Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May eBay Update: What's Selling

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For those of us who survived Winter of 2014, spring was a long time coming. Usually this means people are anxious to start shopping for new spring clothes, even if it means it isn't quite warm enough to wear them yet, but I found spring sales on eBay to be a little slow in getting started this year too. Maybe it was because I was having a hard time sourcing things - my thrift stores were still stocking winter coats as of a week or two ago. But May finally brought out the spring buyers and I've been selling light weight, springy dresses and skirts in pastel colors. Here are a few of my favorite sales.

This white April Cornell dress sold fast for $30. April Cornell is always a good find, although this one wasn't the usual rayon floral so I wasn't sure how it would do, but it sold faster and for more than the rayon floral one I had listed that just sold yesterday.

This sweet little Gymboree bermuda bag also sold pretty fast, but only for $15. I try to balance how much work something is to list with what I think I can get for it. The purse was easy because it did not require washing and ironing or extensive measuring, so I could list cheaper than a suit, which requires the time and expense of a trip to the dry cleaners and a lot of different measurements - I wouldn't even consider a suit that I could only get $15 for. With brands like Gymbo, Lilly Pulitzer, Hanna Andersson, etc. it is worth doing some research to find the pattern or "line" name. Google "gymbo id" and there are a bunch of different sites to help you do this. This bag was called "Sunflower Fields" and was from their Spring 2007 collection

Key West is a brand that always tricks me into thinking it is Lilly Pulitzer. This little top sold for $19 and sold fast. I love selling preppy stuff and it always seems to sell well for me.

Max Studio is an iffy brand for me, but I loved this sweet yellow sundress and it was NWT (new with tags). It sold for $32.

Another of my favorite items to sell is pajamas. I didn't know anything about the brand PajamaGram when I picked these up, but seriously, how fun are these crossword puzzle pjs? I knew they'd appeal to someone. They were a cotton knit, so not exactly spring/summer weight, but I don't like having unlisted stock hanging around so I listed them anyway and they sold fairly fast for $25.

While spring was finally in bloom in eBay-land, some of my best sales this month were newer listings for decidedly unspring-like items. This Ballantyne cashmere cardigan was one of them - I would have loved to keep this because navy.cashmere.gold buttons, but I knew it was too good of a find to not list. It sold for $150.

This Eileen Fisher velvet tunic was also a nice out of season sale at $60. 

And last, while they are sandals, these Kelsi Dagger shoes looked more like something I'd wear going into September. I love the leather feathers on them - they are just so unusual. They sold for $43.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

New Thrift Store Plates

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I picked up a few cute plates on a recent thrifting trip - I liked the slight texture, color and pattern - and when I got them home realized the color wasn't half bad with my kitchen walls, so instead of putting them in the cupboard to use for salads or sandwiches, I dug out some old spring loaded plate hangers and put them up in a blank space on the wall. 

I couldn't find out anything about the maker but they're nice and heavy, like an ironstone, and fairly deep. 

They were $1.90/each but were a half price color, so $1.90 for the pair - can't beat that! I'll be on the lookout for a pair in a complimentary color/pattern, and then you may see them crop up on my table too.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Place Settings

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Just a quick post to showcase my Easter table settings. I started with a new set of Food Network placemats from Kohl's in the Spring Garden pattern. I had one of those $10 off any purchase coupons, and since I'd literally used a gift card online two days before getting the coupon, I went in search of something nearly free. The placemats were something like $13 but they're nicely made and the pattern placement is well done and consistent across the four placemats. 

On top of the placemats I used my vintage oval Fire King Jadeite plates, which I turned vertically so they would look like eggs. I also set them a little off center so the birds (the cutest part of the placemats) would show. The napkins are ones I've had forever - I think originally from Pier 1 - I just love their vintage charm and the colors reflect what is in the placemats without matching too exactly. The silverplated napkin rings are Pier 1 but I found them at a thrift store.

The silverware is older Pottery Barn (also thrifted) which I like for spring because it looks like ferns or new leaves unfurling. I only have three of the pink bowls so I used two and mixed in two milk glass goblets. 

The serving pieces in the center of the table are both thrift store finds - the rabbit with the carrot is a tea pot and the rabbit with the cabbage is a small tureen.

After Easter I can just swap out the centerpiece and the other elements work fine for spring. For my Easter table from three years ago, see here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Door Decor

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Well summer pretty much got away from me, but I wanted to share a quick and cheap front door arrangement for Halloween and fall. 

I started with a real pumpkin I picked up at Aldi for $2.99 and added two leaf garlands and some natural and gold ribbon from Michaels. The leaf garlands were $7.99 each and 60% off and the ribbon (which was from the Christmas aisle) was $3.99 and 30% off, so they all came in at $2.79 each. 

My enamel bucket was a thrift find and even though it is trimmed in red, I have no where inside to store it, so I use it in all seasons and just don't worry about it not being absolutely perfect. Inside I turned a flower pot upside down and then put a plastic bowl on top of that to hold the pumpkin at the right height. I stuffed some newspaper in around it to support the leaf garland then just wound one garland around the base. For the second garland, I just loosely wound the ribbon around it, letting it naturally curl as I wound it off the roll and then wound it around the pumpkin on top of the other garland. 

On top of the pumpkin (whose stem wasn't great, the pumpkins were marked down and they  only had a few left and this was the best one) I sat one of my black feather crows (from Michaels a few years ago) and stuck a thumb tack between his toes and down into the pumpkin to hold it. Then I layed a few leaves that had come loose from the garland on top to cover the tack. And voila! Cute, cheap, and fast. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Styling the China Hutch in a Beach Theme for Summer

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Recently my neighbor finally got around to taking down her Christmas garland, which in turn inspired me to finally get the fall/winter china out of my hutch. Oh yeah, and the few Easter items I'd stuck in there too.

I restyled it in a beach theme with shell dishes, fish, starfish, shells and a few pieces that reminded me of coral and seaweed without being too literal. Most of the items have been collected over the year during my thrift shopping journeys and there are a few dollar and craft store items thrown in for good measure.

The blue candelabra, which was thrifted but I believe still had its original HomeGoods sticker on the bottom, looked like seaweed to me, so I popped that in along with a resin starfish from Michael's Crafts. The little blue fish is a vase or planter and the dishes are 

The green fish I think is one that is supposed to sit on a sink to hold a sponge or scrubby and he's sitting on my favorite wooden pedestal which I shared in this thrift store shopping post.

The white pedestal bowl has a ruffled edge that reminds me of waves, so I filled it with small shells from Dollar Tree (they're from the vase filler section). The gold chargers add some shine and iridescence (inside of a sea shell anyone?) and take up space and balance out the plates above. 

Oh, ooops, I do have a few retail purchases in here: the green vase was actually a gift and I thought the color and shape worked as a seaweed inspired element. The round candle lantern had a coral or sea urchin vibe. We're not being too literal here, just using what I had on hand.

This little fish plate I thought was cute layered up with another of the resin star fish - I think they came two or three in a pack for $1 or $2 and are reasonably realistic looking.

So there you have it, a bit of a summer remix for the china hutch. Hopefully I'll get this all packed away and Halloween in there before March, because I'm nothing if not predictable 3 years and 5 months behind schedule.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Balcony Makeover: Phase I

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Well, it's been a long, rainy time in coming, but I'm finally about done with the first phase of my mini balcony makeover. I pretty much used what I had on hand, rehabbed my old sling chair, made some pillows with some remnant fabric and an old shower curtain I had laying around, spray painted a few small tables, and tossed down some rugs. My color palette is navy blue, green, and coral with a little orange by way of the pillow fabric and terra cotta flower pots (and a certain orange boy-kitty).

It is a small space and gets direct sun all day, so I mostly use it early in the morning or later in the day. The cats like to hang out and sniff the air and look down on the dogs going for walks around the block and I sit out there to either read or eat breakfast or dinner or enjoy a beer.

One side has two (totally cheap-o) plastic chairs - they were "temporary" chairs I bought last year until I can find something I really love - I think they were less than $5/each. The color works and they're low maintenance but I'm certainly not trying to present them as anything great. I made two pillows with a remnant of Richloom's Little Ash Birds in navy blue on the front and a blue and white striped backing made from a thrifted canvas shower curtain. I'm pretty impressed with myself that I actually put zippers in the covers too! Between the chairs is a thrifted metal patio table I paid $3 for and spray painted navy blue. The flower pots were all ones I had on hand and are planted with coral petunias and the one on the floor has mint, catnip and cat grass in it for the you-know-whos so they don't try to eat the other plants.

And here is what it looked like before:

The other side of the balcony has my sling chair which I repaired by filling in weathered areas with wood filler and painted white. The old cover was shot so I made a new one with the blue and white striped shower curtain and the stripes running horizontally. When I laid it on to figure out the length I liked the way it looked with the extra fabric hanging down, so I just left it. I only had a small bit of the bird fabric left, so I used it as the center panel and patched in some of the striped on the sides so it was wide enough, and it is backed with the stripes too.

The little side table was also a $10 thrift store find I spray painted blue - it looks like bamboo, but was not one of the nice brass ones - it had some sort of antiqued looking silver finish that I didn't feel too bad painting over. The top is mirrored, but since it is outside and I didn't want to accidentally blind myself, a kitty, or random passing pilots, I put some frosted shelf liner on it. It needs spray adhesive or something on the back because it gets moisture underneath but otherwise it's not a bad solution.

And here is the before on this side:

The etage in the background is one I used to have inside and was over, it fits well in the space and seems to be holding up well in the weather. The wall pocket was another thrift find I painted coral and stuck some white petunias in. For rugs, I used two green rugs I got on clearance at Target last year and just randomly layered them (you can see where I shifted them around a but and the color has faded a bit unevenly, but I think it will even out again in the sun).

I still need to finish wrapping the old plastic crates in twine and work on a canopy of some sort. I'll get there. Eventually.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Balcony Planning and Progress

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I've finally started working on my outdoor space, which consists of an approx. 6' x 10' balcony and after a night spent perusing Pinterest, I'm pretty excited about it. Some of the examples I really loved included the following:

I think the color palette in this example is just lovely. I will incorporate the orange/coral into my space, but have already picked out fabric in a navyish blue. I also like the natural wicker texture and color and may look to eventually replace my chairs with something similar to these low, comfy looking examples if I can find them. I'm working on an idea for a canopy and like the closed in feel it creates and the overhead lighting - saw a cool pendant light from Ikea that runs on solar and wind power.

I have globe lighting similar to this, and think lighting is a big amenity in any outdoor space. I love and use timers so they just go off and on on a schedule. I also really like the low, comfy looking seating in this space - maybe sometime in the future. Of course I'll be accessorizing with a cat or two.

This is another space I really love- the neutral color palette seems so serene and calm and I love the texture of the wooden crates, which is an element I'm envisioning for my space. I'll definitely be keeping my eyes open for a pair of chairs like these at a thrift too.

I didn't get any true before shots of my space, so let's take a look at the part-way-there pictures. My mini-makeover started with the utility closet door - it had some rusty spots that needed sanding out and the doorknob was antique brass oversprayed with brown - not pretty. Our regulation color is what I like to call "Poo Brown" - when I opened the can it looked more like purple poo, but did dry more on the brown side. Painting is really no fun when you're forced to use a color you hate, but it is what I'm stuck with so will make the best of it. I had a thrifted wall pocket I wanted to use on it - it too was a brown color, which would have been fine on another color door, but obviously wasn't going to work on the brown one, so I picked up a small bottle of coral colored Patio Paint at the craft store - it is like the typical craft paint but said it was OK to use outdoors, so for a few bucks I thought I'd give it a try - spray paint is sometimes tough to find in the exact shade I want and takes up more space in storage too when I just need a little. The pocket still needs a coir liner or some sheet moss so I can plant it - maybe with white petunias or a trailing sweet potato vine (the more of the door I can cover the better).

I'm pretty much trying to work with what I've got, so this side of the balcony also has my baker's rack which is an indoor piece I'm pretty much over, a sling chair that needs some restoration work, and a new $10 thrift store table in a faux bamboo look, which I will most likely paint a navy-ish blue to go with the blue and white striped fabric I want to use on the sling chair. The baker's rack clearly needs to be styled with plants, maybe a colorful plastic tray or plate, a big jug of water (for the plants), lanterns, etc.

For the sling chair I thrifted a blue and white striped canvas shower curtain and will run the stripes horizontally like this example I pinned which seems to be the less traditional way of doing it, since examples were  hard to come by.

The other side of the balcony will pretty much stay as is, except for spray painting the little $3 thrift store table blue to match the bamboo one. The green plastic chairs are about as cheap as they come, but I like the color and they will do until I find something else. 

I want to figure out a way to cover the plastic record crates with wood to look like old weathered crates, something like the below, rope handles and all (from here) which will then serve as small ottomans or additional seating. 

 I also have a few bright green cotton flat weave rugs that I'll toss out there. A few of the examples I pinned had them just randomly layered, which I like.

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