Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tattoos, Warm Feet, and Purses

Saturday morning. Back in the car after perusing a sale with lots of stuff; I spent ten cents on a brand new linen towel from Germany.


As I waited for Gertrude Pemberton Smith, my GPS, to come to life and tell me where to go next, a guy (short red hair, bulging biceps with tattoos) walked across the street carrying his loot: a black leather jacket and a black purse. Just one of those slightly amusing sights you happen across. I continued on my way, and noticed a Garage Sale sign that wasn’t on my list for the day. Quick right turn, drive a couple more blocks, and oh good – parking right in front. A couple was leaving the sale, and the wife smiled at me and said, “Great day for a convertible!”

“As long as it’s not raining, the top is down,” I assured her. Another car pulled up and parked, and the guy that emerged and I smiled at each other and went up the driveway. The young guy having the sale looked a little confused. “You do sales in separate cars?” he asked. “Oh wait, you’re not together.”

That’s all we needed to start us off. We started kidding about being best friends and how long we’ve known each other. There wasn’t much merchandise in the garage, but I noticed that my new best friend headed straight for the purses. “Was that you I saw at the last sale with the black jacket and the purse?” He said it was, and I complimented him on the ensemble. By now we’d both finished looking around and headed back towards our cars. He kind of laughed and said, “EBay. I’ve kind of been selling purses on eBay.” Of course this got my attention, since I’ve sold a purse or three myself that way. I recommended he keep an eye out for Coach bags, as I’ve found those resell pretty well. He told me he’d been at a yard sale a while back and overheard some women commenting on the wonderful Coach bags for sale. Inspired by their enthusiasm, he bought one and resold it at more than double the price, and was hooked. So we stood in the street talking eBay for several minutes. I told him some of the things I’ve resold over the years, and we commiserated on the big chunk that goes to eBay for fees. I told him it’s important to keep good records for tax purposes, because even if you don’t make a lot of income that way it’s still income and one thing in life you really do NOT want to do is get the IRS mad at you. Besides, when you do your Schedule C at tax time, you can legitimately claim all your related expenses, like mileage when you’re out looking for merchandise to resell, and shipping, and all those fees. Had a very nice time talking. Okay, you know I love talking to anyone who lets me give advice! After a while he mentioned his name is Allen. I told him mine and said I’d probably be able to remember his because I have a brother named Allen. “You’re not going to believe this,” he said, “but my sister is named Sharon.” He also told me he’s a corrections officer and retired military. I told him any purses that don’t sell can be loaded with Stuff (you know, what we women drag around in our purses) and used as a defensive weapon. Man, some women carry around bags that weigh more than a two year old child. Swing one of those babies and damage can be done.

I expect I’ll see him around at other sales. If you’re garaging in Salem, keep your eye out. Muscles, upper arm tattoo, friendly. He’ll be looking at the purses.

Amazingly, I knocked three more items of my “watch for” list this weekend. The first was a small paper shredder. We have a big one down in my husband’s office, but I read recently that shredding all those junk credit card offers that come in the mail helps protect your identity. I’ve been in the habit of ripping them up into several pieces, but shredding definitely sounds better. And there it was at my first stop.


I think it’s actually designed for junk mail, since the slot is narrower than a sheet of paper. But all you have to do is fold a piece of paper to run it through, and any big shredding jobs can still go downstairs. (And into the compost bin when the shredder is full.) I didn’t notice the bonuses until I got it home. This baby will also slice open envelopes


and sharpen pencils! Not bad for two bucks.


And at the same sale I shelled out another couple of bucks for a gigantic box of the brand of kitty litter we use.


Their kitty died just after they bought this, at the age of 18. So we talked kitties a while.

Another sale in the same tract was just starting up when I arrived. A woman about my age and her mother were still putting prices on things, and I heard the mother say the name Sharon. I told her I was a Sharon too and we laughed about having a trendy name for the times. I picked up an interesting roll of Christmas garland…and then picked up the other four rolls because the price was right – twenty-five cents for all five!

