Why 'My Mink Betty'?

Why 'My Mink Betty'?
I'm not your common, everyday twenty-something year old and when I graduated from High School I got an equally uncommon gift. My parents found for me a beautiful 1940's mink stole at a garage sale. It had belonged to the woman's Great Aunt Betty who had married late in life to a man with money and had only allowed him to buy her this one luxury. The unusually styled stole has the name, Betty L. Jones, embroidered in the satin lining so that's what I call her. They never had children of their own and the mink was passed to Aunt Betty's niece and on to her daughter. Until it got to me, no one since Aunt Betty had worn it. Now Betty the mink and I go to the theater together on special occasions and I hope that someday I can take her to the Symphony or the Ballet. Although Betty hadn't been worn or loved for many years she was waiting for someone to love her again as are most other things I look for when thrifting.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

An Estate Sale Adventure and The Naked Boob Hour

Mom and I went to our first estate sale of the year a few weeks ago.  We are fortunate to have a very cool local website where we can see what estate sales are coming up and what things will be for sale.  They usually have lots of pictures.  Even if the sale is too far away or we're too busy to go, it's fun to look through the pictures. I guess it's like thrifter p*rn.

We hadn't been to a sale since summer and we could tell from the pictures this was a great one. Going through the pictures is sort of like our version of playing I Spy.

I spy something Pyrex! Ooh... three partial sets of mixing bowls.  Maybe they will have the elusive red bowl.

I spy rooms and rooms of craft supplies... yarn... crochet thread... ribbon... I bet there are zippers,,,
And look,  that sign says everything is 25c!


 More craft supplies...

I spy toys and board games... I wonder what's in that box for $10...

 I spy enamelware in the basement... Ok, you find the craft room, I'll take the basement.

I spy... what the heck IS that cherub feather thing?  A lamp?

 We also spied shiny brites and a Disney Snow White toy ironing board, and horrendously loud 70's clothing, and so much more.  We weren't planning on buying everything, but hoped to see lots of it before everybody else bought it.   We figured this would be a popular sale, so we'd have to get there early.  We might even have a sighting of the elusive Magpie Ethel.  This was just her kind of sale.

 Early Saturday morning  we gathered our coats and umbrellas and set off across the river.  We arrived more than an hour ahead of time, but there were already dozens of people in line and they kept coming.

And you can see from the picture that this was an old house; the kind with narrow hallways and steep stairs leading to tiny rooms, so they couldn't let everybody in at once. 

The first customer was in and out before we even got in the door.  As he came out all of us waiting were anxious to know what he had bought.  He stated proudly that he had gotten the aluminum Christmas tree for $100.  Wait... what? There was an aluminum Christmas tree?!  That wasn't in the pictures. And I didn't even get to see it.  Drat!  But I did see that he was carrying the cherub feather lamp thingy.  What the heck?  I figured he was a dealer, so did that mean that weird thing was valuable?? 

After we got in, I headed for the basement, but the enamelware was all snatched up already and there was no toy ironing board in sight.  Then I went to the dining room to see about the Pyrex and there was a crazy lady sitting on the floor surrounded by mixing bowls growling nastily at anyone who came near and mumbling something about "My Precious."  Ok, not really, but almost.  She was actually on the floor, totally blocking traffic and trying to lay claim to everything Pyrex within her sight.  I dared to pick up a bowl that was out of her reach and she yelled at me that it was hers until she said otherwise.  One of the red mixing bowls was actually sort of an orange color so she held it out to me and said, "Here, this is good enough for you."  I thought to myself, "They're ALL good enough for me," but didn't really want to fight a crazy woman, so I just said, "No thank you," and went in search of the craft room.  

When I got to the craft room, there was only one other person in there: Magpie Ethel.  You can read her post about the sale here.  All was quiet as we each shopped.  I got some beads and a large knitting needle and a Tunisian crochet hook.  Everything really was 25c :)  

Then I moved into the corner where the piles of yarn were.  I didn't want to block traffic, so I set my large bag down a few feet away.  I grabbed a few skeins of yarn and turned to put them in my bag, when two women with toddlers in tow barged into the room and pushed past me.  They proceeded to pull out large garbage bags and loudly announce how wonderful it was that they were going to get ALL this yarn.  A few other women had come into the room at the same time and tried to get to the boxes of yarn , but they were not about to share.  I moved on to the crochet thread, but couldn't help hearing them yelling at their poor kids not to touch anything and crowing about how much yarn they were getting as they scooped it all up.  "I can't believe I got 95 skeins of yarn."  "Well, I got over 100." They were so obnoxiously greedy that I wanted to grab one of their bags and hit them with it, then give them a piece of my mind, but I didn't want their children to have to witness that.  They looked miserable enough as it was.

