Friday, April 15, 2011

Less Selling, More Crafting

I've put the resale thing on hold because I'm waiting to go into labor. And a few weeks ago I realized that if I am in the hospital while things are selling, I'm going to have to make my husband go home and figure out how to package and ship everything. Which he was NOT looking forward to.

So I stopped listing things, and raised the prices on everything listed in eBay so if it did sell, at least it would be worth the trouble. On Etsy, I just put a note in my store and all communications asking for patience if I'm slow to reply and ship. Everyone is generally nice there, so that seemed like the best way of handling that side.

But with all this free time not taking photos and listing and obsessively watching auctions, I'm able to get a little more crafty again.

Easter is coming, and I've had this cute Japanese bunny fabric for ages, and I finally found a pattern I loved, so it all came together to make these dresses for the girls.

The bunny fabric is the bodice and trim, and the skirt is basically a pixelated damask pattern. It's amazing.

The back is shirred, which I had never done, but wasn't too difficult, and I love how the straps tie with a bow through the back buttonhole. So clever!

I managed to finish the yellow dress at 11:30 tonight (which accounts for the poor photo of that one), so I have one more gift finished for the Easter baskets! I don't think they will wear them to church on Easter Sunday, but maybe for the egg hunt instead? We'll see what the little fashionistas want.

The pattern is "In the Garden" Shirred Twirly Dress, found at From and Igloo. And she's right, it's twirly. The skirt is 84 inches around! That's ready for some major twirling.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

All mine!

I picked up a few things last week, but this time they were all for me!

Nothing too fancy, but quite colorful.

This older (I think) enameled bowl. I love enamel bowls for picnics and parties and all that. And the colors are great!

This is a great caddy. Just from Pier One, nothing fancy, but quite useful. I love the handle. I'm going to use it in the girls' room for art supplies or something. You can get things like this from PB Kids for about $40, so $4, while expensive for thrifting, was still a great deal.

And then these gosh-darn-cute jars to use in the kitchen. The colors! The flowers! And they are even from the Nut Tree, which I have very fond memories of growing up. The old Nut Tree, of course, but I'm glad they have at least something still there.

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thrift Share 3/27

I was able to squeeze in two stops at thrift stores this week while the girls were in school. I literally ran in and out of the Goodwill in about 25 minutes, where in line I almost put down my pile as I thought I was going to be too late picking up the kids. But I made it, with two minutes to spare!

There I found a bunch of Ralph Lauren rompers and a collared shirt, woo-hoo! These are great since I can either use them for the impending baby (only 3 weeks to go!) or sell them. They are in great shape.

I love rompers for babies, they are so easy to wear and change and tuck in your bag as a back-up outfit and all that good stuff. And Ralph Lauren! So fancy! Actually, I don't care about the brand, but I hope some eBayers do if I end up giving them up.

I also found one of these:

I read on some blog post that I can't find now that these have great resale value, but I didn't research eBay before I picked this one up. And now it doesn't seem like these are that awesome to sell unless the are Cutco brand. Which I've never even heard of! And I thought I knew a lot about knives and kitchen tools.

But I guess I'll throw it up there and see who bites. I should at least be able to get my money back since it was only about $4.

But then a quick trip to SA netted me this beauty in the fancy stuff section:

How cute is this!?!

The little houses are irresistible, so of course I scooped it up right away. It didn't come with a lid, but a quick look around the shelves, and I found it stuck inside another dish. Woo-hoo! A matching set.

The pattern is Country Village and was made in Japan by Nasco. I can't find when it was made, but have found some photos of teapots in this pattern on flickr. This pot I have no problem reselling, but if I found the teapot, I would have trouble letting that go!

Here, do you want another look at the cute little houses?

Don't you just want to move into one of the little houses? I like the one with the pink chimney!

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Birthday Crafts

There have been a lot of birthdays among family and friends happening these days. I like to make gifts when I can, so I've been at the sewing machine for a while. I got a good break a few weeks ago, but now I'm back in the swing of things.

