What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Week in Junk: Oh Deer, Is That A Doll?

As you know, the junk finds are few and far between this time of year.  I have to be happy if I find one good thing in three or four stops at the thrifts.  There have been a few random yard sales and I went to an Estate Sale is a giant gorgeous home (three times!), but I still have found very little.  I am starting to squirrel away the new finds to take to the Junk Ranch in June.  All the inventory I have left from the last Junk Ranch will head to my booth this week.  I had all my Christmas in there November and December, then I took out some less than amazing stuff I had on hand and put the whole booth up for 50% off (I pulled some things that I wasn't willing to let go that cheap though).  In the end, I had a really good month even with the half off prices - no one would have bought all that they did at full price anyway. So, I'm cleaning house, making money and making some happy customers, it's a win-win.  I have five huge tubs full to take out this week plus some miscellaneous stuff I have set aside for that booth too.  I'll take it off half price and hold my breath.  The weather is better and the people are out looking - so that's good.  I kind of lost my love affair with that booth for awhile, but getting rid of so much stuff and putting in so much new - I'm feeling the love once again.  Now, if I can just keep it going!  

Our shared booth (mine and Lara's) is doing well.  We can usually walk in and see that certain things have sold and then there are always holes where other things are gone and then there are surprises like little ephemera things.  I heard some other Vendors talking the other day about how they have "only paid rent a few times".  Meaning that they didn't sell enough that month to cover their rent and commission.  I have never, ever, ever in the fifteen years I have had booths had to "pay" rent out of my pocket.  It comes out of my check always.  I have had a couple skin of my teeth carryover months - less than $20.00 over rent and commission.  But never in the hole.  I could see it happening once or maybe twice when you are learning the way the booth and the store works.  But why would you keep doing it on and on an on?  I knew one vendor that had a booth three years and only got a small check twice.  WHY, OH WHY would you just give your stuff away like that?

Back to what you came for - THE JUNK.

This 1985 doll is super sweet.  I found her at the fancy house Estate Sale and I over paid for her but I was desperate to find something. I really didn't pay an arm and a leg, but I am cheap.  Never forget my cheapness.  :)  She's on ebay.

I never buy pillows because I have a fear of bedbugs.  But since this was in a million dollar house, I decided that it should be bedbug free.  Rich folks don't have the cooties, do they?  It's absolutely pristine, so I think it was made more recently than the 77-78 date on it.  But then again, rich people have clean houses.  So, who knows.  Not me.  I'm not rich.

This came from the same house - It's a celluloid Eskimo doll plus it's a rattle.  It different than the usual souvenir dolls I see on my thrifting runs.  

Same sale - this vintage storybook doll stood out from all the rest with that GIANT hat and all those millinery flowers.  She will go to the Junk Ranch.  The rich people sale had only a few dolls, but I zoned right in on them.  So don't be thinking I went to one of those sales with all.the.dolls.  

I stopped at a yard sale on a very windy Thursday.  I mean gale force winds that were knocking limbs out of trees.  The sale was in the backyard and there were at least ten long tables covered in glassware including some candlesticks that were three feet tall.  The wind would come over the fence and everyone's hair would blow and the leaves would fall and.....not one thing fell over.  It was crazy.  

They had a ton of stuff, but it was all marked with flea market tags that were now half price.  Well, even half of a flea market price is too much for me.  I did dig around and come up with these old flatback cookie cutters. They had been mounted on wood plaques and I thought that the person had drilled holes in them to do so.  I was sad about that, but decided to buy them and see if I could salvage them.  When I popped them off the plaques I realized that the nails were through the holds that were in the cutters already.  So, they weren't ruined at all.  

I bought ten of the cutters in different handmade shapes. 

This is an Uilleann Irish Pipe Cutter.  It must have been made for St. Patrick's Day. 

An Axe cutter - George Washington's birthday?

There was a rooster, a bird, a swan and a goose.

A Dutch girl, Dutch boy, a lion, a rocking horse and a pig.  I thought the rocking horse would be the least likely to sell - but it was the first.  I think of Rocking Horse motif as 1990's.  

The Bean found another giant sock monkey.  I have taught that kid well!  The last one sold for $58.00.  He's on ebay now too.  

Gah.  I hate Pyrex.  I'm sorry to you Pyrex collectors  - I do admire your collections and I think they are gorgeous.  But, it's just not me.  But, if I find a cheap piece, I have to buy it and throw it in the booth.  It's a law.  

