Sunday, July 6, 2008

Shall We Leap?

My friend Marcia went garaging with me Saturday. It's always fun to have her along. She works many weekends and I don’t get the pleasure of her company often enough. Even better, she drove her spiffy convertible (a sleek black beauty of an Audi) so I had the luxury of just watching for signs.

Signs. Even if you advertise your sale in the paper or on Craigslist, you still need signs to get shoppers to you. I sometimes think I should offer seminars in proper garage sale signs. My seminars would be extensive and informative and would take about ten minutes. This is not rocket science (or even library science—something I actually know about). If you ever have a garage sale, set up your sale first, then put up your signs. Make your signs simple (the word Sale and an arrow is all you need), make them visible (heavy black on light/bright background—a red magic marker on a piece of cardboard is not effective) and big enough to read from a speeding car. Put up enough signs to actually let people find you. We had more than one instance Saturday of the single sign that pulls you into a tract…and then nothing. Sometimes we found the sale, sometimes not. Which brings me to the most important point of all:

Take your signs down as soon as your sale is over!

Okay. I feel better now!
Holiday weekends are not hot garaging times, but there are always some sales, and always enthusiastic thrifters out trolling for bargains. We stopped across the street from the first one and got out of the car as a man was leaving. “You like garage sale?” he said, grinning, as he passed us. His accent was probably Japanese. “Everybody like garage sale!”

At the next place, the husband would not have agreed. When we left and I told them good luck with their sale he growled, “We could wrap this up right now and I'd be happy.” We should get him together with Marcia’s husband, who was once left in charge of their yard sale when he didn’t want to be. He sold anything—literally—for ten cents. He’s never been left in charge of a sale since.

We didn’t run into any prices quite that good, but close. I spent $2.48. Forty eight cents? you may be saying. Well, there was a blue glass vase that Marcia liked. The cute young teenage girl quoted a price of fifty cents for it. I had twenty-three cents in change left and offered her that. It worked. (I once bought a wheelbarrow for $1.37—all the cash I had on me.) The other $2.25 went for:

A new Vacuvin wine saver thingie—lets you pump the air out of a bottle of wine to save it for later. It can take us days to drink a whole bottle, and we’ve used these for years. A pair of the replacement rubber corks is $5, so a new pump and cork for fifty cents is a deal. (I neglected to take a picture before I took it out of the packaging, so I'm borrowing one from their website.)

A recorded book to while away my time in the car (my drive to work is only four miles, so it takes me a while to listen to a whole book), which I can donate to the library when finished. And now I can brag that I bought “Ten Big Ones” for a buck.

A flashy bejeweled acorn pin. One of the green leaf jewels was missing (hence the 25 cent price tag) so I took a green marker to that spot. Before and after pics:

Three bars of soap. The small ones are Lemongrass and Tangerine. I've never had tangerine soap before. The large bar is labeled Leap! Body Bar. Why Leap, I wonder? One of the things about thrifted merchandise is that you lack the contextual clues you get in a store. There may well have been a sign to tell the original buyer what Leap was all about (“Wash with our Leap! Body Bar and you’ll feel like hopping through your day!”). But I'm forced to make up my own. Perhaps it was designed to celebrate Leap Year. Or it could be an acronym…Large Eggs Are Purple? Last Elephant Acts Perplexed? Lions Eat Angry People? Like Early April Primroses? Okay, I'll stop.

And I scored another chicken. Marcia paid for this, since I was out of change at the time. This little fabric hen looked forlorn among the mugs and plastic containers, and something about the way she cocked her head made me pick her up. That’s when I saw her enormous feet. That did it. I think she looks awfully happy to be with the metal rooster I got a few weeks ago. Her fabric is somewhat stained, but I'm going to try giving her an oxy soak and then letting her dry in the sun. (It worked wonders on last week’s tablecloth—all the stains disappeared!)

My new camera arrived a few days ago. Yes, I do occasionally buy something new. I love it. And it gave me a use for some of the felt I've made from old sweaters—part of a sleeve became a camera case.

Now I can take close-ups. Here’s a new shot of the pin Cathy asked for.

The mark on the back turns out to be the trademark of the Carl-Art Jewelry company. There’s a dramatic account of the designer here. (“Once upon a time, not so very long ago, giants walked the earth. Amazingly, many of them worked in the American costume jewelry industry. One of these giants was Carl Schraysshuen.”) My pin is probably from the Forties.

And of course, now I can take better pictures of buttons!


  1. Isn't it SOOO much fun! I didn't go garage saling all last summer and missed it so much. Got into the groove again this year... Love it.. Love it.. Love it.. People do not know what they are missing! Kayce

  2. it's called "leap" soap because it is made from frog byproducts.....

    thanks for the close up photo of the pin. Very period and very pretty!

  3. Eeeeewwww! Noooo! This is no-animal-cruelty soap!

  4. The chicken and I have similiar feet. The chicken has better legs.

  5. Another good day for you in getting some great finds!

    Your new camera takes great pictures. What kind is it?

    Your fellow OC Garage sale hunter!

  6. I am lovin' the closeups on the bee-u-tiful buttons. Great detail!

    Thanks for the update on the OXY. I guess it in on my grocery list of things to pick up.

    I am with ya, girl. Please People...pick up them dadgum signs when the sale is over, especially with gas at the price it is.

    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Librarians Eating Apple Puffs.

  8. I think everyone should have to take your garage sale seminar before they hold there own sale- I think you should also include a little bit on how to write a good ad- don't say HUGE SALE TONS OF STUFF if you don't have a garage full...and I could go on and on about my garage sale pet peeves...

  9. Yummy!
    Denise Mass.

  10. I love the acron pin. Garage sales are the best. But misleading signs are quite annoying.

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

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