Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Thankful Giveaway

Five days after my face-first tumble downhill…and my owies are almost completely gone.

Almost all better! Kind of annoying, actually. I was planning some really good stories about the black eye that I was sure would appear. And not a vestige of a shiner. Is that fair? In fact, the thing that has hurt the most was my little finger! Lost a chunk of skin from the tip, and it turns out you use your little fingertip quite often. But even that is almost healed.

I’m not really complaining, you understand. I confess to having indulged in imagining a number of could-have-beens and they were not pretty. I’m truly very grateful.

So to celebrate, let’s have another book giveaway! Same as last time – paperback copies of my first two books. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post (preferably an entertaining one, but we’re easily entertained).

FRONT COVER dogsWeTrust front 800px tall

The drawing will be – when else? – April Fool’s Day!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Ring Around the Rosy…

A pocketful of posies (yes, I have posies right now)

Daffofil Heaven 

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!

Except we didn’t all fall down – just me! Yes my dears, I took a tumble today, hurrying to an estate sale. We had to park a couple of blocks away and walk downhill, and I just did not see that hump in the pavement. It reached out and tripped me in a most unpleasant manner (I’m sure I heard it snickering as my toe caught).

Falling down is strange, isn’t it? It happens so fast and yet you have time for so many thoughts to go through your mind. My thoughts included “Whoops!” and “Uh-oh!” and “Oh good I don’t think I’m going to fall!” and “Oh no I AM going to fall!” and “Yikes! I’m going to fall on my face!” and then “Owwww!!!”

Actually I was very lucky. The main point of impact seemed to be my right eye, which was protected by my glasses. Guess it was worth the extra I paid for the shatterproof lenses, because they pushed into my eye and covered it. Got a couple of cuts around the edges but without the glasses I think I’d probably have road burn on my eyelid and that sounds distinctly unpleasant. Also scraped a hand and a knee and my chin a little bit, but nothing serious.


When I was back on my feet my friend Toni, who had witnessed the whole thing and mercifully is not one of those people who manage to catch everything on her cell phone camera, wanted to take me home. I took stock of the damage and said heck no, let’s go to the sale. Okay, at least partly because we were almost there and I figured I could wash my scrapes off. Unfortunately I didn’t find a single thing I wanted to buy. If I had, I figure I could have demanded a discount.

Probably could have gone home then, the pickings were slim. Just a hat for Judy


and a Carhartt shirt for the hubs.


Had better luck on Friday when Judy and I were out. The blue shirt was only fifty cents (my husband’s wardrobe is really getting replenished).

Speaking of Judy, she found a brand new, quite fancy bra in exactly her size. I told her she had to model it for my blog. So she did.


Love the fabrics on this lightweight rayon jacket.


I think I can make these cushions over for last week’s vintage wire chairs. Noll loves them as-is though. He’s been re-enacting The Princess and the Pea since I got home with them.


And the most serendipitous find of the day has to have been this.


It was at our last stop and I’m sure people had looked inside all morning and thought “What the heck?” and left it there. Then I came along and looked inside and went, “Wow!”


Remember a few weeks ago I bought a set of Wahl dog clippers for two bucks? It came with a couple of blade guides and a mini clipper and some other stuff. Well, these are nearly a full set of blade guides, which determine how long the dog’s hair is left. And they fit my clippers!


We haven’t told Toni’s Shihtzu/Lab mix Xanadu yet, but she’s going to get a clip soon.


But that’s not the end of the clipper story. I recently saw something on a sewing supplies website about an electric seam ripper. It stuck in my mind for a few days since I have some projects that are going to involve un-sewing some seams. I started looking for more information. They turned out to be more expensive than I was okay with, but on Amazon I noted that one customer review said they are really nothing more than a small beard trimmer. And I said wait a minute. Got out the mini clippers and a seam that needed ripping and zip! It worked great!


So, for a total of $3 I have a complete dog clipping set in a nice carrying case, AND a fancy schmancy electric seam ripper. Guess that’s what makes you get up from the street and head on to the next sale!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Price Tags

Found a really cute umbrella at a sale Saturday.


Went to pay for it. Handed over my dollar, which the woman took, then said, “And the scarf?”

“The scarf?”

“Did you already pay for the scarf?” She was looking at the blue muffler around my neck, the one Judy gave me a while back.

“It’s mine,” I said.

“But did you pay for it?”

What the heck was she talking about? “I wore it in. It’s mine.”

By now you could feel the other shoppers nearby growing a little quieter, listening. Was a crime going down? Was this woman trying to pull off a daring theft of a strip of light blue angora blend?

The seller looked hard at me, then reached out and pointed. “What about that?”

One of their little sticky dot price tags had detached itself from something and adhered to my fuzzy muffler. I shook my head and pulled it off. “Sorry, don’t know how that got there. It’s really my scarf.”

She chose to believe me. “Okay. I did think it was a lot of money for something like that.”

