Found on Friday Favorite!

I spent a lot of time this week looking through Etsy shops belonging to the A4 Team (stands for All For One). Teams are an important part of promotion on Etsy, just one aspect that makes it a very different marketplace than Ebay. More about that in a different post though – Fridays are for favorites and fun!

So it isn’t surprising (to me anyway) that my favorite pick of the week comes from the A4 Team. Honestly, I could do a whole post about teams too, but I need to get down to business. I vowed to stay away from jewelry but I just can’t…

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Vintage Pink Beaded Floral Brooch at MargsMostlyVintage on Etsy

I love retro pastels in all shapes and forms but especially pottery and jewelry. This brooch is so softly pink – makes me feel like I am at a wedding in the fifties. Speaking of weddings in the fifties, shouldn’t the bride be wearing these?

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Vintage Kramer Milk Glass Earrings at AntiquesNehadStyle on Etsy

Hard to believe but those white earrings are from a team post featuring unloved items!

Which reminds me of the reason I try to stay away from jewelry – I could blog about it and nothing else. And as much as I love jewelry, I am interested in so many other things! But jewelry is probably the largest single category of items for sale on any online sales site which means selling it is extra challenging. There are as many sub-categories of jewelry as – stars in the sky. Or maybe as many pieces of jewelry as there are stars and as many sub categories as planets. You get the idea.

On the brighter (/pun cringe) side of jewelry – there are also oodles and oodles of customers. Nobody buys just one! I vacillate between ramping up my jewelry offerings and giving up on it. I haven’t sold a lot from that category but I love it when I do. It is small and ships so easily!

Which reminds me of an anecdote from the days when my husband and I used to attend estate sales regularly and somewhat aggressively. This was in the seventies so if I had a time machine, I’d go back and purchase a lot more! Anyway, there was a group of “regulars” who were always first ones to the door, waiting for the numbers to be passed out. They all had there areas of expertise but Clarence was the jewelry guy. He’d beeline to the jewelry display and no one got in his way. His reason for specializing in jewelry? Clarence didn’t drive and took the bus everywhere. Jewelry was small and he could carry it in his pockets!

Of course, there was tons of costume jewelry that sold for less than a dollar. I considered it “old lady” jewelry and passed most of it by. Even so, I knew it would be collectible someday. On that note, here is a pair of earrings that are unloved in my own shop – staying with the theme of pastels and flowers:

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Clip On Pastel Blue Earrings – Unsigned

I have been tempted more than once to try to convert these earrings for pierced ears. However, I have found that these clip on styles don’t really translate into posts so I am letting them be.

Feel free to share any special finds you came across this week. Friday is a great day to procrastinate and leaving blog comments is always a great way to procrastinate!

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Who Knew? You don’t need to go far for picks and finds.

My mother raised me to believe that perfume and cologne have a limited shelf life and should be tossed over time. Sadly, I followed her advice but luckily, not always. Not that I am making big bucks off of old bottles of “Joy” or even close. But I did discover that people buy and sell open perfume bottles all the time. This discovery was made while I was trying to locate some affordable bottles of Acqua Di Parma and other fragrances.

This in turn led me to turn around and examine my own dresser for buried treasure and voila! Sold two out of four bottles of cologne in my first auction on Ebay. Now if I were being counseled by a home organizer (and I probably should), I know I would have grabbed all those bottles and tossed them. And that would be okay, really it would. But it makes me happy to earn a couple bucks while clearing at the same time. Admittedly, it takes longer but every bit helps.

Some of the other items that have surprised me:

Cookbooks. I acquired shelves of beautifully illustrated remaindered books when I worked at Borders and these sell fairly briskly, especially compared to other books. Books are a tricky business and I thought worthless given Amazon listing used books for a penny. But I have found the market is changing again and my old books seem to have some collectible value. The problem is how time consuming it is to figure it out.

