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Friday, March 31, 2023

March Weird and Wacky

My search continues for thrifted Weird and Wacky items. Hula Homer is just too cute!

R2D2 Grand Salon

Pooh, yes, it sold

Sipping Sister

Kissing Kitties

If you are on Facebook, look up A different type of art's post on Shrek Themed Weddings.

Leaving you with ...

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Making of the Dog Bed, Part 1

Our annual pilgrimage to the coast is fast approaching. The Princess of All (Zipper, our dog), needed a new dog bed. I had the fabric, and the patterns, so why not give it a whirl? 

I first tried Simplicity 4793 that I pulled from my eBay inventory. Good thing that I did, because the pattern was missing part of the pattern and instructions. I did keep the applique star pattern. 

The next pattern that I prepped for sewing was Simplicity 9065 - the large bed pictured in the upper left hand corner in the pattern pictured below. 

Finding an area big enough for cutting was a challenge. Both materials, the large floral print and the lightweight denim, are upholstery weight. 

The stars were raw edge appliqued onto the side panels. When it is laundered, the stars will fray around the edges. 

The zipper installation went pretty well. I hadn't created a zippered project in quite a few years. The cream colored zipper was sewn between the plackets. 

Part 2 will feature the further construction and completion of the dog bed. My sewing projects sort of lag along, now that I have dropped out of "competition" quilting. Both of my fabric art pieces received honorable mention at the California State Fair, but there was a snafu on the fair's part that my last submission wasn't exhibited. I won't detail it here. 

Thrifting update: A morning power outage meant a sweet escape from work to visit the hospice thrift. The online sellers were there when the doors opened. Had I been more awake, I would been able to purchase more of the boxed Hallmark ornaments. I bought 2, one I will keep and one I will sell.

My other purchases were fabric, 2 Raggedy Rag dolls, and uncut sewing patterns. $37 at one thrift store meant my budget was spent. 

I splurged with an online auction buy - I knew there were quilt blocks and fabric but that was it. Total spent including shipping $120.00. 

My heart sank when I opened the box - this is what I saw. Quilter's remnants. But beneath Mystery Quilter's remnants were 34 Grandma's Flower Garden blocks, along with a pieced section. Precut remnants ensure the finished project can be completed. 

I have always wanted a Grandma's Flower Garden. This one is unique in that it is done in vintage fabrics. I have an entire box full of replacement fabric along with the white spacer fabric and templates for cutting. 

Sometimes I have biffed on online auction purchases but this one was a winner. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Freebies are Fun and Business is Tricky

I have snipped the last of the daffodil blooms secret thrift shop location. These are a totally different variety from my first batch of purloined blooms a few weeks ago. Those were so fragrant, these - not so much. I did buy the measuring vase at thrift for 99 cents. We are in for another storm so I am sure they would not survive that pummeling. 

Our town had a community-wide garage sale. The participation seemed a little sparse, but one Mary Kay seller gave away discounted product. In addition to some delightful scents, lipsticks, and nail polish, there was this owl pin. Rhinestones all intact! Freebie to me 😍

And ... eBay seller update - in California we are required to remit sales tax on the products we sell. It is collected by eBay according to the county tax table of the seller. Each year I calculate that amount and remit it to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Thankfully, there are online tutorials to aid the business owner.

Here is one tidbit I learned after watching the CDTFA Sales and Tax Return Preparation Seminar, the sales tax for return purposes is calculated on the gross sales minus the sales tax collected. That only makes sense! But I didn't calculate it that way the past three years. Better to make calculation errors while the business is small. Even as my business grows, I will still keep a close eye on the books when I hand over the bookkeeping and taxes part of the business to someone else.  

One advantage to the type of wares that I peddle: sewing patterns, books, needle kits, quilting and crocheted items, I sell year around and am not dependent on the holiday season. 

My average sale last year was $15. Total gross sales July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 - $9,700. I am hoping to surpass $12,000 in total gross sales this year. As of this post, I have over 2,200 active listings. The last three months I have averaged $1,000 a month in sales. 

