Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mountains of Stuff

(My favorite find of the week is this gorgeous seahorse. It was a quarter and is stamped underneath with a tiny USA)

(Rise and shine, Sunshine! Needs a bit of a dusting!)

(It's a shoe shine box!)

(In a nutshell it is the history of the slate. Front view is in the group photo at the end.)

(Well, bad photo, but the slate has a painting of new Orleans. The bowl was made in Japan. My lovely seahorse rides in the bowl. I love these ornate metal frames-altho, not necessarily gold. A little Spanish cabinet for the doll house.)

Ok, the rest of the post below is a bit potty-mouthed. You've been dutifully warned.

I know. I created a new blog to neglect and ignore.It seems. This is not really a happy post, but I hope my photographs of hoarded crap make up for the rest of it. The thrift gods have been too good to me lately.

Life-on-the-other-hand. It has given me piles lately. And, by piles, I mean dog shit piles. I have no idea where to start. Do you even want to know? I really need someone to tell.

I started my first blog in 2004. I do not remember people wanting to be famous then. I think we were all just lonely. We needed somewhere to purge all of our piles.

So, I'll start and end with the weekend. I have not had so much on me at once in a long time.


I sprained my ankle by putting my foot into a hole. I actually cried (I have a really high tolerance to pain, but OMG). This began my four day weekend. I so needed this weekend.

I also discovered that I have a tooth that needs attention (old filling from childhood gone bad).

It was cold. Before my foot twisted, my mother and I went to a few sales. Most were slow or bare or cancelled. I bought only a vintage tool chest and a few McCoy planters. I did find some great vintage ornaments in a freebie box.

We also hit up the weirdest 50% off thrift store sale ever. The sign read "50% off All Items" and then listed a bunch of examples. It ended dot dot dot "and more". Turns out "Bric-a-brac" was not included. Sigh. I did find a couple of granny square afghans for a buck or two (love) and some vintage sheets (all included in the sale). I put one on the couch back and this motivated me to paint at least one wall and hang my galleria of religious art (pix soon). Monday saw another 50% sale at the gee-w. This one, unlike the Sally Ann one, was fabulous and the prices very good. I was selective on my purchases (hard) because I am to the point I need to purge from my binges.

Anyhoo...It turned hot. Record setting hot.

Fast forward and many bills not expected paid (car repairs ect) and I was travelling back to our little city from the big city (my northern life to give you a point of reference) on Memorial Day and I decided to put on cruise control. I have been having car troubles and had been in the city to see a mechanic (who found nothing wrong except worn tires).

I have never mentioned this here. I am a law enforcement officer. A strange one that is not seen in the public eye often like a traffic officer. I work in a specific area related to my science degrees. This is not important, really, except as a minor detail to what I am about to tell.

I was pulled over going 60 mph in a 60 mph limit area. It was a classic he said, she said. We are both officers. I know what I was travelling. I gave him this detail only to let him know I am fully aware of laws and regulations. I told him I have no issue owning up to my mistakes. He insisted I give him my badge (I was, of course, off duty and the badge had nothing to do with his accusation). I refused. The situation became heated. He called for a goonie back-up to intimidate me (yeah, I am 5'03 130 poundish). He told me to get out of my car on a busy highway to fetch my badge (never asked for license and registration at this point) which was in my work bag in the trunk. He refused to identify himself, give his badge number or his agency when I requested. He gave me details of other cars I supposedly passed at 74 and these cars were never seen by me. My car is black, non-descript, popular brand. These were not the traffic pack I was travelling with on that day. My husband was in front of me in another vehicle conveniently not mentioned by the officer. He and my children saw everything. I felt powerless, but I am not powerless. I will be going to court to contest the 74/60 citation. I have a clean record and am a semi follower (read: I am on the road 70% of the week and I do not hurry). I speed only in small doses (5 mph perhaps) even on the high-speed interstate highways and I will always fully own up to any overage. I use cruise to control my speed.

There are officers who are out for themselves. They will not admit to a mistake. They feel intimidated by other officers. They will not listen and/or think. They promote themselves with dirty tactics. Sad, really...This is not me. This is him. I believe justice and ethics are the biggest importance to any law enforcement job. Any job. We are both employed to serve and protect. I am also a trained observer and he broke several "rules" with me. I know what is expected of him unlike 80% of the general public he is probably harassing. This corridor of road is the main highway through our little city and everyone knows or has been harassed by him (he does not work for the county or city). Everyone knows you do not hurry to get to the three redlights through the main drag. My FIL said he is an a-hole (very uncharacteristic for him to say something like this about a person) and was not surprised. I am related by marriage to most of the county commissioners where this occurred and the judge is a family friend. If I was speeding, I would have never, ever contested the ticket. I would pay it and be angry with myself. The county officers know this about me because the one and only time I have been pulled over in the area was for 8 over. I told him to write me a citation and apologized. he refused even after I insisted. I would have apologized to this a-hole too and taken my fine with integrity on Monday, if I truly had been speeding. I was innocent. How do you prove this guy is either a jerk or made an honest mistake he was embarrassed to own up to? It really made me think about my own position and I will be extra careful to not wrongly accuse. How's that for finding the positive in a shit situation?

