Non-Consumer Photo Essay — An Unfortunate Lamp Angle

by Katy on September 12, 2016 · 29 comments

It’s time for another Non-Consumer Advocate Photo Essay, as sometimes photos are better than words.

I took my younger son to the pay-by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet yesterday, as I’m keeping an eye out for one more fitted twin sheet for him to take to college. (Oregon state schools don’t begin until the end of the month.) Although I didn’t find a sheet that I liked, I did spy a few goodies, most of which I photographed and left in place, although I did buy a couple of things.

I was sorely tempted to buy every single one of these cut pieces of vintage flour sack fabric:

jumble of flour sacking

Instead I bought three already pieced portions of what looks to have been the beginnings of a double wedding ring quilt for my mother, who is a textile historian.

pieced flour sacking

I also bought this uncut piece, which I knew my mother would appreciate. When you’re paying $1.59-per-pound, fabric scraps are a bargain!

flour sacking

Although I didn’t buy it, this sturdy rattan couch would be a great DIY refurbishing project, as it would look co cute painted and reupholstered. Priced at a mere $5, I know someone will snap it up!

rattan couch

I always take a moment to glance through vintage Little Golden Books, as they were often illustrated by the wonderful Garth Williams, who is most famous for The Little House books as well as Charlotte’s Web. Often uncredited, Williams’ style is unmistakeable.

baby animals book

I hate opposums, but even my hard hearted heart melted a wee bit at this sweet drawing.


This photo is from a traditional Goodwill, and I snapped a photo as the lamp is very bold and sculptural:


Unfortunately, you know that someone in the room has to face the back angle of the lamp. Stay classy, people!

unfortunate view

I was handed a couple pairs of branded cheap sunglasses while at my younger son’s college orientation. They’re handy to keep in the car for passengers, or when I forget my own sunglasses. However . . .  I’m not a big fan of advertising.

Luckily, there’s much in life that can be fixed with the judicious use of a Sharpie pen.

Hilton glasses

Not perfect, but they can now be described at “neutral,” which in my book is a frugal win. (By the way, what you’re looking at in this photo is called an “Oregon tan.” You’re welcome!)

neutral glasses

My favorite Portland pizza joint is American Dream Pizza. Their doughy pizzas are to die for, which is apparently due to their garlic-butter crust. We only get it every few years, as they’re on the pricey side, so I decided a create my own facsimile.

Here’s my attempt, which featured a crust brushed with a melted butter-garlic powder slurry solution.



In the end, my son and I bought $6.43 worth of stuff from the Goodwill outlet.

  • 1 pair of G-Star Raw pants.
  • 1 T-shirt.
  • 1 pair of brand new looking Nike Elite socks.
  • 1 pillow case.
  • 1 gorgeous Mama Ro brand tablecloth, which is the perfect size for our dining room table.
  • The fabric pieces.

And since the pants alone would have cost $140 new, that’s a pretty good bargain!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise September 12, 2016 at 11:25 am

If you like chewy crusts leave the pizza dough I the fridge for a few days before making a pizza. It results in a chewyier more flavorful crust.


Katy September 12, 2016 at 11:42 am

Good tip, although pizza is usually my last minute dinner idea!


A. Marie September 12, 2016 at 12:12 pm

(1) The Garth Williams possum looks like a much cuter version of Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web. No surprise there.

(2) At the per-pound price, I’d have been sorely tempted to buy the whole lot of quilt pieces. But, of course, you know Su Mama best.

(3) As noted in a previous FFT comment, I recently used a Sharpie to touch up a toe scuff on an otherwise like-new pair of black Sanita (cousin of Dansko) clogs (6.99 at local thrift). Have Sharpie, will travel!


Jennifer September 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm

A guy I used to work with had a very dark, practically black, beard. It had a few sprigs of gray in it. He used a sharpie to covers the gray. Kept one in his desk just for that purpose.


tonya parham September 13, 2016 at 7:14 am

That’s awesome! I wonder if the missus would let me do that with her grey hairs???

