Saturday, July 17, 2010


Hot. Finally. I know most of you will want to kill me when you hear this, but until earlier this week it's been downright cool here. I was getting awfully tired of gray skies every morning. But now suddenly it is summer and we get to complain about the heat along with everyone else. I actually did the last part of the morning’s driving with the top up on my car and the AC on, so you know I was roasting!

It was on the sunny side of the street in a neighborhood sale that I got into conversation with three young women. A lot of items with ladybugs were there, waiting for new homes, and we talked about the danger of letting people know you collect something. Often you end up with…well, a yard sale’s worth of stuff you don’t need. “That doesn’t really happen to me,” said the one with the English accent. “My name is Lamb, so I collect lambs, and they’re all over England but you never see them here. I mean, if you buy a farm set there it always includes sheep, but here it's always cows and pigs and cockerels.” I laughed and said that they’re not cockerels here, they’re chickens, roosters, and one of her friends looked relieved. “I was wondering what the heck cockerels were.”

We chatted for a while about language differences and the trouble you can get into if you don’t know for instance that what we call an eraser the English call a rubber. Turns out they are elementary school teachers, so that particular one is worth knowing! Miss Lamb teaches third grade. Isn’t that perfect? You would remember third grade your whole life, having a Miss Lamb for your teacher with her cool English accent.

They had one of those kit thingies with various bath products, and I asked if it had been a gift. “Oh my god,” said one, “are you a teacher too?” I explained my “if there were no gifts, there would be no garage sales” philosophy, but added that I used to be a school librarian in a fairly posh private school. I was absolutely amazed at the (yup, I'm just going to say it) crap you were given for Christmas. “I'd rather have a two dollar card for Starbucks,” said one “than a ten dollar thing of bath salts when I only take showers.” “Yes, or school supplies, or a book for the library.” (Parents, take note for when next gift-giving season rolls around!)

By now we were all waving our hands around and talking a mile a minute. I hope no one was trying to buy anything from their sale about then because none of us would have noticed.

I didn’t stay out as long as usual because of the heat (I could hear my pool calling my name all morning) but still managed to spend $7.25. The quarter was for this cube of sticky notes.
“I never used to need these because the realtors all dropped notepads on your porch,” I said. “Yeah, those long ones,” the woman answered. “They were great for grocery lists. Boy, you knew the economy was bad when those disappeared.” Staying in the stationery realm, I found a Harley Davidson notebook thingie for a certain Harley-riding relative of ours.

I think it's hilarious that you can buy Harley stuff at Hallmark.

Found a cute angora sweater that has already been felted! “We won’t talk about who put that in the washing machine,” said the mom, rolling her eyes toward her teenage daughter.
This acrylic pitcher still has the sticker on it.
I continue to pick up prizes for my colleagues in our summer reading program. Here are this week’s:

The little frames came from a sale that had several Pooh items. One was a music box that another lady was looking at. “It's only four dollars,” the seller explained, “because you need to glue the head back on.” Sure enough Tigger was missing his head, but it was there waiting for reattachment. When I pulled out my camera we all thought having Tigger hold his head would be a good idea.
I also picked up a pair of simple silver earrings from her. They looked okay but a little rub-up with some toothpaste (my silver polish of choice) made them shiny again.
My last two buys were of pieces of clothing. I no sooner had the thought “I wish I could find some cool unusual clothing today” when I saw what looked like a bedspread on a heap of clothing. But it's really some kind of drapey top. It has sleeves, and pockets in the side seams; the back is long and full and cut on the bias. The front has a part that goes over your head and parts that hang down. I'm going to have to play with it, though if anyone would like to chime in with advice I'd be grateful. Buy hey, it cost fifty cents. If I can't figure out a good way to wear it, it can be a bedspread.
This is my other clothing find. I definitely won’t be wearing this one, but I could not go off and leave it there.

The only story I could get for it was that it had been a gift from friends whose family were world travelers, so this could have come from anywhere. I'm leaning toward somewhere in Europe, maybe the Balkans, what do you think? From the trim and the fact that it's handmade, I wonder if it was something like part of a folk dance costume. What I find really endearing is that someone made an inner pocket from this completely unrelated fabric.
I think the pocket material has a look of the Sixties, but I'm just guessing. I'd love to resell this piece, but even if I can't find it a new home, I had to buy it. It was lonely, hanging on a rack with pieces from Gap and Target that don’t speak the same language.


  1. Love the Jacket. Yeah, somewhere southern Med or Middle East.
    We went to a Basset Rescue yard sale fundraiser this morning. It was in a beautiful Victorian house in Whittier, lots of ancient cypress trees to shade us all from the 11am sun, they were that tall! John insisted on bringing Buddy and Sasha and he had a great time sitting on the old fashioned porch talking to Bassets and Basset parents while I went scurrying through the offerings on the grass. Found some goodies, but would have been better to get there at 7am when they opened... Took a side trip to one of the emptiest estate sales ever, but it was up on the crest of the hills of western Whittier. The view from the upstairs deck reached all the way up to the northern side of Monrovia, and Pasadena, and the western side to the ocean (if it wasn't smoggy). Too bad I could not get the idea of sliding down the hill in an earthquake out of my mind!

  2. Sounds like you had a lot of fun and found some very cool items!!Love the earrings.

  3. I'm sure Miss Lamb is a lovely person, but what about the dogs and cats!? Were there none today?

    Tigger holding his head is adorable though, so I'll let it go this time. ;D

  4. We speak the same language but we don't.
    I remember being so bewildered when the guy I asked 'where the nearest petrol station was' didn't understand what I was talking about. It took a few moments before I remembered to ask for the 'gas station'.
    Poor Tigger, but I don't think there's much that can keep that guy's spirits down for long! xx

  5. Oh I am jealous because I have resolved not to thrift for a month (been just over a week now) I think the robey thing wouls look great by the pool that calls your name.

  6. p.s...there is a reason you can preview your correct spelling mistakes! WOULD

  7. Uhhh wow! You found tons of great items! Love the felted sweater (I think that’s what you said). The design on it is very pretty. The glass bottles are a great find as well.

    Kendra “Domestic Princess in Training”

  8. Those are the bottles!!! LOL!! My Mom has some in her bath and I love them! I look for them everytime I am at a sale and can't seem to find them anywhere!!

  9. Sometimes the thrill of yard sale-ing is just plain conversation with others! You never know who you'll meet and who and what they know. Glad you found some goodies. My favorites of your finds are the etched bottles. I have a thing for glassware... Glad you shared.

  10. This was a totally enjoyable post! I heart all of it. Thanks for sharing your adventures yet again!

  11. I decided to have a no-thrift July, so I get my fix over here. Awesome bottle and earrings!! Curse no thrift month...

  12. Great prizes for your reading programs.
    I would have drawn the line at Tigger needing a head. $4 is too high for anything needing surgery.

  13. The top looks almost Kurdish? Worn over a long gown?
    Interesting item and I can see why you had to buy it.

    Regarding the language barrier I find that most Eurpeans with english as a second language can understand me far better than those from the US who's birth language is 'english'. Always makes me giggle.


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

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