Saturday, August 24, 2019

On the Road Again!

So you probably didn't know I was off the road... well, I was, but I wasn't. Let me explain. Last October, my truck broke down. Since then, we've borrowed vehicles, coordinated trips and schedules like none other. Juggling the farm, appointments, work, caring for family members, and even just trips to the grocery store, post office, and to get supplies were carefully thought out. It was hard, it was humbling. The winter was tough, because of our vehicle situation and dealing with the after effects of the drought last year and the subsequent high cost  and shortage of feed for the animals at the farm. But we survived and are extremely thankful for the ones who have been there to help us out!

Early summer, I finally admitted that I might need something different, other than a truck to drive. (I keep hoping that one day Jeff can fix mine.) I searched and studied and let me tell ya, buying a vehicle makes me nauseous. It's the worst.  I've always heard the saying "don't trust a horse trader." Well, it didn't take much looking and checking to remind myself why I have never placed much trust in a car salesmen either. Lordy mercy! The contradicting post on marketplace and Craigslist, and the sales tactics by some are so dang sketchy... It gave me headaches and stressed me out. Most of my vehicles have all been purchased from family or friends, so we knew something about them, yet one of them lied to us about the actual mileage.

I missed out on a couple of affordable vehicles, being an hour late to see the post...

I saw a vehicle sitting in town one day and stopped to look at it. A little higher mileage than I was really looking for. A few days later, a friend called me about it, because she knew I was looking and she knew the people who owned it and that it had been well taken care of. A few days later, it showed up on Facebook marketplace and was still available, when we finally decided to see if we could take a test drive. It was one of the busiest weeks and I said I didn't have time to deal with buying a vehicle during the middle of a show, but we did!

We feel like we dealt with a very honest person and the vehicle has been well maintained. Searching the make and model, they all appear to have a very long life, when taken care of. So, a few thousand miles back down the road, we got us a new (old) vehicle, that has became known as "the wagon" at our house. I've always maintained the thought that a "vehicles job is to get you from point a to point b" and it really doesn't matter so much about age or appearance, as long as it can complete the task at hand. I've hauled a lot of things in my pick up truck and looking back, sometimes I wonder how we got it all in there at times, but we did it. It did it's job and served us well in that season.

When searching for something new, we decided an SUV would probably be the best fit for us. ( I really, really did not want a minivan!) Rear cargo space was a must, with seats that fold down. Hauling flowers and going to shows, we need a place to haul all our inventory and I must say the 6 foot area is pretty exciting and having a back access door, instead of having to load everything from the side doors, is great. Our gridwall can even fit in there!

So while I'm not a "look at my new vehicle" type of person, I am excited to have my own ride again and be able to move out more freely and have something to get the job done. The fact that its the smoothest and nicest vehicle I've ever owned is really just icing on the cake and you know what - it's older than my truck was and has a couple hundred thousand miles on it!  It does have heated seats and the duel control heat and air works! (The heat on the drivers side of my truck didn't work properly and I absolutely hate being cold, so I'm sure the heated seats will be put to good use this winter!)  I've even been able to start using my new air fresheners and decorate my mirror again! To all of the one or no vehicle families out there, I get you. I understand how hard it can be and hope you have the opportunity to get something of your own, soon. New vehicles are so outrageously priced, that's not even a consideration for us. Now, if we can get those dang telemarketers to quit calling about extended warranty, we would be good, because they certainly will hang up on you when you say you've got 200,000 miles on your ride!

By the way, have you seen all the new car air fresheners and key chains we've been making? They come with cute graphics, but the air fresheners are unscented, so you can add your own essential oils or perfume to them. Find them in my etsy shop here or on my website here.

With our fall show season, we will definitely be loading down the wagon as we travel to our events, because as I've always heard "You can't sell out of an empty wagon!"  

Now back to sewing and working on things for fall and Christmas! Hopefully we will get to see you down the road sometime soon!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Vintage Lace and Doily Tunic Top

I've been brainstorming and wanting to create some type of lace top for a while now. Wednesday, I had to go to Longview (about 35  miles away) to pickup flower supplies. On my way to there, I finally got the vision for what I wanted to make and couldn't wait to get back home. Even though I had a few wreaths that had to be made, I had to dig out my buckets of lace, doilies, and hankies, and lay out my idea! 

No pattern, no measuring, I just started laying everything out. I was able to get everything pinned and started sewing, before I had to quit and go make wreaths, that had to be delivered Thursday morning.
Thursday afternoon, I was able to get back to the sewing machine and 4 bobbin refills later, the top is finished! I believe this is the first clothing item that I have made from scratch. I always tell people I add to shirts, but don't make them... truth be told, I struggle trying to read a pattern. I really should have wrote down the measurements for this one, though. 

