Sunday, April 26, 2009


We (that’s the royal we!) were delighted to discover this week that we have a lady in waiting! Over on the “Just a Girl and Her 1911 Craftsman Bungalow” blog you can meet a smart young woman who is discovering her thrifty side. We hope you will visit her and convey our good wishes (after you read us, natch!). We are flattered beyond belief to have her in our royal realm and wish her many years of thrifty goodness to come.

As my LIW has discovered, when you own a house thrifting is your new best friend. Many of us are constantly decorating our nests, but before the decorating comes the fixing. I figure the less I spend on the unavoidable repairs and improvements, the more I have available for the fun stuff! Case in point: our patio includes a tile-topped counter with a built-in gas grill. (It was there when we bought the house. Evidently some former owner was a party person.) Over the years the marble tiles have gotten chipped and some are loose, and my husband commented recently he wants to retile it. So when I found a tile cutter at a yard sale this week, I was motivated to ask the price.

One dollar later I owned a tile cutter. Now, these are not hugely expensive tools, maybe $20 or so new, but a 95% discount is always a pleasant thing to receive. And now that we have the tile cutter, I'll start keeping an eye out for tile to replace what’s there now. It's not unusual to find leftovers from someone’s remodeling job at their yard sale. Can't wait to see what turns up!

My friend Marcia was with me this week. There were many, many sales—we only covered one tract. Perhaps we could have rushed along to some of the other neighborhood sales, but we very much enjoyed our leisurely progress and picked up far more conversations than stuff. This is a good thing, since we both already own lots and lots of stuff, and the conversations are even less expensive than the things we did buy.

At one point during the morning we mused about what an amazing institution is the American garage sale. You get to walk up to perfect strangers at their home, look at their stuff, perhaps buy something for very little money. And in that space of time you have the chance to converse. Sometimes it’s just a polite hello-how-are-you exchange, but other times an object for sale will trigger vivid stories. One couple we met on Saturday were selling something dog related (can't think now what it was) that led to the story of the dog they’d lost to cancer, the best dog in the world. (At one point the husband was the only dry-eyed person on the driveway!) Their son, they said, had been especially devastated by the loss, because he had never slept alone in his life, this dog had been his constant companion. The conversation meandered on, and by the time we left I'd learned that the husband grew up in the next town over from where I lived in Oklahoma (and probably at about the same time).

In another yard we enjoyed a recently planted sea serpent topiary.
The conversation began with that, and continued into finding out that the husband is a professional magician. We visited his coworkers—the four bunnies in his garage. He told us he works at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, and that all the magicians there are getting ready to have their annual garage sale. Apparently they all bring in all their magic stuff for a sale. Dream sale for a ten year old boy!

On one street I parked the car near a large sale, then noticed a woman on her driveway across the street. She had one table with a few items, nothing looked compelling, but I told Marcia I'd go take a look. As I walked up the drive I called out that I might have thought she was lonely, but since she was reading a book I knew she couldn’t be. Turned out she’s an artist and was selling quite nice pottery that she has made. She said she hoped to sell a few pieces so she could buy more clay, and we both ended up helping along the clay fund a little! Marcia bought a set of four small bowls or cups, and I brought home this lovely plate.

I love the colors. She told us to check back next time they have the neighborhood sale—she’s hoping to master handles this year!

We met several nice dogs over the course of the morning, including this sweet little 5 month old boxer pup…
…and this is Jack the Wheaton terrier.
I actually remembered Jack from last year. Evidently he didn’t make it into my blog (I think his appearance was pre-empted by some ducks) but here’s the picture I took then. Hasn’t aged a bit, has he?
I spent $8.75 among all this (priceless!) conversing, and along with the tile cutter and handmade plate brought home:
Fun dessert plates to embellish our next Christmas party:

A little deco-looking pin—supposed to hold a picture. I'm thinking one of Edward’s puppy pics would be good.
This little guy is a future door prize. Must be related to Curious George, look at that face! Though I think George’s eyes line up a little better…
Fins. I like them for swimming laps, and my last pair has gotten grungy. I'm not a huge fan of pink, but pink fins amuse me. These came from the magician…wonder if they’ll disappear when I put them in water?
Marcia gets the gold star for overhearing the our favorite remark of the day. While most of the people we encountered were quite pleasant, one woman was a definite exception. She looked like she had made her face ugly with years of scowling and resentment. Marcia observed her with a customer who evidently spoke little English and was trying to understand the price of a can opener. “It’s two dollars,” Grumpy Woman said, and when she wasn’t understood, kept repeating it louder and louder. (I will never get this belief that somehow one can be magically understood if only one says something loud enough.) Finally she added, “It's two dollars! It's brand new. Look, it's a really good one. It's not from the 99 Cent Store, it's from Walmart!”

Remember the bag of silk fabric I bought last week? Turned out to be about 20 YARDS in all—for two dollars. (Even I am amazed.) Saturday afternoon I turned about 6 yards of into curtains for my home office.
Oh my. I never in this world would have thought I would someday have silk curtains. More proof that if you just keep looking, you can find anything on a driveway on Saturday morning!


  1. I would have a blast going to garage sales with you! I especially love the dogs :-) I have a habit of going up to people's dogs no matter where I am!

  2. Great buys! Can I borrow the tile cutter! Those holiday plates are great...ok Santa's on the couch, what does it say?

  3. Wow. Silk curtains!

    My best purchases this week were three Buffalo china platters for 50cents a piece, and a very nice baseball glove for the three year old grandson.

  4. Even more enjoyable than viewing your excellent and amazing thrifty bargains is reading your prose. You really have a gift for words!

  5. You got some great deals but best of all you got to become a part of your neighbor's lives...and the sea serpent landscaping was wonderful...thanks for sharing...

    ps.great curtains

  6. You are the garage sale queen! You found some great treasures. I totally understand the name of your blog - Cute!


  7. Love all of your finds!

    New to your blog and this meme!

  8. Gosh yard sales are so fun! My mom and I have a bast every time we go together on Saturday mornings.


  9. I just love your blog title, Queen of Fifty Cents. I totally get what that means,I can stretch 50 cents a ways myself. It's so nice to meet you, you have a great sense of humor too. I look forward to sharing more bargains every Monday with you. Thanks so much for playing!

    Congrats on that silk fabric. I too have found some great fabrics at yardsales, although not 20 yards of silk!

  10. The curtains you made are super and that is so cool that you hook up people with pets!!
    Fun treasures too. I didn't get to go to any sales on the weekend...but there is the one coming up!!


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

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