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Yard Sale, Thrift Store, Junk Heap Shopping (Part 1)


Rachel Perlow
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I was just in a flea market in France and bought an old cutting board with a nice pestle-shaped indent. They also had some beautiful old copper pots that I just didn't have room for in my suitcase. :sad:

I've often wondered about the slightly beat up cast iron skillets you see everywhere. Is it fairly straightforward to restore one to it's former glory?

I'm still kicking myself for passing up Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen for $3.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Hubby says I'm a dish junkie. My first stop at Goodwill is the glassware aisle. If we slow down at a yard sale and there's no glassware table, we keep going unless we can see BOOKS in evidence.

And books we acquired: My cookbook library is more than 600 volumes, though I do confess that lots were new, from the remnants aisle at Half Price Books. I love great stacks of the beautiful picture books, entertaining books and cookbooks and decorating books; books about tea and gardening and herbs and plants, and have them on all surfaces which will stand still. And hubby's photography shelves hold several hundred books, as well, from sales of all kinds.

I've furnished both kitchens, one entirely open cabinets, with collections of lovely pastel dishes and serving pieces and vases and bowls. Lots of Depression ware, loads of Fiesta (even the old ORANGE stuff), and my own favorite: Jadeite. I've always loved the pale teal of it, the almost translucent glimmer of oceany green with the little shadings. I've collected many Jadeite cups and saucers, round and square, plus cream/sugar sets, teapots, a LOVELY scalloped cakestand, lots of compotes and plates and bowls, and my VERY best piece: a ball jug.

It stands there with its little round belly and its slightly tilted head with the ice-catcher, as it stood amongst the drek of the shelves when I spotted it with its little tag reading 7.98. We had just entered the store and I picked it up, abandoned my basket, hustled Hubby to the checkout counter and escaped with my treasure before its true value was realized by some sharp-eyed price-setter. (My latest Jadeite book offers its twin for $700.00). It's in the TOP cabinet in the "fancy" kitchen, all by itself, looking down on our around-the-room top shelf of Hall teapots, mostly in that recognizable Hall green, and all but a few acquired for less than $10.

Beautiful old apothecary jars bought for a couple of dollars each hold pastas and rice and coffees on my kitchen counter. Old Homer Laughlin boardinghouse-sized bowls, with their fading pink roses and whispers of gold trim, shine down from atop the refrigerator, where they keep company with Stafford teapots and ironstone pitchers.

A charming cream and teal 1900's stove mentioned in a previous thread, rescued from a storage container at a permanent outdoor flea market--$150.00. It will replace the horrendous "harvest gold" monstrosity in the up kitchen, and will serve no other purpose than to look pretty and hold some of the pretty dishes.

An 8'x3' stained-glass light fixture, its iris and daffodils painstakingly worked with leaded outlines, was a housewarming gift to my sister when she got her HUGE dream kitchen. It holds three 8" globes of light, and hangs over the big center island. Cost: $40 at closing time at a yard sale. The guy's wife had made him get rid of his pool table, now that the children were grown and gone.

A set of three Le Creuset gratin pans, each a different color, stacked and taped together with VERY sticky tape: 4.99. A beautiful bronze-colored baker's rack, worked in grapes and vines, so heavy we had to call in help to move it from the store: Goodwill for $60.00 on half-price day. All the paintings and needlework framed on my kitchen wall (one of which is a fruit/cutting board/very-sharp-knife study in DARK tones which could have been done by Freddie Kruger) were less than $5 each.

A fabulous meat slicer, a Ron Popeil click-around roaster with all the original packing and paperwork, a Black Angus countertop oven which would hold a turkey, a new microwave in the box, wineglasses and French jam jar glasses and margarita glasses with little cacti for stems and heaven knows how much silverware (plate) and several serving pieces (Sterling) and the lined cases for same. All silverware was mixed into the big clear plastic containers with the mismatched Made in Taiwan stuff and sets of stuff with blue plastic handles, and you have to be careful and move it around with a spoon, never your hands, lest you encounter a sharp blade. And it's all 29 cents for flatware, 79 cents for serving pieces.

