Scrapbook: Girls’ Day Community Sale

25 Sep

September is a wonderful time of year. For many it means back to school and the hopeful return of cooler weather, but for me it means something even better: community yard sales. Isobel and I had planned on having what she calls a Girls’ Day, which means just the two of us hanging out for a period of time ranging from a weekend to a few hours. Strict observance of Girls’ Day is much harder to come by now that Elias is here, but we sometimes manage to observe them during his nap time. Today we had a whole morning and into the early afternoon to ourselves while Anthony stayed home and observed Dude Time.

Our plan was to start the day by visiting the animatronic dinosaur exhibit that had come to town, but because children like to get up earlier than is humanly healthy even on the weekends, we discovered we had two hours to kill before it opened. Normally, in a situation like this we’d go thrifting, but today we were in luck as it was the day of the annual community yard sale. Held in the enormous parking lot of one of the local churches it houses over two hundred vendor spots and is packed with people and wares. I’ve snagged some great finds there before (such as Isobel’s original infamous Pink Purse!), but last year was tremendously lackluster. Even if we found nothing to take home I know Isobel and I would have a good time of it, so off we went.


We arrived early and the sale was as packed as usual. Last year seemed to be crowded with yard sale junk that people were trying to sell for ten times its value, so I was wary, but almost immediately I could see that this year would be different. Isobel even brought a dollar in change of her own money, which she is immensely proud of spending, to choose her own special treat. As part of my mission to indoctrinate her into the joys of thrifting, I always let her choose something special (within reason). I actually can’t think of a time where she’s chosen a toy; she seems to gravitate toward random household items that become fixtures in her imagination play as soon as we get home. Girlfriend particularly has an attraction to fake flowers, as well as anything Christmas-related, and so it was no surprise that she gravitated immediately to a poinsettia bouquet arrangement in the first stall we visited. She also clutched onto a small plush Christmas stocking, the kind you might buy for a pet, and I negotiated both of them for Isobel’s own dollar.

Our favorite stall this year wasn’t a regular yard sale booth nor was it strictly a vintage vendor. Rather it was a blend of the two, run by two friendly Chinese-American women around my mother’s age. Their mother had passed away some time ago, leaving them the contents of what must have been a spectacularly preserved vintage pad. And her closet, oh my god, her closet, nothing but pristine, drool-worthy pieces from the fifties and sixties. Instead of hosting an estate sale, the two sisters did some vintage sleuthing and were selling the wares at places like this. They were newbies when it came to vintage, and very enthusiastic.  Their prices rivaled that of an antiques store and our budget was slim, so I was allowed only to purchase one two dollar silk scarf from their extensive collection. The clothes were so great though, and fairly (if somewhat steeply) priced. They weren’t in my size, which saved some agony on my part, but a little piece of me did die for not picking up a stack of these plastic vintage cups ($12).


The clothes were all just amazing, and I heard one shopper remark on how great they were “as far as used clothing goes,” which is probably the most derisive back-handed compliment about thrifting I’d ever heard. Practically my entire outfit that day was made up of used clothing, and I was rocking it. You can tell from the photo above all the amazingness that was packed on to one half of a rack, and there were four. The scarves in the photo alone are enough to haunt me with regret.


One of the greatest things for sale at that booth was a 1950s diner waitress-style apron in bumblebee yellow with four pockets on the front labeled Tips, Complaints, Suggestions, and Compliments. I couldn’t stop talking about it until finally one of the sisters pulled it off the rack and stuck it behind her table to take home with her. I didn’t mean to, but I ended up talking her into buying her own apron.

A recent trend at sales like this is to purchase whole storage lockers that have been forfeited by their owners. I always find this exciting because I don’t shy away from getting my hands dirty and doing a little digging. The surprising things you find are generally also a surprise to the people hosting the sale. Best of all, it’s not personal, so no one says, “Oh, I’m asking more for this because it was one of my favorites” (I don’t care, and neither do you, you’re selling it), and because it’s not personal, everyone is free to laugh at the weird stuff without embarrassing anyone or hurting their feelings.


