My eBay Store

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Forray into Global Commerce

In all fairness, I've been selling to international customers for some time now.  But recently, my finds seem to be travelling further and further--to Russia, New Zealand, Finland, Israel and Slovenia (which I had to look up on a map).  Just as I love to imagine the backstory to some item I find in a box at Goodwill, I like to imagine its new home somewhere across the globe.  What will Dentist Barbie's life be like in Morelia, Mexico?  And those Robeez baby shoes that went to Slovenia--will the baby wearing them be the talk of the town (or village??), or are Robeez all the rage there already?

This week I had my first sale to China. Two weeks ago (at my major haul--for those of you who have been keeping up with this blog), I purchased a slew of needlework kits for $1 each.  Mind you I don't do needlework.  But I love the idea of it.  And I imagine the life these kits had stashed in someone's craft basket gathering dust, and the new life I'm sending them to where they will hopefully finally be opened and stitched to completion.  This "Asian Bellpuls" was bought by "Waxdoll22" in Chongqing City.  Although her address originally showed up looking like several pillars--eBay obviously hasn't mastered Chinese translation.  I had to email Waxdoll22 and ask for her address in English.  I was a bit afraid she wouldn't pay.  She'd never bought anything on eBay before and bid $34 for my cross stitch kit.  Additionally, she purchased a Baby Sampler cross stitch kit, for a grand total of $55.23 including shipping.  But Waxdoll22 came through, sent me her address and her Paypal coin. 

But I'm wondering about the new home of these kits.  The baby sampler, after all, has a chart to personalize it with the name of the baby and the birthdate.  Will Waxdoll22 be able to translate without the chart?  Does Bucilla offer a chart somewhere online in Mandarin? (I actually have no idea if that's what they speak in Chongqing.) Or is Waxdoll22 an entrepreneur herself, maybe ready to design her own cross stich baby sampler to market to China?  And speaking of that Chinese market, in my urge to picture the Yubei District of Chongqing City, I googled it.  And now I know that Chongqing City is known as the Chicago of the Yangtze.  And that there's a huge Chinese middle class with money to burn.  I think it's time to do a little market research on eBay China and find out what they're in the market for.  Luckily, I have another "Asian Bellpulls" kit!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hanukkah in October

In fact, Hanukkah is practically in October this year--starts December 1st.  I do need to get my butt in gear.  But today was Hanukkah for me. 

I had to hire a sitter so I could get to my favorite sale of the year--St. Theresa's Flea Market.  Go figure, Hanukkah comes at the Catholic Church.  Anyway, it was worth every babysitting penny I spent.  I couldn't grab stuff fast enough.  They have at least five rooms filled with stuff, plus a huge parking lot with tables set up.  And it's all staffed by elderly volunteers who charge 10 cents for things.  Who still charges 10 cents?  You can't even buy a gumball these days for 10 cents.  I bought two lovely vintage linen tea towels for 10 cents a piece.  Add in the cloth napkins and my total came to 70 cents.  The volunteer helping me was having trouble finding correct change, so I told her to keep the 30 cents.  She said she needed to go hit some one up for smaller change.  Or, I suggested, stop charging 10 cents for things.

OK, so here's just a portion of my haul...I also visited another church, so I really did look like Santa dragging my black garbage bag full of goodies into the house (FYI: did not enter through the chimney--we don't have one.  Not a big concern in a Jewish home).

Someone please help me out with these guys...I bought a box of them (yes, 10 cents a piece.)  They're from the mid eighties and when you pinch their shoulders their arms open. You can clip them on to things.  Anyone remember what these are called???

In addition to my box of 80s hugging plushies, I got a slew of needlework and cross stitch kits (had to spring a whole buck a piece for these).

I also found these old wooden shoe forms ($1 for both).  I think they looked like they hopped right out of Country Living Magazine. 

Also found a great vintage Vendome crystal brooch (in the middle of the top photo) for a quarter.  I love the blue glass Christmas balls I found (free--because they dropped as the seller was loading them into my bag and two broke).  I will be finding a new home for those as I don't believe in the Hanukkah bush.

