Sunday, October 5, 2014

SABLE…I Think I Have It!

I noticed an ad on Craigslist for an estate sale the other day that mentioned yarn among the items available. If you’re a knitter or crocheter, you know what that means – I had to go! Judy and I went to a couple of sales first that listed an earlier opening time. The first was a huge stockpile of years of accumulation, with the kind of prices we love. Fifty cents. A quarter. I know she found some stuff there but I don’t even remember what it was because I was intent on my own pile! Ended up with a vintage Vera tablecloth

Vera yellow tableclothVera table cloth

and some fabric

Hand printed silk fabricSilk fabric hand printedCrysanthemum fabric

and five rolls of old wallpaper, which I’m hoping will resell.

vintage wallpaper  boxvintage Cinderella wallpaerCinderella feeds the geeseCinderella flees

Then we were off to the estate sale. The house was quite large and I kept poking my head into rooms that held anything but yarn. Like a collection of at least 40 pairs of Birkenstocks. Priced at $30 each, so no thanks. I kept looking and finally found the room full of fabric, with the closet full of yarn. Several ladies were choosing fabric pieces (lots of quilters around here) but no one was looking at the yarn, so I dove in. I expected any minute for other knitters to show up but no one did.

All the yarn was done up in ziplock bags that had been stapled shut – a bit frustrating since choosing yarn is a tactile experience. But unlike the Birks and most other items in the house, the yarn prices were pretty reasonable. (If you’ve ever been in a yarn store you know how shockingly expensive it can be.) So I picked out a bag, then another, and another. Judy caught up with me and I made her hold some bags, then I went and found a box to corral everything. In all I spent about $20 just on yarn, which is a lot of money for a fifty cent lady! But I came home with over $200 in yarn. And I had so much fun sorting and petting it when I got it home that…yes, I went back the next day!

Well, it was half price day. I fully expected the yarn to be wiped out, but there was still quite a bit of good stuff. So I grabbed another box and started putting yarn in it.

Had a bit of a moment when another shopper started pulling yarn out of my box. I said those were mine, I’d already selected them. My goodness, the look she gave me! Talk about a face that would curdle milk. I was surprised, because most folks around here would just say oh sorry, let’s see what’s left in the closet. Hmmm, maybe she’s related to one of the guys from last week who were getting into a fight over something at a yard sale. She definitely looked ready to take a swing at me, but fortunately backed off.

You have to be careful around knitters though. We often carry sharp pointed objects and we know how to use them!

So another $14 in yarn came home with me, at least $300 worth. It makes quite a pile.

Stash o' yarnYarn stash

There are wonderful colors and textures

yarn colorspretty yarn

and I may love the single ball of floofy bunny angora yarn best of all.

angora yarn     curl of angora yarn

Knitters often use an acronym – SABLE – to describe their stockpile of yarn: Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. Clearly the lady whose estate was being sold had achieved it, and I think I’m getting there too. When I first got back into knitting (because I visited an alpaca farm and bought one skein of sock yarn) I determined that I would buy no more yarn than would fit into my vintage train case. And then it was the train case and a zippered bag I happened to have. And since yarn is squishy I was holding the line there…until now. But it’s such fun to see all this beautiful yarn, and so satisfying to think of a project and grab the yarn from your stash and go with it. And I just ran across the idea on someone’s blog to display balls of beautiful yarn around the house. Which brings me to my other purchase from Saturday morning.

He’s bigger than the crystal water buffalo, but was just as alluring. As soon as I saw this kingfisher on his bowl he had to be mine.

Kingfisher bowlkingfisher potceramic kingfisher

He’ll look great with flowers growing in the pot, I thought. But now I think he’ll look great with some lovely balls of yarn heaped in his bowl.

yarn textures

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I should never wait this many days after a garaging foray to write a blog post…I forget too much too quickly! Plus my brain is busy anticipating the trip I’m taking next week. I’m going to New England! Never been to that part of the country before and I can’t wait.

The trip came about because of my last trip, to Washington D.C. My SIL Linda and I were bumped from our overbooked plane, and part of the deal was we got vouchers for a future trip. Or for part of a future trip; turns out the amount they gave us wasn’t enough to go anywhere and get home again. But on the upside, they bumped us to the nonstop flight we’d originally wanted, but was too expensive! So I call that a win.

