Monday, July 25, 2016

It Was the Spoon That Did It

That first sale on Friday was a hoot. Lovely house was a couple’s retirement home until their recent move to assisted living. Daughters and son-in-law were selling what won’t fit in the new place. I really wish I could have met the parents, because the mom’s taste…was my taste! I knew it when one of the daughters told me her mom never met a teddy bear she didn’t like. I was a bit relieved not to find any irresistible bears (after all, I bought one just last week!). But then I got to the table with pins and earrings.

Trouble was, the little sign said earrings were five bucks, and I almost never spend that much for them. But the sellers and another shopper and I were chatting away, and they mentioned they’d never had a sale before and did we think the prices were okay.

You should never ask me that if you don’t want me to answer!

I said that their goal was to get rid of stuff, and that they would do best if they are open to offers through the day. And that for something like earrings I never spend more than a dollar or two.

Gotta say, I really liked this lady. Don’t we always love folks who take our advice? She grabbed a pen and made a new sign, and now the earrings were a dollar a pair! And I loved her mother’s earrings. So this is what I picked out. I wore these nice dangly ones yesterday


and today I'm wearing the sea otters with the lapis beads.


Mom loved hummingbirds, as do I – and I have no idea how these tiny things were carved from wood!


What knitter could resist pewter alpacas to dangle from her ears? (At least I think they are alpacas.)


Faceted crystal cubes are just fun.


And lastly, tiny silver oak leaves and acorns. 


I finally tore myself away from the earrings, thinking I'd better make myself stop or I'd have to grow more ears so I can wear them all. And there on a nearby table was the other piece I couldn’t resist. 



I might have been able to leave behind the little pottery condiment bowl, but not the rosewood spoon. I was undone by the spoon. 



As I left, other shoppers were arriving, and the son-in-law was greeting everyone with a little speech about how they’d never done this before, and if something is too high let’s talk about it. “I'm a quick study,” he informed me.

I hit two or three more sales before heading home, less than the usual number, but you might remember the new addition to our family. Her escapade on Thursday evening made me reluctant to leave her to her own devices for too long.

It's been 14 years since we last had a kitten, and I had forgotten a few things. EVERYTHING is a toy. (Including dangling earrings!) Kittens have bodies that Olympic athletes could only envy, zero life experience, and are willing to do absolutely anything. Anything

Like jump up on the stair railing, and from there to the top of the refrigerator. I chuckled at the sight, then stopped chuckling abruptly when Millie decided to jump down behind the refrigerator. 


It has wheels, I'll just pull it out. No biggie, I thought. But it Would. Not. Budge. Not a centimeter. (Millie-meter?) I tugged and pulled. Nope. 

Husband out of town, home alone. Called a friend who lives a few blocks south. No answer. Millie starting to emit frustrated cries and scrabbling around back there. I called Judy, who lives a few blocks north, and thank heavens she answered. Not only answered but immediately stopped cooking dinner and hurried over. 

She took two seconds to assess the situation and asked if I have a dolly, which we do. A few minutes later, between the dolly and the two of us and more tugging we’d gotten the wheels unstuck from the floor and the fridge pulled out. Revealing several years of dirt, and a completely unruffled kitten who strolled out nonchalantly and sat down to flick a few smuts off her whiskers.

All of this to explain why there are now suitcases on top of my refrigerator. 


I knew those vintage Samsonites would come in handy – perfect to cover up the gap behind the fridge!




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Artistic

The other members of my posse were busy Friday, so I picked a few sales from those on Craigslist and headed out alone. My first stop was the Baptist rummage sale, a jam-packed one where I've found a few things in the past.

This year, when I arrived a few minutes before the opening time, there were only about 8 cars in the lot and a corresponding number of people waiting at the door. We looked at each other a little sheepishly, wondering if we were there on the right day. But they had signs out, and soon a Baptist lady came to let us in, and we all headed down to the church basement to rummage.

