Google tag

Friday, July 31, 2020

Good ole Red, White and Blue and Ya Gotta Love the Volunteers!

A mid-year+ check-in for crafting goals reveal I have completed 4 quilts and am still working on my needlepoint carryover project from last year. Even less will get accomplished when I start back to college. I am not the serious sewist as some. It is more when the mood strikes me and like hand sewing projects, I go on streaks. 

My reselling business really had taken over for awhile. The push to make 500 listings began with the lockdown. The total of my listed product is $6,000. As long as I run good margins of buying stock for $1-$2 and then selling for $15-$20+, I will stay in business. 

This project will make a quick and easy put-together, 10 completed red/white/blue crochet squares.

It has been Christmas in July with a Vince Vance CD that sold. 

How I love the thrift shop volunteers. One saw that I had a kind-of retro glass in my hand but put it down. She said, "there is a milk bottle I just put in the garden area." I knew right where she meant and made a beeline for it. There it was! I thanked her profusely (through my mask) and smized (smiled with my eyes). A $3 addition to my kitchen collectibles.

In addition to milk bottle were a couple of quilt blocks and some remnants. More red, white and blue! I will bet my bottom dollar these will be popular. I have no problem selling completed quilt blocks and tops. I think there are quite of few like me that love to put together those half-completed projects. 
What did I keep? I tease that my reselling business funds the thrift shop purchases that I keep. They had just rolled out the rack when I literally grabbed the three tooth fairy dolls. Priced at $1.99 a piece, I didn't care what the cost. They are simply adorable. Forever keepers until a someday-grandchild wrangles them away from me.
I spent $23 combined from two thrifts on my usual stuff that I sell. Most of what I buy is from hospice thrift. Now that I am going to the shops on different hours rather than just on the weekend, I am starting to see other resellers.  You can just tell. They are looking at items intently. A casual buyer doesn't do that, they are buying impulsively (I know from experience). 

These furlough days have been a godsend. State workers in California have been furloughed 2 days a month. It is highly recommended you take those 2 days in the current month. I have no problem with that. Taking the days on Friday, shorten the work week that I spend isolated in a room by myself. 

Keeping with the cute, Pattern of the Day is this 2006 The Wizard of Oz costumes.
The volunteer asked if I was going to make the pattern, I replied I was a reseller. If I had a little one in my life, I would make one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

In for the Long Haul

Leading off with something that will be delicious, these highly protected grapes in my garden. 
On the Covid front, working remotely will continue for at least a year into July 2021. This I learned on a Zoom interview with one of the state departments. One upside to flying solo - there are no office politics. I would be delighted with a two or three day per week in office though. 

As I predicted, the divorce rate has skyrocketed. One attorney interviewed on TV said most couples would come in and try to work things out. Now, they want a divorce immediately. Not in for the long haul. 

And on to reseller's update. I've been stockpiling, no two ways around it. Here is a fresh look at the She Shed Sourcing Room.
Sewing patterns have overtaken the table, divided into Butterick and McCalls in the first container, and Simplicity and Vogue in the other. Needlekits are in the foreground. Books line the walls around the table. The more room you have to spread out, the less stressful it is when you pull product. 

Greenhouse update: Here are images for this end of July. 
My first watermelon
Sunflowers in front
Pole beans bleach in the sun
Pattern of the day. I have a fondness for retro pattern images. Here is one of my latest listed.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Kitchen collectibles on display

With my shed shelving finally up, I was able to display all of my kitchen collectibles. The ceramic roosters and chicken had been packed away for about 15 years. 

The purple Ball jar I found in the record section. My bet is someone put it down to look at records, got distracted and walked away from it. No matter if it is real retro or not, at 29 cents, a steal, it went with my blue Ball jar. 

Reseller's update:
A Calvin and Hobbes book sold the next day. I am getting better at anticipating what will sell. Admittedly, I listed anything that would possibly sell when we were on total lockdown. A book on whittling, an obscure audience, for sure.

As patterns continue to sell, I continue to buy them. This one is the best of the bunch from 1984, if you can't dress "Jamaican," then why bother? A cute surf pants pattern.
Sourcing spending included some red/white/blue crochet squares, CDs (2 for 1 sale day), patterns and books. For patterns, I look for vintage, craft, pet-related, and costumes. This jaw-droppingly  gorgeous Civil War costume is uncut.
I miss fashion linkups, they were a lot of fun. I learned from them to be daring sometimes. When I purchase clothes thrift, sometimes an entire outfit comes together like these 3 pieces, (a yellow submarine graphic t-shirt, red leather Talbots belt, and Evan boyfriend jeans with patches)
July's Fun Fashion Finds
Days devoted to sourcing continue with the thought things could be shut down. I look forward to the interviews I have on schedule and my return to college in August. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

Striking A Pose

I am trying to find that delicate balance between buying too much product and selling it. The majority of what I list for sale is from thrifting, now online auctions are fast overtaking that activity for finding product. I've got a bag full of Girl Scout I need to process.

