What a crazy month August was for me.  There’s always something about the last month of summer that causes everything to become jam-packed into the month of August.   It was full of wedding planning, birthday parties and an awesome sewing class!

The sewing class was from 6-9 pm every Wednesday for six weeks.  On top of the three hour evening commitment, it was also an hour away, so I spent two hours commuting back and forth.  It was well worth it, I learned so much.  The sewing bug bit me and it bit me hard.

The class itself was focused on sewing for the home.  I learned how to make a pillow – which I did back in middle school, but it served as a good refresh.  She also explained how to make curtains, napkins, piping and taught us a lot of little tidbits that you really can’t get through a book.  I loved it.

Once I completed my rather complicated pillow, my next in-class project was a apron, which took me the remainder of the classes to complete.  I’m thrilled with how the apron turned out.  Maybe once I become a bit quicker at making them, I can sell them on my Etsy shop.

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Speaking of my Etsy shop, business has been great!  I’ve had a relatively steady flow of orders and I’ve been coming up with new items to incorporate in my shop.  Most recently, I’ve added painted trivets, which I love:

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I also turned some of my creative energy into making a couple of bags for friends.  The first one is a reversible drawstring bag.  I had never made one before so it took me a while, but I learned so much through trial and error.

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The second bag is a little zippered pouch for a sorority sister.  I put her initials on the front.  I had never tried to monogram anything before so this was also a really good learning experience.  I loved how it turned out and so did she.

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Probably one of my best creative moments during the month of August was taking one of my dear friend’s engagement pictures.  My maid of honor got engaged several weeks ago.  Unfortunately, her fiancé was only in the states for a few weeks before he was sent to Oslo, Norway for the next two years for his job.  Soon after they got engaged, she asked if I would be willing to take their engagement photos for them.  Heck yes!  I was honored and thrilled.

A couple of days before her fiancé left for Norway, we were able to get together for the engagement shoot.  It was amazing and so much fun.  I learned so much and found my passion for photography thriving.  I was able to edit the photos in about a week and put them up on my photography website for them and their family.  Here are a couple of my favorites:

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If you would like to see the rest of them, you can check them out on my website

While I normally do nature photography, taking these engagement photos really sparked a new passion for engagement and portrait photography.  I’m going to look into potentially shifting into the portrait market of photography rather than focusing on fine art.  I really just enjoyed every aspect of this project, from start to finish.  I can’t wait to do it again!

Have you done anything creative lately?  What was it? 

As I mentioned in an earlier post:

My Silhouette Cameo is Here!

I received my Silhouette Cameo about two weeks ago and already I’ve had so much fun with it!  I’m officially obsessed.

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I think my favorite thing is using it to cut adhesive vinyl.  I have so many ideas of fun phrases, words and pictures that I want to cut out and adhere to all the flat surfaces throughout my house.  Kitties – watch out!

Once I set my machine up, I decided to start with something simple.  I had some containers in my closet that needed to be labeled, so I decided to use my fancy new machine to make labels.  I think I used some default tag that came with my machine as a freebie.  My only issue was that I think I had the blade set too low, oops.  Other than that, it came out as expected.

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My second mini project was to make a “thank you” card for my Etsy shop.  I planned on adhering a little note with a thank you coupon code at the bottom for a percentage off of a future purchase.  I was stumbling around online and saw a Christmas card that had the word “merry” cut out along the top of the card.  That gave me the idea to do the same thing, but with “thank you” cut out across the top.  I learned a lot about my machine with this project – how to merge letters and make words flow together as one unit.  Here is the final outcome [before the little note was attached]:

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The last thing I played around with was the adhesive vinyl.  I had this super cute mini trash can from Ikea and I wanted to spice it up.  Since it is in my office, everything I throw in this bin is recyclable, so I figured “recycle” seemed fitting.  I love it.  It really makes my desk area look so much more pulled together. I realize how silly that sounds considering I’m talking about a trash can, but I do love it.

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This upcoming weekend, I plan on making some more vinyl cutouts. I’m going to make one for a metal bin in my laundry room that is home to delicate clothes.  I would have done it already, but I had to wait for my colored vinyl to come in since the bin is white.  I also bought the frosted glass vinyl, so I might have some fun with my clear kitchen containers and mirrors.  Can’t wait!

If you have a cutting machine, what is your favorite thing to use it for?  

