Monday, February 27, 2017

Vote Today! And Tomorrow!

As some of you may know, my friend KK who shops on driveways with me is an artist. She has a terrific piece entered in an online contest, with votes being taken between now & this Sunday, March 5. So if you have a couple of minutes, take a look and vote for Orange Boy!

You can vote once a day (please do!) on all your devices. So for instance, I can vote every day three times: once from my desktop computer, once from my Kindle, and once from the hubster's machine. As the old saying goes, vote early, vote often!

Click here and scroll down to see Orange Boy and click vote. After you vote, a box will come up wanting you to sign up for their newsletter but you don't have to do that, just click it away at the bottom. Of course after you vote for OB feel free to look at the other entries! 😺

Thanks for your help!

Friday, February 24, 2017

A New Friend, A New Mend, & A Wooden Mystery

Sales were a bust this morning. February doldrums, I suspect, plus it did actually snow a bit. But lordy, the last couple of weeks have been so full of fabulous finds I can’t even care. In all the excitement over what we are calling the Kathryn Sale I haven’t even shown everything I did bring home.

Do you ever find something that’s quite absurd for you to buy, and yet you are absolutely smitten by it? We were at one of those sales that purport to be an estate sale and yet consist mostly of baby items, and KK handed me a colorful wooden object. “This is cute,” she said, and in two seconds I was a goner.

Evidently this is a ‘clutching toy’ - aptly named, because once I picked it up I couldn't let go. Made for babies to grab and pull and (knowing babies) chew on and throw. I simply fell for his adorable face,

and the fact that his hat looks like an acorn.

He sits by my keyboard and smiles at me all day. Best working companion I've ever had.

And he was but fifty cents—which puts a smile on my face very similar to his!

Speaking of the Kathryn sale, I didn’t mention the 25¢ pair of cashmere gloves before because almost the minute I brought them in the house I dropped one, which Zoë noticed and immediately chewed off the end of one finger. Bad dog!

But I can knit, and I appreciate a good mend. Which led me recently to look up Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi), the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold. I spent a happy morning on Pinterest looking at examples.

A chewed-off glove finger seemed like the perfect opportunity to hunt out the gold yarn in my stash as well as the perfect wool

(fingering yarn, tee hee, thanks to my Vermont niece Kim who included this in her Christmas package to us). And voila, a Kintsugi-style mended glove.

This last item is one I need help with. It came from an estate sale around the corner from my house. I think everyone who went through the kitchen picked it up and said, “What the heck is this thing?” Judy and I had a whole horror-movie scenario going.

I went back the next day when things were half-price, and Mystery Object was still there. I couldn’t resist. 

The lady running the sale said that they had decided it’s for cutting strips of pasta, which was something I too had thought of. So maybe that’s what it is, but I haven’t even been able to find a picture of something similar. It's beautifully made, smooth to the touch, with the metal tines deftly inserted into the wood.

Does anyone know for sure? I'd love to know before I make that next batch of fettucine!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lucy & Ethel Ride Again

Judy and I have definitely had our Lucy-and-Ethel escapades in the past. (She’s Lucy. I'm Ethel.) One of our most notable involved heaving a freezer into the front seat of my convertible (that sucker was heavy) and driving 25 miles home with me not able to see out of the right side of the car. (Still using the freezer though.)

So our antics on Friday did not come as a total surprise.

Our second estate sale of the morning was advertised as a hoarder sale and OMG, was it ever. Wannabe-hoarders were out in droves hoping to add to their collections. I've been to lots of sales with lots of stuff, but I would define your true hoarder sale as also being…well, dirty. I was a little skeptical about going at all because it was 15 miles away and the pictures looked pretty…okay, dirty. But there was a big old iron kettle in one of the pics and KK asked us to check it out since she couldn’t go with us that day, and we are true friends.

I'm not claustrophobic, but as soon as I walked into the house I wanted to leave again. It didn’t take us long to decide to go straight out to the back yard to see if we could spot the kettle. But there was no going straight. We threaded our way past piles of stuff and through knots of people, being buffeted this way and that by other shoppers. Rude shoppers, the kind who literally shove you aside to get to some object that’s caught their eye. Emerging into the yard wasn’t much better; it was piled with junk and crowded with people. The former residents had covered up the mud beyond the patio with a large piece of carpet which itself was now totally muddy and gross.

And not a kettle in sight. But then Lucy – I mean Judy – noticed a vintage wrought iron trellis by the outbuilding that she thought was cool. We made our way over to it. At first I feared it was actually attached to the building but then realized it was a free-standing piece with legs stuck into the ground. It took a bit of effort to find out a price. Which turned out to be ten bucks, and Judy wanted it.

