Friday, April 30, 2010

Lessons to learn

It's been a satisfying week. I worked the day job all week, took today off, finished 3 new pieces (before & after pics to come)....and discovered that I don't know how to market myself.

For instance, while I feel as though I'm developing an eye for yard sale and flea market items, and can turn the things I find into something appealing, why did I think that a crappy, ugly little sign two streets away from my house would entice people to come and look at my wares??

I find this surprising, since my day job is sales & marketing. Apparently I separated my two lives with way to large a divider. I do know how to sell. I know how to market. However I apparently struggle with selling and marketing myself.

I need to think about this and figure out how to transfer the skills from my day job to my non-day job. Advice welcome!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vintage Fabrics

During my picking yesterday, I visited the Griggstown Reformed Church on beautiful Canal street in Griggstown. Honestly, the beautiful scenery on the drive would have been satisfying enough, but I found these vintage fabrics...old window dressings, table cloths & a dishtowel, and one which is so heavy, I'm not sure if it's a table cloth or a blanket - it's a beautiful cotton with detailed weaving. I may make a roman shade out of it for my bare office window, although I think it would also make some beautiful, soft, shabby pillows...we'll see! Either way, I can't wait to make use of these treasures!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

This "find" is ALL MINE!!

I found some truly fabulous pieces in the last two days, including the cabinet in the picture, for which I had great plans until I realized that I had fallen in love with it just as it was, and would not be selling it. Can you blame me?? Isn't it gorgeous?? I also found a beautiful small oriental (not real) rug with guessed it...the same blue as the cabinet, and cream as the walls behind the cabinet. Two finds for me :)

Also..... it's official. I can continue going to garage sales, but I am flagged from buying any more pieces for a while. Unless I find something irresistible...however, I walked away from three pieces today, so I will hopefully be okay. The reason for my self-inflicted limit? I have run out of room! The picture with the four pieces is in my front hall!! Luckily I am going to use the rainy Sunday to organize the garage, and I just got an estimate on a shed. I need it!

Finally, if anyone ever needs to move furniture, I HIGHLY recommend these little slip them under the legs of your furniture, and they slide across carpet like MAGIC!! I don't know what I'd have done today without them!

Wish me luck in finding room for all this great stuff! I excited to start working on them!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

"The Find" is a great find!! must read...the book, that is!

I was browsing the book store for books on flea markets & vintage decorating, and I came across The Find. I can't put it down! Not only is it great information on flea markets and tips on what to buy and what to pass up, but the pictures of flea market & thrift store finds are to die for!

Also, there is a forward by Charles King, founder of Housing Works. Please check out this wonderful site about thrift shops which provide a tremendous amount of support and resources including new life skills, for people with AIDS.

It was a good day in the book store...I also found a book on repairing and restoring furniture, and on vintage flea market finds :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The one (okay, two) that got away :(

So, as I'm continuing to pick through estate sales and yard sales, I'm trying to develop my eye...that is, to determine what is valuable, what I can use, and also, what I like for myself. I've purchased a couple of "what was I thinking" items, and let a couple go that I'm kicking myself over. Prime example...the vintage sofa. Any vintage collector who may read this will want to strangle me, I'm sure!

The sofa was a beautiful discontinued Ethan Allen dark wood trimmed piece, upholstered in a dark pink rose pattern on a white background. It was beautifully worn/aged, and in great shape. I won't even tell you the price they were asking, because it makes me want to cry every time I think about it. I didn't think I had room in my house, & it doesn't go with my current decor (although I see that changing soon) time I won't be so quick to turn my back on a piece that I love!

The second piece is the cupboard in the picture, and the picture doesn't do it justice because it had beautiful doors as well as a "hatch" opening above the drawers. They had those pieces in their garage. Let me just say that I tried like crazy!! I talked to them for 20 minutes after I bought every small piece of furniture they were selling. First they told me that someone else was interested. I said "well, if they try to talk you down on price, remember that I'm willing to pay your asking price!" Phone numbers were exchanged. I called the next day & left a message, saying that I would increase my offer, but got no call back. Finally I called yesterday and spoke to the owner, who told me that her mother had decided not to sell the piece. I increased my offer, but to no avail. Nothing like introducing interest to make an owner fall back in love with something they planned to sell!!!

Next time I'll be more aggressive, & try to walk away WITH the pieces! I'm learning a lot...and part of what I learned is that you don't always talk someone down on the price...sometimes you have to go higher if you don't want to lose a piece! All a learning experience I suppose...

If anyone who reads this post has any information on the age of the cupboard, I would love to hear from you. It was estimated at about 80 yrs old at least.

