Saturday, May 29, 2010


It’s a holiday weekend, and the thrifting gods decided to go visit family. They left some demigods in charge today, knowing that the die-hard thrifters would be out on the trail but that we can probably get along okay on our own. The demigods did okay by me, though I was a tad disappointed that there was nary a dog nor cat nor even turtle to be seen.

The oddest thing about this morning was the lack of traffic. If you are at all familiar with Southern California, you know there are cars on the roads at all hours. So to find empty streets every time I needed to make a left turn was strange indeed. Of course some of the drivers who were out were more than a bit demented. My fave was the person I saw waiting for a green arrow in a left turn lane. Guess they got tired of waiting, because they suddenly made a right turn, directly from the left turn lane. Fortunately no one was in their line of fire.

Maybe they were hurrying off to a bank. I had conversations about people who show up with hundred dollar bills at the first two places I bought things. I think twenties are too large and get them broken as soon as I can. I'm not embarrassed to bargain for something, but you lose face if you then whip out a big bill.

We all know that low finance is more my thing. I spent ten cents at one sale this morning, and when I handed over two nickels, I told the young guy running the sale to be sure to spend it wisely. He chuckled and said he’d put it into the kids’ college fund. Good idea, I said; through the magic of compound interest you’ll have enough by then to maybe buy lunch when you go to look at a college.

We parted the best of friends.

Even with the thrifting gods away, I still managed to spend $5.35. The ten cents went for these cute envelopes:
I expect they’ll come in handy. Shoot, when you buy 8 for ten cents, you could mail a bill in them and brighten someone’s day.

Found this DVD set
and these magazines
at the same sale. Tracy Ullman and Martha Stewart seem like strange bedfellows, but a yard sale is a level playing field.

This vintage tablecloth needs a good oxy soak

but it's nice heavy cotton and looks like Fifties embroidery motifS to me.

These three little vases will come in handy for small bouquets from the yard.
The crocus bulbs are still in the box, but I'm not holding my breath that they have any life left in them. No telling how long this has been hanging around someone’s garage. But if they bloom I'll let you know.

And once again, my favorite find of the day was a toy. I foresee hours of fun ahead with this little guy.

What can I say. I'm easily amused!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


My friend Marcia came garaging with me today and was kind enough to drive her car. This is the cool Audi convertible I've mentioned before. She was having a car conversation at one sale with another Audi enthusiast, and something was said about my convertible. The woman asked me what I have and I said a Mitsubishi. Her nose went up ever so slightly. “Oh, those are…” a tiny pause as she searched for something acceptable, “…um, cute.” She turned back to Marsh.

We didn’t buy anything there.

Remember last week I met a guy selling twenty-five cent CDs who said that iTunes has nothing on him? Well, today was major music day. Marcia really scored—she picked up 39 good CDs for $15. Jazz, country, I'm not sure what all was there. She was trying to figure out if it was a really good deal, since she can download songs to her player for a buck each. Let’s see, say a minimum of ten songs per CD…that comes out to less than four cents each. Even if she doesn’t absolutely love every track, I'd say she wins.

One of the sales with CDs also had this handsome fellow. He liked it that I knew just where to scratch on the front of his neck.
His name is Seiko. Yeah, like the watch.

He’s a watch dog.

Okay, I thought it was funny. I'm a very easy audience.

At another sale we had to keep from rolling our eyes when I asked the price on some very used purses. Twenty bucks. Okay, yes the one I was looking at was a Coach bag, but it was quite beat up. I only paid $4 for the nearly new Coach bag I carry. That was an easy sale to pass up. As we left, though, we noticed the strip of ground alongside the driveway was planted in veggies, eggplant and lettuces and cucumbers. The lady came over and gave us a little tour of her garden, clearly quite proud of it. “The radishes are already big enough to eat,” she said, pulling up a couple and handing them to us. Marcia asked if they are organic, and when the answer was yes she brushed off her radish and ate it. The woman was amazed. “Not even washed!” she said. Marcia shrugged. “I grew up in Kansas. We don’t mind a little clean dirt.”

Marcia shared some of her CDs with me.

I also spent $3.25 on my own (can’t have those $50+ blowouts every week, it would break the bank!) and brought home some DVDs.
Love the Shawshank Redemption.

And I lashed out a whole quarter on this wonderful plate. Check out that cool crackly finish.

Still has the sticker on the back, so must never have been used.

Let me leave you with my favorite ad in Craigslist this morning:
"There supposedly will be a large neighbor hood [sic] garage sale occurring in Tustin on Saturday June 5…you may find something you will enjoy."

