Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Hat was on the Other Head!

So my friend Judy, Friday yard sale sidekick and hat model, is moving in a few weeks after literally 30 years in the same house. Raised two boys there (one was a baby when they moved in, the other came straight there after being born). And through those years she and her husband kept a few things (as we all do) that they don’t need any more. So naturally, we had to throw a moving sale!

We had a blast. Lots of work, but we got rid of released for other people to enjoy a whole bunch o’ stuff, she made a few bucks, and now it’s DONE. All that’s left is to pack up and move! (Yes of course that’s a gross simplification…)

We originally intended to have the sale just on Saturday, and started pricing things early in the week. But after several other friends had seen what was waiting to go out and every single one said, “Judy, you have SO MUCH STUFF!” we decided to start on Friday. Which turned out to be a very good thing. Rain poured all day Thursday, Friday was fabulous, and Saturday it was cold and windy then started raining in late morning. By noon on Saturday we were more than ready to stop.

Here’s the scene as it was when we had moved everything outside into the front yard. Nothing was arranged, our initial goal was just to get it out before people started arriving.


Our Craigslist ad read “After 30 years in the same house, we’re moving to a smaller one…and a LOT of stuff has GOT to go! Friday, April 18 starting at 9 a.m. until we can’t see straight. Please do not come early, or you will be jumped on by a muddy and enthusiastic Springer Spaniel (no, he’s not for sale) and then put to work helping set up the sale.” Guess the early-bird warning worked, because with one exception everyone stayed away until close to the stated start time. And one of the first people who showed up wanted to know where the Springer was, he was looking forward to being jumped on!


The one early bird turned out to be a neighbor so we cut him some slack. He came because of this picture (from our ad).


I was shooting the very nice French door that needed a new home…but people were interested in the bicycle! And the neighbor guy bought it, even though it had had an argument with a parked car…and lost. The frame got bent in the accident but most parts were good, so this bike enthusiast was happy to wheel it down the street to his house. As we were chatting, I told him I really want to see his house sometime. It’s a style I’ve never seen elsewhere that was used on corner lots here. He started telling us about the wonderful original pink tiled bathroom and other great features, which he will not let his wife remodel. We applauded this, and when he left he told us to come by for our tour, and to make sure our bladders are full so we can use the pink bathroom!

I’m not sure if Salem is especially full of nice people, but over the two days there was only one guy who annoyed us. He made a low-ball offer for something and seemed really huffy that we didn’t jump at it. We were definitely handing out deals, but he was so irritating we just couldn’t say yes. The item he wanted was bought on Saturday by a very nice guy who was happy with the price.

There was a whole parade of characters. We were all a bit amused by the lady who saw the bucket full of baseballs and asked how much. Five bucks, I said (they were clearly marked). “I don’t want the balls,” she said, “I just want the bucket.” So I sold her a white plastic bucket that originally held soap powder or some such for $2, and she told us about her bucket collection. Her pride and joy is the red soy sauce bucket she scored from a Chinese restaurant. Twenty minutes later I sold the baseballs (for five bucks) to a nice older gentleman who volunteers at the neighborhood grade school.

The French door did get a new home…next door. A young couple is working on that house, and just fell in love with this door. I don’t think it was even the right size but he thought he could make it work, and was happy to hand over a twenty dollar bill for it. Before he carried it off he was showing his wife how the internal blinds work, running them up and down and turning the other gizmo to make them open and shut. “Oh look,” I said, “you can do Morse code signalling with it!” He liked that and seemed to be thinking about who in the neighborhood he could signal with it.

And Judy gets to brag to her husband. She picked up the door at another yard sale a few months ago when they were working on their rental house. It didn’t fit, and he thought she was crazy to spend (are you ready?) five dollars for it.

Interestingly, we saw lots of little kids on Friday, and hardly any on Saturday. Judy had a bunch of toys from over the years and most of them we gave away. Tossed all those odds and ends into a wading pool and just let the kids have what they wanted. One little boy climbed into the pool, sat down and played. These two were quite shy, but Judy won them over with trinkets.