It is inevitable that in a sale of this magnitude that we find some exceptional specimens of thrift store gore. In fact, a seller actually threatened me with one. I was taking a photo of the framed poster below that I have named Clown Horror when the older gentleman who was running the booth started yelling at me for taking pictures. He stopped, though, the moment he saw I was taking a photo of the clowns instead of his precious framed John Wayne posters. I’m still confused as to why, but that’s a mystery that will remain unsolved. The clown poster looked like something that would go for $5 at a county fair, and the vendor told me I wasn’t allowed to take photos of anything at his booth except for the clown poster. Then he offered it to me for $15, saying he normally asks for $20. I told him we were just browsing and then he told me I could have it for $5 when Isobel shouted out I HAVE A DOLLAR. He then tried to sell it to her for a dollar when she shouted I ALREADY BOUGHT THESE FLOWERS FOR CHRISTMAS. He turned and tried to sell it to me for a dollar. I told him we weren’t interested, grabbed Isobel, and made a hasty escape.


It was the first time anyone so aggressively tried to pawn off their wares on us for so cheaply, also the first time someone tried to convince my five year old to buy something.

Bonding over thrifting, or as we often call it, “treasure hunting” is one of our favorite things to do together, and always makes for a perfect Girls’ Day.


Snapshot 09.24.14

24 Sep

– We’re entering week 3 of me being sick, but I appear to be finally getting better. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for me. I’m frustrated at how behind I am on everything and how lethargic I’ve been. Any free time I’ve had I spent laying on the couch or the bed or the floor and slept if at all possible. This virus just wore me down, literally, to the ground and I didn’t want to get up. Prolonged sickness always makes me depressed, and this was no exception. I lost my voice totally and even when I could talk again in Janis Joplin-like tones I still couldn’t sing which is something I do nearly constantly around the house. I tried, I really did, but anything above a hoarse whisper refused to come out. Everyone in this house got this virus, but no one succumbed to it as badly as I did. It took so long for me to even get sick I had hoped I had some weird immunity to it. Instead by body was just gearing up for destruction.

– I did manage to leave the house a few times for a short while during the end of my convalescence. My inlaws took Isobel, Anthony and I to see the Chinese acrobats perform in Modesto. I was overly thrilled about this because it meant leaving the house and having adult conversations, and since Elias was staying with my Mom, we had unprecedented freedom. This is how pathetic I am right now. I told Anthony, this is kind of like a date night! And he said, “Yes. A date night with our daughter and my parents.” Whatever, I was glad. And it was a good night even though I spent most of the performance feeling tubercular and coughing into a hanky.  Isobel loved it. She kept turning around and saying to me, “Mimi, I have never seen this before!” I know, kid! At one point two of a the acrobats, a man and a woman, were performing together and dancing very close together. It was quiet in the theater as we watched and Isobel chose that moment to quizzically ask, “Are they in love or what?”

– I mentioned Isobel’s new passion for making books before, and she’s still making them. Last week she made a book and wrote her first sentence ever! The only thing better than that is that the sentence was about me. On a heart-shaped piece of pink paper she carefully wrote “I see Mimi.” It is the best sentence in the history of writing.

– While texting Anthony a photo I found on the internet (it involved an old school NES), Isobel asked what I was doing. “I’m sending Daddy a message,” I replied, showing her the photo. “You shouldn’t send Daddy that photo,” she replied, rolling her eyes, “When you send a message to someone it should say, ‘I love you,’ or ‘Maybe we should marry each other’, or ‘Hey, look at this cute baby.'” I hope someday she writes an advice column.

– Much to Isobel’s relief, we drove to school while I was sick. She really doesn’t like walking to school. I know this because she reminds me on a daily basis, usually during the entire time we are making the journey. She can’t see the point of walking when we have a car. One morning her friend who lives on our street was hanging out in his front yard while we started our walk to school. As we passed we greeted each other and Isobel said, “My Mom likes to walk to school for some reason.”

