Sunday, November 13, 2011

What You Can Buy for Grzybumpy Cents

You know, I expected retirement to be wonderful. I looked forward to it for a long time and was really ready for the change. I assumed that moving a thousand miles north would mean that my thrifting would be limited to the summer months, and that by now I’d be blogging about stories from the past or how I’m using things I’ve found over the years. No doubt those weekends will come as winter progresses. I certainly did not expect to be able to go out garaging more than I did in Southern California, but this weekend I hit sales on three days. Woo hoo!

Granted, the number of sales are limited, but the stories I heard were fun, and I spent a whopping thirty bucks so you know I brought home some goods.

Friday I bought things at three sales and heard stories at another. I saw this plaque in one garage and asked the lady how much it was.


IMG_3168   IMG_3169

“Grzybumpy cents,” she mumbled. I must have had a puzzled look on my face, because she said a little louder, “Grzybumpy cents.” Ummm…she said it once more, and I said, “Did you say twenty five cents?” “Yes!” I laughed and told her I’d thought she said forty-five cents and it seemed like such an odd amount, and she laughed too. No way was I going to tell her I thought she was saying grzybumpy. And of course a quarter is perfect, because that was the original price!


The picture is laminated to some kind of board. Don’t think it’s a real cover, but besides being perfect for my guest room decorated with children’s literature stuff, I actually remember this album from when I was little. (It was not my favorite though. That honor goes to “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”) Maybe I’ll have to frame that saying “What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about” though personally I like better  “Hokey Pokey Clinic – a place to turn yourself around.”

I also picked up this little trellis there, for when we start relandscaping in the spring.


Another sale netted a fifty cent bottle of Fray Check, which I’ve never owned before, despite have sewn sporadically for, oh, um, over forty years. And I picked up some votives and tealight candles at another, which was nice because I’ve been using a lot of them in the Yixing teapot warmer I found a year or so ago.

The funnest sale though was not one where I bought anything. This beauty greeted me as I stepped from the car.


If it’s not a twin to the sad picture over on Retro Renovation it’s at least a close cousin! A nice young couple with three kids are renovating their Craftsman house, and this puppy had to go. Hope some MCM fan got it. Most of their stuff was inside the house, but when I headed through the yard I was stopped by this wonderful wattle trellis the wife had made.


They told me the house came with three lots, one of which is planted with fruit trees which had not been pruned for a long time, so there were plenty of cuttings to work with last spring. Evidently the cuttings were not ready to admit defeat, and sprouted leaves after they had been woven into the trellis!

Inside I started chatting with the lady of the house. A small, gray half grown kitty came by and was willing to be picked up and petted. It was one of those delightful conversations where one topic riffs off another. Before long we were each telling our favorite “mice in the house” stories. (Oh, go on. You know you have one too.) Hers included one about a bowl of cat food that none of the cats would eat from. They would line up to eat from the other bowl and not go near the other, even though it was full. Then they started noticing there was always a dip in the food in the middle of the bowl. By now I’m about ready to believe it was haunted, but no. One night she stayed up late, sitting quietly nearby, and saw a very large – well, let’s say it was a step up in size from a mouse! – come out, grab a piece of food from the middle of the bowl, and take it back to where a stockpile was being created. All of the household cats were brought in to take care of the problem, but they all jumped up and cowered on the bed!

Saturday, I started out at a sale near my house, and spent at least 45 minutes going through the artist’s studio behind the house. The first thing I noticed was this lamp, which is a relative of the vintage Sight Light desk lamp we got back in January.


IMG_3191   IMG_3192

I looked around some more, and noticed boxes and boxes of cloth. You have never seen so many vintage linens in your life. I keep telling myself “No more!” and I did pretty good. Only brought home a couple of cloths to keep.

IMG_3155   IMG_3156


I picked up this vintage tea towel to see if it will resell.

IMG_3165   IMG_3166

The linens were just the tip of the iceberg. The lady who lived here was, according to her daughter in law, very artistic in lots of ways, and anything she wanted to do or try her husband would get for her. She painted, she did ceramics, there was a kiln, there were vases and knick knacks and boxes and boxes of Christmas decorations. There was so much stuff I had to look around several times because I kept seeing stuff I had missed. Like this little guy.


