Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Instant Gratification

 Another refurbished piece from 2015. Still have that wheelbarrow, still holds water, still love it!

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On a cold, dark day last November I bought an antique wheelbarrow at a small sale here in Salem. A case of love at first sight.

This was no mere infatuation. Still love the thing, still enamored of its metal patch that is so well done it holds water. We had to keep dumping rain water out of it all winter. I saw neighbor cats drinking from it more than once.

We moved the barrow the other day, still empty, to the part of the front yard we call Middle Earth, which is very much a work in progress.  My intent was to plant it with a festive medley of flowers for the summer.

And on Monday the hubs and I headed off to a wonderful nursery not far out of town to get just the right mix of plants.

We looked and looked. Created little collections of plants to see how they’d look together. Moved 4-inch pots about and brought in others. And then I had a brainstorm.

This nursery has beautiful hanging baskets in full bloom. And their prices are better than I’ve seen elsewhere – less than $20 for a 10 inch pot full of a mass of blooms. I totted up the prices of the collection of baby plants we were considering, and when the total was several dollars higher than the lush blooming beauties in the 10 inch pots, our strategy changed and we went looking for some ready-made beauty. It was a surprise to me when I fell hard for a red geranium. Really, really red. And big.

Talk about instant gratification. Wherever you are in the front garden, there’s this major pop of color at its heart.

We also splurged on another pot for near the front door. Three different colors of those mini petunias that bloom their little heads off.

It’s sitting on the cute fifty cent plant stand Judy and I found last July. More plant love. Every time I look outside I find myself smiling at my instant flowers. 

I hope some kind of buy-this-now monster will not take over my normally frugal ways. Nah. It won’t. But maybe we all need a refined jolt of instant gratification from time to time.


Sunday, June 9, 2024

The Imminent Demise of Pie

This is another in what will probably be an ongoing series of oldies, as I attempt to restore missing pictures from the past. And also, there are some pretty fun posts back there!

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“Here you go, this is just what you need!” the man said to his wife.

I looked up. That’s a statement that can go so many ways. Could be a gag, or sarcasm, but in this case was sincere. He thought she needed it: a pie divider. “For your pies,” he added.

“Mmmm, pie,” I said. “Let me know what time it’s ready!”

“She makes great pie,” he assured me. “You know, people just don’t make pie anymore.” Well, I said modestly, I myself do bake pies. Not sure he heard. “Nobody bakes or cooks. People our kids’ age have no idea how to make pie.”

This struck me as a bit of a sweeping generalization. I see enough food blogs to convince me that at least a few people still cook (besides me and his wife). “Sometimes these things skip a generation,” I offered. “Maybe your grandkids will make pie.” “No! They won’t even know what real pie is!”

So now we know: pie is going to disappear from America in the next generation. Dang. But we’ll still be having it at our house; stop by for a piece one of these days. Though you should know in advance that the pieces won’t be precisely equal, because those other people got the ten-cent pie divider at the yard sale.

This yard sale, in fact.

clutter be gone

Judy and KK and I had a great Friday morning. Our first stop was here in the ‘hood, at the house where Judy paid for her own sweater last year. Judy replenished her wardrobe again, and I found some pieces for upcycling, including Irish linen

Irish linen

and some cotton pieces to combine.


(I’ll show you a couple of completed upcycles below.) As we were about to leave, KK spotted an item laying on a table and we all paused, trying to figure out what it was for. “It’s a hat,” I said authoritatively. (Yes of course I make things up. I’m a writer, it’s what we do!)

I tell you, I have the most fabulous friends. She immediately donned it, and by gosh it sure looked like a hat.

Improvised hat

I think she looks like a high-ranking official from one of the Star Wars movies. The 9 year old girl helping with the sale piped up, “It’s for a baby’s car seat.” Some sort of head bumper thingie. They gave it to KK who has a new grandchild coming and can use it for the car seat. But I still think it made a great hat.

There was no doubt about this being a hat. Doesn’t it look lovely with the coordinating clothes brushes?


At another sale there were a bunch of boxes waiting to be unloaded. They had priced everything for their sale and then packed it all away until the sale day. I asked the young woman unpacking things onto an already-crowded table if she minded me looking through some of the boxes. “Go right ahead!” she invited, and before I knew it we had the boxes spread out and several folks were finding items. I scored some summer socks

kitty sockssock kitties

an old favorite book

Mrs. Pollifaxa couple of hand towels

toweltowel detailEngelbreit towel

a Vera Bradley bag

Vera bagVera fabrics

and (my fave) a cute license-plate purse.

license plate pursepurse fastener

Plus this crocheted tablecloth, intended for upcycling into some kind of garment.

Though it’s not bad as a tablecloth, or for the cat to make himself comfy on.

