Found Mail Box Victorian DIY Re-Style (and it was FREE!)

Found Mail Box Victorian DIY Re-Style

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OK, I know most of you probably don’t have gee gobs of art supplies lying around like I do, but even if you had to buy the supplies for a project like this it would be pretty cheap. I found this old mailbox abandoned in an alley near my home, and I used supplies I had on hand to fix it up to match our Victorian house so this project didn’t cost me a dime. Admittedly it is a temporary fix, as we have our eye on a really nice proper Victorian mailbox in the future, but for now, this one is cute, and is much much better than the basket we had sitting next to our door for mail ūüėČ

Mail Box – BEFORE (yikes!)

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First things first, I cleaned it up, scraped off the vinyl house letters on top, and did my best to remove the industrial crud stuck on the front. I couldn’t get all of the cement-like substance off, but planned to cover it up with a fun design…

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Then I painted the inside a gloss purple. Why purple? It matches our house trim. Most people don’t think about the inside of a mailbox, but you see it every time you get the mail (and maybe the mail carriers appreciate it too ūüėČ

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Next came the outside. I painted it in a copper metal paint because most of the metal (the gutter, the rain chain, etc.) is copper on the front of the house. This paint is real copper, patinas with time, and wears well. I couldn’t find this exact brand online (I’ve had it for years) but there are many great metallic paints out there at home improvement stores. This paint took 4 coats to cover completely. Any nice color would work equally well, especially nice in gloss.

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Next came the fun part. I pulled out my big box of bits and jewels and played around till I had a design I liked, then glued it on with Duco Cement. The jewels I chose to use where wrapped in copper metal tape, so were an obvious choice (I acquired all the jewels from artist Lonnie Hanzon’s studio auction years ago. I’ve been using them up bit by bit over the years.) You could glue anything onto a box like this: beads, findings, whatever tickles your fancy.

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I decided to write “Mail” on the box, and had a little fun using my old calligraphy skills. (it’s far from perfect, but it will do.) Writing not your cup of tea? Buy some nice stick-on letters at the home improvement store or decoupage it. If your box is away from your door, you may want to put your house number on the box instead. Here I used permanent marker and metallic paint marker for the accents. (the box is in total shade so will not be faded by the sun)

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And here it is hung by the front door. A fun, funky one-of-a-kind mailbox.

I hope you’ve been inspired to create your own fun mailbox! For more inspiration, do a Google image search for “unique mailbox”. There are some amazing creations out there!

Alley Art Update: A Cool Hipster DIY Word-Art Street-Art from Thrift-Store/Found Painting

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Another project for the Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom make-over…This was a fun one. I was inspired by this blog post on Apartment Therapy, “5 Ways to Update Thrift Store Art” http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/5-ways-to-update-thrift-store-art-187416

A couple weeks after seeing this blog, I spied this “beauty” in an alley near my house and knew it would be perfect:

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It was solid and the canvas was in good shape, it was big (32″ x 36″), and best of all, it was FREE. (I see paintings at the thrift store every week that would be great for a project like this for $5-10) I had a bunch of old vinyl lettering to use to mask out the letters in my stacks of art supplies, so I gathered up my supplies and started playing with the layout. (FYI: I “stole” the phrase from a Google search of “Word Art”) You can find these stick-on letters at office supply stores in several sizes.

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I didn’t have quite enough letters for the whole phrase, so I used the “blanks” left on the backing paper, cut them out with an exacto knife, and attached them to the canvas with spray adhesive. I used painter’s tape to space out the letters, and then it was time to paint the top half with gloss white spray paint.

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(Note: I pulled off the letters that were attached with the spray adhesive right away, before they dried permanently) After the white dried, I taped off to paint the bottom half, which I painted with black gloss spray paint. NOTE: Learn from my mistakes! Cover the whole top half thoroughly! I had to go back and touch-up the white where the black paint over-sprayed)

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When the black was dry, I removed all the tape and all the vinyl letters.

