Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tips from a Yard Sale Junkie

By Rachelle J. Christensen

The tulips are blooming and the yard sales are looming. Time for one of my favorite activities—yard sales!
When I moved into my house about five years ago I was able to help furnish it with finds at local yard sales. Everything from designer curtains to garbage cans, bookshelves to framed pictures were acquired for a fraction of the price I might’ve paid. I’ve been going to yard sales for years and I think there’s an elementary science to success, so I thought I’d share some of my tips with you.

Tips for Buyers:

Don’t Be Afraid to Bargain. Most people want to get rid of their stuff—hence the yard sale. Most people also aren’t very savvy when it comes to pricing. So if you think something is over-priced, don’t hesitate to make an offer. I would say roughly half the things I purchase at yard sales are the result of a little dickering.

Visit Yard Sales Early and Late. Early in the morning, you get first dibs on the good stuff. Later in the day, people are ready to close up shop and will often reduce prices. They’ll also be more open to accept counter-offers if it’s almost time for the yard sale to be over.

Carry a Notebook. Jot down addresses when you pass a sign. Organize your list of places to go by direction and create a route to travel for your yard sales.

Use Small Bills. I use an envelope with twenty one-dollar bills and then I might have a couple $5 or $10 bills for larger items. This helps in case the yard sale host doesn’t have enough change. It’s also fun to set a budget for yourself. For example, I get $12 for yard sales today, once it’s gone, I’ll go home. It’s amazing what you can buy for only $12.00.

Examine Items Carefully. Look for chips, cracks, or other defects. Be sure to ask if you can plug in anything electronic to make sure it actually works.

Wash Before Using. Even if an item of clothing or stuffed animal looks brand new, I wash everything I buy to eliminate germs, etc.

Do Your Homework. If you’re shopping for large ticket items like furniture or appliances, check local internet listings of people selling similar items to get an idea for a reasonable price. This way you’ll be aware when you find a really good deal.

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it just because it’s a great deal.

Have Fun! I enjoy going to yard sales because in less than an hour, I can usually visit five or six and spend less than $10.00 on everything from children’s books to a new shovel and garden hose.

Here's an $8.00 find from a yard sale!

Are you thinking of holding a yard sale? Here are a few tips to increase your sales success:

Take the Bargain. At the end of the day, do you want to have to haul off remains to be donated or would you rather have fifty cents for each item? Be willing to take offers from potential buyers and you’ll increase the money in your cashbox quicker.

Make it Big. If you’re going to take time to make a sign, make sure the address is bold, legible, and posted in a highly visible area. Take note of city restrictions and don’t post signs illegally. Many communities have a board, website, newspaper area, etc. for you to post details about your yard sale.

Location, Location, Location—pick a central location, well-populated area. If you have a friend or family member that lives in a better location, see if they might want to host a joint-yard sale with you.

Pricing. A good pricing rule of thumb is to mark the item to 5% or 10% of whatever you purchased it for. An example: you purchased a shirt for $20, sell it for $1.00. You purchased that bookshelf for $100.00, sell it for $10.00. Of course, this may vary according to how new your items are, or the demand, but largely this is a good rule to follow.

Use a Cash Box. Fill it with several small bills and change, especially dollar bills. Make sure that the cash box is never left unattended. Many people wear an apron and keep the money in a bag in the pockets.

Go Light on the Clothing. Unless it’s baby/kid clothes. When I see a yard sale with big piles of clothes, I steer clear. If you are going to sell clothing, arrange the items neatly and price very low, as in 50 cents or less. Baby/kids clothes are a popular item if they are clean and priced right. Use a table and fold the items for display.

Bag It. Collect used grocery bags to have on hand for purchased items.

Track Sales. Have a calculator and notebook handy to keep track of sales and other information.

Donate. If holding a yard sale sounds like too much of a hassle, consider donating. There are many places you can donate to and receive a receipt for your donations which are tax deductible.

Hopefully these tips will help you enjoy the yard sale season. There are endless treasures waiting out there at a yard sale near you just waiting to be discovered.
What great finds have you purchased at a yard sale?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cover Reveal for Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen

Today is an exciting day because I get to reveal the cover of the book behind Adri's story!
 Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things

This is book #1 in the new Wedding Planner Mystery Series by Rachelle J. Christensen and it will be released July 8, 2014, from Shadow Mountain, available in all reading formats.