Special Offer

I’m really excited to share that I just added hand painted, ombre spoons and spatulas to my Etsy shop!

They are completely customizable with up to four color choices per utensil.

Shown below is a slotted spatula painted with light yellow, orange and coral.

Living Embellished

As a celebratory treat for my blog readers, I’m giving a 10% discount off of all orders in my Etsy shop.  Just use the coupon code: creativescatter at the checkout.

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XOXO

A few of months ago my mom and I came across the perfect crafting table while we were at Ikea:

It has two drop-leaves that make the table go from 10 inches wide to 60 inches wide.  It was a perfect space-saving solution, but my only problem was I didn’t have a spot where I could both store it and use it.  Then it hit me, I could install wheels to it and make it more mobile.  I had never put casters on anything before and the idea intimidated me quite a bit.

After I purchased the table, it sat in pieces in my garage for a couple of months.  The idea of installing casters was such a daunting task in my mind.  Finally yesterday, on a whim, I got inspired to put the table together.  It was extremely easy to assemble.  Once it was completed, I realized that I would really need to install casters if I wanted to use it at all.  Off to the hardware store I went.

[Before you go to the hardware store, it is helpful to know how much your item weighs so you can get the proper casters]

I found the casters in the same aisle as door hinges, chains and locks.  They had everything from super heavy-duty  to light weight casters.  I knew what I needed was considered lightweight.  My piece of furniture weighed about 100 lbs, so I made sure to get casters that could support that amount of weight.  The maximum supported weight should be located near the bar code, on the package itself or on the display shelf.  The casters I chose came in a set of two and cost less than $4 per pack.  I had to get 3 packs total because I knew I had to put casters on the leaf support legs as well.

Back at home my adventure began!

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The first thing I did was flip the table upside down.  If you have a table similar to mine, be careful of the drop-leaves dropping!  I wasn’t thinking when I flipped over mine and almost took out some door molding.

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Next, place your shiny new caster on top of the leg and decide how you would like it situated.  Placing it as centered as possible will get you the most stability.

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Mark the center of the holes with a pencil.  These will be your drilling guides.

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You will need wood screws to attach the casters to the legs.  I decided to use random sheet metal screws I already had.  When buying screws, I would suggest buying ones shorter than what I used.  Maybe around an inch long?  They can be thinner as well.  This will help prevent any cracking or splitting of the wood during installation.

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Drilling the Holes

Time to decide on which drill bit to use!  The rule is that you want the drill bit to be as large as the smallest part of your screw.  If you’re not sure, go smaller rather than larger.  You can always increase the drill bit size, but once you make a hole too large for the screw, you’re out of luck.

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Once I compared my screw and my drill bits, I decided on the 1/8th bit.

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Let the drilling process begin!  Carefully, start drilling your holes and make sure to keep the bit straight up and down.  If the hole is drilled at an angle, your screw will want to go in at an angle too.

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Complete the same process on the rest of the legs.

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Installation

 Line up the caster’s holes with the holes on the leg.  Using a screwdriving bit, drive the screws into the pre-made holes until there is about a 1/4 inch of space between the screw and the base of the caster.

Now, one by one, tighten each screw completely.  A good rule is to tighten the most opposite screw from the one you just tightened.  For example: if you last tightened the screw in the front, tighten the screw in the back next.  This helps make sure everything is properly aligned and tightened evenly.

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In the photo below, you will notice that the caster on top is only secured with two screws.  The leg is the leaf-support leg and is narrower than the rest of the legs.  I decided since I had four other legs with properly installed casters, I could install these casters with just two screws.

I made sure to place the caster so the leg would rest on as much of the caster base as possible.

After installation, these casters felt just as secure as the rest.

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The Finished Product

Shiny new wheels!

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I did run across a couple of things that I might have done differently:

  1. Like I mentioned before, the screws I used were not the most ideal.  I should have used shorter and thinner wood screws.  The larger screws were overkill and unnecessarily stressed the wood.
  2. While the casters I installed do work, I wonder if they would work better if I had gone with a larger, more heavy-duty version.  Currently, it takes a bit of force to get them going, but that may be an issue with the pile of carpet I have [and the fact the table is 100 lbs].

Also, as a warning:  While drilling holes and driving screws, the drill bit/screw will become extremely hot from friction!  Do not touch them immediately after use!  [Ask me how I know]

 

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

 I guess I wasn’t kidding when I said in this post about how inspired I was by all the awesome DIY projects floating around on the blogosphere.

