Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Turtle, a Cat, and Some Dubious Art

"How much is this turtle?” Three boys stood by a large stuffed object on a driveway.

“Fifty cents,” the seller called back.

“We’ll take it!” The oldest immediately went to pay for their treasure.


Off they went, calling excitedly, “Dad, dad, look what WE got!” They made the youngest carry it.


Wasn’t easy! The middle brother took over. Competent, that’s us middle children!


The seller and I were both chuckling. “You know why I said fifty cents?” she asked me. “I figured if I made it any higher their parents might make them bring it back!”

The joys of decluttering. Feels so good to move out stuff you’ve been harboring for ages. Like, um, art pieces.

IMG_0866 IMG_0865

Perhaps it was an exercise in learning to frame stuff?

Talked with another woman for a bit who really is an artist, though she couldn’t show me the gate she’d painted sunflowers on, because termites ate it. (Yum, painted sunflowers, let’s go get some!) Her mailbox was lovely, though she admitted she hadn’t made this piece.


I think she did make this stuffed cat.


When I picked him up, he seemed a little embarrassed by what was left behind on his chair!


I wouldn’t have dared pick up this cat.


Though he seemed friendly enough, there was something in his expression…


He was next door to the sale where I saw Seamus giving his new person a little smooch.


She said he’s about 3 months old, and has been at the animal shelter since he was 2 weeks old. The story she got was that some people who breed Cairn terriers brought in this litter, saying they had decided not to keep them. Of course they all had to be bottle fed for several weeks. The girls pups had already found home, but little Seamus was waiting for her. I was looking online at pictures of Cairn puppies, and I’m thinking there may well be some other genetic heritage at work here.


No matter. He’s as sweet as can be, and in a happy home. Whew!

Spent $8.50 this Saturday. Got good stuff! This pot rack is destined for our MCM house in Oregon.


I’ve grown too used to having my pots overhead to give that up! Here’s what we did in our current kitchen. Very handy.


Next biggest buy was a set of 6 drinking glasses.


They have indentations in the sides, in just the right spots for your fingers and thumb. I hope this will improve our grip and we won’t break them any time soon!


Picked up a fun goofy movie.


And a vintage decorating book to resell. This one’s from the mid 70s.


The coolest encounter of the morning was an affable guy, quite willing to chat, who turned out to be a major fan of the library system I work for. He raved about the wonders of our interlibrary loan service (can’t wait to tell them next week about their fan!) and I had to agree. I recently requested an old novel by an author I’ve read for years. Had never seen this book anywhere, so I asked our ILL folks to get it for me. Which they did—straight from the Library of Congress! Evidently it was the only copy in America, and I got to read it.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fur and Furniture

My cell phone rang Friday afternoon as I was getting my hair cut. It was my friend Marcia, asking if I wanted to go garaging in her tract Saturday, then on to a home and garden tour.

I had to decline, since I knew we had a bunch of house and yard work that had to be done Saturday afternoon. (The post-garden tour potluck for all the gardeners is at our house on Sunday.)Plus, I also knew that one of my favorite neighborhood sales would be on Saturday and if I didn’t cruise over there I’d always be sure I had missed something good.

And I would have been right!

At my first stop there were two elderly Golden retrievers, and a little girl who was absolute determined to give one of them a dog biscuit.


Dog was absolutely not interested. She tried everything up to and including pushing it into his mouth. He calmly dropped it and walked away. She finally gave up and wandered off too. “He doesn’t like those crummy biscuits,” the security guy commented.


Side note: I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a three-year-old being dressed in a jacket decorated with a skull and “Love Kills Slowly” (however artistically it is done) but I fear it is on the disapproving side. Call me old-fashioned…

I kept cruising. There were blocks with no sales at all, then you’d find three or four close to each other. I checked out one at a corner house, then strolled across the street to the neighbor’s sale, where I found a nice Pyrex measuring cup.


