Sunday, November 29, 2015

A New Pupcycle!

No sales to attend on a holiday weekend, sigh. One of the local churches actually advertised a Black Friday Rummage Sale – and yes, it started at 6 a.m. I was tempted, but not enough to drive across town.

But the upside is, I had some time on my hands. And it’s been cold. So Zoe got a warm new outfit!

Started with this wool sweater that had been through a machine wash and dry.    P1060042Very cozy. Cut off the sleeves, did a bit of pinning and stitching, added buttons and elastic loops on each side, et voilĂ !


A nice warm pupcycle!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Did It! Woo Hoo!

I just wrote “The End” at the bottom of page 214 of the book I began on November 1. Yes, folks, for the first time I participated in National Novel Writing Month…

Winner 2015 - Web Banner

…a crazy event in which writers all over the world commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Much to my surprise, i just finished at 50,790 words – a week early.

All I can tell you right now is that the book is titled Sidestep. It is not part of my Willow Falls series. And it is VERY much a first draft, which translates as “probably pretty awful but I really have no idea yet.”

I’m going to put it away for a week or two, enjoy Thanksgiving, maybe get a massage to celebrate and restore some circulation to my tired wrists. In a few weeks I’ll dig in and start the rewrites.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go stare at the bottom of page 214 again. The End.

Happy sigh.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cats and Armadillos

KK and I swooped from one end of Salem (the northwest end) to the other (the south end) on Friday. Almost all my loot came from one of the first two sales. And all of KK’s – the only thing she bought was a cute short linen jacket. I was not so restrained.

I started out in the downstairs bedroom with the table piled with various linens. I resisted the hand knit afghan, but I did pull a couple of things out of the pile. There was nothing to indicate prices on the linens, so I went in search of one of the worker bees. Two bucks, she said. I twitched the linen towel in my hand and asked, two dollars for this?  siamese cat towelirish linen

I probably sounded horrified. (Or maybe whiney, but I hope not.) Ohhhh, she said, small things like that are fifty cents. Much better, I said and mentioned that I like linen. She said she had noticed a number of linen items on that table. So back I went to dig some more.

And sure enough, there were things I had missed earlier. Like this linen tablecloth.

linen tablecloth

A large lovely piece of pure linen…complete with an actual laundry mark. Don’t see those every day!

tablecloth laundry mark

Then I found my favorite piece – an embroidered crib spread of the Three Little Kittens.

kittens counterpane

Zoe took one look at it when I spread it out to photograph, and immediately did what any self-respecting dog would do with a kitten embroidery.

Zoe   kittens   mittens

She flopped down on it and sniffed.

Those kittens are pretty darned pleased with their mittens.

mitten kitten 3mitten kitten 1

And the girl kitten is extra happy – she has the piece of pie!

mitten kitten 2

There were cat things everywhere in this house, which was located in a retirement community on a golf course. From linens to figurines to spoon rests to slippers to you name it, there was a cat version for sale. I resisted all but the linens. Almost.

cat doorstop

This wooden doorstop forced its way into my hands and came home with me.

cat doorstop butt

cat doorstop face

I think someone had fun painting that face.

cat doorstop at work

In the living room on the fireplace mantel, I found a different collection – about half a dozen small colorful armadillos with bobbing heads.

tiny nodding armadillo

I had to have him. I think it’s the hot pink ears.

tiny nodding armadillo ears

He seems to be a reader, he couldn’t wait for me to open the book I picked up for fifty cents.        tiny nodding armadillo and bookSo now I have two armadillos. I have no intention of buying any more, but then I wasn’t looking for these two!

For now, the new little guy is hanging out with what I’ve been calling my Funny Little People collection.

little 'dillo and friendsHmmm. Given the range of characters involved, I may have to rename it my Small Colorful Creatures That I Couldn’t Resist collection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rub a Dub Dub

One of the advantages of the increasingly-smaller number of sales this time of year is that you can make the rounds with no sense of hurry. Which encourages conversation, which is at least as much my goal is bringing home great deals. Of course, even if none of the sellers provide interesting talk, when you’re out with friends there’s always your own conversation to enjoy. Judy was back on the trail with us Friday after several weeks of taking care of her hubster after he had surgery. Felt like we hadn’t seen her for a year!

Unfortunately we didn’t find any vintage hats for her to try on. But KK was quite stunning, wrapped in the fifty-cent throw she bought because it was cold, and a feather boa.

Ms. Mysterious

A fun sale. The first lady we encountered said there was stuff in the house for sale, including lots of art, and that we were expected to buy something for our walls. Inside, three more ladies were sitting around the dining room table having a good old time. I asked if it was a sale or a party, and the answer was, “A little bit of both!”

One estate sale was several miles out of town, but the pictures in their ad had been interesting, so off we went. There were a number of vintage musical instruments, including a piano with a Solovox attachment. One of the ladies running the sale (family rather than an estate sale company) showed us the original tag extolling the wonders of the Solovox and how readily it can be enjoyed by the merest child. Turns out that her dad was a professional musician since the Sixties, a founding member of the Sawtooth Mountain Boys.

Bluegrass Boys

My other find at their sale was this vintage bunny figurine.

vintage bunny

He reminds me of something, maybe a book illustration or an advertising figure? Or maybe he’s just so perfectly typical. Anyway, I fell in love at first sight. It might be that wicked eyebrow.

bunny eyebrow

I think he’s going to get along very well with the Erzgebirge bunny I found last year.

bunny buddies

After all, they share a similar taste in footwear!

bunny shoes bunny slippers Another sale was a last minute attempt to lighten the load of a couple who are moving to Connecticut. The movers were due Monday and they were dealing. KK picked up a great metal Coleman cooler for five bucks. I went for these glass icicles.

Glass iciclesXmas glass

I liked the driveway price (a dollar for both boxes, which were unopened) better than the original.

not my price

And I couldn’t resist this wooden sculpture. I think it has a midcentury modern vibe, which gets me every time. But what really grabbed me was that when I turn him in different directions he expresses new moods, changing from pensive


to oh no, I have a toothache

upside down

or oh no, I’m a napkin holder


to oh no, I think I left the stove on!

oh no!

I have a feeling that he’s going to be known as Mr. Ohno.

At our last stop, we had one more conversation about how cold that wind was, and how cute their dog was. And a couple more things forced their way into my hands and made me buy them. But really, how could I resist this duck?


A duck with wonky wheels that wobbles side to side as you pull him along. Duck left Duck rightAnd you know my children’s literature-themed guest room really needed this Fisher Price chime toy.Three Men in a TubThose who remember the rhyme (which as most nursery rhymes do has an interesting history!) may notice that I have two bakers and the candlestick maker here.

Two Bakers

Which makes it perfect for me; having been a vegetarian for over forty years, I’d much rather have an extra baker than a butcher!

Candlestick Maker    

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Egg and I

The scene: family-run estate sale in a cute little house, originally built in 1946. Just a little two-bedroom place with knotty pine panelling and a knotty pine kitchen. Absolutely adorable. As kids came along, they added to the house, so now it’s a bit of a maze. Everyone was exclaiming over what today would be a so-called ‘man cave’ – the former back porch with the knotty pine walls and the cool built-in bar at one end. The bar had diamond-shaped panes set into it with thin slices of interesting rocks for light to shine through. (Sorry, didn't have my camera with me!) Those of you who appreciate vintage houses will be happy to know that the new owners bought it because they love all the knotty pine and will NOT be ripping it out.

The players: several brothers and sisters who grew up in the little house (folks about my age) and KK and me.

Until we reached the back yard, KK and I were just enjoying seeing inside the place. The yard was quite large and had clearly been a beloved space. By the back fence, a guy was digging up the supports to a windmill about 8 feet tall that he’d just bought. And KK noticed a very large cement birdbath on a pedestal. Marked $12. Something like this one.

These puppies are over a hundred bucks at places like Home Depot. Twelve was a steal. She went off to pay for it and find someone to help put it in the car.

Meanwhile, I noticed another yard ornament sitting near the house. A large glazed egg, about 18” tall. Dark brown. Just an ornamental egg, not a fountain or anything, but I liked it. I think the egg is about the most perfect shape there is. Soothing.

But there was no price tag. I headed inside and spotted a lady. “Are you shopping or working the sale?” I asked. “Working,” she said. “What can I help with?” I asked about a price for the egg thingie. She looked puzzled. “Egg thingie?” I led her out to the yard and pointed. “Egg thingie.” “Ohhhh,” she laughed, “the egg thingie. Marylou!” she called to another lady just inside. “How much is the egg thingie?”

“Egg thingie?” said Marylou. “Ohhhh, the egg thingie. Four bucks.” Hmmm. For four bucks I figured the egg thingie warranted a closer look. It was in perfect condition and I said I’d take it. The first lady carried it out to the garage for me while I looked around a little more. Nothing else caught my eye, so off to the garage I went.

When it was my turn to pay I started to say, “I’m just getting the e—” “Oh yeah, the egg thingie,” said the cashier. Either the entire family had always called it the egg thingie, or I had an immediate influence on them. I’ll never know. “Yup, that egg thingie,” I said. “Though I have no idea what my husband will say when he sees I’ve brought home a very large egg.” She didn’t miss a beat. “Tell him it was forced on you by a very large bird.”

I passed over four ones and picked up my egg. KK had backed her car into the driveway to take delivery on the birdbath and appeared around the corner of the house with one of the gents of the family, carrying the bowl. “I may have to take you home with me or I’ll never get it out of the car,” she told him.

He nodded. “And I might just stay.” There was a masterfully timed pause, then he asked, “Can you cook?”

We were still chuckling over that when she delivered me and the egg at my house. I carried it in. “It’s an egg thingie for the yard,” I told Steven. “I’m supposed to tell you it was forced on my by a very large bird.”

And for the zillionth time in the past 40+ years he completely surprised me. He not only loved the egg thingie, he wants to use it at decor in the house!

An Egg ThingieEgg Thingie photobomb

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