Friday, September 9, 2011

I’m in Love with Gertrude Pemberton Smith

It’s true. I am completely smitten with my GPS. What a great garaging tool! I admit I didn’t need her before I moved to Oregon; in the OC you just head out on Saturday morning and watch for signs. If you want to be organized you can check Craigslist, which I did mainly to see if there were any neighborhood sales.

As you might imagine, things are a tad different up here. The population density, for one thing! I’m totally charmed to be driving along from sale to sale and suddenly be in the country.


Yes, that is a silo on the left in front of those trees!

So. Gertrude and I headed out this morning. It was the maiden voyage for the rice-and-wool GPS holder, and that sucker worked like a charm. My water bottle and M&Ms rolled around on a couple of curves, but Gertrude never wavered. I had a list of addresses from Craigslist and, and we turned here and there and found them all. There was only one that we had trouble with. The address wouldn’t come up on Google maps or on Gertrude. Turned out it’s because the neighborhood is so new that the streets aren’t on any maps yet.


I only found the place because they had listed a cross street that is on the map, and they had a couple of signs posted. Poor Gertrude was rather confused when I drove away. She depicted me driving around in a field; wish I’d gotten a picture of it.

I did manage to get a picture of this cutie. His name is Chubby D.


“The kids named him,” was the explanation. I really wanted to hold him, but every time he got near he’d turn into a Halloween kitty and bounce away. He was awfully cute…but I still maintain that our Mrs. Wilberforce was the cutest baby kitty ever.


Since I had Gertrude Pemberton Smith along to guide me, I decided to take a country drive to an estate sale over in Aumsville (I’m still sorry that I missed their annual Corn Festival a couple of weeks ago). The sale wasn’t much, but the drive was glorious. Warm September day with that wonderful slanting golden light, driving through farms and forests. Perhaps the best moment was when I was socked in the face by the scent of fresh hay, and spotted a huge stack of bales in the field I was passing. I was instantly transported to my childhood and visiting my aunt’s farm. I didn’t get a picture of the hay, but it wasn’t far from this wonderful building.


When I got back to town I treated myself to lunch at the fabulous Thai restaurant close to us, Tup Tim Thai. It’s the kind of place where they remember you after one visit, and after two, you are ushered to “your” table!

I thought I’d bought a ton of stuff, but when I unloaded my bag I discovered I’d only spent $6.25. The first item came from a free box!


I’m envisioning little loaves of orange-cranberry bread to give away at Christmas. Not sure when I’ll use this


but it’s bound to come in handy for something, right? Picked up some ten-cent magazines


and a DVD of the first movie we saw in Salem, back when we were buying the house a couple of years ago.


This lovely handmade ladle was thrown in with a bunch of 25 cent kitchen gadgets. Long, carved oak handle riveted to a hand-thrown ceramic bowl…I love it.

IMG_2777  IMG_2778

IMG_2779 IMG_2782 Finally, I picked up a couple of items that to my eye have a rather mid century vibe. This bathroom set feels like it’s made out of Melmac.


And I love this thermal pitcher and mugs with their teak handles.


Tomorrow Gertrude Pemberton Smith and I are meeting my SIL for breakfast and then garaging in Lake Oswego. I have this fantasy that I’ll find some great MCM stuff up there.

Hmmm. I have that fantasy everywhere I shop on driveways!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rice and Wool!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may be aware that I have an embarrassingly large stash of felted sweaters. These are wool sweaters that have been washed in hot water and dried in a hot drier so that they shrank and became felt – a wonderful crafting material. Wool sweaters are not exactly a necessity of life in the OC, so they sell very cheaply on driveways. There was a time when I could hardly pass any of them up, leading to that stash. How large a stash, you ask? Let’s put it this way…I’m probably the only person you know who has slippers lined with cashmere felt.

In any case, I’m always on the lookout for ways to use my felt, and today I came up with something new: a secure mount for my new GPS!


I almost ordered a ‘portable friction mount’ along with the GPS, but hated to spend another twenty bucks or so. Decided to see what the dashboard mount thingie that came in the package was like. And it holds the GPS just fine – it just won’t stick anywhere in my car. I didn’t want it on the windshield, and the slanty dashboard wouldn’t hold it at all.

But there’s a bit of space between the gear shift and the heater controls. So I took a felted sweater sleeve, cut a tiny hole in the center and inserted the head of the swivel mount through it, then sewed around that to keep it in place. Each end was filled with rice and stitched shut. The weighted ends hang down over the center console keep everything in place.



Have to say I’m pleased as punch to have solved my GPS mounting problem so inexpensively (fifty cents worth of rice and maybe ten cents of sweater sleeve). And my felt stash is about half an inch lower!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

She’s Back!

It’s been too danged long since we got together! Moving and nesting can really cut into your day. Yes, I am 1,000 miles north of where I last posted, with a warm breeze redolent of pine (or perhaps barkomulch) wafting in my open window.

I admit I’m glad to have the trip behind me. I’m calling it the Journey with Two Cats and a Bonsai. Never heard a peep from that little tree, but Noll Baxter cried and cried for miles. Then he stopped crying and panted for many more miles. If it was an act, it was a good act. When we arrived he claimed he was exhausted.


