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    Tuesday
    Aug022011

    "Home again, home again, jiggety jig..."

    Thank you, Katee, Ben, and Emmie for great articles and for filling in while I was away.  You are talented writers and we enjoyed your work!  Thank you, niece Annika, for looking after our home and varmints, watering the gardens, and leaving all the wonderful surprises around the place! 

    What a wonderful trip!  A very Happy Anniversary it was.  This was actually our second celebration of 30 wedded years.  You may remember that our children took us out for a lovely dinner while they were with us in May (click on the link for my original article).  So, this was like icing on the cake; and a very yummy cake it was.

    We took a road trip, south through Arkansas, stopping for two nights in Hot Springs.  A lovely Victorian Bed & Breakfast was our home, not far from Bathhouse Row.  The home was built in 1905, beautifully appointed with Victorian-era furnishings, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Our hosts were friendly and accommodating - we enjoyed two fine breakfasts in their neat dining room.  Hot Springs is full of beautiful buildings, rich history, and, of course, hot springs.  Thermal mineral springs, to be exact.  We treated ourselves to a spa day at one of the historic bathhouses, the Quapaw.  Our time there included a relaxing soak in a thermal mineral bath, and a long, luxurious massage.  Touring, on foot and by car, eating delicious food, and drinking all the free mineral water we could guzzle were highlights.  Hot Springs has fountains and water stations throughout the historic district - we even filled several glass containers to see us through the rest of our trip.  One of our last stops was the Mountain Valley store and museum for several cases of Arkansas’ premier spring water.  (I’m really not being paid for this endorsement…we just loved Hot Springs!)

    Meandering over country roads, we reached our next destination in east Texas.  Jefferson, Texas is a historic port town, and where my husband’s ancestors gained access to the interior of Texas.  They traveled the same bayou we toured, on a riverboat, coming down the Mississippi River from Illinois.  Not many of the same buildings are still standing, as fire, floods, and destruction of the wharf took their toll.  Established in the early 1800’s, Jefferson was the second largest port in Texas, after Galveston.  In its heyday, it was a thriving place, rich, with an international citizenry.  The history of the area is interesting and we really enjoyed our time there.  Staying two nights in another historic Bed & Breakfast Inn was restful and fun.  Our Jefferson hosts were hospitable, and their home was lovely.  We had a big room, downstairs, ate gourmet breakfasts, and spent a few morning hours in their sweet gazebo.

    It was hot, oh, so hot.  No rain along the way except the occasional drop or two.  The clouds were beautiful, lots of fluffy nimbus and cumulonimbus.  They just never bunched up, electrified themselves, and produced rain.  The heat didn’t stop us, though.  We walked, read historical markers, boated, shopped, and toured until we couldn’t stand it any longer.  Then, the air conditioning made us even more thankful for modern conveniences!

    I love my husband - thank you, GB, for a grand adventure!

    ** By the way, the above title is from a Mother Goose Nursery rhyme, and daddy always used this line whenever we arrived home after being gone a while.  Here is the rhyme in its entirety:

    To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
    To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
    Home again, home again, jiggety-jog.
    To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
    Home again, home again, market is done.
    Tuesday
    Jul122011

    A Way to Meet Your Community

    Just a few more recommendations for your sale and you’ll be on your way to some extra cash.  If you’ve never been involved in a sale before, or if you’ve never even stopped at a yard or garage sale, you will be surprised how much fun they can be.  Now, please don’t misunderstand, they are also (or can be) lots of work.  And part of that work comes at the beginning.  In my experience, gently used items, well displayed, and priced to sell will not come back into your home.

    I don’t mind digging through boxes at a sale, but if I have to do a lot of stooping, bending, or hunkerin’ down to dig, then I give it up after just a few minutes.  Especially if I’m in the hot summer sun.  Folks will stay at your sale for a longer period if you have most items at table level.  Furniture, large appliances, light fixtures, and etc fare well off a table and arranged nicely in the yard or down the driveway.

    Clothing is easier to look through when on hangers, but pants, jeans, and short are okay folded on a tabletop.  Do take time during the sale to restack, and/or refold, to keep your tables tidy.  Baby, toddler, and younger kids’ clothes also do well on tables (or lidded tubs, upturned boxes, or makeshift tables).

    Group your sale items together - home decor, kitchen items, electronics, tools, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes, miscellaneous, etc.  Provide information (or be prepared to answer questions) on electronics, appliances, tools, and machinery.  Have extension cords ready for those who wish to see the product working.  If something doesn’t work, and you know it, put that on the tag or information sheet.  Price it accordingly and someone may pick it up for their repair shop.

    If you don’t have the original information booklets for your appliances and electronics, make sure you know enough about it to answer your customer’s questions.  Most folks won’t buy such items if they can’t get their questions answered.

    When I stop at a sale, or go into a thrift shop, and find nothing priced, I leave almost immediately.  I don’t want to spend my time tracking someone down to ask about prices.  Give yourself enough prep time to price all items.  Put your prices on stickers (pieces of masking tape, blank stickers) or tie-on tags.  Really, anything that will stay put for the duration of the sale.  Determine your bartering (“haggling” in our family), or negotiating practices ahead of time.  Meaning, will you or won’t you go down on your prices?

