Saturday, March 13, 2010


Perhaps to make up for our recent rainy Saturdays, I managed to get in two days of garaging this week. Hit a couple of estate sales on Friday. At the first, as I was paying the lady on the porch of the cute little Victorian house, I noticed two kitties looking out through the screen door. Oooh, kitties, I said. “They’re for sale too,” she said. I believe she was doing the sale for an elderly lady who had to move to assisted living, so this statement was perhaps not as heartless as it sounded. But when I looked back at the door—both kitties had disappeared.

Don’t tell me pets can't understand English.

Today when I headed out I had my husband along for companionship. Fortunately he is a patient person, because it turned out to be a chatty morning. My friend Linda is part of a women’s chorus with over 100 members, and once or twice a year they have a big fundraiser yard sale. Big. Tons of stuff for sale, many members of the chorus there working the sale, and lots and lots of shoppers. There had to be hundreds of pieces of clothing, all priced at fifty cents—so you know I was in my element. And tables and tables of household miscellany and boxes of books and movies, plus some furniture and a wide variety of other objects. Linda is the acknowledged yard sale expert of this group, and about every thirty seconds you’d hear someone calling, “Linda! How much should we charge for this?” “Linda, what is this thing? How much is it?” “Linda! Linda? Where’s Linda?”

Come to think of it, I actually met Linda at one of their sales three or four years ago. We got to talking on that very same driveway, then we kept meeting at other yard sales, and now we get together once a week or so to play our hammer dulcimers. When I went over to her house a couple of days ago I was wearing an embroidered shirt (it’s from New Year’s 2000, but I figure if I want to wear a shirt with embroidered fireworks in March that’s okay). Linda said she liked my shirt—and that’s when I remembered I bought it at one of their sales. You just can't go wrong with fifty cent clothing!

While I was going through all the clothes and talking to Linda and her chorus pals, my husband did his perusing of the stock, then patiently watched my stash. When I paid up, he toted it all to the car, including the jacket I had been wearing until I got too warm. I kept talking to folks, and he started looking at some more stuff, and by the time I finished yakking he’d found a paint sprayer that seemed like a good idea to buy. “Linda!” I hollered across the yard. “How much is this?”

We paid for the paint sprayer, headed to the car with it, and I reached into my pocket where I always put my car keys.

No keys.

Steven had his, but mine weren’t in my pockets or my waist pack. I figured I'd laid them down somewhere in all that mess of stuff. “Linda! I’ve lost my car keys!” So Linda and my hubs and several other people and I all started looking, to no avail…until that smart man I married asked if I hadn't been wearing a jacket earlier. Yup, the keys were in my jacket pocket. I was far too relieved to feel as dumb as I probably should have!

Off we went, to chat with a guy selling boxes of light bulbs at his yard sale. I said he must have changed out his fixtures, and he said no, they’d bought another house that had dozens and dozens of light fixtures in it. The bathrooms alone have something like forty bulbs, so he was changing everything to energy efficient bulbs, and the ones he was selling were the regular ones he’d taken out. I'm not sure I've ever encountered a sale of used light bulbs before.

At another sale I had to take a picture of the shrubbery by their front porch. Don’t you think it looks like a topiary buffalo? I asked the teenage boy minding the sale if that’s what it was, and he seemed unsure. I'm not positive he knew what a buffalo is.
At our next stop I fell into conversation with this gent.
He was holding this gigantic wooden spoon and I said you’d need to be awfully hungry to use that. In an English accent, he said it reminded him of the old saying “If you sup with the devil you should use a long spoon.” Okay, I'm a total sucker for people who say things like that. Then he found a framed souvenir from Brazil, a little reverse-painted map of the country using blue butterfly wings to depict the states. (Should have taken a picture. Hard to describe.) Butterfly wings, he told me, are actually colorless. They are composed of a crystalline substance that defracts light into colors. (He said defracts, not refracts. Sometime I will look up the difference.) The color you get depends on the particular structure of that butterfly. He said if you look at them under an electron microscope the structures are quite amazing. “You must be either a physicist or an entomologist,” I commented. Bingo. Retired physicist. He also told me he’s really good at finding whatever he needs at yard sales, and promised to conjure up some really great midcentury modern furniture for me over the next few weeks. My fingers are crossed.

