Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gods, Dogs and Chairs

The yard sale gods evidently were very, very sorry for last week. I mean, when two acquisitive women spend all morning at yard sales and manage to spend fifty cents between them, you have to figure you’ve either seriously offended the YSGs, or they’ve gone on vacation. I’m leaning toward the vacation theory…and now they are back.

I mean, today I spent a little over $26. Given my frugality you know it was a big day. Started out small, with me just taking pictures of stuff I thought was kind of cool but didn’t buy. Like this, um, lab equipment thingie.


Couldn’t think of anything to do with it except perhaps place it next to the control panel from a 1916 x-ray machine in my husband’s office (a story for another day). So I left it.

Wasn’t even tempted by these.


Her brother assured me I should not be fooled by the wings or the angelic expression. I wasn’t. They did enjoy my story about the guy I saw a while back do something similar, and then wasn’t able to get the darned wings off. His buddies were most amused.

First buy was a DVD.


Then a couple of vintage books I’m hoping to resell, though it looks like they won’t make my fortune as I had naively hoped.


At the same sale I picked up this handmade wooden jar. Just liked it. Might have been made by the same guy who tied the flies. Once it’s cleaned up I think it will be quite nice.


A stack of gardening magazines is always welcome.


Met a few dogs along the way. Handsome Kahlua was very hopeful that the cookies might be shared with him. But they weren’t.


Miss Molly gave my car a good sniffing. She’s elderly; maybe her eyesight is going and she thought it was a big dog.


Found a gift for a friend who likes dragonflies, one of those crystal cubes etched inside by a laser. Hopefully I’ll be able to give it to her before she reads this!


Another sale provided these little LED lights for a dime apiece


and a free sundial, something I’ve always wanted.



By now I was definitely feeling the beneficence of the yard sale gods, and sending them my thanks. And then it happened.

Walked up to one of those sales where the little kids have a table of cookies for sale. Noticed that two of them were sitting on rather nice mid century modern dining chairs. Took a couple more steps and saw two more of the chairs…with a price tag for the set of four. Fairly reasonable, although the woven seats of all four must be redone. Given that, I suggested an even more reasonable price, and soon they were mine.


I really, really like the look of them. Even with the seats coming undone they are rock solid and comfy to sit on. I love the contrasting wood on the backrest


and the sculptural quality of the pieces.



I wedged the four of them into the convertible and toted them home, and gloated over them for a while. Then started looking online to see if I could find a maker, since I don’t see any labels. (They may have had paper labels that have come off, or something under the weaving.) And I do believe I found them. Looks like they are the CH23 chair by Hans Wegner. If you’re into mid century furniture you know how exciting that is! Hans Wegner designed really cool stuff and I have lusted over pictures of his furniture for some time, never dreaming I would actually find some that I could afford. You can do a Google Image search on his name, or click here to see the results I got.

I’m sure I’ll get a bit snarly when I reweave all the seats, but I’ve done that kind of weaving before so I’m sure I can handle it. The Danish papercord will cost far more than I paid for the chairs, I’m sure! But when they’re done we will have four matching dining chairs for the first time. I’ll try to finish them before our 40th anniversary next spring!

So here’s to the yard sale gods: all my appreciation for a fine morning. Hope they smiled on you as well!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Elmos and Eichlers

My friend Stephanie came out garaging with me this morning, and since she lives way up in north county, we decided we’d meet about halfway between our houses. This put us in quite a posh area of the OC; figured if we didn’t find many sales we could at least look at the high-priced neighborhoods.

We figured right! I have new respect for my usual route, which has proven so fruitful over the years. Didn’t buy one darned thing, and Steph ended up spending a whopping fifty cents. But she spent it well, as you will see.

Some of the neighborhoods really were lovely, with beautiful landscaping. But even those areas of million-plus dollar homes had their stinkers, like the two story stucco house painted a very odd shade between pea green and acid yellow. We stopped at one sale in a neighborhood of houses that all appeared to be Eichler houses. Turns out they actually are Eichlers! We got kind of excited when we saw some open house signs, both of us perfectly willing to be looky-lous. But then we realized it was only 8 a.m. and the open house would not yet be open. I just checked some real estate sites and most likely the signs were for this house. Which would have been fun to see, but I have my own MCM house that I’ll be seeing in the near future!

We met a few dogs. This little guy was recovering from surgery IMG_2205and I tried hard to pet the Lab half of this pair but she was so excited I could hardly touch her before she bucked away in excitement.IMG_2207

Little Roxie was rescued from the pound. She has an absolutely gorgeous coat.IMG_2211

Handsome storm was shopping with his owner on Roxie’s driveway.IMG_2212

I hope he had better luck with his shopping than I did. Bought nothing. Zero. Zip. Of course, since I’m moving in the near future this is not a bad thing! Here’s proof that we’re getting serious about this whole retirement/moving to Oregon plan:


We’ve already moved part of our stuff! We’re putting our OC house on the market very soon and needed to clear it out so it will show well. It’s feeling quite spacious now! So if you know anyone in the market for a great house with an amazing yard in PRIME yard sale country (this week notwithstanding) send ‘em by.