    Jewelry can be priced and displayed in small boxes, baskets, or on a separate table.  Placing them in small bags and then pinning them to a board also works well.  Tape or pin linen sets together.  Put sizes on all bed linens and clothing (or be prepared to answer lots of questions).  Group sets of dishes, or glassware, and price as a set.  Keep small items contained in display boxes (shoeboxes are great).  Don’t be afraid to ask your shopper’s children NOT to play with the toys or games for sale.

    A few other considerations:

    • Will you provide bags for your customers?  Start saving your store sacks now.  Small boxes also work well for your customer’s use.
    • Construct a separate space for collecting payment.  A card table set up under a tree or on the porch.  Take your time when adding up merchandise and making change.  Don’t let the long line of paying customers frustrate you into making mistakes.
    • Have a couple of helpers.  Your older children are the perfect choice for sale helpers.  Extended family and friends are usually willing to sit with you and it makes the day even more fun.
    • Ahead of time, gather chairs, yard blankets, snacks, and drinks for you and your workers.
    • The spring and fall months are excellent times for sales.
    • Be helpful, considerate, and friendly.

    As I mentioned in a previous article, we love to visit with those who frequent our yard sales.  We meet new neighbors or have a friendly chat with those we know.  Engaging the shoppers in conversation may provide interesting information, business contacts, or opportunities for service.  The extra income is nice and de-cluttering is great, but there is also much more to experience with a good sale.  Involve the whole family, take the time to prepare, and have a grand experience!

    Companion Articles:

    Yard Sale Post 1

    Kids and Sales

    Friday
    Jun172011

    Gettin' Ready

    Wowser, I am home and lovin’ it!  My family (and maybe all Oklahomans) uses the word piddling, or rather, piddlin’.  Meaning to do this thing, and then that thing, working on whatever comes to hand.  So, I’ve just been piddlin’ since coming home from Texas.  Unpacking, house cleaning, yard work, gardening, planting more flowers, buying groceries, catching up with family, spending time with my man.

    The rest of our extended family is having a yard sale today and tomorrow.  We have one, sometimes two, every year.  A four-family sale is quite the thing to see - spread down a driveway and over the entire front yard.  This one is at my sister’s house.  I opted out, just needing time to piddle around home.  I will probably have one at my house this fall, and those that have leftover things to sell can go another round.  They are all on my mind this morning.  My parents, sister, sister-in-law, a nephew, a niece (maybe two if she’s not working), and my brother will be in and out (work always interferes with fun).

    Preparing for the sale can be more work than the sale days.  We usually don’t have much leftover, so clean up is not too bad.  Well, I guess it is when you are hot and tired.  Sale items to box up, give away, or throw away, tables to take down and return, signs to pick up, money to count and disperse, kitchen to clean (eating goes on all day).  Sometimes we say, “Let’s not go to so much trouble next time.”, or “These sales are more trouble than they’re worth.”  But, with the next change of season, here we go, dragging out, moving around, unpacking, and arranging things ‘just so’.

    We love it.  We really do.  We talk, laugh, and meet new people.  We eat, play, and fan ourselves.  There is bargaining, organizing, and giving away.  There is some good money to be made with these sales, especially if you are selling furniture or appliances.  And we usually are.

    My sister’s family is really paring down and the proceeds from their portion of the sale will go to my niece.  She travels to Brazil in the fall for a year of mission work.  So, if it’s not nailed down or secreted away, it’s getting sold.  Mother’s family has been having garage, or yard, sales for as long as I can remember.  Grandma and my aunt would all take part, and the tradition was born.  I think that everyone should experience at least one sale in their lifetime.  If you live in a large metropolis, it may not be easy, but you should check into it.  Make a little money, share what you no longer need, and meet your neighbors!

    The next couple of articles will help you get ready for your sale.  Gathering, pricing, displaying, organizing.  Come on, it’ll be fun!

    Sunday
    Mar272011

    "There and Back Again"

    Tolkien fans forgive me, but this is a great title.  I love the story, the characters, and the memories of reading his books aloud to our boys.  These words have been bouncing around my head now that I’m home from my week away.  We had a grand time, but it is wonderful to be back in my own nest and see GB!

    I have gone back through previous posts and added some pictures - especially of the lovely wildflowers and weeds in our springtime backyard.  Learning to navigate this web platform has brought opportunities for increased patience.  Lucky me.  Bear with the reformatting, additions, and changes.  Think of them as an opportunity for you to become experts at website navigation… (now how do I add a smiley face?)

    You may have noticed words throughout the texts that are a different color - mauveish, I hope.  These are clickable links for web pages that will open in new browser tabs.  Use them to gain information, for explanation, and just for fun.  One of my philosophies of life is to look up words I don’t know and gain information that helps me understand something new.  I hope the articles, as well as the embedded links, will be helpful and encouraging.

    There is a new page, or journal, on the site:  The Healthy Home.  One of my favorite subjects.  A love of natural, or holistic, medicine and healing began in my teens; and the research is always enjoyable.  GB has been very supportive and has a great interest as well.  The boys, well, they downed homemade tinctures and medicinal teas like men.  They had no choice of course (another smiley face or some such would go here); and even as they grew older they accommodated my “witch doctor” ways.  Now that they are men they remember the mantra well, “Fresh air, vitamin C, sunshine, plenty of water, and good bread.”  The household cure-all.

    Enjoy the article and enjoy your week!