Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pets and Pottery and Pendletons

So sorry I missed visiting with you last week! The fact is, I’ve been Working on Projects. I’ve had this long list of things to do and make and just wasn’t getting anything done. So I moved my sewing machine back upstairs (huff, huff, puff, puff…that baby is HEAVY!) and put it in the breakfast room, which is right outside my office. And I piled all the stuff I need to work on all over the breakfast table. (We always eat in the dining room so no meals have been missed in this process.) So now that my to-do list is in my way and in my face, I’m getting some things finished.

Like slipcovers for all the outdoor furniture. Four chairs down, two chairs and a chaise to go.

Slipcovers for the deck chairs 

And a slipcover for the fairly valuable and extremely comfortable MCM chair that our dog Zoë prefers to sleep in. Picked up this bedspread of Indian cotton last week for a buck. Now I don’t have to worry about the leather cushion. A slipcover for Zoë

I’ve hardly diminished the pile on the breakfast table though. Will keep you apprised of progress!

Of course Friday and Saturday mornings are sacred to the thrifting hunt. Friday is Judy morning and Saturday is Toni morning. Judy is still trying on hats, this time to the amusement of everyone else at the sale. I think she looks quite fetching.

Judy olé!

At the time, it hasn’t seemed like the sales have been very good, but now that I look at a couple of weeks’ pictures I realize that not only have I been out having a great time with my friends, but I’ve found some great stuff. A few things I’m hoping to resell, like these vintage tablecloths. Apple blossoms

Apple blossom tablecloth

and a gorgeous Wilendur with dogwood blossoms.

Wilendur tableclothVintage dogwood tablecloth

Also scored two absolutely adorable vintage aprons. This tulip apron is all handmade and about the cutest thing ever. The tulips are little pockets!

vintage tulip aprontul;ip pocketapron bib vintage apron back

And this little darling is a clothespin-bag apron. Look at the bluebirds helping to hang the wash! Doesn’t that make you want to abandon your dryer so you could be out in the sunshine wearing this?

vintage clothespin bagclothespin bag embroidery

The vintage gods didn’t stop there either. They presented me with three Pendleton wool shirts for the hubs for – are you ready? One dollah each. How fast do you think I had those hangers in my hand?  Vintage Pendleton shirtsOne had some spots that we got out with a couple of washings, and I did some repairs, but these puppies are getting up there in years. The laundry tag in one is dated 1960!

1960 Pendleton

And there’s more. VINTAGE BUTTONS! Woo hoo! You know I live for a good button score. AT 25 cents per card these were spendy compared to that other find, but hey, sometimes you just have to shell out.

vintage buttons

And these guys are cool. I’ve never seen wooden buttons with cork insets before.

Wood & Cork buttons

The brown ones and red ones have nifty incised designs.

incised vintage buttonsvintage carved buttonsside view carved buttons

I’m not usually crazy about metal buttons, but these I love. And the card they’re on indicates they date from the mid to late Forties.

vintage metal buttonspost WW2 buttons

These chrome wine bottle stoppers aren’t vintage, but I thought fifty cents for the pair was a good deal. I’m thinking they might make cool yard ornaments somehow, maybe hanging in a tree. (Where I will no doubt bang my head on them every time I pass by…)

chrome wine stoppers 

Met a handsome kitty demonstrating the merchandise.

kitty demonstrates the merchandiseJudy and I hit a sale on Friday that seemed a bit crazed. It was late in the morning but the folks were still setting up. I noticed a free box when we arrived and found a lovely umbrella in it. Works great, but the handle was all sticky. I tossed it in the car, figuring I could deal with sticky, and indeed it all came off with a little Soft Scrub.

free umbrella

Some of their items had prices on them, others not. You guessed it…every single thing either of us thought might be of interest wasn’t priced. “And how much is this?” Two seconds later… “And how much is this?” And the answers could be anything, though usually were more than I thought reasonable. So when I picked up a lovely handmade pottery serving bowl and asked, I was amazed that the price was a dollar.

Nels Mears serving bowl     

I was originally thinking of using it as a water bowl for the dogs. But I looked up the signature on the bottom and discovered it was made by a pretty famous Pacific Northwest potter, Nels Mears. People actually collect his work. So maybe the dogs don’t get it after all.