P1050081The tag said $3. Guess she didn’t really like my scarf very much!

After our bag-stuffing adventures of the past two weekends, we came back to earth and found…not so much. And the sales just seemed odd. One supposed estate sale felt exactly like being in a store. There was even that perfumey candle smell hovering over the hundreds of knick knacks and paintings and silver and china.

We did spot a few interesting

P1050044 P1050046 and colorful


and unusual hats


and the shiniest car in the world.


And I found a few things to buy…and managed to spend over twenty bucks.

The big splurge? Two vintage Homecrest wire chairs. They rock, they swivel!


Need to clean them up and figure out some cushions, but I thought ten bucks each was pretty darned good, especially considering the way everything else at that sale was priced. It’s so interesting what sellers think is valuable.

This interesting glass light cover


is destined to be a yard ornament. Yes folks, repurposing at its finest, right here.

And a handsome Le Creuset baking pan.


It does have a small chip on a corner but I don’t think that will affect its performance.


If you’ve ever priced these, you’ll know why I scooped it up at $3.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’d better go check my wardrobe to make sure there are no inadvertent price tags on anything else. I doubt that they let you blog from jail!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bag Ladies

Sing it with me, everyone:

It’s a small town after all

It’s a small town after all…

Judy and I heard about another church rummage sale Friday morning, so we got ourselves over there soon after they opened. This is the church where the ladies all have these great aprons so it’s easy to see who’s a helper. I think my favorite is the one with colorful painted handprints all over. The apron, silly, not the church lady!

Imagine our excitement when we were handed large paper bags as we entered and told that with a couple of exceptions (like the clothing in the main clothing room) it was five bucks a bag. And as I mentioned last week, I have bag stuffing skills.

Off we went down the rows of laden tables. I headed for the linens first and snagged a neatly tied-together stack of wonderful fabric. I’ve been wanting to recover the desk chair in my office.

 handsome fabric

When I got home I discovered I have 4 full-length lined curtain panels, so now I think I’ll sew them together to make a summer throw for the sofa. Next into the bag was a cheerful vinyl tablecloth

 sunflower tablecloth

which is destined to recover the seats of the vintage patio set I got last summer. Found some bits of yarn that will come in handy sometime

 bits & bobs of yarn

and a couple of vintage cookbooks from 1958

 vintage cookbooks

with fun illustrations.

vintage illustration vintage dachshunda surprise but not the jam kind

From a table of folded clothing I snagged a nice tee shirt for next summer and a pair of linen pants.

summer teelinen pants

On we went stuffing our bags and giggling over some of the things we couldn’t imagine anyone putting in their bags. Every rummage sale has some of those! Honestly, don’t you sometimes look at “decorative” items and marvel that a) someone designed this thing – on purpose; and b) convinced someone else to manufacture it.

Eventually we finished our rounds (not of course before Judy found a hat to try on)   Judy in a hatand I plunked my bag down on the table where the church ladies were collecting payment. As I did one of the nice ladies asked if my name is Sharon. Ummmm, yes? (Did I know her? I’m terrible with names and faces!) Then she said that she had recently started reading my blog and really enjoys it.

Trust me, people who blog about shopping on driveways are not generally recognized as we wander about. I was completely amazed, and thrilled. I asked how she had found my blog, and she replied that she was recently at the library and had read about me in their newsletter.

Yes, it’s true: I am the volunteer of the month at the Salem Public Library (thanks, Robin!). And the article included a picture (wearing my “Don’t make me use my librarian voice!” tee shirt) and that’s how I was recognizable. In an extra turn of irony, the reason I volunteer at the library is that I met Robin B. as I was heading to a sale not long after I moved to Salem…and she recognized me from my blog and we got to talking and she asked me to help her with some projects.

I was so amazed to find one of my readers that I neglected to get her name, but here’s a shout-out to her anyway. Thanks so much for making me feel a little bit famous. Loved your sale and can’t wait to come back next year!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I was going to use one of those random number generators you can find online to pick the winner of my book giveaway. But it seemed so…impersonal. And then my cat Mrs. Wilberforce decided to take a hand. Er, paw.


“You left us cats out of your books,” she said in slightly huffy tones. “The least you can do is let me pick your winner.”

But how? I asked her. “Use my birthday,” she replied. What a good idea, I said. Especially since your birthday is coming up soon.

“Hey,” said her brother Noll Baxter. “You left me out of the books too. I want to pick a number.”


Well, technically I didn’t put any of you guys in, I told him. The dogs in the books are not Zoe and Edward.

“Yeah, but they’re dogs,” he grumped. (Actually, he likes the dogs a lot.)

Oh, all right, I told them. We’ll give away two pairs of books, not just one, and use both your birthdays.

They purred in triumph.

So. Mrs. W will be 13 on the 17th of March…so we’ll use number 17 in her honor. And the 17th comment was left by Carolsue. Who has a kitty picture on her comment, which seems pretty appropriate.

Noll’s birthday is the 6th of August (he’s 10), and entry number 6 was…ta da!…Darth Mama and her dog Tiger. Which also seems appropriate, since Noll is yellow and kind of stripey and would like to think he is quite the tiger. (We’ll let him keep his illusions.)

So there you have our winners…for this time. Yes, we’re going to do this again soon. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Biggest One I EVER Saw!

Size doesn’t matter, right? But really, sometimes bigger IS better, we all know that.

What? I mean RUMMAGE SALE…of course!

My friend Toni spotted the Craigslist ad for a rummage sale at a local church, and since she’s starting a reselling business we decided we’d get there when it opened at 8 a.m. on Saturday. We did pretty good, it was only about five after the hour when we arrived, but there were already dozens of cars in the huge parking lot. So we hurried up to the door where we were given a piece of paper with pricing information (they had put colored dots on most stuff) and in we went.

And stopped dead in our tracks. I swear the room was as big as a football field (not that I have any actual familiarity with football fields) and it was jam packed with table after table of Stuff. A helpful teenage assistant came up to us and said, “The furniture is all through that door and around the corner.” So what we could see wasn’t even all of it. “I’m just going to follow you,” Toni said. Sticking together definitely seemed like a good idea…only we got separated in about two minutes. Somehow she made it back to the furniture and I made a wrong turn and ended up in the Collectibles.

Have you been to any rummage sales where they do this? Separate out what they think are the higher-class merchandise and price accordingly? I did see a couple of guys I believe were dealers scrutinizing a sheet of stamps. But whoever picked out the Collectibles did not have a very discerning eye, and I hate to tell them but Beanie Babies are available in bulk from every garage sale in town.

Eventually I found the furniture (and Toni) but there was nothing of interest, so we headed back into the main room and started perusing tables. And there was SO much stuff and so many people and so much noise I could barely think. I was able to focus on the person who said hi though – our friend Judy had come to join the fun and had actually found us in all that hubbub.

Kept perusing, and found myself in the toys area. Which as you can imagine was chock-a-block full of old games and stuffed toys and plastic whatevers. I kept going until I spotted something I’ve never seen before.



A handmade toy wooden treadle sewing machine. A thing of beauty for the woodwork alone.


“This will resell,” I told Toni. And of course there was no price tag on it! But I found a worker and she put a $5 sticker on it, and that was that.


On we went and finally mounted onto the stage area at the front of the room where the clothing was displayed. Or some of it was displayed. Under every table were huge boxes stuffed to the brim with clothes that there was no room to display. A fraction of the available stock was hung up on racks so we started there. Found a couple of shirts for the hubs

P1040831 P1040828

then I decided Toni needed a lesson in how to look for resellables in this kind of situation. “Just let your eye travel over the rack, and only pull out ones that look like really good fabric,” I told her. She looked perplexed. “I have no idea what good fabric looks like,” she protested, and pointed to a sleeve on one of the racks. My eyes followed her finger, and I pulled out the item she’d pointed to. Which is when I saw the label.


“OMG,” I croaked, “you picked out vintage I. Magnin. Look at the fabric label.”


If she keeps that up, she’s a natural! Not only did she find a cool vintage piece…it fits me.


So she doesn’t get to resell this one. Sorry, it’s mine. I love it for the fonts of the labels alone! Need to replace the buttons (one is missing but I have a stash of great vintage buttons) and do some minor repairs to the lining. I’m thinking this might date to late 50s/early 60s but I’m open to suggestions. Can’t you see it being worn with very long gloves? And just look at how the sleeve underarms are designed.


Not something you see every day.

We found out that after 1 pm they’d be making everything half price, so we decided to call it and Judy and I would come back at that time. (Toni had other plans.) When we returned it was just as crowded and noisier than ever, and looked as though hardly a dent had been put in the supply. We started with the clothing, and just then they started handing out grocery bags and announced that whatever you could stuff into a bag would be $3.

Ooooh baby, I can stuff a bag. Ended up with two bags worth (these were your piddly plastic grocery bags, not the nice big paper ones of yesteryear) but that included several things for Toni to try reselling


(this Chico’s shirt is the coolest sheer fabric with a bamboo design woven in)


as well as a Coldwater Creek jacket


and a nice linen shirt for me (yes, it got wrinkled in the bag!)


and a sweater to felt


and another shirt for the hubster.


Oh, and some Dansko shoes that are my size.      P1040817

(I have more than three pairs of shoes. Does this mean I’m a shoe collector?)

When I got home and had finished gloating about my finds, I sent my SIL an email with pictures of the wooden sewing machine. She works with all the parent co-op preschools in Oregon & Washington, and I though maybe one of them could use a new addition to their imaginative play area. Oh my. It sold six minutes after she posted it on their listserv and there’s a waiting list in case I find more!


So bring on the church rummage sales. We’re dealing!

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