Sunday, December 26, 2010


Since the holiday season is so focused on gifts, here’s a little film of some of the gifts I’ve picked up on driveways. Most of what I give away goes to children’s librarians, so you’ll see lots of puppets and toys!

If I can be allowed another shameless self promotion, my novel Sleeping Dogs Lie is still on sale for a special price! And a huge thank you to my readers (both ‘real’ book and ebook), including the ones who left reviews on Amazon. I have to admit that this one made my day!

“Light a fire, pour a cup of tea, and enjoy an evening with your Kindle and this engaging cozy mystery from Sharon Henegar. Louisa's and Bob's adventures--and misadventures--kept me up way past my usual bedtime. While dogs, amateur detectives, and offbeat plots are frequently mixed in novels these days, Ms. Henegar displays a deft, creative hand as the story unfolds. Ms. Henegar is off to a great start with the Willow Falls series--how long must I wait for a sequel?”

The sequel will be out in 2011!

Have a great week, finishing out 2010, and be sure to come along in 2011 to see what driveway adventures will come our way.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Today was the last possible yard sale day for 2010—and it rained. Going out not with a bang but a dribble! But a rainy morning is the perfect time to look back over the year’s purchases and see how I did.

I did good.

As you may know, I keep a spreadsheet with all my garaging purchases noted.

Date Item Paid Est. Value Category Notes
1/9/2010 toy 0.25 8.00 decoration gund classic piglet
1/9/2010 toy 0.50 5.00 decoration another wooden manikin
1/9/2010 quilt 3.00 25.00 household pink and green twin vintage quilt
1/16/2010 soap 0.50 10.00 household Gardeners Therapies liquid soap
1/16/2010 gift 0.50 25.00 gift gap overalls for Emily
1/16/2010 craft item 0.50 60.00 craft Chico's red embroidered shirt

I can’t recommend keeping a record too highly! It really give you a great picture of just how much bang you’re getting for your bucks. I like the feeling of control I have from know where my money goes. And as I’ve mentioned before, if you resell, you need a record for tax purposes.

But really, I do it for the thrill of the bottom line. This year’s bottom line? I spend $440.47 on driveways during the year, and brought home an estimated (conservatively estimated!) $10,510 worth of stuff. Woo hoo! I feel like a lottery winner this morning.

Of course, the bottom line means nothing if the stuff you bring home doesn’t prove useful and/or make you happy. I’m glad to be able to say I have a healthy bottom line in that regard as well. Let’s do the annual round-up by category, starting with clothes and accessories. Spent $5 on 10 accessories, including a darling vintage acorn circle pin.

IMG_9358Bought 31 pieces of clothing for $18.50, including a couple of twenty-five cent cashmere sweaters. I estimate the value in this category was about $1150.

Crafts: Didn’t spend much, though I still bought several sweaters to felt. Spent $3.85 on 8 items that would have been close to $100 in stores. The fave: my angora bed socks made from a felted sweater. I love having warm feet at night!


Decor: Pretty frugal here—$23 for 14 items, and my vintage wire Christmas tree was more than half of the total! Yeah, a big blowout for me, but I love it. In spite of our decision not to decorate the house this year, my husband snuck up to the attic and grabbed a box of ornaments and surprised me yesterday.

IMG_9861It looks adorable. Wish my photography skills were equal to the task of showing it off!

I really scored in the entertainment category: 17 books, 29 CDs, 65 magazines, and 62 DVDs for less than a hundred bucks. Wow. No wonder I’ve never been tempted to spend dime on cable!

Reselling: I’m waiting for the economy to recover, but I did spend $12 in this category. Had a total of $180 in eBay sales, so I came out ahead.

Yard: my biggest spend of the year on a single item was for the yard.


Thirty dollars for a gazebo. I can live with that.

Work: wow, bought 74 items worth about $800 for $53.75! Door prizes for children’s librarians, prizes in the staff summer reading program, toys for a grant project. Remember the Smencils back in March?

IMG_6345And the most hilarity was caused by the Winnie the Pooh wine glasses. Kind of wish I had kept these!


