Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two Bits

When you go out for a morning of garaging and end up spending only 25¢, it’s a little hard to come up with much to blog about. Not that it wasn’t fun spending that quarter. My friend Gail came along, and we share an interest in midcentury modern houses. We both live in neighborhoods with some great MCM eye candy, and if you’d been in the back seat of the car you probably would have been cracking up over our conversation. Which consisted mostly of exclaiming, “Ooooh, look at that one! Isn’t that a cool house?”

My only buy was this dog biscuit cookie cutter. dog bone biscuitWhich was actually a pretty good deal, having two sides/sizes of biscuits.

dog biscuit cutter

Perhaps the upside to the waning of the garaging year is that it gives one time to do other things. Haven’t made any dog biscuits (yet) but I did manage to get the extremely cute hooked rug I found a couple of weeks ago hung on the wall.

I kept looking around for the best place, but it seemed there was really only one choice. And I finally figured out why that particular place was right. I had to relocate the scherenschnitte by Friedrich Kaskeline in order to hang the new piece under the vintage hats.

Spaniel and hats

As soon as it was there, I remembered a picture from my childhood.

doozy cropped

Clearly I have spent most of my life knowing that spaniels and the kind of hats that old ladies wear go inextricably together. It’s so obvious, yes?

This was my grandmother’s dog Doozy. Her name probably started out as Daisy. I love her wise and patient face.

doozy Bet she would have loved a homemade dog biscuit.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pride Goeth

I like to think I’m pretty good at this garaging thing. I’ve done it for years, I go out regularly, I know what I’m doing, right? I mean, I literally wrote the book about it! And yet…

KK and I went out Friday morning (Judy was home with a hubby who had surgery this week), and we had our usual rollicking good time. Mostly nice folks to chat to, and the occasional sale that you walk away from trying not to let the folks hear you laughing. Like the one that had a tableful of jeans – marked $50 each! Good lord. I’d be hard pressed to spend $5 on a pair of yard sale jeans, let alone ten times that. If I spend fifty bucks on something, I want to be able to return it if something is wrong. KK said the weirdest part for her was that people were actually looking at the things.

Then there was the sale that had about eight ads for it on Craigslist. I don’t know how they do that, Craigslist never lets me load an ad more than once even if I change the title. Some of the ads cracked me up, especially the one that promised an “executive family moving sale.” As we drove there, we tried to figure out just what an executive family entails. What would executive children be like? Not to mention executive pets, since our pets are part of the family. I’m trying very hard not to think about executive parakeets.

Turned out to be just one woman, who might or might not have been an executive. I would say she did show executive ability. When we admired the beautiful maple trees on her corner lot, she decried all the leaves on the ground and ranted about having to rake them or hire a gardener. KK said she finds raking pleasant and meditative, and the executive tried to hand her a rake.

So yes, it was a fun morning. Then I got home and started looking at my purchases. One was a vintage pig pull toy, an old Fisher Price, and the more I looked at him the less I knew why I had shelled out a dollar. Very dirty and quite beat up. I decided not to keep him, so off he went to the donation box.

At our first stop of the day I purchased a set of Ikea sheets for our king size bed for $4. New in the package,

Not Marimekko nor sheets

and I love the fabric. Reminds me of Marimekko. When I opened the package, the fabric had a great feel to it. I shook out my sheets – and realized I had not bought sheets, I had bought a duvet cover! I looked at the packaging again and saw that in Ikea picture-speak it clearly indicates a duvet cover. Sigh.

Ikea speak

But Zoe immediately fell in love with it.

Zoe likes it

And Edward likes it too.

Edward likes it

So we’re going to try it as a duvet cover.

not sheets

The pink floral comforter I bought for a couple of bucks about fifteen years ago admittedly looks a zillion times better stuffed into it.

I was quite happy to find a little trinket dish to make into a magnetic pin holder.

Wade trinket dishWade dish

No problems with this buy, although I did clunk it pretty hard on the edge of the table and then nearly drop it, so almost broke the darned thing as soon as I got it home. (Not the first time I’ve done that!) I taped a magnet on the underside

Wade backmagnet

and it really does hold pins. The low rim makes it easy to scoop them out for use.

magnet magic

KK noticed the vintage children’s records. Since they were only a quarter each, I added some to my bag. My heart beat a little faster over finding my absolute favorite childhood song, How Much is That Doggie in the Window.

Doggie songsvintage recordPinocchio

Alas, even though we have the vintage stereo to play them on, they’re not in good enough condition. I don’t want to ruin the needle. But it was interesting to see these names.

My Captain

If you’re anywhere close to my age, you probably know Robert Keeshan better as Captain Kangaroo. I absolutely adored the captain and all his crew. Mr. Greenjeans. Grandfather Clock. Bunny Rabbit. I think I got my 75¢ worth just in the nostalgia of remembering Captain Kangaroo.

Then there was the vintage creamer I brought home.

