February Ups and Downs

Here in my part of the world–Silicon Valley–the weather has been too good! It should be chilly and rainy. Instead it’s been dry, sunny and reaching temps in the 60s and 70s. Things are blooming too early. I have three Razzle Dazzle witch hazel bushes (really more like trees) which are now happily in blossom so I’ve gone ahead and planted some small blue columbines to add a bit of color closer to the ground.

But honestly the weather is hard to enjoy when you know more drought is looming unless we get some serious rain in the next month or two. And despite the good weather my family has been hit with colds. Me included, though a milder version thanks to early intervention with vitamin C, zinc and copious liquids.

jewelry-researchSo it’s been good to stay home the last few days and take care of little things. One of the fun projects I’ve been working on is researching and helping value vintage jewelry for a friend. She inherited this jewelry from her mom a few years back and is ready to let go of the pieces that neither she nor her daughters want. I decided the best way to handle this project was to attach an info sheet to each item (or lot). I think she may be pleased with the potential value of some of the pieces. 🙂 The little OMG (Ola M. Gorie) sterling pins were a particular surprise.

I’m also going through more of my backlog of goodies. A few are headed to my donate pile, but most are getting listed in my Etsy store or on eBay, including this antique 1905 Rogers, Lunt & Bowlen sterling silver tea strainer spoon. This has survived for over 100 years and will easily survive another 100 years of use or more. Isn’t it weird to think that things we own survive us?


And one of my “new” paintings arrived today…in the biggest box. It was at least 50″ tall. I kept thinking did they send the right painting? Surely this can’t be mine! But it was. Apparently I hadn’t paid enough attention to the dimensions on this piece and it was bigger than I expected. Thirty-four inches tall in the frame.


The huge solid wood frame is cool in a gilded, carved, 1960s/1970s way but the picture fits very loosely in it so I’ve decided I’m going to separate the two and sell them individually. Oddly enough it should be more profitable that way too. I think this frame would look great with a mirror in it. I’ll sell the frame on Craigslist and the moody Angelo Gleria cityscape painting in my Etsy store.

So far sales have been darn good this month both on Etsy and eBay. One of my sales was this 1970s retro Commodore calculator. I’d bought it 2-3 years ago at an extremely junky, dirty estate sale. I was number 36 on the list to get into the house and as I waited a lot of folks were walking out empty handed and telling those of us still in line that it wasn’t worth the wait. Once inside I saw what they meant. There wasn’t much there and what was there was jumbled in garbage bags or cardboard boxes on the manky carpet. It was all very discouraging. But in the nearly empty office I spotted this vintage calculator on a desk with other junk and thought it was cool. Honestly I was surprised no one else had grabbed it. At home I cleaned it up, including the corrosion in the battery case, threw in some batteries and bingo, it worked and looked fine. (Bought $2, sold $40.)


As I think about this estate sale I remember finding an amazing 1950s/1960s cashmere coat with a mink collar buried in a garbage bag. This was a coat I could picture my great Aunt Esther wearing. It was missing two buttons off the front but thankfully the buttons had been tucked in one of the pockets. The garbage bag had been in the office closet and it looked like no one had bothered to open it. How had 30+ people walked through here before me and never pawed through this bag?

Well I happily snagged it, but then never listed it. At home I put it in our office closet awaiting the button repair and forgot about! All this time it’s just been sitting there. Of course now it’s February and the wrong time of year to be listing winter coats, but I may list it anyway. Similar coats have sold in the $75-$150 range. (I paid $5 for it.)


I think I also found a crocheted afghan at this sale too. Strangely enough I did okay at this house. And at another run-down estate sale, also in 2016, I bought a bunch of stuff including this heavy gauge that just sold. (Bought for $10, sold for $45.)


Truth be told I love ferreting around the run-down estate sales. A lot of the stuff isn’t organized, priced or cleaned and the sellers are super motivated to shift it so you get some great deals. Thankfully I tend to find enough stuff to make them worth my while. 🙂

How about you…find any good stuff at estate sales??

Happy hunting,



  1. Karen—interesting stuff—remember that it’s still winter east of Colorado! so maybe someone there would still like the coat. yes, it is complex loving the weather but knowing it means we won’t get enough rain ( probably—I won’t vie up til after March)…and that ring you are pricing looks really nice ! did you manage to price it yet…?

    Again my sincere thanks for th hospital routine last week—still waiting for lab results…..maybe soon I could take you to lunch in thanks? Either Allied Arts ( which I think you would like more or a small lace in th midst of offices just off 280…RJN


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Funny enough, I don’t think I’ve ever been to an estate sale. It’s not something you would find nearby and I cannot travel in the countryside just to attend one.
    Sorry to hear you’ve been poorly. At least you had the chance to tackle some inventory backlog 🙂


  3. I hope the rains do come, you need them. Here in Texas we were in a drought for several years but the past few years we have received plentiful rain. Your plants are beautiful. Hopefully your family will bounce back quickly, colds are no fun. I love funky estate sales. Digging is an adventure. I remember one that I bought a large garbage bag full of dirty stained stinky vintage linens. A good soak in oxy clean and they are now beautiful. Love your finds, the painting is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s