Household: this is always a biggie because I stuff a lot of things under this category, including dishes, fabric, furniture, linens and office supplies. But our furniture finds were especially exciting, since I’ve been watching for mid-century items for the retirement house. I still get a thrill from these:

the atomic era lamps


MCM bedside tables


vintage bar stools

IMG_6804Heywood Wakefield vanity

IMG_9113Ingmar Relling Siesta chair

IMG_9079  Hans Olsen chairs

IMG_9865  and the Poul Hundevad credenza and hutch.

Poul Hundevad credenza   hutchI can’t help wondering what MCM marvels I missed in previous years just because I wasn’t looking for it! But I love what I found, and the fact that all of these pieces set me back a total of…are you ready?


My oh my, I do love to shop on driveways.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chimes & Pups & Demented Elves

Today’s unexpected discovery was that driving around with wind chimes in your convertible is actually rather nice. We wedged these puppiesIMG_9834between the bucket seats and enjoyed the gentle notes at every turn. I have a feeling my husband will balk at my idea of bolting them to the dashboard.

My friend Diane came with me on the garaging rounds today. And we encountered just about every lady I know who are regulars. The first was my friend Linda, who was out with her mom and her neighbor Shelley. Linda introduced us to Joyce, whose yard sale we were at, and told us that she had bought her dining room table from Joyce’s sale a couple of years ago. Joyce called her the other day to say that she had kept back two of the matching dining chairs, and she no longer needs them, so Linda should come and get ‘em. Which she did.

Then at the next stop, Linda & company were there and my yard-sale-acquaintance Sue showed up. A little later Carol arrived. I’m sure the people having sales are mystified by this large band of roving women who all know each other. Little do they know we all met on driveways.

Hmmm, I should have a little tea party sometime for the ladies I met garaging.

The day started out quite foggy, but eventually that burned off and we had a gorgeous morning. It was even fairly warm, probably low 70s. (I know, don’t hate me. Just remember I’ll be moving 1000 miles north one of these days.) Maybe it was the nice sunshine that brought out all the pets. There was Princess YumyumIMG_9819who lives with Spike the Australian cattle dog (whose picture did not come out). Freckles was the first Brittany I’ve seen in ages.IMG_9822 She’s reportedly a very ‘birdy’ dog. When she’s inside she’s a love sponge, but outdoors she is all hunter.

This little five month old puppy was being walked by his family, and went into a barking fit when he saw the obviously dangerous pug at a yard sale.IMG_9807He barked and barked. Took him a while to figure out the pug was a figurine.IMG_9808

Can’t remember this little terrier mix’s name. He was hard to photograph, just too darned wiggly.IMG_9828Our next pet has a very, very sad life story, but  a happy ending. Pearl was having a snooze in the sunshine in her carriage.IMG_9812Her owner does bulldog rescue, and told us that Pearl spent most of her life in a cage in a puppy mill. She was never allowed out of her cage, so her legs became weak and deformed, and poor Pearl can barely walk. When Pearl could no longer produce puppies she was dumped at an animal shelter. This lady adopted her with the knowledge that Pearl would probably not live more than a month, but she wanted her to have some love before she died.

That was two years ago. Her recovery has been slow and she will never be able to get around very well. But she is much loved, and will end her life with the kind of treatment she should have had all along.

I know I’m likely preaching to the choir here, but please, please be careful about where your puppy comes from. Puppy mills still exist, and the lives of the mother dogs are horrible. Puppy mills exist because they make money for despicable people. Let’s put these people out of business. I’d like to put them in one of the cages they imprison their dogs in, but putting them out of business is a first step.

And if you’d like to rescue a nice bulldog, they told us the Southern California Bulldog Rescue group currently has about 65 dogs that need homes. Let me know if you’d like their contact info.

As you can imagine, it was hard to remain dry eyed, listening to Pearl’s story. Except that she exuded contentment, and the ladies having the sale were a hoot. We got a kick out of some of their merchandise. IMG_9815 Too bad this didn’t fit either one of us! I can just imagine either of our husband’s faces if we revealed a “Love Kills Slowly” pink satin bustier.

