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Monday, February 28, 2011

Celena and the Couch

I recently received the following email:

Someone at work was telling me she bought this awesome, mammoth orange couch with a hide a bed and before she could finish her story, I yelled MY DEAR TRASH!!!!!! Sure enough! What a coincidence. I just started reading your blog last week, can't get enough, and just hit $1 day at the Goodwill for the first time... can't wait to list, sell and see what happens!! 

I laughed my head off when I read this.  This is what blogging is all about.

So, let’s talk about the couch, the orange mammoth hide-a-bed couch.
I found the couch at Goodwill and practically fell over the first time I saw it.  It was beautiful and hideous and took my breath away; more like a succor punch in the gut then love at first sight, but it caused me to take a step back to catch my breath.  I wondered, was I crazy to buy it?  According the Goodwill numbered tag, it had sat on the floor for almost 5 weeks with not a single interest. 

Did no one else see it? 
It’s enormous potential! 

Historically speaking, it was a piece of American history; you know the part where home d├ęcor was burnt orange and olive green.

I nudged it, wanting to see how sturdy it was when it practically hit me back.  It was so heavy; it had nothing to give back but hard solid wood.  I tried to scoot it, but it didn’t want to go anywhere.  I sat on it and like I’d hoped, it was sturdy structurally speaking.  I did the sniff test.  If it smelt like smoke or pet or pee, I was not brining it home for re-sell. 

I stood up and walked around it, eyeing it like it was under investigation, looking for any tears, signs of fading or snags.

And it was nothing but pure vintage perfection.
Like a good student, it passed all the tests.
So, I bought it.

The guy who worked stocking Goodwill helped me load it into my truck.
“This couch is awesome,” he said in homage to all mid-twenty skaters like him who would love to not live with their parents anymore, so maybe they could branch out and look at furniture as something they could invest in too.

In other words, I could tell he really wanted the couch.

When you find a fine piece of vintage furniture, like this one, you know it will go to someone unique, someone who really appreciates it, someone who is actually seeking it out.  
I posted an advertisement for the couch on and had 3 calls within minutes.  
The first caller was a young woman who begged me to hold it for her.
She was every thing I hoped and dreamed she would be, for the couch, that is.
Her name is Celena and she’s an opera singer.
Celena is a pretty red-head with a flare for life and the confidence to put it all out there.
She is the perfect match for a couch that doesn’t apologize for anything, for a couch that knows it will be the center piece of every social gathering in her apartment.  This couch knows it will be mocked and coveted, hated and loved, but never redone, no . . . never reupholstered, because that is why it gets so much attention.

Celena and I hit it off, talking in my garage next to the couch, sharing ideas of fashion and furniture and graduate school at ASU.

On a table next to the couch sat a huge pile of my recent Goodwill finds.  I pulled out some vintage clothes and offered Selina a pick of any of it.
It was no surprise she picked a summer apron dress with yellow polka dots.

Celena lived up to the challenge of owning a couch that weighs a ton when she rented a truck from Home Depot and took it home herself.  I have no idea how she got it up the stairs to her second-story apartment, I just know when you put your heart into something you love, miracles happen.

What independence, what drive, what dedication to the better things life has to offer. 
Oh, Celena.  You take good care of that couch and it will take good care of you.  Through the laws of the universe, you attracted that couch to you and you to the couch.  
Linking up to:

Domestically Speaking

New Nostalgia



Tween Room: Dresser Redo

You may remember this before picture of my tween's room. Notice the purple vanity hidden under all her treasures? We actually painted it that color when we decorated the room for my older daughter, 5 years ago- I know, what were we thinking? Needless to say, one of the first items on the tween redo room list was the vanity. Here's the after...
I love black furniture. However, the vanity wasn't doing much in the way of storage. We temporarily have 2 tweens living in this room- one will move to her own room when my 18 year old goes off to college. In the meantime, we need storage. So, the vanity went on craigslist and sold the same day for $150 and I started working on a dresser. The funny story about the dresser is that I was out garaging and found the perfect one. You know the one... French style, cream color with gold paint trim. I think 90% of kids had this set when growing up. They not only had the highboy dresser, they had the nightstand, low dresser, desk and hutch. I wasn't interested in the desk or hutch, but had to have the rest of the set. They were asking $40, $40 and $20 for the pieces I wanted. Only problem was I didn't have any cash on me- I know- who garages with no cash? (In my defense I was heading to the bank when I followed the yard sale sign) and I wanted to negotiate a little on the price (again, who negotiates when they have no cash?) So, I decide if it was meant to be, it would be there when I returned from the bank. Guess what? It was there- but all three pieces I wanted had a big SOLD sign on them!!!! Not the desk, not the hutch- just the pieces I wanted. It was like someone was trying to tease me. I went home with that empty, defeated feeling, when I received a call from Laura. "I bought you something today" before she could finish her sentence I interrupted- "it's not the french dresser set is it?" Not only had my sweet friend Laura thought of me when she saw the set, but she negotiated for me as well- $80 for all three pieces. I don't know if friends can be psychic (kinda like twins), but Laura and I have lots of these types of experiences- Love that girl! So, here's the before pic of the highboy (sorry I had taken her all apart before I remembered to take a photo)
And here's the after...