A quick Goodwill stop netted me this great Santa's Best reindeer.  He's about 2.5' tall and he's animated!  Plug him in and his head moves slowly.  He seems to sell well on ebay, so I will hold him until Fall and list him.  He's quite cuddly and adorable.  

Vintage bunny for 25¢ from the Super Cheap Thrift in a basket from an auction I went to yesterday. Oh, the auction was chockablock with goodies.  But, there was a guy there (who I shall call 264 since that was his number and I heard it, oh a thousand times) who bought everything.  I kid you not - he bought it ALL.  Money seemed to be no issue.  I heard his total was over $10,000 and he was still going.  I managed to get this bsket full of old red and green handled kitchen tools for $15.00.  That was IT!  

This Foxhunter came from a yard sale and sol;d on ebay to someone in England.  

Peanuts books from the rich house.  Sold on ebay.  

And a German bisque pig with some sort of a political history, but I haven't cracked it yet.  

This post ran long as usual.  Surprise, surprise, surprise!

Found anything lately?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Come On Down!

We watch The Price Is Right every day over here.  I'm usually on target with most of the grocery prices, so I like those sort of games.  I hate PLINKO even though everyone wants to play it - "You could win up to $50,000!"  No, you are going to win $1,100. and not much more than that.  I would hate to play PLINKO or the golf game - they would have to name it a "Hole in 1 or 64" for me.  I like the Grocery Games and the Yodeling guy.  

One of my friends from Jr. High sent me a message  - You might want to watch The Price is Right the Friday before the Superbowl.  So, I made sure my chores were done and I had a cup of coffee ready and I sat down to watch the show.  

 The third name up at the top of the show was my friend Johnny!  YAY!

He bid on an Xbox One and....he was the closest bidder!

He got to play Cover Up for a NEW CAR!  
He got all but two numbers.  
Looked to the audience for help and changed the 2 and the 3 to different numbers.  


Whew!  I was exhausted and glad I could relax.  

Then I remembered THE BIG WHEEL.

He spun and said "Hello to my folks back in Northwest Arkansas!"  (He lives in CA.)

He was the big winner on the wheel!

Time for the Showcase showdown.  

The chick passed on the first Showcase.  

A new living room set, THREE 5K TV's (It was the Superbowl show, remember!) and .......a BRAND NEW SUV.  

He bid $29,500.  
Feeling confident here.  (I like this picture the most)

Drew about to reveal the winner.  

Excitement ensues!


An XBox One, living room set, three TV's, a car and an SUV.  $63,000.00 in prizes!    


*Yes, he has to pay taxes on it, and who needs three 55" TV's and two brand new cars - BUT WHAT FUN it was!  

Go Johnny! Go!

 *I wanted to be on The Wheel of Fortune when I was younger.  I haven't watched it in years.  Do you have a favorite game show?  Have you ever been ON a game show????

Sunday, February 21, 2016

My eBay Anniversary

Today I had an email congratulating me on my anniversary with ebay.  I have been buying and selling for 17 years!  Mostly selling, of course.  I did buy a dozen or so things when I was first learning the process.  I mostly bought tins back then - they were cheap, easy to ship and back then postage was like SO darn cheap.  I think I was paying less than $2.00 to have a tin delivered.  I know that thanks to ebay, the post office gained millions of packages, so of course, the prices went up and up and are still going up and up.  But, I digress.  This is not to slam the Post Office (because living in the middle of the US has perks like cheaper postage to almost everyone) but to talk about ebay.

I have 1088 feedback.  100% positive. although I have had two negatives in the past.  Both of those two were unfounded - one said "Package took forever to come" when in fact, she paid me five days after the auction, I mailed the next day and she received it in two days.  So, eight days after the auction ended she had her items - five of those days were because she hadn't paid.  The second negative was from an auction for an Add-A-Count Scale (you put numbers on either side and the scale shows which amount is more.  You get two of each number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and one each of numbers 7, 8 and 9).  I got a negative for not sending two each of the 7, 8 and 9 - which are not even part of the product plus I said in the description that you were only getting one each of those numbers and that is how the manufacturer sold it PLUS...she was a MATH teacher and should have KNOWN that coming in.  Why, yes.  I am still bitter about both of those.  Now you can call ebay and have them removed, but not back then.  

