Saturday, April 10, 2010


I headed back to my car, bagel in hand, as a woman got out of her car next to mine. She glanced at my open convertible and said, “You must be feeling hopeful.” Took me a moment to realize she was referring to the overcast sky. My first, instinctive reaction was to wonder how the heck this complete stranger knew I was heading out for yard sales. I always think that’s one of the best parts of Saturday morning, that hopeful feeling of anticipation. You have no idea what you will find, who you will talk to, if some fabulous treasure will be yours in the next few hours.

As I drove off, I thought of that wonderful Emily Dickinson line, Hope is the thing with feathers. Do you know the poem?
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Perhaps I'll find something with feathers today, I thought.

We pause here for a SPOILER ALERT!

If you are a certain friend of mine who had a birthday a few days ago while you were back in the Midwest visiting relatives, stop reading now if I haven’t brought you your birthday present yet. I'm just sayin’!

Okay, now that she’s out of the room we can go on.

Pulled up to the first yard sale. These people have two or three a year, which usually means I don’t stop, but I generally find something fun. And there she was.

Hope. The thing with feathers.
Is this not a riot? And while I would not buy just anyone a large pink flamingo, the friend WHO IS NOT READING THIS LEST HER SURPRISE BE SPOILED has a running joke with some family members involving these birds. They’ve done all sorts of crazy things, including costuming the creatures for various holidays. So I'm hoping this will be enjoyed, and I figure if she doesn’t want to keep it (after all, as the Queen of Fifty Cents always says, if there were no gifts there would be no garage sales) she can send it on to someone else in the family.

I had Hope sitting on the kitchen counter when my husband got home from grocery shopping. I made sure to place myself where I could see his face when he walked in. He’s really good though. If I hadn't known him for over forty years I probably would not have recognized the brief spasm of horror that crossed his face. It's a gift, I said immediately (before he could ask where I was planning to put it). Unless he’d like to keep it. No, he allowed, that’s fine.

There’s probably a name for the way people feel about flamingos. Phoenicopterphobia or some such. I met up with another regular garager a bit later and was showing off my find, and she said her son can't stand them. A neighbor’s Christmas display of festively decorated flamingos struck him as scary. So what did she buy for him? Yup, flamingo bedsheets. Be nice to your mamas, boys, especially if they still make your beds for you.

One more bit about Hope the Flamingo. I paid for her (with much merriment all around me that I was buying The Flamingo) and said something like, she seems reasonably well behaved. Anything I should know about her? The guy didn’t miss a beat.

“Red poop,” he said.

It was that kind of morning. At another place a woman was putting out a large number of shoes to sell. “You should see what’s still in the closet,” she said. I mentioned that I think shoes are one of those things that breed in our closets; you close the door on them and before you know it they’ve multiplied. She agreed, adding, “Yeah, and then there are the strays. Little illegitimate shoe children.” Cracked me up. I have to admit that’s never happened in my closet, but then I don’t have nearly so many shoes as she does. Or did.

It was a good morning for doggies. I was petting Prix
when I noticed her owner looking toward the street with a puzzled expression. A boy of about 9 or 10 was crossing the street, carrying a pair of crutches. “Look, mom,” he called, “I bought some crutches!” She just shook her head. He started right in having a great time with them. Another boy arrived on a bicycle, and the first kid called, “Look what I've got!” They both seemed to think this was the coolest toy ever. I remember thinking crutches were pretty cool when I was that age, and being jealous of kids who were lucky enough to break a leg so they’d get to have some.

This is Rascal. Would you not swear he is a Cairn terrier?
But no. He is a poodle/Chihuahua mix, and I was told he has a sister who looks completely different, with short sleek hair.

Then there was Sassy, a poodle/beagle cross. Sassy was grazing on a clump of grass, and not real interested in having her picture taken.
Finally her owner picked her up. Bingo!
And this is Molly.
Molly was a rescue dog. They said she came from a place where an old woman lived alone and had something like 75 dogs. Molly’s litter had never been out of the cage she had them in; she was about 4 months old when the dogs were rescued. They said she was scared of everything back then, but she’s just been the greatest dog. She’s some kind of shepherd mix, with the softest fur. When she stood up to be petted I saw that she’s bowlegged, I guess from being caged. She walks a little funny, but she found a wonderful forever home with a family who loves her.

