Monday, 27 June 2011

Stop Playing Games

Okay, this is it. I'm between a rock and a hard place; my employers are still preventing me from doing my job, our income has taken a massive hit as a consequence. I'm applying for jobs but in the meantime I need to do something.

Luckily I am a thrifty person at heart; I have just been distracted. Now I need to stop playing games, spend as little as I can, sell as much as I can. I like the idea of being a frugal entrepreneur, and from now on I'm going to take it a little more seriously.

And as I've stopped playing games, I may as well make the game boards into some funky journals and notebooks! A few weeks ago Dave did a solo mission to our local car boot sale, scouting for board games on my behalf. Most of the games shown come from there, or from one of the local charity shops.

Dave picked up about a dozen Ladybird books as they were only 5p each. They had all clearly seen better days and I wasn't sure if they'd sell as notebooks. Of the six I made, this is the only one that made it to be photographed, the others were snapped up by friends as soon as they were made! I do have some more still to be made. The pictures in these books are fantastic and the useable ones are stashed away ready for further crafting.

Pokemon Monopoly, anyone? Dave had me in stitches telling me about the woman who sold him this one. "It's a collectors' item!" she told him defensively as he had a closer look. "Why, are there many people who collect board games with smashed boxes and most of the pieces missing?" he asked innocently. (Nope, just me as it turns out). Miraculously the board itself was in good nick. I've since learned that the only 'collectable' bit of this game is the playing tokens themselves. Guess what were all missing?

E.T phone home. I really liked the look of this game, but nearly every piece was missing. Or at least, I think they were - without any rules the game was kind of incomprehensible. Still, it made some gorgeous notebooks. The dice and token actually came from my box of spares, but I won't tell if you don't ;-) 

The ubiquitous Scrabble board journal. I have so many Scrabble boards. (It is official, I am a geek.) I have the British green boards, the 'new' green board, the everywhere-else burgundy board, and a pink breast-cancer care one. Of course, I will offer personalisation on these journals, but I will leave it up to the buyer whether the tiles are attached charm-style or glued onto the playing area itself. 

The Simpsons game was a real steal at 50p - because two tokens were missing and one was damaged. Didn't stop me from making a Homer journal though - and with enough materials left over to make Lisa, Bart and Marge in the future as well!

Remember I bought a Little Mermaid board without the playing tokens? Well... the charity shop found them again... and I'd already chopped the board up. Oops. What a cute little book for a Disney Princess fan, though!

Now this isn't a spammy buy-my-stuff post (although all of these journals are available via my Etsy (£ and $ sales) and Dawanda (€ sales) if anything particularly takes your fancy! :-) ). I am after opinions. Do you like any of them? Which and why? How do I improve my listings or photography?

All advice gratefully received.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Poacher Turned Gamekeeper

I was up a five this morning preparing for a car boot sale. But no goodies to show you today - this time I was selling rather than buying.

I live in a cute corner bungalow which I absolutely love, but no matter how much I dress it up as cosy or bijoux, the fact is, it's very, very small. It's not really a packratter's house. I am clever with storage but it's still packed to the rafters. As the place was feeling a little full again, and as I'm only getting SSP right now, we figured it was as good a time as any to have a clear-out. In an ideal world, I'd have adapted Jackie's tips over at Lets Get Thrifting and have been super-organised about everything. Unfortunately what actually happened was that Dave casually suggested having a sale yesterday afternoon. By three PM this had somehow become a firm commitment and I was frantically sorting through piles of junk.

I didn't get too far with my reduced mobility, but I did manage to sort out over 500 books. 500!!!! and they are just the ones I could bear to part with, a small fraction of what I actually own. The vast majority of them were thrifted, almost all of them have been read, and though I've always had vague ideas that I should become an Amazon seller or start Bookcrossing, I never have. I don't have the time or the patience. 

I also found a whole bunch of videos and our old VCR machine. Now, I don't know about you, but I do mourn the VCR's passing. We only ever had the one machine, and it was super-cool because it was metallic mint green. Any time it broke I could just take it apart and fix it, usually with an elastic band. On the other hand, we've been through about five DVD players in ten years. It's tricky to fix them yourself (or at least, I've never managed it successfully) and not economically viable to find a repairman. Along with mp3 players they are the ultimate in disposable electronics. I find that rather depressing. But our flat-screen is so snobby it won't even speak to the VCR, so off to the sale it went. 

The rest of the goods were frantically thrown together and consisted of random stuffed toys, gag gifts, stocking fillers and other 'novelties' received as gifts over the years, and several boxes of junk that I suspect had never been unpacked from when we moved here seven years ago.

It had been so long I had forgotten what a car boot sale is like from the seller's perspective. Just as I think all high-up managers have a duty to go back to the floor every once in a while, I definitely think the average punter should try the other side of the trestle table now and then.

You know when you just see something and it's love at first sight? Then you ask the price and it's so shockingly little you don't even have to think twice? Maybe the seller wanted you to have it. Today I sold handbags, soft toys and jewellery for less than I would have had in mind for the simple reason that the buyer was obviously in love. I know that this is the polar reversal of what I should be doing. If the person loves it and can't live without it, you can name your price, right? Maybe, but it just felt right to spread the love instead. I got a fuzzy glow knowing that my trash is going to be treasured. 

I realised just how much friendliness counts. I had some great conversations with people who were thinking of reading my books, or spotted books they'd read too and wanted to know my opinion of, or who just wanted to know why I had so many for sale. I found myself recommending books, finding them out of the boxes for them and offering discounts. Lots of books found discerning new owners today and I'm pleased. 

Kids got great deals as well. It's hard to charge a lot when a kid is studiously counting out pennies to pay for the bounty they've just found. I've got to find me a kid to take booting. They are ninja negotiators.

I also remembered how rude some buyers can be. How annoying it is when people pounce while you're still unpacking, or demand to know if you've got this or you've got that before your table is even up. Wait until it's out of the car, people! Don't haggle a price down to 20p then try to pay with a £20 note.  And I have a special little message for one lady I encountered today. Maybe it is just me, but I found it very annoying. 

Dear obnoxious lady,
Ostentatiously checking ISDNs on Amazon to see how much you can flip a dozen books for is plain rude. At least get a scanning app and try to be discreet!
But even if you are as indiscreet as they come, please don't try to rip the seller off. She knows what you're doing. She doesn't mind that you're a reseller. Hey, she respects it and she'll help you out if you're open and honest.
When this is casually alluded to, don't blatantly lie and say they're all penny-plus-postage books. One of them sells for £10 on its own! All that will happen is that the seller will politely refuse to do business with you. Later, when another buyer casually mentions in the course of conversation that they sell on Amazon, the seller will offer them these books for a price that is low but fair, and wish them all the best getting a good price for them.
Still, good luck, eh?
Rosie x

Anyway, I had a great morning, earned about £60, and despite selling loads of stuff, I have no more room than before. I was so well behaved (and broke) that I didn't look at anyone else's stall at all and didn't buy a thing! But I still had great fun and I am planning to turn gamekeeper again in a few weeks time. Except this time I will get organised and I might even get round to sorting out some of the good stuff to sell! I never would have thought selling would be as much fun as buying, but it is!

Friday, 17 June 2011

Thrifting: Shopping Haul!

Okay, so this wasn't an epic voyage of discovery, it was just another short trip to the two charity shops closest to me. Well, I hadn't even meant to visit them! Boots had a queue of prescriptions waiting to be filled before mine, but luckily I didn't have to wander around aimlessly, as my two favourite stores are in the same shopping centre. I had missed these stores like old friends. I found some good stuff, but I am refusing to think what treasures or bargains I might have missed in the mean time.

These plates were all five for £1, so it seemed rude not to. I'm not sure whether I'll keep them. I'll probably craft with them; they're pretty but they're not really me.. They're Palazzo pattern by Ridgway Pottery. I love Ridgway's '50s and '60s stuff, and of course they were responsible for the iconic Homemaker pattern.

Someone obviously didn't want their Burt's Bees gift tin! This was in the toy section for just 30p. It's cute and just right for storing Promarkers in.

Also in the toy section was this Captain Scarlet game. It looks pretty retro but is actually from the '90s revival. This will probably end up as board game journals! Which reminds me, my other half went car booting and had mega success games-wise. I've turned most of them into journals already. I will post the pics at some point.

Again in the toy section, this bag, 50p. It's a handbag. It's broken. It's got hundreds of beads on it that look like they could be sweeties. Either the kiddy shelves have become a dumping ground, else they put any old rubbish there to see if I'll buy it. Selfless little me agreed to buy it before it became a choking hazard. I was going to fix the bag, but might yet be persuaded to harvest the beads instead.

Rule one of thrifting is to buy out of season. This wonderful wool coat/cardigan is from M&S and looks a lot better on (but you're not getting a picture of me! Ohnonononono). It was only £2. It's ridiculous how little that is when you think about it. And guess what? It wasn't even Bargain of the Day!

That title has to go to this Early Witney wool blanket. It's a full double and cost me the grand old sum of £4. It's in absolutely mint condition and you can see and feel the quality. These blankets were never exactly sold at the budget end of the market. It still amazes me that you can buy such quality for so little. I suppose that we use duvets these days instead, but am I really the only one who loves to snuggle under blankets in winter? It's certainly cheaper and greener than cranking up the central heating! I expected my other half to raise an eyebrow, because we live in this tiny bungalow and don't have a lot of storage space. We already have 'our' blanket (which is also Early wool and was originally a wedding present to my mother), plus blankets crocheted for both of us by our mothers when we were children. We have a picnic blanket, a camping blanket, throws and rugs. I'd been hatching an elaborate story about how I planned to sell it for a profit in the winter as it would fetch more money then. Luckily, he didn't seem to mind. All he said was:

"Is this the start of a Bagpuss-themed decorating scheme or something?"

Anyway, I've missed blogging, even if it is just me blathering on. I hope you've enjoyed looking at my most recent finds.

Getting On With Life

Well, it's been a fairly rubbish few weeks chez Rosie. I've seen more doctors than I care to have, I've spent enough money on prescriptions to subsidise the rest of the country, and to top it all my work are being unreasonable about everything. Bleh. I actually feel okay to go back to work, but I'm not allowed to, because I need my desk raising about a foot so that I can stand rather than sit. Which is apparently a highly unreasonable request, for all kinds of reasons including "you might block someone else's light", "it might give you varicose veins" and "it's health and safety". Don't you just love how nobody even bothers to elaborate on or even try to justify H&S any more? 99% of the H&S rubbish you hear on a regular basis has nothing to do with health, nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with convenient excuses why someone shouldn't have to spend time or energy actually Doing Things.

Well, I am not a sit-home-and-mope kind of girl. I happen to be a Doing Things kind of girl. Though it's killing me to, I have made the decision to start formal action against the discrimination I am facing and look for alternative employment. In the mean time though, it feels wrong to be Doing Things, or to be Getting On With Life. I feel like a kid who can't go out and play because they were off school earlier. I've been scared to post on my blog or in my stores in case it looks 'wrong'. Yesterday I went to the two thrift stores near me while waiting for another batch of prescriptions to be filled and actually thought twice about buying anything in case someone saw me.

But the fact is that just because my job can't raise my desk, it doesn't mean I can't raise the one I use at home, dammit, and I'm not going to sit at home and rot, just because someone else isn't willing to try something new.

So here's to Getting On With Life. Photos of yesterday's thrifting finds coming shortly...

Friday, 3 June 2011

Etsy Friday Finds

Well, I haven't updated for a week, but it's not because I'm a bad blogger, I promise! I had surgery a few months back, and it went wrong so I am waiting to have it all over again. In the meantime I have good days and bad days. Unfortunately the past week has mainly consisted of bad ones. The NHS is starting to really annoy me. Free universal healthcare is a great thing, interminable waiting lists are not.

So there hasn't been a lot to say this week, really. I have listed nothing, bought nothing, crafted nothing. Although the day after saying I wouldn't list on Dawanda any longer, I got my first sale there, so woohoo! Once I'm back on my feet I'll list on both; right now I can't even manage the 9-5 job, let alone the 5-9 one.


It is Friday, which means setting your woes aside for Etsy Friday Finds! This treasury is in honour of the UK camping association I work for, (who are being sort of patient regarding my absence from work); my other half, who is currently camping 'n' fishing somewhere along the Devon / Dorset / Somerset coast (he never was much good at sitting still); and, as always, the talented crafters who create such stunning work.

'Staying Out For The Summer' by relovedbyrosie

CAMPING Outdoors Va...

Last Pair SLUGS Fle...

Geocaching Etched B...

LOVE Banner, Photo...

Sunlit Monarch Butt...


Wine Bottle Lantern...

Grow Your Own Food ...

Astroturf Tote with...

Star Shaped Bubble ...

Urban Picnic Roll-u...

Happy Green Frog Fr...

A birdie bowl for t...

Fabulous Summery Gr...

fairy clocks 12x8 m...

Goecache Container ...

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.