Saturday, August 28, 2010


Last Saturday was blazing hot, and there were sales all over the place. Today it was back in the seventies and hardly a sale in sight. Go figure. But at least I got to meet Gracie and Bob.
Aren’t they a hoot? I found that special spot on Bob’s back to scratch, and he all but fainted on my feet, the sweet slobbery boy. Also met Abby who was sold to her family as a purebred lab.
Ummm, I kind of don’t think so. Someone short-legged contributed a gene or two.

This little guy is Zippy.
“As in Zippedy-do-dah,” his owner explained. Zippy had this whole act going, shivering and being pitiful. He was milking it for all he was worth.

Three little girls at this sale had set up a lemonade and cookie stand. When I paid for what I bought there, their grandma slipped me a quarter and told me it was to buy something from them, because they were so thrilled when they sold something. I thought that was awfully sweet (and tactful!) of her.

In spite of the low number of sales, I managed to spend $16.17—and that was without finding any furniture! At the sale with the thoughtful grandma and Zippy the dog I bought eleven DVDs, several of them still shrink wrapped.

I've already watched one of them; my friend Marcia stopped by not long after I got home from garaging and I was gloating over all my DVDs. She had never seen Fierce Creatures, so we plopped ourselves down and watched it then and there. (I may not have found more furniture today, but I'm making good use of the Danish chair I picked up a few weeks ago.)

Eleven DVDs for sixteen bucks wouldn’t be too bad a morning, but that’s not all. At my first stop I bought these cute buttons…because I needed more buttons, right?
I'm afraid for a lot of us, the saying should be “she who dies with the most buttons wins.” Believe me, I'm a contender.

This orange vase is blown glass. I immediately saw it holding sunflowers, so I picked up a $3 bunch on my way home, then added some stuff from the yard.
I scored this mixed-fabric rayon skirt for 42 cents, that being all the change I had at the time.
Thought it would be cute with these Kenneth Cole sandals, covered with black tube beads.
I haven’t owned any sandals for a while and thought these might be fun. And I just looked up how much this brand goes for new and realized why I haven’t been buying them. These puppies were probably $60 or more new. Seems like a lot for a couple of straps and some beads.

I also bought my hubs a pair of jeans but haven’t taken their picture. Just imagine in your mind’s eye a cute middle aged guy in slightly faded black Levi 505s, then picture the smile on the woman next to him because she is thinking she only paid a buck for them. Yup, that is exactly what those jeans look like.

And here’s my ironic purchase of the day. I wanted some little Christmas bulbs for the dragonfly lamp I bought last week that didn’t light up when I plugged it in. I figured one if its bulbs was burned out and that replacing them would make it work. So I shelled out fifty cents for this brand new almost twenty foot long string of lights
and took the first bulb out of the lamp, and tried to push in a replacement. Only to discover that all bulbs are not created equal. Did you know they are not all interchangeable? I sure didn’t. The bases are configured just differently enough that I couldn’t use today’s bulbs in the lamp. Sigh. So I stuck the bulb back in that I had taken out of the lamp—and it lit up.
Works perfectly now. Must have just been a loose connection or something. Maybe it felt sorry for me. In any case, I now have a really silly dragonfly lamp that works, and a twenty foot long string of little white lights that I don’t immediately have a use for.

I'm sure I'll think of something.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I had one of those Saturday mornings with a big score right at the beginning, so that I went around grinning like the Cheshire cat for the rest of the day.
The grin may have affected my ability to converse, because it wasn’t a very chatty morning. I admired this cute pug
and little Buttons, who had recently had an operation but other than the cone showed no signs of being convelescent
and exchanged pleasantries with folks, mainly along the lines of “My isn’t it hot - aren’t you glad you are/don’t you wish you were on the shady side of the street.” I had a moment of startlement (evidently I have just made up that word, since the built-in dictionary refuses to recognize it, but I like it so I'm keeping it) when I saw this item.
The startling thing (other than its being invented in the first place, let alone patented and manufactured and actually sold) was that I saw another one exactly like it, including being unused, at another sale earlier in the morning. What are the odds? Seems possible to me that these are the only two ever sold. Or maybe I'll start seeing them every week. If that happens then I'm sure it will cause bad dreams, in which I am pursued by grapefruit cutters down dark hallways and over misty landscapes full of bridges.

But though I was not presented with amazing life stories or even pet ducks, I did manage to spend $24.50. More than half was for the single item that caused my Cheshire grin. Yes, of course I'm saving that for last.

Found several DVDs
A book on CD, don’t see these too often in my price range
Some felt Christmas ornaments (all six for a dime, how could I not…)
A sort of combination mat/frame from Martha Stewart. These are designed to be autographed at an event, but it looks pretty good plain, and again it was a dime.
Now here’s a case where the packaging is inaccurate. I know it says these are turkey lacers
but I have been a vegetarian since 1972 and will never, ever do that to a turkey. So I am sure this is actually a lifetime supply of cake testers. No more sticking in my smallest paring knife to see if my cake is done. I just figured out I've been baking cakes for about fifty years now (yes I started young. Pretty young.) but some purchases you just don’t want to rush into.

