Sunday, September 30, 2012

As I have often said, there is nothing so sweet as the Sunday of a long weekend.  And when the Sunday dawns clear and cloudless and most importantly, windless, it is to be appreciated even more.

I'd no sooner crawled from the nest and had some breakfast, when the girlchild arrived, bright of eye and requesting scrambled eggs.  After she had demolished her breakfast, we re-upholstered the seats of two dining chairs, and I repaired two sun lounges.

For, it has been announced, she entertains a lot and needs to upgrade the furniture component of her soirees.  Luckily, as in most things, I try to be prepared.

Last year I got two wooden sunlounges from the boutique d'verge - they were each missing one bolt, but otherwise just fine.  One had been given one (bad)coat of white paint,but I anticipate that a couple of spraycans and the judicious use of some sandpaper will have them looking very smart indeed.  There's a red deckchair kicking around from the same collection, and some red and white cushions will tie the whole lot together.

I also have a 60's white metal lounger which I scavenged in Perth about 10 years ago, but I don't know that I want to let go of that permanently, yet. It's California-funky and a sentimental favourite, being that I was on foot at the time and nearly killed myself carrying it across a very busy road. 

Yesterday, the first real day of verge trawling for this year, turned up 2 dining chairs in need of TLC which met with the girlchild's particular specifications.  Get me the staple gun!  It literally took about half an hour to cover the seats and screw them back on.  Total cost was $zero - I used some fabric from the stash, my staple gun, and some long screws from a jar of screws, assorted, from the tipshop last week.

The annual verge collection of rubbish, furniture, etc has started, despite the late or non-delivery of flyers.  As a result, things have been a bit slow, but I expect it will pick up gradually.  There have been a number of finds so far, but I haven't had time to sort them or photograph them, due to getting home after dark. 

Those of you who have read past posts will know that this is my favourite time of year.  The sun is shining (mostly), the streets are full  of discarded items... what more could a girl want? It's like Christmas, without the cooking and the angst.

We filled the back of the 4WD yesterday (although the packing was a bit random) so today we unloaded halfway through, but managed to fill it up again.  The big item today was a stack of jarrah boards, perfect condition, assembled into -well, I'm not sure, lets call them panels - but my verging friend needed same for her daughter's back yard and there they were, already assembled and pre-painted. 

Some more of the enticing finds included a retro desk fan, mint condition; vintage binoculars; tools, various; a container for growing potatoes; a wooden rocking horse; a garden bench; brass drawer handles, 5 matching; glass louvres; fishing accoutrements; a quilt rack, wooden; wooden tables, various; a starburst clock, mint condition; and a small friction driven ride-on motorcycle, which has been claimed by a very excited small boy(his daddy asked us to pick him up a Harley).

Thumbs up to those who mark items as 'still works well' or 'please take this', but thumbs definitely down to those few individuals who deliberately smash everything into little pieces.  Apart from wantonly increasing their contribution to landfill, the broken glass and metal is dangerous for local pedestrians and kids and pets, and will lurk in the grass forever.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

the circle of life...

The wind blew so hard this weekend that I think the house is about an inch more to the east than once it was.  The rain was pelting in sideways. The words 'cold, wet and windy' do not adequately describe yesterday.

Still, there's always an upside, and it kept some of the garage sale affectionados at home.  The ones who were out, however were overly keen and the term 'feeding frenzy' could be applied.  Last week, some chap tried to take an item out from under my foot (firm direct indication of intention to buy: put your foot on it) and I had to tell him that he was going too far.  He tried to say that he was standing on the shed floor, but didn't own it.  Luckily, I was feeling somewhat magnanimous and didn't treat him to some of the responses which occurred to me.  Suffice to say, he won't be doing that again.  He'd already lost two fingers in a hideous farm accident as a child and I pointed out that the others weren't looking like a long term option if he didn't back off.  Said while smiling nicely, of course. He thought I was joking.

Yesterday, I'd just agreed to buy a table when some woman hustled in, pushed me out of the way and started to check it out.  When I pointed out that I'd already bought it and was taking the things off it so I could move it, she said that she would buy it if I didn't.  Perhaps in her shadowy alternate universe, having agreed a price and handed over the cash doesn't actually constitute closure on a deal.

It's becoming a dog eat dog world out there in the garages of the burgh.

On the way home yesterday, we called at the local tip shop, where the sales assistant/curator appeared to be busy unloading stock for the shop from the back of someone's ute.  We were pleased to see someone actually recycling stuff, not sending it to landfill.  Strangely, most of it seemed to disappear without actually ever surfacing for sale.  My thrifting companion managed to grab a neat little fishing rod only because this guy was busy stashing everything else out of harm's (and the public's) way.  It's a bit like going to Myer and having to arm wrestle the sales assistant for your new dress.

