Make a $20 Vintage Food Prop Basket

One of my favorite things that has happened as this food blog has evolved separately from my main blogging concern (The Little Magpie) is that I’ve acquired a bountiful supply of several things: new recipes to try, deepened friendships (Lyndi at nwaFoodie, Jenny at Blessings & Raindrops, Julie at Eggs & Herbs) and plenty of fun kitchen goodies!

Recently, I gathered with two of these cooker friends for an afternoon of food styling (and snacking) in preparation for the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference in August, where we held a #FoodieFriday event that included food styling and food photography sessions. Each of us (Lyndi, Jenny, myself) wrote different takes on that fun afternoon, and out of it came the idea that we needed to show some of our blogger friends how easy it is to make a “prop basket” or drawer full of cute linens and kitchen “pretties” to use for upping the style factor of food blog photos.  Lyndi and I each took on the challenge to hit a flea market with $20 to show how far it will stretch in the creation of a prop basket!



In my kitchen sits this lovely retro hutch that was in my grandmother’s kitchen for years.  It’s become (in a good way, I think!) a catchall for lots of kitchen relics, and is often my quick grab source for a food photo prop and even serves as a photo backdrop.  Now, I live in a 1905 house, so this works.  I (shockingly) try to avoid clutter and knickknacks in the rest of my house, but I have a LOT of vintage kitchen goodies acquired from a long line of food enthusiasts.


Grandmother’s measuring equivalents on the hutch door (found behind the drawer)

I’m also fortunate to have spent several months living in France and backpacking around Europe at the age of 20 as my food tastes were evolving, accounting for things like that fabulous antique chocolat sign and the robin’s egg blue Moi, Toi, Nous Deux (essentially: yours, mine and ours together) tea set on my hutch, all picked up at a Paris flea market for a few francs.  I’ve gotten grief from other foodies about some of these scores.

Some kitchen goodies from France…

Here’s the thing: if you don’t have your own house full of kitchen chic goodies or didn’t acquire them in a completely psychotic way in your 20s in Europe, all hope is not lost: hit a flea market for plenty of cute goodies for your own prop basket (even if you don’t love vintage junk)!  Lyndi and I each took $20 to demonstrate.  I hit The Rose Too at 1140 West Walnut near downtown Rogers, Arkansas.  I’m a HUGE fan – visit The Two Roses for their two locations, hours and more information.

Ironically, Lyndi and I followed the EXACT same formula even though we shopped separately – we both bought one linen, an ice cream scoop, a cream container, and similar measuring cups/sifters.  We bought the exact same quantity and style of items – how funny!  Here’s my loot, all of which came in at $19.83 including tax and a special treat for my foodie friend:

There are so many fantastic kitchen and food photography props to be found at a really stellar flea market like The Rose Too.  Here’s a sampling of some of the items I spotted as I looked for my perfect $20 food prop sampler (trust me, I put a lot of things back and carried a LOT around before settling on this array!)…

Vintage linens, doilies & aprons – many are less than $5!

Lots of cool kitchen implements & props for a song…

See all the photos of goodies from The Rose Too in THIS ALBUM: $20 Vintage Food Prop Basket, and find links to recaps from all the sessions (including food photography and styling tips) at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged 2012 conference here.  And, watch for a post from Debbie Arnold of Dining with Debbie, who was the winner of 20 crisp(ish) $1 bills to go find her own vintage food styling props!  In the meantime, check out her cute blog and fun photos and recap of the AWBU conference.
Let me know about your favorite finds and food props!



  1. jenny marrs · · Reply

    Love this, Beth!! I adore all of your vintage finds…the measuring units from your Grandma is amazing. SUPER cute hanging up on the hutch. And, of course, who wouldn’t love anything picked up at a market in France?!

    1. Thanks, sweet friend! Once you and Lyndi finish your galavanting around on vacay you need to come over for lunch! 🙂

  2. I should have had you guys come to my house b4 I started “clearing.”. You would have had so much fun going thru all that I donated to causes! I am working on my $20 basket but taking a new approach for me. We’ll see. Loved your post. I am up next week for a long weekend. Gonna’ be coming w Hub when he speaks to grands’ classes re being a judge. Hit any other community workers you might suggest? So love that you got to spend that time in France ( and jealous). Think we might schedule a blogger retreat in Italy? Greece’

    1. Debbie, you are so fun! Please call or email when you come up and let’s have lunch – some fun places here that need to be on your radar! Hmm, yes – I bet I can come up with a few ideas. Shoot me a note!

      And yes – Arkansas Women Bloggers in Italy seems like a perfect plan!

  3. Love this post and will definitely do one of my own! and will link back to yours and Debbie’s post.

    I love your home, your kitchen, and your things. Did I tell you that I am remodeling and my husband and I designed/fashioned the pantry to look just like yours? Yep. True story.

    Which reminds me, I need to do my ‘kitchen tour’ post of your kitchen. It’s coming!!

    ps:: shout-out to Jenny Marrs, she is a doll.

  4. Lyndi, that is hilarious! Yes, I need to do your kitchen tour as well, in a BIG way – I’m super past due. I cannot for the life of me get some of those photos to work and I refuse to do it without them – it is going to happen!

    I can’t wait to see your new kitchen. MMM – fall foodie get together soon!!

  5. […] at antique shops (fortunately, my mother and sister are accommodating, if not enabling) or to place junk higher on my covet list than something new. Reference the aforementioned Good House as an excellent […]

  6. […] While this may not be particularly useful for now since Valentine’s Day has already passed, perhaps it will inspire your next date night or celebration of a birthday or anniversary.  One tip is to shake things up a bit rather than sitting at your normal dining table – we’ve been known to bring our two chair & table bistro set in from the front porch and set it in front of our living room fireplace, or to set up a temporary spot by the couch with a stack of wine crates.  I’ve incorporated candlesticks, layers of linens or unique place settings: this is a perfect time to pick up a pair of red napkins and gorgeous plates from the antique store.  None of these are novel tips: it just takes the effort to actually shake things up a bit.  Dig out the glassware from your wedding or find some interesting vintage silverware.  For inspiration: Make a $20 Vintage Food Prop Basket. […]

  7. […] was that one time we bought exactly the same completely random items for a food styling workshop, as just one […]

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