Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hansel & Gretel Come Home

Got back from garaging on Friday a little past noon, feeling glad that I hadn’t told my husband that I’d probably be back a lot earlier than usual. After all, Judy and I only had four sales to go to; how long could that take? Oh, an average of 45 minutes each!

We started off agreeing we didn’t care that there were so few sales, we would just enjoy the sunshine and the top down on the car and the beautiful fall leaves. And we did. First sale was down a country road not too far from home. (One of the things I love about Salem is that there ARE country roads not far from home – quite a change from Southern California.) The house with the sale was set back from the road, but we boldly drove up the drive and found there was plenty of parking by their barn. We were greeted by a very enthusiastic young yellow Lab. (That’s when I discovered I’d gone off without a camera, so no pet pics this week, dang it.)

The sale was quite a hodgepodge – vintage toys next to tools next to worthless junk next to DVDs. Judy spotted a French door that she thought might work at her house, and since the price was five bucks she bought it. It was too large to drive around with in the back of my convertible, so she said she’d take her husband’s pickup back for it later. I picked out a few movies to add to our collection

More movies 

then looked around once more. A vintage doll caught my eye, and I picked it up out of the box where it seems to have slumbered for a half century or more. The eyes were what I noticed.

Hummel Hansl eyes

I’ve never been much of a doll person (teddies seem much more loveable) but this looked pretty high quality to me. Then I saw he was one of a pair.

Hummel Hansl & GretlHummel tag

Hummel’s Hansl and Gretl dolls. Thinking this might be something to try to resell, I asked the price. A dollar each. Deal. And I found a little china Hansel too, so I added him to my pile.

Our next stop was an estate sale run by a couple of guys I’ve encountered before. Nice guys. Upstairs I noticed some sewing equipment, and thought this ironing mitt might be handy.

Ironing mitt

There was a sign that said all the sewing stuff together was something like twenty bucks. I took the mitt downstairs and asked the taller guy if they’d sell it separately. “Sure,” he said. “Six hundred bucks. No? Okay, make me an offer.” I offered a dollar and he was fine with it. A little while later I heard another lady ask if she could buy one of the sewing things separately, and for how much. “You bet,” he said. “Six hundred bucks.” She too spent a dollar.

We looked all around, chatting with the guys, and I thought I was finished when Judy pointed to a tablecloth that I hadn’t noticed and told me I had to at least feel it, the cloth was so luscious. I took one look and knew what it was – a California Hand Prints cloth. Priced at two bucks. Mine! I have several of these, but this is the first Christmas one.

California Handprints xmas cloth CHP Xmas tablecloth CHP detail

I promised Judy she can come over any time and pet my whole collection of them. The fabric is lovely; most of their designs are printed on heavy rayon or maybe a rayon/cotton blend.

Next stop was in the neighborhood where my car broke down last summer. I told Judy how glad I was she was with me that day, because she noticed smoke coming from my engine as soon as it happened. We pulled over and discovered the crack in my radiator, but thanks to stopping so soon, there was no other damage to the engine. The guys at the shop were amazed that the radiator was all that had to be replaced. That was pricey enough, but I’m sure Judy’s sharp eyes saved me hundreds of dollars that day!

The sale turned out to be a nothing, one of those “I drove all the way down here for this?” sales. Though Judy did score three of those vintage wooden hangers covered with crochet from the free box. So off we went to our last stop, where two neighbor ladies were having a sale together. And as often happens when you go around with someone who’s lived in this community her entire adult life, one of the ladies was a friend of Judy’s. They had lots of catching up to do while we browsed around a packed garage. The other lady has ended up with boxes and boxes from a storage unit with her parents and grandparents stuff. This sale was a preliminary foray into the decluttering she has to do.

Her back yard was full of barking dachshunds, and I asked if she showed them. “Oh yes, they are all champions,” she assured me. She said she’s also a dog show judge. Picked up a nice braided leather collar for Edward there, and succumbed to the lure of this mohair dachshund.