I'd also love tips on acquiring pieces if anyone has any! Thanks!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two more bedside tables on the way!

I got my hands on two more bedside tables this weekend, one with a little more detail than the other. I can't wait to get started on them! Here are the "before" pictures. In case you have any idea that the yellow one has a nice pattern, don't let the picture fool's contact paper :) This one's going to take a lot of work, but I can't wait to see the finished product! The other one has such nice detail, it's going to look great!!

I'd love input on what color would look nice if anyone has any ideas :) My first idea for the yellow one is a nice shabby chic white with a distressed finish and really cool drawer pulls!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I did it! I made a sale :)

Well, I was up at 6:45 this morning, and worked a show for 5 hours today (it was SO COLD!!!)...but it was worth it! I made my first two sales. I have to admit, it felt pretty good! I sold a small table & matching foot stool. I can't wait to go back to this venue - it's the Princeton Elks weekly flea market.

It's great to actually bring in some money! I'm doing my books today so that I can see where I stand, and how soon I can get out of the red!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

First show tomorrow

Tomorrow is my first show (a flea market). I've loaded my car, packed lunch, made a price list, got singles for change...I think I remembered everything! I'm a little nervous. Hopefully, I will make a sale!

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 16, 2010

7 pillows down, 5 to go!

Machine working again, and I finally got the chance to see how the fabric looks as pillows! I really think they turned out well!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Well, I changed the bobbin on my machine with a bobbin I wound, and I SWEAR I threaded everything the way my friend showed me...and I didn't touch the tension on anything. But the knots are showing on the bottom of the fabric, so I know something is wrong, and I don't want to finish my pillows with the stitching looking like it does.

I have no furniture to paint because nothing is ready...everything needs sanding, and it's too late to sand (too noisy). It's going to rain tomorrow and Saturday...frustrating!!

Well, I can probably sand one of the smaller pieces on Saturday and paint it...and maybe I'll figure out the sewing machine. If anyone has any trouble-shooting tips about my bobbin problem...please let me know!! In the mean time, the pillows will probably have to wait until my mom gets home from Florida & can help me.

Sleepy Thursday

Only two more days until I can start working on finishing the items for my showing on Sunday!! Unless I find some energy tonight, and then I'll finish a couple of pillows. I have so many ideas, but not enough time! I guess that's what happens when you're new.

Hopefully I'll figure out how to add pictures to my post, and I'll at least post the fabric. The colors go great with shabby chic!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pillows for spring!

Well, the plan yesterday evening was to have a restful night in front of the television...I'm pooped, just like everyone else who fills their days. But a good friend of mine returned my phone plea for help with my sewing machine, and offered to help me out - I only know enough about my sewing machine to be dangerous!! So...I had a quick little lesson, and then a nice long visit. By the way...she has too much work for me to list her information in this blog (which doesn't surprise me at all, because she's the most talented dress-maker I know), but if that changes, I will be able to recommend her!

After returning from the lesson/visit, I thought, "Okay...time for the sitcoms!" Then during the first commercial, I though,"Well, let me just see how this one piece of fabric will look as a pillow". Then I had to try another piece. You get the idea. Pretty soon the TV was only on in the back ground, and I have no idea what channel, let alone what shows were on!

I haven't stuffed the pillows yet, but I LOVE the fabrics & colors!! The plan is to finish them and add them to my shop over the weekend. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I can't believe it...broke another mirror!

I have to say, when I heard that ominous "CRACK", and looked down to see the mirror portion of my latest shabby chic mirror frame in two pieces, I honestly thought that if I just stared at it long enough, it would weld back together like magic. It didn't. So on my way home from work, I dropped off the frame at the mirror place that my sister Nadia recommended. They're going to make a fortune off of me...I'm two for two! I've created two mirror frames, & broke the mirrors in both. Add this to the many, many things I'm learning on this new venture.

Oh, and another thing...I HATE particle board!!! It takes three coats of paint before it looks good. I usually don't work with it, but I have a shelving unit that's mostly wood with a little particle board in it. Look for pictures in about a week...if I don't get fed up with it & put it by the curb!!

5 am...the price to pay!

I must look up the definition of "Vintage" - that way I will know if I qualify! It seems appropriate that my love of retro and shabby chic should blossom into a full-blown passion just as my nest is emptying, and I'm approaching my 45th birthday. Worse things could happen than to cultivate an I'm not complaining!! However, since I have a day job to which I'm committed and devoted (and which pays the bills and supports my estate sale habit), I'm to be found here in the "before & after" hours, which is why I'm stealing a few hours before the day job starts to indulge my new love...all things vintage, shabby chic, and craft-y.

Thanks for stopping by...I'd love to hear from you!!