Sunday, September 7, 2008


You know you’ve left the house a tad early looking for yard sales (and that you’re in California!) when one of the first things you see is a boy on a skateboard with signs under his arm to tack up on phone poles. I did find his sale, even without the signs put up yet, but there was nothing I wanted. Same thing at the next place, and the next…

Yes, we have reached the Yard Sale Doldrums, that time of year when dedicated thrifters start thinking bitter thoughts about how much gas we’re burning on this quest. The return for investment begins to look thin, and yet…I drove around in my very fun car, listened to wonderful music (French horn concerti), ate a luscious cream cheese croissant, got my errands done, petted dogs, and chatted with folks. Beats sitting in front of a TV!

The dogs included a pudgy little beagle who really likes to bark. I mentioned using a spray bottle as a training tool, and his owner perked right up. “I just started that a couple of days ago, and he’s already getting it,” she said. “Just a couple of spritzes and now he’s checking with me to see if he’s barked too much.” Which may not sound like such a big deal, but lots of dogs end up in shelters for reasons like ‘he barks too much.’ My friend Tina is a volunteer dog walker at a wonderful
shelter in Nevada and she’s the one who told me about the wonders of the squirt bottle. Click on Available Animals, and go adopt a dog from them! That Tink looks awfully sweet, and the videos of their dogs are fun. Don’t miss Terry kissing the coonhound!

Biggest dog on Saturday was this Great Dane, who looked fierce but turned out to be saying “Get over here and pet me!”

Ran across the lady who was following my car a few weeks ago (when the signs lied and there was no sale to be found). Instead of her usual garaging partner she was with the cutest young man. Her friend hadn’t been able to come out, so the friend’s grandson came in her place. He was all excited because he’d found a lamp for his new apartment. (He looked far too young to have an apartment, but I have to admit I'm getting old enough that a large segment of the population looks like babies to me!) He’d only been to yard sales once before, when he was about eight. I detected awe in his voice when he told me that he mentioned he was looking for a lamp, and the guy went inside and brought one out. Five bucks later he owned his first lamp. I think we may have a convert!

The errands included a trip over to the Fullerton Arboretum for their annual salvia sale. We’re in the throes of revamping our landscaping, and I wanted a few sages for the front yard. Cross your fingers that it turns out well. We’re at this point so far…

Anyway, when I got to the arboretum, first thing I encountered was a clearing next to a stream that was full of ducks. I paused to take a picture of a planting, and the ducks assumed I had stopped to feed them. (It’s how ducks think.) Before I knew it they were hot footing it my way, so I apologized to them for not having any treats (yes, I am a person who speaks to ducks) and headed on to the plant sale. I bought only three plants, but the most wonderful volunteer took me out to the landscaped beds to show me several types so I could see how they look in their mature sizes. She made sure I got just what I needed, and in return I gave her the salvia chart I had printed from another community college site.

As I left the sale, I passed again the clearing where I'd seen the ducks. They were still there, but had been herded to one side so that the cheerleading squad (arboretum is on a college campus) could have their pictures taken. It was a great scene—disgruntled ducks, cheerleaders with pom poms, and gardeners with hopeful plants cradled in their arms.

Saturday morning. You just have to love it.

I managed to spend $2, and brought home:
A couple of gardening books. Hoping for inspiration for that yard…

A drinking glass to replace one that got broken. It’s a little different from the rest of the set(yard sale glass is on the right) but close enough.

A Hall China bowl. Looks like the lid is missing, but I liked it .

Sweet little serving bowl. I looked it up when I got home, and this is Homer Laughlin’s Fluffy Rose pattern. I figure even if I don’t use it, it’s worth thirty-five cents to know there is such a thing as a Fluffy Rose pattern!

However, I am trying to move from just acquiring more and more stuff to actually using my finds. So I made something this week that I'm kind of jazzed about.


Yup. Two pairs of fabric Mary Janes (my favorite kind of shoes) with leather soles. The first are of fabric left over from turning a skirt into an apron, lined with felted cashmere.

The soles are from a black leather jacket I picked up last year (I think it was a dollar). I ran the jacket through the washing machine (since I knew anything I did with it would need to be washable) and it did fine. One sleeve had already been used for the soles of some slippers.

Here’s the second pair.

The fabric was a scrap from a bedspread I made with a roll of yard sale material (I lavished ten bucks on it since there was ten yards, but the original sales receipt was with it—almost $300!). The lining is from a bathrobe I got a few weeks ago. Insoles on both are felted sweaters, and I adapted the pattern from Mary Engelbreit. Don’t know about you, but I love ‘em!

[EDIT 1/14/12: Heck, looks like the link for the M.E. slipper pattern is dead. But I found an alternative here, a nice tutorial by the Creative Maven. I added the strap, which has elastic inside to keep it snug, when sewing the top piece and lining together. And instead of blanket-stitching wool felt to the soles, I used leather and hot-glued it on. Be careful with that hot glue, it stays hot a long time on fabric and leather!]


  1. love the shoes!
    You made your own pattern??

  2. Okay now I gotta make myself a pair.

  3. Sounds like a fun adventure!

    now I know what to do with the leather pants I just picked up for four bucks. :)

    unless I was going on a motorcycle (which I dont know anyone that has one anymore..) I would never wear leather pants. I knew I had to make something out of them. :)

    thrifting ALWAYS beats watching t.v.
    This is why I dont subscribe to cable! :)

  4. Always check in when you post, love hearing about your adventures at the yardsales.
    Great shoes too!!!

  5. they are adorable. will these be for sale? i've got tons of cute fabric that may need to be sent to you for this project- bravo!

  6. Wonderful shoes. Love the fabric too. You are so clever!

  7. These shoes are great!
    Sadly, the pattern seems to have vanished from the internet. Do you have a current link? I'd love to try an make these.

    Thanks so much.


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

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