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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Freebies Made My Day and Back to Baking

Talk about a shot in the arm, on one of my infrequent trips to the post office, I noticed a "Free" sign in front of one of the residences and large bags of clothing and linens. Nothing could have made me happier. I found a few items for myself, over half of the haul is consignment worthy, and a few pieces of boy clothing I can sell as a lot. I may list some of the women's clothing. A couple of pieces require some mending that means Clothing Rehabilitator to the Rescue! The little boy's shirt only needed a replacement button and reinforcement of the remainder. 
Cutest piece of boy's clothing
Muscle cars and Tikis print
Bags of clothing laundered and folded
I will take the majority of the clothes to Freestyle for exchange. Then, if they don't want them, I could list them. I know why the clothing was out for free like that, people are shut in and spring cleaning and they can't donate to thrift. 

Segueing to cooking, in particular baking. As a teen, I loved baking, making pies, cookies and other desserts. I continued to bake for my family, things like chocolate chip cookies and those delights. When I became an empty nester, I stopped baking. I had also packed on a few pounds so I didn't need the extra calories. Having returned to my "fighting weight" or no longer chubby, I can indulge in a few sweets now and again. 

I like to highlight the strawberry rhubarb pie I make in the warmer months and-then-there-was-rhubarb. Recently, I made a granny smith apple pie and banana bread.

This post is about Applesauce cookies. One key ingredient for this recipe is All Bran cereal. Not sure of the original owner, it has been a family recipe for many years. 
I do substitute Splenda for sugar and use unsweetened applesauce. 

Quilting update: Like many others, I organized my sewing studio. All of the fabric remnants are in some semblance of order and, fingers crossed, I hope I don't discover more batches of purchased fabric. 

I have two lists I am running for the American Patchwork & Quilting Challenge on FB, one for quilts and one for hand sewing projects. I average one quilt completion per month. As I move into more intricate piecing on some projects, my average will decrease. 

Still hoping for the opening of thrift/clothing consignment shops and the return of my hairstylist. Takes very little to keep me happy. 

Ending the post with Sally Stand-In wearing this adorable Sunny Leigh skirt, part of the Freebie Haul that joined my wardrobe. 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Let's Talk

California remains in a state of closure. I can't report on thrift shop finds but I have been lurking in the online auctions. 

Now that the state fair is canceled, I just want the work on my state fair quilt to be done. Goal is to have it finished by the end of this month. I want to get back to the Retro Quilt that will be a fast finish flimsy. Then I can start something new. I have a summer quilt that would be a delight. Looking for a pieced flamingo pattern as a center inset. 

I love the blogging platform. I think it fits my style of writing and I am able to share the things that make me happy. Was looking back at so many blogs I had loved to read but their authors stopped posting. 

Reseller's update: Latest sales, a how-to book on making doll shoes, and an Amy Grant Christmas CD. Once I finish Round 4 which is comprised of mainly CDs and patterns, Round 5 will be vintage/odd clothing pieces I have picked up over the years. 
Sally Stand-In modeling B/W apron
I remember this apron but for the life of me I don't know where I put it. It will be another Tami Makes a Discovery event. 

I have found that it is easier to deal with things if I stay home. What I mean is going out and about it is apparent things are not normal. If you are at home, then nearly everything remains the same. It is less stressful. The Mr. and I ventured out the other day for some fast food and grocery shopping but cut our trip short. We were psychologically overwhelmed. We had intended to go to Costco but the thought was too stressful with the lines and the bullhorns and the oddness. We returned home.

On a lighter note, on Friday, I will be participating in a state promotional interview via an app. A three-person panel interview with a 5-10 minute presentation by me. I think a perfect topic would be "How to Make a Face Mask." I will see if that fits their criteria. 

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Round 4 Reselling - Goal 200 active listings

As mentioned in my last reseller's update - EBay has extended the 50k free fixed price listings through July. I am pulling everything I can and getting serious about organizing lots such as Barbie clothes. 