P1020741 P1020744

Across the garage I noticed a nice looking weight bench, which has been on my list for ages. (Put there by my husband, not me!) I knew he was on a conference call for a board he’s on, but I called home anyway. No answer. Tried again when I got back to the car. Nope. I didn’t want to buy it without consulting, knowing less than nothing about what to look for. Fortunately he got free from his conference and called me right back, so I started describing the set to him. It was kind of like being a simultaneous translator. He would ask me a question, I’d try to answer, the other Sharon would chime in with what she knew (which was every detail about the thing) and I would relay that back. It ended with my buying, and Steven arriving with tools a couple of hours later to take his new weight set home. So now we have a mini-gym downstairs in what is called the Playroom on the house plans.

P1020756 P1020758

We moved the eliptical I found last year down to keep it company. So he’s all set, and I’m trying to convince myself how much fun I too can have with these toys in our Playroom.

My other good find of the day probably won’t be used for a few months, but when it’s time I know I’ll be really appreciative.


If these boots don’t keep my feet warm and dry at the dog park next winter (where we alternate between rock hard frozen ground and wet, wet, wet) I will give up the quest. Sorel boots, with serious felt liners.


Last used in the snow when they lived in Alaska. I will approach next winter with a laugh upon my lips in anticipation of toasty tootsies.

Monday, May 27, 2013

He’s Available for Autographs!


How about that? My sweet Edward promoting dog treats…NOTHING could be more appropriate!

We’re often asked what kind of dog he is, and I’ve never been able to answer with a straight face because it’s such an unlikely combination: Springer spaniel, Rottweiler, and some kind of shepherd (I’m guessing German shepherd from the way he moves). We got him from the family that owned his mother, and his dad was the shepherd down the street. He is the best boy. Ummmm, except when he goes counter cruising. Won’t tell you about the three-quarters of a freshly-baked pecan pie he scarfed down recently.

Just an extra big dog treat in his view.

Thanks again to everyone who voted for him!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rain or Shine…make that Rain AND Shine!

Went garaging with my friend Judy on Friday. We met at the dog park and I thought I’d try to talk her into going with me. “Hey Judy, want to go garaging?” “Yes!”

She’s SO hard to persuade!

Our first stop was an estate sale. I should have taken a picture of some of the shoes. Adorable – in size 4.  Everyone was stopping to look at them and exclaim over their cuteness. But no one seemed to have size 4 feet! Fortunately handbags are not size-dependent, and I succumbed to the lure of this vintage tapestry bag

Tapestry JR Miami bag

with a smooth lining of leather or vinyl, not sure which.

JR Miami bag interior

We wandered on to the family room where we found some linens, including these cheerful Vera napkins.

Vera Napkins Vera tag

I’m thinking they may be early Vera since they have a sewn-in tag rather than her signature on the print. Judy rather liked a leather sofa nearby, but needed to check with family members before buying something that major. And when she went back for it, someone else had bought it. Drat! But I assured her that if she keeps looking, she’ll find something just as good. It’s the Garage Sale Way.

There were several nice ladies working this sale, and when they saw someone with several items they would offer to make a pile of their stuff. An older gentleman gratefully surrendered his armful, and the sale lady asked what name to put on them. He hesitated for several seconds, to the point where everyone in the room was listening. He finally gave the name Tanya. We all blinked. “It’s my wife’s name,” he said when he caught my eye. I told him I thought maybe we were dealing with a “boy named Sue” situation and he laughed. Another shopper said she’d been thinking the same thing. (And if you remember that song, you’re probably my age!)

The laundry room had sheets and towels. Nice ones. I picked up a set of pleasant yellow bath towels, hand towel and washcloths

Yellow towels

as well as a couple of hand-embroidered cotton sheets. One of them has one embroidery design on the top edge and a different design on the bottom. Curious. Perhaps they liked to switch them around.

