Saturday, August 6, 2016

Barbie, Books, & Boogie Woogie

Once in a while you come across a garage sale that makes you say, "Yes!  This is exactly why I venture out of the house so early on Saturday mornings!"  We found one of those today.  Tiny house, lovely East side Costa Mesa neighborhood, and a driveway full of treasure boxes.  I mean...the Barbies alone were like a trip to a museum. There were Barbie ornaments, Barbie books, Barbie accessories, Barbie clothes and Barbie cases.   None of these Barbies came home with either of us, but I was tempted!  I could play with Barbies for days when I was a kid!

What did come home was books.  I can't resist books from Everyman's Library.  Something about them just appeals to me:  the feel of the pages and the beautiful, classic bindings.  I found two of those today.  One of these books is full of beautiful little sketches from the south of France.  Here's a Willa Cather I've never heard of, and Stiff by Mary Roach, a book my brother raves about with the awesome subtitle The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers.   Carol was very patient with me while I dug through boxes.  I ended up with thirteen books and an old volume of Boogie Woogie for piano for a grand total of $10.  Ten dollars!  The Tim Burton is a catalog of his recent show at MOMA that was worth twice that and was still wrapped up in plastic!  But the piece de resistance, the creme de la creme was Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, the 40th anniversary edition.  It is in perfect condition.  No bernaise sauce has ever splattered a single pristine page.  Retail price on the inside cover:  $40. 


 Amazing bargains!  On another driveway I picked up a lovely picture frame (that I came home and filled with a recent painting just for effect) and Linda Ronstadt's Heart Like a Wheel for $1.  That's $1 for both.  And yes, I have a turntable to play it on.  See?

I don't know what you're doing with your Saturday, but I'm gonna go cook something while I listen to Linda. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Maybe It Will Be An Art Project" and Other Justifications For Buying Things I Don't Need

I used to check the PennySaver (remember that?) early in the week to plan my Saturday morning saling route. On Fridays I'd check the local classifieds and there would often be a long column of possibilities under "Garage Sales".  Highlighter in hand, I'd mark the ones that looked promising and keep the list in my car. Now it's 2016 and there is no Penny Saver or classifieds for that matter! I guess you can do the same thing online, but I never do.  I just venture out into the neighborhood to see what's happening. If I'm not dressed and in my car by 7:45 am I might as well just go back to bed. Carol & I are usually out the door by 7:30.  (Even then we often find that some local driveways are already decimated.)  The only exception to the 7:45 rule is for Estate Sales. In my neighborhood, true estate sales (there are fake ones, of course) start on Thursday or Friday and end on Saturday or Sunday. Any time on the first day of an actual estate sale can be lucrative. Most of the time I just scope them out to see if there's anything to come back for on half-price Saturday. So...

This is a brand new 6-inch Mario Batali Dansk cast iron skillet in deep red.  I knew it wouldn't be there for long, so I paid $10 for it on Thursday.  (And by the way, being able to go to estate sales on Thursdays is about #44 on the list of reasons-why-retirement-is-fantastic).    I thought that ten bucks was probably a little steep, but then I came home and googled it.  No.  These things are pricey.  Also, hello.  It is adorable. 

 This box came home with me, too.  I paid $5 for this silly thing which was probably meant to hold CD's.  It's from a company called Napa Valley Box Company.  Evidently it has gone out of business, because when you google it, you get zillions of Ebay listings for waaaay more than $5!  This is the second one I've picked up recently.  The first one was bigger and spray painted bright orange and is currently being turned into an art piece.  Eventually this one will follow suit. 

I also looked at this architectural print on Thursday, but decided that I didn't really need it or have wall space for it.  Hahaha.  When Carol and I came back on Saturday and everything was half price it came home with me anyway.  (For $7.50)  Carol found a pair of really excellent table lamps at the same sale, but no pictures of those I'm afraid. 

Other nice early Saturday morning finds include these three things that I absolutely have no need for but couldn't resist:

Another wind chime.  I justify the purchase of so many of these by telling myself that they make good squirrel deterrents.  I'm not sure that's really true, but since my dog has gone over my back wall not once, but twice in pursuit of squirrels I will try anything.  And anyway, how can you not buy such a pretty wind chime for just $1? 