I guess I’d better not ask! We’ve been together 26 years– don’t want to drive her off now!


jennifer September 13, 2016 at 8:28 am

How funny, I wish Sharpies came in blonde!


Betty Winslow September 12, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Heavy pick-up this week – grabbed (and then put out again) a small folding table (too rickety and not worth fixing), two large decorative earthenware pots for my husband (which I’ll sell if he doesn’t want them), a really nice accordion rack made of carved wood (can’t decide if I’m keeping or selling), and a 66″ tall adjustable wooden artist easel which I’ve already listed. And today was only the first day!


Katy September 12, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Great scores!


Jennifer September 12, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Is it weird that I kinda dig the sculptural lamp?


Nicole September 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

In future there is likely a resale market for vintage feedsacks. Uppercase magazine is writing a whole book on them!


Gina September 12, 2016 at 2:36 pm

I have always loved Garth Williams’ illustrarions, they bring back fond memories of favorite childhood books.

I THOUGHT I hated opossums until a little one took up residence in the ivy covered window sill of my garage. I looked out the window one morning and there he was napping away. My house is nestled in the woods so encountering wildlife so close is not uncommon (raccoons, squirrels, opossums, fox, coyote, deer, snakes, mice, moles, skunks, rabbits, groundhogs, etc.). The adult opossums are downright creepy, but this little guy was so “still a baby” ADORABLE with his snow white coat with grey stripes and pink nose, long baby feet and claws and pearly white fangs spilling over his pink gums. He was snuggled up and snoozing away all day. He looked like the illustration in your post. I think he was deaf as he didn’t seem to notice when I tapped on the window. At night he awoke and began his day. I haven’t seen him since. All baby animals are loveable.


Marilyn September 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

We have plenty of possums here in SW Washington. I think they’re interesting animals, being marsupials and all. And I agree that the babies are darn cute.


tonya parham September 13, 2016 at 7:21 am

Before we moved into this house, we had a cat outside and possums would come up and eat the food at night. I always thought they were creepy but the missus loves them and so, we essentially had this pet possum outside.

One night I hear Old Possum and I go to the door and there she is. And I’m looking at her and her belly is swaying and moving and I call my missus over and we sat down in the door and watched her eat! Well, while she was eating, two of her babies were popping out of her pouch and wriggling around! It really was quite sweet and made me happy. Frugal fun!

I later learned that possums around your property are a good thing as one of the things they eat are ticks! So, they are a beneficial friendship to cultivate!


Su Mama September 12, 2016 at 3:46 pm

There have been books — even academic books and theses — written in honor of vintage feedsacks. Thrifty women would trade them around to amass enough for a dress. One woman I know, now in her mid-90’s, tells of how her mama would use them to stitch her underwear from them! In 2011, The Nebraska State Historical Society had a wonderful exhibition all about feed sack history. Over time, more than 1,000 different prints were designed and sold!
check it out:


Mary September 13, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Back in the 1940’s my grandmother used feedsacks for everything. The family joked about the boxer underwear she made for the men folks in the family. Their underwear ended up with ‘Pillsbury’s Best’ across the rear!


Katy September 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm

I kind of love your grandmother!


Amy Jo September 12, 2016 at 3:50 pm

I went to the Thrift Store yesterday and scored big for our homeschooling shelves. 99 cent kids books. I got a Thesaurus and a Children’s dictionary and some others. Spent $7 and came home with some great hard backs. 🙂


Marianne September 12, 2016 at 4:00 pm

OMG if I would have been drinking coffee while reading the lamp comment I would have spit my coffee out!
“someone in the room has to face the back angle of the lamp. Stay classy, people!”
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I would have bought that lamp for a White elephant gift for Christmas!!!
My niece found funny empty prank boxes at Walmart at Christmas last year and bought a face heater box…if you could have seen the look on the face of the person who picked it…priceless! I still recall her words..what am I going to do with a face heater?!?!? That lamp would be just as funny. (inserts EVIL laughing faces here) 😛


Marcia September 12, 2016 at 5:56 pm

My son in law worked for a time at a porn shop. He is not into porn, but he needed a job when he took it. He used to bring the boxes home and wrap my DD’s Christmas gifts in them. After a while, she decided she had had enough, so he didn’t do it anymore–and then he got a better job, anyhow. It was pretty funny for a while but I understand her point of view–her kid was only about 9 when they got married. (Both were married before.)


