Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Eight...and Counting!

Easter weekend = not a big thrifting time. Judy & I each found something practical at the only estate sale we went to. Hers was something garden-y but don’t ask me what, I've slept since Friday. Mine was a new-to-me quilt to top my (actually) new waterbed. (The old one sprang a leak we couldn’t find, but we bought it nearly 20 years ago so I'm telling myself I got my money’s worth from it.) 

I needed something to brighten up that room after this El Nino of a winter.

Zoë likes it too.

We checked the other few sales but found nothing, and then tried out the new crepe place in town for lunch. (My review: nice folks, good crepes but a bit dry. Some Hollandaise or béchamel would go a long way. I'll let you know how the dessert crepes are when we go back to try them.)

I just checked my calendar, and tomorrow is this blog’s 8th birthday. Zowie. My blog would be in third grade this fall. (Am I the only one who equates any age with a grade in school?) This is the 430th post, and my statistics counter puts page visits at 546,875, and while I know there are famous blogs out there that get that many visits in a day I was secretly pretty chuffed when I passed the half-million mark.

For a little blogiversary fun, I decided to look back over the past 8 years and pick out one bought-on-a-driveway item per year that I still use and love. And it wasn’t that easy, because I use and love stuff every day in every room of my house that came to me second hand (or third or fourth or more). But here we go:

From 2008:
Quilted fabric cookbook cover. It has been on the notebook I use for stray recipes since July of that year.

I had no idea how much we would use these scales. Multiple times a day, mostly for cooking but also for mailing stuff. They cost fifty cents, and even came with batteries!

Fabulous Fifties lamps. Still use ‘em. Still love ‘em.

Four vintage Hans Wegner dining chairs set me back twenty bucks. I rewove the seats. We use them for every meal.

This standing-wool rug came with a note explaining its history.
Zoë has been in love with this rug since day one. If you tell her ‘sit’ when she is in the kitchen, she backs up until her hind feet hit that rug, and then she can sit down. But she is NOT going to plop her butt on that bare tile floor!

A pair of Reidel wine glasses for a buck leaves you enough money to buy some nice Oregon pinot noir to go in them!

They rock, they swivel, they’re vintage. I sit in one every morning while Zoë throws her ball off our upper deck and runs down to retrieve it. Best way to wear out a dog, ever.

My $3 set of Lincoln Beautyware was quite shabby when I found it, but with a bit of elbow grease they showed their true shine.

It's early in the year, but it was still hard to choose just one picture! However, I can tell this hand-painted jacket from one of the church bag sales is going to be a favorite. I've already worn it several times…and it gets a lot of attention!

Thanks for coming along for the ride over the past eight years. I had such a blast looking over my past purchases that I can hardly wait to see what is waiting out there to be found in the future!

Sunday, March 20, 2016


I think it was the sunshine that made us all giddy on Friday morning. We get a lot of rain in the winter—it's the Willamette Valley after all—but this El Nino year has seen rain in spades. Let me just say I never want to get personally acquainted with another sandbag.

But Friday was sunny. And our go-to list on Grace Pemberton Smith, my GPS, had NINE addresses on it. Nine! If that’s not a sign of spring…

We started out at KK’s next door neighbors’ sale. The mister has evidently been quite a pack rat and recently realized that he no longer needs all this stuff. Which might have accounted for the big smile that wouldn’t leave the missus’s face! I picked up a pair of felt boot liners

that I think will make warm house shoes. I wonder if I should spread a layer of Shoe Goo on the bottom of the soles. Hmmm, will have to think about that.

Didn’t get anything at the next sale, mostly kid stuff there. But they did like my glasses (I was wearing the ones with the blue frames) so I thought they were very nice young women. Then on to an estate sale that if we hadn’t been giddy before, we’d have become giddy then.

It was the prices that were so wonderful. We didn’t buy tons of stuff, but dang, it makes you so happy to see little pieces of masking tape with 25¢ or 50¢ written on them. 

As soon as we walked up, Judy spotted the wheelbarrow she’s been looking for. Decent size but not too big, a little rusty but who cares. The little piece of masking tape said $1. We couldn’t believe no one had already bought it for that, but it only took a moment for Judy to whip out that dollar bill.

The sale inside was all in the basement. Quite a bit of camping stuff, and housewares from the Sixties, and stuff made by an amateur woodworker. I picked out this tiered metal serving plate

and a cool MCM candleholder (there were two, Judy got one too).

And then I spotted the item that made my heart go pitty-pat. (Isn’t it funny, the things that will do that?)

Handmade pull-apart bookends.

Don’t you love his expression?

Not to mention his tail.

Certainly the price was right.

I noticed the maker had written his name on the bottom, which I mentioned to the lady asI paid for it, saying how much I loved it.

“Oh,” she said, “I think he made that in school. I'll tell him you like it.” And sure enough, when I looked more closely, I noticed P1 on the bottom, so he must have had woodshop during first period. And he got an A!

I think I'll call him Larry. Right now he’s holding library books.

Somehow Larry just sealed the deal on my giddiness. Every time I thought of him through the morning I had to smile.

We continued our adventures, and I got lucky again at an estate sale on the west side of town. Hanging on a bedroom doorknob I spotted these handmade wooden hangers.