For those of you who have met Adrielle Pyper and enjoyed following her crafting, recipes, and wedding tips, you'll love reading her story!

And now for the cover reveal...

It's so much fun and the artist captured the mystery, intrigue, romance, and danger lurking in the storyline!
Are you dying to know what this book is about?

About DIAMOND RINGS ARE DEADLY THINGS: Adrielle Pyper knows how to plan a wedding, and she is especially good at pleasing bridezillas. But when her biggest client and best friend is murdered just three days before the wedding, Adri’s world falls apart. She moves to the resort town of Sun Valley, Idaho, and starts from scratch. Thanks to Adri’s impeccable taste and unique style, she lands two celebrity clients, and her business seems headed for success--that is, until someone vandalizes the specialty wedding dresses she imported from overseas. The race is on to uncover a secret hidden within the yards of satin and lace before Adri becomes the next victim. With a delightful blend of mystery, toe-curling kisses, humor, and spine-tingling thrills, Diamond Rings are Deadly Things is a romantic suspense novel that will keep you turning pages long into the night.

The book is on a special pre-order sale right now!
Amazon click here
Barnes & Noble click here

What people are saying about Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things:

“I love Rachelle J. Christensen’s stories and characters, and Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things is another thrilling mystery to add to my collection. Don’t be surprised if you have to stay up all night to finish he book!”
--Rachel Ann Nunes, author of Before I Say Goodbye

Diamond Rings are Deadly Things pulled me right in from the first page and held me captive until the very end. Great characters, a compelling plot, a surprising twist at the end ... Rachelle Christensen knows how to craft a great mystery.
 - Tristi Pinkston, author of the Secret Sisters Mysteries

A cunningly crafty mystery with just the right mix of romance. Readers won't be able to get enough of Adrielle Pyper, stunning party-planner turned heroine.
--Nichole Giles, author of Descendant

Please add this book to your To-Read List here

About Rachelle J. Christensen: 
Rachelle was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho not far from the setting of her mystery Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology.  She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading. Rachelle has an amazing husband and five cute kids.  
Visit to learn more about upcoming books.

Where Else Can You Find Rachelle?


And to celebrate the new cover, there's also a $25 Paypal Cash GIVEAWAY, just use the Rafflecopter below and help spread the word:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Craft Tutorial

Hi all! 
Kristie here, from Kristie Kreates.
I've been absent the last couple months, but I'm back for this months craft tutorial.
Easter is coming quickly and today I'm going to show you how to make a cute Easter basket.

 As you can see in the picture above, these baskets can be made in any size.
When deciding on a size, it would be easiest to choose a size paper that is easily divided by 3
You will need a square piece of paper, the large one I used was 9"x9"
The tiny basket is made with a 3"x3" piece.

Divide the paper into 3 equal parts and score horizontally and vertically.
On the 9"x9" sheet, you would score at 3" and 6" on one side,
 then rotate the paper 90 degrees and score again at 3" and 6"

Using a bone folder, fold on all score lines.

Cut from edge to the score line at 1", 2", 3" 6", 7" and 8"
as shown in the picture above.

Now measure 1/2" as shown above and trim off this 1/2" piece on both sides.

Now it should look like this.

Fold up the center piece and begin bringing up the side pieces
to the center of the large center piece as shown above.

Once you have gathered them all up to the center, it should look like this.
I use a binder clip to hold them all in place, while I prepare the handle.

Cut a 1" x 9" strip of paper for the handle.

Place the handle inside the basket and pierce all layers with a paper piercing tool.
If you don't have a paper piercer, you can use a large needle.

Use brads to hold the basket and the handle together.

You now have an adorable basket to fill with Easter goodies.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and been inspired to make some 
little baskets of your own.
They are great for the Bunny to hide, use as centerpieces, candy 'dishes' or maybe for favors for a party.

Leave a comment and let me know how you would use these little baskets.
And stop over to my blog
to see what else I've been having fun with.

Until next month, have fun creating!