(Note - this giveaway ended ... congratulations, Julie!)
I bought a pitchfork at a yard sale last spring. The handle on our old one had snapped, and the yard-sale pitchfork was one of those heavy-duty kind that the guy in American Gothic is holding. I thought my husband would faint when I brought it home. "You bought something we can use?" he asked in amazement. He was so happy that day.
In the thrill of looking for vintage treasures, I forget that you actually can buy useful things at yard sales. I'm trying to think of examples. Oh, I know. Clothes. Yes, some people like to buy clothes at yard sales. I don't, but I've heard you can find them there. Or recreational equipment. Um, like skis and stuff. You can tell this is all a little new to me.
So the fact that I bought something at a yard sale that I use constantly can be attributed to one thing: dumb luck. It's a pleat maker. I love it so much that I get a little panicky when I go to use it and can't find it immediately. I love it so much that I'm afraid to let my friend borrow it, because if she accidentally lost it and she couldn't find a replacement we would still be friends but not really because in the back of my mind I'd always be thinking about how she lost my pleat maker. I love it so much that when people ask me, as they so often do, "Do you have any hobbies?" I say, "Yes, I do. I pleat crepe paper."
The pleat maker originally was intended for making smart pleat skirts - see the one on the card? - and, if you read the fine print, also dresses, aprons and drapes. I came up with the crepe-paper thing completely on my own. I believe I wanted to make black crepe-paper ruffles for Halloween decorations, and I remembered that I had this thing. So I tried it out on a length of narrow crepe paper, and it worked. It worked so well that I'm not sure I ever made the Halloween decorations. I just wanted to pleat more crepe paper. I have pleated crepe paper in every color now. Yards of it. Oodles of it.
A few weeks ago I branched out and tried pleating wide crepe paper. That worked, too! Oh, the thrill. I used it to make the little blue Easter basket. And then I made a white one, and a pink one, and I'm thinking how cute they would be for little May baskets I could give to people ... sometimes I think I need an intervention.
I consider my pleat maker one of my best yard-sale finds ever. I don't remember how much it was - I think there was a box of button cards and trims and such, five for a dollar or so. If you ever come across one, buy it. Even if you don't want it, I might want to buy it from you. I think I would sleep better knowing I have a backup.
OK, here's the giveaway part. I am NOT giving away my pleat maker, so just forget about that. I remembered this when I mentioned American Gothic. It's a trivia question. Do you know what industry was revived single-handedly by the popularity of the painting? Go ahead, guess. The first person to answer correctly will receive something from me (again, NOT my pleat maker) that is nice and vintage-y and in some way related to the correct answer. Leave a comment between now and Sunday, and I'll announce the winner Monday. This prize is of a nature that I can indeed send it abroad, so give it a try, wherever you are.
I have to go pleat more crepe paper now.
*counting down the days until the beginning of the yard-sale season (April 18-ish) with my favorite dollar-or-less finds