At what point do you decide, this is never going to sell? After I have well surpassed the 500 listing mark, I think I will cancel those listings with low views and no movement. Many are books and they take up a lot of space. I actually live next to a well-known rare bookseller. I haven't seen their setup for storing books. 

Specialty books have been a boon for me. I just sold a vintage Complete Course in Magic and then found this Calvin & Hobbs Collection

The first stop of the day included all pictured below. I am tempted to model the graphic T shirt and jeans. I really need to list more clothing. The clothing exchanges have shut down again so nothing new is coming in or being accepted. 
I committed to listening to another round of 6 used cassettes. Bought a few more sewing patterns, and a 1960 60 songs with chords for guitar book (keeper). I have delusions of someday learning to play the guitar. Other keepers? This Ty mint green dragon (50 cents) and a Girl Scout tin (too cute!) and Folk Years CD. 

Fun find of the day: Cookbook from 1965, fun illustrations from that time period.
I have also altered how I post images on listings. I color scan them onto a jump drive and then supplement with photos I have taken by camera. An example would be the front and back of a CD scanned, then the interior with the back of the CD displayed then photographed. 

Quilting update: I am in the binding phase of two projects. I am even bumping one because I want my Retro quilt done first. The other is Minimalist Plaid, one to be gifted. 

I have a Zoom interview on Monday and a Webex interview on Thursday. I am curious how they will go. Luckily, I have a hair appointment on schedule Saturday and our county is still open (unlike neighboring counties). 

Seems Americans can look forward to another stimulus check. Mine will go 100% to debt reduction. 

Best of trail cam in July, this doe and fawn series. Fawn looks like she is striking a pose. More likely she discovered the camera. 

You can see how much the fawn had grown in 2 weeks. 

After I bought those cassettes from thrift, I found 20 more in the house. Yippee!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wrapped in Tapestry

Being stuck at home, I have more time to blog. My internet connection is slow so while I wait for a process to finish on one laptop, I complete tasks on another. Another view of my remote "office," after hanging a tapestry over mirrored closet doors.
Even though I try to make my surroundings in this situation as wonderful as possible, it still feels like a prison. I don't see a return to being in the office. With all of the state workers working remotely, it seems like the very life has been sucked out of the city. Sacramento is one of the damaged ones. How will restaurants survive the repeated closures and lack of business? 

Glad I have been ripping music to my laptop. Before I started selling CDs, I gave away over 100+ but thankfully had ripped them. My music shuffle and the ability to leave the ranch at lunch to deliver packages to the post office, keep me partially sane. 

On my debt reduction plan, every $100 I earn from eBay sales, I apply another $100 from my checking to my credit debt. I have cut my $5,000 debt in half. Add in another stimulus check and a couple more months and I will be debt free. 

My goal at beginning of summer was to reach 500 active listings and I have done that. My eBay limits have been increased to 700. And it looks like I will have to open a business account at a bank to participate in Managed Payments. My credit union isn't one linked to eBay. 

This lush Christmas tree skirt kit sold within the hour of listing. A group of recently-listed counted cross stitch kits never even made it into the product room selling same day. 
If you are working remotely, what do you do to counteract the effects of isolation? 

Monday, July 20, 2020

More of what I kept and what I sold

Reselling is a social experiment. It is a combination of being on trend, the social climate, and dumb luck. It always comes back to "sell what you know." There are numerous videos about BOLOs (be on the lookout for) whatever the item of the day is. I have fallen in that trap, those BOLOs eventually sold but they were slow movers. 

Vintage cookbooks are a sure sell for me. A 1982 Sunset spiral bound cookbook sold within hours of listing. A counted cross stitch kit sold the next day after listing. 

Not selling are the Barbie doll clothes, craft books, specific craft items and the lid knocker.  

Cassettes continue to sell but I am a little skittish about them because even though I test them, they are the most likely to fail. 

Finding CDs at thrift is like picking diamonds from heaven. It also gives me a chance to revisit some old favorites and listen to some new ones. 

I have a favorite hospice thrift for finding pins and this is the latest one. At $1.99, labeled Steve Kalar, I am pretty sure there is a piece of lapis lazuli in that one.  

A big fan of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, I kept this stamped cross-stitch baby quilt kit ($14.99) for myself. 
I had this yellow crocheted blanket ($4 thrift) all ready to sell, but the elephants convinced me to keep it.

I am slowly but surely giving away fabric "uglies." I could cull again in my remnants but now I wrap each eBay order in fabric, men fabric for men (not frou frou) and the rest for women. 

For those of you who had been following me on Facebook, I have deactivated that account. I still post on Twitter 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Has Being Patriotic Gone Out of Style?

