Sunday, December 23, 2012

A New Spin On An Old Game Spells Out Nostalgia ...And Profit!

   Most of you will remember what an Atari is, some of you may not. Let me enlighten you if you are part of the latter.

        Back in my youth,  33 years ago , this was the XBOX, the Playstation  and the Nintendo. It was the pinnacle of home entertainment and if you had one, you were in bliss as were all the  neighborhood kids taking up residence in your floor. If you didn't,  you were on of the neighborhood kids.

            Home electronics were not an everyday occurrence unless you counted your Floor model COMPACT television set or mom and dads almond colored coffee pot made by Norelco. Our Ipods were the size of a desktop computer and were usually found resting somewhere on the shoulder.There were no armbands to accommodate jogging with our boom boxes though.

        Before the Atari came along, your video gaming activities was severely limited because you had to go elsewhere to play them. The  gas station, 7-11,  skating rinks, laundry mats and pool halls were all adorned with them .But when you were a child your ability to play them was severely hampered by three things. Your transportation, your parents, and your finances.

           You had to pay to play for each game, each and every game. If you lost a heated battle with an angry centipede or an asteroid came out of no where  and blew your space ship into a thousand pieces, the clock of DOOM would begin counting down while you scrambled for another quarter.
        Sometimes one would run out of quarters and would hit breakneck speeds across the laundry mat in hopes that your dear old mom would sympathize and flip you another quarter before the clock ran out. Lots of times you would hear the dreaded  "No More"  or  " That's Enough ".At this point would  usually resort  to searching the coin returns of  the soap dispensers and vending machines in hopes that you would find another quarter.
     Atari brought to us the endless joy that we could not experience anywhere else.You could play all you wanted without the  fear of running out of money or mom and dad telling you it was time to go now. You didn't have to wait in line or leave halfway through a game as mom finished  up at the store. It Was Freakin Awesome!     


                                                      CONNECTING THE DOTS

      It was around a week ago that I walked into Family dollar with Cris to get some things and seen this sitting on the shelf. My  Heart lept and I had a rush of nostalgic Euphoria as it brought fond memories of pixelated Pong , Battle Tanks, and Asteroids rushing back. Oh the endless Bleeps and Blips of Bliss !
      It hit me like a ton of bricks!" I'm not the only kid to feel this way about that game, except , I'm not a kid anymore, and neither are they" . They have jobs now, and money.  I like money..  Checking my handy dandy smart phone revealed Demand, HUGE DEMAND!  There were easily an average of 15 bidders on each Atari flashback closing within the next hour.The lowest price they were closing at was at least TWICE Family dollars offering of $32. There were even closed auctions within the last 24 hours of $125 or more on a BUY IT NOW . Buy it now is an auction style where you allow the customer to bypass the bidding and buy it for your asking price. I set mine on a 3 day auction and started it at .99 cents with free shipping .Im glad I did because It sold today for $69, I think Ill let that buyer  buy me an  Atari  now.    Merry Christmas Everyone. We'll talk next Next Week!

   Ps these are still selling hot but you gotta move them fast. They sell great on a one day auction and start your listing at .99 cents to engage bidders and encourage them to bid on yours.Then they get caught up in the bidding .( emotional bidders) Anything past this weekend I would advise your to check what the markets doing before buying any as all markets change on a regular basis. You can accomplish this one Ebay by using the "refine" button > type atari flashback 4 , then click refine, and check the completed and sold items box.This will show you at what price they have recently closed at. Good Luck!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Home Run! Cha Ching! How I made $170 today while sitting in my easy chair.

I'm very excited today because  I was able to turn a pair of old shoes I plucked from a box marked FREE  into $170! Hungry for more?

                               REAL OR FAKE ? ----WHO CARES?

       It was roughly 5 days ago when I was in a local second hand store looking for my next fix. It seemed like I was having to look too hard to find something worth flipping. Usually, when I feel like this, I tell myself its time to go. It doesn't happen often, but if you find yourself doing this it usually means to walk away. For me , it must have meant I was trying too hard because just as I began to leave, an old card board box full of old shoes stopped me. It was marked FREE  with black marker. Naturally , this is the first thing that my eye was drawn to because Ive learned free means opportunity without risk. Heres what I came out with.
   Please keep in mind the fact that Cris really cleaned these up before the picture was taken.I wish I would have taken a before picture but honestly I didn't see anything there at the time. The shoes were high tops and were bent over in half . DIRTY and CRUDDY dosent even begin to describe how bad these shoes were.