Any business is hard work, there is no doubt. But that hard work pays off, I am debt free. I have been able to use my sales money to travel, and keep up with inflation. 

Until next time,


Friday, March 17, 2023

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Today is the Wearing O' the Green. This little sign was for sale at the Goodwill Boutique in Sacramento. Penance amongst the shamrocks? 

Here is one sewing pattern that I have kept for a future project. My first competition quilt was done in raw edge applique similar to this pattern. 

I discovered I am a seller on eBay, not a reseller. My goal is to have everything listed in my death pile by the end of this month, and reach 2,500 active listings. 

Pattern of the Day is this 2015 reproduction of a 1950s Vintage poodle skirt, complete with original reprints of 1950s pattern graphics.

A community-wide garage sale is set for Saturday, and I hope to snag some good stuff. 

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Profit Margin Perplexation

An odd post title - let me explain. I had a buyer inquire about a cut sewing pattern I had listed for sale on eBay. When I first started listing patterns that were cut, I didn't note at what size. Patterns can be multiple sizes in one packet, say size 6 to size 12. This particular child's dress pattern was cut at size 7.  

I offered to sell the buyer a new uncut pattern and would have sold it for $8 + shipping. I have calculated that $8 is the lowest price I would normally go to make a profit. 

The buyer messaged back that she had found the pattern at $6.95 + free shipping. 

Sure, I would take that - it is a good deal. Postage for a pattern averages $4.00. Let's say the buyer paid $1 for that pattern, now we are at $5.00 cost to seller. Seller has now made $1.95 profit, but wait! We haven't deducted all of the costs of operation in running a business. 

If a lowball offer comes in on a pattern, I will accept without countering. Any bite on inventory is better than no bites at all. Any product I list going forward will be no lower than $8. 

Sequeing to sewing pattern of the day. This 1954 is one of the cut patterns I have priced at $8.

After holding back the reins on my thrift shop purchasing for awhile, I was finally let loose to visit the 4 in my vicinity. I spent $60 for the total shopping day of mainly books, some fabric, and sewing patterns. One thrift shop routinely sets out free items on a cart out front, I brought home an armload of quilting magazines. Along with those magazines were three needlework patterns - now listed in eBay. Thank you 💜Christmas sells year around. Freebies to inventory mean higher profit margins! Post update - this pattern sold next day.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Future sewing plans

Just completed a needle kit and yarn listing session, and I am working again on listing sewing patterns on eBay. They really are my favorites to list, with books running a close second. No surprise there as those are my top 2 categories in sales. 

Here is the latest Hollywood shot of the listed yarn. I think black backgrounds are best for this product.

Of the hundreds of patterns that I work with, I only keep a few. Another pattern I have pulled for my Tami future retirement is this current McCall's (2022) Totes and pouches pattern. 

I must say I did quite well with tax refunds this year and have purchased a new Bernette 05 Crafter Sewing Machine. [not a sponsored post]

My Baby Lock quilting machine is too unwieldy to tote around. I wanted a portable machine to take RVing and for on-site sewing classes. I did look into the vintage featherweights but I get very frustrated with older machines if they don't run exactly right. A tan 221 recently sold at online auction for over $1,000. The new Bernette was $350. 

There is a method to my madness. I like any activity that might turn into income. I found this YouTuber and her Sew to Sell series. The gist of it is that she has done well making simple totes and pouches. 

If I do get into some serious sewing, I may purchase a third machine for heavy duty fabrics. I pass by the upholstery fabric at thrift but now I might take a closer look for future projects. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Dust Off a Quilt Book Day

This quilt-related post begins with my latest near completion - Flamingos and Flowers quilt. Near completion because I will hand sew the French binding. This will have to do for a glamour shot for now. Our weather is too cold and rainy for in-the-wild photography. 

The flower blocks came in a lot, 1/2 of which I sold. I retained them because some of them needed to be rehabilitated/repaired, and I wanted a quilt for myself. It is a mixture of new and old. The flamingo material came from Joanns and the flamingo/flower quilting pattern is one I have wanted for awhile. I just needed the right quilt top, the longarmer had just the right pattern.  

