Goodwill, Badwill, Questionable-will — Lascivious Easter Bunnies, Excessive Mugging & Skinned Head Cookie Jars

by Katy on April 6, 2014 · 22 comments

I’m trying to decrease the frequency of my thrifting, as I have a hard time turning down the pennies-on-the-dollars merchandise, and I want to sell the stuff I bought for resale before I bring home any additional merchandise. (The days of everything I put on eBay easily selling are sadly long gone.) However . . . my older son needed a decent looking belt, so off to Goodwill we went!

Whee . . .

Of course, my main goal when thrifting is to find the weirdest, most bizarre and frankly disturbing items possible. (You know . . . for you, the readers.)  So yes, I had to photograph this handmade ceramic bust, whose head opens up as a handy way to store to store cookies or murder weapons:

Ceramic bust

Here’s a close up for all your skinned face pleasure:

Close-up of skinned face

 Then again, it might be useful as an aversion therapy technique for decreasing cookie intake.

Hey, pretty lady . . . want a cookie?

As always I was inundated by targeted savings banks:


Boat fund


Shoe fund

Retirement funds and summer vacation:

Retirement fund

Seriously people, stop giving these as gifts! It’s pretty obvious that nobody wants them, otherwise they wouldn’t be at every freaking single Goodwill!

I was tempted to pick up this vintage Beverly Hills 90210 bed sheet:

Beverly Hills 90210

Because really, who doesn’t want to gaze into the dreamy eyes of Luke Perry or Tori Spelling while trying to slip into dreamland?

90210 detail

Because I had my son with me, I delegated the job to find “weird stuff for the blog.” Being the boy he is, (creative, but with a wicked sense of humor) he created his own weird stuff:

easter bunny

I just hope that female Easter bunny in the background isn’t the jealous type.

I get a lot of “Your Portland thrift shops are simply better than mine” from readers, and I can’t really argue against this as I’ve thrifted all across this great nation, and know to appreciate my hometown. (I’ve lived in Ohio, New York, London, Idaho and New Mexico.) However, there is one common denominator to each and every thrift store, which are the obligatory shelves of mugs.

Please, take a moment for this mug shot:


There is no reason to buy  a brand new mug. Ever. Yes, some of these styles are dated, but making things go out of style is a fallacy and designed to keep us buying, buying, buying.

Look at this adorable 99¢ hand painted Polish Christmas mug:

Polish Christmas mug

Or this also 99¢ brand new Japanese Rilakkuma ceramic mug:

Rilakkuma mug

There are enough mugs in the world to cease production for a good decade before it would become a problem. Just check out the shelves at your local thrift shop for confirmation.

However, there are never enough skinned head cookie jars.

I may never reach for an Oreo again.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

rosarugosa April 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

I don’t know how you could have left that cookie jar behind!


Katy April 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

Send me your address and I’ll make sure you never eat a cookie again!


Maggie April 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

We’ve never bought a new mug in our 3 years of marriage. I’m always on the hunt for replacement mugs, since our 2-year old likes to help me unload the dishwasher and breaks a lot of cups. I’m picky about the size and shape. The tall mugs are the best, because they hold heat better, and don’t even talk to me about tiny little regular sized mugs. They’re not worth it!


Jennifer April 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

Yeah, our Goodwills are perfectly adequate, but not nearly as nice as yours. I wish they wouldn’t write prices on everything in Sharpie, but I don’t buy an item if I’m not sure that I can get the price off.

And holy cow, that crazy cookie jar. I may have nightmares about that thing.


Rachel S. April 7, 2014 at 9:21 am

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Gets sharpie off anything except fabric.


Trisha April 6, 2014 at 10:57 am

This is my favorite post of yours ever. Was the cookie jar/weapons holder handmade? Because I can’t imagine anyone buying it on purpose for any reason.


Karen April 6, 2014 at 11:32 am

Several years ago a family member gathered up all the excess coffee mugs and took them to the nearby rural Volunteer Fire Department. They were greatly appreciated.


