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.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Heart Shaped Christmas Tree Decorations And Bag Hangers

It’s the Season coming up so here’s some shameless self promotion!

I made these from a trashed cotton sweater and leftover cotton yarns my friend Judy found at the curbs at dog walking. Available on Etsy here.

But the same heart shapes adorned with beads are also great for key chains or zipper hangers and I discounted them to next to nothing! Please look here if you’re interested.

I'm selling the French fashion By LouLou bag as well, though it's not curb found. Let me know as it's only listed locally.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

All The IKEA Stuff Goes!

At getting about a quarter to over a third of retail prices, I’m always happy to handle any IKEA product. It's more than I can say about a lot of other things. The only problem is that they are cheap brand new already, so I don’t get rich from them. At the other hand they make sure sales and I don’t feel too good for it yet.

This Moppe chest of drawers was one of the better items from an attic clean up early August in my street. The big pile of stuff was across the street and I happily hauled it all in, only to wake up to a mountain of not so interesting stuff. Brought a lot of it to free pick up center where I exchanged it for better things.

Again - I learnt the hard way how important it is when I never sold that kid's table - I didn’t know it was IKEA as the sticker was off, until a viewer was so kind to inform me by email. So I could adapt my listing and look up what IKEA sells it for. Now that was disappointingly little, but the bid I got soon after was not. Best part is the lady lived one block down around the corner, so the chest moved maybe less than a 100 meters.

Another good one was this Ektorp pillow. Out of production, so I hoped for someone especially looking for it and set the price to a third of the average of pillows more or less the same type. It took until last week to sell, but I now know I shouldn’t worry when items like this take time. In the end they always go.

I also picked this simple armchair from across the street, but kept it for a year or two as an extra in case of. Early September decided it was taking place I needed. Also not for sale anymore, but in style among the very lowest priced on the IKEA site. As I found no product name on its label I listed it with the nearest lookalike name in my title. On free bidding nothing happened for four weeks. A few days ago I just set it to a quarter of retail and that worked I think. It went this morning and I was happy with the little amount for a chair that had a stain from its previous owners and an additional one from my cat puking on it.

The vintage red wire chairs were in fact my first ever trash sale at the local auction site, July 2012.

In May 2013 followed by the super sized Bladet vase and the first set of kitchen chairs.

And a week later even these simple cd racks. But they don't have them in the shop anymore, although I didn't check at the time.

I have an idea why I find so much cheap IKEA stuff in my street and neighbourhood, but I must muse about that another time.

Still waiting for buyers now, more pillows, a vase and even more kitchen chairs...

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Tribal Picture Frame

Inspired by the primitive little animals I looked up an old photograph from 2013 of a tribal wooden frame. It’s made of scrap wood and likely held a mirror. Another drop off in my front porch by my neighbour. I thought it would be a great item for my booth at the arty indoor market place, so I dragged it over and boldly stuck 20 euros on it. And thought oops! But my fellow vendors agreed with the price.

They were right. A couple of weeks later, while I wasn’t present, they sold it to what they described as a gentleman who looked like an artist who almost certainly saw a great picture frame in it.

Recently I found some painting supplies in a bag my neighbour gave me. When I read at Things I find in the garbage that there is a market for vintage pencils I thought this expensive aquarelle colour pencils should have a chance. I looked up what they do retail and calculated about a quarter of that. They sold the next day. Not the head prize of course, but I was happy with the successful experiment.

Not so much luck with the gouache paint. It might have sold on line in the end, but as there was a car boot sale opportunity late August I took it along and sold it at the same price as it was listed for.

As proved my recent Etsy sales as well, in general art and craft supplies are pretty good selling products.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Trash On Etsy

Before I went on line locally with larger objects, I occasionally listed small easy shippable vintage and curb found items on Etsy. Not for big money but just to keep things going and every sale is one that adds to your ranking.

Now I’ve sold only two handmade items this whole year and I’m listing more and more vintage and supplies. Upping my prices too! It’s too cool seeing it all go overseas and why not make more money of it when the competition in hand made is just too hard.

Not all is really curb found – I have other free sources now – but here are some that I really picked from the garbage.

Somewhere 2007-2008 I found two flat boxes with tiny animal figurines. Quite primitive, probably from India. Priced by hand and likely someone’s flea market leftover stock. I listed the birds on Etsy as the package was, still covered in plastic. Sold fairly quickly but only at $5.

The slightly larger beasts from the other box had hang up wires and I kept them for crafting. Never happened and in the end I sold four at the indoor market place in 2013. The remaining six sat for ages on the lower plank of my coffee table. Finally got tired of looking at them last August, listed, sold $10 within days.

Which inspired to list more crafting supplies. I had dragged a horrible blue chandelier home years ago, spent hours cleaning and getting the beads off, created some earrings, not a success, sold the beads within a few weeks at $10.

Finally, also years ago, large cards full of completely plastic 1980s earrings picked up in an older part of town. Thought I’d sell them around 20 cents euro a pair at markets but people wouldn’t even pay that. Now listed on Etsy the first set already went for $2,50. That sounds poor but I think it’s ok for what they are and it’s a lot more than 20 cents!

Not the most spectacular examples, but these are fun for me and I would’t have sold the stuff anywhere else but on Etsy.