Mears bowl signed        

My favorite conversation from the past couple of weekends happened at an estate sale near home. I had just snagged the Pendletons, and in the same room a man was looking at an old piece of electronics that turned out to be a reel to reel tape player with attached speakers. He mentioned that he works on old record players and I was telling him about mine. We chatted for several minutes, and then he asked me, “Say, did you take a fall a couple of weeks ago?” And I realized he was the nice man who was leaving the estate sale I was going to when I fell downhill. He stopped to see if he could help, while I lay on the street with my eyes shut hoping my glasses hadn’t smashed and uttering not-very-ladylike words. I was awfully glad to have a chance to thank him for his concern that day and assure him I had hardly been hurt at all.

But I tell you…Salem is not a very big town!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Day Late…

…and a dollar short. Isn’t that the saying? But what the heck. If I’d actually completed this giveaway yesterday you might have thought the results were April Fooling!

Speaking of which, I get suckered every time. I was reading a blog post on a site that’s all about frugality yesterday, and kind of scratching my head at the assertion that when you have kids you absolutely must buy one of those gigantic gas-guzzler vehicles. Which of course was his April Fool’s joke. I’d say the joke was on me – except that I would never buy a gigantic gas-guzzling vehicle!

In any case, it’s time to announce the winner of our latest book giveaway. Oh, let’s make that winners. I promised the dogs they could pick this time. Two dogs, two winners: that sounds about right. They said I could use their birthdays, as we did last time with the cats.


So. Our Edward was born on August 8. He’s a Leo, of course.


And the 8th comment was left by Sarah, so she wins the first pair of books. Even though I am hideously jealous that when she fell on her face she got TWO black eyes, and I couldn’t even score one!


Our Zoë is a winter baby, born on November 5. Comment number 5 was left by L! I’m kind of hoping her name is Louisa, since that’s the main character in my books. From her blog profile, I believe she’s in North Carolina, where we lived for several years. In fact, one of the dogs in my books is based on a real dog I met in the Tarheel State. I’d say Zoë is an excellent picker!

So – Sarah and L, send me an email and we’ll get your books on their way!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Thankful Giveaway

Five days after my face-first tumble downhill…and my owies are almost completely gone.

Almost all better! Kind of annoying, actually. I was planning some really good stories about the black eye that I was sure would appear. And not a vestige of a shiner. Is that fair? In fact, the thing that has hurt the most was my little finger! Lost a chunk of skin from the tip, and it turns out you use your little fingertip quite often. But even that is almost healed.

I’m not really complaining, you understand. I confess to having indulged in imagining a number of could-have-beens and they were not pretty. I’m truly very grateful.

So to celebrate, let’s have another book giveaway! Same as last time – paperback copies of my first two books. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post (preferably an entertaining one, but we’re easily entertained).

FRONT COVER dogsWeTrust front 800px tall

The drawing will be – when else? – April Fool’s Day!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ring Around the Rosy…

A pocketful of posies (yes, I have posies right now)

Daffofil Heaven 

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

Except we didn’t all fall down – just me! Yes my dears, I took a tumble today, hurrying to an estate sale. We had to park a couple of blocks away and walk downhill, and I just did not see that hump in the pavement. It reached out and tripped me in a most unpleasant manner (I’m sure I heard it snickering as my toe caught).

Falling down is strange, isn’t it? It happens so fast and yet you have time for so many thoughts to go through your mind. My thoughts included “Whoops!” and “Uh-oh!” and “Oh good I don’t think I’m going to fall!” and “Oh no I AM going to fall!” and “Yikes! I’m going to fall on my face!” and then “Owwww!!!”

Actually I was very lucky. The main point of impact seemed to be my right eye, which was protected by my glasses. Guess it was worth the extra I paid for the shatterproof lenses, because they pushed into my eye and covered it. Got a couple of cuts around the edges but without the glasses I think I’d probably have road burn on my eyelid and that sounds distinctly unpleasant. Also scraped a hand and a knee and my chin a little bit, but nothing serious.