So I'm mildly anticipating perhaps having a little bit of fun sometime in the future. Kind of hope you will too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Several readers have comment on the likeness of my new/old tiger puppet to Daniel Striped Tiger, one of the inhabitants of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. I think they may well be cousins, but when you see them together you can tell they are not twins.
Lots of similarities, but my tiger has rounder pupils in his eyes, and different stitching on the nose/mouth.

Did you know that the mouth and nose stitching on vintage toys can be a way to identify them? I noticed that this wonderful bear I bought at an auction many years ago has a mouth made of buttonhole stitch…

…and learned this is one of the hallmarks of toys made by Eduard Cramer back in the 1920s and ‘30s.

I gave my little tiger a bit of a sponge bath and he cleaned up nicely. He is now blond rather than gray, and he has spots and stripes on his head and ears as well as on his back. He’s sitting on my desk, keeping me company at the computer.

We also succeeded in erecting our new gazebo.
Haven’t added any of the curtains yet, we’re liking it as-is so far. I'm not quite sure how we’d deal with the curtains running through the planting beds that were already there.
You may notice our “Secret Garden” gate in the background.
When we replaced a gate several months ago, we had the bright idea of using the old one back in this corner as a faux portal. We painted on the hinges and my husband has been patiently training vines over it. I like to imagine the wonderful and mysterious walled garden it leads to!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Isn’t it amazing how different people look at the same scene and see completely different details? A problem when you’re talking about witnesses to a crime scene, but a real advantage at yard sales! My husband went out with me this Saturday, and it is barely an exaggeration to say that our brains are wired in a completely opposite fashion. Even backing our cars out of the driveway, which is at the end of a cul de sac…I back out to the left, he backs out to the right.

Our two big buys of the morning wouldn’t have happened if he hadn't come along, because I literally did not even see them. Okay, maybe if I chatted with everyone less and looked around more I wouldn’t miss so much. On the other hand I enjoy the stories people tell me as much as buying stuff, and the stories are free!

One of my favorite stories today was at the sale of a young couple with two small children. Dad was out minding the sale, and mom had gone in the house to tend to kids, and they were hollering back and forth. “Sold your bike,” he hollered, “you better come see it one more time.” “Ooohhh,” she wailed, “I love that bike!” The bike in question was a vintage-looking big-tired thing, but lest you think she is now bikeless, I saw at least four more in their garage. “She gets really attached to things,” he told me. “I sold her college bike at our last garage sale, and it took me about five years to talk her into parting with it.” He paused for a moment, than added, “Sold it for ten bucks, which I've never told her. I told her I got twenty for it so she’d feel better.”

Met several dogs during the morning. Didn’t get the name of this elderly gent, who started growling at me as I snapped the shot.
His owner was so engrossed in her conversation with some guy that she completely ignored anyone who asked her how much her yard sale stuff cost. Looking at the dog’s expression, I think it's probably a good thing I wasn’t a little kid who might have tried to pet him.

This trio was having a really good time barking at everyone.

Wish I had a better shot of these guys.
A small folding gate thing across the doorway, about a foot high, kept them all trapped in the house. I commented on how good the Lab was, since a barrier that high wasn’t much of a deterrent for a dog his size. “Oh,” said his owner, “he’s easily fooled.”

Maybe he thinks he’s a Chihuahua.

This lovely Golden is called Harley.
He is reputedly a real wuss around other dogs. Reno is a Swiss Mountain Dog, just a year old and full of pep.

And little Lily is a wiggly Cavalier King Charles spaniel. When she wasn’t wiggling she was falling over.

We managed a major spending blowout—$56.75. Guess we made up for last week’s $1.10. The big buy was a gazebo like this one.
We’re still getting it set up. We bought it thinking it is ten feet square, which is the right size for one of our patios. But when we began to put it together, we discovered it’s 11½ feet! Can we say big? We’ve been trying to figure out how to place it. Probably the only gazebo in the neighborhood that will have flower beds on the inside as well as out. But it's quite posh. Screens, curtains—maybe I'll start sleeping outside when it gets hot. Have to say I'm looking forward to being outside after dark and sheltered from the mosquitoes. They consider me a delectable treat.

Other big buy…three vintage stools.
Can't you see them in our kitchen-to-be?
We’ll probably paint the chrome legs to go with the tile colors on the backsplash, and maybe recover the seats.

Picked up some door prizes for children’s librarians. This is Charley the Chicken.

I love the dangly legs. Also found a couple of kits…
…and this frog mitt for playing catch with Velcro balls.
Thought this faux ice cube will look awfully cute on the tree next Christmas…
…and this set of candles will be used in the lanterns in the yard.
My hubs found a book he’s been wanting to read…
…and when he comes up for air we can watch these DVDs…
…and listen to all these CDs.

The CDs were all a quarter each (and one is a two-CD set). Found them at a couple of sales; loved it when one of the sellers told us, “I-tunes has nothing on us.”

