Winding Down 2020 Buying…

Phew. I’ll be glad when 2020 is over. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years. But despite all the stress some good has come from it too, both personally and in my biz. For example, even with limited hunting opportunities this year I’ve been able to find special things. Good things. And last week was no exception.

One day my neighborhood thrift store yielded up these three antique bread knives with carved mother of pearl handles! They have a marker’s mark with gothic initials on the blade which are darn hard to decipher. (Still working on it.) But I am loving the details on these. They are not particularly valuable, but charming and usable despite being over 100 years old!

I’ll be testing the metal collars (ferrules) to see if they are sterling silver. May add these to a lot of others. (Paid $7.00)

I recognized the maker of this jug as I have sold wine goblets in the same thistle pattern. (In fact in a quirky turn of events it was my friend Jane who had donated the four goblets I later bought and sold.) This vintage Buchan Portobello Scotland stoneware piece, while not uncommon, is usable and desirable.

I found two of these Empire sterling silver (weighted) salt and pepper shakers. One I considered too damaged and I passed on it. Later I smote my head. At $2.69 a piece I should have bought the damaged one for the melt value! Poop! Oh well.

Not sure what I’ll do with this one! Possibly add it to a lot.

These handmade stoneware ornaments were in two separate lots all taped up. When I got them home I was delighted to see that the wreath and tree designs were all a bit different. They are signed on the back VF – XX. Turns out they were made by potter Virginia Ferguson who has a studio just four miles from me! She sells these ornaments individually for $8 to $10. I got quite a deal as I paid $6.38 for six.

The colors look more vibrant than my photo shows.
I’ll keep these and possibly use some to decorate Christmas presents next year.

My best find this week was this small silver maple wood bowl with live (or natural) edge. It was made by Jerry Kermode, a master craftsman located here in California. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I’ll list this for $90.
You can learn more about Kermode at:

I didn’t buy this 6′ carved wood totem pole titled “5 Men Standing-Timor Design” a bargain at $40. I have no idea what he’s worth, but I’m guessing a lot more than $40, possibly in the mid-to-upper hundreds of dollars. You don’t normally see stuff like this at a thrift store! Still I didn’t want to deal with anything this big and unknown and honestly, it creeps me out a little. I left that for someone else to score.

Now our public library receives tons of donated books and used to hold monthly sales. These days they are selling more online and, as always, offering leftover books for free. I signed up to go this week and was one of seven people allowed to roam the “leftovers” rooms. I was looking for books for myself and to sell. As a bibliophile, books are kryptonite so I had to be rather strict. I took just one tote bag and once it was filled, that was it. I got two design/decor books (should have got more!), two mysteries, one literary review, a reference book on old silver, and to sell, several vintage medical books (with photos) and a darn cool 1930s clipper ship history book titled “Greyhounds of the Sea.” No “home runs,” but gosh, free books. Felt like Christmas came early!

I’m a Ngaio Marsh fan, but even if I wasn’t, this title and book cover had me. I mean honestly…”Spinsters in Jeopardy”?! Looking forward to reading it.

And finding this John Wheatman interior design book “Meditations on Design” was a bit of serendipity. After years of borrowing his books from the library I finally bought a used copy of his later one “A Good House is Never Done.” But I was hoping someday to get the first one and there it was in pristine condition for free. Yah!

In Closing

I was talking with the manager of my neighborhood thrift store the other day and she shared that they were still receiving tons of donations, but more recently it’s not from spring-cleaning efforts but because folks are moving out of the area. That made me a little sad. Life has changed so much for all of us this year. To some degree we’ve needed to rethink how we do things: how we work, shop, vote, connect with people, stay physically safe, nurture our souls. Even how we do funerals, or don’t do them. I’ve had several older friends die this year, all whose life celebrations have been put on hold. And just the other day my friend Clyde died. He had just turned 96 and was such a humble, gentle soul. I shall miss him.

(Didn’t intend to end this post on a sad note, just where my mind took me.)

Would love to hear about your good end-of-year finds and how life is for you.

Happy hunting and stay well,



  1. Hello Karen,
    I’m sorry that a good number of dear people have passed away lately…. it must be really sad.
    This year has definitely brought unexpected changes to our lives. I resent unwanted change, but as change is mostly something we cannot control, I try not to let it get too much at me… easier said than done 😉 Sometimes I find it helpful to look for the new opportunities that change brings amongst the less nice parts. (sorry for the convoluted thoughts)
    I’m just back from my hometown – it’s hard to readjust to the old habits after some time away. And leaving before the Christmas season was hard too, knowing that the ageing family will spend time alone. When leaving I wondered whether I’d be seeing them again.
    Anyway, I’m back and looking for ways to make the place more suitable to our needs. I also reopened my “shops”, which was fun.
    I hope you will have the chance to enjoy a bit of festive spirit despite the trying times!
    Merry Christmas ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Gabriela. Glad you got to visit your family. Never dreamed I wouldn’t be able to visit my dad and cousins this year.

      I know what you mean about change. This year has brought about so many frustrating changes! But like you I have looked for the new opportunities too. Most recently I was asked to be a founding board member of a new non-profit org…and I accepted! I’m in the process now of creating our website. It feels good to be doing some good!

      Hope your Christmas is lovely and you are able to fix up your place so that it feels like your sanctuary.

      XOXO, Karen

      Liked by 2 people

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