Since Central New York lacks a good flea market, I talked Mr. Oodles into getting up early Sunday and going on a little trip. Mr. Oodles is not a big fan of getting up early on Sundays or flea markets, but he is a big fan of a hearty breakfast, and that was part of the deal. (Going out for a hearty breakfast, that is. I was not preparing one for him. Perhaps you mistook this for a food blog.)
The market was a lot of fun. The people were friendly, the prices were fair, and there were a lot of fans. There were twice as many on this display just minutes before I took this photo. By the way, I want to mention that Mr. Oodles does not appear in any of these photos. I did not want you to think he's the guy with the beer belly in the background.
Nor is he the person in a less than flattering position, wearing less than flattering striped knee socks. I did not notice that individual while I was taking the photo, which otherwise kind of captured the upbeat nature of the market.
However, I have come to realize that while I may be a person who wishes she could pull off wearing this raincoat, I really am not the person who would be comfortable doing that. Flea markets are good for insights like that.
And this children's book ("The Animals of Farmer Jones"), which I have been looking for ever since Heidi discovered that it has illustrations of floral feedsacks. Italics are entirely deserved in this case.
We're backing up in time momentarily to Saturday to review that day's purchases. Which were fine, just not very plentiful. This sampler has many virtues, chief among them houses with pink roofs. The fabric in the background is a feedsack. I found it Saturday, and it was a little upsetting, because I found it at the sale I had been to Friday. (A return trip was not out of my way, so I went again.) Yes, I overlooked a feedsack. Very unsettling. Since it was the second day of the sale, it was half price, but still. It was enough to make me wonder whether my feedsack picker was broken.
Back to Sunday and the flea market. The very first booth I stopped at had feedsack. I bought nine of 'em. I even left behind some I didn't like all that much. So not only did it turn out to be an 11-feedsack weekend, I got proof that my feedsack picker wasn't broken after all. I was relieved. And also left to wonder: if I found 11 feedsacks every weekend, how many would that be?
(The answer is 572. Or, almost enough to satisfy me. Almost.)
One stop this morning, and the finds ranged from the cute to the crusty. This is some of the cute: enamel flower pins and a Weiss rhinestone butterfly pin on a feedsack. (Even Mr. Oodles remarked that it is unusual to find a feedsack around here. He is catching on.)
The drawers are a little crusty, but they'll clean up, and they're cute as can be, in their own vintage industrial way. They're sitting on a metal milk crate which I didn't need but couldn't leave behind.
Rattling around in the bottom of the box of spools was the head of a china doll. I would like to cast away my other chores and sit down and make her a little body and a dress. Just like Ma in "Little House on the Prairie" would.
The rusty drawers were filled so full of hardware they were difficult to open. I persevered and got them open and found all kinds of mysterious stuff, and one thing I could identify, which is this folding ruler. There were a lot of car parts, and the only thing I know to do with them is to look up the identifiable ones on eBay. It appears that one of the gadgets in the drawer sells for more than I spent on everything this morning. I do love those hidden treasures. I did not know I loved hidden car part treasures, but I am about to find out.
It's been a busy week at the Oodles household. The elder Oodles came from Pennsylvania to visit for a week, and the reason for the visit was our son's college graduation - hurray! There was a great deal of driving, celebrating, cooking and visiting, and I only barely managed to squeeze in one somewhat unnecessary thing I wanted to do, which was a load of recreational laundry.
The recreational laundry consisted of feedsack, but feedsack sewn into clothes. I've only ever found a piece or two of feedsack clothing, usually an apron, so this was a pretty good haul. (It came from that great auction a week or so back.) Skirts, particularly pink flowered ones, were popular in this family. They were made simply, with just a waistband and a side placket sewn right onto the edges of the feedsack. No pattern required.
All of these pieces would have displayed better if I'd taken them down and lovingly ironed them. Which I did not do. Except for two pieces that really required special treatment.
"Now that his girlfriend's out of jail, he's been really busy."
"At least the cops were really nice about it."
"I apologize. I haven't washed my feet for a few days."
"Come on in!"
"Jade-ite? Is that what you call that green glass?"
So this morning's haul included two drinking glasses (the tulip one's a tall Swanky swig, which are hard to find), a cast iron letter holder, a head vase, salt and pepper shakers, and all that green glass: two mixing bowls, candlesticks, a toy teapot, a measuring cup, a refrigerator dish, a vase and a pouring cup.
If getting to this means putting up with the riffraff, I'll do it.
A couple of years ago, I began using my patented apron rating system to evaluate various sales and auctions. I was quite enthusiastic about it at the beginning, less so as the season wore on, and even less so as I considered how much work I was creating for myself in the years that would follow. Last year I used it on special occasions, as the spirit moved me. This happy apron-wearing woman, on the cover of a little gem of a booklet acquired in a box lot Saturday, inspired me.
And when this apron-clad woman appeared in quick succession, I knew I needed to pull the apron icons out of storage to rate Saturday's auction. Which was held at a farmhouse occupied until recently by a 98-year-old woman who never threw anything away.
Ping! (Don't you love the sound the first apron icon of the season makes?)
The auction was in Pennsylvania, my homeland.
But in a part of Pennsylvania where I'd never been. Which took me through some pretty little towns, across a few rivers and into the mountains. Unexplored territory, and beautiful scenery.
And I didn't get lost. Which, with my sense of direction, is a pretty big miracle.
Four aprons, and the bidding hasn't even begun!
I had called the auctioneer earlier in the week to inquire about the feedsacks, which were not shown in the photographs on his web site, and which were intriguingly yet somewhat incompletely described. He was nice as pie, called me right back and did his best to describe them. And then he said this: "They're in mint condition. All you'd need to do is worsh them."
And as soon as he said "worsh," I knew I was going. "Worsh" is Pennsylvanian for "wash." I grew up with "worsh" and its verb form, "worshing," and it tugs at my heart.
An apron for speaking my dialect.
I arrived, went straight to the feedsacks and found they were just as lovely as he had said.
OK, actually there's just one apron being awarded for that, but it was pretty exciting to see them.
Nobody was especially interested in bidding on the feedsacks, except for the people who bid on everything. There always are a few of them. I let them win one lot that I felt was kind of marginal. That seemed to satisfy them, so I got all of the rest.
Lack of formidable competition.
Not only was there lack of competition, there was a great deal of curiosity as to what the feedsacks were and why I was buying them. I had lots of pleasant conversations. One of them, with a couple maybe in their early 40s, went something like this:
Them: What does your husband think about you buying all of this?
Me (cheerfully): He's fine with it. (They express surprise.)
Them: So when you want to go out of town like this, you just go off and drive there yourself?
Me (again, cheerfully): Yep. (Again, they express surprise. Like women can do this kind of thing nowadays.)
For feeling like a feminist trailblazer.
One of my favorite things at a sale or an auction is Drama That Does Not Involve Me. There was LOTS of drama at this auction. The woman who died had a very large family, which had split into factions at some point. Probably half of the people at the auction were members of one faction or another. And rather than setting aside their differences so that everyone could get a memento or two, they bid against each other. Viciously. Like $90 doily viciously. Like $400 photo album viciously. Fortunately, none of them were interested in Auntie's feedsacks.
I'm only awarding this apron temporarily, because as interesting as it was to see all of this play out,
it really was unfortunate and sad. And an excellent object lesson in why it is much better to cooperate than to fight.
A local service club provided the food, and they had signs everywhere proclaiming "We have GOOD lemonade." There was something so charming about those signs. And the lemonade was pretty good. But what was particularly amazing was the number of homemade pies - fruit pies and berry pies and cream pies and nut pies. Pennsylvania is a great place to get pie.
In addition to all of the feedsack, there were so many other things that I liked. Ornaments and patterns and household whatnots and things I'd never buy except at the end the auctioneer was selling them for $1. I left feeling like I had just had about a perfect auction experience. I stopped to buy gas at the service station in town. As I approached the cashier, money in hand, I noticed she had kind of a troubled look. She was looking at the man behind me. Who, it seemed, had followed me into the gas station. And was a little rough around the edges.
"Excuse me, ma'am," he said, and both the clerk and I stiffened. This was going to be the part where my luck ended. With a convenience store holdup. I knew this day was too good to be true.
"I noticed the license plate frame on your car says you bought it in Syracuse," he said. "I grew up there!"
And then we had a nice conversation, and he wished me a pleasant visit.
For not being the victim of a convenience store holdup.
Ready for the tally?
A perfect ten. You felt that coming, didn't you?
I have not had a proper adventure since my trip to Ohio last summer. Thanks to that trip, I have a deep and abiding love for Ohio and its people. However, there is no disputing that using the words "adventure" and "Ohio" in the same sentence means that someone needs a big dose of fun. So I got up before dawn Saturday and headed out on a day trip to somewhere I'd never been. I came home with a box of sewing notions.
And that's feedsacks.
The implied complaint in my last post, about the lack of good stuff at thrift stores over the winter? I'm standing by it. Clearly it encouraged my local thrifts to up their game this week. I am really, really done with Thrift Store #1. The only reason I went to Thrift Store #1 today was because I had to go to the bank, and it's right across the street from the bank. I peeked inside, and there was a nice Gooseberry print Pyrex bowl. Well played, Thrift Store #1. Apparently you are following the lead of Thrift Store #2, which offered stacking Fire King mugs yesterday. Not my style, but reliable sellers. I appreciate the effort.
As for you, Thrift Store #3? You knew I had pretty much written you off. I had stopped visiting every week. Sometimes I didn't come in even when I was at the store next door. But this week: kismet. I visited. You had a vase waiting.