Monday, October 17, 2011

Thrift Score Weekend Part 2: Aunt Ardelia’s Mirror and Thrift FAIL

When last I left you, my faithful readers, it was early afternoon on last Saturday and I had just returned home with some yard/estate sale scores that included beautiful milk glass, stinky upholstery, an outdoor sofa frame, and killer boots.  I did make it home before my self-imposed 12pm curfew (at about 11:59, hehehe), since I didn’t want to delay Hubs’ departure for Florida.
The kids were unabashedly anxious for Hubs to hit the road, since I’d promised them I’d take them out for lunch after daddy left.  Sweet Pea told him “I’m just waiting for you to go, Dad, so I can get some lunch!”  Once he was gone (finally, right Sweet Pea?!) we headed out to lunch at a place that requires us to pass one of my FAVorite thrift stores.  To my credit, I didn’t even think about seriously consider stopping, since I was feeling tapped out from my morning haul.  But then on the way home from lunch, Sweet Pea asked me if we could please go to the “grape” store, and the Little Dude immediately chimed in with, “Grape store, grape store!”.
Y’all, I was so proud.  My babies ASKED to go to the thrift store. I could shed a tear.
As for why it’s the “grape” store -- the store is called Blessingdale’s and features a bunch of grapes on a vine in the logo, as they support a charitable organization called The Living Vine Christian Maternity Home.  They have a few different locations and my favorite is the one in the somewhat seedy looking strip mall on the industrial side of town.  It looks like it would be grody but it is fabulous!  The children like it there because they have a separate room for children’s items, and no one gets huffy if the kids want to actually touch a toy or book. (Sadly, the same cannot be said for most of our local Goodwill stores). 

