But that's not what I came here to talk about. Oh, no. I came here to tell you about my day of garage sales, and all of the EPIC WIN that lay therein. Dad I went a long and winding route for about 4 hours and hit at least a dozen sales, plus a (small) church sale. Some of them were pithy and not worth it; others we bought nothing but had great fun looking, and sometimes everything all came together.
-A really beautiful, hidden backyard, run by a woman speaking solely in what sounded like Russian, all tucked out of sight with little dirt pathways and pine trees providing tons of cover. But more interestingly: in addition to a live hamster & cage/accessories for sale (poor unloved pet), there was a deer pelt draped over one table. No, an honest-to-God deer pelt. Thick, soft, glossy fur and everything. If I didn't still live at home, I think there is a real danger I would have made an offer on it, so much did I love petting it. I wouldn't have come to my senses for hours.
-Petting an itty-bitty black toy poodle. Almost got to pet a squat, pot-bellied-pig-sized Chihuahua, but the owner rushed it inside before I got up the driveway.
-Unexpectedly ran into the dad of the two kids I used to babysit for. Apparently within the last five years he got divorced, moved, and is now moving again. Was subsequently too unsettled to buy anything, even though there was a lot of interesting stuff to look at, because it was really weird looking at the quality board games and cute stuffed animals and realizing how much of it was literally the same stuff I used to play with over there. (although, I won't lie, another part of me was thinking "darn it! His daughter didn't outgrow her scads and scads of horse & dog stuff!" Seriously, I wanted to own half of what was in her bedroom.)
-Saw an enormous old rocking horse - big enough for me to sit on; looked like a carousel horse until you saw the rocker. Must have been an antique; was priced at $100.
-Someday, I am going to invent Garage Sale Bingo, and one of the first items on it will be Big Mouth Billy Bass. They are everywhere.
-Went to an estate/moving sale - tons of antiques, including some old dolls (not porcelain, but like toys - big baby dolls from maybe the 40's or 50's?), and a super-friendly/chatty lady running the sale. After my dad started admiring the pottery, she couldn't wait to rush him inside and show off the beautiful antique wood furniture for sale, including a heavy dark walnut table + 4 chairs whose seats her mother had hand-embroidered. $4000 for the set. It was easily worth that much, too.
-I saw Littlest Pet Shops! But they were the crappy new kind with huge eyes and grossly disproportionate heads, so no thanks. And yet somehow, two minutes later a little girl had snatched them up.
-At the same sale, there was a baggie full of various toy horses, all brands/sizes, which I would have bought for a buck if 90% of the horses hadn't been ugly and/or totally the wrong scale for anything else I already owned. But I was really happy to see 2 or 3 Winner's Choice Micro Minis in there. These are my absolute favorite of all the small plastic animals I own, and yet I cannot find them for sale anywhere. Seriously. I can't even find them on eBay. I already owned the ones in the bag, though, so was not worth my dollar to collect a bunch of junk. But I do hope someone else finds them.
-One sale had a (somewhat beat up) copy of National Geographic from 1928. The ads alone were worth looking at, but I didn't think I really had extra room for magazines.
-Speaking of old things, original Tinker Toys FTW? Also there were some kids' plastic train toys, 70's or 80's vintage, made in West Germany.
Things We Actually Bought:
Dad spent $1.20 and came up with a hinged Cadbury tin he's very a fond of, a beautifully carved wooden bluebird ornament, and a small, handsome wooden shelf for the bathroom (we've been looking for one all summer). As for me --
25 cents: some clear plastic binder sheets for my schoolwork scrapbook, the exact brand I've been searching for.
50 cents: vintage paperback horse story, Pounding Hooves (1978). Which, vintage horse books are literally my #1 hope-to-find item at all garage sales, so we call this PURE WIN.
$3.25: 2 necklaces & 2 pairs of dangly earrings.
$5: MY TREASURE
Are you ready? Man, this would be so much cooler if I had a picture - I'll take one on FILM and SCAN it if I have to - but right now I don't, SO...
An old wooden printer's tray, roughly 1x3 feet, the kind that by itself would probably sell for twice the price at an antique shop, but: WITH almost every single slot featuring a tiny miniature item.
I HAVE A MASSIVE MINIATURE COLLECTION. HOMG OMG OMG.
The first thing you need to understand is that my treasure was originally $10, but it was Half Price Day at the sale. The second thing you need to understand is that I thought they were selling everything individually, figuring they'd be a quarter, and was painstakingly picking out my favorites until I realized several pieces were hot-glued down and the others had just come loose, so it must be sold as a set (probably once hung on a wall). Dad looked at it for about ten seconds and was like, "Steph, you have to get this. Even if Mom doesn't think you have room for it. All that stuff together is worth way more than $10, so even if they don't give you the discount, I'll spot you the rest." And they did give me the discount.
Once upon a time, when I was a wee thing, the Variety Store sold dollhouse miniatures and things like this, which I naturally wanted in the name of building realistic little farms to go with my animals, for $3-5 EACH. I repeat, one miniature = $3 and up. Here I have five dozen miniature things. They vary widely in age and style - some are clearly designed for dollhouses, like the tiny buttered corn cob on a plate, the itty-bitty Elvis record, the sewing kit, or a metal beer stein whose top actually opens. And then there are dollhouse items designed on a slightly bigger scale - a gorgeous picnic basket, a birthday cake, a little model of a half-gutted pumpkin ripe for carving on a piece of newspaper.
Others are just small items that fit the theme of tinyness - little shopping bags featuring "Harrods" or "I <3 NY," fuzzy pencil toppers, a bitty baked-clay bear. There is one seriously heavy painted metal soldier with "Made in Wales" stamped on the bottom. There's randomly a 1/8 oz. jar of real (and very old) tobasco sauce whose existence actually grosses me out a little. And a row of wooden blocks on the bottom that spell "welcome," but missing the one for C.
But there are also miniature playing cards and a Monopoly board, a string of Coke cans, 7 bottles of wine with tiny but intricately detailed labels on them, and a box of Ritz crackers 2 cm high. A gift-wrapped box that opens to reveal long-stemmed roses. There are a couple of seashells - a jar of champagne in an ice bucket - a random ring of brass keys - and an item we ultimately determined to be a miniature of a long-handled thing for roasting chestnuts. Oh, and this beautiful little turtle, carved of smooth & polished stone that Dad said is probably onyx.
GOSH, THERE IS SO MUCH. I think I jumped around my mom worse than a puppy, brimming with excitement to show her what I'd found as soon as we got home. Every time I turn around, it's like there's a new thing I haven't seen. I am very deliberately not mentioning everything because I am determined to post a picture later, by hook or by crook. Just know that it is THE GREATEST THING I HAVE FOUND ALL SUMMER. Or at least one of them. I have had some spectacular saling luck, which I acknowledge and am very grateful for.
And now, I am going to go eat delicious Papa Murphy's Take-and-Bake pepperoni pizza. Because my day wasn't perfectly awesome until I heard that they're having Customer Appreciation Days yesterday, today and tomorrow, when you can buy said (large) pizzas for $4.99. There will also be delicious Papa Murphy's Take-and-Bake chocolate chip cookies, because we had a coupon for a free container of dough, and while you might think they'd refuse to combine special offers like that, they did in fact honor it!
Fridays: the new (good-luck) Thursday? IT SEEMS THAT WAY. [Edit: ALSO. The Numb3rs rerun tonight? "The Fifth Man," a/k/a "Don gets stabbed," a/k/a "Episode 99," a/k/a "YIPPEE!" Oh yes, somebody loves me.]