Most of today’s garaging was done in a large ‘townhome community’ that has rows of garages lining narrow alleyways. This is an annual event, though perhaps they should skip a year because participation has gone down. Normally I prefer single family homes to townhouses—actual streets are easier to negotiate than these narrow byways. Plus I get very lost in this particular community and have no idea which alleys I've gone down. (Occasionally I stop at a sale only to realize I've already been there and have to either quickly slink away or pretend I came back for something that’s no longer there.)
But I found one of my best scores ever in this place, and now I have the kind of Pavlovian response that has me drooling in anticipation when they have their sale day.
Three years ago I walked into one of these little garages, fairly late in the morning. The lady sitting on a wooden stool still had a number of things for sale. I spotted a quilt folded up on a table, and picked it up. Hand stitching. Cotton sateen. Appliquéd tulips. How much? I asked.
“Two dollars,” she said, in offhand tones.
I didn’t even unfold the thing. If only the corner I was looking at was intact it would be worth two dollars. I handed her two bills and walked away, trying to appear nonchalant. I half expected to hear her behind me yelling, “No, wait, I meant two hundred dollars!”
This quilt now graces one wall in my living room. It is a masterpiece, I'm guessing from the Twenties. All hand stitched, pieced and appliquéd, with wool batting. Everyone who sees it is amazed that I got it at a garage sale. I'll never know why the price was so low. Was it something she inherited and simply didn’t value? Was it made by or given to her by someone she disliked, like an ex-mother-in-law? Or am I simply so charming that she wanted me to have it? Ummm, probably not! But I love it, and appreciate it. And as long as they keep having their annual sale, I'll keep prowling the alleyways of the townhome community one Saturday a year.
Both the buys and the stories today were minimal. My favorite encounter was with two ladies and a gentleman, all in their 70s or 80s, sitting in a row in their garage. They admired my green convertible, asking me what kind it is and was it new. I said I'd had it over six years and one exclaimed, “It looks like you just drove it out of the showroom!” (Credit to my husband, who gave it a nice bath this week.) The other lady said, “That looks like something James Bond would drive.” Yes, I said modestly, you guessed it, I'm really an international spy, chasing a fugitive through the garage sales of Huntington Beach. We all giggled.
Today I spent $6.50 and came home with these finds:
A Ralph Lauren 100% cashmere sweater. If it doesn’t sell on eBay I'll felt it and line a pair of slippers with green cashmere. Maybe I'll do that anyway. (Speaking of eBay, last week’s little chenille jacket sold nicely and is off to live in Hollywood.)
More pots! A lovely, very heavy glazed pot (the bunny pot next to it was a find from last fall),
and two tall metal ones. These need a coat of paint. Should we leave them black or paint them some amazing color?
A classic movie, a trowel (gotta have the tools to work in all those pots), and a new package of ‘space saver’ travel bags—you put your clothes in them and then press out the air so they take up less room. I have no idea how well they will work, but I was willing to gamble a quarter to find out.
A sweet little vintage lusterware plate…
…and another door prize, this lovely butterfly headband. Edward was modeling it, and Lizzie thought she should not be left out, so I hope the children’s librarian who gets this doesn’t mind that it spent a few minutes on dogs. I bet she won't.