Monday, December 16, 2019

Unexpected Treasures

Wasn’t going out on Friday, only two estate sales in town that looked meh and Judy and I both decided housework could take precedence. Then KK ended up with Friday off, so she and I checked out the estate sales. Which turned out to be…meh. And both involved climbing stairs, and both houses were, um, somewhat smelly. The first had been inhabited by smokers (lovely collection of ashtrays for sale in the garage), the second by mildew and infrequently changed cat boxes.

And I admit that stairs are not my favorite thing. The new knee is doing just fine, but we're still slow on stairs. I really appreciated the lady going up in front of me who commented, "You know, I have always hated climbing stairs!" Someone who understands me!

I managed to spend four bucks at the first sale. The family was probably Swedish; among other things there were numerous Christmas ornaments made of the traditional straw. I was a bit tempted, but my rambunctious cat Millie would have made short work of them. But I loved this hand embroidered (all in chain stitch) bell pull, 

and Millie highly approves of the bunny tea cloth I brought home.

I love the bunnies, don't they look like they are conversing?

On Saturday, KK and I headed off to Portland. We were lunching with Linda, then getting KK’s car serviced at the dealer. When we reached Linda’s house we found she had ducked out to run a quick errand that of course took longer than expected, but we had seen an ‘estate sale’ sign around the corner so of course we had to check it out. Turned out to be further away than expected, but on the way to our lunch spot.

Everyone else in Portland must have been at a mall, because this very nice estate sale was practically deserted. And luckily Linda soon texted, and joined us. KK found several things (sorry, can't remember what!) and Linda went back the next day to buy the mirror she fell in love with – at
half price.

I hit the jackpot before I even went in the house – found a large Japanese aralia (fatsia japonica) for only ten bucks. (If you buy plants you know that’s a steal!) It was one possibility I've been considering for a part of my yard I'm developing because of its imposing appearance and shade tolerance.

 Inside I picked up a pair of fifty cent earrings,

two lovely blue ramekins (fifty cents each),

and a handmade tote bag that I just love.

Needs a bit of mending, but hey, I like to mend!

Out in the garage I found another holiday bell pull, this one of Swedish hardanger embroidery on linen.

I guess it was Swedish weekend, since we had to go by IKEA while we were in Portland as well. But the little glow we felt from finding this completely unexpected estate sale carried us through the retail encounter. Which on a Saturday afternoon, ten days before Christmas, we certainly needed!

Monday, December 9, 2019


Last summer, when my friend Marcia was here and we were waiting for my knee replacement surgery to happen, we naturally did a bit of garaging. We stopped at an estate sale in my old neighborhood, and it was a treasure trove. We had a great time on their driveway, chatting and roasting in the August heat and digging through the many boxes. The sale was lady’s parents’ belongings, and her mother was an extremely creative (and collecting!) person. Marcia came away with an armload of CDs, and I bought music and movies and craft supplies and whimsical doodads. I remember walking away with my arms full for a total of five bucks.

One of my favorite whimsies that day was this tiny vintage piece.

So you may only imagine how excited I was to see that they were having another sale this weekend. I don't usually go back to one I've already seen, but I knew they had only scratched the surface of the parents’ belongings.

Marcia is back in California now, so I took my friend Lonna along to see what we could see. Alas, her luck was not running well – she found a book she wanted that turned out wasn’t for sale. Then she saw something else she liked and had a somewhat unpleasant encounter with one of the pushy guys I think is a local dealer. (There are a handful of these folks who are consistently rude, and I generally try to arrive at sales when I think they will have left.) So sorry, Lonna, it’s not usually like that!

I fared better. On our way into the house we walked by a large Christmas wreath. I noticed it had a price tag. One dollar. Now mine. It's just faux greenery but you can't beat that price. I think I'll refurbish it for next year, but for now it's the total of my seasonal decorating.

The first thing I found inside was this trio of one-inch tall angels. Some of their wings have gotten broken, but I still love them.

My next find was a large framed embroidery for my studio.

You may remember that my focus word for this year is “Mend” – this seemed a perfect reminder. When I got home, I noticed a tag on the back from the framing shop. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was framed in Oklahoma City where I grew up!

Turns out the framers are still in business, and one of their shops is only a few blocks from where I lived. I'm sure I'll never know who the embroiderer was, but I wonder if our paths ever crossed? Whoever she was, the frame was carefully selected to color blend with the embroidery.

I found some cute cupcake papers. At three for a penny, home they came.

In one of the back bedrooms, I found this big (about 2’ tall) papier-mâché bunny who now resides at my house. He was one of the things the creative mother made.

In the other back bedroom, I noticed a really nice switch plate cover, and asked if it might be for sale. The answer was yes, in fact I could just have it, if a screw driver could be located to remove it from the wall. Alas, no screwdriver appeared. I first tried a dime (too big) and then the tip of a table knife (also too big) then they did locate some odd multi-purpose tool but it was too awkward to turn the screws. But I really loved it. So later in the day I went back – with my own screwdriver! Had it off the wall in no time, and made sure that the folks having the sale knew how much I love it.

Of course since I was there again I had to shop again. It was amazing how much had left the house in two or three hours, but much remained. I picked up some movies

including one that might be in Chinese.

I found a very small Yixing tea pot, too small to be practical for use. But a) it was only fifty cents, and b) it looks good with my other Yixing pots. ‘Nuff said.

My last find was another papier-mâché bunny, much smaller than the first. 

I absolutely fell for his hand painted face.

So sometimes you can go home again – even if it's to someone else’s home! Even better, they told me another sale is planned in January, because they hadn’t even started on clearing the garage.

I can hardly wait.

Pin It button on image hover