Found two of these little Gund bears, which I'm hoping will sell at Christmas.
I picked up several items for children’s librarians’ door prizes…

…which is good, because I had a door prize extravaganza at my meeting with them last week. Everyone there got a prize. There was much merriment over the jester hat that Edward so disliked modeling.
I think this future door prize is particularly fine: a pair of Winnie the Pooh wine glasses for that after-work tipple.

So that brings us to my big buy of the day. I'm still grinning. Because I found a Heywood Wakefield Sculptura vanity and mirror for a very good price.

(Thanks to my husband and our friend Bob for holding the extremely heavy mirror in place so I could take a pic!)

I didn’t know it was Hey-Wake until I got it home. I just liked the lines and was pretty sure it was midcentury. The daughter of the family having the sale helped me wrestle it into the back seat of the convertible and I headed home to drop it off. Wasn’t sure if my husband would love it as much as I do—and he does!—but I knew it would be a fun piece for the retirement house. We were gloating and chortling over it, and Steven pulled out one of the drawers, where we spotted this.
Now of course I want a set of blond Hey-Wake twin beds to go with it. Maybe I'll spot some next week on a driveway.

They’ll be hiding under the grapefruit cutters, but we can leave those behind.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I may have passed up the chance of a lifetime today.
I could have become an instant member of the Better Business Bureau, and for only seventy five cents. Bet that’s an amazing discount off their regular dues!

It was a low key morning. I admit to a bit of teeth grinding over the huge “neighborhood sale” signs on three or four contiguous tracts that each had only one or two unimpressive sales. I have limited (read ‘nonexistent’) needs for children’s clothing and well-used toys. With a true neighborhood sale you have enough driveways involved for plenty of variety. But heck, there’s not really a darned thing I need and garaging is a treasure hunt. Last week I found treasure (and yes, my butt likes that chair more every day). Today, my pirate ship just didn’t find many islands with that big X in the sand to mark the spot.

We did say hello to some cute pups, all of the small variety. Jody’s owner is possibly the first person ever who seemed to think it a trifle odd when I took a picture of her dog.
She didn’t object, just raised an eyebrow. I think most of us believe our pets are so adorable that of course complete strangers will want a picture of them. I know mine are.

Jody was followed by George
who was a retirement gift when his owner left her job. Which reminds me of the phone call I got many years ago, when my husband was leaving the bank he worked for. His coworkers wanted to do something special for him and knew that he collected frog things, so they called me to ask how I thought he’d feel about a real live frog as his going away gift. I convinced them that frogs are not easy pets and we dodged that bullet. But if they’d asked about a small cute dog, the answer might have been different.

At my last stop I met Cookie.
I asked if she is all cocker spaniel, and her owner said they think she’s a mix of cocker and mutt.

I managed to shell out $3.10 in all, and came home with a couple of books.

The paper airplanes will be fun for a library program. And I love the tagline on the ME book: “The Mary Engelbreit look and how to get it!” It's my belief that most men view this level of cuteness with horror. For fifty cents, this could be a real weapon. “Be nice to me or I'll get out my Mary Engelbreit book…”

I'll use this Hallowe’en frame in my office in the fall.

I've been looking for a chenille bedspread for the guest room for quite a while. They’ve been thin on the ground (which is literally where I found this one) and the ones I did see were too pricey. Finally found one today I think will work, and the price was right.
The reason the price was right was that this spread has an owie.
I know there’s a story behind that hole, but the lady I got it from said it was like that when she got it. And of course some stories are better not to know. But it won’t show on the guest bed because I'll tuck it in the back. And I figure I can keep an eye out for a pillow sham or something in similar fabric and eventually do a patch job.

My last find was only a dime, and the story that came with it definitely falls into the priceless category. I saw a couple of boxes on a driveway with lots of old patterns in them. I don’t make clothing any more, just do a bit of refashioning. But some vintage patterns can be resold, so I did a little looking. First one I came across was this.

I love this pattern. Would that I could wear this style; I imagine I could size up the pattern but let’s just say this would not flatter me. Sigh. But it was a dime. Maybe I'll frame it for my midcentury retirement house. Anyway, I kept looking through the patterns and didn’t see any others I wanted. Many of them were for children's clothing.

So I went to pay for it. The lady having this sale was probably in her seventies, maybe older. As I got out my dime I asked if she was the seamstress. She laughed and said no, that was her mother. Then she added, “She’s a hundred and four. She’s in a nursing home now, and she has her good days and bad.” We agreed that we all have those. But apparently her 104 year old mom still has all her marbles and is going strong. Then I thought about the patterns I'd seen. “So are the children’s patterns things that she made for you?” She said that they were, and that her mother had made nearly all her clothing when she was growing up. “Every once in a while she would buy me something from a store, but I never liked those because other people could have the same thing. I only wanted to wear things I knew no one else had one like it.”