Not Finnish creamer

It was only fifty cents, and I like the handle on the side. But the actual deciding factor was that I looked on the bottom and saw that it was made in Finland. Cool, I thought, don’t find stuff from Finland very often. Except when I was photographing it, I realized it actually says England, not Finland. Not that England isn’t cool, but English china is far more common than Finnish.

that say's England

And on top of that, when I took it out of the dishwasher this morning, I saw there’s a tiny chip on the spout.

a tiny chip

(Actually much less noticeable than in this nice clear macro photo!) I don’t know whether it was there when I bought it or if it happened after arriving home. But at the same sale I found a 25¢ Melmac sugar bowl in cotton candy pink.

Melmack sugar bowlMelmac

Perfect as a Q-tip holder in our bathroom, along with the other two I use in there.

Melmac lids

A pink midcentury sugar bowl makes up for a lot.      Melmac collection

Monday, October 12, 2015

Sometimes It Pays to Eavesdrop

Those tricky Episcopalians! They start their rummage sales on Thursdays instead of the usual Friday or Saturday. So it was only by chance that I ran across their Craigslist ad on Thursday morning and quickly texted my posse. KK didn’t find the text until later, but Judy and I were there not long after they opened.

They display furniture and outdoor items on a covered patio by the door. So Judy scored two items before we even got inside – a couple of vintage ottomans. Somehow we both missed seeing the very large rotating composter which she’s been looking for, and someone else snagged it. Oh well. But the instant we got inside she grabbed a pair of Ralph Lauren boots sitting by the “extra good stuff” table. Good thing her feet are a size smaller than mine, or I’d have been getting jealous.

I picked up a cute Christmas ornament that I think has a Scandinavian vibe.

Happy Santa

One of the reasons I think it’s a quality piece is that the hanger is a nice cotton tape, hand knotted, and not a piece of gold tinselly string. It’s those little details that count!

Happy hanger

Besides Santa, I went for a copper pin

Hand pin

and some earrings. Stuff I usually never look at, but KK is a dedicated dangly-earring wearer and has us all going that direction.

Episcopalian earrings

I especially like these vintage hoops

Vintage hoops

that looked much better after some clean up.

Half clean

Judy couldn’t go out on Friday, so this time I had KK with me (yes, wearing dangly earrings!). There were only a handful of sales to check out so we anticipated being done early. And then we reached the Hoarder’s Sale.

We actually heard about this sale last week; the same company that did the sale on my street handled this one. I noticed an ad on Tuesday saying if you were a dealer you could make an appointment and shop this sale early. Kind of annoyed me – doesn’t that seem like cheating to you? I’ve done a fair amount of reselling, and I figure you have to take the same chance as anyone else to find stock. If there had been more sales to go to we probably would have skipped this one, but what the heck. The day was young and we had only two more addresses to check out.

We were quite surprised that there was still a short line waiting to enter when we arrived. They were letting only a few people at a time into the house “because it’s so crowded with stuff.” So we waited, chatting with the lady behind us in line. In about 15 minutes it was our turn and in we went – and our jaws dropped. Every single person who stepped in that house (including us!) stopped in the foyer, looked around, and said Oh. My. God.

Stuff. Stuff everywhere. All kinds of stuff. Dolls and china and office supplies and holiday decorations and stuff and stuff and stuff. And soon we discovered the up side to their “only a few people in the house at a time” policy. There was no crowd, no sense of hurry, you could look as long as you liked without being jostled or having something plucked from under your nose. Not that my nose was seeing much it wanted. (Hmmm, can my nose see??)

I had to pick up this piece though.

dog hooked rug

A small hooked rug (the kind where you pull wool strips into a canvas backing). I’m trying to decide where to hang her so I can see her all the time.

dog detail

After a bit we entered the Room of the Clothing, and if there was any doubt earlier that this was a hoarder situation, it was now gone. Hundreds, probably thousands, of pieces of clothing, many with price tags still on, most appearing to have never been worn, dating back to the Eighties. A sign said they were $2 each, so I started looking through. Now, I’m fully aware that two bucks for a quality piece of clothing is a good deal. But for me to pay two bucks for a piece, I need to see it can be worn as-is or know what I will do with it.

As I was looking, I heard two of the worker ladies out in the hall talking. “No one’s looking at the clothes,” one of them said. “Maybe we should lower the price to a dollar,” the other one replied. My ears stood straight up, and I waited for them to come in and change the price. And waited. And finally could wait no more. I ventured out into the hall and admitted I had been eavesdropping, and wanted to encourage them to go with the dollar idea, assuring them that many more pieces would be sold. So she went and asked whoever was in charge…and then came back and marked out the $2 and put in $1. Woo hoo!

I didn’t go hog wild, but I did bring home some pieces to remodel that I would not otherwise have bought. Plus I’m hoping this vintage Laura Ashley sweater might resell (no tags, but looks like new).

Laura Ashley vintage sweater

Thanks to the miracle of an elastic waistband and broomstick-pleated fabric, this pricey vintage skirt fits me just fine, and in fact was worn to a concert on Friday night.

