Friday, January 29, 2010

My Little Pretties

I consider even a bad day thrifting to be a good day, because... well... I am thrifting!  It is one of my greatest obsessions.  Even if I don't find a thing, I still love the thrill of the hunt.  I love to consider the possibilities, the "what ifs" and the "how abouts".

I swear, when I walk into a thrift store, my eyes focus a bit sharper, I hear harp music, my palms start to get clammy, and my heart rate quickens as I escalate into what I call "the mode".  And most thrift stores don't even have escalators.

You have to be in "the mode" in order to find the perfect find. What's a perfect find, you might ask? You can read all about it in my first post.  There are definitions there for you to understand the perfect find. Yes. I said definitions. Don't worry, there isn't a quiz.

 So last Sunday, it was a dreary January day here.  Cold, rainy, gray skies. Ick.  My daughter called and asked her favorite question. "Whatcha doin' Momma?" Don't ask me why.  The girl has asked it since she learned how to talk. Come to think of it, that may have been her first sentence.  Sure seems that way. Anywhoooo...

After whining in her ear for a good ten minutes about how cruddy the weather was and how down trodden I was feeling because of said weather, one of the two of us pitched the idea.  I don't remember who said it.  Doesn't matter.  The fact is, it was said.  "Wanna go thrifting?"

As fast as a lightning bolt flashes across the sky, my mood went from down trodden to... um... up trodden??? Whatever. I was giddy! As in giddy-up-go!

We had to hurry though, we had a thirty minute drive and it was already 3:00, the store closes at 5 PM.  Remember this, it is important.

This was going to be a great day.  I could feel it.  I wasn't wrong.

Let me introduce you to a great day of thrifting in a little tale that I am calling "My Little Pretties."

One of my favorite hunting spots is a Goodwill store that is in a town about 30 minutes south of here. It is divided into two parts.  One part that is set up like a retail store with items placed on shelves and such; the other part is, well... not.  Let's just say that the other part is the part where the true sport of hunting comes into the picture.

Some people would immediately be turned off by the mere sight of mounds and mounds of unfolded clothing, items stacked haphazardly on the shelves that line the entire perimeter of the room, and items put with other items that should never be put in the same room together, let alone sit next to each other.

Now, you may be asking why on earth I love to go to this place.  Well, let me tell ya why! In that frumpy part of the room, I have never paid more than a dollar for any given item. Wait. Not true. I paid $12 for my chandelier.  A cast iron, heavy as heck, be-tassled beauty that I am going to be showing off here soon. But, other than that, I have never paid more than a dollar for any purchase there. Ever. Well, til last Sunday.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

So we left home at 3:00 PM, made the thirty minute drive to Goodwill. We walk in. It is 3:45 PM.  Okay, we stopped for a snack, sheesh!  Eyes start to scan the room, palms getting clammy, harp music, good, good, better grab a cart, I am feeling the mode today. I step onto the escalator and so it begins. Enter character number one.

This little apothecary cutie practically jumped into my cart all by herself. She was jumping up and down on the shelf, screaming "Pick me! Pick me!" like she was a contestant on The Price is Right and I was Bob Barker. 

I have big plans for her this weekend. 

Oh, did I mention? She was a quarter. Don't hate.

Next up. These may look like two styrofoam balls to the untrained eye.  I see the bases for my next two topiaries.  Quarter.

These tiny twins are just begging to become something greater.  Anyone who's been around the decorating blogs in blog world knows that these are not just candle holders.  They stand just about two inches tall and are dying to be the sturdy little base of an adorable creation I am whipping up this weekend.  Don't get ahead of me.

This is where the ability to sharpen your focus comes in handy.  You are going to have to look deep here. Hidden far beneath all of the "decorative" frou frou, the trained thrifter's eye sees a lovely weathered white heart shaped wreath.  Look deep, she's there. Fifty cents, and some frou frou to boot!

I rounded the corner and whoa horsey! The Goodwill has added a new feature.  A pillow bin!  A pillow bin with a sign.  A pillow bin with a sign that reads "All Pillows, $1.00"


So I dove in like a kid in a ball pit at Chucky Cheese's and commenced to sortin'. Amongst all of the run-of-the-mill pink and powder blue polyester throw pillows that always seem to have a discolored stain shaped like Italy (or something equally as odd), were two pillows that were very, very frightened.  Both of them were sitting together and when they saw me, they begged me to please get them out of there.  I was happy to oblige.