That’s one of the reasons I like shopping on driveways—I get to have things no one else has. Most of the time, anyway. I remember wearing a newly-purchased sweater to work once and having someone tell me they had one just like it that they bought about twenty years ago.

I want to end on a slightly mysterious note. I've got something in the works that I'll be announcing in a week or two. No, not my retirement, dang it, that’s still out there in the future somewhere. But it's something I'm VERY excited about. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


One of the first things I do each morning is check my Google Alert for anything about my blog. (Do you know about Google Alerts? You put in the topic you want to keep an eye on and it sends you daily updates to your email or your feed reader. Check it out here.) I usually find I've been included in some nice blogger’s list of recommended blogs (thanks, you guys!) or that something I wrote about was aggregated with other websites on a particular topic. Happened last week with the chandelier. But sometimes I get extra lucky and it's someone saying something nice about me—woo hoo! I was delighted this morning to see that Thrifting Brisbane recommended my blog. Yes, that’s Brisbane as in Australia. I feel so international! She especially likes the pet pics, so I was happy today to meet some pets.

These two were waiting for their person to come out of the bagel place. I noticed she was only buying one bagel though.
At the first sale, the first thing I saw was Pepper.

Isn’t she adorable? (Her owner is pretty darned cute too.) She was rescued about three years ago, they think she had been badly treated because she has some anxiety issues. I told her she got lucky this time.

Next came an Italian greyhound.

Oooohhh, I said, he’s SO cute. What’s his name?

“Rage,” the lady told me. Ummm, Rage? “My son named him.” She managed not to roll her eyes, but her son looked sheepish. He was a pretty entertaining little guy (the dog I mean; the son was not little)—quite intent on playing with his favorite toy, a smashed up plastic water bottle. Not an expensive dog to entertain.

I didn’t get a name for this kitty guy. He was hunkered down in the yard by the realtor’s sign with the ‘sale pending’ notice, watching the goings-on over on the driveway. He struck me as fairly old; hope he won’t mind moving too much.
Had a conversation with a nice young man who had his own small sale set up near a larger one. Turns out he’s from Ireland and is heading back home soon after spending the summer here on a work visa. His merchandise included a boogie board. “No use for it at home,” he said. “No waves.” He told me he’s just finished his training to be a physical therapist. If I ever get hurt, this is the therapist I want—awfully cute and with that wonderful Irish accent. I'd get well in no time.

I also had a conversation about eggplant. I've certainly bought and eaten and grown eggplant, but never conversed about it. A family were selling some homegrown veggies at their yard sale, and I mentioned that eggplant are kind of fun to grow because the plants are so pretty. They seemed convinced that eggplant is related to zucchini.

Guess they are both vegetables. Close enough.

I spent $10.25 today. You will see that it was worth it.

Found one more prize for our staff reading program. Seemed appropriate for the Make a Splash theme.
Our annual potluck breakfast and prize giving is Tuesday. We spend about an hour eating (and eating and eating) and talking about our favorite reads and giggling over the prizes I've picked up over the summer. I also scored this pack of napkins for the event.
I couldn’t resist this little hummingbird finger puppet. He’ll be great for someone’s storytimes.
His beak has had a bit too much love, but some red permanent marker helped.

I was NOT going to buy another table cloth. Even though it was nice heavy cotton and in great shape. As I laid it down the lady said it was a quarter.
I picked it back up again.

I'm weak. What can I say.

Found a couple of cashmere sweaters.

My mother loves to embroider, and my sister can't find enough transfer patterns at the sales her area to keep her supplied. So I'm sending this book to them. Some of the pages have been used but there are hundreds left. That ought to hold them for a while!

Found some inexpensive entertainment too.

I had to promise I will dance along with the penguins.

But here’s what I'm most excited about—another piece of Midcentury Modern furniture!
I had no idea of its provenance when I saw it on the driveway, at the first sale of the day, where Pepper the cute dog lives. I just thought it looked Midcentury. Then I sat in it and my butt said this is about the most comfortable place you’ve ever put me. Buy this thing.

So we did a little negotiating (i.e. I asked if they’d take five for it instead of the ten bucks they had marked, and they said yes with no hesitation) and I carted it off to the back seat of the convertible. When I got home I did some investigating (lordy, I love the Internet) and learned that I now own a Siesta Chair designed by Ingmar Relling in 1965. This is the real deal, not an Ikea knockoff. I found a couple for sale online, for $200 and $600, so I'd say I did pretty good. And they still make them, though in birch rather than this great rosewood. The new ones will set you back a couple thousand. Ouch!

Some follow-ups from last week. I just put up the white gauze to shade my patio, and it's exactly what I wanted. I love the pattern of shadows from the lathe pergola and the way it billows in the breeze.
And remember the chandelier? The one Diane almost passed up because her husband might not want to hang it up? The one he put up THE NEXT DAY?
Turned out fine. I knew a fifty cent chandelier was a good idea.

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