Saturday, July 31, 2010


What a morning! I was ably assisted today by my friends Marcia and Diane. We took M’s spiffy black Audi convertible—what a guy magnet that car is. At one sale a young woman told us, “You’d better keep an eye on your car. My husband is about to drool on it.” First stop, the bagel place. Next stop—the latest installment of Mikey the insurance guy’s moving-to-Hawaii sale. Hmmm, I may have to add a whole category for Mikey posts.

He spotted me in the car when we were half a block away and started waving. I waved back, while filling in Marcia and Diane on my previous Mikey encounters. By the time we parked and were getting out of the car he had his head stuck in the front door and was calling to his wife, “The librarian’s here!” As you may recall, I bought a little rocking chair from them a couple of weeks ago that had belonged to the wife’s aunt, which seems to have given me family status. Guess it pays to be a relative (I've heard of shirttail cousins, but a rocking chair aunt??) because today he wouldn’t even take our money. At first I didn’t see anything, but kept looking and ended up with some things to give away as prizes. Looking into my crystal ball, I see…a children’s librarian with a bunch of kids…they are doing something fun…yes, they are making stick puppets! Over 1,000 of them, since that’s how many craft sticks I carried off.
Also scored this little curio cabinet
and a set of drawers that I figured would be useful to corral stuff on someone’s desk. But the more I look at it, the more I think it might be MY desk.
Diane made out like a bandit. She was looking for stuff for her yard, so Mikey gave her this great wrought iron trellis
a basket full of garden hand tools, some wind chimes and one of those angel silhouette things cut out of metal that you poke into the ground.

The last thing I noticed was a plastic bag stuffed with something, so I peeked in. White cloth. “Take those,” said Mikey. “Those belonged to my wife’s aunt.” The aunt whose rocker I have? “That’s the one. It’s old napkins or something.”

Okay, I'm a sucker for vintage linens, and if I have the rocker it seemed like I should have whatever this was too. So I grabbed it and brought it home. Worst case scenario I would have some new old stuff to use for cleaning rags, right? We will return in a bit to the bag o’ mystery cloth.

Around the corner from Mikey’s we spotted another sale. Several twenty-somethings lightening their load. Marcia found a pretty paper-covered storage box for fifty cents. She almost passed it up because a corner of the lid needs repair but then she smacked her forehead and came to her senses. Two inches of tape will fix it, and the last similar box she bought was from Home Good and it was six bucks. I was checking the rest of the stuff on the driveway while she bought her box. They had a bunch of toys, and a kid about ten years old asked the price of a nerf gun. Very seriously one of the young men said, “It's a dollar, but you know you have to be eighteen to buy a gun.” The kid gave him a give-me-a-break look and got a dollar from his mom. They took his money, but he got a stern warning to use it carefully. Guess the nerfs in his neighborhood better look out.

I picked up a little decorated notebook (more on that in a moment too) and when I turned around, Diane was looking at a wrought iron chandelier. A couple of the clip-on shades were battered, but it was pretty darned nice. “I need a bigger one for my dining room,” she said, “but…” I heard one of the young women say, “The light thing is fifty cents.” “Diane, it's fifty cents,” I told her. She still seemed undecided. “I'll buy it for you,” I said, and did. By the time we got back to the car, she was smacking her forehead and saying how much she loved it. In fact, we talked about it all morning. The only thing that could have made it better would be if it had been at Mikey’s sale, since he would no doubt have given it to us for free. But fifty cents is pretty darned close.
Is that not a fabbo find?

So now we started to get back in the car and realized that three full grown women, a trellis, a curio cabinet, desktop drawers, a decorative box and a chandelier are quite a load for a sports car. We decided we’d run back to my house, about three miles away, and drop our load. But first we had to stop at one more sale we passed. Which turned out to be nothing but crap, and Marcia got stung by a bee. At least we think it was a bee. The only evidence was the sudden intense pain and the nasty stinger I had to pry out of her skin. It was actually a bit scary. She started getting pains down her arm, then up her neck. But we made it to my house and I gave her a dose of a homeopathic remedy I use for stings (though it's usually mosquito bites) and soon she was much better. Whew!

Off we go again. I don’t think I've ever had a morning where I had to drop off a load in less than an hour—and between us at that point I think we had shelled out a total of $2.

We made a few more scores. Diane found a cute pink cotton cardigan and some candles. We both picked up some CDs. I got a length of white cotton gauzy fabric to use on my patio to shade the table—it gets a lot of sun during the day through the lathe pergola over it, so I'm going to hang this for the rest of the summer. I'll get a picture after it's up.

We encountered a few dogs; this adorable puppy absolutely would not stand still.

Cute little Roxy the beagle wanted to mingle with the shoppers, and kept up a constant chorus of small whines.
I couldn’t help wondering when I saw this guy if they’d been expecting him to be larger when they bought the cushion.
He had a very settled air, and I asked his owner if he were elderly. The guy laughed. “He’s only two and a half, but he always acts like he’s ancient.” And his name? Lightning. They must have expected him to be faster too.

Had one more pleasant encounter before we headed off to breakfast. We found a sale on a cul de sac, and the house on the end of the street was where we scored a very large number of kumquats almost two years ago. Even better, the homeowners were out working in their yard, so I went over and we renewed our acquaintance. Had a very nice talk—and better still, we’re invited back to pick kumquats again! My husband will be so excited when he hears he gets to make more marmalade. No, seriously, he loves the stuff and has been savoring the last batch he made.

