Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fur and Furniture

My cell phone rang Friday afternoon as I was getting my hair cut. It was my friend Marcia, asking if I wanted to go garaging in her tract Saturday, then on to a home and garden tour.

I had to decline, since I knew we had a bunch of house and yard work that had to be done Saturday afternoon. (The post-garden tour potluck for all the gardeners is at our house on Sunday.)Plus, I also knew that one of my favorite neighborhood sales would be on Saturday and if I didn’t cruise over there I’d always be sure I had missed something good.

And I would have been right!

At my first stop there were two elderly Golden retrievers, and a little girl who was absolute determined to give one of them a dog biscuit.


Dog was absolutely not interested. She tried everything up to and including pushing it into his mouth. He calmly dropped it and walked away. She finally gave up and wandered off too. “He doesn’t like those crummy biscuits,” the security guy commented.


Side note: I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a three-year-old being dressed in a jacket decorated with a skull and “Love Kills Slowly” (however artistically it is done) but I fear it is on the disapproving side. Call me old-fashioned…

I kept cruising. There were blocks with no sales at all, then you’d find three or four close to each other. I checked out one at a corner house, then strolled across the street to the neighbor’s sale, where I found a nice Pyrex measuring cup.


Now, I hate to run out of clean measuring cups when I’m cooking. It irritates me to have to stop and wash and dry one. Which usually happens when SOMEONE in the house has made microwave chocolate sauce in a measuring cup and stuck the leftovers in the fridge. (Want the recipe? Put some chocolate chips in something you can microwave, yes, like a Pyrex measuring cup, and add a little brown sugar and some cream. Microwave until it is melted. Stir. Pour over ice cream. Enjoy the hell out of it.) My husband thinks our current collection is adequate


but I wasn’t sure I agreed. So I asked the price of this one. “Fif—er, a dollar,” the woman said. I laughed and said, “You were going to say fifty cents, weren’t you?” She laughed too. “Yeah, but I don’t have any change.” I checked my purse but my change was down to 23 cents. So I left it. But as I walked back to my car I passed the folks at the corner sale, and on a whim asked it they had enough change to break a dollar for me. They were happy to do so, and I ran back across the street with my quarters. Now she had some change and I had my measuring cup, which I waved in triumph for the folks who had broken my dollar bill.

My next negotiation was with an 9 year old boy, who wasn’t quite sure he was ready to give up Spike.


He had put a slightly unrealistic price tag on her.


I asked him to come down a bit in price. He finally said twenty dollars. Ummm, I was thinking more like two, I said, but someone else might meet his price. I put Spike down.

There were 4 or 5 adults having the sale. One of them, maybe his dad, laughed and said to him, “It’s a garage sale!” in the exact same tone of voice my friends and I use when walking away from an overpriced sale. We chatted for a few minutes, while the boy reconsidered. He came down to five bucks. I offered three. He agreed. I double checked to make sure he was really okay with that—after all, it’s a long way down from a trillion dollars. I also had an eye on the grown-ups to make sure they were okay with it, which they were; they seemed to feel it was a good life-lesson in negotiating. “I really don’t want to cheat a child,” I told them. “At least, not with witnesses!”

Spike is actually a votive holder. You open her butt (sorry, but that’s what you do!) to put a candle in a holder inside. Even though the name is Spike, this is obviously a girl dog.



The eyelashes as are dead giveaway!

I cruised on. When you return each year for a particular neighborhood’s sale day, you’re apt to run into some of the same sellers. As I chatted with a lady at one rather overpriced sale, she started telling me about how this or that belonged to her sister, and her sister had gone off to look at the other sales and left her to mind the store. “I think you told me she did that last year too,” I said. She said yes, her sister and a friend said they would be gone a few minutes and left her to do their sale, and never came back all day, never brought her anything to eat or drink. I couldn’t help thinking as I left that she needs to wake up and negotiate better terms on sale day!

As I was leaving her sale, my cell rang. Marcia again. “I’m sending you a picture from my phone. There are some twin headboards here that I think are midcentury.” (I’ve been looking for twin beds for our other house.) I said my phone wasn’t fancy enough to get pictures. And I need whole beds, not just headboards. Heck, we both said, and rang off. But she must have been sending powerful vibes to the furniture gods, because about ten minutes later I rounded a corner and saw a pair of twin beds on a driveway. No, no screeching tires as I halted, didn’t run to get to them. No mattresses, but the price tag for the pair was pretty good, and the sellers were charming older folks who were willing to sweeten the price a bit. AND  deliver! So I have one set of maple twin beds, probably from the 40s or 50s. Wish I had had the sense to take a picture while they were set up on their driveway, but I was too excited to think of it.


I love the finials on the posts. I think they look like acorns!


So thanks for the furniture vibes, Marcia! But don’t stop…I need another set of twin beds and a midcentury modern sofa still! Let’s make the next set of beds something like a pair by Heywood Wakefield. Something along these lines…

Met several charming dogs along the way (aside from the not-hungry retrievers). This is Moose.


He was very friendly, very sweet. I asked if he is a pit mix. “They told us at the shelter he’s a mastiff mix,” the young woman told me. Uh, sure he is. But hey, it got him a good home, and he deserves it. Poor baby, when I zipped open my fanny pack to get my camera, he got all excited thinking it was a treat bag and that food was forthcoming. But he didn’t seem to hold it against me when all he got was a sniff at my camera.

Lewis the boxer was also very friendly. IMG_0730 He hangs out with cute Jessica, who was modeling a monkey hat.


Cooper the English lab had pulled a visor out of the sale pile and was romping with it. She’s an energetic 13-month old.


Maddy the Vizsla is afraid of cameras.


This little guy I’ve met before, a couple of years ago. His name is Moss, and he’s a Corgi/Golden retriever cross.


“Best dog we’ve ever had,” his owner told me.

I spent a total of $53 during the morning, which seems pretty good since it included a pair of beds! I also picked up a few books

IMG_0753 a pair of sage green placemats (she threw in all the matching napkins)

IMG_0742 a pouring spout, now residing on my bottle of olive oil

IMG_0752and a bag full of old lace (hoping I can sell some of it off).


I haven’t had a chance to go through it yet, but it looks like there’s some neat stuff in there.


Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this inch-wide insertion lace, with its little woven boxes. IMG_0749This will be almost as fun as going through a tin of buttons!


  1. Sounds like a good day! The lace is a great find...the square stuff is really neat....for insertion??

  2. LOL, I have to laugh at the pit mix part! Years (and years) ago I worked in animal welfare and we often called a pit mixes (and sometimes full on breed ones) by some other breed name or mix (boxer mix, lab mix, beagle mix...) One of the cities I worked in had an anti-pit bull rule and all pits had to be euthanized. So many sweet guys and gals came in and we couldn't bare not to try to find them homes! My own soul dog was a dalmation (cough, cough pit) mix (and he was the sweetest pup ever!) I am so happy to see a "mastiff" mix out there happy and homed!

  3. We spoke in your garden on the tour, and just wanted to let you know you inspired me to get out there and seek some deals, when the local east lake village had a neighborhood sale. I came away with some great stuff, my prize being a 6 foot tall glass door lawyers book case negociated from 99 down to 55. The case is beautiful and was very very cheap for the item. I have been looking for a bookcase like this for over 20 years, and just could not pay the high retail price for one.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. free tip:

    have you seen this site for free clip art??


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

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