Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lydia's Fabulous 5 Yard Sale Solutions

Today was a glorious sunny Saturday. A perfect day for yard sales. I got up at the crack of dawn gased up my Subaru and ht the road. As I was meeting lovely people and hoping from sale to sale I started seeing a lot of common yard sale mistakes. No fear! Help is on the way. Here are Lydia's best yard sale tips.

Let's start with the 5 common yard sale mistakes that newbies make.

1. Poor Signage/ If I Build It They Will Come

2. Over Pricing/ The Ebay Debate

3. Undesirable Stuff/ Some One Will Want It.

4. Disorganization / How Hard Can It Be To Have A Yard Sale?

5. Bad Attitude/ How Dare These People Try and Buy My Stuff.

Lets start with the basics. I will cover signage and publicity today.

Poor Signage / Publicity. You can have the best yard sale set up in the world, but if you have crappy signs and no publicity no one will ever know that you are having it.

Lydia's yards Sale bad Sign Sins:

  1. Tiny little Yard Sale Signs that you can never read from your car. You can read "YARD SALE" but the address, date, and time are too small to see. 
  2. Laundry List Yard Sale Signs. The sign is big so it has been filled with a laundry list of all of the products being sold. There is so much writing that all you learn is that they have "Baby Items" "Toys" and a "Crib Set", but you have no idea if the sale is today, where the sale is, what times it starts.
  3. Wild Goose Chase Yard Sale Signs. You see a bug beautiful yard sale sign on a main road that reads:  "YARD SALE, SATURDAY 5/31 8-1 253 Church Street" With an arrow. I am not from town so I follow the arrow. Then on a cross street I see
    another sign with another arrow. I turn. I may see another sign, I may not. I drive around for 15-20 minutes in circles and find no sale. I may find a rouge sign with no arrow. I start to wonder if the signs were put up by kids as a joke. 
  4. Out of Date Signs. You see your dream yard sale sign "Huge jewelry only yard sale, if your name is Lydia everything is free! 8-1, SATURDAY!" You follow the large arrows for a few streets, then you notice the date on the bottom is says 8/23. Heart broken, you just decide to forget yard sales and go home.
  5. No Advertising. Advertising is free. You have none. That's why I can't find you.
Lydia's Yard Sale Fix: 

Signage: Yard sale signs should be on poster size neon poster board. They need to be big enough so that people can read them from their cars while driving.
Information: Use a large black marker write large and write neatly. All you need to write is :

Title: "YARD SALE" "ESTATE SALE" or Whatever kind of sale that you are having at the top.
Date: Day of the week and Date  "SAT 5/31"
Time: 8-1.  Timing is up to you. No matter when your start time us people will try and come early. (I will explain how to keep them from shopping early in a future blog) Your yard sale is considered picked over after 3 hours.  You may get some traffic later, but the majority of your sales usually happen with in the first 3 hours. (If you are having a two day yard sale on day two add more stuff or slash prices)
Arrows: Assume that the people coming to your sale are not from your town. Even the people who live in your town may not know where your street is. DO NOT put a random sign in the center of town with your address on it. No one will remember your address. Put a sign on the nearest large main street. Draw a huge arrow in the direction of your sale. Put another sign every 2-3 minutes. (you have a window of about 5 minutes before they give up) Leave your customers a trail of signs to follow with huge arrows. You need a sign every place where your buyers needs to s turn on every new street, and even a fork in the road. Also a a sign in front of your house.
If you do this Remember to Remove them
Stick Em Up: Make sure that your beautiful signs are securely mounted so they are visible. I always bring a staple gun and heavy duty packing tape so I can be prepared for metal or wooden poles. Secure each corner of the sign down, If you just do the middle it can flop closed and no one can read it.  Also put them high on the pole.

When your sale is over. I know that you are tired and you can't move another muscle. I am begging you, please take down your signs. I know it's a pain and you worked so hard, but you'll feel so much better about it tomorrow :)

Advertising is easy and free! If you are reading this then you have a computer, ipad, phone, Kindle, Tablet, or some other magical technological device. Do you know that their are many free yard sale apps?
People who are Yard Sale obsessed like me can download them and not only locate your sale but get navigation right to your door.  How do these apps get your yard sale information? They simply download it from Craig's List. Craig's List allows you to advertise your Sale for free. This is where you can use as much detail as you want to describe your sale. you can even post pictures.

