Just One Sale

I carefully plan out each Friday’s pile of garage sales with my trusty Craig’s List and my ridiculous knowledge of our town, aided by a trip to map quest now and then.  OK, I really am not that careful, but just jot down what looks good, and we take a gander.  Some days we find one sale that is so good, that we just don’t care about anything else.  This sale wasn’t it.  It was the mother load for photos though.  We might have taken even more, but it was pretty dark in the house, and seriously, we really didn’t want to damage our readers forever.

This family owned a local Mexican restaurant for years.  Apparently, when it closed down, they felt the need to bring it all home.  Take these for instance:

old-awful-seventies-picturesMaybe semi-harmless in a restaurant setting, especially if you have had a couple of stiff margaritas to make them palatable, but in your home.  Eh, not so much.  I can’t remember if they were real wood or not, and I am not sure why it maters, unless it was a thought in the back of my mind towards adding them to a camp fire.  Burn conquistador, burn.  This might be a time when the Inquisition would be a blessing.

We think these must have been behind the bar:

more-dark-wood-wall-art-only-20-bucks-eachThank goodness these WERE real wood, so not available to chop off the head of unreasonable customers.  They even brought the extra paint home to lay a coat on the basement walls.  It was all we could do to get it light enough to shoot these.  It was sort of like descending into Hades, but we braved it thinking there had to be something good down there.  No such luck

After rising from hell, we discovered these upstairs:

ginormous-harliquin-wall-artginormous-harliquin-wall-art-40-bucks                                                                                                                                                                       About all we could say on their behalf, was OMG they are huge!  I don’t suppose these ruined the appetites of anyone.  Must have saved the best stuff for home.

Even the patio furniture matched the general awfulness of the whole mess:

patio-furnitureI am not sure that new cushions would help. I am going to put my pessimism down to general crabiness of the day.  I mean take a gander at the stuff on the wall.  Now imagine an entire house filled with just that quality and style of stuff.  And I am talking a HUGE house.

This owl and pussycat would be right at home there, but I am pretty sure we didn’t see them on that day:

the-owl-and-the-pussycat-went-to-seaIt was pretty funny, we tried to like things there, we truly did, but we left with a terrified feeling knowing that much of that stuff was going back out to infect other people’s homes with bad taste.  If you are ever faced with a sale like that, just back away, and then take off running.  There has to be another sale out there!

I am going to leave you with a couple of fun things, just to wipe the aftertaste out of your mouth, so here we go.  I know these are crazy, but we both thought they were actually sort of cute.  They just tickled our funny bone.  Not enough to bring them home, but enough to get a smile from each of us.  Those are candles on their heads, and they are paper mache, which seems like a tactical error, but apparently, the previous owner was smart enough to hide the matches.

candle-holdersAnd lastly just wanted to share one of the lovely planters in one of our town squares.  This is close to the place where we have lunch every week, and our town does such a good job with them:

downtown-flowersWe are living in denial that we are past the average date of our first frost, and winter is coming.  The only good part is, we might just avoid another sale like the one above.  Oh wait, estate sales happen all winter.  Wish us luck!

We have a nice tutorial coming up in the next couple of weeks, and there is still plenty of thrift store, and garage sale craziness to keep us writing.  Like it is ever going to stop.  Don’t forget to check out the extras on Facebook, and we have lots of fun things pinned over on Pinterest too, so if you need a fix, head on over there!



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More From The Summer Scrap Heap

We’re still writing about our summer finds, but out the window it looks more like fall.  The temperatures are mild, so people are still having garage sales—yay!  I’m glad that we will have a little bit of extra stored up for when garage sale season is over.

One side effect of writing this blog is that we get some interesting email from people under the misapprehension that we know what we’re talking about.  Or, that we have memories of things that we photographed three years ago.  I always answer the email admitting our general ignorance, but I can’t help but feel that we are failing our readers.  We usually tell you what we know about a subject when we write a post, and then we edit in our readers’ comments when they have some knowledge to share.  This week, it was someone who had just bought a vintage washing machine.  A Google search led him to us, since we have taken a few pictures of washers.  We feel for you all, and you can still email us; maybe we’ll know something (doubtful), or maybe we can direct you to a more knowledgeable source (more likely).