I also will be rehoming the vintage Strawberry Shortcake ornaments (50 cents) and the unopened pack of Del Monte stuffed fruit ornaments (50 cents). 

Also purchased: and old badminton set for $2 (birdie is missing, but the kids can still use the rackets to smack each other over the head); a bunch of books (yes, 10 cents a piece); a 1960s round Springbok puzzle (shown above, picked for $1) which I now think I need to try to assemble to see if all the pieces are there; 4 new Mad Libs (for when the kids aren't smacking each other over the heads with the rackets, $2 for all four); a vintage ravioli mold (50 cents) and an old, but never used Wilton Marseilles cookie mold (50 cents); a few winter coats and miscellaneous other items.

All in all I spent about $40.  Good times, good times.

Oh, one last thing.  I did promise to report on the Jean Cocteau Limoges cat plate I found for $6.  It sold for $33.50.  Not the windfall I was hoping to retire on, but I'll take it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Thrifty "Aha" Use

If any of the Womens' Mags still doled out money for household tips, I'm pretty sure I'd score a five spot for this one.  I use a lot of tissue paper packing items I sell on eBay.  And being the thrifter that I am, I absolutely hate to pay to buy packaging materials.  So yesterday I was sorting through my stash, deciding what to list in my eBay store, when I came across a vintage sewing pattern for a cowboy costume.  I spent a good fifteen minutes unfolding all the sheets to the pattern, checking to see if all the parts were there.  Then, I went to take photos of the pattern.  Midway through, I decided I'd better check on the value of my find.

Now, I thought this would be quite a hot ticket item with Halloween right around the corner.  Obviously a lot of other eBay sellers did too.  Not exactly a rare item.  So here I am having invested all this time into a worthless item.  The only thing I'm pleased about is that I don't have to try to refold the pattern and shove it back into its now seemingly small envelope.  I am about to pitch the whole thing into the recycling bin, when my "Aha" moment occurs.

The pattern is essentially tissue paper.  And there are a good 5 or 6 large sheets of it in one pattern. My "trash" will now be used to pack my next shipment.  And I will be on the hunt for cheap patterns (aka packing material.)                                                                

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Not Much in the Neighborhood

I was so excited for today's "Summit Goes on Sale" I could hardly sleep.  In years past the neighborhood association had a spring yard sale to raise money.  This year, someone had the brilliant idea to skip all the hard work and instead convince everyone else to have the sale.  The neighborhood association collected fees for getting on the map and then publicized the event. 

Unfortunately, they may have made it too easy to participate and many of the sales consisted of a table of overpriced odds and ends.  Oh well.  It was a beautiful sunny day and I did find a few treasures.  Not the haul I was hoping for, but you can't win every time. 

My favorite find is this antique pitchfork.  I paid $10 for it.   I already have an old wood pitchfork hanging in my living room.  Now I just need to find a wall to display this beauty.  Not sure what it says about me that I seem to be collecting pitchforks...

Probably my most fruitful find was this vintage hand loom I scored for $1.  I'm hoping to resell it for around $30.  I also found this great vintage trim...

These fun paper napkins...

And these tulip-shaped candlesticks.  I think they're silverplated and hope they'll polish up nicely.  ($2, by the way.)

All in all I think I did better at Saver's this week (found a Jean Cocteau cat plate by Limoges for $5.99--it will go up for sale tomorrow night.  Fingers crossed!) But it's all about the journey, right?  And I did have a good time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Goodwill, Used Clothing, and the Meaning of Life

First off, the photos have nothing to do with this post—just some great vintage wrapping paper I found while thrifting the other day. On second thought, maybe they do. We’ll see…

Today’s post focuses on a deep, internal struggle I experienced this past weekend.

I ate on Yom Kippur. But I did not thrift. This was actually quite a sacrifice for me as Yom Kippur fell on Saturday. I showed great restraint as I passed a yard sale sign while out walking with my daughter. It took everything I had to continue on my path and not veer off in search of treasure.

