front porch trash

front porch trash

Sunday, May 31, 2015

ALWAYS check the free box never know what you will find.

Yard sale season is in full swing. Lots and lots of sales this weekend. So many I couldn't decide where to go. Well, not really. I knew that I wanted to hit the local church yard sale. I have found fantastic bargains there in the past and this time was no different.

The sale is run by the youth group to raise money for a missions trip. The had stuff piled high and they were selling low. Pardon the pun. Clothing and shoes were 50c each. or $2 per grocery bag. Inside I dove in the toys and found some hopefully good stuff. On to housewares and more good stuff, on to crafts and more good stuff. You get the picture.

 I ended up filling 3 large blue IKEA bags overflowing with stuff for the grand total of $8. I hadn't had time to check out the shoes and clothes spread out on tarps out front so I picked up 9 pair of boots and shoes and a vintage John Deer traveling sprinkler sort of like this. Mine is faded on top but it is all there and working. I hope I can get $60-80 out of mine. The sprinkler was $15 and the bag of shoes was $4.

For a total of $27 I got 199 items. You think I would have headed home. But you see a lot of those items were small....very small.

I hit 3 more sales on my way home. Picked up 4 more pair of shoes, a bag full of clothes for 50c each, a Vera Bradley bag and more. Just a little bit more.
That's two big plastic tubs full of stuff. New stuff old stuff, girl stuff, boy stuff. A small tote, on the upper left, of 10 Barbie dolls and clothes and shoes. One thing I loaded up on is Matchbox cars and small similar cars, trucks, fire engines. 70 to be exact and an 18 wheel storage truck. And a large lot, from two sales,of 30+ Bakugan battle brawlers.

So why am I so excited about free stuff? At the last sale I stopped at I didn't find anything but these old menus in a box. Beautiful southwest US lithographs of paintings from 1959.

All of these are menus from the ATSF Railroad Santa Fe dining car of the San Francisco Chief train and are dated 1959. They were all on the end of the table and the lady said, "oh, just take them". I thought they were very nice and thought about just listing them in a lot. That is until I did a little digging. They are all lithographs and there are a few for sale and the prices range from $10 to $100. Not all are actual selling prices but I went with a higher price. No I'm not greedy, just patient.  I have them listed for a total of $200. I don't know if I will get that price but I am willing to wait and see what happens.

So....always check the free box. The price is right!!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Stinky gone!

I don't know about you but stinky shoes rank right up there with stinky bathrooms.

 I don't like either one.

And I really don't like putting my hands into stinky shoes to clean or polish them. Most of the time I will either spray white vinegar into the shoe and wipe out with a cloth or just use a cloth dampened with white vinegar to wipe down the inside. That usually works.

As for the stinky bathrooms...that is another problem here at the castle. SweetiePie likes the aerosol sprays but they make me sneeze and they are way too strong and expensive, even from the $ store. So to the web I went. I found a homemade copycat recipe for Poo Pourrie spray and it worked. Just alcohol, water and the essential oil of you choice. Simple ingredients, fantastic results.

The poo spray is sprayed into the toilet before you go. The essential oil in the spray creates surface tension on the water and when "something" enters the water the surface tension returns and the odor is contained. I tried several mixtures with different amounts of essential oil and finally found one that really worked. I just modified it slightly to use in shoes and on stinky things.

Here is my recipe:
2 oz spray bottle
2 Tbs alcohol
40-60 drops of essential oils
Put a small amount of water, about a tablespoon, in the bottom of the bottle, add the alcohol and add the essential oils. Finish filling the bottle with water. Put the spray top on,shake gently, and spray. About 2-3 sprays are usually enough to cover the water in the toilet bowl. The mixture may get cloudy and settle but just a shake is all you need to do to remix the formula. The alcohol helps the essential oils mix better with the water. You can also use witch hazel for a little bit thicker mixture but it does make the mixture permanently cloudy.

I used a small travel spray bottle to do my trials and I purchased an 8 ounce bottle at the $ store for my final mixture. One that has a very fine spray and just doubled and doubled the recipe.

You can use any essential oils that you like but you want the oils to neutralize the odor, not overpower the odor. I used lemongrass and lavender. Lemongrass smells like Ivory soap and lavender is soothing. I used 40 drops of lemongrass and 20 drops of lavender. You can adjust according to your nose. Or use something else altogether. It is totally your choice. Some people don't like lemongrass and some people are allergic to lavender. Bergamont oil is also a favorite.

This also works on stinky shoes. I had a really stinky pair of leather Sperry Top Siders that reeked of cigarette smoke. I cleaned and polished them, used vinegar and nothing helped. When I walked in the room where they were I could immediately smell them. I thought about freezing them but I was in the bathroom and saw the Poo spray and thought if it contained the poo smell surely it would work on shoes.

I gave it a try and WOW it worked. I did adjust the formula and put a little more alcohol and lemongrass essential oil and less lavender essential oil. I wanted to get the smell out but didn't want to leave an oily residue. To me the lemongrass makes the shoes smell clean, like Ivory soap, and not perfumey. I did have to spray the shoes 3 times before I got the smell out. But it was worth the extra effort to be able to sell them and know that they didn't smell. I have used the spray on a pair of sandals and really sweaty smelling chest protector. Works like a charm.

So if you have stinky shoes give this a try and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New game--Real or Fake?

I love it when men sell the long lost wife's belongings. Be it a divorce or a more permanent demise they want to get rid of the girly stuff.

I was at a yard sale at a middle school on Saturday and found this seller with 4 big moving boxes sitting in front of his table. One box said, "free", the next $1 box, the next $2 box, and on the end the box was turned upside down with things on top. I picked a olfa rotary cutter mat and a vtg crewel embroidery picture out of the free box. The $1 box had a fake Kate Spade purse, some plastic Tupperware pieces and  a The Sak brown leather purse. Score on the Sak purse.
Further down the parking lot was a very talkative and "informative" seller. I spotted some Vera Bradley and hesitated because it was more than I wanted to pay. I finished looking at all the other stuff and ended up getting two different bags and two older wallets. The other bag and wallets I was able to verify as genuine. This one I'm on the fence about.

 The fabrics all feel and appear to be the real thing. Carnaby on the left, Pirouette center, and Blue Rhapsody on the right. The bottom gusset, strap and lining are Pirouette. The thing that bothers me is the shape of the bag. I can't find another bag shaped like this. I have seen other patchwork bags but not with these 3 fabrics or in this shape. All of these fabrics were available June 09 to May 10 with the Blue Rhapsody available June 09 until November 10.
The lining is correct for the Pirouette fabric and the pockets are neat, the zipper matches and the ribbon matches and there is a correct label sewn in the lining. The pull tab for the outside zipper on the top of the purse is a round silver tab. I have never seen a pull tab like that on a Vera bag.

In researching the Vera patchwork bags I did notice that the patchwork totes and purses were a little different from the normal styles. I don't need to have a listing pulled because of fake merchandise. Don't need another black mark on my store.

Any thoughts on my Vera? Real or fake?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Finally some good luck

 Yard sale is in full swing....finally!!

Our area has had lots of rain and it seems like Saturdays have been washed out with no real yard sales. I have been able to get a few little ones in here and there. But Saturday was beautiful and I was up early and on the road. Here are a few things I found.
This seems like an ideal item for this week, but not enough time to get her listed and there are a bunch already listed. I'll let her hang around until next year. If I list in the summer maybe the field will be less crowded.
Found the always popular stick blender and vtg Pyrex at a big church yard sale.More about the other items in a minute. Picked up Vera Bradley, a bark basket, assorted kitchen stuff and all at a fantastic price. And as an added bonus....brownies!! The youth group was having a bake sale!

Then on to another church yard sale in the area. It started at 6 AM and I got there about 8:30. It was small and to tell you how far out in the backside of nowhere it was, they were playing Willie Nelson hymns in their fellowship hall, on 8 track!!  Only picked up one item there of note, a boxed set of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House books, sealed. Score!!

Heading  back home I had found a yard estate sale on CL. I have such good luck at these sales. The family is having a sale to get rid of everything left after they picked everything they want. Sometimes all is left is junk and sometimes you get good stuff.