    These shoes are made in Italy by the GUCCI company and they are EXTREMELY expensive. I knew that they were a designer shoe but I had no real understanding of just how much a Gucci price tag demands.
       After a little Internet research I was aware of two things:

     #1   Gucci is expensive and therefore they are copied by knock off companies that produce fakes.

    #2   It can be rather difficult to tell the difference between  a real and a fake.
  • Have serial Numbers? Check.
  •  Feels like leather? Check.
  • Says "Made in Italy " on the inside insert? Check.
  •  Handsticthed " Crap i dont know. CRIS!"
 Needless to say Cristal knows her sewing but neither of us could really tell even though I know she wanted them to be real .
          I decided to list them on EBay starting at $29.oo  with a buy it now price of $170 ( just in case ). I didn't want to ruin my seller rating which is your credibility with potential customers. I took lot of  detailed pictures and described them as accurately as I could, explaining what the serial number was emphasizing how worn out they were and made sure to state that I couldn't guarantee they were authentic because I just didn't know.
        The only thing I neglected to leave out was the fact that I got them for free. I left that out because nobody , regardless of the value of the shoes, wants to think they are buying someone Else's junk. Or that your making money off of them. They like value like anyone else.
         I still don't know if they were real or not but it matters not to me because this morning someone clicked the " Buy It Now Button"  for a cool $170 ! They slipped right past  the other 4 people who were slowly bidding them up at $40 . They then paid for them 5 minutes later. I'm a happy man today! Keep your eyes open you never know where they might show up!

                                         SOME OF MY OTHER CLOSED AUCTIONS TODAY

   Don't worry , I had never heard of FOOBLITZKY either. Apparently it an early computer game that flopped hard after being released by computer company  Infocom. It actually has some history behind it that can be found on wikipedia. Remember the huge Floppy discs? This one was made for IBM.
    Some of the games were made for Apple too and some of them are selling for $150.Mine was missing the dry erase markers  and the box is absolutely trashed. I disclosed its condition in my auctions description so I wouldnt run into any unhappy buyers.. It set me back .50 cents at Goodwill. It sold today for $24.99!

                           Infocom computer game SOLD   $24.99
                                                                   PAID   $ 0.50
                                                       shipping/fees     $6.15             
                                                                 PROFIT $18.34 !                         


                        The Columbia Jacket  -AN Example Of What Not To Do

Lesson #15 - Learned this week. When you find a NICE  item , make sure you can photograph it properly. That way you can show the world how special it is.
I was very excited when I found this jacket on the rack for $3.99.It was different and it had the name "Columbia" On the jacket. I know Columbia clothes to be rather pricey anyways but this was different because it also had  Verizon embroidered on the front. It also had two embroideries on the back. One said USA LUGE and the other Official USA BOBSLEDDING TEAM 2012 !  Im going to make this short and sweet:   If you cant provide the right kind of lighting to photograph your treasures . WAIT UNTIL YOU CAN . The patches were not clearly shown here and I feel i could have done a LOT better here. This could have very well have been an Olympic  team members jacket worn during the 2012 olympics. From what we gathered it probably was. Moving on,.

Sold  $30.49
Paid $3.99
Shipping and fees $9.00
            Profit  $17.50 !



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Free Shipping Materials From The Post Office

I can still remember how excited I was when I sold my first item on eBay.I needed extra cash and had too much junk laying around.I knew there was no where to sell  most of the items I was willing to part with. A couple of broken laptops that were being used for doorstops some old PlayStation games to a system  that no longer worked, etc. Our Great Dane puppy had done serious damage to the laptop computer when he decided to chew the keys off of it. Then the visiting grand kids ensured the job was complete when they did a double footed landing off the bed and smack dab in the middle. The laptop was trashed, but it still had useful parts, and somewhere, someone, needed those parts. A light bulb went on in my head and I checked EBay for broken computers.
       Sure enough, the parts market was thriving , there were broken laptop computers auctions closing every few minutes with a slurry of bidders fighting over them. I seen one worse than mine go for  THIRTY SIX DOLLARS !  Thirty Six was a good number for me. Much better than tossing it in the trash and having the garbage man charge me to haul it to the dump. I took a few quick pictures of the laptop from all angles and tried to describe it as accurately as possible while being honest about its condition. That's when I arrived at the " Set Shipping Options" part.  "What?" I was clueless on how to ship .Fast Forward a month later and here's what I'm doing now.
              The United States Post Office will GIVE you FREE shipping supplies as long as you ship Priority Mail. This is now the way I ship 98% of my items sold.  Priority Mail comes with FREE tracking and delivery confirmation so you can track your package all the way from your house to the buyer from your smart phone or computer! You do like free don't you?