The old window came home just because I liked it.   Shelling out $15 for an old window has to have some justification behind it, though, so here's how my thought process went:
"I like this.  It looks cool."
"Yes, but what will you do with it?"
"Maybe it could be an art project!  Yeah, I think it could definitely be an art project!" 
And out comes my wallet.
In reality, it turned out to be just another squirrel deterrent.  It's currently hanging outside in one of Stella's prime squirrel attack spots.  And it does look cool. 

Finally, a tiny little yellow teapot.  It would make sense if I actually drank tea.  But I'm a coffee person.  I almost never drink tea.  There is something about the shape and feel of these old teapots and pitchers that I just can't resist.  This one is from the Wallace China company in Los Angeles and it's probably old.  According to this California Pottery link it was in operation from 1931-1964.  I could probably sell it, but I know me.  I'll just keep it sitting around with all my other cool old pottery pitchers.  Eventually, as my daughter Emily recently told me, "you'll be dead and we'll have to deal with all this shit."  But it was only $1.  How can you pass that up?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Small Treasures

Carol and I have not been out saling together for a long time.  We are both in the midst of "kondoing" our own garages.  The last thing we need is more crapola.  But...June is a nice time for garaging here in Newport.  The mornings are gray and cool.  The gardens are blooming and fun to look at.  And you never know what you might find!   So today we ventured out.

With a new puppy in the house I am always on the lookout for dog toys.  You have to be selective:   no plastic eyes or buttons or other chokable parts.  I am constantly picking up toys and feeling them all over to assess.  This Hello Kitty was perfect, and Stella goes through Frisbees like nobody's business, (and vice versa by the way) so here is a new stash.  $2 for the pile.

I can never resist things made of bubbly turquoise glass.  I don't really need these, but they were so cute!  $1

I was a little bit irritated about paying $4 for this really nice Wallaroo hat.  But then I came home and googled it and found out that this exact hat costs $44 on their website.  So...ok. 

Cool earrings that seem like they should already belong to me:  50 cents! 
And finally, the small treasure that makes garage saling worth it:

This may not seem like much to you, but I have sort of a quasi-collection of two-headed objects.  Most of them are clay figurines (like this one) from Mexico or Central America.  This one has one head, but...three views.  Very cool.  But...the real reason that it came home with me was this:
It's a little primitive Stella!  I love it.  And it was practically free:  50 cents!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

$2 is the New Quarter

It's Saturday morning and I'm retired now.  That means I have more time for pretty much everything.  That includes blogging about garage sales!  It's been so long since I've posted anything that I forgot how to do it.   I had to retrain myself at every step.  Here goes:

It's warm and breezy today.  Good weather usually makes for many garage sales.  Today there were quite a few, but now that I don't have to buy things for my classroom I didn't really find much.   Everything I picked up this morning cost $2.  Everything.  I've been doing this sailing thing for a really long time now and over the years the basic cost of certain items has gone up, kind of like the minimum wage.  Things that used to cost a quarter or at the most, 50 cents, now cost $2.  Two dollars is the new quarter.

I don't need any of this stuff, but here are the four measly items I brought home today.

Two really beautiful cookbooks.  The one on the left was just too gorgeous to leave behind.  I might even use these.  I mean, being retired I actually have time to shop for fresh vegetables at the weekly farmer's market and I'm learning to be a better (and healthier) cook.   Usually I open an app.  But occasionally I can go old school and open a book.

A very pretty serving bowl, just the right size for a pretty salad or some kind of delicious veggie dish made from one of these new cookbooks.  It's "made in Italy" which is a plus.  I've found many, many Italian pots, bowls, and platters over the years and they've always served me well.  Those Italians.  Classy.

I should really stop buying picture frames.  I have so many of them.  But this one is in perfect condition and I will probably use it.  I've said this before but it bears repeating (seeing as how it's been years since I've posted anything):  never pay real money for picture frames. 

Evidently all the quarters I've been saving are useless now.  Unless I have them in stacks of eight.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Long time no post

This is going to be a quick little post to see if I remember how to do this!

I went out sailing all alone this morning and spent all of $6.50.  Here's what I got:

Two more champagne glasses (to add to my eclectic collection of garage sale champagne flutes...they actually look quite pretty when they're all mixed together for a special occasion);
and a nice, hefty, perfect-sized coffee mug with an adorable cafe logo & windmill.

