Sunday, May 14, 2017

If There Were No Gifts, There Would Be No Garage Sales

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against gifts. A thoughtful and unexpected gift is a delight.

I do struggle with enforced gift-giving occasions though, because they lead to ads like this one in our local Craigslist last Friday. I give it to you in its entirety, leaving out only the company name and address. I hope their moms enjoy whatever gifts they received!


Ryobi walk behind Tiller
radial arm saw
hand planers
hand tools
chop saws
fishing reels
muzzle loading tools 
vintage leather gun holsters
vintage metal toys
shovels, ax, splitter maul
levels, contracting gear 
chainsaw (2)
metal toolboxes 
planters, garden equip timers
air compressor 
pressure washer Troy built 
seed spreader 
brunswick pool table
chains, host puller, pulleys
electric, gas weed eater
vintage metal lawn chair
red wagon, kids toys
red Skelton oil painting and plate
lenox collection 
ceramic lights antique 
mirrored cabinet antique
leafed table over 75 years old
nordic track treadmill
fine linens
(3) modern bar stools
Barbie vintage with house x 7 
Oil lamps 
African decor including a collection of beautiful elephants and wildlife
two beautiful microfiber chairs 
old lamps beautiful art deco
record player and over 300 records  
cds, dvds 
speaker system Harmon kardon AVR 120
Breyer horse collection
Red Skelton sculpture collection
Rock Old jukebox converted into liquor cabinet
various antique and vintage trunks and hope chests
Lord of the Rings collection 
Harry Potter books 
antique old old books.   Some valuables
pflatzgraff collection in great condition 
berry Christmas dishes set 
three bookshelves 
room divider 
(3) headboards and bed frames 
dresser tall one 

Lucky, lucky moms – after you plow the south forty with a walk-behind tiller and catch dinner with that fishing reel having cleared the river bank with your chop saws and ax and maul then maybe, just maybe, you can spend a few minutes in your microfiber chair playing with a Breyer horse.

Won’t that be fun?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Good, The Bad…and the Smelly

The fun started on Thursday last week, when I stopped at an estate sale on my way to the grocery store. The ad on Craigslist showed a lot of interesting items. However, there was no mention of the, um, well, very strong smell of cat pee in the house. Which didn’t seem to stop anyone (including me!) though I admit I hurried through more than I would otherwise have done. 

A quick perusal turned up only a couple of items that I thought looked fun, one being a very nicely framed print of a watercolor by Valerie Pfeiffer, called “Budgies Galore.” I thought Millie might especially enjoy it.

Her kitty box lives in the bathtub in an alcove of our master bathroom. We never take tub baths, just showers. So it’s the perfect spot for the box, containing all the inevitable litter that gets tracked outside the box. Now Millie has art in ‘her’ bathroom.

I also grabbed a couple of baggies with kitchen linens, which turned out to include some interesting vintage tea towels.

My favorite of the lot is this small towel hand appliqued with a farmer picking apples. I think.

Friday morning’s adventure began with another estate sale which mentioned art supplies in the ad. But again, the ad left out that the house had evidently been occupied by a chain smoker for the past umpty years. And while the kitty smell from Thursday’s sale was unpleasant, I’m actually quite sensitive to smoke, which gives me joint and muscle pains like having the flu. Normally I would have taken one quick peek and left, but this house was full of whimsical items that I could not resist looking at.

KK got a great deal on a bunch of oil paints and brushes. I was stopped in my tracks in the first room by…bunnies! I didn’t have my camera with me, darn it. This could well have been the best bunny collection I've encountered. But I was very, very restrained, being mindful of how many bunnies have already come home with me. But this little glass bunny won't take up much room, right? And he didn't cost much more than the dime I used for scale.

And what could possibly be more practical than a set of bunny tablecloth weights?

Which are at this very moment keeping the tablecloth out on my deck from flying away in the breeze.

I admit the first thing I did when I got home was give them a good scrub. You can see from this before-and-after shot that they needed it!

My favorite find was this fabulous bronze candle holder. Even though it was marked $10 (a huge amount for me!) I grabbed it.

Seriously, you couldn’t have left without these faces either, right? And the nice lady running the sale seemed happy to take a fiver for them when I assured her they’d have a good home.

They appear to be from the same maker as the bunny paddling a canoe I showed you a couple of posts ago. As always I did some online digging to try to establish value and where they might have come from. Didn’t find out much, but I was amazed to see a very similar pair on Pinterest, which led me to Etsy, where I saw that they had sold. And the asking price had been $110!

Plus, amid the bunnies I spotted something else that’s hard to resist, an acorn item. (What is it about acorns?)

A hand-painted trinket box, about two inches high. Which is now on my acorn shelf, holding – that’s right – a real acorn.

Bunnies turned out to be The Item of the Day. We saw them at every other sale throughout the morning. But none were tempting, and in fact neither of us bought anything else even though we stopped at about a dozen sales. I've noticed this phenomenon before; seems like if you get a really good score at the first stop you might as well go home because that’s all you get that day. But of course you never know, and garaging is a form of gambling after all!

So we were done with buying, but it turned out not with smells. Yet another estate sale, and the house was fine…but evidently the smoker in the family had gone out to the garage to partake. For years. And being a much smaller space the residue was even more intense. I really did have to leave that one quite quickly.

But it was the usual garage collection of tools and miscellany. No bunnies, no problem!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Small Town, Big Fun

Went down to Roseburg (2 hour drive away) to visit our friends Diana and Dave and go to the Umpqua Valley Quilt Show this weekend. Eye candy galore! Diana and I oohed and aahed our way through the exhibit hall at the county fairgrounds.