Round 4 is comprised of more CDs, sewing patterns (all of the sewing machines had been sold off of the shelves at Walmart), some specialty clothing so I may list a Hawaiian dress or two, and books. I am even testing the water on listing two old flip phones. I also am wearing gloves in the image, my newest change in photographing product. 
My procedure is to photograph each item in every possible angle. Then I edit the images, cropping and adding brightness, if needed. Each year has its own image folder, this year's being 2020 Ebay listings. But before I move them to the listings folder, I keep them in a "move to" folder. As I compose each listing, I rename the images and move them to the Ebay folder, that way I keep track of what product I am listing in what order. 

I have templates for CD, Book, DVD NIP, DVD Used, Needlework kits, Needlepoint kits, Quilt blocks, and Crochet squares. It is no picnic doing all of that prep work but with these fixed price listings but then I don't have to babysit them. I don't know why I didn't discover this method earlier.  

Covid-19 update: This week there was produce in abundance. Still no toilet paper. 

Newest wrinkle in grocery shopping, ya'll are supposed go one direction down the aisles. There are arrows. The 6' apart stuff and waiting until the customer in front of you is fully checked out before you can put your items on the belt. 

About half are wearing masks, usually people over 40. 

I take a rarely used country road in to town and today I saw a convertible packed full of a family enjoying the weather and seeing the sights. I like to see that. 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Clong! Round 3 of Reselling

I have long since stopped kicking myself for hoarding gathering salable items over my many years of thrifting. Even then my stash is paltry compared to some. I am kicking myself for items I thrifted back because I overbought or thought the items had no value.   

I am turning a sharp eye toward my ceramic smalls like salt & pepper shakers and such. Would have never believed that CDs and cassettes would be a good resell. I thrifted back around 50 of them, one I found out was worth around $60-$70. All of my Christmas CDs are listed and the few oddball ones I am willing to part with. 

I almost embarrassed to admit that there is even more home sourcing to be done. I have a storage shed on another property that I know contains Halloween costumes, African American rag dolls, patterns, pictures. 

Round three of listing means 150 total active items as of this post.  My ultimate goal is to eliminate my credit debt and to contribute to my savings. Maybe I could reward myself with a long-promised trip if I save up enough. I figure for each post, even if I made $1 (which more likely is $5-$10 for each quarter to $2 invested), I am $1 ahead. 

Thank God for Joann's, the one retailer allowed to be open that has provided me a sense of normalcy. I believe I wandered aimlessly on my last visit. I didn't want to leave. Bought the kitty cat Paris quilting cotton what was left on the bolt. Picked that print up and put it down from my last visit so I was glad the remnant was there.
Admitting to finding a basketful of remnants, I organized them while I was on a gotomeeting for work. These should be the last of the pleasant surprises I am stumbling across in my home sourcing. 
Best news of all, Ebay has extended their 50k fixed listings for free through July! That means I will be breaking into that storage shed. It also fills in the extra time in isolated quarantine. 

Gardening update: Over 20 of my tomato plant seeds have sprouted and are already hardened off. Much better rate of germination on my latest method. 

No thrifting update, I view online auctions wistfully. Sometimes I  watch an item, but then let it go by. I do wish I bought this peppermint candy quilt last year. Now I am going to have to make the darn thing myself some day. 

Sunday, April 19, 2020

And then there was rhubarb

As the weeks go by, I see less and less product on the grocery store shelves. In the produce section, there was no lettuce nor anything to add to a salad. But there was rhubarb, plenty of rhubarb, in all its  glory. 

I asked the produce clerk, "Isn't that sort of a random thing to have? Rhubarb? and no green onions or celery?" She agreed. 

And what do you do when life gives you rhubarb? You make strawberry-rhubarb pie!  

Wearing our masks now when we go shopping, makes me feel like a criminal, face masks being associated with bank robbers. We have only 7 identified C-19 victims in our rural county of 40,000+. SEVEN! Won't the virus trend through whether people are tested or not? Wear our masks until a vaccine is developed. It is time to reopen now, now, now. 

Reseller's update: the big girl lingerie, a 44DDD bra, finally sold. I bought it for $4.50 and sold it for $12.