Kim in Los Alamitos September 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm

I would have definitely brought home that rattan couch for $5!
What memories flood back seeing that style of furniture, my Aunt and Uncle had a living room full of that stuff. Wonder why that type of furniture does not come back into style seeing as bamboo is such a quickly grown resource.


Kim September 13, 2016 at 12:08 am

That lamp…omg!! Hilarious.
Love your Birks!! I was eyeballing the silver ones but choose the black as a birthday gift from my mom. Love them and love that she wanted to spend the money to get them for me. Now, I’m hoping she’ll want to get me the silver ones for Christmas.


Katy September 13, 2016 at 11:39 am

Yes, I splurged on them after a very long time of trying to find used ones in my size.


Louise September 13, 2016 at 5:26 am

If you have any kind of decorative duct tape (“duck tape”) you could wrap it around the sidepieces of your sunglasses. Cover up the advertising & add some color!


Mindy Moots September 13, 2016 at 6:32 am

I love Goodwill Outlet. My son is just starting a job search and needed some dress clothes. At Goodwill Outlet, I picked up for him a pair of Dockers, 3 button-down shirts, and a Chaps brand sweater. All in very good condition…the shirts and pants still had their dry cleaning tags on them. For myself a dress, a pair of jeans, and a top, along with a throw pillow for the living room. In total it was just over five dollars. You just can’t beat that.


JD September 13, 2016 at 6:50 am

The lamp is fabulous. It’s right up there with the stocking clad leg lamp in “The Christmas Story”, only I think this GW lamp might be even more fun, and I would want it even less in my house.
I haven’t made a trip to Goodwill in a couple of weeks or more, but now I need to go, just to look around.
My parents used to talk about the flour sack dresses all the girls wore when they were young, and when I was growing up, my grandmother still had her set of glass dessert bowls and tiny plates that she got in boxes of oatmeal. My sister collected the tiny animals from boxes of tea (was it Red Rose?) and my grown kids still love the “Snap Crackle Pop” and “Tony the Tiger” cereal bowls that came with some boxes of cereal many years ago. Now I find all that stuff in collectibles stores. I think this means I’m getting old 🙂


Lilypad September 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

I used to collect the tiny animals in the Red Rose tea boxes back when I was a little girl in the 1970’s!! My mom never drank the tea fast enough for me, I was always pushing to see what was in the next box.


LDA September 13, 2016 at 11:34 am

One of my favorite things I have inherited from my mother is her feed sack fabric pieces and scraps, which she inherited from her mother!


janine September 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

The Minnesota State Fair had an exhibit- might have been a 4H sponsored one of flour sack clothing – everything eventually becomes interesting to succeeding generations. However, today our paper has just carried story on how antiques are no longer “in” as collectibles. I get that everyone is powering down, but some of this stuff is sturdy and beautiful. Here are my five:
1. found 4 cents on the sidewalk – however it was my sidewalk and my husband spent time working outside last weekend so this might be a lateral transfer of assets.
2. bought sale peaches at Aldi, but had to let them sit for a couple of days to ripen. Needed self control!
3. Found good prices on gifts for a wedding we will be attending in a couple of weeks.
4. Phone broke – husband had one left over from office move which he installed.
5. Usual frugal measures – continued to pack lunches, dine at home(mostly) scrutinize monthly expenses for savings (few and far between) and keep a budget.


Jo September 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

Loved the “lateral transfer of assets”!


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