Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Just Frames!


A few weeks ago I had found a new flea market that I loved and scored some great items. One of those items were 6 plain wooden frames minus the glass. You can see them in the front of the photo.

I had the idea to create a french country look with them and Just Frames by themselves can make a nice decorating element and that was my vision as I redesigned them.



I'm not a big fan of spray paint but I opted to use it to make this process go much faster. Time is money, so they say. So I purchase yellow, red and black in gloss finish.  As I didn't want all 6 frames to be the same I switched them up a bit so that they were different but would still look great grouped together.  Each frame got a base coat and then after they were dry I painted on a bit of vaseline in areas and then sprayed the contrasting color. With the vaseline trick all you have to do is wait till the top coat dries and then wipe off and it will reveal the under coat. Some light sanding over the whole frame and then they ready for the umber glaze.

So frames were done but they needed a bit more to finish it off. So I tea dyed some muslin & gingham and then with that fabric added the bow in each corner.  I also designed a tag that suggests the use for these Just Frames

  I used one of the Graphics Fairy black and white borders and then just added my text. I like the idea of suggesting uses to my customers.  I also personalized it by signing my name at the bottom. (not shown)

These frames will be at my booth this week sitting in my red Coco Cola wooden case with a price of $6. each.

I'm joining these parties 
Vintage Inspiration Friday at Common Ground
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Fridays Unfolded at Stuff and Nonsense 
Inspiration Fridays At The Picket Fence
Sunday's Best Par Tay at My 1929 Charmer
Newbie Party at DebbieDoos  
Friday, January 27, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Some Before And Afters!

I love when I get some really cool items at my favorite haunts that just need a bit of tweaking. Help of the kind like some spray paint that changes it from drab to fab or just a change of picture that enhances it's style.

Fruits Before 
These fruits I got at a local thrift store for a price that allows me to resell for a small profit. As you can see from the before picture they were lacking some love. One of the things I do is if I like it when I see it, I also have to like it when I pick it up. So these fruits looked good to me but if I picked them up and realized they were plastic or paper mache I wouldn't of been interested. But they were a type of metal and had some weight to them  so they made the grade. They would come home with me and get a makeover of some silver paint.

A few coats of silver spray paint and you almost wouldn't recognize them.  These guys would make a great paper weights.  So they are ready to go to my booth and I'll be asking $3 each.


I found this frame and picture also at a local thrift store and again the price was perfect for me to resell. The wood on the frame reminded me of a barn board type of wood even though it was painted a light turquoise color. The wood, the color, qualified this for the cottage chic category.
 I was surprised that no one had snatched it up. I suspect the problem was the picture inside the frame.  The frames were screaming "I"m shabby chic" and the picture was telling another whole story. Sometimes you just have look at an item and see what it can be and not what it is.

So I quickly looked on line at the Graphic Fairy's wealth of images and decided on the bird. The bird worked well with  its colors which complimented the already existing color of the frame. A vintage image coupled with the look of the frame I thought was a better fit.  Now little birdie and frame are sitting pretty  at my booth for $12 waiting for it's new home.
















            





Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

I Love Chalk boards!



So if you remember from one of my past posts about the 40 ammo boxes I bought, well it was time to paint up a few more tops into chalkboards.  You can see my first tops reported HERE.

I was able to get the sample size jars of the Martha Stuart paint at Home Depot for $1.00 (they are discontinuing the line) I picked a turquoise color called Lagoon and also a deep brick red called Chocolate Cosmos.

So I started by filling in the nail holes with some wood putty,  gave the top a quick sand, a coat of primer and I was ready to get started.

First coat of color was the brick red and I did that all around, even on the back leaving the chalk board area alone. Let it dry.

Next I painted over the red with the turquoise color. Let it dry. 

Because I knew that I'd be distressing the wood and adding a glaze I felt that a second coat of paint wasn't necessary.

So after the paint had dried I got out my trusty handy dandy orbital sander.  I'm not one for sanding by hand. So I lightly went over in the spots that I wanted the red to show thru to create that distressed look. The trick is to sand off the turquoise paint but not the red, this requires a light touch.