And one day, there was a little stack of clear bowls, nine of them, all shapes and sizes and patterns, footed and handled and plain. Match glass and thumbprint and hobnailed and Depression, all presumably from the same turned-out china cabinet, and all for 49 cents each. They grace our dining table on special occasions, gleaming in the candlelight, holding butter or lemon or homemade cranberry conserve, or just jam when I'm in a festive breakfast mood. I sent four to my sister, as well as one of the clear devilled egg plates--faux heirlooms, to us at least, though they may have served another family long and well.

A set of three well-blackened, well-used, well-loved skillets, given to our son who does all the cooking for his family; I cannot yet part with my own. Three wonderful Magnalite roasters with lids (50.00 for the set), parceled out mongst the starting-out cooks of the family. (I had requested one of my own YEARS ago after seeing my Mom's. She gave me a large one for my birthday; THEN I found out the thing had cost $140.00---I was embarrassed to have been so greedy).

I cruise antiques stores, just to see what prices they attach to the things I picked up for a couple of dollars. Just the other day I came home and took all the clear glass "diamond" plates out from under the living room flowerpots, because I had seen a set of six in the store for $90. A quick wash with diluted Lime-Away and they gleam like diamonds, indeed.

We moved here from two houses before, leaving most of the furnishings to relatives who remained there, and have furnished this entire two-story house from Goodwill and yard sales. A couple of nice inherited pieces; otherwise ALL our belongings had other lives with other owners we never knew. Lovely to think of the families and circumstances and daily lives of our things, in the times before they came to us.

And LOVELY are the prices we paid.

Edited because I forgot to mention my collection of Flintstones mugs, which the children tease me about unmercifully---more than 100 of them---49 to 99 each, over the course of several years.

Edited by racheld (log)
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I've often wondered about the slightly beat up cast iron skillets you see everywhere.  Is it fairly straightforward to restore one to it's former glory? 

Well, if it's in really bad shape, you can sand or use steel wool to resurface, but then you have to reseason and begin a new life for the pan.

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Racheld, sounds like you find a lot of bargains! My daughter used to work at at thrift shop in Seattle and got all kinds of Fiestaware, Jadeite, and other things for her kitchen. She learned which things were good by working at the store. I don't know anything about those--I'm always looking for books. The garage sales here are really good, though. There are a lot of people here selling antiques who don't know their value.

I live in a hundred year old house, and I feel like I really should have more antiques to put in my built-in china cabinet. But if I started bringing home pretty dishes, I'd never stop.

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I've found tons of cool stuff at garage/yard sales and thrift stores. A big multilevel stacking steamer, an ice mold that looks like a dolphin leaping out of the punch, lots of glass decanters for gift giving of limoncello and homemade vinegars, antique bakelite handled carving set, lots of beautiful antique glassware (I collect antique barware), lots of silver and silverplate serving pieces.

And I bought my copy of the Blue Moon Cafe Cookbook at the same yard sale where I got the steamer. :huh: Didn't know there were so many around.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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My best score was the complete set of the Time-Life Good Cook series in excellent condition. The guys sold it to me for $20, along with the five other books I'd stacked on top of the box. Then he thanked me for taking them away. :biggrin:

The books I see all the time are those produced by the Farm Journal. One of these days I'll buy one.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

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I've often wondered about the slightly beat up cast iron skillets you see everywhere.  Is it fairly straightforward to restore one to it's former glory? 

Well, if it's in really bad shape, you can sand or use steel wool to resurface, but then you have to reseason and begin a new life for the pan.

I've also heard that if it's yucky dirty, you can jump-start the cleaning process by putting it in your oven for a self-clean cycle. However, my ovens have always been of the "self-clean? Clean it yourself!" variety, so I have no first-hand experience.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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I reseasoned the one I bought, under the assumption that it could have been sitting for a long time. And it's not that hard to do, so why not? I haven't used cast iron except for Le Creuset for years, but I had found a pecan cake recipe that was supposed to be baked in one, so I thought I'd pick one up.

