Friday, October 24, 2014

Magazine Round-up

I've been spending an embarrassing amount of time at doctor's offices recently. Here are some cute things I wanted to share from their varied selection of magazines:

I really like these bookends and although the internet always insists succulents are impossible to kill? I still kill them. I'd throw some anti-skid pads under these vases just in case. The only thing worse than toppled books are books toppled on wet broken glass and judgemental plants.

The closest H&M was replaced by a thriving Marshalls about two years ago but this is still good to know.

Discover magazine informs me birds sing to each other as an alert/warning system. If they somehow block the sounds the birds won't be able to brag of good eats and your crops will be safe.

Overkill for the home gardenner but still cool.

Are we over chalkboard paint on thrifted frames? Honestly I was never into them.

Dixon and Ziemer sound expensive. Make your own by framing glass from an old window or for a lighter option plastic from a cheap poster frame. I go to a weekly discussion meeting and we have one of those cheap $1 plastic stand up frames and a dry erase marker. We put a white piece of paper in the frame and every week write in the topic. Its worked fine for months.

You guys know how much I love solar lights. This LED solar light from Frostfire looks pretty darn cool!

Oh its been freezing and raining for days, remind me to bring in the solar lights. My brother has left his out for years and they still work but I'm not risking our solar chandy! It can hang in the basement for a few months.

Literally. *cracks up*

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thrifting like a jerk

The first half of yesterday's thrifting was straightforward and unjerky:

Pyrex - 1.99
Bowl - 1.49
Mug - .99
Grimace glass - .29
British dish - .29

Its downright weird how much British stuff I find at this store

Isn't this pretty? Its made by Waltherglas, which I believe is German for Walter Glass.*
*totally made up

This Pyrex is pristine but unfortunately not my prized black.

My last McDonalds glass hasn't sold yet but maybe pairing them will do the trick. I love this mug so much! Its about six inches tall and holds so much.

Plus I bet you were about to leave a comment about how it was made by a super famous artist and is worth upwards of $10!*
*Also made up, I haven't deciphered this name yet

So after that I went to volunteer at the Little Thrift Store. I was putting donations on hangers and kinda eyeing a pair of mugs and saucers on the counter. A customer came over, picked them up and I saw Fiesta on the bottom. She left them on the counter and walked around so I snatched them up. About ten minutes later she came back asking for them. That is what baskets are for!

Sodastream and stuff - $8
Little People set - $2.50
Fiestaware pair - $1

I think I will have a tea party with my niece tonight. Decaf tea.

Remember all those Little People animals I thrifted this summer? I bet they were from this set. I eventually craigslisted them for $5 but I'm keeping this one for my baby niece. Each animal is on a little base which makes the sounds the animal makes when you press it and she loves obnoxious sounds.

I was only interested in the two sealed bottles because I bought a pair like them for Christmas for my husband last year for $20. The manager said she really wanted to sell them as a set so I figured for $8 - why not? The Sodastream has a canister inside although it doesn't feel full so I should be able to recoup my investment. Funnily enough the sampler in the back expired in 2012 - which means this kit was probably purchased around the same time my husband's was purchased!

See the red one in the background? I bought that for him back when we were dating :)

My opinion on the sodastream is 50/50. None of the sodas taste exactly like the one they are knocking off but they are fine on their own. However I don't drink that much soda and one of these bottles would be enough for 3 sittings for me. My husband LOVES diet soda and will go through periods where all I hear all day is "pshhhhhh pshhhhhhhhhhh pshhhhhhhhh" but then he'll get tired and go back to the canned stuff. Its a good investment in our home but isn't really for the casual (or sole) soda drinker. If I drank diet or he drank regular we could happily split a bottle.

My wordy self is linked up to Thrifty Things Friday:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Turns out I have a McCoy pottery collection

gradually, unexpectedly and fully purchased to sell  on eBay!

Crystal candle holder - 1.49
2 Yankee Candle holders - .99 each
Birdie - .49
Pinch pot - .29

There were two but one was chipped. I'm starting to recognize this stuff before turning it over!

I don't know what this little set is for. I'd guess mini planter but its so small the plant would have a short lifespan. Maybe its for fake flowers (eww).

