Sunday, October 10, 2010


The fun started on Friday with an email from my colleague Cathy. “thought of you today....saw two mid-century modern lamps for $10 at a yard sale in Fullerton. she said if they didn't sell she would email me. they had the double ringed type of shade in bark type fabric with a print, and some interesting metal rods coming down over a pink enamel ball of had to see it....If I hear back from her, will send you her email....”

Dang, I thought, they sound great and someone is sure to snatch them up. Oh well. But a while later this popped up in my inbox: “JUST GOT THIS FROM THEM......YOU CAN LOOK AT PHOTO AND CONTACT IF YOU WISH......GOOD LUCK”

And the picture?

vintage lamps How fast do you think I got in touch with them?! A couple of emails and a phone call later and the hubs and I were in the car, heading for Fullerton.

There is a whole world of subtext to the phrase “heading for Fullerton.” It involves getting to the 55 freeway, then Interstate 5, then the 57, then the 91…all of it in Friday afternoon rush hour traffic. If Steven hadn’t come along so we could use the car pool lane I think I might still be toiling along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Even the car pool lane is bumper-to-bumper, but it usually moves a tad faster. Eventually we got there. Found the house, where the front door (no screen door) was standing wide open. Trusting people, I thought. I rang the door bell. No one came. Waited, rang again, no one came. A minute later a woman with a toddler came around the corner and saw us and called hi. She’d been out walking her grandson and said everyone else in the house must have ignored the bell. She took us in the garage to see the lamps, talking all the while. She was in her early to mid sixties, and said these lamps had belonged to her parents. “They had all that blond furniture, that’s what I grew up with,” she told us. “My dad tried to give us his dining room set but I didn’t have room for it, and it’s not my taste. I don’t know what he ever did with it. I think my brother in law took it. One of the grandsons wanted it, but he wanted to paint it black and it really was too good for that.”

At this point I am practically gasping with pain, imagining what was probably Heywood-Wakefield dining room furniture being shoved unloved to whoever would take it. She also described their sofa, which was probably one of the Hey-Wake models with an attached end table. But alas, all she took from her parents’ house was these lamps, which have languished for years in her garage. They are going to be moving to Texas when her husband retires, so her daughter convinced her it’s time to get rid of stuff like these old lamps. We were able to sincerely assure them the lamps will have a good home. We ended up yakking for probably close to an hour, and I’m sure I could take a test on their family history and make a good grade.

By the time we left there, and dived back onto the various freeways, it was dinner time. We ended up stopping at our favorite Indian place, so perhaps I should add the cost of dinner to the price tag for the lamps, since if we hadn’t gone after them I would have cooked dinner at home. But I prefer to think of that as just a celebratory dinner to gloat over this find. IMG_9446As soon as we got home, Steven plugged them in and turned them on. The shades take on a new life when they are lit. I love the pattern in the fiberglass.

IMG_9447 Can’t help looking at these things without grinning. The combination of pink ceramic spheres with gold flecksIMG_9448wire supports

IMG_9450 IMG_9449 and the atomic-motif balls under the pink partIMG_9453 just crack me up. I have no idea where they will end up in our retirement house, but wherever we put them I know they will be worthy conversation pieces.

So that was Friday’s big excitement. Saturday was even better (though no more midcentury finds) because…wait for it…I sold three copies of my book to people at their yards sales!

I know, how crazy is that? As one lady said, “This is the time I ever bought anything at my own yard sale!”

It came about just from chatting. No, I'm not yet walking around with copies of my novel, accosting strangers and forcing them to buy it. (Though I’m not saying I might not try that sometime. I do have a box of copies in the trunk of my car, just in case.) At the first place, this was the sequence: I asked the prices on a couple of items, and they were fifty cents. I mentioned my blog, since that’s my favorite price, and gave the two ladies having the sale my blog card. One of them said she liked the logoHen_Logoand I mentioned that I used it for my publishing company too, and that my first book has just come out. She very kindly asked what it’s about, and when I described it said she and a friend had just gotten back from a mystery conference, it’s her favorite kind of book. She bought two copies, one for herself and one for her friend. I even got to sign autographs. So thank you, Nancy, you really and truly made my day. Sure hope you like the book!

Further down the road, something similar happened. This time it started with a vintage bed, and I mentioned how I wished it were a pair of twin beds instead of a double since I need some for the retirement house, which led to describing how we plan to have writing and storytelling retreats there, and then to the book, and by gum they wanted a copy too. (Thank you, Marilyn!) There will probably be no living with me now. Actually, it’s really motivating me to finish the editing on the next book.

