Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Collectables and eBay

Always, I’ve claimed, that I’m not the kind of person who would get into collecting; that tchotchke type knickknacks drove me nuts.  My guess, is this claim is a residual effect from my grandmother. She was/is constantly trying to pawn off kindly gift her painted bird house and lace doily collections.

Lately, I’ve seen people re-claim both of these and make them kitschy cool. However, I’m not cool in that ironic neo-homemaker sort of way (Although that is my ideal, and what I want for my life in the future)

Collecting did not seem in the cards as I had spent many years developing an aversion to collecting and collections. Just when I’d made up my mind, along came Wilber (this pig). 044 Wilber’s adoption started at “The Will”. (Another name for “The Goodwill”….I think my mom came up with this one or my dad started saying it when I would be looking for my mom, as in, I think she’s out cruising “The Will”) As you would have it, one lovely Saturday, because really aren’t all Saturdays lovely, Alex and I were cruising “The Will”; He was cruising for a pot to replace the plastic water bottle which had held our spare change.
The bottle had “mysteriously” disappeared!  Okay so I put it in the recycling bin….sue me for not wanting an old plastic water bottle full of change in the bedroom.

As we looked for the pot, we came across a suitable piggy bank, plain pink, but simple enough to suffice.  It however cost 8 dollars, and to top it all off, it had a tag from the original store which said 10 dollars and 99 cents, one of my BIG pet peeves at “The Will”.

It infuriates me when “The Will” charges almost as much as someone paid originally. Do they really think we should pay this much for a donated item? We should pay no more than double a yard sale price. Just my humble opinion.

We passed on the pink pig, but on our way home, we stopped by my favorite neighborhood antique store “Aging Fancies”, in the Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle.
024  (The ladies love Wilber, and why wouldn’t they!)
We spotted Wilber with his beautiful black and red stoneware skin. Gorgeous! We picked him up and fell immediately in love. The gentleman who co-owns the store noticed us swooning and said, “It's yours for twenty dollars", but since we’d just been at “The Will” this sounded high. We put Wilber down. The Clerk went on to tell us how this pig would be worth fifty dollars or more on E-bay, and that he was well worth his twenty dollar price tag. This was due to the fact that Wilber was a  rare piece of Blue Mountain Pottery out of Canada.

Although I didn’t plan to re-sell Wilber, his collectability became enticing enough to spend twenty dollars. I decided we would probably not re-sell Wilber, but buying him got me thinking; starting to hope one day thifting would turn into a source of income.

Before Wilber, I never thought searching for collectables could be interesting to me. I just wanted to thrift things that fit my style, and thought that the two were mutually exclusive. However, due to Wilber, I discovered, it was possible to find interesting and collectable items, which could also be fun to find.063  After adopting Wilber, I started becoming aware of things that might be collectable, and also were things I found to be neat. This pot was found at “The Will” for 1 dollar and 99 cents. Because its finish seemed hand painted, and it’s glaze did not seem manufactured, I picked it up to see if it had a stamp, turns out it did. For the price, even if it turned out to be nothing special, I liked it. 060
I call Alex “The Bookie Monster”, and if “The Bookie Monster” had a girlfriend she would she would be called “The Dishy Monster” because of my love for anything that will fit drink and food.  Lately I’ve been trying to give all goods a test of what and when each item will be used. Now that I’ve decided I might start to re-sell, it is open season on cool creamers, and wonderful soufflé  dishes!
Found this at “The Will” for 99 cents.
Not sure what this says, but it looks hand stamped, and not like it came from a big store.
This dish was 1/2 off at a Sunday Estate sale, 3 dollars.  I rarely bake a soufflé,and by rarely, I mean never, but I just might start! Or I will serve fruit salad in it or something. Although, I also never serve fruit salad. That just sounds easier and more healthy than starting to make soufflés. Or I might just take pictures of it and frame them.Whatever, I love it.
Made by Clara in Portugal…love that! If I can’t afford to go to Portugal at least I can afford to have Clara’s pottery from Portugal.

So I’ve picked up a few things which it may be possible to re-sell. But how do I re-sell? What’s the best method?  There are a few things I’m considering eBay, a physical store, Etsy, and a stand at the Freemont market.

All of these pose challenges and benefits. And considering I have about 4 items for sale having my own physical store and even my own one day stand may not be my most realistic options at this time. So I’ve started exploring eBay, and when I started exploring, I realized I know nothing.  Basically I feel like my mom if she were to ever go on Facebook, like….ooo how do I post a picture what is this tagging all about, I’m a novice granny at E-bay, so I started looking for help.

Insert eBay Paul! This blog’s getting awful wordy….imagine that me, using too many words, this is going to turn into a two part-er, because E-bay Paul's information is very valuable, and I think you might just be as interested as I was, but after my bloggy novel above, you may need a break.

