Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It Must Be Summer!

Other people may be able to tell when summer has come by the calendar or the weather. But for me (and I bet for you), it’s when the neighborhood sales start—that glorious time of year when there are more yard sales than you can possibly get to. The trick is just to enjoy the ones you do attend, and not go thinking about what might have been at the ones you missed. No good ever comes from those might-have-beens!
And truly, my loot from last weekend was satisfying enough for any mortal. Started out on Thursday with a gigantic rummage sale at one of the downtown churches. It rivaled the one back in March  (not the Methodist sale, the other one!) for sheer insanity of number of items and people. And I was pretty unimpressed with their prices, though I understand they lowered them on Saturday. But this was Thursday. Call me old fashioned, but four bucks for a crappy used t-shirt? Nope. 
But I think I found the one genuine bargain in the place. I battled my way back to the corner with books, and noticed a box with a sign that said “Magazines - 5¢ Each.” I peeked, and saw a copy of Threads. (For you non-sewists, it's a sewing magazine from the same publisher as Fine Gardening, Fine Cooking, & Fine Woodworking. No, I do not know why they didn't name it Fine Sewing!) I started digging and pulled out a few copies, then a few more, then I pulled out several issues of something else and saw that the entire rest of the box wasThreads.
So I picked up the box…which weighed a ton! Sheesh, magazines are SO darned heavy. Had to wait in line, practically panting from holding that box. But I knew if I put it down I’d never get it picked up again. Finally got to the cashier, who blinked at the number of issues in the box. I started counting them and when I got to ten, she took a quick look at the size of that stack, pondered the rest of the box, and charged me three bucks for all of them. Then she found me a teenage boy to carry them to my car, which was even better than the good price. (He liked my convertible.)
When I got home I started counting and sorting—72 issues in all! They go from issue #3 (back in 1986) into 2008, and include many issues I've never seen before. Can't wait to dig in to all those articles!

Friday morning, KK and I headed down to Albany to be at the front of the line for an estate sale that promised art supplies (she’s an award winning painter and is always looking for reasonably priced supplies). Alas, the art stuff was way over priced, but I fell prey to the charms of this guy.
Poor baby apparently had an encounter with a puppy, but I'm planning to replace that ear. I believe he’s one of the reproductions they were importing from China back in the Eighties, but he’s still a mighty sweet bear.

He looks better already after a little cleaning and floofing. 
Fortunately, that estate sale was not the only game in town. There was also a neighborhood sale, so we made our way around that. There were a lot of participants but neither of us found much; I think a lot of annual sales get played out after a few years. But I did pick up a birthday gift 

still sporting its original price tag from back in (probably) the Seventies. I checked an inflation calculator and that would be about $66 today. (Bobs only become more valuable with the passage of time, right?) Found a couple of DVDs for the collection

and a baggie with bits of embellishment for a buck. 

Then behind a tent set up for shade on the driveway I spotted this.


Teak. Vintage—they purchased it in 1979 at the Scan Design store in Corvallis. And exactly what I was looking for. We’re finally fixing up our family room/home theatre and need something to put all the electronics on. I called the hubs and ascertained that the shelves are big enough for the DVD player etc., then handed over $50. I know, that’s a chunk o’ cash for me, but a really good deal on teak. And we were even able to get it into KK’s SUV for the trip home (after eating the best French fries I've ever had in my life at a local restaurant).

Saturday morning I had to take the hubs up to Portland to the airport, and checked Craigslist before I left to see if there were any sales in our neighborhood to cruise on my way home. Sure enough there were three. At the first I picked up some rainy day fun. 

The one on the street below my house yielded this darling little table. The wood is a close color match for our teak pieces, though I doubt that it's made of that. For $3 I'm fine with whatever kind of wood it is. 

And the sale on the street above my house (yes, we live on a hill!) gave me two things I absolutely love. First I found this vintage embroidery, which was a completed kit called “Girls, Girls.” 

Aren’t they wonderful? 