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Sports bags, cases, etc but forget purses unless you really know what you’re doing. I’ve been burned a couple times on knock off purses. On the other hand, nylon bags sell for cheap but who doesn’t have some laying in the closet corner? Anybody besides me? Cases and bags that are clean and durable generally will sell. Certain logos and brands always sell for higher prices, naturally.

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Just sold on Ebay –

I suppose if you’re an old hand at this, you can say “Anything will sell online, anything.” And that is true – but…there are still (in my limited experience) more things that don’t sell than do. I suppose if the price is low enough and you wait long enough, anything will sell. But the real trick is improving the odds that someone will find it.

 

One of the best people that I go picking with is my son, Jake and his girlfriend. Which reminds me, I did say I’d post some of their modeling photos and I will soon. But it really makes a difference to have some younger people around who can identify vintage and nostalgic items from the past 30 years. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that 70s, 80s, and even 90s are considered vintage. And the stuff I do identify from “my” era which does include the 70s, is rare, broken, or overpriced.

Jake found and listed this yesterday:

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Phantom of the Opera Custom Ipad Cover

I probably walked right by that. I also found out that the case I’ve kept my make up in for well over 20 years now is a very collectible brand. I briefly considered emptying it and cleaning it out and listing it. But I like the damn thing and that’s probably why people still try to buy them. Yet another item in a closet that would sell online if I were inclined though.

So what kind of stuff do you have on hand that might fetch a few bucks or more? If you’re a seller, what’s the most surprising thing you’ve sold?

Favorite Friday Find

A little bit of activity around Nostalgicats this week. A couple of sales and six new listings. And many more listings to come. I’ll be putting up vintage clothing modeled by Jenny Bellew, aka “my son’s girlfriend”. I’m still way behind on listing books. I did get bottles of cologne listed on ebay and surprise! Two offers already (both under $3 but I am all about getting rid of them.)

One of my very favorite things popped onto my fave list this week. As I mentioned in my mannequin post, I am drawn to figural art. Not just humans, but animals too. And weird creatures and mixed up creatures. Some of the most engaging figurines are made and sold as salt and pepper shakers just like this set:

14Mar14Shakers

Vintage Salt and Pepper Shakers available at dianadivine on Etsy (picture links to the listing)

What’s not to love here? They are salt and pepper, they are fork and spoon, they are…friends! Interestingly, the bow ties indicate both are males. Usually you get a male-female thing with salt and pepper although that’s far from 100%. My husband has a collection of over 500 salt and pepper shakes (all squirreled away so no pictures, sorry) but when I did see them, they came in many interesting combinations. A boy riding an alligator, a mouse and a cheese, a cow with a moon.

I don’t seem to have any example of my own as far as anthropomorphic figures go. Here is one I keep on my favorites list in spite of the fact that it was sold a long time ago. This was listed in another Etsy shop:

Anthropomorphic Apple sold from NanNasThings

The only comparable item in my shop currently is this shy girl in pastels:

shygirl

I love her colors just as I love the anthro-apple’s colors. Very pleasing to my eyes and I rarely pass up figurines and pottery with those pastel tones. Although I have learned to curb the impulse if they are chipped or cracked as most of them seem to be.

As always, feel free to share your favorites from this week. Love to hear your comments!

Meet the Girls

thegirls2thegirls1No, I did not name them and I never will. But I love them just the same.

I think it is obvious to most people who know me that I am crazy for animals, especially cats and dogs. But I am crazy for a wide variety of things, some of which I indulge less than others. Part of the point of this blog is to share my guilty secrets so here it is: I love dolls in every form. And yes, I think mannequins are dolls, very big dolls. I love them when they are pretty and I love them when they are grotesque. They fascinate me so that I can spend long minutes staring at Barbie displays. The only dolls I don’t like are the ones crafted to look like newborn or very new babies. Those creep me out for some reason I can’t explain.

Luckily, I don’t have a huge desire to own and display dolls or mannequins. Still, it didn’t take me long to decide I needed a mannequin display piece to photograph jewelry, scarves and hats. So of course, I wound up with four. This number will vary, I am sure. Meanwhile, I will tell you about the current group.

