Wednesday, September 18, 2013

To Keep or to Sell?

This past Saturday, hubby and I had a boatload of projects on the docket. But the girls and I had plans first thing in the morning to join my parents for their monthly testing of the West River water. They volunteer with The Blackstone River Coalition, who's mission is to restore and protect water quality and wildlife habitat in the river corridors, and to advocate for sound land use in the Blackstone River watershed. The West River is a tributary of the Blackstone so its included.

My dad takes this work very seriously. :)

My parents have two testing sites where they gather water samples and compile data on their findings. Last year in school, my girls and I did a whole unit study on The Blackstone River Valley, including the importance of keeping our rivers clean. Every time we'd try to coordinate our schedules with my parents' testing dates for an educational field trip, it never worked out. Till now.

So after picking up litter...

...collecting water samples...

 ...observing, testing and compiling data,

...we headed home to get a move on projects.

But I've mentioned before that I have a really hard time driving by yard sales. And when you're driving around on a Saturday morning, you're bound to pass some.

Here's my loot from the three sales I just couldn't drive by. Okay, I confess, I made a few turns off the road home for one but its because I drove by the sign and that counts.

$1 each for a pair of fashion boots and a pair of L.L.Bean snow boots for my "baby" (who's turning 2 around the bend - where did that time go??).

Another Scrabble game for $0.50. I've had a little fun decorating with the tiles and trays in the past but I'm amassing a growing collection for a larger project that's swirling in my head. Can't wait.

That same sale had this brand new 14.5 oz Mistletoe Yankee Candle. When I asked how much, she said $0.50. Ummm...heck yeah! These go for $25 full-price new.

(OOps, that's way fuzzy.)

The next sale had this set of two light green-bordered, appliquéd placemats and matching napkins for $1. Exactly the type of thing that would look good with the vintage linens I'm collecting to create a shower curtain for the girls.  Scooped them right up.

Then the next yard sale I stopped at happened to have this set of two yellow-bordered, appliquéd hand towels...

...and a set of four pink-bordered matching placemats and napkins. They asked $6 for the lot, I offered $5, they accepted.

I still can't believe I found all of these coordinating items at two different sales. So psyched. Exactly the look I'm going for in their bathroom.

Oh, and at that same sale I found this bag of shower curtain hooks for $1. But the seller wasn't sure they were all there so she told me to just take them for FREE. Turns out they are one short.

The shower curtain hooks I want to replace in the girls' bathroom are stars in the same color metal, left behind by my M-I-L. Stars aren't my thing so I'm thinking I'll just replace 11 of the 12 stars with these balls and the last one will hopefully not be noticed tucked at the end. I don't know....we'll see.

The linens were my favorite score of the morning but the following is my most valuable score. The other day I was looking through my latest Country Living magazine and in the Collectors section it showed vintage 1950s microscopes in their original boxes currently valued at $50.

And didn't I stumble across this.

The price tag said $10. One of my top yard-sale tips is to act like you're hardly interested in something when you really want it. I tried my best to do that while she explained that it was her dad's and its pretty old. I asked if she'd take $5 and she accepted.

I'd love to use it as vintage décor for my schoolroom (a major work in very slow progress...sorta like all my projects). The bookend idea would actually come in quite handy on our schoolroom bookshelves. But hubby thinks I should sell it and make a profit. A quick look on eBay and all the current auctions for similar items have no bids. So do I keep it or try to sell it?

I come across (and pass up) stuff like this ALL THE TIME that I could potentially resell and make $ on. I definitely don't have the time for a retail shop (though I'd LOVE to - maybe in my empty nest days) and I don't think I even have time for an eBay store on the side either. I have friends I could consign with. Can my hobby turn a profit? We'll see where all this goes.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Craigslist Hutch

For a while I've been keeping my eyes open at yard sales and Sally's for a hutch with potential. Something in good enough shape for a makeover. And I challenged myself to find one under $75. I honestly don't shop Craigslist much. I use it for yard sale listings, but I rarely look for something specific. However, recently someone posted a hutch for sale in the yard sale listings.  I responded to the ad and went to see in person the hutch that looked promising in her picture. The girl said to just make an offer because she needed to empty her apartment in town to move across country. She accepted my $50 offer.