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At this point I felt the letters were a little too sharp, and I wanted to add a little dimension to the white area. I mixed up a very watery translucent pale gray with leftover white wall paint and a drop each of Mars Black and Ultramarine Blue acrylic paint. I very lightly brushed this over the top area in a sort-of “x” pattern, and had a damp sponge on hand to catch drips and smooth out where needed.

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And here is the final result! While it is not perfect (some of the letters are a tad off, but think that adds to the “street-art” feel) I am very pleased with it, and it looks great in the Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom. The whole project took less than 2 hours, and all it cost me was about $4 in paint (I had the rest of the materials on-hand) More bedroom projects coming soon! Just a few more to go before it’s complete.

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Share your updated” Art projects in the comments section. I’d love to hear about them!

Denver! There’s a Ton of Great FREE Things To Do This Weekend…(Memorial Day Weekend, 2013)

There’s more Free things to do in Denver this weekend than you can shake a stick at, it will be hard to decide where to go! Here’s the Scoop:

Denver Day of Rock

A day of FREE rock concerts? Can’t beat that! Denver Day of Rock on the 16th Street Mall, Saturday. Here’s the line-up: http://denverdayofrock.com/2013-lineup/

ARTSTIR

A showcase of Colorado Artists at the Denver Pavilions http://www.artstirdenver.com/

Downtown Denver Arts Festival

It’s at a new location this year at the DCPA, which I think will be a great location. It runs Friday, Saturday, Sunday http://www.downtowndenverartsfestival.com/

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Eric Van Schyndle http://wagalabagala.com

“Friday Flash” also at the DCPA, and COCKTAILS!! Friday Night, May 24, http://www.denverdigerati.com/calendar

BazaarBQ If your tastes run to the fun and strange, this one is for you, at the Fusion Factory runs Saturday and Sunday https://www.facebook.com/events/132254140275907/?fref=ts

Old South Gaylord Street Festival is a sweet and folksy one, Sunday & Monday  http://southgaylordstreet.com/

Memorial Day Parade May 25 at 11:30am, across from the Capitol https://www.facebook.com/pages/Veterans-Memorial-Day-Tribute/213234849614

And courtesy of Denverarts.org, here’s a heap of art happenings this weekend: (remember Museum events are NOT Free, but gallery events are!…)

May 24, 2013
May 25, 2013
May 26, 2013

…and I’m sure there’s even more great free things to do in Denver. Did I miss something great? Please share it in the comments section. Thanks! And have a GREAT Holiday Weekend!

How to Have An Awesome & Profitable Yard Sale, Part 1: Organize & Prep (Think like a Shopper)

It’s that time of year again…YARD SALE TIME! I hold a Yard Sale every year. (my annual sale will be on June 1st) With all the yard sale & thrift store shopping I do, I’m always “trading-up” my things, redecorating…and accumulating. This is my yearly “Purge”. With a life-time of yard sales on both sides of the table under my belt, I’m here to pass on my hard-earned selling wisdom in this 2-Part Series…

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How to Have an Awesome and Profitable Yard Sale, Part 1: Organize & Prep (think like a shopper)

1. The first step is to Pick a Date. Be prepared, yard sales are a lot of work, and take time. Unless you have already gathered your goodies to sell, pick a date at least 2-3 weeks in the future. Believe me, you need that time to clean out your crap and get ready. Saturdays are the best days for a sale. Some people like to run 2-day sales, but not me. Most people are out shopping on Saturdays so that’s when I do it. I will sometimes do another sale the following Saturday if I have a lot of leftovers. Check the calendar, and don’t plan your sale on a major holiday weekend (many people go out of town).

2. Invite friends and neighbors to join your sale. I say this with a caveat. In general, more stuff & more sales = more traffic & more money. (ie: stating “Multi-Family Sale” or “Block Sale” brings more people to shop) However, this can also be a pain in the ass. I always invite a few friends to join my sales (There are 4 of us this year) but I only ask those I know will follow “the Rules”, which are: All their items must be cleaned, priced, at my home before set-up, and the friend must be present for the duration of the sale. (this makes your sale more fun, too!) You can add your own “rules” if you like, but these are the most important. If you decide not to invite friends to join the sale, at least let all your immediate neighbors know the date and time of your sale as a courtesy.