After that was done I used a glaze product I got from Woodcraft called Burnt Umber Glaze Effects

So I just brushed it on liberally and wiped down with a damp cloth. I find that wiping with a damp cloth eliminates brush marks  I love this stuff  it really is a great finish for distressed pieces.

So that part was done I then painted the chalk part using FolkArt brand of Chalk Board Paint. I needed to do 3 coats.


In all projects I learn something and this is true with this. What have I learned?  My first set of these I used the vaseline trick and also some crackle to expose the undercoat of paint. I didn't do that here. The brick red was such a great color combined with the turquoise  but I was a bit disappointed that the red didn't show up as much as I would of liked.  A little vaseline would of worked wonders for it. I'll use vaseline next time

I also learned that combining colors is fun and I'll do it again. Next I'm thinking of using that same red with a deep eggplant color.
Sunday, January 22, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Flea Market Fun!

So I love shopping for what I call my finds. It could be at a thrift store, garage sale, auction or flea market and today I did the flea market scene.

Being new to the Clermont Florida area I'm not to familiar with the stomping grounds of great finds. Last week as I was traveling along SR 50 heading towards Orlando to attend an auction I noticed out of the corner of my eye a flea market. Not a small run of the mill type of market but the kind that could be classified as a swap meet. You know,  the kind that gets your heart pumping, palms sweating and fills you with anxiety to hurry up and get there. But I was already committed to the auction so I had to wait until TODAY!  

So I went and was I disappointed?    NOPE

I spent maybe 30 minutes in the market when I got the following from only 2 vendors.

Please excuse my picture the sun was pretty strong.

So the money spent was $80. and I got:
  1. A large oil painting (it's in the back) 
  2. A large picture (next to the oil painting)
  3. A shadow box table (it's got glass on top that lifts so you can showcase stuff) 
  4. A wooden carrying box
  5. 6  picture frames 
  6. 3 lime stained terra cotta pots. 
  7. Small picture (its sitting in the wooden box)
  8. Old wooden cabinet with glass door 
Tomorrow I travel to Dunedin to my booth to drop off some merchandise to sell.  Most of this stuff won't make the trip. Each thing I got today needs just a touch of tweaking but it will go in about 2 weeks when I make my next trip.

I also will be heading back to this flea market next Saturday and meet up with these vendors again to see what they got.  
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Craigslist!

What's not to love about Craigslist?

1. It's Free!
2. It gets you customers! 

I know the concerns of safety especially after the infamous Craigslist killer, but in all things not just craigslist safety first. 

So before I moved I sold off some stuff from my apartment on Craiglist. Being a single woman I did not want anyone coming into my home without my having someone else there. That wasn't always possible. So when they emailed me they were interested they would call and set up a time to come and see the item and I'd make sure it was outside my door for them. It would be a bit funny because as much as I was unsure of them, they would come with someone which said to me they were unsure of me. 

Here in my new home I can't do that. I live in a gated community that would frown upon a business being conducted from my home.  I do have a booth at Knot on Main Street and before Christmas I started doing limited amounts of ads on Craigslist directing them to Knot  and am proud to say I have sold everything I posted. Here are the items I sold.

1. Vintage Sewing Machine


(sold 3) 




3. World Globe



With my marketing efforts for my business and the success I've had with Craiglist I'll be utilizing this FREE tool.  I'll be posting to that customer who loves the vintage, chic shabby, farmhouse country or French country look. Those type of customers read Craiglist. My subject line will be written specifically to attracts those customers.

Oh yeah, another plus will be a link to my blog that I'll include in the ad. Can always use more traffic to my blog. 


Do you use Craiglist for your business? Would love to hear how you are doing with it.
Thursday, January 12, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

So What Do You See?

So I found this big cooking pot at a thrift store some time last year. I know it was last year because I tried selling it in my booth at Knot On Main Street, my first time around being a vendor there.

I would like to think the history of this pot was sauce sitting on a stove Sunday morning simmering away with meatballs, sausage and possible some braciole.

Maybe on Wednesday it was a stew simmering all day filled with meat and vegetables.  I'm starting to get hungry.