I had such a productive weekend full of organizing and tackling tasks I had been putting off.  Isn’t it just the best when you have that driving force to get things done?!

It all started with this boring, empty space above my bed:

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 A big issue I’ve had with my bedroom is the lack of color.  My walls are a lovely light gray [looks darker in the photo], my carpet is a beige and the majority of my bedroom furniture is white.  That’s a lot of neutrals!  My bedroom has been left undecorated while I was busy decorating the other areas of my house.

I thought if I put a floating shelf above my bed, that would give me a place to add pops of color through picture frames, faux flowers, etc. I started Saturday morning with drill in hand, but as I maneuvered the shelf around to find the best spot for it, I realized it didn’t fit the space at all.  I chose a birch shelf since I had another piece of birch furniture in the room, but it didn’t look right.  Not to mention the shelf was not nearly long enough to look cohesive with the headboard.  Okay, so no shelf above the bed.  I breathed a sigh of relief – I wasn’t going to have to worry about dry wall dust getting all over my bed, yay!

I had another idea for the space.

A couple of months ago, I had found some lovely, ornate frames on clearance and decided I would make wall art out of them, similar to this:

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I had already painted them white, pale blue, pale yellow and silver to match my space.  I started brainstorming which layout looked best and decided on the last one:

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 I didn’t want the three matching frames [painted different colors] to be next to each other because I thought they made the layout look a bit lopsided.  I like what I ended up with, although I think I might keep my eyes peeled for a couple more frames to add to the collection.

I have also been debating about repainting the blue frames a teal color.  The baby blue is a really pretty color, but I don’t think it’s quite me.  I’m worried if I roll with it, I’ll end up with a bedroom that doesn’t quite feel like my own.  I would paint it a similar color to my sheets [below], but a bit more muted to go with the pale yellow.

Oh well, one nice thing about these frames is that I can just spray paint them whenever I’m tired of the colors.

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[I apologize for the horrendous quality of these photos.  It was sweltering in my room this weekend so I kept my blackout shades closed which gave me really odd lighting.  I'm sure using my iPad mini to snap the photos didn't help either..]

All in all, I’m happy to have something in that space above my bed.  It’s not perfect yet, but it’s getting there.

So what did I end up doing with that floating shelf?

I was already planning on putting a shelf just like that in my office/studio on another bare wall, so I went ahead and did it!  I think it looks great!  The space looks so much more put together and homie homey.

Originally I planned to put my magazine holders, files, etc on the shelf but the weight limit had me a bit worried so I decided to go the decorative route.  I gathered these decorative pieces off of the shelving unit across the room and voila: instant decorative shelf!

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 The lettered canvas in the middle says “live the life you have imagined.”

Rearranging these pieces made room for me to store my office file folders on top of my shelving unit instead of inside of it:

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Naturally, this gave me the itch to completely reorganize the inside of the shelving unit.  Once the organizing and purging was said and done, I had three newly emptied shelves!

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I was able to dedicate one shelf for each of the following:  extra office supplies, frequently used crafting supplies, stationary and supplies for my Etsy business.  The lower shelves aren’t visible in the photo, but they are storing my huge CD collection [that I need to go through] and my lap top case.  Note: incase it’s not fully visible, this unit has doors.

Along with those three projects, I also:

- Cleaned out my utility closet

- Cleaned out my pantry [and threw away expired food]

- Threw out all my old plastic food containers and replaced them with glass ones

- Completely cleaned out and relabeled my closet

- Took two trash bags full of old clothes to Goodwill

- Acquired a heaping pile of items from my closet to sell on eBay

- Did some minor rearranging underneath my bathroom cabinets

- Played around with my new Silhouette Cameo [!!] and made some fun things [I will write a new post for this]

Needless to say this weekend was amazingly productive for me.  It was so nice to get home from work yesterday to a neat and organized space.

What did you do this past weekend?  How do you find inspiration to decorate and organize?

 How to Sell on eBay :: Part 3

 

Woohoo!  We’ve made it to Part 3 of how to sell on eBay!  If you’ve missed the other two parts, you can check them out here:  Part One, Part Two.

I’ve already discussed how to price, describe, & photograph your items, so now all that is left is getting your items to your buyer!

Customer Service

I pride myself in customer service.  I want my potential buyer to know that I am a nice person – that I am human.  I want them to be able to relate to me.

