And I mean, ever.
Today Finn, Annie, and I spent the afternoon delivering cookie trays. After we finished our deliveries we went to the local thrift store in hopes of finding a nice red sweater that Finn could wear for his piano recital next week. After scouring the children's racks, we found a perfect red sweater for him as well as a pair of corduroys, a pullover, a polo shirt, and a pair of casual pants. Annie chose a skirt and a dress. I was very content, but decided to swing over and check out the ladies' dresses.
Lo and behold, I happened upon an Ellen Tracy cocktail dress in beautiful, perfect condition. It's black with beading at the neckline and lace at the top of the back: gorgeous. But it was two sizes too small. I plucked it off the rack anyhow, thinking I'd try it on just for fun. But lo and behold again, I think I have dropped a size. Zipping it up was no problem......and it cost less than $5. My cocktail party days are long gone, but it would be perfect for dinner out with my husband or even an evening wedding.....
I was more than content at this point, but I always wheel through the housewares. I found a little old dirty taped-up box with genuine Wedgwood inside--candlesticks and two darling little boxes. I adore Wedgwood but have never purchased any. This box o' goodies was only $3.99. Sold!
At this point I was quite elated with my finds. The children went to look at the toy section and I went to the last aisle of the domestic section. I always skim the artwork--I'm an amateur collector of original art, thanks to my parents. We have a little over a dozen paintings we have collected over the years, through inheritance, purchase, and commission (don't be too impressed; it helps to have artist friends!), and I love each one of them. Over the years I have also found several paintings at thrift stores--usually nice amateur art, but original, unique, and thus charming to me.
A framed painting caught my eye, and I picked it up, thinking that the woodland scene with its pink blooms would look sweet in Annie's room. The framing job was beautiful, and the art was original, and I knew she'd like the colors and the scene, so I put it in my cart.
And then. And then!!!
I realized there was more original art there. A lot more. I looked at each piece; it was not amateur work. This was work done by someone who could paint light beautifully. And it was all oil. And they were all signed with the same name. Some had notation on the back--"en plein air" with the location and date; one had a dedication to the recipient on it. None of them were framed. I didn't love every single one, but I liked them all, and I did love several.
Now, I'm a frugal lass and not much of an impulse buyer, but I knew I'd regret leaving those paintings. So we bought them all....all ten of them! The largest one was a whopping $3.99.
Back at home, I googled the artist's name. Her work is displayed in various galleries, and sells for much, much more than I paid.......
I won't be selling these, though. They are my treasures. I am their caretaker, and I will love them and respect them and never, ever send them back to the thrift store.