So, I left IN to go back to the KY life and the car died several times. It took me nearly an extra hour (on top of the usual four) to get to the apartment. It is a newer car. It needs repairs. They could not find anything wrong on Monday when I travelled to the big city to have them look at her. We also bought new eyeglasses and contacts for the husband. Insurance for eyes and teeth is just crap. It does not matter that I have the good benefits at work. It hardly covers anything ($136 was covered with a much higher bill and we probably pay $5-10 dollars a paycheck for the privilege).

Outside this blog I am always cheery. You would not know me like this shit here. Bare with me, por favor.

I miss my babies. I want to be in one geographical location. This back and forth is wearing me down.

I hear myself whinging and I feel so down right now, but my troubles pale when I look at the world and remember there are others who are facing much bigger mountains of stuff than I am. I have to keep my perspective and look past my own self-sorry mentality.

This is not an easy task. Mountains are just so hard to see around at times.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What is Up with Blogger?

I have been trying to leave comments since yesterday (including on my own posts) and I am having mucho trouble. Is anyone else experiencing this issue? (Although, I suppose if you are it is going to be hard to answer me, LOL!!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maybe Someone Messed UP

On my way home from work tonight, I saw my landlord's car at her office (next door to my apt. house). Grimacing because I knew she would want to talk to me again about renting one of her houses (too expensive-I'd rather buy), I drove on by and ended up at the downtown Louisville Goodwill. Now the GWs in Louisville are expensive compared to other ones I've been through, but they often have practical, newer things like shoes, clothing, books and other items that are not necessarily vintage or neat, just useful. Only occasionally do I spot something unique and old, but the price tag reflects they know their vintage in this river city (or the item is broken). But, but...

Look what I found tonight!

I think someone really f--ked up on this one because there are three layers and each layer is full of vintage-y goodness. The box itself is old. Even the eccentric cashier (who I really think hates white people, but I am working on her and she called me "sweetie" tonight) said, "Wow, you found something I didn't see. I gave her the dark thread because she said she needed some.

Mending tape in every color (this is after I emptied the chaos and organized the contents).
Wooden thread spools, a great patch, needles; sewing accoutrements; buttons galore (side note: Did you know 'galore' is one of the few Celtic/Gaelic words that made it into the English language? I learned this while traveling last week on a NPR interview of an author from Newfoundland about his book Galore).

The best part (besides all the great treasures hiding in this wonderful amber box) was the price: $4.50! Yes, I know, I know...next week several of you will have a buggy full of great vintage prizes, including a sewing box full of old needles, wooden spools and copper buttons bought for only the few nickles scrounged at the bottom of your $1 bedazzled, yard sale find Enid Collins purse*, but by Louisville thrift store standards, $4.50 is the virtual same as 50 cents!

*Yep, spied an EC purse at a thrift in Louisville recently for about $50 (no decimal point)!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: 1,001 Nights

Historic town of Greensbrier, VA.

OK, I am just sharing this interesting and beautiful toy I found in Louisville (I actually only found two scarves at the above thrift store. Oh, I also found a neat chanterelle mushroom tile which I promptly broke along the way :( At other thrift stores, I did find lots of other neat things, however, and will share over the week when I am not feeling so tired and crabby).

The camel needs a bit of doctorin' as his neck is a bit on the weak side. The figure is basically two heads covered by appropriate garb. It is the perfect prop to re-enact 1,001 Arabian Nights! I love its folk art quality.

It is rainy again in Louisville tonight and we are (or were) under severe weather threat. My heart goes out (once again) to the folks who lost someone from one of the vicious storms that raged (or is still raging) across the U.S.

Linking up Internationally: Apron Thrift Girl, Magpie Monday Me and My Shadow
Her Library Adventures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Reason 1, 345 I will never be a (successful) reseller of vintage (or any other) items.

Selena of Apron Thrift Girl mentioned that a new show by the name of Pan Am will be making its debut soon. It stars Christina Ricci (I love her!) She also mentioned that resellers should be on the lookout for Pan Am/vintage airline type items.

