Friday, May 31, 2013

Why I Still Yard Sale in the Rain

The girls and I had plans to go yard sale-ing last Saturday morning with my friend Heather and her daughter Grace. The forecast was not in our favor but I was able to find enough local listings in a concentrated area that said they were Rain or Shine. And one of them specifically mentioned a kitchen table for $25. Which is better than $650. So I had to at least check that out.

But before we even set out, Heather had a gift for me - the result of some literal digging for treasure. Back in the fall, she had discovered a some old glass bottles at the edge of her property and had given me one, promising there would be more where that came from in the spring. Sure enough! They're pretty amazing.

A little hot soapy water and a bottle brush and they'll be all sparkly and beautiful. There's Vaseline, Hires Root Beer syrup, Phillips Milk of Magnesium and Mason Jars just to name a few.

Thank you, Heather!

So off we went bright and early and bundled up. Grace had never been yard sale-ing before but she had her little purse full of change and a heart full of anticipation. I hoped it would be the first of many mother-daughter yard sale excursions for the five of us.

The first couple of sales were a bust for everyone and made me nervous about how the rest would be. But the last few sales redeemed the morning. Grace went home with a Hello Kitty (she and her mom are big fans) bike helmet and knee/elbow, a bunch of books and some toys that seemed to make her very happy. Heather, who has the same fondness for tchotchkes that I do, behaved herself quite nicely. She was really looking for some patio furniture but went home with only a few decorative plates. Even if we bought nothing, its always fun sifting through other people's junk!

Here's my loot from our cold and drizzly morning:

I did get one $0.50 little plate that had The Lord's Prayer on it. It's the size of a tea bag plate. I'm guessing it'll make it's home on a gallery wall eventually.

This big old frame was $5. I love the shape. The color. The imperfections. The size. Kids included in the pic for scale. ;)

My oldest insisted her 4-leaf clover get in the shot
The frame has much potential. I could fill it with chalkboard for a kitchen memo board or fill it with cork to display my kids' latest artwork. Or I'll get inspired to do something unique. I'll share here when I do.

This role of gingham wrapping paper was $0.25. Gingham is making a big comeback this season, right? Either way, I'm always a fan.

These leather binders were $1 for the pair.

These are perfect for a unit study I put together for my girls this year called "Who Am I." It's a mosh of all about where they live, their family tree, their body systems/senses, and who they are in Christ. We've been working on it all year and will continue through the summer and into next year too. We've been using some ugly red vinyl binders we already had to contain our paperwork. But since the finished product will really be a keepsake of sorts, I'm psyched to transfer the contents into their new larger, classy binders.

Speaking of keepsakes, I also found these two unused shadowbox frames for $5:

Which reminds me I also found this one at Salvation Army Thrift (Sally's) several weeks ago:

I like the linen background on that one and the ability to pin vs. glue.

I plan to paint all the shadowbox frames to match a few others I already have and group them together to display the 3D natural treasures the girls and I find and save. I've been dreaming about a funky little science museum of sorts on the walls of our soon-to-be homeschool room. We've got some boxes....somewhere.... containing random specimens of insect bodies, snake skins, lichen, pressed plants and flowers, nests, shells, etc. that we've collected in the past. I don't even remember what we've got. That's assuming they all survived moving and a year in storage. And if they didn't, at least we will have our newest collection of four, five, and six-leaved clovers the girls have found in our yard recently.

Moving right along....For $0.50 I snagged a bag of random buttons that will be used to make bracelets and will be stored in the likes of this or this. Here is a sample from the bag:

The only token prize my kids took home was this mini Spyrograph. 'Memba those???!!!

Only we got screwed on this one. It always falls of the track and never finishes a pattern nicely. Oh well. So in the end the girls really just ended up with a new set of $2 stencils. (Rip off.) Which, as it turns out, happen to come in handy for dressing up paper snowflakes with additional geometric patterns.

My final consolation prize for the day was a kitchen table. YAY!  Not that I ever needed one. When we moved I got rid of the hand-me-down table we'd been using all our married life and had belonged to my in-laws for probably 20 years prior. It served us just fine but I never loved it. And now their next hand-me down could be ours when they move across the driveway in a few months. But I've always had something different in mind. Gosh darn it, after almost 14 years of marriage I think I deserve to pick out the kitchen table I want! At a yard sale for goodness sake!

And I found it at the sale with the listing for a $25 table. Turns out this "yard sale" was actually a storage unit sale. (Who watches Storage Wars?!) I won't mention any locations or business names but I would never store anything in that location. The seller was puffing away on a cigarette in the hall where the rows of storage units were all open on top. She had to use a flashlight in her unit to show me her goods. And the entire building reeked of mildew.

Anyhoo, I looked at two of her $25 tables and decided they were not right for me. I was about to give up and go home when the seller's brother mentioned there was a third table. The seller hesitated and commented that she wasn't sure she was willing to let that one go yet. It was the one her kids grew up around. She'd gotten it at Pier 1 way back in the day and paid a lot of money for it. It was sentimental. Blah, blah, blah. Her brother, who was apparently the voice of reason, reminded her that she needed to clear out her unit by month-end. So she agreed to let me look at it.

At this point our four girls were bored to tears and begging to go back downstairs to the candy machine. Heather obliged while I decided to give this one last table a look. They took it out into the hall where I could actually see it. I got a little excited (on the inside).

It was just the shape and size I wanted. Check!
Solid wood. Check!
With some scratches and wear but it just needed a little TLC.

I told her I was interested (in an uninterested sort of way).

She told me to make an offer.

So I did.

With poker face on I made it clear I wouldn't pay more than for double what she was asking for the others because I really came to her sale looking for the $25 tables she advertised but recognized this was sentimental to her.

She accepted immediately.

What??? Aren't you going to haggle me??

I immediately kicked myself internally for not low-balling her. Apparently the table wasn't that sentimental. Oh well. No buyer remorse here. It certainly wasn't the gorgeous antique I saw a couple weeks ago, but then again it was 1/13th of the price!

(More on haggling and other expert yard sale-ing tips here.)

I didn't take a picture of my table with the legs off and crammed into the corner of our garage for now. But I did find this pic online which shows what it would look like post-TLC.

I'm not sure if I'll re-stain the whole thing or paint the bottom like these:

The fact that this table did not come with chairs is A-OK by me. Chairs are a dime a dozen at yard sales. I always ogle over chairs but never have a reason to by them. Now I do so I'll scoop up some I really love for super cheap. Maybe I'll find a set of four for the sides and another matching pair for the captain chairs. But I also love the look of six completely different chairs. For example...
If you're still with me after all that, can I ask for one more favor? Please don't forget to help me look for linens. Thanks!

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