Whenever I receive a message from a buyer, I always respond as quickly as I can.  Again, I will say it, get the iPad and iPhone apps!  It makes my life so much easier since I’m not actually on my computer very often.

I also like to sign all of my messages with my actual name instead of just my eBay handle.  It makes everything much more personal.  I know when I’ve bought things from eBay or Etsy, I feel more of a connection with the seller when they talk to me like I’m a person rather than a paycheck.

Shipping

I always ship USPS Priority Mail.  It’s a flat rate cost so I know exactly how much to charge the buyer and it is eligible for free USPS pick up [major plus!].  It makes everything hassle-free.  I don’t have to go to the post office.  I don’t have to find boxes to ship items in [priority mail boxes are free].  I don’t have to worry about undercharging for shipping.  Typically for an article of clothing, I use a flat rate envelope which costs about $5.05 or so to ship.  Sure that is a bit more expensive than just regular first class mail, but no one has ever commented on the $5 – $6 shipping fee being too high.  Since Priority Mail is 2 – 3 day shipping, all of my buyers have been amazed at how fast their items were delivered.

Also, I try to ship my items out the next business day if possible.  My eBay listings always say 1-3 processing time [just in case!] but I know everyone [myself included] loves it when their items come earlier than expected.

Packaging

I love to gift wrap, I always have.  I love playing with bows, ribbon, stamps.. everything!  I love the idea of my buyer opening the mailing envelope to see their item wrapped like a present.  Everyone knows it’s exciting to get presents [even if you know what it is & you paid for it..].

I wrap the sold items in white tissue paper and secure it with colorful washi tape.  Then I wrap color-coordinating bakers twine around the package.  I have a label shaped paper punch that I use to make a little label and a stamp that says “Merci”.  I stamp the label and then attach it to the bakers twine and finish it off by the twine in a bow.

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My stash of eBay supplies

 

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Finished product

 

I really enjoy doing this for my buyers.  I’m not saying you have to do exactly this, but I would suggest doing a little something so they remember you [and rate you well!].  I know other eBayers will put mints in with the package or write a handwritten note.  I just think it’s a nice gesture to do something a little extra.

Feedback

Obviously feedback is a very important part of your eBay seller profile.  First of all, I don’t think you can expect to receive feedback from a buyer unless you leave them feedback as well.  It’s a two-way street.  I also write a personal note in the packing slip thanking them again and asking them to leave me feedback if they’re satisfied.  After I started adding this little note in the packing slip, I noticed the amount of feedback I received increased tremendously.  And of course, like anything, not everyone will leave you feedback and that’s okay.

What if you get negative feedback?  Instead of causing a scene over the internet, message your buyer asking them what went wrong and how you can make the situation better.  If you can make them into a satisfied customer, they will likely change their feedback.

Once you give and receive feedback, you are done!  You will soon see how addictive selling on eBay can be!

 

 

I hope this mini series on how to sell on eBay has helped you in some way!  These tips can be applied any time you are selling something, like on Etsy!  Get selling!

Have you ever sold something on eBay?  Were you successful?  Do you have any other tips and tricks to share?

 

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Feeling Inspired

Lately I’ve come across a few really inspiring DIY projects.  I wish there were more hours in the day so I could do each and every one now!  Instead, I’ll settle for sharing a couple of them with you and hope that they inspire you as well!

1. IHeart Organizing: Reader Space: A Super Stellar Studio

IHeart Organizing featured Jenna Sue‘s fabulously updated studio space.  This really resonated with me because I’ve been looking at giving my office/studio a little face lift of its own.  I just love all the organization and the fact that it is visually uncluttered.  And of course that rug is to die for!

 

2. Torie Jayne: 101 Ways to get Pretty Organized

 

My inner OCD goddess jumped up and down when I read the title of this post.  I think I was most excited about the prospect of organizing my craft supplies.  My craft closet needs a serious overhaul at the moment so I can’t wait to implement some of these ideas!

 

3. Young House Love: The Door Is The Smile Of The House

Young House Love wrote about the recent transformation of their front door.  As far as curb appeal goes, there’s very little that trumps a colored door.  I love the pop of color!  Doors like this always make me think “you have a bright door, let’s be friends!”  There’s just something very welcoming about them.  A

Anyway, since my HOA has regulations regarding door colors, I can’t necessarily do a pretty blue like this.  But I can repaint my door a similar color to the original which is a maroon color.  Luckily I love the color of my door currently, although it definitely needs a touch up.  My house gets direct sun in the summer so my door has faded quite a bit and I know it hasn’t gotten any love since the house was built.  I’m planning on repainting my door an updated maroon color some time in the near[ish] future.