It's a miracle that we managed to get it up from her basement and into my van. She just had surgery and was fearful of splitting her incision. She called over a neighbor kid who was wider than he was tall and had light blue painted toenails. I pretty much carried all the weight and that's pretty scary. I haven't worked that hard or sweat that much since I don't know when. But where there's a will there's a way. It's now been sitting in my garage serving as my work bench until I can get to this project.

The top of the buffet has some stains and a few scratches and the hardware from one of the drawers is missing. I would keep the drawer handles if one wasn't missing, but now I need to get replacements. Other than that its in good condition, solid oak, and I like the general shape and style - especially the crown molding on top.

Though not on my wish list, it happens to have a light on the inside too. What it really needs is a good paint job to bring it new life. I plan to stick with the same dining room colors and curtains from the dining room our previous home:

So I'm actually considering painting the hutch green. I was drawn to this picture that I had ripped out of a recent Ballard Designs catalog before I ever even found the hutch.

Granted, it's not the right color for my dining room and this happens to be a desk, but it tempted me not to play it safe with a creamy white and to instead go with something bold and bright. I'm also aiming to paint it with a similar finish.

But first I need to finish my girls' room projects (school started and progress has slowed way down) and redo my kitchen table (not even half way done sanding) and then this is my next project. We spent the whole weekend here cleaning out our garage (so we can actually park both vehicles in it) so I didn't make progress on the girls' room or kitchen table. But I did manage to take off the hutch's hardware and doors and give it a decent cleaning so she's totally ready.

I leave you with three things:

1. If you've got experience painting that technique, please share your tips!

2. What's your best Craigslist find ever?

3. Anyone got vintage hardware laying around they want to give me?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Pink AWANA Shelf

Here's a before and after where I forgot to take the before shot. Got all gung-ho on a project marathon and...oops!

Picture this shelf in off-white - the color it was when it hung in the girls' bedroom before we moved. Of course it was originally a yard sale find from God knows when.

All last year I kept thinking I could really use a shelf and hooks in the girls' new room to be designated for their AWANA stuff. A place to set their trophies and handbooks on. A place to hang their Book Awards, uniform vests, and bags from. Essentially, an AWANA central. (And for those who don't know, AWANA is a super-fun kids Bible club our church hosts on Wednesday evenings starting September 18. Registration is filling up fast!)

So I painted the white shelf the same custom mix pink I painted these framed silhouettes and this letter "K".  We're not ready to hang anything on the walls yet, so here's my oldest helping to model the shelf's potential once it is hung.

In the meantime I still need to figure out how to remove stubborn wallpaper glue from a border I took down over the summer so I can repaint the walls. Anyone got a tip for me? Hot water with dish soap did absolutely nothing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Few Sally's Finds

Once a week I can count on a couple hours of of "me" time but that includes my weekly grocery shopping. Wheeeee. My grandmother-in-law, aka "Gram" takes my girls at her house while I do my thing. Gram is the best for 1000 reasons and this is just one of them.

So once or twice a month I quickly pop into my local Salvation Army Thrift Store and do a little treasure hunting before I hit the market. Here are a few of my recent finds:

A Lucite letter "K," which so happens to be my oldest daughter's first initial. $.99 with a plan to paint it pink to match her room.

The card is for scale and I didn't clean off the price tag glue for the pic.

A $.99 dark green vase.

Again, card for scale.

Green vases, I will admit, are an addiction, hence this cabinet before we moved:

Truthfully, they do all get used, because I'm a firm believer that if you can't pick flowers, why grow them?

I picked up a brushed gold hanging mirror for $7.99. For now its hanging above the sink in the half-bath because I like this one better than the one that was left behind and this one still matches the brushed gold faucet.

So until I give that room a makeover, which isn't happening I the near future, the mirror is doing me a temporary favor on the cheap.

This next item I just adore. It's quirky and vintage and matches my girls' bedroom makeover. Isn't she cute?? $1.99

Love the green frame. (That's why I painted the girls' bed frames that color too.)

Finally, a cheesy little shelf. A faux wood and faux rod-iron plastic shelf. But for $0.99 I thought it had potential.
Nothing a coat of black spray paint all over can't fix. Plus, I think it might be the perfect perch for that now pink "K"!

And if that pink leopard print top looks familiar, its because we're one of those families that give homeschoolers a bad rap by hanging out in our pajamas all day every day, and these are her favorite pair.

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