Sunday, August 16, 2009


Elaborate signage led me to my first yard sale on Saturday—fluorescent-bright poster board with high contrast arrows. Many signs. Looked promising. Hoped they would make enough on their sale to pay for all that poster board. When I arrived I could see that set up was still taking place, but other shoppers were there so I got out of the car. “Those were great signs,” I told one of the three ladies setting up. She seemed pleased. I told her I would stay out of their way as they worked and she cheerfully said no problem.

Guess one of her cohorts didn’t hear the no problem part, because she was quite put out when anyone asked her how much something was. In fact she got so snarky that I left. They’ll have to pay for the fluorescent poster board without my help. I was thinking only yesterday that one reason I go garaging just about every weekend is that I simply have a good time. Didn’t want her to ruin my morning…and she didn’t. After that it was mostly a hoot from beginning to end.

Soon I found another sign, not on fancy paper this time but adequate to get me to the two sales at neighboring houses. Stopped at the smaller first, where I noticed a lot of baby stuff for sale. “You must have kids,” I said to the young man minding the sale. He said he has two little boys, ages 2 and 5 weeks. I told him he’d need lots of energy for that, and he said he’d had no idea what he was getting into. So much work and so much patience. He was beaming while he said it though, and I kind of think maybe those are two lucky little boys.

Next door I spied this lovely object hanging from the garage door.

“Press the button,” the seller said. I did. It began to jiggle and make clackety noises. I admitted that was about the silliest thing I've ever seen, but did enquire about a price. Five bucks. I was surprised into laughing. (I'm usually extremely polite about whatever price someone quotes me. After all it is their stuff.) I allowed as how I would leave it for someone who could really appreciate it.

I almost missed the next sale; noticed a couple of red balloons hanging from the sign posts just in time. This sale seemed to set the tone for much of the morning: way overpriced clothing. She wanted five or six dollars for a used tee shirt. Sheesh. And as I left I saw that a large van had parked whopperjawed in front of my car, slewed half across the street. Another car had just pulled in behind me, though not too closely, and out got a couple of other Saturday morning regulars, two ladies I've decided to call Theresa and Joan. (I could just ask their names, but you know I'd forget them right away.) We waved to each other, and Joan came over to my car, glaring at the van blocking my way. “You know what I want to do?” she asked. “Someday I am going to buy a Hummer. A Hummer that’s been at war a long time. And when I see cars parked like that I'm going to go right over the top of them. Flatten them.” Ummmm, great idea, I said. I did NOT want to antagonize her. The lips were smiling, but the eyes had a certain glitter that bespoke a serious intention. “Yes,” she said, “right over the top of them. None of them are insured, so what are they gonna do? It's my goal in life.”

As she talked, a young couple got into the van and drove off, so my way was clear. I said goodbye and left. It didn’t break my heart that our paths did not cross again during the morning!

At another sale I got to talking with the couple on their lawn chairs by the garage. They were Pacific Islanders, from Samoa or perhaps Tonga. Nice, nice people. They had multiples of several items, and the lady told me they used to have lots of big parties. Birthdays, graduations, any family event. And now the last kid has graduated and she said they aren’t having any more parties. I asked her if she’s like me, whenever you have people over you make about four times as much food as you need. They both started laughing, so evidently they’re the same. “But in our tradition,” her husband told me, “when the party’s over everyone goes home with a plate of food.” “Yeah, same here,” I said. “You must be from Oklahoma too!”

It was a low dog-count morning. Only one I petted was this cute Wheaten terrier, Mackenzie. Very sweet, but could use a bit of a bath!
I enjoyed this lady. She took scraps of Hawaiian materials her sister gave and made a cover for her son’s air compressor. She liked it so well she said she also made covers for her wash and dryer.
I was browsing at another sale when the older lady of the house asked her middle aged son where he had gotten that happy face thing that was for sale. “Oh, that inflatable thing? They gave those out at church, a couple of years ago.” He paused for a moment, then went on, “Usually they deflate in no time, but that thing just won’t go down.” I made stabbing-with-a-knife motions, and he laughed. “Yeah, we might have to do that.” I said I was curious what this thing with the happy faces was (I was picturing something like a beach ball), had they already sold it? No, look under that table. What I found was almost as silly as the dancing skulls:
Yes, a three foot long inflatable plastic sledge hammer covered in happy faces. From church. I'm not sure what the religious significance might be here, but I declined to buy it. I said I was just happy with its story.

Besides, I felt like I was buying so much—just counted, and I came home with 18 items! Total spent: $8.00. I win again! Here’s what eight bucks will get you on Saturday morning:

Three thirty foot long rolls of craft paper. She had a whole carton in all different colors. These will go to a children’s librarian; I see banners in someone’s future.
I'll also be giving away these fun decorations—two flower garlands, a butterfly garland, and a little watering can of thick felt. Tres cheerful! I thought the string on the garlands was regular nylon line, but it's elastic.

