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Monday, November 28, 2016

Christmas Memory Ornament

This was such a fun and easy project! I had seen several pictures on Pinterest using clear glass ornaments filled with various items and used as ornaments. 

Clear glass ornaments (Hobby Lobby, etc.)
Ribbon or Twine

Sheet music, book pages, or other paper
Sand and shells
Beads, etc.
*Anything small enough to fit in the ornament opening

One thing to note with the glass ornaments –You have to remove the top metal portion that has the loop hanger so you can insert the fillings. Some have very sharp edges or might be slightly broken/chipped at the very top rim. I cut myself a few times, so be careful!

I knew I wanted to try to make an ornament with sand and shells and then one with curled sheet music. I gathered my supplies – beach sand and small shells (you can get all of this at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart too). I also printed a small picture on copy paper that I wanted to put in the ornament (approximately 2”x 2”). For the curled paper ornaments, I used a shredder to cut the paper in even sized pieces, but if you don’t have one, you could use a ruler and rotary cutter or scissors. 

Aged Paper - I printed sheet music found on the internet versus using the originals I had, and also used an old book from the thrift store. I ran the pages through the shredder and then wrapped the individual pieces around a pencil to curl the paper pieces. Depending on how full you want the glass ornament to be, you can curl anywhere from 10-20 pieces per ornament. I tried to age the paper of the printed sheet music. To do this, I used a cookie baking sheet, laid the page flat and poured about a ½ cup of strong coffee on it, covering the paper and letting it puddle in some places – try not to make it even. Lots of recipes are out there that vary slightly using tea or instant coffee, etc., just use whatever you have on hand. To dry the paper, I baked it in the oven on 275 F until it was dry and the edges begin to curl. If the top of the page seems to dry faster, you can also flip it over so the bottom will dry more quickly. After the paper dried in the oven, let it cool for a few minutes and you can run it through the shredder.

Assembly - Once you have all your “ingredients” ready, the next step is filling the ornaments.  Remember to be careful when removing the metal topper of the ornament, the glass edges might not be smooth. Not all of them are like this, so when I found one, I set it aside and filled the other ones first. You can use a funnel to get the sand inside the ornament, but I didn’t have one and used a rolled sheet of paper instead.  Don’t add too much sand or your shells and other pieces will “sink” and disappear.  I added small shells and bits and pieces I actually found while on vacation.  I added the rolled/curled picture last, it will uncurl a bit after it is inside the ornament.  For the curled sheet music or book paper, I rolled the individual pieces around a pencil, kept it curled tight and pushed it through the ornament opening. It will uncurl once inside, then just keep adding as much as you want.

When you have everything inside that you want, replace the metal topper.  I tied a ribbon, twine, and tulle in a bow to the loop as a finishing touch. 

Hope you enjoyed this little quick and easy project!  Thanks and Happy Holidays!!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Wonderland in Nashville

Oh, the snow arrived!  And it is just beautiful!!

I had to venture out early to check on a friend's pet, and the roads were absolutely awful!  Tires spinning everywhere and if you stopped, that was pretty much it.  It rained yesterday, so the salt trucks didn't put anything out, so the roads are icy too.  But the view is beautiful if you can stay at home.  Hope you enjoy some of the pics!

Southern Junk Chic

Southern Junk Chic

Stay warm and happy where ever you are!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Rag Quilts for the Nashville Winter Storm

A perfect time to talk about quilts ~ right before the winter storm is scheduled to arrive in Nashville.  We're supposed to get up to 5 inches of snow, which is unusual for us.  We are usually right there on the border between snow, freezing rain, and sleet mix.

I'm a sucker for quilts.  Whenever I'm out junking, I usually come home with at least one.  Several years ago (2008 ish), I started seeing rag quilts on various blogs and websites.  They had that "oh so shabby chic" look and feel.  I fell in love with them!  You could create them from fabrics old and new, and even from chenille blankets and scrap quilts.  The only downside are the strings associated with certain kinds of fabrics from the ragging/clipping part.  Any suggestions as to how to deal with those?  You also have to be careful when washing and drying them - the lint traps get filled quickly.  But the effort is worth it!  Here are a few I created:
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I made a bunch of lap size rag quilts that were perfect for babies playmats too.  I experimented with adding a center of cotton backing and flannel to make the ragged sections fluffier.  I also experimented with different sized squares ranging from 6 to 9 inches.  The larger sized squares were easier to work with, but also too more time to clip.
Southern Junk Chic
 I was asked to make a larger one for a dear friend that was going through chemo.  I used all the pink breast cancer ribbon and hope fabrics.
Southern Junk Chic
 I love love love how this flag quilt turned out.  I used an old chenille quilt for the white and homespun fabrics for the other colors.  It sold right away!
Southern Junk Chic

I haven't sewn anything like this in a while.  I went through two second hand sewing machines.  My mom surprised me with a new Brother sewing machine from JoAnn's.  I also lucked up on a little singer featherweight - $20.  It needed a bobbin and a tune up, but after $150, it was working like 1950.  I was going to sell it when the market was hot and they were going for up to $500.  But I used it one too many times and fell in love with it!  It's so simple and easy.