Then I spotted this 30” tall Christmas tree made of spools and little wooden ornaments.
I'm guessing it's from Germany. Every single figure is different! 

A few need to be glued back on. 

Including the skunk! 

They say money can't buy happiness, but oh yes it can, and it doesn’t even take much. Tree made of red wooden spools with little wooden figures including a tiny wooden skunk…for three dollars?

Made me happy! And if that's not enough, Mrs. Wilberforce loves the box!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Brain Mush

I'm not sure how much sense you’ll get out of me today. I spent three days at the beach this week and it relaxed my brain into mush. Along with the rest of me. My SIL Linda and I met up in Cannon Beach; we had hoped Judy and KK would be with us but alas, they could not come. 

We had a great time flying kites, drinking wine, noshing the day away, and strolling the town. I think the thing we were both most amused by was our stop in the very nice but VERY expensive clothing store, where we found any number of designer clothes made to look like the kind of upcycles we’ve been making with yard sale finds.

(Got an old shirt and a tea towel? Make a new shirt!)

It’s hard impossible not to feel smug when you see a shirt priced at over $200, and you know what you’ve done with stuff that cost fifty cents…or less!

The Thursday before I went to the beach, I noticed an ad for estate sale down in Corvallis (about 30 miles from home) that mentioned it was in a midcentury house, so I decided to check it out. Didn’t buy much, but it was worth the drive to see that house. The owner was an architecture professor at OSU; they said he designed and built it in the early ‘60s. Very cool house. Nope, sorry, didn’t take pictures, I was too busy ogling – and dodging other shoppers. All I came away with was a possibly lifetime supply of piping

a 1959 Architectural Forum

with some cool ads (I want a Honeywell Supervisory DataCenter for my house!)

and theTreasury of Scandinavian Design

chock full of eye candy.

I am swooning over this custom woven drapery. I NEED these!

While I was waiting in line to pay I chatted with Jean, a delightful lady who mentioned being 90 years old. Sharp as the proverbial tack, and on her way to what sounded like a cutthroat bridge game. She loves Department 56 Christmas stuff and had picked up a number of pieces at this sale, so I helped tote three bags up to her car. And ‘up’ is the operative word – the house was built on a hillside and we had come down a number of steps to the entry. Jean was a little concerned about getting back up to the street level, so I asked if there was any alternative. “Oh yes,” they said, glancing at the true little old lady by my side, “we can take you up in the elevator.” And by golly, there was a fabulous wood-paneled three-person elevator that went up to the garage!

As we loaded Jean’s bags into the back of her Honda (yup, she still drives herself!) she said she hoped her children wouldn’t be home when she got there, they keep telling her she has too much of this stuff already. I asked if she still likes it and got an enthusiastic yes. “As long as you get a kick from it, just smile and say you’re spending their inheritance,” I advised. She giggled. We said our goodbyes, and as I drove away I remembered I had passed a sign for another estate sale on my way in, so I headed back there. And who should I see getting out of her car but Jean. We greeted each other like old friends and went in to peruse. 

All I found was the bundt pan I've been wanting, and it was twenty-five cents so I was happy. Jean scored some Hallowe’en decorations (apparently she decorates for all the holidays). We were poking through some ornaments in one of the bedrooms when she turned to me and said, “I would like to invite you to come see my house at Christmas - if I'm still alive.” We both whooped with laughter, probably shocking the other shoppers. I gave her my number and I sure hope she calls me in December. Partly because I want to see what she has spent the kids’ inheritance on, but mostly so I'll know she’s still around.

KK and I made the rounds on that Friday. Didn’t buy much, but one sale was being run by three or four funny ladies about my age and it felt like I had found my tribe. In about twenty seconds we were in one of those rapid-fire conversations that careens from topic to topic and has everyone laughing. I just wanted to settle in for the rest of the day to chat but I suppose they might have wondered about this shopper who came and then wouldn’t leave.

