Monday, April 17, 2006

The Hunt

Well, it's time to get back to it. I had a lovely weekend away from my studio and now I'm fully re-charged and ready to get back to barbie. While rummaging through my stash of dolls in search of the next set of eyes to carve out, I realized I'm getting quite low on my stock. Spring is indeed in the air, and cropping up amongst the crocuses and daffodils, forsythia and tulips, are my other favorite brightly colored objects… orange garage sale signs.

My Saturday routine was one I grew very fond of. I used to wake early, fix myself a glass of iced coffee to-go, head to Stewarts for a newspaper and pillage through the garage sale section, armed with my yellow highlighter and area maps for reference. After I established my route, it was off to Lox of Bagels and Moor in Glens Falls (BEST damn bagels. Period.) for an everything bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese. Then… I was READY.

I've always been a sucker for the sort of treasure hunting involved with garage-saling, but in order to be a successful hunter one must learn to master their environment as well as hone their hunting skills. For instance, the art of bargaining. It's a delicate art form, and certainly an important aspect of the process when on a mission for specific items such as these. When done correctly, however, it can be what makes the whole experience so rewarding.

Learning the natural environment of your prey is also key. I learned to recognize which neighborhoods were most likely to have barbie dolls in the best condition and in the largest quantities. It also became a good rule of thumb, that before even stopping the car, hot pink sighting was a must. No hot pink = no little girls. No little girls = no barbie dolls. So it was on to the next yellow highlighted garage sale ad on my list. No sense wasting time on ping pong paddles and lawn chairs, I was on a mission.

Some days were considered "slow days," where I would return home with only a handful of dolls, (and the occasional random non-barbie garage sale find - if I allowed myself time for such distractions) This was typically due to one of two things: misleading garage sale ads, ie: "lots of kids toys!" - only to find a handful of crusty stuffed animals and endless plastic knick-knacks. OR, just plain ol' bad luck.

But what made it all worthwhile were the GOOD Luck days. Sometimes I would come home with 25-30 barbies - a score - purchased for about a $1.00/ea or less! Or even better, a mixture of colors, years and styles and maybe a few ken dolls thrown in! The feeling of bringing all those dolls home, dumping them out on my studio floor and carefully assessing each dolls' valuable attributes while stripping them down to their birthday suits for cross-categorizing in their appropriate bins, well… I can only describe it as an intensely satisfying experience. The indulging of my inner child. The little girl in me who wished she could own all the barbies in the world, making her dream a reality.

sniff, sniff

… spring is indeed in the air, and I can once again smell those garage sales blooming amongst the flowers.

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