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Friday, May 29, 2020

Back to College for Me

Hello all the French peoples! You have overtaken my Russian audience and are coming up fast on the Americans. 

What did I save for myself from the needlework-extravaganza? The counted cross-stitch in my lead-off image in that post and the two needlepoints. I especially like the Front Porch one.   

Who know there was such a tool? I picked up this yarn organizer at thrift. It will be handy for my upcoming needlework projects.
Current hanger method
I am beyond delighted to discover that I can continue my dream of pursing an Art History degree. Nearly all college classes have gone online. I have lurked for years waiting for a Modern Art class to come online. For some reason, art history classes were only offered during the day. Full time job + 3 hour commute + age = impossible to attend college at night. 

Why Art History and why continue attending college for someone in their 60s? First, I love art and know little of its history. I took a couple of years off from college coursework after I earned my A.S. in Business. Why continue taking classes when I am trending out of the business workplace? I have called myself a professional college student. I enjoy the interaction, the challenge to my mind, and learning new things. 

Fall classes start the end of August. I will be sharing some of my assignments and projects. If I don't get into the Modern Art class, I will choose another open one. This GIRL is Back to School!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Needlework Extravaganza

I just knew needlework kits would be dropping into thrift. How many of you have cleaned out your closets and cupboards? *raises hand* Add to that the Kondo Effect and wahlah, needlework kits for Tami priced on average $1.50 each. The lead-off image is an opened counted cross-stitch that is a definite keeper for my camper. 
I am going to allow myself to keep one or two of the kits. I loaded up my arms full of them, like they were babies come to their mother. Some have their original price stickers from Hobby Lobby.

I know one of two things happened, the donator thought, "I am never to start these so I might as well give them away," or the original owner passed away. 

Giving the CD thrift trove a once over, I spotted this cutie, also adding it to my collection. 

Now at 300 listings, eBay has deemed me "promotion worthy." I was given the option to promote a few posts and have tested the waters. It appears you pay a small fee when the item sells. 

I admit I have haunted certain online auction sites and I have discovered a new one - and am testing the waters with my first couple of bids. I have marked a few "watches" on the 221 featherweight sewing machines to see how high they bid up on that site. 

I predict my next round of sales will come after the next stimulus check. It has been quiet these last couple of weeks. I sell such specialty items, not high on the gotta-have list. I did sell my first men's tie, a real beaut, I think. 
My Babylok sewing machine is finally returning home. I promise never to abuse it again. It has been in the shop for 5 months. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Almost in Hog Heaven

My life is near to normal for activities I like to do, esp. thrifting. The last holdout in reopening was hospice thrift. They still show as closed online and I am not going to advertise the fact that they are open. Finds I garnered there and another stop were my usual CDs and cassettes, a needlework kit, and $1 bag of sewing items included needles shown above and those for my machine, and a sweet thimble.
What form of music do I keep? DISCO! This 2-CD set stays with me.
I have collected a couple of vintage tins, we had a scale and in this round of finds, I bought the $1.99 Kellogg's plate for an eventual display of these unique items. Once I get shelving up in my storage shed, I will share the collection. 
I am photographing inside because of our 100 degree days on end heat wave. 

Here I am encouraging people to begin reselling and not giving clear direction. You should start with what you know, my area of expertise - crafts, sewing, and quilting. I have tried a couple of the BOLOs (be on the lookout) suggested by other resellers but have had spotty success with that other than CDs and cassettes. 

The last thing to be restored is my hair stylist so I don't have to keep looking like this.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Only 14,700 to Go - Resale Listings, that is.

14,700 is the number of free fixed price listings I have left on eBay that I can utilize until the end of July. I am nearing my 300 listings goal! I have given up some of my bookshelf space for my inventory. CDs are alpha organized in two groups, Christmas and everything else. 
The sewing patterns are next to organize by pattern maker. I am looking for the right container in thrift to get them off the shelf. Eventually, I will have to use a bin organization system or SKUs. 

I keep teasing the Mr. that I need a She Shed, or a big red barn would  do. The more I think about it, the more I would like to go to estate sales for sourcing. I am an early riser anyway. 