So, back to Steph’s fifty cents. Her husband asked her before she left what she was planning to bring home, which of course one never knows. So we started watching for something silly she could take him, and we found the perfect thing.


Everyone needs a talking Elmo, right? When you tilt his head back he says various things, or just laughs. We cracked up the whole morning every time we hit a bump and Elmo said something from the back seat. Several stops later she scored a new change purse.


It’s the sequins on the kitty’s butt that make it really special. And so here we have Portrait of a Happy Garager.


Guess it pays to shop those posh neighborhoods!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

One Down!

I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture of my friend Linda this morning. I was so surprised to see her out garaging that grabbing my camera didn’t cross my mind. I would have entitled it “Portrait of a Dedicated Thrifter” and made sure the cast on her foot was in sharp focus. Yes, she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago; yes, it still hurts; and yes, she was out driving around looking for yard sales this morning. I sure hope she had better luck than I did – though I did find one thing I especially need. And I found it because of Linda’s broken foot!

It’s not that there weren’t a number of sales this week, but their wares were either total crap (sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true) or ridiculously priced, or both. I mean, come on – you think you’re going to get $5 for a cookbook no one has ever heard of? That was at the sale where the kind of unsure-of-himself boy was helping his mom, with a copy of The Out of Synch Child prominently displayed for sale. (And overpriced.) Hmmm, wonder if there’s any market for one entitled The Insensitive Parent

But it’s a beautiful morning, about 70 degrees and a little breeze blowing (I know, please don’t hate me) so I kept going. The one thing I really hoped to find was a couple of pet carriers, for when we move the cats up to Oregon. The ones we take them to the vet in are quite small (but easy to get them in and out of) so they each need something a little bigger that will still fit in the car. So I looked and looked and never saw any.

Finally came to three houses in a row having sales. The lady at the middle house was sporting a very familiar looking cast on her foot. “You have an owie,” I said, and she agreed. I told her about Linda’s foot that she managed to break by stepping off a 2 inch high curb. This lady may actually have Linda beat – she doesn’t know how she broke hers! “The only thing I could think of,” she said, “was that I dug a hole to plant a tomato, and the next day my foot started to hurt. I bet my doctor imagines I’m some kind of falling down drunk having blackouts or something.” We agreed it’s pretty scary to be able to break a bone and not know it, and chatted a few minutes. Then I headed off for the next house, but for some reason as I started to move I said something about looking for pet carriers and not finding any. “I may have one,” she said. “Go check their sale while I look in the garage.”

So I did (another sale of overpriced crap) and she did, and she dug out one of those soft sided carriers. We agreed on a price, and I learned that it had been her cat Rebel’s, who died at the age of 15 from kidney failure a few months ago. “That’s what my Mrs. Wilberforce is dealing with,” I said, and mentioned having to drip fluids into her every day – which is exactly what she had done with Rebel. So we had a good old talk about that, and it was really quite encouraging. Rebel lasted for 4 years on the drip regime, and she said it really got to be no big deal for either of them. Mrs. W and I are glad to hear that, both that it really extended his life, and that you get used to the routine. And we feel like Rebel has passed along his travel case to Mrs. Wilberforce. I know there are some good vibes in there.

In fact, Noll has already been checking out those vibes! IMG_1878 IMG_1879 IMG_1883


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Gale-Force Winds of Change are Blowing!

I broke the news at work this week that I am going to retire.

Next month!

I vacillate at least hourly between excitement and terror. Oh boy, I get to go live in my MCM house in Oregon now! Eeeek, will we be able to make ends meet?! And on and on. But when you decide to make a huge change in your life, you have to accept that all the ducks will never line up beforehand. You just jump in and work things out as you go.

Sounds wise, yes? Which is why I was able to pass up this item at a yard sale this morning. Figured I have sufficient wisdom already.


Right now yard sales feel like an ocean of stability in my life. Safe, predictable, comforting.

Inexpensive! I spent a total of $2.60 this morning. Probably the best deal was ten cents for 8 Georgia O’Keeffe cards.

IMG_1499They were at a semi-crazed sale with a ton of stuff belonging to three different women. Every time anyone asked how much something was, one of them would say it belonged to someone else and start hollering for whoever. I’m glad the only thing I found that I wanted was a simple buy that only required one holler for a price.

Bought some white things. A trio of canvas boards for an artist friend from some twenty-somethings. One of the young ladies told me rather grandly that it was the first sale they had had in twenty years. I refrained from telling her that few preschoolers hold yard sales, which is what she much have been twenty years ago.


This roll of white Con-tac paper will come in handy at the new house.


Couldn’t grab it fast enough when I saw that it is repositionable. If you’re old enough to remember the stickum that used to be on this stuff you know what I’m talking about. It must have given them idea for Super Glue. Man, that stuff could stick – and woe betide you if you got a wrinkle in it or it stuck to itself!

A couple of driveways up the street I met little Lucy at another sale.


Isn’t that a wonderfully goofy face? I think she thought the camera might be food. Not so Riley the Pomeranian; he was having nothing to do with a camera.


I missed a good shot at another sale, perhaps because there was no dog involved so I didn’t think about grabbing my camera until it was too late. A family visiting from Norway was being taken to yard sales by their host and were having a wonderful time shopping. Evidently the host agrees with me that they could have no experience more quintessentially American. The teenage daughter found a pink feather boa, and they asked the lady having the sale to take their picture. Then they had someone else take a picture of them with the sale lady.

My last buy came with a terrific story.


As I paid the young woman having that sale, she smiled when she saw what I had and said, “I went to that movie on my first date.”  This is the kind of remark that makes my heart go pitty pat. “Your first date ever?” I asked. She nodded. “The very first. I went to this movie with Tim Dufor, and we went across the street for ice cream afterward. My mom took us, and his grandma picked us up. Then he spent the rest of the summer coming to all my baseball games and watched them with my mom.”

I asked if she was still in touch with him, but no. “I knew him all the way through high school and he just got handsomer and handsomer. But after that we lost touch.”

I think I’m going to keep an eye out for good looking guys of the right age named Tim. If I find one, I’ll see if he remembers On Golden Pond.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It’s in Our Genes!

My mother’s 90th birthday was last week, so I trundled off to Oklahoma for the festivities. The party of course was fun, but the real excitement for my sister, Midcentury Marilyn and I was that we got to go garaging together! This opportunity has not come our way since we were kids, and we had a great time. Since I had to schlep anything I found home in my backpack I contented myself with two great finds: a vintage Coach bag


and a pie bird, something I have secretly always wanted!


Sis did great, finding a number of items for her resale shop,

 IMG_1191  IMG_1193 IMG_1199 IMG_1200 IMG_1208 IMG_1216

not to mention some items that will be gifts, or live at her house.



Everyone had to thumb through this cookbook looking for favorite recipes.


And we got a lot of hilarity out of the singing Hershey’s kiss jar.


That evening at the birthday party our nephew Evan was the last to arrive. His cousins immediately began admiring the boots he was wearing. “Ten bucks at the thrift store,” he said. Marilyn and I locked eyes and started laughing.

“It must be genetic!” she said. And indeed, all of the younger generation started comparing notes about their favorite thrifting adventures.

To my mind, those kids were raised right!

This week I got to spend Saturday morning with one of my oldest friends, Diana, who was visiting from Oregon. (We figured out that we’ve known each other for 37 years. Yikes!) Even though it was a holiday weekend, we headed out to see what we could find. Met this sweet exuberant dog, Callie, first thing.


She bounced sideways out of the shot just as I clicked the camera. But once I found that magic spot on her neck to scratch she fell right over for petting.

Callie was the dog of the day, guess the rest of them must have been cooling off at the beach or something.

Our first purchases were from an older lady who had a lot of kindergarten teacher stuff for sale. I asked if she had retired and she said no, she plans to keep working forever, but she’s been moved to a different school and she has absolutely no storage in her new classroom. So she has to downsize her teaching collection. We commiserated, and she remarked that “very few school administrators were ever kindergarten teachers.” I think she may be right! Diana picked up a couple of child size life vests, and I got a couple of twisty things:


The froggie plant ties just crack me up. I think the video is one I’ve seen before with lots of footage of tornados taken by lunatics with camcorders.

Got to mark an item off my search list: I needed a tray for my new (smaller) CPAP machine to sit on. This one just fits.


Found a couple of books for gifts, one of which I was planning to order this week from Amazon or somewhere. I’m awfully pleased to have found it on a driveway!


And the deal of the day was this large Silpat.


If you bake very much, these are great. You put it on your cookie sheet instead of grease or parchment paper, and you can use it over and over. I have a smaller one that’s just big enough to bake cookies for two people’s evening snack. I mix up cookie dough and keep it in the fridge, so whenever we need “a little something” as Winnie the Pooh would say, we whip out the Silpat and in a few minutes have warm cookies and a baking sheet that’s still clean.

I did bring back one more yard sale find from Oklahoma – but it’s not one that I bought! Almost three years ago I was in Oklahoma to help MC Marilyn do a sale for our folks, and she found this great teapot at a neighbor’s sale for a buck.


I tried to get it from her by hook or by crook, but no dice. So imagine my surprise when she gave it to me on this last trip! It’s not quite the right shade of blue for her kitchen, but she had no trouble thinking of someone who would appreciate it.

I’m just wondering what the security people at the airport thought when they x-rayed my carry on bag!

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