Embroidered Sheets Cross stitch sheets

Judy ended up with some lovely vintage embroidered pillowcases. I was glad to see them go to a good home…so I wouldn’t have to take them home with me. My stash of pillowcases and tablecloths is getting a embarrassingly large!

When we returned to the car the sun had come out, so we cranked the top down. Ahhhhh! However, a couple of sales later the clouds returned, so up it went again. (I’m awfully glad it works with a push button.) I found a pair of Nikes at one place. They’re stamped inside that they are samples. When we lived near the movie industry in Southern California I used to see “screener” DVDs. Now we live near Nike and it’s sample shoes.

Sample Nikes

White shoes are not really my faves, but I don’t care what shoes I wear to the dog park as long as they are comfy and keep my feet dry. These fit the bill. Tried them out Friday afternoon and they were fine…except that one shoelace came untied on the way down the field, and the other on the way back up. And I remembered why I like Velcro better than shoelaces. They now make shoelaces out of polyester, and they WILL NOT STAY TIED. (Do you ever play the “I’m so old” game? As in, I’m so old I remember when shoelaces used to stay tied!) So as I retied my laces (which were pale gray, not very attractive on a white shoe!) I vowed to make some better shoelaces. So I did.

Homemade shoelaces

I ripped some strips of cloth (left from making my family room draperies) and ironed them in half. Originally thought I would sew them but decided not to bother. I like the frayed edge look. And once these babies are tied, they stay tied. Maybe they look a little silly, but who cares. Certainly not the dogs at the park!

At the same sale I snagged this set of small cookie cutters, intended for future dog biscuit making.

Autumn mini cutters

Since I use pumpkin or squash in my dog bickies, these should be perfect shapes! One of them has me a little puzzled though. Logically I suppose it is intended to portray a leaf, but that’s not what it makes me think of!

Beet cookie cutter

We made it to one more sale after that, where I got to mark another item off my search list: a better desk chair than the one I’ve been using.

Smart desk chair

The previous owner told me this was the chair she sat in for hours and hours studying to be a nurse. Since she’s an ER nurse now I figure the chair must have soaked up some smart vibes. We had to put the top back down on the car to get it home, and it started sprinkling about six blocks from home. I decided not to take the scenic route!

Saturday was still rainy and I had a workshop to attend at the community college (on playing piano by ear – pretty fun). But (no surprise) I stopped by a sale on the way, advertised as 4 families and an art studio’s stuff. Found a few things among the jumble and went back after the workshop to see what else had been unearthed. Their pricing was obviously done by several people with quite divergent ideas about values. A number of things had just silly prices on them, but this midcentury (I think) stainless butter dish was a quarter.

MCM stainless butter dish

I’ve been wanting to find some shadow box frames for an art project I have in mind. When I saw these boxes with sliding lids I snagged them. The price was right!

Shadow boxes

Picked up this one when I went back. I’m thinking of putting artsy jumping jacks inside, with a hole drilled in the bottom for the strings. I’ll keep you posted.

Pressman vintage chalkboard box detail Pressman vintage chalkboard box

Also picked up a few books

Julie & RomeoPaper art book  Sunset Mosaics 1959

and what I’m calling a Yard Bird, made from a hunk of rock and some metal. He’s  currently hanging out in a pot of mint on the upper deck.

Yard Bird rock sculpture Bird Rock Sculpture tummy

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go practice my play-by-ear piano chords.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013


He won! Yes, thanks to your support, our Edward’s face is going to be on dog treats at our local pet store. How exciting is that? We really appreciate your votes and lovely comments. I believe Edward was the only entrant with votes from all over the U.S. and even other countries! Being the modest, unassuming fellow that he is, Edward is taking fame in his stride. I’m sure when the paparazzi show up, he’ll just ask them for treats and pose in a nice Sit. He’s that kind of boy. I’ll keep you posted when we get our hands on some of the dogs treats with his picture. Hmmm, I think my Christmas shopping is going to be easy this year!

