Non-Consumer Mish-Mash –Cherubs, Paintings, Found Money & Thrifted Rugs

by Katy on March 8, 2012 · 42 comments

It’s time again for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

Fishy Cherub Girl Finds a Home

For those of you who doubted that I actually bought the cherub riding a fish ashtray, here she is on my bedside table. Don’t you think the marble and glass pair well with my alabaster lamp and crystal, (okay, plastic) lampshade fringe?

I love her, she’s so deliciously tacky.

Goodwill Find of the Century

If you’re like me and love to haunt thrift stores, your dream is to find a priceless treasure priced at just a couple of bucks. Sure, I’ve bought $25 rugs and sold them for $100, and I once even found a collection of Sasha dolls for $20 that I later sold for almost $2000, but an elderly Florida man recently hit the jackpot.

The retired antiques dealer, (who says he visits his Goodwill four times per week!) came across an old oil painting that he knew was something. His daughter-in-law took it to Antiques Roadshow where it was appraised for $20,000 – $30,000, but when he put it up for auction, it sold for:


Click HERE to watch the video.

And in case you think this guy was lucky, keep in mind that this man has been scouring for antiques for 60-odd years. Even so, he’s my hero.

Coin-Girl’s Found Change Challenge Update

So far I’ve found . . . $10.73 plus a number of foreign coins. My goal is to find $65.00 by the end of the year. (This is the cost of renting my friend’s beach cabin for a single night.) I’m a bit behind and need to step it up a bit.

Must add find more money on the ground to my to-do list!

Do I Need to be Turned into the Rug Enforcement Agency?

I ran an errand yesterday to try and find the perfect shade of green spray paint for my project chair, and treated myself to a quick stop into the enormous Salvation Army thrift store on S.E. 82nd Avenue. I mostly just wandered around, unmotivated by anything I saw, but then I spied two rolled up rag rugs. I unrolled them both and found them to be constructed from wool fabric and quite beautifully designed. (Rag rugs can be a bit hodgepodge.) I couldn’t find anything wrong with either of them, and a quick sniff test, (gross but necessary) revealed neither cigarette nor animal smells. I could tell from the fabric that these babies were antique.

A short conversation with an employee clarified their return policy, (basically you buy it you keep it) but at $8.99 apiece these rugs were a great deal with minimal investment.

I now have them both up on Craigslist, and should be able to quickly place them into new homes. Hopefully, before I bond with them too much.

Hello, gorgeous! What's a girl like you doing hanging out in a thrift store?


Hello, cutie, wanna come home with me?


Update: I just now sold the rugs through Craigslist for $100! The turnaround on buying/selling these rugs was less than 24 hours. I am *very* happy!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.

Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

cathy March 8, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Congratulations on the amazing finds…those rugs are spectacular!


Katy March 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm

And they’re 100% wool, beautifully designed and in great condition.

I would be happy to keep them if they don’t sell.



Reese March 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Ooooh I would totally buy the second one if I lived anywhere but Chicago! ;p


Alison March 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Katy, I crack up everytime you mention “coin girl”…I love it!!! My Dad taught me to NEVER pass by even the smallest of coins…ultimately leading me to my current respect of money. Thankyou for outing youeself as “Coin Girl”


Katy March 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

Your dad sounds like a smart man!



Auntie Karen March 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Oh, my goodness! That sweet red rag rug wants so much to come live in our sun room and warm the red clay-fired tiles your Mother so lovingly restored for last year’s family reunion. We are sorely tempted to snatch her from the plane next week and drive her back to Portland ourselves to begin the adoption proceedings. What a lovely treasure you found. Actually two treasures–both rugs are smashing (actually three treasures if you count your Mother). I can’t imagine folks in Portlandia letting your rugs languish for long on Craig’s list.


Anna March 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I inherited a wool braided rug like that and love it! Congrats on the awesome find! 🙂


Janinne March 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I’ve always avoided these because they are rugs after all, which means they get dirty, and I do not know how to clean them. What do you rag rug lovers know about that?


Anna March 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I draped mine over a fence, sprayed it with carpet cleaner, and sprayed it off with a water hose then let it hang to dry for a few days in the sun. Mine came from my grandparents’ home, and they were smokers, and the rug came out fresh and clean.


Ellie March 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I just clean mine with a dry carpet cleaner. I take it outside on a nice day, and give it a good shaking (it takes two people to shake it), then put it down on the porch, shake the dry carpet cleaner powder all over it, let it sit, and then vacuum it (twice, to get all the powder out).