Mohair dachshund Play with me

I wish I’d noticed that one of his ears has been replaced with other fur. Probably would have saved the dollar he cost. On the other hand, he seems to have a non-working growler or something in his tummy, and I’m intrigued enough I might undo some stitches to see what’s in there. Zoe wants to know too.

What's inside that tummy

Later that afternoon the phone rang, and it was Judy. “I went back to pick up my door,” she said, “and the guy was closing up, and he gave me all the rest of the dolls to give you.” Oooookay, I thought, just what I need. (Remember, I’m not much of a doll person!)

She brought them over a bit later and I began to inventory my windfall. And it’s a mixed bag as far as windfalls go. The guy had told us he helped a lady have a sale to clear out a warehouse of her late husband’s, who was something of a hoarder. She’d gave him the leftovers, which was mostly what he was selling this weekend. So I have ended up with the a hoarder’s remnants of some little girl’s collection of costume dolls, probably from the Fifties.

Did any of you collect them? I had a neighbor who did, and I remember being polite as she showed me all her dolls, while silently hoping we could go back outside and play soon. Apparently there was even a Doll of the Month club that you could subscribe to (wonder how many little girls got that subscription for Christmas or a birthday?). From my Googling after these dolls arrived, I think this guy could have been one of those.

Greek soldier dollGreek soldier doll eyes 

He’s the biggest one in the lot, at about 16”. The rest are much smaller. Several are going straight to the kitty-rescue thrift store. Little plastic things with the open/shut swiveling eyes that I find a bit creepy.

Costume doll 3 Costume doll 1  Costume doll 2

This lady has a painted cloth face.

Costume doll 4

Painted face

I’m afraid the little Dutch children haven’t fared very well through the years. Their chipped paint is rather macabre.

Poor little Dutch boy Aging is hard Dutch children

When you look more closely at the harem doll

 Harem lady

you see that her features are quite Caucasian. Hmmmm, one of those Englishwomen kidnapped by a sheik and forced to live in his harem?

The Englishwoman in the harem

There are a few I may try to sell; these Skookum dolls do seem to move on eBay.

Skookum vintage doll

These two Italian ladies were made by Magis of Roma.

Italian ladies    

I think they are plotting something.

Hush, the Duke may hear us...I'm sure it's getting closer...

There was a small Gretel to go with my small Hansel.

Small Hansel & Gretel 

Little bisque figurines. At first I though the Hummel Hansl and Gretl were also bisque, but now I think they are some kind of composition material. Time has cracked them in several places

Age cracks on Hummel Gretl Hand lotion needed - years ago!

but time does that to all of us. The Hummels are in their original boxes, and I just feel so gosh-darned sorry that they spent so many years in a box, that I think I’m going to let them hang out with my other toys.

Seeing double

I bet they’ll enjoy that.


  1. I just have to say that I love that you adopt relatives from photos that you acquire at garage sales. I have a couple of those kind of pictures in my house and everyone seems to think it's crazy. Here in B.C. garage sale season is fast dwindling down which makes me sad but come Spring....

    1. Hey, when we adopt picture relatives, we can have them be the kind we always wanted! Sales are getting fewer and farther between here too, but I won't stop until they disappear.

  2. I remember the Indian dolls and the Scottish Doll from my childhood. What a fun windfall!

    1. So were you one of those little girls with the doll collection? My passion was of the equine variety - I did love my horse collection!

  3. I had the little Indian dolls too! They were a souvenir from a visit to the Woolaroc Museum in Oklahoma.

  4. You have to try painting Day of the Dead faces on a couple of your new dollies!!! paint it black first with a small brush, and go back over the black with Titan white ( think that is what they call it) dont dilute the paint with water...decorate finished dried dolly with sticky rhinestones and lots of glue and glitter!!

    1. Hmmm, interesting idea! The Dutch babies are the most likely candidate, but they're quite small. Not sure my hands would be steady enough to paint that small!


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

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