Thursday, July 12, 2012

Practical Beauty

~ "Endless Post" Alert ~

Please understand that I enjoy the stories that tell what the pictures don't say, hence the following long-winded tales of my junk hunt.
Whether you read or peruse images, it matters not to me.
Rambling is in my blood and my breath.

So shall it be written, so shall it be done.


The thrill of the hunt came and went last weekend, and as is often the case,
I didn't come home empty handed. 
I drug home a car full of practical beauty.

Having recently scraped, sanded, caulked and primed the soffits around my house (among other parts), I used nearly this much caulk. When you live in an old house, you can hardly have enough. Sooner or later, you know you'll need it. So I jumped on buying everything in this box for $3.00. Next time I need to caulk, I won't have to break the bank. Better yet, I won't even have to run to the store! And who doesn't have oodles of uses for wide pink ribbon!

Caulk and ribbon, a glorious first find!

Then came these babies. Okay...I admit, I wasn't looking to buy chairs, but there these were retro cool. They weren't even for sale. They were out there for the yard sale ladies to sit on, but when I asked the woman if she would sell a chair, she said "Make me an offer." (I hate when people say that. It always comes unexpectedly, throws me a curve, and a decision is forced. Do I really want it? I'm forced to know instantly, and I never offer low enough.)

That's like being told, hurry! Decide!

I clam up at decision time.

Plus when people say that, you become the one setting the starting point and have only yourself to blame if it all goes wrong. I hate that place.

Decisions... they strike fear within.

So there I was trapped in that awkward place where I don't want to offend by offering too little and I don't want to panic into error and offer too much (I truly have poor haggling skills, overthink everything, and worse, I don't think fast on my feet! Besides, did I really want these that much?)

Surprisingly, I heard my own voice answering for me - out loud.

"$5?" I asked. I guess I thought she would want $10 and the decision would be made for me. (What was I thinking?! $5.00 is my upper limit!) However, instead she said, "SOLD!" (with flair). There I was, the proud owner of a way-too-blue metal chair and the realization that one wasn't enough; I'd have to have the set. So again I heard vocal me piping up.

"Loud mouth me" asked the woman if she would sell both. She said "sure". So here "shusshing me" was with two new chairs and I wasn't even sure I could get them in the back seat. That me, the one with the big mouth didn't even help. It did take a lot of finagling, but I finally got the door closed on the pair! (I can't believe I didn't take a picture of them cuddled up together back there.) I must say I amaze myself with my wedging skills.

That's another badge I definitely wear on the weekend...the badge of skilled wedging!

So yeah, I'm good at that. Big deal. I may be able to cram stuff into my back seat with aplomb, but I drove away wondering what just happened and why I was accompanied by two blue metal chairs hovering over my shoulder and blocking my view right at the start of my morning hunt and way too far from home to go drop them off. What if another large, to-die-for treasure came my way. Agh! My mouthy side may have sabotaged me. I would have to have a chat with "vocal me" and set some ground rules going forward.

My eyes don't happen to fancy this shade of blue and especially not on a large piece that has to go outside with nature. It just screamed "garish" within my patio setting. The true color is just unnatural for the great outdoors. Had I considered the price of painting these before I opened my big mouth and offered to buy them, I would have offered $3 each. However, even at three bucks, the price of the paint would have put me over $20 for the finished product. It took 3 cans!

Whether unnecessary or too expensive, these lovlies now belong to me. Hey, it's okay... they ARE useful. That's what counts, and I will put them to use as part of the patio family. Wasting no time, I immediately got them painted. I couldn't have my neighbors or myself startled by this offensive blue every time we glance in the direction of my back yard.

On I went. This assortment from back in the day cost me $1.00. Sewing machine lightbulb, sewing machine oil, guarantee, wood spools of shiny thread, measuring tape never used, needles, seam ripper, screwdriver and even hair clips (for old school curlers which I passed up and wish I'd gotten now).

There was also this leather key clip thingy with a few small keys... I had one of these when I was little.

Inside of this, under the flap was a little yellow printed card. It was old and cool looking and had some sort of handwriting on it. I was chatting with the people having the sale as I went through items in a tin, the woman came over to see what I had found in her stuff, thinking it might be a social security card or something. I thought the graphics were so old school and very cool. I wanted to save it for a paper project. However, before I could say so, she ripped it up in a bunch of pieces. Too late, it was gone. I was dejected. It would have made a great item to scan and use on cards or whatever.

She thought I was nuts. She couldn't imagine why anyone would want such an old piece of paper.

Then there was this...a small Sunday School pin? I couldn't find anything just like it online to compare it with. Have any of you ever had one of these? I feel like I've seen one before. Not sure.

