Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life in the Eclectic Lane

There is nothing like variety, at least for me. I think I thrive on it.While family, storytelling, writing and gardening should have been enough to keep me busy in retirement, I seem to have added a part-time job: re-selling. But the rest of my life also continues and is just as interesting to me as it ever was. This weekend is a good example of how eclectic our days can be.

Friday was a "work day" for me--listing items on eBay, packing and mailing and adding to and rearranging my booth at the antique mall. While working on the booth, another vendor stopped by. She was complimentary about how it looked--and ended up buying the little green wicker shelf and the wicker chair, along with a few other items. That meant I needed to add another shelf for display and I also needed a place to stack linens for sale since I had them on the green chair. I noticed several other things had sold too, so I left feeling pretty happy about how things were going. We met two other vendors at the mall, and checked out the new booth that came in last week. This is a small mall with about 20-24 vendors; I'm not sure exactly because several of them have more than one space. The ones we spoke with seemed pleased with their sales and one lady was moving to a larger space. Even more encouraging.

Larry has been busy with his own list of work. He took a load of scrap metal to the scrapyard and sold it. It is amazing how much metal we can collect without really trying--my old washer of course was in the load, and Larry has been collecting the odd bits of copper wire and saving those to sell along with all sorts of other oddments. A load in our truck may bring between $50 and $100 depending on what's in it; not a lot of money but I like that this stuff that otherwise might go to the dump is now being re-used.

He has also been working on his cabin and has two more courses of logs to go before the roof goes on. He's been hunting for windows--then realized we had two from the cabin we took down in 2010 that would work just fine. He still needs to find doors; those may have to come from ReStore if we don't stumble on some freebies. On his way home from selling his scrap he stopped to talk to a man who had just replaced his porch. The old porch roof was out in the yard and the guy said Larry could have it for the hauling off! There's the porch for his cabin. The wood and tin are in great shape, not more than 10 years old. More recycling

While he was off taking care of those things, I had another project to try. Boy did I make a mess! But it turned out well in the end. I'm still not finished. Here's what I was up to: last summer at a yard sale I bought a grocery bag full of those complimentary soaps you get at motels. The whole bag was 50 cents--I guess the lady traveled a lot and took the unused soaps from each motel stay. Now those small soaps are a pain to use and generally a lot goes to waste because they get so small so fast they end up getting tossed. I decided to try making all those little bars into standard size bars. First I tried melting them in the microwave. NOT a good idea. They didn't really melt and they smelled so strong from the perfumes in them that I had to abandon that idea pretty quickly.

The next try was melting them in a pot on the stove. I put a bunch of them in the pot and added a little water, turned the burner on high and stirred just in case they might stick. I'd never cooked soap before! Well, they did soften but I had to add a lot more water. I kept cooking and stirring for about 20 minutes; then I decided to take some of the liquid out, cool it, and put it into an empty liquid soap container I had--just to see if it would work, you know.

It did! The soap came out foamy and just fine for use. I continued cooking the other soap until the liquid was really thick and most of the soap chunks had melted. Not all of them had, surprisingly--soap is made from fats or oils so it would seem to me that it would melt easily but that was not the case for some of it. I ladled it out into a plastic-wrap lined square pan and let it cool. I wasn't optimistic at this point, I can tell you--some of it was hardening but some was sort of gooey and stringy. But after 2 hours it all hardened and I cut it into bars.

So from batch #1 I have nine big bars of soap and a bottle of hand soap. That "liquid" soap also set up and I thought I had a mess on my hands with hard soap in a squirt bottle, but it's more like gel and it still works fine.

We had a lot on our to-do list for Saturday. I needed to go to Sistersville to check out the theater and other arrangements for next weekend's storyteller retreat and I needed to take more things to my booth and replace the chair and the wicker shelf so they could go to their new owner. I also needed tires BAD--I was pretty much riding on air held in by thin, thin rubber. I have never been good about tires; I keep them until they are so worn out even strangers point out the fact to me. Last week I realized I'd pushed my luck as far as it would go, so we went in early Saturday morning to get them replaced. After leaving a painfully large amount of money behind we were riding in style again.