3. Purge! Go through every nook and cranny of your home and pick what you want to part with. Get some big boxes and go at it. Two boxes per room is good if you have a lot of clearing out to do: one for Yard Sale items, and one for Trash. One room at a time, one drawer at a time, one shelf at a time, take any item you no longer need, no longer use, or no longer like and put it in the “For Sale” box. Anything broken, stained, missing pieces or just plain worthless goes in the “Trash” box. Do this for every room in the house. You’ll be amazed how good it feels to get rid of stuff! Now toss the “Trash” boxes, it’s time to organize your sale stuff.

4. Go through your “For Sale” items and Clean Everything. Clean items sell better. Way better. It’s worth your time. FYI one of my favorite cleaning tools is the Magic Eraser. These things are little white miracles of clean. They remove coffee stains of cups in a snap, grunge off pots and pans, shine up most plastics and much more. (just be sure and test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot if you are unsure). Windex-up your glass & mirrors and get everything shiny and pretty. Also, go through all clothes pockets, and drawers, etc. in any furniture you are selling. Chances are you’ll find some cash. If anything you are selling has small parts or manuals, put them in a ziplock bag and tape it to the item. Now it’s time to…

5. Price it!* (see section on pricing at the end of this list) This is VERY IMPORTANT. Yes, I know it’s time-consuming, but it’s crucial. A priced item is a sold item. Believe me, if you don’t price everything, people will be asking you every 30-seconds “How much is this?” How much is this”? It’s annoying as hell and will turn your Fun Sale into an I-Wanna-Run Sale. Besides, people don’t like to ask! They’d just assume not buy anything if they have to ask a stranger about it. I’ve been going to yard sales all my life, and I HATE asking. Just shut up and price it, all of it. I promise, you’ll be glad you did. You can get packages of yard sale tags at most grocery stores these days, as well as office supply stores. Be sure and annotate anything special about the item as well, such as the year on vintage items, where it came from if that’s important, or any issues the item might have. (always be honest!)

6. Figure out WHERE you’ll have your sale. I always set up my sale in the garage, for a couple reasons. One, I can completely set up the sale ahead of time and not have a “mad scramble” to set up morning of the sale. Two, I don’t have to be concerned with “Early Birds” (more on those in Part 2) Let me tell you, it is AWESOME to be able to leasurely get up the morning of the sale, make my coffee, and just walk out to the garage and open the door at the appointed time) If a garage is not an option for you, try your best to close off the area of your yard where you will have the sale. Use caution tape and stakes if you have to, with “NO ENTRY BEFORE ___am” signs. It is nearly impossible to get properly set up with people coming and grabbing stuff out of your boxes and getting in your way before you are ready (more on this step in Part 2.) Think through what you’ll need to display your wares. Lots of tables is best, so borrow them if you have to. A clothing rack is great if you have lots of clothes (and they WILL sell best when displayed “like clothes”, not strewn over a fence or on the lawn. If you don’t have access to a rack, find sturdy poles or pipes and hang them to display clothes on. I often use old doors on sawhorses as table, with old sheets over them so they look inviting. In addition to tables and racks, you’ll need…

7. Supplies! Get your supplies ready. You’ll need:

a. Fanny Pack*

b. Calculator

c. Ledger (or large pad of paper) & pens/pencils

d. Bags, boxes and newspaper (for purchases)

e. Extension cord (or easy place to plug in electrical items)

f. CASH**

g. Help (a spouse, friend, whoever…friends don’t let friends have yard sales alone.

h. Staple gun (with staples) and packing tape (for putting up signs)

* A Fanny Pack is a MUST. Yes, I know they’re out of fashion, (and I agree, they are hideous!) but o so necessary for a yard sale. Do Not, I repeat, DO NOT use a cash box! Keep all the money on you at all times. It’s way too easy for someone to walk off with your cash box. And don’t just shove it in your pocket, it’s too difficult to keep track of that way.