Vintage Lucia Lukken skirt patchwork border

I paired it with a purple silk shirt that toned with one of the border pieces

works with silk shirt

and when the weather is cooler it will be great with this Italian mixed fabric piece I got at an estate sale a few months ago.

    works with Italian jacket        

KK scored as well, and the velveteen jacket she chose looks like it was designed to go with the Carole Little skirt I gave her.

vintage Carole Little skirtWe didn’t make a very big dent in the hoarder’s stuff, and I wonder how much was left at the end of the sale. But do you want to know the most amazing thing I heard while we were waiting to go in? The large house where the sale was held wasn’t even her home – it was a second house she bought just to keep stuff in!


Let’s all go declutter something!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Just the Cute Stuff

Perhaps because it’s the end of the garaging season (though that won’t stop us from going to estate sales all winter!) I’ve been feeling like I can loosen up a bit. Or maybe the good stuff does come at the last. Whatever the reason, seems like the last couple of weekends I’ve been drawn to the whimsical and cute. Even the beautiful. And spent more than I think I have all year.

Last week’s vintage hat with its feather and little veil for instance. I sometimes think it’s such a pity that hats are worn so rarely now. I have no idea where to wear such a treasure. Sigh. But at least I can admire it.

I did bring home some practical items. A couple of nice shirts for the hubster, one linen, one silk, a buck each. Score. Half a dozen jazz CDs, four DVDs – what could be more practical than cheap entertainment? A letter opener with an enameled handle, a nice wine glass, fifty cents each.

wine glass

We’ve reminded each other all summer of our “no projects, no décor” rule. If you’re a regular garager this simple rule can save you much buyer’s remorse. But I pretty much ignored it this weekend and so far am suffering no remorse at all!

This laminated bamboo block was intended for holding signs. The folks having that sale used to have a bamboo furniture store (and still have a cool midcentury house).

Bamboo stand

The hubs and I took one look and knew it would be perfect to display the album cover of whatever is on the stereo.

Bamboo album stand

The nice couple who have an annual sale (last year two guys started fighting over something on their driveway) with incredible prices provided a handleless Starbucks mug and two cute little cups (bet they’ll get used for individual servings of condiments!) – for a dime each.

ten cent cups

This vintage runner or dresser scarf is currently undergoing an oxy soak to hopefully remove its mildew spots.

vintage runner

But for fifty cents, I had to grab it, because it’s so unusual. The large motifs are not embroidered – they were crocheted and meticulously appliquéd onto the piece.

crocheted motifs

Our last stop on Friday not only was in my neighborhood – it was on my street halfway between Judy’s house and mine! An estate sale. As soon as I walked in the door I spotted three wooden jumping jacks hung on a wall…and one of them was Mother Goose wooden mother goose riding her cute little goose

Mother Goose jumping jack

with its cute little tail feathers!

Mother Goose rides

I couldn’t resist that, could I? Heck no. I saw a few other things I liked, but not the prices. But Saturday was half price day, so we headed back down the street to take another look. I had been thinking all night about a framed calligraphy, which is a sure sign I really do want something. I was sad when it wasn’t where I had left it on Friday, but luck was with me – it was in another room.

Sandy Diamond calligraphy

The saying rang so true, and the calligraphy is fabulous.


Evidently it’s an original, not a print. The calligrapher’s signature in pencil is quite illegible (I suspect as a humorous touch)


but a little research led me to Sandy Diamond (I was pretty sure the first name was Sandy) who is also a painter and playwright. If you like it, there’s another for sale on eBay right now…but it’s priced at over $200.

Having secured my calligraphy, I started looking around for other good stuff that would be half price. First was the framed Danish mirror that I knew KK was interested in – still there, so I gave her a  call and she rushed down to get it, postponing their weekend trip to the coast. In the room with the gloves and scarves, I chose this handwoven piece from Ireland.

Donegal scarf

Donegal labelUnbelievably scrumptious yarn. Of course, both Judy and I had been jealous when KK scooped the 100% cashmere scarf out of the box the day before!

Down in the family room where Christmas items were displayed, I found this pair of House of Hatten ornaments by Denise Calla. Too spendy on Friday, not bad on Saturday. There’s a ‘Santa elf’

Hatten Santa elf

House of Hatten elf

(have you ever tried to hold a dangling ornament with one hand while taking photos with your other hand? it’s hard!!)

and the milkmaid from the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Hatten milkmaid

I love the painted details. Though I have to question her wearing such finery for milking!

Milkmaid faceMilkmaid details

I found one more treasure that I hadn’t noticed on Friday, a handmade piece by a local artist.

Else Holm ornament

A beaded felt tree about 3” tall. Oh my goodness, the work that Else put into this.

Beaded felt tree

It’s just the right size to turn my tiny tin ten-cent house into a holiday display.

Beaded Christmas treeAnd those holidays…they’re just around the corner, aren’t they? 

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