Today we made our regular pilgrimage to the Denmark tip, where several bargains were snaffled in fairly short order.  I got a crockpot slow cooker thingy, absolutely mint with original book (not so much as a food stain).  Some good books, a nice little picture frame, and some other interesting bits and bobs.

The world over there is changing.  Things have been sorted and tidied.  There are signs up with prices (books 50c, picture frames $1 and so on). There is less of an air of adventure.  There were actual traffic cones which indicated you shouldn't drive over the television installation.  Traffic cones! (shudders).

While the rain rained and the wind - er - blew, I re-organised the kitchen/laundry/studio in preparation for  being able to find things.  I even threw some things away. And found some things I'd forgotten I had (including the washing), which of course led to thinking of some more things I want to make (instead of doing the washing).

The circle of life continues.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Plumbing in relation to a constitutional crisis

Ouch, my everything aches.  I had a bit of a sort out, which involved moving everything off the back veranda, culling the no longer desirable (or trashed by the leaking gutter - grrrr) and restacking neatly and in an orderly fashion.  Yes, sometimes I do get rid of things.

Some things just got demolished, so I could keep the bits I wanted.  One table was so past it I salvaged the top, but broke the rest up with an axe for firewood.  Very cathartic and quite enjoyable, but possibly contributing to the aching shoulders.

Of course, a friend came over today and took about half of the cast-offs, so at least they've gone to a good home.

Her trailer is still parked in the back yard as I type, it has the weekend's big buy in there.

Due to the leaking gutter, I can't unload just yet but when I do, I shall post pics. How very secret squirrel!

In a week of home maintenance 101, a mate came over to help me with some dripping taps.  First, the tap on the water meter was non-functional, fritzed, fried, fecked.  Rang Water Corporation, and it was replaced by the end of the day.  Yep, the SAME day.  Miraculously brilliantly good service. Thank you, non-privatised and unappreciated public service functionaries. I appreciate you.

Drip cessation plan resumes.  Mains water turned off - tick.  Cue muttering from mate and ominous music.
Short story,  apparently the last time anyone looked at those taps the Whitlam government was in it's prime, Sir John Kerr was an OK guy and I was fetching in a school uniform. Get me a plumber!!! And possibly some sort of angle grinder... I'd have a hot bath, but the relentless dripping would drive me crazy.

jewellery making time again!!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A woman, a sideboard and a bookshelf

One of the activities we squeezed in last weekend was a quick trip to Ikea.  I love Ikea, it's one of my happy places.  I know that it's generally not liked by the chaps, and certainly we passed our share of undergruntled gentlemen in the carpark, no doubt waiting for their partners to return to them loaded with the best of the Snurgg range.  There were guys actually in the shop, following their partners with that slump-shouldered look of surrender which shows they lost the fight before they even got to the carpark.

I did overhear one male moan to his wife/partner/girlfriend/significant other that she didn't need whatever it was she was looking at.  I shivered. There was a sharp intake of breath from the women around her, and for a moment there you could have heard a pin drop. I gently leaned over and said 'Of course you do'.  She fixed him with one of those special looks and replied 'I know.'  I wonder how his evening went? Perhaps some sort of man-minding room would be a good idea, they do it for the kids.

Among the things we women dragged to the bollards (you can't take the trolleys further) and thence to the vehicle was that old fave, the Billy bookcase.

*You have to respect your next door neighbor when she can tell the contents of an Ikea box in a trailer from afar by name - but then she is from Sweden originally.

So, having had 30 kilos of woman-handled Billy taking up floorspace all week, I decided to sort out the loungeroom on Saturday.  

I had been very pleased with the way the Danish mid-century modern sideboard had polished up.  There were some major and minor marks on the finish, as one might expect from something from the tip shop.  Earlier in the week I invested wisely in some of my favourite restorative products.  Here's an example of what this stuff can do.  And it's made in Western Australia, too.


My tried and true technique for furniture moving had the sideboard in place in a snip.

Feeling rather smug, I moved on to assemble the Billy.  Given the size and weight of it,  I put it together in the lounge.  Easy peasy, I really don't know what husbands make such a fuss of.  Read the instructions, follow the instructions. Wrestling with it by myself in a confined space added a piquant pinch of degree of difficulty but it was pretty straightforward.  Then, I got to play bookshelf shuffle as those displaced were moved about, finally expelling the smallest and most expendable onto the back veranda.

