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Yesterday, I could not stop sneezing for anything.  My nose was awfully runny, too, but it basically felt like an allergy thing.  I took some benadryl on top of my normal Allegra, but it didn’t really help – I just got sleepy and really dippy.  I didn’t feel that bad, though, so I didn’t think much of it.

The weather was still warm, so Joel and I took a ride around the Bottoms, through the West Side and back up to his house.  Our friends James & Dahlia’s son Donny was having his 4th birthday party yesterday afternoon, so we took over some Nerfanalia for the kid.  The last time we’d been over, Donny had been proudly demonstrating his ability to launch teddybears through the rungs of his bunkbed ladder, so we figured he’d really enjoy a Nerf basketball hoop to hang from his bedroom door.

Anyway, as the day wore on, I wore out, and was ready for bed by about 9:00.  When I woke up this morning, I felt even lousier.  Totally unable to use my nose, headache, general achiness – the works.  So I called in sick from work and spent about 80% of today asleep.  When I finally woke up, I felt a LOT better, so I’ve since done some laundry and posted the pictures of my picture-frame haul. 

I bought frames last weekend and the one before, spending approximately $25, I think.  That netted me 20 frames of varying size and style, as well as two weird little embroidered pieces that were SO cheap and so horrible that I really couldn’t leave them behind.  Behold:

That kind of kitsch comes way cheap at the right thrift-stores.

I think they’ll go well with another design atrocity I’ve owned for quite a while:

I would say that the key to getting good stuff for cheap is to be able to see past a certain amount of “fug” for the quality hidden therein.

A prime example of the foregoing is this:
It’s a fairly awful picture, and this “picture-of-a-picture” hardly does it justice. The paper on which it is printed has these strange fan-shaped embossings, which I think may be meant to represent brushstrokes though Joel opines that they are meant to convey age. One way or another, it’s a pretty stinking proposition as artwork, but the frame itself is perfectly nice and will clean up fine with a little lemon oil. This is a very large frame (12X18) which I got for $3. Most frames in that size range were around $10 and weren’t as nicely made.

This is the same style frame as the pumpkin wagon, but smaller (10X12). I think these two might have come into the thrift shop together and may have been bought together. The fruit-and-nut “still-life” is not matted – that illusory mat is printed on the same paper the pears are printed on. I’ll be throwing away the picture and installing one of Joel’s father’s 1960s Seattle photos, most likely. With proper matting.

Most of the rest of the haul was pretty basic 8×10 or 5×7 wood frames. Most were between $1 and $3. One was kind of twee with a strange floral print border. I may end up painting over that border, but we will see how it looks when it has a picture in it.

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This is the selection of small (5X7 and 4X6) frames. I’ll probably keep an eye out for a few more of these sizes, as we have some cool postcards and snapshots that I’d like to hang.

I’m kind of a force to be reckoned with in a thrift shop.  I go in knowing what I want (for example, the running list of late has been “coffee mugs, picture frames, lightweight wool sweaters for Joel).  When I am looking for something specific, I get a crazy focus.  I can buzz through a tightly-packed rack of men’s sweaters and find the four size L merinos in about 10 minutes. 

If I am looking for pants for myself, I can single out a handful of my size-ish pants in acceptible colors and fabrics and be ready to roll in just a few.  There’s this slick trick I learned some while back of testing waistbands around your neck.  If you button the waistband of the pants and wrap the whole thing around your neck, and it meets, but isn’t too snug or too loose, the pants will fit your waist.  I think this works for most women who are fairly typically proportioned.  And typical proprotioning for women is having a waist 10-12” smaller than their hiplines, in case you weren’t up on sizing.  I’m not sure this one works for dudes, but their pants are easier to shop for anyhow, since they are sold by measurement rather than a nebulous sizing scale.

Somehow, I go “shit blind” in normal stores, and everything ends up looking the same, but in the absolute shit-carnival that is a thrift shop, I become quite discerning, and can sort out what I need or determine that there is nothing for me there in short order.  I guess I am lucky that I have a talent for being cheap.

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