Cozy Edward

I felt like just as big a winner as Edward this weekend. Yup, the garage sales have started in earnest with our lovely warm weather – and I scored practically an entire new wardrobe! I still can’t believe my luck. On Friday I headed first to an estate sale near home. I am still looking for a couple of mid century twin beds, so I always head straight to the bedrooms at an estate sale. No cool beds at this one, but I noticed that the closets in two rooms were completely stuffed with nice clothing. I peeked at a couple of pieces. They were MY SIZE. Since the sale had just started. clothes were priced at $3 for pants, $4 for tops, etc. Not bad, but even those prices add up. I picked out a few things, and when I paid, the cashier mentioned that prices would be half off on Saturday. She even said there was a bathroom that was closed off for the sale where I could try things on. I promised I’d be back the next day.

Went to a few more sales…and danged if I didn’t find another – a fundraiser for a youth group – with more clothes in my size. I picked up half a dozen pieces there. The rest of the morning yielded only a few small candles, but I went home happy and anticipating the next day.

I returned to the estate sale about two minutes after they opened on Saturday and headed straight for those closets. I could see that a few things had sold, but they were still packed with clothing. I started a pile, moved to the other room and added to it, then checked with the cashier to make sure it was okay to try items on. “Of course,” she said. “Use that back bathroom. We want you to be happy!” (I’d like her to give lessons in attitude to some other folks who run estate sales!)

I dragged my enormous pile of clothing into the bathroom, closed the door, and started in. About 10 pieces were weeded out for not being comfortable enough. I returned them to one of the closets for some other lucky lady to find, and went to pay for my goodies. I’m sure I was grinning ear to ear. I was excited on Friday over my finds, and to get more on Saturday for half price was the icing on the cake. I ended up spending a total of $72. See if you think I got my money’s worth:

four brand new pairs of Argyle socks (I’ve never owned any Argyles before!)

Argyle socks

a nice selection of pants (Talbot’s, Coldwater Creek, Liz Claiborne)

Nice selection of pants

shirts from Hawaii (you can still buy these…if you want to pay $95 each!)

Shirts from Hawaii

a cotton eyelet overshirt, and two linen blouses

Cotton & linen shirts

a couple of Ralph Lauren shirts

Ralph Lauren shirts

tees from Talbot’s, Coldwater Creek, Liz Claiborne

Terrific tees

a traveller’s knit jacket (this style/brand currently retails for close to $120!)

Vikki Vi Jacket  knit jacket detail

and several sweaters. Three from an upscale store in Portland, knit of linen and rayon

Linen sweaters

one of fine gauge cotton, and a cashmere

Cotton & cashmere sweaters

a very pretty Christmas vest…I know these are no longer the fashion,

Beautiful Xmas vest

but this one is so nicely done, with its glittery trees on front and back

Knitted trees  Sweater back

soft angora snow

Angora snow

and the fringe on the skater’s scarf and hat blowing in the breeze!

Knitted skater

Last, a gorgeous hand knit wool sweater in a fine weight yarn.

Hand knit seamless sweater

This was made by a real expert. It has NO seams at all, so she knitted it in the round, with lovely details like a seed stitch bottom border and cables around the neckline and up the shoulder decreases.

Lovely sweater details

I admit it…I keep walking into my closet and sighing with happiness! This garaging season is off to a fabulous start.

So Edward and I are both winners. But that’s not all. I found out this morning I won a cool blog giveaway! Ann over at All Things Paper showcases lots of fabulous paper art. A few days ago I left a comment saying since the giveaway drawing would be on our anniversary (number 41. No, I can’t believe it either.) she really ought to pick me. And she did!


I tell you, if I were the kind of person who buys lottery tickets, this would clearly be a good time. But if I did win some lottery money, I’d probably spend it on beautiful paper art, nice duds, and treats for Edward – and I’ve already got all that!

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