Some Serious Garage Sale Therapy

Between Katie’s latest sleep strike and the hot mess that downloading Windows 10 turned out to be, the soundtrack to my life lately has been a delightful combination of Microsoft technical support hold music and baby protest chants (i.e., intermittent and prolonged shrieking).

Luckily last week was MEGA GARAGE SALE EXTRAVAGANZA. And nothing takes the edge off a rough week like losing track of time rummaging through a wonderland of unspeakable randomness. Especially when there’s epic quantities of yarn to be had.

garage sale

This is just a small snapshot of the annual Hospice benefit garage sale. It’s three buildings, three days. and a whole lot of dangerous hoarding opportunities. Books are ten for a dollar. Golf clubs are fifty cents each. Arm chairs are five dollars. Yarn is sold by the garbage bag. If Goodwill and IKEA got married on Black Friday, this is probably what their love child would look like.

Needless to say, it’s a pretty popular affair. Standing in line on opening night rivals the running of the bulls. Anyone who thinks outrunning a bunch of riled up Spanish longhorns sounds like the adventure of a lifetime has obviously never tried to jockey their way through a crowd of veteran garage salers indiscriminately throwing elbows. The keys to success at the sale are getting there at least an hour early to secure a good position in line the gauntlet of chaos and formulating a plan of attack. (And reassuring your skeptical husband that you won’t deviate from it. . .too much.)

Thanks to a small army of Hospice volunteers who literally dedicate a week of their lives to sifting and sorting through hundreds of people’s donations for the sale, everything is always jaw droppingly well organized, which makes creating a shopping wishlist pretty easy. My usual shopping route is straight to the crafting section for first dibs on yarn, then on to the books section, the general toys section, the kitchen stuff section, the picture frame aisle, the antique stuff corner, the vintage suitcase and general luggage corner, then a pass through the baby clothes/toys building, and finally a pass through the furniture courtyard and building.

The thing is, no matter how much I strategize and try to stay focused, I inevitably drag at least one completely unnecessary and random thing home with me. One year, I stumbled on the most eighties-fabulous Shirt Tales wastebasket ever while I was charting a course to the throw pillow bins.

wastebasket1 wastebasket2

A freaking Shirt Tales wastebasket, people. Leaving it behind would have been like abandoning a baby unicorn.

In keeping with tradition, my usual haul this year was laced with just enough spontaneous must-haves to make Brett roll his eyes at me but not question my sanity. That’s a win in my book. Here are some of the highlights:

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Bag of crochet hooks and tiny scissors: $2.00. Most of these are the nice aluminum Boye hooks with the rounded ends that my Jo-Ann’s store doesn’t carry anymore. (My passionate loathing of inline hooks is a topic for another post.). There’s some vintage tiny ones in there, too. Maybe I’ll get brave make a pitcher of wine punch one of these days and try thread crochet.

garage sale4

3 size K double-ended crochet hooks: $1.50. I’ve never seen these anywhere before, but Google says there’s such a thing as double-ended crochet. It can’t be any trickier than Tunisian, right?

garage sale1

Wooden toy car bundle: $1.50. It turns out Katie likes to pretend to be Godzilla and throw these things across the room.

garage sale3

Old textile thread spools: $2.00. For thread crochet practice, perhaps?

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Vintage glass graduated pearls: $1.00. They just don’t make fake pearls anymore like they used to.

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Giant wooden badger box: $1.00. After some rehab and paint, this will be Katie’s new living room toy box.

yarn stash

*Insert drum roll here* Garbage bag of yarn: $6.50. I feel like I just robbed a candy store. It’s mostly all discontinued colors of acrylic/acrylic blend, but beggars can’t be choosers.

So now that my stash is adequately refreshed and my computer works (most of the time), I should probably go bang out some more crochet patterns before Katie decides to reject the terms of our latest sleep strike resolution (i.e., she sleeps longer than three hours, and I won’t put any embarrassing pictures in her baby book). So long as she doesn’t call my bluff for a few days, new yarn creations will be coming soon! ♥

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Pom-Poms: The Stuff of Dreams and Cat Toys

The origin story of this blog begins with a big honking box of pom-poms.

pom poms

Two years ago I vowed to ditch my awful day job, have a baby, finally publish my crochet patterns, and blog about my adventures along the way. It seemed like a simple enough plan, but by then I had already started spending all my money on prenatal vitamins and ovulation kits instead of gin and vermouth, so I was probably a little definitely delusional at the time. . . . About a zillion negative pregnancy tests and freelance query responses later, my ambitions to blog and publish started to accumulate dust faster than my liquor cabinet, and my frustrations manifested into an ungodly hoard of pom-poms.

Some of them were put to good use.

pom pom flowers

But my cats borrowed a lot of them without asking. Cats are jerks about borrowing things.

dead pom pom

The rest ended up as various garlands, hat embellishments, and rainbow-tinged hairballs outside my bedroom door. Four hundred and sixty-three pom-poms later, things finally started looking up. I secured a few sources of steady freelance work, politely told my bosses to suck it, and this drooly little miracle happened:

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The moral of the story: sometimes getting from point A to point B in life just requires some intensive, semi-neurotic pom-pom therapy. And a really big bottle of cat puke stain remover.

Now that I’ve finally arrived at my point B, operation “Publish Crochet Patterns” can commence—mostly in the middle of the night. It’s a stealth mission that involves sleep deprivation, yarn camouflage (to make it look less like cat spaghetti), and avoiding eye contact with the baby monitor. Seriously, NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE BABY MONITOR. I’m pretty sure it triggers a silent alarm that really pisses babies off. The end goal is to share my patterns/patterning adventures with the world and hopefully inspire an army of flying birthday pigs. . .

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or a bunch of crochet duckling clones. . .

Ducklings

I have the blueprints for a whole crochet zoo floating around in my head, but there’s some practical stuff in there sometimes, too:

legwarmers 2

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I believe anything is possible with a hook, a little imagination, and a lot of experimentation, and my crochet design philosophy is equal parts quirky and eclectic. A sleepy baby, well-behaved cats, and a few adult beverages tend to help the creative process, too. So whether you stay for the crochet shoptalk or my random late-night musings, I’m grateful for your company as I begin this adventure in blogging. Here’s to crafty camaraderie that never sleeps. ♥