Dirty Little Bottles

Yes, I’m actually writing about dirty little bottles because it has a cute story. This is just a quick post to share some little treasures that I found this past weekend at our local flea market. The Kane County Flea Market is held the first weekend of each month, and is one of the largest in the area. Lots of vendors, lots of shoppers, and plenty of goodies. Like these vintage bottles that I found for a few dollars.

Dirty little bottles from the flea marketI don’t know why I love old bottles, but I do. And if they’re a little crusty, all the better.

Last week I shared some of my vintage aqua bottles in my family room.


Vintage BottlesThis past weekend we took my daughter and her boyfriend to the flea market. Mike had never been to the flea market and I wasn’t quite sure if he’d enjoy it or not. But he seemed interested enough.


Vintage Flea Market BottlesOne of the open air vendors had a basket of about 25 of these bottles so I had to stop and take a look. I’ve been wanting some brown bottles and grabbed the only 2 they had left, and then snagged a few others that were crusty enough to look like they’d had an interesting past.


Vintage Flea Market BottlesAfter I finished paying for my vintage finds, Mike asked me “Did you really just pay money for some dirty little bottles?”  I had to stop and laugh because I realized how ridiculous that might seem to someone who doesn’t know about a collector’s strange fetishes.


Vintage Flea Market BottlesI forgot to tell him that many of my crusty old bottles were found in a nearby dump … for free.


Vintage Flea Market BottlesAren’t they cute? Please tell me they’re cute so I can vindicate myself! LOL. I warned Mike that I was going to write about his “dirty little bottles” comment. He told me he was happy to contribute to my blog content. I’m glad he’s a good sport!


Vintage Flea Market BottlesI found a few other treasures at the flea market, but haven’t had time to photograph them yet. I love the brown bottles and will gather up a few more when I find them!

What do you like to hunt for when you’re at the flea market?


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  1. I love old bottles, too ! I’ve lived on our property for almost 50 years. When I was a young girl, we’d play in the “woods” next to us and realized on the other side was an elderly black man in a very old house. I learned later in life that his family had lived there a very long time, his ancestors purchasing the land when it was unheard of for people of color to own property. And because the town nearby is Alsatian made the fact even more unusual. Anyway, he told me that in the early days they had thrown their garbage into a trench away from the house. He gave me permission to dig to my heart’s content. My prize is a lovely oil lamp, still intact and now atop the armoire in my home. I’ve recently found the box of bottles I saved in a shed and plan to clean them up to bring in the house. I wish I had met that wizened old man later in life…. I would love to have listened to his stories about his early life in a house heated only by a wood-burning stove. His ancestors are buried on that property, just yards from my own gate. I’d love to go find that old garbage trench and start digging again!

    1. I can so relate to this story! As a child my grandparents were very poor and lived in a rental that was down the hill from where people dumped their trash. We would walk up there and find all kinds of treasures. My grandmother had a tray of old spectacles on her dresser. She also kept a drawer of old keys she had found. Her house used skeleton keys. My uncle eventually bought the land from the landlord and tore down the old house. This has inspired me to possibly go over and do a dig or two of my own. Thank you

  2. I love old bottles, too. I like to put them out with single flowers in them . . . I think that they are more interesting than a bouquet and they draw you into each flower . . . after all each one is a piece of art.

  3. Jennifer,
    I must admit I have just gotten interested in flea markets/thrift stores the past couple of years. I have been picking up copper pieces and old aluminum pots – tea pots and coffee pots. I have a copper scuttle pot which turned out beautifully when I cleaned it. I have two other copper pieces that are not staying shiny but darken right back up. The other passion I have is cast iron cookware. I cleaned up my mom’s skillets and use them often, and I have gotten an old tea kettle and other skillets and a dutch oven recently. Now I’m buying anything I can repurpose or upcycle!

  4. Too funny,. I get comments from my kids too. Just last week I found a perfect wing back chair for 8.00 and decided it would be perfect for my initial grainsack upholstery project/expeiment. My son looked at his wife and says, as he is getting it out of my yukon, “please don’t start doing this”with a smile, of course.

  5. I love your dirty little bottles! I bought one last year at a flea market and he charged me $10. for it!! Canadian!! So if you got a few for $10. then you got a deal. :-]

  6. Wanna freak Mike out a little more? Tell him that historically a lot of empty bottles were disposed of down the outhouse hole and some bottle collectors partake in Privy Digging to retrieve them – he can read all about it on Wiki if he doesn’t believe it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privy_digging . I love old bottles and a little dirt ain’t nothing to be afraid of lol !

  7. I also have a collection of old, dirty bottles. My favorite is a medicine bottle found in my grandparents’ homestead house in Canada (American expats) along with a cigarette box. You gave me more ideas. Thanks!

  8. Do you have any purple ones? I have two small ones. I don’t remember the story on them but some how they were one color and as they age they turn purple. I love them.

  9. Great post!! LOLOL I totally get it and have had that very conversation!!!! How fun…. enjoy your bottles…..I recently pulled my vintage bottle collection out & have them displayed in my living room!!!! I love your blog it’s one of my favs…thanks for all the great ideas and fun stories….