Anyway, I have 1088 feedback, but I have sold way more things than that - people are bad about not giving feedback.  I always give feedback, but I try to wait until I receive feedback from them to make sure they didn't have an issue or they aren't just cray-cray.  :)  

In the past 17 years I have sold a total of $16,184.77.  That's not bad money for buying things at yard sales around my area and listing them. Sure, it's not a full time job, but sixteen grand is kind of a nice number to have made selling junk.  

I have had some fantastic fun auctions in my day - there is a list of my best and highest sellers over there in the right side bar.  Every one of the things that I have sold for big amounts was purchased not more than ten miles from my house.  Most of them are from the tiny town over where I like to go to yard sales.  

My best all time sale both for the amount of money it sold for in the end as well as for being the oddest item I have listed was the Blythe Doll.  Oh, I know you remember the Blythe Doll.  But, let's revisit it just for fun.

Blythe Dolls - the original ones from the 1970's - are highly sought after.  When I found this one at a yard sale for $3.00 I almost passed.  Can you imagine?  But I really thought $3.00 for half of a doll was kind of high.  But, then again, why did they even price half a doll.  It seems like they would have tossed it, right?  Also, I didn't want to spend $3.00 on something that was junk.  But, I decided that I would buy it and try it.  Maybe someone would want it just until they found a good one.  It should be noted that she did not have a waist or legs and her hair was a giant rats nest. She was a mess.  But she also had redeeming qualities - like the fact that she existed, she was original and she had this magical pull string on her back that, when pulled, her eyes changed colors and positions in her head.  I showed her to Lara the day I bought her and when I pulled the string for the first time we were both all "Ooooooooo" and "Ahhhhhhhh" when we saw those eyes change color.  

I put her photo on Instagram and I had a comment from a guy, "I'll buy her."  I kindly let him know that she was on ebay.  Well, he bid and he won her for the princely sum of $515.00.  I about fell out of my chair in the last few seconds of that auction as the phone dinged and dinged and the price just kept going up and up.  Exciting!  I tell you, the thrill of a good ebay sale is hard to beat.    Especially when YOU went out and found the item, YOU cleaned it up, YOU researched it, YOU photographed it, YOU listed it and then someone "gets" it and wants it.  BAD.

eBay has changed over the years, and I am no expert.  I still list things like I always have - I try to talk to the potential bidders like I think I talk to you guys.  I'm not all business like with rules and bossy talk - I just talk about the item and thank them for their time.  Lots of clear photos with a ruler by each item, good descriptions, really point out any problems or imperfections so that when they get it they are happy at how nice it really is and be friendly in the listing.

I belong to a thrifting board on Facebook.  They have these over zealous ideas about customer service and taking almost anything back in returns and refunding shipping for damaged items and lots of other things that aren't my style.  I treat my customers good, I follow the rules and I pack to a trip to the moon and back.  So, if it gets damaged that's the post office's fault - not mine - and the post office will pay for it with the insurance.  So, why would the seller refund for that?  Also, I do not accept returns unless I have misrepresented the item.  For instance if I said it was from the 1950's and it had a Made in China Dollar store sticker on it - that would be misrepresentation.  But, since I research the bejeezus out my items, I am not prone to misrepresentation.  (That's not to say that I can't be wrong  - if I was  - I would refund.  Honest Injun.)

Another thing the thrifting board recommends is putting super high prices on your items and letting them relist and relist until the sell - marking them down a bit each listing.  I feel that if an item is wanted and has value, the buyers will find that item and bid it to what it's worth.  Would I have EVER put a high price on half a doll.  Uh, no.  Would I have EVER guessed that people would bid her up to $515?  Uh, hell no.  If an items doesn't sell after three listings, it's gone.  I have two booths - so there is always somewhere to take it and still make money.  Plus who wants to sit on the same merchandise for a year or more?  Not me.

I currently have thirty auctions going, but only bids on two things.  Maybe it will pick up soon with tax season upon us.  Most of the bids come in at the very last minute after seven long days of just sitting anyway.  Maybe they will sell.  Maybe not.  Who knows!

As usual, this is a rambling post and it has just gone on and on.  Three gold stars if you hung in this long.  Thanks!  Sometimes my thinker thinks thunks and I have to write them down.  :D  So, do you buy or sell or both on ebay?  I am far from any sort of an expert - these are just my thoughts.  What are yours?

***Thanks for all the kind words about returning Paw-Paw's quilt.  I was happy that I found the owner and was able to reunite him with the quilt.  