I spent less than five bucks this morning. (Spendthrift Diane outdid me by quite a bit. Mainly because of the 6 x 8’ silk Persian rug she got for ten dollars. She’s so wild.) Besides the wind chimes I brought home some toys I’ll be giving to a libraryIMG_9833a maraca made out of a real gourdIMG_9842  and a present for a painter friend.IMG_9836 (Yes, Cathy G., that’s you—hope you can use it!)

I got a ceiling light shade to replace one of our vintage ones when we eventually sell this house.

IMG_9840I’m so used to my wonderful vintage ceiling shades that it’s hard for me to find this thing really worth even the fifty cents I paid. OMG, I’m a ceiling glass snob.

My favorite find of the morning unfortunately is not in working condition, but I think it might make a fun display piece.IMG_9844I think the case is Bakelite, though I’m not positive. It’s pretty dirty right now but a little cleaning should improve its appeal. And I have just the vintage photo to display with it.Steve & Bob radio repair '57 - web  That’s my husband and his little brother hard at work “repairing” an old radio. Maybe they’ll be willing to work on this one.

Let me leave you with something we didn’t buy. (My guess is no one else bought it either.) You may remember we decided to opt out of Christmas decorating this year. I think if we hadn’t, this object would have convinced me to do so.IMG_9825 It was his expression I found particularly festive.

IMG_9826Nothing says Noel like a demented elf with his tongue sticking out, that’s what I’ve always said.


Saturday, December 4, 2010


Marcia and I went garaging this morning in a lovely neighborhood of classy houses built from the Twenties through the Fifties. We spent all morning admiring various houses and enjoying the wonderful mature landscaping. One house had some cool weeping trees in front (cedars maybe?) and while we shopped at the yard sale across the street, Marcia asked the young husband if he happened to know what kind of trees they were. He said no, his mom would probably know but she wasn’t there, but we could knock on their door because they are nice. We declined to wake strangers at 7 am on Saturday to inquire about their trees. Then, when I was looking at some fabric square he was selling, he mentioned that his mom had made them. “So she knows fabric and trees, huh,” I commented.

“Yeah,” he replied. “She’s old school.”

Marcia and I both laughed at this. “Your mom is probably our age,” I told him. “You better watch it!”

We chatted for a while with a lady who works with feral cats. She said this guy comes over to her house to sneer at her crew.IMG_9766His name is Hitler—or maybe she just calls him that because of the mustache and his tendency to take over territory that doesn’t belong to him. He was awfully nice about posing for his picture though.

She was quite a talker. We heard about several cats she takes care of, and how one of them decided to move into the house, and how this cat talks all the time. I’m not sure myself how the cat would get a word in edgewise. I can just imagine the two of them in spirited conversation.

A nice lady named Jane made me very happy. She’s an antique dealer and we talked for a while—and she ended up buying my book! That always makes my day. I hope she enjoys it, especially since one of the main characters is an antique dealer.

Remember last week I mentioned that we’re opting out of Christmas this year, and not decorating? Evidently our dog Lizzie decided to get into the spirit with us…and chewed up the little brush squirrel I bought last week!IMG_9756By the time we noticed what she was doing down there by our feet, the squirrel had no more face or feet and she was removing more bristles. Fortunately she didn’t seem to be eating the stuff (couldn’t be good for her insides). So no more cute squirrel. Now you know why I don’t like to pay more than fifty cents for these things!

In spite of this transgression, I bought her a present this morning. She’s getting rather elderly (will be thirteen in a couple of months) and has been a little under the weather (better now though). So I brought home her own stuffed toy to take apart.IMG_9800Toys rarely last more than an hour with her. She chews off things like ears, then carefully opens a seam and flings stuffing all over. But she’s my baby and I knew this would make her happy, and it has. So far she’s just hanging out with it. I’ll be interested to see how long it lasts.IMG_9801No, Edward did not get a toy. Even if I had bought one for him, it would also have belonged to Lizzie—at least in Lizzie’s opinion. And Lizzie’s opinion counts for a lot. With both of them. So Edward just has to look on. But he got into Lizzie’s favorite chair to do so.IMG_9803  Noll found something he likes among today’s finds too.IMG_9773 It’s a brand new cushion for the chaise out by the pool. Unless it becomes a cat bed instead.

