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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Garage Sale- One mans junk is another mans treasure!

The last couple of weeks, our family has been preparing for our garage sale that will be held on June 7. In these days of everyone being green and environmentally concious, it is a great way to recycle your unwanted items.One mans' junk, is another mans' treasure, so the saying goes! The kids all went through their belongings, and my husband and I have gone through every room, cupboard and closet in our house with a fine tooth comb, hauling out unused and unwanted items. It certainly is amazing the amount of stuff that you can collect, and the amount of stuff that you do not even use! It has been very therapeutic, clearing out the unwanted clutter, it really makes you feel like you are accomplishing something. As well we have ended up with alot more space in our closets and cupboards, therefore being able to organize the things we DO want alot better. We have held several garage sales over the years, and we also love to cruise other peoples yard and garage sales as well, so we like to think of ourselves as being somewhat experts on this subject. So I thought I would create a list on what it takes to hold a successful garage sale, if you are thinking of having one.
1. First of all, plan and organize your sale well ahead of the date planned, 3 or 4 weeks in advance is not too early to start going through your home looking for items to put into the sale. Make sure you have enough quality items to make it worth your while. I cannot tell you how many garage sales I have attended that are just pathetic. Sellers sitting around all day...or all weekend, to sell a small table of worthless junk!
2. If your neighbourhood is having a parade of sales, get in on that date, as you will usually get alot more people turning up on the day of your sale.
3. Plan to advertise in your local papers, and put up ads on your community bulliten boards.
4. Make sure all your items are in good repair, and CLEAN! Be sure all games, toys and puzzles have all the pieces, and be sure to have a electrical outlet handy for customers to check electrical appliances.
5. Price your merchandise reasonably, with a bit of room to negotiate. Do not overprice your items, remember this is a garage sale, and you do not want these things anymore!
6. Organize your merchandise into categories, grouping similiar items together. All toys in one area, kitchen items together, and guy stuff in another corner. Lots of people attend garage sales looking for specific things, so it makes it quick and easy for them to see what you have for sale. If someone isn't looking for anything specific, then they can easily browse your merchandise. Have a .25 cent box, or a free box, which is great for kids shopping with their allowance.
7. Have money for giving change to customers, lots of coins and small bills, but keep it on you. One of those pouches that strap around your waist works well.
8. Be sure to make several LARGE , CLEARLY PRINTED , signs to put around your neighbourhood on the night before, or morning of your sale. Make sure your printing is bold enough that the sign can be read, while someone is driving by. Have lots of good signs directing traffic to your house. Many times my husband and I have given up looking for a place due to poor signage, or lack of directions. Remember alot of your traffic will be from people just driving through the area.
9. Open on time, or a few minutes early, and be ready. Most of your sales will be within the first two hours of opening.
10.Be prepared to make deals, and throw in an extra item if someone buys alot of items.
11. When your sale is over, pack up any remaining items and donate them to charities. We have a rule that we don't bring anything back into our house!
12. Count your money, and go and treat yourselves to dinner out!

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Newest Hot Designs!


Here are my two latest hot designs still fresh and sizzling ! Both these necklaces were quite time consuming and somewhat challenging. The gold colored necklace, is quite intricate, and certainly a head turner. I visualize this one being worn with that little black dress and heels, for a hot night on the town....very sexy indeed!! Hence I named this one "Wild Thing", a song made popular by a band named the Troggs...mmm not a very sexy sounding band tho. This one is available in my Etsy shop The second necklace is one that I am actually keeping for myself. I do not keep alot of what I make, mainly because I would be broke, I really need to sell these little creations! I love the chunkyness of this necklace, the thick sterling silver chain, and nice graphic lampwork beads, made by one of my favourite lampwork artists, Rebecca Werner. Also the Swarovski crystal discs give it a real nice sparkle. I called this one "Electrical Storm", a song by the band U2. ( Would Bono approve?)
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Customer Service