Remember when I mentioned I listed a fancy empty liquor bottle? Well, it sold. Not for a lot, but it was $10 more than I had the day before. 

Since I have two quilts currently in to the longarmer, I have turned my attention to my unfinished needlepoint. The new Wysocki needlepoint find is fueling my desire to finish one and turn to another. 

Greenhouse update: After my tomato plants propagated like rabbits, I kept 8 or so (I see canning in my future), I left another 8 at the end of the road with a sign, "Free tomatoes. I planted too many."  Now I am pretty sure I have rabbit watermelon, there are 12 of them. That doesn't include the 6 in the planters. I will have to cull 4 more. 

I hope to have some trail cam pictures next month. We finally placed the cameras again after a few weeks hiatus. 

BTW Happy Memorial Day! With working remotely, each day just seems like the next. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Turn Your Life Around?

Reselling has been the best debt reduction plan ever. Granted, I had a couple of stimulus checks in there to help me on my debt-reducing way but more I attribute to reselling.

I am not going to represent that it is easy. No, it is work, plain and simple. For the business major I am, each dollar represents a potential 80-90% profit. Buying six cassettes for $1 and selling them at a minimum of $5 each. It is almost criminal, but not at all. I am merely the new middleman in the New Normal *plugs ears and issues a silent scream*

The cassettes are flying off *my* shelves. I never would have guessed there was such a market for these techno-retro forms of music. I also price to move all of my products. Now is not the time to buy and hold items, get those puppies listed!

Included in my product sourcing are always items for me. I went outside of my comfort zone and purchased CDs I had no idea who the artists were, at $1 each, I don't care. They range from gospel to opera to jazz to some imports. I rip them all to my laptop so I can give the unusual ones a listen. 
The surrealist encyclopedia is pure eye candy. I do look for art reference books. I rarely find any publications on that topic. 

I took a trip up into another county to visit an open Goodwill. While not a stellar haul, I will at least double my $15 investment.

I sat on one of the chairs for sale and researched the CDs I had chosen. I put half of them back - buying at $3 and selling at $5 isn't worth the effort. 

The $2.50 knitting lot will go up for sale, with the exception of the Gutterman thread and scissors, which stay with me. 

Staples has CD jewel cases so I replace the covers on those that are broken. Goo Gone is your friend to clean up the ones that are in good shape. 

If you decide to begin reselling, be sure to check with your state's rules for online sellers. I collect the state tax rate for California on my products. 

I hope to report after this long weekend's end to have 300 active listings - 228 as of this post. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Thrift Shop Gods Heard My "Reopen" Plea

Reselling rounds stopped short at Round 12, just like a prize fight. I had been eyeing my vintage sewing patterns to list but they are saved for now. Three out of four of my beloved thrift shops have now reopened. The first, as I was driving to the grocery store spied the thrift shop door open and nearly slammed on my brakes to make it over to the other side of the road. 

The lead-off image is the piece de resistance find of the recent visits, a needlepoint project on frame with thread ($5)! I will not be parting with this one. 

As predicted, I didn't do my usual method of careful shopping. Luckily, all of the CDs were in their cases, I didn't even check them. 13 cassettes, 12 CDs and 1 game. Squealed like a lil girl when I found the Chris Gaines (Garth Brooks as a rocker) CD in the bottom of the CD rack. 
Included in my nearly $40 total was an 8 DVD Woody Allen movie collection. Again, if you are not flipping media, you are missing out. Quick sales, minimal storage. These babies are going to fund my tech/gadget purchases and bucket list trips around the world. 

A splurge for me was a $3 bag of 10 spools of thread, all seemingly high quality. I also snagged three cookbooks, a 1971 red plaid cover BHG cookbook, a 1975 Joy of Cooking and 1980 Elizabeth David Classics (Mediterranean Food, French Country Cooking, Summer Cooking). Meant for resell, I decided to keep all three. Doh! It happens. 

A frequent find and normally quick mover on the listings was this embroidery kit, also part of that day's finds.

