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?


  1. I love to go garaging with you! Some good finds and that vest is awesome!

    1. Come to Oregon one of these days and come with us for real!

  2. Try a little mayonnaise on that water stain on the table. Bought a chest with a similar spot and gently rubbed it a few times with mayo and it faded.

    1. That is exactly what I was thinking of when I bought it!

    2. Thanks for the tip! I have a spot on a desk where I’m going to try it!

    3. Have you tried it yet? How did it do?

      The problem with having my table downstairs is that the mayo is upstairs!

  3. So much fun to look through stuff and even more fun with friends. Glad you had a good day.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

Pin It button on image hover