Monday, September 30, 2013

A, B, C…and then some

Hey, would anyone like to join me in taking a lettering class on Skillshare? The instructor, Mary Kate McDevitt, does work like this:



You may have noticed (or perhaps not – we rarely notice what isn’t there!) that I do not accept advertising on this blog. (Yes, people have asked, but how can a blog about buying everything secondhand advertise retail stuff?) But when I signed up to take this lettering class, I found out that if other folks want to take it, you can get ten bucks off the $20 price if you enroll through this link. And yes, I get a credit too. I’ve never taken a Skillshare course, but I love fonts and lettering, and perhaps some of you do too.


Apparently you can start these courses any time and work at your own pace. “The First Steps of Hand-Lettering: Concept to Sketch” will be available I believe on October 16. So if it sounds like fun, use my link and jump in with me, and let’s see what we can make!


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Strategic Placement

Rain and rain and yet more rain. The weather gurus say we’re getting hammered with the tail end of a typhoon that hit Japan. Certainly glad I didn’t see the rest of it if this is the tail end! But do Oregonians let rain stop them from garaging?

Heck, no! I went to a grand total of two sales on Saturday. Spent a whole dollar, had some laughs. Take that, you storm.

Didn’t buy anything at the first sale, though I was tempted by the worm composting bin. Something I’ve wanted to try…but I’m afraid we might not have enough scraps to keep the worms fed. And I know how bad I’d feel if my worms got hungry. I’d probably be scrounging scraps from the neighbors. There’s a sure way to convince people you’re nuts – go door to door and ask for their vegie peelings. So I passed on the bin.

The lady having the sale was wearing a cute jacket she’d made from a sweatshirt and some Mary Engelbreit fabric. I complimented her on it and she told me her design strategy. “I wear these sweatshirts all the time, and you know how you’ll be eating something and you have a spill—”

“Right,” I nodded. “We always say, ‘What’s a cleavage for anyway?’”

She laughed. “That’s it. Well, when I get enough spots on a sweatshirt, I cut it open down the front, then sew patches over all the spots!”


Before I left the shelter of their garage and headed back into the storm, I had to admire their vintage chest freezer. Who knew that International Harvester ever made these babies?

IMG_7222Bet if you put wheels on it you’d be able to plow up the back forty.

IMG_7223She said everyone had commented on the IH logo. After a good look at the freezer I asked if everyone also commented that it looked like something you’d hide a body in. She said I was the first to come up with that. Well, heck, I write mysteries! Of course I’d think of hiding a body in it!

From there I headed a few blocks away to an estate sale in a little Forties house. Nothing much I wanted there, though I enjoyed poking around in the vintage sewing supplies. A little old lady came in that room and asked the young woman keeping an eye on things (you know how riotous it can get when there are vintage sewing supplies on hand) if there were any thimbles. Young woman pointed to a wooden display case with half a dozen thimbles, and the old lady cried, “Ask and ye shall receive!” “Yes, but not always that fast,” I commented. They both laughed. Then the young woman asked us what the thimbles are for. She’d never seen one in use! One of those moments that makes you feel old. In fact, I’m sure if she’s telling this story, she’s saying there were TWO old ladies who told her about thimbles!

My big purchase there was this Karen Rossi ornament. She had a Queen for a Day banner on, but I took that off. Now I’d say she looks like a Queen of Fifty cents!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Posh Life

I’m drinking a very posh cup of tea as I write. The mug was a gift from my friend Marcia, who visited this week with her husband from California. They stayed long enough that we got to go garaging together once more, along with my friend Judy. The three of us drove to sales in my green convertible, talking and talking, and it was one of those wonderful moments when your past and present get to meet up.

Perhaps fortunately for Marcia and David’s plan to continue their road trip as soon as we finished garaging, there were almost no sales this weekend! Judy spent a whole dollar Friday morning and Marcia and I spent nothing. The beauty of garaging is, none of us cared a bit. There’s always another treasure hunt out there in the future. We bid farewell to the travelers, and I bided my time until Saturday…

…when it was pouring down rain. And we’d decided to go to a plant sale. But there was one sale near home (“rain or shine!” the Craigslist ad promised) so while Steven had breakfast I dashed over there. And it was packed. Guess none of us treasure seekers are ready for the winter hiatus.

