Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I Believe In Wicker Now

Though I thought I was really lucky I sold the large old laundry basket, it inspired me to try more.

I still had this smaller one in a corner, but always thought it wasn’t intact enough to list. At second look there was nothing wrong with it. 

A few pieces had snapped, but that happens to wicker and it was far from falling apart.

Someone showed interest after almost two months. I was so pleased I accepted a discount and shipping it. Even though that was a hassle because I had no box large enough. I had to wrap it in a thick layer of bubble plastic and then just packed it in a trash bag.

Lucky I had two enormous rolls of bubble wrap, that the Man and the neighbour had parked in my yard earlier in 2015. The fun is I had spotted the huge bag across the street before I left for work, but declined on it lacking storage space. I hadn’t started listing big time yet. Now I was glad I had the stuff.

It also came in handy when I had to ship the four paintings. I’ve now found place for the shrinking roll in my indoor storage and the untouched one is in the original plastic bag in my shed.

And then there was a high laundry basket in front of the door. Though incomplete because the lining is out, it was picked up quickly. And, LOL, only when taking it to the hallway I found the IKEA sticker underneath.

And from the same spot I hauled in this kind of flimsier little one. It took longer but well, my first sale of 2016, a lady in her early seventies came and told me after thirty years her old potato basket had worn out. Obviously she didn’t want to waste money on a brand new one.

Over a week ago on Saturday afternoon I was done with everything I had to do and felt like taking a little tour. Only one block down I spotted wicker behind one of the ‘houses’ on the underground bins that hold the opening hatch. I almost passed by thinking it might not be worth it but I stopped in my tracks and went back. To find…

a large dog bed in good condition. I had a very handsome bid on it within days. I was almost afraid they’d change their mind but the bed was picked up soon. To explain why he was a bit late the man told me about his wife’s recent surgery, which shocked me a bit but he assured me she was going to be okay. But possibly the getting a dog had something to do with it.

Last, yesterday when I was listing and thinking about this post I thought I’d have to report this basket as remaining unsold. But while I was at the computer the email came in, she lived nearby and came for it in an hour.

I’m totally sold out on wicker now! People love it. It’s pretty, it’s natural, it’s neutral and fits in any interior. The amounts I get vary from very little to fairly substantial. On this lot of six my total was EUR 46,50. Maybe not spectacular to some readers here, but I’m looking forward to restock and I don't think I will ship again. There are enough potential buyers nearby.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Most Surprising Sales 2015

I’m way behind on posting, so to conclude the year and kick off 2016 I’ll show a long list of not so spectacular and other sales that didn’t make it to the blog yet, but all fit in the category ‘I can’t believe I sold that!’. Things I listed as an experiment or simply to make space in my storage.

First late August this dress, my first try at selling clothing on line. It may be a quite nice beach dress, but I’m not even good at hanging up things that attract attention at the markets… Over the years I’ve learned a bit though and I knew this would have market potential, but who would buy a cheap second hand H&M on line? Well, a lady who probably booked a last minute sun holiday. She paid extra for fast shipping.

Who’d buy a second hand plastic flower pot? Well, a very nice guy who came on his motor cycle from out of town. How he managed to strap the huge thing on the back of his machine still puzzles me. He promised me to not take the highway and cruise at ease through town and sent me a message after he made it home safe.

Who’d look for a set of used pillow inserts? Well, somebody did. I have piles of those to fill up empty cases if needed and these were the only matching set and I just wanted to see what would happen. They had silk covers that disintegrated when I washed them.

Who’d want this horrible useless part of a lamp? You must realize orange is connected to soccer and the royal family in my country and you won’t find it in a lot of interiors. Not since the Seventies at least. Well, it found its way to an artist who glues old glass lamp shades into structures.

This lamp shade came still wrapped in plastic and seemed perfectly useful, but it looked really cheap. It took months, but finally a young lady came for it.

These high vases are really cheap too in a shop nearby me. I had given up on it after it didn’t go in 2014 or even earlier. Relisted I flogged it fairly quickly. Went to a Muslim family, fine!

Then two packs of leftover laminate floor boards. Good for a narrow hallway or kitchenette. I believed I had something good here, but gave up hope after several potential buyers changed their minds. Made them even cheaper and forgot. At last in December someone was very happy to take them and I bet he was happy with my price as well.

