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Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Western art find

I have a small collection of Western art, now a burgeoning three pieces. One is a framed Charles Russell print and another framed acrylic on canvas wagon train scene shown above. The back story on that picture is I purchased the painting for $250 at the now-defunct Three Women and an Armoire in Sacramento. I found the frame deeply discounted in the bargain section of the now-defunct Aaron Brothers Art Mart, also in Sacramento. 

One thrift I frequent has numerous pieces of art but they are all usually over-priced. I splurged on this $40 print, labeled as "Vintage, hand-colored engraving." While it may or not be, it is beautifully framed and matted and I am thrilled it has joined my collection. 

I begin my Introduction to Art History class in a couple of weeks. Queued up for summer session is Art of the Americas. Both are 8 week classes so they move through the material at a fast clip. The counselor mentioned, "Now, you get to take all of the fun classes," since I have met my pre-requisites on the completion of my first associate's degree. 

On work front, I passed probation as a Senior Legal Analyst. It had been a 7 year goal since I left private practice management of a small law firm. Always ambitious, I have set my sights on an entry level management position of Staff Services Manager I. I am in a fast-growing department that might benefit from my experience. 

Reseller update: Working through the last of the books I have gained from estate sales and my personal collection. I am winnowing down my library to a few vintage cookbooks, some sewing/quilting reference books and books I want to read in retirement. 

Once I catch up in one category, I have soo much in the death pile still to list. Next up is 60 or so sewing patterns, CDs (more than I care to count), needlework kits, boy scout items and crochet and quilt items. I have 900 listings on the boards that total $13,000. 

1st Quarter goal - 1,000 listings that total $15,000. 

I don't do much quilting in the winter because my sewing machine is downstairs where it is COLD. I about froze completing my Christmas quilt top but I was motivated, I love the fabric combinations so much. I am also bummed because my professional longarmer (the person who quilted my projects), segued to selling only quilting products online. 

Wish I crocheted, I just listed this easy-to-finish crochet project.

Post update - those granny squares sold in one day. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Who'd Thunk Books Would Be So Popular

I continue to marvel at the fact that people collect books. I don't know why it amazes me. I collect books too. I keep about 1 out of 10 that I sell. 

I always wondered why my neighbors, who happen to be well-known book sellers in the area, were able to go on lengthy vacations. I kept saying, "You can't make that much money in books!" Apparently, I was wrong. 

With the help of a couple of stimulus payments and my eBay sales, I will be debt free by the end of March. March also marks a year of remote working. 

I am not sure if this happened in other parts of the states but during the worst of the pandemic, there were people in lines in their cars waiting for food distributions. There were brand new cars and trucks in line. Granted, some fall into misfortune. But then there are others, who have over-extended their ability to pay back their debts. My business math professor noted long-term financed vehicles is where the trouble starts for most people. That $40,000 vehicle purchase price? If you put very little down and make only the required monthly payment for 6-7 years, that vehicle will cost you much more than you image. The same thing with a mortgage, little money down, 30-year fixed, that $250,000 house will end up costing you $393,000. 

Segueing to a totally different topic - the 2020-buy-no-fabric-challenge. During the lockdown, Joann's was open as an essential business. More like a shot in the arm for a sense of normalcy during that time. That, and my postal deliveries being essential so I got to drive into our one-horse town nearly every day. I have been doing better keeping my fabric under control. I give away a fat quarter at a time wrapping my eBay orders in it. 

I was staying away from the auction boards, then THIS happened. It was my intent to win at least 1 of the 3 bids I had on the mystery boxes, and ended up winning all 3.

Box No. 1: Baby box

Thankfully there were patterns, 44 of them. I can recoup my $25 spent. There was also some quilt rulers, cards, stickers, and stamping stuff (the latter I will thrift back). 

Box No. 2: Momma box

Eight more sewing patterns were contained inside, including a Laurel Burch fabric bag (now I have 2!), some colorful upholstery fabric and a 1985 publication The Saucier's Apprentice, a keeper (also pictured above). Lastly, 9 Leisure Arts magazines. I will recoup my cost on the patterns, two of which are dog clothes and those will sell. 