– There’s a mountain lion making its way through our town. Sadly pushed far from home due to the double whammy of fire and drought, it’s been sighted near my parents’ house and residents have been urged to remain indoors. Hopefully it can be sedated and relocated but it’s eluded authorities so far. Just to reiterate, we are nowhere near the mountains. We live in the middle of the giant valley in California, surround by suburbs and farmland. The poor creature must be desperate to have wandered so far.

Pumpkiny, the pumpkin we grew in our garden that Isobel became obsessed with and wanted to teach to live “like a human,” was lost for a few days and when he was discovered in our hot, dry garage had shrunk down to 10% of his original size. I think he’s still shrinking, actually. Isobel, lover of all things small and cute, has only become more obsessed and carries him around everywhere and tucks him in at night with his own little blanket. You do you, Isobel!

Thrifted Maternity Closet: Week 14. My lovely lady lump.

In The Garden: Roses. I have a small but prolific rose garden.

Follow Friday: Home of the Sea Wolf. Photos of the sea, and my love letter to the internet.

Snapshot 09.25.13. That time my friend Justin wore two eye patches.

Little Big Kitchen: Greek Food Festival. After stuffing ourselves with Mediterranean delights we get caught in a torrential downpour.

Scrapbook: Home Life. Ten photos of home.

Follow Friday: Guest Photographer Megan Hunt. That time Princess Lasertron was here (!).

Isobel’s Closet: Operation Strong Girl. This dress is crazy short on her now, but she still loves to wear it.

Recipe: Blue Cheese-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. Get in mah mouf.

How To Make a Pokebra. Prepare for trouble, and make it double.

Thrifted leopard print romper. Wow, Troy rocks that romper! I am not normally a romper fan, but this is just about perfect. It’s a bit of a DIY, too, because she transformed the pants into shorts because there was a stain. Bravo.

Same. (There are other kinds?) Via Angela

Bill Cosplay. Via

Man Not Himself Until He Has So Much Coffee He Feels Like He Is Going To Die. Same. Via Angela, again.

Reminder. This goes out to everyone who isn’t getting recognized for their awesomeness. Keep being awesome. I appreciate you.

This is what it’s like when everyone on Twitter makes the same joke. Humanity is kind of adorable sometimes.

Ugh the Byzantines were into hipster pixel art.” Via

I nominate Patrick Stewart for Best Human Award.

A Literary Take on Fashion, Part 26. I love these.

Your period, explained by the Sims.

“r yr boobs ok hun?” (SFW)

“If you are going to deal with an aquarium, this is the way to go.” Via @Journalgirl

Star Trek in Cinerama Widescreen. This is just beautiful. Via marsroverdriver

The Ten Worst Movies Shown On MST3K. I have only seen four of these, so clearly I have to catch up, but how is Overdrawn at the Memory Banks not on here?! They give up at the end and make Raul Julia narrate stock footage of chimpanzees! Great read.

DIY Decor using old books. This is so cute. Via Our City Lights

6 Easy Sewing Tutorials from ReWare Vintage. I can’t pick a fave to recommend. They are all great!

Bat Country: How I Learned Photoshop. An old man yelled at me until I figured it out.

Falling Waters & The Soothing Sounds of Nature. Frank Lloyd Wright meets Isobel.

Scrapbook: This Must Be Underwater Love. Some of my favorite photos of Isobel ever.

I had a baby. It was hard. Mental health, motherhood, and Postpartum Depression.

Home Movies: Wow. Isobel used to say “wow” over and over and over and it was the best thing ever.

Bat Country: Weird Science. This is like Thrift Store Gore, but for County Fair exhibits.

Labor Day Portraits. I Photoshop DJ Lance into Isobel’s professionally done portraits.

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