Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: Thanksgiving

I am really trying hard to stay out of the thrift stores for reasons I talked about a few posts ago (need to pay off a few bills and also declutter a bit). Cold turkey, Thanksgiving or not, is never good for a thriftaholic, however, so I allowed myself a bit of $1 budget this past week for a record album featuring pop English bands of yore...
...A trio of Holt Howard tall boy glasses (I plan to list these on Etsy this week);
And a six pack of state glasses! Behind the three Great Lakes states are Georgia, Niagara Falls, and New Orleans. I now have at least ten of these babies. I want to display them in an old soda crate (I saw it out in blogger land, but have no idea where now).

I have a couple of other items to share later this week, but this is just a taste of my weekly finds. Want more? Check out Her Library Adventures for more weekly thrift/flea market feed!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Wish List

OK, so I really am one of those, "You don't need to buy me anything" folks (and I truly mean it, I'd much rather find gifts over receiving) and, as a lover of things thrifted and old, I rarely want anything "new". I also do not do Black Friday (I worked retail for many years to get through college and did my share of BF from the other side). However, in the spirit of fun and all that is American consumerism, I thought I would make a list of what I would love to find under the tree...for me!

1. Charles Frazier's latest book Nightwoods. I loved both Cold Mountain (I also love the movie version of this book) and the wonderful historic Thirteen Moons. I thrifted copies of both of his former books, but Nightwoods is really new.

2. Any of these artists' latest albums: Features (and a ticket to their Jan. 13 show in Louisville would be fabulous as well), Feist, Coeur de Pirates or Snow Patrol.

3. A couple of these repo vintage stuffed animal patterns.

4. This wonderful print from Why Louisville. Actually, while you are there, I would also love this t-shirt!

5. Goodwill (or other thrift store) gift cards. Santa Baby, really, this one is a no-brainer!

6. Coffee shop gift card. Love, love, love my caffeinated drinks.

What would be on your list?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekly Thrift Feed: A Bit of Holiday

This week's happy find was a plethora of vintage elf-type ornaments. Most were made in Japan or Hong Kong. I love their happy, kitschy faces.

The ones in the very center remind me of Willy Wonka's Oompa Loompas. The taller one has very creepy eyes! The Crochett and Tiny Tim ornament says it is a Kurt S. Adler ornament.

This mouse is my very favorite of the bunch. I have such a weakness for vintage animal kitsch. Plans for her involve a re-purposed Wreath O' Kitsch. I love her big head and beady, black eyes and think she should be front and center this holiday season!

What did you find this week? Check out more thrift porn here and will make you drool!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November Lights

(Holland Mold Tiger Bank, Jie Gantofta Sweden Baby, Strawberry Shortcake picnic basket, Danish vase/candle holder, Italian scarf)

It seems like it has been cloudy on any day I have some minutes to spare and attempt to photograph. My house is so dark and shadowy (something I never noticed until I tried photographing objects!) I had a busy last week at work, so I didn't get much done as far as blogging or Etsy goes. I really hope we have a few sunny days this week. For now, I am going to blame the lighting on my awful photos and procrastination! ;)

Above are a few recent finds (with the exception of the Jie Gantofta Sleeping Baby which I found months ago in West Virginia). I plan to add all of it to the shop this week (hopefully, this weekend. By the way, I know I've seen the weird man-figure candle/flower holders on the blogs before (Ole Christensen Keramik Danmark), but I am hard pressed to remember where. Any one know the era of the guy?

And, speaking of W. VA., above is my favorite find: a tiny W. VA button! I found it in a box of odds and ends jewelry at a Louisville thrift store. It costs me .25c which is probably high for just one button; however, I absolutely love it! I wish I had found a few more. The cashier was pricing the other odd earrings and such I had isolated (to upcycle into necklaces) and saw the button. She said, "You want this...?" (I think she was going to throw it away).

I've actually been staying away from thrift and flea markets of late. I already posted my whiny post about my housing issues and every extra dollar is going towards that at the moment. It would kill me to stay out completely, though, so I have set myself a very strict budget. Fortunately, twenty-five cent buttons fit the bill!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Should Be Sleeping

(Happy Picture Needed Because Not a Happy Post)

As the old Leonard Cohen song goes, "It's two in the morning, I'm writing to say that I'm better..."

Well, it is 2:39 am to be exact and I am having a bit of insomnia. My mind is working overtime due to many issues I have on the table at the moment. The main one was a recent shock when I had the little house I've owned for 15 years appraised for a refi. I knew things were bad and the house had decreased in value, but I had a vague idea what it was worth based on the taxes. When I received the bottom line, it seems my house has plunged 50% in value over the years I've owned it. The saddest part? The major plunge has been between 2009 and now.

What this means is I am approved for all practical purposes to swap out a high interest mortgage on said home for more than I owe (based on credit worthyness and my net worth apparently), but I do not have the value in the home for what I need. I am about 7K short of what the bank will loan me.