This showed up in the mail a few days later.  Very nice indeed.  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Paw-Paw's Quilt

Last summer I stopped in at Goodwill to have my usual look around.  I rarely look at the linens or the quilts there, because it's always college dorm cast-offs.  But, one quilt caught my eye as I passed by. It was made of different materials than the usual quilts I see. 

 It was made out of lots of different old pearl snap Western shirts.  Some of the patches even had the pearl snaps and the cuffs.  All sorts of different shirt material.  Plus it was nicely quilted and monogrammed.  

It had a big embroidered patch that said PAW PAW and a man's name as well as his birth date and the date Pawpaw had died.  He had just died in 2011 and that was 2015.  Plus, someone had to have the idea and the time to actually make the quilt, distribute it to someone and then they had already donated it?  It just didn't seem right.  

I see a lot of things at sales and at thrifts that make me sad wondering why no one wanted them - how did a huge framed family portrait end up at Goodwill?  A family bible at a yard sale.  Baby's First Record book in the free pile.  On and on.  I know you can't keep it all.  But somethings just should be kept by someone.

Friday my Mom was over and I showed her the quilt.  We decided to do a little googling.  We found Pawpaw's obituary in Oklahoma.  It even said in the Obituary he was a good Paw-Paw to .... and it listed five grandchildren.  The first one lived in the next town over from me, so I decided to see if I could find him on Facebook.  I did, (you knew that was coming) of course.  I sent him a Facebook Message explaining that I felt like it wasn't meant to be at Goodwill and I would love to get it back to his family.  I left my phone number and wondered if I would ever hear from him.  Well, in about thirty five seconds I had a "Yes, Please!" message and then my phone rang!  He had recently moved to not far from me and somehow in the bustle of the move, the quilt got put in a pile of towels and blankets destined for Goodwill.  They didn't realize it was gone until it was too late.  

Within a couple hours, he was in my driveway picking up the quilt.  My Mom said, "You HAVE to take a picture of him with it!  Do it for THE BLOG!"  I almost didn't ask, but I knew I would be sorry.  Too bad he shut his eyes, but I like to think he was overcome with joy. :)  

I was amazed that I had it that long and it was that easy to find the owner and return it to him.  I feel good that it is back where it belongs.  I love junk and the story of junk.  This is a good junk story.  

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

It's Almost Valentine's Day

My Valentine Decorations have been up for a week or so.  I know that when I show my decorations people always ask how I have time to put it all out and where do I keep it all.  Some holidays take up massive amounts of room (Christmas, I'm talking to YOU!) and others are neat little boxes. My Valentine decorations fill up one plastic tub.  Most of it is small and made of cloth and paper so it is flat too boot.  Easy to store on a shelf in the garage.

And so begins the tour.

Whenever I post a photo on IG of this setup everyone tells me they love my mantle.  Well, it isn't a mantle - just an old window and a shelf on the wall above the couch.  Old windows have come and go in decorating, but I have had my windows on the walls since about 1995 and I could never take them down since all my holiday stuff fits on them perfectly.   This is a mish-mash of Heart to Heart swap items and a few things I have found and added to the Valentine display.  

Someday I will find a stash of pretty old candy boxes at a sale.  I will, I tell you, I WILL.  Until, then the one and only candy box The Breadman ever bought me will have to do.  

Obligatory Annalee doll and a few other fun things.  Love that new book of Valentines.  I bought it new so I could use it in crafts, but I couldn't bear to cut it up either.  There is something wrong with me, people.

My chocolate covered cherry boxes are still one of my favorite collections.  Hate the candy, love the boxes.  Although, I will admit that a good quality chocolate covered cherry is good.  Just not those cheap boxed ones at the grocery store.  They make my throat itchy.  

This long window holds a glittery L-O-V-E, a giant vintage flash card and some old German bears (that I need research and maybe sell).  

One of my favorite Heart to Heart swap items from the past years.  

The big wreath I made for the show last week didn't sell, but that's okay.  I like it just fine.  More swap items and some of my favorite cards.  I keep my old stampers and my "11" collection on this shelf normally, so I just added in the Valentine stuff.  That's why you see "11" and not "14".  :)

The thing I did this year that was new that I LOVE is this:

I have so many wonderful handmade Valentines from ten years of swap and I had no way to display them all.  I took a string of Baker's Twine and strung it across the bay window.  Then I used baby binder clips and strung them all up one after the other.  I love the way it made one big happy bunting across the window.  The best part is - I have a b ox of fourteen more Valentine's coming tomorrow! Woot!