Stay warm and craft on!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Is the Antique World changing? or is it just Nashville?

Is the Antique World changing? or is it just Nashville?

The buzz among dealers in the Nashville area is all about what the next trend will be for the Antique world.  Really we’ve been asking this for the last year or so.  Many say the industrial chic is out and midcentury isn’t selling as well.  Several say words that hurt my ears…shabby chic is waning too!  So what’s the next “it” item??  Primitives?  Farmhouse?  Rusty?  or just the plain ole Functional?  I cringe when I see all the midcentury oranges, reds, and avocado greens – I hope that’s not it!  Furniture that has been selling, is at much lower prices than even 4-5 years ago.  A large painted mahogany chest of drawers used to command $350 minimum, and now barely begs $175.  It almost makes me ask, is all the work worth it??  Oh, it’s fun, and a passion for sure, but it’s getting more and more challenging to stretch the dollars, and to just find the good junk to sell.  It has become a somewhat complicated issue I’m trying to solve, or at least understand a little better.

Southern Junk ChicSouthern Junk Chic

I still sell quite a bit of painted furniture, and even paint for people who want to repurpose something they already have.  As I mentioned above, it does seem like it is taking longer and longer to sell higher priced pieces of furniture – and by higher priced, I mean anything over $300.  Chest of drawers, dressers, buffets, and tables are all items that I used to sell for $300 to $600, but now they sit for 6 or more months before they might sell.  It does depend on the store location and customer base too.  I had a larger 5 drawer French Provencal chest of drawers that I purchased, hauled home, painted white and distressed, took it to one antique mall, priced it at $285 and it sat for 6 months, with several offers of $200, but I just wouldn’t let it go for that price.  I finally took it to another antique mall that was literally 4 miles away and sold it the next day!  Different customer base and different overall store vibe.  I was happy, but was it worth it to hold out or should I have given in to the cheaper offers?  I’ve been selling the heck out of mismatched teacups, saucers, plates and platters.  I feel like I’m becoming the Queen of Smalls.  Should I focus more on selling these types of items, versus a piece of furniture that requires more work?  More smalls versus fewer larges?  These are questions I ask myself.
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Pricing and cost of goods has also been a topic.  Some dealers like to mark up their items 1.5 times cost, or $30-50 over cost, while others are firm on 3 times cost.  High turnover/cheaper prices versus higher priced items that might sit a few months.  Which are you?  Several factors weigh into this equation.  How much time do you have to restock your booth – quick sales from more modestly priced items require more work, especially if they include big pieces of furniture versus tea cups and plates.  Always an issue is how much cash you have available for restock shopping, or do you have a storage unit/garage to pull from?  Do you paint your furniture, or have handmade items?  If so, how much work space, time, supplies on hand are needed?  Can you afford to let a higher priced item sit in your booth for a few months?  or do you feel pressured to accept a lower offer from a customer?
Southern Junk Chic
The Antique Mall world of Nashville has also experienced a huge price increase in rent and commission fees over the last few years.  We’ve heard from many out of town dealers, that we have the highest they have ever heard – $3.15+/sqft and up to 14% commission, plus other miscellaneous fees for marketing and special events that sometimes equal $10 extra per month.  We know it, but what can we do?  There’s no where else to go.  It really makes many a dealer wonder if it’s worth it right now to make a few extra dollars.  Sometimes fees are 1/2 of the total months sales.  Yes, I said that!  It shocks me too.  Many are looking at alternative venues for sales – not to completely get out of an Antique mall, but to supplement.  Some of these include local flea markets, pop up sales, craigslist, and social media like Facebook groups and Instagram.  Which is a really great way to make an extra sale, but does require additional time.  I’ve heard of one dealer who even drives 2 hours away to sell in an antique mall in a bordering state.  Wow!
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Is it better to just do barn sales and pop up markets?  That’s a whole other post!  Can a dealer make it on mall/store sales alone?  It depends on the lifestyle you want to maintain, how many direct tv channels you need, how many of your favorite restaurants can visit less frequently, how much you love gel nails, how much you love get facials and massages, how well you really love that wrinkle cream, how well do those Goodwill clothes look now, you get the picture, and what you decide you can do without; a spouse with a good income and insurance is very desirable – but lacking for me.  I have a dog that doesn’t work, hmmm, wait, maybe there’s something I can do with that…he is really pretty!  For me, I still have to have some “real” world income at least on a part time basis.
Southern Junk Chic
Thanks for reading about my little dilemma…I’d love to hear what’s going on in your antique world! P.S. I need any tips for using Live Writer and posting to the blogpost page!  I can't get it to work anymore!!! And I can't remember how to watermark pics!! It's been too long since my last blog! I feel like a newbie...Thanks!

Your Fellow Junker,