I wish that we didn’t have ANY knowledge of this:

Lacey Basket Front   Lacey Basket

The amount of lace, ribbon, and foofles on this might be enough for a whole other wedding.  I say wedding because what other event brings out the secret Victorian urges of mothers, planners, and female participants?  I have been guilty of lacy excesses during the ’90s, but I had the decency to burn them in a barrel!

This brass and enamel thingie might have been right at home in the above wedding:

Strange Enamel and Brass thingie

We like enamel, and even painted metal, if it’s tasteful and attractive.  The biggest problem with this thingie is the bird.  It’s not the right scale, unless the flowers are Audrey II, and, really, the flowers are enough—what does that soaring brass bird add?  I think this would be better with the gentle application of wire cutters.

The first two things have lowered my spirits.  Let’s look at something cute:

Sweet little Miss February

I looked it up and this little birthday statue has it right; violets are February’s birth flower, honest to Google!  She is sweet as a lump of sugar.  The only February birthday in my family is my sister’s, and this isn’t her thing.  We always smile at these little Napco or Josefesque birthday figurines wherever we find them.

I kind of liked this box of hanging lights:

Woven Globe Hanging Lights

The whole box was $5, and if you didn’t like the colors, I’m sure you could dye them somehow.  If you had a beachy-themed patio, or garden room, these would be fun.

If we still have time after garage sales, we’ve been heading over to Goodwill’s 99¢ room.  Imagine our surprise when they posted some rules:


Now I want to call the 99¢ room Fight Club.  You cannot imagine the chaos when new bins are wheeled into the room.  The employee has to yell at people to get out of the way and not try to grab things out of the five-foot tall cardboard boxes of donations until they are off the forklift and against the wall.  People practically climb over each other to be the first one into the box.  Kathy and I stay way on the other side of the room for our personal safety.  It’s not worth a black eye to get first crack.  The funny thing is that we usually find a ton of stuff there (here’s a pic from Facebook) without all the pushing and shoving.  In fact, it’s kind of dangerous to be the first (or even second or third) to stick your hands in a pile of stuff.  We’ve found fish hooks, unsheathed knives, and broken glass mixed up in goods before.  Plus, why would you risk your life for a jacket like this:


I titled this picture:  Halloween called and they want their sports jacket back.  We saw the matching rust-colored polyester pants a couple of bins down.  Here’s a costume all ready to roll.  All you need to do is add a porn ’stache and a fat tie with a contrasting pattern and you could be a leading man from the ’70s.  B.H. points out that Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati wore a similar jacket.

I feel like we’ve tortured you enough, so let’s end on a good note:


If we had room in our houses for rocking chairs, one or both of us would have snatched these up.  They were so cool and reasonably priced; someone got a bargain.  This is our kind of garage sale find.

Thanks for reading.  We’re going to write a couple of how-to posts and publish them; we don’t have all the details worked out, but be on the look out for them.




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Estate Sale Craziness

Fall is trying to sneak its way into Colorado’s back door.  We both love fall, but it means a decline in garage sales.  So far, we are hanging in there, but it is only a matter of time before we come to rely strictly on the thrift stores and the occasional estate sale.  Sigh … a happy/sad time of year.  Oh, well, you can cheer up, because a couple of weeks ago, we hit an estate sale that was the mother lode of bad photos for the year!  You have no idea how elated we were.  Gosh, we are easy to please.

Some items were fun.  Take this adorable little stand mixer:

Adorable little standing mixer setCute as a button, and I bet it still works like a champ.  It was amazing how well these old appliances were built.  I love my big ole Kitchenaide, but if I didn’t have one, this would fill the bill.

And some items were not so fun:

Country Club Ash TrayAre you kidding me?  Bad ceramics and smoking seemed to go hand in hand.  I have a hard time believing any self-respecting country club let this past the front door.  Maybe it was the booby prize for shooting the most double bogeys in a round?  (I just noticed, this might have been a Goodwill find, but it would have fit right in with the estate sale, so we will just pretend.)

This closetful, I know, came from the sale:

Pegnoirs of every colorThese were ALL peignoir sets.  Every color of the rainbow and then some.  We were pretty sure this gal had a major shopping addiction (We should talk!) as she had more than one of just about everything.  We wonder if she rotated these on a daily basis, or let lover-boy choose which color he wanted tonight!  We often wonder just how much of this stuff really gets sold, and if it doesn’t where does it go?  We sometimes see some things at the thrifts that we recognize, but not all of it.  It must go live with the lost socks from my dryer.