 

Projects to Tackle

Something about all this amazingness has kicked my butt into DIY & decor gear.  I’ve made a list of some things I really want to get done around the house.  Hopefully I’ll be able to tackle several of them this weekend!

  • Buy energy saving shades for my office, and two spare rooms.  I’ve managed to get rid of the terrible blinds in bout half of my house.  I still have 7 windows left to buy shades for.  All of those windows get the super hot afternoon sun, so I really should get on this a bit sooner.
  • Instagram gallery wall for stairs leading to 3rd floor.  I came across this blog post and fell in love with the Instagram gallery wall.  I ordered my Instagram prints off of Printstagram a couple days ago so hopefully they will be here soon and my gallery wall can begin!
  • Install floating shelf above my bed.  I have the shelf in my trunk, I just need to actually put it up!  My bedroom is currently very bleh, so I’m looking for different ways to add color.  I’m going to install the shelf above my headboard so I can add fun, colorful things up there.
  • Buy throw pillows for my bed.  Like I said, my bedroom is very bleh and colorless.  I’m on the hunt for yellow throw pillows to spice things up.
  • Buy console table for master.  There’s an awkwardly bare spot near the door to my bedroom.  I think a console table would go great there, so I’m keeping my eyes peeled.
  • Create a shadow box from all of my little keepsakes.  I love scrapbooking but since digital cameras and now digital scrapbooking have invaded, I find it very difficult to be inspired to scrapbook.  I have a couple of boxes of little things I’ve collected from various trips and when I lived abroad.  I want to make a couple shadow boxes so I can finally put everything on display.  Plus all of it is taking up too much room.
  • Stain bedroom nightstand.  The other day I bought two unfinished nightstands online.  Finding the perfect nightstands has been such an issue for me.  These are the perfect size and because they are unfinished, I can either stain them or paint them.  I’m thinking of painting them a metallic silver color.  Originally I was thinking of staining them, but it would compete with a piece of furniture I have.
  • Install shelves above bench in my office/studio.  More floating shelves!  My office needs more storage space.
  • Put up frame wall in bedroom.  A couple of months ago, I spray painted a bunch of pictureless, backless frames for my bedroom.  They turned out great, but then I got a bit lazy and never hung them.  Shame on me, I know.  Basically I plan on making a gallery wall with just the frames.  I think it would look lovely in the space above where I plan on putting the console table.

This weekend I hope to get at least half of these things done.  I’m going to make sure I take lots of photos so y’all can see the transformation!

 

What inspiring DIY projects have you come across lately?  Do you have any projects planned this weekend?

XOXO

How to Sell on Ebay :: Part Two

 Selling on eBay

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Recap:  In Part One I explained how to list, price and describe your items to increase the chances of eBay success.

My experience as a fine art photographer has given me a lot of knowledge in this aspect of selling on eBay.  Taking appealing photos really isn’t all that difficult.  You don’t need an expensive camera or a fancy set up.

What you will need:

  • A camera.  Of course if you have a high quality camera, use that, but it’s not necessary.  More often than not, I use the camera on my iPhone 5.  
  • A neutral background or surface.  For eBay, I use a tan couch I have in my office.  If you don’t have a good neutral background, use a sheet or blanket for a nice background.  Just make sure whatever you use isn’t wrinkled or stained!
  • A clean, uncluttered area.
  • Good lighting!  This is key.  Proper lighting can make or break product photography.  Natural light is the best, but if you need to use artificial light, use daylight bulbs (5000K).  These bulbs will give the most natural looking light.  Side note: do not use a camera flash!
  • Make sure the area and the item to be photographed looks presentable.  Use a lint roller if the item has any fuzz or lint on it.  If the item is wrinkled then iron it.

Taking the photos:

If you are photographing a garment, lay it out in the most natural position possible.  Try to avoid laying it down horizontally – I drape garments along the back of my couch [so they are laid out vertically].  I avoid using hangers unless the item has no shape, then a hanger is a good idea.  If the garment has stretch, try to avoid over stretching it, otherwise it could look ten sizes too big.

