Sunday, June 25, 2023

Summer is A-Coming In…

Sing it with me…At last!! Yes, finally, a pretty darned good garaging weekend. I know we tend to blame a lot of stuff on the pandemic, but it really did seem like once that hit, garaging was one of the victims. It was only to be expected in 2020, we felt like we were taking our lives in our hands by leaving the house. Which we possibly were. Goodness, what a year – remember the great toilet paper panic? Go and Google ‘toilet paper earrings’ for a giggle.

I tried to convince myself that garaging has been pitiful ever since because so many people decluttered while they were stuck at home so there’s been no ongoing backlog of unwanted possessions. Thrift stores did seem to be extremely well stocked for a while. But given how many conversations I've had lately with folks who say they desperately need to clear things out, I'm not sure how valid that reasoning was. Not to mention all the reality shows about decluttering and organizing.

But summer is now upon us and I got to indulge in a full weekend of garaging. Only ended up spending $11 so I'm happy to report I didn’t lose my head, but it was just so nice to hop in the car, turn on the GPS, and head out looking for treasure and conversations on a sunny morning.

As it happened, my actual best finds were on Thursday, when I went to only three sales. The first was an estate sale, with the too-common ridiculous estate-sale-prices. It was in a smallish house in a golf course neighborhood, and the real marvel was how in the world they had managed to cram so much furniture into the place. The only thing I saw that might have been of interest had the price not been $25 was a chinois, or china cap strainer – one of those conical things that sits in a stand, and you use a wooden pestle to puree food through the holes. A friend has been wanting one for ages, but at that price she could have a new one.

Next stop was super fun, and I spent a whole $3.50 there. Two sisters about my age were selling off a lot of their over-the-top Halloween decorations, things they had made for the lavish parties they threw. They told me they are pretty much through with big parties, but not to worry they still had a bunch more they were keeping. My need for giant spiders and life size skeletons is minimal, but fortunately they were decluttering a few more things. First find was part of an old chandelier that I plan to use somewhere in the yard, for the base of a gazing ball or something.

Another find was this fun bottle that has also become a yard ornament. 

I've got my eye out for at least two more glass pieces (perhaps vases) to keep it company.

A nondescript box on the lawn turned out to hold fabric. Two yards of this screen print, 

and almost 2 yards of good quality faux fur 

that I will use one of these days to refurbish Millie and Stanley’s cat tree.

Last stop was a fund raiser to send kids to camp or some such, and my goodness what a lot of stuff. I've seen church rummage sales that were smaller. And one of the first things I saw was another chinois – and this one was three bucks. You can bet it was in my hands in a flash, and it was a huge hit with its new owner.

Wandered over to the clothing, much of which was on hangers. Lots and lots of clothes packed tightly together. The way to deal with this scenario is to first look only at the fabrics. When you see something that looks like good quality material you can pull it out to learn more, but you just let your eye pass by all the polyester. And the first thing my eye landed on was a silk Citron Santa Monica tank dress. 

Not my size, but I've got it for sale on eBay and hopefully will make a few bucks. It's a pricey brand that resells well; this dress probably originally went for around $250. Then I spotted another likely fabric, which is a J Jill dress that I’ll be embiggening into a tunic to wear. 

Hard to see, but there are little self-covered buttons and fabric loops all down the front. Not a simple detail to construct, and this piece probably was originally at least $125.

Friday I headed to the south part of town to a large neighborhood that has an annual sale. I've gotten good things there in the past, including my incredible vintage MCM chandelier by Italian designer Gaetano Sciolari that I got…for free. (Still can't believe it. If you can find one for sale online expect to shell out more than $2K.) 

Alas, this neighborhood sale is feeling a bit played out. I think maybe everyone indeed did major decluttering in past years. Had some enjoyable conversations and managed to spend another $1.50 on a DVD and a curtain rod to use – yes, again! – as a yard ornament. I remade my fun napkin-ring stake with half of it.

I was going to stay home Saturday but the promise of another neighborhood sale convinced me otherwise. And my dog park friend Pam came along for the first time which was great. We hit three or four other sales before getting to the neighborhood one, including a fun one where she bought a beautiful silk kimono and some other things and I splurged on a very artsy floor lamp. The couple having the sale are selling everything including home and two Teslas and embarking on a 3 year around the world cruise.