Or sewing of things. Ha ha.

I've made these pennant banners for my kids' birthdays, and now we have two Goddaughters turning one! Not twins, not even related actually. But one is my niece and her birthday is coming up next weekend. I already made one set of banners for the older Goddaughter, so now it's on to the younger one.

I bought the fabric a couple months ago at Aunt Bea's online going-out-of-business sale. Boo. But I got a good deal!

So I started with long strips of fabric.

And then I starch, starch, and more starch. Then cut into triangles with pinking shears.

Then there's a lot of zigzag stitching and many yards of extra wide double-fold bias tape. And then, ta da!
We have 12 yards of festive banners, ready for a party.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A couple lunches

I haven't made super-inspiring lunches lately, just packing something up in the 10-15 I have in the morning before we leave for school. But at least I'm familiar with it enough that it's easy to pull something together if I don't have anything planned.

Like this lunch from last week.

Here we have reheated gyoza, a clementine, strawberry cut in half, TJ's onigiri, edamame on top of a small container of cottage cheese, and the last of the gingerbread men tucked in on top.

It's nice to have frozen things easy to reheat and tuck into the box, like the gyoza, edamame, and onigiri. And it's always nice to pattern lunches after the Japanese, who came up with the whole bento idea in the first place.

This next lunch was a super rush.

It's pretty simple. Just cut up pieces of veggie pizza, beautiful grapes, a tiny container of muddie buddies, PB pretzels, and some prunes.

After I sent it, I realized I had included peanut butter! Peanut butter is not allowed at their preschool, so I usually send sunflower butter sandwiches as an alternative, which the girls really enjoy. But I didn't even think about the peanut butter-filled pretzels!

Well, I didn't get a note sent home about the inappropriate lunch, so I think I'm okay. Whew!

Monday, March 14, 2011

resale update

Finally got a bunch of stuff from February listed, including the colorful owl pillow!

It's quite darling, and if it actually matched anything in my house, I would consider keeping it. But right now, I just like how cute it makes my shop look!

Still have a lot more stuff to post, but actually took quite a few photos this weekend, which is half the battle. I don't mind posting, I just have to find my rhythm for it.

Also, my husband told me this weekend that I should just sell the really big payoff stuff, and not waste my time with the little things. I told him I'd love to do that, but it's trickier than he thinks. How do I go about explaining it to him? Hmmm, one to think about.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thrifty Share 2/13

I read with relish everyone's visit to multiple garage sales/estate sales on the weekends. Even though I'm in California, and the weather has been fine, there just hasn't been many in my area lately! But, I will persevere.

The one garage sale I made it to this weekend was pretty good. Even though I didn't get there until 11:30, there was quite a bit of awesome stuff, including this group of copper kitchen goods:

I asked her how much the pans were right when another lady asked about the set, and was immediately worried that the other woman would get them, especially since the entire lot was quoted at only $10!

I figured all that copper is worth at least $10 in scrap, and I managed to claim them while the other shopper was still looking them over and bargaining. Whew! Now I've been checking Ha! Not, this will probably end up on eBay.

At that same sale I found a bunch of CUTE Christmas ornaments for about 50 cents a piece. I don't think they are old, just cute. They are for me!

And this very old set of wooden vehicles with lots of little wooden people.

At $10, this wasn't a steal, but if you think of how much you'd have to pay for a set like this retail, then it still seems like a bargain. My girls have been enjoying it, I just wish I could find out more about it. All I know is it was made by Three Worlds Toys, but that's about it.

Speaking of toys, I also found this Haba Solitaire game at the flea market with all the pieces.

That's always the tricky part about games, especially ones with lots of little bits.

I've had pretty good luck with vintage linens lately. The cartoon kind, not the hand-embroidered kind. I've found Mickey Mouse, Star Wars, and this very cool Smokey Bear pillowcase.