Example of a Listing’s Main Image

The first photo you will take is going to be the listing’s main image.  Take this photo head-on and level to the garment.

Take multiple close-up photos.  Avoid using your camera’s zoom because that can cause the image to get blurry and pixelated.  Instead, move your body closer.  Photograph various selling points such as lace detail, accent buttons, etc.

Play with angles.  Take photos that play up the fun textures.

Example of Playing with Angles

Instead of relying on cropping later, take photos that won’t need cropping.  Fill the frame with your item.

Take a couple of photos for each angle so you can choose the best one.

Lastly, make sure the photos aren’t blurry!  If they are blurry, make sure your camera is properly focusing on the subject and stand still!  Slight movement while taking the photograph can cause the image to come out blurry.

Editing the photos:

When it comes to editing, I often do very simple edits.  Contrary to what you might think, you do not need fancy photo editing software for this part.  I typically use iPhoto for my eBay images.

First thing to do is make sure the photo is straight.  I will look within the photo and find a line that I know should be straight, such as a window, and straighten the image based on that.  If you must crop the photo, now is the time to do it.

After that, I will adjust the exposure [or brightness].  I typically increase the exposure until it looks pleasing to the eye.  Since each photo is different, there is no ‘correct’ amount of adjusting.  Sometimes it’s a lot, other times the exposure is perfect already.  Make sure that any whites don’t get “blown out” [aka too white].

Next, adjust the contrast.  It is very important that you do not go overboard increasing the contrast.  If you increase it too much, the colors will become distorted and you will end up with an unsatisfied customer.  While the item is physically in front of you, adjust the contrast until the colors in the photo match the colors in person.  Color accuracy is huge!

I don’t typically touch saturation – That’s how you get orange skin tones and fluorescent colors.

Sometimes I will play around with the “highlights” option.  It can help tone down overexposed areas.  If your program doesn’t have that option, or you can’t find it, it’s not a big deal.

Once I think I might be done editing, I look at the images and ask myself, “If I saw this image, would I want to buy this item?”  Hopefully you’ll say “heck yes!” but if you aren’t so sure, play around the settings a bit more.  It’s normal for me to go back and adjust the image multiple times until I feel like it looks its best.

And that’s it!  Your edited image should look bright, accurate and pleasing to the eye.  As you become more experienced with taking photos and editing them, you might even find some of your own tips and tricks!  

Silhouette

I hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July!

I also hope you all enjoyed my last post about selling on eBay, part one of three.  The second part [how to take and edit photos for eBay] will be posted Tuesday!

I just wanted to update on two things.  First, I bit the bullet and purchased a Silhouette Cameo.  I’ve been eyeing one for nearly a year so when I came across an awesome promo at IHeart Organizing, I decided it was a sign from the crafting gods and jumped on board.  I’m excited for it to arrive!  Oh the possibilities!

Second, I’m working on opening up an Etsy shop.  I’m not going to spill the beans yet about what I’ll be selling, but let’s just say I’m really excited!  It should hopefully be up and running after this weekend.  I’ll be sure to post the link when it’s ready :) My Etsy shop is officially up and running!  Click on the icon below to check it out!

Have an awesome weekend!

What are you doing this weekend?  Creating or doing any DIY projects?  

How to Sell on Ebay :: Part One

 

In my last post, I explained to you how to purge your unworn clothing, for good.  Hopefully, you have a huge pile of hardly used clothing and you’re thinking, “okay, now what?”  Although, I do advocate donating old clothes, sometimes certain items are too good to donate.  Wouldn’t it be nice to get $20 from your favorite sweater?  Like I mentioned in my last post, I just started selling on eBay about a month ago.  I was completely expecting it would flop, but to my amazement, I’ve made $500 already!  Here are some of my tips on how to sell on eBay:

Listing

I will assume that you are already a little familiar with eBay.  If not, it’s very user-friendly so you shouldn’t have any problems :)

First off, if you have a smart phone and/or an iPad – Get the eBay app!  It allows you to have eBay right at your fingertips.  You’ll be able to post items and return customer queries lightening fast.

When you are listing an item, the first thing you need is a killer title.  Do not excessively capitalize words.  Please, do use proper capitalization when needed and correct punctuation!  This may seem silly, but I promise you, people are instantly judging your item by how the title is formatted.

I tend to compose my titles like so:  Item description (with brand) – Size – Condition.  So for example: Express Black Cocktail Dress – Size M – Great Condition!

