Wednesday, April 29, 2009

flea market tips

Ok, here are my techniques for getting a good deal at the flea market. Hopefully you'll find them helpful. :)

1. First of all, I haggle. The vendors expect it. The ones that completely refuse to go down on their prices usually don’t get my business. Plus it’s really fun.

2. It never hurts to ask. If something’s not priced and I think it could be a little out of my price range, I ask anyway. Sometimes I’m shocked at how low their price is.

3. Offer a price you think is fair. Again, it never hurts to ask. They just might take it.

4. I go often. The more I go the more I’m familiar with average prices on the items I’m looking for so I can spot a steal (or a rip-off).

5. When I’m looking for something in particular, I’m very stubborn and patient. I spend a few weeks (or seasons, in some cases!) pricing the item I’m interested in and wait until I find it at a really great price.

6. Sometimes it’s good to walk away. I've had vendors call me back and accept the price I offered them (after they turned it down at first).

7. I try to control myself when I’m really excited about spotting something I love. I ask about a few other things first. I've found that if they know I love something they’re less willing to go down on the price – they assume I’ll pay their price because I love it.

8. I don’t ask them if they can go any lower on a price. Usually when they give a price it’s still a bit too high for me (um, I’m really cheap). Instead, I give them a price that I’m willing to pay.

9. I show them the money! If I think they might be unwilling to haggle, I like to have the exact amount out and in my hand when I name my price. It seems like they don’t say no as often when they can see it.

10. But I make sure they don’t see all my money… if they see a couple of $20’s I don’t think they would negotiate as much.
11. I bring lots of singles. If I ask if they’ll take $3 on something priced $5, I wouldn't hand them a $5 bill.

12. If I see something I liked but the vendor turned down what I offered, I go back to it later in the day. They may be willing to negotiate so they don’t have to bring it home.

13. You find good stuff early in the season and early in the day and good deals late in the season and late in the day.

14. When I’m looking for furniture, I basically ignore the condition. Instead I focus on the shape. Things like chipped or ugly paint, missing drawer pulls, wobbly legs, often greatly reduce the price and those things are easy (and fun) to fix.

15. Finally (and I think most importantly!), I make sure I’m nice. I tell them good morning, smile… make eye contact, maybe chat a little with them. They’re more willing to make a deal with me if they like me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

rain out

I had plans on Sunday morning to go to the flea market for the first time this year but it was closed due to rain (and then of course it cleared up and was beautiful for a while and then it rained again. If you don't like the weather just wait 5 minutes right?). Anyway, I was bummed.. I'm itching to do some serious haggling. They don't negotiate prices at thrift stores, you know. I've tried before. hehe... (Later this week I'll share some tips that I've found helpful for getting good deals at flea markets. Exciting!)
So for Plan B my mom and I went to an estate sale, where I found a few little treasures: vintage handkerchiefs, a linen dish towel, doilies, a set of cute little painted trays, an old canning jar (for a terrarium of course!), an old frame, and a vintage suitcase... all for $5! And if that wasn't enough, as we were leaving my mom spotted some amazing moss growing in the cracks of the cement and I took some. Is that considered stealing? Wait 'till you guys see this stuff before you judge me.. I think you would have done the same thing. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

terrariums & mushrooms

Happy Earth Day everyone! I thought I'd share a little earthy related craft for today.
Over the past week or so I've been a little obsessed with moss. That obsession evolved into making terrariums, and, naturally, hand crafted mushrooms for said terrariums. I am really loving these happy little jars of green. Wouldn't these be great little gifts or party favors?
To make them I just put a thin layer of pebbles in the bottom for drainage and then a bit of soil and just pat the moss into the soil. You mist the moss and from what I've been reading you only need to do that every two weeks or so. You need to use a lidded jar, I made my first one in a votive holder with no lid and it dried out pretty much overnight. I made this one in an old jar that had honey in it and the one with the gold lid held salsa. I'm going to start looking at the thrift stores for more.
I got my moss from outside so I've been checking in the jar every couple of days because I've been finding little insects in there (I let them free outside!)
I molded the mushrooms out of fimo clay and stuck a little wire into them before they were baked. Once baked and cooled, I painted them with acrylic paint and sealed them with a non-toxic satin varnish.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

muffin love

I've been making (and eating) muffins quite a bit lately. I love them because they're slightly sweet but filling and somewhat healthy. Can't go wrong! Both of these I got from this Martha Stewart article, the ones above are the oat bran-applesauce mini muffins (the grocery store was out of wheat bran, so I substituted wheat germ and whole grain wheat flour and they were still really good. I now have the wheat bran but haven't tried it the right way yet).
This one is the banana-blueberry cornmeal muffin. The bananas make them nice and moist and the cornmeal (I love cornmeal) adds a really wonderful texture to them. Next time I think I'll add more blueberries. The recipe called for a cup, I'll try a cup and a half.