The pickings in the opshops here were pretty good on Friday. Amongst my entire summer wardrobe of light cotton and/or linen pants, books, an old tin and quite a lot of broken jewellery, I picked up a 9kt solid gold bracelet and a hollow bangle, also 9kt.  Somedays, the force is truly with you.
Saturday's round of  garage sales were much more limited, although  I got a lovely homegrown pumpkin for $2 at the Baptist fundraiser, and a nice hoard of stuff from an estate sale, including a watch fob - soon to be a bracelet, another sieve cum shadow box, some plastic dogs exactly like the ones I had as a child, and a big bag of matchbox covers.  The bag also included an unused label from the local (now defunct) fish cannery, some WA Railways parcel stamps, a sign from a drycleaners, and some gorgeous old  WA matchbox covers.  It was a bag of history, right there in my hand.

The thing I like about these funny old things is that now I'll go and do some research on them and poke about and find out a whole heap of stuff about this place I never knew.  The monetary value isn't important, but I like to think that the nice gentleman who collected them would appreciate my enjoyment of them.  I may put some of them in frames because I think they would make a rather nice display of local history.

If I find out anything really exciting, I promise to share it with you.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raiders of the lost Perth tip shops

Sunset, West Coast
I've just returned, with a good friend and fellow treasure hunter, from a whirlwind tour of the tip shops in Perth - well, the metro area, anyway.  It was a most enjoyable, if hectic, couple of days, but I do have a critical observation to make.

Dear freeway drivers:  YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE.  Picking your nose whilst driving at high speed is, to say the least, uncool.  The shiny tinted things in the doors and at the front are made of glass and others can see you.  Stop it, you disgusting little beasts.

Concern, South Coast
There. I feel much better. 

Now, to the business at hand:

It's not actually all that easy to work out where the tip shops are.  The main ones we found, after interweb research, a quick survey of Facebook friends and asking family were at Mindarie, Balcatta, and Cockburn.  Given the short timeframe and the kilometres involved, this was where we concentrated our efforts.

I would love to hear of others in WA, and how they measure up to the comparative shopper.
Coming out on top for us was Balcatta.  It had the disorganised hustle and bustle which suits the intrepid hunter and the eclectic and downright weird stuff which we like to see.  There was, literally, something for everyone and everyone was there, from the pearl and faux leopardskin Nedlands grande Dame to the man who stopped in the rain to tell me a joke. ('A man went to the doctor and said he thought he had water on the brain.  The doctor gave him a tap on the head and sent him home.') Hey, I was in the plumbing section and holding a brass tap. There was context.

It became apparent that there was unlikely to be anything of serious dollar value hidden there, as I saw when someone asked for a price on a pretty little plate only to have it (literaly) snatched from his hands to be sent off to be appraised.  As the person who worked there said, there would be 'no Antiques Roadshow moments' there.  I asked what happened post-appraisal but alas, there was no response. I was just interested to know - but maybe they didn't.

Things I left behind....
Still, there were lots of interesting things and the prices were good.  The parking and drop-off organisation was - well,  not there, really, and if you are going there just to buy you can save a lot of time by NOT following the signs and instead taking the 'commercial truck only' lane to the carpark (which is just inside the gates to the right as you enter). Otherwise, prepare to spend a lot of time tangled up in the people having their drop-offs peered at, while you watch others scuttle off with fabulous finds.

It takes time, patience and a sense of adventure but all in all a lot of fun and good stuff for $10.

Next was the Mindarie Regional Council operation at Tamala Park.  The organisation of parking and drop-off was excellent.  There was heaps of space and some nice stuff but I was surprised that there wasn't as much stock as I expected for a major regional operation.  There were heaps of people coming and going and so perhaps the turnover was really high.  The furniture items were pretty good but there weren't a lot of the smaller miscellaneous items, the crockery, glassware, books, etc.  Really, people, when the jigsaw puzzle spills out of the box it's a fair thing to sweep it up and get rid of it. Chances are that there are only 999 of the 1000 pieces which may ever find their way back into the box, especially after the first week or so. When several jigsaw puzzles have intermingled, it's OK to clean it up.

The furniture was marginally cheaper than Balcatta, but there wasn't as much of a range.  We'll certainly keep it on the list for next time.

We went to Cockburn on the way home, it's a fairly new looking arrangement and really hard to find, due to a complete lack of signage.

We finally gave up and followed a dump truck.

It was way more expensive than the others and the smallest in terms of stock.  Most of the prices were a tad on the high side even for a locality near the trendy opshops of Fremantle, but perhaps the locals are used to that.  The guys working there were friendly and helpful and they were the only ones who helped we dainty girls with bulky and heavy furniture. It's really, really organised and tidy, if you like that sort of thing.  Certainly worth a look if you're passing.

and things I COULDN'T leave behind....