Mrs. Wilberforce mewed in a distressed fashion a couple of times and then went into a catatonic state. I’m not sure if that wasn’t harder to see than the panting. But we all arrived safely and transferred thankfully from the car to our new home.


So far I’ve spent most of my time here painting. As in walls, not lovely pictures. Though I could be inspired by the terrific sunrises I’ve seen most mornings outside my windows.


So far I have eradicated pale, insipid pink walls from my office, half bath, hall, master bedroom and master bath, which went from this


to this


The bedroom is a darker shade of green, and my office is a nifty shade called Quiet Moment that is blue, gray or green depending on the time of day and the light. I’ve also mitigated (at least temporarily) the southwestern motifs on the tub surround


with some I like better.


Starting tomorrow I’ll be painting downstairs, and since that’s only a gigantic family room, a playroom, three bedrooms, a bathroom and a hall I should be done by oh, Christmas. Optimist that I am, I’m even thinking Christmas of this year! Need to do it before the rest of our stuff comes up from California. Which I am happy to announce will most likely be soon – way before Christmas even.

We must have been living right, because we got a decent offer for our house in the OC less than a week after it went on the market. Looks like escrow will close in mid-September (everyone keep your fingers crossed). We even have a backup offer on hold in case anything goes wrong with the first buyers. Whew! Of course it’s a nice house with a fabulous yard in a great location, but I’ll be very, very happy when I don’t have two mortgages to pay.

But wait, some of you are saying, this woman writes about yard sales. What’s with all this house stuff? And to you I say, gently, gently, this is only the 3rd weekend I’ve been here, and I’ve only been able to go our garaging…three times! Yup, I was out on the trail my first morning here. That was the day I learned that sales here tend to start on Friday and go all weekend, and they don’t start until at least 8 a.m., many not until 9. So that first morning I cruised about in the convertible, just enjoying the early morning air until it got late enough for a sale to be open. Had a lovely chat with a lady who works at the hospital (apparently there’s only one). From her I bought 4 Garrison Keillor 3-CD sets (so a total of 12 disks) for a buck. Can’t show you a picture though because I loaned them to my friends Diana and Dave when they came by on Sunday.

My next stop netted a brand new applicator pad for putting sealer goop on your deck. We have over 900 sq. feet of decks here (I’ve lived in houses smaller than that) and it all needed sealing, which my fabulous brother-in-law Biker Bob has undertaken since the hubs is still down south. (Everyone send blessings his way, this is a huge undertaking!) Bob says this pad thingie may be the best fifty cents I have ever spent. At the same sale I spent another fifty cents on two 50’ rolls of clear vinyl carpet protector, which I figured would come in handy during the painting process. However, it’s probably at least 10 years old, and is a very wide tape with the sticky side out, and it has baked together so that I could hardly pry up a corner, let alone actually cover anything with it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. The lady at that sale threw in a really great dish brush for free, so I’ve decided that’s what I shelled out the fifty cents for instead of the carpet stuff!

Last week I went out on Friday. Mapped out a little route with the help of and went exploring. There’s no better way to learn your way around than by going to yard sales, right? And I found some sales and managed to find my way home (after shelling out a total of fifty cents for a black fanny pack) but the experience convinced me that my life would be a lot simpler if I finally got a GPS.

Choosing one about drove me nuts, but I finally did, and it arrived a couple of days ago. So today was my first day of garaging with the assistance of Gertrude Pemberton Smith. She’s not as much fun as Marcia or Linda or the other friends I’ve been garaging with, but her sense of direction is quite good. But there is one thing I’d like to know: how DO they make an electronic voice that manages to sound peeved as she says “recalculating”?

Went to the west side of town today to see what we could see. Some older neighborhoods, some midcentury areas, and some quite new. For a total of $8.50 I scored a desk chair, not fancy but rolls around really well


a couple of Ikea jars, so that I can decant my flour and sugar


and a DVD.


Yard sales are always a good source of “as seen on TV items” such as this supply of 6 tubes of Mighty Putty.


Don’t know how well it actually works (very mixed reviews on Amazon) but the “as seen on a driveway” price was the proverbial fifty cents. And it was worth that much to see the video pitch on the Mighty Putty website. Those hucksters who sold stuff at fairs are alive and well and selling Mighty Putty.

Picked up a couple of items at an estate sale down the street from my house. It was mostly priced too high for me, but this little candelabra was reasonable, and I think it has a nice MCM vibe. I’ll have to watch for some of those extra skinny tapers at future sales.


I also found a lovely vintage embroidered table runner in a heap of old kitchen towels and potholders under a sign that said “linens, ten cents” – a sure sign of a sale run by guys. They had dollar signs on all the tools, but beautiful hand embroidered grapes and vines on ecru linen was only a dime. And they didn’t even bother to take my dime! My fabulous sister-in-law Linda was helping me prep the family room for painting and liked it, so it’s gone home with her. Yes, she hangs out with Biker Bob. I’m very fortunate in my relatives – not only do they help with home repair but they take home those vintage linens that you swore you were not going to bring home any more of!

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