DIY Exotic Asian-Moroccan Gazebo Restyle with Thrift Store Finds

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My Backyard Oasis

In keeping with this week’s theme of Pre-Blog Projects Revisited, here’s one of my favorites. I’m sorry I do not have a “before” picture of this one (I did the bulk of this make-over about 3 years ago). It was just the basic structure when I moved in, being used for bicycle storage. I wanted to turn it into a seating area, but of course, it had to be cheap and easy. Since I don’t have my usual “in-progress” pictures, I’ll talk you through it as best I can.

I started by covering the “roof” with thick plastic sheeting (attached with a staple gun) to keep the rain out. There are Virginia Creeper vines that cover the roof of the gazebo every spring, so you don’t see the plastic at all. The seating was really easy. I measured the space, went to Home Depot and had them cut 3 pieces of 1″ thick particle board to fit (it’s cheap, strong, and practically indestructible). I bought clearance remnants of rain slicker-like outdoor material at Denver Fabrics, and 3″ thick foam for the seats at Joann Fabric (with a 40% off coupon of course). I placed the foam on the particle board, covered it with the outdoor fabric, and used a staple gun to “upholster” the seats and drape the fabric down the front to cover underneath the seats. As a base for the seats, I stacked concrete blocks that I got from a neighbor for free. That’s it! It’s held up great for the last 3 years. I may eventually change the fabric if I find something else I like better, but for now this works great.

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Inside the gazebo

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For the Seating, concrete blocks.

All the pillows came from the thrift store for $2-4 each, a couple of them I covered with fabric left over from other projects. Because they were cheap, I don’t really care if they get ruined being out in the weather, and I can easily replace them. The leopard throw came from a yard sale for $2. The Asian table in the middle was a $12 Goodwill find, and all the hanging lanterns and umbrellas came from various thrift stores and yard sales. The fabric that is draped around the inside and the purple curtains were from my old art studio, and originally came from Big Lots for just a few dollars. They are all in a nylon fabric that has held up well to the elements. The two big flowered ceramic pots with the banana plants in them also came from Goodwill, about $8 each.

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More inside the gazebo…

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Lanterns & Umbrellas

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The Gazebo, another view.

For nighttime, I strung up a long string of clear led lights on the ceiling inside the gazebo, and added two short strings behind two of the umbrellas (I may add more lights in the near future) The “fire” you see in the night pictures is from a “Sungel” pot placed in a large heavy glass container I picked up at a yard sale, and I placed little battery led candle lights in the hanging lanterns (I know, the nighttime pics are not so great. I promise to update them as soon as I get a new camera). The whole project cost about $300.

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Gazebo at Night

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Gazebo at Night, close-up

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Another Nighttime View

Everyone loves to hang out in the gazebo. It’s where people tend to gather at parties and after dinners. I love it, too. I often spend quiet afternoons out there reading, working on my laptop, or the occasional nap. (There is a small pond next to the gazebo, the sound of water is very soothing…) It’s my own little piece of the tropics, right here in Denver.

I hope this inspires you to create your own backyard Oasis! I’d love to hear about your backyard projects in the comments section.

How to Have an Awesome & Profitable Yard Sale, Part 2 (Think like a Retailer)

How to have an Awesome & Profitable Yard Sale, Part 2 (Think like a Retailer)

READ PART 1 HERE

Garage Sale

A Nicely Set-up Yard Sale (picture from http://joyceandwiley.blogspot.com/)

First, I’d like to apologize for being late on Part 2. Honestly, my own yard sale took much more time than I had planned (I was selling a sizable vintage collection for a neighbor, in addition to my own things, and 3 other friends joining the sale) and frankly, I wanted to take a day or two off to recover 😉 As I said in Part 1, hosting a yard sale is a lot of work! So without further ado, here is Part 2.

Set-up

This is your most time-consuming task, but well worth taking your time to do well. Whenever possible, do it the day before your sale (or earlier) Helpful Hint: However long you think it will take you to set up, triple the estimate. I’ve been doing this for years, and it still almost always takes longer than I think it will.

1. Use tables and furniture to display your wares. Nothing looks worse (and sells less) than items thrown on the ground. Even the nicest things look cheap and crappy on the ground. Don’t do it. Borrow tables if you need to. The same goes with clothing racks. Clothes look best on racks. Hang everything you can on hangers.

