Sunday, December 7, 2008


This time of year, as I head out on Saturday morning, I fully expect this will be the week that I buy nothing and have not a single conversation with anyone. I drive along making my backup plan on what to blog about. It will come to that, so the planning isn’t wasted, but I won’t have to use it this week. Though the morning was plagued with two of my least favorite things: sellers who are way too proud of their stuff, and signs for nonexistent sales.

The first place I stopped admittedly had nice things, but I don’t think the twenty-somethings having the sale had ever actually gone to a yard sale in their lives. A lady near me asked the price of a Christmas ornament, and was told something like five dollars. As soon as the seller turned away, she and I locked eyes. “Sheesh, this is a yard sale,” I muttered from the corner of my mouth. Her eyebrows flicked as she quietly set the ornament down, and we both left. You might pay five bucks for something like it at TJ Maxx, but not on someone’s driveway.

Not my five bucks, anyway, and evidently not hers either.

Five bucks came up again down the road. I met up with Linda, who shared the purple boot moment with me last week, and her friend Shelley (who was wearing a fabulous hat) perusing a sale. They told me sotto voce that the prices here were all over the map. Shelley found a Longaberger basket for a dollar, but they wouldn’t budge from the $5 price on a Pyrex measuring cup, which is only $5.99 new.

Linda told me there was an aftermath to the purple boot story from last week. She went back to her car, which was parked by the next door neighbor’s drive, still chuckling over those purple boots and the brain on a chain. Evidently her car extended a couple of inches into the drive (and I saw it and wouldn’t even have thought it was that close) and the guy who lives there came out and started yelling at her for blocking his driveway. He said he had called the cops and they were on their way and how dare she and on and on. After apologizing Linda got in her car and drove away. I'm happy to say she has not yet been apprehended by the police for her heinous crime.

My charitable side says this guy must lead a miserable life to be so upset over such a nothing. He wasn't trying to get out of his driveway, which wouldn’t have been a problem anyway. I know we should pity him. However, my noncharitable side, which is probably the larger one, would love for him to suffer some nasty consequence of being so mean to such a nice lady. And even though Linda knew she really hadn’t done anything to deserve it, well, we’re women and it’s hard not to keep playing that kind of scene over and over in your head. And we’re from the Midwest (Linda’s from Iowa, I grew up in Missouri and Oklahoma) so we take stuff to heart. Too bad she hadn’t bought those silly purple boots—the spiked heels would have made a great weapon!

This is the kind of behavior I expect to see from people shopping in malls during the Christmas season, which is one reason I stopped going to stores this time of year. Yes, it's partly frugality, but mostly I don't want to be exposed to overwrought shoppers who suck all the joy out of the season. Hmmm, maybe that was it—the guy was getting ready to go to the mall!

On a lighter note, two sights amused me during the morning. One was an SUV that passed me with an African grey parrot sitting on a stand on the passenger seat. Some people take their dogs with them wherever they go, this person evidently takes their parrot. The other happened as I left a sale—floating down from overhead I heard a man’s voice calling, “Ashley! Can you see me?” I looked up and saw this dad putting up Christmas lights on his roofline. Ashley must have been pretty young, because dad was still calling, “Look up, Ashley, I'm up here!” as I drove away.

By the end of the morning I'd managed to spend $7—pretty big outlay for this time of year! The treasure hunt netted:

A couple of door prizes for children’s librarians—a crystal growing kit...

...and three miniature baseball bats…our Summer Reading Program next year is being sponsored by the Angels baseball team (thank you, thank you, Angels!).

A large spatula, which I'm hoping is silicone and not plastic, to add to my collection.

I love these things and use them constantly, sometimes all of them in the course of prepping a single meal. The existing collection:

A felt watering can.
It would be a cute with fresh flowers with a plastic container dropped in, or would make a great gift basket. Or maybe I'll display last week’s Peter Rabbit puppet in it—didn’t he hide from Mr. McGregor in a watering can?
I've been wanting a new container for my collection of ice cream scoops. The old basket was getting pretty tired.

I'm thrilled with this metal container, which matches the tile on our kitchen counters almost too well. It's a little small for the whole collection, but I can just rotate pieces—and maybe downsize a few.

Remember the lovely wool rug I got a couple of weeks ago? It's missing some stitches in one corner, so I was watching for some wool to repair it with. Should be able to winnow out something that will work from this needlepoint kit, and frankly I think it will be a much better use for the yarn than the pheasant picture it was intended for. Though if anyone is into pheasants and would like the painted canvas, just let me know.

In keeping with the season, I picked up this cute little snowman ornament, brand new and in his box with the $10 price tag on it. Don’t you love getting a $10 something for fifty cents?
Another seasonal item is this cookie press, with 10 discs for various shapes. I do a lot of baking but I've never owned one of these, and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I liked its stainless steel hard edged look—the juxtaposition of that with cookies shaped like trees and stars is a hoot.
Lastly, I found a little white cotton tablecloth embroidered with Mother Goose (literally) reading to her goslings. There must be a place in my office for this!


  1. Garage sales.

    In December.

    I'm going to dream of these as I fall asleep tonight in this winter-wonderland everyone is so happily singing about walking in.

    There were no crowds at my favorite thrift store Saturday. All the snow must have kept everyone away. If I needed to, I could have outfitted an entire home in classy Christmas decor. Amazing finds, but I left some for the other kids.

    Wow. I LOVE your collections!

    Judy -

  2. That is a Spritz cookie press, and they are a lot of fun! Joy of Cooking has recipes for them. Basically, its a rich dough, flavored with some extract like almond (my favorite) and you squeeze/push the cookies out of the gun. The one thing you have to be careful about is that you don't push too long and get a big squishy cookie. I had one with a ratchet thing that wouldn't let me go too far. You can color the dough too with all sorts of bright colors like pink and green. Haven't seen blue, but it could be done....

  3. I love your blog! I hope you don't mind if I put you on my blog list.

    I'm a thrifting/yard sale/library lover, so reading your blog fulfills all my favorite time wasters. You've got great stories. I'm looking forward to reading your posts once the garage sales have dried up. I'm sure you've got lots of stuff you've been holding back.

    Thanks for always entertaining me with tales of California, my home state.

  4. That is one awesome spatula collection! I always melt the tips of mine.

  5. How fun is this...I love love love Garage saling...:)

  6. I don't know anyone with a spatula collection. It is wonderful! I am a color person for sure...I may have to consider picking up a few. Wonder what project I could do with spatulas? Oh right, they are to cook with! Don't do much of that these days.
    Have a wonderful Holiday!

  7. Oh, by the way: Pyrex changed their formula recently. The new stuff occasionally shatters when you go to pull it out of the oven. The old stuff doesn't. There've been enough complaints that maybe they'll go back to the more expensive way of glassmaking, but meantime, if you find old stuff for sale, that's something to consider.

    --AlisonH at

  8. Good Evening from Atlanta Georgia,

    I love your blog! I went all the way back to the beginning and spent a fun afternoon with you and your bargains. I absolutely LOVE going to garage sales. I raised both our daughters on garage sale items. They dressed like a million bucks!
    You make me want to get back to it again. I haven't been much since our last daughter got married and left home. Guess I was going through a bit of empty nest.
    But come next Saturday I'm there, girlfriend! You gave me a whole new perspective on enjoying the day. To get to know people! I am a people person and love stories. I don't have a blog yet, so I'll just enjoy yours and share my findings with you, if you don't mind.
    Now I'm off to Google "felting"

    Have a nice Monday!
    Miss Lila in Atlanta

  9. Well, DUH, I went to a hundred google sites on felting and of course got a hundred different answers. Some of them seemed like alot of work. Would you mind terribly relating how you felt? Thank you so much!

    Miss Lila in Atlanta

  10. oooh, my mama always made spritz cookies at xmas. Find the recipe for the one's with the cream cheese in them, then sprinkle with red or green sugar, so delicious!
    Also, I LOVE that mother goose table cloth! Embroidered stuff is my favorite!
    Fun blog you have -


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

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