          Did I mention its also FAST?  Priority Mail  ships 2-5 business days and fast shipping means happy customers.You can pick up boxes, cartons, bubble padded envelopes, DVD and Game boxes free of charge at any local post office.Whats more, theres no limit to how many you can take and if going to the post office is too much work for you, like it is for me, you can go directly to their site and order the shipping supplies delivered TO YOUR DOOR IN BULK AT NO COST!  You don't even pay shipping! Last week alone we ordered 5 types of shipping boxes and 2 types of mailers in bulk lots of 25 each .It was as painless as pushing the order button on my smart phone.
    If FREE boxes shipped to your door FREE of charge isn't enough to sell you.Here are two more tasty morsels. THEY WILL ALSO GIVE YOU FREE ROLLS OF PRIORITY TAPE!

  You have just removed the expense of shipping materials ( minus packing ) and put the united states post office to work for YOU delivering YOUR boxes to YOUR door-step when YOU tell them to. And all you had to do was take your smart phone out of your pocket and click "more please "  .. Caviar anyone?
    There is a catch, the tape is for use with Priority shipping boxes only. This works great for me, because that's how I ship.I do keep a roll I had to buy around in the rare case I decide to ship another method.
          There are two types of Priority Mail boxes, Flat Rate and Regular. They look Identical except "Flat Rate" is printed directly on the flat rate boxes.The difference between the two is that a flat rate ships for the same amount no matter how heavy the object or where its going. IF IT FITS IT SHIPS! This greatly simplifies the whole shipping process and is the way to go for anything going a long ways or something that is really heavy or for the convenience of it all.
     The other option is Regular Priority.These boxes do not have Flat Rate printed on them and are assessed by their dimensions and weight.Sometimes you can save your buyer a little money if they're really close by shipping this way. EBay has a great shipping calculator built in that allows you to play with both options BEFORE committing to the way you want to ship the package so you can see what your Best option is. The last thing I'd like to mention is if you oder your shipping materials through the Usps Ebay site, they will send you Priority Mail EBAY CO-BRANDED BOXES at no cost! This adds a great deal of profesionalism tp your buisness because the boxes are printed with the EBay logo right on them !

The Heart Of The Ebay Project

 So far I've showed you some great ideas that have been good money makers for me. Some of you may be doubting your ability to do the same thing.Well, I'm hear to tell you that you can do the same thing with little risk. Risk is something I just really have begun to understand. Its all around us and its in everything we do, from financial decisions to climbing into your car to go to school or work.There is always some degree of risk involved.
  By getting behind the wheel of your car you are taking risk of injury , risk of damage to your vehicle, risk of hurting someone else or that someone else could hurt you if they cross a yellow line.
  When you eat food from a store or restaurant , you absorb the risk of becoming ill because your food is tainted or improperly handled or packaged. Even doing the dishes involves risk, you could burn yourself or cut your hand on a broken glass if your not careful. THE RISK IS THERE, but you manage it. You ACCEPT it. You commit to doing the dishes and then you test  the water to ensure its not too hot for your hands, You wash the glasses carefully and take care in putting them away.When driving your car, You've engaged in risk and are actively trying to manage it by observing traffic patterns and lights, doing the speed limit when possible and hitting the brakes when  the not so safe driver in front of you cuts you off.
  Everything in life involves risk, but without it, we would curl up into a little ball and never leave the house. You would never fly an airplane, drive a car , or eat a greasy hand tossed pizza prepared by  Italian Joe down at the pizzeria. Buying and selling on EBay involves risk too, but I'm finding , the risk is minimal. At the heart of the EBay project is my new prepaid smart phone from straight talk.It costs me $45 a month for a phone card with unlimited texting and phone useage and Data ( internet) The best part is .. I have the cdma version , so it runs on th everizon network!
This is the one I use. Ive been doing most of my ebaying from this phone.It sends me buyers questions, allows me to leave feedback, alerts me with a cha ching! when someone buys something and money is transferred to my account and so much more!
   I take this phone with me everywhere I go.The great thing about the mobile EBay application, is that you can be standing next to any item at the store and scan  the bar code or type in the items name and see what the going rate is for the same item on eBay is. Lots of times your going to find theres a Huge difference in the price you can get something for, and the price that you will receive for selling it to a GLOBAL market!
    The great thing about it is, I usually don't invest much money in the things i buy and certainly not if they're not selling on eBay.The things you should be looking for is closed items, or recently finished auctions.You can use the "refine" option to check what price the recent auctions for your items have closed at , how many bidders it had ( demand ), how many are available ( supply) and make an educated decision as to the items or items profitability or if you can make enough money to make it worth your time.What a GREAT MARKET research tool I have in the Palm of my hands.! Fell free to ask questions or leave posts or comments if you need help with the free eBay mobile app or tips and hints of any kind.!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Light Box -How To Take Awesome Product Photos

 Recently I noticed a glaring difference in my auction photos and that of other successful EBay Sellers that I am modeling after.There photos were way better than mine.They showcased their merchandise with a professional looking picture.Not like mine, spread out on the bed or kitchen table. Nothing but contrasting color in the background so that they eye is drawn to the most important part of the picture. The item they want you to buy! Not how messy that persons house is, or the cat or dog in the background, or the glare of the camera flash. After i did a little digging I figured out their trick. They were using a light tent!

