Sunday, April 29, 2018


Driving towards downtown on Wednesday morning, I spied it – right in front of the Episcopalian Church.

A sign. One I'd see before.

“Rummage Sale, Thursday Friday Saturday 9 a.m.”

I drove around the block and pulled the car over. Took my phone out. Texted.

“KK. Episcopalians are rummaging tomorrow @ 9!”

She texted back. “Bummer! Have to go to Eugene.” About 10 minutes later she texted again. “I’ll go to Eugene after!”

We’ve both made good finds among the Episcopalians’ cast-offs before. Mine included some $2 cashmere sweaters  that retailed for over $600 at the swanky San Francisco shop that originally sold them. Once something like that happens, Pavlov’s drooling dogs have nothing on you. It's a completely autonomic response. You MUST go to that sale.

And possibly drool.

This year’s finds were more practical than drool-worthy, but practical makes me very happy. A set of all-cotton sheets for the queen-size bed for three bucks? Yes please. (Macy’s house brand, online  price tag near $150.) Two pairs of pricey-brands crop pants for summer? Check. And for a little icing on the practical cake, a long (40” or so) strand of blue glass beads for another two bucks - embellishments for future textile pieces.

On Friday, KK and I took what I call a mini-vacation, which is any trip to an unfamiliar place, even if it’s just one street away from my usual route. She needed to deliver one of her paintings that was accepted into an art show in Corvallis, and there was an estate sale that looked like it might be good in nearby Albany. So I mapped out our trail down there instead of our usual stomping grounds.

I'm happy to report that for once the pictures did not lie, it was a good sale. (I define a good sale as one where the items belonged to someone whose taste matched mine. When that includes adorable vintage wooden toy thingies, bingo!) When we arrived I headed straight for the fireplace in the living room, where the pictures had indicated something I don’t see often.


No, not people hunched over in the rain the statutory 10 feet from a building entrance. Or the contraptions for smoking meat. I mean the German wooden figurines that you mostly see as a Christmas ornament. They come in all shapes and sizes, most often in the form of a man with a pipe. When you burn cone incense inside, the smoke comes out his mouth. I have a few, including Santa and a postman. My favorite in my collection has always been the aproned haus frau holding a bowl of dumplings – and the emerging smoke is the steam from the dumplings.

Sure enough, on the hearth was a lineup of three or four smokers, and unlike any I'd ever seen. I pounced, even though it was a bit of a splurge. The one with the acorns was a no-brainer.

And the elf sitting by his mushroom home? 

When I saw that the smoke comes out of the mushroom’s chimney, AND that he is sitting on a snail, into my bag he went. 

When I got home and inspected my finds, I saw that both were artist-made back in the 90s.

KK found me in the kitchen, where I scored a nice heavy kitchen knife and an Ove glove.

She was holding a little wooden object and asked if I'd seen it. Which I had not, or it would have been in my hands, not hers. I asked if she were buying it. Whew! She had picked it up for me!

Bunnies and chicks! Vintage music box. The tag said ‘as-is’ but who cares. I knew there was a music box inside because of the weight, but it wasn’t until I got it home and was cleaning off the dust that I realized how it is supposed to work. 

See that tallest bunny? ‘Tall’ being a relative term, he’s all of 2½” high. 

Well, he is the key – or at least glued to the key. You turn him to wind the music box, and then he’s supposed to revolve as the Blue Danube plays. Unfortunately he does not want to revolve on his own. But I have gotten other music boxes to play, and I have hopes for this one. I’ll tinker with it when I can take my time over it. Meanwhile, every time I look at the baby chick tucked up into the painted bed I feel myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

KK found my other buy as well – the Pinocchio egg cup. 

Though he may well become the Pinocchio candle holder, since I rarely eat a boiled egg. Or he can just around looking cute.

Hmmm, I just realized something. My last maxi-vacation was the trip to Chicago a couple of years ago, when I bought one and only one souvenir (a pair of vintage earrings from a thrift store). But I take a mini-vacation and look at all my souvenirs!

It's probably a good thing I don’t travel very often.


  1. Love the smokers! I have never seen one but they look so cool!

  2. Great finds. Smokers - who knew !

  3. Delightful! Lots to make you smile!

  4. Lovely pastelle burners.I have been to the German Christmas markets in both Dusseldorf and Cologne several times but never seen any as pretty or colourful as yours. The lady reminds me of my favourite German street food, dampf noodles!yum!! Love the blog Alison.

    1. Dampf noodles! It's been a long time since my mom has made those. She stopped cooking when she went to the retirement community. I remember the heavy dough buttered thoroughly. It was a recipe from my step-fathers mother. Yum! My mom would make a big batch and freeze some. She would dole them out, and I would be so lucky to get one or two. Thanks for the memory!

  5. I know the person who owned the smokers would be delighted to see you enjoy them so much. They are darling!

  6. Those are cute! You have a great friend there!


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

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