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:

garage sale2

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?

garage sale5

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

garage sale6

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! ♥

Campfire Hokum and Crochet Fireflies

When we finally caught a break from Ohio’s monsoon season last weekend, we decided to haul out some firewood and roast hotdogs in the backyard. Mr. Neon Sheep (aka, Brett) and I were pretty excited about introducing baby Katie to the simple pleasures of campfire cooking. Unfortunately, the mosquitos were pretty excited, too, and they took to us like a pack of tiny winged hyenas as soon as we set foot outside.

As I alternated scratching and hunting around the house for citronella-scented anything, Brett was still preoccupied with burning things. He found an article online about igniting bundles of herbs to repel mosquitos and quickly harvested a pile of sage from the garden. Then he rolled it up with newspaper and borrowed some of my white cotton yarn to bind it all together.

yarn binding

Unfortunately he borrows yarn about as well as my cats borrow pom-poms.

jealous tiger

Tiger was quite jealous.

Once the sage bundles were ready (and the leftover cotton was stashed away for future salvage), we tossed one on the fire and crossed our fingers, simultaneously swatting at a new cloud of mosquitos. Then we threw another bundle on. And another—the faint sound of mosquito laughter gradually growing louder in the background. It may have just been the sound of damp firewood hissing. . .but we were hungry and running low on blood cells at that point, so it’s hard to say for sure.


In the end, it was a forgotten bucket of citronella in the garage that saved us from requiring total blood transfusions after we’d finally eaten. The burnt sage repellent was a dud, but it turns out that our real problem was trying to attempt a DIY project on an empty stomach. We later realized that we totally overlooked two key ingredients for making flaming herb mosquito repellant: lavender and mint. Technically Brett overlooked them, but I was so desperate for a s’more that I didn’t ask if he’d read ALL the instructions in the online article. And if you were familiar with Brett’s track record with reading instructions, you’d know that was possibly a more detrimental oversight on my part.

Luckily we were able to stay outside long enough to enjoy watching the fireflies burn off some of their cabin fever. (At least, I imagine fireflies get bored being cooped up wherever they live when it rains for weeks on end. . .) Katie’s still too little to run around chasing them, which means I don’t have an excuse yet to run around and chase them either (other than too much sangria). Same goes for the ice cream truck, unfortunately. But I’m looking forward to regressing back into childhood foolishness when she’s a toddler. And embarrassing her with the pictures later.

In the meantime, I’ve crocheted some of these little guys to light up my workspace at night.

single bug

Trust me, the only thing better than rediscovering the awesomeness of capturing lightning bugs in a jar is discovering the awesomeness of playing with glow-in-the-dark Jelly Yarn. (And also not being eaten alive by mosquitos. . .) The pattern to make your own crochet lightning bugs is available here or by following the picture link on the Pattern Gallery page. It includes instructions with and without glow-in-the-dark yarn, but let’s face it—everything is better when it glows in the dark.

May your summer nights be bright and your bug spray plentiful! ♥