P1050369The woman who earned my utmost admiration was the mother of twin boys, who cheerfully let one of them take home the free (and very shrill) orange whistle!

As we prepped for the sale during the week, Judy made one decision that turned out to be brilliant. We were looking at a mountain of clothing and talking about how to price things. You know how it is, a family ends up with stuff you don’t wear any more and some of it is spendy name brands and some isn’t. She decided that all clothes would be fifty cents and we just wouldn’t give another thought to what it was or where it came from. And unlike many sales where at the end of the day the clothes have hardly been looked at, we sold a lot. In fact, the clothes led to our favorite sales of the weekend.

A trio of boys, late teens/early twenties or thereabouts, showed up early on Friday. I first noticed them as they inspected the posters that used to belong to Judy’s boys (they bought several). After inspecting everything, they noticed the clothes, and all three found treasures. They paid for some stuff, then one came back for another shirt. The duck shirt. Hard to tell in this picture, but the print is flocks of ducks flying.


Can’t remember the brand but it was something pricey, and he was thrilled. I told them part of the deal was I got to take pictures of them for my blog. Aren’t they adorable? (Sorry, guys, but you are!)


The duck guy ran back for one more item, and his buddies were jealous. “A jump suit!” I heard one say as he donned it. “I would have bought it if I’d known it was a jump suit.”

I think we made their day with the fifty cent clothes. I know they made ours!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pets and Pottery and Pendletons

So sorry I missed visiting with you last week! The fact is, I’ve been Working on Projects. I’ve had this long list of things to do and make and just wasn’t getting anything done. So I moved my sewing machine back upstairs (huff, huff, puff, puff…that baby is HEAVY!) and put it in the breakfast room, which is right outside my office. And I piled all the stuff I need to work on all over the breakfast table. (We always eat in the dining room so no meals have been missed in this process.) So now that my to-do list is in my way and in my face, I’m getting some things finished.

Like slipcovers for all the outdoor furniture. Four chairs down, two chairs and a chaise to go.

Slipcovers for the deck chairs 

And a slipcover for the fairly valuable and extremely comfortable MCM chair that our dog Zoë prefers to sleep in. Picked up this bedspread of Indian cotton last week for a buck. Now I don’t have to worry about the leather cushion. A slipcover for Zoë

I’ve hardly diminished the pile on the breakfast table though. Will keep you apprised of progress!

Of course Friday and Saturday mornings are sacred to the thrifting hunt. Friday is Judy morning and Saturday is Toni morning. Judy is still trying on hats, this time to the amusement of everyone else at the sale. I think she looks quite fetching.

Judy olé!

At the time, it hasn’t seemed like the sales have been very good, but now that I look at a couple of weeks’ pictures I realize that not only have I been out having a great time with my friends, but I’ve found some great stuff. A few things I’m hoping to resell, like these vintage tablecloths. Apple blossoms

Apple blossom tablecloth

and a gorgeous Wilendur with dogwood blossoms.

Wilendur tableclothVintage dogwood tablecloth

Also scored two absolutely adorable vintage aprons. This tulip apron is all handmade and about the cutest thing ever. The tulips are little pockets!

vintage tulip aprontul;ip pocketapron bib vintage apron back

And this little darling is a clothespin-bag apron. Look at the bluebirds helping to hang the wash! Doesn’t that make you want to abandon your dryer so you could be out in the sunshine wearing this?

vintage clothespin bagclothespin bag embroidery

The vintage gods didn’t stop there either. They presented me with three Pendleton wool shirts for the hubs for – are you ready? One dollah each. How fast do you think I had those hangers in my hand?  Vintage Pendleton shirtsOne had some spots that we got out with a couple of washings, and I did some repairs, but these puppies are getting up there in years. The laundry tag in one is dated 1960!

1960 Pendleton

And there’s more. VINTAGE BUTTONS! Woo hoo! You know I live for a good button score. AT 25 cents per card these were spendy compared to that other find, but hey, sometimes you just have to shell out.

vintage buttons

And these guys are cool. I’ve never seen wooden buttons with cork insets before.

Wood & Cork buttons

The brown ones and red ones have nifty incised designs.

incised vintage buttonsvintage carved buttonsside view carved buttons

I’m not usually crazy about metal buttons, but these I love. And the card they’re on indicates they date from the mid to late Forties.

vintage metal buttonspost WW2 buttons

These chrome wine bottle stoppers aren’t vintage, but I thought fifty cents for the pair was a good deal. I’m thinking they might make cool yard ornaments somehow, maybe hanging in a tree. (Where I will no doubt bang my head on them every time I pass by…)

chrome wine stoppers 

Met a handsome kitty demonstrating the merchandise.

kitty demonstrates the merchandiseJudy and I hit a sale on Friday that seemed a bit crazed. It was late in the morning but the folks were still setting up. I noticed a free box when we arrived and found a lovely umbrella in it. Works great, but the handle was all sticky. I tossed it in the car, figuring I could deal with sticky, and indeed it all came off with a little Soft Scrub.

free umbrella

Some of their items had prices on them, others not. You guessed it…every single thing either of us thought might be of interest wasn’t priced. “And how much is this?” Two seconds later… “And how much is this?” And the answers could be anything, though usually were more than I thought reasonable. So when I picked up a lovely handmade pottery serving bowl and asked, I was amazed that the price was a dollar.

Nels Mears serving bowl     

I was originally thinking of using it as a water bowl for the dogs. But I looked up the signature on the bottom and discovered it was made by a pretty famous Pacific Northwest potter, Nels Mears. People actually collect his work. So maybe the dogs don’t get it after all.

Mears bowl signed        

My favorite conversation from the past couple of weekends happened at an estate sale near home. I had just snagged the Pendletons, and in the same room a man was looking at an old piece of electronics that turned out to be a reel to reel tape player with attached speakers. He mentioned that he works on old record players and I was telling him about mine. We chatted for several minutes, and then he asked me, “Say, did you take a fall a couple of weeks ago?” And I realized he was the nice man who was leaving the estate sale I was going to when I fell downhill. He stopped to see if he could help, while I lay on the street with my eyes shut hoping my glasses hadn’t smashed and uttering not-very-ladylike words. I was awfully glad to have a chance to thank him for his concern that day and assure him I had hardly been hurt at all.

But I tell you…Salem is not a very big town!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Day Late…

…and a dollar short. Isn’t that the saying? But what the heck. If I’d actually completed this giveaway yesterday you might have thought the results were April Fooling!

Speaking of which, I get suckered every time. I was reading a blog post on a site that’s all about frugality yesterday, and kind of scratching my head at the assertion that when you have kids you absolutely must buy one of those gigantic gas-guzzler vehicles. Which of course was his April Fool’s joke. I’d say the joke was on me – except that I would never buy a gigantic gas-guzzling vehicle!

In any case, it’s time to announce the winner of our latest book giveaway. Oh, let’s make that winners. I promised the dogs they could pick this time. Two dogs, two winners: that sounds about right. They said I could use their birthdays, as we did last time with the cats.


So. Our Edward was born on August 8. He’s a Leo, of course.


And the 8th comment was left by Sarah, so she wins the first pair of books. Even though I am hideously jealous that when she fell on her face she got TWO black eyes, and I couldn’t even score one!


Our Zoë is a winter baby, born on November 5. Comment number 5 was left by L! I’m kind of hoping her name is Louisa, since that’s the main character in my books. From her blog profile, I believe she’s in North Carolina, where we lived for several years. In fact, one of the dogs in my books is based on a real dog I met in the Tarheel State. I’d say Zoë is an excellent picker!

So – Sarah and L, send me an email and we’ll get your books on their way!

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