Meanwhile, Mom was looking through books and games and other craft stuff.  There were a lot of craft supplies all over the house.

Here's some of what we got - pinking shears, vintage hair shears, craft punches, a 1930 edition of Nancy Drew (these were my favorite books growing up and I'm quite pleased to have found a clothbound edition), a nice vintage ledger, some cowboys and army men...

bags of beads and a couple of cute jars with plaid lids...

 crochet thread, yarn, the needle and crochet hook...
 a spaghetti kitty and a little dog...

 a colorful 70's domino set...

and a 1966 version of Milton Bradley's memory card matching game.  

Mom liked the graphics on these two games, but was surprised to find that the Memory game is quite popular on ebay, selling recently for $35, even with some of the cards missing (we're missing a card, too)

We had a good time going through the house in spite of the behavior of some people.  Most people were very patient and polite.   We also found some recipe pamphlets and books. 

By far, our favorite book is this one, because there is a family story to go along with it.  

About twenty years ago, we lived in an apartment.  Free cable was provided to all the tenants, but it was only 13 channels.  During Christmas vacation, they gave us free premium channels to try to entice us to sign up for the pay service.  So one evening, after the eleven o'clock news, Mom and my then teenaged sister decided to see if they could find anything good on HBO, Cinemax, etc.  Hoping for a movie, they tried HBO... half-naked people making out... Cinemax... more half-naked people making out... Showtime... even more half-naked people.  And by half-naked, I mean mostly naked boobs.  "This is ridiculous," said Mom.  "Apparently, eleven o'clock is the beginning of The Naked Boob Hour.  I give up.  We'll go to Disney Channel.  At least they won't have naked boobs."  So she turned it to the Disney Channel, and there was baby Perri, the squirrel, being nursed by her mother.  Even on the Disney Channel, there were naked boobs!  Granted, they were squirrel boobs, and you couldn't really see much, but come on!  Needless to say, we did not get premium channels that year.

We did not buy this pink poodle with real bright pink rabbit fur, but she was awfully cute.
I'm not sure where bright pink rabbits can be found.  Maybe the same place that pink and blue poodles can?

We spent almost two hours going through the house, and just as we were leaving I remembered that I wanted to take a picture of something else we didn't buy...

this hilarious robe made out of bath towels.  Apparently such robes were a fashion statement in the '70s.  I believe the exact statement was, "What the frickety-frack?"

You can tell this one was extra special because they used fringe on the collar and sleeves.  I'm really glad I went back because that was when I saw the chenille bedspread.

I love chenille and have always wanted to find a bedspread.  This one is peach in color and is worn in places, but I plan to cut it and make pillows or something.

We stopped at one other estate sale, but only bought a sweater and some boxes of Little Debbie brownies.

 We did, however, see this terrifying ashtray...

and this adorable felt on cork giraffe.  
Mom remembers assembling several of these art kits back in 1968. 

On our way back home we stopped at Wendy's for chicken sandwiches and discovered a very nice deal.  This year Wendy's is selling plastic key tags for $1 ($0.90 of which goes directly to the Dave Thomas Foundation) that entitle the cardholder to a free junior frosty with every purchase for the duration of the 2015 calendar year.  We each bought one and I'm very satisfied with the deal and highly recommend it to anyone who likes frosties.

Our first estate sale of the season was a success. How has your thrifting been lately?

I'm linking to the following parties:

Show and Share at Coastal Charm
Vintage Bliss Tuesdays
Thrifter Share
Tweak It Tuesday
Roses of Inspiration


  1. What a great find. I would have liked to have gotten a few skeins of yarn myself...glad you resisted your urge. Sleep well knowing they are likely overrun with knotted bits and missing labels. I can't imagine where I would put 90 more skeins of yarn!

  2. Lol, thanks for the kind words.

  3. I loved reading this colorful story of your estate sale adventure! The best part was the grabby people - but I'd be intimidated by them in person - lots more fun just to read about them!

  4. What wonderful finds. So enjoyed your estate adventure.

  5. What a wonderful adventure. I feel a bit tired after having "attended" such a wonderful sale :)

  6. Oh I want the poodle........awwwww, I do so love Estate sales, I find them sad though. Usually someone has died and their whole lifes stuff is there for everyone to see. Well when I am gone I hope my kids have an estate sale and everyone will find good deals. Loved the post

  7. It is amazing how nasty people can get at sales. Glad you found some treasures!

  8. Oh my, that poodle is just adorable! You definitely found some lovely items and finishing with a Frosty....what a perfect day :)

    Thanks for sharing at Roses of Inspiration - I hope you join us again next week. Hugs!


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