Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Staying Practical

Went out all by myself Friday (Judy being on a road trip with her hubs) and found it a very conversational day. One sale was being run by half a dozen senior citizens (even more senior than me!), and when I entered the garage one of the ladies said, “When you’re done here there’s more stuff in the house.”

“What if I want to go in the house first?” I asked. Ever the rebel, that’s me. She laughed and allowed as how that would probably be okay. Inside were two little dogs, a poodle and an ancient papillon sleeping in a basket. As I looked around, the poodle went from room to room in the nearly empty house making little noises rather like a bird. His owner came in and we ended up talked for twenty minutes or so, along with one of her friends. I picked up the little poodle while we talked, guaranteeing I’d be there a while. He was a bit confused about all the upheaval in his life. She’s just moved to a cottage at one of the local senior centers. The papillon is taking it all in stride, being 17 and not much caring where she sleeps. The friend, noting the tenor of the conversation, went out to her car and brought back a picture of her cocker spaniel for me to see. It was a nice change from someone flipping open their phone and handing it to you so you can admire a picture that’s so tiny you barely know what you’re looking at.

Sorry, that sounded snarky. Of COURSE you can hand me your phone so I can look at your pictures!

At another sale it was me opening an electronic device, but it was my Kindle and I was showing off something I’ll be telling YOU about in a few days. Promise! Had a great conversation with the lady there (hi, Karen!) who turned out to be an artist. Who – yes - took out her phone to show me some pictures, which though small showed me how talented she is. I’m hoping to see some of her work life size one of these days!

At still another sale, two guys were conversing in one of the back bedrooms. I stuck my head in the door and one of them said to come on in. “Is the conversation interesting?” I asked, ever hopeful. “We’re just hiding back here,” one of them told me. “If they see us, they’ll put us to work.”

On Saturday I had the company of Robin, friend and recent retiree from the library. She and her hubs just got back from what was supposed to be a cross-country journey with their camper. But they got short-circuited by illness; both of them caught that flu crud that’s going around that makes you cough and cough and cough. Poor babies. At least they’re just about well now. And I figured that a morning going to a few sales would make anyone feel better.

On my way to pick her up, I stopped at a sale down the hill from my house. Oh my. Frankly, the word “squalor” is what comes to mind. The folks were mostly moved out of this little old house, but there were smells in there…Okay, I’m going to stop. It was icky. I was glad Robin didn’t get exposed to the place!

I ended up spending a big old five bucks over the two days, and did a pretty good job of staying practical. (No projects, no decor…) I was thrilled to find this wok, since my SIL mentioned the other day that they want one.


Looks brand new. Was priced at two bucks, but when I said tentatively to the seller, “I don’t suppose you’d take one?” he immediately said yes. So a one dollar wok. Wow. (Robin found several glasses that match the ones she already owns there, and a cool small ottoman that opens up for storage and will allow her to get rid of the too-big one in their living room.)

From the garage of the lady with the poodle and the papillon, I scored ever-practical shoe polish in navy and red brown. Perfect for the shoes I bought on a driveway last summer in navy and brown!

shoe polish

The sale where the two guys were hiding out yielded a nice little frying pan.


good brand

I had decided just a few days earlier I needed a little nonstick one, since my eggs scrambled with cottage cheese are hard to clean off our iron ones (well-seasoned though they are). And there was just what I wanted. Thank you, yard sale gods.

And remember those vintage canisters I got a few weeks ago? Love ‘em, but what they really needed was a scoop in each one. When I was growing up we had an old set of tin measuring cups in the canisters – one cup in the flour, half cup in the sugar etc. – and it just didn’t seem right not to have measuring cup scoops. And I found the perfect ones in a free box!

Free scoops

I even ended up with a couple of things from the icky house. This vintage tablecloth was out in the garage (which was a tad less icky); when I asked the price they said I’d have to go ask the ladies in the house.


tablecloth corner

Both the ladies in the house were smoking, which I’m really allergic to. But for a vintage tablecloth I braved it for a few minutes, especially since the price was fifty cents. My other find was a bunch of old buttons in a plastic tray, some of which are kind of fun.

rhinestone buttonsvintage buttons

I was chagrined to discover a razor blade hiding in the bottom of the tray under all the buttons. Thank you yard sale gods for not letting me slice myself up!

After I tossed the razor and took a few deep breaths I went back to my buttons. Anyone know where these with the crossed swords and - is it a thistle? a beet?? - might be from? (Some special regiment from Idaho of sugar beet farmers?) Some are in good shape, some are, well, fuzzy.

is that a beetfuzzy button

These are my faves. Not just the buttons

old buttons

button cards

but also the cards they’re on. The graphics, the fonts. Don’t you love it that someone got paid the big bucks for capitalizing the word NAME?

great NAME

Our last stop on Saturday was a moving sale; the folks are retiring to Prescott, Arizona where the dryer air and lower pressure (being at a higher elevation) will be good for the lady’s arthritis. I spotted a skein of yarn in a box with some doll making supplies and asked how much.

      soft yarn

She said the yarn alone was a dollar, but I could have the whole box of everything for two dollars. I declined the whole box deal; I can justify a soft skein of yarn that will make a lovely cowl, but I’m not getting into doll making. She had purchased the yarn to make hair for a doll she never made. I think she felt a little guilty at charging me so much for just the yarn, for she included the doll making booklet with the deal. I didn’t have the heart to say no, and I’m kind of glad I took it because it’s a doozy. Shows you how to make these creatures


should you be so inclined. Now I know some of you may think they are adorable, fine, enjoy…but not me so much! And the information about the designer just cracked me up.

doll booklet's buy this guy a house

The whole “preemie” thing, I don’t know…

weird doll people

Wonder what the guy in this picture was thinking?

you must be kiddingyeah, right

Do you suppose he included this picture in his acting portfolio? It turns out that these handmade “Little People Pals” were the prototypes for those Cabbage Patch dolls that made this guy rich, rich, rich. Hmmm, maybe he could adopt me?


  1. The buttons with the crossed swords also bear the emblem of Army Ordnance - perhaps they are from a military uniform?

    1. That was my first thought when I saw the swords. Kind of a logical souvenir if you can't keep an entire uniform.

  2. Before the Cabbage Patch dolls I visited the Babyland Hospital and enjoyed seeing the 'babies'. The preemies are smaller dolls and are cheaper...but none were cheap. It was a cute idea to adopt a doll to me.

  3. Your posts are so colorful, I feel like I've been yard Saling with you. Beautiful vintage tablecloth, and I love that the stink washes right out of linens, lol. Great haul for $5 bucks. :)

    1. A good oxy soak and that tablecloth is good as new...and NO stink!

  4. I would guess Scotland for the thistle and sword buttons. Aren't buttons fabulous? The ones from the '20s-'50s are like little works of art.

    1. Every once in a while I just roam through my button box and marvel at the little darlings!

  5. Hard to tell from the photos, but the " thistle" looks more like an octopus to me... Maybe from Captain Nemo's long lost unit!

  6. A radish, a turnip, or rutabaga? Kind of "lowly" veggies to be on a button with crossed swords!


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

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