So guess what my wandering eye spotted today at a Virginia thrift store? A Pan Am puzzle! I actually almost bought it thinking about its vintage status, but my main thought about its value was that it showed a pre-9/11 NYC skyline (the Pan Am building was the prominent building in the scene). I debated for a small moment about the purchase and decided that 1) I could not verify if all 800 pieces were present, 2) I am trying (being forced) to cut back on impulse junk and 3) Most importantly, I really doubt I will go through the trouble of selling items via the Internet...I left it for someone else. I guess I could go back, but I really don't have the time (I am about 40 miles away for work and was just passing through the town en route to my destination and needed a break; there is no easy way around those lovely, wild WV mountains!)

Of course, I thrifted other junk (this TS was fabulous and the staff sweet!) and had to really restrain my urge to buy everything I found. I will try to share this weekend what I did end up with (I am exhausted from so much extra work. It has not been the best couple of weeks). The coolest thing I couldn't purchase: An excellent condition vintage stove (similar to the one above) that is exactly like the one my grandparents had in their mountain cabin in VA! Oh, how I wanted it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: Limits

Here's a little teaser preview of some of the treasures I found while yard salin' Friday with mi madre. As I mentioned earlier, the deals were fabulous (I mean like 10c and 25c price tags), but the vintage was not abundant. I got a late start getting to my mom's house (about 45-50 minutes from mine) and we picked a popular addition to shop (maybe we should have ventured to one of the town-wide sales in near-by areas). Nevertheless, since I really went without expectations and a set limit to my funds (cash!), I had an open mind.

I only have a small bit pictured above (what was left in the trunk when I left IN last night; the rest is back home being cleaned or already put away).

(My usual, terrible photos...I think I really need to practice! I am in constant awe of some of the photography I see on blogs)

  • The taller shelf is not new (it was the one I talked about last week).

  • The smaller curio shelf is new (50c)

  • Vance the pig was a star on one of the late '80's Pee Wee Herman movies. He is still in his original packaging. I actually have a thrifted Pee Wee from many moons ago (late nineties!)

  • Books (like I need a hole in the proverbial head): Spanish dictionary, Hardy Boys, two Alfred Hitchcock novels, a hiking manual, and a McCall's cookbook

  • 'Real English Ironstone" creamer holds a succulent (put in there by me)

  • A great planter (I am researching this pottery)

  • A couple of craft kits

  • A embroidered and pom-pomed pillow

  • Vintage sheet set (just the pillow case on middle shelf); cloth napkins; and two pieces of not-vintage, but cool fabric (top shelf)

  • Two cute Scottish dolls (not usually a doll collector, but I couldn't resist their tartan kilts!)

  • And the wonderful old world art with a mustard yellow, velvet background that will be going on the wall of religionalia (of course, I didn't get to it this weekend...:(

  • I will do a part II this weekend because I left the cool stuff behind. I found a handmade tulip quilt (my most expensive purchase); afghan; a corning ware percolator coffee pot (brand new only 25c!!); farm ledger; and a great wooden turtle ottoman/step stool thing and many, many more items. I even brought money home!

    Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl, Her Library Adventures, Pennyworthy Project and Magpie Monday.

    On Lumps

    When I get home later I will update for Thrift Share Monday. I had a lovely weekend (Happy belated Mother's Day!) and not only was I able to go yard saling with my own mother, but took all the mothers in my family out to Mexican brunch at a favorite local restaurant back home (mom, MIL, sister, niece, sister's MIL) and received wonderful art from my oldest son (and kisses from my littlest son).

    On Friday, my mom and I found many bargains and useful items (prices were mostly great at the sales), but the vintage pickings were slim. I found a few things (and will share when I get my camera I forgot this weekend), but nothing spectacular.

    While salin' my cell phone rang and it was the results from my mammogram (first one!) I had on Thursday. Seems I have something suspicious and more images and an ultrasound are needed to discern the benign unusual from the dangerous lumps in the density that is my breasts. Breast cancer runs extremely high on both sides of my family, but closest to me, my mom is a breast cancer survivor (first find when she was 41 and had her first mammo) and her mother died at 45 from a very aggressive (albeit, untreated) breast cancer. My aunts have all died or had a run in with lumps, some of their daughters are survivors and my dad's sisters have had later age breast cancer. All in all, I am at an incredible risk to develop it at some point in my life.

    About a year ago I found a lump. It is very small and I wondered if I was just imagining it or feeling something normal. I tried comparing it to the other side, but I decided I have absolutely no idea what I am suppose to feel (unless it is huge and undeniably not a gland, fat, blood vessel or tissue). I finally told my doctor about it and my history. She immediately ordered me a mammogram owing my history (I was younger than the insurance would allow without an order at that time). I never went to the appointment.