** Cash. Most people will show up with $20 bills fresh from the ATM, so you’ll need to have plenty of $1’s, $5’s and $10’s on hand, about $80 in change is good. If you have items priced under $1, you’ll need quarters, dimes and nickles as well (honestly I don’t do anything under $1, it’s just more hassle than it’s worth in my opinion)

8. SIGNS. Oh the signs. Critical to your Yard Sale success, and I’ve seen soooo many bad ones. The most important thing to remember is that they must be easily read from a moving car. No one is going to stop to read your sign. It must be BIG, NEAT and CONCISE, and must include at least 3 key things: What, Where and When. Simply, “YARD SALE, SATURDAY JUNE 1st 9am-3pm 1234 SPRING ST.” in BIG, CLEAN lettering. Don’t clutter it up with a lot of small words. Remember, must be read from moving vehicle! Every time I go out yard sale-ing, I see tiny signs printed on 8 x 10 paper in small type that no one can read. I don’t go to these sales because I can’t read where they are! Think like a shopper, and plan it out. A few more notes on signs: Have them all look the same (same color, same lettering, etc.). I’m a fan of those big florescent boards you see for sale at the grocery store. Get all the same color, it’s important to help people find you. Have fun with them! Make them distinctive, use bright colors, add balloons or whatever if you like, just make sure they are easy to read.¬†This is what my signs look like this year:

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They are 16″ x 20″ , and honestly should probably be even bigger. (I am lucky enough to have a friend with a print shop do these up for me cheap.) I also have a bunch of arrows that I will attach to the signs when I put them up. It’s easier than drawing them on the signs and trying to remember which sign goes where and in which direction. Also, while you’re making your sale signs, make a couple more that say “ALL SALES FINAL” and “CASH ONLY”. Then you’ll need to…

9. Figure Out WHERE to put up signs. You’ll want to put up signs at either end of your street, and at every major intersection and high-traffic area near your home, in every traffic direction. The more signs the better, always (I’ll be putting up 15 signs, but you could always do more than that). Put up your signs the night before the sale (you’ll have enough to do the morning of ) where they can be easily seen and high up. You spent all that time making great signs, so you want everyone to see them, right? Think from the point of view of the cars passing by. Be sure and take note of where you put your signs, because you’ll be taking them down right after the sale.

10. Additional Advertising. The local newspaper is a great place to place an ad, though you will have to pay for it of course. In my experience, Craigslist is the BEST place for ads. I’ll do a Craigslist ad for my sale 3 days prior, 2 days prior, the day before and morning of the sale. Make your Craigslist ad as detailed as possible. This is the place to talk about all the great stuff you are selling, and add pictures! People love pictures. Many people are looking for specific items, so list as much as possible. And again, be sure and clearly state WHAT, WHERE & WHEN! (Note: Do Not put your phone number in the ad. Trust me. AND state at the top of your ad: “NO EARLY BIRDS”. More on why this is important in Part 2) FLYERS. I print out a few flyers and put them up about 5 days before my sale on local community boards, coffee shops, anywhere it is appropriate. I add little pull-off tabs with the date and address at the bottom of the flyer. Are you on Facebook and Twitter? Post about your sale! I even create an invite on Facebook for my sale (you can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/events/146092605577643/

*PRICING. This is the most challenging part for most people, and a highly debated subject. Remember, you want to get rid of stuff. A Yard Sale is not a retail store or even Ebay. People expect Big Bargains. There are many garage sale pricing guides online (and some are better than others) but a good general rule of thumb is 10-15 cents on the dollar, unless the item is Vintage, Antique, Collectable, New with Tags, or Very Special/Unique. Even then, you can only get away with about 35% of retail. If you are unsure about your items, research the Final Sale Prices on Ebay, and price your items about 20% lower than that. Note: If you need to get more $$, then list it on Ebay instead of selling it at your yard sale. There are a few more exceptions to the 10-15% rule, namely books and clothes. Most books should be .50-$1 for paperbacks (depending on size and condition) and $1-3 for hardbacks, and clothes should be AT MOST 10% of retail if they are in new condition. CDs and DVDs should be $2-4. Price larger items with a mind towards bargaining. People like to haggle at yard sales, so for instance, if you want $10 for something, price it at $12: if you want $20, price it at $25, etc. Lastly, if you have these items, DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME cleaning and pricing, just recycle them: old tube TVs, VCRs, & cassette players; and anything stained, ripped, damaged/broken.

