Sunday, October 08, 2006

A little old Polish lady

I've only ended up at true "estate sales" twice (before yesterday). You know, when someone has clearly died and everything--from their underwear to their kitchen utensils to their bedroom furniture--is for sale, and the sale is inside the actualy house, so the undies are laid out on the bed and the kitchen utensils are still in the drawer. I remember those two sales very distinctively because I had this odd feeling that I was intruding on sacred ground, but I was also very fascinated. I remember that I found matching cups for my sister's antique Tom and Jerry set at my first estate sale, in Oak Park with a friend who has since moved to Pittsburgh. The second one was in the Gold Coast a few years ago, clearly an older woman who had already downsized into a condo, but I bought a cashmere sweater for $1 and two vintage hat boxes for less than that.

So whenever I see the words "Estate Sale" in the Craig's list ad, I get excited. Sometimes they're not true estate sales, but on Saturday I went to one that was. It was in a small two-flat in the very Polish part of Chicago. Biking down Milwaukee Avenue, all the signs were in Polish and people walking by were not speaking English. There weren't a whole lot of people there, so I had lots of time to check out everything. Things were definitely priced to move. There was a gorgeous three-piece Art Deco bedroom set for $600 that I would plunked down money for if I had a bedroom that needed furniture. Gorgeous. And those metal drinking cups? I think they're collectible, which explains why a set of 8 were marked $40. But everything else was just a couple bucks at most.

Clearly this woman sewed and crocheted. I didn't find anything handmade linens, but I did score two plastic bins of her sewing stuff, with a bunch of needle cases, trim (red rick rack!), a Sucrets tin that had a tatting needle in it, a vintage loom in the box, and a tin with a half-completed project with a kind of embroidery I unfortunately don't know how to do. And the best part: a pair of pinking sheers, which I was planning to pay a pretty penny for new one of these days. Yea!

In the bedroom, I found this nifty apron made from the cutest apple and pear fabric. (Notice the model still has one pant leg rolled up from biking!) Cost: $1. Also notice I'm holding one of those pie crust untensils (what is that called?), with a red wooden handle. I could have used one of those when I was making apple crisp last week. Also $1.

In the bedroom I found these two vintage purses: one gold and one silver. I think I paid $5 for both of them. And a couple of vintage pins, which will end up on a felted purse at some point.

There also was all this old sheet music (some of it for the accordian. Yup we're in Polish town!). I think some of that is collectible, so I decided to try to buy some and resell them on ebay. We'll see how that goes. If it's not successful, it was only a $1 investment for all five of them, and I could use them for background paper for scrapbooking or something. I liked the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer one.

On the way home I stopped at a little rummage sale and saw this adorable fabric trim. Are those pleats to die for or what? The woman said it was for trimming your kitchen shelves, but I think I''ll use it in some girly-girl something. Don't know yet, but for 50 cents, I couldn't pass it up.

So another very successful shopping Saturday. I spent less than $20 and really felt like I got to know Mrs. Sokelski (something like that: I saw it written in one of her books). I hope she's in a better place and happy to see her sewing notions going to someone who will use them.


jungle dream pagoda said...

What a beautiful post.Mrs Sokelski ,I'm sure was very glad you came by.I know what you mean about estate sales I try to imagine what the person was like when I visit these.

jen said...

Hi Heidi! Nice to *meet* you :-) I saw in my visitor stats that you'd dropped by today. I too went to an estate sale today. I learned (from my nose) that Mrs. Hendrickson was a chain smoker and her dog was REALLY old and STINKY (poor guy was still there...out back) but I got a treat or two. Not as well as you did, but a few 100+year old books to use pages for collage. Anyway...I'll add you to my links and stop by again!

Rebecca said...

Great finds and what a great tribute to Mrs. Sokelski. :) I haven't ever been to an estate sale, I really must expand my horizons!

Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi..what a great blog you have and I am in awe of your knitting projects. I am really looking forward to our little crafty swap! I've been to a couple of estate sales, you do feel like you are marching in forbidden territory of sorts. I can't imagine people going thru all my things...YIKES...come to think of it, it make give me inspiration to toss out some stuff I'd rather no one see!! tee heee

Anonymous said...

It's called a pastry blender. If you ever come across another one, would you pick it up for me? The one I have is getting bent out of shape. I bet the antique ones hold up better. Love, Amy

Barb said...

Trippy. I wrote about this several months back. It is just so odd to walk through rooms, rummage through clothing, be where someone lived, loved...
I felt like I was intruding also. It didn't feel right. Like when you walk into a thrift store and there's someone's old photo album there. Like why wasn't this treasured by someone?