Second-hand score

I nearly forgot about the annual rummage sale at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lansing. However, I just happened to have the day off and just happened to be in the area around 9 a.m. when the doors opened.

The only occasion I will stand in a line to get my hands on retail goods is when those goods are second-hand. I stood in line outside the recreation hall with about 40 other folks who showed up with empty boxes and bags to fill with used merchandise. I even saw a guy with his own wheeled cart. That dude meant business. I chatted with a lady in line while trying to conceal my excitement. I didn’t want her to discover that I was a total freak when it came to vintage merchandise. I sized up the scene and I was fairly confident that very few of the people who were standing in that line were looking for the same kind of stuff I was. While I was searching out an estate sale on Craigslist to hit after the rummage sale, the line began to move and we all entered the building in and orderly fashion to begin the hunt.

One woman working the sale told me that it took more than a week to price and organize everything. The people working this sale really had it together. The merchandise was priced to move and the nice ladies at the linens table bagged up my selections and wrote my name on the bag so I could continue to shop unencumbered by a giant sack of linens. Check out the photos below to see what else I found:

 

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A cool scarf for 40 cents? Yes please!
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A nice tea towel with 3-D embroidery
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A handy guide about where to use certain colors in your home
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Nice aluminum tray to stack junk on. I figured it was probably worth two dollars in scrap metal alone.
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Nice insulated cup set with serving tray
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New old stock Luster Dry apron and towel set.

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Cute casual place mats. I’ll probably reuse the fabric on another project
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Hand-sewn swans. I think the lipstick stain on this handkerchief is kinda cool.
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Is that quilt hand-sewn?
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Why yes it is!
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I don’t really know what these are, but they’re hand made and they were 25 cents.
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When you see a table-top gold lamé ironing board for 50 cents. Don’t ask questions. Just dig around in your pocket for two quarters.

After staggering out to my truck loaded down with vintage merchandise, I hit the navigation on my phone to find that estate sale. There’s really no other way to do estate sales in my opinion. Gone are the days of driving around aimlessly searching for signage. No more slamming on the brakes and taking turns at 30 miles per hour when you see a sign the reads “yard sale” or “estate sale” with an arrow pointing the way. Plus, I don’t have the added annoyance of twisting my way through a neighborhood only to discover that the sale was the previous week and nobody bothered to take the signs down.

 

Luck was on my side again at the estate sale. Everything was half price and there was still plenty of cool stuff that shoppers the day before had passed by. I noticed that an old Singer sewing machine was featured in the Craigslist post, so I knew there was bound to be some vintage fabric. I gasped when I saw the coolest quilt in the world laying across the bed. It was pieced together with vintage bark cloth and was probably made about 50 years ago. I suspected that it may be out of my price range because it was so glorious. I did a double take when I saw the sticker. It was marked $10 which meant I got it for $5. I snatched it up as if someone was else was going for it at the same time. A lady sitting at a card table with a money box told me I could put it on the table next to her. Not a chance. I wasn’t letting this thing out of my sight. I tucked it up under my arm and continued to search the other bedrooms. I found some super thick cheap denim fabric, which is good because I was just about out of cheap denim. I also scooped up a few yards of bright red polyester knit, a souvenir plate from the Grand Canyon and a blue ashtray from a California-based restaurant named Fjord’s Smorg-ette, which I discovered was recently torn down to make way for an In-N-Out Burger. I paid nine bucks for all my goods and almost ran out of the house. I imagined that someone would stop me and told me they made a pricing mistake on the quilt. Once safely down the street at my truck, I draped the quilt across the tailgate and snapped a photo so I could show it off on Facebook. I hope that when I’m no longer part of this earth and they sell all my junk off, someone finds something they will treasure.

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half of the quilt
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detail of the quilt
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I don’t smoke, but I like blue glass.
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I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but now I can pretend that I have.
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Sweet 50-cent table runner
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50-cent fabric!

I was on a roll. I had a few bucks left, so I swung into the Volunteers of America thrift store. This joint always delivers. I seldom go to the VoA without finding some great vintage fabric and/or ugly 1970s neckties and this day was no exception. I was already running dangerously low on my favorite brown and yellow bark cloth. The thrift store gods must have known that, because I found some serious yardage of a fantastic purple bark cloth from the 1950s stuffed into a bag with some other less desirable shimmery synthetic fabric from the 1990s. I also scooped up a couple sweet neckties. One sported a pink tag which meant it was 75% off, which is always nice. I strolled on up to the checkout where the nice lady who rung me up asked, “How are you today?” I cheerfully answered, “I’m super!” Because I was. It was another victorious day of mining Lansing’s second-hand scene for vintage gems.

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detail shot of my new favorite fabric. Look for it to appear on a messenger bag in my shop!
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Green shark skin tie and a brown striped tie that I bought just because the tie tag was so cool.
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The I-127 Corridor Sale

As we took off down the road from Fayetteville, TN a rainbow materialized across the highway. I took this as a sign of good luck for the I-127 Corridor Sale that runs from Alabama to Michigan for four days every August. We drove toward Chattanooga where we would follow the road north. I knew we were close to the action when traffic slowed to a crawl. We have a yard sale strategy we call “stick and move.” My husband, Rad, will drive by at a creep, while I scope out the scene. If I see some premium junk, we find place to stash the F-150, hop out and survey the scene. There’s a lot to see and I was looking for fabric, old neckties and vintage sewing notions.

 

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the good luck rainbow

 

After seeing things like deer heads hanging from a telephone poll, cow skulls, an old hippie and tons of rusty bikes, we decided to ease on down the road and search for something to eat. There weren’t many restaurants on this leg of the trail, but we stumbled upon the Lone Oak community center and volunteer fire department combined into one building. And they had chili dogs and sweet tea. A woman played the piano in the large dining area, plus she was taking requests. We passed through the industrial kitchen, scored some hot dogs, corn bread and tea before someone informed us that there was also a book and quilt sale down the hall.

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hot dog with chips and tea

 

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The Lone Oak hot dog mess hall

 

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just a pile of cow skulls

 

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animal heads on a telephone poll

 

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a tree that is ready for Halloween 

 

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rusty bikes for all ages

 

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just in case you’re in the market for an animal hide

 

I found a Bargello book for a quarter before passing into the quilt room. A woman sat at a table and asked me if I wanted to purchase a raffle ticket for a huge quilt that hung from the ceiling. I explained that I lived in Michigan so I had no way of picking up the quilt if I were to win the raffle. “Well, we’ll mail it to ya!” she said. Who can argue with that? Wish me luck. I also scored some sweet high-quality corduroy for two bucks a yard. The woman who sold me that raffle ticket measured it out by stretching the material from her nose to her finger tips and I walked out with a sack stuffed full of good quality fabric for about ten bucks.

 

 

We plugged on up the road without much luck after that. Second-hand fire arms and rebel flags began to dominate the stops we rode past, and since I am certainly not in the market for those items, we cut over to Nashville and began a new quest for craft beer and fried chicken.

Here are a few more photos from the trail:

 

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good quality junk this way

 

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creepy antique dentist chair

 

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everything you need to start up a diner

 

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old photos of people you don’t know

 

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piles of merchandise

 

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potato field