Now, I hate to run out of clean measuring cups when I’m cooking. It irritates me to have to stop and wash and dry one. Which usually happens when SOMEONE in the house has made microwave chocolate sauce in a measuring cup and stuck the leftovers in the fridge. (Want the recipe? Put some chocolate chips in something you can microwave, yes, like a Pyrex measuring cup, and add a little brown sugar and some cream. Microwave until it is melted. Stir. Pour over ice cream. Enjoy the hell out of it.) My husband thinks our current collection is adequate


but I wasn’t sure I agreed. So I asked the price of this one. “Fif—er, a dollar,” the woman said. I laughed and said, “You were going to say fifty cents, weren’t you?” She laughed too. “Yeah, but I don’t have any change.” I checked my purse but my change was down to 23 cents. So I left it. But as I walked back to my car I passed the folks at the corner sale, and on a whim asked it they had enough change to break a dollar for me. They were happy to do so, and I ran back across the street with my quarters. Now she had some change and I had my measuring cup, which I waved in triumph for the folks who had broken my dollar bill.

My next negotiation was with an 9 year old boy, who wasn’t quite sure he was ready to give up Spike.


He had put a slightly unrealistic price tag on her.


I asked him to come down a bit in price. He finally said twenty dollars. Ummm, I was thinking more like two, I said, but someone else might meet his price. I put Spike down.

There were 4 or 5 adults having the sale. One of them, maybe his dad, laughed and said to him, “It’s a garage sale!” in the exact same tone of voice my friends and I use when walking away from an overpriced sale. We chatted for a few minutes, while the boy reconsidered. He came down to five bucks. I offered three. He agreed. I double checked to make sure he was really okay with that—after all, it’s a long way down from a trillion dollars. I also had an eye on the grown-ups to make sure they were okay with it, which they were; they seemed to feel it was a good life-lesson in negotiating. “I really don’t want to cheat a child,” I told them. “At least, not with witnesses!”

Spike is actually a votive holder. You open her butt (sorry, but that’s what you do!) to put a candle in a holder inside. Even though the name is Spike, this is obviously a girl dog.



The eyelashes as are dead giveaway!

I cruised on. When you return each year for a particular neighborhood’s sale day, you’re apt to run into some of the same sellers. As I chatted with a lady at one rather overpriced sale, she started telling me about how this or that belonged to her sister, and her sister had gone off to look at the other sales and left her to mind the store. “I think you told me she did that last year too,” I said. She said yes, her sister and a friend said they would be gone a few minutes and left her to do their sale, and never came back all day, never brought her anything to eat or drink. I couldn’t help thinking as I left that she needs to wake up and negotiate better terms on sale day!

As I was leaving her sale, my cell rang. Marcia again. “I’m sending you a picture from my phone. There are some twin headboards here that I think are midcentury.” (I’ve been looking for twin beds for our other house.) I said my phone wasn’t fancy enough to get pictures. And I need whole beds, not just headboards. Heck, we both said, and rang off. But she must have been sending powerful vibes to the furniture gods, because about ten minutes later I rounded a corner and saw a pair of twin beds on a driveway. No, no screeching tires as I halted, didn’t run to get to them. No mattresses, but the price tag for the pair was pretty good, and the sellers were charming older folks who were willing to sweeten the price a bit. AND  deliver! So I have one set of maple twin beds, probably from the 40s or 50s. Wish I had had the sense to take a picture while they were set up on their driveway, but I was too excited to think of it.


I love the finials on the posts. I think they look like acorns!


So thanks for the furniture vibes, Marcia! But don’t stop…I need another set of twin beds and a midcentury modern sofa still! Let’s make the next set of beds something like a pair by Heywood Wakefield. Something along these lines…

Met several charming dogs along the way (aside from the not-hungry retrievers). This is Moose.


He was very friendly, very sweet. I asked if he is a pit mix. “They told us at the shelter he’s a mastiff mix,” the young woman told me. Uh, sure he is. But hey, it got him a good home, and he deserves it. Poor baby, when I zipped open my fanny pack to get my camera, he got all excited thinking it was a treat bag and that food was forthcoming. But he didn’t seem to hold it against me when all he got was a sniff at my camera.

