Sunday, November 9, 2008


If you’ve been reading my blog for a bit, you may remember these spiffy vintage dishes I picked up a few weeks ago.

You may also remember the lady I bought the cute little vintage bench from—the one who practiced piano in her youth with her parrot Shorty on her shoulder.

I happened to mention my blog to her when we were chatting at her sale, and she looked it up, and sent me a message that she owns a service for twelve in that same vintage china!

In fact, she’s always on the lookout for replacements, so I kept the few pieces I wanted and sold her the rest. We met for bagels Saturday morning before I started out on the garaging trail and yakked for over an hour. Her name is Sara and she’s quite delightful. She’s as much a morning person as I am so I hope we’ll be meeting again. I so enjoyed hearing about her three daughters and more about her blind boxer, whose picture on the cell phone was adorable.

When we finally left the bagel place so we could transfer the dishes, she looked at my car and said, “Hey, you’re not wearing your car bra!” Well, actually, I was wearing my car bra but the car wasn’t wearing its! Sheesh, she really did read my blog.

It turned out to be a good thing we talked so long and I got a little later start than usual. Some people were just putting up a sign as I drove by, and that turned out to be the only sale at which I bought this week. And a couple of hours later, in a nice moment of symmetry, as I started to make the turn for one of the last sales a guy came and started taking the sign down!

On one driveway I got to talking with a young woman who moved here a while back from Florida. She was talking about all the stuff her mom had sent her from home that she never used again, and now was trying to sell. “She must have sent two dozen boxes by UPS over a couple of months. Wow, that must have cost a lot,” she told me. I said her mother must either really love her or been terribly glad she’d left and didn’t want to give her any reason to come back. (Yes, I did say it in a joking manner!) She looked thoughtful and said, “I think initially it was the latter, but now she’s starting to miss me.” I wanted to adopt this young woman on the spot—do you know how rare it is to hear someone actually use the word latter, and correctly? As I left I told her there’s an old saying: How can I miss you if you won’t go away?

One street had two sales about four houses apart, so I walked from one to the other. In between I saw a driveway with three little girls playing. At least it looked like they were playing. As I got closer, I saw the one with the big chunks of sidewalk chalk was writing over and over “Don’t Park Here!” Her sister on the scooter was riding back and forth chanting, “Don’t park here! Don’t park here!” They struck me as possibly the two most anal retentive children I have ever seen. But the third little girl was sitting back just watching the other two with what I liked to interpret as an expression of disbelief on her face. I wanted to adopt her too.

At the second sale on that block was an item I should have taken a picture of, but I could not bring myself to do it. Folks, there just are some crafts that should not be committed. Among a stack of framed pictures was one that from a distance looked like it might be embroidered. When I got closer I saw that it was (I’m guessing) a design of white pussy willows on black fabric…and the pussy willows were made from cut up Q tips. Mere words cannot convey its awfulness. If you are a person who makes crafts from cotton swabs, I hope I haven’t hurt your feelings, but I beg you to stop. ;o)

On the way back to my car I passed the three little girls again—still writing on the sidewalk and chanting. I wanted to suggest they switch to “No more Q tip crafts, no more Q tip crafts!” But I restrained myself. Hmmm, maybe the third child could have bought into that one.

I spent a whopping $1.75 at the one sale and brought home:


… a door prize for a children’s librarian…

…and a piece of vintage California pottery.

The lady said this had been her dad’s, and he always put his watch and jewelry in it at night when he got ready for bed. I hoped of course that it would turn out to be incredibly valuable. I've been reading about vintage California pottery; a lot of it is quite amazing. Did you know Walt Disney designed some? You forget he was an artist first. Alas, evidently my alligator is not going to make my fortune, so I think I will take him to work to hold rubber bands and paper clips.

You may recall that last week I scored a new billfold, which turned out to fit nicely in the vintage Saks Fifth Avenue purse I bought back in June. (The former owner was the grandmother who had switched from making unwanted fake-flower arrangements to playing bingo, much to the relief of her family.) I put away my garage-sale Coach bag to carry this one for a while. It’s small, and I feel like I'm carrying a little toy bag around, which has been fun.

One last encounter: I may have mentioned before that a useful conversation starter when I first arrive at a sale is to ask, “So, are you having fun yet?” Nearly everyone thinks this is hilarious, since they’ve been up since dawn and are usually ready to have this thing over with. When I tried it out at one place in Huntington Beach this Saturday, the guy sitting in the garage just laughed. But the lady (probably his mom) sitting outside gave me a big smile and said, “If I'm sitting down in the shade and there’s a nice breeze blowing, you can just bet I'm having fun.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. If you think Q-tips are a bad thing to use for a craft, had things to craft with for Halloween and one was tampons. There is even a blog dedicated to crafts using this object that shouldn't be used as a crafting item. I really didn't want to see it but curiousity got the better of me. There isn't much a person can do with them to make them look much different. I mean they still look like a tampon.

    Sorry to defile your blog comments.

  3. Hey Kim, you're right, I saw those on whipup too. Ig! Well, as the old story says, it can always be worse!

    At least (from a thrifter's point of view) q tips are way cheaper than tampons!!

  4. Thanks for the comment. It will be some time until I actually do anything with them. Must apply to grad school, get into grad school, move, and figure out my new living situation before I make any decisions. Even though I'm neither a packrat nor a huge shopper, I find lots of things among my own possessions that shine again when I put them in a new context.

    Nice blog!

  5. No. Q-tip. Crafts. I vote that we get t-shirts made up with that slogan.

    Your blog stories have helped me so much. I'm usually reserved and on the shy side, but have taken to trying to make small talk at the sales. It's great! I overheard one woman call another "Char". Before, I would have kept my thoughts to myself, but now I spoke up. I asked if her name was Charlotte. That's my daughter's name. We hit it off. Had a nice chat and she even gave me a deal on a whole bag of vintage linens. We both went away happier! Thank you.

  6. Q-tip crafts are for people you don't want to give sharp objects to!

  7. Lol @ qtips! I don't use the word latter very often, nor do I use the word bilfold! LoL.

    Love your blog!

  8. You've really made some great thrift finds.

  9. It`s been a while since I visited your entertaining blog! That little handbag is sweet. Q-Tip art is disturbing. Thanks for the laughs!

  10. Hey there your highness! We need to connect. I'll post your blog address on Thrify Chicks. Wanna post us on yours? Also I'd love to chat with you personally! I'm aturosak on yahoo.

    Shopping Golightly

  11. Great blog! Great writing! Great pictures of your shopping "coups" & your pets! Mahalo!


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

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