Monday, February 26, 2018

Good Fortune, If Not Good Matches

Two estate sales on Friday – miraculously not far from each other. 

According to the ad for the first, the lady had worked for ‘the government’ and lived in Japan for many years, sending items back to the states every year. Working for the government takes in a lot of territory – as a librarian I was a government worker, as was my friend Anne who was a forest ranger, and my father-in-law who worked on the radio gear on B-52 bombers on an Air Force base. But let’s assign this lady to running an elite cadre of spies active throughout Asia – because why not?

The house was full of some wonderful art and china and furniture from Asia. A whole boxful of blue glass Japanese floats; a 19th century bone-inlaid cabinet. While some items had hefty price tags, on the whole we felt that the prices were pretty darned good. Especially for the things we look for. 

We were barely in the house (passing through the laundry room on our way in) when I spied baggies of acrylic paint tubes. KK snagged all those and was thrilled – the paintings she is doing now are very textured and take lots of paint.

Back in one of the bedrooms, the closet had several beautiful kimonos and obis for sale. I'm sure the $10 price tag was a steal, but I resisted since I already have one magnificent silk kimono on display.

However, in the same room there was a table with fabric on it, and I snatched up some of that. Lovely solid color silk fabric, one meter wide by four yards long, for two bucks! (Silk can easily be $40 to $60 a yard in a fabric store.) I got two brown and one gray; plenty of yardage to make something nice. 

Apparently they were purchased at a store in Okinawa that donates all the profits to charity (and has for 50 years!). The price there was outstanding, but mine was even better!

In the kitchen I picked up another adorable little fifty-cent bowl for my morning yogurt and granola.

On a further counter I spied some rice-grain china, which I've always liked. A pair of little teacups were the exact size I've been looking for, for a project. Since the pair was only a dollar, into my bag they went.

The project is to replace the base of the little pig-on-a-pillow figurine I picked up back in October. Millie knocked it off the shelf and broke the handle on the cup that is the base. Alas, when I tried on this new cup for size, it fit perfectly – but the colors don’t go together. At all.

So I'm still looking for a 2.5” diameter teacup, with some pinks and greens in the design this time! The good news is, the hubster loved these rice grain cups and plans to use them for espresso.

The last thing I picked up turned out to be one of those “the jokes on me” items. A lacquered bamboo box, about 8” tall. 

When I pulled off the lid I thought, oh cool, Japanese fireplace matches! What fun! 

So into my bag it went. Upside down, evidently, because when I went to pay I found the lid had come off and all the little bamboo strips with the red tips had come out. When I got home I went to put them back into the box, and that’s when I discovered the booklet tucked inside. I had bought – not fireplace matches – but fortune telling sticks!

Thanks to the Internet, I learned that you make a wish, then shake the tilted container so that one stick rises above the others. That one is your fortune for the day. I'm sure you’ll be pleased to know that my fortune for today is auspicious and that I am going to get my wish.

Of course we always wish for more than one sale, and about ten minutes before KK picked me up on Friday I checked Craigslist one last time and there was a fresh ad. And the sale was only a few blocks from the first one. It turned out to be not nearly as interesting as the first, but I did bring home a Belgian waffle iron (after plugging it in for a few minutes at the sale to make sure it was working). Heated up just fine, but it sure was dirty!

But nothing a bit of soap and elbow grease couldn’t handle, and the buttermilk waffles I made on Sunday were delish.

Some of you may recall the sale we went to earlier this month – the same sale where KK found the Charlie Harper serigraph – where we found some decorator fabric samples.

Thought you might like to see an “after” picture. I took one of the small cuts, hand embroidered it, and made it into a fabric necklace. The beads are from the candle bobeche I bought for fifty cents in January.

I really love re-embroidering print fabric. Definitely will be doing more!


  1. I have not seen anyone embroider print fabric before, and I just love what you've done on this piece. You've inspired me to try my hand at this!

    1. Oooh, I hope you will, and send me a picture! Do a subject search on Pinterest for something like 'embroidered printed fabrics' for some amazing inspiration!

  2. I got a laugh out of the matches story but I think its way cool that they are fortune telling sticks. Love the necklace, how unique!

    1. I'm going to get a good laugh every time I check on the day's fortune!

  3. I love embroidered fabric. I do pillows with this method. What a fun day.

    1. I would love to do pillows this way...but our Zoe has a bad track record with sofa pillows!

  4. I love how you displayed the kimono! Beautiful!

    1. Thank you! We don't like to put holes in the paneling to hang things. I don't think it shows in the picture, but the crossbar is suspended from two chains that screw in at the ceiling. Problem solved!


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

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