    So, when I went in a few weeks ago with my mysterious illness, I mentioned my history. She ordered the test and this time I kept the appointment. The procedure is uncomfortable (I won't mislead you and this is coming from someone with little sensation in that area), but quick. The staff was friendly and she told me right away that I would be called back (so not a surprise when I got the call on Friday). She was very reassuring.

    Breast cancer is highly treatable if found early on, so I am glad I went to the screening (even if it turns out to be nothing). I think because I was so young when my mom received treatment, I have been prepared for this almost my entire life (she had a partial mastectomy and many years later, in her sixties, they found another lump and she had to receive chemo and the whole nine yards, but she survived and is doing well). I also have a good online friend who knows first hand about breast cancer and she is an amazing and strong survivor!

    The lump may be benign (chances are in this favor), but if not, I will deal with what I need to when the time comes.

    OK, next post will be a bit more fun! ;)

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Pteromys volucella

    (Once again, I apologize for the horrible photographs!)

    Sometimes thrifting makes me sad, but then I am a sucker for the underdog, the forgotten, the abused, discarded and the sentimental.

    A few examples:

    *My obsession with old religious ceremony certificates (I just cannot fathom how a family could dispose of them!)

    *Animals hanging out near or in the road. My mom has a giant, fluffy grey cat I rescued from a Very Busy interstate. I saw this little fluff near the median barrier and thought, "Did I just see a kitten?" I left the highway at the next exit, drove the opposite way to the exit on that side, drove back to where I thought I had seen the fluff, parked on the side of the highway (with my emergency blinkers on, of course!) and quickly dodged semi traffic to find a (fortunately) unscathed 6-7 week old kitten. I grabbed it, re-dodged traffic and he has now been living with my mom for about 5 years. I also have a soft spot for turtles (and saw two box turtles today!)

    *Even before the current trends, knitted or crocheted blankets. I have several, plus handmade quilts and I use them.

    *Books with hand-written notes from the giver to the recipient. It's hard to hold on to everything, but I do wonder why some things get donated to thrift stores.

    And this brings me to my case-in-point. Today I was late getting back to the office and knew traffic would be a bear. I decided to stop at a (slightly claustrophobic) GW near the entrance to the express way and kill time enough to allow the first flush of traffic to flow through the city. I looked through the book bins (50c a book) and then went inside. Almost immediately I spotted a framed Audubon print with flying squirrels. I love nature and had seen something similar at a flea market recently. I picked it up and noted it was $5. Hmmm, a bit salty for something I don't really need...

    A side note, isn't it funny how $5-10 can seem expensive at a thrift or yard sale, yet I know with shipping I pay more than this for items on Ebay. I also shell out at least this for a decent lunch. Actually, even fast food is at least $5 for a meal. And, don't even get me started on my coffee addiction!

    OK, where was I? Oh, so I put it back, but then I picked it up again. I turned it over and noted an inscription:

    To my granddaughter Hannah Sarfield from her grandfather Taylor Hay (and his
    wife Joanne) on Christmas 2000. This hung at the Scotland Farm. With Love, Pa
    Taylor Hay

    Awww! Now by the time I came along to my older parents (I was one of a younger group of children born when they were in their 30's and 40's), my grandparents were almost all dead. The only living one, my paternal grandfather, was a stranger to me since I only can remember seeing him maybe two times. Once he gave me a ball point pen with the name of a lumber mill in Pikeville, KY. He said, 'I hear you are good in school..." Then he walked over to a gorgeous armoire and fished around until he found the pen. Nothing special, but I still have the pen! We also called him "Pa" (I think it is a Southern thing).

    So, as I was looking at the flying squirrels print (which I also thought was pretty neat), I wondered why Hannah gave it to GW. Did she have lots of things Pa Hay gave her and it was to a point she just had way too much? Did she have bitter memories of him? Maybe he passed on and the memory hurts. Maybe (gasp!) she just thought the print was junk!!!

    This particular GW is in the wealthy county in KY. I find many, many high end brand name clothing there, modern knick knacks and current books. I rarely find vintage things let along lithograph prints from the late 1800's. I decided to buy the print. I really like it and wondered if it really came from Scotland (I have Scottish ancestory).

    I Googled "Taylor Hay" when I got home and found this interview. Amazing what one can learn from a discarded object and the Internet.

