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.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

oldie games

A trip to the flea market and Savers last week included a few vintage toys. I love vintage toys, and would probably buy more if I had the room. Now at least I have the excuse to hold onto them while they are for sale in my Etsy shop. That just means more shopping!

I found an old Monopoly game jumbled up on the tarps at the flea market. It look so old and interesting, I snapped it up, thinking maybe it was valuable. I paid about $1 for it with a bunch of other stuff. But it turns out there's a lot of the 1961 version out there already. And this one had a beat up box and board. But the pieces were still interesting, so I put them up in the shop as sometimes people like old game pieces.

And it's a lot easier to ship a bag of game pieces than a giant game board. Why can't they make game boards fold up smaller? Can't they just add an extra fold?

A few months ago I found a complete Tupperwear Shape-O toy for my own kids. I couldn't believe it had all the pieces! That's the only tricky part about buying used toys, sometimes it's difficult to get all the parts.

Then at Savers last week I found a Shape-O in its original 1985 box. I can't imagine the story behind it that it hadn't been used for over 20 years.

But there it was, looking all happy and pristine for only $1.99. I originally was going to give it to my niece, but as my sister is sometimes wary about used toys, I ended up putting it in the shop instead.

I get to go to the flea market again tomorrow, I wonder what I'll find!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

getting my bento on

Before I started packing lunches for my kids (since they weren't in school for lunch), I started seeing all these bento meals out there on the internets. Immediately that idea appealed to me, since I LOVE kits, or anything all packaged together. I probably have far too many first aid kids for a normal person. After all, my kids don't get hurt that much.

But right away, I knew that's what I was going to do. And luckily enough I live near a Daiso, so I was able to pick up a few boxes for $1.50! I love that place. I could spend hours there. I have spent hours there. I'm just a very thorough shopper.

Also, I may have picked up a few picks, condiment cups, separators, mini chopsticks, mini utensils, all sorts of fun goodies. Well, for $1.50 each, how can you not?

And then I went to work.

salami & cheese roll ups, honeydew, berries, babybel, buttered toast, koala cookies

There's so much inspiration out there, it was easy to start making awesome lunches right away. I also love how it opens you up to lunch ideas you never considered before. Like just one tiny piece of melon. How would I have packaged that before? In its own plastic bag? That sounds ridiculous. But with bentos, you can just toss it in with everything else! Then you get a lot of variety in even a little lunch.

hot dogs and cheese, mushrooms, avocado, cheese, rice crispy treat, apple, dried blueberries

I think this style of lunch appeals to toddlers and preschoolers so much. It's just how they eat anyway! So we've been loving the world of bento lunches.