Aug 22, 2014

Meet Our Members - Carla from Nuggest of Goodness

I began collecting vintage jewelry and handbags when I was in high school. Time went by and there so many pieces that I didn't wear, I decided to rework them into something new! As a jewelry maker it was a natural transition to combine the two passions, and Nuggets of Goodness was born!

My favorite era? I adore Art Deco, but my true love is Mid-century Modern! *swoon*
My current favorite Vintage find is a stash of 1950s French fashion magazines. The ads are AMAZING!

Where do you like to hunt for your treasures?

 Thrift stores, antique malls, flea markets...every once in a while I run across a surprise at a garage sale. I'm not patient enough for auctions, although I've gotten some really great pieces that way!
What advice would you give anyone starting out?

 Educate yourself. I worked for an appraiser for many years and he encouraged me to go to antique stores every chance I had just to look at everything and learn. Notice the decorative details, study in person how pieces are made. If you keep at it, eventually you will begin to recognize styles and spot reproductions.

And it's really fun :)

Aug 16, 2014

Plastic Kitsch to Plastic Chic

One of my favorite projects for either my home or my shop is to take an out-dated piece of vintage decor and turn it into to something new and fun! The possibilities are nearly endless, but for this blog we are going to focus on painting plastics. It is relatively easy to find Homco and Burwood products at most thrift stores and flea markets here in Houston. For this blog, I have picked a large Burwood wall hanging sconce. This shape is a lot of fun, but the gold tone is not my favorite.

 Your first step is to clean up your item. A little bit of soapy water and you are good to go. Give it a couple of hours to thoroughly dry. This piece is pretty large, so I hosed it off outside. Next, you want to gather your supplies. 

1. Gloves 
2. Respirator Mask (a dust mask does not protect from vapors)
3. Paper towels or a shop cloth
5. Plastic Primer
6. Your color choice (I still use paints made to adhere to plastic but it is not required when using a plastic primer)
6. A clear coat/sealant
7. A paint brush 

It is really important that you are in a well ventilated area when using these products, especially if you do not have a respirator mask. The turpentine can poison you if you breath in the fumes. 

After you have cleaned up your piece, you want to wipe it down with turpentine. You will need your gloves and your paper towels/shop cloth. Once you have wiped your treasure down, leave it sit for about an hour before you move onto the base coat/primer. Once you have waited the hour, before you apply your base coat, take your paint brush and give your piece a good brushing. This will remove any lose debris and dust. 

The key to using spray paint is light, even strokes. Shake the can vigorously until the ball moves around in the can freely. When putting on your base coat, remember that you do not need to saturate the color. Spray a light coat, keeping the can about 10 to 12 inches away from your project, moving continuously. If you spray to close, or for to long in one spot, you will end up with runs (drips in the paint). Don't forget to paint the back! Here is how it looked when I completed the base coat. 

Drying time varies depending on the climate in your area. Temperature and humidity levels will greatly impact your time frame. For Houston, where it is crazy hot and crazy humid, I triple the drying time that is stated on the can. There is dry enough to add another coat (about an hour in Houston time) and dry enough to handle (about 2 hours Houston drying time). With this plastic primer, one coat is good. If you are doing a drastic color change, you may want to consider a second coat. 

Here is the 2nd coat of color:

Adding color is a little different, I generally apply 3 coats. This helps to avoid runs. Again, the trick is light, even strokes. Keep the can 10 to 12 inches away from the project piece and move continuously, careful not to spray in one spot for to long. I only used two coats of color on the back of the piece. 

The final step is your clear coat. This requires 2 coats. The same method should be used as with your primer and color coats.  I am crazy for a matte finish right now, so that is my choice. You can get clear, gloss or even high gloss, it is up to you. 

Your project is done! 