They had stickers on them, but no one had marked a price. So I toted them downstairs to ask how much. Which turned out to be a quarter each. Deal. Then I spotted another item with an unpriced sticker, a handblown glass tree topper.

Another quarter. I'm planning to use it in one of my flower troughs on the deck this summer.

Out in the garage, I noticed a couple of ladders. A six-foot ladder has been on my list, to keep at our rental house so we don’t have to tote one back and forth. The marked price was $25 so I called the hubs to see if that was frugal enough. He said yes…so I offered twenty and owned a ladder. (I can rarely resist seeing if the price can go down. Hey, five bucks is a chunk of change. I could buy 20 Larry bookends for that!) Sorry, didn’t get a picture of the ladder, but it looks exactly like the $70 one on the Home Depot site.

Getting a six-foot ladder into KK’s SUV was a bit challenging (she was an awfully good sport to let me cram it in there so I wouldn’t have to drive back for it). But the three of us and two of the people from the sale all shifted earlier purchases and laid down a back seat and slid that puppy in there. And Judy was an awfully good sport to give up part of her back-seat elbow room!

After all that fun in the sun we were ravenous, so we headed back downhill for Mexican food. And margaritas.

And then we were really giddy!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Happy Birthday

This is Mrs. Wilberforce. Today is her 15th birthday.

Which according to the various cat-age calculators available on the Internet  makes her the equivalent of a human in their mid to late seventies. There is nothing left of her but the essential cat - bones and sinew, fur and whiskers, and a purr. She is an old gray-haired lady for sure.

Of course, she was gray-haired when we got her at 8 weeks old. Some folks just go gray early.

The first time I saw her, she was in a little cage at our local humane society. She and her brothers had all been neutered that day, and she was the only one awake. She was walking around on top of the pile of kittens, and as soon as she saw me she put one little white-gloved paw through the bars. I was a goner.

She is quite shy, and hides when other people are around. 
My friend Marcia maintains I made up this cat, though she had to give in and believe in her the day we were on Skype, and there was the elusive Mrs. W in my lap. Of course, you have seen her before, because she is very good at helping demonstrate things I bring home from yard sales.
She's helpful when I am writing, or sewing.

She likes to be up high.

At our last house, she loved to hang out on the roof. And she insisted that the hubs climb a ladder to fetch her down.

She has possibly the softest fur in the world. Like rabbit fur. Her nickname is Bunny.

Mrs. Wilberforce has been through quite a bit. Nearly five years ago she went into kidney failure, and we thought we would have to let her go then. The x-rays the vet took revealed that she was born with only one kidney, and that one wasn’t working very well. But we started giving her sub-cutaneous fluids nearly every day and she responded amazingly well. 

At first it was SO hard to stick a needle in her, I cried, she cowered. But now, after almost five years, we’re both unbelievably blasé. The whole process takes about three minutes, she chows down on a little canned kitty food, and we’re done.

At her last check up, we found she now has a serious heart murmur. She takes thyroid pills too. One of the things I love about pets is that unlike humans, they never complain about their ailments. She can no longer do everything she could do in her early years—she was a mighty huntress of gnats; if one landed on the wall she would leap straight up six or more feet and take it out—but she gets around just fine.

She is my role model, exactly what I want to be when I am her age. I’m doing really well in the gray hair department!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Best Boy

We had to say goodbye to our wonderful Edward this week. It was very hard.

He went in for a minor procedure that required anesthesia. Our vet called in the early afternoon to say he was having a hard time waking up and to pick him up a little later than arranged. When we got there, he still couldn’t walk. She had done an EKG and an x-ray, and it appeared that one of the drugs was probably the culprit. So she recommended we take him to the emergency clinic where they could administer an antidote and get him back on his feet.

However, the emergency vet discovered that unbeknownst to any of us, he had a tumor on his spleen, and that it had started bleeding. His morning procedure didn’t cause it, just coincidental. She said that there was a chance that the bleeding would start to clot and the blood be reabsorbed, so we settled in to be with him and wait.

Unfortunately that best-case-scenario did not happen. After about 7 hours we had to let him go, before his deteriorating situation caused him too much distress.

Edward was a very special dog. As much as I love them all, he was that dog that you get once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky. 

From the day we brought him home, he was simply and purely a good boy. Housebroken at 9 weeks, easy to train, no serious issues. He was the last of nine puppies, 

and the folks we got him from said he was very shy and would hide when people came to choose a puppy. But I know he wasn’t hiding, he was just waiting for us.

He was the perfect little brother for our dog Lizzie, never taking her assertive ways amiss. I had to laugh at the description in my journal of her teaching him that all the toys in the house were hers. 
Once he was showing the proper respect, she let him have his own nylabones and rope toys. 
Ironically, we lost her in exactly the same way, a tumor on her spleen.

Edward was the perfect big brother for our Zoë. When we were somewhat past missing Lizzie, Zoë came along and immediately started whooping his ass. He loved it. 

I’m sure he also loved that he was big enough to jump over the barriers that kept her in the kitchen when those puppy teeth got too tiresome!

It’s part of our contract with these loving creatures that one day we will have to say goodbye. 
But before that day they bring so much love and joyfulness that the bargain is worth it. One of my favorite quotes is from the song “Two for the Road,” where it says, “Every day that you are mine will be a lovely day.” We forget sometimes to pay attention to the loveliness. Edward always reminded me, and so will his memory. 

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