Monday, February 20, 2012

Thrifted Finds # 7 : A Good Mouse

Lately my area has been estate sale central.  Sadly the company putting most of them on is very unprofessional & super unorganized which makes these crowded events pretty nerve-wracking (especially for those of us with anxiety disorders).  Despite my own personal "invisible dinosaurs" creeping around lately & making my body go haywire, I've been soldiering on & making myself attend the sales.  Huzzah, I've found some lovely things for the shop & for myself.  

These were some of my favorite finds from the past weekend.  The tschotchkes all came from the same estate sale & the 3D illustration books were found in three different thrift shops.

So, how sweet is this stuffed mouse!?  I fell in love the second I saw him from across the room ... just look at that little red felt hat & that faded pink bow!  Sadly his tag has been cut away, but he's in excellent (if slightly shabby) condition & I couldn't love him more.

I haven't decided yet whether he's staying or going, but for now we're calling him Gerald & he's keeping my matryoshka collection company.
He's a pretty big vintage mouse, sitting an impressive 7" tall from his toes to the tip of his hat.  I adore that crooked little tail & how he's got no arms.  He's a Dream Pet, his tag has been cut off, but you can see the orange edges & the beginnings of the lettering.  Figures, aren't Dream Pets just so dreamy!?

This wee yellow hen I found perched on a shelf in a kitchen window along with a bunch of other things I purchased that I believe people just overlooked because they hadn't been taken down & placed on the counters with everything else.  It has spring loaded legs & when you push it down it lays tiny, white plastic eggs.

I also found a wonderful old red & chrome Thermos & some darling turquoise measuring cups on those little window shelves.  Luckily I was following my own rule of, "Look UP!" that day.

A pack of Whitman miniature playing cards with cross-stitched bird & flower pot pattern.  I can't decide which is sweeter, that pattern or the perfectly playful little Joker illustration.  These may end up as business cards if they don't make their way to the shop.  I never know what to do with vintage playing cards ... split them up for folks to use in craft projects or sell them all as a pack to a collector.

Possibly one of my favorite finds this year, a brilliant wooden Mid-Century cat pen.  It has a removable brass refill & I'm going to take it in to an office supply & try to find a replacement.  It may stay as well, but I don't know.  I'm sure there would be someone out there who would love to use it every day.  We shall see.

Lastly, my small collection of 3D illustration children's books.  As a child you couldn't get me away from books, I started reading at 4 years old & haven't been found without reading material on hand since!  These types of books were always very dear to me & I read & reread them ... hypnotized by the details in those pictures.  Check out the lovely cuckoo clock & their kinda spooky green eyes.

I remember this Peter Rabbit book by Grosset & Dunlap very well.  This illustration in particular, from the part in the story where Peter comes upon the mouse who cannot help him because she's got a pea in her mouth.  Peter is so sad & has these enormous tears in his eyes.  It tore at my heartstrings 25 years ago & can still do so today!  This is a 1985 edition of the 1968 classic.
Lastly there's this amazing 3D Playmore Peter Pan.  I can't stand how lovely the pictures are, so detailed & kitschy.  Sadly the 3D plate that should be on the cover is long gone, but maybe someday I'll find one that's intact.

I was so excited to find them all in such good condition.  I always keep a lookout for these type of vintage children's books; strange that I'd find three of them in three different thrifts in one day.  They are welcome additions to my collection.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

DIY Business Card Tutorial

I ran out of business cards this past week & then the shop got very busy.  Without any cards to tuck into packages I looked around my studio for other options & my eyes settled on a 1967 Memory game that I picked up at a local thrift for fifty cents last week.

I bought it because I was in love with the illustrations on the little 2" x 2" cardboard game cards, why not utilize their awesomeness for the shop in a way other than reselling?  So here's what I did.

 Vintage game pieces (playing cards would work well too), craft glue, a sheet of printed out shop info & my trusty scissors.
 I cut the printout into long strips & then into squares.  Put one card onto a cutout & used my scissors to trim around the edges.
 Then I used that first cutout piece as a template for the rest of them.  This part was a bit tedious, but I listened to some Old 97's & it moved me right along.
 I mixed the craft glue with water (2 parts glue, 1 part water) & brushed it on the back of the cards with a small paintbrush & applied the cutout.  I put them face down on a sheet of newspaper & weighted them with books for about 15 minutes until all of them were finished.