First person I saw was the woman who drives a convertible like mine (different color though), who told me she had to hurry home because she was having a tea party for three little neighbor girls that day. It’s something she did with her grandchildren, and now that they’re too old, she invites the neighborhood children. They pour tea from a fancy pot into delicate cups, and eat dainty sandwiches. “And we wear hats!” she said. I know they had a lovely time.

Perhaps it was an omen, this talk of tea, because the first thing I picked up was this fancy box of tea.


Have you seen these? Talk about upscale tea. Little silk pyramids with a leaf on a stem to swish it about, each in their own little pyramid box. They normally retail for about two bucks each. That’s each tea bag. Not much less than I pay for a box of 25 or so at Trader Joe’s. I’m sure this unopened sampler set was a gift, for as we always say, “If there were no gifts, there would be no garage sales.” The price on a driveway? Fifty cents. So I get to revel in a mug of very posh tea for less than a dime. Mmmm, tastes so much better at that price!


The next item I picked up was something on my “watch for” list; I brought it home, put it in place, and my husband said, “I’m not sure that will fit in. It’s way classier than anything else around it.” And he’s right. It’s a travertine soap dish


solid, heavy, lovely.


So we now have a few square inches of posh by the kitchen sink.

I’m sure our dogs appreciate poshness as much as we do, so I didn’t resist these doggie ice cube trays.


I often give them ice straight from the ice maker, which they love crunching up. But now we’ll be able to make them their own Special Ice Cubes. The first batch is in the freezer now, each cube with two pieces of dog food embedded in the ice. That should be fun. And a friend of ours used to freeze chicken broth, calling them pupsicles. I see all kinds of fun ahead.

I succumbed to one more item (well, a pair!) before dashing home to get to the plant sale. One of those “this is too cute to leave behind” things that I sometimes feel a bit guilty about buying (after all, how much cuteness does a person need?). But I’ve recently realized that my home office has become a sort of “Museum de Me” with carefully curated displays (okay, random displays) of stuff I just like. I don’t have to keep things forever, but while they still have the power to make me smile, they can stay. So here’s the latest addition to the Cute Dog Stuff collection.


Salt and pepper shakers. Perhaps to be repurposed as Christmas ornaments in a couple of months.


Sometimes I buy posh pieces, sometimes I have to create them. All the double and queen size flat sheets I’ve bought recently have now been made into custom-fitted sets for the four twin beds in our guest rooms. It’s such a treat to make up a bed with lovely cloth and fitted corners that actually fit. No more trying to cram thick mattresses into skimpy twin sheets!

And what could be more posh than owning a genuine antique mohair teddy bear? Unless, of course, he looks like this.

Poor old teddy

Threadbare, the scanty fur dirty and matted, no eyes, only one ear, paw pads missing or ratty. He was a sad little object, hardly worth the quarter I paid for him. But first he got some gentle washing (after his stint in the freezer!) which revealed more fur than I thought would be there

Cleaner & fluffier

and it even has a bit of a sheen. I made new paw coverings, reattached the leg, and added eyes and a mouth. I didn’t have anything to make a new ear (that will have to wait until I happen across a scrap of mohair) but a cap hides that. And I think he looks much better…and happier!

Making new friends Antique Teddy in hat 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Upscale, Downscale, All Around the Town

I thought of a great title for this week’s post. Mentioned it to Judy, who liked it too, and then I said, “But I’ll probably forget it before I turn around.” We were getting out of the car to get to a sale – and sure enough it left my brain almost immediately. I had forgotten my notebook that morning so had nothing to write on even if I’d remembered. But Judy spotted a spiral notebook at the sale for a dime and bought it to keep in my car. Then she proceeded to make notes for me as we went along. Wow, my own private secretary in my convertible! I felt like a tycoon. A woman is rich indeed if she has a friend to garage with who will make notes as you drive!