And then there's this really awesome crafting book I found at the flea market for a dollar. It's a Christmas one from 1971, and is so great!

The inside is has such a variety of craft ideas, I had so much trouble choosing which spread to feature. Here's just one, but it covers the gamut from fabric to yarn to pottery to paper to cooking to wood, all with beautiful '70s photos.

I took about 10 more pictures, and I'll try to include them all in my listing. Now I just have to decide if this is eBay or Etsy material.

Finally for resale I picked up this 1970s bridge pad for $2. I couldn't resist, even though the guy drove a hard bargain.I don't even play bridge! It comes in the original box with original sharpened pencil along side. So cute.

I also picked up a jogging stroller for $20 for after the baby comes. I'm going to try to join a friend in a stroller fit class, and need a jogger for it, but can't start until September when the older two are in school. So I started looking, and found what I needed the very first weekend! That's always cool.

Now the only thing I need is a pair of swim fins that will fit my daughter for her birthday next week. I've been searching for months and haven't found ones that will fit her. Am I going to have to buy some retail? I hope not!

Since this is only part of my haul, I guess I can't complain about my limited shopping options. Hope you all had a good week too!

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

back into bentos

I haven't made lunches forever for the kids because of school break and sickness, so I am just back in the swing of things this week.

On Monday, I packed lunch in the Totoro boxes the girls got for Christmas. They are just the right size for them!

Here we have ham and swiss, a happy sunflower butter sandwich, bean salad with our new mini-elephant forks, carrots, edamame, and a clementine with a cute new pick.

After I packed these lunches, I realized I forgot dessert! But they managed to survive. In fact, these went over pretty well and pretty much only some of the carrot sticks were left. And then they ate a lot when they got home! Must be a growth spurt or something.

Next week I should have more bentos to share.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

thrift share #4

Got out to the flea market this week, which was excellent. I think that is my favorite place to thrift, even though I'm more likely to find valuable things at estate sales. For some reason, I only find maybe three estate sales a month, even though I'm in the bay area, which of course is heavily populated. I must be missing something.

But the flea market is like going to 1,000 garage sales at once. And if you keep going, you start to get to know all the vendors, and then they start to like you, and hopefully give you a better deal! One guy last week even gave me a pastry after we had talked for a while. The guys are so cool there!

The first thing I came across was this vintage glass cutter.

I wasn't actually that excited that it was vintage, though that does add to its charm! But I know that specialty crafting tools can be expensive, so for about $1, I was willing to give this a try. It looks like it hasn't been used at all! Really great shape.

I found this guy and was immediately drawn to his face.

Mostly because he wasn't cheesy looking, but authentic and crafty. He's in great shape, just a small hole in his sack, and the tag is labeled 1978. The girls, when they saw him, wanted to go put him down in our Christmas boxes. I think they've taken a liking to him! How can you not? His face is very genuine.

Then it was off to the super-cheap booth. Everything there is 10 cents or 25 cents and the big-ticket items are $1. Thought they did have some new 20-quart cooking pots they were selling for $8. I almost got one as the husband needs one to help collect honey from his hives, and it's much harder to find pots for super-cheap than I expected. But since he doesn't need it until next harvest season, I was just annoyed with the idea of carrying it around and storing it.

Anyway! The booth is cheap, but of course it's mostly crap. I do usually find one or two things though, including a Christmas craft book and these vintage baby shower plates:

Very cute design, and for 10 cents, it's hard to pass them up! I wonder if anyone would actually be interested in buying them, though.

Hit another moderately-priced booth, and found some breakable things!

I quite liked this cup and saucer for the shape and design, and when I noticed it was made in Germany, that sealed the deal. I have German roots, so I have a soft spot for anything from that area. It joined me along with these three collectible plates.