Sourcing expeditions always include items for me. There are 4 thrift shops still open in my neighboring county. I spent $100 total buying CDs, needlework kits, sewing patterns, books, another crocheted blanket and the two items shown below. If I am not buying for myself, the question I ask myself is "Will it sell?" I don't hold back now when I buy at thrift. We don't know when they might close them back down. 

Those things I did keep for myself were to spruce of my new "remote office" location. Turns out I was sitting too far away from the router so I was getting spotty internet service. I had to move to a different room and rearrange it. This $12 wood turned plant stand was a perfect fix to add more light. 
The $4 flag needlepoint traveled all the way from Des Moines, Iowa according to the framer's label. That cutie will be in the background when I am in Webex meetings. There is patriotic memorabilia all throughout the house. I have two Quilts of Valor lap quilts.  
On to my process regarding CDs, it is a little more involved than some purchases. I pull the CDs that I know will sell and those that look unusual. Of the unusual ones, I sit down somewhere in the store and search the titles to see what they are selling for, if it is less than $5, I won't buy it. While I am in line, I check the CD cases to ensure that the correct CD is there. 

At home, I rip the music to my laptop. Also, if the CD doesn't rip, I know there is something wrong with it so I don't sell it. 

I replace the worn CDs cases with new ones, also bought thrift. This sourcing round included 2 packs of 10 CD jewel cases for $3. Sometimes I will sell a CD with a cracked case, if it is minor. 

Fun find of the day - C C and the Music Factory. Looks like it is signed (I blocked it out since I am not sure who signed it), a keeper no matter what. 
People must still be shedding stuff or going through their living spaces, there were lines at nearly ALL of the thrift shops I visited. 

Pattern of the day found in this sourcing round, Patty Reed Designs 2004 sewing pattern little girl's outfits. 
Best of the needlework bunch was this Bucilla Picking Flowers counted cross stitch. 
We will see if this is a mover, a 1982 spiral bound Sunset Easy Basics for Good Cooking. 
Just as predicted, one of the gospel CDs sold. If people can't go to church, they can always listen to gospel music on CD.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Passing the 450 Mark
Testing the eBay waters with a crocheted blanket, twin bed-sized and in great shape, thought it was worth the $4 gamble. I am edging closer to 500 listings with 466 active. 
The Girl Scout stuff sold quickly and I have since bought more. I found this Boy Scout shirt and will see if it is as popular with collectors. The necklace I picked up for $16.50, very nice silver work even though the pendant is molded plastic. 

Sewing patterns are selling. When I first started collecting them around five years ago or so, I thought I would hold them for 10 or 15 years and maybe they would sell. Not in my wildest dreams did I think they would be selling like hotcakes now.
Pattern of the Day is from 1972

I have moved product yet again, this time to the informal "she shed." We have a travel trailer that will not be traveling anywhere in the near future. It is not climate controlled, so the CDs will stay in the house on the bookshelves. Sewing patterns, needlepoint kits and books are moving (the last to be organized).
I do envision having an entire barn filled with product for sale. 

Ending this post with a fun find of the day, 2001 Paul Revere & the Raiders Ride to the Wall, Dedicated to all the American Men and Women who served in the Vietnam War.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Virtual State Fair 2020

Today would have been opening day at the California State Fair.  The fair scene has been a part of my life for many years, having been a booth vendor, submitting competition art work and quilts, and blogging about my experiences these past few years. Because I miss it so much, I present The Virtual State Fair 2020.

We will begin with the food competition. I offer Pumpkin Bread, chock full of raisins and pecans. Local judge Mr. Von Zalez gives it top rating. 

I have been going through my recipes, altering them, updating them. Here is Zucchini Bread, also a strong contender in the baked loaf category. Image below doesn't include the dates (I was out of them), a key ingredient. 

My first year of making plum jam. I referred to the Kerr Kitchen Cookbook, Home Canning and Freezing Guide (1990). 

In my inexperience, there was plum jam everywhere! I had to wash the floors and all the utensils and me.

That little gingham seal on the jam, 20 years old. New in package. It has been that long since I last did any canning (hangs head in shame). 

Moving into arts and crafts, my entry into the quilted wall hanging category. Pieces of the Past quilt, original post here. It was quilted diagonally and in the ditch. 

Who can resist the rides and carousels? 

My brother Puyallup Fair 1962
There is nothing like fair food!
The little critters we like to see but probably terrifies them.

And the others ..

Me in my calf-wrangling days, 1970
You know there are always vendors and product demonstrations. The Mr. did a video for our eBay product - the Hard Times 2020 lid knocker.

I pray there will be a California State Fair in 2021! If you have any summer craft or fair-related posts, please share yours in the comments.

Links to past year's posts on the California State Fair.