Craig's List: Post 2 days before. The day before. The morning of.
The title should have Sale kind, day of the week, date, time.
"Estate Sale FRI 8/30 8-2"

Description: List categories of items, big item details, and other information you would like the buyers to know.
Huge Multi-Family Yard Sale
Lots of Kids Toys & Games
Sports Equipment
Boys Clothing 4T-8/10
Kitchen stuff
Christmas Stuff
Pub Style table set and 4 stools. Oak. Like new $200.00
Pottery barn Area Rug Like New 5X9 50.00

No early birds. 

Then you would include a picture of the Pub Set and the rug.

FACEBOOK: You can make an event on Facebook and invite all of your local friends. In the morning of your sale snap a picture of your sale. You can post the picture and the basic info about your sale on your local Facebook Yard Sale site, your personal page, and ask your friends to share your post with other local friends. Once people see your gorgeous sale they'll come on over :)

YOU ARE A PRO! GREAT SIGNS! GREAT POSTS! People are pouring into your sale. Now what! Tomorrow I will teach you how to price your items to sell. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hot Lips

The cleanse went great. I am down I have a great injury that made me think of you. I am making the kids "healthy" chocolate chip cookies, 24 pounds. I am eating sugar, dairy, wheat, and simple carb free. However this post isn't about that. It'a about making cookies for my kids.

 I like to buy my kids healthiest version of what ever crap food that they enjoy. If they eat chips they eat organic sweet potato ships or quinoa chips, ok, so they may only eat one, but they eat them. We do have some healthier brands that we all agree on. The hard part for me is the price. I like to buy the kids some type of cookie or sweet item for their lunch so they won't feel left out. By their biased observations all of you only pack your kid's lunch boxes with: Lunchables, Doritos, Cheetos, cookies, brownies, and never any fruit of any kind ever. I tell them over and over again, A. That I know that they are lying, because I know that you pack a piece of fruit for your kids at least once a year. and B. How lucky they are to have a mom who cares enough about their health to poison them with healthy food.

Yes I know that they are full of it, but they are my kids and they are too old to be adopted into better homes so I keep them here. Here at our lovely crazy home where today I was making a new recipe. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I use all organic ingredients and using coconut oil instead of butter and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. These changes don't make cookies into a health food, but they are cheaper and better tasting than the cardboard cookies from Whole Foods that cost 6.99 a box.

I am ready to scoop out the cookies on the cookie sheets.  The batter isn't really holding together that well. Their is more oats than flour and there seems to be an issue incorporating  the chocolate chips.  They are not inside but kind of hanging on for dear life clinging on to the outside of these organic hay stacks on the cookie sheets. What come out of the oven 14 minutes later are cookies covered in molten  chocolate landmines. I am trying to take them off of the baking sheet to place them on the cooling rack, but I keep burning my fingers.  Eventually I end up with this huge atomic chocolate blob on the end of my finger, It hurts so much and  I can't flick it off. I have the cookie sheet in my other hand and don't have a place to put it down. In my  desperation I  try to put the burning finger into my mouth to quench the flames and I miss!  I touch the chocolate lava blob to my upper lip start screaming because the lip is much more sensitive to burning flesh than the finger. I am screaming and trying to wildly flick off the chocolate while shuffling to the  sink with out spilling off the other cookies with out tripping over the dog. The dog is always under my feet every time I cook and she is always hoping for a situation exactly like this. She is  looking up at me with the happy anticipation of eating 24 warm chocolate chip cookies off of the floor. She has already been hospitalized for chocolate poisoning so I am shuffling across the kitchen trying not to trip over her, I end up nudging her along with my legs.  I finally make it to the sink and stick my finger in a soaking pan.

I realize that my lip is numb. This whole ordeal took less than 10 seconds but it seemed much longer and in cinematic slow motion. I finally cleared space on the counter top to put down the cookie sheet and transferred the other cookies with out incident. A few minutes later my husband came home from work and leaned over to give me a kiss and said "Wow, that's a big cold sore!" I ran to the bathroom to the bathroom mirror and found I am now the proud owner of a blister the size of a dime on my upper lip.

