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Friday, August 26, 2011

Bargain in The Hamptons

Hard to believe one can find a bargain in a town where a bagel with lox will set you back $17 (you read that correctly). But a Saturday morning yardsaling in East Hampton turned up these four lanterns for $2. They're lovely kerosene lanterns made in Czechloslovakia. The seller wanted me to take the bottle of kerosene as well but I declined. With hurricane Irene at our doorstep, that probably wasn't a wise decision.

I also picked up a few pieces of costume jewelry at the Annual Fisherman's Fair for a few bucks. Could have scored some nice furniture for very low prices, but unfortunately the kids' bikes took up the back of my van.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

127 Virgin Takes the Plunge!

I've wanted to check out the Route 127 Sale for years, but I live in New England, several states away. This year I finally made it! A carefully timed visit to relatives in Toledo gave me a full day at the sale. It was fabulous, exhausting, bizarre and well worth the long drive to Ohio.

My first mistake, planning an overly ambitious route. I started in West Unity, directly west of Toledo.

I thought I'd head south as far as Van Wert (about 60 miles) and then head east along the Lincoln Highway which happened to be having its annual sale at the same time. I thought I'd go as far as Upper Sandusky (about 75 miles) and then head back north to Toledo. I didn't account for all the sales and the visiting time. Although I've lived in the midwest, I forgot how friendly everyone is. I had to stop and chat, sign guest books, and report on my finds. In the end, after 8 hours travelling along 127, I made it about 30 miles from my starting point.

Here's my first stop at a church in West Unity...

I am still having trouble deciding what I enjoyed most--the sheer volume of treasures, the odd scene along a rural highway lined with yard sale signs and RVs and U-Hauls displaying license plates from all over inching along, or the sporting-like sense of community the whole event sparked complete with local signs to cheer us on "Welcome 127 Garage Salers!"

In any case, I've never enjoyed thrifting more! Despite the ever-present dusty exercise equipment circa 1980 and the piles and piles of used clothing, I managed to fill my trunk with treasure. Here's a peek at my thrHaul:

One of my first purchases, a pair of vintage troll earrings: $2.

It was Christmas in August for this Jewish thrifter. I just love these vintage plastic elves. The pair: 50 cents.

Notice the price tag on this new box of Hershey's Kisses ornaments from 1990: 10 cents!

I found four of these mid-century glasses with a gold and red design for 50 cents. That's 50 cents for all four.

I also found a load of cross stitch and needlepoint kits for $1 a piece, some vintage tin boxes for $2 each, a few vintage tablecloths (50 cents and $1). All told, I spend less than $40. Well, not including gas of course!

I'm already dreaming of next year.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Treasure in a Sock

First I will apologize for my absence, if anyone is reading this. I've been busy and crabby. But I won't digress. I'm back, and hope to post quite a bit in the next few weeks.

Next week I leave for a road trip to Ohio and the Route 127 sale. Also found out that the very same weekend of the 127 Sale is the Lincoln Buy-Way, which hosts yard sales all along the Lincoln Highway. The two sales converge in Van Wert, Ohio. I will be there, hopefully gathering treasure and posting from the road.

About the socks. I was at Saver's recently with my kids (in other words, a brief trip) when I spotted these. They brought back memories of my youth, when I used to wear socks just like these for tennis. My cats loved to pull the pom poms off and chase them around the house. "What's .49 cents for a little nostalgia?" I thought and dropped them into my basket. My kids declared them "hideous," but I was undeterred.

Upon arriving home, I checked on eBay as I do with all my weird finds, even those I plan to keep. And there were vintage pom pom socks selling for $80! Well, that was the end of my walk down Memory Lane. I listed those puppies right away and sold them for $28 (the $80 was for a lot of 3 pairs). I have no idea why they sold like that. I checked it out and you can buy new pom pom socks for a normal price. But it's one of life's mysteries I won't question. Just deposited the windfall in the bank. The profit will help take me to Ohio next week, where you can be sure I'll have my eye out for any more of those vintage socks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Amy Sedaris Would be Jealous!

If you haven't read Amy Sedaris' book "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People," you should.  If you're cheap, like me, you can just go spend an hour at Barnes & Noble and leaf through it. It's hilarious. And completely wrong. She has a chapter on crafting for "shut-ins", which is why I thought she'd love my recent find. It's a Solitaire Play Board (in case you can't just use your table like most people).

I bought it for the box, which I plan to add to my vintage gameboard collection. Some day they will hang in my basement, when I figure out just how to hang them up. A few more from my collection...