The kids picked out a cute wind up helicopter, while I found a vintage sheet set, fall clothes for Sweet Pea (buy 1 get 1 free!), and some 10 cent votives perfect for crafty projects brewing in the back of my mind. And, 3 child-size wooden chairs! I was very excited about this find, since I’ve been contemplating doing something like this:
(Photo from Sassy Sanctuary.  I’ve seen lots of these but I especially love her version.)
And no, we really don’t have room for it at our house, but I am powerless to resist the urge to create something so freakin-adorable, and well, Craigslist has been pretty good to us so far. I already have a table on-hand, and wanted to be able to list a couple of appropriately-sized chairs along with it.
The rest of the evening we spent hanging out at home, working practically every puzzle my son owns (he is obsessed and I think pretty advanced for a 4 yr old, he can put together puzzles with 200+ pieces with minimal assistance from us), decorating for Halloween (more on that later!), and snuggling on the couch to watch America’s Funniest Videos (they love that show and I love hearing them laugh uncontrollably).
The next day was rainy and yucky, but it did stay dry long enough in the late afternoon for us to meet friends to play at beautiful Forsyth Park and catch part of the Folk Music Festival. 
One the way home the kids were begging to stop at McDonald’s…ummm, not really what I had in mind guys, plus it’s not even time for dinner yet.  Sweet Pea pipes up and says “But if we go to the giveaway store for a little while, we could go to McDonald’s for supper after that.”  The giveaway store is her name for Goodwill, coined from once upon a time when we would primarily visit Goodwill to give stuff away, without even bringing more stuff home. (Can you imagine that?!!??) The great negotiator – does she know how to work a deal or what?
So, into Goodwill we went.  I didn’t mind taking them to this one, since the staff at that particular location tends to be less huffy than others.  Almost right away we found this cool old mirror in the Miscellaneous section:
Thanks to the horrid glare and reflection of Hubs' work truck, you can't see the awesome age spots on the mirrors.  No time to re-shoot as we had company arriving literally as I was snapping this one.
Normally we head straight for the back where the furniture and big items are located, but remember, I was officially out of the market for any more furniture or big stuff.  So we took our time and browsed around. 
And then we sauntered to the back and I saw it. O.M.G.
When I was a little girl, I used to spend a lot of time at my Great Great Aunt Ardelia’s house, while the rest of the family was at my uncle’s high school football games.  I have fond memories of eating snacks and listening to the game on the radio with her, and cheering together when they would say my uncle’s name or number (44!).  Ardelia was my great-grandmother’s sister, and they were just as close as two sisters could be…people often thought they were twins.  Here’s a picture of the two of them at my wedding in 2002, aren’t they adorable?
That's my great-grandmother, Nora, on the left; Great Great Aunt Ardelia on the right
Anyway, Ardelia’s house was decorated to the max.  She had the most fabulous blue and green mod wallpaper in her kitchen.  Clocks (all chiming at a slightly different time!) and fancy little knick knacks were everywhere.  I remember she liked intricate designs and gold tones…in quantity!  She had 3 gold velvet sofas that were so deep and slippery you’d inevitably plunge right into the crevasse between the cushions and back.  And over one of those sofas she had a triple oval mirror just like this one.
Don't you love how it's reflecting no less than 3 other works in progress in that 1 corner of the Garaj Mahal?
It faced another mirror on the opposite wall, so the overall reflective effect was positively mesmerizing. I’m not sure what happened to her mirror after she passed away in 2005, but I like to pretend think that somehow, someway, it made its way from Virginia all the way down to a Goodwill in Pooler, Georgia, just so I could find it.
To make the find even sweeter, about the same time as I laid myself across the mirror to stake my claim on it, the intercom announced 50% off all furniture items.  Score!!
So naturally, once a staffer had validated my claim on the mirror, I took another cruise around the furniture section to see what else might catch my eye.  No, I didn’t need anything, but 50% off furniture days are a rare opportunity not to be squandered!  I finally decided that for $5 I could find space for a darling little wooden telephone stand that only needed a fresh coat of paint.
By the time we checked out and headed around back for our furniture pick-up, it had started drizzling again.  A worker dude helped me load my items in the truck, and started telling me about a little telephone stand that he’s had for years but has no use for.  As he was describing it I realized he was talking about a gossip bench.  Before I could stop myself I blurted out, “A gossip bench? Oh my goodness, I’d love to find one of those!”
Next thing you know, his sweet self was offering to give me his bench.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, and I certainly wasn’t going to go look at it or pick it up without Hubs in tow, but he was insistent that I should write down his address.  So, I walked back around to the front of the truck, jotted down his address and directions on the back of a receipt, and jumped back in the truck.  I was getting soaked, and starting to get concerned about the stuff in my uncovered truck bed.
So, I fired up the Dodge, whipped through the parking lot and up the slight incline at the intersection to the main road.  Let me go ahead and note here that there were several cars behind me at the light.  The light turned green, I made my left turn onto the highway and I hear “Thu-Thu-Thu-Thu-THUMMMMMP!!!!!”  What the….????
I look in the rearview mirror and see my telephone stand lying in the middle of the highway.  Because in my distraction with Mr. Sweet Self Worker Dude, I had neglected to put the tailgate of the truck up.
As quickly but carefully as I could, I made another left into a parking lot, stopped the truck, put up the tailgate and headed back the way I’d come.  In the rearview mirror I had seen a blue truck stopped in the vicinity of my telephone stand and I was just praying that it hadn’t had some kind of accident because of me and my scatterbrained carelessness.  I travelled the few feet back down the road and realized that both the truck and telephone stand were gone! 
All I can figure is that the blue truck capitalized on my dumb-a$$ery and hauled home a perfectly sweet telephone stand (aside from some very recent dings and scratches, I assume).  I was a little dumbfounded, but I figured that was better than other outcomes that could possibly have occurred.
I am thankful, so thankful, that no one got hurt because of my carelessness.
I am thankful that no one’s vehicle was damaged, and there were no cops around to give me a big fat ticket for this little bit of negligence, and that apparently the stand found a new home rather than smashing into pieces on the roadway.  I am thankful that somehow, miraculously, my Aunt Ardelia mirror stayed right where I’d put it (that is one heavy mirror!).
But this I must ask you….if you were stopped at a red light, in a parking lot no less, behind someone who had a truckload of stuff and they didn’t have their tailgate up and clearly, obviously, these items weren’t strapped in somehow…wouldn’t you jump out and make sure that person knew?  Believe me, I would have been grateful for a tap on the window and a “Hey, dumba$$, did you know your tailgate’s down?” 
What kind of world are we living in that no one cares enough when some dumb-a$$ is about to make a stupid, stupid mistake to try and help them avoid it?
OK. I’m over it.  Plus when I got home I found $5 in the washing machine, so it’s like the universe even gave me a refund on my stupidity.
As for Aunt Ardelia’s mirror – it’s still hanging out in the Garaj Mahal, waiting for a wee little makeover.  I’m torn between trying out my Rub & Buff on it, or spraying it white.  And no, I have NOWHERE in mind to put this mirror.  Yikes is it heavy, and a little wobbly if you don’t pick it up just right.  (I unloaded it by myself and for a second or two I feared I was about to have a whole ‘nother fail on my hands.)  It’s going to take 3 people to hang it when I do find a place for it. But I couldn’t, just absolutely could not, leave it behind.
Closeup of detail

Now that I think about it, maybe I’m leaning toward leaving it at least somewhat gold. 
After all, that’s just the way Aunt Ardelia liked it!!!


  1. People never cease to amaze me in unfortunate - and fortunate - ways. Sigh. Glad the most precious piece made it home. Even if it ends up staying in the Garaj Mahal (hilarious, btw), it'll still make you feel warm & fuzzy every time you see it.

  2. Wow, what an adventure! I'm so glad nothing worse than the loss of the table happened. Your Aunt Ardelia reminds me of my Auntie Kay. I thought everything in her house was beeeuuutiful! I still have a fondness for hand embroidered pillow cases. Her's had southern belles in ball gowns on them! ~ Maureen