Lewis the boxer was also very friendly. IMG_0730 He hangs out with cute Jessica, who was modeling a monkey hat.


Cooper the English lab had pulled a visor out of the sale pile and was romping with it. She’s an energetic 13-month old.


Maddy the Vizsla is afraid of cameras.


This little guy I’ve met before, a couple of years ago. His name is Moss, and he’s a Corgi/Golden retriever cross.


“Best dog we’ve ever had,” his owner told me.

I spent a total of $53 during the morning, which seems pretty good since it included a pair of beds! I also picked up a few books

IMG_0753 a pair of sage green placemats (she threw in all the matching napkins)

IMG_0742 a pouring spout, now residing on my bottle of olive oil

IMG_0752and a bag full of old lace (hoping I can sell some of it off).


I haven’t had a chance to go through it yet, but it looks like there’s some neat stuff in there.


Don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this inch-wide insertion lace, with its little woven boxes. IMG_0749This will be almost as fun as going through a tin of buttons!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cats and Tarts and Cupcakes with Feet

One of the local realtors had a big sign on my friend Marcia’s tract this week about a neighborhood yard sale, so I headed over there this morning. When I got to Marcia’s house to pick her up for some garaging fun, I told her I hadn’t seen any sales on my way in. We drove back to the big sign and this time we read the fine print (i.e. the line just below “Neighborhood Garage Sale”) where it said “May 14.”


Fortunately I had checked Craigslist earlier just in case there were other neighborhood sales, so we had an alternative destination a few miles away. I always think it’s funny how different tracts seems to have distinct personalities. This one’s was friendly! The first sale we stopped at, they offered to fill up our car for us with their stuff. We thanked them kindly for their offer and explained that one has to be disciplined when one goes to sales every week. (No one wants to end up on that hoarders show.) But I didn’t get away from their driveway without parting with a quarter.



Of course, if you were going to use these for a party you’d have to buy several sets. I’ll just have to have a very small party!

Across the street we met a sweet dog named Maggie. She was too excited to hold still for a good picture.


Later we saw one of the young women from Maggie’s house out cruising the sales on her bike. In the bike basket I spotted a book. A 1957 decorating book. Which I talked her into reselling to me!


When I told her about my 1957 house in Oregon she said I needed the book more than she does. Hope she’s not suffering from any seller’s remorse. I can’t wait to look through this one!

On another street we stopped at a sale where a handsome tortoiseshell kitty held court. This is Cocoapuff.


When we expressed our admiration, her owner went inside and brought out another of her cats. She is big into rescuing kitties and giving them a wonderful home.


How’s that for a mug? Can’t remember his name. He used to live down the street, where he was neglected and left to live outdoors with battle scars and uncombed fur. One day her daughter found him with a wound on his head and brought him home, where they nursed him back to health. She told her daughter that if the neighbors put out flyers they’d have to give him back…but they didn’t. It was six months later before the neighbor’s kids went looking for this cat, and by then there was no chance he was going back. And that was five years ago.

She laughed and told us she was known as the crazy cat lady, so that’s how she dressed for Halloween last year, in a crazy cat lady costume she put together complete with Beanie Baby cats sewn to her dress. “Pets and laughter,” she said, “that’s what you need in life.”

I spent a total of five bucks through the morning, and half of it was for my children’s librarians. I tried to resist, but just had to get these puppets, a Folkmanis lamb


and a set of Manhattan Toy royalty – princess, prince, knight and dragon. Hey, you could re-enact the royal wedding!


I am quite taken with the dragon!


I think this embroidered laundry bag may be quite old. I’m hoping to resell this one. IMG_0657 Don’t you think she has a Twenties look?IMG_0658

I also picked up a book called Flea Market Makeovers


and a Martha Stewart cookbook.


Published some time ago, from the youthfulness of Martha’s pic!


Just having it in the house seems to be inspirational – my husband is in the kitchen making a strawberry tart. Not Martha’s recipe, the one his mother gave us long ago. Hmmm, really long ago. I remember sitting in their kitchen before we were married and writing that recipe on an index card – and we just had our 39th anniversary!

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