Last week, a woman at work asked me what the best vintage thing I'd ever seen at a yard sale. I had no idea how to answer that. I mean, I can't even remember the things I've seen. Plus, the category of "vintage" threw me off. Vintage is cool, but it's not the only kind of thing you can find while shopping in people's yards. There's anything from antique to brand spanking new. The question comes from the mindset that the only reason to shop secondhand is to find stuff you wouldn't be able to buy new. It's more of a lifestyle choice for me. Yeah, I buy unusual and old stuff, because that stuff is there and I've got a house to fill. But I also buy skirts for church or reusable grocery bags or power tools. This is just shopping to me.
But that's alright. People going to yard sales to find crazy vintage stuff is better than them not going at all. I wish everyone had a little secondhand in their lives, whether an occasional browse through Goodwill after dropping off some donations or forgoing retail completely. I started out just shopping for novelty, and now I can't go into a regular store without complaining.
What I really want to do right now is tell you about something amazing that I bought this weekend. It's not vintage. If I had to categorize it, I would label it as foreign or art or decor.
When you first look at these, they look like some kind of foreign roadside tourist art, which they probably are. They're colorful and sort of exotic and strange. But things get crazy when you get a light source involved.
SHADOW PUPPETS. Way better than that thing your brother can do with his hands that looks sorta like a rabbit.
I found these in someone's garage, sticking out of a bottle shaped like a fish. I knew exactly what they were, because of some time spent on eBay (I swear I was looking for something else, but somehow I ended up with searchTerm="puppet"). You can find them online pretty easily for as little as $10 - $15. The only reason I hadn't bought one already was because once I start buying puppets online, where would it end? However, when you find something at a yard sale, that is like a Sign. The Universe brought me to this particular garage and it led me to the shelf with the fish bottle. It was $6 for the pair. I immediately picked them up and took them over to the cashier (by cashier, I mean "old dude at a card table") to reserve them. I didn't want to carry them around and risk messing them up, nor did I want anyone else to swoop in and buy them, in case there were any other puppet fans at this particular sale.
As Josh and I left the sale, we each carried one. The sun was at our backs, and we used them to talk to each other, admiring the intricate shadows cast on the suburban street.
I'm so excited about these and the fact that my growing collection now features shadow puppetry. I've put on my problem solving cap to figure out how to display them in such a way that the light hits them just right. Maybe some kind of shadow box?
It just goes to show that you can really buy anything at a yard sale.