Couldn’t resist these pieces of fabric, though I admit I don’t know how I'll use them. There’s a total of at least 7 yards in the three pieces for seventy-five cents. I'd like to see you resist a deal like that.

I'm absolutely in love with my last find, a little vintage hand puppet.
Thought at first he was a bear, but he has stripes on his back so must be a tiger.
I'm not sure if the fabric is mohair or an early synthetic. He needs some cleaning, but I think I'll just give him a surface wipe. Wouldn’t want to do anything to hurt him. Don’t you love his serious expression?
It was late in the morning when I found him. Maybe he was worried no one would want him. I think he’s starting to look happier already.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


What a perfectly beautiful Saturday. The kind of morning the rest of the world thinks we have in southern California all the time. Which I'm sorry to say is not true. Yes, the climate is benign, but we have a lot of gray days this time of year. But not today. It's even getting warm enough that I had my first dip in our (unheated!) pool. Those gasps you heard were mine—but after the first shock it's wonderful.

I headed a bit further west than usual today for a neighborhood sale, since the pickings were a bit slim. I don’t think of Mother’s Day as one of those holidays that affects garaging, but I may have to reconsider that. Pickings were definitely thin, but I came out on the upside, as I will explain in a moment.

Gardens were in full bloom.
These roses were stunning; I love the bold color combination of the red with the orange nasturtium and purple lavender (didn’t get much of that in the picture). When I complimented the homeowner on her beautiful yard, she told me it had come with the house, all they had done was take out a few things that were too crowded. I hope she realizes how lucky she is!

Met a few cute dogs. One was a large, handsome white Lab who greeted me cordially. I got out my camera to take his picture and he immediately turned and walked away. Must have been pestered by paparazzi in the past. But the others were confined, so I got my shots. Cisco here is the only one whose name I remember.
This little Bichon did a wonderful dance for me, up on his hind paws and waving the front ones—until I pointed the camera.
These two little guys were at the sale where you got a free gift with any purchase.
You had your choice of a glass of punch, or a stick of cotton candy. Back behind the dogs, a guy was standing at a cotton candy machine, making it fresh. I can't say I was tempted by either treat!

I was also not tempted by this teapot.

I love teapots, and I really love M&Ms, but an M&M teapot? A patriotic M&M teapot? I always reflect with amazement when I see something like this that someone actually designed it—and convinced someone to manufacture it. And someone bought it…probably for a gift, right?

Hmm, hope I haven’t insulted all the M&M memorabilia collectors who read my blog. Don’t hate me, I respect your passion. Just give me the candy and you can have the teapots.

At another sale I overheard a man ask how much a framed mirror was. “Two dollars,” said the wife. The husband laughed and joshed, “Two, that’s a bargain. I was going to say two hundred.” The guy looking at the mirror didn’t miss a beat. He pulled out two ones and said, “I was going to bargain you down to a hundred.”

I chatted with another woman while perusing her sale. When I finished I said heck, didn’t find anything I needed—but at least my husband would be happy. She said something about husbands, and I told her mine is really very good. About the only thing he ever says, no matter what I bring home, is “Where are you going to put it?” As soon as I started the line, she was saying it with me and cracking up. “There was a woman here earlier,” she said, “and she asked me how much that dresser is. Her husband was still in the car, not even looking at her, and I heard him say ‘where are you going to put it.’” We both laughed, and she added, “He sure didn’t miss the husband meeting!”

So now we know, there’s a training session they’ve all been to!

Speaking of husbands, we had our 38th anniversary this week. I'm sure you’ll be glad to know we’ve decided to go for another year.

I think I actually came out ahead this week, spending-wise. First, I didn’t buy much. Still trying to remember the “is it really good and will you use it?” test, though I admit the usefulness of some of today’s finds remains to be seen. I have a weakness for vintage linens, like these two dresser scarves with their hand crocheted edgings.

This jar of buttons…okay, pure self indulgence.
I don’t expect the contents will prove earthshaking, though there were some nice coat buttons and these cute ladybugs (just a tad over a quarter of an inch long) on top of the stash.
The jar itself, made in France and impressed with “Le Parfait Super” on the lid, is worth what I paid.
But the real fun comes when I settle down and dump everything out, then start looking at the buttons. I'll come to some time later, feeling I've just had a deep meditative experience.

My last purchase was purely practical—and something that was on my grocery shopping list for today.
So here’s how I figure the math. I was planning to buy cupcake papers at the 99 Cent Store. Must be at least 75 left in this in this package, for a dime. So I saved ninety cents there. Plus, I found a quarter at the gas station. I spend a total of $1.10 at yard sales. I came out ahead, by at least fourteen cents, yes? Yes!
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