Stay tuned for the riveting conclusion to Collectables and eBay. I will discover the revolver in the library with Professor Plum and all will be resolved in The eBay/Collectable mystery….ok maybe not that exciting, and you probably won’t be anticipating my second part, but I can only imagine you need a break from my run on sentences. See you next time for the highly anticipated conclusion to the mystery. Be ready as my investigative journalism takes you into the seedy underbelly and the provocative sexy world of eBay (Well maybe not, but there are some practical tips and techniques which would have taken me years to figure out on my own)

Would love to hear about your collectable items and your experience with eBay. Let me know your tips for finding collectables and or tips when using eBay.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our Garden

This weekend we installed the raised beds Alex made with his thrifted chop saw. Here’s a few pictures of our garden.


This is Alex and Sally checking out the progress on our seedlings a few weeks ago, we bought these planters at a going out of business sale for Urban Weeds in Freemont, and although I love a deal, it was sad to see that store go, the guy who owned it was always so kind and helpful, and his plants were always top notch.  We bought our seeds last summer at Seed Savers on our Iowa Road Trip.138

My best friend Lindsey, who I grew up with, had a strawberry patch in her yard, and I remember highly anticipating it each summer. I can only imagine there will be equal amounts of anticipation this summer. It is doubtful these will produce enough strawberries to equal their cost, thriftwise, but the anticipation and excitement is worth the buck fifty we paid for each starter. The cast iron stick (?) came with the yard when we moved in and I adore it, although I am not sure what its original purpose was?


I think it is hilarious that this shallots name is Ambition considering my Mom, Boss, friends and many others have basically told me we are morons (in nicer words) for having a vegetable garden, and I do realize it would be much easier and probably about as inexpensive or less expensive to go to the store, and buy some garlic, carrots, onions, etc, but it is fun to me. Seeing plants grow makes me feel grounded, and aware. Feeling dirt in my hands is invigorating.  I was a landscaper for two years, have no dissolutions about how HARD this stuff is, but never got over the beauty and sensuality of the garden.

148(Alex made these cute wood markers out of old wood slivers) 

Once I had a tarot card reading and she told me I was an old soul, and although no one’s ever read Alex’s tarot cards, I believe him to be an old soul as well, so basically I attribute our love of watching plants to that. We wish to get back to the ritual and slowness of the old days, in fact this is probably something a lot of people in our fast paced non-stop society seek. For us it starts with a garden,a pot of tea, and a little back breaking work (that is not really the nice part….but you do sleep well after shoveling, planting, and wheel barrowing all day.)


What old time rituals do you find grounding? How do you reconnect in a world where things are constantly racing? Have you planted a garden before? What has been successful in your garden? What did you enjoy watching grow the most?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

True love

Last weekend, Alex and I went to the pre-festival Tulip festival in the Skagit Valley.  Allegedly 75 percent of the nation’s tulip crop is produced here! It was like something out of a movie, sprawling fields of tulips, daffodils, and iris.


This is the kind of stuff that  makes me feel alive. That, and spending the weekend with Alex while finding good deals. I’m very lucky to have found someone who is so patient with me, as sometimes on a Friday night I will aimlessly wonder around the grocery store “Cruising for deals” as I like to call it. I just have a hard time believing that many 26 year old men enjoy such a thing.

I was really embarrassed about this at first, and I would try to pretend like I just lost Alex by accident in the grocery store instead of me wandering off to see what items from my staple list were on sale. Amy’s soup, Myer’s Cleaning products, and endless others. Sometimes Alex catches me in the middle of the grocery store gazing at laundry detergent deciding weather 1 dollar off is a good enough deal to buy 4, and he’ll say “ Hey whatcha doin,” at the beginning stages of our relationship I would say“ Oh, nothing”, but finally after enough times being caught gazing at the same cleaning products, I finally confessed that “I was “cruising for deals”.”

Most men would not allow you to spend an extra hour or so at the store just wondering aimlessly, but I’m a very lucky lady to have found Alex. Now, if we spend less than 15 minutes at the grocery store, before we head to the cash register he says in his sweetest voice  “Do you need to cruise for deals?”

Even better,this weekend, I realized that I’ve been forcing Alex to cruise for deals so long that he has finally started cruising for his own deals. It is really adorable, he has officially cemented his stamp on my heart. He was all over the deals this weekend.

He scored us free bread for the week, courtesy of the Chinook Book, spend 5 dollars at Grand Central Bakery and get a loaf of free bread, Alex bought our weekly Saturday morning treats of coffee/tea and croissants, and we got some delicious free bread.

