Tuesday, November 21, 2017

High Contrast

I knew from the addresses programmed into my GPS that we were going to experience a wide variety of residences on Friday. Our first two stops? The golf course/country club neighborhood, and then a mobile home park that has been around since the Fifties.

I probably felt just a leeeetle bit more at home at the second place!

The country club place was ginormous. Let’s put it this way: my house is big but it's built on two levels so it doesn’t seem overly large. That house was also on two levels…each one just a few hundred square feet smaller than my whole place. And only three bedrooms, so you can imagine the size of each. Here’s the foyer, which I'm sure is bigger than my master bedroom!

The floor covering in the kitchen at first glance appeared to be a classic black and white pattern, 

but each dark square had a rose imprinted in it.

Most of the items for sale were, as Judy put it, just not our taste. Especially in the man’s closet – I've never seen so many pastel silk sport coats in one place, and there were a number of silk shirts in wild prints. But I did grab this throw, 

because I noticed immediately it is 100% alpaca. 

An alpaca throw – how luxurious is that? I splurged ten bucks on it, and when I got home I looked up the brand. These things go for $200 to $500! I just love the natural colors.

I kept feeling splurgy, and succumbed to the charms of a Denby Arabesque teapot, cups and saucers.

On my last pass through the kitchen, I picked up a mystery item.

The lady running the sale and I both thought it might be something for brewing coffee, but after we got home, KK figured out its true purpose. It's a wine decanting funnel! Just what I needed!

On we went to the mobile home park, where the entire single-wide abode would have fit inside the foyer and living room at the other house. I didn’t find anything there; picture motorcycle riding leathers and DVDs of guy films. But KK possibly got the deal of the day – a late model Sodastream Jet for three bucks! Just the CO2 canister is worth ten times that amount.

We moved on to more contrast, a 1930’s house in the lovely older neighborhood where the governor’s mansion is located. The same folks had a sale a few months ago and told us they were going to retire to Mexico or Costa Rica or somewhere (my grasp of geography is surpassed only by my leaky memory). So this was the retirement sale, and since they used to be antique dealers we thought it could be interesting. Which it was, although they seemed to think they were still running an antique store, at least from the prices. Some of the items struck us a creepy, 

but there were cute things as well. 

Here’s a good example of both – we thought KK looked ravishing in this headdress, but the taxidermy battle to the death behind her…not so much.

I think they might not have been completely on the same page, since the husband was giving deals because they have to be out of the house by the end of the month, but the wife wasn’t budging on her prices very high prices. The only thing I bought was this, 

and the wife huffed that she didn’t know where her husband was getting his prices because she had been selling them for twice as much. (Couldn’t have sold many, there was an overflowing boxful.) Anyway, I think this is a guinea hen, made of a sturdy wire armature and rope and feathers. 

I just like her. I was thinking if I leave her outside she might grow moss and look cool in the yard. But then I was also thinking she might just disintegrate in the rain, so for now she’s hanging out on top of the coat closet with a vase of dried alliums.

I like the contrast of her texture against the smooth glass vase.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Getting Pokey

I've been known to say (probably too many times) that I don’t really care if I buy anything when we’re out garaging, I just like to poke through other people’s stuff. (When you were at a friend’s house as a kid weren’t you always curious what was hidden inside their drawers and cupboards? But of course you were far too polite to snoop around. I'm not the only one, am I?)

Part of the fun is, you never know just whose stuff you’ll get to poke around in. Last Thursday, KK and I had the interesting opportunity of doing just that…at a convent!

I got a notice from one of the estate sale sites about this sale, looked at about three of the pictures, and immediately sent the listing to my posse. KK emailed right back that yes, she wanted to go after looking at only three pictures. So we trundled up to Mt. Angel and joined the fairly long line to check it out. According to what I could glean from the ad, the nuns who live there sometimes inherit estates when relatives or other folks die, and stuff had been accumulating for a long time. It was time for a clean out. 

At the appointed hour the line began to move, but as we got near the steps up to the entry door it stopped again. We waited. Someone near us wondered if they were only letting in a certain number at a time, which seemed silly since the building was huge. But that’s exactly what they were doing. We stood in the rain for several more minutes, and when they finally let us in they told us we had to start upstairs because the downstairs rooms were too crowded. The first large room I saw downstairs had only two people in it so I ignored their instructions. (Ever the rebel, that’s me.) Room after room (it looked like these were classrooms at one time) filled with an odd assortment of the usual items you see at a church rummage sale mixed with old art projects, religious items, teaching supplies and more. One huge room had all kinds of furniture, including cabinets that looked like they used to be built in somewhere. One small room was lined with what looked like wooden Gothic windows; organ music was playing in there. Two or three small rooms had musical instruments, including a full size marimba I would love to have (if I had room and more money).

We wandered around for over an hour, picking up a few items. But when we went back downstairs we found an enormous line waiting to pay, since they only had one person taking money. We looked at each other and agreed that nothing we were holding was worth standing in line for an hour or more, so we abandoned everything and exited. And saw that there was still a line at least a block long waiting to get in!

Friday was more fruitful. Not only KK and Judy were with me, but my SIL Linda was down from Portland, and we had a blast. Found a few estate sales, a couple of moving sales. At the first estate sale I picked up another vase for the windowsill collection, 

a jar of sticky gel to keep vases on the windowsill 

(I really like my price better than the original!) 

and some glue tape to try out.

