Saturday, March 29, 2014

Estate/yard sales -- you just never know

Linda and I headed out early yesterday morning to three estate and yard sales.  Duane wasn't able to go with us due to family commitments.  I was just sure that the first sale was going to be the jackpot.  It was being held in an older part of town and the only place it was listed was The Flyer.  It's gotten kind of pricey to put an ad in The Flyer -- especially since you can list for free on Craig's List and  It was listed as an estate sale, though, so you can imagine our disappointment when Linda and I met at the address only to discover that it was an elderly man just getting rid of some things.  In other words -- a garden variety yard sale.  He had some tables set up in his one car garage and an area next to it.  Linda noticed that the items were kind of pricey although I did hear the man say that everything was half off the sticker price.  Something tells me that he was a flea market vendor and was just getting rid of some stuff.  Neither of us saw anything we wanted at his yard sale.

The next sale was out in a bedroom community called Lutz.  It was an honest to goodness estate sale.  The people having it were selling everything including a lot of nice furniture because they're moving out of state and plan to build a new house when they do.  Although neither of us bought anything, we were relieved that this one was an actual estate sale and not just a yard sale.  The prices were good and the items were nice, too.

The last sale which was held a little further north in Lutz was the one I least expected to be a good one.  It was listed as a yard sale and just said, 'lots of misc.' which can mean anything.  Also, it was located in a mixed area of old industrial type stores and older small houses.  Well, we hit one of the coolest sales I've been to in awhile.  It was a little old house and items were set up on tables in the yard, on the porch and in the house.  It turned out to be the home of a couple who sell at one of the best flea markets around -- the Webster flea market.  I posted here when Linda and I went to the market in Webster last spring.  This couple wants to get out of the business so they held what was basically a mini flea market of cool stuff at their house.  Lots of vintage items.  I bought a garnet necklace and a bag of wood crochet hooks.  Linda found a beautiful vintage Japanese/Nippon coffee/tea cup of the type of porcelain she collects.  We were just sorry that Duane missed this sale.  She loves old stuff.  Apparently there was even more jewelry when they started their sale at 8am so who knows what we missed.  The lady told me that she's going to have another sale in about a month.  We don't want to miss it!

So the least promising looking of the sales from an advertising perspective was, by far, the best one.  As we tell ourselves, you just never know what will be a dud and what will be a find.

We also went to a thrift shop that I had noticed before but had never visited called Friends and Neighbors Thrift Store.  It's located a bit off the main road just before you leave Tampa and enter Lutz.  Nice shop with good stuff and good prices.  I bought a couple of DVDs and Linda fell in love with the prettiest wicker table painted blue.  The owner told us that next Saturday, they're having their parking lot sale and the furniture will be 1/2 price plus anyone in the community is welcome to set up a table and sell stuff for free.  We're going to head back and (fingers crossed!) hope that Linda can snag that table for 1/2 price.

Lastly, we went to a Starbucks that was inside a Super Target.  I'd never been to this but it was in Lutz and Linda knew about it.  It was a nice break after a fun morning.

Our buys.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Red Shoelace Killer on sale today at Audible!

Nothing like a good cozy mystery with colorful characters and The Red Shoelace Killer by Susan Sundwall delivers.  This is the first of the Minnie Markwood Mystery series.  The second book is due in print sometime in August of this year. 

Minnie Markwood can out-sleuth Miss Marple any day of the week - in her imagination. But when a real killer begins to target Minnie and her young sidekicks, reality trumps imagination big time. Who's buying up all the red shoelaces at the mall and stalking a cashier? Is it the killer who terrorized Minnie on the highway and kidnapped her coworker? It soon becomes frighteningly clear that Minnie's onto something, and The Red Shoelace Killer's days are numbered. 

If you like cozy mysteries (no sex or profanity), I hope you'll give this one a listen.  It can be found at Audible here.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A (Three) Estate Sale Friday

Part of the red-flocked wallpaper room.
Yesterday morning, Duane, Linda, and I hit a trifecta with three separate estate sales.  The first and main one was in the south part of town and was being held in a house where the fixtures were also being sold off because the house is to be demolished and a new house built on the lot.  The house was a one story rambling sort of style built in the '50's.  However, it was one of the strangest ones we've ever been through.  It was as if time stood still from some point in the 1970's.  There was red flocked wallpaper on the walls of a room that contained a curved bar that made me think of Hugh Hefner. 

Funky '70's furniture.
When I mentioned that the house was a 'rambling' style, I meant that quite literally.  The floor plan made no sense at all.  If someone has taken the roof off and looked down, we probably looked like rats in a maze.  Duane said it made her think of a labyrinth.  Many of the rooms had no windows and with low ceilings it seemed a little claustrophobic.  Besides the severely dated wallpaper there was a lot of thick sculptured wall-to-wall carpeting.  Statues of various types and made of different materials were everywhere.  Besides the main kitchen there was also another really tiny kitchen and bath adjacent to one of the bedrooms.  Maybe a mother-in-law suite?  This was not a huge house but I couldn't tell anyone how many bedrooms or how many rooms it had because it was so confusing.  Lots of what was popular in the '60's and '70's of furniture I remember being called 'French Provincial.'

