Saturday, January 19, 2013

Off and Running

Sales! I got to go to some sales, and some thrift stores! With a friend!

Really, it felt like a drought ending. Thrifters need to thrift. And everyone needs a mini vacation once in a while. So when my friend Judy told me about her favorite thrift stores in Corvallis, we quickly hatched a plan to go down there on Friday. We were both thrilled to see an ad on Craigslist for a garage sale in our neighborhood (Judy lives about five blocks from me; we originally met at the dog park, where else?) so we headed there first.

The lady started talking as soon as we showed up, and from what she said we really missed the boat by not getting there right at nine a.m. “You should have seen it,” she said. “The whole driveway was full of stuff, and about three rooms in the house.” We looked at the remains in her two-car garage and I for one heaved a quiet sigh. But no matter, still found a few things as she continued talking. We learned about her Chow and the other dog they adopted that didn’t work out and the good home they found for it. And that they had to move to another house because this house is a tri-level, and a few months ago she started having terrible vertigo. They thought for a while she might have a brain tumor but it turned out to be some inner ear thing (must confess some of it went into my inner ear and straight on through and out again without lodging in any memory cells). So now they’re in a single level house and just love it.

I wandered out to the driveway to check out the free pile, which was almost entirely composed of lids from Rubbermaid storage boxes. Then I noticed a large concrete bird bath a few feet away on the grass. Different from any I’ve seen before, a large circle with birds and other motifs embossed on the edges, and no pedestal. I asked if it were for sale. “Sure, might as well be,” she said. “My husband got it intending to put it on a tree stump.” When the price turned out to be five bucks and Judy was game to put it in the back of her car, the deal was made. And here’s where we got lucky. A young family had arrived to check out the sale, and I brazenly asked the husband if he might be able to help us get the thing in the car. He was a total sweetie pie. Lifted up the piece so we could dump out the half-frozen water and leaves. We got it onto one of the tote lids in the free pile and used that to sled it across the driveway to the car. Where I suddenly remembered I had a camera and pulled it out. I believe these are startled expressions!


With a heave and a ho, the birdbath was lifted into the car. Of course we thanked out benefactor profusely, as well as his wife for letting us borrow him. The lady having the sale shooed him into the house to wash the mud off his hands, and we parted cordially.


Back on the road, heading south, we were almost to the freeway when I saw a sign for an estate sale. Judy jumped into the turn lane and off we went. Sale turned out to be in a 55-plus development of manufactured homes, but if I hadn’t been told that’s what the houses were I’d never have known. The home where the sale was going on was one of the first in the development, and the folks who lived there were gardeners. The one thing they had that I really wanted was the greenhouse attached to the garage! At least I could tell what the greenhouse was. We never did figure out what this duck thing might be for.


There was another wood piece that we think was one of those gravity wine bottle holders, but it had a circle of cork inset in one end so we weren’t completely sure. There was an older couple shopping the sale that we chatted with, and the husband was musing with us on the identity of this wood thing. We kept running into them throughout the house and garage, where we had to muse over a tool none of us had ever seen before.


Amazingly enough, I was the one who figured out it’s a wire stripper. Since it was only a buck I bought it and presented it to my husband. He’s never evinced any desire for a wire stripper, but I’ve watched him stripping wires enough over the years to think he might find a use for it now and then.

When we left, the other couple were leaving too, and we got into conversation on the sidewalk. Turned out they used to live in Roseburg, which is where I started my library career over thirty years ago. We chatted about local landmarks and memories, and before long the Roseburg Blast came up. The Blast happened in 1959, destroying all the buildings in an 8 block area. Everyone who was there has a story to tell. We didn’t move to Roseburg until 1978 and even we have a Blast story: the first house we lived in was less than a mile from the blast site and had been ‘knocked off its foundation’ according to our landlord. There were metal straps in the basement keeping the building from being too whopperjawed!

Judy and I finally made it to Corvallis and the two thrift stores we were aiming for. As you probably know I’m more of a shopping-on-driveways type of thrifter, but we had fun. Poked into everything, conversed with the volunteers running the places. I made Judy try on a homemade fleece robe that had two sleeve-tubes inset into a big square of fabric. She looked like a human burrito. The only way that garment will ever find a new home is with someone who’s looking for a big cheap piece of fleece, not a robe! But we both found stuff to buy. A lovely piece of wool jumped out at me that turned out to be a Manos del Uruguay ruana.


I hate to wear a coat unless I have to, especially if I’m going to be in the car, so I shelled out the $4.00 for this puppy. It is SO cozy.


Had two or three snags


but a few seconds with a crochet hook and voila, snaggies are gone!


Judy’s best find was a gorgeous Fair Isle sweater in all her favorite colors. The glitch there was that its metal buttons had cut through the thread they were sewn on with, and only one was still on the sweater. The others were on a safety pin attached to the hem. But Judy called me a bit ago and said she was wearing her sweater, and the one button that’s left is in the middle, and she really likes wearing it with just the one buttoned! So the others might not be sewn back on any too soon.

I ended up spending $12.60 and besides the above mentioned brought home a bunch o’ tea lights (just in time, I was nearly out!)


and do you think I paid this price


or this?


Also some cupcake papers, which have gotten ridiculously expensive at the grocery store (and I don’t care a bit if they have Halloween motifs)


and some embroidery thread for the vintage pillowcase I got from a free box back in September (now all I need to find is a small embroidery hoop…what was I thinking when I decluttered all my embroidery supplies a while back?)

IMG_6562 IMG_5800

and some cute little rusty-metal snowflakes


and a vintage Vera linen tea towel. This one I’m keeping, and every time I dry something with it I will smile over a dime well spent.


And so the thrifting year begins.



  1. Oh, my. What a lovely day you had today! I miss yard sales, but today the only thing we could have bought was snow! I would love to see your bird bath all cleaned up. I think my favorite is that wrap you found. I don't like to wear coats either, but I don't think I could keep that wrap wrapped around me either! Your year is certainly off to a great start.

    1. I will post a pic one of these days of the clean-up birdbath. Meanwhile the birds aren't caring a bit - there were half a dozen in the birdbath within half an hour of putting it in the yard!

  2. We found a concrete bird bath, tho not as pretty as yours. It sits on an over-turned pot in our garden!

  3. If you are ever looking to trade-off that VERA towel... 'cause I'm sure those colors DON't go with YOUR color scheme (wink wink) - you know where to find me!
    Glad you had a GOOD day of saling!

    1. Yeah, it's terrible how much color disharmony I'm prepared to put up with! ;o)

  4. I think the wooden thing goes over the top of a bottle of wine the duck necks hold the wine glasses on either side!

  5. What a fun day!! Love the wool ruana! Trying to keep our stashes down, but have been looking for toddler party dresses to cut off the foofy skirts. Cut the laces or netting into long continuous strips they look really cool crochet into scarves with pretty wools. Sounds a bit odd, but looks really cool!

  6. Second opinion on the duck thingy. I think that it might be one of those oven rack pushy pully thingys (yes that is the technical term!)

    1. An equally plausible explanation! Dang, now I almost wish I'd bought it so I could brag about owning a wineglass holder/pushypully thingy. It will be awfully tempting when another one turns up on another driveway. ;o)

  7. Love your site. We do some of our own "repurposing". That said, our blog covers music, water and much more (we had a post on driftwood art!!) We will be checking back to your site


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

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