Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Small Town, Big Fun

Went down to Roseburg (2 hour drive away) to visit our friends Diana and Dave and go to the Umpqua Valley Quilt Show this weekend. Eye candy galore! Diana and I oohed and aahed our way through the exhibit hall at the county fairgrounds.

We were simultaneously inspired and intimidated by the wonderful work that we saw. Of course some pieces were more amazing than others, but the quality of the quilts was truly wonderful. There was even a little quilt made by a four-year-old during “Grandma Camp!” (Sorry, didn’t get a picture of it, simple squares sewn into a wall hanging or doll blanket, but still…a four-year-old!)

The quilt guild sponsoring the show had a large booth in the back of the hall, and their main display made this old thrifter’s heart happy.

Of course we found a few things and put together an inch – although the lady who took my dollar thought our inch was too short and encouraged me to pick out something else. But I was happy with what we had.

Somewhat to my surprise, that wasn’t the only thrifty shopping I got to do. We planned to head south about 2 p.m. on Friday, so KK and I went out in the morning to see what we could find. Which wasn’t much, but I was happy with this.


I've noticed these pet-hair-collecting gloves online (they’re one of those “as seen on TV” items, but I don’t own a television so those are rarely “as seen by me”). Wouldn’t have spent ten or fifteen bucks on one, but for a dollar I was willing to give it a try, and it does a pretty good job.

Fannie turns out to have quite an undercoat and is starting to shed. And though ZoĆ« has zero undercoat her short white hairs get into everything. So I think we’ll get our dollar’s worth. And I did get a good laugh from the literature that came in the box, with its “Important Safety Instructions.” I mean, really? Safety instructions?

And by golly, they left out the only one I think might be needed: Don’t use this glove wrong-side out. Ouch!

Saturday morning Diana and I stopped at one estate sale on our way to the fairgrounds. It was really picked over, guess it had started on Thursday, and I wish we’d been there that day because I think there was some cool stuff. Like a particularly gorgeous stained glass screen that we saw a picture of in their ad, but that was gone. However, I did spent two bucks and left with another addition to my glass-vases-in-the-window collection

a cozy muffler from Ireland

(I've already ignored the ‘dry clean only’ tag; honestly, do people really take something like a scarf to the dry cleaners? Do they think the wool never got wet when it was on the sheep?)

and three containers of miscellaneous buttons.

Probably nothing too valuable in them, though I'm still trying to figure out what these metal buttons depict.

A lovely lady? But, ummm, are those horns among her hair? Frankly, my first impression was Ludwig van Beethoven, so maybe I'll stick with that.

Buttons are in the eye of the beholder, right?

Diana got the real deal of the day though. She’s part of a church group that is upgrading a meeting room where women in recovery can gather, and they need some decent chairs. She was admiring the four dining chairs at the estate sale, which were marked $80. This turned out to be the price for all four, but they have zero budget for the project. The price went down to $40, then $30. We both tried them out and they were very comfy and in great shape, so she decided to get them.

When we got home I noticed a maker’s tag on the bottom of one chair and the word ‘Denmark.’ So I looked them up, and it turned out they are from the Danish company Bolinge, probably made in the Sixties. And worth quite a bit more than $7.50 each! There are two each of these two styles, all with the original upholstery (which I think is wool) and most likely made of teak.

So instead of taking them straight to the meeting room, they are going to try to sell them to someone who appreciates midcentury furniture, and use whatever they raise that way to furnish the room.

Treasures lurk everywhere, don’t they? 

Monday, April 17, 2017


Found a new addition to the Bunny Department of the Museum de Me on Friday.

Six bunnies for a quarter. Now that’s a deal! It came with a tea light candle in the middle, and the hubster thinks it could be used as a teapot warmer. 

But I like the idea of bunnies and flowers, so I popped a little vase (also known as a shot glass!) in the middle and picked a few flowers from our yard.

(Can I just say that our bulb flowers are doing well this year?)

I try to resist bunnies, there are too many out there lurking on driveways, looking adorably cute, trying to tempt me into taking them home. I looked back through my spreadsheet and saw that most years I only succumb to the charms of one or two, some years none. And the ones I have kept, I really love!

Most I love just because they amuse me. Like Bunny on a Scooter, giving a ride to Tiny Bunny that my SIL gave me.

I have two Steiff bunnies, a hand puppet like Bunny Rabbit from the Captain Kangaroo Show, and a small one that’s just the right size to hold in your hand. (He’s the one on the right side in the Fisher Price cart.)

I still remember the skipped beat of my heart when I spied him lying on the ground at a sale in San Mateo (this was about twenty years ago!). I picked him up and asked how much (didn’t care, I was taking him home with me) and managed to keep a straight face when the woman said, “Oh, ten cents.”

Did the happy dance after I got out of her sight!

Bunnies seem to like being on the move. They paddle canoes (this is another I've had for a long time, at least 10 years)

and pull carts

and lead parades in their fabulous slippers.

They make me laugh. This is a Tomy wind-up toy that originally pushed a baby in a pram, hence the nursemaid outfit. But the pram was gone when I bought her, and we have always called her Zombie Bunny because—well, because!

Some bunnies turned out to be really good deals. I paid a dollar each for two pieces by ceramic artist Karen Howell, and was amazed to see what they are selling for these days – some similar pieces in the $150 neighborhood.

