Saturday, October 10, 2009


It's been a big weekend here at the Castle of Fifty Cents. I got to go garaging two days instead of just the usual Saturday and found fun stuff and fun people both days.

Friday’s outing was to posh Newport Beach, not my usual area for sales. I'd taken the day off from work and was in the mood for a mini-vacation, which around our house can be as simple as taking a different route home. (We’re simple folk.) I saw an engaging, chatty ad in Craigslist, noted that it was near a favorite nursery, and off I went.

I managed to miss the turn to the complex where the sale was located. It only had a traffic light and an enormous street sign overhead, so I didn’t see it. But I don’t get lost—I’m just taking the scenic route. When I arrived I saw an older gent sitting in the doorway of a garage full of stuff, and figured it was his sale. Turned out he was actually a shopper! But we chatted a few minutes and he told me about another estate sale not far away. The seller turned out to be a friendly lady named Sheila who delighted in touring me through her stuff. She used to be an antique dealer, and some of her prices were out of my league, but not all. I picked up this picture…
…which she said was ten dollars. Not an enormous amount for some, but you know I try to live up to my name! At first glance I thought this was a painting, but a closer inspection revealed its true nature—scherenschnitte! Yes, this is cut paper; signed by Friedrich Kaskeline who according to what I could turn up online was pretty well known for this kind of art.
I love paper art, and when I turned over the frame and saw this on the back I was a goner.
I asked Sheila if ten was her best price, and she went down to five. Deal! I also bought this fun vintage doll from her. She’s about six inches tall and carrying a book, how could I resist?
I love her painted cloth face, and all the details of her costume.

And her arms, legs and neck are wire, so she can be posed different ways.
As I was chatting with Sheila and the gentleman shopper I mentioned my blog and gave them both my card. He chuckled over the name. “Lord Quarter bows to the Queen of Fifty Cents,” he said. I could practically see the plume on his cavalier’s hat as he swept into a courtly obeisance. The Queen of Fifty Cents was immensely flattered at his homage!

I made my nursery visit (Roger’s Garden’s deserves its own post, it's quite an experience) and went on to the estate sale that Lord Quarter had recommended. Only spent a dollar there, but it was worth going to see how the proverbial other half lives. Actually, while a very nice house, probably dating to the early Sixties, it wasn’t ostentatious. But the location, with views of Balboa Island and Newport Bay, would be the reason for its price tag. Ready for this? The house is for sale for a little under $3.5 million. And it’s been sold. Zowie.

My big buy there was these four sheets of music, evidently cut from some vintage children’s magazine.

Don’t you love the nursery rhyme illustrations? Now I have to keep an eye out for some frames; I want to hang them as a set.

They had a lot of vintage and antique items at this sale. I loved this box, and the phrase 'weeny spit.'
Two dozen weenies cooked at once—gotta admire American ingenuity.

This morning I arose and checked Craigslist to see what was on offer. I was amused to see there would be a “Neighborhood Hugh Sale.” Not the first time I've seen a Hugh Sale advertised. That Hugh, he gets around.

I got excited when I realized one of my favorite neighborhoods was having its annual sale today. I have a practically Pavlovian response to sales in places where I've gotten stellar deals in the past. The first thing I ever found in this neighborhood was a complete set of brand new cutting disks for a Cuisinart food processor, complete with rack, for two bucks. And since a few months earlier I had scored a brand new Cuisinart for eight bucks, I scooped those puppies right up. Still using them just about every week. So I was ready for action today. Which turned out to be good, because I had to be pretty nimble-footed to avoid being run over! I was crossing the street behind an SUV that had paused to peruse the sale I was heading for, and just as I got behind the car it started to back up. I yelled, waved my arms and leapt forward simultaneously. The guy driving got out and came over to apologize, saying he just hadn't seen me. Then he got a twinkle in his eye and said to the elderly couple having the sale, who’d witnessed the whole thing, “I've got one of those pedestrian cameras on the back of the car. It's got crosshairs and everything. Don’t know how I could have missed.” I twinkled right back at him that I wouldn’t have been worth very many points, since I'm such a wide target!

Ended up in a long conversation at another sale that started with a chat about my car. I told this nice lady she should get her own convertible, and she shared her fantasy with me. She said she’s going to wait about ten more years, then she’ll quit coloring her hair, let it go completely white, and buy herself a white Corvette convertible with gray leather interior. I can just see her! I hope she won’t wait that long to get her dream car—or to let her hair go natural. I'm probably strange, but I love the gray in my hair.

The prize for the most cheerful sale of the morning goes to the one with absolutely tons of cards and scrapbooking materials. “You must have robbed a stationery store,” I commented to one of the sellers, and she nodded. “Yup, in the dead of night,” she said. I told her it must have been a dark night and she couldn’t see what she was getting, and when she got home she found she didn’t want any of it—hence her yard sale. “That is exactly what happened,” she agreed, laughing.

I always was a good guesser.

In two days of garaging I spent $26. Wow, that’s a lot this time of year! Those big ticket items like $5 vintage artworks add up, don’t they? Here’s the rest of my loot:

Winnie the Pooh cookie press. I've wanted to try one of these for ages, and for fifty cents I can. If I don’t want to keep it, I know I can hand it off to a children’s librarian. This may be the only one of these that has ever actually been used; there’s a little cookie dough clinging to it.

This very silly Halloween rabbit was a bit of a splurge, but she makes me laugh.
Brand new, in her box, hang tag on her arm. My husband’s expression was so horrified when he saw her that I had to assure him I'll take her to my office.

His horror increased when he saw the suggested retail price. Of course even as a splurge my price was nowhere near this!
I was really only interested in this Crate & Barrel bowl, but the mug got thrown into the deal. Love the color—way nicer than my picture!
Couldn’t resist these Lucite drawer pulls. No idea what they’ll end up on.
Had to search for the fabric tag on this piece, which is in the side seam just under the sleeve! But as I thought it is 100% cashmere. Felting is in its future.
These two glass bowls fit together nicely. I'm going to try again to have a terrarium. Wish me luck. The last time I tried, the plants died as fast they could.

Fun little rooster rug to use in my bathroom.
I love this tennis racket. I'm hoping to move up from Wii tennis one of these days and play with a real ball.
This ABC thingie will go to a children’s librarian.
And here is what I bought from the stationery store heist: a bunch of cool cards…

…some shark scrapbook thingies (planning ahead for next summer’s Make a Splash Summer Reading Program)…
…a set of little gift boxes…
…and this awfully cute frog chalkboard.
While I was putting the piece of chalk into the little plastic bag on the back of the frog, a young woman near me read out the title of a book laying on the table: “101 Things to Do with a Casserole.” The guy with her met my eyes and we both cracked up. “A hundred and one?” I said. “What do you do with a casserole beside eat it?”

He mulled for a moment. “Give it to the dog?”

I nodded. “Or throw it away. That’s three…but a hundred and one?” We both shook our heads and said, “Nah.”


  1. ooohhhh, i love all the stuff...and i especially love that doll.

  2. all I can say is...wanna come thrifting??? :-)


  3. Hugh was for sale in Arkansas and California this weekend (he's on sale here in MS about once a month). What a guy! Love that rabbit and wondering how much of a splurge it was for you--an $85 SRP, though!? NOT!

  4. I LOVE reading about your g-sale-ing. Aren't sale-ers funny people? You have such a gift for writing!

  5. Sounds like my kind of day! I love and miss garage/yard sales and the interesting folks you can meet at them. I also love the weird and wacky items that folks try and sell.


  6. Oh, I LOVE the scherenschnitte picture!

    Now THAT was a deal!

  7. You have such fun posts! I love your intrepid spirit...and the cut paper (sorry, I don't speak German) picture...Amazing!


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

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