Found a bunch of cameras in the bathtub of the master bathroom, really. Eleven altogether. Some good, some not so good. I took them all in order to get a good price. Also in the bathroom,( why?), I found the typewriter. Out of the camera lot I have about 6 good ones and I think I'll bundle the leftovers into one lot. The Bose Wave radio was found on the top shelf of a back bedroom closet, shoved back in the corner. Just luck that I saw the corner and figured out what it was and was able to dig it out.
This vintage "transistor phonograph" was dumped in a box with Christmas ornaments, very trashy ornaments. I rescued it.

A vintage TransFormers Halloween costume in the box and with a box bonus Masters of the Universe mask that I'm having trouble identifying. But for 10c I think I can invest a little research time.

You can always tell who prices the items at a family yard estate sale. The guys will price guy things higher, cameras, tools and stuff like that and kitchen and household stuff will be dirt cheap. The packed-full yellow shoe box full of vintage buttons, some still on their cards, was $1, The mini sewing machine, NIB, was $2. The Cathedral Window table runner was 50c, the completely hand made Cathedral Window table runner was 50c!!!

So if you ever see a Yard Estate Sale, hit the brakes and pray that the guys did all of the pricing on the household stuff and maybe the girls priced the tools!!

Not a yard sale find but I picked this up on a recent thrift store run and as a bonus I had a 20% off coupon.
All of that beautiful work, original glass, case
and clock mechanism for a paltry sum of $4.80
 I didn't check to see if the clock part worked before I put it in the cart. I just looked at the cross stitch and the 1963 date at the bottom and picked it up. Both hands are there, but it doesn't work. I think I will have better luck selling it with the clock mechanism replaced and I can still use the original hands. Someone did a wonderful job and it breaks my heart to think that no one in the family thought it was special enough to save and dumped it at a thrift store. I'm glad I rescued it because there is someone out there that will think it is special too.

Now get out there early to all those yard sales and stock up for the lean times when there are are no yard sales.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Returned Item Insurance Coverage

When I opened an insurance claim for this package:
I was assured by ebay that return packages were full insured. As a top rated seller you receive $100 per priority package insurance instead of $50 for regular sellers. Or at least that is what I have read.

You would think that the same amount would apply for return labels.

Nope. Only $50 on a $160 claim. I guess ebay isn't a top rated seller ;)

That is totally OK because karma will get you. And I am willing to wait until ebay gets their karma back. Especially on the defect rating system.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The good, the bad and the returns

This is the good
Look what I found in my yard when I was taking some trash out. Double luck. Or does one cancel out the other? Say it ain't so, I need all the luck I can get.

I am an avid fan of Scavenger Life and have listened to all of their podcasts and can totally relate to what they are telling us. Honest, down to earth information. I often find myself laughing at something they have done because I have done the same thing. I am also a strong supporter of the silent treatment.

 This time the silent treatment didn't work. I received a return request for the vegan purse claiming careless packaging and crushed in transit. I responded and asked for pictures. Crushed in transit to me means an insurance claim. No pictures, no communication.

So when ebay asked if I wanted to escalate the case I said yes. Stupid mistake. Defect received.

I got the purse back yesterday, opened, inspected and issued refund. Oh, and a note from the seller along with pictures of the damaged purse. She couldn't figure out how to upload them to the ebay message so she just sent them with the purse. Hello, why would I need pictures now? I have the purse. Of course no pictures of the box. Then I checked my dashboard and see that I have one item that I have not resolved, the purse.

I called ebay to find out how to get the defect removed. After getting transferred to the fourth person, I explain once again and the response is read from a script that when I escalated the case it is an automatic defect. But ebay says on my account that I didn't respond. I did. I issued a refund within hours of receiving the purse back. The seller  provided no communication and no pictures to prove damage. Grrrrrrr I want to rip my hair out!!! or cry....or both.

This fiasco puts my defect rate at 2.02. Perfect, just what I need. No big sales, no discount on fees, lots of returns and defects up the wazoooooooo.

Maybe I should have been looking for 4 leaf clovers a bit earlier than today.