Plastic buffet?
Almost every wall in the house was covered with old wallpaper, too.  The highlight was the red flocked paper but there was a lot of textured paper used throughout.  Quite a bit of the furniture appeared to be made of some type of plastic but was also kind of formal -- if that makes sense.   The coup de grace was what we assumed was the master bathroom.  Duane motioned for me to come in.  It was very long and wide with no windows, sculptured carpet (ick!) and a big round raised bathtub with statues around it.  The toilet was kind of sitting on one of the long walls looking kind of lonesome by itself.  I was speechless.  I've honestly never been in a house quite like this one.   It hadn't been very well-cared for so I could see why it was going to be demolished.  Plus, I can't imagine trying to remove all the wallpaper and carpet and reconfiguring the floor plan to make some kind of sense.  Amongst all of the oddities, Linda found several movies and I came across a bag of yarn so we didn't leave empty-handed -- just scratching our heads.

Shall I draw your bath?

It would have been hard to top that house so it was nice that the next two were normal estate sales.  We didn't find anything at the second one but they did have a lot of nice furniture -- just not what any of us were in the market to buy.  The third sale was in the west part of town.  The lady who had lived there was really into crafts and we lucked out with a big box of very nice yarn.  After the three of us pick out what we'll use, I'm sending the rest of the yarn to The Humble Stitch.

We were ready for a treat so we stopped by my sister Carol's shop, Sweet Ava's and stocked up on cookies.  Then we headed for the Starbucks near Duane's house and had our various forms of caffeine while we relaxed and had a long chat.  We still couldn't quite get over that first house...

Our finds.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Today was the annual Chiseler's Market!

As we have for the past 3 years, Duane, Linda and I hit the annual market held by The Chiselers to keep money in the coffers to maintain Henry B. Plant Hall at the University of Tampa.  This is a fun event to attend but you have to sharpen those elbows because the crowd is huge -- especially in the room called the Bargain Room.  It's all for a worthy cause and there are definitely bargains to be had all over the market.

It's also a good idea to get there early.  We were actually early this morning but the parking was the worst we've encountered so far.  We ended up on the roof of the nearest parking garage.  Mrs. Peel got some sun today!

I headed straight for the Bargain Room (Linda and Duane avoid that room like the plague -- too packed) and scooped up some beautiful boutique yarn and some white twine-type material to use for crocheting baskets.  Duane and Linda both purchased books from the Book Room and they both also scored in the Art area on the veranda.  Linda bought a framed and signed photograph and Duane bought a beautiful framed piece of paper art.  The paper is actually three dimensional under the glass in the frame.  Tried to get a close-up below but it was hard to capture.  I didn't buy art this year but I'm looking at a signed print that I framed from last year of an urban scene in Charleston.  It hangs over my desk.

Our purchases.

Close up of the paper art Duane bought.
I took longer than Linda and Duane and we were all three exhausted (it doesn't take much) from the crowd so we headed to the Starbucks near Duane's house.  We had treats and a nice gabfest.  Looking forward to next year's sale already!

Plant Hall at night.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Catching up...

I'm just wrapping up my latest audiobook, The Red Shoelace Killer by Susan Sundwall, and getting ready to send it in for author approval and post-production.  This was really a fun book to record.  It's a cozy mystery and the main character is a woman named Minnie Markwood.  Minnie is 60-ish (she never says her exact age) has short steel gray hair and weighs 'upwards' of 170 pounds.  She's a widow and former librarian who now works part-time for a company that takes surveys.  Minnie is a big fan of Agatha Christie books and the Miss Marple character from television and considers herself pretty knowledgeable as an amateur sleuth.  She ends up with two unlikely younger people as her investigative partners but that makes for a lot of the fun.  I hope there will be more 'Minnie' books from Susan Sundwall.

Now I'm prepping for my next book, Marilyn Monroe: My Little Secret by Tony Jerris.  This one is non-fiction and I'm very excited about recording it.  It tells the story of Jane Lawrence and her friendship with Marilyn Monroe from the time Jane was first appointed president of Marilyn's fan club at the tender age of 12 until Marilyn's untimely death.  Jane's father was a bigwig at RKO Studios where the young starlet, Marilyn was under contract.  That's how Jane ended up with the enviable job with the fan club.  I should begin recording later this week.

On the yarn front, I'm still looking at possibilities for Easter 'critters' to make for my three young nieces.  Still have lots of time but there are a ton of choices.  Tsk.

Oh, and my nephew Sam has begun taking flying lessons.  I'm not crazy about this.  I freely admit that little planes freak me out.  My uncle was an experienced pilot of over 13 years when his small plane (which he used to fly to and from work each day) crashed into the Everglades.  My cousin (my uncle's oldest son) and my uncle's son-in-law were aboard the plane, too.  The cause of the crash was never discovered.  This happened in 1987 and I still get the heebie-jeebies regarding small planes.  Bad mojo.

Sam has posted some videos of his flight training.  This is my favorite.  One where he lands and is safely back on the ground.  The music is "Fog" by The Mallard.