Again, we sort of liked this funky patio set:

Cool old patio setWith the right color cushions and the right mid-century modern house, it would look very festive.  Just ready for those outdoor bar-b-ques and dry martinis.  The plastic cactus in a pot on the table DOES have to go, however.  For gosh sakes, why do you need fake cactus?  How hard is it to grow a real one?  Even most folks with black thumbs can handle that one.

We were worried about this sock monkey cowboy:

Yippee Eye Oh Kay Yay

Who is going to take something that homely and give him a good home?  I find many sock monkeys a little on the creepy side at the best of times, and this one is right up there.  He is not improved by the western outfit either.  I am just going to give this one a “she probably worked hard on it” and give it a rest.  [Deb here:  I know Kathy will roll her eyes, but I thought he was pretty funny and I almost bought him for a friend.]

This next item pretty much takes the prize:

HIdeous clock and wall decor2I think this is going to have to go right up there with some of the worst things we have ever seen.  The lights didn’t work anymore (drat); although I had a strong urge to take it home and rewire it just so I could see it in action, I resisted.  While chortling and attempting to get a photo of this (it was in a dark basement; we are glad it had been festering down there instead of hanging in the living room), we attracted the attention of one of the ladies working the sale who was so kind as to hold it up to the light so we could get a better photo.  She was chuckling right along with us, and totally understood the need for a photo and not to buy it!  We also wondered what was supposed to go in the little basket holders down at the bottom.  Here they are a bit closer, so you can see better:

HIdeous clock and wall decor

I guess some pink plastic roses would look right at home, and hey, how could they make it any worse?  Glad to see the crystal drops on the lamps show up better in this photo.  You wouldn’t want to miss those.  Wonder if it came with red velvet for the background as well?  OK, I have to stop.

Same sale produced this super-duty blender cover:

Vintage Blender CoverShe seems a bit too cheerful, just because she covered her blender.  The only reason I can think of, is she was hiding the pitcher of margaritas she just mixed, so she could have them all to herself.  I have decided in my mind that this is just what the lady of the house looked like, as she stood in front of her closet contemplating her peignoirs.

This last item really had us puzzling:

The littlest angelWe found it at Goodwill in the record area, and just assumed it was a record cover, but on opening it, we found this:

The Littlest Angel3It seemed like a fancy program, and while we were pondering who the littlest angel was, the guy beside us came up with the boy who played Jody on Family Affair.  OK, we got that, now what else?

Looking on the back cover we see:

The Littlest Angel2A whole plethora of well known actors of the time, including Fred Gwynne, Cab Calloway, and Connie Stevens.  It was originally aired on TV as a Hallmark Hall of Fame show.  Somehow, we missed it, but it won awards and everything.  What do we know?  We are still not sure where the program came from, but we learned something new, I guess.

Well, it’s time to get back to those fall chores, the painting is not going to do itself, and soon it will be time to put the garden to bed, and then spend the winter … looking for more estate sales!




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Not-So-Weird Collection: Silhouettes

I have had a love affair with silhouettes since my childhood.  When I was somewhere between five and seven, and my parents had silhouettes cut of me and my two sisters.  The artist had us sit in profile to him, and he cut quickly with a small pair of scissors.  Here is my silhouette:

My silhouette

So, I’ve collected silhouettes for a long time, but never really known much about them.  For instance, silhouettes have been around for a long, long time.  There are examples of silhouettes in Egyptian hieroglyphics.  Pliny the Elder told a story about a woman tracing her lover’s shadow on a wall to remember him by before he left on a long trip.  Her father, a Greek potter, saw the silhouette on the wall, loved it, and started using it to decorate his pottery.  However factual this story is, there is a style of pottery with black decorations dating from 700 BCE.  This style of pottery decoration is called Black-figure pottery, but the figures have details etched into the black paint which traditional silhouettes don’t.

Silhouettes, originally called shadow portraits, became popular again in the early to mid 18th century.  Several accounts relate the rise in popularity to a conjunction of three things:  the excavation of Herculaneum and Pompeii and the finding of ancient pottery, the study of physiognomy (the belief that a person’s character is related to their features), and the rise of scrapbooking in (depending on who you believe) German or English royal courts.  I think there were people cutting shadow portraits before these three things, but they weren’t a fad, yet.