One lady literally grabbed teacups and saucers from the ‘better goods’ table, then rushed off to find more treasure. The only thing I saw that I was willing to buy was a DVD. (One more old VHS tape replaced!) 
Perhaps the reason for the low turnout was that it was also the starting day of Salem’s big annual art festival, which draws thousands of people. I say thousands confidently because of the impossibility of parking anywhere in that part of town when it gets rolling. It's also the reason all the other sales I went to were in that neighborhood; folks time their sales to take advantage of festival goers who have to park many blocks away and walk. But it was still well before festival start time and the yard sales were as tame as the rummage sale. One quite posh house yielded this book 

which was published in 1945 and leads you through the whole process of planning your midcentury modern house, including how many bookshelves to include in each room.




A few blocks away I scored nice, brand-new, thick Pendleton socks for the hubs 

and something Judy has been looking for – dryer balls. Hedgehog dryer balls! 

The last sale had quite a hodgepodge of items on the lawn. I don’t usually look at piles of stuffed toys, but I spotted a replica of the Velveteen Rabbit signed by an artist, and when the price was fifty cents did a little more looking. 

The guy having the sale said his mother has just gone into a memory care facility, but that she used to be quite a collector and reseller. “It wasn’t quite to the point of hoarding,” he said, “but she used to go to thrift stores three or four times a day." Further searching unearthed another artist-made toy, a pristine white mohair teddy.



The two of them are settling in with other toys.



But wait, this is no toy hanging out with the rabbit.


Could that be a real live kitten? It is indeed. Please meet Millie.

She is pretty close to perfect; about the only thing we’re still negotiating is how much of a person’s head she is allowed to sleep on (and purr loudly) at night. About three months old, friendly, outgoing, calm, playful…and housebroken. Got her through a local rescue group. The only information we have on her earlier life is that the litter was found in a ditch in Silverton. I think they must have been found with the mother and gone to a foster home that did an amazing job socializing this little one. She’s completely at home with everything that goes on in a house, and when you put your hand down low she comes running to you. She passed her vet exam with flying colors, including making the entire staff fall in love with her.

We are quite smitten.

Even Zoë!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Fabric Report

Several folks asked what I planned to do with a piece of really cute fabric I got a few weeks ago, part of a five-pieces-for-a-dollar deal.


And of course, I had no idea at the time. I just knew it looked like our Zoë.


Recently I ran across a picture (yes, on Pinterest!) of a cloth basket hung by the sewing machine to catch scraps and clippings. Perfect, I said, all I need is something like an embroidery hoop to stiffen the upper edge. The next time I went garaging I found one. (Thank you, garage sale gods.) Even better, it was free. I pulled another free-box piece of fabric out of the stash and voila – a scrap catcher!


The scrap of ribbon for the loop, free. Button, part of a huge bagful that cost fifty cents, so essentially free. I used about half the puppy fabric, so a ten cent project.


This morning I printed up some new business cards for both this blog and my publishing business. I've never had a business card holder, so back to Pinterest I went for ideas, and half an hour later the project was done. More of the puppy fabric


lined with a scrap of this.


I'm going to love pulling this out when I need a card.


And there’s still some of the puppy fabric left.



Wonder what else I can get out of it?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sweet Girl

Back in March our lovely Mrs. Wilberforce celebrated her fifteenth birthday.


Six weeks later, we discovered that she had a tumor in her abdomen. Trooper that she was, she hung out with us for ten more weeks, spending most of her time on our dining room table to keep an eye on everything. I’m so glad I had those weeks with her, so we could sit in the sun together a few more times.


This week we had to say goodbye to her. Such a benign, wise being.


It’s been rather a hard year. We lost Noll Baxter last July


and Edward in March.


I know others will come to live with us one of these days, and they will make us laugh. (And sometimes drive us crazy as well.) I confess I do not understand people who say they loved their pet so much they can never get another one. To me, the very best way to honor them is give a good life to another.


