Sunday, October 2, 2022

Explanations!

I had a nice email yesterday from a reader, Chris. She said she had tried to leave a comment here on the blog but it didn't work (more on that in a minute) so she emailed. As Genie did back in August (wasn't August about 20 minutes ago? Wait, you say it's now October??!) she was missing my garaging adventures and wanted more. My ego is definitely purring!

But here's the thing - the fact is I've never been happier and don't post very often because I just don't feel like it! I'm at an age and stage of life where for the first time I can do what I want. I don't need to please anyone other than myself, and my main responsibility is to my pets.

The pandemic certainly had a big effect on sales. There are far fewer than in past years. Plus I downsized when I divorced, and already own most everything I need. I still enjoy going to sales and chatting with folks, but don't care if I go out every week.

I have no plans to end this blog, but posts will remain - how shall I put it? - quixotic. If you  miss me (warning, shameless self promotion ahead!) please hop over to Amazon and buy my books. They are quite fun, and if enough of you do it I'll have money to go garaging. Yay!

Now...circling back to the comments thing. I have no idea what is going on with that. My own blog will not let ME leave a comment! It keeps saying I have to sign in even though I already did. Grrrr. I apologize to anyone who has struggled with it, but I don't know how to fix it. Holler if  you have advice.

My now overblown ego thinks someone might want to know what I've been up to if not thrifting. Craigslist is a good pal of mine - just today I scored a cordless vacuum for about 75% off retail (I hate to vacuum, hoping this will make it easier). And for my birthday Craigslist found me something I've been considering for months - an electric tricycle! Isn't she pretty?

Mostly I just love hanging out with my fur gang. Remember that new kitten, Stanley? Best impulse decision ever. I woke up yesterday to find we were sleeping cheek to cheek. Great way to start the day!



Saturday, September 3, 2022

Labor Day Labors

I may have to adjust my opinion about holiday weekends. I rarely participate in them because I'm retired and don't have the same need for a long weekend as working folks. I also avoid crowds and traffic. For a long time I've considered them useless for garaging as well, just not enough sales to bother with. Yet it was over the Memorial Day weekend I found my wonderful bunny weathervane

and I'm very happy with my Labor Day finds!

First stop was only four blocks from home, and the first thing I saw was a section of metal deck railing, just like what I took off the old deck I had removed this summer. I'm hanging onto it for eventual use as a fence along my creek side, but I still need several more panels. I crossed my fingers that this one would be affordable, and it was. Very. As in…free! And they’re even delivering it since it was too long for my SUV. Definitely a score.

The next two sales on my list ended up being drive-bys. I couldn’t even see if there was actually a sale for all the crappy old cars sitting around at the first, and the next looked skimpy and tired. Maybe there was treasure there, but I doubt it!

Onward to one near Bush’s Pasture Park, a beautiful large park in a lovely old neighborhood. Very popular with walkers, and dogs. The car parked in front of the sale was occupied by a large golden-doodle whose owners had stopped to browse. He was very happy when they returned to the car so he could go visit the squirrels. This was the sale where I picked up a cool piece of art. Thought at first it was a watercolor print, but it's actually a photograph. 

Signed and numbered by the artist and very nicely framed, and all of two bucks. I love it with the other two original watercolors I've found recently.

I also picked up a wineglass here (broke one recently). It was priced at fifty cents. When I went to pay I handed her the two singles for the picture and checked my coins, which amounted to five pennies. Hmmm, I said, we can either break another one or I can give you five cents for the wineglass. Which was fine with her! Not sure when I last got anything for a nickel, let alone a very nice wineglass with a beautiful tone when tapped. (I always buy wineglasses by their sound.)

Another quick stop netted a counted cross stitch with one of my favorite sayings, which I have now learned dates to World War 2 and the efforts on the home front to support the war.

One more stop before heading home, where the first thing I saw was a bunch of free stuff. Good free stuff! I picked up 5 trough planters, used but in perfect condition. 

Then I saw canning jars, and grabbed two quart size I know my friend Toni is looking for. Among them was a quart jar of buttons, so I snagged that as well. You know I love me some buttons! I'll go through these soon and sort out the ones I want to add to my stash, and find a new home for the rest. It did my heart good to see them, because all the button jars I've seen recently (usually at estate sales) were quite pricey.

I also picked up a vintage hanky (yes, I sometimes use hankies!) 

and a pink bath towel with an entertaining border. 

From the size of the towel and the label I'm guessing it could date back to the 70s! 

I've been looking for a terry towel to cut up for dish cloths (I put out a fresh one every morning and toss yesterday’s into the laundry) and this will be perfect.

I think they may have had more stuff in their free pile than actually for sale, but my eyes lit up when I saw something I recognized. Several years ago I bought a carved wood jester riding a trike that was made by a Czech master puppet maker, Miroslav Trejtnar. (Alas, the photos of it have disappeared from my blog, dang it, possibly a victim of a hard drive crash a few years ago.) I was absolutely amazed to see another piece by the same artist sitting among a variety of items priced at a dollar. As a rule I don't care much for clown images, but this one I like. 




He rocks from side to side and his beads slide around; perhaps he’s supposed to be a juggler. In any case he is now mine and looks quite at home among some other wooden toys, including a French clown who was originally part of a skittles set (the game, not the candy!)

I came home happy for sure, and am looking forward to future holiday weekends !

 

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Surprises

I had a comment on my last post recently from Genie saying I’ve been missed, and I was very touched. I love getting comments (exception = spam!!) and it’s been my practice to comment in reply. I’m not sure what’s going on with the old blog, but it just will not let me leave a comment. Wants me to keep signing in, even though I have signed in and it's my own blog, dammit. I hope no one else has been similarly frustrated. Ain’t technology grand? Actually yes, it is, but it sure can be frustrating.

I was going to say that my tolerance for frustration has not increased along with my age, but upon reflection perhaps it has. I can certainly roll my eyes and shrug and say “oh well” about most things that don't go as I'd wish. Which has been a good attitude to bring to garaging this summer; the pickings have been slim. Since I don't actually need anything and I rarely resell now it really doesn’t matter, and I still have fun conversations with folks along the way. And life still throws a few surprises at me from time to time.

I'm still chuckling about something that happened when I was leaving a sale a couple of weeks ago. I was just about to get into my car when a woman leaving the same sale called over to me, “Hey, are you that woman who is running for governor?” It’s a startling thing to be asked. (Not, of course, if you actually are running for governor.) I assured her I was not that person and she went on her way. On further reflection, I decided I might vote for a candidate I'd seen shopping on driveways, since to me it denotes a sensible attitude on fiscal responsibility.

At another recent sale I came upon two middle aged guys going through DVDs and other items. One of them discovered a thick notebook filled with cards – like baseball cards – in plastic sleeves. Oh look, he exclaimed, these are all of Diana Rigg when she was in The Avengers. I couldn’t help laughing; there are collector’s cards of Diana Rigg in The Avengers? Sheesh, who knew. Then the other one said very seriously that the problem with this notebook was that nothing was in its original packaging which was such a shame. I can see there’s a whole area of collecting out there that I am completely ignorant of. And plan to remain so, thank you.

And yes, they did buy all the collecting cards.

At another place I had an enjoyable conversation with a lady I remembered buying some yarn from a few years ago at her previous sale. We talked about yarn and textiles and somehow segued into gardening, and she asked I'd like to see her back yard, that she was a novice gardener but had planted lots of flowers over the past couple of years. We headed to the back, and it was stunning – a riot of color and texture, just wonderful. “Hey,” I said, “I'm on the Open Garden Committee of the Salem Hardy Plant Society, is there any chance you’d like to open your garden for members to visit one of these days?” And she said yes! Even though she’s not yet a member, she opened her garden this weekend, and everyone who visited love it. I had such a good time watching her connect with other gardeners and just soaking in the peace of her garden. So Linda, thank you so much for surprising me and saying yes!

My biggest surprise lately did not happen while I was garaging however. I was  grocery shopping and headed to my favorite pet store for dog food. These folks partner with a cat rescue group and sometimes have adoptable kitties in the store; it is in fact where I found my Millie. 

I always glance over at the big walk-in enclosure just to see if any kitties are there, and this time there was one – a tiny dark gray tabby kitten, ten weeks old. Our eyes met. He gave a tiny little mew. And I was a goner.

I was in no way in the market for an additional pet. But I was smitten. When I left the store with my dog food I was telling myself sternly that I had to think about this overnight, I should not rush into anything. By the time I got home I was telling myself sternly that I had to think about this at least until I put the groceries away. When I finished with the groceries…I went straight to my phone and called the pet store and said that kitten in MINE!

And he is. His name is Stanley and he is fabulous.

For such a baby he’s quite mellow. Had the run of the house within a day and gets along with everyone. Plays adorably, eats like a champ, and likes to cuddle. He tucks himself beside my pillow and sleeps all night. Okay, a couple of times he’s been up at 2 a.m. to play with my eyebrows, but hey, he’s a baby. I could not be happier with my impulsive decision and have no regrets at all.

Which reminded me of an earlier cat adoption, when we took in Puddy. He was at least 12 at the time, and I was afraid it would be hard to integrate him into the family. But he walked in, greeted the other cat and two dogs, and simply settled in to live the rest of his life with us. Again, no regrets, and he inspired me to write this. Feel free to substitute your name of choice for Puddy – and say yes to the next surprise that comes your way!

PUDDY SONG

You should always say ‘yes’ to a Puddy.

A Puddy’s a wonderful thing.

They’ll purr for you in the autumn

And summer, and winter, and spring.

They lay by you in your bed at night

And sing you a soft lullaby

And during the day, they’ll get in your way

And crouch where you want to walk by.

 

You should always say yes to a Puddy.

A Puddy’s a wonderful guy.

They’ll be with you when you are happy

And mop up your tears when you cry.

They eat whatever you give them,

Then bump your head with their nose

And when dinner’s done, they lie in the sun

In a perfectly artistic pose.

 

So always say yes to a Puddy

If a Puddy should come to your door.

He’s wise and he has much to teach you

And a Pud can't be bought at the store.

Though at first you might think you don’t need one

And you try to say no, not for me.

You’ll never regret a Pud as a pet

Just try one, and then you will see.




Monday, May 30, 2022

Which Way the Wind Blows…

 Those of you who have been visiting my blog for a while have probably noticed that I like bunnies.




There. I’ve admitted it. I have a bunch of bunnies. I never set out to collect them, but they do keep finding me. I like to think the ones I’ve brought home (and I have seen thousands that I did not bring home) are especially appealing. Some have come into my life and left again – perhaps downsized, or broken like the bunny pin cushion I made from a little vintage planter (sigh).

My dog Fannie has a particular favorite bunny, which her sister Millie the mischievous cat knocks off the shelf for her from time to time, a little stuffed toy I made from an old cashmere sweater. I got up a few days ago and discovered Fannie had spent the night snuggled up on the sofa with the cashmere bunny, which was a bit disheveled but all in one piece.

Friday’s sales were skimpy (holiday weekend) but I had errands to run so I added a few to my list. And sure enough, there was a bunny calling my name and insisting on coming home with me. And it’s something I've secretly wanted for a long time – a weathervane.

Fortunately he’s on a spike, so I don't have to figure out how to mount him on the roof. He looks quite at home cavorting among the shrubbery, and I've discovered he has another talent in addition to responding to the wind.

He distracts the eye wonderfully from my flourishing weeds! Hooray for bunnies!


Sunday, March 13, 2022

A Little Something

I just could not get myself out the door on Friday. There was a handful of sales, but widely scattered and nothing of interest in the pictures. And while I've always considered that what I've spent on gas to go to sales was a fair trade-off for the finds and the fun…right now, not so much. Whee – look at the numbers flying by on the gas pump! Did it really take only about 29 seconds to pump forty bucks worth??

But on Saturday there was a sale on the west side of town that looked good. Appeared to be a midcentury modern home (there are some beauts over there) with some cool stuff. So off I went, timing my arrival – I thought – for a bit after the early arrivals would be out of the way.

I was appalled at the half-block-long line still waiting to go in (though I appreciate that they were keeping some control on the number of people inside, since the mask mandate was lifted yesterday and almost no one was being careful). But I found a parking place right across the street (someone must just have left), and it was warm and sunny and a chance to chat with folks and admire the 7 month old baby exploring the lawn grass. Waited, and inched forward, and waited, and waited, and inched…

And then of course there was nothing I wanted. Everything I'd seen in the pictures that might have been of interest was gone, gone, gone. The first arrivals must have been a herd of locusts…or dealers. I guess it was a good chance to practice stoicism and to remind myself of the satisfaction of NOT spending anything!

There was another estate sale nearby that had started on Friday, so I swung by…just in case. I was greeted with “Everything is half price today!” which is always nice to hear, and even though there wasn’t a ton of stuff left, I found more than I did at the other sale. I added a DVD to my ever-growing collection

and picked up a fun tray.



Of course I did not notice the crack in one side until I got home, but no biggie. A little wood glue,


a clamp,

and while not invisible it's better and will serve my purpose.

And…half price!

Sunday, February 27, 2022

A Late Start

Friday was SUCH an exciting day…I finally got to go to a sale. And actually spent two whole bucks! After I added them to my garaging spreadsheet, I took a look back through the years. This spreadsheet goes back to 2005, and never have I had to wait until February is almost over to make a notation. At first I was inclined to think the reason was geographic – after all, the winter weather in Southern California is more conducive to this sport – but heck, I've been back in Oregon over 10 years now.

There has been a handful of sales, mostly estate sales, since the first of the year, but nothing I saw in the pictures tempted me at all. The sale my friend Lysa and I stopped at had sewing things listed, so my excuse for going was to look for tools and notions. I don't sew all the time, but when I want to make something I don't want to pay full price for a tool or thread or whatever to accomplish the task.

This particular sale turned out to be smaller than the description made it sound and just as overpriced as estate sales tend to be. I think I may have purchased the only four items priced at fifty cents in the whole place. I did indeed find a sewing tool – a package of needle threaders. 

These have not changed one iota since I was a tot, poking through my grandma’s things and wondering what this little silver doodad was for. Of course now you can buy brightly colored plastic ones, which might actually make some sense because the reason I bought these is that I can't find the ones I know I already have. But…plastic. And even though the fifty cent price on these was not much less than the seventy-five cents they cost originally, believe me they are a bit more expensive now. Like between $3.00 and $10.00!

Rummaging through a box of kitchen odds and ends, I picked out a silicone sink strainer.

And back in a bedroom I found two embroidered pillowcases. Which I grabbed partly because of the price, and partly because when I made the bed that morning I discovered one of the pillowcases had ripped several inches on the back. 

When I got home and looked more closely, I began to see that these pillowcases have a history. I noticed that they were homemade, with more seams than usual. They are constructed of narrow strips of fabric pieced together to get enough yardage. 


As I handled them I realized that two different fabrics were used – one feels like percale sheeting, and the other is more of a muslin weight. The embroidery pattern is identical and must have been an iron-on design. When I looked closely I could see where one flower is missing its green stem and leaves. Maybe it simply got missed, or perhaps they ran out of green embroidery floss.

I'm imagining two little sisters, learning how to “make do and mend” at their mother’s knee by piecing together leftover fabric, and making their pillowcases beautiful with embroidery. 

I wish I could tell the makers how much I like them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Year on Driveways

Another thrifty year has come and gone – spreadsheet time! Although it felt like there were way fewer sales this year (and definitely fewer that made my heart go pitty-pat), my spreadsheet tells me I went out on a total of 35 days. They were unevenly spread through the year – some weekends I went out on consecutive days, then there would be weeks when it wasn’t worth taking the car out. Still, I managed to spend $256.55, which procured an estimated retail value of over $5000. I say phooey to retail – at least most of the time!

The total spent was about twice as much as last year, but 2020 should probably just be stricken from the books, right? One bright spot is that I brought home three items (total expenditure $4.50) that I resold for a profit of $100.88. So that paid for almost half of the year’s fun. There was a pair of Heath Ceramic dinner plates (they sold overnight, wish I’d priced them higher!), 


a rummage sale blouse of a pricey brand,


and a vintage Erica Wilson embroidery kit that turned fifty cents into $31+.

While I bought three splurges (all were art!), of the 168 things I brought home, 66 were fifty cents or less, and only 49 were over a dollar. I confess I'm astounded that I added that many items to my home. There were 27 pieces of clothing and (goodness!) 8 pairs of shoes. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But the most I paid for anything was three bucks, and the total for all that was $54.25. Okay, I feel better now – especially when I see that some of the shoes are still available to buy retail – for $210 a pair.

My entertainment category had the highest number, 23 books, magazines and movies. Kitchen things were right behind with 22 – ranging from cute tiny plates to stainless steel skillets to a glass made specifically for drinking Canadian whiskey. Not just any whiskey, Canadian. That was worth the twenty-five cents just to learn that such a thing existed. But the Dansk bowls that match the mugs I already owned may be my favorite in this category.

Looks like my poor pets were a little neglected this year. I brought home only 2 things for them, and Millie managed to break the ceramic treat jar within a couple of days. However, the little quilt is still a fave of them all.


The ‘category of shame’, otherwise known as donations, was not terribly embarrassing this year – 21 items that totaled $19.55. And five of those were free. So that brings my total down to 147 items – doesn’t that sound better?

Probably the biggest thrill of the year was the only piece of furniture I bought – the vintage midcentury double bed with the amazing headboard. 


For five bucks. I'm still thrilled – and the vintage double sheets I bought for a buck apiece were the icing on the cake!

Actually, I have to amend that – the bed was the second biggest thrill. Best of all was reaching the millionth visitor milestone back in March. Wow. Thanks for coming along for the ride – now let’s see what 2022 will bring!

 
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