Alex’s triumph of the weekend was a gently used Chop Saw from craigslist for 150 dollars off of retail price, we had to drive to Mt. Vernon to get it, but we were in the neighborhood looking at tulips anyway. He will be using the chop saw for a multitude of things including building our raised bed boxes for the vegetable gardens which we plan to fill with veggies this summer.

065 On Sunday he found out that “Twice Told Tales”, a used book store in capital hill, complete with 4 or 5 beautiful store cats. (a personal favorite of mine in regard to many used book stores partially because Alex often likes to cruise for deals a bit more than I do in book stores and I need something to occupy my time while he stares blankly at stacks of Science Fiction like I do at cleaning products. And sorry to all of you who are allergic, but I love a store with a cat it’s just so down to earth or something) And unbeknownst to me he had done his deal research and found that they were having a ½ off sale on all of their hard cover books.

Alex, or “The Bookie Monster” as I have deemed him because of his book reading and buying habits, found several titles he’d been searching  for, and I found the brand new Julie Powell book Cleaving in mint condition and paid only 6 dollars. Although not on sale, because it was a paperback, I also got Ruth Riechel’s first book Tender to the Bone it was used and cost only 6 dollars and fifty cents. Both books I’d wanted to pick up if I ever found them on sale, so I was very excited he brought me to this book store.

(I would, however, like to note that although these deals are good, the library is free, which is the best deal. However, for me having my own copy is important because I read books in the bath and drop them frequently, I also like to give my books away after reading them so that other people can drop them in the bath, spill coffee on them or whatever, but if you are not a mess like I am the library is the best option for a thrifty “Bookie Monster”)

Have you all found anything thrifty and wonderful lately? What are your favorite thrifting places? Craigslist, E-bay, Goodwill, Yard Sales? Do you have any tips for “cruising deals” ?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Taxes and Treats

The tax return is in and it’s time for some tax refund treats. I have been keeping my eye out for the perfect Goodwill wallet for months, and the task has proved impossible. Although I love buying things for a few dollars and even better for a few pennies, sometimes,  for sturdy staples a modest splurge is warranted.

Because I don’t carry a purse, my wallet is like my purse, I carry it everywhere and I depend on it to hold a lot of coupons, quarters, and discount cards! After much thought I decided to splurge on a new wallet with real leather and not from a discount store. Here’s the wallet I have been eyeing for months. (my old one had been sewn back together by Alex two or three times, and the cardboard underneath the pleather was becoming  exposed) 034

I just loved this wallet, and think it will last me several years. It is

finely crafted and sturdy. It was on sale for 30 percent off when I first saw it at Burnt Sugar in Freemont two months ago. Hoping it would still be on sale when I came back, or that it would even still be there, I was delighted when it was and now was 40 percent off. Patience is a virtue apparently.

 007Another treat was a trip to the Boutique store Dream in Freemont. This beautiful bohemian maxi dress (I only know that is what the dress is called because the lovely lady at the store told me so) will be my signature summer dress and for those who knew me in my jam band days it fits my personality to a T. The yellow beads are a vintage wood necklace found at an estate sale for 2 dollars.

Since moving to Seattle, I’ve been coveting these beautiful scarves that seem to adorn the neck of every fashionable Seattleite.  I plan to make this a spring, fall, and winter staple, and may even wear it some chilly summer nights. It is so soft and elegant. I love it!052 Even Sally looks regal and hip sporting this scarf. Although both these items were a splurge for me considering I hardly ever pay more than 10 dollars for my clothes, I got a 100 dollar gift certificate on StrangerMart for 50 dollars a couple of weeks ago and got an extra 5 percent off by signing up for their e-mail list. I would like to put in a plug for this Boutique!  The lady working was super nice, and sometimes at boutiques the staff can be a bit 056uppity, so I was pleasantly surprised. She sent me a personal e-mail from the store telling me how nice the dress looked on me, and thanking me for my purchases, a nice little touch.

The owners of this store also own Bliss and Finch and Sparrow  in Freemont,and next time I treat myself I will be sure to stop back to these stores.

Because I am used to buying my clothes at “The Goodwill” or on clearance racks, the prices were a little high for me, but the prices were no higher than normal stores like Banana Republic or J-Crew, and were less than stores like Anthropology. They had a great sale rack with items in the 20-40 dollar range as well. The clothes were different from the chain stores, and the service was fantastic, I was also the only person in the store, and did not have to vie for a dressing room which I love….that is one of my least favorite things about buying clothes at “The Goodwill” and the Mall.

What do you like to treat yourselves to? Will you indulge in a modest splurge with your tax return? Hope that you find something lovely just for you that brightens your day, and will brighten it for many days in the future just as these sturdy staple modest indulgences will do for me. Happy tax season ya’ll!