IMG_3199   IMG_3200

I was completely smitten by the sailor collar and the basketwork of his cart. When I got him home I remembered a piece of ribbing I had left from a felted sweater. So now I have a new pincushion.


Amazingly, I was the only shopper for much of the time I was looking. Others came and went. One gent about my age looked around happily and told me and the daughter in law that he grew up in a florist’s shop, and he remembered a lot of the things that were there. He pointed out some vases from the Fifties, and got nostalgic over a herky tape dispenser just like the one his mother had in her shop. While he was talking I noticed a stool under some pink pillows. Moved the pillows and found this.


Yes, it needs recovering, but it is perfect to go with our Heywood Wakefield vanity. It swivels beautifully. When I got it home I saw that the fabric was just pinned on. How fast do you think I got it unpinned? Probably not quite  that fast – the pins were rusty and I had to get some pliers to pull them out. Underneath a different homemade slipcover emerged.

IMG_3181   IMG_3183

It was rather stained, so it’s getting an oxy soak even as we speak. I think the stains are coming out, but if not I’ll find something else.

When I got home I started looking up prices on vintage tablecloths and noticed they seem to resell pretty well. So this morning Steven and I headed back so I could see if anything resale-worthy was still there. We were greeted by this beauty, who probably lives next door.

IMG_3212   IMG_3214

Can’t think when I’ve gone back to a sale a second time (or gone out three days in a row). I could tell that some stuff had been sold, but what went out of there on Saturday barely made a dent. While I was going through the tablecloths and cloth napkins again, I got more of the family history from the daughter in law. Her husband’s parents are now in their late 80s and living in a care home. They ran a store in Montana for years, sounded like it was a combination of clothing and pretty housewares. “She’d go buying for the store, and of course would find stuff she wanted for her own home too.” I heard about the sets of dishes that various family members have received, with names like Spode on the backs. Each set with eight or twelve place settings. When they closed the store they moved to this house in Salem and created an absolutely amazing garden behind the house. Her studio where she did her art was actually built over a swimming pool! Yes, they had an indoor pool, but when they were in their 70s decided it was too much to take care of, so they built a floor over the pool and made it her studio. Steven asked if they had filled in the pool, but no, it’s still under there. Not only that, there is a trapdoor and they use the old swimming pool for storage! Which may explain the rather musty smell clinging to the probably hundred or more sofa pillows still looking for new homes.

Today I picked up a couple more tablecloths. Hopefully they will sell, but if not I’ll be happy to keep them. ;o)


IMG_3217   IMG_3219

Also some vintage Vera napkins.

IMG_3220   IMG_3221

And my stash of tiny tapers grows apace!


Since there’s so much stuff still left, they are planning to have another sale in March when they put the house on the market.

Yeah. I might have to go back again, just in case I missed something!


  1. Vera napkins and tapers in one place? Wow, love all the colors!

  2. That was as much fun to read as if I had been there! I never thought of making a pincushion out of one of my tiny 'vessels'..just shows no matter how old I get, and I am owning the OLD part, I'm still learning something. :O)

  3. Oh, that pink stove is adorable! I sure hope it found a happy new home!

  4. That Pastel Pink stove is too much!!
    can you grow sweet peas in Oregon in the spring?

  5. 'The Hokey Pokey'? I've always sung 'Hokey Cokey'. Perhaps that's the British version. (Did you know they changed the theme song for Top Cat to Boss Cat over here? There was a cat food at the time called Top Cat and the tv station was not allowed to advertise.)

    Lovely finds. You had a great weekend. xx

  6. You had to 'go back' for the VERA?! You didn't just automatically Grab them the first time???

    Sounds like a !FUN! weekend 8-)

  7. I'll buy a ticket up there to catch that sake in March...what was the address? Lol! I love the story about the pool. It would be so cool to see it in person. You never know what people have done to their homes, that's why estate sales are so fascinating to me! The picture of the fuzzy cat in the leaves is so beautiful. What a lovely time of year you have up there!

  8. I'd definitely go back in March. Love the linens you found. And of course, I enjoy when you recapture the experience for us so that we can feel as if we were searching for treasures with you.

  9. Oh I enjoy reading about your adventures. I hope the stove found a home too. Love the cloths and the Vera napkins. I never find stuff like that here.

  10. Loved the pincushion creation! Thanks for taking us along on your shopping excursions.


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

Pin It button on image hover