Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Estate Sale Shopping

After the online estate auction, I decided it's better for me do my thrifting in person.  The first estate sale I went to was near my house.  It was very interesting because the family were avid collectors of butterflies, the walls were covered with display cases full of them.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much else of interest, at least not to me.  I just bought one Beatrix Potter pop up book - the outside was a little beat up but the pop up pages were still in good condition and I thought it was cute so I paid my dollar and left.  I did learn there that people come early to get numbers so I was prepared for next time.

A week later, I went to another estate sale.  It was well organized, with everything laid out on tables and labelled.  At first, I looked around and didn't see much.  I wasn't able to get there when it started so I probably missed out on the best stuff.  There were a few Pyrex carafes but they were not in very good shape.  That left me wondering if there was good Pyrex that had been bought already (what a sad thought).  While I was still roaming around the kitchen hoping to find a gem that had been left behind, someone from the company running the sale discovered that there was a cupboard full of stuff that they had missed.  In it was a large set of corningware in the blue cornflower pattern and some clear pyrex bowls and casserole dishes.  There was a bit of a panic as the workers emptied out the contents and started labelling prices furiously.  Since I was the one closest to them, so I asked how much they'd want for the whole set of the corningware, the lady said she'd give it to me for $30.  I wasn't really in the market for a whole lot of corningware and I actually don't love this pattern very much, but it sounded like too good of a deal to pass up when I know that these are collectible too.  Plus, there were people gathering behind me showing interest so I heard myself saying "I'll take it".

However, to even things out, I also bought a few duds because I was too excited: 1(as I discovered when I got home) very chippy clear glass Pyrex casserole dish ($5) and a little "Pyr-o-rey" dish ($1.50) that I had mistaken for a Pyrex.  I did get 14 cloth napkins for $2.50, most of which were brand new.  I was happy about that since I had wanted to move to using cloth napkins rather than kleenex to be more environmentally friendly.  Overall, I thought it was a good experience and I got a great deal. 

Last weekend, I went to 2 estate sales that were only a few blocks apart and run by the same company.  In the preview pictures of one of the sales, I was pretty sure I spotted a primary mixing bowl set in the kitchen cupboards.  I got there 1/2 hour early but there was already a line.  After I finally found a parking spot (which was hard to come by in that neighborhood), I lined up and was #29 so I was kinda bummed, figuring my chances were pretty poor, but I had a nice chat with some ladies in line who were regular estate sale shoppers.  They even go across the border to estate sales!

Turns out, no one else was even interested in going to the kitchen.  I was there all by my lonesome for a while digging for Pyrex treasure.  Well I was right, the large yellow bowl I spotted was the large primary mixing bowl.  It wasn't in great shape but the others were in much worse shape, with terrible dishwasher effect!  How sad.  Since the yellow one wasn't terrible, I held onto it, though I didn't like the $5 price tag on it.  There a couple of couple of Old Orchard bowls that were also in decent shape but I'm not really a fan of that pattern so I didn't take those.  Out of curiosity, I wandered through the rest of the house, picking a couple of small things but the basement was the where I found most of my haul for the day.  I found 4 of these Italian terra cotta planters:
I have no idea what they normally cost.  I found an ad on craigslist that was selling one of these used for $20 so they must be more expensive new.  They lady working the basement quoted me $20 for all 4.  Since we needed some planters for our balcony, this worked out nicely (except for the fact that they were super heavy and I had to lug them more than 2 blocks to my car).

Hidden in the storage space where the planters were, I also found (wrapped in plastic) this:

I don't know what it is with me and this corningware pattern (that I don't even like) but I keep finding hidden ones and in great shape!

I asked for a box or something to put the planters in and was directed to a dirty laundry basket with a few plastic bags in it.  While removing the bags, I noticed there were cookie cutters in them, which were on my thrifting wish list, along with a plastic icing/decorating tool. I put those back in the basket.

When I went to get a price on everything I had, the lady noticed I had a bunch of things not from the basement (i.e. the yellow pyrex) and asked if I had already paid for them.  I had seen various people throughout the house bargaining and paying for items to different workers at the sale but didn't realize we were supposed to pay for things on the floor where we found them (what an odd system).  When I apologized, she was very nice and told me not to worry.  Then as she looked at what I had, she said she would throw some of the small things in for free and seemed lost as to what number to give me.  I asked if she would take $30.  I expected some back and forth (considering I had that corningware dutch oven and the Pyrex) but she just said "that works".  She was probably just happy someone was cleaning out heavy stuff from the basement.  So here's a picture of the things I got thrown in for free:
The white vase is a fire king hobnail vase.  I was in need of nice salad tongs so I was happy to find these (nice shape and look good quality). I also liked the pattern on the rectangular glass dish with little fish-tail handles.

And what started it all:

The picture makes it look better than it does in person but you can see that the finish on the outside has been dulled, though the inside of the bowl is perfect and shiney still.

You'd think I'd be done at that point, but no I went to the second estate sale too.  It was pretty picked over by the time I got there but I found a shoe box of cute miniature toy cars (for my baby when he gets older), again in the basement, some christmas cards and these vintage hankies/linens:

I love the one with the kittens.  I found a hankie with a kitten that looked similar on etsy and it's priced at $25!  From what I could make out from the writing on the rose hankie, it is a reproduction of a painting of a French artist, which is pretty cool.  Not sure what to do with all these but I couldn't leave them behind.  It didn't hurt that I paid a whopping $2 for everything I got at this estate sale.

Surprisingly, it was only 9:30 at this point (the estate sales started at 8am), so I stopped by a church rummage sale, which didn't start until 10.  No Pyrex but I got some knit fabric, a muffin tray and 2 brand new irish linen tea towels for $4.  We're going to Ireland this summer so this saves me from buying a couple of souvenirs.  :)

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