But I have to tell you when I saw this pot with it's wonderful patina, I wasn't thinking about cooking. I saw it as a hanging flower pot filled with red geraniums or possible a place to put rolled up white towels for a guest bathroom. I didn't see a cooking pot, no I didn't. Unfortunately the customers walking thru my booth didn't see those things I envisioned, they probably saw Grandmother's old cooking pot.

I needed to help them to see my vision. Now I could of purchased some white towels, rolled them up displayed in the pot but that would of added considerable amount to the retail price.  I opted to give it some help showcasing it as a possible hanging planter. 

 
I went to Michaels and purchased some sheet moss. and cut strips and glued them all around the top edge of the pot with my trusty glue gun.   The pot and the moss now shouts I've been REBORN.

I liked the way it came out and I priced it a bit higher than before.  I priced it at my booth for $10.00  It makes for an adorable interesting different planter.  Oh yes I also added a burlap bow for good measure. I love burlap!

My First Award It's Called The Liebster Award!

Shasta from In The Old Road  (love the name of her blog you can read here what the name means to her) has awarded me the Liebster Award.  If I had to pick an award that would be my first to win I would of picked this. It's fellow bloggers helping fellow bloggers get a jump start on their blogs. It also encourages friendship to develop and I really like that.




What's the Liebster Award you ask? It's an award that is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers (I qualify with 21 followers with head held low) to promote and encourage new friendships among the blog community.  Liebster is German and means "dearest; beloved; favorite".


Part of this award is to pass it on to others. Here are "the rules":
     1.  Post the award on your blog
     2.  Show your thanks to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.
     3.  Reveal your 5 picks for the award and let them know.
     4.  Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogsphere....other bloggers.
     5.  Finally, the best rule of all, have fun and spread the love!


Here are my picks to win this award


It would so hard to pick just 5 but I wanted to honor the rules of no more than 200 followers.

So it would mean a lot to me and them if you stopped by and say hello. It's how friendships are started.  Again thank you Shasta for passing me the award, I'm honored.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Where To Sell Part Three Brick and Mortar

Brick and Mortar is my favorite way to sell, can be your own store, a flea market booth  or space in an antique mall.

Source
 Having my own store involves a lot more than I'm willing to do right now. Because of the expenses and commitment to the amount of days to work  I opt to not open a store.

Back in the 80's in Syosset, NY I had a store with my sister called Once Upon A Gift. Then in 2005 I opened 2 stores which both were called Soapier in Tarpon Springs, Fl with my adult children as my partners.  Having experienced having my own store right now I'd rather spend my time doing what I love and that's FIND then RE*PURPOSE.

Source

A flea market booth is a great idea, you can grow a business with some very affordable rental rates. Usually the cost for rent includes everything except insurance and payroll.  There is a commitment of someone manning the booth each weekend, I'm not ready to do that yet. 

Back in November I rented a booth space at an antique mall in Dunedin, FL called Knot On Main Street.  You can read about it HERE.

So what's so great about this you ask?  I pay rent $3.00 a square foot and I believe I have about 110 square feet. Commission rate is 10% plus I'll also pay a percentage if the customer uses a credit card.  Stock my booth, do a nice display and the rest of the work is done for me. Love it! 

My focus for my Plan For Business will be to increase my sales at Knot which will be accomplished with more inventory in my booth and marketing using the free classified of Craiglist which I'll talk about in my next post.
Sunday, January 8, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Found Camera Leads To Show and Tell!

Camera found! So I was wondering what photos I should take to show the world?  My new Subway Art? No not yet, My Dictionary Stryfoam Balls, no not yet, My Afghan Turned Pillows, no they aren't finished. Okay I'll show you my new guest bedroom, sewing room and all around craft room.

You might need to be sitting to take in all of this mess.  

The desk area

One side of the room overloaded with stuff
So the plan was to fit all of the stuff you see plus other stuff into a closet that I had my carpenter fix with shelves.  At the time of these above pictures it looked like this
Looks pretty full, right?
So in the middle of the closet the desk that you see in the above picture will go. The closet is already just about full and I still have to deal with all that other stuff.  The dresser you might of noticed is also full of fabric.