At first I thought these uneven dice etchings were made by a lazy buyer but then I turned it over

Since the holes are under the sticker they must have been sold that way. I hope whoever decided to ruin such a gorgeous crystal by forcing them into looking like die was fired. I also hope whoever hired the person who did the actual drilling was fired. It goes without saying the person who drilled such uneven holes should have been fired too. When an employer doesn't give you a template you make your own!

These ridiculously heavy iron candle holders still have $19.99 price stickers underneath so I hope they sell quickly.

I am Thriftily Sharing:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What it sold for: Holy CRAP only 4 Sales edition

This week was bad - I had those two open cases and just as I cleared them out eBay automatically opened a non-paying bidder case for me. Add to that I only have 60 items listed because all these open cases disqualify me for free listing promos and you get a week like this one.

Four sales.

Only one was thrifted:

Body by Jake add-on - Paid 2.99 and sold for $11.70

I hope the person realizes this is an add-on because I can't handle more open cases. I said "add-on" in every sentence but buyers don't read.

So eBay - send me more free listings. Help me help you make money.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mohu Leaf Review: Updated for 2014

Remember the Mohu leaf antenna I purchased and returned back in 2013? It pulled in the exact same channels as my original RCA antenna from 2011 so wasn't worth paying extra for. The folks at Mohu saw my review last week and were nice enough to send a new antenna for me to try out.

I originally reviewed the base model, which costs $40 on Amazon. This one is the Mohu 50, which costs $70 on Amazon. Since my original posting I moved 2.9 miles southwest. My old apartment was on the first floor of a three story home. The new antenna would go on the second floor of a 2 story home. Its higher ground as evidenced by the view:

Don't be overtly impressed - tons of places in North NJ have views of the NY skyline if you know where to look.

The new packaging is downright generic compared to last year's awesomeness:

I guess blanket statements appeal mostly to lawyers :/

The contents were very similar. The antenna looks identical (although its been 1 1/2 years since I last held one) and they still use that white connection cable.

Props for branding the cable but honestly Mohu - most of us have open tv stands and nothing is more distracting than a white cable. Camouflage is good.

The Mohu also brought an antenna amplifier which can be plugged into the wall or a tv's usb port. My tv has an unpowered usb port which is used to provide diagnostics so I'd have to plug it into a jack.

My old RCA has the same setup but the amplifier only pulled in extra asian game show channels so I never use it.

First the control group - trusty old RCA. I just realized this angle makes the antenna look as large as the tv! Call it sitting on the bed laziness.

Sixty channels isn't bad. I had 39 in 2011 at my old-old apartment and 41 in 2013 at my old apartment. Remember how often I used to move? Its nice to have a Forever Home.

Channel 11 is one of the channels, by the way!

Next up the Mohu. The RCA antenna's wire is permanently attached but the Mohu's has to be screwed in. Its nice to have the option of buying a shorter/longer cable or a regular black cable if you dislike the white.

I don't know why the coax cable doesn't fully screw into the base. While I doubt this will lead to electrocution I have watched a lot of Wile E. Coyote and hate seeing exposed metal.

I put the Mohu in the same spot and used the mini blinds to hold it up. Channel 11, check.

69 channels! A full nine channels more than the RCA.

Time to test the amplifier. Like I said, the RCA also came with an amplifier but didn't improve the signal in my last two apartments so I didn't bother digging it out to compare this time.

Same set-up but this time the amplifier is linked between the antenna and the coax cable with another cable running down to be plugged in (off-camera but trust me, it is there).

Only 48 channels this time.

I guess amplifiers aren't meant for my area because I've tried them at three separate homes and every time adding an amplifier results in fewer channels.

Verdict: The Mohu leaf yielded better results with nine more channels than the RCA. The RCA is $39 on Amazon and the Mohu is $70. Still if one of those nine channels is one you're interested in the higher price tag is worth it. For example - in my old home I was interested in channel 11. If the more expensive Mohu had retrieved that signal I would have definitely purchased it.

Picture quality remains amazing with antennas. I had the flash on and was pretty close to the tv so these aren't the best photos but trust me - the quality is full HD.

