Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Did It! Woo Hoo!

I just wrote “The End” at the bottom of page 214 of the book I began on November 1. Yes, folks, for the first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month…

Winner 2015 - Web Banner

…a crazy event in which writers all over the world commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Much to my surprise, i just finished at 50,790 words – a week early.

All I can tell you right now is that the book is titled Sidestep. It is not part of my Willow Falls series. And it is VERY much a first draft, which translates as “probably pretty awful but I really have no idea yet.”

I’m going to put it away for a week or two, enjoy Thanksgiving, maybe get a massage to celebrate and restore some circulation to my tired wrists. In a few weeks I’ll dig in and start the rewrites.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stare at the bottom of page 214 again. The End.

Happy sigh.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cats and Armadillos

KK and I swooped from one end of Salem (the northwest end) to the other (the south end) on Friday. Almost all my loot came from one of the first two sales. And all of KK’s – the only thing she bought was a cute short linen jacket. I was not so restrained.

I started out in the downstairs bedroom with the table piled with various linens. I resisted the hand knit afghan, but I did pull a couple of things out of the pile. There was nothing to indicate prices on the linens, so I went in search of one of the worker bees. Two bucks, she said. I twitched the linen towel in my hand and asked, two dollars for this?  siamese cat towelirish linen

I probably sounded horrified. (Or maybe whiney, but I hope not.) Ohhhh, she said, small things like that are fifty cents. Much better, I said and mentioned that I like linen. She said she had noticed a number of linen items on that table. So back I went to dig some more.

And sure enough, there were things I had missed earlier. Like this linen tablecloth.

linen tablecloth

A large lovely piece of pure linen…complete with an actual laundry mark. Don’t see those every day!

tablecloth laundry mark

Then I found my favorite piece – an embroidered crib spread of the Three Little Kittens.

kittens counterpane

Zoe took one look at it when I spread it out to photograph, and immediately did what any self-respecting dog would do with a kitten embroidery.

Zoe   kittens   mittens

She flopped down on it and sniffed.

Those kittens are pretty darned pleased with their mittens.

mitten kitten 3mitten kitten 1

And the girl kitten is extra happy – she has the piece of pie!

mitten kitten 2

There were cat things everywhere in this house, which was located in a retirement community on a golf course. From linens to figurines to spoon rests to slippers to you name it, there was a cat version for sale. I resisted all but the linens. Almost.

cat doorstop

This wooden doorstop forced its way into my hands and came home with me.

cat doorstop butt

cat doorstop face

I think someone had fun painting that face.

cat doorstop at work

In the living room on the fireplace mantel, I found a different collection – about half a dozen small colorful armadillos with bobbing heads.

tiny nodding armadillo

I had to have him. I think it’s the hot pink ears.

tiny nodding armadillo ears

He seems to be a reader, he couldn’t wait for me to open the book I picked up for fifty cents.        tiny nodding armadillo and bookSo now I have two armadillos. I have no intention of buying any more, but then I wasn’t looking for these two!

For now, the new little guy is hanging out with what I’ve been calling my Funny Little People collection.

little 'dillo and friendsHmmm. Given the range of characters involved, I may have to rename it my Small Colorful Creatures That I Couldn’t Resist collection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rub a Dub Dub

One of the advantages of the increasingly-smaller number of sales this time of year is that you can make the rounds with no sense of hurry. Which encourages conversation, which is at least as much my goal is bringing home great deals. Of course, even if none of the sellers provide interesting talk, when you’re out with friends there’s always your own conversation to enjoy. Judy was back on the trail with us Friday after several weeks of taking care of her hubster after he had surgery. Felt like we hadn’t seen her for a year!

Unfortunately we didn’t find any vintage hats for her to try on. But KK was quite stunning, wrapped in the fifty-cent throw she bought because it was cold, and a feather boa.

Ms. Mysterious

A fun sale. The first lady we encountered said there was stuff in the house for sale, including lots of art, and that we were expected to buy something for our walls. Inside, three more ladies were sitting around the dining room table having a good old time. I asked if it was a sale or a party, and the answer was, “A little bit of both!”

One estate sale was several miles out of town, but the pictures in their ad had been interesting, so off we went. There were a number of vintage musical instruments, including a piano with a Solovox attachment. One of the ladies running the sale (family rather than an estate sale company) showed us the original tag extolling the wonders of the Solovox and how readily it can be enjoyed by the merest child. Turns out that her dad was a professional musician since the Sixties, a founding member of the Sawtooth Mountain Boys.

Bluegrass Boys

My other find at their sale was this vintage bunny figurine.

vintage bunny

He reminds me of something, maybe a book illustration or an advertising figure? Or maybe he’s just so perfectly typical. Anyway, I fell in love at first sight. It might be that wicked eyebrow.

bunny eyebrow

I think he’s going to get along very well with the Erzgebirge bunny I found last year.

bunny buddies

After all, they share a similar taste in footwear!

bunny shoes bunny slippers Another sale was a last minute attempt to lighten the load of a couple who are moving to Connecticut. The movers were due Monday and they were dealing. KK picked up a great metal Coleman cooler for five bucks. I went for these glass icicles.

Glass iciclesXmas glass

I liked the driveway price (a dollar for both boxes, which were unopened) better than the original.

not my price

And I couldn’t resist this wooden sculpture. I think it has a midcentury modern vibe, which gets me every time. But what really grabbed me was that when I turn him in different directions he expresses new moods, changing from pensive


to oh no, I have a toothache

upside down

or oh no, I’m a napkin holder


to oh no, I think I left the stove on!

oh no!

I have a feeling that he’s going to be known as Mr. Ohno.

At our last stop, we had one more conversation about how cold that wind was, and how cute their dog was. And a couple more things forced their way into my hands and made me buy them. But really, how could I resist this duck?


A duck with wonky wheels that wobbles side to side as you pull him along. Duck left Duck rightAnd you know my children’s literature-themed guest room really needed this Fisher Price chime toy.Three Men in a TubThose who remember the rhyme (which as most nursery rhymes do has an interesting history!) may notice that I have two bakers and the candlestick maker here.

Two Bakers

Which makes it perfect for me; having been a vegetarian for over forty years, I’d much rather have an extra baker than a butcher!

Candlestick Maker    

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Egg and I

The scene: family-run estate sale in a cute little house, originally built in 1946. Just a little two-bedroom place with knotty pine panelling and a knotty pine kitchen. Absolutely adorable. As kids came along, they added to the house, so now it’s a bit of a maze. Everyone was exclaiming over what today would be a so-called ‘man cave’ – the former back porch with the knotty pine walls and the cool built-in bar at one end. The bar had diamond-shaped panes set into it with thin slices of interesting rocks for light to shine through. (Sorry, didn't have my camera with me!) Those of you who appreciate vintage houses will be happy to know that the new owners bought it because they love all the knotty pine and will NOT be ripping it out.

The players: several brothers and sisters who grew up in the little house (folks about my age) and KK and me.

Until we reached the back yard, KK and I were just enjoying seeing inside the place. The yard was quite large and had clearly been a beloved space. By the back fence, a guy was digging up the supports to a windmill about 8 feet tall that he’d just bought. And KK noticed a very large cement birdbath on a pedestal. Marked $12. Something like this one.

These puppies are over a hundred bucks at places like Home Depot. Twelve was a steal. She went off to pay for it and find someone to help put it in the car.

Meanwhile, I noticed another yard ornament sitting near the house. A large glazed egg, about 18” tall. Dark brown. Just an ornamental egg, not a fountain or anything, but I liked it. I think the egg is about the most perfect shape there is. Soothing.

But there was no price tag. I headed inside and spotted a lady. “Are you shopping or working the sale?” I asked. “Working,” she said. “What can I help with?” I asked about a price for the egg thingie. She looked puzzled. “Egg thingie?” I led her out to the yard and pointed. “Egg thingie.” “Ohhhh,” she laughed, “the egg thingie. Marylou!” she called to another lady just inside. “How much is the egg thingie?”

“Egg thingie?” said Marylou. “Ohhhh, the egg thingie. Four bucks.” Hmmm. For four bucks I figured the egg thingie warranted a closer look. It was in perfect condition and I said I’d take it. The first lady carried it out to the garage for me while I looked around a little more. Nothing else caught my eye, so off to the garage I went.

When it was my turn to pay I started to say, “I’m just getting the e—” “Oh yeah, the egg thingie,” said the cashier. Either the entire family had always called it the egg thingie, or I had an immediate influence on them. I’ll never know. “Yup, that egg thingie,” I said. “Though I have no idea what my husband will say when he sees I’ve brought home a very large egg.” She didn’t miss a beat. “Tell him it was forced on you by a very large bird.”

I passed over four ones and picked up my egg. KK had backed her car into the driveway to take delivery on the birdbath and appeared around the corner of the house with one of the gents of the family, carrying the bowl. “I may have to take you home with me or I’ll never get it out of the car,” she told him.

He nodded. “And I might just stay.” There was a masterfully timed pause, then he asked, “Can you cook?”

We were still chuckling over that when she delivered me and the egg at my house. I carried it in. “It’s an egg thingie for the yard,” I told Steven. “I’m supposed to tell you it was forced on my by a very large bird.”

And for the zillionth time in the past 40+ years he completely surprised me. He not only loved the egg thingie, he wants to use it at decor in the house!

An Egg ThingieEgg Thingie photobomb

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two Bits

When you go out for a morning of garaging and end up spending only 25¢, it’s a little hard to come up with much to blog about. Not that it wasn’t fun spending that quarter. My friend Gail came along, and we share an interest in midcentury modern houses. We both live in neighborhoods with some great MCM eye candy, and if you’d been in the back seat of the car you probably would have been cracking up over our conversation. Which consisted mostly of exclaiming, “Ooooh, look at that one! Isn’t that a cool house?”

My only buy was this dog biscuit cookie cutter. dog bone biscuitWhich was actually a pretty good deal, having two sides/sizes of biscuits.

dog biscuit cutter

Perhaps the upside to the waning of the garaging year is that it gives one time to do other things. Haven’t made any dog biscuits (yet) but I did manage to get the extremely cute hooked rug I found a couple of weeks ago hung on the wall.

I kept looking around for the best place, but it seemed there was really only one choice. And I finally figured out why that particular place was right. I had to relocate the scherenschnitte by Friedrich Kaskeline in order to hang the new piece under the vintage hats.

Spaniel and hats

As soon as it was there, I remembered a picture from my childhood.

doozy cropped

Clearly I have spent most of my life knowing that spaniels and the kind of hats that old ladies wear go inextricably together. It’s so obvious, yes?

This was my grandmother’s dog Doozy. Her name probably started out as Daisy. I love her wise and patient face.

doozy Bet she would have loved a homemade dog biscuit.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pride Goeth

I like to think I’m pretty good at this garaging thing. I’ve done it for years, I go out regularly, I know what I’m doing, right? I mean, I literally wrote the book about it! And yet…

KK and I went out Friday morning (Judy was home with a hubby who had surgery this week), and we had our usual rollicking good time. Mostly nice folks to chat to, and the occasional sale that you walk away from trying not to let the folks hear you laughing. Like the one that had a tableful of jeans – marked $50 each! Good lord. I’d be hard pressed to spend $5 on a pair of yard sale jeans, let alone ten times that. If I spend fifty bucks on something, I want to be able to return it if something is wrong. KK said the weirdest part for her was that people were actually looking at the things.

Then there was the sale that had about eight ads for it on Craigslist. I don’t know how they do that, Craigslist never lets me load an ad more than once even if I change the title. Some of the ads cracked me up, especially the one that promised an “executive family moving sale.” As we drove there, we tried to figure out just what an executive family entails. What would executive children be like? Not to mention executive pets, since our pets are part of the family. I’m trying very hard not to think about executive parakeets.

Turned out to be just one woman, who might or might not have been an executive. I would say she did show executive ability. When we admired the beautiful maple trees on her corner lot, she decried all the leaves on the ground and ranted about having to rake them or hire a gardener. KK said she finds raking pleasant and meditative, and the executive tried to hand her a rake.

So yes, it was a fun morning. Then I got home and started looking at my purchases. One was a vintage pig pull toy, an old Fisher Price, and the more I looked at him the less I knew why I had shelled out a dollar. Very dirty and quite beat up. I decided not to keep him, so off he went to the donation box.

At our first stop of the day I purchased a set of Ikea sheets for our king size bed for $4. New in the package,

Not Marimekko nor sheets

and I love the fabric. Reminds me of Marimekko. When I opened the package, the fabric had a great feel to it. I shook out my sheets – and realized I had not bought sheets, I had bought a duvet cover! I looked at the packaging again and saw that in Ikea picture-speak it clearly indicates a duvet cover. Sigh.

Ikea speak

But Zoe immediately fell in love with it.

Zoe likes it

And Edward likes it too.

Edward likes it

So we’re going to try it as a duvet cover.

not sheets

The pink floral comforter I bought for a couple of bucks about fifteen years ago admittedly looks a zillion times better stuffed into it.

I was quite happy to find a little trinket dish to make into a magnetic pin holder.

Wade trinket dishWade dish

No problems with this buy, although I did clunk it pretty hard on the edge of the table and then nearly drop it, so almost broke the darned thing as soon as I got it home. (Not the first time I’ve done that!) I taped a magnet on the underside

Wade backmagnet

and it really does hold pins. The low rim makes it easy to scoop them out for use.

magnet magic

KK noticed the vintage children’s records. Since they were only a quarter each, I added some to my bag. My heart beat a little faster over finding my absolute favorite childhood song, How Much is That Doggie in the Window.

Doggie songsvintage recordPinocchio

Alas, even though we have the vintage stereo to play them on, they’re not in good enough condition. I don’t want to ruin the needle. But it was interesting to see these names.

My Captain

If you’re anywhere close to my age, you probably know Robert Keeshan better as Captain Kangaroo. I absolutely adored the captain and all his crew. Mr. Greenjeans. Grandfather Clock. Bunny Rabbit. I think I got my 75¢ worth just in the nostalgia of remembering Captain Kangaroo.

Then there was the vintage creamer I brought home.

Not Finnish creamer

It was only fifty cents, and I like the handle on the side. But the actual deciding factor was that I looked on the bottom and saw that it was made in Finland. Cool, I thought, don’t find stuff from Finland very often. Except when I was photographing it, I realized it actually says England, not Finland. Not that England isn’t cool, but English china is far more common than Finnish.

that say's England

And on top of that, when I took it out of the dishwasher this morning, I saw there’s a tiny chip on the spout.

a tiny chip

(Actually much less noticeable than in this nice clear macro photo!) I don’t know whether it was there when I bought it or if it happened after arriving home. But at the same sale I found a 25¢ Melmac sugar bowl in cotton candy pink.

Melmack sugar bowlMelmac

Perfect as a Q-tip holder in our bathroom, along with the other two I use in there.

Melmac lids

A pink midcentury sugar bowl makes up for a lot.      Melmac collection

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