Box No. 3: Poppa box

I biffed on this box. While I might recoup my cost, it was the orange pillow kit that caught my eye. 

My two orange pillow finds from 2020.
Residents of my remote work office/bedroom

A trip in to Sacramento for my legal reference book for work meant a stop at Goodwill. I got my fill of sure-selling vintage cookbooks. 

That trip also revealed many restaurants in the downtown grid had closed. Now, when you google restaurants near me, you will have to google restaurants still open. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

No cashmere and the clothing exchange

There have been no cashmere sweaters. Usually, I find one or more of them at thrift, but none so far. I did find a gray Pendleton long-sleeved Merino wool sweater at Goodwill for $5.99. I. Love. It. 

What did I do recently for relaxation? Bought Build A Bear clothes for camo bear on eBay and Amazon. So silly. Now, he will have proper attire for spring summer, a fly fishing vest and camo shorts. The Amazon outfit is "Wild and Free" aka hippy.

I am thinking he/she will make an appearance at an upcoming theme reveal for a blog challenge. 

Reseller's update:

My first round of listings of the Vietnam-related books from the naval historian's estate total over $200. Just those books alone, priced at comparable current listings. We will see how well they do on the auction board. 

The next rounds from that estate are a mixture of man books. I am betting this publication won't sit on the boards for long.

Or, this one, I could see someone wanting to build a boat.

The red plaid BHG cookbooks continue to be money makers for me. I was asking too low a price for them. The last one sold at listing price for $55! Hallejuah! I've got two more to list. They are all from 1989. Odd. Must have been a large printing that year. 

The last of the Barbie clothes sold with just one listing of Bigger than Barbie clothes on the auction board. Slow but eventual sellers. Funny how I find things in trends. The Barbie clothes bought by the bag at thrift I savedhoarded for a few years. After I culled them and kept the cutest, I listed the rest. 

And, as I mentioned at the top of the post. No cashmere sweaters, even at the clothing exchange. I have $75+ of earned credit at Freestyle Clothing Exchange. I can get a few quality pieces of clothing/accessories at the downtown Sacramento store. 

Ending with a gardening update. My new method with the greenhouse is to plant the seeds directly into the raised beds, rather than try to start them from seed in the capsules. I have the fibrous pots to cull any extra seedings. I gave away TONS of plant starts by the roadside last year, at least 25 tomato plants, and many others. Everything germinated. 

Each year, I invent a new deer deterrent to keep them away from my two grape vines. They are encircled by cattle fencing (the deer crawl under it), barbed wire (they jump over the 8' tall sections), chicken wire (encased BOTH vines - I got grapes last year), and this year it will be a combination of hog wire AND chicken wire. Even then a buck could get frisky and kick the whole shebang over. It is a yearly battle I rarely win. Photos soon to follow. I have to go and pull the hog wire off of the old chicken coop. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Middle of February thoughts and musings

Had to block my first buyer on eBay. Rather than make an offer on a vintage pattern, I received messages inquiring why I had listed it at that price. We are talking about less than $15. Really? Have you ever heard of a finder's fee? Ah well, now mystery buyer can't bid at all now that I have placed a block on said person. 

Listings I have removed are unpopular CDs (low page views), a Robert Wood Autumn Glade print (didn't want to ship it) and I edited women's clothing and random kits to half off their price. If they still don't sell, I will pull them and thrift them back. I also kept the wire sculpting, beads, beading materials, and books on that subject. Here is a fun one pulled from the death pile. When will I ever make jewelry? IDK. It seemed appropriate to keep it for now so I will trust my instincts. 

And what the heckamunda is happening with my page views? Double and triple my usual traffic. Anyone visiting if you could share how you found me. Some of the popular posts are years old, but I guess that is no surprise since I have been blogging for over 10 years. 

I am kicking around the idea of participating in the AtoZ Challenge again this April. It has been a few years. This round would be a focus on reselling. 