Even the free boxes did not disappoint, yielding a wall sconce

and a hand-knitted flamingo. Don’t find these babies every day!

I find the legs irresistible, with the knot-knees and shaped feet.

Okay, the upcycling. Still having a ball with remaking things. The latest is a couple of pieces for my SIL. She wears down vests during the winter, which gave me the idea of a summer vest. So I took the sleeves off a couple of short jackets        

used them as side panels, et voilĂ !

This looks like printed fabric, but it’s actually embroidered on a linen background.

Cute vests!

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Holiday Rambles

NOTE: Some of the pictures in earlier entries have disappeared over the years. I was trying to restore some to this post from 2011, and discovered that Blogger is treating it as new. So here is a stroll down memory lane, hope you enjoy...and apologies for the still-missing pics!

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I try always to have low expectations when I go garaging on holiday weekends. No need to court disappointment! But for a holiday weekend, I did okay today. Very first stop was a sale presided over by a young woman who looked like Drew Barrymore. She told me she absolutely loves having yard sales and she was bouncing around with the energy of a 5 year old. And she’s the mother of preschool twins and a 10-month-old baby. Sheesh. I want to start having whatever she has for breakfast!

Met a couple of pets…

IMG_0968 IMG_0964

cute little dog, and a kitty with his head on upside down. Actually, kitty was trying to be cool and sat down with his back to me…and then couldn't resist checking on what I was doing.

Had a funny conversation with a guy about my age, maybe a bit older. He was showing me all the brand new things he was selling, all Christmas gifts from his son. “Why would he think I would ever use a pasta extruder?” he said, shaking his head. Even sillier was the large can opening machine that looked like it takes two hands to lift the lever so you can insert your can. It would take up a good foot or more of counter space. I suggested he tell his son that something like a gift card would be nice, or making a donation in dad’s name to some good cause. Apparently neither of these ideas had ever occurred before. Then I asked him what they give the son for gifts, and he said, “Uh…gift cards.” So I suggested that perhaps rather than exchange gift cards they could just mutually decide to forgo the gift giving. You should have seen the look of relief on his face at this thought!

There were even items for sale with great signage.


In spite of it being a holiday weekend, I still managed to spend $4.60. Some of it went for a LARGE bag o’ Legos.


My library system has been collecting Legos to use in programs. With 34 branches to share the collection, I figure we can’t have too many. So this will be my contribution to the cause.

My husband mentioned he needed a container for the cough drops he always has on hand. And this heavy glass container is perfect.


This hinged chrome frame will hold a couple of vintage photos of my hubs and his brother as little kids.


Have no idea if this DVD will be interesting, but I can gamble fifty cents.


I read on someone’s blog recently that backpacks can be good eBay items, and that Jansport is a good brand. So I thought I’d test it with this. Probably should wait till back-to-school shopping starts.


I’m sure that hearts, stars and skulls & crossbones will appeal to someone!

And I picked up half a dozen cloth napkins that I think will be fun with the striped tablecloth I bought last summer.


I had Friday off work and spent part of the day proving that sometimes it pays to buy stuff on driveways without knowing exactly what you’ll use it for. My first project involved the large stash of scrapbooking paper I picked up exactly two years ago.

papers sm

I don’t scrapbook and have no intention of ever doing so, but I loved all the colors and designs and figured paper would come in handy. And I’ve used it for several things, but still have a lot left. I noticed the other day that this navy blue tin from Ikea that I use for a trash can in my bathroom had gotten rather beat up on the inside, though the outside is fine.


So a couple of pieces of scrapbook paper and some white glue, and voila, it’s nice again.

Nice enough for trash, anyway! Then I tackled another project I’ve been thinking about. I keep all my pins and earrings inside this cabinet, which had cross stitch fabric tacked inside to hang stuff from.

I’ve been reading in other people’s blogs about covering foam core with fabric and framing it to display jewelry. So I decided to do that inside my cabinet. I had a piece of foam core that I picked up at a yard sale at least 5 years ago, and some gold silk fabric that I’ve had stashed since September, 2006. I cut foam core to fit snugly in the spaces inside, covered it with fabric that I taped to the back, and stretched a narrow ribbon across to hold dangly earring and stick pins. The ribbon is the last of a spool I paid a quarter for two years ago.


I think it turned out rather fun!

Hmmm, getting quite a collection of pins there! While I was arranging everything back into the cabinet, I  noticed this piece, a gift from someone I used to work with, actually has a maker’s mark under the tarnish.

I’ve always thought it was probably from the 60s, but it turns out it’s a Georg Jensen piece, and he died in the 30s so it’s a lot older than I thought. And if sales on eBay are any indication a lot more valuable than I realized!

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