I have been selling off the quilt blocks and needlework kits earmarked for me. Believe me, there are more than enough projects in the queue to last through the next quarantine. (see newly-purchased needlepoint above)!

The other two sourcing splurges were $12 at one and $7 at the other. 
$12 one consisted of MLP cards, CDs, cassette, craft patterns, a Build A Bear outfit for camo bear and a men's racing tie.
$2.00 for a packet of Girl Scout badges!
$7 stop included the $5 needlepoint project above along with a couple of media items. In fact, I saw the needlepoint in the back room, not yet set out for purchase, so I asked about it. They just needed to confirm the price and it was mine. 

Now I get it! After almost a year of active reselling, I figured it out. You list possibly everything and then hold it in stock until it sells, just like a retailer would. After listening to some reseller's videos, they revealed they had some product listed for years. I had pulled quite a few of my listings because they didn't move. I have since relisted them. 

I follow The Thrifting Board and Jason T. Smith for many of my reselling tips and he posed the question:

Surfers, what is the ONE item that you have for sale online that you are tired of looking at? Do you have an item listed so long it has spanned 2 presidencies? Well maybe, just maybe, a fellow surfer here in the Thrifting Board just might need it.

I don't have one of those listed-forever items, this one will sell. Gorgeous when completed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Round 12 of Reselling - REOPEN *screams the word*

Culling through my home sourced and offsite storage items, some things just don't make the cut to be listed for sale. Camo Build a Bear was pulled to list but given a reprieve because he is just so cuddly! Yes, I have a soft spot for plush. 
Sometimes I have seller's regret, not because of pricing but because of sentimental value. This Goorin hat is one of those items, sold months ago.
Hoping I will find another vintage men's hat just as fun. 

This 1991 cookbook also escaped my sweeping cleanout. I had the images ready, it also earned a reprieve from being listed. The book was given to me by a friend who has since passed on. 
Evidently I have given up on my dream of wire sculpting. Bought this bag of wonderfulness for $3, listed for $45. 

What else have I been hoarding hiding? Vintage Girl Scout and 4H items. I bought them in lots previously just for the pins I festooned on a mini quilt. Those clothing bits have been listed.
A change I made to my eBay templates was to change my handling time to 1 Business Day rather than 3 Business Days. If I offered free shipping, that too would bump me into Top Rated Seller status.

It is less exhausting if I list 5 or 10 items at a time. Each listing has to be closely reviewed. I am not sure but I think if you revise them, there is a fee charged. 

Our Northern California county is moving closer to re-opening. The Mr. and I had a sit-down dinner at a local Chinese food restaurant last weekend. 

I wasn't too far off when I told my hairdresser that I would "see her in June" after my March appointment was canceled. There are noises from our handsome governor that hair salons will reopen in a couple of weeks. 

Having thrift shops closed makes no sense to me. Their existing "product" has now sat idle for this lockdown time. I think the bugs are dead. Any new donations they could wipe down and hit with a UV light. Fumigate the place, IDK, just reopen. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

Round 11 of Reselling, Plundering the Offsite Storage

This round somewhat qualifies as "home sourcing" because I am retrieving product from my offsite storage. To say I went through a Pattern Phase is an understatement. My thinking was that vintage sewing patterns would be worth something someday. That day has arrived. 

Three containers (2 more I forgot back at storage) and one bag full of patterns, another bag full of books and a third bag of miscellany marked for resell. Next milestone goal on listings is to reach 300. 
Some of my patterns are keepers, some of the images in the lead and below. Focusing on the red ones ~

Quilting update: I am knocking around the idea of taking another run at a State Fair quilt, this one of course, would be for 2021. There are some elements I liked in my last quilt and some I didn't. 

List of elements I will include in competition quilt.
1.  Cubist
2.  Scrappy solid border
3.  Turquoise thread

Here is my source image. It was my original concept but when I made the face quilter block, it was way too small. 

Knitting Woman 1919 Oil on Canvas
Jean Metzinger
Scrap busting continues. I have made great progress because I am not buying thrifted fabric every other week. 