The one I have came from a dirty attic and smelled a little musty, but the dry rug-cleaner stuff, combined with a day’s good airing on the porch, got the mustiness out.


Karen March 8, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I am just finishing making my third rug like these two. I use my carpet steamer to clean them. I have also put them dirty side down on the lawn and beat the upperside, and hosed them with a garden hose. I would not suggest shaking braided rugs for fear of breaking the lacing that holds them together, especially not knowing what was used to lace them or the condition of the lacing. The lacing can be replaced but it is nicer if you don’t have to do it.
They can also be used either side up, the rougher side for “everyday, smoother side for “company”.


Dogs or Dollars March 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

I am soooo tempted to drive to Portland for a Rag Rug Retrieval Mission. Scuh-ore! I suppose shipping would be prohibitive. :/


Katy March 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Somebody just came by and bought both rugs for $100!

I love the fast turnaround!



Dogs or Dollars March 8, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Sweeeet! Your love affair was short but profitable. 😉


Katy March 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

That came across a bit naughty. 😉



astrid March 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Hi katie,
I hope that you do not take this too personally, but wnated to mention an issue with compulsively buying and re-seeling via Goodwill. Our local Goodwill has moved to having a room for “voucher users only.” A “voucher user only” is a person who gets money vouchers from local charities that serve local-income people who need assistacen to buy clothes and household goods. The reason that they instituted this is because they found it neccessary to set aside affordable very good/high quality items that were getting snatched up by customers and often resold for commission via craig’s lists and other venues. While I understand the value behind re-use and recycle, I don’t know that the activty or finding the really good stuff for profit is such an easy fit within this context. It’s the less charming perspectve of this- that is, the rugs may have also looked nice in a struggling family’s home…


Jo H. March 8, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I like the idea of the “voucher users only” room, and the logic behind it. It’s something I’ve thought of before, and it’s one big reason I don’t frequent the thrift stores which are stocked from donations.

I do buy second hand clothes, but from a business that deals in buying pallets of clothing from the US for resale (I live in Canada and apparently we all wear our garments into the ground 🙂 ). If I am looking for a particular thing that I can’t find new, I will go to the thrift stores to look for it.


Katy March 8, 2012 at 6:25 pm

It sounds like your Goodwill has taken steps to ensure that their merchandise is affordable to low income people, which is great. Our Goodwills here price their products pretty high, for example, $4.99 for used T-shirts. It seems that their mission is to make as much money as possible from their thrift shops in order to A) provide jobs, and B) Fund their job assistance programs.

There is more than enough stuff in each and every Goodwill to provide stuff for everyone (and their cousin.) There were many rugs at the Salvation Army thrift shop, and I have as much a right as anyone else to buy them at the marked price. I did not bargain, I did not elbow anyone out of the way to get to the rugs.

As for whether I am “compulsively buying and re-selling,” that is a matter of opinion. I do not have a stockpile of crap in the basement that I’ll sell someday. When I buy something to re-sell, I try and do it as fast as possible, (don’t want to be featured on an episode of “Hoarders”) and only a thing or two at a time. Reselling thrift store items is part of the big picture of how I’m able to work part time in order to be present with my kids and put money aside for the extras in life. Plus, I enjoy it.

Every single antique store in America is filled with goodies that someone, somewhere gleaned from a garage sale, thrift store or estate sale. This is how commerce happens.

I hope I’m explaining myself well. I really do feel zero guilt buying from thrift stores, and in no way am I depriving low income families from the opportunity to outfit their homes.



shannon March 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I totally agree on your points Katy. Our GWs around here are about making profit…not making items available for low income families. Otherwise, they wouldn’t charge 19.99 for a Pendleton shirt!!

I don’t consider us low income, but we probably would be if it weren’t for my reselling. It’s one way to stay home with my child, pay the bills and sometimes have some extras. I’m just using the resources available to me to do this. It’s taken me years of learning and tons of hard work. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme at the expense of someone else at all.

No guilt here either.


Laura's Last Ditch--Adventures in Thrift Land March 8, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Helping low-income people is all well and good, but at some point there has to be an incentive not to stay low income, and one of those incentives is that you can buy nicer and/or more stuff. When a person has to go without for a time, they learn resourcefulness and frugality–but they are robbed of learning this skill if things are just given to them. I don’t say this from an ivory tower–I know what it’s like to earn very little, and because we Resourcefulness is a gift that keeps on giving, while handouts and special privileges often create dependence.