Remember, you want to attract as many people as possible to your sale, so Spread the Word as much as possible, and Think like a Shopper in all your sale-prep tasks. Next week in Part 2, we’ll talk about how to display your wares to get the biggest bucks, what to do the day before and morning of your sale, how to talk to people, safety, and what to do with the leftovers post-sale.

READ PART 2 HERE

Have more questions? Ask me in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them in Part 2.

Modern Nightstand (Bed Side Table) DIY Made With Old Art Magazines

Modern “Artsy” Nightstand made with old Art Forum magazines…

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Another project for the Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom is complete! I finished this one up over the weekend. I am very pleased with how it turned out! I am now on the look-out for more Art Forum mags so I can make another one of these…

I was inspired to the idea by this image:

The image above is a great use of the old mags, but I wasn’t a fan of the style, so I came up with my own. Everything I used (except the paint) I had around the house. The box I use in the middle I had made years ago for an art project that never came to pass. It is 12″ x 12″ square with one open end. This box would be fairly easy to make with 5 12 x12″ pieces of wood, or use your imagination! A wooden wine box from the liquor store might be a nice, more rustic look. Look around and see what you have that might work. I used a 12″ x 12″ art board for the bottom, but any thicker piece of wood would work. I’ve had a bunch of old Art Forum mags stacked up in the studio for a long time (I can never seem to part with them) and I love the way the spines look, so these were a natural choice, but pretty much any magazines could work, it just depends on the look you like. The round piece of glass was sitting in the basement (I have no idea what it once went to) Small glass table tops are available all over…hardware stores, hobby stores, etc. The four big wheels were sitting in a drawer from another old project that never materialized. These are available at any decent hardware store. (the ones I used are 4″) I really like the look of the oversized wheels. I started out by gathering my materials and playing with the design. I tried stacking the mags all on top, on the bottom, and ultimately liked the way this looked the best:

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Next came the paint. I used a gloss white on the outside and the bottom piece, and a semi-gloss teal on the inside. I sanded the wood and gave it all two coats.

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As the paint was drying, I glued and stacked the magazines. I used good ol’ Elmer’s glue. I put a fairly thick coat in between each magazine, and just smeared it all over with my hand (you can do this Elmer’s but NOT any more industrial glues. Use gloves!). I used a very straight piece of wood to straighten the stack each time I added another magazine. Then I smeared the glue all over the 3 outside open edges (not the spines), smoothed it out, and let it dry. (if you have overspill you can smooth it with a damp sponge) The glue dries clear and you won’t see it. When the glue dried, the magazine stacks were a solid mass.

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When the paint dried as well, I gathered everything together and proceeded to the next step: attaching the wheels.

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I laid out the wheels where I wanted them (in this case, leaving an inch around the outside) marked where the screws would go, and drilled small starter holes. Then I screwed in the screws (1/2″ in this case) with the screwdriver bit. Easy-peasy.

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I then stacked everything where I wanted it, checked the placement from all angles, and glued the “stacks”, box and base together with a more industrial glue (in this case, Duco cement, but most any heavy duty glue would work) When everything set, I just placed the glass on top.

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Then rolled it into the bedroom!

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A few additional notes: The lamp stand came from Target ($12 on sale), the lampshade from Goodwill ($3), the stainless steel tray from Goodwill ($4), and the rest of the goodies we already had from various sources. The “rug” is a piece of white shag faux fur from Distinctive Fabrics. (the silver satin behind the bed and most of the fabric on the pillows also came from Distinctive Fabrics. I highly recommend this site for fabric! Great selection, great prices. See the Hanging Lamp Project HERE, and the Rock Star Pillow Project HERE.¬† Emma the Pug, my little ham, always seems to sneak herself into my project photos…

More on the Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom coming soon!