Next stop was the flea market that's been running a half-price sale all week. I've bought a lot from them but there was a cabinet I really wanted. They weren't open. Bummer. We waited a bit to see if they would open but no luck. So we left for Sistersville, and there I found a sweet little resale shop with all sorts of great stuff. Best find was a stack of 5 Tepco Banana Leaf platters. I remembered that this pattern was highly collectible so I bought them, a gorgeous modernistic blue glass bowl, an old jewelry box and several other really neat things. We went over to the Gold Derrick Gallery to meet with owner Terry Wiley, checked out the theater and made arrangements for the storytelling concert, then headed over to the Wells Inn for a delicious lunch. I checked with Kim Winslow while there to be sure we had the spaces needed for our retreat.

Then it was time to return to Ripley then to see if the flea market was open. It was--but the cabinet I wanted was gone. Bummer again. However, I did find a shelf that would work so we drove back to Ravenswood to rearrange my booth yet again. I noted more items missing which meant more sales. Happy dance! I got everything re-done and we added still more items. The booth is getting pretty full but I still see areas that could hold more so I'll go back this week and add to it.

By the time we got home, we were both tired, and tired of being cold! It was a bitter day yesterday and we were in and out all day so we were chilled to the bone. A nice fire and some peppermint tea fixed us up nicely. Some early daffodils were about to open so I picked them and brought them inside to bloom, afraid the night's cold would freeze their stems. Now the house smells heavenly and the daffodils are a delight for our winter-gray eyes.

Today we both had projects to do: Larry worked on taking apart the porch roof he'd been given and I worked on sorting some of the things we've bought recently. Two of the Tepco platters sold quickly on eBay and I also needed to pack the 8 amethyst plates that sold, as well as the Dansk placemats. I made a good Sunday dinner of ham, cauliflowoer and broccoli in cheese sauce, and baked potatoes. Then we took a road trip.

This time we drove to Spencer, a small town about 24 miles from home, to check on an antique mall there. I am thinking about opening another booth and this is the closest to home except for the mall where my first booth is. The drive was beautiful--the sun shining brightly and signs of spring everywhere. The mall is beautiful too, full of great booths and so much to look at. I talked to the lady who worked there and was surprised to hear that the city of Spencer actually owns and runs the mall. That's an unusual setup but it has worked well for them and the mall made it through the recession in good shape. Their arrangements for vendors seemed good so I agreed to start a booth there in April. That gives me time to find shelves and prepare my stock without feeling rushed.

We took the long way home because we needed to stop by my son's house on the way home to pick up his female dog. Larry will take her to the vet tomorrow to be spayed. She's spending the night with us tonight; Tillie is such a sweet girl she's no trouble to have at all.Larry built a fire and we all enjoyed relaxing in front of it at the end of this long busy day.

That was our weekend: junking, selling, organizing, recycling, road trips, experimenting, and cooking. I hope your weekend was just as interesting as ours was!


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

I am not sure you could be busier than you are and still have time to sleep occasionally.

Your booth is hopping. Congratulations on a really good startup.

Granny Sue said...

Thanks, Joy. It's coming along :)

Mary said...

I love to think of all the joy you are spreading, saving those treasures and putting them where people can buy them and give them a new use.
I think my bones are lazier than yours. When I have slivers of soap left over, I just put them in a piece of mesh sack that fruit comes in, tie it up, and use them that way . . . Your bars are prettier.

Marie said...

Wow! You are keeping very busy...lots of hard work, but it also sounds very fulfilling! The new antique booth looks great and I feel like it will do well. I didn't know your hubby was building a cabin. That's wonderful! Have a great week!

Nance said...

love your busy, variety filled days. One of these days I'll retire from full-time employment and find all kinds of interesting things to do (like you). Hope I have your energy and stamina when the time comes. : )

Nance said...

love your busy, variety filled days. One of these days I'll retire from full-time employment and find all kinds of interesting things to do (like you). Hope I have your energy and stamina when the time comes. : )

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