I had to ignore all the posts on Craigslist, turn the page when I came to the Classified section in the paper, and ignore any brightly colored fliers stapled to the telephone poles. I’ll admit, I don’t think this type of sacrifice is what God had in mind when commanding us to fast on Yom Kippur. I’m no Talmudic scholar, but from what I gather, we’re supposed to ignore all bodily needs. It’s supposed to help us focus more on our spirituality, bring us closer to God, or something like that.

I’m sure I’m not alone, however, in feeling that the only thing I can focus on when I’m fasting is my next meal. I don’t find lightheadedness from hunger to be spiritual at all.

What I do find spiritual is a fully stocked aisle at Goodwill. There, as I leaf through worn sweaters, I find myself falling into a deep meditative state. The surrounding noises of the busy store recede into the background as I enter the Zone, waiting patiently for the bold pink of a Lilly Pulitzer flamingo pattern to spring forth.

So herein lies my deep philosophical struggle –that I find I am most grounded, perhaps most spiritual , not while I’m balancing in tree pose, crossing the finish line of a 5k, or dehydrating in a sweat lodge, but sifting through half-used craft supplies at the Salvation Army.

What does this say about me --that my true joy comes from sorting through others’ refuse? That materialism (and base-level materialism at that) brings me peace? Or is it like panning for gold? Am I a recession-era treasure hunter?

I have no answer. What I do know is that I enjoy thrifting. And I’m good at it. And who am I to question my god-given gift? If I’ve been put on earth to rescue vintage Channel from landfill, so be it. Perhaps I’m like a pop archivist—preserving all the crap from today (and yesterday) that might mean something to some sociologist or archeologist down the road.

Take this gift wrap I found, for example. It spoke to me with its tales of a simpler time. I imagine someone will buy it from me on eBay for a scrapbooking project. And the effort to preserve the past will continue.

As will my philosophical struggle. Especially when Yom Kippur rolls around next year and I debate whether to fast or not, how I want to show my faith, and what exactly that faith is.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Finger on the Pulse

Always love it when I can think of myself ahead of a trend.  Last month's issue of Country Home magazine featured vintage Paint By Number paintings as highly collectible (not that Country Home is at the forefront of trendsetting, but still...)  My daughter has a wall in her bedroom devoted to vintage paintings and other artwork (like cross stitch and needlepoint) featuring animals.  She has quite a few Paint-by-Numbers up there already.  Last week I spotted this pair shown above at the Goodwill store.  At $8.49 a piece, I thought they were a bit pricey, but anything for my daughter...  When I got to the checkout, I realized one was missing the glass from the frame.  Not really a deal breaker, but I pointed it out to the cashier.  She said the $8.49 price tag must be wrong, managed to find a $2.99 on the edge of one frame (clearly peeled off from another item) and charged me $2.99 a piece.  Thank you Goodwill!  And Country Home editors, start reading my blog!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Love My Smartphone Apps!

One of my favorite things about thrifting is trying to find out just what some strange object is.  And I've found my Droid can be paritcularly helpful.  My most used app is called Pocket Auctions. I use it to search eBay for items I'm wondering about as I stroll the aisles of Savers.  Another super cool app I just discovered (quite by accident as my 7-year old aparently downloaded it) is called Goggles.  Take a photo of what you're interested in , connect it to Goggles and it will search the Web for a matching image.  I used it for this treasure I've shown above, but came up empty-handed.  Guess I shouldn't have been surprised as this shirt is clearly a unique item! I'm certain it's worth a mint.  Why, it even has the Twin Towers featured in the background!  That coupled with it's fabulous neon green color is sure to make it a collector's dream come true.  Just what type of collector I'm not too sure. The shirt is a child's size medium.  I'm thinking some retro hipster shacking up in Brooklyn might want it, but it's probably too small. 

