Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Seemed like everyone was going somewhere on Friday. At the first sale we visited, the lady was getting ready to go to Italy. Along with the usual books and knicknacks and clothes, she had some lovely blooming plants. “I know my sister won’t take care of them while I’m gone,” she told us, “so they might as well go to someone who will.” She took us into her back yard to see some more plants. It was a lovely space, though a bit bare; seems she’s been selling plants for the last three weekends. “I just love to work out here,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like work. But I always do too much and the next day, oh, I hurt!” She pointed to where two paths crossed. “I told my sister when I die she can bury me there. This place is heaven to me.”

At another stop, the guy was getting ready to move to France. “Eleven more days and I’m out of here!” One of his first stops will be Normandy, where he wants to stand in the surf and imagine what it was like on D-Day.

When we reached this house, Judy started to laugh.

Free Coffee

“If you’re giving out free coffee,” she asked the lady having the sale, “does that mean you’re also offering a free bathroom?” The lady whooped with laughter. She had a number of quilted things in her sale and I asked if she was the quilter.

Little quilts

She said she was, and began to tell us about the quilt she’d made for her son. “He was diagnosed with cancer, and when they found it he was already stage four. So I sent out quilt squares to family and friends and everyone hurried to make their squares and get them back. I got them pieced together while he was having chemo, and even though it wasn’t finished I was able to wrap him in it.” Judy and I were blinking back tears as we talked to her. You could tell she was grieving (he died in May at the age of 33), but she sounded cheerful as she talked about him. You knew she really felt his presence near her. And that the quilting has been her comfort.

Actually, she just kept us laughing. She was offering coffee to everyone, and one guy said he could only drink two cups a day and he’d already had them. Immediately she switched to, “Get away from that coffee! Don’t you dare have another cup!” Judy got a cup and liked it, so she asked what kind it was. Something from Costco (don’t ask me what, I’m not a coffee drinker and it didn’t sink in). “Oh, they’re discontinuing that,” Judy told her. “I’ve been buying it too.” “Noooooo!” the quilting lady cried. They commiserated with each other over the loss of their coffee supply.

It’s what we do. Go to garage sales and bond with people.

And dogs.  Does he have a licenseStuff-wise, it was a fabbo weekend. Didn’t spend a whole lot on Friday (we both passed on this vintage incense!),

Incense from the good old days

just $3.50 for some linen napkins

linen napkins

(yup, still buying cloth napkins so that as Zoe sneaks off with them I won’t be left having to resort to paper towels) and some music books

music books

and a garden book

yard book

and a crystal water buffalo.

Crystal water buffalo

Okay, I tried REALLY HARD not to buy this thing. He was sitting there with some crystal snails and other figurines and I look at him and thought, what is that? It’s not a sheep. I picked him up. He’s small, about 2” long, and yes, a water buffalo. Even odder is that he’s engraved “Hadeland” on the bottom, so he’s from Norway. Most of their figurines are polar bears and seals and rabbits and snails, but evidently they break out into the occasional water buffalo. Normally I can keep from buying something at a sale by reminding myself I’ll most likely see this item again down the road and if I still want it I can buy it later. But that’s probably not true in this case. So I bought it…for a quarter.

At least when I’m crazy I’m still frugal.

On Saturday I deliberately limited my route to just a few sales close to home; family was arriving in the afternoon and there were things to do. But I’m really glad I went out! I passed on the large galvanized trough for planting more bamboo somewhere in the yard at the first sale, but did select a nice stunt kite for a buck.

colorful kite

Her next door neighbor was also having a sale, and while I was there the kite lady came over to offer her neighbor some breakfast. “My daughter is making these pancakes, you’ll love it. You smash up a banana and mix in an egg and fry it.” The lady at the second sale gave it her best shot to be polite, but it was obvious she thought it sounded as awful as I did. Of course I detest bananas in any form. I left before they forced this ‘pancake’ on her.

Made a couple more stops, picked up some cheap entertainment

cheap entertainment

and about 3 yards of some fabric I just love.

hummingbird fabricfabric gurantee

Then I turned a corner and headed down a street that seemed familiar, and when I got to the sale I remembered being there before. They had a sale last year that my SIL Linda & I stopped at and ended up talking about gardening for a while. But it was nothing compared to their sale this year. They had really decluttered and their daughter brought stuff as well, and the prices were quite good. Most things were a dollar or less, and I carted off a boxful for ten bucks. Which included 9 new woven placemats

lots o' placemats

that might even work with the napkins from Friday. Fine for family!

placemats   napkins

Two brand new heavy duty cake pans? I’m good with that.

cake pans

I tried for a few seconds to resist these egg coddlers, but they’re way cute and were marked fifty cents each. I figure I can use them for little storage jars if I don’t get into coddled eggs.

let's coddle

More storage – a cool glass jar with an unusual clamp lid.

jar with clamp lidscrew clamp lid

And the two items that made my husband’s heart go pitty pat, being the coffee aficionado that he is – a brand new Chemex pot

Chemex pot

and a glass coffee dripper.