If there is one thing that is important to me, it is good customer service. I like to give it, and I like to recieve it. I am pretty good at giving it, I worked in retail for about 12 years, and worked my way up from a sales associate to various management positions. I worked in some very elite shops in the 1980's throught to about 1998. We were taught all about the products that we carried, and were very knowledgable about what we sold. Customer service was drummed into us at every single place that I worked, and we bent over backwards to ensure the customer was serviced to death and left the store more than happy. So where has that gone? I find it extremely rare today to get good customer service , let alone a knowledgable sales person! I just came back from picking up a few groceries in the small town that I live near, and I am just flabberghasted at the service... or rather non service that I got from a young cashier. I was loading my groceries onto the belt, and smiled at her said hello, and told her that I had brought my own canvas bags with me today. She just looked at me, didn't say a word, and started to ring through my purchases. The whole time she was ringing up the items, she was yawning, and looking extremely bored. When she was done I gave her the money, and she packed my goods into the bags, putting all the heavy bottles of juice into one bag, and shoving everything else into the second bag. Then she tried to get the large container of fresh strawberries into the third bag, and it wouldn't fit too well on its bottom, so she flipped it around on its side and said "That's as good as it gets!" Then she left!! So I had to go behind the counter, and grab all 3 bags, and the two large jugs of milk and load them into my cart. I am wondering why on earth would a store manager/owner hire this girl, and what type of image is she giving the store? What if that was an elderly person, or someone who just had an operation, that couldn't lift heavy bags? I think it is terrible, obviously she has no idea about good customer service, and she hasn't been properly trained either. If it were not the only grocery store in town, I would never go back. Whenever I do get great customer service I always make sure to thank the person, but that is pretty rare these days. So that is my rant for the day! Pin It

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little History about Vintage Swarovski



So continuing on with my series about the beads and components that I use in my jewelry designs, this week I am featuring vintage Swarovski crystals. ( last post was on Venetian glass beads) I am very addicted to these, they are so gorgeous! Rare and hard to come by, these little beauties really set a piece of jewelry apart from the rest, making it just a bit more special. I try to use these in a design whenever I can, and many of the vintage Swarovski crystals that I use are at least 50 years old!

Vintage Swarovski beads are stunningly beautiful! The camera cannot do these beads justice, and there are no words to describe the breath taking beauty that they possess! Vintage Swarovski crystals are crystals that were made decades ago, and are found in discontinued colors, and finishes that were far too expensive for the mass market of the time, as well as sizes, and shapes that have been long since discontinued. In the 1950’s, competition was fierce amongst jewelry makers, and many commissioned Daniel Swarovski, to produce special beads just for them. Many of these beads had top secret color combinations and finishes, and were often shipped to the factories under numbers rather than names, so that the competition would be unable to find out the exact beads used in the designs. Companies such as Weiss, Coro, Trifari, Lissner, Capri, Napier and Royal of Pittsburg were among jewelry makers of the time that commissioned Swarovski for unique crystals.
Many are extremely rare, such as the much coveted color called Mink. Others are rare because of the shape, such as the oval, octagon, disco balls and the pagoda Swarovski beads. Another thing that makes some of these old beads rare, are the sizes that they were produced in. Colors such as Scarabee, Joulan, Elestria Dark, Carousel, Fantasy, Ghost, Dark Sunburst, Ambrosia, Cognac, Joulet, Cinnamon, Honey, Meadow, Sarnell, Sun and Steel, and many others, have not been made in decades and are very collectable. Some beads were experimental or only produced for a very short period of time, such as the purple givre bead, circa 1946. Also unique are the opaque crystals, often found in the margarita or flower shape, that come in opaque pink, turquoise and white, much like the old kitchen appliances from the 1950’s! Also hard to find in opaque is the delicious Cherry Red, and Apple Green shades…very retro!
Not all Swarovski beads are faceted. In fact some of the rarest beads are the non faceted ones, which are apparently polished, translucent and extremely smooth. There are also fluted round beads, which are translucent as well, and round matte beads.
Having a piece of jewelry made with these stunning vintage crystals, is not only uniquely beautiful, but also holds a small piece of history from a bygone era. All the vintage Swarovski crystals that I use in my designs are mint and uncirculated.


