Sunday, October 29, 2017

Jersey Girl

KK and I got all excited on Thursday when we saw an ad on Craigslist for an estate sale with tons of fabric. (There was also an ad that mentioned they were selling “cabnuts” but we skipped that one. I've seen lots of misspellings on Craigslist – and of course all those proclaiming a ‘hugh sale’ – but that’s the first time I've seen cabnuts.) 

We couldn’t go first thing in the morning, but as soon as we could we took a beautiful drive down River Road to the next little town over. I was especially eager because I need to make some curtains, and I need 11 yards of fabric. I knew finding something good in that large a quantity was a long shot…and I was right. In fact, I'm not sure there was even one full yard of anything. It had all belonged to a lady who made her living for many years as a seamstress, and seems to have kept every scrap. But it wasn’t a wasted trip – besides getting to try out an Italian restaurant we’d never been to, I came home with a pair of sharp scissors (KK got some Gingher thread snips), a fabric marker,

possibly the cutest apron ever (from the colors I'm guessing early 70s),

and half a yard of adorable flannel showing dachshunds doing things they love to do. (Yes, Diana, this is for you!)

Friday we started out at an estate sale three blocks from my house. I was a little surprised that the group waiting for the sale to open wasn’t bigger, but not surprised that I saw a number of familiar faces. Yes, there is a whole group of diehards here; some are dealers, some just like to poke through other people’s stuff like we do. Fortunately the dealers who were there were not the ones we avoid because of their rude behavior; I suspect those all went to the farm sale several towns away.

We spent some time in the huge walk-in closet among the vintage clothing. A trio of white-haired ladies arrived, exclaiming over the heavenly space in the closet. I think we all agreed that we could leave the clothes, but we’d all have loved to take that closet home! Saw the same ladies a couple of sales later and they greeted us like old friends.

I thought I'd be leaving empty handed because the prices were too high for me (there was a batik I loved but not the price tag) 
but then in the garage I picked up a couple of fifty-cent wine glasses. I really like this stemless one with the engraved circles.

Next sale was mostly baby stuff, but the highlights were the actual baby (her grandparents were having the sale, and grandpa was proudly showing her off; six months old and the most adorable drooly smile you’ve ever seen) and the next-door-neighbor’s gorgeous tree.

I think I mentioned last week we’re having a great fall for tree color. I would SO love to have a treehouse in a tree like this!

We scored once more at another estate sale. One of those where not everything has a price on it – and inevitably anything I liked was tagless. I gathered up a couple of CDs, 

three more wine glasses, 

and a little skier push puppet for KK like this one to make up for the skier silhouettes she missed last week. When I asked about prices they said two bucks for all of it, so hooray. 

Meanwhile, KK found something for me – a handmade porcelain bowl decorated with my Fannie dog!

Wish I knew who had made it. It's signed only with the letter “L” on the bottom (seems appropriate since Fannie’s original name was Lucy). But I'm sure it's her!

I noticed an over-priced vintage sewing machine in one room, so it wasn’t surprising to run across a pile of fabric. But I had to drop everything I was holding to check it out, since a sign said each piece was only a dollar, and on the top was a large piece of cream colored, heavy cotton.

I love the texture, and hoped there would be enough for those curtains I need to make. Alas, there is not, but I bought it anyway because it's such great fabric. Turned out there’s not as much yardage as I thought, only 3½ yards…but it is 104” wide! (For you non-fabric-folks, the usual widths are 45” or 54”.) Then I started looking at the other pieces in the pile. When I picked one up it was very heavy and supple, obviously expensive fabric. I picked out four pieces, 

and it wasn’t until I got home that I saw this tag on one:

All four are thick jersey knits of Pendleton wool! Which I believe they have not made for many years (thank heavens fabric doesn’t go bad). They range in width from 60 to 70”; three of the pieces are about 1½ yards, and the other is close to 4 yards. And heavy – that one alone is almost 5 pounds.

Who needs a gym? Lifting dollar pieces of fabric is so much more fun than lifting weights!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Two? That’s Plenty!

Sometimes when we start out on Friday mornings, we make a quick stop at Taco Bell so I can pick up the bite of breakfast I didn’t have time for in the rush of getting everything done. (Dog park, then feed pets, then dry my hair if it’s raining, which it was, then change clothes from park duds to something I'm willing to let KK see me in, then get all the addresses in the GPS, then…) Usually it really is a quick stop, but not this week. There was a grandpa and a teenage girl who needed a verbal tour of the entire breakfast menu, which they had to think about for a while before deciding what to order. Then there was another grandpa who was quite deaf, so he took a while. Then me, and I took less than a minute, but then had to wait for everyone else’s food to be prepared. Finally we were off to our first estate sale on the south outskirts of town, arriving perhaps five minutes after they opened instead of a few minutes before.

Alas, the delay was enough to cost KK something she saw in the Craigslist pictures and wanted to buy. See the silhouettes of the two skiers?

Already gone. Dang it. I fared better, scoring three that I like.

Then we overheard one of the sale helpers telling someone that all the quilt fabrics were out in the studio. Our ears stood up, and we headed there.

Oh my heavens. I have seen nirvana, and it is having your own large studio to work in. Sigh. Maybe someday. When I win the lottery. I have never bought a lottery ticket, but I'm sure it doesn’t change the odds by much.

Fabric was selling for $3 a pound, and fabric can be heavy, but the ladies who were shopping seemed thrilled. And it was an amazing collection. There were thousands of pieces of quilt fabric, and a variety of notions. I love finding good notions at a bargain price, and picked up a package of fusible tape that will be useful. 

And I'm thrilled to get a much larger cutting mat than I've been working on.