    Taylor Hay (and, thus Hannah) are descendants of one of the original Buffalo Trace distillery founders (then call Old Taylor Brand Whisky)! Scotland Farm is the original Kentucky homestead bought by Colonel E. H. Taylor when he began the distillery. If you have time to kill, listen to Pa Hay tell the story of his grandfather. It is sad that Hannah didn't treasure this gift from her own grandfather (the Colonel's namesake) who, along with his wife JoAnne, are obviously very interested in history (so this gift would have been from both his heart and mind). Perhaps he usually just gave the family Bourbon & money and was disowned by Hannah when all she received in 2000 was some old squirrel picture.

    Well, whatever the story, I love it and will hang it up with pride. The odd thing is my own maternal great-great grandmother was a Hay, but, as far as I know, I don't believe she came from KY (and she was Native American and not Scottish). No matter, I'll just pretend (like I do with the religious certificates) that I am related to the Buffalo Trace Bourbon folks! Hey, Pa, thanks for the history lesson and the wonderful keepsake from Scottland Farm! :)

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Holy Taxes


    OK, so y'all know I have the farm up north and I have blabbed on and on about the houses I missed here in KY. Well, I also have another house. Yes. We'll just call it "the noose anchor".

    This house is a little bungalow I bought in my early twenties. Cute as can be, but only 750 sf and, at the time, I decided it was too small when a husband and baby decided they wanted to live there too. I tried to sell it, but the dismal real estate crisis provided too many "dream McMansions" at affordable prices and no one was interested in a cute, tiny bungalow (priced for a steal BTW for $28,000!)

    Fast forward 7-8 years and the house has been consistently rented. The tenant that resides there now is often good at paying her rent (but often not as well and I have to go through the whole, 'I am not running a charity here' rigmarole). She has really cheap rent (less than my crummy apartment in Louisville). It is not enough to cover the (nearing its end) mortgage, taxes and insurance and each month I pay the difference.

    The shining star has always been the low taxes. I always have received a credit for having a house over 70 years old. The lot, while fairly good size for an urban property, is small and the house is appraised at $35,000 (which is truly not accurate considering I couldn't even sell it for $28,000). The credits have always kept the taxes affordable.

    Well, I looked up my bill today (due on the 10th) and it has leaped up by $500 a year! This probably doesn't sound bad when itemized over 12 months, but, considering I barely get enough to pay half the costs on the damn house, this bites. I mean really bites. My cost of living adjustment (cola) has been frozen, food and gas are ridiculously high, utilities are pondering for their share of the pie, insurance costs have gone up and now they raise property taxes in Indiana?

    So, it is going back on the market. At one point we actually had a His, Hers and Ours homes-thank the reality gods we finally sold his house this past year! There is absolutely no way we are buying another house until we unload some obligations!

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Thrift Share Monday: Leftovers

    Despite not being terribly religious*, I *heart* Religionalia, especially if it is from 1920's-1950's era. I am partial to the Catholic items (long before I had a Catholic husband and now sons) because of the fact that women were more prominently represented, motherhood is honored, and they tend to be a little more on the kitschy side of things (my absolute favorite side of thrifty things). Take this little nun, for example, found slightly broken and repaired at the yard sale I've already told you about (hey, she is right at home among my shattered and reglued ceramics!) I love her and she will fit in with the collection soon to be housed on the wall with my vintage/antique religious certificates.
    Look more Religionalia! A Mary planter found for 60c at the thrift with 50% off I visited last week. Her middle finger is missing, but we love her all the same. She can still give us the ol' bird with the other hand should she find it necessary. She is sequestered inside another cacti cache pot (as a book I recently checked from the library explained that planters without holes are called). And, because it fit behind her, a milk glass (hobnail) wall pocket is also showcased for your viewing pleasure.

    Two keeper state plates from the box lot bought at the yard sale. Kentucky (of course) with a fabulous pastel rainbow effect (Made in Japan) and Brown County, Indiana. I also threw in two pins I bought at the 50% off sale in the photo. One says Flint Creek (25c) and the other a silver butterfly. They are sitting on another recent find (from a couple of weeks ago), a gorgeous maple wall shelf. The wall shelf, the nun and Mary, and other collected religious artifacts will soon be a vignette on my wall. Stay tuned for photos (maybe even this weekend if they would quit being so darn short).

    And, because they were sweet and cheap, I grabbed these pastel kissing Dutch children the same day I found the shelf (at a KY flea market). I can only say, it is definitely a Small World in my kitschy universe.

    Linkin' it up with the usual thrift parties: Apron Thrift Girl and Her Library Adventures.

    Oh, and reason for crappy photos tonight? Yep, you guessed it: more rain in Louisville!

    *Not to be confused with spiritual! ;)