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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Modern and Vintage


Last week, I told you about the fantastic vintage Venetian glass beads, that I purchased from a local antique show. They are about 50 years old, and full of color and sparkle. Well, I took apart the old necklace, cleaned them up, and then designed something new using a few of these old lovelies! As you can see in the picture, a brand new bracelet was born! I also used some very pretty large Swarovski crystals in a blue green color,more floral Swarovskis in Erinite, some nice chunky rich smoky quartz, and Bali silver discs. The blue glass heart bead dangle is also Venetian glass, but this one is new. I still have lots of the wonderful old Venetian glass beads to use in new upcoming designs...so stay tuned!
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Monday, May 12, 2008

Snow Day

In my last post, I mentioned that we were experiencing more snowfall, and I was dreaming of the west coast. Well it snowed all day last Thursday, and then into the night. We awoke Friday morning to a very wintery sight, about a foot and a half of snow everywhere, plus we had no power! It is funny how we all of a sudden fall apart, when the electricity is gone. No dishwasher, no washing machine, of course no lights, music or T.V, but most importantly...no coffee and no blow dryer! After my husband used the snow blower to clear our long winding driveway, and the snow plow cleared the roads, we drove into town and filled up on breakfast bagels and fresh brewed coffee, from the coffee shop. We brought back hot coffee and tea to our neighbour as well, and my husband continued to clear her driveway and another neighbours' as well. Apparently a large spruce tree had come down in our area, and fallen into the power lines, resulting in the loss of elecricity to all the acreages in our vicinity. Finally, the power came back on about noon, and life went back to normal once again. My thoughts did wander, to how people must have lived a hundred years ago, and how different their daily routine was, compared to ours, and how we take electricity for granted, until you don't have it! Pin It

Thursday, May 8, 2008

West coast












So after a few nice warm days, we once again awoke to SNOW! That heavy, very wet, slushy, Spring type of snow, and just after I had put out my patio furniture this past weekend! Go figure!! So today my thoughts take me out to the west coast..British Columbia, Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, where I love to get away and relax. The weather is much milder there, and we are fortunate enough to have a getaway place of our own on Vancouver Island, just a few minutes walk to the ocean. I love the ocean, and I love to go beachcombing, seeking out little treasures that the sea has left behind. Smooth colored sea glass in soft shades of blue, amethyst and frosty white, as well as tiny shells, gnarled driftwood and round smooth stones in interesting colors are among my favourite finds. My home here, has many corners decorated with natures treasures that I have found on the beaches. I have clear glass vases filled with large round stones, and sand dollars, shells and coral, as well as the smooth branches that have fallen from arbutus trees. I love to check out tide pools and the life they hold, the little crabs, and the colorful starfish, urchins and anenomes.At certain times of the year, we can hear the sealions barking, see seals play in the water and bald eagles soaring in the sky. So today I am posting some of my own favourite photos of those areas that I love out on Canada's west coast. Dream and enjoy!
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vintage Venetian glass



On Saturday, I spent several hours cruising the Spring Antique Sale, in Calgary. It was a great show, and there were some really neat items, lots of cool vintage kitchen ware, books, furniture and of course jewelry! I found a very sweet Made in Japan vintage cheese dish, that looks like a piece of swiss cheese, with a darling little mouse peeking out the top. It will look great with my collection of vintage salt and pepper fruit and vegetable heads! But the find of the day was a string of vintage Venetian glass beads, probably from the 1950's, still as sparkly and shiny as ever. So look out for some new exciting pieces to be created with these little babies! I can't wait to incorporate them into something fresh and exciting.
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Summer Bracelet



So as promised, I have pictures of the "creation" that I made with the German vintage lucite leaves and flower, as well as the cool beads from Angela at Bedford Beadworks! I decided to make a summertime fun and whimsical bracelet, as the colors are SO summerish. I also added some neat vintage, pink, opaque Swarovski crystals that are shaped like flowers, and some very sparkly big blue vintage Swarovskis as well. I will be listing this on Etsy in my store later today. Enjoy!
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