Thrifting #7

Some nice things I saw that weren’t quite for me:

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This wood bowl was beautiful. I think it was marked either $12 or $14, and it was a half-price day. A nice piece of wood, well worth a few dollars. Too orange for me though, and I have no good spot to display it. It would just become clutter.

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I was excited about this painting until I saw the two people standing on the beach. Ugh, why do artists have a ruin an idyllic view by adding people? Rhetorical question; I know most people don’t think like I do. Also, it was marked $45.

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A tiny box of shells. Only $1 and the wood was pretty, but the shells were dusty (with no way to open the box to wash them) and the background was orange (my least favorite color).

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A pair of sea-urchin-like frames at $2.50 each. I was really tempted to buy these. Perfect pattern, perfect colors. Looking at them now, I still feel that pull. But, I already have a frame I love even more that’s waiting for a picture. I don’t want to get more frames until I’ve filled that one. I’m trying to start as few new projects as possible. I’m a bit sad I left them behind, but I don’t regret it.

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A 3-D fish! Pretty big! In a frame! But, it was mostly yellow (a color I associate with body oil stains, smoke-stained walls, and old crumbling plastic), and the face was a bit too goofy. Made my heart jump at first glance, though. I think it was $8 or $10.

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A belt with a half nautilus shell attached. I already have a thrifted nautilus shell, and this one was cracked and chipped. It would  have only been $2 though.

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An instant shell collection! I liked the baler shell in back, but they were all rather too small, uninteresting, and yellowish for my taste. I own enough shells already, so I’ve become picky. $20 is a bit cheaper than I’d expect for this shop, but still enough that I’d balk on price alone as a factor.

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More big yellow fish! I tried imagining them with a coat of spray paint, but their shapes were (again) a bit too goofy for my taste. $2.50 each would have been a good deal if I’d liked them.

And what I did buy:

Lots of supplies for our pet rats’ cage, and a couple things for me.

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A $4 bar of soap for 50 cents. I thrifted a 5-pack of this brand for $3 a while ago and only have a couple left, so I was excited to find this one. It’s a bit battered, but still useable. A very strong rose scent.

I’ve been browsing rings online intermittantly, and I don’t like 99.9% of them at all. But I do like ones made of white metal with a band of decoration inset all around the circumference.

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I’m so, so lucky I found this one. I was at the checkout counter with some rat cage supplies (mostly curtain rings), and as I waited to pay I saw a small tray of rings beside me, with this one right on top. I wasn’t excited yet because most rings don’t fit my big fingers, but I tried slipping it on, and not only did it fit, it was comfortable! I quickly asked how much, and couldn’t hand over the $1 fast enough. I wore it out of the shop, and spent the rest of the day admiring the iridescence flashing in the sun. It is perfect!

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The next item is something I thought I’d never see in an op-shop. When I first saw it, I dismissed it, thinking “Huh, that looks like a (item), haha,” and kept browsing. Finally the flow of people dispersed enough that I could get close enough to pick it up, and it actually was


…a glass fishing float!

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I just held it for a moment, disbelieving. Once it hit me, I didn’t feel excitement, or happiness, or relief. I just thought, “Why did it have to be purple?” I was disappointed. There was dirt inside. It wasn’t the green shiny bauble I wanted.

I tried to convince myself otherwise. Maybe it had been made clear and had turned purple with sunlight exposure, like some old glass does. Maybe it would look good in my decor, even as the only spot of purple. Maybe one day I’d have a bunch of common green and blue floats, then it would look like the quirky one of the collection.

I almost put it back on the shelf. I don’t want to buy things that don’t excite me. Then I told myself, “It’ll probably only cost 3 or 4 dollars. It’s not what I wanted, but it’s probably as close as I’ll ever find under 20.” I finally went up to the pay counter, and after some ribbing from the volunteer (“Is that all? Think you can afford it?”) I managed a polite smile and a self-deprecating answer (“I hope so, but probably not.”) so they’d finally give me a price.

50 cents.

I paid, took the reciept, carefully wrapped my plastic bag around the float a few times for meagre cushioning, and left. Still no excitement. A little relief that it was so cheap, a bit of worry about breaking it before I got home, and a lot of introspection about why I wasn’t the happiest person on earth right now.

This was my holy grail. Throughout my life, every time I visited a beach, I’d search the sand and vegetation for a glint of glass or a bit of net. I devoured websites and forums about floats, reading the words of people richer or luckier than me who owned these jewels from the tide. I imagined my own small collection, blue and green glass orbs shining in the light. Now I’d actually found one, but it somehow wasn’t cause for joy. Wrong color, wrong circumstances.

Once home, I washed it, did some research to see if it was authentic or a tourist reproduction (answer: I don’t know, but probably a repro), and found a spot for it inside a paua shell where it wouldn’t roll off. I’m glad I have it. But I still would rather have found a prettier one. One that isn’t purple. Oh well.

I thrifted a fishing float! Yay.


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