A little cookbook holder made from a silver spoon & fork (and yeah...that's a garage sale William Sonoma potato cookbook sitting open);

A pink sock monkey Beanie Baby whose name is Socks and whose birthday is February 16, 2011, so ya know...just a toddler.  This one will have to wait until next year to join its ilk in my classroom basket of Beanie Baby rewards.  You can't introduce new ones at this point in the year, when more than half my class have already earned one;
And last, but not least, in fact representing $5 of the $6.50 total is this awesome pink and orange seahorse beach bag.  I have sort of a thing for seahorses which may stem from my daughter's performance in a ballet called "Ocean" when she was about eight years old.  Yup.  She was a seahorse. 
Hoping to find more treasures to post very soon.  Spring is coming! Enjoy, everyone!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Remember me?

I have completely forgotten how to post.  Life sort of got in the way of blogging a year ago.  Now I find myself sitting around with time on my hands, surrounded by little goodies I picked up yesterday, and I've decided to try again.

Here goes!

This lovely purple bowl, which totally goes with some smaller ones I picked up more than a year ago, cost all of $2.  I love this color, and the size is perfect for roasted veggies, heaps of mashed potatoes, or piles of ripe pears:  all the goodies that come with fall. 

I had a cheesy little string of white lights hanging in my living room, leftovers from last Christmas.  Yesterday they died.  So in a bizarre coincidence, I came across these pretty little scallop lights.  (Joe said, "Look at those little clam lights!"... so we had a little bivalve lesson).  I asked the woman who was selling them, "Do they work?" and she said, "Yes, just not in my house."  They work in mine!  Again, $2.

I am forever replacing lamps around here.  The good thing about that is that I never pay more than about three bucks for any of them.  All three of these items (purple bowl, scallop lights, and sweet black lamp) came from the same sale, along with a couple of (brand new) picture frames for a total of $10.  I think I may have said this before, but it bears repeating:  you should never spend real money for lamps. 

At another house, there were probably six different suitcases for sale.  It was as if these people said to themselves, "That's it.  We're never going anywhere again."  These two were in great shape:  all zippers and handles in working order, no stains or smells or even any wear and tear!  The Eddie Bauer duffle is a rolling one...very nice.  Both bags:  $20.

Finally, the little tiny Oaxacan figures below were just (in the immortal words of Robert Palmer) completely irresistible.  I have absolutely no need for either a tiny blue turtle or a mini-dragon.  But how can you leave them sitting on a driveway?  Carol picked up three teeny little dinosaurs, too.  $1 each.   

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I don't have too much to share lately, so I'm combining a couple of weekends in this post. Last Saturday Carol & I had a very nice morning, but all I really had to show for my efforts were these fish plates. They are excellent fish plates, though. They were $2 each. I'm trying to decide whether to use them or hang them up.

Carol is out of town, so I was on my own yesterday. I found a beautiful jewelry box with lots of nice, movable compartments and not one, but two keys. At the same house I also got a brand new dark taupe bed skirt for my photo since that's really sort of boring. It's already on my bed, having replaced the lighter one with Roxanne residue all over it. needed replacing.

Both the jewelry box and the bed skirt were $4. Nice.

Then I went and visited my jewelry-selling friend again. This time I stayed and chatted with her a while. Her name is Michelle. She's one of nine siblings who evidently live nearby. Between her and her brothers and sisters, they always have goodies to sell. Sometimes I see her out "sailing", too, and I'll say, "Hi! Look! I'm wearing your earrings!" Nice lady with tons of pretty jewelry. I bought these turquoise scarab, semi-Egyptian-looking things for $5 each.

I like them!

This last item isn't a sailing find, but it's so cute that I have to share it with somebody. School started on Thursday, September 1. I had 28 students on my roster, 29 actually showed up, and by Friday I was up to 30. I have 15 boys and 15 girls: perfect. On Friday morning one of my new students walked in and handed me this little package, hand-colored and wrapped in the inimitable style of an 8-year-old girl. Inside: a pink, plastic Hello Kitty wallet. Priceless. The year is off to a pretty good start.