Gardening update: My seed starting has been a great success with the tomatoes with 21 transplanted so far. No bell peppers have sprouted yet though. My next round I want to do zinnias and sunflowers. 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Gypsy Wife meets Jelly Roll, Part 3, and another Mask Making Fail

Call this one complete! Now I keep every other quilt I make, this one is a keeper. You can see the clamshell quilting clearly on the peach backing. Links to Part 1 and Part 2

After engaging in retail therapy, I did the flamingo fabric pull. I bought the flamingo yardage for a summer quilt. This one has been on my to-do list but not listed on my challenge sheets. I look forward to having this one quilted in a flamingo pattern. 
I am blowing through my stash faster than I anticipated. I have gone back to FabShopHopping, an online shop hop for fabric. When you visit the participating shops, you find the "bunny" and that registers you for prizes. What it really accomplishes is you find fabric for upcoming projects. I just bought the Riley Blake -Gone Camping Fat Quarter bundle for half price. 

FabShop Hop

Bumped into this video, would love to produce or see more of this stuff. I could not help but laugh, esp. when she comes back on camera with bandaged fingers. 
I have made a few masks and they are not my favorite thing to do.

Linking up with Beth at:

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Captive Audience and the OBW

I subscribe to more than one thrifting/reselling board. While some made the decision to stop selling online during the pandemic, others are listing and selling to a captive audience. I fall in the latter category. I think it is perfect time to provide buyers what they might be seeking. 

Segueing to blog stats. I love to view them. There are times I trend in Russia. Recently, my daily page views went from my average of 150 to 1,400! Say what? If someone has given me a shoutout or linked me somewhere to another audience, xxoooo to yoooo. Please comment or email me, 

Quilting update: The OBW has been sent to its graduate recipient. My favorite part of this quilt is the simple black/white flower binding and the vintage Siamese cat remnant.  

Waaay too bright for my taste, I think it is perfect for an older teen.
Link to the flimsy and post when I bought the remnant thrift-gods-dropped-obw.

Next up is french binding Gypsy Wife meets Jelly Roll and the continuing quilting of the state fair one. With the latter quilt, I had enough material from the backing to whip up a binding. I have to let my hands rest for a few days between these sewing sessions. 

Monday, April 13, 2020

How does your garden grow?

My experience with gardening each year is it is an experiment. Some plants thrive and others not so much. 

Seed starting last year went well but I had an overabundance of tomato pears. Found out I didn't like them making that even worse. I also planted a stir fry mix from seeds, didn't like them either. They, of course, took off like gangbusters and took up a whole bed in the greenhouse. 

Ferry-Morse seeds I bought this year - Sweet Pepper Rainbow Blend Mix and Tomato Culinary Blend. I am also altering my technique. Last year, I put the seeds under a grow light and they did ok. This year, they are not under a light. After they sprout, I will transfer them to a small container and place them in the window sill. 

I put rhubarb and a blueberry plant each in large movable planters. I killed last year's rhubarb because the sun was too intense where it was planted. A few years ago, lost a blueberry plant to the deer. This plant is in the container within the somewhat fenced patio area. 

Moving on to retail therapy. I admit I have engaged in it. The thread I had intended for the state fair quilt turned out to be too old so I tossed it. I bought 5 spools of turquoise Coats thread for my project. Also bought discounted cotton fabric, one a flamingo print for a fun summer quilt I want to send to the longarmer for her flamingo pattern. A quilt for me, shooting for June completion. I used to make itty bitty lap quilts that are frustratingly small. All my projects now are bed-sized ranging from twin to king. 

Reseller's update: Needlepoint kits continue to sell. No surprise to me there. Some pretty log cabin print yardage did not sell. I pulled the listing. I will eventually use that fabric in a backing. 

I have Round 3 of 25+ listings to begin processing. The one change I am making, sometimes my hand is visible in the image (i.e., showing the side of a book), so from now on I will be wearing my cotton gloves. I just think it will make a better impression.  

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Mask Making Fail

First off, clang signaling Round 3 of my home sourcing batch of listings. 
I am swimming in sewing patterns. I have scanned in the images and can enjoy them whenever I want. I will never sew with these patterns (with the exception of the apron ones, which are keepers). I was never a fan of clothing construction from start to finish. I much prefer altering an existing garment, buying thrift or from consignment. I can't make clothing for what I can buy secondhand. 

