I am an addicted thrifter and estate sales are my drug of choice.
It’s my mother’s fault. She taught me everything I know.
Including the fact that – while there is never a bad time to shop an estate sale – some times are better than others.
If you’re there when they open, you have a fighting chance at the best stuff. But fighting is the operative word.
It starts out very innocently.
People line up waiting for the sale to start. There’s chatting and laughing and sometimes donuts. There’s a sense of anticipation in the air.
Then the doors open and all bets are off.
Those same lovely people fan out in all directions with an “if you pick up that vintage Pyrex bowl I will hurt you” look in their eyes.
They won’t actually hurt you of course. At least I haven’t witnessed that. But if you’re not prepared you can be left holding the (empty) bag and your half-eaten donut.
On the last day of the sale, by contrast, people are sauntering through with no real sense of urgency. The stuff is pretty picked over and they’re just hoping to find something that was overlooked. It’s all very casual and sleepy feeling.
The last day of a sale is also half price day, however, so sometimes it can still be worth stopping.
A couple of Saturdays ago did not seem like one of those days.
I hit a few sales that were on their last day, but found nothing. I struck out. Completely.
But the weather was beautiful and I was enjoying myself so I decided to stop at just one more sale.
And then I found this.
Now here’s the thing. I’m trying to add more artwork to our home. And as often as possible, I like that artwork to be original.
Not original in the hold up your paddle at an art auction kind of way. We’re so not those people.
Original in the buy something at a community art fair way. Or the frame the sheet music from my kids’ first piano recitals way.
Or the find an oil painting at an estate sale way.
I loved everything about this painting. I loved the colors. I loved the frame. And I really loved that the back had an old sticker from a local frame shop that is no longer around.
I like to imagine that the owner of the house had painted it.
I’m such a house freak that the things I buy at sales are forever linked in my mind to the houses they came from.
This is actually my second estate sale oil painting find.
Earlier this summer I had similar luck at a Brookside sale.
I was there at the opening. The house was fabulous. The stuff inside was also fabulous and people were running around putting dibs on everything.
I had that “left holding a donut” feeling.
I was about to fight my way out because it was just too hot and crowded and overwhelming, and then I found this little painting in a second story bedroom.
Again, loved the colors, loved the chunky frame. It was mine in a heartbeat.
The painting is called “Raining in Santa Fe” and it’s signed on the back. (Cue the owner of the house as artist fantasy.)
And the very best part: these people are my DIY framing soulmates.
I mean, duct tape is my tool of choice, but painter’s tape works too.