But I digress.  Back to my search to track down info. on this gem.  The shirt is by K.A.D. Clothing Co. and I found some items by this maker on eBay, but nothing as fabulous as this.  I was sure the Gotham goons featured on the shirt are some classic characters, so, while lying in bed at 9:30 p.m. I texted my nephew in L.A. (a comic book afficianado) with the photo.  Two minutes later I got a response--basically the equivalent of "get with the program Auntie, these thugs are so not anyone special." I chalked up his reply to his inability to spot something truly cool--he's been away from N.Y.C. for too long.

Bottom line, I still haven't found out much about the shirt.  But it was fun trying!  Now it's up on eBay waiting for the right, pint-sized trendsetter to find it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Look High, Look Low

Well, the kids have been busy this weekend thanks to mom's forray into the Hospice Shop of Northhampton, Mass.  Stopped in there on Friday during a trip to pick up my nephew at Amherst.  I immediately followed one of the standard thrifting rules--look high, look low.  Just love it when the rules really work!  There on the floor below a clothing rack was a plastic bag filled with Lego.  Actually, it was filled with the base plates which are exactly what we've been looking for and my girls have been fighting over for months.  "I can't build a house because SHE won't give me a base!"  You get the picture.

No price on the bag, but I picked it up anyway.  Then noticed the plastic briefcases next to the bag were also Lego.  All five of them.  And not just any Lego, but mid-eighties (qualifying as vintage by eBay standards) Lego.  I showed the bag to the manager and asked for a price.  Turns out it hadn't been priced yet as one of the workers just brought it in.  I paid $36 for the whole kit and caboodle. 

Two days later my daughters are still having fun sorting through it all.  And I've discovered Lego cases are like the child's version of a sewing box--you never know what you'll find inside.  So far, we've uncovered a 1980s soccer-playing Smurf, a vintage Fisher Price Little People chair, assorted miniature Dungeons and Dragons figures, and miscellaneous Monopoly pieces. 

By the way, the odd and damaged Vilebrequin swim trunks sold for $11.50. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm Official!

Finally took the plunge and got business cards.  Not that I need them for anything, but a business card makes me feel like I do something other than laundry.  And surpisingly, it convinced my kids of the same.  They got so excited, they wanted to hand them out to all their friends at camp. 

I agonized for days over what to put on the cards.  Should I use my eBay store name?  My username? Something else alltogether?  And what should my title be?  The benefit to my procrastination was Vistaprint finally offered me the cards free (they have many free choices on their website, but naturally I selected an upgraded design).  For a $6 shipping charge I decided it really didn't matter what I put on the card, because I could always order a new batch if I changed my mind.

But I like these.  I haven't done anything with them, other than show them to my husband and kids.  But seeing them scattered on my desk makes me feel OK about the rest of the clutter.  After all, with a business like mine, who has the time to clean?

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Motherload?

Thought I hit the motherload today, or as the guys on American Pickers say "the honey hole", during my thrifting expedition.  First off, I spent almost $65 between Saver's and Goodwill.  That's a lot of coin for me.  But I had my 30% off coupon for Saver's and got carried away.  Did find a few good items--a really nice long faux shearling coat by Utex for $14 and a Hanna Andersson fleece baby hoodie for $1.50 (these sell like hotcakes on eBay). 

Then I hit Goodwill and came across a Vilebrequin boy's swimsuit.  Here's where the music would play if I knew how to add it in HTML. 

I've been hoping to stumble across one of these for several years now.  Why, you ask?  What's all the tizzy over a swimsuit?  That's what I thought when I sold my first one on eBay.  I was fundraising for our local JCC and someone gave me a new Vilebrequin men's swimsuit to sell.  Can't remember what it looked like, but it was on the ugly side.  These suits are bright, bold and tend toward the obnoxious side (note the slightly scary looking chimp on this one).  But they are from France.  And they've been written about in the New York Times as the suit to have in the Hamptons.  Need I say more?  Ok, I will.  These suits retail for over $100.  I sold that new one for something like $140.  Within weeks I stumbled across one at the Salvation Army for $2.  This one was not new, but in great shape.  Bubblegum pink.  But not new.  In other words it was a used swimsuit, which, quite frankly I find a bit skanky, but to each his own.  Needless to say I washed the suit, then sold it for $75. 