We were simultaneously inspired and intimidated by the wonderful work that we saw. Of course some pieces were more amazing than others, but the quality of the quilts was truly wonderful. There was even a little quilt made by a four-year-old during “Grandma Camp!” (Sorry, didn’t get a picture of it, simple squares sewn into a wall hanging or doll blanket, but still…a four-year-old!)

The quilt guild sponsoring the show had a large booth in the back of the hall, and their main display made this old thrifter’s heart happy.

Of course we found a few things and put together an inch – although the lady who took my dollar thought our inch was too short and encouraged me to pick out something else. But I was happy with what we had.

Somewhat to my surprise, that wasn’t the only thrifty shopping I got to do. We planned to head south about 2 p.m. on Friday, so KK and I went out in the morning to see what we could find. Which wasn’t much, but I was happy with this.


I've noticed these pet-hair-collecting gloves online (they’re one of those “as seen on TV” items, but I don’t own a television so those are rarely “as seen by me”). Wouldn’t have spent ten or fifteen bucks on one, but for a dollar I was willing to give it a try, and it does a pretty good job.

Fannie turns out to have quite an undercoat and is starting to shed. And though ZoĆ« has zero undercoat her short white hairs get into everything. So I think we’ll get our dollar’s worth. And I did get a good laugh from the literature that came in the box, with its “Important Safety Instructions.” I mean, really? Safety instructions?

And by golly, they left out the only one I think might be needed: Don’t use this glove wrong-side out. Ouch!

Saturday morning Diana and I stopped at one estate sale on our way to the fairgrounds. It was really picked over, guess it had started on Thursday, and I wish we’d been there that day because I think there was some cool stuff. Like a particularly gorgeous stained glass screen that we saw a picture of in their ad, but that was gone. However, I did spent two bucks and left with another addition to my glass-vases-in-the-window collection

a cozy muffler from Ireland

(I've already ignored the ‘dry clean only’ tag; honestly, do people really take something like a scarf to the dry cleaners? Do they think the wool never got wet when it was on the sheep?)

and three containers of miscellaneous buttons.

Probably nothing too valuable in them, though I'm still trying to figure out what these metal buttons depict.

A lovely lady? But, ummm, are those horns among her hair? Frankly, my first impression was Ludwig van Beethoven, so maybe I'll stick with that.

Buttons are in the eye of the beholder, right?

Diana got the real deal of the day though. She’s part of a church group that is upgrading a meeting room where women in recovery can gather, and they need some decent chairs. She was admiring the four dining chairs at the estate sale, which were marked $80. This turned out to be the price for all four, but they have zero budget for the project. The price went down to $40, then $30. We both tried them out and they were very comfy and in great shape, so she decided to get them.

When we got home I noticed a maker’s tag on the bottom of one chair and the word ‘Denmark.’ So I looked them up, and it turned out they are from the Danish company Bolinge, probably made in the Sixties. And worth quite a bit more than $7.50 each! There are two each of these two styles, all with the original upholstery (which I think is wool) and most likely made of teak.

So instead of taking them straight to the meeting room, they are going to try to sell them to someone who appreciates midcentury furniture, and use whatever they raise that way to furnish the room.

Treasures lurk everywhere, don’t they? 

Monday, April 17, 2017


Found a new addition to the Bunny Department of the Museum de Me on Friday.

Six bunnies for a quarter. Now that’s a deal! It came with a tea light candle in the middle, and the hubster thinks it could be used as a teapot warmer. 

But I like the idea of bunnies and flowers, so I popped a little vase (also known as a shot glass!) in the middle and picked a few flowers from our yard.

(Can I just say that our bulb flowers are doing well this year?)

I try to resist bunnies, there are too many out there lurking on driveways, looking adorably cute, trying to tempt me into taking them home. I looked back through my spreadsheet and saw that most years I only succumb to the charms of one or two, some years none. And the ones I have kept, I really love!

Most I love just because they amuse me. Like Bunny on a Scooter, giving a ride to Tiny Bunny that my SIL gave me.

I have two Steiff bunnies, a hand puppet like Bunny Rabbit from the Captain Kangaroo Show, and a small one that’s just the right size to hold in your hand. (He’s the one on the right side in the Fisher Price cart.)

I still remember the skipped beat of my heart when I spied him lying on the ground at a sale in San Mateo (this was about twenty years ago!). I picked him up and asked how much (didn’t care, I was taking him home with me) and managed to keep a straight face when the woman said, “Oh, ten cents.”

Did the happy dance after I got out of her sight!

Bunnies seem to like being on the move. They paddle canoes (this is another I've had for a long time, at least 10 years)

and pull carts

and lead parades in their fabulous slippers.

They make me laugh. This is a Tomy wind-up toy that originally pushed a baby in a pram, hence the nursemaid outfit. But the pram was gone when I bought her, and we have always called her Zombie Bunny because—well, because!

Some bunnies turned out to be really good deals. I paid a dollar each for two pieces by ceramic artist Karen Howell, and was amazed to see what they are selling for these days – some similar pieces in the $150 neighborhood.

Some bunny things I've passed along to others and just have the pictures now. Both Lizzie and Edward were always good sports about modeling things like bunny ears. (I don’t miss the ears, but I do miss those two good dogs!)

And sometimes bunnies are quite useful. I found my handmade Velveteen Rabbit just about the same time we got Millie as a kitten last summer, and it made a great measuring stick for her growth. Then:

and now:

I’m not quite sure what this expression is about!

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