The are actually miniature plates, and all tied together so they hang in a chain on the wall. They don't really seem related, however. Even the markings on the back are all different. But the illustrations were appealing, as well as the mini cuteness! I got all this breakable stuff for $4, and afterward, I wish I had tried to go down to $3, which I think I could have gotten. But, eh, sometimes in the madness of thrifting you forget to bargain.

I also picked up some clothes for the new baby when he arrives ($2), a set (complete!) of vintage sheets for the guest bed ($4) which I had been looking for, and a couple Cooshee Boosters for $3 each. I had always wanted that booster, even though my two kids don't even use them anymore, and thought at least I could leave them at the grandparents' house or something. But it looks like they do pretty well on eBay, so I'm going to give them a try there.

Unfortunately, I could only stay there for a little over an hour, which is so hard! The market is huge, it would probably take me six to seven hours to go through all of it. Usually I can spend two or three, and that makes me pretty happy. After a while I do get sick of digging through so much stuff.

Walking through the booths I didn't get a chance to look through on my way out was so difficult! It's a great place.

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's thrift share monday.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thrifty Finds #3

I'm almost back in the thrifting saddle again. If only the kids would stop getting sick! Okay, I guess they can't help that.

I did take the older one to a mediocre Goodwill on Monday when she was out of school and the other was in. She's pretty good to go shopping with. I found a few things for me (including a great REI toddler snowsuit for $4!), but the only thing I found for resale was a bag of five cross stitch and ribbon embroidery kits for $3.50. They weren't that amazing, but cheap enough to try.

I listed them on eBay, and was amazed when two of the ribbon embroidery kits went in within a day! Sold the last one within the first two hours of listing it later that week. I was surprised, as looking at ribbon embroidery kits previously sold on eBay didn't reveal anything amazing. But I was glad to have some success already from that random bag I picked up.

I was able to hit two thrift stores and an estate sale on Friday (which turned out to be more of a glorified, indoor garage sale). But I was able to find some amazing vintage stuff at Goodwill of all places. I never have luck with the one I visited on Friday, but I did very well there.

The first thing I saw was this amazing owl needlework pillow! I NEVER find things this cool, so I snapped it up right way.

Next up I found two vintage creamers.

Also, I never seem to find pottery that is very interesting, but maybe I've never really looked before. The deco one is made in Japan, by the Toscany Collection, but I haven't been able to find any more about it. Still have to research that one.

The flowery one is from England, and isn't that old since it says dishwasher safe on the bottom! Still have to research that, too.

Finally I hit up a tiny little thrift store that I usually have good luck at, and picked up some vintage children's clothing.

This sailor knit actually has snaps on the bottom so that it's a bodysuit. That seems so funny to me! I wonder if anyone actually wore it.

This next piece has seen some wear, but is in great shape overall. I love the green corduroy, and it even has snaps up the legs. What a great vintage clothing find for a thrift store! Usually I only come across things like this at estate sales.

Ready to get busy again next week picking up inventory. Now the kids are back in school, I can really start searching again to fill up the shop!

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I heart this skirt

One thing I've learned about sewing is that it is almost never cheaper to make clothes yourself. Clothes are so inexpensive these days, even cute things! And really, fabric is expensive.

Except for when it's 30% off! Though it came at the expense of one of the cutest online fabric store's closing sale. But, I did get a bunch a good stuff including two yards of this colorful heart fabric by Anna Griffin.

As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make the girls skirts for Valentine's Day. Mayanna especially loves skirts. She is forever wearing them.

So I followed this ruffle skirt pattern from the long thread, modifying it slightly to make the ruffle bigger, and making the main panel a patchwork of three different fabrics. I had make one other set of skirts from this pattern before, and it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it. (True of anything, I guess!)

Then, since I loved the hearts so much, I quilted a single heart layered on a piece of felted sweater to create a matching shirt.

And, ta-da! Valentine wear for 2011. And it was even pretty warm for the party this year, so they got away without jackets or long shirts underneath.