I've been hunting the elusive Vilebrequin ever since, and today I hit pay dirt.  There, peeking out from the overcrowded racks at Goodwill was a fairly ordinary swimsuit print of red and white hawaiian flowers.  Then I spotted the odd Big Foot creature on the pattern and I knew I'd found something special. I forked over the $1.99 for the suit feeling and left Goodwill with a s&*t-eating grin on my face.

But here's where the question mark at the end of my headline (The Motherload?) comes into play.  As I examined the suit at home, I realized it was missing that inner lining--the mesh swimsuit lining.  Looks like someone cut it out.  Why would anyone do that?  The suit is small enough that it looks like it would hold a diapered tushie, so I suppose the lining isn't needed.  But still.  The beauty of my find was damaged.  Perhaps it will still sell for $20.  I'll even take $10.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When You're Hot You're Hot

Well, I am hot.  It's like 90 degrees here.  Luckily the Salvation Army in Pawtucket and the Goodwill in Attleboro had the AC cranked and I was able to do some great thrifting today.  Found this sweetie shown above--a vinyl electic mixer cover with a scottie dog on it.  Still in the original packaging.  You can't really see it in the photo, but he has a cute copper-color eye and studs on his collar.  I may have overpaid at $3.99, but I couldn't help myself.  I'm a sucker for vintage kitchenwares.

As Wednesday is Family Day at the S.A. and that means 50% off all clothes, I got a few good buys on some swimsuits and leotards I will resell.  Felt like I was on a roll, so I moved on to the Goodwill where I picked up a portfolio with American Girl Doll dress patterns for Samantha (now retired, in case you're interested) made by the original makers of AG, Pleasant Company.  Thanks to my eBay app on my trusty Droid, I paid the exhorbitant $4.99 (similar items are selling for $18 and up on eBay).  Another fun purchase--a bag of vintage Christmas ornaments--white flocked deer, drums and stockings, for .99 cents. 

I'm off.  To cool off.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Well, the Sominex bottle didn't sell. But, my looms (pictured above) did~for $104!  I paid .50 cents.  I just recently discovered these hand looms.  Found one at a church sale and had no idea what it was, but it was only .25 cents, so I bought it.  Now I know they are highly collectible Donar Weave-It looms.  The one pictured in the box above is aparently the rarest, made of all wood in the 40s.  It's a rug loom.  The other one pictured here has metal pins which is more common.  The piece running across the loom is actually the needle.  They come in different sizes.  I also sold two mini (2") looms made by Hero for $51.  All found the same weekend at various sales.  Now if only I can have such luck again.

Am not happy that my thrifting efforts will be curtailed the next few weekends by hubby's work schedule and lack of childcare.  But I am going to try a new bribe this weekend (in the past, I've offered the kids $10 to spend as they want if they come yardsaling with me--didn't work so well).  I promised them a new DVD to watch in the car along with donuts.  I'm hoping to maybe get an hour or so of cruising time while they hunker down with their movie and sugar fix.  We'll see....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Many Sales, Meager Pickings

Plenty of sales today, but little to be had.  I did find these cool skates for $3 with the key.  Hard to believe we actually wore these things, metal wheels and all.  But I remember strapping them on.  I still have an old key, which I recently dug out of a box and put on a cord, then wore as a necklace.  I receieved quite a few compliments from people who had no idea what it was.

Also found today:
  • A long-sleeved pink Odille top (fancy brand from Anthropologie) for $1
  • A vintage paint-by-number painting of a German Shephard and her pups.  It's really big and already hanging in my daughter's room.  Paid $2.
  • A box of vintage white cotton hankies made in Hong Kong.  $1.
  • An ameoba-shaped Anholt ashtray for .25.
  • A vintage box of milk glass snack trays with matching cups--all 4 still in the original box.  $5.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sewing Boxes~Chests of Buried Treasure

I love vintage sewing stuff, so when I see an old sewing basket, I tend to grab it.  Last weekend I purchased one along with a bunch of other stuff.  My two bags full of treasure cost $10, so I can't say exactly how much the sewing box was, but it was cheap.  It was tied up in a plastic Target bag, so I couldn't even see what was inside.  I just figured it was worth the 50 cents or so.