What projects did you complete over the weekend? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Cute Hanging Succulent Plant Ball for the Outdoor Garden, Patio, Balcony, Wherever you like…

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My Homemade Hanging Succulent Ball

I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a long time, ever since seeing this amazing one from Martha Stewart:

source: apartmenttherapy.com via Marie on Pinterest

But of course, it had to be cheap and easy. I found the little round birdcage at a yard sale for 75 cents. A small piece of it’s bamboo was missing, but it was very strong and sturdy. I knew just what to do with it…

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I gathered my materials: Spagnum moss, potting soil, floral wire, needle-nose pliers and wire cutters, gloves,¬† a small but sturdy stick, and of course, succulents. I mixture of succulents would be great, but I have a rock garden area in my front yard where the Chicks N’ Hens needed to be thinned out, so I got all the plants for the ball from my garden. No cost! First I soaked and wrung out the moss. Then, using the little bird door that I could just get my hand through, I put a layer of the damp moss around the inside of the cage, pushing it partly through the wire where I could to keep it in place and reinforced it with twists of floral wire where I couldn’t get it through the side of the cage. Then, I filled it with potting soil and packed it in as best I could.

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Front yard rock garden area, source of Chicks n Hens.

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Bird Cage, Mossed.

Time to start planting. I started with the inside, and planted a few there. Then the challenging part began. I poked a hole with the stick and pushed the plant root in. Because of the way the wires are on the cage, I had to reinforced many of the plants with a loose twist of the floral wire. I was time-consuming, (and I poked my hands more than once) but it looks good and I dig it. I hung it up and watered it well when I was finished stuffing in the plants.

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Inside planted, now for the outside…

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Planting the outside.

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Almost Done…

And here it is! My funky little hanging succulent planter. Because I had all the supplies I needed on-hand, it only cost me the 75 cents for the cage (and a couple hours).

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I hope I’ve inspired you to think outside the box and use something interesting in your garden! I’d love to see your garden projects, tell me about them in the comments section. Happy gardening!

UPDATE:

It’s been a couple weeks since I hung the succulent ball. The plants have “found their footing” and are spreading out nicely. I thought you might like to see how it looks now:

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Succulent Ball, 2 weeks after planting.

YARD SALE Season is here! Your How-to Guide to Getting the Best Stuff & Becoming an Expert Garage Sale Shopper.

Hooray! Yard Sale Season has arrived!

yard-sale-sign1Ahhhh, Yard Sale Season, how do I love you? The thrill of the hunt, the exhilaration of finding that perfect thing, super-cheap…What fun! About half my house is Yard Sale finds (the other half is from thrifting, trades & barters, and found treasures) I actually have my Mother to thank for my deep love of Yard Sale-ing. She started dragging me to sales when I was but a wee thing, and it stuck. Now many many I-don’t-want-to-say-how-many years later and literally thousands of sales under my belt, I have a system that works, and I’m sharing it with you here today. (I will be hosting my own Annual Garage Sale in 2 weeks, and will lead you step-by-step in how to host your own awesome, high-profit sale here on this blog. Subscribe so you won’t miss a thing!)

Yard Sale Shopping – The How-To Guide

1. Find the Sales

These days, the best source of yard sale listings is Craigslist.org. It’s definitely my go-to. Check the Garage Sale listings the day before you shop (the majority of sales are on Saturdays, with some on Fridays and a few on Sundays) and check it again in the morning just before you head out.

Some folks are still “old school” and list their sales in the local newspaper. Check that as well the day before you go a-sale-ing. Also, keep an eye out for signs around your neighborhood, community bulletin boards, and even Facebook and twitter posts. A few notes on finding the best sales: In general, the best sales tend to be in the nicer neighborhoods in the city. It does depend on what you are looking for, but I generally find this to be true. I don’t usually go to sales in the suburbs anymore (though if you’re looking for family/kid stuff, these may be the sales for you) Denver-ites: The best neighborhoods are usually Baker, Cherry Creek, Congress Park/Cap Hill, Bonnie Brae, Park Hill, Wash Park/Platte Park, and increasingly, City Park/Uptown. (though there are always exceptions to the rule).

