Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's a classic scenario among thrifters. We went to the thrift store on Friday to drop off stuff we’ve recently decluttered, and of course we had to take a moment to look around. So much for decluttering. But my husband needs some jeans for working around the house, and getting them at a thrift store would be, well, thrifty. This was a very large Goodwill store, nice, clean, the music is not obnoxious, polite staff, tons of clothing. But their decision to sort clothing by color is absolutely nuts. There were hundreds of pairs of jeans, and they don’t even separate men’s from women’s. I cannot imagine how you’d ever find something in your size. I knew Steven’s patience wouldn’t last long, so I skittered back to the housewares for a quick look. And the first thing I saw was this little beauty.

Grabbed my husband. Look, isn’t this great? I said. His response was, “Um, where would you put it?” Every couple has code phrases. In our house “Where would you put it” translates as “No, don’t buy that thing!” Fortunately after 36 years of marriage you know when to ignore a code phrase. There was of course no price. Everything in the place is clearly marked except for any item I think is interesting. The price turned out to be $5.99 and I REALLY like it. Did a little cleanup on it, and now I have a new/old bedside table.
Before: After:

See, I did find a place to put it!

My friend Marcia went garaging with me Saturday. We planned both to look for yard sales and to attend the annual warehouse sale of a local designer/importer/whatever of Christmas goods. Their warehouse is next to our office, so we go to this sale every year.

This being the weekend before Thanksgiving I had low expectations of finding anything on people’s driveways, and the first sale reinforced my feeling. The sellers were pleasant, but the only thing that looked at all interesting was a box of bulletin board borders—lightweight corrugated paper thingies with a wavy edge to finish off your bulletin board. Figured they might make a door prize for a children’s librarian, but the price was five bucks. And the borders weren’t even new. As Marcia sometimes says, they were a little too proud of their stuff!

But the next sale had a couple of DVDs for my collection

and I noticed a cool car in the open garage.

Is that not fabbo? That beautiful leather interior is original. The guy having the sale told us it belongs to his buddy who is out of the country, so he keeps it for him and gets to drive it. Then he said we might like his motorcycle too.

He said his Labrador, Colby, rides in the sidecar and showed us Colby’s helmet and goggles.

Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to meet Colby himself, but here he is on

Next we headed up into the hills into a quite posh neighborhood. In my experience, rich people tend not to have very good sales—they either have the most pathetic crap you have ever seen and cannot believe would come out of a house like that, or they think they are running an antique store and have prices to match. But the ad on Craigslist looked interesting, and to my delighted surprise I ended up with several bargains:

More wine glasses for the Christmas party

Two pairs of earrings and a cute pin, which I quite like on my camera case

A shadow box frame. For a quarter, I can do surely something interesting with this…
Twenty new-to-me magazines (for free, woo hoo!)

And the real scores—a gorgeous 5’ x 8’ wool rug, and coordinating fabric by F. Schumacher, which evidently sells only to the decorating trade.

I haven’t measured the fabric yet, but it appears to be an ENTIRE roll. I'm guessing 15 to 20 yards. Let’s see…wool rugs this size at Pottery Barn are about $500 (and given the house this came out of, it’s probably from a higher end store originally). And drapery fabric can easily retail at $30 a yard or more, times 20 yards…goodness me!

My total outlay for the morning? $14.75. All that for less than the cover price on three of those free magazines—and a motorcycle riding dog to boot.

Ah, but the morning was not yet over. We still had the warehouse sale. The first year they had this sale I scored some really great deals, including this little vintage-looking box which still makes me smile every time I see him.

The second year I bought a couple of ornaments and last year only this funny little candle—or miniature teddy—holder.

Now, I understand that taste is a very personal thing. Certainly not everyone in my life has responded positively to my bunny in his carrot canoe. But I have to admit that the reason we keep returning to this sale every year is the chance to giggle over some of the awfullest stuff I've ever seen in my life. And to watch people snatching up carloads of it and standing in line for forty five minutes to pay for it. Every year the prices have gone up and up. Absolutely nothing tempted us this time, but here are some of my favorite awfulnesses:

Little doggies erupting from boxes…
Baby Jesus in the crèche being watched over by malevolent goats covered in green glitter…

Rather creepy decorated trees with Santa heads and wooden arms…
Santa display piece that looks like he has a ventriloquist elf on his knee…

And this ornament of a dressed up deer head sporting an absolutely disgusted expression.
There were hundreds and hundreds of pieces of this stuff. I couldn’t even bring myself to take pictures of most of it, especially the African American Pumpkin Fairy Figurine with Certificate of Registration and Authenticity. Whew. You sure wouldn’t want a fake one, would you?

I've been making use of my stash of felted sweaters this week. Made myself a new pair of slippers. Yes, I was cutting my slippers to fit my cloth, to paraphrase an old saying. Every time I look down at them I have to smile. Smiling at your feet is always a good thing.

Then I got on a roll and started making roses. Thanks to Betz White for the how-to! The dark red one is cashmere, mmmmm.

I'm planning to try
this flower too, to use some of my wonderful buttons on. Old sweaters and old buttons into new flowers…sweet!


  1. I like that rug :-) Looks expensive and matching fabric too...

    Those christmas ornaments are weird. Who'd want a christmas tree with a persons head stuck on top of it? Even if it is Father Christmas.

  2. weird, eh? my dad used to get a tree with several "spikes" at the top, and he would stick at least two of those classic glass ornaments that look like a church steeple on them. But he would leave the most prominent spike for an absolutely hideous Santa head.
    the plastic face was turning brown, it had those exaggerated 1940's red sculpted cheeks, turned up nose, and a battered felt Santa hat with sparkly cotton fur trim. He thought it was the funniest thing he ever saw, and he loved to put it up just to see the looks on people's faces when they spotted it...absolutely no accounting for taste, but it was a lot of fun.

  3. I do like your bedside table find. I never can find any decent furniture at thrift stores. It seems everything has been used in karate practice and then stapled or taped back together.

  4. That rug is outstanding! Your slippers are so cute... the same, but different. Love the little rosettes.

    I'd pass on glittery goats too!

    This past weekend, the sales were kind of junk-y. But, I've become braver. I don't even care about price tags now. I offered $1 for 5 children's books. When I got home, they were all tagged, including one for 75 cents! I think you can appreciate that I'm trying to build up my daughter's library :)

  5. Your bedside table looks very 1930`s. Way to go! It is gorgeous. Your other finds are adorable.

    Ahhh. The marriage code. Same one we use, 37 years. And it translates the same way! LOL

    Happy Thanksgiving!


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

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