This one had a tiny stain on the flower on the left hand side.  I figured for a dollar, she was worth trying to save, I mean look at that lovely embroidery work!  Can you say vintage? Can you say goes perfectly with the decor I am planning for my studio/guest room makeover? Well? Can you?

As a side note, there is an absolute gem of a stain remover out there called Awesome.  No, I am not making it up. I brought this pillow home and sprayed that stain with Awesome, tossed it in the laundry, and poof, stain gone. This stuff has worked on everything I have used it on.  No joke.  One product that lives up to it's name.  Yeah, I know.  I should be in commercials.

Do you see a stain? I see a drop dead gorgeous battenburg lace pillow.  Yep, that's what I see. And she's cushy as all get out.

Let me introduce you to her friend.  A "Vintage Modern Thomas O'Brien" pillow. French Blue twill with shimmery gold embroidery.  These sold at Target for $29.99.  Oh, did I forget to mention?  I got her for a dollar. 

There wasn't a thing wrong with her. Other than the fact that she was amongst all the pillows with the Italian stains. That meant that she would have to be washed.  For a dollar, I was willing to risk it. So I got her home, only to find this:

A very discreet hidden zipper that only the best designer pillows have. And I knew she was soft, but when I unzipped the cover to wash it, only then did I discover why: She is a goose down pillow!  Filled with soft downy goodness. I washed the cover and while it washed, I collected some stray feathers that had come out of the pillow form and transformed my birdnest.

From this:to this:

And the results of the washing?

Perfection! I can't find one single solitary snag or thread out of place. Love.

At this point, I headed over to the shelves of doom.  You remember, the shelves where things sit side by side that should never sit side by side.  Like, for instance, a crusty old stained telephone with a cord that had more kinks and curls in it than Nicole Kidman's hair (remember Days of Thunder? Wow. Remeber telephone cords? Double wow!).  Sitting next to the phone from Joe's Garage (it said so in black magic marker, okay?) was this delicate little beauty.  Again, the trained eye.

French Blue. Embossed texture. Made in England. Fifty cents.

Slowly, I walk along the shelves of doom, looking, sorting, inevitably up on my tippy toes at some point because I am vertically challenged (my hubby likes to tell people I am all of five foot nuttin') when hit the brakes, Sally, what do we have here?

Only the most adorable place card holders on the planet! 

Now mind you, I don't ever set a table fancy enough to warrent the use of place card holders, but for a dollar, I just might start. 

Nah, it would just confuse Mountain Man.

In reality, these beauties will probably work their way into a craft project or six. I think they would make adorable lables for plants, sitting in front of pots of herbs in my kitchen window.  If I had pots of herbs in my kitchen window. 

Perhaps I will start growing some, in this pretty little pot.


This is where I broke my record of only spending a dollar.  She was $1.50.  But tell me she isn't worth it!  The photo doesn't do her justice.  Tiny shards of shiny china and beautiful blue grout lines. Lovely! Again, on the shelves of doom.  I know!

No sooner did I sit the pot in my cart, when I looked down on the bottom shelf and sitting there as cute as could be was this adorable little fella.

How could I resist those ears?

That tail?

That price!  Twenty. Five. Cents!

Get in my cart!

Now in the next photo, some of you may see a white tray adorned with patriotic goodness.

Patriotic, nautical, Pisces goodness.

Emphasis on the goodness.  As in "GOODNESS!" Which happened to be my exact first response when I spotted it.

But upon further contemplation, I started to see a pretty little moss filled picket fence yard for my adorable new bunny to sit and munch carrots in.
Fifty cents. Get in the cart.

Rounding out the tour past the shelves of doom, I found these two familiar friends chatting. 

I noticed right away that one was twenty five cents, while the other was thirty and was getting ready to get my barter on, when I suddenly realized that one was a smidge taller than the other.  It obviously took more glass to make this one. About five cents more, I'd say. Yeah.

So I finished my rounds on the shelves of doom and went to find my daughter. I found her looking at picture frames in the retail side of the store. She is such a wimp. The shelves of doom scare her. Anyway, she found a frame she loved but had left her wallet in the car.

Being the awesome mom that I am, I put it in my cart. My treat. Fifty cents.  Yeah, I always did spoil her with extravagant items. 

We headed for the checkout, when all of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye I spotted this little beauty.

 I wasn't in love with the contents of the jar, but I was head over heels in love with the fact that it was an egg shaped jar.  I picked it up only to discover that the lid was glued on. I sat it back down and headed to the checkout. A little bit sad.  I am sure my bottom lip was protruding.