Doesn’t that look nicer than:

~~**ExPrEsS**~~ black dress HOT HOT HOT

Even if it’s the same dress, which one would you want to click on?

I typically only sell things I think are in great condition.  Absolutely no stains, no tears and no defects.  I don’t want to give a buyer any reason to be unhappy so I make sure the item is it great condition.  The number one rule: be honest

Pricing

I think one of the main reasons people do not have success on eBay is their pricing.

 People have asked me how I go about pricing my items.  I always tell them to figure out what would be the least amount of money they would accept for an item.  Let’s say you have a pair of Nine West sandals that are in great condition, but didn’t fit right so you never wore them.  At what price would you feel positive about getting rid of them.  If someone offered you $5, would you accept that?  Maybe, maybe not.  But what if someone offered $20 for them, then would you accept it?  Most likely, and you would be excited because you just made $20!

Now I’m definitely not suggesting you price everything at $20, for most things that will be too high.  Here is how I typically price items [for a starting bid minimum]:

Shoes – $10 – $30

Dresses – $10 – $20

Cardigans – $10 – $15

Dress Shirts – $9 – $ 12

Casual Shirts – $7 – $10

The one thing that makes a big difference in pricing is my emotional attachment towards an item.  For example, I have a pair of Nike running shoes, they are in near-perfect condition.  I can no longer wear them for a medical reason but I still love them.  Because of my emotional attachment to them, I made the starting bid a lot higher than if they were similar shoes that I just never wore.

You might think the prices I have listed are too low, but you have to ask yourself if you would rather have $12 or no dollars.  If you have three things listed at a starting price of $12 and they all sell, then you have $36 [yay simple math!].  My point is, focus on the big picture!  And remember, any money you are making is more money than if you donated all the clothing up front.  Anything is a profit. 

I like to make all of my items available for the Buy It Now option for those who just don’t like to wait.  For this number, I like to at least double my starting bid, maybe a little more.  You kind of have to feel it out.  And yes, I get people who Buy It Now all the time.

Side note: If an item doesn’t sell the first time, I will post it again but I will lower the price.  If an item doesn’t sell the second time, it gets donated. 

Description

I think a quality eBay description is often overlooked.  Potential buyers visualize your items through quality photos and a quality description.  A buyer can fall in love with your item or head for the hills.  You want to persuade the buyer.  You want them to think your item will enrich their life in someway.  That your item will make them look and feel fabulous, chic and stylish.  That might sound like a challenge, but I assure you it’s easy.

Like I said earlier, you must be honest!  If there are any imperfections [which should be kept at a minimum], let them know and take a picture of it.

So how do you virtually persuade your buyer?  The first thing that I write in the description is essentially what I have written in the title.  You can be more descriptive here since you’re not limited on space.  I will mention again that it is “in great condition!”  and [if it is true] I’ll say something like, “it has only been worn been worn a handful of times! No defects or signs of wear.”  Then in a new paragraph I will start the real description.  I use a lot of adjectives [hello, it is a description!] but I try to avoid sounding too cheesy.  For example, if I was describing a black women’s button down shirt, I might say something like:

“This black button-down is a feminine take on a men’s classic.  Darting along the bust and waist accentuate your figure, while a bit of stretch assures a perfect fit.  The sleeves can be rolled up and secured for a more casual look.  Each cuff is accentuated with lovely buttons that give you an extra pop of sophistication.  This shirt is great for a day-to-night look; Pair it with a blazer for work, then skinny jeans & heels for happy hour!  Very versatile!”

Next I will list the measurements.  I know this is a hassle [I agree with you] but it’s a necessity.  If you don’t list them, people will message you asking for them anyway, so you might as well.  For tops, you need measurements for the bust, waist and hips at a minimum.  If you’re feeling especially generous, offer up sleeve length and overall length of the garment.  For bottoms, you need measurements for the waist, rise, and inseam (or length).  The more details you can give, the better.

I typically end my description by letting the buyer know my items come from a smoke free home and that they are welcome to contact me with any questions.  If applicable, I will mention the other brands I have listed and tell them to check out my other listings.  Shameless self-promotion.

Don’t forget to fill out all the drop-down menus the best you can.  Like I said, the more detail, the better!

And BAM, you have an awesome description!