So this is goodbye. I am never leaving the house again. But at least I'll  have cookies.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doing the ADVOCARE 24 Day Challenge

Day one:

Wake up, quickly mourn the loss of candy, alcohol, and carbs. Then go to the kitchen to make your delicious fiber drink. Fiber Drink that tastes like mulch.  You open up a pack and pour a substance that looks like instant oatmeal into a glass and add water. It's honestly like drinking fine mulch. The taste is like a citrus saw dust with a dash of tree bark. The good news is that you have to keep diluting the drink to be able to swallow it that by the time you are done you've had like 3 glasses of water!

Then in 30 minutes you eat a piece of fruit and my favorite part of the cleanse. CRACK DRINK! Tastes like Crystal Light, fires up the body like liquid electric sunshine!  BUB-BAAM! Then I have two more glasses of water. Then you spend the rest of the morning in the bathroom. No! Then mid morning you have steel cut oatmeal or 2 to 3 eggs. Or if you are me you get hungry and realize that you forgot to boil eggs and quickly toss 12 eggs into a pot with water and watch like a ravenous fox at a chicken coop. I wait as long as I can then remove two somewhat cooked eggs, call them soft boiled, desperately eating them wanting to lick the shells, but declining the urge in case the neighbors can in fact see into the house.

This is all my fault. I didn't broil chicken breasts (I was broiling them as I boiled the eggs) nor did I boiled eggs the day before as suggested. I spent the day before gorging on rice crispy treats, wine, and submarine sandwiches.

Also on this the first day am still getting used to the timing and am off schedule by a few hours. When you are only eating a little bit, you need to regulate your intervals. Not like before when I was snacking on crap food all day. On the other hand snacking on junk food all day did stop hunger pains Sadly that bad eating did lead to me gaining about 20 pounds, leaving me up about 50 pounds from where I would like to be.

After my raw eggs, I took two Omega Plex pills and started taking pictures of items that I am selling for people on EBAY. This is a blog about my new career as an antique dealer. I am selling  lot of jewelry on EBAY. My user name is...wait for it....Lydiadustin....I am so creative. Mention the blog and I'll give you a special deal.

Took pictures, peed, drank more water, peed, peed again cleaned up dog diarrhea, peed and partook in other stay-at-home-mom drudgery. Then it was MEAL TIME! I made a  gorgeous broiled chicken breast salad, with organic greens, heirloom mini tomatoes, organic black beans, and had no idea what to make for dressing. I couldn't use my standby OVOO and Balsamic dressing, so I tried to make an oil, dairy, salt free dressing. Cider vinegar, lemon, garlic, orange, and yellow peppers, onions, a hint if tabasco. Shoved it all in the vitamix and made red vomit delight.  I thought about the starving children in third world countries and ate it.

Then I message my "want to be"  best friend Mary Allison and ask what she puts on her salad. To which she replies the magic two words every salad wants to hear, "Olive Oil" also other stuff I didn't know that I was allowed to have, like Dijon mustard. I am so happy that I put olive oil and Dijon mustard right into the bowl atop the salad and mix it all up. 100% Better!

Then it's all up hill. Snack is fresh almond butter from with 2 more pills,
Whole Foods on a brown rice no salt rice cake and another CRACK JUICE. My husband came home and instead of being grumpy I made him dance with me in the kitchen.

For dinner I hand him a package of hot dogs and some buns for he and the kids. I make poached tilapia with lemon garlic and mustard and steamed broccoli. HEAVEN!