While we were out Thursday morning, we found the pants at a garage sale... they were super cute and I knew I had to have them! Got them home and they were too big. The top folds over like yoga pants, so I decided to sew the flap down and insert an elastic piece. Pretty happy with how they turned out as well and they matched my new tunic top! 

Good news is that I didn't have sewing machine issues while I was working on this  (read: no mental breakdown, hissy fits, or ugly words!)  and I've got plenty of lace to make more! I am planning to make a few more before our show at Vintage Market Days of East Texas in September, so stay tuned.

This was my Thursday morning Facebook post and I think it sums up this top! 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Turquoise burlap and lace wedding flowers

Earlier in the summer, I made a set of turquoise burlap boutonnieres for an August wedding. Not long ago, the bride messaged me through my etsy shop and ask if I could please call her.

burlap boutonniere for rustic themed wedding
My first thought was "is something wrong with them," then I remembered her wedding date and thought maybe she needed to order something else. I called her and she was panicked. She had ordered her bouquets from that big website that starts with an A, way back in June and her order was cancelled in August and she wondered if there any possible way I could help her? 

I reassured her that I could get them made in time and not to worry!

rustic burlap wedding bouquets

We finished up her order and shipped it off to Arizona this week, with a few weeks still to go before her wedding. Her wedding deadline was longer than my current turn around time on orders, so I was able to complete the bouquets, without it even being considered a rush order. If you need bouquets in a hurry - please don't hesitate to contact me! I'm here to help make your wedding as stress free as possible! 

(The bride wanted a small bouquet with turquoise, tan, and brown flowers and white lace, She had a toss bouquet to coordinate, while all of the bridesmaids will carry a 6 rose bouquet with tan and brown burlap roses.) 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Pumpkins Made from Spools of Crochet Thread

A few weeks ago, we were out junkin' and I came across some spools of crochet thread. I immediately knew I wanted to make pumpkins out of the spools of thread. 
fabric pumpkins
 After getting home, I realized each spool had a started piece of work poked in the center of the spool, (most still attached.) 
fabric pumpkin
 One even had the ladies needle in there. So the sewing became the leaves on the pumpkins and the needle became the stem on one.

fabric pumpkins
 I had a random bag of sewing things that I had picked up at an estate sale last year, which included several wooden thread spools, so I decided to use them as the stems of the pumpkins, then I added some burlap flowers.
Looking back, it was an older man and most likely his daughter working the garage sale. I’m thinking these were started projects left by his wife and her mother. While I can’t complete her sewing or know her vision for these, I did make something new with what she had, without discarding what was started.
crochet thread pumpkins

While I'm considering them pumpkins, they could really just be decoration in someone's sewing room all year long. They certainly remind me of my Grandmama's house and days gone by... 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tips for Hosting an Epic Garage Sale!

So you want to host a garage sale?

We've composed a list with few things to think about before you have the big sale.

Please price all of your items!

  • When pulling out items from your closets and shelves, go ahead and price them. 
  • Use stickers, string tags, or masking tape to mark your price, although please consider where you place the sticker. After sitting out in the hot sun, stickers can leave damaging marks on leather shoes (I might have a pair of those with a damaged spot.) When removed, stickers can damage paper or the finish of items, so sticker placement can have lasting effects. 
  • You can always have a table where everything is $1, $2, $5, etc to save on pricing things individually. 
  •  DO NOT use a permanent marker to write the price on an item. I have walked away without numerous items, because someone wrote on the item with permanent ink. 
  • This big sale had almost everything priced! (unfortunately, we didn't know they wouldn't have clothes and there wasn't any good vintage pickin's, but they had lots of items priced and organized!) 

Organize your items. 

  • We have friends who host a very organized sale and they will always have a very profitable sale. 
  • Display like items together and stage what you can, just like in a store. 
  • If at all possible, hang your clothing. (Yes, I bought a leather jacket in the middle of the summer, because I could see how awesome it was hanging on the rope stretched out from the barn to a tree in the yard!) 