So much for the not so spectacular. Together they were good for a grand total of… EUR 14, LOL, but the lesson is nothing is too cheap or weird to list! Now on to a bit more interesting stuff.

Brought in by the Man. His eye saw quality pieces of turned wood and he was right. Only I didn’t have faith in finding a crafter who’d reuse them and left them in my storage for years. Once listed nothing happened for a long time, but when that one bid came it was good and the guy was thrilled.

Neighbour Freek found these amateur paintings early 2015. I took them to the street sale in April but the one girl who looked at the two portraits found my price too high. I really liked the male portrait and my friend said the still live grew on her during the day and the carrousel is just cute.

After that we had only car boot sales where I’ve never sold any paintings so I left them at home. Listed them in September just for fun. The portraits as a set and the others separately.  And then there was an email in October… Lady named an amount for the whole set that was not a street sale price. The wrapping up for shipping was a bit of a hassle but worth it.

Last, late December finally someone showed serious interest in this pile of 41 English books, that I listed as a lot just to get rid of. Books are hard to sell on line but I hate the dragging to markets and even there it’s always just a few at a time. I was ready to let them go for any price but wrote in my text that I would prefer pick up. Payment came from a welfare society and the man paid three times what I asked to cover the trouble of shipping and dragging the 9 kilo box to the shop. Nice!

These three sales were good for a grand total of EUR 54. Maybe not so impressive, but for me that’s good. The new year started off well with two sales at the door yesterday and two payments in the pipeline for shipping out on Monday.

By the way, yesterday I found my baby tree. Happy 2016!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Recycled Christmas Tree

If you buy a small fir tree in a pot,  you can easily keep it outdoors through the year and use it again the next and possibly even a third Christmas.  Especially if you plant it over in a larger pot with fresh compost. But due to the initial root damage - even if planted over in full ground - they eventually have a limited life.

This is my little tree - that I found after Christmas in 2013 - in 2014. Unfortunately at repotting the Man cut off the lower branches a bit too rigorously, which didn’t help to keep its shape. But still I had a real live tree for free.

It’s now still alive, but during summer it lost a lot of needles on the inside. Dunging helped growing new branches so it still looks ok from a distance, but I haven’t put it in yet. Will decide after writing this post.

It was perfect for photographing my crochet decorations though.

I hope to find a new little firm one this year, then I will plant the old one somewhere to give it as many more years as possible.

Merry Christmas all!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Horses: Sock Horse Or Stick Hobby Horse Craft Idea, A Horse Belt Buckle And Another Rocking Horse

I knew sock monkeys but I had never seen a sock horse on a stick! Though he’s not very pretty somehow I think he has a cute face, and when I looked for them on the web I found several tutorials, but none for a laughing horse. Actually I just love him because he's so ugly and almost totally hilarious, and made of a really old used sock! I don’t think there is much chance of selling my horsie, but I thank the Man for rescuing it and bringing it home and so I decided to show some detailed photo’s here so you can see how it’s made and then I’ll share the links I found for further help. I'm sure if copied in nicer colours and carefully made it will look fantastic.

Obviously the mouth is a sideways cut in the toe of the sock, then filled with woven fabric. I think you have to fold the oval shape, then sew in the tongue under the fold before you stitch it in the sock.

His long ears are a double layer of cloth in front and imitation leather at the back.

And don’t you love his eyes? Big buttons and half circles of fabric sewed on in a curve for the lids.

Here’s one more from the front angle.

Have a look at Chickabugs blog for a very easy to make version.

The CountryChic Cottage has an equally simple one but with a bit more details.

I'm only a bit sad it looks like they used new socks... Not my kind of upcycling.

Apart from that finally one by Madmin that does have an open mouth, but it's a fabric cut pattern, yet it may help you to put it in.

Oh, and please remember, if you don’t have any poly fill at hand look if you have used up pillow inserts or plush toys beyond cleaning or repair. Their insides can be washed and reused! 

This is a horse head belt buckle my friend picked up in her part of town. I listed it on Etsy but it just expired. I really thought it would go, though there are many horse belt buckles on offer I didn’t see any this shape.

I’m going to list this locally now, but if anyone is interested let me know!

Last summer when she came by my place, at the door my friend pointed out there was something that might be interesting at the dump across the street. Indeed it was a neatly unscrewed rocking horse, the parts tied together and the screws stuck on in a plastic bag.

In broad daylight on a non-trash day it obviously wanted to be found!

