Palette Wall and Plank Sign

Stained wood planks make the perfect signs

Valentine’s Day has given me motivation to share my “Love Me” painted wood sign, which means I also need to share photos of the palette wall in our bedroom since we made the sign from it’s leftovers.

Make a plank wall using cedar fence boards

After watching pin after pin of palette walls last year, I had to have my own wood plank wall. Since I was prego, there were some definite precautions I needed to take. After reading this post from Funky Junk Interiors about the hazards of reusing palettes for home projects, I decided to play it safe and headed to Menards to buy untreated cedar fence posts. I got them on sale for a total of $75, but if you wait until summer you can also get cheap ones from their discard pile, and the imperfections make perfect imperfections. Yup. I bought cedar for two reasons: 1. it’s untreated, meaning no chemicals where I sleep 2. it’s untreated, meaning it will take stain instantly. A light sanding and a few days in the garage to acclimate and I was ready to go.

Make your own stain from vinegars, coffee, tea, and steel wool!

Next came the stain. Again, since I was pregnant, I was eager to try my own home concoctions of coffee, tea and vinegar stains. I mixed a variety of jars trying out different vinegars with bits of shredded steel wool adding some coffee grinds to one. 24 hours later and I was set to go. One jar was just super strong brewed black tea. I literally rubbed the tea bags on the bare wood. The key is to try all sorts of different things so you get a good mix of light and dark boards in the end. Some boards I went over two or three extra times. I also wish I did the sides of the boards since every once in a while an edge showed on the finished wall. I really loved how they turned out!

DIY vinegar stains on wood

We painted the whole room a muddy grey, including the palette wall. Then we literally took a nail gun and went at it. We started at the top and alternated sides. To make sure it had a lot of variety, we cut a few boards down to odd sizes to through in the mix. We also alternated boards of different widths. Everything went quick and smoothly, and to make it easy to make cuts we just passed the boards through the window.

The only challenges were cutting around the outlet and the small area to the left of the window. The window just kind of worked itself out–we had to cut two pieces down on a fancier saw (thanks, Dad!) but it wasn’t a deal-breaker. Most other people just kinda cut around the outlet cover and place the wood on top, but I wanted a more tailored look so we pulled the outlet socket out, screwed it to the wood plank, then placed the plastic cover back on. Much better looking!

I love my new palette wall in our master bedroom

Overall, a major thanks to my Dad and Hubby for doing this project for me. I majorly HEART my palette wall! I had a few boards leftover, so that’s where this wonderful beauty came in. We made an accent sign by nailing together some of the boards and freewriting “Love Me” in matching paint. Next up is new furniture and bedding, along with crown molding!

Use leftover boards to make signs!

Jenny

 

 

Best Practices to Having a Garage Sale

My friends often refer to me as the garage sale queen, though if I’m being honest the title belongs to my momma who’s taught me all I know. In lieu of my neighborhood’s annual garage sales, here’s my tips, secrets, and best practices for organizing a garage sale:
How to organize and plan a garage sale or yard sale

 