I figured out how to use the Panorama setting on my phone.  I like it, but you can sure see my messes that I like to hide.  Like the Minions we won in the claw machine but haven't homed out yet, my pile of crafting crap by the couch and so one.  We'll just look at the pretty decorations and the pottery and not talk about the messes okay?  Besides, Minions are happy and fun too!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Mid-Winter Handmade Affair: The Wrap Up

Thursday night I did the Mid-Winter Handmade Affair.  It was in a neighboring town in the new Montessori School.  It was just a small pop-up market for three hours with only twelve Vendors. Most of them refer to themselves as Artisans.  I say I just make junk.  Not that what I make is junk.  I just mean that I make stuff.  I am not an Artisan.  I will always make different things and have too much of all of them.  I could never only have a stack of greeting cards and a few things.  The people that do that are lucky - they come in and are set up and ready for business in about twenty minutes.  I had done my usual mock up in the driveway and took only what I had made with a very few vintage things that I thought added charm.  I had my layout all figured out.

But, then I got there and I was against a huge bank of windows behind my table, a column to my right and surprise.....a huge old upright antique piano shoved to the left.  I had my table figured out, so that didn't change, but I had to do some reconfiguration to get the rest of it to work out.  

My new method of taking my merchandise in wooden crates and then using them as my display area has really worked out well.  I love the look of it and it saves my room in the car and time setting up. Easy peasy!  The crates work great on the table for shelving, plus you can use them for display on the floor like I did with the clipboard basket plus you can use them like boxes to hold things on the ground too.  And, if you get tired while you are setting up, well you can cop a squat on them too. Also, I got to use my new long banner for the first time.  

Oh yes, and you can put a crate backwards and hang things on them.  Oh, yes you can.  I made that wreath last week as a shiny fun pop for the booth.  It didn't sell, and I kind of figured it wouldn't. But, guess what - it's hanging in the living room so BOO YAH.  New wreath for me.  I took a bit of vintage, but tried to keep it in the Valentine spirit (no one else had a valentine theme although I thought that was part of the show?)  Anyway.  That's a chocolate tin, a book of poetry and an old chippy red chalkware elephant.  The marquee letters sold right away and no, the flower frogs aren't for sale.  Sorry to the fourteen people that asked.  I really do need to find a stash of those to sell.  But they are SO handy!

Everything I took I tried to put a Valentine spin on - key to my heart in the tin of keys, red and white party straws, word banners, those damned Scrabble words, prize ribbons, etc.  

The candy necklaces sold well.  I love it when I come with an idea, work it out and people like it.  I mean I have had some flops, trust me.  But these are fun and people like them.  

A man looked at those clipboards for the longest time.  Usually women look at them and reminisce about the titles on the children's books.  But he found one about a bulldozer and looked at it forever. I thought it was sweet.  But he didn't buy it.  Too much of a man, I suppose.   

I wanted some milk bottles to display the pinwheels in and was lucky enough to find those three at the thrift last week for 75 cents each.  They had been dipped in glue and rolled in red, silver and blue glitter, but I soaked them in hot water and was able to salvage them.  On the way to the market, I stopped at a thrift store and scored the little wire rack that holds them perfectly.  A lady wanted to buy it, but gosh, I had just put it all together and I like it.  So, it will go in my show display stash.

The big printer tray full of jewelry went off to the side.  I should have had a big banner on the front of it saying what they are - but it didn't cross my mind until now.  :)  It was supposed to go to the side where the column was so it would have blended in more over there. 

But what about that pesky piano?  Well, I say if there is a space to make pretty - DO IT. 

So, now I'm kind of hoping that I always have a piano in all my spots.  I had planned on keeping most of the honeycomb flat in a freezer basket and just opening a few for display.  But that piano just screamed for some color and happiness.  I had also taken vintage romantic sheet music.  KISMET, I tell ya.  The Bean figured out how to hang the banner without tape or nails (binder clips are your friends).

Sigh.  It's really lovely if I do say so myself.  And I did.  :D  However, not one thing sold off of here because most people thought it was part of the schools decorations. (There were no other decorations in the school, but I took that as a compliment).  

I tore down and loaded up in less than thirty minutes which was good.  I sold some, not a lot, but some.  It was worth the amount of time it took and it was a good experience learning to be adaptable and setting up and tearing down quickly.  Make the most of it, I say!

ONward and UPward!

**Thanks Myra and Kelly who came to see me and shop!  

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