Monday, April 20, 2009


..keep fallin' on my head... (I love that movie)

Friday, April 17, 2009

10 things I love...

1. Finding a bag of wooden acorns at the thrift store:
2. Black Apple's beautiful new kitchen.

3. These
faux bois blocks from something's hiding in here:
4. This fun fabric that was delivered to me today. :)

5. Old sheets swaying in the breeze
6. Instructions on how to develop film using coffee and vitamin C... where was this when I was taking all those college photography classes?!

7. Sharon Montrose's fantastic photographs:

8. Babies!:

9. This ingenious craft from How About Orange.

10. Oh, and the sun, the sun, the sun! It's out and it's warm!!
... have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

knitted bunny

Is it too late for bunny crafty things? (I don't think so..) Here's one I recently finished. I got the pattern from this book.

Remember this post? I gave myself a challenge to make at least 4 things from my older craft books and 2 things from my newer ones before I can buy any new books. Well, that didn't really work, because I have since bought even more (oops). But I'm still working on that little challenge, and this bunny is the 4th project from this book (The other ones are a bit boring and not really worth showing, but I did post a photo of the drawstring pouch in this post).
So, isn't he cute? The directions were pretty simple; I didn't use the two circular needles like they recommended, I just used a set of double pointed needles and it worked out fine. And I added a pom-pom tail, because what kind of bunny doesn't have a little puffy tail?

Monday, April 13, 2009

coffee cake

I hope you all had a great Easter! We did... how can you not have a good time when chocolate, mimosas, and lots and lots of baked goods are involved? Our family gets together for an Easter brunch, so every kind of breakfast food you can think of we had.. and then afterwards we had dessert too!
I was to bring a coffee cake. I have a big bag of frozen raspberries that we picked last fall that I thought I'd use. I found a recipe for raspberry almond coffee cake on allrecipes and it was really tasty. I think everyone liked it. And it actually looked like a coffee cake! I wasn't really expecting that.

I'm a guest blogger today on Cathe Holden's blog, Just Something I Made (a warm welcome to those of you who are visiting from there!). Cathe is incredibly creative and she does some amazing things with clip art. I'm always inspired when I visit her blog.

I put together a little tutorial to make a business card holder. You can check out the post here, or download a PDF version of the directions right here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

love, Charlie and me. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

my first thrifted silhouette

Oh, I love this. I may need to start a collection. Yes, I said need. :)
I'm going to take the day off from blogging tomorrow... I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

more easter crafts

- sew a bunny Easter basket at disdressed (top left)
- craft some fabric covered eggs at V and Co. (top right)
- make a fabric egg garland with Make It and Love It (bottom)
- whip up adorable DIY Homemade Marshmallow Peeps with Twig & Thistle
- print chick party favors from Martha
- sew a chenille Easter bunny softie from Smooch Designs
- find a whole lotta bunny love over on LollyChops
- print and stitch a free egg embroidery pattern from Bird Brain Designs

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

napkins? coasters?

..I don't really know what they're for, but I love them. Look at the mermaid!
More lovely things I found: vintage sheets, linen napkins, an awesome crochet pot holder (Brian hates it, hehe), and a few more linen napkins. One cannot have too many linen napkins! :)
A vintage stuffed dog and cat sewing pattern and a tin of buttons:
And finally, one of my favorite finds from the weekend:
isn't it sweet?

Monday, April 6, 2009

a weakness:

vintage aprons. I found these at an estate sale on Saturday.

(I love the rick-rack on this one.)

I'll post more of what I found tomorrow..

Friday, April 3, 2009

I've got sunshine...

It was quite blustery and dark and rainy today so imagine my delight when I discovered these little beauties nodding out in the wind! Of course I had to pick a few and bring their sunny cheeriness inside with me. :) ...Have a great weekend ya'll.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

new in the shop

After a couple of weeks spent hanging out around here in various stages of completion, these two bowling sets are finally finished and in the shop. Um, I'm totally loving these. Wouldn't they be perfect in an Easter basket? I made two to start with, a girly pinkish set with a butterfly bag and a boyish set in blue with a cool striped bag.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

easter crafts

(photo from Curbly)

Some Easter/spring inspired things to make or print:
Learn to dye eggs naturally at Curbly (pictured)
Print some cute Easter gift tags from babalisme
Make faux-chocolate bunnies from Martha
Knit Easter finger puppets at the Purl Bee
Craft little chicks from pom-poms with Fiona Carter
Download free Easter embroidery patterns from Tangarang
Make a wheat grass centerpiece with Martha
Make paper tulips with cheeky magpie