    Whats a light tent? Well I'm not sure, but it sure takes much better product photos than what I was taking before and can be made from a cardboard box, some tracing paper, poster board and tape.Here is mine.
As you can see its very High-Tech! Seriously this thing is so easy to make I could have gotten my school 1st grade son to do it. I think the purpose of the light box is to soften the light and illuminate the object from all sides.In the photo you can see that  I cut out two sides and the top a little smaller than the size of the tracing paper and then taped the sheet of tracing paper over the hole. The next step is to cut some project poster board to fit the box and then lay it in with a soft slope. Do not crease it or it will show in your photos.

Lastly , you ll need a bright light to illuminate the interior of the box. After much research I found the most popular way of doing this , is with a halogen work light.I bought mine for $15 bucks down at Ace Hardware on clearance.

As you can see, it provides plenty of light but these things get EXTREMELY HOT really fast so take care not to burn yourself. When you are ready to take photos of your eBay items just point the light at the tracing paper and view the results inside the box.You can adjust and play with the lighting by looking at the results through your camera. If your not a do-it -yourself er , you can opt to buy a Light tent package that includes the tent and several halogen lights so you can light from all sides and above.They are sold pretty inexpensively all over eBay.

Before Light Box


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Red Neck Wine Glass Gold

Today I'm going to let you in on a little secret I've been harboring for the last few weeks. The picture to the left, in case your not familiar with this species of glass, is a Redneck Wine Glass.Because of them Ive been basking in the fruits of my labor
(or the lack thereof)  for the last 3 weeks. There is a craze for these things right now! Ive sold everyone Ive made and at times its hard to keep up.I raised the price to control the demand and it didn't work, America is going crazy for a little piece of Red Neck authenticity.But here's the truth. THESE THINGS ARE EASY TO MAKE AN INCREDIBLY PROFITABLE! Check it out.

I took the picture above in my handy dandy light box ( glorified cardboard light tent ) and tested the ebay waters and BANG !I HIT  PAY DIRT!. I know nothing good last forever and that's the way the market swings so I'm not concerned about sharing my secret with you so you too can turn one dollar bills into $10's  Ready for this?
Here's the recipe ... Go to the dollar tree.You know the place where everything is just $1? Get 1 dozen candle glass candle holders. Then run over to walmart and grab a dozen  Ball Mason jars at $7.99 per dozen.Lastly , go all the way back to the crafting area where they sell hot glue sticks and beads and grab a tube of this stuff. It runs all of $3 or so. It bonds glass to glass and dries clear in 24 hours.Go home and join the two and you've just turned $24 into $120 +! averaging  $20 a set. i sell them in sets of two and charge $8 bucks shipping and find it difficult to keep up.Please remember that EBay is an ever changing market place and can change without notice so do a search first so you don't lose your butt! From now until New Years I don't see any problems.Good Luck! See Below for a look at our last batch drying.Also allow a full 24 hours of drying before don't want them to come apart on your customer. I haven't had a single complaint yet and have even managed to sell them locally for $15 a piece!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Back To The Grind

The past week reminded me that Life isn't always what you make of it.Sometimes Life has its own plans. Life it seems, decided to kick me in the teeth this week and left me with a stinging reality.Our lives are not our own. No matter how hard we try to keep the world at bay it will always find away to creep back in. Our family has endured life's lesson this week, but we did not come out unscathed. However, It has brought us closer together and allowed us to remember what is  really important. Especially this time of the year. Happy Holidays everyone.

                                                  BACK TO THE GRIND

    This week proved to be profitable for the small amount of money that I had invested.I didn't have a lot of time time to put into eBay this week because of home demands.Thank God this is kind of a passive income once you get it started. Even though a million other things were happening at home this week, and I pretty much had to drop the whole project, the work I had done the previous two weeks kept paying off. My phone kept making the Cha Ching noise every time someone made a purchase. It was a comforting sound at a time when we really needed the money. Have a look at what sold this week.

                                              THE UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER

This sweater was ugly but  the pictures just don't do it justice. Let me explain.
During the holidays more and more people are joining together to celebrate a growing fad , The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. The center piece? The UGLIEST sweater you can find.I hear they're a hoot and would love to attend one.For now, I'll just supply the sweaters.Where would you find an ugly Christmas sweater? This one was found at Goodwill for $2.99.
This old sweater netted me a 10 spot with little effort. The sweater was literally hand stitched by some little old lady for an ungrateful family member I would imagine. The threads were loose and it looked like it was shedding everywhere.No one else in their right mind would have bought it.But I did. Here's the math:

SOLD              $21.58
Paid                     $2.99
shipping cost        $5.15
EBay/Paypal fees $1.60  
PROFIT             $11.84


This was my Favorite Pick last week and you'll soon see why.I walked into Goodwill and found 3 of these gems laying stacked one on top of another for $2.99 each . I knew what they were because this toy was popular when I was a child. It was immortalized when E.T used one to hook up to an umbrella and phone home.
I thought "Man , you don't see those around anymore. Cha Ching!"
A quick check of EBay from my smart phone revealed that they were averaging $40 each! I grabbed up all 3 and placed them oh so carefully into my cart. I felt a sense of pride welling up from within as I thought. Ha ! If I sell all three of these at $40 Bucks a pop That's more than a days wages for me at work!
Well, I sold 2 of them so far and  I just listed the third one today.The first auction hadn't even finish when I got a personal message from a guy in Los Angeles asking If I had another besides the one that everyone was fighting over. That man paid me $95 total to Fed ex it to him. Leaving me with a Cool Profit of $60 bucks ! This morning the 1st auction closed at $56. I still have one more to sell and just listed it, I bet your asking  yourself why anyone would pay $60 bucks for a relic like that huh? It seems there are very popular bands out there that are "bending" or "modifying the circuits to use them as instruments in dance music.You can check them out on You-Tube! 
            Speak n Spell       SOLD              $115               (for 2)
                                      Paid   $5.98
                                      PROFIT  $109.02  !

1 more to sell !

                                                                GOT        INK?


 Here's another item that was picked up while at Goodwill. Two unopened packages of Kodak printer Ink.If you have a printer at home then you already know that sometimes printer ink is so expensive to refill, that its actually cheaper to buy another printer with the ink already included and toss your old one out.While I don't advocate filling the landfills with your printers every 30 days, we live in a throw away society. This is why I knew this would be a good pick. Please take heed : not all inks are created equal and some have expiration dates. You are not allowed to sell expired goods on EBay so please do your home work first.
Kodak Printer Ink cartridges   SOLD  $20.50
                                                Paid     $1.99
                                            EBay fees $1.60
                                               shipping $3.00   PROFIT   $13.91  !

                                                            Converse All Stars

 In case you didn't know, converse All Stars have been around for a LONG time and have a HUGE following, used or not.I'll just skip to the good part here.Picked them at Goodwill  off the women's shoe rack at a cost of $2.99.If you do this, make sure the shoes are in great shape with little to no wear.

                                                            All Stars SOLD $21.99
                                                                                Paid $2.99
                                                                          Shipped $7.35
                                                                               Fees $1.90    PROFIT   $9.75 !
                                                                         (Lets see your Mutual Fund do that in a week on $2.99)

                                                   Skechers Exercise Shape Up Shoes

These Skechers Shape Ups seem to be a recurring theme at our local Goodwill. I scored two pairs in the same day that looked brand new.I believe they are supposed to help firm up the Lady's rear quarters while they walk and are classified as an exercise shoe.At any rate  they are in demand! Women everywhere are looking to get rid of their holiday meals around this time of the year.

Skechers Shape Up Shoes   SOLD  $24.99
                                               Paid    $2.99
                                             shipping $7.35
                                                                                     Fees $2.10   PROFIT   $12.55 !

Another Day, Another Dollar

Yesterday I told you about the angel ornament and the ceramic Christmas tree that we found at a yard sale. They both brought gave us a good return.I had also mentioned that I picked up  a ceramic Santa figurine I paid a dollar for. The santa was in its original box packed in styrofoam.

  I could tell that Santa was an older collectible because of the fade in the box and he was.I listed him on ebay with a starting bid of  .99 cents. Why ? Everyone wants something for nothing, and I knew I wouldnt lose anything if it the auction closed at .99cents because I only paid a dollar.
  The auction recently closed with the winning bidder gettiing our Santa for just .99 cents. However,
my shipping price was set  at 12.99.Its only going to cost me $6 to ship.  Not a huge win but were moving forward.                                               

                                                      Santa collectible  sold     .99 + $12.99 shipping
                                                                                             Paid    .99 cents
                                                                             actual shipping   6.99
                                                                          EBay/Paypal fees  1.25   =   $4.76 Profit

Heres some more closed auctions from this week.