We’ve booked accommodations through Airbnb, which I’ve used a couple of times before. (BTW, if anyone wants to try using them, if you’ll email me for my code to use when you sign up I’ll get a $25 travel credit. Just sayin’…)

So I’m looking forward to finally seeing New England in the Fall. And how’s this for perfect: my niece who lives in Vermont has just moved to a new apartment and needs furniture and fixings, so we’ll have the perfect excuse to visit thrift stores as we travel around! Anyone have a good one to recommend? Or other places or food or activities we shouldn’t miss?

Judy and I did get to do a little driveway hopping last weekend. Here are the hat pictures to prove it!

Bow in backBow in frontOlé!

She was doing a great job filling up the back seat of the convertible (shelves to put sweaters on; big basket for dog toys, or maybe firewood) while I was enjoying the sunny day but saying “Meh” to everything that was for sale. Until I spotted this bag.

Vera Bradley bag

Yup, Vera Bradley. I love the colors, but I usually stick with a couple of Coach bags I found years ago on driveways (one of them is a Bonnie Cashin bag from the Sixties). But wait, I thought, you’re going on a trip – and this baby would be hold everything you’ll need on the plane and driving around. Besides the two outside pockets,

Front pockets

there are something like six inside.

Inside pockets

It has a bit of an owie on one corner, but I figured I can patch that. And it’s why I was able to buy the bag for two bucks – quite a discount from the retail price!


A couple of stops later we were conversing with a nice lady. She had a large, artsy framed mirror that we both thought was cool – hammered metal design of calla lilies over tooled leather. (Sorry, didn’t get a picture!) “I just love that thing,” she sighed, “but my husband hates it. So I’m finally letting it go.” We shook our heads over husbands and their inexplicable taste (and giggled at each other while we did so). I poked her around her wares and spotted something I figured I could use. I’ve been wanting to make some flannel PJ pants and have been looking for flannel sheets. And she had just what I wanted.

Flannel sheets

Pair of all-cotton sheets for a buck? Mine. Just then, the wind gusted and we heard a crash. The gorgeous mirror had blown over, face down. We all gasped, and the lady hurried over to check it.

“It didn’t break,” I said with utter certainty. And I was right – even though I was not all that certain! She picked up the mirror and we wedged it behind something else so no more errant gusts could grab it. Then she said, “Those sheets are yours. You were my good luck charm!”

Well hey, if you want to give me something I’ll probably say yes. And when we got to the car I realized the sheets are just the right color to make a little patch for my Vera bag.

I can mend itIronically, one of the sheets is itself patched!

Patched sheets

I have a soft spot for mended items. If someone took the trouble to patch something they must have valued it. When I see mending, I see love. So I’m going to love carrying my mended bag next week as I fly east!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Seemed like everyone was going somewhere on Friday. At the first sale we visited, the lady was getting ready to go to Italy. Along with the usual books and knicknacks and clothes, she had some lovely blooming plants. “I know my sister won’t take care of them while I’m gone,” she told us, “so they might as well go to someone who will.” She took us into her back yard to see some more plants. It was a lovely space, though a bit bare; seems she’s been selling plants for the last three weekends. “I just love to work out here,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like work. But I always do too much and the next day, oh, I hurt!” She pointed to where two paths crossed. “I told my sister when I die she can bury me there. This place is heaven to me.”

At another stop, the guy was getting ready to move to France. “Eleven more days and I’m out of here!” One of his first stops will be Normandy, where he wants to stand in the surf and imagine what it was like on D-Day.

When we reached this house, Judy started to laugh.

Free Coffee

“If you’re giving out free coffee,” she asked the lady having the sale, “does that mean you’re also offering a free bathroom?” The lady whooped with laughter. She had a number of quilted things in her sale and I asked if she was the quilter.

Little quilts

She said she was, and began to tell us about the quilt she’d made for her son. “He was diagnosed with cancer, and when they found it he was already stage four. So I sent out quilt squares to family and friends and everyone hurried to make their squares and get them back. I got them pieced together while he was having chemo, and even though it wasn’t finished I was able to wrap him in it.” Judy and I were blinking back tears as we talked to her. You could tell she was grieving (he died in May at the age of 33), but she sounded cheerful as she talked about him. You knew she really felt his presence near her. And that the quilting has been her comfort.

Actually, she just kept us laughing. She was offering coffee to everyone, and one guy said he could only drink two cups a day and he’d already had them. Immediately she switched to, “Get away from that coffee! Don’t you dare have another cup!” Judy got a cup and liked it, so she asked what kind it was. Something from Costco (don’t ask me what, I’m not a coffee drinker and it didn’t sink in). “Oh, they’re discontinuing that,” Judy told her. “I’ve been buying it too.” “Noooooo!” the quilting lady cried. They commiserated with each other over the loss of their coffee supply.