When I was back on my feet my friend Toni, who had witnessed the whole thing and mercifully is not one of those people who manage to catch everything on her cell phone camera, wanted to take me home. I took stock of the damage and said heck no, let’s go to the sale. Okay, at least partly because we were almost there and I figured I could wash my scrapes off. Unfortunately I didn’t find a single thing I wanted to buy. If I had, I figure I could have demanded a discount.

Probably could have gone home then, the pickings were slim. Just a hat for Judy


and a Carhartt shirt for the hubs.


Had better luck on Friday when Judy and I were out. The blue shirt was only fifty cents (my husband’s wardrobe is really getting replenished).

Speaking of Judy, she found a brand new, quite fancy bra in exactly her size. I told her she had to model it for my blog. So she did.


Love the fabrics on this lightweight rayon jacket.


I think I can make these cushions over for last week’s vintage wire chairs. Noll loves them as-is though. He’s been re-enacting The Princess and the Pea since I got home with them.


And the most serendipitous find of the day has to have been this.


It was at our last stop and I’m sure people had looked inside all morning and thought “What the heck?” and left it there. Then I came along and looked inside and went, “Wow!”


Remember a few weeks ago I bought a set of Wahl dog clippers for two bucks? It came with a couple of blade guides and a mini clipper and some other stuff. Well, these are nearly a full set of blade guides, which determine how long the dog’s hair is left. And they fit my clippers!


We haven’t told Toni’s Shihtzu/Lab mix Xanadu yet, but she’s going to get a clip soon.


But that’s not the end of the clipper story. I recently saw something on a sewing supplies website about an electric seam ripper. It stuck in my mind for a few days since I have some projects that are going to involve un-sewing some seams. I started looking for more information. They turned out to be more expensive than I was okay with, but on Amazon I noted that one customer review said they are really nothing more than a small beard trimmer. And I said wait a minute. Got out the mini clippers and a seam that needed ripping and zip! It worked great!


So, for a total of $3 I have a complete dog clipping set in a nice carrying case, AND a fancy schmancy electric seam ripper. Guess that’s what makes you get up from the street and head on to the next sale!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Price Tags

Found a really cute umbrella at a sale Saturday.


Went to pay for it. Handed over my dollar, which the woman took, then said, “And the scarf?”

“The scarf?”

“Did you already pay for the scarf?” She was looking at the blue muffler around my neck, the one Judy gave me a while back.

“It’s mine,” I said.

“But did you pay for it?”

What the heck was she talking about? “I wore it in. It’s mine.”

By now you could feel the other shoppers nearby growing a little quieter, listening. Was a crime going down? Was this woman trying to pull off a daring theft of a strip of light blue angora blend?

The seller looked hard at me, then reached out and pointed. “What about that?”

One of their little sticky dot price tags had detached itself from something and adhered to my fuzzy muffler. I shook my head and pulled it off. “Sorry, don’t know how that got there. It’s really my scarf.”

She chose to believe me. “Okay. I did think it was a lot of money for something like that.”

P1050081The tag said $3. Guess she didn’t really like my scarf very much!

After our bag-stuffing adventures of the past two weekends, we came back to earth and found…not so much. And the sales just seemed odd. One supposed estate sale felt exactly like being in a store. There was even that perfumey candle smell hovering over the hundreds of knick knacks and paintings and silver and china.

We did spot a few interesting

P1050044 P1050046 and colorful


and unusual hats


and the shiniest car in the world.


And I found a few things to buy…and managed to spend over twenty bucks.

The big splurge? Two vintage Homecrest wire chairs. They rock, they swivel!


Need to clean them up and figure out some cushions, but I thought ten bucks each was pretty darned good, especially considering the way everything else at that sale was priced. It’s so interesting what sellers think is valuable.

This interesting glass light cover


is destined to be a yard ornament. Yes folks, repurposing at its finest, right here.

And a handsome Le Creuset baking pan.


It does have a small chip on a corner but I don’t think that will affect its performance.


If you’ve ever priced these, you’ll know why I scooped it up at $3.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’d better go check my wardrobe to make sure there are no inadvertent price tags on anything else. I doubt that they let you blog from jail!


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