I spent a total of $7. Along with the hopeful flamingo, I came home with

Some fun pink die-cut ribbon, yards and yards of it. Will probably give this away.

A Dansk reindeer. He’ll get to hang out with my Dansk cat.
Hmmm. Time to polish the cat!

The world’s heaviest grill pan.

Seriously. This puppy weighs almost 9 pounds!
I was getting near home when I saw one more yard sale sign. Almost didn’t stop, but what the heck. There was the usual pile of clothing on the driveway, and I noticed that some of the sweaters were cashmere. How much, I asked. Twenty five cents for any of the clothing. So I splurged on two cashmere sweaters…

…a merino wool cardigan with a great texture (might end up felting this one, haven’t decided)…
…and a hand knitted wool sweater from South America.

They also had a lovely corgi for me to pet. Emma.

Twenty five cent cashmere and a corgi named Emma. If that’s not enough to fulfill your hopes, I don’t know what is!


  1. I knew I liked you!! What a good friend to buy a flamingo for a friend. I know from personal experience. I am a flamingo affectionato. Sounds good anyway. I collect flamingos. I found a large picture of one today. It was a dollar. The woman had other pictures of birds she tried to sell me but I only had eyes for the flamingo!! Your flamingo is to die for along with that ribbon. How pretty!

  2. This has to be one of my all time favorite posts. This one just really made my day, from the flamingo to the cashmere for .25. The best part of this is all the lovely doggies. I look forward to reading you posts so I can see the pets!

    That Flamingo is darling and I am sure that the friend will love her to bits.

    Thanks for sharing your finds. Happy weekend.

  3. Up in Pismo Beach, they are raising money for one of the local service clubs by having you "send" 24 plastic flamingos to visit a friend's yard. you wake up one morning and find 2 dozen pink birds on your lawn! There is a letter on your door to let you know who sent the birds; for a small donation, they will pick them all up and send them off to another one of your friends' yards. I dont know, I think I would just keep the 24 birds...

  4. Don't know what it is exactly, but reading your Saturday Morning Thrifting is like sitting down with a friend of many devoted years, just talking and enjoying coffee and life's adventures together. I really do look forward to sitting down and visiting with you on Sunday morning.

  5. I love reading your yard sale stories. They are just the best. OMGOSH, the flamingo... it just couldn't be more special. Love the dogs you get to visit with. I really need to get myself out of bed and visit a few yard sales. I think I will do that this Saturday.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. What a great post! I have a funny post about "rescue" flamingos over on my blog I Heart Everything. I love that you take pictures of the pets at yard sales. I always make it a point to talk/pet the critters too. Thanks for sharing your fun and fun finds day with us!

  7. Thanks for stopping by. Love that flamingo and the pooch photos are adorable.

  8. Funky bird! Love the pooch photos.


  9. LOVE the flamingo! I wished I lived closer. I would love to go just once with have the most amazing adventures :)

  10. You've got a great sense of humor!! That flamingo is QUITE THE THING!! LOL

  11. I actually had a Chi-poodle who looked a lot like Rascal. He ran away from home and never returned unfortunately. Great finds - love the flamingo

  12. Great Job on the yard sale finds, if you need to sell some of your treasures, please visit my FREE site

  13. Queen of Fifty Cents, I love reading your posts! What fun! Hope the flamingo is beautiful, especially with all of those white fluffy feathers in the base. What a great grill pan too!

    I hope you are having a good Saturday morning of sales this morning. I am not out this morning but did score a couple of nice finds yesterday at Goodwill - a basket for my nursery that is awaiting it's sweet baby occupant and a brand new white bedskirt from Target that the lady only charged me the "used" price for instead of the new! $3 for a bedskirt! The bed in the nursery is an antique bed and therefore taller than most now. I have a bedskirt on it but the various baby toys we've been given for when the baby is older and the luggage stored underneath are peaking out. This new bedskirt will allow me to make a double layer of bedskirt by cutting it up and attaching it to the first one and hide all that stuff quite cutely! ;)

    Hope it's not sprinkling on you today as it is raining here and I heard from my mom that it's raining on her where she lives too.


  14. You really know how to brighten a person's day...Thank you for making me smile :)


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

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