Pouty Mouth modeling a vintage hat for Nostalgicats

My very first purchase was the sultry faced lady in the front, right side. I don’t name them, it doesn’t occur to me to do so, but I have come to think of her as pouty-mouth. She seems perpetually pissed off which is why I like her. She came from China through an ebay auction and I immediately knew I needed a second one. As much as I like Pouty’s face and eyes, she has sloping shoulders that do not work well for necklaces or pendants. I was focusing a lot more on jewelry then I do now.

Blue Eyes modeling a hand crocheted cowl for NostalgicatsIt was just a matter of weeks before I bought the blue-eyed brunette in the back row. I liked the ice blue eyes and square shoulders, although I hated her hair. I still do hate it but haven’t tried to “improve” her. She was another cheapie from China and actually a pretty good supplement because she is taller and posed differently, giving me more options. Her white dress was quite transparent and I did add several coats of white paint. I’ve toyed with the idea of altering her dress even more but have left her alone – for the time being.

While researching these models, I was distracted by some of the beautiful, hand-painted mannequins as well as the older vintage models. I purchased the green-eyed red head in front even though at the time, she had no eyes painted in. It took me four years to gather the courage to paint them in myself – I am not an artist and have zero drawing and painting skills. I got tired of waiting around for the eyes to magically fill in and finally took on the job. I’m pleased with the result but it gave me a shot of self confidence, perhaps too much confidence.greeneyes

One thing I still want for display is a full body dress maker’s form. I had considered a full body mannequin but I’m not that fond of how they look in other photos. Naturally the vintage forms are far too expensive for me so I thought an alternative could be to purchase a partial mannequin and mount her on a pole. (I have no qualms about torturing these ladies.)

I found a forlorn speciman on ebay and purchased it. The end result of a long story is the decoupaged form in the very back with the rather alien face – my fault for putting the pattern over her mouth and eyes to accentuate them. When she arrived, I discovered that she was far more battered than I realized, with large chunks of plaster falling off. I patched her to prevent further fall out but couldn’t make the patches smooth (okay, I was too lazy to attempt a real sanding job). I went ahead and spray painted her a beautiful pecanish deep beige color to break up my all caucasian tribe. Then it was time to paint her face. Alas, my lack of artistry caught up with me and it was a total fail.

decouproseDecoupage seemed like a good answer. This way, I could cover all the flaws and there were many. Still, it was one of my first decoupage attempts and did not come out to my liking. At this point, I use her more as a back drop because she has another annoying issue: a huge bust. I dropped the idea of a pole because she really isn’t long enough anyway. But when I have tried blouses and even dresses on her – it’s a stretch to put it mildly. I didn’t realize how ample her proportions are so I am guessing she is a former lingerie mannequin. I still love her in spite of her past. She is challenging to photograph though – talk about photobombing!

decouprose2

Was going to be the main picture to show off this scarf but seemed too distracting.

I’m still in the market for an affordable dressmaker’s form, preferably vintage but I might wind up buying a contemporary one. Nothing works better for clothing than a real live body inside it so I have persuaded my son’s girlfriend to model a few items. I’ll show you those pictures if I ever get ahold of them to list.

Friday’s Find(s)

Could not limit myself to one this week. I am a sucker for vintage jewelry and could post pictures of sparkly items that I covet all day long and never do anything else. In fact, I feel a bit guilty picking two but I had to stop myself from continuing to browse all my recently “faved” jewelry.

I am not just a vintage jewelry addict but I have a fascination with brooches. I seldom wear them but I just love them. I think they make the most interesting pieces because they don’t have the limitations of earrings and necklaces. As for bracelets and rings, it isn’t that I don’t desperately want them too, just not so much. Probably because they tend to be uncomfortable for me to wear, but I do like looking at them.