Then I set them in the windowsill behind the woodstove to dry ... it only took about twenty minutes.
 Now I have a tray full of 64 super fun "cards" to tuck into my packages before mailing them.  Even when my new shipment of Moo Cards arrive, I'll probably use these once in a while ... they're SO darn cute.  They took about an hour to make & cost me a whopping fifty cents (plus two cents worth of card stock ... maybe ten cents in printer ink & maybe a penny's worth of glue).
They look super cute on my packages ... the hard part is giving them up, see what I mean about those illustrations! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ATG February Reseller's Challenge

I decided at the end of December that I was going to set myself some goals for January.  Nothing too fancy ... not resolutions, but goals geared toward my Etsy shop & ramping up my reselling efforts.  I looked through my data for the 4 months I had the shop open in 2011 & figured out that my biggest waste of money was in renewing items before their 4 month expiration date was up.

Renewing can be done at any time & it is one way to get your items seen if you haven't the time to post new items.  Every time you post an item on Etsy it is added to the recently added section on the front page & has a chance of catching someone's eye & leading them to your shop.  So renewing items is a very quick way to get your shop seen, but also burns up your money lickety split!

If I had posted a new item for each twenty cents spent instead of just hitting the renew button, every backlogged item in my Etsy room would be listed by now.  I found that I lost track of how often I was renewing & it cost me.

For my January goals I decided on:

1)  Post three new items for each day of the month.
2) Don't waste money renewing items!
3) Save late night listings as drafts - check for errors, etc & post in the morning.

It went okay.  I posted a total of 48 new items during the month.  That came out to just under 1.5 items per day, about half of what I had planned for myself ... I fell short of my expectations, I will definitely try harder this time around.

I ended up renewing only 30 times.  Which pretty much poured $6 that could have been used to post new items down the drain, but I only did it at the end of the month while I was sick with the flu & had no energy for editing photos & creating new listings.  Once again, I will try harder this time around.

Late night posting sort of misses out on a large chunk of my customer base.  I have a whole lot of customers here in California & many in Canada.  Posting at 2am doesn't work so well, not to mention I am usually pretty sleepy (even if I can't sleep) & small errors go unnoticed when editing the listings.  Best to save them as drafts & post in the am after a quick run through, I did well with this goal.  I believe it helped as my views went up quite a bit for each item sooner after it was posted.

So anyhow, I read on Apron Thrift Girl (what an inspiration this gal is) about a listing challenge for February & decided to take part.  I am trying to be more active on my blog & in the reselling community of bloggers, so I thought a challenge would be a great place to start.

My February goals will be the same as the first two goals from January, except I would like to renew ZERO items.  If you need a little motivation & inspiration take a peek at the challenge by clicking on the button in my side bar.

Wish me luck!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Thrifted Finds # 6 : Spring Fever

 I found a little coffee mug while thrifting this weekend.  By the time I found it I had given up on finding anything worthy of taking home & was just finishing my normal "just in case" loop through the shop.  There were so many people, more than I had ever seen in this shop at one time & it was crowded & uncomfortable.  The few things I had spotted that I kinda liked weren't enough to warrant braving the line of impatient customers waiting for their turn at the single register.
 Then I spotted this on the mug shelf alongside all of the free prescription drug advertisement mugs that seem to plague our thrift shops here.  My heart sang, maybe my trip hadn't been such a bust after all!  It is the sweetest little thing, covered with four little couples, all dolled up for something special.

In between & around them are scattered all of these sweet little doodles; squiggles & hearts & flowers & stars.  All in lovely muted tones of mustard & olive & salmon & teal.  The girls have fancy hair-dos & most of the boys have bow-ties.  It is exactly the sort of thing I look for while thrifting ... unique & a little kitschy with a definite retro vibe.
I don't know much about it, 8014 & JAPAN are the only markings on it ... though upon closer inspection I discovered what appears to be initials (at) near the left side of the girl's gown in the first photo.  No matter ... it's the cat's pajamas.
I found this little ceramic desk organizer also & since that mug had to be mine I braved the line (22 minutes worth plus two screaming babies behind me ... yay) & brought them home.  Until it sells my little picture of Spoofy & Catherine will be displayed in style.  It has a hole in its rump to hold a pen & a hole at the top of its head that used to hold an eraser (the gal at the thrift shop said that some little kid made away with it).

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