Sunday, August 3, 2008


“I have a present for you!” I chanted in a singsong voice to my husband when I got home from garaging Saturday. He looked interested. “Oh yeah? What?”

“It's in my car.” We headed out to the garage. He looked in the back seat and smiled. When you come home with an item your husband was about purchase at a store, and you paid one-fourth of what the store would have charged, smiling is definitely in order.

We’re starting to renovate our yard, and he told me the other day that he wanted to buy an electric mower (been using a push model, but it's all pushed out). And there it was, at the very last sale, the one I almost missed. Saw the sign as I turned the other direction, circled back around. New-looking electric mower, huge bundle of extension cord, hedge trimmer (which we also need—the $5 one we bought at a garage sale 15 years ago is getting tired). After admiring their gorgeous chocolate lab, I asked the couple having the sale how much they wanted for the mower. Fifty bucks. We plugged it in so I could see that it runs. I got its life history. I checked my billfold. I had $45 left, would that do? Close enough. So the husband showed me how to fold down the handle, and fitted my new mower into the back seat of my convertible. The ten-year-old son stowed the hedge trimmer and the 150 feet of extension cord among my other purchases, and I thanked them most sincerely.

A satisfied expression crossed the man’s face.

“There was a guy earlier, offered me thirty bucks for it, and said he’d be back later ‘cause I wouldn’t sell it. I sure hope he does come back.” He looked very happy at the thought.

It was a pretty happy morning all around. One woman had a huge stack of magazines she was giving away and was terribly pleased when I took about 20 of them. (There will be no lack of reading matter in my bathroom for some time to come!)

I talked to a quilter at another sale and was telling her about creating aprons from skirts and dresses. Her eyes lit up. “I made aprons last Christmas, and I hated doing the hems.” I foresee more aprons in her future.

I kept meeting people who love libraries—the woman who takes her grandchildren to storytime, the boy who had just finished “the most awesome book ever, they ought to make it into a movie of the week!” A teenage girl engrossed in a novel that I recognized as from one of our branches. Showed her the genre label on the spine that I designed; no doubt she was suitably impressed (not!).

Talked to a couple of women who make glass beads in a little studio in their garage. Oxygen tanks and blow torches and rods of glass were ready to go. One of them also makes little glass dragons; the purple one she showed me was quite fetching.

I chatted with a middle age lady and her mother at another sale as I picked up a couple of things to buy. I spotted a new-looking pasta server marked $1 and joked, “A dollar is kind of high for a back scratcher, don’t you think?” The older lady took it from me and tried it. A satisfied expression crossed her face.

"That’s wonderful, way better than those flimsy bamboo things.”

“That’s what I use mine for,” I told her. “Next to a husband it's the best back scratcher around.”

When I left she was peeling off the price tag.

I spent $49.35. You already know about the mower, trimmer, and endless extension cord. The rest went for:

Book on teddies. It was supposed to be a dime, but I was out of change at that point and the lady said just take it. I was happy to.

Sweet little vintage pitcher. Pancakes for Sunday breakfast, I think, so I can put warm maple syrup in this.

A yard of lovely lilac-print cotton fabric, plus pieces of this great cowboy theme material.

Fabbo vintage tablecloth. A nickel because it had stains. We’re playing the “will the oxy cleaner take out the stains this time” game even as we speak.

We Be Bop shirt with inlaid pearl buttons. After I washed it I noticed a bleach spot on the back of one of the sleeves. But I have an idea for fixing it—more later.

Another apron-to-be. This is actual patchwork, not just printed fabric. I asked the guy how much; he said, “Fifty cents. Oh, twenty five cents.” I love it when they talk themselves down. Hauled out my billfold. I had a nickel in the coin compartment. “That’s fine,” he said. So I got a ninety-percent discount on the original garage sale price.

A stapler for my desk at home, and at the next sale a box of staples. The stapler was really dirty, but I loved its color and curvy lines. It cleaned up nicely.
Before cleaning:


Lovely wool and angora yarn to resell.

And two pairs of earrings, some dangly beady ones, and what must be among the most unusual pieces of jewelry ever made—silver and gold corn on the cob earrings. I will wear them with pride!

I was perusing a box of rolls of pink plastic mesh, trying to decide if they could be of any use to a children’s librarian and thus a worthy door prize (decided no, hope it's not the one thing they’ve all been wanting!). A man’s voice across the driveway rose in humorous confusion. “What the heck is this thing for? It looks like something a terrorist would use.”

I looked over. It was a suitcasey sort of thing. He went on. “You could break down your weapons and fit ‘em in here and put ‘em on the plane.”

“It’s for scrapbooking,” was the reply.


  1. You tell the best stories!

    Scrapbooking Terrorists - Oh My!

    I suspect the corn on the cob earings are Native American. It think they are wonderful!

    I bought a horribly stained tablecloth last weekend (where I got the quilt). I soaked it for six hours in OxiClean and it is clean as a whistle!

  2. I loved the narrative about your yard sales adventure. You really got some treasures. I recently made a friend that always wears an apron when she cooks. Now I'm hearing about and seeing them on blogs. I have a stack of fabric that would be wonderful for aprons. Now I need to find a pattern. The last pattern that I bought cost more than the fabric.

  3. I have you listed in my favs, I can't wait to see when you post to hear about the people you meet:)Also all the great bargains you find.

  4. I need your lawn mower!! I've got through three in 18 months (all secondhand) and am now on the look out for a good secondhand one. Bet your husband was chuffed with your deal.

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  6. Does Oxiclean take out oil stains? I'm a piggy when I eat and get butter or oil almost always on black t-shirts which you would think would be o.k. but I can always see it. Whadda ya think?

  7. this is garage sale encouragement i don't need. my husband has put me on the hunt for a weed wacker. i didn't think it was possible, but you have inspired me to search harder!

  8. Good Gracious Woman!!! It never ends! Deal after deal. Fantastic!

  9. again, I'm impressed with your buys. i've got to start hitting yard sales.

  10. wow, you really ARE the queen of fifty cents! LOVE those ear of corn earrings (and the resulting play on words :). many thanks for your comment over on Made in Mississippi. happy thrifting! -amy

  11. Wow! You are MY kind of lady, and a Librarian to boot! The library has to be my second favorite place, next to thrift shops;)

    Great deal on the mower,hedger,cord; boy, would my hubby have loved those!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog;)

  12. You had the most successful shopping experience. It sounds like you had sooo much fun and met some nice people as well. Your mower was a bargain and your hubby must be so proud of you! I just love the treasures just waiting out there for me...or you to find!
    Good for you!

  13. Love thrifting and really enjoyed your blog this morning! Thanks for visiting mine:D Linda


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

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