I like selling in lots. Gets rid of inventory for me and adds a couple  of bucks to the listing. I learned how to combine orders in Ebay. Woohoo!

I am a failure at mask making. I have no lovely ones to model. I spent an afternoon trying to construct a couple. Totally blew the pattern on the first try, came closer on the second try but still poorly constructed. I do like the pattern, I just have to master it. 
Man mask making is planned for the near future. He will need either velcro or elastic since he has trouble raising his arms for a tie-on mask. He wants pirate material. I see a trip to Joann's in my future. They are still open in my area so they must have been labeled as "essential." 

Two quilts ready to bind means I have been making great progress moving through my projects. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ding! Round 2 of Reselling

Home sourcing continues with Round 2 of fixed price listings with Ebay, free as a store subscriber (with a good rep). The books culled from my collection and pet patterns for beds and such were listed. This cape pattern is one of the few uncut I have found to sell.  
Oddest listing of the Day, this 1950 Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories. Chockful of biblically-bent preachy short stories tinged with the worst of the 50's mindset. 
I am listening through the 7 of the 25 cent lot of cassette tapes, the ones I bought from a thrift store that closed last year.  The ones I thought might be of interest were as follows:

Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl
The Best of the Guess Who
AC/DC The Razors Edge
Carly Simon, The Best of Carly Simon
Mamas and Papas, 16 Greatest Hits
Linda Rondstadt, Greatest Hits
The Best of the Ink Spots

I hit another milestone of 125 active listings. This really is thrilling for me. 

Between quilting, I am turning my attention to the bookcase downstairs. There are still a few of the Mr.'s books that will sell. I know he has a Webelos Scout Book that is valuable. 

There are whispers this isolation/insanity will extend through May. The remote work part I don't mind, it is the stores being closed and my hairdresser unavailable. I really am a low maintenance gal. 

Another note on this cootie war - the Mr. went to Costco the other day and an employee on a bullhorn was announcing "We are practicing social distancing, please keep 6' away from others." He said it was extremely stressful, a reminder of war preparations. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Mandatory Face Masks

Just as I suspected, our county issued a health advisory for wearing face masks. Using my pattern from Riley Blake Designs, I made a few for my family. 

I have been gathering batiks for some time and used all of my smaller remnant pieces in the State Fair quilt. I went through my 4 vintage sewing boxes and found some elastic, twill and velcro tapes. I know I had a ton of bias tape that came with those boxes but thrifted that tape back, now I wish I hadn't. 
I won't engage in sewist's shame. I know there are those that have dedicated countless hours to making masks for others. The one and only escape I have from our current crisis is the couple of hours I have to myself to sew. Committing that time to sew for others I know would be selfless but would be sacrificing my mental health.

The Mr. called me out on my trips to the post office. He said, "That's just a pastry run." Admittedly, it is, combined with package delivery. 

State Fair quilt is sandwiched and the entry is in for the judge's consideration! I marked quilting lines spaced 1" to 1-1/2" apart so when I get to teeny tiny matchstick quilting I won't go astray. This time I will have enough of one color thread. I was gifted 6 large cones of polyester thread from an upholsterer's estate. My last matchstick quilting project (my state fair entry intended for last year but completed too late composition quilt), ploughed through thread. While I like the composition, I had many machine problems with spacing for last year's intended entry. My current machine, the Franklin, grumbles A LOT but sets down an even stitch. 

This is my usual practice to have one project completely overtake another. I won't rest until State Fair quilt is done. My next project is to bind the OBW for the graduate but that I can work in tandem with any quilting project. Hand binding takes place in the TV-watching evenings. Gypsy Wife meets Jelly Roll is scheduled to arrive back from the longarmer today. Yipee!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Current status: Hyperdrive

Leading off with my state fair flimsy, marking quilting lines on the Mr.'s work bench in the garage. Lot of fun blocks in it. I just had to have a house block, part of the quilt's theme. Some sections were a struggle but I will detail that all in the reveal post. Such a relief to be at this stage - I know I can make the middle of May deadline. 
We all have different coping strategies. While others have complained of feeling unmotivated, unable to focus, and cannot "get in the groove," I have shifted into hyperdrive. I know my remote work time may be limited so I have made the most of my stay-at-home hours. Those want to do projects? Getting done. The have to do projects? On it. My more obscure projects - converting 35mm slides to digital images, converting VHS tapes, and scanning in a 1977 European tour book for a FB group - depending on the length of this worldwide craziness, may all get done. 