When we got home I added up what we’d spent. First big blowout of the yard sale year—$44! Sheesh, not sure I can afford to have the hubs come along very often. Actually, that’s unfair. I spent as much on clothes as he did on the paint sprayer, though some of the clothing I hope to resell. And almost half of the total went for movies, which we both enjoy—10 DVDs for our collection, some to replace VHS tapes, some we didn’t have.

These baking dishes will be perfect for a veggie pot pie recipe we’ve been wanting to try.
Here’s the paint sprayer. First project will be painting our metal outdoor chairs. I'm leaning toward a deep blue enamel.
This small cloche came from the estate sale with the disappearing kitties.
The other estate sale yielded a pair of storage jars.
I haven’t bought any yard sale clothing in a while. For myself I found a slouchy J.Jill sweater…
…long black V neck tee…
…Coldwater Creek tee…
…black and cream silk tee (looks good under a black jacket)…
…Ulla Popken tee (you’ve never seen so many tee shirts as they had at this sale)…
…royal blue silk skirt…
I'm hoping to resell these pieces, which include Patagonia, Quacker Factory, and Chico’s Design.
Only met a couple of dogs this time out. Little Penny was a Chihuahua/Jack Russell mix—and absolutely determined I would not take her picture.
But this guy, a great big goofy Golden, not only wanted to be in the picture…
…he wanted to climb right inside my camera!


  1. Wowsers! You had a great yard sale day!!! Great clothes at wonderful prices. Oh I feel like buying some new Tshirts now! well old new tshirts!

  2. I stopped by a couple of sales today,and the best deal was a set of 4 new World Market paper lanterns, never opened. They light up with AAA batteries, so I dont even have to worry about extension cords. Will be pretty on the patio this summer!
    It can be dangerous taking husbands along on these shopping trips...john always finds goodies that he cannot live without, and he does not believe in 50 cent shopping!
    Another place was filled with neat stuff, but was way overpriced! I got there after 1PM, and they still had lots of stuff. What sticks in my mind was old fashioned printed hankies that had been crocheted by somebodys child; and they were asking from $3 to $5 a piece!
    PS-- the bush looks like broccoli!

  3. Your post reminded me that yard sales are not just about finding a deal and recycling but about making friends, being friendly and taking time to listen. Thanks.
    Ms. Fiddlesticks

  4. Great haul. Some great films you've got there. A whole season of car boot sales ahead. Yippeeee! xx

  5. always fun to read about your yard sale adventures! sweet doggies and great finds!

    i think that bush looks like broccoli too!

    terry lee

  6. Glad you found your keys! I wasn't sure if you were joining Southern Hospitality's kickoff of the Thrifty Treasures party this week so I had to be sure to visit before going to bed. I love reading the stories of your weekly adventures.

  7. You got some great fav is the storage jars! Hope you have a FUN week:)


  8. ha! I love the long spoon story - I'm a sucker for a good story too. If I can't have the spoon (for what reason, I haven't a clue...maybe the story too!) then I absolutely love the storage jars! Great finds!
    I'm stopping over from the Thrifty Treasures.

    jeanette from

  9. Like the use of the dress form:) The cloche is my favorite!!!

  10. I'm curious--where do you resell the clothes? Ebay?

    Best find I've had lately was at a local antique mall. A figurine of an old fashioned aviator for $16 turned out to be, with a bit of research, worth about $120! I gave it to Hubby and he loves it.

  11. Oh, and I love the green tee w/the blue skirt. Yummy.

  12. Hubby is just commenting about how we never see anything useful like spray painters at garage sales.

    Guess who has paint sprayer envy? No more reading over my shoulder at blogs for Mr. P!

  13. The characters you came across are just as entertaining as your finds!
    Love the jars too.

  14. Looks like your husband is a magic talisman - you bought lots of stuff with him! Great tales as always.

  15. Wow. I love your long posts! I always enjoy reading this kind of thing (not sure what that says about me, haha). But yeah, looks like you had a blast! I always get a kick out of these insane sales.. just tonight I bought 3 awesome vintage trousers at 3 for $1!!!

  16. Nice deals! Chocolat is such a good movie.


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

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