These shadow portraits supposedly started being called silhouettes after Etienne de Silhouette when he was appointed King Louis XV’s controller general in 1759.  He tried to rein in the king’s extravagance (Good luck with that!) and so became associated with everything cheap or miserly.  Silhouettes were inexpensive portraits that almost anyone could afford as opposed to oil portraits that were only available to the rich.

The art became mechanized early on using a physiognomy mechanical device like this:


This picture, Drawing a Silhouette by Johann Rudolph Schellenberg, 1740-1806, shows how silhouettes could be drawn quickly and then the image could be enlarged, shrunk, or copied using a pantograph.  There was quite a rivalry between folks who cut silhouettes free-hand, and those who used machines.  I’ve also seen pictures showing a large piece of fabric hanging between the artist and the model, with a candle throwing a shadow as a method of tracing a profile.

Silhouettes could also be reverse-painted on glass against a light background.  Sometimes these painted silhouettes are difficult to distinguish at a glance from the black paper cutouts.  There are also hollow-cuts which are silhouettes cut out of light-colored paper and placed upon a dark background.  I have examples of all three below.

Another fun fact: Hans Christian Anderson was a paper cutter as well as a writer.  He used to cut paper while telling tales to friends and their children.  At the end of the story, he would unfold the paper to show the picture he had cut.

The rage for silhouettes was significantly diminished by the emergence of photography.  They didn’t disappear altogether, and silhouettes went in and out of fashion all during the 20th century.

I should say,  before starting, that I’m sorry for the askew or reflective pictures.  Many of my silhouettes are attached to a large window screen which is screwed to a wall.  It would be more work than I’m willing to do, to get better, still not good, pictures of art under glass.  Also, since I shop mostly at thrift store, garage and estate sales, I don’t pay more than $10 for my silhouettes, and usually it’s a good deal less.  I don’t think they have a lot of value either; I just like them.

First up are some paper black-shape silhouettes:

Pair Black Paper cut silhouettes

I think these are what people typically think of when they hear the word silhouette.  They both are modern interpretations of 18th or 19th century examples.  In the beginning of the 20th century, people started copying older silhouettes just for fun or for forgeries.  While these look new to me, some of the earlier ones are very difficult for people to detect.

More black-paper silhouettes:

Black cut silhouette of regency couple in curicle  1950s couple silhouettes

These two pictures represent two periods of the silhouette fad.  Left-most is an image depicting the early 19th century, when silhouettes were reaching the crest of their popularity wave.  This is a modern silhouette of an old subject; I’m not able to guess just when it was cut.  The pair of portraits are signed in 1951, so we know when they were cut.  I really like how the artist made the man’s tie, and the lady’s corsage and hat.  It gives these two personality, in my book.

Here are a couple of unframed animal silhouettes:

Deer with flowers silhouette   Deer with flowers silhouette 2

People are so darned amazing at cutting pictures with X-Acto knives, tiny scissors, or other tools that I’m not sure if they are machine cut or hand cut.  I really liked them and that’s all that really matters to me.

Here are two more paper cut silhouettes:

Silhouette angel  Black cut silhouette of girl and bird

I think the angel was bought with the intention of making it into a Christmas card.  She is totally adorable with her birdy friend.  The girl on the right is dated 1948 and it’s hard to say where I got her.  I like that these silhouettes have two different techniques going on.  The mix of solid and line silhouette makes each of these charming in its own way.

Here are my two hollow-cut silhouettes:

Hollow cut couple 2

It’s easiest to see on the male.  The cutting is done of the white paper and then a piece of black paper is slid underneath.  The frames are older on these two pictures, but they certainly aren’t 19th century silhouettes, despite their subjects.

Far and away, the biggest part of my collection are reverse-painted silhouettes:

1800s couple pink background   Black paper cut silhouette civil war era woman

This is also an old technique, and really not any easier than cutting the image from paper, in my book.  The amount of detail in this kind of silhouettes is amazing.

Painted silhouette getting mail  silhouette Regency couple

If I get these pictures in bright light, I can often cause a shadow underneath.  I guess the paper could be stuck to the glass, but so far, they’ve all been reverse paintings.