Now all you need are some killer photos!  I will explain how to take [and edit] awesome photos for eBay in my next post.  Make sure you subscribe to stay up to date!  You can subscribe by entering your email address in the little box in the sidebar to the right :)

How To Purge Old Clothes For Good!

I have always struggled with the ability to purge old clothes.

I would start off motivated and ready to take on anything that was thrown at me.  Within an hour, I would feel discouraged and my clothes would end up scattered everywhere.  Wasn’t I supposed to be cleaning?  How can my closet possibly look worse than when I started?

Through trial and error [mostly error], I’ve figured out a few tips and tricks that have enabled me to purge all of my unnecessary clothes for good.  All of these ideas can be applied to anything in your closet [like shoes for example].

Below I have compiled a list of what has worked for me and how I’ve kept my motivation.

First, get rid of what you don’t want

I’m sure that seems like a “well DUH” kind of statement.  What I mean by this is: get rid of the clothes, shoes, xylophones, whatever you know you no longer want.  These items should be a no brainer and this should be fairly quick.  Anything that is torn, stained or in poor condition should be thrown out.  Donate or sell the rest.

If there is an item that you already know is too short, too itchy, uncomfortable or doesn’t fit correctly – then get rid of it!  Even if you think you might wear them one day; Newsflash: you won’t.  Put these clothes in your sell/donate pile.

Backwards Hanger Trick

Once you have a closet full of the clothes you must keep, make sure all the hangers are facing the correct way.  As you wear an item, hang it back up with the hanger facing the opposite [wrong] direction.  This will show you right away what you have worn and what you haven’t.  To speed up the process, try to only wear things that have yet to be worn.  This will get more difficult as the days pass.  It’s actually pretty fun because you are forced to be extra creative with your outfits and you might even fall in love with something you forgot about!

Eventually, you will be left with some clothes, with the hanger facing the correct way, that you still don’t want to wear - then why do you have them?!   

Obviously this method is not meant for instant results.  It might take weeks or even months before you get through all your clothes, but this is the best way I’ve found to properly purge my clothes.  It allows you to focus on the factual evidence ["I never wear this"] versus the emotional connection ["but I love it so much"].  Seriously, if you haven’t worn it while using the backwards hanger method, then put it in the sell/donate pile.

Sentimental clothing

If you have some items that you absolutely refuse to get rid of, like your old prom dress, then store it somewhere else!  Keeping items like this in your closet just takes up valuable space and collects dust.  For special items like a dress, buy a garment bag and store it somewhere else like a guest room closet.  If the items are more casual, then either store them under the bed or invest in some space bags.  Space bags are great for storing old clothes that you never plan on wearing but want to keep for sentimental reasons.

Organizing your new closet

You can create even more hanging space by folding all your camisoles instead of hanging them up.  The same goes with sweaters – which really should never be hung anyway.

Organize the clothes by color. I start with black and brown, then by the colors of the rainbow and I end with my whites and beiges.  Obviously, you can organize your clothes in whichever color order you prefer.

Next, I take it one step further and organize the clothes within the colors by sleeve length.  I start with the tanks tops, then short sleeves, then long sleeves.  I know this sounds absurd, but this way I know where everything is.  Sometimes the larger, bulkier, items can hide the smaller items – this helps eliminate that!

What to do with the items you no longer want

In the past, the one thing that kept me from purging more of my clothes was the monetary value I associated with them.  Of course it’s going to be hard to donate a $50 shirt you never ended up wearing – “maybe I’ll wear it someday.”  You won’t.  I thought the same thing and it never changed the fact that I still never wore it.  What if you had a friend that would be willing to give you $20 for the shirt, then would you part with it?  I know I would.  See, really not much that has changed.. You’re still not wearing the shirt, but now you also have $20!  

I found that a lot of my clothes were in too good of condition to just donate them.  I thought I should at least try to get some of my money back so I looked to eBay.  This is what I was getting at with the idea of a friend buying your clothes – It sure is easier to get rid of clothing when you’re getting paid for it!

Ebay became my main outlet to sell my hardly worn clothes.  It became oddly addictive and within my first month, I made $500.  $500 for purging my closet!  It has definitely been a win-win situation.  Not only is my closet organized, but I have extra money in the bank!

I hope these ideas have given you an extra push to clean out your closet!

What methods have you used in the past that have worked for you?  What hasn’t?

If you’re interested in selling on eBay, check back tomorrow.  I will be writing part one of a three-part post on getting your moneys worth from eBay.  

XOXO