Sunday, March 1, 2009


I liked the Thrifty Chicks’ idea of leaving calling cards at the yard sales I visit. So early Saturday morning I designed my cards. Fiddled with them until they felt right. Told the computer to print.

I'd like to, the computer said, but you’re out of black ink. I changed the black ink cartridge. (Note to self: go down to the kitchen and put ‘black ink cartridge’ on the shopping list so you’ll have a back up.) That’s better, the computer said, and sent through the five sheets I'd asked for. But the black ink didn’t print.

I took out the new cartridge, shook it—sounded like ink sloshing around in there. Put it back, tried another sheet. No black ink. Took it out, pressed on the place where the ink comes out with a piece of paper. No marks on the paper. Smooshed it some more until some ink marks showed, put it back in printer, tried again. No black ink on paper.

At that point I gave up and went garaging, sans calling cards but with friend Diane. Calling cards are a good idea, but a friend is even better! And on Sunday I tried again to print my cards and they came out just fine. Guess the universe was averse to my starting this just now…but I'll be ready for the next time!

Have you ever noticed, as you’re going from sale to sale (or thrift store to thrift store, if that’s your venue) how a theme will develop? You keep seeing the same item or motif over and over. There was one Saturday a couple of years ago that was Backstreet Boys Day. Everywhere I went there were posters and t-shirts and CDs emblazoned with their faces (is it just me or do they all have impressively chiseled jaws?). This week’s theme turned out to be fairies. Yes, fairies as in little people who live among the flowers and do magical things. At our first stop we opened an oblong blue box and found this inside:

I wish my photography did justice to the details.

I did some searching when I got home and found that these are carved by lasers, guided by a computer. I’m still completely in the dark as to what that actually means, and it must not be terribly difficult because these pieces are not expensive even new, lots available online for about ten bucks. Neither Diane nor I are particularly fairy aficionados, but we both liked this. I ended up buying it, feeling a little guilty because I felt like D wanted it too.

And then at the very next sale we found another one! It was about half the size of mine (and about half the price!) so D bought it, and we spent the rest of the morning marveling at finding two of them.

Then we kept seeing fairy motifs everywhere. Books, jigsaw puzzles. Probably the cutest was the pair of gauzy fairy wings for playing dress up. We resisted those however!

We were even more excited by the trio of ibises walking across the road. There was no traffic so we stopped to watch them strut. I see herons and egrets fairly often, but I think these are the first ibises I've seen here. They were probably white-face ibis, since those winter in this area. Gosh, garaging is educational!

As always, I thoroughly enjoyed the various pets we encountered. One was a beautiful gray cat named Motor, so called because of his loud purr. “When he was a kitten,” they said, “his purr was bigger than he was.” Motor was a fair sized cat, so he grew into his purr. While I was petting Motor, I heard nice background music and commented on it. “Oh, that’s from next door,” they said. So as we left I saw the next door neighbor in his driveway and called out that the music was great. He said he’d been fishing in Mexico, and the hotel was playing this over their loudspeakers, and he’d bought 5 CDs, he liked it so much. “Let me play you my favorite piece,” he said, so we wandered into his garage. He skipped ahead to his favorite, which turned out to be a polka. As we stood there talking about the music, we noticed there were dozens of wooden whirligigs in his garage. Turns out that when he retired, he taught himself to make these things. He has over 80 designs he makes and sells. He pointed out his fish skeleton design. “It's usually ladies that buy that one,” he said. He also paints rocks, and we got a tour of his back yard to see some of his rock fish. And all the while, the Mexican polka bounced along in the background.

We also enjoyed meeting lovely Hannah, a black lab and heeler mix:
She had been spayed the day before, and her owner was trying to keep her quiet. But Hannah didn’t care that she’d just had a hysterectomy—she wanted to play ball! Her owner told us she had won a free spaying on a radio call in show. Otherwise she didn’t know how she would have afforded it. Turns out this nice lady is one of the many, many casualties of our meltdown economy. She lost her job and hasn’t been able to find another, and for a time was living in a tent. Now she’s in a small travel trailer, parked by a relative’s house. We could see how much her dog means to her in these hard times. She told us she had a number of friends—former friends—who pressured her to get rid of her dog, telling her she couldn’t afford to keep her. As Diane said, that’s someone she won’t be needing to call anymore. I've always maintained that I would live in a tent before I gave up my pets, and here was someone who has done it.