     Sold       $9.59
  Paid -        $0.99
  shipped-    $5.35
 Ebay Fees- $0.86    Profit  -  $2.39

We could have shipped this cheaper and I'm sure well get better with that, but it was only one of several auctions that closed that day and we had our hands full.We decided to make shipping easy and just shoved it in a flat rate padded envelope. somebody bought these to do christmas crafts in case your wondering.

  You may remember drinking out of these things when you were a kid in the late 70's early 80's. They were jam and jelly jars made by welch's and had cartoon characters on them. I bought 5 of them at Goodwill for  $0.59 each 5 x0.59 = $2.95 for the set.

Sold         $17.06
 Paid          $2.95
Shipped     $8.00
Ebay fees   $1.53   Profit    $4.58 
 I am definatly going to have to learn the economy shipping , It would certainly maximize profits.

   Vintage Nymphenburg Collectible

 Sold          $18.99
   Paid        $ 2.99
 Shipped     $ 7.00
 EBay fees   $1.70   Profit    $7.30



Sunday, December 9, 2012


Some exciting news from the home front here. It has been a very hectic week for us here but its ending quite nice . I caught more than a hand full of eye-rolls from Cris as I explained my crazy ideas of how I thought I could make something from a lot of nothing. So far she has humored me and allowed me leash enough to follow my gut.
   I've decided to share what I'm doing to try and make ends meet.

                                    WITHOUT FURTHER ADIEU I GIVE YOU ........

                                                     THE EBAY PROJECT


I'm so excited I don't know where to start so I'll just begin like this...

Do you like my picture? I took this picture. I'm Very proud of it because although I dont have any training as a photographer, I feel like I have an eye for what I like. I like this picture. Your probably thinking.. "Big Deal, He spelled Out the word success with scrabble tiles." Yes I did... And then I put them in the box pictured there and shipped them to a buyer who paid me $15.00 for them. I paid .050 cents for the whole board game.
   They also paid  the $5.35 for me to ship them to them.

                                      Buyer Paid   $20.35
                                     cost of game-    0.53
                                            shippin     - 5.35
                                        Ebay Fee        -.90
                                        Payal Fee        -.12      = Profit  $13.48
                                                That's Nearly an hours wages for me at my job! Your probably asking yourself why someone would pay $20 for crummy old scrabble tiles right?  It seems the tiles are a hot item on ebay right now as people everywhere are utilizing these scrabble tiles in their jewelry crafting. They make little pendants and such out of them as seen here . When I bought those tiles, I bought them at Goodwill in a complete board game for .50 cents, removed the tiles ( they dont want the board game) and bagged some profit.
  Whats interesting to me is appraently nobody told them they could go down to walmart and buy the board game for $17 new. Whats EVEN MORE  interesting is that the manufacturer's website ( Hasbro), sells replacement tiles direct  for around  $5.00 for the whole lot of 100 tiles.

I Hated To See This Angel Go

  This angel ornament was picked up while Cris was at last weeks Christmas Craft Bazaar selling her bottle lamps. The Church, a block down, was having a basement yard sale and selling cookies. The children and I had a few minutes before we were to be at a Christmas party so we set off to see what we could find.
   Upon arrival it was clear to see that this sale was definitely about the cookies because there were only  two tables and three or four junk boxes on the floor. For the most part it looked like the stuff most people throw away. A half used candle here, an unmatched pair of socks there, a box with a glove in it. Did you hear me? A box with  a single glove in it.You know, just in case you happen to have the matching one at home?
  It was the box on the ground that drew my attention. A card board flat really, the kind that a 12 pack of soda is delivered in. There in the box, was more junk..Christmas junk. Mismatching ornaments, a string of lights with half its bulbs and a bunch of miscellaneous pieces haphazardly tossed in the box. I asked the lady , "How much?" She said.. "Oh, those are five  for one dollar. Just junk really." I had the kids with me and encouraged them to get down on the floor with dad to  "see if there's anything shiny"
  We scooped up a dollars worth, each child helping to pick one and this is the gem that we came up with.
    The Angel, Marked "Hong Kong"  on the bottom, was junk when I was a kid. It was everywhere, Not anymore, everything is now marked china. I knew somewhere, someone had a good memory associated with this vintage 1980's ornament, and an affection connected to it. Maybe  not but what they Hey.. The risk is .20 cents .Ive spent more on a scratch off  lottery ticket in the past.
   On the way out,  my attention turned to a ceramic Christmas tree that looked like something my grandmother would have had sitting around on the holidays.It was 17 inches tall and marked Holland Mold on the bottom with a single X carved into it.The asking price was $15 and seemed reasonable , so I bought it. I also picked up a ceramic Santa's of the world 14" figure for a buck but first:

   I'm proud to say our little angel showed her gratitude for being rescued from that awful box of garbage because she closed in an EBay auction today for $21.93 ! That's right, she had worth to someone out there.Someone wanted her. Cris and I had a blast watching two people bid her up this week. We were really amazed and I believe they're going to be very happy with her. I really hate to see her go because I know she would have looked nice on our tree.

                                         Carolites Musical Angel  Sold      $21.93
                                                                                Paid   $    0.20
                                                                              shipping    $5.35
                                                                EBay /Paypal fees   $1.85                Profit = $14.53

                                                                The Moldy Christmas Tree

    I mentioned above that i took a risk on this ceramic christmas tree marked Holland Mold on the bottom. It was fully functional but had been chipped on the top and repaired with super glue. I was totally honest of its condition in the auctions desciption and provided lots of close up photo of the tree and pointed out the previous damage. I set the auction7 days so it would have time to gain some viewers and 

 what do you know, another good choice!

                                                  Moldy Christmas Tree SOLD    -  $65.00 !
                                                                                               Paid  -  $15
                                                                                             shipping $15
                                                                             Ebay/paypal Fees $5.20    Profit -- $29.80!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wine and Liquor Bottle Accent Lamp How-To

In This post, I'll show you how we make the Wine Bottle Accents Lamps. From here  on out , we will refer to all of them as wine bottles.I will also detail the following:

 -Where to find empty bottles

-Tools and Materials

-Preparing and Drilling your bottles

-Where to sell them.

                                                   FINDING BOTTLES
  Finding empty can be a little tricky. It's easy if you have a few laying around or have family or friends who are drinkers.You can also utilize local sources like Craigslist or Freecycle. But if your looking to make a lot of bottles you'll need a bigger source. Bars can be your best friends BUT TAKE HEED!    
      In Pennsylvania it is against Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regulations for bar owners to give you their bottles. Most will not give you the time of the day if you approach them wrong because they know it means a HEFTY fine. I'm sure other states have similar laws so it wouldn't hurt to find out first.The solution ? Make friends first. Sit down and have a beer,  or a soda if you don't drink. Then they are usually ready to let you in on a little secret. Its illegal for them to hand them to you or to let you walk out with them. However, after they've set them out in the recycle bins ,usually just outside the back door, they are yours for the taking! No digging through the trash. Most are packed neatly in the original cardboard boxes that the distributor delivered them in.Please make sure you have permission from someone at the bar first.You don't want to get in trouble over empty wine bottles.
    Explain to the owner or employee that you would like to make Christmas or holiday crafts and are in need of empty bottles.
  We usually go very early on a Monday to ensure we get plenty of bottles in one trip.The weekends are when most bars do the bulk of their business and we usually fill the trunk after just two stops.


  -When you are given permission, try to make it as painless as possible for establishment when you are gathering your bottles.By this I mean , don't come during Happy Hour looking for bottles.Instead, hit the recycle bins early in the morning before the bar opens or just after they set bottles out from the night before.This  way, you wont ruin a good thing. If done right you will have a solid supply and most likely will never had any troubles.

-Do not break bottles or rifle through their garbage ripping bags, This is one sure way to get cut off. I wouldn't utilize a bar that doesn't recycle their glass anyways.The labels will probably be ruined anyways and you don't have to, most bars recycle.Just find another.

-We have found it good practice to give a nice lamp to the bars that allow you to take their bottles just to say thanks.They are usually very grateful and can't believe you've turned their trash into something so kool!Some of the establishments we gave back to even went on to display the lamps behind their bar.This led to sales we never expected to get! That's the power of word of mouth.

                                                TOOLS AND MATERIALS

   This list is pretty minimal as it doesn't take much which is why these things are such a money maker!

 You will need:

 -An empty Bottle of course!

 -Hand drill or drill press-Variable speed is best.

 - 1/2" glass/tile bit  ( it looks like a spade.I get mine at Ace Hardware for $11.99 )

  -3 in 1 oil ( available at Ace and Walmart for around $2.99)

  -Plumbers putty ( $1.49 at Ace or Walmart)

(Picture coming soon in case  you dont know what it is)

  -1 can of Frost Glass Spray ( Walmart $4.99)

  -A string of 20 count colored or clear Christmas or craft light that plug in to the wall ( Dollar tree  -$1 per )

  -Old rags or t-shirt ripped into rags to wipe the oil off. ( free)

 -Dust Mask ( $1.29 almost anywhere)

 -Safety Glasses - Free if you already have some, otherwise the dollar tree, walmart, dollar store etc usually all have them for under $2.00.