My favorite find of the day came from them. Out on the driveway was a big pile of fat quarters (for you non-sewing folk, that’s a quarter of a yard of fabric that’s ½ the width (usually about 22 inches) by a ½ yard of length) priced at five for a buck. (The fabric store in Cannon Beach sells theirs for $3.50 each, so it was a steal.) Not sure what I'll do with any of these but I love each piece.

And here’s my fave.

Remind you of anyone? 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hats and Owls and Technology, Oh My

I was so glad we persevered Friday until that last sale. Not that it was difficult; Judy & I had a great time. But I would have hated to miss the conversation we had. Judy was considering a little rolling garden cart thingie that you sit on while weeding. It was marked $15 but the guy thought he could take five. Which is a pretty good discount, but her dilemma was, where to store it when it wasn’t in use? I know it seems like we weed 24/7 this time of year…but we don’t. 

So she decided to pass up the deal. As we headed to the car she told the seller, “I'm sure you can get your price for it. I've done you a favor not buying it!”

There was a definite twinkle in his eye as he said, “In that case, it sounds like I should pay you for leaving it.”

Which we thought was a great idea. Hmmm, a new source of retirement income…NOT buying things at yard sales!

We missed KK, who was at the beach (poor thing!). But…there were vintage hats at an estate sale. 

This last one looked equally good with the trim at the front or the back. Judy scored a couple of pairs of cute shoes (Red! Green!) and we chatted with another lady getting the pair of gold tennies. Someone else in that room said, “Hey, there’s a hat that matches,” and sure enough there was a gold cowboy-style hat with fancy trim on the closet shelf. She went off clutching the hat and shoes and wearing a big smile.

I spent a whopping $3.50 over the morning, and I wish I'd spent about a buck more. One of our first stops had a whole bunch of these boxes of bandaids, which she was happy to take a quarter apiece for. 

Don’t you love the verbiage on the box? All that technology…for bandaids. I can just see myself in the first aid aisle at the drugstore dithering over which technology I want in my bandaids. 

Then as luck would have it, I woke up yesterday morning with a little cut on my right thumb. (Which I was not aware of when I went to bed the night before. How the heck did I get cut in my sleep?) Not much of an injury but annoyingly in the way (don’t know about you, but I use my right thumb all the time) so I slapped one of the new bandaids on it. And wouldn’t you know, it's the best darned bandaid I've ever used. Stayed on all day, even through washing a dog. Now I wish I'd brought home a lifetime supply! Especially since this is what you see when you open the box:

Speaking of dog washing, I've had my eye out for something to make sleeve protectors with. I wash Zoë in the kitchen sink and always end up almost as wet as she does. So I was happy to pluck this vinyl tablecloth out of a free box. 

It has a zipper so it can go around an umbrella on a patio table. After I rather laboriously made the sleeve thingies, I realized that what was left would make a perfect dog-washing poncho to keep the rest of me dry. 

So I tried it out yesterday. Wouldn’t you know it – the sleeve protectors weren’t a bit of use, water went right under the elastic around the wrists and the vinyl was too stiff to be comfortable. I'm not entirely sure how my elbows got so wet! But the poncho worked great. So I tossed the sleevies and kept the poncho. Back to the drawing board on the dry sleeves.

I also scored a couple of DVDs 

and another windowsill vase. 

But this is my favorite find of the day – an embroidered pillowcase. 

Don’t you love the expressions on the owls’ faces? 

I think they might be discussing just whose turn it is to weed!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hundred Percent

When Judy climbed into the back seat of KK’s SUV the other day, we all said hi, then she immediately told us about four unrelated things. She paused for a second, then commented, “I am one hundred percent random.”

I thought that was just the best line ever. “I want to put that on a t-shirt,” I told her, and grabbed my Kindle Fire so I could make a note. (I knew I'd never remember later if I didn’t write it down.) 
KK went me one better; she spoke to her phone and told it to take a note. When she was finished, it repeated back to her what it had saved.

