Sunday, May 4, 2008


A large pickup truck was rumbling by the curb of my first stop on Saturday, spewing out nasty fumes. I figured it belonged to someone else inspecting this garage sale. Some people simply get out of their vehicles and leave them running, I suppose to facilitate their rushing off to the next sale. It seems counter-productive to me to waste the gas, but perhaps they’re trying to asphyxiate the other garagers and thus keep all the good stuff for themselves.

In this case, however, the truck belonged to the man of the house, and he was letting it run because it is a clunky old truck with an engine that needed warming up. As he drove away I ventured a humorous remark about the ‘stinky truck’ to the lady having the sale. She laughed and shook her head. “I have been trying to get him to recycle that truck for years,” she told me, “but he just won’t hear it.” She seemed to like the phrase “stinky truck,” for I heard her repeating it to her friend as I drove off.

A couple of sales later I fell into conversation with a good looking guy in his late thirties, who told me about growing up in Iowa in a large family. He’s now a detective with the local police. He was selling some Harley parts so I brought my brother in law the Harley rider into the conversation. The detective told me a really good gift to give Bob is to buy a gift certificate to some Harley dealer located miles away from where he lives, so he has to take a long ride to redeem it. I love it—a gift giving dilemma solved on a driveway by an ex-marine Harley riding detective. (Don’t tell Bob what one of his future gifts is going to be.)

One sale I stopped at was serious about getting rid of things. They were offering a free gift for stopping by, no purchase required. I mentioned this at the other two sales on that block; at the first, they said they’d better go see what the neighbors had that they wanted. At the other, where we’d been talking about dogs, they were inspired to offer me a stuffed toy for my pets. (Which I had to decline; Lizzie guards toys ferociously, then takes them apart and flings stuffing around the house.)

I met two very nice pit bulls. The second was deaf, but sweet and smart, and she responds to hand signals. And one of the highlights of the morning was a two year old beagle, Cammy, reclining in the shade at the feet of the two ladies minding the sale. They told me they had adopted her on Thursday, from a pet store that goes to the shelter and rescues two dogs at a time from death row and finds homes for them. Cammy had the air of a dog who has been through a lot in her short life, and is grateful for her new home. And her ears are as soft as butter.

One of the last sales I stopped at was at the home of a woman trying to get rid of the stuff her grown children have left behind. “I started out with a four bedroom house,” she said. “Now I've got one bedroom and three storerooms. My goal is to have at least two bedrooms!”
She also told me how much she hates to shop. Really hates it, especially for clothes.

“If you go to the grocery store one of these days and see a naked woman,” she assured me, “that will be me.”

For $7.75, I brought home:

A bag of 15 fresh-picked Meyer lemons. I'm making marmalade with them. There are some things about Southern California I will miss after I leave this place!

Some future eBay items—wonderful shirt and vest by CP Shades (they won’t be wrinkled in their eBay pictures!) and a warm, crunchy wool sweater that was worn all of once.

Warm wool sweaters are not a necessity in SoCal.

Some door prizes for children’s librarians—a bell stick and this wonderful mitt with a dog on each finger—and tails in the back!

A box of Wizard of Oz note cards…

A couple of craft magazines, and a sheet of iron-on butterflies. My mother likes butterflies so this will accompany her Mother’s Day card next week. (And lest anyone is horrified at someone who would give her mother something from a garage sale as a gift—at whose knee do you think I learned this?)

A lovely gift wrap set with paper, ribbon and cards…

…snowman socks to make my feet happy next Christmas, and my ‘free gift for stopping by’ pack o’ napkins.

An unusual vase of plate glass & aluminum (it really does hold water!)…

…and a dress of heavy cotton that I plan to remake into a spiffy apron.

I completed an apron earlier this week, made from a long, jazzy skirt and the sleeve from a Jones New York silk blouse. Yes, I cut up a JNY shirt, but when you only pay fifty cents for something it gives you the freedom to do whatever you can think of with it. And, I must confess, it makes me feel like a very wealthy woman to be able to do that!


  1. Love those Wizard of Oz notecards and the lemons... someone was selling them at a yard sale???

  2. I love that apron! (I like to wear an apron myself. I bought a couple on you ever list your's?)I like the dress as is but can't wait to see it as an apron.

  3. Yes, lemons at a garage sale! There are lots of citrus trees in people's yards here. One of my best scores a couple of years ago was a bagful of kumquats that the lady and I picked off her tree while we yacked, with her garage sale going on in the background.

    And Creating, I'd love to see about selling you that apron! I couldn't find an email link on your blog, hope you can get in touch. If I don't hear from you I'll be listing it on eBay. Thanks!

  4. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. your Blog!! Keep it up! I can't wait each week for the next 'installment' 8-)
    (Oh, and most of my Mother's day gifts are also coming from sales... Mom will definitely approve!!!)

  5. Hi Queen - thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me a note!

    You certainly found some fabulous deals. :)

  6. Wow!! I thought I was doing well to pick up sheet music for a quarter at the book sale. All that for 7.75?? I can't wait to hear more about the lemons and marmalade and aprons. I love me some marmalade. Thank you so much for commenting Cabin Life. Be well. EllieRichellie

  7. !!!!!!!!!!That has to be THE coolest apron ever!!


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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