Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rules for Garage Sales

Have you heard of The World's Largest Yardsale?  It's 600 miles of pure yard sale bliss stretching from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama

This year my sister, cousin and I had the opportunity to go; and I learned several lessons about how to make the most of our yard sale experience. 

At first glance, I'm sure this seems like nothing to do with crafting; but I love searching garage and yard sales for items to alter and upcycle.  My greatest crafting find this year is a humongous bolt of twill-like ribbon that has hundreds of yards of ribbon!

So without further ado:

Rules for Garage Sales

  1. The bigger the vehicle the better - especially when attempting to travel away from home where you don't have the option to unload daily...or hourly.
  2. Be selective about your garage sale friends - never garage sale with someone the same size as you, with children the same ages as yours or with similar interests.  If this is not possible, see #3.
  3. If you have to take turns driving, always volunteer to drive the long stretches.  Doing so will mean someone else has to drive when you hit a patch of sales which makes #4 possible.
  4. When you spot an especially good sale, be ready to bolt.  The driver is always the last one out of the vehicle due to having to put it in park, unbuckle, remove the keys, etc...  Being the first one out of the vehicle means being the first one to the bargins!  Also, see #2.
  5. While it's good to check seams and zippers, exercise extreme caution when blindly sticking your hand in pockets...especially diaper bag pockets.  Don't ask - you don't want to know.
  6. Travel with hand sanitizer - see #5.
  7. If you see something you think you might have any interest in at all, grab it.  You can always put it back later.
  8. If you waited too long to grab something and decide you now want it but someone else is looking at it, plant yourself uncomfortably close to that person and just keep looking at the item.  Chances are they'll put it down and move away quickly.  (Please note, this doesn't work as well when that person is one of the people you're garage sale-ing with.)
  9. While it's important to stay hydrated, drink as little as possible.  Frequent bathroom breaks mean less time hitting the sales.
  10. Remember sunscreen!  If you forget, you'll most likely have an unpleasant reminder later...and then you'll wish for the next several days you had remembered in the first place.
  11. If you're looking at DVDs or CDs, always check the case!  Even though you're getting a deal, it's not such a good deal if you discover later that the item you thought you bought is missing from the case.
  12. Dress for comfort - garage sale days are not the time to show off your fashion sense.
  13. Ignoring #12 makes it more difficult to dicker.  I don't know just does.
  14. It's ok to drive by a sale without stopping - especially if you're far from home.  Yes, it annoys the people running the sale (especially when they really do have good items for sale), but you need to be selective to get the most out of your garage sale time.
  15. If you're hitting the sales with a person who repeatedly asks to stop at sales that turn out to be duds, it's perfectly fine to start ignoring that person's requests.  She That person won't know what she's they are missing if you just keep on driving.
  16. You need to develop a thick skin when going to garage sales with friends.  Especially if you are the dud-picker :)
  17. If you're not sure you want/need an item, offer less.  Better yet, ask if the seller will take less for the item.  Chances are they will take less than what you were going to offer; and if they don't, you've just saved yourself valuable space in the vehicle!
  18. If you offer less for an item and your offer is rejected but you still can't decide if you should buy the item, buy it!  There's nothing worse than getting 20 miles away and realizing you wanted the item after all.  Except maybe convincing the driver to turn around, go back to the sale and watching someone else get into their vehicle with "your" item.
  19. If you get to a sale and nothing has prices, leave.  If you have to ask the price, it's probably too high.  On the other hand, if you do happen to ask the price of an item and it is reasonable, it's okay to stay.  Feel free to ask the price on absolutely everything you see that seems even remotely interesting to you.  This serves 2 purposes - you can find some really good buys, and it may just encourage the seller to mark their items for the next sale.
  20. Finally, if you're garage sale-ing with children (especially cute children) and an item you're interested in is not marked with a price, have the child ask how much it is.  With an adorable smile.  I guarantee that the child will get a better price than an adult.  Exercise caution, however, when using this technique.  The seller usually catches on after 2-3 items.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

More Cake Pops

I had more cake pops to make for a couple birthdays and a party, and I was more focused on taking pictures so you can enjoy the process with me!

Start with a 9x13 cake crumbled into a bowl (I used a 8x8 cake because I had to make cupcakes, too)

Add enough frosting to hold the "dough" together.  Start with 2-3 dollops and add more if needed.

Shape into 1-1.5 inch balls.  I used the small Pampered Chef cookie scoop. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or freeze for about 15 minutes.  You just want them to get firm.

While the cake balls are chilling in the freezer (ha ha!), melt your chocolate.  I used a small melting pot.  A double boiler would work, but the melting pot is deeper but smaller so easier to use all the chocolate I melted.