I love how it turned out (minus the yucky flash on my camera- making it look a little light) It has given my tweens the storage they need and looks great in the new room. We've got just one more project to show and then I'll post pics of the whole room. Let me know what you think. Love, Kelly.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Little Sister plays dress-up with Goodwill

Little Miss Independent.
She’s everywhere, except in my arms.
She wants to be outside.
She wants to explore.
Here we are at my sister-in-law’s surprise 1980’s-themed 30th birthday party.
Little sister finds a pair of shoes on the floor.
And what does she do?
She tries them on, of course.
My goodness, they do start young, don’t they.
That's when I notice the Goodwill tag.  Of course!
It’s no surprise, most of those at the surprise birthday party purchased their 80’s-themed clothes at Goodwill.
Right down to the white-heeled plastic shoes.

Thank heavens for Goodwill when it’s time to dress-up for themed parties.  
I'd imagine Little Sister's going to have a mighty fine dress-up closet full of princess dresses, feathered boa's and fancy high-heeled shoes all from Goodwill.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tween Room Part 4

Yesterday, I was reminded by a faithful blog follower that I haven't finished showing my tween's new room.(Thanks Allyson) I just have 3 more projects to showcase and then I'll dig out the wide angle lens and show you the whole room. If you missed the before pics and previous projects go here. In the before pics you'll notice how many thumb tacks were being used to hang posters, notes, pictures, etc. So, I decided to create a wall for my tween's "stuff". Here's the finished look... I picked up this round frame at a yard sale for $5- it used to have a mirror in it. The really great part was the fact that it also had a piece of sheet metal for support. All I had to do was cover the metal with antique sheet music and it became a great magnetic board.
This frame housed a cute little 1980's style picture and was just $2 at a yard sale. I discovered new cork board can be a little expensive so I picked up a large corkboard at a garage sale for $1 and cut it to fit my frame.
The last frame was $1 at a garage sale and I cut a piece of luan to fit and treated it with chalkboard paint.
I can't tell you how much use this area of the room gets! It helps my tween stay organized and keeps the room from looking too cluttered. Stay tuned for the dresser redo- I'll post on Monday. Love, Kelly.

Why I hate garbage and my recent top sells

In my 38 years of life, I’ve never had stitches.  On Tuesday, that all changed.

Usually, the counselor takes out the garbage, but it was one of those days when the garbage couldn’t wait.  I lifted the garbage bag out of the can and carried it to the front patio, where I sat it down.  I helped Reef get his big wheel out of the garage, threw the ball to the dog a couple of times and then resumed carrying the garbage to the black dumpster when something rubbed against my leg.  It felt like a scratch and I kept walking when sheering pain shot through my calf.  I looked down, surprised to see the inside of my leg (and an enormous amount of blood) staring back at me.  I immediately dropped to the ground and held together the cut, trying my best to stop the bleeding. 

Payson was thrilled when I yelled “Call 911!”  Finally, his big chance!

Within minutes I had a yard full of family, curious neighbors and a fleet of firemen all wanting to help.  A very nice fireman was able to wrap my leg so I could stand up without bleeding to death.  My mom offered to drive me to Urgent Care.  Before I left, I asked my kids to say a prayer for me.  On the car ride to Urgent Care, I broke down crying, not because of my leg but because I missed my kids so much. 

Within a few minutes, I was seen by a doctor who cleaned out my wound and made sure I hadn’t ruptured any major arteries or cut through anything dangerous.  She gave me about a dozen numbing shots before starting on the stitches.  Then, I received a tetanus shot.
All because of garbage.

You notice this blog is not called My Dear Garbage, thank goodness.  I’d be in serious trouble because 11 stitches later, I hate garbage.

But, I love trash.

