Summer is heating up and Ashley Chaney is looking for ways to keep cool. With no central air in her apartment, you can find this Lone Star State transplant near any dark watering hole. If there is BBQ and ice cold beer, all the better. Ashley is also putting her bilingual skills to work with Spanish lessons for children. If she doesn’t bankroll an A/C from practicing Español, watch her Krrb corner for a stoop sale as she unloads clothes and typewriters to pay for an air conditioning.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and where do you currently live?
My name is Ashley Chaney and I come from Bandera, Texas — the Cowboy Capital of the World. I grew up raising goats and watching musicals. I sang, danced, and dreamed of being a little bit of everything. I wanted to be a country belle eating cherries while sitting in a tree. I wanted to be a cowgirl who shoots beers out of men’s hands. I wanted to be a McDonalds window order taker. Today, I still want those things plus much more and minus the whole McDonalds thing. Fast forward to the present, I left Austin, Texas to live the dream and attain wealth and fame in New York City. I now live in Prospect Heights and occasionally cross over to Park Slope for some fancy fun.
What is the most awesome thing in or about your neighborhood?
The most awesome thing about my neighborhood is that the construction workers take their lunch breaks at the Creme Puff Cafe and consume pastries and espresso. Another awesome thing is Sharlene’s. I love Sharlene’s.
List the top 5 places you go locally to discover hidden treasures.
I am poor so I keep it cheap: Krrb, stoop sales and curbsides finds. If I were rich, I would be hittin up those flea markets like crazy. One day!
Did you go to garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores as a kid?
I have fond recollections of my Mexican-American grandmother taking me to Goodwill and making me try on everything remotely cute. She would yell at me that “You never know if something will look good on you until you try it!” I also used to go to the biggest, baddest flea market in Corsicana, Texas and search for the illusive Root Beer colored marbles.
How did you begin going to thrift stores, markets, etc?
I was forced to go to thrift stores like Goodwill to look for bargains with my grandmother. To me, flea markets were about lemonade, hand-me-downs, antiques and more! It seemed fun. I have always been one to find old, “ugly” things to be beautiful or have potential.
How often do you go to garage sales, flea markets, etc.? Any personal tips you’d like to share?
Not often enough. Always remember, you can usually make good out of bad with a little elbow grease.
Are you a hoarder or a minimalist?
I go through phases but am a minimalist at heart. Right now, I am a picky hoarder of typewriters and cameras. Next spring, I will go through a cleansing, renewing period and get rid of all the junk I acquired in the past year.
What blogs do you read right now?
I like To Whom It May Concern, Naomi Film Stuff and AOK Food. I really just look at a bunch of random blogs and follow links. I also read magazines and books at home.
What is your most cherished handcrafted, secondhand, vintage, upcycled object you possess? What’s the story behind it?
My elephant lamp. He was in a bin at Goodwill in Austin, Texas. He was brown and ugly. I loved him. I took him home, sanded him down, and spray painted him white. I reattached the light bulb connection point, inserted a bulb, plugged em in and voila! He lights up my life.
What are you working on these days?
I hustle! I currently volunteer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, work in an art gallery on the Upper West Side and make plans. My current plans consist of a video project, photography projects, and figuring out how to open an art space/community area for artists and underprivileged youth where the they can create and showcase their work at a low cost and where children can explore their creative side with the help of mentors who use the space.
Thanks Ashley and keep cool!
The Short List