Silhouettes can come in a wide variety of sizes and subjects.  It’s not all 18th and 19th century courting and portraits:

Painted silhouette pianoforte   Painted Silhouette kids with bubbles3

These little 4×6 inch silhouettes were probably made somewhere in the 1920s to ’30s.  The kids blowing bubbles might be my favorite silhouette of them all.  The young lady at the piano looks very 1920s to me with her cloche hat, but maybe it’s just Jeeves in the background.

And then there are painted silhouettes with foil accents:

Smith Frederick painted silhouette   Painted Silhouette Asian Tea Ceremony

The left picture is signed Smith Frederick and was made in the 1930s for Reliance Co.  It features the traditional 19th century woman.  The small silhouette on the right is completely different—perhaps a geisha practicing her music and drinking tea.  I think it could be from between 1920s to the ’40s because of the frame.  I wish more of these pictures were signed and dated!

There is a different kind of reverse painting that’s on curved glass with scenes beneath:

Painted Silhouette with curved glass2  Painted Silhouette curved glass5

They often came in pairs, but I have singles, too.  I’m not sure if they lost their friend, or this was how they were made:

Painted Silhouette with curved glass  Painted Silhouette Curved glass7

Some of these pictures were made by Benton Glass in the 1930s and ’40s; I’ve only seen these curved-glass silhouettes with these metal frames.  On the internet, there are pictures of Benton Glass silhouettes with a stripped metal frame.  Of course, when something is popular, people copied them ruthlessly.  Who knows, maybe the plain metal frames are the copy?  The pictures in my collection are either 5×4 inches or 8×6 inches.

The fabric arts also featured silhouettes:

Embroidered Chinese couple2   Cross stitch ladies having tea

Both of these pictures are cross stitch.  The two ladies on the right was done by B.H.’s Great Aunt Bea; it has a very 1920s feel to it.  I’m not sure when the Asian couple to the left were done, but the frame is considerably newer.  I’m sure I bought the pair on the left just because they were silhouettes.  My lovely S.I.L., Dorothy, gave me Aunt Bea’s picture.

One last silhouette to show you:

Hanky box

This is my hanky box and it’s a no-brainer to go into my collection.  Box, check, hankies, check, and silhouette, check; how could  I resist?  I took it apart and put a piece of black velvet behind it to make the silhouette show up.  The original piece was in tatters.

Thanks for stopping in to check out my silhouettes and the little I know about them.  Right after I finish all my button books, I’m starting one on the art of the silhouette, and will correct any mistakes I’ve made.  If you are a silhouette aficionado please share with us all.  I will go back and include informational comments in the post so that we can all learn.



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Let’s Have Fun at an Auction

I’m going to admit to a bit of procrastination here, too.  Deb is not the only one adept at it.  My posts usually get written Thursday afternoon sometime, as I am not good for anything after 9 pm.  If I wrote a post any later than that, there wouldn’t be enough proofreading in the world to fix it.

I think I will take off on a little tangent this post, as I had an adventure last week.  I grew up going to auctions.  I have memories of sitting under my folks’ feet at the weekly auction in town coloring my heart out.  My parents didn’t have a lot of money and loved antiques, so they bought old American Golden Oak furniture cheap and refinished it.  Many of the pieces of furniture we both use came from auctions and were treated with love and respect to get to the place they are today.  I like to listen to the auctioneer’s patter, and I get a huge kick out of the characters that you see at most junk auctions.  The guy who will take anything for a buck, the dealer of ____ (fill in the blank), young people just starting out and totally overwhelmed, the curmudgeon who bids on everything, even the cute rocking horse with the five year old hanging on its mane bidding for the first time ever, the rest of the crowd ready to slap said curmudgeon, if he doesn’t keep his bidding number in his pocket and let the little girl have her horse, and I could go on and on.

So, last Monday, I stopped by to visit my folks and found my dad had trundled out to the local junk auction, that for some reason, they were having on a Monday, instead of the usual Saturday.  I decided to head on out and see what they had and what he was up to.

Well, there it was.  An acre or so of junk spread out on the field where they usually have hay and livestock auctions.  I should have taken a picture of that, but didn’t think of it.  Suffice to say, dusty and rusty was the order of the day.  My dad had a list of things he was looking at, mostly fire extinguishers, as he refurbishes them and sells them in his business, but a few other things.  So I decided to hang out for bit and see what was what.  I only lasted an hour or so before I was piling stuff onto his bidding number!  I bought just three things, and I will now share them with you.