Dip just the tip of a sucker stick in the melted chocolate and push about half way through the cake ball.

Dip in chocolate making sure to completely cover all the cake (like I didn't do in the picture) and gently tap off excess chocolate.

It's helpful to have a piece of foam (use the white styrofoam...not the green floral foam I have here.).  And don't waste your money on this cake pop stand.  Normally I like their products, but this was a waste of money.  It's just cardboard and the holes don't line up well so I fought with it for all 3 pops I put in it!

It didn't happen last time, but some of the pops cracked.  Probably because I dipped them straight from the freezer.  So you can see where I redipped one above.

When the chocolate is dry, drizzle melted chocolate over the pop.  Then package when completely hardened and be prepared for oohs and aahs!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cake Pops

Since seeing Bakerella's website, I've been wanting to make cake pops.  Since then, it seems I've been hearing about cake pops everywhere.  Last weekend, I finally took the time to make them.

They're pretty easy, but they look (and taste) awfully impressive!  This batch was Red Velvet cake with vanilla frosting (I thought I had cream cheese frosting and didn't realize it until I was ready to make them).

Basically, you bake a 9x13 cake; and when it's fully cooled, you crumble it into a large bowl.  Mix in enough frosting to make a dough about the consistency of sugar cookie dough - too little and everything won't stick together; too much and everything will be really sticky!  Form into balls, refrigerate until a little more firm, insert lollipop stick and dip in chocolate.

There are definitely things I'll do differently next time, but I'm pretty happy with my first attempt!

Monday, May 30, 2011

For You favor box

I got an email from my mom with a video tutorial for a cute little box. 

I'd seen a similar box, but I don't think I've ever seen this particular one.  So I thought I'd whip one up!
This small box measures about 3x5x2, and is so easy to make but looks so impressive!  It's the perfect size to hold some small candies or a small gift.

Supplies used:

For You Flower (118726)
Fancy Flower Extra-Large Punch (118073)
1-1/4 Circle Punch (119861)
Chocolate Chip 8.5x11 cardstock (102128)
Rich Razzleberry ink (115658)
Whisper White satin ribbon (114616)
Crop-A-Dile (108362)
Dimensionals (104430)
Sticky Strip (104294)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Guy Card

I always have such a hard time making cards for guys.  My tendency is towards flowers and ribbon, but that doesn't work so well when making a "man" card.

So I was excited when I saw the Best Dad Ever set in the Summer Mini.  This set comes with several sentiments and the tie stamp.  So cute!  And so versatile.  This is just a simple card, but you can stamp the ties in all one color, stamp in a different color and just cut one out.  Put that over the first stamped image with a dimensional.  You may even be able to get away with a little Hemp Twine (which is all the fun of ribbon with a manly twist).

To make t his card, I used Chocolate Chip cardstock for the layers and stamped on Whisper White.  The "happy birthday" is stamped in Chocolate Chip, and the tie stamp was colored with Stampin' Write markers and stamped.

Supplies used:
Snail Adhesive (104332)
Cardstock - Whisper White (110730)
Cardstock - Chocolate Chip (102128)
Classic Stampin' Pad - Chocolate Chip (100908)
Stampin' Write Marker - Night of Navy (100069)
Stampin' Write Marker - Brilliant Blue (oops, this is retired - substitute with Pacific Point 120968)
Stampin' Write Marker - Garden Green (100080)
Best Dad Ever Stamp Set (wood: 120399 clear: 120681)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Playful Polka Dots Mini Album Pages (6x6)

This set of mini album (6x6) pages is made from 1/2 a Simply Scrappin' Kit.  This particular kit is the Playful Polka Dots from the Summer Mini Catalog (item 122346).

Since all the materials are included in the kit, nothing extra is needed. (Maybe just some adhesive and scissors.)  Just cut and go.

Make a 10-page Mini Album (6x6) for only $25! You only need adhesive!  This class is perfect for beginning scrapbookers or for people who need a quick gift for any occasion!

Or you can make just the pages for $15. If you would like to make more than one set of pages, each additional set is only $10 when purchased by the same person.

Receive $5 off with an additional $25 order.

This class will be Friday, June 10 - 7:00-8:30. RSVPs needed by May 31 to order class materials.

If you are interested in making the album but cannot attend the class, I can mail the page materials for $20 (or you can pick them up for $15) - please let me know by 5-31. Materials will be mailed on June 11.

Please feel free to tell anyone you think would be interested!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Teacher Gifts

Still along the lines of altered candy gifts, I had some extra mints after the Christmas season craft shows; and my sister gave me a box of baby food jars.  This is what I came up with: