Saturday, December 5, 2009


It felt so odd not to blog the past two Saturdays. Before I started this journey I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to keep finding things to say, but so far that has not been the case, and I'm practically suffering withdrawal pains from being gone!

But the Queen of Fifty Cents is back in the saddle. I've returned from the house-buying trip to Oregon, and spent this morning at yard sales. I feel SO much better now!

Thanks to everyone who left kind comments about our new house. We are unbelievably excited about it. My husband is still up there getting it ready to rent, and we’ll be going back up over the Christmas holiday to finish that job. Of course I'm gnashing my teeth that I can't retire this minute and get on up there, but I'll just have to bide my time. Meanwhile, we’ll be thinking and talking about how we want to decorate the place and the furniture we will need, and if I find good stuff at yard sales down here, we’ll use our garage here to store things until time to move. For some reason, when you buy a house that’s twice as big you need more furniture!

Our first night at the new house is one I'm sure we’ll never forget. We bought a nice bottle of wine several weeks ago, planning to use it to celebrate on closing day.

We planned to borrow a couple of plates and forks from my brother in law—only we forgot. We talked about going out for dinner, but we really wanted to stay in, so we microwaved our leftovers from the previous night’s restaurant dinner and passed the table knife that was our only utensil back and forth to eat with. Fortunately I had come armed with a corkscrew along with the wine, so we opened that and passed the bottle as well, since we had no glasses. We ate in the breakfast nook and reminisced about all the houses we have lived in since we married almost 38 years ago. We’ve lived in a lot of places—only got about halfway through the list! Though we did manage to get through the whole bottle of wine, which is extreme drinking for us. It was fascinating that while we both remembered a lot of the same things, we each had memories from every place that the other didn’t remember. I guess we’ll save the rest of the reminiscences for the day we move in.

I didn’t go to any garage sales while I was gone, but visited a couple of thrift stores for a few plates, cups etc. Found most of what I needed at the Goodwill store in Salem, but had more fun at the thrift store run by the Salem Friends of Felines. Half of their store is the usual thrift store, the other half has kitties! Only a few kitties were in individual cages; most were in three good sized rooms where a whole bunch of cats could hang out together. I've never seen such a mellow and friendly bunch of cats. If you need a new friend at your house, check them out. I took my dogs along on the trip, but I was definitely missing Mrs. Wilberforce and Noll Baxter, who were being tenderly cared for by our nice neighbors. It was great to be able to pet some kitties while I was there.

Today my friend Diane joined me for garaging. It's one of the four weekends a year for legal yard sales in the town I live in, so we cruised near my home, then headed up to Floral Park, a lovely older neighborhood on the north side of town. We were both very happy with our finds, and it's a beautiful neighborhood to drive around in. And mostly friendly people, though there were one or two we didn’t mind moving on from. But on both sides of town we saw prices we thought were absurd for yard sales. I think it's partly the economy and people needing the money, and partly sales being held by people who have never gone garaging and don’t know how prices generally run.

For example, this sale was mostly pieces of fabric ranging from half a yard to 4 or more yards, all neatly bundled up and priced.
The lady selling them said she sews for designers. Which sounds pretty high-end and might explain the high end prices on some of the pieces. For instance, a piece of less than two yards of upholstery weight cotton was marked $20. I couldn’t help remembering the wonderful silk I bought for about ten cents a yard, or the entire roll of Schumacher fabric for $2. But other people were buying here.

Later we heard some negotiating that reduced the price of some Pyrex refrigerator dishes from $55 to $50. I don’t have the whole set, but I have two of the pieces and paid a dime each.

At the same sale I was amused by this vintage item—a set of 4 kitchen towels and a “salad dressing bowl and spoon.” Probably a wedding gift fifty years ago.

Later we met Coco Chanel.

She is wheeled everywhere in her carriage. I addressed her as Coco and she gave me an affronted look that said I was being forward.

This handsome guy was more my kind of dog.
Peter was rescued three years ago and is just coming out of the effects of abuse he suffered earlier. How could anyone abuse such a sweetie? His owner laughingly said he’s a very good boy but not terribly smart. Another lady nearby told Peter not to listen to that, that he is just “unconcerned.” We all thought it was the perfect description.

Our other good laugh of the day came when we walked up to a sale where a lady was looking at a box of hair coloring. One of the guys sitting nearby called over, “Hey, what is that stuff, pesticide?”

I spent $13.75, more than making up for my last outing in which I found zip. Can't share a couple of today’s finds because they will be gifts. You’ll never guess what they are—and neither will the intended recipients! But here’s what I can show you:

Children’s librarian door prizes, including a couple of frogs and a cute little frame for next summer’s Make a Splash reading program.

This hat will also be a prize.
The seller quoted me a price of $2 and seemed a bit put out when I offered less. I explained it would go live in a library and have a very good home. Her nice husband standing nearby laughed and said, “Free to a good home, isn’t that how it goes?”
The missus agreed to a dollar, then she wandered off. When I handed the dollar to the mister he handed it back and said, no, just give it that good home. I promised we would. When we got back to the car, Diane and I agreed that the missus would probably have kept the dollar, and frowned at me!

A couple of DVDs of favorite movies, to replace our old VHS tapes. These did NOT come from the sale that had DVDs priced at something like twenty bucks.
Some Christmas ornaments.

These glass pinecones may end up being party favors at our Christmas Open House in a couple of weeks.
I love these earrings.
The lady selling them had a number of cool things she has made. Diane bought a couple of packs of her embossed gift cards. And I should have taken a picture of the clever little primitive Christmas trees she made with twigs, a bit of greenery and old buttons.

At the same sale I succumbed to the charms of this rusty roping cowboy. I think he’ll make a fun yard ornament.
Last is this pink fanny pack.
Wasn’t in the market for a pack(but hey, it's a hip pack!), but a couple of months ago I bought a brand-new-from-a-store pedometer (so unlike me!) and lost it two days later. So what I actually wanted was the bonus pedometer, and at fifty cents the price was right. The store-bought one was pretty chintzy about adding up my steps—I would walk around counting steps in my head, and when I looked at the pedometer it had added nowhere near as many as I counted. But this one seems to be very generous with its counting, so even though it's pink I'm going to like it a lot better!

And now that I look more closely at the packaging, I get one more chortle from my day’s finds. Where but in Southern California would I be asked to buy this pink thing to “Help Save a Lifestyle”?


  1. Just checked out your 1957 house. It is awesome! Looks like it has never been remodeled and all original. What a great house! Are you gonna be looking for some mid-century Eames furniture??? You are SO lucky!

  2. welcome back into the saddle again!!
    havent made it to any yard sales lately, but made out pretty well at Goodwill this last week!
    See you soon!

  3. Glad you are back, I missed reading you! And I suppose now you can bring home all the furniture you want without getting the "where's it going to go" question! Can't wait to see your future furnishings come together! I bet you'll get them all for 50 cents!

  4. Lol at "Help Save a Lifestyle"!

    I love the glass pinecones.

  5. Love the cowboy and the 'unconcerned' dog. And what a lovely man to give you the hat for free. I wonder if he confessed to his wife? I must admit I did a double-take at the last item. 'Fanny' means something different in the UK! xx

  6. This is great--I love that you found and commented on my blog (I wonder how you found it...??). What an amazing world blogging is! Enjoyed the quotes, too. :)

  7. Not too many yard sales this time of year in upstate New York, but we have snow and cute dogs...

  8. From one garage saler to another, I LOVE your copper cowboy! Do NOT ever sell it (unless you sell it to me).

  9. I'm so excited to find your blog! Glad you found mine and commented. I can't wait to see your house in Salem come together. I love mid-century. In fact, my sister might have a mid-century couch you would like to buy. She probably wants more than 50 cents for it though. :)

    When you come back up to Salem for a visit, you should make sure to contact me and join our local bloggers happy hour. :)


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

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