Also, low income people are welcome to purchase the items to resell, too, thus helping themselves not to be “low-income” anymore.

One very positive thing about reselling at a profit is that it’s a mechanism to get an item into the hands of a person to whom it’s particularly important. For instance, there are certain coffee makers that are designed in such a way that they fit very nicely into an RV. A person who needs a coffee maker for their RV might be willing to pay $100 for it. Yet, it’s just a coffee maker, and a low-income person could choose from the many, many other coffee makers populating the Goodwill shelves. If a person who doesn’t feel particular about the RV coffee maker buys it and uses it in their regular kitchen, it’s not the item’s ‘highest and best use.’ Reselling things gets them into the hands of the person who can put an item to its most valuable use.


astrid March 9, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Yes, I am sure that many poor people, and especially a single parent household with young children has a significant opportuntiy to take the bus to the thrift store on a very regular basis (hence, they have no car), purchase items from the thrift store, shlep to the library (no Computer), list their items on Craig’s List, and then expect folks to come to their marginal neighborhood to buy their treasures from the Thrift store. This is lovely answer for the majority of poor folks who are struggling…
“Helping low-income people is all well and good, but at some point there has to be an incentive not to stay low income, and one of those incentives is that you can buy nicer and/or more stuff. When a person has to go without for a time, they learn resourcefulness and frugality–but they are robbed of learning this skill if things are just given to them. .. while handouts and special privileges often create dependence. ” This is a very frightening comment and is just the type of rhetoric that you hear from wealthy conservatives.


Kacy March 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I agree Astrid. A little too much “get off your lazy ass and get a job” attitude, when really, sometimes, reality isn’t that easy.

Carole March 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm

Totally agree Katy. I’m not a re-seller except for things that don’t work out for us, but its usually at a garage sale so I’m not profiting. But I’m totally jealous of Oregon thrift stores!


Rachel March 9, 2012 at 7:51 am

Astrid, this is a great program that your local Goodwill came up with to address what must have been an issue in your area. I would think the need for such programs would depend on supply of donations and demand in the local area.

Goodwill in Portland has actually taken a step in the other direction. They are testing out the concept of a “Boutique Goodwill”. The last I knew there were two of these in Portland.

Basically, the stores are set up with a nicer store (shelves, flooring, and a key location) and they are stocked with the best stuff that comes from the local donation centers.

I checked out one of them last year, initially I was not sure how I really felt about that type of store given Goodwill’s mission of helping low income families, but ultimately decided that they must be using the opportunity of good donations, and Portlander’s general love of all things vintage to bring in extra money to fund their other programs.

It seems to me that purchasing something from a Goodwill that you re-sell falls into the same category. It supports the store and ultimately their mission. And in Portland at least, I’d say if Goodwill thought it was something of value that they could make money off of, they would send it to their boutique stores anyway, so if you spot it, then go for it.


Katy March 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

Well put! There’s a boutique Goodwill in my neighborhood, which is great as I can now walk to donate for smaller items.



Bauunny March 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Way to go! A win win win as far as I can tell. I love Antiques Roadshow and can hardly wait to see this fellow on it in April. Who doesn’t dream of “finding the big one”!


Jo H. March 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Katy, as a veteran coin girl, you probably already know to keep a sharp eye out around vending machines (such as bubble gum, small toys etc), and the floors around cash registers in stores that have a lot of cash transactions, such as grocery stores.

Our kids used to fight over who found what coins, until we suggested they BOTH put any “found money” into a donation jar for the SPCA. They liked that idea, so did we, so did the SPCA – and no more arguments!


Katie March 9, 2012 at 10:51 am

Great idea!


T.Anonymous March 9, 2012 at 12:10 am

I AM low income. The comments sounded offensive to me, as if I am the person you are talking about while I am sitting right here. I do not take offense to anyone buying anything at any thriftstore, and/or reselling it. Thriftstores are a great opportunity for everyone.

My husband was injured at work and will never work again. I lost my job and we have lost our home. We just recently lost our medical insurance. We have entered non-consumerism kicking and screaming. Our house is empty as we wait for the deed in lieu of foreclosure to finish. We can go there and check on things and see the beautiful view we once had. I go there alone sometimes and just sob.

We love to cook and have adjusted to shopping in a different manner. It’s the not understanding from others that is difficult (we never thought this could happen to us, either).