2. Make a List

This is a very important step. It keeps you organized and enables you to get to as many sales as possible in a logical order. Arrange your list by start times, and then by their proximity to each other within those times. As you’ll see when you read the craigslist ads, yard sales usually start anywhere from 8am-10am, but pretty much all of them have very specific start times. After reading the ads, some of the sales will be ones you really want to get to. I mark those with an asterisk. My list looks something like this (addresses made-up):

8am

1245 Fillmore St

682 Josephine St.

844 Adams St

9am

1122 Lafayette St

1723 Emerson St.

9:30

522 High St (in alley)

*885 Race St.

10am

1st and Cherokee St.

*142 Archer St.

3. Make a Map (optional)

A map is very handy if you’ll be shopping in a new area or are not sure where some of the sales are. You’ll find Google Maps or Mapquest very helpful.

4. Supplies

The day before your adventure gather your supplies: Your List (plus a pen to jot down new sales from any signs you drive by); A Friend (it’s so very helpful (and more fun!) to go sale-ing with a friend); A written list of what you are looking for (with measurements where appropriate); Tape measure: Bags & boxes, paper and/or bubble wrap; Water, coffee and a snack or two; and most importantly, CASH, with lots of small bills. (many people hosting sales will not have a lot of change)

5. Timing is Everything

The Early Bird gets the Good Stuff. Do your best to get to sales right when they open. Arriving up to 5 minutes early is ok, but don’t push it. Most people are overwhelmed trying to get everything ready for the sale and will get annoyed if you barge in before they are ready. Remember, this is someone’s home, so have respect, and be kind. That being said, there is One Big Advantage to hitting sales late. While the selection may be small, the bargains are big. People are ready to wheel and deal at the end of the day. More on that in #6. Also, when you arrive at the sale, scan the scene. You can often tell at a glance whether it’s worth your time to look more closely or to move on to the next sale. You can often do a good scan from the car before taking the time to park. At the sale, if you see something you like, pick it up right away, or someone else will! If you find a bunch of things, ask the folks hosting the sale if you can make a pile of things somewhere out of the way. (and keep an eye on your pile, I’ve had my piles pilfered more than once!)

6. Buying

You’ve found some treasures and it’s time to pull out your cash. Bargaining is pretty much expected at yard sales, but don’t low-ball. It’s just not nice. Offering $10 for something marked $12 is ok, but don’t offer $5. It’s frankly insulting. If you are buying a few items, ask for a “package deal”. Most folks are happy to give you a bulk discount. The only exception to the bargaining rule is if it is the End of the Day. You can get away with offering just about anything if it’s at the end of a sale. Most people would rather you have it cheap than have to pack it back up or drag it to the donation center. What should you expect to pay? If you are new to yard sale-ing, a general rule of thumb is 10-15 cents on the dollar, unless the item is new (then it should be about 60-70% off retail), collectable, vintage/antique, or high-end designer. Your Smartphone is your best friend if you’re not sure. I will usually look at the Ebay “Completed Listings” final sales prices to get a feel of what things are worth if I’m uncertain. I usually mentally compare to what I’d expect to pay at the thrift store. If it’s much more I usually pass (unless of course I’ve fallen in love and have to have it). Sometimes people are a little too attached to their stuff and price everything too high. I leave these sales quickly and move on to the next…Oh, and always check over your purchases carefully before you pay. There are no returns at a Yard Sale.

7. Attitude

Always be nice. You are visiting someone’s private home, and trust me, they have worked hard to put their sale together. Be kind. (besides, people are more apt to give a good deal to a nice person!) I’ll be honest. I’ve had a few really rude people at my sales, and not only did I refuse to sell them anything, I asked them to leave. Have fun! This is an Adventure, a Treasure Hunt! Get out there, get sale-ing, and enjoy yourself. I usually treat myself to a nice lunch after a hard morning of Yard Sale-ing. It’s fun to sit and chat about the morning’s finds and the ones that got away…

Tell me about your great Garage Sale finds! I’d love to hear about your treasure in the comments section below. (stay tuned for a 2-part series on preparing to have your own great Yard Sale, coming soon!)