I spent $10.35, and besides my laser fairies I brought home:

A couple of gifts for friends and family—a fun visor for someone who drives a convertible…

…and these cute pj pants for someone who would live 24/7 in flannel if she could.
Nice green tencel shirt for me.
Bar of French soap with shea butter in it.
Two new candles for the lanterns in the yard.
A Sunset gardening annual.
Fun necklace. Needs cleaning, and I think I'm going to remove the little tube pieces.

Lizzie liked it and wanted to try it on. I told her she can wear it the next time she has a date.

Some cleaning goop.
Have to admit my eyes deceived me. When I picked up this box I could have sworn it said Oxy Cleaner, and I've had good success with Oxiclean, the stain remover stuff. So I bought it. Imagine my surprise when I got home and saw that it says Orange Clean. Can’t blame my glasses, just got new lenses a few weeks ago, so it must be my brain!

And finally, this should make a fun door prize for some lucky children's librarian.

Next week I most likely will not be garaging, because we have a little vacation planned. We’re driving to Phoenix with my husband’s brother and his wife to see this Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the botanical garden there. Of course, if we pass a yard sale sign on our way from the motel to the gardens, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the car just automatically turns where the sign points!


  1. I'm so jealous that you get to see a CHIHULY exhibit! Way to go! Take some pics for us!

  2. Good haul - and I love the card idea. I used to have cards (with my little tiara lady on them) and was just thinking how I'd like to get them going again. I love the idea of a card that isn't a business card - like a calling card!

  3. That is funny about the theme thrifting...I kept seeing PLAID while I was out this weekend. Everything was plaid from purses to some tennis shoes to clothing.

  4. Lizzie looks all dolled up and ready to go!

    I'm looking forward to the response you'll receive from your calling cards. I sense some more great stories on the horizon :)


    You can go to this website and order 100 free business cards with free shipping. I have cards taht I use for yard sales, blogging giveaways, swaps, etc.

  6. They don't call you "The Queen" for nothing! What amazing finds you have! And I loved reading about the people you meet during the sales. I'm really touched by the lady who did not give up her dog Hannah -- what a good-hearted lady. Tough times ahead for many of us!

  7. Oooh... CHIHULY!! Takes LOTS of photos to share with us! His exhibit in Atlanta was Spectacular!!

  8. I never go shopping without my card. But then I was buying and selling at the time. I too have noticed trends at yardsales. The yardsales haven't started around here yet, so I'm curious as to what the theme will be this spring.

  9. The Chihuly exhibit was in Columbus awhile back, and my husband and I went to see it since it was just minutes from our place. Have fun and enjoy!

  10. I thought it was oxy clean too, it must be the packaging!

  11. I think Orange Clean is made by OxyClean, so it is probably pretty much the same stuff. It'll just smell like orange!

    I totally know what you mean about the themes! One time everyone had cookie tins while I was out. I must have seen them at 6 different places.

    Love the finds!

  12. I'm not the only one who puts jewelry on her dog.....

    I too get into thrifting binges where the same stuff keeps showing up.

  13. OhhhhI LOVE those earings! Thanks for visiting my blog! I bow to your thrifyness!

  14. Great finds. You will love Chihuly's work. I use to work for Nourot Glassblowing years ago. Glassblowers are a hoot. I just love art glass. Have fun. Take lots of pics to share!!!

  15. My goodness but it seems you had a great day! You got some fantastic items for fantastic bargains. Don't you just love thrifting? I know I do.

    I'm sorry your cards didn't work for this trip...but it sounds like you'll be all set for the next one.

    I've had trouble with my ink too..hmmm..maybe I should try IT again.

    I hope you have a great trip to Phoenix!
    It was nice to have you stop by...come back again..
    have a lovely evening

  16. me again...I forgot to say about the theme thing. I know exactly what you mean about that.
    When I was out last time I actually saw cherubs everywhere...and I bought one..hmmm...I haven't taken a picture of it yet or even used it. Its one I can put on the wall and place something on it. I will have to do that now that I've reminded myself.
    bye again..

  17. I love the idea of the card but I think that I would be too shy to give them. Plus I don't know if they want to see some of their items end up on Etsy for a bit more than I paid for them. But the idea is cute all the same. I have a couple Chihuly books in my inventory and I sneak peaks at them every chance I get. Incredible artist.


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

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