First off, an entire lot of shoe-box-size plastic bins for $7.50.  You don’t need a photo of that, but a bargain anyway.  I always need storage.  Then they came to a bunch of mixed lots in bins, and I managed to snag this one for $8.00:

Tub O JunkI was really only going for this:

What I boughtThe key was still taped to the side, and I thought it was cute.  It did clean up very well, and will go nicely with my Barbie vinyl pieces.

The problem is the rest of the stuff:

What I got 1The little Swiss plate with the cow and people on it is pretty cute, and the Christmas girl figural music box just needed cleaned and the music box re-attached.  Not sure about the moldy Last Supper clock or the light up Virgin Mary bust.  The doll is out of a nightmare, and I like the Muppets, but Kermit the bank has to go.

Oh, there was more:

What I got 2Avon bottles, a troll, or Sully, anyone?

Or maybe these two a little closer:

Tony or FurbyThe Furby works, such as it is, and it is an older one.  Not worth much, but I spent an enjoyable 10 minutes freaking out my son with it.  I do sort of like the Tony the Tiger bowl with feet.  I wonder what you would do if your frosted flakes took off walking across the breakfast table.

The kicker in the whole box was this:

LunchThe Alf lunchbox, complete with lunch.  EEEWWWWW.  I don’t know how long everything had been in storage, but I am betting at least 10 years.  Don’t you check the lunch box before you toss it in a box?  Needless to say that hit the trash faster than the speed of light.

Lest you think I have completely lost my touch, and didn’t find any goodies, we come to these:

Abraham Palatnik 2Abraham Palatnik 1I got these in a lot with a couple of nasty resin wolf figures and a rock painted like a panda for the grand sum of $10.  It was everything on a shelf.  I just thought they were kinda cool.  I especially liked the bunny in the back.  We had a little debate at home, as my family was sure the large round one was a snail, but it is clearly a peacock, as it has feathers with eyes.  Each figure was marked made in Brazil, so when I got home I Googled acrylic, made in Brazil and these popped right up.  They were made in the ’60s by a man by the name of Abraham Palatnik, (you can see some of his serious art here) This is the signature on one of the signed pieces:

Abraham Palatnik SignatureAnd what do you know? These pop art figures are worth some bucks.  Check it out.  I was delighted.  I probably got the steal of the day, and no one, not even me, knew it!  There is something to be said for good instincts.  Buy what you like, and you can’t go wrong.  Even if these hadn’t been worth a thing, I would have been happy with my purchase.

Plus, I got to spend the day with my dad, who did get a couple of extinguishers for $2.00.  Auctions rule!  Got an auction story?  We would love to hear it.  Write or comment and we will share it with our readers.Save


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Procrastinate Now and Panic Later (Thanks Internet!)

Holy crap, it’s Thursday evening and I haven’t even started to write a post for tomorrow morning!  I admit that Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) describes me when he says:

You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.
What mood is that?
Last-minute panic.

I like to think that I’m a much better writer with a panicky fire lit under me, although that theory is never going to be tested because it would involve working ahead.🙂

I have to apologize for this bad picture.  It was taken in the Unitarian Church’s boutique room which is pretty darn crowded:

Camel Head dress Unitarian Church

It was a fancy headdress for a camel with all sorts of beads and froufrou hanging down from the woven cotton portion that fitted over said camel’s head.  I wish I knew what it was doing in Fort Collins CO, which is a high plains desert without a significant camel population.  When I Googled “camels Fort Collins CO”, just to make sure there isn’t a huge camel breeder nearby, I found this story of a couple who quit their jobs in a Denver suburb to start a camel dairy—I kid you not!  I wonder if they would have bought this for their cow, Big Mama?

We saw this in the Christmas/outdoor decoration portion of the Unitarian Sale:

Goofy Parrot  Goofy Parrot Pal, Owl

I was really tempted to buy them both; it’s hard to resist something as goofy as that parrot, and I couldn’t leave her friend the owl behind.  I think the recollection of how much junk decorates my backyard already was the final decider.  I need more stuff for the yard like I need more doll stuff—not at all, but that doesn’t stop me from buying it.  I can just see B.H. wincing while he proofreads that sentence, since truer words have never been uttered.  I’m pretty sure someone with an adventurous taste in decor snapped these two up in a New York minute.

