yard sales, feb. 13.




I went to the estate sale of a woman who really liked owls.  I mean, everyone likes owls.  They’re pretty and dignified and symbolic of wisdom.  What’s not to like?  Overall, I am in favor of owls.

But I walked around a house that was wall to wall owls, and I find that I don’t like them as much as I did before.  There were pictures of live owls in nature on the wall.  There were owl clocks and dishware and towels and craft projects.  There was a table, twelve feet long, covered in owl knick-knacks, some of them collectors’ items that cost hundreds of dollars when purchased, others made of shells and having googly eyes.

I really cannot imagine liking anything that much.  I’ve seen a fair amount of bizarre collections at estate sales, which makes me wonder what percentage of the general public has some sort of urge to stock their houses with themed items.  We went to one sale with a lobster room.  A whole room full of lobster stuff.  LOBSTERS.  When the company that comes in to run the estate sale comes in and sees all that, do they pray and pray that the exact right person comes to the sale?  How else could you possibly unload a room full of lobsters or a house full of owls?

I picked up a few things that were not owl-related.  They may have been the only Picture 077non-owl things in the place.  The lady was also very much into yarn-related crafts.  I picked up some plastic canvas that I plan to give away to people in my family with small children.

Do you know about plastic canvas?  It’s what you give to children to teach them about sewing and cross stitch.  Me, I never graduated up.  I used to make a lot of stuff with it when I was little:  picture frames, boxes, a container for a remote control.  I’d pretty much forgotten all about it until recently, and it was like rediscovering myself:  oh yeah, that used to be me. 

This lady had also made some stuff with her plastic canvas:  a doorstop that contained a brick and said “PHIL.”  I did not buy that, but there’s a nice craft idea for all you Phils out there.Picture 081  Advanced crafters could perhaps rework it for other names.

There was a disappointingly small cache of stationery in a plastic box, which I got for a dollar.  Some polka-dot envelopes, a few standard note cards, but the ones that made it all worth it were the shiny owl cards.  There were three, two gold and one silver.  The back indicates that they are suitable for framing.  I’m actually sort of surprised that they were languishing in the box, rather than hung up on the wall somewhere. 

I also picked up some stationery paper that had tiny pictures with embroidered thread.  I’ve seen stuff like this before.  It’s occasionally really neat, but also sometimes cheesy.  Luckily, I like both neat and cheesy.  This pack had note paper with ink drawings in the corner.  The drawings were then enhanced with embroidered flowers glued to the paper.  Most of them were just flowers or baskets of flowers or birds with flowers, but there was also a sleepy guy against a cactus. I’m not sure how much these scans do the paper justice, but I think they’re fun.

 flowers cactus

Someday, the employees of an estate sale company will pray that a stationery enthusiast will come to the estate sale at my house.

I got a set of some ridiculous acrylic highball glasses.  I bought them with every intention of giving them away.  But then I kept picking them up and admiring them in the car.  And when I sPicture 071howed them to Josh, he thought they were awesome.  All that probably means that I’m keeping at least two of them.   

I’m not sure what you’ll be able to tell from the picture, so let me explain.  The bottom says “on the rocks,” and there is a small enclosed compartment in the base of the glass which contains rocks.  GET IT?

Man, that cracks me up.  I love that I live in a country where such things happen. 

I spent a fair amount of time at that estate sale trying to find something with an owl to buy.  I’ve already mentioned that there were plenty of owl things to buy, 943 in fact (that is an exact count told to me by the estate sale company).  But most of them were either too ugly to even be considered kitschy or too expensive for someone who is not a crazy owl lady.  There were a dozen plastic baggies full of jewelry, most of it huge and shiny brooches.  But I did spy a tiny turquoise and coral Picture 086owl charm that caught my fancy.  The problem was that it was in a bag labeled $15.

My options:

  1. Pay $15 for the bag, get rid of pretty much everything else.
  2. Come back the next day when everything would be half price and pay $7.50 for the bag if it was still there.
  3. Ask one of the people working the sale if we could make a deal on just one item out of the bag.
  4. Leave owl-less.

I’m not sure why I wanted an owl so much.  I felt like I needed to buy an owl to pay tribute to this crazy owl lady, who spent so much time and money accumulating owls.  I wanted some remembrance of this sale, so that when I looked at my own piece of it, I could tPicture 062hink about the 942 other things I left behind.  Or maybe when you are bombarded enough with a thing, even a normally practical person will buy something.  Maybe the problem with the lobster room was that there just weren’t enough lobsters.

So I ended up explaining to a nice man that I seriously only wanted this one charm.  He dug it out of the bag and said I could have it for fifty cents.  He was probably glad to get rid of anything, considering it had snowed three inches the night before and only people like me had showed up.  But what a nice man.  Anyway, I now have a sweet little owl charm.  It came from a crazy owl lady.

There was also a church sale, where I picked up three nice sweaters (not shown) for $1.50 apiece and a cute metal box for fifty cents.  I shall put sewing notions in it.  I’m not sure what “notions” are, but if ever I figure it out, they shall go in here.  It was covered in some sticky goop, but that came off with very little scrubbing.  This is your reminder to not pass something by just because it’s dirty.

Finally, one last thing.  I want to post something that I bought at Goodwill, because it’s so awesome.  Here, look:Picture 051

Why, yes, that is a massively long zipper.  But!  When you zip it up, it becomes:

Picture 056

A purse!  Made out of a single zipper!  I’ve seen these before online and always think to myself, I could just make that.  But then I never do.  I don’t even know where to get zippers that long, and I would probably just screw it up.  So hooray for me.

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