Now, it seems I owe exactly what the house is worth. Good news, I suppose, as I am not "upside down"...yet. However, because I no longer live in this house and it has become an "investment property" (yea, some investment...the rent my tenant pays barely covers the current mortgage payment and nevermind the INCREASING taxes and insurance) due to be unable to sell it, the bank tells me they will only give me 75% of the value of the home. I spent about $400 (appraisal and credit check costs) to find all of this out.

I called the current mortgage holder and explained to them my situation. I have a balloon loan on this property (bought when I was a Very. Stupid. Girl in my early twenties) that is about to come due. I have been a good payer (on time) over all these years and never refinanced from the original mid-nineties interest rate (i.e. criminally high). They said they would take the 75% as a payoff with no damage to my credit. "Yay!" I thought foolishly.

So I called back the other bank (one, I might add, I have another mortgage with, have had loans that are now paid in full with, savings, checking, relatives that work for them, relatives that bank with them, a bank that started in the small town I live in now) and told them what my current mortgage holder has said. No, says my bank, if you don't pay exactly what you owe it looks bad to us and we won't loan you the money. Um, OK.

Of course, I am not happy on many accounts, but what really pissed me off was the loan officer's patronizing speech after I told him about the other banks offer to me. He says, "What if you borrowed $50, 000 from your friend Bob. However, two years later, the value falls on the house and you go to him and offer him $48,000 to pay it off. Wouldn't this just be wrong? How do you think your friend would feel?" He then went on to say the houses losing value was all our faults because the banks had lost money in the stock markets. Make sense? (Please elaborate if it does to you...:(

Well, let me see, in my case I owe $25K and have paid "Bob" faithfully for 15 years at a high interest rate. My friend "Bob" has already received his original investment plus some from me. A profit!! And, I am offering to pay back 75% of what is now owed on a house he is just going to get back and will have to sell at a loss if I can't finance it (in the scenario) and it is his decision to take the offer. Hmm, his 25% loss now is really, really small.

After my little scolding, the banker then went on to say something about how "short sales" are only hurting investors and that those who do it are basically stealing from the banks. I hadn't even considered the other bank's offer to be a short sale. Just an offer for less (win win for them).

Anyway, I am thinking about moving my other mortgage (great interest rates now anyway) and all my accounts out of the patronizing bank. I am asking to borrow less than a car from them. I am asking to borrow exactly what is owed and apparently what the house is worth by the appraiser they hired. I have an excellent history of repayment. My credit is good by whatever weird and complicated formulas they use.

Meanwhile, I am paying all extra money on the little house in preparation of the upcoming balloon due date (June 2012). I hope to have it paid down to 75% of what the worth is (today), but who's to say it won't get worse. And, trying to live in two cities with today's recession has become a money-tight affair these days. We all have net worth less than we did five years ago. Fucking hindsight, I should have paid this damn thing off years ago (I always held out in foolish hope that it would sell).

O, and the negative value, it was not the house per say; it was the comp values of other homes selling in the neighborhood for pennies. Kind of out of my control if people are taking way less than their houses are worth these days. We are all just trying to survive.

Grand Opening


I finally listed 10 items on Etsy and I am exhausted! I do have two more items to post tomorrow, but I ran out of almost good lighting today.

So, want to see the shop? Check out Flea Circus Star and let me know your honest feedback (e.g. photography, prices, the look, etc.).

The hardest part (well, besides taking decent photos) was figuring out prices. I am not an expert on vintage (nor do I really want to be). I just know what I like and what I would pay for an item. As the proprietor of Nashville's Pre to Post Modern said, "We don't like to hoard vintage...!" I did look around the Internet a bit and tried pricing under the average. I also do not have a scale handy (I do in Louisville though) and calculated my shipping rates based on USPS Priority Flat Rates which I will have to adjust at some point. I also do not really say I will ship internationally, but I will. I just need to check on rates for a particular destination. I plan to add a tidbit about reserving for international buyers until I can adequately quote them.

I am really greenhorn to all of this and hope it is fun and not frightful adventure!

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 11 11

O, man...I have to give credit where credit is due. I have been desperately trying to get my Etsy shop up and running and have new respect for shop owners out there. It is hard work editing photographs (properly...not the lazy way as I do for this blog! :)

I was hoping to open up on 11-11-11. How lucky would that have been? unfortunately, I am still pecking away at the photo editing and uploading. Maybe...hopefully, I will have my grand opening by Sunday.

At the very least, I finally have my shop's banner done. This should have been simple, but I changed my mind on my shop name three times before settling meekly on one. I think I like it. In fact, I may change LKL's name as well to reflect the choice. Maybe.

I have so, so many posts to write-up. I have all my Nashville adventure & finds (thank you, Rae, for your fabulous suggestions!), Louisville recent finds, and some other loose ends of life that has been passing me by of late. The best part is I went back to a DSL at the farm house (I'd been using a mobile air card due to my constant travel) which will make it easier to keep caught up on the weekends (air card does not get decent signal out in the sticks).

Anyway, the above photograph is a forever ago find (I can't even remember the Who What Where of it anymore). It is a sneak preview of what one may find in my (very) soon-to-be shop!