Five bucks seemed reasonable, and this is probably the mat sold at a chain fabric store for $70. In any case, Millie likes it.

Though this collection of fabric made my stash look pitifully small, I was determined not to buy much. When I found the stack of Japanese prints, I picked out several pieces for future play

as well as the cutest chicken fabric ever, and stayed within a pound limit.

Isn’t this one pretty?

I spent longer in the studio than KK, and eventually found her back in the garage sitting at a table (demonstrating the comfort of the chair) and chatting with other shoppers and the cashier. When we were on our way again, she said that one of the guys she had talked to said he was from New England, and while he seen red leaves and yellow leaves on the trees here, he really missed orange leaves.

We were indignant! Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing New England and the beautiful fall colors, but we spend half our time these days exclaiming about trees. all over town they are magnificent, especially with all the dark green fir and redwood trees to set off the brighter colors. We spent the rest of the day pointing to trees as we drove and declaring, “There! That one is definitely orange!” I rather suspect we may do it the rest of our lives. Can’t you see is in thirty years, propping ourselves up on our canes and yelling, “That one is pure orange, I tell  you!”

Our second stop was clear across town, an estate sale, though not inside the house as they usually are. There were things in the garage of the Sixties house with the huge yard, and in a barn off to the side as well. KK found a long stand-up shoe horn in a box of dollar items in the garage, but the guy said it wasn’t a dollar and someone must have moved it there. So she handed it back to him and we headed to the barn. Which held an amazing assortment of junk and was very ill-lit. I pulled my flashlight out of my purse to peruse the tables. KK spotted this knife stone, which I had mentioned I wanted.

I have no idea how old it is, but look how worn down the sides are.

I might have been interested in the Bernina serger (I've never used a serger and am curious) but it was $150. Too much for mere curiosity. Then in a box under the table I found some fabrics, and thanks to my flashlight found this needlepoint that I'm imagining I can use in some way

as well as this absolutely gorgeous fabric.

My hands told me it is wool challis, and when I did a burn test it appears to truly be wool. I think even the selvages look classy.

There are about two yards, and it cost a dollar. Even if I never do anything but pet the fabric it will be worth that. Hmmm. If I have any left after making a shirt or something, perhaps I could make a stuffed bunny with the remnants…

When we emerged from the barn, we got into conversation with a relative of the lady who had lived there. He told us she is 92, has all her marbles, still drives, and recently moved to Capitol Manor, a local retirement mecca. We started talking about the age of the house, and he was telling us about some of the features of this one. Perhaps it was our enthusiasm for mid-century architecture that led him to let us go in the house for a few minutes. I wish I had had the nerve to take a picture of the view from the living room(it seemed so tacky to whip out my camera) – a long vista off to the east with vineyards changing to their fall colors and an emerald green field of something like rye grass. It was stunning. It gave me the same feeling as this painting by Charlie Baird. 

We spent so long at these two sales that we didn’t care much when we couldn’t find the third on my list. The address did not exist. I rechecked the Craigslist ad later, and it turned out there was one address in the title line, but in the address by the map they had transposed two digits. You can guess which one I had used. But no matter, two sales were just the right number!

Monday, October 9, 2017

A Dash of Whimsy

I was feeling tired and a bit out of sorts Thursday evening. Didn’t much want to go garaging on Friday. (I know – me, of all people!) I should know by now that whenever I feel that way, it just about always means I'll have one of the best days ever. I'm not sure if the Garage Sale Gods panic when I exhibit any reluctance (“who will take home all this stuff we have planned for her??”) or just want to prove me wrong. I ended up being quite glad we went out to see what we could see.

A lot of what we saw was…socks! First there was the pair of whimsical Millie socks at the nurse’s sale (the only yard sale ever where I could have bought suturing material…), 

and then the whimsical doggie socks at the senior center rummage sale

(schnauzer socks! corgi socks! and the brown pair on the right above, that looks like our Zoe!) and more. Picked up 9 pairs in all for a whopping $2.50. Now THAT is the way to buy socks!

There were two estate sales, both fairly close to home. The one that started at noon had nothing I wanted, but I loved the house and its yard. The pond in the back yard had koi among the water lilies.

See that big gold fish swimming away? A moment before it was swimming toward me, and when a fish that size and color is headed your way, you know you’ve been swum at!

The other estate sale was crowded when we were there first thing. KK and I both found stuff, and decided to come back later when things had thinned out a bit. (Her $4 raincoat that retails for almost $300 might have been a bit of an incentive to take another look.)

There was even more whimsy at this sale. On the first pass through I picked up this cutie for a dollar.

It was the eyelashes that did it.

Then I found this guy. Reminds me of a Nicol Sayre snowman I got a few years ago.

It's actually a box. 

KK spotted this kitty rug. They had a number of April Cornell tablecloths, and I'm wondering if this is from the same company.

In the kitchen, I grabbed a set of silicone lily pad lids as soon as I spied them. 

I've been wanting to try some, but not at store prices. These were two bucks for the whole set (KK got the 2 small ones that fit on a cup), versus about $50 on Amazon. Besides…lily pads! Whimsy in the kitchen!

Iin a box of kitchen gadgets I spied a little scoop (it's actually a coffee scoop) just about the size I've been looking for to use in a particular kitchen container. Fifty cents.

Turns out it's pewter and retails for $19. I get to be classy and cheap all at once!

All in all, we figured this sale would be worth a second look. Which is when I found a heavy mid-size skillet with a lid (no picture, but I'm sure you can imagine exactly what it looks like). And this guy. I've doubled my Halloween d├ęcor.

And then we found the big box of socks at a quarter each. Cashmere socks!

Floral socks!

Socks rock!
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