What fun when I got home and finally was able to sort through my booty!  Aside from the many wooden spools of thread, vintage needle packets, great buttons and sewing scissors, I found other treasures:
  • An old Sominex bottle filled with pins.  Complete with label.  It's currently listed on eBay.  Will let you know what happens.
  • An old Peruvian coin and a penny from the 30s.
  • A pocketknife.
  • Mending wool.
  • An old Adolph's meat tenderizer bottle filled with hat pins.
A lot of history in one sewing box.  Because some of the stuff was labeled from the 50s, I could get a sense of how old most of the items were.  And I learned a great lesson--people tend to stash little things in their sewing box (just like the junk drawer), so you never know what you'll find inside!

Happy hunting!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Yardsaling

I'll start with the lows.  What is it with people who think they can sell their stuff for consignment store prices at their yard sale?  This morning I perused a rack of clothes with kids winter coats priced at $25--and they were not North Face, or Hanna Andersson.  And it's not winter.  Later in the morning, like around 11 a.m. I was at another overpriced sale.  A customer asked for a price on shorts and the seller said $2.50.  So the customer asked if she could do any better, to which the seller replied "no, I've already marked them down twice."  Obviously she hadn't marked them down enough if they were all still sitting there at 11 a.m.  I'm always tempted to say "have fun hauling all your crap back into the house."

And then I came across Arthur's sale.  It was a cottage hidden by shrubs overlooking the bay.  Perched out front amidst there wares were two aging queens sipping cocktails. It was 11:30 a.m.  I didn't buy a thing, but the scene made my day.

Monday, April 19, 2010


The Lelli Kellys went for $23.50--not bad for a $1 investment.  Especially when sales have been slowwww! 

One of my favorite new tools in treasure hunting is an app on my Droid smart phone called pocket auctions.  It lets you type in an item and see what it's selling for or sold for on eBay.  Mostly it's saved me money--I don't buy after I see that it's worthless!  But I have found a few good items I wouldn't have purchased without it.  Like a Madeline doll with a horse and carriage in the original box.  I paid $20 for it at the Salvation Army, which is big bucks for me.  But when I checked on pocket auctions, I saw it was hard to find and potentially worth some serious coin (well, more than $20 anyway.)  I ended up selling it for $66. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do the Cabbage Patch

Found some great items at Saver's this morning including these Cabbage Patch Kids party supplies from 1983!  I think they're so cool.  Hopefully someone else will too.  Otherwise they'll end up back at Savers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Yardsale Season Begins!

Woo hoo! Yardsale season is officially here. Went out this morning to about five sales. Found a bunch of kids clothes for $17 including: a Lilly Pulitzer sundress, an LL Bean winter jacket, and LL Bean snowsuit, and a pair of Lelli Kelly's (all for resale, of course).

I'm all about the Lelli Kelly's these days. I bought a pair at a thrift store the other day thinking my daughter would wear them. I paid $3.99 for them. My daughter didn't want them so up they went on eBay. Sold for $31.11. I paid $1 for the pair I bought this a.m. Will post what they go for after they're sold.

Also got these two vintage paint-by-number horse pictures ($5) for my daughters room. She's got a wall of vintage animal prints and paintings.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Parts Are Sometimes Worth More Than the Whole

Look for an intro. to me and what I do on a future post. Right now, I just wanted to trill about a recent sale.

I had two well-worn (listed as "well-loved" on eBay) Burberry trench coats that belonged to my dad. One was too threadbare to sell, so I put it in the bag to donate to the Salvation Army. But then as I prepared the other one to list on eBay and researched pricing, I noticed that some trench coats were selling with their belts missing. So I dug out the belt from the damaged coat and put it up for sale. It went for $25.99. Not too shabby.