However, I was soon my joyous self again when I got all of my goodies rung up and the grand total was...

Are you ready for this?

A whopping $8.90! Score! Notice the time. 4:11 PM.  It's important.

Remember way up there at the top of this story when I said I love the "what ifs" of thrifting? I did. Trust me, you don't have to scroll all the way back up there. Well, I checked out, grabbed my bags of loot, and got just to the door to exit, when a "what if" hit me smack dab in the middle of my forehead.

Now I have been thrifting long enough to know that there is such a thing as "non-buyers remorse".  Non-buyers remorse is when you find something that you decide against purchasing, only to get home and wish you had. For me it usually happens when I see a very similar item grace the pages of the Pottery Barn catalog that inevitably awaits me in the mail box on my way home from the thrift store. Or better yet, on a fellow blogger's blog.  This is when I commence to banging my head on my keyboard while simultaneously chanting "Why? Why? Why? Stupid girl, stupid, stupid girl" or something just as uplifting.

So I am half way out the door when I get hit by the "what if". What if I could get the lid off? I yell ahead to my daughter, "Hey, take my bags, I will be right back" to which she rolls her eyes and says "Keys." She knows me so well.

I go rushing back to the shelves of doom with the crazed look of a woman who has experienced non-buyers remorse one too many times.  Scanning, scanning, ah, there it is! And stop the bus! How did I miss this on my first time through? There, sitting next to the pretty glass egg was this little charmer:


Bright and shiny in her Easter colors, and brand new, still has her original "not recommended blah, blah, blah" sticker on her!

Sooooo, I head back to the same checkout clerk, who didn't even bat an eye that I was back again (do you suppose they see this behavior often???), slapped my coins on the counter, and dashed out the door to my awaiting daughter, who had my vehicle started and my seat warmer turned on. Love that girl!

Notice the time. 4:17 PM. Notice the total of the two receipts. $9.43. 
Dang, I'm good!

Til next time!


  1. Girl, you are a crack up. Laughing my rear off in my swivel chair.

    I thrifted yesterday a ton of loot, but spent quite a bit. More than usual, but anyway. I think it would be a snort to do a post showing some totally awful thing from thrifting and make a contest for readers to give ideas what they would do with it.

    For instance, a ceramic camel from a '70's nativity scene that's 4 ft tall. Hmmmmm....

    So glad I subscribe. You're good for my soul.

  2. Wish I lived closer to the Adrian Goodwill! The one in my area HAS nothing less than $1! I really, really need yard sales to start up again, I am having serious withdrawals!

  3. Oh you did good girl! I'm with you Cindy, I've yet to go our local GW and find anything at a $1 or less.


  4. Hey, I'm back. Just letting you I directed some traffic your way in my most recent post:

    happy Saturday.

  5. Ha ha - So happy to see someone else who suffers non buyers remorse ! Yesterday I drove twenty miles for something I didn't buy last Saturday - a blanket - phew it was still there . I drove twenty miles home . That was at one o'clock . At 4 30 I nearly drove back again for a door knocker I've not bought twice now . It'll still be there Tuesday - I hope ! I just explained the syndrome to my husband - who oddly just shook his head ....
    Great blog
    Sue x

  6. I think we're twins..separated at birth!! I LOVE the shelves of Doom!! ugh, non buyers remorse..the worst!
    Awesome finds!!

  7. I'm always so jealous of you gals with the great GWs and thrift shops nearby. My local shops never have anything! This post had me LOL! :)

  8. Hi saw a link to your blog from cottageinstincts. I am so glad. I love your blog you crack me up.
    I have a goodwill near my house (way to close, 10 minutes tops!) that everything is in bins. NO SHELVES! Can you say Dumpster diving? I wear gloves and dive in. Nothing is priced it is all by the pound. GW employees weigh your cart. It is a total Hoot! Come on over I will show you some of the treasures I have gotten.

  9. G'day, Lisa ~ You are a kick!!! I can only DREAM that our GW would EVER get anything in worth a tinkers patoot & the prices they charge here I can buy new out of retail stores & do better.

    Good for you.

    Have a beautiful week.
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  10. I wish your Goodwill people would talk to my Goodwill people about good pricing practices. My Goodwill NEVER has prices like that. I'd love to shop at your shelves of doom. How exciting!


I always love reading your comments, so type away!

Related Posts with Thumbnails