I am a garage sale afficionado. So much so that I avoid scheduling classes or appointments or meetings on a Saturday morning, especially now, in spring when garage sales abound. Love hunting sales. Love having sales.
At garage sales, I have gotten not only incredible deals for household and gifts, but also great ideas for stories and novels. And today, after I had read Molly Greene ‘s blog post Yes, the Barn’s For Sale, I decided to share a few of each.
FURNITURE DEAL: One of my earliest, and perhaps one of my favorite, is my oak hall stand, bought years ago. My husband and I went garage saling very early that morning; my parents were visiting and my father was champing at the bit to get on the road. A good choice. Had we been two minutes later we would have missed this steal of a deal.
STORY IDEA: One came from a lady who invited me in to her house to see all her wares. I followed her as she shoved the door open and “navigated her way through a four-foot high labyrinth of cardboard boxes, newspaper stacks, and clothing mounds.” She told me how the loss of a loved one had sent her on a spending spree, one in which she rapidly “amassed four hundred thousand dollars worth of place settings, ornaments, dolls, linens, and Christmas ornaments.” Her story moved me and inspired me to write Lost Forever, which is now in my collection, Passages.
FOUR ART DEALS: When I see a painting or needlework that speaks to me, if the price is right, I grab it.
1) I love the depth of Light and Shadows, a print by F. Carmichael.
2) I love the detail of Pinkie and Blue Boy; I have done some needlework and have great respect for the patience and talent required produce this pair. It’s difficult to see in the photos, but the work is petit pointe. I may have walked by them though, had it not been for the oval matte and the octagonal frames.
3) I love my copy of The Forest Has Eyes by Bev Doolittle; every time I run into a problem with a story line, I stare at this picture and hunt for camouflaged faces. (Apparently, there are thirteen of them although I have never counted that many.) The images remind me to look at my story from different angles.
4) I love this cross stitch of mother teaching child; it evokes a sense of a roadmap through generations.
ANOTHER STORY IDEA: One day, at a flea market, I noticed a woman who was wearing “knee-high, gold leather, gladiator sandals,” a black, leather mini-skirt, and had long golden hair. Her back was turned to me, but her confident strut brought to mind the image of a femme fatale: “A blonde Angela Jolie–minus the Brad Pitt connection and the eclectic collection of children.” As she turned, she shook her head slowly from side to side, and her blonde locks waved at passersby. When she faced my direction, my jaw dropped. Why? It’s in the story, Tall Letters. (Again, in Passages.)
SPA DEAL: Okay, one more household find. Simplicity here. I like the spa quality of my bathroom; in order to enhance that, I wanted a fancy towel set, you know what I mean: the ultra-fluffy kind you hang, never use, just throw into the dryer every now and then to get rid of the dust. But I didn’t want to mortgage the house to buy them. I am usually leary of buying any kind of linen or upholstered furniture at garage sales for obvious reasons, but in this case, I knew and trusted the seller. So I bought this set of towels which included 3 bath towels, 4 regular towels, 2 hand towels and 2 facecloths. A stunning deal.
‘NOVEL’ IDEA: And last, my best garage-sale-inspired writing idea to date, is one which arrived at a sale I was hosting. At the time, I was working on my novel, Castles in the Sand, and was seeking something that would represent ‘forever’ to my character, Sarah. The something wasn’t readily apparent, so I decided to throw the problem out into the universe and see what would show up. Well, into my garage strolled a lady who was wearing flip flops. I noticed that she had tiny paw prints tatooed onto the instep of her right foot. When I asked, she explained that her tiny dog had a habit of parking his front paws on her foot whenever he wanted her attention. She loved that dog and wanted to keep the memory with her always so she used an ink pad to copy his pawprints and headed off to the tattoo parlor. And there, I had it. Sarah’s forever.
Gotta love garage sales!
Wait… you want to know the costs, don’t you?
Oak Hallstand: $30; Light and Shadows: $10; Pinkie and Blue Boy: $15/pair; The Forest Has Eyes: $20; Mother and Daughter Cross Stitch: $10; Towels: $7/set. (Note: All art/needlepoint came with the frames seen here.)
Can’t wait ’til Saturday so I can treasure hunt again!