So I got home from our adventures and started looking at my loot. When I added everything up, I had spent two bucks. Paid nothing for two CDs; Diane bought them for me since I had bought a chandelier for her.
The notebook from the chandelier sale

which is going to be a DOOR PRIZE at my Shopping on Driveways presentation this coming Thursday!
Come on down, we can share our garaging stories and strategies, and who knows, there might be other door prizes!

Then my eye landed on the plastic bag from Mikey’s wife’s aunt. The first thing I pulled out was this vintage piece. Small tablecloth? Needs a good oxy soak, but it's okay. No biggie.

I pulled out more. And more. And more. A couple of things aren’t old, a napkin and a fingertip towel from China. But some of it amazes me. I wish I were more expert with linens. I can recognize handwork, but I've seen exquisite handwork from China, so I'm not absolutely positive about the age of some of the pieces. But I think it's mostly old, and that someone in the Mikey family was an amazing needleworker.

Drawn work, cut work, picot crochet, needlelace. Some of the scalloped edges even have scallops of their own!
Many of the pieces are probably napkins, but there are 4 linen placemats, 11 pieces that might have been finger towels with needlelace people on both ends

7 of this, 5 of that…I believe there are 72 pieces in all. I really don’t know what I will do with it all. I'm sure that’s the dilemma Mikey’s family had: what to do with exquisite work that no longer fits your lifestyle. Of course, most people have no idea the skill level something like this required.

Maybe I'll edge-stitch pieces together to make curtains for the guest rooms in our retirement house. I'll think of something, and if you have ideas let me know! Rest assured they will not end up in the rag bag or the landfill.

After all, I owe to Mikey’s aunt to give them a good home.


  1. Now that was a great day of Garage Sales! I love the chandelier and that cute notebook, but the bag of linens has to be the best. Sounds like a lot of fun also!

  2. I don't comment often, but love your blog. To help you out with your linens, explore this blog and look at the remarkable things she does with linens

    Also, Mary Corbet at can provide a lot of information on the stitching.

  3. What good deals. Especially the chandelier. Oxyclean is often helpful to remove stains on older linens. I helped a friend with her sale today. Didn't buy anything. She gave me a brand new purse/backpack that I admired. She found it for free somewhere, price on the internet is $75!

  4. I think sewing them into curtains is a wonderful idea! Great finds all around. :)

  5. Mikey's Aunt had good taste!

  6. Also, I often use Oxiclean....and there is nothing like sunlight, specially if the linens are spread on the grass or over a bush.

  7. I was thinking about taking a short trip to So. Cal. before the school year starts here and then I realized that if I did that I COULD go to your seminar since I'll be close by. If I do show up, I'll be the lady that just finished library school and works as an elementary school librarian! P.S. Love the blog.

  8. Looks like you all had a great garage sale day!
    I especially love the light and the cabinets!

  9. After reading I feel like I was hanging out with all of you!!! What a fun day you all had...great finds and that needlework is exquisite!!!

  10. Sounds like a fun day! Always nice to have a friend to share the scores and laughs with!


  11. gosh, look at those prices! 50cents for a chandelier!!!! SCORE! Wish people would price that low around here.

  12. I love coming to your blog! You are so funny and it's so much fun to hear about your whole day rather than just seeing what you got. I think I now have a soft spot for Mikey! You always have me chuckling.

    If you were interested at all in letting me buy some of the people lace finger tip towels please let me know! They are just beautiful!

  13. I love your blog. I also enjoy reading about your adventures and not just seeing the treasures. But, my favorite thing about your treasure hunts is the pics of the dogs. You see, I love dogs. I really, really love dogs. But currently, I am not owned by a dog. I hope that someday in the future I will again have a dog but not any time soon. Books are another love of mine. Isn't it great being a librarian? If I didn't love being a science teacher so much I might go back to school and become a librarian. And yes, my junior high students read and do book projects for science.

  14. the light looks like it is straight out of the latest home deco magazines! what a score!!
    I got a fantastic hawk kite with claws for $2.99 at the Goodwill in Ventura this weekend; I am thinking it might have a home in our Teen Lounge.
    the lace would be wonderful sewn onto thicker muslin curtains. sort of applique onto the curtains with your sewing machine. The lace would not be directly exposed to the light and will not rot. will last longer for your time effort.

  15. You sound like my friends and me. By the time we are done thrifting there is no room in the car for even an extra bottle of water.
    Maybe you will have a new Etsy career after you clean up all your linens.

  16. Cool stuff!! Love the linens and the curio cabinet. That's just what I'm looking for to house my collection of nativities from all over the world!! The chandelier rocks too. What a fun day you all had!! Love your blog. You're a woman after my own heart. : )

  17. Great finds, especially the chandy. The candles would be more than that.Sounds like you had a fun day.

  18. I don't know if anyone else suggested this, but I would sew them together into a funky quilt. Just add another fabric under the linens so there is something to see through the holes (instead of the batting) and you'd be set!

  19. Great finds! There is something so satisfying about a bargain. I would use the linens for pillows. White matches everything and you could layer another color underneath to highlight the needlwork. The man/woman would be cute on your bed. Kinda a nod to his and hers. Let us know what you do!

  20. I had to write, even thought this was posted a while back. I got a chandelier that had CRYSTALS on it and used candles...for $1. Some of the crystals are missing but...who am I kidding, who cares! I do need to spray paint it, it is flat black and I am doing my, I can't decide what color stupid dance.
    Could someone come and kick me?


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

Pin It button on image hover