It’s what we do. Go to garage sales and bond with people.

And dogs.  Does he have a licenseStuff-wise, it was a fabbo weekend. Didn’t spend a whole lot on Friday (we both passed on this vintage incense!),

Incense from the good old days

just $3.50 for some linen napkins

linen napkins

(yup, still buying cloth napkins so that as Zoe sneaks off with them I won’t be left having to resort to paper towels) and some music books

music books

and a garden book

yard book

and a crystal water buffalo.

Crystal water buffalo

Okay, I tried REALLY HARD not to buy this thing. He was sitting there with some crystal snails and other figurines and I look at him and thought, what is that? It’s not a sheep. I picked him up. He’s small, about 2” long, and yes, a water buffalo. Even odder is that he’s engraved “Hadeland” on the bottom, so he’s from Norway. Most of their figurines are polar bears and seals and rabbits and snails, but evidently they break out into the occasional water buffalo. Normally I can keep from buying something at a sale by reminding myself I’ll most likely see this item again down the road and if I still want it I can buy it later. But that’s probably not true in this case. So I bought it…for a quarter.

At least when I’m crazy I’m still frugal.

On Saturday I deliberately limited my route to just a few sales close to home; family was arriving in the afternoon and there were things to do. But I’m really glad I went out! I passed on the large galvanized trough for planting more bamboo somewhere in the yard at the first sale, but did select a nice stunt kite for a buck.

colorful kite

Her next door neighbor was also having a sale, and while I was there the kite lady came over to offer her neighbor some breakfast. “My daughter is making these pancakes, you’ll love it. You smash up a banana and mix in an egg and fry it.” The lady at the second sale gave it her best shot to be polite, but it was obvious she thought it sounded as awful as I did. Of course I detest bananas in any form. I left before they forced this ‘pancake’ on her.

Made a couple more stops, picked up some cheap entertainment

cheap entertainment

and about 3 yards of some fabric I just love.

hummingbird fabricfabric gurantee

Then I turned a corner and headed down a street that seemed familiar, and when I got to the sale I remembered being there before. They had a sale last year that my SIL Linda & I stopped at and ended up talking about gardening for a while. But it was nothing compared to their sale this year. They had really decluttered and their daughter brought stuff as well, and the prices were quite good. Most things were a dollar or less, and I carted off a boxful for ten bucks. Which included 9 new woven placemats

lots o' placemats

that might even work with the napkins from Friday. Fine for family!

placemats   napkins

Two brand new heavy duty cake pans? I’m good with that.

cake pans

I tried for a few seconds to resist these egg coddlers, but they’re way cute and were marked fifty cents each. I figure I can use them for little storage jars if I don’t get into coddled eggs.

let's coddle

More storage – a cool glass jar with an unusual clamp lid.

jar with clamp lidscrew clamp lid

And the two items that made my husband’s heart go pitty pat, being the coffee aficionado that he is – a brand new Chemex pot

Chemex pot

and a glass coffee dripper.

Vario coffee dripper

Vario dripperHe definitely has a collection of these now – four that he uses all the time, all different.

coffee drippersI gather that each one brings some variation that subtly changes the brewing. I do know that he’s had a very good time since I brought home the Chemex and the Vario, looking up discussions on the Internet of their properties and the best way to brew coffee with them.

As good as the stuff from that sale was, I got an even better story. It seems that only a few minutes before I arrived, two men got into a fight over something at the sale. Don’t even know what it was, but when Argumentative Guy A saw that Guy B was looking at the whatever he started to yell at him to leave that alone, he was already looking at it. Guy B was also feeling argumentative and yelled back. The daughter of the sale folks told me the story; when she saw what was happening she figured she’d better defuse the situation. So she began to yell too. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” (Our grade school days never really leave us, do they?) When Argumentative Guy A heard her he seemed madder than ever, but AG B thought it was funny – and so he backed down.

While she was telling me this story, her friend was listening. “That’s when I was looking for the bubble wrap,” she threw in. Bubble wrap? we said. “Were you planning to smother them with it?” I asked. And she said yes! “I figured I could wrap it over their heads and pop the bubbles while I did it. That would have taken care of things.”

Yup. I’m sure it would have!


Pin It button on image hover