The next three fashion finds were also noted at the Unitarian Church Sale.  First up, a herd of elephants:

Plastic Elephant Necklace

We first found one of the little elephants laying on the table in front of the necklace and thought it was kind of fun.  Looking up, we decided that one was fun and nine were just a bit much. All that judgment seems to be in opposition to our opinion that with the right attitude and some misplaced confidence, a person can carry off almost anything.

This little formal was so sweet:

Lovely Vintage Gown   ovely Vintage Gown 2

I can imagine sweet young thing, a la Gidget, Sandy, or Francie, wearing it to the Spring Fling in the 1960s.  I really like the white embroidery on the bodice.

I’m not sure whom I envision wearing these gloves:

Magic Motion Lavender Gloves

Even if they were “advertised in Life” I’m not sure they were a hit in real life.  Obviously, I’m not alone in that thought since they haven’t been worn to this day.  Sadly, neither of us can wear this color; I used to wear a shirt this color to work, and my coworkers frequently asked me if I felt okay.  Finally, it occurred to me that it was this color that was making me look sick, not the fact that I was at work.

We saw this at Goodwill:

Frame Job

It seemed like a very creative way to frame a picture, however tiny it might be.  I have to commend the person who ever-so-neatly cut a hole in the embroidered doily, and the mat cutter for following the shape of that doily fairly faithfully—that couldn’t have been easy.  Alas, we drag lots of orphans home, but not his one.  It wasn’t there the next week, which relieves our guilt for not adopting everything.

We were so excited to see this box on Goodwill’s shelves:

Cranberry Set

Ever since the great cranberry server kerfuffle of November 22, 2013 when we found out that cranberry servers were really a thing (Who knew?  Our readers, apparently!) we have been on the lookout for these things.  In three years, we have found three and bought two.  The unpurchased one was so outrageously priced that we couldn’t force ourselves to buy it, even for you, dear readers.  We have so wanted to find one and use it as a giveaway for Thanksgiving.  Oh joy, here is the perfect set, in its box, even.  Of course, when we opened the box to make sure it was all kosher, there was only a crystal serving dish and no server.  Isn’t that just the way these things go?  Believe you me, we are going to find one of those @$!& things and give it away; our honor as black belt thrifters is on the line.

Finally, I wanted to share a couple of things I bought at the Unitarian Church sale:

Hull China for Westinghouse  Hull China for Westinghouse mark

I love these Hall refrigerator dishes made for Westinghouse in the late 1930s and into the ’40s.  The orange color is called “sunset” and I don’t know what the yellow color is called. The Deco shapes are what make them so cool.  They made a great giveaway to the buyers of Westinghouse refrigerators.  I hadn’t run across one of these before last year; now I have three!

As always, thanks for reading.  I have a few ideas for posts in the near future—if I stop procrastinating!  I actually have taken pictures of my silhouettes for a post and it occurred to me that we could do a pretty amazing post on our paper ephemera that we drag home on a regular basis.  If you have an idea for a post, just drop us a line and we can see what we can do.





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At It Again

You might think that we would get tired of the endless rounds of thrift stores, garage sales and estate rummaging.  In a word, “no”.  Last week, we hit the Unitarian Church sale on Thursday, garage sales and a thrift store on Friday, and on Saturday, when I usually attend garage sales with my family, who should I run into?  Deb.  It just never stops.  Yippee!  This is why there is a never-ending supply of bad stuff to share, and this week is no exception.

Let’s start out with the worst.  I am not saying the rest is top shelf, but this has got to be the bottom of the barrel:

We're so sorry they painted you pinkWhat did this poor girl ever do to the spray-paint can wielding DIYer that had at her?  OK, I know it is not the most attractive sculpture ever, but do you really think painting it pink improved it?  And adding the plastic cameo on the lace ribbon is just adding insult to injury.  I am just glad they ran out of paint before they could make her one of a pair.

We found these in the bins at our local thrift:

Ankle Accessories2     Ankle Accessories

There were multiple examples of each variety.  Now, I love ankle bracelets and wear them often in the summer, but these just seemed like something that would drive you nuts.  The fringe in the back would always be underfoot, and if I wore something like this around the house, my cat would insist that my feet were fair game for pouncing upon.  We did understand why they were not great sellers, and ended up en masse at the thrift store.