Then I eat a grapefruit for a snack, more water, and 3 pills before bed an VOILA DAY 1 DONE!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Priceless Family Heirloom Found in Recipe Box

Going through my mother's recipe box this morning. The antique brown box was my grandmother's, then my mother's and now mine. I love looking at the browning cards written in the hand of the women who have come before me. The last recipe tucked in the back of the box is typed on a computer and printed on modern copy paper. The recipe is titled "200 year Old Pie Crust Recipe" With a note that reads. "You usually have to Marry into my family or be a blood relative to get this recipe, but I am getting on in years and if you are holding this, I must love you very much. Love Aunt Mary"

I burst into tears standing there at my kitchen counter. My Aunt Mary the maker of the best pies that anyone has ever tasted. Her pies made every Thanksgiving epic. My Aunt Mary, like me also the youngest child often forgotten in a chaotic home of children who always demanded more attention. My selfless Aunt Mary who dropped out of her own life to move to Cape Cod to care for my dying mother when she was dying from cancer. My kind loving Aunt Mary who used to calm my guilt and fear over the phone in those dark days. Having two young school aged children at home made driving the one and a half hours to Cape Cod impossible during the week. I always felt horrible not to be the one nurturing my sick mother. I wanted to drive her to chemo, hold her hand and fetch her ice chips when she felt nauseated.

My mother, Aunt, and their 5 other siblings were all raised in the old school Irish culture of stoicism. In my mother's case perhaps it was her fierce Independence. She used to say "Honey, I love you, but I don't want to see you everyday." In reference to my Aunt Dilla whose children checked in almost daily and mostly lived with in a short ride to her front door. I know that she meant that she had a life that she loved being Alice the individual, apart from being a Alice the mother and grandmother. She loved us and adored her grand children, but she had been stifled by my sister's mental illness and her difficult first marriage and she was finally free. She had earned her freedom and her autonomy and I respected her for that.

My friend who will remain nameless was horrified and livid when her parents moved to our town from her home state to be near her and her family. They actually moved into the newly built 55 and over community located right up the street from my house. When the homes were under construction I jokingly asked my mother if she and her husband would consider moving there. She laughed and said that the only way she was leaving Cape Cod was feet first in a box. I was so jealous of my friend's parent's devotion.

I adored my mother, I idolized her. She was a brilliant retired college professor, novelist, poet, traveler, student of the world, friend to many, loved by all. She never understood that growing old and retiring meant slowing down. She viewed her retirement as freedom to pursue her insatiable curiosity and passion for life. Which is amazing! Unless you are the kind of daughter like me who secretly yearned for a sweet loving mommy whose whole life was dedicated only to her family.

A mom like my Dilla who was entwined in her children's and grandchildren's daily lives. Or Aunt Mary who always takes the time to really know people. When she talks to you she really listens. She is present and when she is with you you have her all to yourself. She seemed to be able to freeze the crazy fast paced world and just be a safe place to unburden your heart. When she asks you how you are she really wants to sit down and hear the details of your day. I loved spending time with my mom, don't get me wrong. My mom never belonged to me. She belonged to the world: her friends, extended family, her church, communities of writers & poets, her charities, and to the books that lived unwritten in her mind. She knew that life was too short and too precious too waste time doing one thing at a time.

However I want to be like Aunt Mary. I want to nurture and feed the souls of my family and the other people in my life. I want to be a legacy of love and time well spent connected- being present with people. I want to give people the greatest gift in the world. Being really seen and understood. That's why I sell antiques. Let me explain.

Yes I am an antique appraiser. I know the auction value of most of the items you have in your house. People often don't realize that I got into this business because I honor and respect that people's family heirlooms are incredible important to them. The word heirloom means "a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations". Some of these object's actual value for the owner can't be measured in dollars. Yes I can help them get rid of unwanted items that they don't like or do not have the room for anymore. I become the caretaker that finds their treasures a home where their objects can have a new life and be loved and appreciated again. I also always try and pass on at least a line or two about story behind each object. I sell antiques because I honor and respect people and their heirlooms.

Before my mother passed away she gave me two crystal vanity jars that belonged to my great-grandmother. They have no monetary value, but I keep them on my dresser, where I see them every day. They are one of my most treasured belongings. I remember when she gave them to me I cried, because I was being trusted to care for jars that my great grandmother used everyday. I never knew her but I felt close to her. Lena Thompson had held these jars over a hundred years ago, I could almost feel her in the room with us. This was our family history in my hand. My non sentimental mother who never much understood the importance of things was surprised by my reaction. She said she had no idea that they would mean so much to me.

Aunt Mary has always listened to me and she truly knows me. She knows that I above all would treasure her recipe like the priceless family heirloom that it is. My hope is that when I start my business. that I will never be too busy to remember the every person deserves to be seen and really heard. That every object brought into my auction house no matter it's sale price is someone's 200 year old pie recipe.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

 So once their was woman who landed her dream job working at a high-end auction house in Massachusetts. For one of those Antique Road show guys no less. She was cataloging Tiffany lamps, rare pottery, fine art, Louis Vuitton trunks filled with Victorian clothing,  furs, hats, bins and of fine jewelry, watches, and  sterling. She was living her inner-gay-man's fantasy. Every work-day was her play-time. As a wife, and mother to 2 children being at the auction gallery was heaven. She used to describe her work as "being in a museum where I can touch everything."

The main character in this story loves old stuff. No, not just the "special" brand-name items that sell for lots of money. Our main character loves old things. She loves them because every object holds history and gives insight into that moment in time of which it was made. Also more importantly each object tells her a story.

Here is one of the objects stories:

I found a bible like this at a rummage sale. The publishing date was 1840. What made this bible special was that the front inside cover had an inscription by the original owner describing how he carried this bible to church in NYC. He carried this bible as he basically walked across Manhattan every Sunday to attend church. Then on the other side of the page were the names and dates of all of the owners in their own hand. The bible was passed down for generations. Such an important treasured family heirloom.  I couldn't just leave it in a box of books. So I bought it.

I was planning on using it as my own personal bible. However the book was so old and delicate. The pages were brittle and the cover was loose. I couldn't sell this book, because I felt that it was too special and needed to be appreciated.

I noticed at my church that my friend Amy had a book shelf filled with old bibles. I asked her about it and she told me that she adopts old bibles and gives them a home.

The next time I was in the building I left the bible for her wrapped in tissue on her desk with a note. I didn't hear anything more about the book until last Sunday. Sunday 1/26/14.

She told me that she found the books owner! She showed the bible to her co-worker pastor Jodi. Jodi recognized the rather odd surname inscribed in the book and told Amy that members of our church have that sir name.

Jodi contacted the family and asked if the names in the book were their family. THEY WERE! The family was stunned. They never knew that this book ever existed.

The family's father was still alive, but very elderly with dementia.  They believe that the book went to another ancestor that has passed away and the book must have got donated by accident. They were thrilled to have their family treasure back in the family.

Every Object tells a story. As auctioneers, re-sellers, and antique dealer's, we need to love and respect these objects and respect the people who's lives these special objects are a part.

That's why she, me, I quit my dream job and have decided to open my own place. A place where people come first and every object is special. :)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ultimate Crappy Princess Castle

Was very nervous about buying ultimate dream castle as all reviews said that it was a piece of crap. A large 50+ pieces put together yourself piece of $140.00 expensive crap. I bought it. She opened it with glee and bliss! Has spent the last 2 days complaining that the thing is falling apart. Fell apart as we were putting it together.

My daughter is 7 and she does have a little bit of common sense. She after all is the one nags at me to stop talking with my hands while driving, or driving with my knees while applying lipstick, but that's a different blog. She does have common sense. I told her that her castle is not good quality and that if she were to return it we could use the money to buy her something else that won't fall apart. Something seriously good, like a great new bike, or a small ipod. She agrees that her new toy is making her very upset and playing with it is way too frustrating.She perks up and I start to dismantle the crappy castle. The good news is that this toy is so cheaply made that it falls apart easily. I take the whole thing apart in less than 15 minutes. Remember that 2 hours to set up and about 13 minutes to dismantle.

Well you know what happened. I get everything into the box and she starts crying that she changed her mind. Not only has she changed her mind, but since I took the castle apart, that I should put her castle back together. I refuse to put her castle back together. She refuse to stop crying. Eventually I start to cry. She stops and Dad puts the castle back together the next day.

See, haven't missed to much since I've been gone.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lydia Is Blazing New Trails Looking FOr Old Things

Lydia oh Lydia everyone’s favorite outrageous stay-at-home-mom has traded in her sweatpants for dress pants and housework and her work for the auction house. After a faithful meeting with  a nationally known appraiser who you might recognize from Antique’s Road Show, she enters the madcap world of high end antique auctions. Come along as she and the auctions houses fantastic characters hunt for treasure, the extraordinary and the strange.

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