I have hit my goal of 900 eBay active listings. I think I would like to hover around 1,000 listings for awhile. At that point, it makes the most sense to maintain an online store. Guess what I discovered today? Terapeak Sourcing research on eBay. I searched for solds on crocheted blankets and they are selling for around $40. I have a black squared one with colored centers AND black crochet squares to list. 

My next website goal is to draw a logo. I have a unique image now but want something more gypsy psychedelic paisley-ish with the name of the website encircling the perimeter.

Update to post, my new logo is up and running. I try not to use OPA (other people's artwork) or images. A look at my sketchbook revealed I had not done any sketches for 4 years. And here she is!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Another Mary Englebreit and that Snow Day

Two months from Christmas and after completing my Mary Englebreit black border Christmas quilt dark-and-moody, I gained at thrift Englebreit precuts with yellow and red squares. A ten year old material that will be given a new life. 

A publication scored from an estate sale I pulled from the resell pile was this 1979 The Complete Book of Picnics. The promise of elaborate feasts, any time, any place, include Fried Chicken Picnic with  the menu being mouth-watering.

Southern Fried Chicken
Turnip Greens
Fried Okra (ok, that one not so much)
Blackeye Pea Salad
Matilda's Sweet Potato Pie

Reseller update: I have yet to figure out why whenever I am listing in a certain category on eBay, that category is the one that products sell. For instance, I am listing books now. I have at least 20 from a naval historian's estate that need to be listed. I also had a quilt book purge and pulled half of my library in that genre to sell. So, guess what is selling? Books. The same thing happens when I list patterns. I think there is some kind of bot metric involved. 

I had so much fun with my daughter in the snow. It was a once in a lifetime experience, the weather was perfect, the people on the hill were limited, and the drama of the landscape was breathtaking.

Sadly, I did not even make one run down the bunny hill. I was in such bad shape from the past year of relative inactivity. No 8 block walks to and from the downtown parking garage. No long walks on my lunch break anymore. It is clear I have to focus more on my strength training. I don't know if it was age or altitude, but I was not going to make it without injury if I didn't stop that activity. So I soaked in the beauty of the Timber Creek resort area. Thankfully, I was dressed to remain warm because the indoor lodge was COVID closed. 

Podcasting is still on my mind wondering how to use this virtual environment in a new world. Working remote is the new "black." One podcast idea is to host a Virtual Progressive Picnic. Each participant would highlight his or her dish describing the recipe and maybe a little background. Progressive dinners were a thing back in the 1970s. A group of people would organize a dinner that began with the salad/cheese appetizers, move to the next house for maybe soup and entree, then move to the next house for the dessert. 

Whatcha think? Thumbs up or thumbs down? 

Link to Survey Monkey Survey re VPP

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Happy Valentine's Day

Glad I kept my camo Build A Bear, I de-listed him on eBay when I was purging everything during lockdown. Earlier in the week, I found the Bee Mine costume at Goodwill for $5. The background fabric is what pre-Valentines eBay orders were wrapped in, and my mom made the card. 

Added to my sewing room collection was this sweet oil on canvas painting $3 at thrift.  

I like eBay's motto, "While new is nice ... it's twice the price."

I have moved into yet another phase of my reselling business. I obtained a Post Office Box. You have to list a return address on all packages. It was time to disconnect my home address from my business. 

As things have eased up, I have made more of an effort to see my friends. I tend to keep to myself so add work isolation to that and it is not a good thing. I am scheduling lunches with friends at least once a month. It is good for the soul to be together and laugh with a friend. 

Reseller update follows - here is what sourcing looks like. And that Chris Gaines/Garth Brooks rocker CD? I found it, this time one complete with CD. 

Zena photobombed

I found a thrift that sells cards by the packet, rather than singly. I share those with my mom, she sends out twice as many cards as I do. 

A present to myself, my pink pinwheel quilt came back from the longarmer. The only credit I can take for this one is to add side borders and bind it. I bought the quilt top for $8 at a flea market. 

