is it for sale? Because I want it.

  16. Oh wow, neat stuff! I wouldn't be able to do the walking it would require, but I'mma put this on my bucket list anyway. Also, I am coveting ALL that antique glass. YOWZA

    1. You just need to buy the wheelchair first, then you won't need to walk. :)

  17. I couldn't resist looking up cooling caskets. I found this summary on an auction site. So creepy:
    "A cooling coffin was kept at the most prestigious homes to keep body contained and aireated [sic] until such time as a doctor could arrive to pronounce the person dead. The wicker would allow air circulation in case the person was not reliably dead."

    1. "Reliably Dead" would be an excellent band name. Thanks for sharing your research!

  18. Oh my glob there are so many of those horrific things that I love and want to own. Wow. Seriously. Wow. I love creepy finds. I may have to pick up one of those metal skele banks too because it would remind me of my grandmothers fledgling collection and yet be my style. ^_^

  19. Beautiful stuff, especially the phonograph. I am also a fan of curved glass frames, though I don't own any.

    Another use for the antique wheelchair is in Jerome, AZ. There is an old sanitarium which has been converted to a restaurant and hotel, and these chairs would look perfect there.

  20. I’m surprised and amazed at your willpower. How did you not take the Haunted Mansion type of portrait? Or those lamp stands? I don’t play Bioshock, but i know cool lamps when I see them.

  21. For the toy that you bought: https://www.ebay.com/i/122927098580?chn=ps

  22. That record player reminds me of what I imagine the Wizarding Wireless sounds like.

  23. Wow! this is AMAZING! Unrelated, I'm going to my first con in march. Any recommendations on things I should bring?

  24. I've lived an hour from Mount Dora for five years and STILL haven't been to Renninger's. Maybe this year!

  25. Just a note, wicker caskets are currently being made and sold for those who want a green burial, so if you are looking for an antique then be sure that is what you are getting. Otherwise, consider using something that will feed the ground rather than poisoning it! Also, coveting that wheelchair for cons. It is really hard to steampunk a folding chair with that blue vinyl seat.

  26. I don't know why but the rabbit stroller is calling my name. I can just picture someone pushing around a little dressed-up chihuahua in that thing. Or a baby I guess. In any case, I think it'd be a definite conversation piece wherever you go.

    1. Not me! I could just see those rabbit ears impaling whatever's in the stroller.

      Why yes, I do see danger everywhere... why do you ask?

  27. Thanks for linking that skeleton bank on Amazon. I know someone who needs that. I've never been to an antique fair but this makes me want to go. Will have to see if there's one in my area.

  28. I can help you, Jen & John, with your display space problem (at least for flat artworks) - ahem, cough, "ceiling" ... There you are - magic - a lot more empty area ;)

  29. So yeah, that rabbit stroller is also a NopeNopeNope design for me. I may have nightmares about it eating my babybot now... (As a mom, you get weirder dreams than ever before. If you were wondering.)

    And that kind of looks like Odo.

    Such cool stuff mixed in with nightmare fodder. Or writer's fodder. I need to add this to my bucket list.

  30. I totally just put a bid on a Jefferson clock on eBay.

  31. That wheelchair would be perfect for an FDR cosplay.

  32. Yup, my very first thought was Odo and then I giggled when the very next line, you said the same. Looks like a super way to spend a day!

  33. I have one of those Jefferson clocks! Got it at an antique sale in Texas. Definitely get one, but make sure it works smoothly -- no chipped or uneven glass.

  34. You can get that skeleton bank on sale from Victorian Trading Company for $20, btw (I might have been looking at him in the sale catalog over the weekend ...)

  35. That wind-up phonograph (or gramophone) is a beauty all right. Definitely both steampunky and Potter-related (see https://imgur.com/a/3KuWz). Some of those old record players had remarkable tone and volume too.

  36. Ya know, that guy who just wants a hug could make a good base for a Hoggle.

  37. Photo us not? they either have dodgy goods (fake.stolen) or think you might be thieves who are showing a customer what they can pinch. I have a suspicious nature...

  38. That animated portrait is fascinating to me, despite how terrified I'd be if I came across that in an abandoned house. I wonder how it works?

  39. I love the rabbit-head baby carriage, which looks like something Lewis Carroll would put his pig baby in. And of course now I'm dying to know what horrible things you found that were too terrible to mention. Ah well. Thanks for your restraint!

  40. SO COOL! I'd plunk down the 15 bucks to gawk all weekend. :) Of course, I get a little depressed when I find things from my childhood at an "antique" fair (I had those lip glosses).

    Thanks for sharing your finds!

  41. I actually yelled when I saw that demon clown. That could definitely make me side with Booth in Bones. As for the wheelchair, we used one very similar to that for a college production of "The Man Who Came to Dinner". Sounds like a wonderful place to go - too bad I'm on the other side of the U.S.

  42. Did this weekend seem like it had less vendors? the hill side felt empty compared to past years. I plan on going next month too. I ended up buying a very heavy, but very inexpensive, antique refrigerator from the 1920's. I have the same issue though, I do not have space for it, so it's living in the garage until I move furniture around. where there is a will there is a way!

  43. As to what you do with the wheelchair: you'd be shocked to know how many plays call for one. Most theater companies either have one or would pick one up if they could find it.

  44. I bet the "no pictures" vibe is so you can't go online and see if you're getting ripped off!


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