At the same house, I got this small version of a pitchfork. It's about 3 feet high with a handle on it. Yea! It's an item I was searching for... $2


The same nice folks invited me into the house to look at the furniture. This chair was sitting at a desk and was covered with hand sewn blue flowered cushions tied tightly onto the back and the seat. I was elated when the man agreed to sell it to me for $3. I tried not to show my excitement. Last year I bought 8 chairs similar to this for my friend for a bit more each. By the time I finished semi-refinishing them, I was so in love with them that I have been on the hunt for more. I did find one at Goodwill recently and had to pay $8 to get it, and now redemption has come in the form of this beauty. It's in decent condition aside from some names carved lightly into the wood.

Ahh, character

I ran into an old acquaintance at the same sale. She said "Don't even bother going to the yard sale down the street because it's just junk!", this said with nose scrunched up and disgust in her voice. She was aggrivated that she had wasted her time. I wasn't daunted by her disdain and asked with a lilting hope in my heart... " what kind of junk?" She said "nothing you would want, just stuff that should all be thrown in the garbage. Don't bother going! I don't understand why they waste people's time trying to sell stuff that should go in the trash."

My ears pricked up when she indicated it looked like stuff out of their garage. Not everyone loves and looks for the same types of things at garage sales, nor do they see value in the same objects (after all, I get heart palpations at the onset of bulk trash day). I figured I'd test her leanings (although I pretty well knew already the kinds of things she likes),

"What do you look for?" I asked.

"Oh, high end things, nice furniture and decorative items" she told me.

Ah yes, as I figured. "Well I look for junk, I said! I look for all kinds of odd things, so maybe they'll have something I want; you just never know."

Her eyebrows went high again. "Maaay - beeee," she drawled with an absence of conviction and slowly averted eyes. Then and there, I knew I should get a move-on and get myself over to that junky yard sale. It sounded like just the place for me.

These are both the same. One side is yellow and one is red.

I was right! First thing I noticed was an old blue tackle box, but I was down to a fistful of dollars and didn't want to let go of it before I'd done my full perusal of the junk. As much as I really do want another cool old box (and I don't have a blue one), I held off and scored these rod mount lights which are harder to come by. I was dying inside because I've been looking for these for over a year. There is something I want to make with them. I have numerous other items to collect first, though, and now that I have these, maybe the rest will follow. So glad to get them for $1.50 each, because they can be pricey online.

I spent a lot of time going through boxes of nails and screws to see which were most like the ones I seem to always need and never have enough of.  So I got tapcon screws, complete with a drill bit in there. Bonus! Galvanized nails, drywall screws, poultry staples and tacks...all together for $1.00. Now I can build, build, build! Sorry, they aren't exactly pretty, but I am a practical soul with a love and need for "useful". I can use all the help I can get.

Useful makes me happy.

I selected this variety of hooks, clips, hinges and clasps... each one cool in its own right. All of these together cost me one dollar...

"just because it's you" the guy said...

...this after I had talked junk with him, discussed his granddad, and had already bought the other items.

I was on the hunt...digging through boxes and uprooting precious metals. They were trying to help their grandad get rid of some of the huge stash of stuff in his garage. The guy seemed to be enjoying the fact that I appreciated all his granpa's old stuff. I would have loved to have gotten into that garage. I could have appreciated it even more. He had tons of old stuff in there that I would've had a heyday with. All sorts of tools, tool boxes, bins and who knows what. I can only imagine the treasures from times past that were aging to perfection in there.

This was found at Goodwill after I wound up my morning yard sales. Too cool to pass up. I didn't want to pay the Goodwill price of $3.00, but I did. The lid and all of the handles made it too tempting. I couldn't walk away without it.

This was also from Goodwill, and also $3.00, but it was on my list of things I was searching for, so I had to cave to the Goodwill pricing, much as it nagged at me to do so. I recently found a mold at another Goodwill for $1.89 and my goal has been to find two more. Now this one has entered my life and my kitchen. It's slightly different than the first, but so shiny and pretty, It goes well with my retro kitchen vibe.

The Blue Chairs

The blue chairs have indeed been painted...

Ta, da! They are now a yellow/green... and they no longer harass the eyes. Kinda thinking after the fact that maybe I should have painted them white, but what's done is done. Besides, not another cent is going into these chairs, and now they compliment rather than shouting obscenities at the surrounding yard and flowers.

I don't know why people love to spray paint, especially not items like this. My fingers were crippled and crumpled for three days, and spray paint is not inexpensive. Glad that job is done!

The finished result makes me much happier than the original, though, and they rock...literally. Well, they sort of bounce, but close enough, I'll take it. And I'll use them to take a break when I'm out working on my projects in the Florida sun.
Sweet beautiful utility. I'd say these were well-worth the backseat wedging, crippled fingers and all.

Well, gang...2 days and counting and I'll be out hunting again! Wish me restraint and a few simple pleasures; that's all I'm really looking for. What about you?

Stop in at these parties:


  1. Liz the chairs look FANTASTIC in that new green shade! I love green so I'm a little biased but my opinion still counts ;-)

    Silly woman for ripping up what could have potentially been a fab craft project! Some people just don't understand us hoarders.