I got two boxes of cookbooks from a yard sale on Friday, and I asked the woman if I could get a price for the whole boxes, instead of having to count them all. She said, fine, and gave me both of them for $3! I was expecting to pay ten or twenty, but I didn't argue. :biggrin:

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I'm a jadeite collector and recently happened upon a yard sale where the folks were [practically] giving away 2 rather rare Fire-King kitchen pieces: a marked philbe mug and a 5" swirl mixing bowl, both seemingly unused.

This will probably never happen again!

:smile:

Erica

Edited by EricaL (log)
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I've often wondered about the slightly beat up cast iron skillets you see everywhere.  Is it fairly straightforward to restore one to it's former glory? 

Well, if it's in really bad shape, you can sand or use steel wool to resurface, but then you have to reseason and begin a new life for the pan.

I've also heard that if it's yucky dirty, you can jump-start the cleaning process by putting it in your oven for a self-clean cycle. However, my ovens have always been of the "self-clean? Clean it yourself!" variety, so I have no first-hand experience.

Click here to reveal all.

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Excellent Chris - thanks. Although since I've discovered how reasonably priced the Lodge Logic stuff is, the glamour of buying my own vintage cast iron has worn off a bit.

Another junk heap glory: cookie cutters. I love these guys. I have a bunnies, a penguin, snowmen, trees... soooo much cooler and cheaper than the standard Williams-Sonoma sets (of which I have several as well - I'm an addict).

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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  • 7 months later...

BUMP: It's that time of year again! Today it's 65 and sunny in Providence, and our thoughts turn to yard sales. What food-related items are you hoping to find this year? Here's my initial list:

50s cocktail glasses

Time-Life Foods of the World books

more Blue Heaven dishware

stainless steels bowls (I only have thirty -- :wink:)

You?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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BUMP: It's that time of year again! Today it's 65 and sunny in Providence, and our thoughts turn to yard sales. What food-related items are you hoping to find this year? Here's my initial list:

50s cocktail glasses

Time-Life Foods of the World books

more Blue Heaven dishware

stainless steels bowls (I only have thirty -- :wink:)

You?

Small cazuelas

Danish abaelskiver (sp?) pan

Any Eliz. David book that I don't own

Any Richard Olney book that I don't own

Any interesting food related books and magazines

Whatever else catches my fancy :biggrin:

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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BUMP: It's that time of year again! Today it's 65 and sunny in Providence, and our thoughts turn to yard sales. What food-related items are you hoping to find this year? Here's my initial list:

50s cocktail glasses

Time-Life Foods of the World books

more Blue Heaven dishware

stainless steels bowls (I only have thirty -- :wink:)

You?

Books

Martini glasses

earthenware cazuelas

serving pieces

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Some 18 years ago at an estate sale this wonderful Italian pasta machine. I think we paid $3.

gallery_38003_2183_121947.jpg

After disassembly and cleaning it works great.

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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BUMP: It's that time of year again!

Indeed, it almost is!!! Even the chilly rain outside cannot hold back the blood-quickening thought of the glint of glassware, the smell of books. :wub:

(Do not mention that I sent four bags and three boxes to Amvets this week---time for re-plenishing!!)

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I'm ready!

Garage sale junkie here. We once did street sales for three hours in the blistering heat.

Finds? where to begin..

ok, complete woman's day enciclopdia of cooking, both the first and second additions.

two forty dollar Jamie Oliver cookbooks that had never been opened.

La Cruset two quart pot with lid.

dish ware galore, some to use , some decorative.

Tons of tupperware for pennies.

ok, my hands are shaking, I want to go now!

---------------------------------------

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I've been wanting a set of odd size measuring cups (like these) for ages now, but couldn't justify the $17+ price. Last week I found a 3/4 cup and a 1-1/2 cup measure in perfect condition for a whopping 69cents each! total score! though I still long for a 2/3 cup measure...

My husband laughed at me when I first told him I wanted these, but he now uses the 3/4 cup measure ALL the time. :raz:

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I would love to get out today but we are having one of our rare snow/rain storms and I didn't go out yesterday and doubt today will be any better. We have snow on the surrounding mountains and foothills, had snow yesterday and last night but now it has melted and we have had rain, sleet, snow and more rain, patches of black ice on the roads and loads of accidents.

My neighbor ventured out earlier but got only as far as the drive-thru dairy a mile away. She said even in her 4-wheel drive vehicle with the wide tires, she felt unsure of the steering and didn't want to take a chance on getting stuck. She knows I always have plenty of stuff on hand so came over here to "shop" :biggrin:

I saw a sign on Thursday that one of the churches was having a "bring and buy" sale this weekend. (the pastor's wife is from England and big on these things.) I had figured on stopping in but not in this weather.

Last fall at their last sale, I found some nice Christmas plates which I bought for giving filled with cookies and such. They had several tables filled with small appliances, some still in their original boxes. Nothing old enough for my collections but some very nice items.

I really love to go to garage and yard sales, as well as estate auctions, in older areas. Pasadena and Glendale have been favorite places to "mine" for goodies, especially when one of the old craftsman homes that has been in one family for many years, is being renovated or sold. Amazing finds there.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Sticking solely to the cooking related (we love garage sales and thrift shops for all our household needs.....):

Acquired:

a ceramic/copper/brass bain marie for $3.

my wok for free

cast iron skillet beautifully seasoned for $8 (a bit high)

pyrex casserole with lid 0.75

Want..... oh my, where to start?

Hand crank icecream maker

cookie cutters

tupperware

patterned rolling pin

shiny pretty things for the glass front dish cupboards....<chirp, chirp..magpie>

books

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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The single most ubiquitous book I find to be: Joy Of Cooking. Various editions. It's everywhere! Usually I sell them right away after acquiring them, but last month , I kept one! Not my thing, it's going next week.

My best food related find in the past few months? A flow blue platter, US$2.00. I was wont t keep it, but I'm not working right now, and we sold it for.. hold onto your mice, folks!... US$750.00. US$74.80 of that was immediately donated back to the thrift shop. I always give 10% of my gross profits to charity, and it only seemed fair for them to be the recipients!

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I never realized oh-so-many years ago what a find I had when I subscribed to the Time-Life Foods of the World series. And I moved several times before I got rid of the big texts, but I still have all 17 of the little spiral recipe books I received. I used to use them alot, I think I need to revisit them!

My 'How to Cook and Eat in Chinese" is well worn and a friend gave me the 'Microwave Gourmet" in the 80's because I was the only person he knew who used my microwave for more than reheating leftover chinese takeout! I just remembered a great green bean recipe from that book!

I love yard sales, but reading this thread has reminded me to do some'shopping' in my own bookshelves at home!

Dana

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My best garage sale find, bar none, was a HUGE enamel roasting pan with lid that I bought for a whopping $1. I use it to roast turkeys, large roasts, make Chex Mix and seasoned nuts, for roasting large amounts of vegetables - it sees constant use. The yard sale find that makes me smile the most is a wooden rolling pin that I bought out with my Grandpa. The handles were too far from the center for me, so he went out to his workshop and set the handles at just the right place. Twenty years later it still works just fine :smile:.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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The yard sale find that makes me smile the most is a wooden rolling pin that I bought out with my Grandpa. The handles were too far from the center for me, so he went out to his workshop and set the handles at just the right place. Twenty years later it still works just fine  :smile:.

*grin* What a special memory to have every time you roll out a pie crust!

Today I bought a cheesekeeper for $2 at Salvation Army Sal Armani. A nice one, with a heavy glass dome lid and teakwood bottom.

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