The only minor antenna annoyance is channels are set up in decimals. If I want to watch channel 11 I punch in 11, then push up to 11.1. Plain old 11 is a blank screen. The reason for this is rather clever: "With digital encoding a normal TV channel does not always occupy the full 6 mhz bandwidth that the old analog channel did, so stations can add sub-channels." Source. If you consider those channels extra-free bonuses its much easier to overlook the extra button pushing - or just set pre-set channel favorites on your remote.

Full disclosure: we have cable on our main tv in the living room (these pics were upstairs). My husband and I enjoy watching DVR'ed shows together and he likes sports channels but honestly? We have cable because of the dvr. I think the only cable shows we watch are Storage Wars and Thrift Hunters.

So if you're trying to cut costs and have an HD tv its worth trying one out - the picture quality really is identical.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

How to get details on your eBay defects

Kim asked how I got details on my defects. Easy peasy:

Seller Dashboard is under the Account tab.

What percentage of your transactions had defects is the first thing listed. I'm confused because my percentage went down (as it was supposed to after all those calls last week) but I still show the same number of defects.

Also I know my tracking says 96% but this number is undependable. USPS doesn't always dock their scanners so transmissions are often delayed. Not a big deal - it eventually catches up.

Anyway click on the little arrow on the left side of the defect percentage.

Clicking on the arrow will drop down all this information. Click "download a report" to see which items are causing your defects.

At this point I always have to log back in. Do that then click Expand to see more details.

See what I mean? This page still shows I have 6 defects. I guess I need to set aside an hour or two to call eBay next week.

What about you? How is your defect list looking?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book review & Contest - Tim Gunn's Guide

This book was such a fun read! The tone is incredibly casual with lots of quirky anecdotes.

More importantly I read it at the perfect time because I have a secret. While I've worked to only keep what I know to be useful or beautiful around the home I hardly ever parse my clothes closet. Sure, I'll binge purge sweaters once a year or donate a random top but a real purging? Nope and I sure need it!

You see - I used to work at Liz Claiborne and we had sample sales all the time. We could buy garments for $1 but there weren't changing rooms. I'd come home with trash bags full! Trash bags. Full of clothes I hadn't tried on. Disastrous.

This was a few years ago and while I have pared down most of what I bought (I had to!) I was still lugging around brand new items I never wore. These were invariably items which needed some kind of alteration, were oddly colored or just purchased because they were cheap enough and I might wear them "one day."

So back when I lived with my roomy I bought them. Then I lived alone for two years and now I've been married in this house for over a year and those clothes? Still being lugged around.

This is what I I want to store until next summer. Four tanks and three pairs or shorts.

These are what I'm keeping. Tanks on the left get worn under cardigans (my favorite), jeans, short sleeve, long sleeve, cardies. Since I was putting away summer I bought out the sweaters. Around the house I wear long sleeve cotton tees and keep those in drawers. While I know I tend towards burgundy and soft fabric I hadn't visualized it until my closet was organized.

Reading about a fashion icon's spartan clothing collection really made me look at mine - something I haven't wanted to do. It was easier to continue sorting rather than minimizing. The book guides you through different questions in order to help find what you should be keeping/buying more of.

This huge tub is full of summer tops I don't want or haven't worn. Somewhere in that stack are brand new tank tops I purchased at the sample sales because they were cheap. They are generic cotton tanks in different colors but I prefer clothing with adornment or sheen so never wore them.

and dresses!? HA! See all those wonky colors? So Liz.

Oh and do you want to know how many little black dresses I own? More than 10. Want to know how many I wore in the past year?

Just the one I purchased THIS SUMMER for a wedding.

There are two reasons for this - I loved black in my 20s and back in high school I had the best English teacher - Mr. Mullen. He would intersperse all sorts of advice into daily lectures. One day he talked about fashion and emphasized how important it is for a woman to have the perfect little black dress.

He didn't say we needed a dozen of them.

"Clothes do not exist to humiliate their owners."

I love the illustrations by Laine Roundy.

I always hear about vanity sizing but didn't realize it only happened to lower prixed items.

So yeah - I really liked this book and am grateful it finally got me to organize my closet.

Instead of donating this book I'd like to mail it to someone interested in reading it so let's have a contest! Its been years since I held one!

To enter - leave a comment and make sure I can contact you if you win. If your name links to your blog that's fine. However if your e-mail address is a big secret make sure you leave it in the comments. I will run the contest until next Sunday and mail it Monday.

Good luck!