A glass globe for a light fixture—or in this case for in the garden. I have a couple of others out in the flower beds; they’re like miniature gazing balls. Thought the different texture of this one would be interesting.
Spiffy lusterware cup and saucer. The bird tempted me to buy it.
Cute ceramic bunny pin.
A little Mary Engelbreit birthday box. I'm sure I'll need to give someone a small gift sometime.

Hmmm, the bunny pin just fits.
Four CDs. One is for Marcia, the Spike Jones is for my hubs, and I'm looking forward to listening to the others in the car.
These adorable mini pumpkin candles are still in their fancy box, with the fancy Williams Sonoma tag on them.

Don’t know what this ribbon will be used for, but I'll think of something. Sometime.
And from the same sale, I picked up a 40” length of foofy edging.
The lady said she used to be an upholsterer (she had lots of fabric remnants for sale) and I'm sorry I didn’t ask what project this was used on. However, I already know what I’m going to use it for. The next time we give our Christmas open house, Lizzie and Edward will be ready to greet guests in their new finery!
Meanwhile, I like it on my dress form.
At one of my last stops, the lady having the sale was vacuuming something in her garage, but turned off the machine and said hello. We chatted for a bit as I looked over her items. She told me her family has gone off on a little trip this weekend. “And while they’re gone, I'm going to sell their stuff,” she said with a grin. I laughed and said they probably wouldn’t even miss what she got rid of. She said that was true, then added, “And tonight, I'm going to take myself out for a nice dinner on what their stuff brought.” She sounded very happy.


  1. I love that last story! I might have to try that one someday . . .

  2. I might have OD'd on shopping the yard sales this weekend, but I rarely get the time to just go and do. There was a substitute teacher's house where she was selling almost brand new childrens books, pbk and hc, for 50 cents a piece! I got almost $10 worth for my niece who is starting to read, my grandson, and for the branch. At an estate sale, I got two two-drawer high oak file cabinets for $25. We have an ugly grey metal file cabinet that is four drawers high in our den next to the computer. This makes us clean out 20 years worth of files, and makes the room look much nicer. There was one older art collector in Fullerton who decided to make a few bucks and clear out some of his art collection. $2 for a 30year old art magazine? $5 for an Irish teatowel? $120 to $500 for the art work out around his driveway???? He wasn't getting much traction in the sales department....
    I also got two coin belly dancer's belts for 25 cents a piece! it will take two to go around my hips, but they are a kick!! Priceless look on hubby's face when I tried them on for him.....

  3. Fruff..cute for dogs or dressforms. Very adorable. We have all those same people living here in Northern Illinois and dirty, but cute dogs, too. Isn't that amazing how they get around?

  4. Funny post...some things sad, but true. Parking @ sales can be a trial. I love the neighbors of the sale giver who yell @ you as you park @ the edge of the road...we can get tickets here if our wheels are on the pavement while parked on a public road...talked my way out of one several years ago..told a woman one day that the county owns several feet of that grass and she called me a bad name and stormed into the house! But you know, most folks are nice & decent & friendly. And even when they aren't, we sometimes find a great treasure & that makes us all feel better. Here's to happy yard sale people and good sales. *elaine*

  5. Love the last story...and I can imagine my hubby's face if I made a cover for his compressor.....

  6. I think you should have bought that happy face sledge hammer to bop cars that park lopsided. Doesn't cause any real damage but you'd feel soooo much better!

  7. Hi, I always enjoy reading your posts...funny, and some kinda sad, but always entertaining...You should have gotten a picture of hubby's face when he saw the belly dancer belts on you, and posted it....grin!!!

  8. What a lot of goodies. Having these sales on private property must make them so different to the sales we have where everyone gathers together. I just love the idea of the last sale! Will they REALLY not notice? Other than that, the pumpkin candles are my real favourites. Have a great week!

  9. Love all the stories and you found a lot of items.

    Come for a visit.
    Its So Very Cheri

  10. That sounds like one of my thrifting days! That last lady sounds like a hoot!

  11. You just gave me a marvelous idea for a crystal ball for Halloween. A light globe would work even better than a gazing ball!

  12. Great stories and I agree - sometimes parking at sales can become disasterous and crazy - especially estate sales in our area.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyed your story! I too would walk away from a snarky seller...who needs that to ruin a promising day!! Great finds!! Had fun looking at it all.

  14. Love the way you make your yard sale expedition into a story. It seems like it's more the fun and the people you meet than just the treasures you find. Or maybe the fun and people are the treasures? Either way you had a great time and found some great things. Love the William-Sonoma candles. Please stop by for a visit :-)


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

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