A. Marie April 6, 2014 at 11:50 am

A sister-in-law once gave me a set of eight Taylor & Ng mugs she’d picked up at a garage sale. This was a historic event for two reasons: It was probably the only time she EVER bought anything at a garage sale, and it’s one of the few gifts she’s ever given me that I truly loved. (Trust me, she isn’t reading this blog.) Anyway, I still have the mugs and expect to have them till they carry me out of this house feet first.


Rachel April 7, 2014 at 9:49 am

Oh my gosh!!!! So I had to google “Taylor & Ng mugs” just because I was curious… turns out I HAVE ONE! The previous tenants of the house I rented with friends my senior year of college had randomly left us a cupboard full of mugs, and a couple were really cool so I took them with me… including one I call the “elephant orgy mug.” Apparently it’s a Taylor & Ng mug! I love that mug, and I love that I learned something about it today… thanks A. Marie!!


Katy April 7, 2014 at 10:08 am

I love those mugs and keep an eye out for them, yet have never found one in a thrift store before. Katy sad. 🙁


PoppyEcho April 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Strange. I was just thinking that I only know the Taylor and Ng brand/designer/whatever it is because of you having thrifted one of their mugs, Katy, and writing about it on your blog. It must have been a trivet or something else instead.


Kristin April 6, 2014 at 2:46 pm

I think the cookie jar could be an amazing diet aid. Would you want to eat a cookie that came out of that thing?


Kristen April 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I said exactly the same thing about mugs on instagram a little while back, with a photo of the mug aisle at my Goodwill (which is always, always as well-stocked as yours.)

There must be a crazy number of mugs in the world.


Katy April 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Did you make the same “mug shot” pun?



Kristen April 7, 2014 at 2:08 am

Ahahaha….no. 😉


Ann Leach April 6, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I love the mummy cookie jar!! In a weird, that’s so gross it’s cool kind of way!

Speaking of mugs, I have found matching mugs and 3 different locations so now I have enough for us and enough for company (of 2)!! woot!


tna April 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm

You’ve brought up a very interesting phenomenon ….. mug abundance at thrift stores. Is it a gifting problem or just a failure to bond with a fly by night mug purchase? I know the peeps in my house have had their mugs for years…1 clear glass mug, 1 pottery mug, and 2 have titanium mugs. Is it a personality thing and one day we’ll have mug profiling? Curious. And sad, all those homeless mugs.


Diane April 7, 2014 at 4:34 am

Why do you think Portland has the best thrift stores? More people donating goods in your neck of the woods? I know in Austin some of our thrift stores gets goods from New England so there are a lot of LL Bean items as well as other high end clothing.

Just curious what makes Portland such a thrifting haven.


Bible Babe April 7, 2014 at 7:31 am

Okay, I can top the skinned head cookie jar. When I was taking a sculpture course many years ago, I was, shall we say…into shocking folks…a lot… So, One day while I was elbows deep in wet clay, I had a BRILLIANT idea. I created a cookie jar in the shape of the umm….male organ. It was perfect, had the two ‘additional’ parts, and the top was shaped like the…top of said organ. That wasn’t the end of it however, I fired it and then glazed and re fired it, with the result of my having a gorgeous metallic GREEN cookie jar ‘appendage’… Yes, I got a high grade, and the satisfaction of watching people gulp when offered a cookie at my house for a long time.

I no longer have the cookie jar, i gave it to a friend who just couldn’t stop RAVING over it. I think she was very lonely…


Katy April 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

I love that you call yourself “Bible Babe” and have this story to tell.

I love you!


ruthie April 7, 2014 at 7:39 am

That is so funny! And you are right about thrift stores. Amazing what people will buy or spend time making.


J. Pario April 8, 2014 at 10:31 am

The cookie is beyond gross, I have to say. One of those items you see and then scratch your head and say, “Someone made this ON PURPOSE? But why?” (Usually I just say that about fabric.)

As for mugs, yes. I volunteer at a Thrift Store and there is pretty much an endless supply here in Lincoln, Nebraska as well. Perhaps next Christmas I’ll buy some to fill with Dollar Stores goodies like candy and hot chocolate packs, thus creating lots of instant gifts.


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