Friday, January 31, 2020

The Queen of Fifty…Crepes!

The “huge moving sale, everything goes!” on the west side of town this morning…wasn’t. Oh, I'm not disputing that the guy is moving. And what I saw might actually have been his idea of “everything.”

Huge, it was not.

Oh well.

But the estate sale not far from my house was much better. (Whew.) The lady the sale was for is 93 and moving in with her daughter. She was a wood carver and also did that Norwegian style of painting called rosemåling, which I admire but have never wanted to collect. There was a large free standing wooden cabinet with painted doors that I could have fallen in love with though, if 1) I had room for it and b) it had not been $150. 

Fortunately there were some things more in my price range.

It seemed that she had a special love for carving wooden Santas, and they were flying out the door. One lady showed me the adorable one she was getting of Santa carrying a little Noah’s ark and holding up a red umbrella. We stood there and chuckled at it. I didn’t get a Santa, but I did select this fun snowman.

I love his twig arms, though they may need replacing from time to time. But twigs should not be that hard to come by.

I picked up some tomato cages (which look exactly like every other metal tomato cage you’ve ever seen). This time of year I need something to remind me that winter will not last forever. I also got this piece of yard art,

and a little metal chickadee like the ones I always admire at garden shows.

This kitty plate is tiny, but I think it will be just right to hold a tea bag. On the bottom it says it was made in Thailand, so even though it's a black kitty, it must be a Siamese cat, right?

So, a fun morning though a short outing. But last Saturday Judy and KK and I went to a couple of sales, and I had one really great score.

The backstory starts about 4 years ago, when KK found a large round electric griddle at an estate sale. She gambled four bucks on it, hoping it still worked, and when she got it home and researched found it's actually a crepe griddle. For making the big crepes like you get in a crepe restaurant. I was suitably jealous (especially when she would tell me of some fabulous crepes they had for dinner) and told her the next one we saw had to be mine.

So imagine the thrill when she emerged from the basement of the house we were in clutching an identical crepe griddle! She handed it over with a grin as I wept in delight. (Well, almost.) I did have the presence of mind to plug the thing in to make sure it would heat up. My heart would have been broken if it hadn’t worked, but hooray, it did.

Ironically, both griddles came from estate sales run by the same company.

I have been in crepe making heaven! Lunches, dinners, desserts. Okay, yes, breakfast too. I keep a container of crepe batter in the fridge and have been playing French chef with practically every ingredient in my house. So far they’ve all been good. I don't usually pause to take a picture, but this dessert crepe that included chocolate ganache, lemon curd, brandied cherry sauce and some whipped cream was the bomb.

My posse is joining me tomorrow night for a crepe party.


Monday, January 6, 2020

It’s Spreadsheet Time!

Yessiree, let’s head for that annual thrifty roundup! Maintaining my garaging spreadsheet has been a really satisfying habit. Would you believe it goes back 15 years now? I can’t tell you how many times I've had occasion to look up when I bought something or how much I paid, and it's always a trip down memory lane. So many of the entries plunge me into the day of the sale where I found the item, who I was with, the conversations I had. All that personal history, neatly lined up in rows and columns.

Okay, so I love my spreadsheet. We already knew what a strange person I am!

I was a darned frugal thrifter this year, in fact the only year I've spent less was 2005, and that total was within a dollar of this year. The total outlay for 2019 was $342.40, with an estimated retail value of $5,568. The category with the best return on investment was clothing, where I spent $28 on 22 items worth nearly $1400. Of course it's hard to go wrong in a category that includes $1 shoes, brands like Dansko and Keen. And I had the fun of upcycling the one pair that was a bit beat up.

 The next most lucrative category was garden items. Only bought 6 for $36, but the average worth was around $40. If you’ve purchased any large pots or plants for retail prices you’ll know I got bargains! 

I may be fondest of the $1 pitchfork I found at an estate sale. It's old and a bit beat up, but it's the perfect tool for loading wood chips into the wheelbarrow. And since I got the power company’s tree trimmers to give me a free load of chips (about 7 cubic yards worth!) that is going to be a dollar well spent.

Another top category was accessories – 9 purchased for $10, and worth nearly $300. I especially love these polished wood earrings inlaid with silver.

In spite of my telling myself “No décor! No projects!” I brought home plenty in both areas. Spent a little over $80 on 27 décor items, mostly art for my walls. It's all stuff that I love, like the vintage Danish swan poster, 

and the framed three-dimensional rainbow of linen and beads. 

I think it's interesting to note that when I look at the oldest spreadsheet from 2005, the things I still own and love fall into the décor category. Well, except perhaps the Curious George flashlight – what could be more practical than a Curious George flashlight?

In the area of projects, I brought home supplies for makery – fabric, sewing notions, bits and bobs. One of the pieces of fabric came in handy recently when I made reversible button-on covers for my dining chairs – a project actually completed!

Looking at the column of prices spent, I found 13 items that were free, worth over $200. I would actually have bought the dancing fairy switch plate cover, but I love it even more for being free.

Most expensive purchase of the year? The set of vintage dishes from Germany that I use and love every day. 

Well worth the $50 I spent, even if the set only included three of the cool bowls.

All these treasures, and a new knee as well – it was a very good year!

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