But for now, we just miss her.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Home of the Tiny, Land of the Free

Oh dear. It sounds terrible to say I brought home 23 things from yard sales this weekend. If you told me you brought home 23 items I would totally be picturing your home as piled to the ceilings with narrow paths winding through the tottering stacks. We haven’t reached that stage of hoarding, rest assured.

Of course I do have 14 foot high ceilings in the living room. If I ever 
start actually hoarding I have plenty of room to go up.

But we’re not there yet. And much of the new-to-me stuff is small. And 40% of it was free!

Went out on Friday with KK, meandering through South Salem. Then on Saturday my SIL Linda & I hit the 31st annual neighborhood sale in the Eastmoreland area of Portland. We aren’t sure we ever found most of the sales; we neglected to get hold of their map and may have just penetrated the outskirts. It was more an exercise in gawping at the gorgeous houses and landscaping. I managed to spend $3.50 up there, and she shelled out a big old two bucks.

Not bad for a morning of laughs.

The single most expensive item this weekend was a pair of Laurel Burch earrings for $2. 


The largest item this weekend was a white Corningware dinner plate. Sorry, no picture, it was just too plain to bother! Heavy white plate that can be microwaved, useful when dining on leftovers which we do VERY regularly. I shelled out a big old fifty cents there. Didn’t take a picture of the handful of padded envelopes from a free box either. “Everything on that side of the driveway, just take,” said the guy. As he said it he picked up more things from the ‘pay’ side of the driveway and moved them to the ‘free’ side. I helped myself to a nice cache pot. 

I picked out four movies priced at a dollar each at one sale 

then noticed a Pyrex refrigerator dish nearby. I offered four bucks for everything, so that makes the vintage Pyrex free. 

I think it was the same sale that had these wildflower seeds in their free box. 

They’re a few years old, but gardeners are hopeful folks. And some seeds can germinate after years of waiting. (Like this one, or this.) I scattered what was left in the nearly-full box on my cutting garden beds and my fingers are crossed that something may sprout. 

Even if they don’t I got a good laugh from the information on the box. “Shady Garden” it proclaims, but every single one of the varieties I checked had full sun in the description. 

Speaking of my cutting garden (a new venture this year), the first bloom has opened. 

I would have resisted this cute baby dish if the price hadn’t been fifty cents. 

The woman selling it shook her head when I paid for it. “That’s what I get for letting my granddaughter help price things,” she said.


“I wouldn’t have bought it if it wasn’t fifty cents,” I told her. She seemed astonished.  “It’s worth about twenty dollars,” she said. I figure if that's what it's worth, she could have changed the price at any time. My fifty-cent deal is now hanging out with Hansel and Gretel down in the children’s literature room.


KK was the one who spotted these Christmas linens. “Oh, my parents picked those up on a trip to Denmark back in 1971,” the gray-haired guy commented. 

There are six little napkins or coasters that I believe illustrate various Hans Christian Andersen tales 



and a small runner. Designed by Aase and Preben JangaardHmmm, maybe these should go in the children’s lit room too. 

This fun switchplate cover was another free box find.


A regular cover wrapped with paper. Now all I need to find is a double switch in my house…I think they’re all singles or triples!
I actually have low expectations of this cork wine stopper, based on customer comments on Amazon.


But for fifty cents (not ten bucks!) I can try it out. This pink dachshund pen from the same sale is for a friend. (And I'm sure she knows who she is!) 


Linda found a gift for me at one sale, so I'm counting it among the freebies. A tiny bunny. 

Even though it's intended as an ornament, I think he’ll be fine hanging out with the other bunnies in my office. 

Scooter Bunny will be happy to take him for a ride. 

My last fifty cent buy was a trio of what are probably actually shot glasses, but look like little vases to me. 


One has a tiny chip on the lip, so it's going up in the window display of colored glass.


Another is helping these coleus sprigs sprout roots. A lady gave them to me Saturday when I admired her plant. 


Another lady gave me a handful of succulent pieces from the groundcover in her yard. 

“Stand back,” she said. “It grows like crazy.”



 
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