When I wasn’t taking in money, I managed to shell out a whole $7. I came home with 8 DVDs not in our collection.IMG_9475 IMG_9473A couple of them cost a buck, but most were 25 cents. I am willing to try most any movie for a quarter. We watched part of Dinotopia last night, and it’s a hoot. If you’re old enough to remember the old Spin & Marty TV show, this is like an update of that—with dinosaurs.

I found a darling vintage dessert plateIMG_9463 to fill the gap in our collection left by something getting broken a while back. We use these wooden racks for our platesIMG_9478 so that everything is accessible (every plate is different, and we get to choose at each meal which to use). It also keeps me from bringing home too many dishes, since I can only have 8 of each size. I looked up the logo on the back of this new one and found the company (Bishop & Stonier) used this particular logo from 1891 to 1936. So it’s definitely new only to me!

I’m hoping to resell this 60s-vintage Fisher Price clock.IMG_9472It’s been pre-loved, but still plays “My Grandfather’s Clock” when you wind it up.

Found some future door prizes, including a wooden puzzle for toddlersIMG_9460a cute bookmarkIMG_9459  and a Dakin giraffe puppet. IMG_9464 Lizzie really, really wanted the puppet for her own, but I resisted, since her intentions were to chew off the tips of the ears, remove the eyes, then open a seam so she can pull out the stuffing.IMG_9467I know this from past experience.

Picked up this box of soaps

 IMG_9455 IMG_9458 because I like having a variety of soaps to choose from, and I like chickens. Certainly would NEVER have paid the original price (this is for 4 small guest-size soaps!).IMG_9477And I can never resist images of reading, so I got a box of a dozen cards and envelopes.IMG_9461If I have a frame the right size in my stash I think I’ll hang up one of the cards. I looked up the artist, Nishan Akgulian. Click on the ‘bas bleu’ category for more of his reading images. I love them!

Speaking of love…yes, there were dogs this week! Lucy the chocolate LabIMG_9429 was described by her owner as ‘a very kind dog.’ Sweet little Coco Chanel is a Springer mix.IMG_9431 Poor baby was attacked by another dog not long after she was rescued at age two, but she recovered from some pretty awful damage. She still has a bit of a ‘hitch in her getalong’ (sounds so much better than ‘limp’!) but doesn’t seem to mind a bit. (Dogs are such good role models.)

Young Samantha they said is “a purebred Basset with the coat of a Springer.”IMG_9434She certainly wiggled like a Basset when she met some kids. And upholding the kitty end, we have Brashus.

IMG_9443That’s as close as I can get to her name, evidently bestowed by a four-year-old. She is definitely NOT Precious, since she alternates between being friendly and biting.

Let me end with showing you the thank you card I received for my library program last week. IMG_9480It was kind of heavy when I slid it out of the envelope.

IMG_9481See what a lucrative week it’s been? Three books sold at yard sales, and a fifty cent honorarium. Priceless!


  1. Oh wow, total score on the lamps! I'm so jealous. I've been reading your blog for the last two months and became inspired to shop some garage sales. Last weekend I hit the motherload, a garage book sale! I bought 10 paperbacks, 3 hardcovers, and 1 vintage Harlequin for $6. :D

  2. You really scored on those lamps! Awesome! Congrats on selling some of your books! Whoo hoo!! I would love to read it myself!!

  3. I had a toy clock like that when I was a little girl. I'm pregnant with baby number 3 and I'm planning on buying a reproduction of it for the baby. I can almost hear the tune it plays in my head. I'm not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

  4. Great finds. Love the basset with a springer coat. Now did she just steal that coat,because if she is full blooded then there must be a cold springer with no coat somewhere.

  5. those certainly are "some lamps!"
    what an epic it became!
    We ended up at another sale in Fullerton, and got a 20% on a terracotta colored statue of children playing for the branch. It has a couple of dings, and I am wondering about gessoing it and repainting, but it is really sweet. From Ethan Allan, dont have any idea how old, but sweet.

  6. I love the kids toys, they are gorgeous!
    I've just discovered your blog and I've had so much fun reading back through the archives. I'm an avid garage saler (but none seem to happen in my area) so I check out op shops (the Australian version of thrift shops) all the time.
    Good luck with your book selling! lol

  7. The lamps are adorable. For some reason I can't get the image of the Jetsons out of my head when I look at You sure made out great at the yard sales! I made some finds this weekend too...I'm hoping to have time to photograph them later.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my daughter, my hero. I am very proud of her.

  8. Maybe you could start bartering with your books at sales instead of money?

  9. Oh my goodness, I love those lamps. I'm also partial to the 60's Fisher Price clock. Not to date myself, but I grew up playing with one of those and I adored it!

  10. Did you end up selling the toy clock?


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

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