So as life would have it I was watching last night a show on OWN called "Extreme Clutter" and the lesson was "you don't need all of that stuff."   Okay Peter Walsh,  I hear yay.

I realized I have so many books that SOMEDAY I'll use in collage, they can be sorted and then some discarded.

In one of these file type boxes I've given a small crock pot that's used for melting bees wax, it's own little space.  You should know that I did a collage (one) about 4 years ago that I used the melted wax and never did it again. I think it's safe to let it go.

Ribbons, upon ribbons. My thought was you just never know when one of the hundred ribbons I have will come in handy. It will hurt to do it but some of them have to go.

There is quite a bit more stuff that I think I can safely let go of  which will make the closet the perfect fit for all of my stuff.  

What will not get the heave-ho is my fabric, not a yard, not a scrap, it all stays.  Really no amount of guilt, or shoulds, or don't you think could get me to part with any of it.   They all get to stay in their new home the 5 draw bureau and not complaining that they are a bit squeezed for space.

Okay, I'm off to get started and will pop my head up to say Hi in a few days.
Saturday, January 7, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Where To Sell Part Two I Do But I Don't

I do but I don't like Flea Markets, Farmers Markets and Craft Shows.

They are similar in the fact that you pay for a booth, set it up and wait for customers and are organized by promoters. Each type of show might attract a different customer base.

First let me explain what I LIKE about them.

Display, display and display. Did I mention I love displaying. Display is one of the most important things you can do for your business when doing shows. It's crucial to success. If you do shows start watching how people react to your booth. Notice how maybe 1. they gravitate to a certain part of your display. 2. they ignore your booth all together. Then step outside of your booth and try to see what they see. I then start switching things around and then again I see how those walking past my booth respond. It's fun, and interesting.


I like a good promoter who makes sure the right amount of marketing is done to get the customers to the event and hopefully to your booth.


I like meeting new people at these events and getting to know them. I love talking to people.

I like the weekly flea markets and farmer markets with their very affordable rates. You can rent a space with a table here in Florida for $10 for the day, can't beat that.

I like the idea of a flea market that is indoors and you don't have to set up a tent and you can also rent the space permanently. It's almost like having your own brick and mortar store. Plus you can grow the business with the proper marketing.  



What I DON'T LIKE.

Sitting around all day waiting for customers. So what happens to me if business is  slow,  I talk my neighbors ears off until they start to yawn,  I then move on to thinking about all the stuff I could be doing at home. No sales, low sales I then wonder what the heck am I doing here?   I tend to be a very antsy person, find it hard to enjoy just sitting doing nothing.

Not a big fan of packing up the car, unloading, setting up a tent and then repacking up at the end of the day and hauling the merchandise back in my garage. Of course this is all relative to how sales have been.

I don't like spending my money for a booth and the promoters is scrimping on marketing. This  happens a lot with not for profit organizations.

 I think that pretty much covers what I don't like. So here's the verdict, in my Plan For Business,  drum roll please!

About 30 minutes north of my home is a town called Mt. Dora and they host these antiques &  collectors xtravaganzas 3 times a year. People come from all over and the vendors sell products very much like my own which means there is a market for it. The flea market portion of this place charges $70 for the weekend. I can see myself doing this. I will need to hire help, rent a truck and buy a tent. I'll also need  lots of inventory. In my Plan For Business this is my goal for  fall of 2012. 
Thursday, January 5, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Did I Tell You I Moved?

On December 5th I moved from my condo in Palm Harbor, Fl to a house in Clermont, Fl. It's been a month and I'm still unpacking. I'm telling you all this because I can't find my camera and I'm itching to take pictures of some of the new stuff I'm doing. You need pictures to really see it.

I had a new closet set up with shelves in my guest room so that I can unpack some stuff and have a place for it. I'm hopeful the camera will appear. I really miss that camera.

So pictures will be coming soon, I'm predicting.

Moving is tough, the packing is the hardest, finding places for stuff as you unpack, that's also hard.