 -A few small Pieces of scrap wood. ( you don't need much, its used to make a Jig to hold the bottle  still while drilling)

 So for a start up cost of $25 , assuming you have access to a power drill, you are in business! Even better, your first two bottles sold will put you above the break even point!

                                  PREPARING AND DRILLING YOUR BOTTLES

 I'm going to tell you what works best for me.This process has evolved with lots of trial and error and I have come to a happy place where I get the best results.That is what I will show you here

Before we get started here are a few General do's and Dont's that will save you time effort and money.Because time IS money.So is burnt drill bitsand  unplanned trips to the emergency room.

-Where you safety glasses

-Build a Jig
Its very hard to holda spinning bit on a rolling bottle!

-Take your time, dont rush drilling -
   It takes twice as long to break a bottle and then drill another to replace it

-Empty Residual Liqours prior to drilling.
     We dont want 100 proof Liquors Igniting inside the bottle as the  drill bit creates heat.

-Keep you drill bit oiled.
    I cannot stress how important this is.This to me, is the single most important aspect of the drilling process.If your bit starts to heat up , youll lose it, and your bottle.Last year, i went through 4 bits at $12 each.This year, only One. Keep those drill bits Oiled! Its cheaper than bits.

-Lastly Use a variable speed drill.
  Youll know if you have variable speed if when pulling the trigger a little barely moves the drill, and pulling it harder makes it go faster. You want to go slow! Let the bit do the work, you should not be pressing down into the bottle.


-Rush the drilling process.
      It takes time. You will gain a feel for it and it will get easier with patience. It takesme about 3 minutes  to drill a bottle depending upon the thickness of the glass.Not all bottles are the same.Some, like Grey Goose, have VERY THICK glass and take a little more time, but they are extremly sturdy and resist fractures.Other bottles such as Ice 101 will EXPLODE if you even look at it the wrong way.These differences will come very fast to you as you progress.For the record, I have never been injured drilling a bottle.Knock on wood.

-Lick your fingers
  Plumbers putty is sticky and Poison! Please read the container warning.

                                         Lets Get started!

  Inspect the bottle for defects and make sure the label is intact.No one will want to buy it if the label is wet, wrinkled, or peeling off.

   Remove the cap and dump out any residual alcohol. I leave the cap off during the drilling and I keep a container around just to dump the alcohol and used oil in.

   Place a rag or hand towel in the jig to keep from marring the bottles label and then place the bottle in your jig label down. You want to drill it in the back of the bottle so the cord comes out from behind and the lights illuminate around the product label.

  Take out enough plumbers putty to knead a small dam around the place where we will drill.This will contain the oil, aid the bit in its cutting, and keep it cool.

  Fill the damn about half full of 3 in 1 oil and place keep the bottle near by as you will need it when the bit breaks into the bottle.You will see the oil from your dam start to spill inside and you'll have to compensate by adding oil to the drill bit shaft, a little at a time to keep the bit cool.

  Go slow and steady keeping the bit moving downward at its own pace.

Don't be alarmed if you hear a crack .It doesn't necessarily mean you broke the bottle.Hopefully it just means you broke through the glaze, this is normal and drilling should  move faster from this point.

Continue drilling until the widest part of the spade bit sinks below the inside wall of the bottle.THEN STOP  YOUR DRILL , and slowly extract your drill bit.Sometimes your hole may be a little off round and you may have to turn the bit this way or that to get it out but if you try to pull it out while the drill is still on you taker a bigger risk of breaking the bottle.

 Use a rag to remove the plumbers putty and wipe the access oil off of the bottle AND THE PUTTY. The putty, unless you break your bottle, is good for an all day drilling session.

Congratulations You've just successfully drilled your first bottle! Or broke your first bottle, WHICH WILL HAPPEN, it still happens to me. YOU WILL BREAK BOTTLES. There's no way around it 100%. Just don't get discouraged and keep at it.

Now it is time to clean the bottle.You can drill several, just don't let the oil much sit too long.Place your finger over the hole and carefully fill with dish soap and warm water and cap.Keeping your finger over the hole.shake vigorously , and drain out of the top.Be careful not to get the labels wet.Rinse repeat until they're all clean.Lastly you can use a dish drainer to put the bottles upside down to air and drip dry.