How to arrange and display your garage sale items

  • Start early! If you have a garage, set up on card tables the week before. I like to spread items out in my living room, put in piles according to prices, then write and stick tags on each item and carry it directly out to the garage! It makes for an easy process.
  • Wipe down your tables first and throw some sheets or tableclothes on top.
  • Always place your jewelry near the checkout table–it’s one of the most common items stolen at sales because it’s valuable yet small and easy to pocket.
  • Group things together in small displays. For example, put all your kitchen goods in one area, all your home decor in another area, etc.
  • Put any larger, eye-catching items towards the end of the driveway. Refrain from putting nothing but clothes closest to the street–these don’t contain much curb appeal. Place any “man items” like tools and sporting goods near the street as well–some men won’t venture all the way into a garage and may miss it if it’s hidden.
  • Display books, CDs, and DVDs so that it’s easy to read the spines. I like to put my books in totes that are raised up so that shoppers don’t have to bend over. Just take two empty totes, put a board across them, then put totes of books in single layers on top. Shoes can go on the ground underneath, or perhaps baskets of pillows.
  • Make aisles easy enough to walk through (and wide enough for strollers/wheelchairs).
  • If it has a hole in it, pitch it. If it’s pit-stained, pitch it. If it’s broke, pitch it. Would you want to buy damaged goods? If it’s a small appliance that’s broken, write so on the tag–you’d be amazed by how many people will still buy it for a buck, as long as you’re upfront about it’s operational status.
  • Christmas items and sweaters don’t sell too well at garage sales–who wants to buy a sweater when they’re sweating on a summer morning? Don’t expect too many sales on these items.
  • Be careful when displaying items on the floor–you don’t want them to be tripped over, but you also don’t want them too hidden under a table.
  • If selling any boxed items, open the box so the shoppers can see the actual item.
  • Clean all your items. Leave time to wipe them down–many people won’t buy an item just because it’s filthy.
  • Keep any candles/wax for sale out of the sun!
  • Run out of tables? Try a tarp in the yard for rugs, pillows, linens, or purses.

 

Pricing items for your garage sale

  • Price everything–yes, this can be annoying but many shoppers will pass on an item they want just because they don’t want to have to ask.
  • If you’re not comfortable coming down on an item, just politely say so. Don’t say yes to a lower price just to regret it the moment the customer leaves. When it’s early in the day,  you can simply say, “It’s too early in the day for me to come down on that price yet.”
  • Price things reasonably (and price ‘em to sell–you don’t want stuck with hauling all this stuff back in or to end up donating it for free after the sale!). It’s often difficult to put lower prices on collectible items or newer items, but remember–shoppers expect garage sale prices, not Craigslist or eBay prices. In my area, here are some common prices:
    • Baby/kids clothes: $1/piece, cheaper if they’re well worn. $1.50-$2 for specialty pieces or two-piece sets.
    • Adult clothes: $1. $2 if it’s something trendy. Pants, skirts, dresses, and jeans can go for $3-$5 if they’re nice brands and in perfect condition. Plus sizes can go for $2 a piece.
    • Standard furniture (bookshelves, plant stands, end tables, etc.): $10. $15 for larger pieces. Only go higher if it’s something super trendy.
    • Books: 50¢ to $1 (people just aren’t going to pay much more than that!)
    • Magazines: Tie a year’s subscription of the same title in a bunch and sell for $1-$2.
    • DVDs/CDs: $1-$3. Much more and you won’t sell as many.
    • Shoes: $1-$5
    • Small photo frames: 50¢-$1.50
    • Kitchen dishes and gadgets: 25¢ to $2

 

How to keep tally of sales at a yard sale

  • When you’re keeping track of sales, first decide if you’ll be tracking money for more than one person. If so, write each person’s initials on the price tags so you always know who it belongs to.
  • When adding up a sale, pull the stickers off every item. If you have a vinyl card table, you can even lightly stick the tags in a tidy column on the table while finding the total. We even keep some blank tags close by just in case we can’t pull a tag off something.
  • Once the person has paid, THEN move the tags to individual pages. Keep a clipboard of looseleaf paper and dedicate a whole page to each person. Just start columns of tags on each person’s page, leaving room at the bottom to write the totals.
  • Once a page is filled up, tuck the sheet somewhere safe and start a new page for that person. This will make tallying sales at the end of the day a breeze–you simply add up everyone’s pages to find the total sales, and then you can easily divide the money accordingly.

 