Aug 1, 2014

Meet Our Members - Second Hand News

My love for vintage started at a very early age. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother who had quite the collection of antiques and was constantly on the look out for unique pieces to add to her collection. She so patiently taught me by example and instilled in me a passion and respect for the finer things of our past. Years later, I was introduced to Etsy through a friend and found the perfect way to share my passion with others globally.

My favorite era is the 1950s-1960s. The vibrant colors, styles, culture and the overall way of life during this particular time period are so fascinating to me.
It's difficult for me to choose just one favorite vintage find but I'd have to say that coming across a set of pink chenille twin bedspreads (in perfect condition) and purchasing them for $1.00 a piece was my all time score of the century.

The hunt for vintage treasures gives me the biggest rush. The adrenaline really gets flowing when I hit a 50% off sale at the local Thrift Store, attend a flea market or even a neighborhood yard sale. I've also been blessed with the friendship of a man who is an antique dealer and often supplies me with wonderful vintage inventory to add to my shop. My attic is packed full of items that I need to list!
Research is the key to successfully selling vintage items. I spend a lot of time on the internet conducting research in order to price my items competitively and according to the market. I also spend a considerable amount of time photographing my items as presentation is everything and a good picture speaks volumes. What I find most difficult is focusing my product line. My advice is to find that niche, that one particular area that you are passionate about and offer items that reflect your personality.

Jul 24, 2014

Business or Hobby? by BeadtopiaVintage

So -- you are selling on Etsy, or “thinking” of selling there.  Will you be dipping your toe into the water, or plunging in full force?  I knew when I joined Etsy, I wanted to have a business, and having had experience on another website for over five years, I knew the business could happen.  However, I was skeptical to start on another venue and knew what it takes to have a real business -- so I started out by putting just ONE item on Etsy.   It took about 3-½ MONTHS, but someone found it, and it sold!  These Isadora Duncan etched glass drops were the first item I sold.  I figured if they could find my “needle in the haystack”, if I really poured on the items for sale I could soar.

A hobby, by definition means “an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure”.  If this is your goal, then you may not be interested in learning the ins and outs of having a business.  There will be no reason to fuss, worry or calculate how you prepare your listings and how many sales you will make.  And that is just fine.

A business, by definition means “the practice of making one's living by engaging in commerce”.  If you do decide to “kick it up” to a business here are some tips that have helped me…. and have made my shop one of Etsy’s top ten vintage supply sellers.

Ten Etsy Business Tips  (in no particular order)
1.  Clear, sharp pictures.  If your picture does not look good to you, it does not look good to anyone else either.  You are selling on-line.   Make sure your picture looks like the potential customer is seeing it “in person”.
2.  Make your listing title unambiguous.  In the world of SEO, “blue glass antique necklace” will be found by a potential customer much quicker than “Emily’s blue dream fantasy necklace”.
3.  Use those tags!  Make sure you use a tag for every aspect of the item you are selling.  A vintage iron pan can translate in “tag language” to:  vintage cooking, vintage pan, iron pan, antique cookware, vintage cookware, antique fry pan, frying pan, iron fry pan, antique pan, iron cookware…..etc.   Use as many words that relate to your item that can be found easily in a random search.
4.  Answer convos quickly.  And friendly.  What may seem like an innocuous question can turn into a sale -- and even a big sale.
5.  Mail your items quickly when sold.  Speaks for itself.
6.  Put new items on as often as possible.  You will establish a customer base, and believe me after a while they will jump like a shark on your newest listing.
7.  Network.   Use social media…. tell your friends.   Use everything available -- most of it is free.
8.  Keep your shop fresh.  Rearrange the items.  Move stuff out that has had no views or that has sat there for three months with hardly a view.  Keep it moving.
9.  Customer service is #1.   Without my repeat customers I would not have the business I have today.
10.  Don’t give up!  It take time to establish a business, and you have to be self motivated.  
Yes, I work at least 40 hours a week.   This is my job and I love it.  Whether you choose to have a business or hobby, Etsy is a real platform for opportunity.

Written by Beadtopiavintage