October 30, 2012

a red, white and blue trend

Estate sale-ing: a guide to how I have fun on a Saturday. (Part 1)

I find estate sales by checking out the local estate sale ads online that are published on Thursday afternoon. I'm signed up with a national website that automatically e-mails you about sales within a certain mileage radius of your zip code; it's really handy! (Here's the website, if you're interested in finding sales near you: EstateSales.net... just click on your state, and go from there.) You can find pretty much anything for sale at an estate sale: cars, golf carts, sports equipment, furniture, household items, tools, clothes, shoes, appliances, plants... you name it, and you can probably find it at a sale somewhere, eventually.

photo borrowed from Apartment Therapy website 

I usually scan the ads looking for terms that resonate with me, like: 30 years in one house, multiple generations, years of accumulationvintage clothing, costume jewelry, books, sewing and craft items, things like that. I also look for any Southwest-type or unusual home decor items, although lately my focus has been more on clothing and jewelry. I tend to look more closely at the listings that include photos-- the estate sale companies can't take photos of everything, but it generally does help me to get an idea of whether the sale includes the kind of stuff I like to look at. After that, I look at where they are in the Valley and their hours of operation to figure out which ones sound like my best bet(s), since I can't go to all of them. Finally, I plan out a route for the day using Google maps. Unfortunately most sales start on Friday or even Thursday-- since I work during the week I can't go sale-ing till Saturday, so I never get first pick of the stuff. But as a bit of a consolation, most estate sale companies designate Saturday as half-price day! The particular 'thing' I saw in a photo might not be there any more, but what is still there is cheaper. 

Last weekend, I found two sales I wanted check out, plus one of my co-workers had a sale of his own that included mid-century and vintage stuff. So, I headed out to central Phoenix, then to Glendale (a northwest suburb), then even farther northwest out to Sun City, which is one of the original 'master-planned' retirement communities in the Valley (it launched in 1960). 

The Glendale sale didn't look that good at first glance, but I took my time digging through piles of stuff and sorting through the closets (you gotta have patience at these sales), and came up with some really nice deals! Here's some pictures:

heavy cotton (?) jacket with a bandana-type pattern printed on it.
This would look really cute with a blue or white t-shirt underneath.
My price? a whole $1.50!! (half-price, down from $3)
Even though it's hot here in AZ, inside the building where I work can be cold enough for a light jacket or a sweater. I dug this jacket out of the (very packed) walk-in hall closet at the house. 

I looked through the sewing and craft items in a back room, then hit the mother-lode of accessories: underneath a pile of stretched-out sweaters and sweatshirts (things get really out of place and messy during an estate sale), I found a box of scarves... really nice scarves. After doing the math, I figure I paid just over 50 cents apiece for these-- check them out!

I think this is a men's silk pocket square.
This beauty is vintage hand-rolled silk, with a wonderfully bright colored pattern: dogs of various breeds, leashes, and chain-link borders.

a close-up of the label: Glentex brand, all silk, hand rolled.
I'm thinking it might be from the 1950s, from the look of the pattern? 
I need to research the label a bit to see if I can learn more.

There's even a collie! (not a Sheltie, but it's pretty close!)
It's got a couple holes toward one edge, but I don't mind. I may not ever even use it, as it's too small to do much of anything with, and it's kind of fragile...  but I had to rescue it from the pile of stuff, because I just love the print! 

I kept digging through the pile to see what else I could come up with. These two are both long oblong scarves that will be easier to wear. I looked primarily for colors and patterns I could pair with a solid-colored tee-shirt or sweater. After I got home, I looked at them all closer, and here's what I found: 

score!! Oscar de la Renta!! 

another score: Jones New York! this one still had the
store tag on; it had never even been worn!!

Another pretty one with a vivid red, white and blue pattern. 

another score- it's a Vera!
Vera Neumann is a textile designer who, with her husband, started out screenprinting linen placemats in their dining room in New York City. During WWII, the shortage of linen led her to look for alternative materials. After the war, she found surplus parachute silk and started designing scarves... Her 'signature scarves' are what she's best known for today. Find out more about her: here (Wikipedia)here (vintage clothing site), and here (includes a guide to help you date your Vera Neumann scarf).

cute red and white polka dot scarf by Echo.
I thought this one might be  a bit more contemporary, but it turns out that the Echo Scarf Company started back in the 1920's. (see their company history here: Echo Design 'Our History'.) The older company logo was in cursive, so my guess is that this one is from the 1970s forward- again, I'll have to do more research to date it any closer than that. 

I picked these scarves out first and foremost because I liked them (well, except for the Vera- I saw that logo while I was there), but I think I got some great deals, here, in terms of vintage accessories. Since I already had a few vintage scarves at home, now it seems I have a bit of a collection happening here! 

I got a few more things during my estate sale-ing Saturday-- since this post got kind of long (due to my scarf history internet research), I'll show those pictures in another post. 

1 comment:

Mare said...

Absolutely LOVE all your goodies, especially the jacket!