Again, I am so pleased with how they turned out, and, happily, the girls are too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Relisting Challenge 2.21

I have actually done a lot of listing this week, which I am very surprised about! Though on the other hand, I haven't been able to go out thrifting very much, so the inventory isn't as exciting as I'd like it to be.

So according to my chart, it looks like I've listed 12 items in the last week. Two on Etsy and the rest on eBay.

I love listing things on Etsy. The site is beautiful, simple and so amazingly easy to use. This group of vintage Italian buttons was in a big box of old buttons. I ended up dividing them up by origin, since that seemed like a simple way to go. Japan and Holland are up next!

eBay, on the other hand, is so much less enjoyable to use. Even when you have templates set up and even when you're actually used to the process. I can get in a groove eventually, like a few nights ago when I listed a bunch of clothing I had, including these swimsuits. I eventually got a lot listed, but would have loved the process of Etsy.

I've also learned in the last couple weeks that I really prefer set price selling rather than auction formats. Auctions are too stressful for me! My first auction (another lot of clothing) turned out poorly, but in the end, the buyer backed out so I was able to list it again at a set price. I think I set it too high, but figure I can always lower it eventually. Of course, now I'm anxious again to decide when to reduce the price. It has almost been a week, and it's a 30 day listing. I think I've decided not to change anything until a week has passed.

I was happy to sell one more item, the little grasshopper toy from last week. That did sell within the first few hours for a good price, so I was happy about that. But now I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong and all listings should go that quickly.

These Ugg boots I found last week for $10, and they were in new condition, so after a little research, I listed them for $99. Later, I also added a Best Offer option after reading more about it.

Within a couple hours, someone sent an offer of $75. I spent some time considering it, and just wasn't happy with taking 25% off the price so quickly, especially since I was offering free shipping! So I countered with $89 and a nice note about it still being so early. But the offer was ignored, so now I'm second-guessing myself again.

I think this is the hardest part of reselling, when you're trying to figure out your best strategy for everything. Though I know that process continues throughout. But the learning curve is tricky to navigate.

Other items in limbo include this lovely pot (which was perfect until I dropped it and chipped a chunk out of the enamel) which got an inquiry quickly from a buyer in Korea about shipping cost. I quoted her $11, but haven't heard back yet.

Also this cute clothing set, which I set at $12, and then accepted an offer for $10. But that was Sunday afternoon, and I still haven't been paid. I know it hasn't even been 48 hours yet, but I still worry. She looked reliable! Hmmm...

Patience is what I'm learning this week. Patience.

Linking to Apron Thrift Girl.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

february crafts #1

I've been quite crafty these last few weeks, starting with this project which was a Valentine gift to the girls.

Okay, not the kazoo. I haven't figured out wood carving yet.

But the little house pouches. Aren't they cute?

This was a project from an extremely talented woman, Ellen of the long thread. I worked with her a few years ago for both of my sewing calendars, and I have thoroughly explored her projects. This house always appealed to me, and since I'm trying to make more of the kids' present this year, Valentine's Day was the first opportunity.

I've finally learned something after reading 10 million sewing tutorials, and used a heavy-weight stabilizer so they are quite sturdy. I didn't add a handle to make it into a purse, but might do that later. I filled them with Valentine pencils and cards so the girls could doodle and draw. They were well received.

More coming! I just have to photograph it all first.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Had to make the girls a quick lunch yesterday, so went with the peanut butter sandwich route. But I wanted to spiff it up a bit.

First came the dinosaur sandwich cutter, then the banana, then the blueberries, and it all fell into place from there. So please welcome the skateboarding dinosaurs!


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Despite a week of actually working! In a real, paid-by-the-hour job! (Can you tell I haven't done that for a while?) Oh, and sewing a few gifts I had lined up (I'll have to post those in the next few days). I did manage to get a few more things listed in the shops.