“I’m one hundred percent Rhonda,” it intoned. We all cracked up. I'm afraid that is going to become a catchphrase for all of us. Years down the road, someone will ask how we’re doing. “Oh, I'm a hundred percent Rhonda,” will be the answer. I can hardly wait.

KK and I had a random/Rhonda Friday last week. Strike that, we actually began on Thursday, which was the first day of the Episcopalians’ rummage sale. (Which they have been doing since something like 1936.) I thought I was going to get out of there with only three vintage Christmas balls for fifty cents. Then I strolled over to the menswear and hit pay dirt. I love the crazy print on this rayon shirt

which I've already remodeled with a modified collar and a couple of tucks at the waist for a little shape. 

As if the fabric wasn’t busy enough, I replaced the buttons with seven different ones from my stash.

The sweater rack yielded up a couple of cashmeres for two bucks a piece.

When I got home, I looked up the brand. Turns out they came from a pricey store in San Francisco, where Scottish cashmere sweaters like these are still available. The price tag? Oh, between $400 & $600 – each. How fast do you think I got back in the car to go look again? Found two more with the same label, this time wool and cashmere blend. 

These are more reasonably priced in the store. Only about $350 each! Sheesh! Glad I didn’t quibble at the $2 price tag!

On Friday, one of our first stops was an estate sale where I picked up this large, all-wool throw. It's not a Pendleton (actually heavier and larger than my Pendleton throws) but very nice quality. And $5 seemed like a very nice price tag. 

I was carrying it around when another lady noticed it and wondered if it were hand woven. She mentioned she is a weaver. I told her there was another piece where I had picked up the throw that was hand woven and took her to see it. This was a gorgeous long scarf in shades of purple that I had considered, but it was a whopping $8 so I had put it back. She took one look at the maker’s tag still attached and beamed. “It's by Gayle!” she said. “I know her, I took a class from her.” She had made a wonderful vest of her own handwoven fabric in this class, but alas, the first time she went to wash it she found she was out of Woolite. Off to the store for more (leaving the vest lying on the washing machine). When she returned she found her lovely husband had done the laundry for her. Yup, including her vest, which did not take kindly to the experience. It sounded like it came out doll-sized. Sigh. But at least the purple handwoven scarf got a good home. Where it will only be hand washed.

We had a pretty good list of sales, but at least four of them turned out to be nonexistent. Annoying. I'm just glad none were far afield. One that did exist had a trash pile with an old light fixture lying on it. KK took it home…and now it is a bird feeder! (When Judy saw the picture, her response was “That's just for the upper class birds 👑 Too fancy for our birds!”

We were almost through the list when we came to a moving sale not far from my house. I spotted a pretty sheet right away and noticed it was marked 50¢.

The fabric is wonderfully soft; turns out it's a king-size Ralph Lauren flat. (Which would have retailed between $125 – 185. For one sheet.) I've been wanting to make a kimono jacket to throw on these cool mornings (it's still getting down into the forties at night here) and thought this would be good fabric to try. In the same box I found a duvet cover for the same purpose. It's only a twin size, but a double layer of fabric. Lots to play with.

While I was looking at sheets, KK was going through a rack of clothes. I heard her ask the guy holding the sale how much they were. “A quarter each,” he said. I headed for the clothing rack! Found a pair of Ellen Tracy linen pants that fit, just need to shorten them.

Forgot to get a picture of the navy and white striped Ralph Lauren shirt I gave my SIL (told her if she doesn’t like it she can use it for a rag – since it cost a quarter). Also picked out a boiled wool vest that’s a little small, but could be fun combined with some kind of sweater.

This sheer cardigan is knit of linen and was probably purchased at Nordstrom.

I brought home this Jones New York blazer because I like the wool/silk/linen fabric.

Could be fun to upcycle, but before I do I might try to resell it…since it still has the $229 hang tag on it!
As we headed to the car with our arms full, KK said, “I'm betting he just got divorced and wants her stuff gone.”

She was probably right. Or maybe it was just a hundred percent Rhonda.

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