Without further ado, here are the two that dazzled me this week:

Victorian Amber Brooch from Tallulah’s Vintage on Etsy

Greenbrooch

Vintage Peridot Flower Brooch From ChrisGSwankyDesigns of Etsy

For reasons I don’t understand – but suspected are connected to have weathered a long critical illness, I have become very attached to green, particularly the lighter shades. I find both these pieces pleasing because of the green – the peridot is spectacular, of course but the amber piece is more subtle with colors. I should confess to an amber addiction too.

I put a few pieces of jewelry up for sale this week although none were brooches. Here they are:

filigreebrace2

Silver Filigree Bracelet Faux Aquamarine

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Vintage Beaded Bangle

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Silver Twisted Metal Bracelet

Notice that they are all bracelets. That is not all they have in common. They were all given to me by my mother-in-law. Thank god my husband doesn’t read my blog ever. Actually, I’m not so sure the twisted metal one came from her but the other two definitely did. As I said, I don’t really enjoy wearing bracelets although I have a ton of them. If I do wear them, I generally prefer the stretchy style as they don’t seem to move around so much. Bangles get on my nerves although I think I could manage a nice art deco bakelite bangle, say something like the one below:

Butterscotch yellow bakelite bangle at ParisRomaNYflea

Now this I could wrap around my wrist and suffer no matter what it felt like – but it looks like it would feel quite lovely. If you want more information about any of these pieces, just click the picture and it should link to their listing pages.

Next week, I plan to kick this blog up to three posts a week! I will be airing my opinions, talking about handmade and crafted items and cap the week again with a favorite find.

Don’t be shy – feel free to express you opinions here too!

What’s It Really Worth?

This is the perennial question on all ends of the vintage sale business. Many of us grew up listening to our parents and maybe even our grandparents say, “Someday this will be worth a lot of money!”

I can’t count how many times my mother patted some object and say, “Hang on to this after I’m gone because this is really old. ” Actually, I could probably estimate because I happen to own quite a number of things that were going to make me rich.

Around 1965, my mother (Pearl) decided to refurbish her baby grand piano, a gift from her deceased father. That’s actually another story in itself because I wound up paying $300 to have it lugged away in about seven years ago. But Pearl was attached to the piano because of sentiment even though it wasn’t what she really wanted. So she sent it away and had it entirely rebuilt inside and refinished on the outside. The old piano bench was deemed unsuitable for the new upscale piano and my mother set about finding a victorian stool with brass claws and glass balls.

The search involved months of scouring antique shops, garage sales, estate sales – which for anyone else might have been fun but my mother made it out to be a grueling task. She found some that were unaffordable – in the $200 range but was willing to drop $100 if she could find one that low.

I’m too lazy to look up the value of $100 in current time but you can imagine it was a lot. You didn’t just drop $100 on something in those days. She finally scrounged up a genuine victorian piano stool that had been painted over completely in a shade of turquoise that we all found hideous.

The irony is that I see many vintage items for sale online that have been spray-painted in that same shade or other bright colors. Even ten years ago, I would have gone into shock at the sight and shaken my finger. Now I say: why not? If someone enjoys it in a new pretty color and will display it in their home, more power to them and the one that painted it. It beats leaving it to sit in the basement or garage or attic.

My mother was ecstatic that she could get this stool for around $50 – still expensive considering the condition. She bought it and took it to an upholsterer after having the paint professionally removed. I don’t know how much all that cost but she absolutely hated what the upholsterer did with the cushion. The rest of it was extraordinary – you would never know that stool saw a speck of paint. The brass was shiny and glass balls gleamed. But the seat – well, it wasn’t *that* bad and so she did not insist on getting her piece refinished as she’d asked. She wanted a fringe of velvet cords around the seat but for some reason, the upholsterer left her with a pleated ruffle sort of affair. In fact, I can even furnish a picture of it because I happen to still own it.stool1

Note the cigarette burn (my mother smoked constantly). The cover is stained and the ruffle is still not *that* bad but what is sad (for me) is that my mother’s dream of inflated piano stool values did not come to pass. The brass is corroded although I haven’t tried to polish it.