2. Cover tables with tablecloths, old sheets, etc., anything to make them look a little nicer.

3. Organize your wares by category. Put kitchen with kitchen, clothes with clothes, etc.

4. Merchandising. Think like a retail store and display things neatly and place like with like. Use risers (these can simply be stacked boxes, anything to add different height levels to place your items on) Plug in and turn on tvs, computers, and lamps. Make it look like a place you’d like to shop.

5. Atmosphere. A little background music sets the mood, just be sure and play something with wide appeal. (no Death Metal or Gansta Rap 😉

6. If you are doing the sale in your garage, remove or hide anything that is not for sale. If you can’t, then at least put a sign up that reads “Not For Sale”. If you don’t that will be the one thing everyone wants to buy.

The Night & Morning Before your Sale

Be sure you have all your ducks in a row. This is probably when you’ll be putting up your signs, be sure and give yourself plenty of time to do this (see Part 1) Remember to put up your “All Sales Final” & “Cash Only” signs where you will be completing sales. Have your change, (and fanny pack) ready; your calculator, pens, ledger, bags and boxes good to go, and do a final walk-through of your sale to make sure everything is priced and looks good. I usually prep my coffee and breakfast before I go to bed as well, so I don’t have to get up too early. Then, on the morning of, you can relax knowing everything is done, grab your coffee, and open your sale when you are ready.

Talking to People

You may think this goes without saying, but be nice. Smile. Engage people and say hello, but don’t be pushy. There’s nothing worse than going to a yard sale and having the hosts telling you the history of every item (without being asked), or telling you why their stuff is so great, etc. I usually leave those sales quickly. No one likes a pushy salesperson! When people arrive at your sale, just smile and say something like “Hello, thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you have any questions”. On the flip-side, if people are rude to you (believe me, this happens) remember, it’s your home, and you can ask them to leave.

Safety

Most of the people who come to your sale are great, but unfortunately you will need to be concerned about safety. (I have been ripped off more than once at my own sales) Here are a few things to be aware of:

1. Do not host a yard sale alone. You will need help, and like the saying goes, there’s safety in numbers. Thieves will target people alone. (besides, it’s a lot more fun with friends 😉

2. Keep the money ON YOUR PERSON at all times. Do not use a cash box, or anything that can easily be separated from you. When you build up some cash, go lock it up in your house or in your car. Don’t count the money or take it out in public.

3. Never Ever Ever let anyone in your house. “Can I use your bathroom?”(or “can my kid use your bathroom”) is an old trick to get in your house to “case” it or pocket valuables. Politely point them to the nearest public restroom. I don’t care if they are acting like they’re about to pee on your lawn, don’t fall for it. Ever. For any reason. Got it?

4. Don’t let people “help” you add up their purchases, or rush you. One scam that I have fallen victim to was a group of  “shoppers” (thieves) that come to your sale, one person buys something small with a $100 bill, while you are trying to get the change, he is changing his mind or trying to add or subtract something while his partners are distracting you by asking questions in the middle of it. Don’t let this happen. Firmly say “one person at a time” or “wait” and do not allow yourself to be rushed. This is another instance where not being alone at your sale is key (when this happened to me years ago, I was alone at the sale. They made off with most of my money and some merchandise) Take your time, do not allow people to push or rush you. Also, when someone hands you a bill and you are making change, keep their bill in view (but in your hand or on your person) until the transaction is complete, so they can’t say “I gave you a $20” when they really gave you a $10. And finally, don’t take checks.

5. Watch the little stuff. Keep all small and/or valuable items (like jewelry) near you so you can keep an eye on them. Thieves like to pocket small things. Also, watch people’s bags, and if someone buys purses or bags of yours, always check inside the bags. It is a very common trick to place other items in the bag and “forget” to tell you about it when they pay. (This happens at MOST of my sales).

Post-Sale

Your sale is over, you’ve got a pocket full of cash, and you’re probably more than a little tired. There are sale left-overs strewn across your lawn. What now? Time to clean up. First step, lock up your cash in the house. Most people donate their items to a charity such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. (this is what I usually do). If this is your choice, you’ll need to box it all up and drive it to their donation center (check online for the center nearest you) Some people will box up their leftovers and save them till the next sale (I always think I’ll do this, but by the time the sale is done I’m over it, and just want everything the frick out of my garage! 😉 or you may want to give some of the items to friends. Some people will just put their leftovers out by the dumpster for anyone to take, but if you do this, be sure and take care of any mess left behind. And finally, your last task, take down all your signs. Be responsible, don’t contribute to litter and urban blight. I know you’re tired, just get it done. (This is honestly my most hated task. At this point in the day usually all I want is to relax with a cocktail or take a nap, but I kick myself in the butt and do it)

OK, if I haven’t scared you too much, you are now fully prepped to have your own Awesome & Profitable Yard Sale.  Go forth, de-clutter, have fun, and make some cash. Still have questions? Ask me in the comments section below.