I am participating in the Dust Off a Quilt Book blog hop. Link to Day 1 and the other participants A thanks to the hostess for this intriguing linkup. 

This is one of my favorite books, Mad About Plaid! because I adore plaid wovens. 

I have a tub full of that type of fabric for my next inspired project. Here is one pattern that was highlighted on Facebook recently.  Love 💖how the fabric artist used the plaid cornerstones. 
I will have a plaid creation to showcase in the upcoming months. 

Bea posted an invitation to quilters who wanted to showcase a favorite quilt book, and to find their earliest publication on the subject. 

The earliest published book I have on the subject is The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America (1935). Part I - History and Quilt Patches; Part II - Quilts--Antique and Modern; Part III - Quilting and Quilting Designs. 

Fabricoholics will see I snuck in a bit 'o vintage fabric in the images. The book find was most def secondhand and I am pretty sure there was a Tami squeak of happiness when the publication date was revealed. 

Here is a poem by Elizabeth Ryan DeCoursey from that publication. 

Life is like a patchwork quilt
And each little patch is a day,
Some patches are rosy, happy, and bright,
And some are dark and gray

But each little patch as it's fitted in
And sewn to keep it together
Makes a finished block in this life of ours
Filled with sun, and with rainy weather.

So let me work on Life's patchwork quilt
Through the rainy days and the sun--
Trusting that when I have finished my block
The Master may say: "Well done."

To Quilt Lovers Everywhere - World Without End!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

My Top 5 Best Selling Publications on eBay

Top 5 books that are my best sellers on eBay.

1.    The New York Times Cookbook (1961) by Craig Claiborne. I have a particular fondness for this one. It was one of my first cookbooks. I still use the teriyaki recipe to this day.

2.    Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1970) by Julia Child and Simone Beck, this one happens to be Volume 2. Our public broadcasting station runs Julia Child cooking shows every afternoon. I tune in when the Mr. isn't watching cowboy movies. Post update: This book sold the same day as listed.

3.    Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. The Red Plaids. These sold more on condition than year of publication. Here is a pandemic blip in sales - these books sold like hot cakes during that time frame. I had 20 of them in my inventory at one point. I have 2 left to sell.

4.    Sewing books, the older the publication, the better. This Singer Sewing Book (1954) is worth the price just for the graphics. These I also collect for my library.

From very old to very new, I will try my hand at selling this sewing publication.

5.    Tarot and Tattoo. Both are popular subjects.

The first two listed books, along with the Singer Sewing Book were Goodwill boutique finds, all same day. It was a happy Tami thrifting day.  

Those are the ones that are popular - vintage sewing and cookbooks, how-to, and specialty publications. 

Friday, March 3, 2023

Purchase of the Primitive and the Making of the Dog Bed

The primitive doll pattern sold quickly, so I picked up this primitive doll $1.99 at thrift. It has freakishly long arms and legs, and an elongated face. We will see how fast it will sell. Post update: doll sold within a few days.

I had quite a shock when I went to a big box retailer to purchase a dog bed. I had remembered the cost being around $18 - $20. No longer, the cost is now $50. I pulled a couple of dog bed patterns from my inventory. I also have upholstery/heavy duty fabric and stuffing. This project has bumped all of my quilt-related ones. 

I attempted pattern sewing a few years ago. It was a dress pattern that I totally goofed up, then recycled back to the Great Thrift Shop Beyond. An upcoming post will feature the dog bed crapht attempt. 

Thrifting update: A new thrifted tapestry has updated my remote office decor for the upcoming spring. The tapestry covers mirrored closet doors. Seeing your reflection in the mirror for hours on end is a bit disconcerting. 

Reseller update: My eBay listings hover around 2,200. I take breaks from listing sessions. It really is work. I have put a kibosh on buying for the time being. My non-listed product now joins me in a small space until I can move it downstairs to the shelving. Moving downstairs means it is an active listing. 

Books have been selling again after a long pause in that category. My most recent eBay listing sessions have been books. Some of those were from the last purge from my personal collection. I will highlight my favorite best sellers in an upcoming post.