Where To Sell Part One



These next few posts about where to sell are from my own past experiences with these venues. My Plan For Business needs me to re-look over these ways and make a decision that feels right for me today.  My hope is that this information will be helpful to you as well.   

First you need to know that in the past I've been beguiled by the promise of making money.  You know those guys who say "read my ebook for $49.95 and you too can start making big money"? I was one of those who forked over the money, I'm ashamed to say more than once. 

You know that expression Jack of all trades, master of none well that could very easily describe myself. With all the jumping around I never focused on one thing and did what was necessary to make THAT successful.

So now after all the confessions lets first discuss the web. What's interesting and exciting about the web is the amount of potential customers.  A brick and mortar store could never get the amount of traffic that the web gets and to me in a business stand point this is it's best attribute.
  1. Etsy  is a great site with very affordable rates filled with creative artistic people selling their wares. Etsy generates a lot of traffic, maybe not as much as Ebay but still a lot. The advantages to this site is the low fees, the traffic, the place to go for handmade and vintage items, and you can price your items higher on Etsy then on Ebay. It's a different customer base on Etsy than on Ebay.     
  2. Ebay  you will hear the complaints about the outrageous fees etc but I have to tell you that nowhere are you going to get the potential traffic that Ebay generates. Logically if you had a brick and mortar store what do you think your expenses would be and does the customer traffic match up?
  3. Own Web Site  Nothing like having your own web site, and you might be thinking why bother paying those other guys those fees when I can have my own site. Might be a good idea but remember someone has to make the web site, you need a shopping cart and gateway and all that takes knowledge, time and money.
  4. Amazon  is also is a great site with lots of traffic. High fees, higher than Ebay.
For all of the above you can't expect to be successful by just listing your items. There's way more to it than that. It's called marketing and each one might need a different approach.

 For me right now the web is not where I will be putting my efforts. First off it takes a lot being successful on-line.  You have to take great pictures, write great copy for your listings, learn how to get your listings noticed but the real big reason I don't want to do the web is because I HATE shipping things.


Remember how I said in my previous post that I want to get up each morning raring to go, loving what I'm doing, well if shipping some sold items was on my list of things to do for the day I'd opt to just stay in bed.


I've learned from the past to never say never but for now it's absolutely been down voted. 


Am I the only one who hates shipping items? 

Tomorrow I'll go over my ideas for Flea Markets, Farmers Market and Craft Shows.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

Plan For Business!

This post is not about doing a business plan or marketing plan like the experts recommend. My eyes tend to glaze over and I suffer an out of body experience when asked to do one of those.  Just can't seem to grasp the whys and hows of it.  I'd like to think I'm more the creative artist type than a numbers person.  One could hope, right?

This is more about doing what I love to do and finding a way to make money doing it. I don't need much, just to supplement what I already get.

So I love to paint small items creating a vintage aged look.  I love to sew, pillows and curtains, and tabletop dressings.  I love to write because I think I might have something to say.  I love thrift store shopping, finding items that might of seen their day and giving them second chances.

So the first part of my Plan For Business is to commit to doing what I love to do.  If..... I want to awake each  morning with a smile, raring to go then I'd best be doing what I love to do. Seems simple enough.

Step one of  Plan For Business is done. I know what I love to do and I plan on doing it.

Come along on this journey with me of discovering how to make it all work. Should be interesting.

Next I'll post about the areas that are available for me to sell my wares. Stay tuned!
Monday, January 2, 2012 | By: My Great Finds by Linda

New Year, New Resolve!

It's common practice to start the  new year with wonderful resolutions, resolutions that after a few days I mentally block out.  So for many years because of my lack of sticktuitivness I just stopped making them, resolutions that is. 

New starts can happen anytime, a new month, a new week or even a new day, they are all blank canvases.

But this year I'm committed to a new me with a new resolve starting with the beginning of 2012.

2011 was a bit of a struggle for me right up till the end. That's over and I won't look back.

But here is 2012 and it is filled with such promise, a blank canvas to make my own.

So you'll see some new stuff from me, that's part of my resolve.

My next post will be my plan for my business with ideas on how to create your own plan.