We were definitely in tycoon territory at one of our first stops on Friday. Very, very posh neighborhood – a real live ‘private drive’ with a dozen very large homes built around a private park. The lady having the sale was downsizing to move to a condo. I hope she’s not claustrophobic, since she’s really going to feel the difference. Nice folks, enjoyed chatting with her and her daughter. It’s always interesting to see what people really consider valuable, based on how they price things. A decent but perfectly ordinary cooking pan was priced at $40.  Yet for a total of $1, I left with a little glass hummingbird ornament (that I haven’t managed to take a decent picture of!), two Danish cut paper Christmas scenes  Danish paper elves Danish paper ornament Paper ornament designer

and a beautiful vintage table runner hand embroidered with daffodils.

Vintage runner with embroidered daffodilsDaffodil closeupI also left with a case of laundry room envy! We got to go inside the ginormous house for Judy to see a coffee table that was for sale (though not what she was looking for). As we left through the laundry room, I saw the built in sewing corner – handy, well lit, with plenty of storage for supplies and right where you need it to do repairs.

Next stop was pretty much the opposite – an old farmhouse with pretty much just junk scattered around the front yard. Very nice lady though, with a lovely cat. This is Meow-Meow, who has a lovely floofy tail.

Floofy Tail  Floofy KittyAnd for fifty cents I picked up a couple of boxes to hold all that thread I found last week.

Boxes for threadWe kept going to a couple more sales, commenting that we’d seen the upscale and downscale and now were back in the middle. The middle-scale made us laugh with this – a toy beaver with a different pricing structure depending on which Oregon football team you favor:

Overpriced Looking for the right buyerI picked up a DVD of one of my favorite movies

A favoriteand some more cloth napkins (Zoe has already taken the corner off one of my lovely large white napkins from a couple of weeks ago – bad dog!).Blue cloth napkins I thought this bird feeder was fun

Interesting bird feeder  and I love the color of this insulated travel mug.

Blue travel mugJust this week I put ‘wire basket’ on my list of items to watch for, to corral the computer plug thingies under my desk, and there it was. Brand new, one dollar.

Under desk basketHoping that this book will give me some fresh inspiration for the flowering containers on my upper deck. They’ve been gorgeous this year, and I have to admit the main inspiration was seeing what was available for half-price at the local garden center on any given day!Container inspirationMy last buy on Friday was…a house. Yes, I went out and bought a house.Front of tiny houseIt’s a little smaller than my other house, being all of 2 1/2 inches highBack of tiny housebut it came fully furnished (and populated with a spider web in the attic!)

Inside tiny houseand the pipes underneath seem to be in good condition.Under tiny houseBest of all, it only cost a dime!

On Saturday I went out alone. It was supposed to be sunny and very hot (like in the 90s). I’m not sure where the mist and 67 degree temperature came from. Just went to a few sales, but found a better $5 desk chair than my last $5 desk chair

The five-buck chairand a brand-new vacuvin thingie. What I really need are the corks, but for fifty cents I can hang onto the pump in case mine breaks.Wine keeperMy feet are looking forward to becoming Happy Feet.Foot massage

Happy feetAnd I succumbed to the charms of this lovely vintage linen bag with beautiful embroidery. How could I resist for fifty cents?Embroidered vintage bag    Vintage bag detailAt the same sale I scored a sprig of yet another coleus. Zingy coleus

That’s the 5th one in the past three weeks, all different. The ones I put in last week’s 25 cent planter are doing well.Coleus potIt was definitely a kitty-centric weekend. Besides Meow-Meow, we admired this fellow, who belonged to a neighbor of the people having the sale. Supposedly he is a highly-bred specimen who cost quite a pretty penny, but he wasn’t above shopping on driveways.CuriosityWhen we first saw this happy guy, he was arching his back to better enjoy his grooming, then by the time I got the camera out he had swooned from delight.Kitty beauty salonHandsome dudeWhen I reached home and was showing my goodies to my husband, our Noll Baxter did his best to convince me I had forgotten to feed him (not true!) and he was STARVING!Noll speaksI didn’t fall for his lies, but he was gracious enough to help me photograph my finds anyway.Noll helps take picturesIt looks better with a cat on it What a guy.
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