Some bunny things I've passed along to others and just have the pictures now. Both Lizzie and Edward were always good sports about modeling things like bunny ears. (I don’t miss the ears, but I do miss those two good dogs!)

And sometimes bunnies are quite useful. I found my handmade Velveteen Rabbit just about the same time we got Millie as a kitten last summer, and it made a great measuring stick for her growth. Then:

and now:

I’m not quite sure what this expression is about!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Don’t Drop That!

I tell you, I hope I will never lose so much of my hearing that I can no longer eavesdrop on people at sales. I'd be getting fitted for a hearing aid before you could turn around. I could never make up the kind of stuff I overhear.

Best from Friday was at the sale in a house full of collector-quality comic books and rooms and rooms of movie-tie-in toys (superheroes, Star Wars, that sort of thing – not the whimsical sort of toy that comes to my house). One of the helpers at the sale was (or at least considered himself to be) an expert on comics. I heard him holding forth to a middle-aged woman on the hardships of his calling, how much work it is to catalog and wrap and prep for shows. She said something about having to treat comic books like babies, and he replied, “No, comics are way harder than babies. You can drop a baby on the ground and it will only get bruised, but if you drop a comic a corner could get bent and there goes half the value.”

I immediately scrambled in my purse for paper and pen, lest that line escape from my memory. Holy smokes. I sure hope the guy never has any kids if he thinks you can drop a baby with impunity. At the very least the baby will have something to say about it!
As far as I could tell without revealing that I was eavesdropping, the woman didn’t bat an eye at this theory. Sheesh.

Another family we chatted with was far more caring. They were having a sale of the elderly father’s stuff in preparation for him to move to one of the three daughter’s cattle ranch in eastern Oregon. The daughters have been taking turns staying with their dad in his house, each for two months at a time, but now it's time for a change. The old gent was sitting in the living room and I asked if he was ready for this new adventure as a cowboy. He gave me a huge smile and said he’s been a cowboy all his life, that he was born in Montana and grew up on a thousand-acre ranch in South Dakota. I think he’s going to feel right at home.

It was their sale where I picked up a ten-cent coffee mug solely because it is so very, very red.

Sometimes you just need to drink your tea from something red. Also got this fruit corer (for another dime) 

to see if it will work as a cupcake corer. Which it does. I finally got to try this recipe for Boston cream pie cupcakes!

They are very like the delicious one I had in Chicago last year. Though admittedly a bit more lopsided.

Two or three sales seemed a bit odd, as though the merchandise had just been trucked in from a storage unit or something. Almost everything we saw all morning was overpriced (at least for my pocketbook). But then you spot the deal of the day, an item that the estate sale folks failed to recognize as valuable, and that miraculously no one else had picked up before you got there. In this case it was a Catherineholm enamelware plate from the Sixties.

These puppies are usually pricey and you almost never see them at sales around here. I was chuffed. 

I also picked up a never-been-used tea kettle to replace the one that lost its whistler recently. (A sad story involving a certain young cat, who batted the whistler off the kitchen counter, and a young dog who assumed it was a chew toy. They both had fun…and I had no whistling kettle.)

This was the sale at which one of the helpers was wearing a fabulous hat.

Another estate sale yielded an eggshell mattress topper, destined to be cut up for a pad for Fannie’s crate, 

plus a ziplock bag with a bunch of sewing stuff that proved to be 5 new packets of sewing machine needles (which I was just about to have to buy in a store), 4 sets of large and specialized needles (I've already used a curved one to repair a rug) and 6 packets of hand sewing needles in various styles and sizes.

One of the packets looks to have been printed during World War 2.
Also picked up one of their bundles of textiles, which included 4 cheerful linen napkins,
 a toile tea towel from Colonial Williamsburg,

and (the piece I actually wanted) a large vintage tablecloth of absolutely the softest cotton you can imagine. Softer than silk. It's like stroking a cloud.

There were a couple of sales over in West Salem. The first was in one of those overly-large homes built in the Eighties, the kind of place you have to buy all new furniture when you move in because nothing you already own is the right scale for the high ceilings. I came away from there with an original watercolor painting (I think the signature is for Roy Hobdell, but I’m open to other suggestions!)

 and a bag o’ googly eyes.
Don’t tell anyone, but I've been wanting to go ‘eyebombing.’ Especially now that I've been practicing on my new finds!
The second sale on the west side was actually in a warehouse. We’ve been to sales there before, apparently the owner will rent it out for a weekend. We think this sale included items from the grandmother’s estate (and she may have been a bit of a hoarder), a former business, and several family members. There was quite a large number of ladies clothes of excellent brands (Eileen Fisher, CP Shades), mostly in linen or silk. A number of them dated back to the 80s, which I can state with confidence because when I can put on anything that the label claims is a size small, it has to be from the Age of Oversized Clothing. (My favorite age!) I picked up three dresses, all too small for me as they stand but candidates for upcycling – two Flax dresses and a Hot Cotton linen jumper with a wrap skirt (lots of fabric in a wrap skirt!).

Guess I'd better get busy and do some sewing! After I make tea with the new kettle and try out the cupcakes, that is. Gosh, I hope I don’t drop one of those!

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