Vario coffee dripper

Vario dripperHe definitely has a collection of these now – four that he uses all the time, all different.

coffee drippersI gather that each one brings some variation that subtly changes the brewing. I do know that he’s had a very good time since I brought home the Chemex and the Vario, looking up discussions on the Internet of their properties and the best way to brew coffee with them.

As good as the stuff from that sale was, I got an even better story. It seems that only a few minutes before I arrived, two men got into a fight over something at the sale. Don’t even know what it was, but when Argumentative Guy A saw that Guy B was looking at the whatever he started to yell at him to leave that alone, he was already looking at it. Guy B was also feeling argumentative and yelled back. The daughter of the sale folks told me the story; when she saw what was happening she figured she’d better defuse the situation. So she began to yell too. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” (Our grade school days never really leave us, do they?) When Argumentative Guy A heard her he seemed madder than ever, but AG B thought it was funny – and so he backed down.

While she was telling me this story, her friend was listening. “That’s when I was looking for the bubble wrap,” she threw in. Bubble wrap? we said. “Were you planning to smother them with it?” I asked. And she said yes! “I figured I could wrap it over their heads and pop the bubbles while I did it. That would have taken care of things.”

Yup. I’m sure it would have!


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wooden It Be Nice

You can probably tell from the wide variety of items I bring home from my garaging forays that I have eclectic taste. But I admit that country and Early American don’t usually float my boat. I like those styles just fine in other people’s houses, but I’m usually on the prowl for midcentury goodies to go with my MCM house. (I’m getting semi-desperate to replace the fabric on the midcentury rocker I found last year. I just need to find the right fabric at the right price.)

Midcentury rocking chairSo I was a bit surprised by some of this week’s loot. Like the framed Warren Kimble print.

Warren Kimble Fall

What can I say, I just like the colors and the peacefulness of it. And that it looks like it’s painted on a slab of wood. And that I had a skinny spot to put it in.

Peaceful Fall

At the Baptist Church rummage sale, I spotted this baby.

Steve Strouse Shaker tray

Early American, yes, but classic lines and beautifully made. The wood is probably cherry. When I turned it over and saw it was a signed piece, I decided the $2 price tag wasn’t bad.

Steve Strouse

By the time I left I was chuckling. This rummage sale had been going for probably close to half an hour when I arrived, so plenty of people had perused the goods. As soon as I picked up this tray, other shoppers started admiring it, as did the ladies who were adding up sales and the cashier. Perhaps it was waiting for me and had made itself invisible when other people looked at it.

But my normal taste reasserted itself when I saw this trivet.

Dansk teak trivet

A beautiful little slab of teak. I wasn’t very surprised when I turned it over.       Dansk mark Getting it for fifty cents was the icing on the cake.

This collection of wooden birdhouses on a chandelier wasn’t for sale. When I admired it, the owner told me his neighbors made it for them, and even snuck over and hung it in the tree.

Birdhouse chandelier

This embroidery would fit well into country or Early American decor, and I confess I picked it up solely to resell. Eva Rosenstand bag  Eva Rosenstand designThough I have done some counted cross stitch in my checkered past, I doubt my skills are up to this baby.

Eva Rosenstand chartEva Rosenstand detail

I recognized the designer’s name and knew these kits are very, very expensive. This one has the original price tag on it from probably 20 or more years ago.

Eva Rosenstand is pricey!

If anyone is up to the challenge, let me know and we’ll make a deal. Otherwise it’s off to eBay. One of these days.

hope you're an expert!

The weekend’s garaging was not without loot more to my usual taste. I love this little magazine rack

Vintage magazine holder 

and it just fits in the guest bathroom.

Another treasure dates from about the same period, and it was free because Judy gave it to me. Of course, she got it from a free box a couple of weeks ago with a very sad aloe vera plant in it.  Vintage planterI took a couple of pieces of the aloe at the time and stuck them in dirt, and they seem to be reviving. I hope.


But Judy’s got more wilted so she abandoned it and gave me the planter. The curious thing is, we think this was probably a gift-with-purchase since the logos on the bottom are for Phillips 66 gasoline.

Phillips 66 garden pot

Ah, those were the days, weren’t they…when you could fill up for 29 cents a gallon, they pumped the gas and cleaned your windshield, and gave you a present besides.