And then wouldn’t you know it, when we got to the neighborhood sale it was nothing. I bought a denim shirt for a buck, and we only found about three sales. Pooh.

When I got home I went to get my lamp out of the SUV and discovered it was way heavier than I could manage. The seller had put it in the car for me, and I'd noticed there were cut wires sticking out of the bottom. I pointed it out and he said he’d fix it. Pam and I chatted with the wife some more while he did something, then closed the car and said all done. Off we went.

I called my ex to come by and help me get the lamp out of the car, which he did. And we discovered that the guy had wrapped tape around the cut wires and there was some rigamarole with a dimmer and no way to plug anything in. Basically I had splurged forty bucks on a cool artsy lamp that didn’t work. Grrrr. (I was too annoyed to even think of taking a picture of it.)

We loaded it back in the car and I drove back across town. Pulled into the driveway. The husband asked me why didn’t I just fix it, which left me speechless for a moment. Probably a good thing because anything that might have come out of my mouth would have been very rude and probably profane. I finally stammered something like, I wouldn’t know how, and I thought I was buying a working lamp and it isn’t. He hauled it out of the car and walked off, and the wife handed me forty bucks back and chatted in a friendly manner for a minute. I went away feeling I'd be okay on a three year cruise with her…but not him.

Besides, there would be no yard sales on a cruise ship!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

New Year, Old Stuff!

FINALLY… got to go to a sale last weekend!

Turned out not to be a very good sale. Lots and lots and lots of stuff, and to my eyes 99% of it just crap. It was an estate sale, and seemed to be the estate of a hoarder. From the ad on Craigslist, that appeared to be the opinion of the estate sale company as well, because after noon on Sunday they were giving away anything that was left. Which said to me they were expecting a lot of stuff to be left. I've known regular folks to give away anything and everything at the end of a garage sale, but never an estate sale company.

I was there on Saturday, which was their half-price day. Usually the first day is packed with people, but they had neglected to get their ad up on Craigslist on Friday. So we all showed up for half price stuff.

 When I went in one of the bedrooms, another gray-haired lady was contemplating one of those all-enveloping garments from 30 years ago you were supposed to wear to be cozy on the couch. “The trouble with those,” I commented, “was it made it so hard to get to the bathroom.” She laughed and laid the thing down. “I sure don't need anything that would do that!” she told me. Then she recounted to me a family trip she’d been on when she and her six-year-old granddaughter had shared a room. She giggled. “She saw my Depends when we went to bed, and told everyone the next morning that she wanted some fluffy underpants like mine!”

I managed to spend 75¢. Found an unopened package of this glue I've heard is good for securing glass.

I've long wanted to try making one of those garden sculptures out of old vases and plates. Something along these lines:

Now I'll have to actually look at all the discarded glassware when I'm garaging. I no longer own any vases, because my cat Millie demolishes any plant material that she can get her teeth on. (Don’t get me started about the vet bill after she sampled a dieffenbachia at the ex’s house…) But I'm hopeful I'll be able to find some inexpensive pieces to play with. Starting with 25¢ glue makes me willing to experiment!

My other buy was a bar of soap. Pretty, isn't it? 

It seems to be quite an old bar of soap. When I got home I googled it to get an approximate retail price for my spreadsheet. The company still exists – online only – but the only hits I got on this kind of soap were on eBay. Imagine my surprise to see that all the completed auctions for this soap sold – for as much as $20.

Why yes, I am going to put this on eBay. At the rate this year is going, twenty bucks could support months of garaging!

I did resist one other item, and I'm not sorry – but it was hard. You know that pull you feel just because something is just so cool? That’s how I felt when I uncovered this sewing machine.

I was gob smacked by the design of it. Looked it up when I got home – it's a Singer Model 500A, also know as the Rocketeer. 

It dates to the space age Sixties, and was the last of the great Singer models. The review I read said it's of all-metal construction; after the Rocketeer the company started using plastic in their machines.

I really thought about going back on Sunday to see if it was still there. But I already have three sewing machines, so I forbade myself to do it. But…it sure was cool!

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