The thing I have not had any luck with at thriftstores is finding pants that fit properly. Thank you for your blog and allowing me to vent.


Katy March 9, 2012 at 12:36 am

Thank you so much for sharing your story, I’m so sorry to hear about the difficulties in your life, it sounds like things are pretty tough for you right now.

Take care and enjoy all the great free stuff life has to offer.



MollyO March 9, 2012 at 4:51 am

Katy – I love your cherub-riding fish! (I have a fondness for kitch). Looking at her I thought she might be even more fabulous if you took her apart and painted her some awesome color – a la Young House Love. That said, I love her just as she is. <3 Enjoy!


Katy March 9, 2012 at 6:39 am

Hmm . . . she would look pretty good painted. 😉



emmer March 9, 2012 at 8:09 am

our portland goodwill prices are offensively high. i my low-income single mother days, i could not have outfitted my kids there. there were other thrifts, tho. st vincent’s clothed my kids for a long time. and i missed buying a harvest gold, functioning clothes dryer for $10 by seconds. that would have made life easier. funny–now that i have a good dryer, i choose to hang our clothes. 🙂
not only must our portland good wills fund their jobs programs, but they must also pay the district ceo’s over half mil salary! i find it offensive that a non profit pays their top guy more per year than i made in a lifetime…but that’s just me.
i was going to say that you might be able to steam the stretched center back into place since the rugs are wool. but you already sold them.
and one more kirk douglas, o he of the gorgeous cleft chin, wrote a memoir including the info that his father, an immigrant was a rag and bone man. meaning he bought used clothing and rags from householders cheaply and resold to papermills for a bit more. there was something bones were used for, but i forget now (fertilizer?).
my point is we have long been making ends meet with creative reuse.


fiwa March 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

Wow and WOW! I think the cherub would be cute as a candy dish.

I can’t believe those rugs – they are gorgeous!! I don’t know if I would have had the self disciple to sell them – I think I would have kept them. But nice job!


Heather March 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi Katy,
I’ve been a “lurker” on you site for a long time, but I wanted to add to your response about reselling stuff from goodwill. I don’t think you are taking away from them. You are giving them money for it, and paying their price. My brother is a manager at “one-stop shopping” store. When they have merchandise on clearance that won’t sell, they donate it to goodwill. He’s gone into the store after the donation and found that goowills prices were were between 2-3times higher than the clearance price. The prices they charge are to support their programs, not necessarily to sell to low income people.


Katy @ Purposely Frugal March 9, 2012 at 8:53 am

Wow! You’ve found a lot of coins! My hubby used to occasionally make fun of me picking up coins (particularly the time I got out of the car at a red light to get one on the side of the road) but yesterday he came home with 29 pennies he’d found at a job site!!!


Katy March 9, 2012 at 9:11 am

Too funny!



Molly March 9, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Want. Drool. Want some more. Drooool.

In my fantasy house, there’s a matching rag rug in every room. (Why, yes, my fantasy house *is* just in my head!)


Madeline March 10, 2012 at 9:37 am

It’s a free country. Our goodwills are overflowing with stuff–enough for everyone who needs it,wants it, or resells it. We have boutique goodwills also. AND our goodwills are expensive.I do better in smaller church thrift stores and in hospital thrift stores. Got me a great bread machine for $10 after my $100 one failed (it was 9 years old,many good loaves out of it.. but became frugla since then..) I also have a favorite thrift shop up in our mountain town, Pine.Proceeds provide the free meals for seniors in the senior center, daily. Found a brand new Chico’s jacket for $1.00!! Score! ( I also donate extra funds to help support the center. Since their prices are sooo cheap!)

I also save all coins.Every penny.I have a 3 pound coffee tin and it takes a couple of years to fill it up, then there is usually enough money in there for a short trip!

LOVE those rugs–grew up with ones just like them!


Judi June 21, 2012 at 6:16 am

Ha Ha. I bought this very same cherub at the local Salvation Army here in Jamestown, NY (where I am visiting) for $2.99 the other day. I was looking up its origins on the web, and found your post. I did find one on eBay bid at $25. I don’t like to think my sweet Cherub is holding an ashtray though…I like to think of her holding maybe candy as sweet as she is. I also couldn’t resist this angelic vintage item. It is also heavy enough that if you wanted to write a murder mystery, it could become the weapon of choice. Hmm. I can see the cover now…


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: