Sunday, May 11, 2008
Part of my fascination with garage sales is the sheer eclecticism of a morning’s shopping. When you shop in stores, you generally know what you’ll come out with: groceries from the grocery store, clothes from a mall, plants from a nursery. But when you shop on people’s driveways there’s no limit. More than once I've seen things for sale and had no idea what they were (like shrink-wrapped hard drives)—and sometimes the seller didn’t know either. It puts new meaning into the phrase “mystery shopper.” Usually I carry the mystery within me—I start on the treasure hunt not knowing what I'm looking for. But I know it when I see it!
Yesterday I spent $7.50 on this amazingly varied loot:
A rather graceful gold and white teapot. Now that I have three or four of them I can display them together as a collection, right? (For some fun viewing, take a look over at Flickr at pictures of people’s vintage collections.)
A handmade glass vase, bright spring green inside clear glass, with a stripe of white and a thin blue line on each side.
An original piece of art (a leaping frog, in case it's hard to tell!)that looks to be watercolors on an embossed shape. The signature may be G. Jeinya, but Google didn’t turn up anything likely on that name (at least not in any language that I can read).
A large (three quarters of a pound!) bar of daffodil scented soap. I have never seen daffodil scented soap before, and I look forward to smelling like spring.
A vintage-looking Raggedy Ann doll, with an attached hang tag describing the farm the maker lives on and how she and her daughter use old fabrics to make their dolls. I’m not sure why she has a wooden number 5 attached to one hand! Maybe I'll sell her (appears to be pretty collectible) or perhaps she can hang out with the Fall Fairy I got at another sale a couple of years ago (she has silk leaves for wings, and a paintbrush to color the fall foliage, but it was her little beanie hat that endeared her to me).
A pair of cat candles, which seem to belong with this little Halloween box…
…and from the same sale a key ring that I bought for the beaded fob. I've been wanting something fun to hang from the zipper pull on my garaging fanny pack. This one has a snake and a heart and some blue beads, so I should be protected from all kinds of evil. I took it off the key ring to attach it to my bag, and noticed in very small, Gothic lettering engraved on the ring the word “Harley.” Guess my Harley-riding brother-in-law will get another (small!) gift.
Two decorative bookmarks (the silver one dangles four tiny keys with the letters L.O.V.E.). These will be prizes in the summer reading program I run for staff each year.
Finally, a brass gong. I've always wanted a gong, and this is the first one I've seen at a garage sale. I admit I would rather have one without “Tsingtao Beer” on it, but hey, it cost fifty cents. I figure I can either try some paint remover, or just let it weather outside. And it makes a great sound. (Now that I've found a gong, I wonder if another longtime desire will turn up—wind chimes in a very low bass range. The ones I like cost over $500 new—like that’s ever going to happen!)
The little wooden toy from a few weeks ago is now exploring his bear-ness with some garage-sale miniatures. He really gets around.
Favorite overheard conversation yesterday: A young guy, probably in his twenties, asked how much they wanted for a box of ping pong balls. Before the seller could answer, another guy said, “You play ping pong? Are you any good?” The first guy replied modestly that he was. “Here’s my card,” said the other. “I'm going to Vegas tomorrow, but call me when I get back and we’ll play.”
Hope they each found a new best friend.