And speaking of being cheap, sometimes being a thrifter can tarnish one's reputation. Just last week my eldest came home claiming she broke her finger. It wasn't swollen, just barely bruised. Still, she was jonesing for an X-ray. I agreed to a splint and promised her we'd go to CVS that afternoon to get one. Then I said all I really needed was a popsicle stick. To which she exclaimed "Mom! You can't be that frugal that you're going to splint my finger with a popsicle stick."  Needless to say, I shelled out $6.50 for the CVS model.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chasing The Dream...House

When I head out for a morning of yardsaling, I'm usually hoping to recreate one of my golden thrifting experiences. This morning, my mind was on the Boy Scout sale.

Several years ago, I headed out into the far reaches of Rhode Island for a Boy Scout sale. I don't remember the exact month, but it was pre-yardsale season, and there was still frost on the ground. I remember heading out into the country, the roads empty, the hills rising in the distance, and the feeling of anticipation tingling through my fingers.

I drove perhaps a half hour (which in Rhode Island terms is like crossing the country) finally weaving my way through an old New England town to my destination. Inside some old VFW hall were ten tables or so piled with the usual junk. I wandered around, picked up a few items, and was getting ready to pay when I decided to circle one last time. As I perused the toy table, a hand decended to place down an original Barbie Dream House. My heart pounding, I grabbed it.

At the checkout line, the man in front of me was buying a small suitcase. He opened it and inside were all these vintage Barbie items. He just wanted the suitcase, so he offered me its contents. Then a middle-aged woman appeared at the checkout table. "I see you have the Barbie house. There's another identical one.  It belonged to my sister. Do you want it?" Does Barbie love pink? Bring it on. By the time I left, I had two Barbie Dream Houses, and a load of accessories.  Then the Dream House owner chased me down in the parking lot with another plastic container filled with more Barbie items. I spent $65, which for me, was a fortune.

I don't remember the return trip home. But I do remember the hours I spent pouring over my haul. There were early 1960s Barbie and Ken dolls, the original stands for the dolls, miniature catalogs of all the outfits so I could go through and compile what went together. These two sisters saved everything. There was a complete bridal outfit with bouquet, necklace and shoes, skiing outfits with skiis, poles and boots, and all the tiny cardboard record albums that went with the Dream House. I made several hundred dollars off that haul, but it's not the money I remember. It's the thrill of pouring through those tiny treasures and starting a foundation of vintage-Barbie knowledge.

I've never seen an ad for this sale again. But I think about it all the time. So several weeks ago, when I saw a posting on Craigslist for a Boy Scout troop sale, I made sure it would be my first stop of the day. Again, I travelled far from home to get to the sale, certain the Boy Scouts wouldn't let me down. Alas, nothing close to my dream house was there. Just a few Wilton cake decorating books and vintage Halloween candles for me. And once I arrived at my second stop of the day, a church sale much closer to home, I realized spot number two was a place I'd had success at before, but now I was late.

Oh well.  The dream lives on.  As does the chase. 

Here's some of what I did find this morning:

Two lovely mid-century Pyrex-like dishes for .50 cents a piece.

A very-70s embroidered owl to add to my daughter's wall of vintage animal-themed art. Paid .50 cents.

A vintage cake plate to replace the one I broke. Paid .50 cents.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's Either Really Ugly, Or Worth a Lot of Money

I have a friend/neighbor who I call my "mentor".  He's a big-time yard-saler and really knows his antiques.  He's the kind of guy who arrives at the flea market at 5:30 a.m. with a headlamp and wellies.  It he sleeps in until 6:00, he won't go because all the good stuff is gone.  He once told me that when he spots a hideous piece, he takes a second look figuring it's either really ugly, or it's worth a lot of money.

These words of wisdom were with me on Thursday when I made a quick tour of the Salvation Army in North Providence.  I was empty handed when I spotted these (in my humble opinion) ugly slippers.  As soon as my eye passed them, I thought--they may be really ugly, but they could be worth a lot of money.  And they looked to be in good shape.  So I picked one up for closer examination.  Never heard of the brand "Stubbs and Wootton", but right beneath the brand name I see "Palm Beach".  Things are looking up.  And the shoes are new!  Not a sign of wear on either one.  But the price on the bottom says $12.99.  A bit much for me.  I punch  the brand name into my eBay Droid app and see several pairs selling for upwards of $100.  Then I look inside the shoes and find a yellow tag.  It's half price on all yellow tags, so I leave the Salvation Army with my pair of shoes for $6.50.

Once home, I google Stubbs and Wootton.  There's my exact pair of shoes "Osiris Blue" for $395!  I have a new appreciation for these ugly shoes.  And thank you mentor!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Lord Has Appeared

 I just had to share these!  Found them this morning at the Salvation Army for 99 cents each.  In case you can't tell from the photos, they are vintage (probably from the 50s) Paint By Numbers.  Not in the best shape, but in my humble opinion, that just adds to their fabulosity.