    Emily @ Design and Nonsense

  2. The chairs do look great in the yellow/green! You found a lot of little fun misc items too. All nostalgia to me.

  3. Your found some really neat treasures! Thanks for dropping by and commenting! I would be delighted for you to link up to Potpourri Friday, in progress!

  4. Thank you for commenting on my engineer prints :)

    I love reading about others' thrifty finds! I had a pair of those vintage blue chairs for years, but we got rid of them this past spring (I think for $10!). Our toddler kept pulling up on them, and they would nearly tip over. I decided that we better just get safer chairs that wouldn't topple over and hurt the kids!

    Have a great weekend!

  5. i loved the part about wedging the chairs ive had that happen too but luckily i was close to home and was able to drop off and head back out you found some great stuff enjoy

  6. Jeepers --- I am incredibly jealous of those chairs. I have one and I WANT more!! hahaha. Hey cool on ya! I LOVE THE COLOR you choose. All those items and classy chairs after all.

  7. You fast finder! You did a good job to search the right places. Excellent results.

  8. Thanks for your visit cause now I've found your blog!!! I'll be following too! Love, love the color you painted these wonderful chairs. I'm with you on spray painting, it truly pains the fingers :). You should see me switching from one finger to another, and trying to use the thumb to press that tiny little thingamajig. I'm off to look at your older posts. Happy hunting!

  9. What great finds and the chairs looks so much better in the yellow/green :)

  10. wow! what a score! I am happy with a plate!! good for you.

  11. Liz - The way I look at a blog post is that some people are generous and offer the reader the whole roasted pig - meaty and juicy. Other bloggers can be stingy and just offer a bone! I visited one yesterday that had three sentences. I was sure there must be a jump line, but no, that was it - three sentences and two pictures! I kinda liked that wild blue, but the yellow is fine. So sad about the paper - I always asked to look through the trash bags at estate sales to find treasures like this! Also, GET A TRUCK! I currently have both of ours partially loaded because I am using them as storage until after my niece leaves! Crazy and I know It! Shuffling!

    Distressed Donna Down Home

  12. Wow, you are a thrifting guru. Well done. Love your finds. Thanks for sharing, liz

  13. Hi Liz, the pin you found is a Sunday School Pin. You get one for having perfect attendance at Sunday School for the year. Some have hooks at the bottom where you can hook on additional pins for the other years of perfect attendance.

    1. Thanks for the confirmation! I tried to find your blog so I could stop in for a visit, but it's not linked to your profile. Hope you'll let me know so I can come by and see what you're up to.

  14. Hi Liz,
    I guess, you are the Fairy of DIY. YOu always find great treasures and great ideas. Fantastic restoration.

    Have a blissful Monday and a blessed week to come.
    /CC from Stockholm

  15. I love EVERYTHING, down to the last screw, and well, maybe I don't know what do do with the lights, but I'm sure I'll want some after I see what you do with them! Girlfriend, we think alike. (Gotta say, though, I was digging the blue chairs... precisely for the reasons you didn't like them! Blue stands out in gardens, since it's not found in nature.)

  16. You did GOOD !!!! I would have snagged those chairs as well. They remind me of the pair my grandma had on her porch. I LOVE the color you chose. You find some amazing goodies : )
    ~ Deanna

  17. Dang! I don't know how long my butt has been planted here reading your interesting posts but for sure nobody is eating any dinner here tonight. Your reminiscences (spell checker anywhere???) really speak to my heart and there are an awful lot of practical junkers out here...nice to meet another! Nobody understands us, thank heavens to find link-minded souls on the internet.

    You HAVE to treat yourself to a brand spanky-new spray paint handle. Your fingertips will thank you and though it will grow crusty with the paint of many projects, you will treasure it! Here's one like mine and is available in most hardware/big box type stores.

  18. In reference to your chairs. I had the same thing happen with a pair of iron garden chairs. They were in rough shape but they just spoke to me. Garage sale not for sale, I asked would you sell those chairs. She said yes , would you give me a dollar for them. I asked are you sure she said yes. I priced them at about $20.00 because I kind of felt guilty about the low price. When I brought them to the shop the shop owner, where my booths are whood and Awwadd. She looked at the price and said I had them to low. One sold quickly for $40.00 the other for $45.00.

  19. Your blue chairs look GORGEOUS Liz! Thanks for sharing them at Inspire Me Monday at

    Create With Joy

  20. Look at all the great thing you found. LOVE the chairs. I have a pair just like them that belonged to my grandmother. When I first painted them it was a color very similar to the lemony color you used. Thanks for sharing your finds. Happy thrifting.

  21. Wow, what great finds. I love the blue chairs and girl you got them for a steal. I have two just like them that are turquoise. Your new color is fab! I just bought a folding chair similar to that one. The wood is not in nearly as good of shape. Going to give it the old spray paint but haven't decided what color yet.

  22. Great finds (caulk included!) .... I love the chairs. My Aunt had the chairs and the rocker. Good memories.


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