I listed it but it didn’t go. At least not in the short time before the last two car boot sales we had in August. I sold it at the second one under my price, but I was glad it went that quickly to a new child.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Sports Equipment

I wasn’t too thrilled when I saw this squash racket sticking out of a box across the street. I’ve sold old tennis rackets of iffy quality on markets but with difficulty, I ended up donating one remaining to the free pick-up center and I gave away another squash racket to a kid.

But this one looked good enough to go on line and having the protecting case was a plus.

After all last year I sold these old golf clubs to a student, so it was worth trying.

It took almost three months but a few days ago I had a serious bid, twice as much as I had hoped for and the guy came within the hour. Then at the door proudly showing his packed bag he told me he was actually on his way to the squash training center.

I the meantime around the corner I had found these Yeti-sized (US 12,5) snowboarding boots. Looking at the Salomon website I realized they must be a pretty old model, the new ones all looking less chunky and of lighter weight.  First bid wasn’t great, came quickly but it was withdrawn. Soon a second even lower came, but I decided to take it if he was serious. He showed up the next day. What a fruitcake I had at my door! Came on his bicycle from out of town in the pouring rain. Though he had a rain suit on, water had dripped in his rubber boots and his socks were soaked. He took his time taking off the Wellingtons to fit the new boots. Then as he slowly started tying them up I realized he was going to keep them on. Well not a bad idea after all. But he wasn’t gone yet. As he started walking up and down on the sidewalk he told me the boots were for walks in the snow.

But really, I was pleased to know that somebody had a good use for the shoes, as I didn’t expect to sell them to a real freestyler. And the amount of money that came in that day was still substantial enough.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Crane

Getting into detail about the imperfections of an object is important to avoid customer disappointment, but in this case I believe it worked against me.

When I carefully cleaned up this brass coated iron wall hanging I noticed there were fine scratches from scrubbing on the surface and I honestly put that in my listing. That was last year summer and the thing didn’t sell. Hauled in earlier that year by my neighbour.

I tried again last September and had a feeling that I should avoid the word ‘scratch’ to describe the slight damage. I decided on a more neutral ‘visible signs of wear and age’. I think that worked as I sold the crane in about two weeks. But when I dug it up from storage it had lost a bit of shine and developed a few more spots after the photos were taken, so I was a bit worried about the buyer’s reaction. But she just held it up and exclaimed: what a cool thing!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

IKEA Continued

I had some hassle over getting rid of the next set of IKEA products, but after several bid withdrawals, non-replies to my mails and even non-show ups all items found their way to happy new owners.

These Bertil chairs went after a couple of weeks to the next student who (via me) took them over from the previous one who, moving up in life as I suppose, left some of his or her cheap old furniture behind with the tiny apartment in my street.

Glad the young man wanted the cushions as well. They weren't so clean so I included them in the price.

It's always fun to see those kids loading big things on their bicycles. I was surprised he managed to bring them over in only two goes.

Last time I forgot to mention this Odby picture frame, as I had it listed for a long time and it had sunk to the bottom. I had a bid that was fairly good, but not worth the trouble of packing and shipping. Then there was a long silence. Finally one Sunday morning a guy mailed me from Belgium. As he simply asked my price I sensed he would make it worthwhile but I was still hesitant about the shipping. Just not looking forward to handling the big thing and with glass and all… After I expressed that he replied in ten minutes he would make the two hour drive to Amsterdam and readily accepted the 50 % on top of the first bid I suggested. Ah those friendly Belgians!

Later that afternoon the complete family showed up at my door and then it turned out why they were so keen to have the frame. They had already two the same for their first two children’s birth and now a third baby had arrived. And of course the out of sale model was hard to find.

I had the most frustration over this big vase. I got so tired of it that I fixed the price to a very low amount just to be sure to get rid of the thing. Finally last Sunday a smiling fatty guy picked it up. I think he is a trader but that’s all right. He waved off the coin change I should have given him which made it sort of a good deal for me after all.

Now still waiting: this set of Skarblad pillows from the August haul across the street…

and these oddly shaped vases that are from what I call my daily trophies. Stuff placed visibly by the bins on non-trash days because people hope it will be picked up. I make it a habit these days to circle around a bit after daily grocery shopping, then return straight home with the first saleable item, because that’s all I can take. I get a prize nine out of ten times and enough is enough.