Guide to advertsing your yard sale

  • Place a newspaper ad for every day of your sale. I personally don’t go to second-day sales because I assume they’re picked-over, so a smart way around it would be to change the ad copy each day.
  • Use the newspaper ad space to highlight your most unique items. Everyone expects clothing, toys, or household items at a yard sale–this is just assumed. Surprise readers with unexpected items, such as a wine cooler, giant trampoline, etc.
  • Always list your house number in the ad.
  • Put a starting time in your ad, but avoid a closing time–that way if you want to shut down at noon after a tiring morning, people won’t be knocking on your door at a later time (it happens, folks!).
  • Want an edge on the competition? Consider open an hour earlier than the norm in your area, such as at 7am instead of 8am.
  • Signs are just as important as the newspaper ad! It drives me nuts how horrible people do with signs. They are a must for drawing attention and directing traffic.
  • Make your signs neon colors and large enough to read in a 1.5 second drive-by.
  • Use simple block writing, refraining from cutesy type.
  • Don’t try to write a clever slogan on your sign, just print the necessary information–yard sale today, time, and street address.
  • Put signs at any intersection that requires turning with an arrow point the way.
    Place signs at major intersections near your neighborhood. If you live in a remote area, write how many miles it is to the sale to set a customer’s expectation. And always place a sign far enough back to give warning for turns on faster highways–we’ve had a van plow through our garage sale once along the highway because the person in front slammed on their breaks to turn (no one was hurt).
  • If you have extra hands, wait and put your signs up once you’re ready to open. It drives me nuts to chase a sign just to figure out that they’re not opening for another hour.
  • For goodness sakes, take your signs down when you’re ready to close your sale! Don’t ever leave signs for someone else to take down.
  • Don’t forget Craigslist and Facebook! Many towns now have community garage sale pages on Facebook. You could even create an event and invite your friends to your sale that way!

 

Tips and best practices for setting up a yard sale

  • Always expect early birds. In fact, make it your goal to be ready to open a half hour earlier than advertised. But, one way to curb early birds is to place a sign on the garage door saying, “Early birds pay twice as much.”
  • For high-demand items, spend some time printing some paper signs to make the items stand out and attach it. You can even include a trendy photo from a catalog or Pinterest to give shoppers ideas.
  • Hang sheets from the ceilings/walls in your garage over any items not included in the garage sale. Not only does it reduce confusion, it also provides a nice stopping point for the eyes and serves as a backdrop to your sale.
  • Be prepared to demo any electrical items–let customers plug them in to see for themselves.
  • Burn a pleasant-smelling candle in your garage. Maybe even play some music! Ambience is everything, even at a garage sale!
  • If you’re a smoker, the least you can do is not smoke in the garage or around the items–I personally will turn around and leave a sale if I see the homeowner smoking.
  • Watch for people who might switch sticker prices on you. Yes, it does happen. Handle such situations tactfully.
  • If someone wants to you to set aside some items to come back for later, be sure that they prepay–otherwise, you may get stuck with unsold items at the end of the day! Be sure to set it out of sight and write “sold” on it.
  • You might have some folks ask to use your bathroom or try some clothes on. It’s best to try to avoid these situations but if you feel like you can’t refuse, be sure to send someone in the house with the guest and to escort them back outside.
  • Plan an easy breakfast and lunch to have on hand for yourself!

 

How to streamline the checkout at your yard sale

  • Set up your cash table somewhere central–if you’re tables extend from your garage into your driveway, a good spot for the cash table would be at the garage entrance (instead of the back corner of your garage).
  • Not sure how much change to get from the bank? Expect to break a lot of $20s first thing. We always start with the following:
    • 4–$10 dollar bills
    • 6–$5 dollar bills
    • 50–$1 dollar bills
    • 1-roll each of nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • If your tech-savvy, you can always use the Square credit card swipe app for iPhone if a customer’s willing to pay a small usage fee!
  • Make sure the cash table has extra open space for people to lay their piles. This way you can fold and count with plenty of space to spare.
  • When someone hands you a large bill to pay, leave it out until the transaction is finished. That way you there’s no discretion over how much was initially handed to you.
  • It’s best to avoid accepting checks. If it’s a large-ticket item and you trust the person, you could always make an exception, but you don’t want stuck with bogus checks.
  • Be careful not to place a tall display between you and your tables–you want to easily keep an eye on shoppers from your seat at the checkout table.
  • Have bags–it’s a perfect use of a year’s worth of plastic grocery sacks. Newspapers are handy too to wrap breakables.
  • Make sure you have someone helping you–never leave the cash box unattended. Even if someone’s just stopping by to provide you with a lunch break, it’s better than nothing.