And then you hurried home to try to fit it into your Early American decor!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Finding Feathers

It’s starting to feel like fall, but instead of a nip in the air we had temperatures in the high 90s this weekend. But neither rain nor sleet nor hot afternoons can keep us from our self-appointed rounds. Perhaps because school has started, Friday was pretty quiet. Not too many sales and not too many shoppers. And not too many bargains, though I’m happy with whatever I find. In this case it was what I believe is linen string

linen string

(I’m sure I can find something cool to use it for, and it cost a quarter) plus a pashmina-and-silk shawl that I will enjoy draping myself in (especially for 75 cents)

pashmina shawl

and a homemade cup cozy (also a quarter).

button on cozy

I just wanted the button!

Saturday morning I grabbed Judy, who was waiting at the foot of her driveway, and we sped to the sale where I’d seen something I really wanted in one of the pictures on their Craigslist ad. When we pulled up in front of the house, I just knew I’d been there before. “Do you work at the hospital?” I asked the lady minding the sale. “I remember you, you came to my last sale!” she exclaimed. “When was that, three or four years ago?” “Three,” I said with complete certainty. Are you wondering how I knew? Hers was the very first sale I went to after I retired and moved to Salem. I’d been here all of two days. We had a lovely conversation; she certainly couldn’t have remembered me for what I spent there, because it was one whole buck for some Lake Woebegone tapes.

I immediately asked about the item I was hoping to buy. And was heartbroken to hear it had gone the day before (didn’t even know about her sale on Friday or I would have been there first thing). It was the footstool that matches my beloved Siesta Chair, which was scooped up by some guy who grabbed it, paid the five bucks it was marked, and left. I have to keep telling myself it’s okay, it wasn’t meant to be, it’s only a footstool…but I really really wanted it!

But maybe the garage sale gods felt a little sorry for me, because I found great stuff all morning. From this first sale, I got two extremely warm wool sweaters for the hubs

wool sweaters

and some beautiful handknit sweaters

handknit sweaters

and a pair of down-filled slippers. No cold feet at my house this winter!

warm feet this winter

Even though I love the green billfold I found recently, I picked up this little painted one.

painted billfold

Just big enough for the basics. I think I’ll use it in my fanny pack to leave more room for the camera.

smaller billfold

So I can keep taking pictures like this one of Scruffy.

Scruffy sniffs

They found Scruffy at the shelter when he was about 6 months old (several years ago). “He was so peculiar looking I wasn’t sure I wanted him,” the lady told me. “But I kept thinking about him so I went to see him again.” “She called me and made me come look at him,” her husband chimed in. “And now we wouldn’t take anything for him.” They made sure his Mohawk on top of his head was standing up for his picture.

Once we’d finished with a few sales in our part of town, Judy and I crossed the river for the neighborhood sale in one of the local retirement neighborhoods. The first stop there had a large pink sign proclaiming theirs “The Best Sale of the Day.” And I did indeed find what turns out to be quite a bargain. There were some nice looking shoes, and I tried one on, and it fit perfectly.

blue Mary Janes

Tried on a couple others and one more pair was Just Right.

brown Waldlaufers

Both pairs are brand new, five bucks a pair. I’d never heard of the brands so I looked them up when I got home. The brown ones are German and the price tag I found on the shoe box was $159.95. The blue Mary Janes would run $140 or more in a store – and they’re fitted with after-market insoles that start at about $45. So five bucks each? Such a deal!

As we paid I asked the lady if we should just skip the rest of the sales in the neighborhood since her sign said theirs was the best. She thought we’d be safe doing that, but we kept going anyway. A little later we were at one of those ridiculously overpriced sales and Judy commented dryly, “They need a sign here that says ‘We just THINK we have the best sale.’”

At another sale Judy spotted something I’ve always kind of wanted.

pecking chickens

Yup, I’m the kind of person who’s always wanted a pecking chicken toy. I also found a couple of linen tea towels. Don’t you love this vintage one with the cheerful singing hen?

singing chicken towel

I’ve been wanting to make that pieced quilt top I found recently into a lap quilt. I don’t care much for regular quilt batting, so I was happy to find the perfect thing for the middle layer. Not sure if it was a tablecloth or a blanket, but it’s soft and cotton and will just give the right amount of weight.

lap quilttexture

Now I just have to score the perfect fabric for the ends and back and I’ll be ready to sew.

We all got a good chuckle over this vintage cookbook.

Well FedWell Fed author

In fact, the lady having the sale decided to keep it!

This instruction book may encourage me to expand my knitting projects to the dogs.

knit for dogs

One other sale was billed as ‘The Dollar Sale.’ Anything for a buck. I picked up some brown wool tweed fabric, about 3 yards, that probably won’t be right for the upholstery project I was thinking of. I’ll just hang onto it until some other inspiration strikes. Also bought this kit for adding appliqu├ęs to a shirt.

falling leaves kit

I’m not going to decorate any sweatshirts, but for a dollar, the two packets of buttons are a steal.

           autumn leaf buttons          

We drove away laughing over something else he had for sale.


I kind of think he didn’t want anyone to open the feathers.

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