So Lucy and Ethel proceeded to uproot the trellis. No small task, as the bare branches of a several-year-old clematis were threaded through it on one side and a pile of rusty junk pressed against it from the other side.

Other people walk into stores and just buy stuff. We go out and earn our bargains.

You should also know that the Ethel character was wearing some of her fabulous cashmere that she bought last week. But we pushed and pulled and kicked away rubbish and tore vines with our bare hands and about ten minutes later the Lucy character possessed a vintage trellis.

The trellis was a bit longer than the back of Judy’s car and the top leaned on the passenger headrest. Absolutely no problem, I assured her, then banged the back of my head on it getting in. It only hurt a little bit. Really. We headed back to town. I realized that being in that house for only a few minutes had left me feeling absolutely crawly. Yug. I could hardly wait to get home and take a shower.

But first we had to go back to the first sale to get something we had intended to buy earlier and gone off without. (I hope you can make some kind of sense of that sentence.) And this sale was – are you ready? - the second weekend of last week’s cashmere and silk extravaganza. There was so much left they decided to go another weekend. When Judy and I arrived at the appointed time Friday morning we were greeted warmly (they probably recognized the cashmere I had bought a week earlier) and told that everything was half price.

Half price! So now the clothes were fifty cents, socks two pairs for a quarter, coats $2.50. I hustled into the clothing room, hardly daring to hope anything good could be left.

Would you believe I spent another $40? I got 12 more sweaters, 14 pairs of pants (including more Pendleton wool slacks, a pair of white Citron silk slacks, some casual pull-on pants), 13 more scarves and shawls, 4 shirts, and 15 pairs of socks, including several that are cashmere. My SIL will have 2 pairs of shoes. I found multi-garment hangers for a quarter each that retail for ten bucks, and soap for hand laundry from Nordstrom. I brought home a rain jacket made in Denmark of a brand that apparently is not sold in this country. She must have bought it on a trip to the UK or something.

As I was combing through the racks, Judy turned to me with a black and turquoise jacket in her hands. I practically screamed at her, “Oh my god!” Because I had seen that pleated collar before, when my SIL tried on this very expensive jacket in a spendy store in Cannon Beach. I didn’t try one on that day because I knew I'd never be spending almost $300 on a lightweight rain jacket. But $2.50? Heck yes.

And when I got it home, I found coordinating gloves in the pockets.  

I may never need to buy clothes again, at least not for years, beyond the odd pair of panties. I filled a gigantic plastic bag that the kind seller carried out to the car for me. Judy had her pile too, and of course we added the trellis to the mix. We were just leaving the first sale the second time with the hangers I'd forgotten to buy earlier when KK called to check on the kettle. No kettle, sorry, we said, but look at all this stuff we found at the other sale! 

Judy took a picture and texted it to KK, and we got in the car (and Ethel banged her head on the trellis again), waited for the traffic to thin, and pulled out onto the busy street.
Which was when Lucy/Judy realized that neither of us had closed up the back of the car after taking the picture! We were able to pull over soon and got luckier than we deserved, for nothing had tumbled out onto the road. What a mess that would have been, a dozen sweaters and umpty pairs of socks and scarves and pants all over a busy street. 

Whew! I think we need KK with us to ride herd.

We learned a bit more about the lady whose things we now own, whose name was Kathryn. One of the last pieces I selected was a piece of her art, evidently a fund-raiser item for Deepwood House, a local landmark with a famous garden.

We’ve decided that every year around this time we will raise a glass in her honor, sending her thanks for these wonderful things that were hers and are now ours, and by extension to all the folks who brave the retail world so that we don’t have to.

And can you believe it…KK found the perfect bottle of wine for our toast!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

And I Almost Didn't Go!

We were happy campers on Friday. Went to a moving sale close to home that was just random junk in the garage, but Judy and I both walked away with one of these large pots for a couple of bucks each. 

They’re made of that foam stuff, which I like for its lighter weight, and big enough for a tree.

Next was the annual book sale at one of the big downtown churches. We were barely inside the door when we spied the free boxes and had a good time pawing through those. I came away with a couple of knitting magazines, plus these two treasures:

If you remember Hullabaloo, welcome to the Baby Boom. I grabbed it for the hilarity of learning a dance from photographs. Raise your hand if you too had a pair of white go-go boots!

And how could I pass up something (free) as weird as a cookbook of recipes using diet soda? Ig. While the illustrations are pretty cool,

the recipes are just gag-worthy. (Yes, I am a food snob, but still…) Soup, anyone?

From there we headed to an antique-heavy estate sale. I thought there was nothing of interest (either style or price-wise). But then I spied some linen peeking out of a partially open drawer, which turned out to be a lovely linen tablecloth from Belgium (and the brand turned out to price their lovely tablecloths at $250 and up).