 

Tips and best practices for have a garage sale

Jenny

Little Man Onesies

Little man onesies with tie, suspenders, and vestI have a 24 month old nephew that is cute as a button–quite the little man! So I thought he needed some little man onesies.

The most class one is the tie. The trick is to pick a gaudy fabric, just like an old man’s tie and to keep it fairly short in length. I used fusible interfacing, left the edges raw, and just sewed around the edges.

The suspenders is just black grossgrain ribbon. I recommend do the back too for the full effect. This one was the toughest because it puckered the most, especially over the shoulders.

Little man onesies with tie, vest, and suspenders

My favorite is the vest. I intended on doing the back too but ran out of patience! After studying lots of shapes, I liked this one the best. For this I used some stretchy denim, pressing in the edges before sewing it on. Buttons are a must!

These are so easy to make and super cute on the little man.

Jenny

Finished Pinterest Projects

I. Love. Pinterest. It’s the best time-waster since Facebook was invented. It is a suger-overload of eye candy. And I can only take so much of it before that inspiration needs an outlet. So I’ve been actually trying to complete some of my “pinned” projects. The following are only the ones I managed to document with photos.

Hair tutorial
Pinterest:

Hair tutorial on Pinterest

Mine:

By following a hair tutorial on Pinterest, I was able to pin my hair up

Pumpkin address
Pinterest:

Stacked pumpkins on Pinterest

Mine:

Stacked pumpkins feature our house numbers

Indian corn centerpiece
Pinterest:

Indian corn on Pinterest

Mine:

Indian corn gets wrapped around a vase using twine

Pumpkin mac and cheese; sweet potato fries

Pinterest:

Faux mac and cheese on PinterestSweet potato fries on Pinterest

Mine:

A yummy gluten-free dairy-free dinner I made using Pinterest recipes

Cookie bean dip
Pinterest:

Cookie dip made from beans on Pinterest

Mine:

Dairy-free, gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dip made from beans!

Kids crafts
Pinterest:

Kids craft on Pinterest

Mine:

Easiest kids craft ever found on Pinterest

Racecar roll
Pinterest:

Boy gift on Pinterest

Mine:

I sewed this play cars roll with camo fabric as a boy's gift

Ruffle cake
Pinterest:

Icing tutorial on Pinterest

Mine:

A cake with ruffle icing is topped with a flag buntingRuffled icing gets topped with paper flag bunting

Buntings
Pinterest:

Bunting window on Pinterest

Mine:

Fabric flag bunting is draped across an open frame

More projects to come!

Jenny

Flag Bunting Thanksgiving Mantel plus No-Sew Tutorial

Fall fireplace mantel display with old window and flag buntingsFall decorating comes easy to me because my favorite colors are found in this season. I wanted to add a twist to my normal fall palette, so I made some fabric buntings that blended a sky blue color with traditional fall colors. These flag buntings are no-sew and super easy, but so much more time consuming then you’d imagine!

Autumn Thanksgiving fireplace mantel displayHow to make no-sew flag buntings:

1. Cut out a diamond-shaped template from a piece of paper. I recommend either large and skinny or really tiny to make them more cutesy.

2. Using a cutting mat and rolling fabric cutter, lay your template on top of your fabric and cut (for straight lines, use a metal ruler). I layered two pieces of fabric to speed up the process.

3. Cut out triangles from double-sided fusible web. Make them shorter than the height of your folded pennant if you want to be able to slide them along the garland.

4. Iron after peeling off the paper from the fusible web triangles and sandwiching between a folded pennant. Be sure to leave room at the top to slide in a strand of twine. Proceed with all your pennants.

5. Thread all the ironed-shut pennants onto a piece of twine, spacing to your liking.

Thanksgiving flag pennants garlandI really like how the mantel turned out. I used some fragrant dried flowers I bought at an arts fair and kept things simple. I created the Indian corn centerpiece using this tutorial from Eddie Ross. And the wood sign I painted a couple years back. Now I’m ready for some warm fires!Fall decor Indian corn centerpiece with a candleOrange and green fireplace display for fall

Jenny

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