  • If clothing must be displayed on tables, organize them folded by sizes or styles (little boys, girls, women's...) 
  • As clothes on hangers sell, use the empty hangers to move the items on tables to the hanging rack. 
  • Please don't throw your clothes in a big pile on the ground and expect someone to dig trough it. 
Promote your sale - after all the work cleaning out your closets and house, you've got to get people to come buy your items. 
  • Social media is a good place to start, but it's not the only place you need to advertise. I don't care how much I am on Facebook or how often my feed is refreshed, the garage sale post seem to always show up on Sunday afternoon, the day after the sale ended. If we are not personal friends or a member of the same Facebook group, we might not ever see your sale announcement. 
  • Post an ad in your local paper. We go thrift shopping on Thursdays and that's the day our local paper comes out. We get the paper and plan out our route. Sometimes the online version of the paper is ready on Wednesday night and we can plan out where to start our day. 
  • Signs are also a great way to promote your sale. Just as with the social media post, if you use signs only, someone is only going to find your sale, if it's along their normal, daily path. If you are in town, this can work for you, although if you are in the country, you will have less intentional traffic. I'm not going to drive every country road in our county, just looking for a random sign, although if I saw ads in the paper, with items of interest, we will drive the distance. 
Do's and Don'ts with Signs. 
  • Big pet peeve: People who don't take their signs down after a sale. We've chased plenty of signs in the past, to realize they were left up from the previous weekend. I've seen some stay up for a month or more. 
  • Do make them very visible and eye catching. Remember, we are seeing your signs from a vehicle at considerable distance and we usually aren't sitting still. 
  • A little sign, stuck in the grass with little bitty writing, can't be seen very well. 

  • Being able to see an arrow for which way to turn is always helpful and considerate of traffic behind us. 

  • Fun signs are eye catching and make customers happier. We followed assorted signs like these for about 10 miles, laughing all the way! 

  • If you advertise you have a BIG sale, make sure it really is! We've drove way out of town for the "Mother of all Sales" and the "Hoarders Paradise" to be very disappointed with a couple of tables on a front porch. The next time we see those ads, we won't make the drive out there again. 
  • Find some more ideas on creating eye catching sale signs by Jennifer Allwood here.

Now that you are almost ready for the big sale, lets think about a couple more things you need.

  • Make sure you have enough change. Be prepared to break somebodies $100 bill. It happens. Someone happens upon your sale and they find something they really want and don't have any smaller bills with them. Don't loose a sale, because you didn't have change.
  • Food and drinks are needed, so you don't have to leave your sale. 
  • I can't make this stuff up. We saw this sign, honked, talked to the cat, looked around and NOBODY ever came outside. We left empty handed. Don't leave your items unattended. 

  • You'll want chairs and a table to use as your check out stand. 
  • If you are hosting the sale with a friend and you each have items, you will need paper and pen to help keep up with each others items.
  • I've been to a few sales were they've even used a cash register. 
  • Consider taking credit cards or PayPal, etc as a way for someone to purchase items. (Ideal if you have some big ticket items or if someone comments online and wants you to "hold" an item. Get their payment to reserve the item for pick up at your sale. 
  • If you have room, maybe consider having a couple of holding areas for customers to place their items, while they shop. At the "Epic" sale, they had racks to hold items plus they had these convenient shopping baskets. Now, would I go out and purchase these items, just to host a sale? Probably not, but if you have room and have the items on hand, it's an added convenience for customers, which leads to happy customers who are in the mood to buy more. We laughed all the way to their sale and it was super organized and thought out. They had good, clean merchandise and lots of shoppers. 

  • Also consider having plenty of bags, boxes, and packing material. Save your grocery sacks for a time period leading up to your sale. Reuse the "junk mail" for wrapping breakables such as dishes, glassware, or figurines. Boxes will help hold items for the customer who buys the entire set of dishes or tote away a bunch of random items. 
  • Please keep your pricing in mind. You are having a yard sale to clean out your house and get rid of the clutter. Something might sell for more online, but know that will take the extra effort for you to photograph it, list it, wait for it to sell, and ship it. If you want to get rid of the item now, think about a fair price that will move it along quickly. 
  • If someone is there and wants it that day, work with them on a price. I remember reading in a book about selling online and they said "something is only worth what someone else will pay for it." Reread that again and think about it. Trust me, the beanie babies that you thought were collectibles... they aren't highly sought after. 
  • One time, I tried to sell my prom dress at a garage sale. Someone offered me a price for it and I refused the offer. Nobody else came along and wanted it, therefore, I was stuck with a dress I wouldn't wear again and no money. 
  • Unfortunately, reports are saying that no one wants your china dishes, so most likely they will not fetch a premium price, even if they've been stored for years and don't have any chips. (That's why I wrote this post about using the pretty dishes.) 
  • Consider having a 1/2 price day. Most estate sales are full price the first day, sometimes 25% on the second day or afternoon, and almost always 50% off on the final day. It's a good way to move out the remaining items on the last day of the sale. 
  • Have a plan to deal with your leftover items. Will you take them back in the house? Will You attempt to sell online? Will you donate to a resale shop, church mission in your town, shelter, call someone to come pick up your items? 
Remember to have fun and say hello to all your customers, when they arrive! Be friendly and courteous and watch your items disappear away from your epic sale!  

And hey, if you want some fun junkin' t-shirts and accessories, just hop over to my shop to find them!