What she could not know in the pre-Internet age is that they are not at all rare. Not one bit rare. My most recent research still shows people asking an average of $75 for them – and not getting it.

I have put the piano stool in garage sales several times. I’ve asked $75 for it and as low as $50. I just can’t bring myself to go lower – but no one has ever asked me either. I believe that it would sell better if I spray-painted the entire thing turquoise or teal. Maybe radiant orchid or freesia yellow since those are the hot spring colors.

The piano stool is only one story and it took longer to tell than I intended. My husband’s side of the family is worse when it comes to inflating the value of their heirlooms (which in his family means anything ever touched by a relative). Periodically, my late mother-in-law would suddenly unveil a piece of jewelry or doodad never displayed before. She’d tell me how valuable it was (that’s a real amethyst there!) then either squirrel it away again or make me take it home. I tried to appreciate and use/wear many of these items but…most of them are on their way onto Etsy or Ebay. Really sad part is that she rarely used them herself but just kept them in the back of a cabinet or closet for a special occasion that never occurred.

Trying to list these pieces circles back to the post title: what is it worth anyway? Often, I have no idea the real age or era and it doesn’t necessarily add to their value just because I know the piece is older than me – and I’m an antique! I assume I do my research like other vintage sellers and buyers both. I perform google-fu first, check the images and on lucky occasions, find the exact same object or something very similar. I check the online auction sites and there is always, always one bum that has it listed on ebay for $1.99 buy it now free shipping included.

My children’s generation is just now showing interest in vintage stuff. There is a big interest in sixties through the nineties. The nineteen nineties – I still can’t believe it. My son and his girlfriend do great business selling stuff from eighties and nineties. Their peers have little interest in nostalgia except for the Mad Men phenomena which has romanticized late fifties and sixties fashion and decor. I’m trying to take advantage of that as best I can but of course, I didn’t hold onto my mother’s things from that era because – she didn’t tell me to! Besides, she’d already unloaded most of it because it was so dated and out of style (she died in 1983).

Back to the piano stool. You would not believe how hard it is to get that upholstery off. That guy did his job in that department. But when I do get it off, I’m going to decoupage the entire thing with antique sheet music. Although I also plan to make sheets available on Etsy for crafting since I have enough of it to build a shelter. Maybe my next project!

Friday Favorite

For the first time ever my Friday Favorite Find. And this is a hard one to do because I am seriously plugged up with a sinus cold. So here is the coolest thing I saw this week that knocked my socks off the hardest – but wait – how do I choose? If I haven’t mentioned this before, I have a short term memory issues. If I did mention it, I’ve already forgotten.

Along with that, I’ve forgotten 98% of what I looked at on Etsy or Ebay over the week which is a lot of stuff. So a quick review of my lists on Etsy should help jar some memory cells loose. And you know what else? I’m going to post my favorite item from my own shop for the week. That’s pretty easy – since it is something my mother made over forty years ago.Image

This poncho is gorgeous and I loved it for years. Alas, I will never comfortable fit into it again (no, ponchos do not really fit all sizes) and it has sat in storeage for decades. Now is the time for someone else to enjoy it. I appreciate her skills even more now than I did then since I have taken up knitting and crochet over the past few years.

Now for the big reveal –

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Available at Jarmfarm on Etsy, click picture for link.

 

This gorgeous Italian Pottery piece is listed by Jarmfarm on Etsy. Click the picture to see for yourself! It was made in 1952 and is signed Larry Gary. When I first saw it, I was impressed because of its Atomic Age vibe. But now I have come to see that the motif is actually botanical with petals and stamens streamlined to look atomic age. Even cooler.

How about your week? If you feel like it, post something that you found interesting, strange or amazing, picture or not. As for next week, I hope the cold lessens – the one in my head and the freezing stuff outside!