Down in the basement I found a pair of placemats I liked,

and Judy turned up a vintage linen towel. 

They accepted a fiver for all of it. Judy & KK both found a few things as well, so we went off to lunch feeling happy and satisfied.

And then there was Saturday!

I wasn’t sure I wanted to bother going to the one estate sale I saw on Craigslist. The pictures didn’t look like much and the sale was in an apartment rather than a house. But the ad mentioned that the lady had been an artist and that there were lots of nice clothes. I took the GPS along when I went to the dog park that morning, and when we left there I decided the girls could spend a few minutes in the car while I ran in to see if there was anything good.

To get the complete picture, going straight from the dog park where I had tramped around a swampy field in the rain for over an hour meant dripping hair, sopping coat, mud on my boots. But hey, it's Oregon. No one batted at eye at my appearance.

At the sale, I made my way to the back bedroom and stared in amazement. The artist had turned this entire room into a closet, with clothing racks on all four sides and another down the middle. Every rack was so stuffed it was hard to look at anything. I pulled out a sweater that looked soft. Immediately my hand said cashmere, but the label had been removed. I pulled out more, same story. Then I noticed the sign on the wall.
Clothes $1
Coats $5
One dollar for cashmere? Oh, yes - label or no label. I wasn’t sure what sizes were there, but didn’t really care. If I only used these to make undershirts and wrist warmers it would be worth it. At a dollar each I just pulled any color that I liked.

Then on the far wall I reached the non-sweater clothing and practically swooned. Many of the pieces were by Citron Santa Monica, which I know is quite pricey. Their shirts, usually of silk, are in the $150 and up range. These were a dollar. I added more hangers to my pile.

Then I saw the shelves of scarves, priced at 75¢. And realized that these were made of cashmere and silk and alpaca. More into my pile.

A few other ladies were shopping the clothes, but most looked into the room and backed right out again. No one else made a pile like mine, and from comments I overheard I think it was because so many things had the tags removed and people weren’t sure what they were buying. I chatted a bit with one lady, who looked at all the turtlenecks and began to reminisce about wearing them in high school.

“I have a really long neck and I was so self-conscious about it that I wore turtlenecks all the time, just trying to hide,” she said. She paused, then added, “I couldn’t believe it when I was voted best-dressed my senior year!”

I finally made myself leave the clothing room and walked through the rest of the house. Nothing in the kitchen or living room of interest, but in the other bedroom I spotted this.

A Pendleton White Raven blanket. It was pretty expensive compared to the cashmeres and silks: $2.

In all I went away with $40 worth, which took two trips to get to the car. When I got home I saw that KK had texted me, asking if I wanted to go to a sale over in Dallas. I called her and said she had to get to the one I had just left. Then I called her again and said I wanted to go with her. So I made a second trip over there. We went straight to the clothing room which was still packed with cashmere and silk and wool. KK found over $40 worth, and I picked up about ten more pieces.

Then we went back to my house to compare our finds. Oh. My. God. Look at our piles.

We did show-and-tell first with my mountain, then hers, oohing and ahhing over what we had found. Later that evening I tried on every piece and was thrilled that most of them fit. Since I wear turtlenecks constantly in the winter, this is a golden opportunity to move up from the cotton ones I've been using to cashmere. The ones that are too short or tight I can embiggen with the non-turtlenecks I brought home.

So what did I find? Twenty-two sweaters. All are cashmere except for a couple of silk and wool ones.

I am crazy about the cashmere ponchos! Got one in beige and one in black.

I have 9 new scarves,

including hand-woven alpaca and pink plaid cashmere.

Ten pieces are Citron, 

plus two pairs of wool Pendleton slacks,

several rayon pieces,

and two hand-painted silk cocoon jackets from the 80s.

I now have a pair of black cashmere slacks. Who knew they made cashmere pants? When I tried them on, it was all I could do to take them off again to be washed. And look at the cool detail at the hem of a pair of Citron pants.

The seller did not want to keep the hangers for all the clothing, and many of them are posh. Lots of padded ones, and even some hand decorated ones. This one is not just covered with hand knitting - the yarn looks like alpaca!

And this wooden hanger has been hand covered with purple velvet, possibly silk velvet from the feel.

From outside the clothing room, I picked up a vintage tablecloth, 

the Pendleton blanket, 2 hats, 

and a linen towel.

Then there were more things outside by the cashier. Where I picked up a great tote bag. Of course I looked up its brand when I got home and found that their totes in this size retail for about $150.

And if that deal doesn’t sound good enough…I found a dime in one of the pockets.

Pin It button on image hover