I rediscovered Bloglovin' a feed where I had marked online fashionistas, and then promptly forgot about it. Seems a few are doing Lockdown Diaries or Life in Lockdown. My reselling rounds are a way of marking time also. 

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Me Made May and the Tractor Seat Cover

Newly-made tractor seat cover will be much appreciated by my cat Susie since that is her favored resting spot. 
The Mr. had been using this to cover his tractor seat. I had the material, lawd knows the time. I had been sort of avoiding this project but it came together quickly and easily.  

First stop was craft paper. Then I traced the seat top and sides leaving a hefty seam allowance for the heavier material. 

Here is the seat template pinned to the pieced fabric. I thought the fabric was one large remnant but rather it was in strips. 

Oh and look the seams match! Pats self on back. All of those sewing/quilting hours pay off.  Yes, that is Batman duct tape. The edges of the Franklin kept catching the fabric.  

I finished the edges.

Then sewed on the Velcro fastening to the back.

You can see the final product in my lead-off image. Sorta proud of myself. Me Made May really focuses on clothing construction so we will just call it Tractor Apparel. 

I decided to re-activate my twitter account @CommandoShop. It is easy enough to share my posts through Blogger. Hope to see some followers there also. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rat-a-tat-tat Round 10 of Reselling

Time to put up some plush. I especially love this oversized princess My Little Pony, purchased for $1, she would be high profit margin. Will I list her? We will see. I have turned a critical eye toward all of my collectibles. This round of home sourcing include ceramic smalls and men's ties. 

I have been a reseller on eBay for many years but have most recently ramped it up with a basic store. My timing was good on that because of the 50k free fixed listings through the end of July. 

Another feature of eBay I have grown to love is the Send Offer. If a buyer watches your item or adds it to their cart, you can send offer to seal the deal under the fixed price listing. 

I try not to despair that thrifting, my most favorite activity, has been taken from me. I know there are those in worse condition with destroyed livelihoods, dashed athletic ambitions, or canceled once-in-a-lifetime celebrations. 

I pray that this is my last "home sourcing" posts. My county has reopened but the thrift shops are still closed. My county never really did "close" except for dining-in restaurants. 

Amazon has been the recipient of my retail therapy. To begin my atomic starburst piecing project I ordered an Addaquarter ruler. I threw in the mix a Grand Canyon preprinted panel for my travel quilt that I am gathering fabric for now. My last purchase was a jelly roll of Kona solids. I love the look of the solid scrappy border. I really haven't done a lot with solids but have begun purchasing more and more.

News has come down that state workers in California will receive a 10% pay cut and perhaps even furloughed to 1-2 days a month. It is a blessing that I am not carrying large debt like a mortgage or car payment. 

I suspect I will be working remotely through the year's end and maybe into 2021. If that is the case, I would look closely to retiring as soon as possible. Part of my commuting into Sacramento is to be in the city and to be around lots of people. If that aspect is removed, I will retire and ramp up my reselling business and seek out estate sales, in addition to thrifting, for product.  

Monday, May 11, 2020

KaPow! Round 9 - Selling Your Own Product

The Mr. and I came up with a goofy product to sell online. Our first batch went up on eBay, sort of a Mother's Day gift to me. I love business and I love selling. I present the Hard Times 2020 Solid Oak Commemorative Lid Knocker. We use one to loosen the metal lids on glass jars, or plastic drinks with plastic screw top lids. 

On my recent freebie clothes find I ended up keeping half of the clothing for myself. I know, not much of a way to make money, but I am a clothes horse after all. 

I think my technique of photographing clothing once outside on a dress form and then inside under florescent light gives a buyer a better sense of the garment. 
Digging deeper into my patterns, I decide which ones to group together and which ones I will part with. These are the last of the items I can possibly home source. I need to take a trip to my off site storage. 

Gardening update: I continue to revise my greenhouse gardening methods. The sun screens were added to see if it would bring down the temperature. 

Quilting update: Retro quilt is being sent to the longarmer. I went easy on the backing, combining two wide back panels. 
I, among many others, am weary of this pandemic. I am sure there will be lots of finger pointing when we have moved beyond the worldwide social experiment of 2020.