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.

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!)

 

 

A Quick Art Studio Redo…Now Get to Work

My studio was a screaming mess…I couldn’t stand it anymore. Some artists like to work in a chaotic environment, but not this one. I spend 10-12 hours a day in this room, (and it is also my work-out space) so it needs to function, be comfortable, and for me to be happy, to look at least half-way decent. Long overdo for a clean-out and re-org, I spent most of Saturday tearing apart my work space. It’s now comfortable to be in, and I’m not mortified whenever someone visits.

THE STUDIO…BEFORE (A Big Mess!)

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(I’ve added “modesty bars” over the naked bits in my paintings)

First, I went through everything, tossed the garbage, and filled a box for my yearly summer yard sale (much more on that in future posts). Then, I rearranged the room to create a little alcove to hide away from view all the necessary art clutter: canvases, projects in-progress, etc. The next step was organizing and putting away what I could, and then finally I added a nice rug I had just purchased at a yard sale that morning for $20 and a “curtain” (A piece of silver satin left over from the bedroom redo) with simple clips to the front of my storage shelves so I can get at stuff easily but don’t have to look at the clutter. It looks much nicer now, and it just feels better to be in the room. Now I can really get to work! (By the way, you can see my paintings at www.vlasicstudio.com Be warned, many of the paintings are full nudes)

THE STUDIO…AFTER (a breath of fresh air)

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I feels like a new studio, and all it cost me was an afternoon and $20 for the rug. (the pugs are really enjoying the soft new rug) I love the good feeling of another project completed 😉

What projects did YOU do over the weekend? Please share them in the comments section below.

 

In my perfect world, the redo would have included a fabulous new easel, like this one…

What a Difference Some Paint Makes…2 New Projects for the Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom

Paint…Hands-down the easiest and cheapest way to completely transform just about anything. I painted two old things I’ve had around the house for years, and gave them new life with a can of glossy spray paint. They look great in the new Chic Rock Star Glam bedroom.

First, the Mirror. I picked up this big gold-framed mirror at a yard sale years ago. (If I remember correctly it was about $12) It’s a lovely mirror, but the gold frame made it look dated. 2 fresh coats of black gloss spray paint (about $5) and it’s a perfect fit for the new bedroom redo.

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Mirror Before…all covered and taped and ready to paint.

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Mirror painted…drying.

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Mirror Hung…with Pugs

…and here it is, hung in the new bedroom with pugs Emma & Max enjoying the afternoon sun. Extra Note: The two Beta Fish hanging to the right of the mirror (named “Red Fish”, “Blue Fish”) came from Petsmart. The clear hanging bowls were found at Goodwill, months apart. I think I paid about $5 each. One of them was new in it’s box, all taped up by the thrift store staff. I got home, opened the box, and inside was a new jar of Beta food and a valid $10 gift card to Petsmart! That was a good day 😉 The two little watercolor paintings hanging with the fish are by artist David Castle. The sparkles on the wall are being cast by a static Hanging Disco Ball, and the Painted Cow Skull art project is HERE.  The Faux Fur Blanket Project is coming soon, along with a few more Chic Rock Star Glam Bedroom projects…the bedroom is almost done!

…And the Stool

This resin cast stool was another yard sale find. ($10) It’s heavy and sturdy and a fun design, but the gold had to go. I wanted to add some bright pops of color to the room, so I decided to paint it a glossy Candy Apple Red. (3 coats) It looks great in the room.

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Stool Before, cleaned, sanded and ready to paint.

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Stool, Painted and drying…

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Stool all shiny and red, in the new bedroom.

I love the trans-formative power of paint! In the next 2 weeks I’ll be tackling a big dresser…what have YOU transformed with paint? Tell me in the comments section, I’d love to hear!

 I’ve been in love with these Louis & Victoria Ghost chairs for years. I’d LOVE a pair for the bedroom…