The two sales on the west side netted nothing (and one had a decidedly odd atmosphere, we all said it felt creepy). The moving sale up in Keizer was fun, a couple about our age downsizing and getting rid of what was left after moving. The vintage house had some vintage pieces still in it; I admired a terrific light fixture hanging from the ceiling and asked if there was any chance it was for sale. No such luck; they were taking it to the new place, because it had come from the guy’s parent’s house originally. He said they had a floor lamp that matches it, and he had hoped to find out what company made them, so when Antiques Roadshow was in Portland a while back, he took pictures up there. The lamp expert told him that he too had no idea of the maker and that he could probably look for two years and never find more info. I shared my belief that lamps are hard to research because there are just so darned many of them. A living room, for instance, will probably have only one sofa – but may well have several lamps. At that the guy started laughing and said that’s what the Antiques Roadshow guy had said!

I felt so smart.

Left their place with a fun toy I'll be sending to a friend 

(complete with washing and safety instructions!), 

a couple of embroidery scissors,

and a CD (the wife told me she’s a professional flutist). 

On my way out the door I spotted a nice end table underneath some other stuff 

and ended up paying $7 for it. Drexel Heritage, 

solid walnut, and even though it has an owie on top that I hope I can mitigate (bet someone got in trouble for that!) 

Millie really likes it.

Our last estate sale was over in Silverton, about 25 miles away. Further than we usually go, but it’s a lovely country drive and we had lunch in the cute little downtown. The place was pretty well picked over when we arrived; they said they sold 75% of the stock in the first three hours. But I still scored a few things – a heavy cast resin vase (I'm picturing it holding zinnias next summer) 

and a Barbara Weissman handwoven bag. 

In the back room where the lady must have sewn was something I had noticed in one of the pictures of the sale. See that vest hanging on the wall? 

I thought it looked pretty cool and was amazed that it was still there. Tried it on, and I'll have to move the single button for a better fit, but it is now mine! 

It's really an amazing item, pieced together of silk with all those curves and decorated with a variety of beading. Truly a piece of wearable art.

So all in all, a fun weekend of poking around. Fruitful Pokery – doesn’t that sound like a good name for a band?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lottery - Not!

The bird feeder looked brand new and was marked $5. Too rich for frugal me, so I asked if there was any chance she would take $3. Sure, she said, then had to add, “But that was an $80 bird feeder.”
We hear this sort of remark a lot (and have trained ourselves just to smile agreeably and not say “But this is a garage sale”). Back at the car, I reported to KK and Judy the supposed original price. We all rolled our eyes. Yeah, right, an eighty buck bird feeder.

Looked it up when I got home, and sure enough it was not an $80 feeder. Nope—it was only a $70 feeder. Seventy bucks for a bird feeder, yikes! I simultaneously had to shake my head over the idea of anyone spending that much, and feeling like I had won a prize in a lottery. I must admit it is one swell feeder, designed to thwart squirrels while still feeding a wide variety of birds. In fact, it's so swell that I had to search the Interwebs until I found an instructional video on how to fill it!

That particular estate sale was probably the best of the day. I also picked up a copper-topped vintage coffee carafe, 

an ergonomic pastry blender (your hand gets so, so exhausted making biscuits, right?) 

and a microwavable ice cream scoop. Since I spent $4 there and the feeder was $3…you get the picture.

I wasn’t sure if the carafe was like one I already had or if that was the one Millie broke. Turned out to be the former, but the other has a gold top instead of copper.

And that microwavable ice cream scoop, which I never would have bought if it had been more than a quarter, actually works great. You can dish out quite a few scoops before it cools off. Yes, of course I had to test it!

I had low expectations of the sale being held in a strip-mall storefront, but found three fifty DVDs there (Saving Grace is a huge favorite), 

plus a baggie of vintage spice shakers. 

Judy and I reminisced for quite a while about these, both of us remembering them from childhood but not that they were for all kinds of spices, not just salt and pepper.

They definitely looked better after cleaning!

Our final foray was a church rummage sale downtown that didn’t start until 1 p.m. This is one of the churches that hands you a big grocery bag to fill for five bucks, and the place was a zoo. They also have a ‘special’ room with items they deem more valuable, which is where I found another vase for my windowsill collection, with bubbles in the base. 

I was amused when the church ladies wrapped it up in a couple of pieces of tissue from a sewing pattern. They must have gotten a ton of those donated.

Also found a bear ornament.

No markings so I have no idea of the maker, but I love his sensitive little face; he feels like quite a nice piece. And even though he was deemed special, he was still only fifty cents!

My bag stuffing was purely practical. I needed some king size sheets, and sure enough found a fitted and flat, both in white and all cotton. Into the bag they went, along with a nice cotton rug 

and a queen-size duvet cover and two pillowcases 

that are destined to be slipcovers for the chair in our bedroom (the print goes well with our bedspread). 

I was thrilled to get it all for a fiver, especially since I was recently in an actual fabric store and was APPALLED at the prices. Holey moley. Fifteen bucks a yard for cotton quilting fabric? I really would have to win the lottery if I shopped there instead of in church basements!
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