Monday, March 19, 2018

Funny Little People

I sometimes wonder if I have the only Funny Little People collection in the world. Given the billions on the planet, perhaps not – but I've never heard of another! And if the denizens of my collection are not completely unique, they are certainly unusual. Including the new additions from the past Friday’s outing. Only two sales to attend, but both yielded treasure.

The first sale had to be one of those occasions where things make themselves invisible until the person comes along who is supposed to have them. I don’t think there’s any other explanation for these still being there, and on a kitchen counter to boot. Pinocchio acrobat? Check. 

Tiny wooden bunny and mushroom on a cart? Check.

Vintage dog (at least I think it's a dog!) push puppet? Check. 

Then there’s the other push puppet (both of these are from Italy) – girl with a funny hat, painted pearls around her neck, 

striped stockings and apron, all in Italian national colors

…and she’s holding a bucket and an umbrella. (Is there some traditional Italian story that goes with this character?) 

You’d think she would just have to be the most unusual character in the lot, right? But I think this guy with his lute might just take the prize—

because he’s a napkin ring!

You can imagine how someone like me, who loves vintage and wooden toys and whimsy (and bargains) practically danced out of that house!

So I was a happy camper as we headed to the second sale, which was run by one of the local companies that always takes a zillion pictures. KK and I had both spotted items we wanted to try for, which we knew would be in the yard. We made a beeline for the patio doors when we got there, but alas, her sundial and my hedgehog were already gone. Still there though was a potted honeysuckle with a small tuteur in the pot, so I picked that up, as well as  a couple of the round grow-through plant supports I need more of. 

There was a pair of these cool metal frogs, so we each got one. I love the way they are made.

He looks especially handsome on the garden wall.

Then KK found this wonderful round bunny in another pot, which I couldn’t resist. 

And though I'm not usually an admirer of fish (I find real ones intimidating) I love this yard-art trio. Can't wait to see them leaping above a sea of ornamental grasses. 

A few minutes later this adorable porcelain mouse found her way into my hand and heart.

I just love her, she looks midcentury modern to me. Perhaps she reminds me of vintage teak mice I've seen.

Lest you think I was carried away by all the cuteness, I must also report a practical buy that made me nearly as happy as the mouse. We’ve been cleaning out our basement storeroom and my husband was planning to head to a big box store soon to buy one of those Rubbermaid garden sheds to hold all the yard tools. And there it was, the exact one he was planning to buy. I didn’t even blink at the $35 price tag, especially after I got home and looked up the price of a new one. Which was $200. Now that’s a nice discount!

So the garden shed is now at home down in the garden, the funny little people are among their cohorts, 

and the bunnies 

and the dog 

are in their respective collections. And to all a good night!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


The daffodils that are starting to bloom in my yard are definitely a hint that spring is around the corner, but they are not the only one.

How does a thrifter determine that spring is coming? By the advent of church rummage sales, of course!

We ran over to West Salem for a moving sale that started early Friday morning (before heading to one of our favorite rummage sales). It was one of those that you immediately are positive that there will be nothing you want among the dribs and drabs on display, and then find something you like. (I love that kind of surprise.) My first surprise was a sweet little blue vase from Sweden, for the window ledge collection.

It throws a lovely blue shadow in the sun.

Then in a back corner of the family room, I spotted what has to be the epitome of midcentury atomic kitsch.

I bet most of us remember these salt & pepper shakers. Everyone had them back in the day; with the snap-on lids they were perfect to carry in a lunchbox or with your camping gear. I love the font.

But the stand! What a hoot. And apparently a hollow in the top of the knob is for toothpicks. So practical!

So all the omens were pointing toward a good day, and the rummage sale did not disappoint. This was the annual sale at the Methodist church where you buy a big paper bag for five bucks when you go in, and anything in the main room you can stuff in is your loot. As we have previously established, I'm a pretty darned good bag stuffer. So how did we do this year? Well, KK only found a couple of items (linen pants and a wool muffler), so into the bag they went. Then a toothbrush, new in package, always good to have a spare; and a piece of felt to practice sewing paper onto it before I try it with my vintage picture book. There was a mixed bag of embroidery thread (that's Millie at the top of the picture, who very much wanted it for her own), 

a large cone of sewing thread, and a linen jacket (it's too small for anyone I know; I want to try embroidering some of the motifs and making them into cute little pins). 

Plus two floral linen shirts, 

a pair of Travelsmith linen & cotton slacks with a hidden zipper pocket, 

and a Lagenlook-style top and matching skirt. 

When I looked up the brand, I found it was made for an exclusive shop up in Portland and must have originally cost at least a couple hundred bucks. I'm not a regular wearer of skirts, but somehow I love this one. And the top is the perfect showcase for my fabric necklaces. All of it great stuff, averaging less than 42 each. Woo hoo!

And that wasn’t all. As always, they had the “special” room with items deemed too valuable for bag stuffing. Fortunately this year the prices were better than I remember in the past, because I found a wonderfully ridiculous sweater that yes, I will wear, though I'm not sure anyone else ever did.

NOT a Christmas sweater, but a country music one! With lots of amazing beaded motifs 

and even a beaded lariat. 

Looks like something you should wear line dancing—except you’d die of overheating if you tried to dance in something this heavy.

We were on our way out when we remembered the jewelry room. I’ve never found anything there before…but this year I did. These Graffiti 93 brand mixed-metal earrings hang long on me but I care not, I love them. 

Notice that they are not identical - the heads are different shapes, as are the decorations on the clothing. The wires look to be handmade.

And the vintage clip-ons are actually comfortable to wear, which I find astounding. They’re so three dimensional. Aren’t they cool?

So that was Friday. The next day was the other big church rummage sale we usually go to…though I think this may be my last visit to them. The first year we went I found some great stuff, including a wonderful stash of yarn. But not so much since then. It is an astounding madhouse of cast-off stuff and hordes of people in a huge echoing gym—I can't help thinking of that painting of Hell by Hieronymus Bosch. And it's made even worse by the terrible blast of thumping rock music they play all day (being forced to listen to music I hate is my personal vision of Hell). When all I picked up was an admittedly lovely silk scarf and a blank book 

(I was lucky enough to find a rather hidden pay station back among the furniture so I did not have to stand in a long line to hand over my buck and a half) I decided this is probably the last time I'll attend this one.

But that’s okay. There will still be the big downtown church with its bag sale, and the Episcopalians, and of course our lovely Methodist ladies to look forward to each year, heralding the arrival of warmer days and sunnier skies.

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