Around the turn of the new year the Mr. and I realized a pandemic was headed our way, my attitude changed. I began ramping up my reselling and laser-focused on quilting project goals. I know it is a manic phase. I am going to harness that coping energy and turn it to my financial and goal seeking advantage. 

In anticipation of an edict requiring us to wear face masks, I found a pattern posted on wanted to get clear guidance on what fabric could be used. 

Reseller's update: That survival manual? It sold. My items on average I buy from $1-$2, maybe less, and sell for $15-$20. It is a Tami cleaning house listing extravaganza! Items I had up last year but pulled because I got tired of renewing the auction-style listing are now Fixed Price so I can't withdraw but I also don't need to renew them.  

For some of my packages, I have used remnant fabric for packing. With the Art of French Cooking, I sent a remnant with an Eiffel Tower print. It is a stamp of my personality they receive with the package. 

I just adore blog hops and used to participate in a number of them. One worth a visit is the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop 2020, I've provided the link to the lead-off blogger at Seeing others workspaces intrigue me. The sheer amount of fabric some have is astounding. 

Ending with my favorite image of the week:

Friday, April 3, 2020

Highlight of the Day - Trip to the Post Office

When I sell one of my listed items, it means I get to go to the post office! An excuse to leave the house. Our post office, tiny and rural, now has plastic sheeting that extends floor to ceiling that separates workers from customers. Whatever business you have, you have to poke it through or slide it under the sections of the sheeting. 

I also discovered the market has fresh baked goods. I mean I knew they were there, I just had to switch my supplier from downtown coffee shop to rural market. 

I made cashew nut chicken using the green onions I had in the greenhouse. If I could get more organized, I could have it packed with all sorts of edible things. The Mr. describes my gardening style as messy, think country garden. I let everything grow in place, very haphazard. All the little plants deserve their space in the sun. 

I am so excited about the progress I have made on my state fair submission. After ripping out and replacing a large section, it is ready to mark quilting lines, after the addition of piano key borders. This is the fabric pull, lots of fun batik pieces that add a pop of color. Dinosaur is holding some binding for me. 
So glad I have a fabric stash, while I could buy retail online, I try to use thrifted fabric. I am even glad I didn't keep strictly to my 2020 Buy No Fabric Challenge. At this rate, it is possible I could work through my remnants by year's end. The yardage, used for pieced backings, is being winnowed down. 

Reseller's update: I am rearranging my selling area (again). As I am moving and reorganizing my keeper books, I am pulling others to list for sale. We are in for a stormy weekend so my hyper focus will continue with more listings and matchstick quilting. 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Devoting a Day

When I have a full day to devote to my projects, I surprise myself how much I can accomplish. I made great progress in my state fair quilt. I will have an entire blog post devoted to that process. I will say I was going great guns and thought I had the whole thing put together but a whole section was "off." I seam ripped it out. Piecing some blocks to fit my theme is what I have planned. 

Having this challenge helps me keep my mind off of other things. Another challenge I have going is one on FB with the American Patchwork & Quilting group. No. 1 was chosen for this month and that is my Retro Quilt, also ready to assemble. If I keep my feet to the fire, maybe I will complete the State Fair entry and move on to the Retro Quilt.  
Reseller update: I made a milestone of 111 listings. Mainly books and CDs, I am sourcing from my own possessions. There is still more! I have tons of sewing and craft patterns that will be my focus on the next round. This is all found money, items I have purchased over the years. It is like shaking the coins out of a piggy bank. Granted, it does require work. It has to be one of the top 10 things I do that produce a feeling of accomplishment. I hope I have encouraged those who do resell and those who are thinking about entering the business.