First is a vintage Raggedy Ann and Andy bowl, with a bit of wear, but otherwise delightful. I had a set of Paddington Bear dishes like this growing up. My mom still has the silverware, but I think the bowl and plate are long gone.

Next is an awesome old stapler, in a great teal color!

And finally a pull toy made by kouvalias, a now-defunct toy company from Greece. Didn't actually know these were in demand when I picked it up, just thought it was a nice-looking toy that I might be able to sell in the resale shop. But since the company is out of business, they sell pretty well.

But, is it a cricket or a grasshopper? I'm thinking grasshopper, but have found a few mentions of crickets online. Hmmmm...

All in all, I'm happy I'm still listing here in there. It sure is a process to start, but it gets faster and faster the more often you do it.

And, this last week I had my first auction end, which I had set up as an experiment. I tried free shipping and starting it at only $1, wondering how it would go. There seemed to be a lot of interest, but it sold for only $8.50, which didn't even cover all my costs. But I knew that auction was going to be a learning experience, so I was happy to take the hit. Turned out the final buyer wanted to back out of the sale, which turned out great for me since I can now relist it in a different way that will hopefully cover the costs and make me a tidy profit. So that learning experience only cost me $.90 instead of $7.

Still adjusting pricing and wording here and there, but was happy to make the favorites pages and collection for a few things on Etsy. So I'm still learning!

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's February Listing Challenge.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thrift Share #2

This week, due to a visit to urgent care and actually working on Friday, I missed most thrifting opportunities. But we did hit a few garage sales late in the morning while waiting for a prescription to fill.

First up was bird necklace for me. It's nothing fancy, but fun. And only $2. Of course I would have loved to pay only $1, but I didn't feel like bargaining too hard.

Finally down a long road I found a messy moving sale. It was very unorganized, but among all the boxes, I found this light box and giant cutting mat. The ladies said $5 for both, but I managed to pay $4. And that was the end of my bargaining skills this week.

I'm not sure if I'm keeping or selling the light box. They are cool to have, but I'm not sure how much I'll use it. But it's in my craft cabinet for now. The cutting mat is much too used to sell (though still in good shape), and that I will definitely use.

Finally we had to go pick up the prescription, and waited too long for it anyway, but at least the girl is feeling a lot better today.

Sharing via Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

thrift share #1

I wish I had better photos and info to share this week, but after a weekend with guests, parties, and sickness, I am still trying to catch up.

Not that the weekend was poor by any means. The sickness didn't really cause me to crash until about 9pm Sunday night, so I actually did get to enjoy all the time spent with friends and family. But I am still slowly recovering. I can go for about five hours, then need at least an hour of down time before I can get going again. I'm getting weak again, though, so better finish this up while I still have the energy!

I managed to hit both the flea market and my favorite thrift store this weekend. Both were average trips, though I've only researched part of my haul so far. And, as above, I haven't managed to take any individual photos yet.

So far the interesting things are:
  • A boiled wool Austrian jacket - paid about $.50, but don't think it's worth more than $10
  • Giant box of vintage buttons on cards - paid $2, think I'll be able to separate it out enough to make a few interesting lots
  • Greek grasshopper pull toy - paid $1, found the company is out of business and should be able to fetch a good amount
  • 2001 Willow Tree angel figure - paid $1, thought maybe since it was older it would be hard to find, but found about 30 on ebay.
  • Tiny gumball machine - paid $1, may be from the 80s, and is cute enough to be worth the money!
  • Old pyrex coffee maker - paid $3, still haven't even unwrapped it to read the instructions inside, but hopeful it's interesting
And the one that got away was an American Girl typewriter for $3. I was on the fence about this one, but since the guy wouldn't go any lower, and I didn't know very much about it, I passed. Found out it's in demand on ebay in the $30-$40 range. Drat!

Moral of the weekend: Don't look up the things you didn't buy after the fact and just buy a data package for your phone so you don't make the same mistakes again!

Linking up to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.