Racing heartbeat, sweaty palms, fidgety feet. Panic attack?
No, just another score at the Goodwill bins.
Regular readers will likely recall that I’m addicted to the Goodwill Outlets throughout the Portland area; here everything is thrown in giant bins (hence their nickname) and almost everything is by the pound with only books and glassware priced separately (but inexpensively).
So I check into one or another Goodwill Outlet store whenever I can, sometimes finding a lot, sometimes a little. Like a gambler walking up to a blackjack table, you’re never sure if Lady Luck will be smile at you — or flip you the bird.
This week at the Airport Bins Lady Luck didn’t just smile at me — she made room at the bar and had an ice cold Old Fashioned waiting for me.
First up, packages of never opened gift wrap. Some were striped, some were my favorite robin’s egg blue, and some were just funky. And fun.
I am not deterred in the slightest that this one mentions shower; I will cut these up and once mounted will use them for tags and little cards. Some pieces I may just leave au naturel and place at the bottom of little pastry boxes I have.
People, just look at the little canisters and gingham pot holders. Gift wrap– are you stalking me?
Here is a package of vintage doilies in this lovely, sparkly silver (I took the wrapper off so they’d photograph better).
I nabbed these because I thought they’d be just the thing to wrap around quick breads around the holidays. Taking a cue from the color of the packaging, perhaps tied into place with Provencal blue ribbon?
I also found a tiny roll of vintage Christmas wrap. Score!
It’s so delicate and almost sheer — I can’t believe it survived the bins looking still so pristine. I love to cover old Pringle cans with vintage wrap and deliver them as gifts. Perhaps you are laughing at the thought, but they’re the perfect holder for spiced nuts or holiday snack blends or granola.
This paper would be perfect for them as long as I covered it with an opaque paper first. Who wants to see a potato chip shining through when these candles beckon?
Think that’s it? Just you wait — I’m only getting warmed up here.
There were also some great vintage decorations: tiny bottle brushes and some kind of stretchy cord that looks like tinsel. The graphics on the cord are fab — as you see, it was made in Japan and I’m sure it was never used. Just waiting all those years for me to dig it out of a bin of old hoses and planters.
Maybe the last remains of an estate sale in which no suitor came calling?
(Come next December, I can’t wait to show you all my vintage holiday stuff.)
I also found some great tools. The spatula is a full 15” long and it’s an industrial brand meant for restaurant use; in fact, I’m pretty sure I used that exact same style when I worked the griddle at Greens all those years ago.
This is the tool I will reach for when extracting long slabs of lasagna or enchiladas from a pan, or a large salmon fillet on the grill. They retail for about twenty dollars so the fact that I got it for under a dollar made me mucho happy.
And then lastly, the two items I was most excited about — a wonderful wood salad bowl and a major stash of vintage Christmas cards, tags, and decals.
I have one really nice wood salad bowl I bought at a beautiful French shop in SF but it’s taller, more upright, and I love these shallow versions too, but they’re usually so expensive that I’ve so far refrained. This one is in great condition, and I just gave it a little clean up with vinegar and lemon, dried it off and it was good to go. Hurray.
And now, for my favorite finds — all those cards, decals and tags.
I noticed a guy a little older than myself flipping through a shoe-box of cards — when I spied some of those 1940’s and 50’s graphics I couldn’t help myself. I walked over and started talking to him.
He said that he was sad that only one or two were pristine – many still had signatures inside, and some were just cut-out from whole cards.
Like a predator sensing weakness and indecision, I saw an opportunity. I complimented him on his finds but asked him what he’d do with them.
“I don’t know”, he said mournfully.
Boom. Trap set.
“Can I take a look at the scraps you don’t want afterwards?” (note the condescending term meant to undermine their worth and the verbal reinforcement of him not wanting them).
I walked away nonchalantly, hoping that he’d tire of them. Sometimes the predator has to have the patience to walk away and the let the prey walk into the trap. Pushiness or over-aggression won’t work.
What’s that expression about bees and honey? Or is it ants?
I am the queen of malaprops, so I won’t even go there.
I made myself busy with another bin, and waited.
Oh, snap. Five minutes later he came up to me and gave me almost the entire lot — and it was all I could do but not yip with joy.
“Have fun with them,” he said with a smile.
Oh yes I will.
I will photocopy some of them and use them as labels (my brilliant friend Tracy in Mill Valley taught me that trick).
I will turn some into new cards. I will decoupage others onto holiday decorations. And so much more.
So thanks, Goodwill — you’ve come through for me once again — and I’m happy knowing that all these odd bits and pieces of ephemera and household goods are orphans no more.
And so, I’m…
… to make homemade sushi.
Happy Father’s Day!