After selling up everything in various Trade Me listings, garage sales and car boot sales, it is fun to be out garage sale-ing again as a buyer. Seattle seems quite refined when it comes to garage sales as they don’t start until 9 or 10 and go on all day. I just popped into one at 3.30 and it was the best one yet – and run by an elderly Australian woman clearing out her basement. No Danish chairs like last week, but I did manage to buy a duck, a white ware vase by Haeger Potteries, a US version of Crown Lynn, a Hawaiian ukelele, a Japanese fan and a clothing hamper that looks like it is from the 50s (white painted wicker with a wooden lid) – all for $1 each! Nothing like hitting the sales late for the real bargains.
And earlier we had found a simple wooden outdoor table and chairs that were on the footpath, put out for free. Just what we needed! People aren’t crazy Trade Me (or eBay or Craigslist) addicts like we are in New Zealand so there are bargains to be had!Read More
We are selling our lives on Trade Me in preparation for the big move later this month, and it always surprises me what ends up having all the attention. I have had these two wrought iron gates stored under the house for so long. They used to be part of an outdoor wall that I had to remove. I love them and always intended to use them in the garden again, but that time has come and gone so I put a crappy photo up on Trade Me and listed for $20. I had thought about just selling them at the garage sale next week, but I had time, so why not?
It was worth putting them on. There are still 4 days to go, I have 54 watchers, 7 bids and they are up to $51! I didn’t expect it. I guess vintage gates are hard to come by, and if I love them, maybe other people have similar taste to me. You can see the listing here.Read More
Well I’ve been trying to write a post for a month, but this damn house, this damn move and (mutter mutter) my child is weaning off his day sleeps – everything has been thwarting me! But onto more interesting things – my favourite finds in the holidays (Happy New Year by the way!) were two gem irons. Yes, I can now make ginger gems, and they were every bit as delicious as I remembered. And why are they so delicious, you may ask. I can answer that: because the recipe includes a half cup of golden syrup for 16 gems! That’s a lot of golden syrup, no wonder they are so yummy.
I got my irons on trade me – I had a sudden realisation that I would not be able to buy them in the US, so I needed them now. And I whipped up my first batch immediately, sizzling away in the cast iron. Irons do come up on Trade Me quite often, but make sure you get the cast iron ones, not the aluminium ones as they don’t do as good a job. I found some aluminium gem irons at an op shop but they didn’t make great gems. If you want new, you can also get new gem irons for $70 (yikes!) at the Home Store here.
This ginger gem recipe is from the recipe book Ladies, a Plate: The Collection - my sister gave it to me for Christmas and it is a wonderful reference for traditional New Zealand baking (I’ll do a full review later on). I recommend it for any keen New Zealand baker.
Anyway here goes the recipe (just writing about it makes we want some, so I think I’ll make them again tomorrow):
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
60 ml milk
150g golden syrup (about 6 level tablespoons)
1 tbsp butter
And about 55 g extra butter for greasing the irons
Preheat the oven 230 degrees C. Put the ungreased irons in the oven to heat just before mixing.
Sift the flour, sugar, spices and salt into a large bowl.
Dissolve the baking soda in the milk.
Whisk the egg until light and fluffy – about half a minute with a rotary hand beater (which I don’t have so I used my electric beater).
Heat the golden syrup gently in a small saucepan, then add the butter and stir to melt.
Now work quickly. Tip the golden syrup into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon – it will be quite dry. Don’t try to combine it all, just tip in the egg, mix again briefly, then lastly add the milk. Stir for a few seconds. It will now be soft dropping consistency. Set aside.
Take the gem irons out the oven and put on heatproof board. Drop about 1/2 tsp of butter into each space. You don’t need to spread the butter, it will move up the sides when the mixture goes in.
Now take an ordinary tablespoon and spoon the mixture into each space. If you let it drop from the side of the tablespoon it will fall neatly into place (makes 16 gems)
Bake for 10-12 minutes until risen and brown.
Take out of the oven, leave for a few minutes, then tip out onto a rack.
Yum yum yum!
Sorry to have abandoned you all the past few weeks. We put our house on the market last week, and have been spending every spare minute hammering, planting, and cleaning! Now we just have to do a little more painting and most importantly with a toddler in the house, keep it clean! I’ll post some pictures later on the week of all the work we’ve been beavering away at. The house is looking pretty good.
It feels like luxury sitting here typing away on the computer during the kid’s naptime (and I’m eating chocolate cake, so it’s even extra decadent)!
Somehow in the middle of all this I still managed to collect! And I’m meant to be de-cluttering. But hey, when a beautiful Tretchikoff print comes your way and is affordable, what is a girl to do? I found this original print from the 50s on Trade Me and it is in mint condition! I have lusted after owning my own Tretchikoff for a number of years, but I just found it difficult to pay $200-$300 for a print. Stingy I know, but I just couldn’t do it. And then, as I have a number of other retro prints of women, it was hard to buy yet another! Then this wonderful magnolia print came up – it closed on a Friday afternoon (and I missed the auction) but luckily I checked my email just after the lovely Juliette posted an offer, and I snapped it up. I can’t believe the perfect condition it is in.
I have it hanging on the wall in a living room, so I’ll take some snaps and post later. It makes me smile every time I walk past it.
Sometimes it’s the little finds you uncover at op shops and garage sales that give you the most pleasure. I didn’t think I’d had much luck op shopping recently until I looked back at the things I had found. I’ve found some lovely things but they’ve just been small.
Every time I go into my kitchen at the moment, I smile at my bright retro linen tea towels I bought at a car boot sale – $1 each! I love tea towels and have a big collection of souvenir ones that I use.
And the two crocheted flower brooches I found at my local op shop will make great presents – bargain at $3 for both.
And how about these 1950s distressed bathroom scales – just $5 at the op shop. I didn’t need them, but I couldn’t leave them behind when they looked so cool – pale yellow and black!
My favourite has to be this retro pull-along wooden toy that The Kid loves. I love it too – $3 at the car boot again!
Yep, I’ve been lucky recently…how about you?
I haven’t been op shopping much lately as my lovely toddler son has developed an opinion about it! When we pull up outside an op shop these days he yells ‘no’ while waving his hands around assertively – surely he is not my child! I have to bribe him with the idea that there might be toy trucks inside and it doesn’t make for fun op shopping.
I did find two lots of barkcloth recently when I managed to make a quick dash into the Sallies. I love barkcloth, that thick textured cotton – it gets its name from the texture as it is rough like tree bark. I loved my first find – which is two smaller pieces of barkcloth with an Asian flower arrangement. I was hoping to make them into curtains for my retro caravan, but there just isn’t enough fabric. The second piece is a much bigger piece with pale pink flowers with pistachio-coloured leaves on it, and it should be enough to do curtains. Not sure if its the right colour or not, but for now I’ll earmark it. Great $5 find!Read More