Saturday, October 3, 2009


The Chihuahua stood on the sidewalk, looking back and forth between two yard sales about four houses apart.

I decided to go first to the sale I could reach without passing the dog. As soon as I started walking toward that house, she began to bark. She followed me up the sidewalk, barking. An old lady peered over her fence, then called, “Dixie! What are you doing out there!” I'm thinking maybe Dixie had been heading for that other sale to shop.

The next Chihuahua I saw was even smaller than Dixie.
When I walked up it was standing so still that for a moment my brain registered ‘dog figurine’—but then this one started barking at me too. Loudly. Couldn’t believe that much sound could come out of a dog that small. I have to admit I was more taken with the other dog there. This is Ruby.
Evidently I had been at these people’s sale last year, because when I mentioned that the folks who read my blog seem to enjoy the dog pictures, they exclaimed, “Oh, yeah, you’re the fifty cent lady.” And the neighbor who was hanging out said, “Yeah, you bought a bunch of fifty cent things from me last year.” Sure hope I behaved myself and that they didn’t remember me because I'd been so weird.

You may recall that last week I found a Craigslist ad for a sale that was going to be better than a “swat meet.” Here’s this week’s gem from the grammar challenged: “Check out all the great items at are grummage sale.” They used the word ‘grummage’ in their headline too. I have a fairly good vocabulary and that’s a new one on me.

I had a darned good morning shopping-wise. To start, my favorite lady at the bagel shop gave me several cash register receipts that other people had left behind. Why would I want these? Because if you take a short online survey you get a dollar off your next order. So that was like someone handing me a five dollar bill to spend in a place I go every week. And for $12.25 I found these deals:

A copy of the board book version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Which is the very book being used for this year’s Read for the Record event on October 8, in which folks all over the world will be trying to set a new record for reading the same book on the same day. Find out more about it here and have fun on Thursday reading the wonderful Very Hungry Caterpillar with someone you love.

I picked up this box thinking it might contain cards…
…but instead found this little trinket box. “Just take it,” the lady said. So I did.

These glass ornaments will be party favors at our annual open house during the holidays.
I discovered that they’re not terribly delicate by dropping the whole bag of them on my tile floor—and only one broke.

Found a couple of door prizes for my children’s librarians—little frog and turtle cutouts, and a frog rubber stamp. The theme for next year’s Summer Reading Program will be ‘Make a Splash’ and I think frogs will tie in nicely to that.

I'm thrilled with these two Dooney & Bourke purses. My $4 Coach bag is still in great shape so I'll probably resell these.

At the same sale I admired this red wool swing jacket and told the seller it would look great on her.

She said it was too big, it was her mom’s. I measured it and bless me if it wasn’t my size. I absolutely love it. I'm thinking of doing some embroidery around the edges, maybe a simple blanket stitch in a contrasting color, and changing the buttons. One of the sleeve buttons is missing, and I have some great vintage buttons in my stash.

I'd have been happy with one great clothing deal, but a few driveways later I was rummaging—sorry, grummaging—through a box of clothes and noticed linen pants in my size. I asked how much the clothes were and she said, “Oh, ten cents, a quarter. Something like that.” So I kept grummaging and for a total of one American dollar came home with:
Three Marisa Christina sweaters

Two pairs of summery linen pants

A cashmere and silk blend sweater. I didn’t recognize the brand, but it's sold at Bloomingdales. That would explain it. I don’t shop at Bloomies, I shop on driveways.

Two wool sweaters that I think I'll felt.

Last is this homemade skirt of vintage barkcloth. It's not my size, but I loved the fabric.

When I got it home I looked at it more closely and found printing on the selvedges:
A little research uncovered that these fabrics were manufactured between 1950 and 1967. The quality is high, because this fabric is in great condition. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet but I just love it. So I purchased nine items of good clothing for a dollar. It's no wonder I don't shop at Bloomingdales!

My last find was this battered vintage ottoman. Those stitches someone made to hold in the stuffing called to me.

I may have been inspired by my sister, Midcentury Marilyn, who emailed me yesterday about an ottoman she scored this week. Recovering mine is definitely in order, but that looks to be within my skill level. And the price was a whole dollar! Even better, the lady I bought it from said that her mom MADE this—along with a sofa. I goggled at her in amazement, and she nodded. “She took a class, and completely built and upholstered a sofa and this ottoman.” She thinks it was in the late Forties or early Fifties. Her mom died last year at the age of 96. She is my new role model! If this lady could build her own furniture, seems like the least I can do is recover this piece and give it some more years of love.


  1. That ottoman has a great shape, even though it's a little distressed. Nothing some fabric and a handy person (you) can't remedy. I also like the swing coat and purses. Looks like it was a profitable day for you!

  2. Don't you just love it when someone says, "Oh, just take it." Like a dime or quarter is too much to ask! I am in awe of your great finds. How about reupholstering the ottoman in the fabric from the barkcloth skirt but ONLY if you don't plan on wearing the skirt!
    Nice "grummaging!"

  3. Great deals!! You make me want to go find a grummage sale!

  4. i love to go yard sale shopping vicariously with you via your blog.
    do you think grummage is a combination of garage sale and rummage sale?
    love your blog.

  5. You had another successful day of shopping! You really got some great deals on the clothing and purses. I did not go to any yardsales or estate sales this weekend. Went to a craft fair on Friday, so decided I had spent my limit.


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

Pin It button on image hover