Next up, a throw back to the ’70s.  Remember shadow boxes?

deer and bean shadow boxYou could buy the kits at your local hobby store, stain them, and fill them yourself with all sorts of goodies to admire.  Somehow I think the weird plastic deer just didn’t fit the bill.  I am also worried about Atilla the bunny lurking just behind the purple tag.  He looks like he could make a meal out of the deer’s poor little fawn.  Watch out, Bambi!  Just so you know how cute they can be, here is one my grandma made:


It traveled for years with her in their motor-home, and then hung in their house.  I have it in my bath where I can enjoy it every morning.  I think I know where I got my thing for bug pins!

We actually sort of liked this:

Ferocious Fake Tiger HeadIf you must have a trophy, make it an awesome fake one!  Go on a photo safari.  This actually would have been pretty amazing if they had continued it on and made a white tiger rug. Totally PETA-friendly and guaranteed to terrify anyone wandering around your house drunk in the middle of the night.  I could see it in some really kitschy, groovy, ’60s, man cave too.

We got a giggle out of this pattern:

Patriotic CostumesDeb commented that if everyone would dress up for the political conventions, the way they do for comic cons, they would be so much more fun.  At least you could point, stare and take pictures instead of listening to politicians drone on.  Imagine the media coverage.  So much more entertaining.  So for next time, grab this pattern and do some sewing for your local representative.  The viewing public will thank you.

I don’t know why, but old baby stuff always seems cute, or at least amusing:

Metal Baby BuggyThis was quite the baby buggy; it even still had the old mattress tucked inside:

Metal Baby Buggy mattressI am thinking in our almost 100 degree weather the sides of this metal pram would get pretty darn hot, but at least it has a cover to keep the sun off, as long as you are only going one direction.  I had to laugh, as you will notice the arrow Deb inserted (she takes and edits most of our photos).  She is pointing out to you my, oh so delightful, kitty purse that I purchased in Bruges, Belgium.  Everyone goes to Europe and buys a bag.  At least I did.

If the buggy doesn’t get you, how about a cradle?

wicker cradleThat’s quite the wicker work job.  What really gets me is that apparently this child wanted out of bed so badly that they were chewing their way out.  I don’t know how else to describe what happened to the end of it.  It would still probably be cute with your teddys in it, but not much good for that new tiny tot, unless they needed a new teething ring, if so, have at that lead paint.

I am going to finish up with a couple of oddities:

Interesting dollsWe thought these dolls were pretty darn strange.  Kind of cool, but weird.  I know someone is going to come along and tell us how fabulous they were and why didn’t we buy them, but that is just the way the cookie crumbles.  We can’t buy it all, no matter that our respective hubbies think we do.

[A reader, Vivianne, provided some information about these dolls:  Regarding the two dolls, they are made by a company called ThreeA (3A) and are the creation of Ashley Wood, an internationally acclaimed painter and graphic novel creator/artist from Australia.

The figure on the left is a character known as a “Classic Tomorrow Queen” from the Popbot line of figures (and graphic novels) and the figure on the right is “Little Shadow” from the Adventure Kartel line. Both would have originally retailed for around $120-$130 (USD) and are essentially limited editions as the majority of 3A’s figures are offered as preorders and made according to the quantity ordered plus a few extra. As with other dolls and collectibles they have a world-wide following and their own form of conventions and shows

Vivianne updated her information 8/13/16 with: I asked a friend that collects 3A to look at the photo and below is what she replied: “The Tomorrow Queen figure, called “Princess Tomorrow Queen”, is from 2011 and the “Little Shadow” figure is from 2010. Both are the first editions of their character and in spite of their relative new-ness, a 3A collector finding these figures would be akin to a Barbie collector finding a #1 in similar state; obviously not monetarily worth as much but just as prized.”  She also stated the price I’d given was the amount new figures retail for and that the original cost of these two was $80 each].  Guess we should have bought them–thanks Vivianne!

It’s summer, and we know you have lots of fun stuff to do, so we really appreciate your visits to our blog.  However, we are always looking for new folks to share with.  If you have someone who you think would enjoy reading this, pass it along, and ask them to subscribe, or follow us on Facebook or Pinterest.



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