I spent $9.75 this morning. Besides the items above, I scored 2 nice glass jars with airtight lids.IMG_9786 I’m trying to decide what to decant into them. Maybe oatmeal in the larger one and baking soda in the smaller? Also scored something I’ve wanted for years.IMG_9782 A set of egg rings, or crumpet rings if you’re me and make crumpets every once in a while. These are really good ones, and turns out they are from Williams Sonoma. Where they did not cost fifty cents.IMG_9784I’m kicking myself over this buy. IMG_9790I need some suspender clips for a project—and when I got home I discovered one of this set is missing. Dang. Oh well, at least I now have a lifetime supply of rainbow colored elastic.

I feel much better about my dollar bag of Meyer lemons, fresh picked from a back yard tree.IMG_9788 They have the most amazing fragrance, lemon with a floral note. If you don’t live in California you may not have encountered them because they don’t ship well. Meyers are something I will miss when we move to Oregon.

I also scored some sticky stuff for hanging things on the wall (or anchoring things to shelves so they don’t crash in an earthquake)IMG_9778 and some inexpensive entertainment (the CD just left with my husband for a drive to LA)IMG_9781and some toys for my library that’s doing a project with babies and toddlers.IMG_9793The phone isn’t vintage, it’s fairly new, but this is probably the only way today’s kids will know that phones used to have a circular dial!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We have had the nicest Thanksgiving this year, just my husband and me. Possibly the best dinner we’ve ever made; it’s lucky no one was dining with us because we would have embarrassed ourselves with the happy groaning noises we made while eating. During the course of the holiday we started talking about our annual Christmas open house we’ve done the last few years, and Steven said he didn’t care if we skipped it this year. And I realized that I would love to take a year off from it. In fact, I said, I don’t care if we decorate the house either. And he agreed. So ever since that conversation, every time I think of not doing Christmas stuff I feel so darned happy. We basically have no one to please but ourselves, and this feels great for this year.

But I might want a Christmas tree, he said. So I told him about the little potted rosemary trees I’d seen at Home Depot. We decided to get one of those for the table and that would be it for decorating. And since it’s a live plant that we don’t really have a spot for in the yard, we’ll keep it in its pot and give it as a door prize for someone who visits our garden in the garden tour in May. Hooray, Christmas is all planned for.

So. I head out this morning to run errands and just check to see if there are any yard sales (you never know on a holiday weekend). There were, and at my first stop I spotted this little guy in a box of Christmas ornaments.IMG_9748Too cute, I thought, he can hang out with the little rosemary tree, then after the holidays he can be part of my acorn collection. That didn’t seem like too much decorating.IMG_9755 (Must find something better to cover the pot.)

I went on my way, had a few conversations (re: tea kettles—“These days I’ve got to have one that whistles or I’m in trouble!”), picked up a DVDIMG_9744and a toy penguin to give away to a children’s librarian. IMG_9745 Met a couple of dogs who live across the street from each other and play together all day, Maggie the Lab and her Springer buddy. IMG_9737 IMG_9738

Then I stopped at one more sale. And fell in love. With a Christmas decoration.IMG_9751 Wish my photography skills did it justice! It’s 40” tall, made of twisted wire, for displaying ornaments. IMG_9753The base has been bolted to a board for stability (the board looks like it started life maybe as a leaf for a dining table). The branches can be unhooked to store everything flat.IMG_9754It reminds me of vintage French wire things I’ve seen, but I have no idea of its age or provenance. I just know I love it. This year I’ll just enjoy it as-is, and in the future I’ll use it to display ornaments.

So the year I’m so happy not to be decorating for Christmas is the year I spend what for me was a chunk of change (more than the MCM furniture I’ve bought, less than the lawn mower!) on the biggest Christmas decoration I’ve ever owned.

I’m just thankful I’ve been married so long that my husband knows better than to expect consistency from me.

Besides, he likes it too!

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