Ending the post with this fun find that joined my ever-growing collection of kitsch. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Never Going Back

No big surprise, the state department I work for has announced that 100% telework has been extended until the year's end. I figured that out 6 months ago when I invested in office furniture/chair. It really is a shame, the office was in one of my favorite downtown Sacramento buildings, and I had a window cubicle. I am still trying to process the information. I think part of me held some hope I would be returning to Sacramento. 

Now the million dollar question: Can a California state employee live outside of the state in a telework environment? At present, you must have residency in California. There is more than one person thinking why not live in another state with lower living expenses? What difference does it make? We are never going back to the office. All of those expensive downtown office leases will eventually expire. 

Two other things to share on this post, a Laurel Burch bag find. After a good washing, it was put to use holding my sewing patterns to be listed. Last thrift shop visit I picked up 8 vintage Vogue patterns - score!

Love the three cats on the front. I have three now with the youngest being a troublemaker.

A wonderful February find for me, a 1947 Good Housekeeping Needlecraft Encyclopedia. Especially useful is how to make corded netting. This book has instructions for everything! It is a forever keeper. 

Pattern of the Day is a 1966 McCall's. Beach dress to me means sun, sand, shopping, and shows. My perfect formula for a vacation. Someday. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

Super Bowl Sunday project

Super Bowl Sunday means I work on projects while I watch the commmercials and the half time show. One year my daughter and I worked on a jelly roll race quilt, this year I attempted a spring flower wreath. My mom had requested it so she could hang it outside her door at assisted living. I had a bag of precut flowers and centers bought at thrift. 
I also had a wreath with a few remnant Christmas items that I pulled off.
I constructed each fabric flower with buttons at the center using heavy duty thread. 
The fabric flowers were sewn to zip ties.
With the final result. 

And on to reseller update:
This $9.99 bag of thrifted fabric was a delightful purchase. Best of the bunch included a section of a license plate print that joined my Travel Quilt project bag. A third of the non-cotton material was thrifted back. 

Quilting books are eye candy for me and have discovered are easy sales on eBay. I buy them for $1.29 each and list them for $15 and up. 

Each book is examined for any damage I have to reveal and the off-chance that original owner may have tucked money in one of them. That hasn't happened for me but one can always hope. 

I hit up another estate sale, this one being not so exceptional having spent $23 on books, CDs and misc. sewing. I didn't buy the sewing machine but the manual came in my lot, so there is some $$ there. 

I found two Chris Gaines CDs, one at hospice thrift and one at the estate sale. BOTH were missing their CDs, got excited for nothing. Chris Gaines aka rocker Garth Brooks. sheesh

Sometimes it is a hit and sometimes it is a miss when you are sourcing. 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Launch of my Website and Snow Day Coming My Way

Now, all of my online wanderings are consolidated under one site that links my blog, grammasonacid shenanigans on YouTube, and reselling activity on eBay.

Future plans on the website are to sell some unusual and bizarre items, such as pine cones, or rocks, or something equally nonsensical. Because ya know ... grammasonacid. 
Gramma is going to go on non-hallucinogenic, yet to be defined, trips. 

Each month I will feature a Help Our Cause, this month being Improve Conditions for Local Chickens. Our chicken coop is badly in need of repair. Who knows what fundraising will be next month? 

There is a snow day coming my way. I haven't skiied in years but have all of the top notch equipment. Since we have had such an amazing snowfall this season, I want to spend at least one day in the winter wonderland. My daughter snowboards and I ski, so we are going up for the day at a local resort. 

I am appearing more often in my blog posts. I like to do photoshoots, and I love modeling (even though my runway is a dirt road), so my mission, beginning now, is to find an amazing thrifted ball gown. I've got tiaras, I've got gloves and I've got the accessories. Why not wear them? Why not go bridal? We should seize the day even more than before. 

Reseller update: I thought things would slow down on the auction boards but didn't take into account people would be receiving their income tax refunds. I am selling a mix of items now but books seem to be on the forefront.