Select Page

I love a challenge, especially when combined with bargain hunting. Last week, gardening pal Alan posted on Facebook asking if anyone knew a good source for metalwork to use in the garden. Say no more.

In the early days of trying Craigslist, I couldn’t find anything. Meanwhile, objects were flying in and out of my neighbors’ house via Craigslist. So I gave it another try. Oh boy. Now I get it. I’m approaching expert skill-level. But I tell myself, think of the SAVINGS.

In my defense, I’ve done a decent job of finding furnishing for our mid-century ranch without breaking the bank. I even managed to find a brand new sectional, one that I was negotiating on with the selfsame manufacturer–for half of the quoted price. Nothing beats a bargain that I loved before it became a bargain. That way I know I’m not enticed by the mere bargainess of the item.

Sofa in Consignment Shop
Sofa in Consignment Shop

So not only was this the exact style we wanted, it was the very fabric we’d selected. I found this at a consignment shop recommended by another shop I frequent, Seams to Fit Home. The only wee cause for concern was the shortness of that right arm.

Quick aside–though some might argue this entire post is an aside. Such is my nature.

I bought the bookcase below from the first shop, Seams to Fit Home. It was originally from Design Within Reach. I got it for 40% of the original cost. See, savings! The Mitchell Gold slipper chairs are from Seams to Fit as well, 50% off original. Though I would add, brown mohair with white cats is a challenging combination.

Bookcase from Seams to Fit in PDX.
Bookcase from Seams to Fit in PDX.

Mister on mohair. So comfy.

Mister redecorating furniture with white fur, with Pumpkin in repose beside him.
Mister redecorating furniture with white fur, with Pumpkin in repose alongside.

The upshot on the sofa: The manufacturing company I’d been working with had sent a truck load of furniture to Consignment Northwest–all brand spanking new. I’d never been there before in my entire life, but my bargain-sensing device sent me there that particular day.

So that wee issue of the too-short arm. I went back to the manufacturer and had another piece made. (They said no the first half-dozen times I asked, but that seemed ridiculous, so I kept asking until they gave up.) The custom piece cost almost as much as the whole rest of the the sofa, but overall, the entire thing was still 50% shy of the original price. Not bad, no?

Sofa with additional piece. Better, no?
Sofa with additional piece. Better, no?

Back to the metalwork caper. I searched Craigslist with a single term, “scrap.” And trumpets please, the gates opened. In truth, I’m sometimes a little less inclined to follow up, especially when said object of desire seems heavy and too hard, but not Alan. I told him about the find, on he was on the case. He made contact, and the following day, we were knee-deep in metalwork. Talk about a pigs in heaven.

There's Alan, mining for gold. Well, rusty steel. But same difference.
There’s Alan, mining for gold. Well, rusty steel. But same difference.

And the best part, with all that savings, I can buy plants–which is the whole point, right. Until by some miracle I learn  something about propagating–which in my current playbook means going to the nursery.

Here's and opportunity for spending that money saved.
An opportunity to spend that money saved.

That’s Alan in the orange, applying his savings. Xera Nursery proprietor Paul Bonine talks with another lucky shopper in the background. It was a different day from the metalwork caper, and I bumped into Alan there. Sometimes hard to get any shopping done because the place is so often packed with other enthusiasts, and gardeners need to talk.

Well, I get some shopping done.
Well, I get some shopping done.

At any rate, imagine how happy my vines are going to be. I’ve got several out there lying on the ground in the vicinity of the fence, with no support. And now, I can get a passionflower, which I’ve been wanting forever. I’d love to hear about your favorites. There are so many fabulous Passionflowers–and other vines, how do I choose?

I’ll keep you post on getting these screens secured to the fence. I know a couple guys perfect for the job.