Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coming Clean

It’s not the first time I've done it.

I usually don’t admit what I've done. To anyone.

But now it’s time to share this dirty little secret.

Which is…sometimes I buy things just so I can clean them up.

I know, I know. How peculiar is that? It's not like I don’t already own things that could use a good cleaning. Like my husband’s Civic hatchback in which I transport dogs to the park twice a day, seven days a week, rain or shine. The dogs are generally clean and dry when I take them down the hill. Coming back…not so much.

There’s really no point in cleaning up the car until the rains stop, which certainly won’t be this week. But I brought home a few items on Friday mostly because I wanted to clean the poor things. Do you suppose a steady diet of thrifting erodes our sanity after a while?

We went to three or four sales, though I only bought at one. Not the first one. That was the way overpriced sale that I was still enjoying because they had really super dog. Gigantic. A Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland/St. Bernard mix, which may be even odder than our Edward, who was Rottweiler, Springer spaniel, and shepherd. I was exclaiming over their dog’s gorgeousness and as I often do, pulled out my camera and took a picture for the blog.

Whoa. In less than a second the woman having the sale was beside me, hissing at me not to take a picture of her dog. Ooookay, sure. I slipped the camera back into my pocket. She went on to say (more than once) that she is very protective of her dog. Ummmm, what does that even mean? You think I’m going to what, steal your dog? Believe me, I have my hands full with the ones I have. I gave her a not-very-genuine smile and we left.

I wouldn't have been so taken aback if I had not shot hundreds of pictures of other people’s dogs over the years. Pretty sure not one of those shots led to a dognapping. Meeting everyone’s dogs has been a highlight of my garaging career.

Oh well. So I met someone with a screw loose. Who am I to talk – I buy things so I can clean them!

On we went to the estate sale on our list. Which was one of those with mostly terrific prices. Like fat quarters (a quarter of a yard of fabric for the uninitiated!) for a quarter each

or a nice cotton tablecloth for another quarter.

In fact, almost everything I got was a quarter. The big spends were fifty cents each for the vintage laundry bag

and the pair of Bonzo dog (a cartoon character from the Twenties) salt and pepper shakers. Which I picked up because I liked their look,

and bought because they were so darned dirty. Keep reading, the ‘after’ picture is coming!

Other quarters went for some stuff to line kitchen drawers, 

a little framed piece of hardanger embroidery, 

a couple of partially embroidered pillow cases that I think will be fun to finish (okay, they were a quarter each!), 

and in one of those boxes of kitchen miscellany I fished out two silverplated items, a tiny spoon 

and a nutcracker. I admit I was rather bemused by the thought of a silver nutcracker, especially for a quarter.

I was happy with my bag o’ goodies and headed out to the garage to pay up, and I saw my big splurge item of the day. Which desperately needs cleaning (and it hasn’t stopped raining long enough for me to take it out on the deck and do just that).

An oak armchair. Quite old, I think. Originally had a cane seat. 

I heard it calling my name, and when I went over and sat down in it, I had to have it. I'm hoping that once it's clean and that oak is shining again, the ten bucks I paid for it won't seem too ridiculous.

Once home, I pulled out my trusty container of silver polish (the one I've had for so long it’s practically an antique as well) and went to work.

The spoon and the nutcracker both responded nicely.

What I find fascinating is that the plating is so worn on the nutcracker. It looks like it had a lot of use.

But the Bonzo dogs were the real transformation. I think they look much happier without their years of grime, don’t you?

But then, so does Zoë!


  1. I love reading your posts, humour along with great finds. Hope you write about that chair (after) again.

    1. I will, I can hardly wait to see how it turns out!

  2. I bought a dresser at an estate sale and below one drawer was an envelope. I hoped it was hundreds of dollars, but it was a silver plated spoon. I found it odd that it was hidden. Love reading your blog

    1. Wow, that is a great story! And how odd that I found a silver plated spoon at the same sale as my chair.

  3. I kind of know what you mean. If I saw a beat-up teddy I might be tempted to buy it to mend, clean and love. And I LOVE cleaning blackened silver. xx

    1. Oh, definitely teddies must be rescued. And I have some to prove it!

  4. Those sweet shakers need your cleaning love! So cute. I sometimes wish I could wash something and return it to the table when I see it so dirty also. Crazy? I like to think we just love and respect old things.

  5. Hmmm... perhaps the Great Pyrenes/St Bernard Mix at the first sale was in the Doggie Protection program???!!!

  6. I sometimes take pictures of people's pets. If I can, I ask. Usually they say yes and look at me like I'm silly for asking!! Lovely picture of Zoë. Her head is very much like our Finn's (he's a Labrador/German Shepherd cross.)


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

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