I thought I’d show you some of my latest hot Hot HOT sellers. 
This Banana Republic Size 4 Long Black Leather Skirt sold for $19.50.
A Jones New York Shirt 2X Hawaiian Shirt sold for $22.45.
This Newport News Orange Full Dress sold for $28.55.
Hollister Low Rise Size 7 Long Tan Pants sold for $50.00.
Mickey Mouse Hawaiian Large Dress sold for $16.02.  
A beautiful Anthropologie Fei Green Corduroy Maritime Skirt sold for $24.99.
And finally, the Christian Michele Size 0 Red Bella Formal Prom Dress I've been trying to sell for my friend sold for $100.00.  
Remember my friends, garbage is bad, it is very, very bad, but trash is good, great, even dear.
So, what cut me?
I guess someone had thrown away a broken glass cup.  It sliced through my leg like butter.  
Boo, garbage!
The profits I've made on eBay will help pay for my Doctor's bill.
Hooray, trash!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trash To Cash Wednesday!

I just hit my 1 year anniversary for selling clothes on ebay so I took a stroll down memory lane and read some of the early posts of "The Big Challenge". I remember how thrilled I was to finally sell an item for more than $10.00 and the first time I made over $100 in a week, I was speechless. How things have changed. I've noticed I've become super picky about what I buy. When I first started I didn't know brands and ended up with a lot of "wild cards". I used to list 90 items and made the same profit as I make now with listing 40 items. When I calculated the percentage of items that would sell in the first week on ebay it usually fell around 20-30%. Now my average is more like 60-70% of the items I list sell in the first week. I share this with you, not to brag, but to show that anyone can learn this business. It takes time, but if you stick with it- in no time at all you'll be reaping the benefits of extra income. Let's take a look at this week's top sellers...
Women's Anthropologie Monteau Size S Knit Tank sold for $15.00
Women's Sahalie Size XL Purple Organic Cotton Skirt sold for $15.55
Women's White House Black Market Size 8 Cotton Dress sold for $17.00
Women's INC International Concepts Size M Sweater Dress sold for $19.18
Women's J. Crew Size 4 Bright Peach Skirt sold for $20.50
And this week's top seller was a pair of Women's Gap Size 16 Long Denim Long and Lean Jeans. They sold for $30.00. I'm truly grateful to Laura who inspired me to start selling clothes on ebay. Although I really hated it the first 6 weeks, I soon became addicted and now love the freedom I have with the extra income. I hope if any of you are thinking about getting started that you go ahead and jump in. Go to your local thrift store or yard sale and buy 20- $1.00 items. That's how I started. I listed 23 things my first week. 6 sold! If you get discouraged, go back and read my big challenge posts starting at the end of February 2010. So lets see if I've learned anything in the last year. Here's this week's totals...

Ebay Total:$490.99
Costs: 85.00(clothes), 68.30(ebay fees), 29.24(paypal fees)
Total Profit: $308.45

A big ebay total, but also some big expenses. Did I really spend 85.00 on clothes? Yes. I took a chance this week and paid $40.00 for one item- I'm going to leave you in suspense until I see if the item sells- it didn't sell this week, but you never know. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment- we love to hear from you. Happy ebaying. Love, Kelly.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hoarder House In Our Neck of the Woods

Kelly and I recently were invited to rummage through a hoarder house; garbage, dirt and all.
We were like little kids at a candy shop.  We couldn't wait to see what we could get our grubby little hands on.
Luckily, the trash we looked through had been carried out into the front yard.  There were boxes and boxes of books, papers and documents.  The boxes were falling apart and we were on the lookout for scorpions and black widows, but we wanted to dig through everything.  In the back yard, was a large shed and we asked if we could take a look inside.  We walked over bags of moldy clothes, broken furniture and rusty car parts to get into the shed.  
It was so cool.
I found some ornate wood frames, I just had to make sure I wasn't in the way of the broken glass.  Once they are cleaned off, they look great.
Buried under old towels and sheets was this. 
I think it’s an old turn table.  After tightening the bolts, I realized I had a sturdy piece of furniture, minus the top.  
I’m open to any suggestions on how to create this into something special.
Broken glass, shedding rolled carpet, toppling boxes, but I found this old drafting table.  
It's dusty, but a little elbow grease will bring it back to life.
We pile everything in the truck and take it back to my house.  You know, a little elbow grease worked its magic with this piece of trash.
A wicker desk with steel/faux leather covered legs.  I don’t think the glass top originally went with it, but it’s working some magic for me.
I have these old books and a handkerchief at home and place them on the wicker tray.  Then, I put the glass back on top.
Once it’s cleaned up, I really like it.
Of course, a bird only makes it look better.
And what do the kids do while Kelly and I are playing, um, I mean working?  
They play too.
This little nature girl loves playing outside in the sand.  
Not a fuss from her, that is until I take her inside to wash the sand off her face.

I'm not looking to tour a hoarder house anytime soon, but it was an interesting experience.  The show Hoarders on A&E depicts this type of dysfunction and gives me the creeps.  It just goes to show that even gross trash can be great entertainment.