Saturday, August 14, 2010


I may have passed up the chance of a lifetime today.
I could have become an instant member of the Better Business Bureau, and for only seventy five cents. Bet that’s an amazing discount off their regular dues!

It was a low key morning. I admit to a bit of teeth grinding over the huge “neighborhood sale” signs on three or four contiguous tracts that each had only one or two unimpressive sales. I have limited (read ‘nonexistent’) needs for children’s clothing and well-used toys. With a true neighborhood sale you have enough driveways involved for plenty of variety. But heck, there’s not really a darned thing I need and garaging is a treasure hunt. Last week I found treasure (and yes, my butt likes that chair more every day). Today, my pirate ship just didn’t find many islands with that big X in the sand to mark the spot.

We did say hello to some cute pups, all of the small variety. Jody’s owner is possibly the first person ever who seemed to think it a trifle odd when I took a picture of her dog.
She didn’t object, just raised an eyebrow. I think most of us believe our pets are so adorable that of course complete strangers will want a picture of them. I know mine are.

Jody was followed by George
who was a retirement gift when his owner left her job. Which reminds me of the phone call I got many years ago, when my husband was leaving the bank he worked for. His coworkers wanted to do something special for him and knew that he collected frog things, so they called me to ask how I thought he’d feel about a real live frog as his going away gift. I convinced them that frogs are not easy pets and we dodged that bullet. But if they’d asked about a small cute dog, the answer might have been different.

At my last stop I met Cookie.
I asked if she is all cocker spaniel, and her owner said they think she’s a mix of cocker and mutt.

I managed to shell out $3.10 in all, and came home with a couple of books.

The paper airplanes will be fun for a library program. And I love the tagline on the ME book: “The Mary Engelbreit look and how to get it!” It's my belief that most men view this level of cuteness with horror. For fifty cents, this could be a real weapon. “Be nice to me or I'll get out my Mary Engelbreit book…”

I'll use this Hallowe’en frame in my office in the fall.

I've been looking for a chenille bedspread for the guest room for quite a while. They’ve been thin on the ground (which is literally where I found this one) and the ones I did see were too pricey. Finally found one today I think will work, and the price was right.
The reason the price was right was that this spread has an owie.
I know there’s a story behind that hole, but the lady I got it from said it was like that when she got it. And of course some stories are better not to know. But it won’t show on the guest bed because I'll tuck it in the back. And I figure I can keep an eye out for a pillow sham or something in similar fabric and eventually do a patch job.

My last find was only a dime, and the story that came with it definitely falls into the priceless category. I saw a couple of boxes on a driveway with lots of old patterns in them. I don’t make clothing any more, just do a bit of refashioning. But some vintage patterns can be resold, so I did a little looking. First one I came across was this.

I love this pattern. Would that I could wear this style; I imagine I could size up the pattern but let’s just say this would not flatter me. Sigh. But it was a dime. Maybe I'll frame it for my midcentury retirement house. Anyway, I kept looking through the patterns and didn’t see any others I wanted. Many of them were for children's clothing.

So I went to pay for it. The lady having this sale was probably in her seventies, maybe older. As I got out my dime I asked if she was the seamstress. She laughed and said no, that was her mother. Then she added, “She’s a hundred and four. She’s in a nursing home now, and she has her good days and bad.” We agreed that we all have those. But apparently her 104 year old mom still has all her marbles and is going strong. Then I thought about the patterns I'd seen. “So are the children’s patterns things that she made for you?” She said that they were, and that her mother had made nearly all her clothing when she was growing up. “Every once in a while she would buy me something from a store, but I never liked those because other people could have the same thing. I only wanted to wear things I knew no one else had one like it.”

That’s one of the reasons I like shopping on driveways—I get to have things no one else has. Most of the time, anyway. I remember wearing a newly-purchased sweater to work once and having someone tell me they had one just like it that they bought about twenty years ago.

I want to end on a slightly mysterious note. I've got something in the works that I'll be announcing in a week or two. No, not my retirement, dang it, that’s still out there in the future somewhere. But it's something I'm VERY excited about. Stay tuned!


  1. Love old patterns! My Mom made a lot of my clothes growing up also.

  2. Enjoyed your post. I always love the dog pics. My mother made all my clothes too. Sewing notions, patterns and sewing machines are the embodiment of love to me.

  3. I love looking at old patterns. I used to make all of my own clothes. Then I got too busy. How sad.

    Love the dog pics!

  4. love the pattern also..... we all have good days and not so good days. Queen, I always enjoy your blog, straightforward, a sense of humor and great finds.

  5. I love that jacket pattern (and old patterns in general) but it wouldn't flatter my figure either. NTL, it's very cool and I loved the story behind the patterns... makes it extra special.

  6. That pattern would look great framed. As always I love the stories you share with us. Very fun!

  7. A whole box full of vintage patterns---and you left them. Be still my heart!! I would have pounced on them. Vintage patterns are as scarce as hen's teeth in my neck of the woods. When I ask about vintage patterns at garage sales, they usually point me to a box of 70's or 80's patterns. Or they will tell me about the box that belonged to their Mother, Grandmother, etc. and that they threw away. I almost cry when that happens.
    And about the bedspread---if you can't see the problem--then don't worry about it.

  8. MAry Engelbreit books are hard to find around here, no one lets them go. Maybe if the husbands were having the sales...

  9. You know that is part of the reason that I thrift too. I love buying unique and well made things. I feel so bored at the mall or at Wal-mart. And of course I love the stories from the people. That's really what makes thrifting so special.

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  11. I really like the reference to being a pirate ship looking for islands. I feel that way too and sometimes have to just cruise on by those lame sales. Nothing makes me madder than a sign that advertises a big a** sale and then becomes a let down!

  12. I love your blog. I am also an avid garagesaler. As my daughter and son in law just informed me I'm going to be a grandma in the spring, I now get to stop at all the kiddie sales. My daughter wants me to decorate the forthcoming nursery so we really need to start looking.

  13. Hi! Found you through a google search. I love yard/garage sales too... you never know what you find. I'm going to be keeping my eye out for that McCalls pattern... it's a beauty! Monique xx


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

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