05.30.08

Full intentions of blogging…

Posted in Main at 3:09 pm by carrie

I’ve been drafting many blogs in my mind all week…

One about our afternoon mini-trip to the beach…
another about our trip to Duke Gardens…
One about my ocd when it comes to furniture…
I was going to share my decorating sketches…
How I had sort of entered Corporate America…
Kristina is here on Holiday… she is having fun!
The best French bakery outside of France is 10 minutes away!

I even had titles…
“Wow, I live under a rock”
“I hate commercial landlords”
“Electric fences… see what the buzz is about” aka “That dog isn’t stopping… RUN for your LIFE!”
“Furniture painting and you”
“Eat your way across the Triangle!”

And other fine attention grabbers!

Alas… stuff. You know… that stuff that oozes into your life taking all your attention.

Thank you all so much for your wonderful comments! I will be writing back soon!!!!!!
Have an awesome weekend!!!!

05.19.08

Those crazy folks at Ebay…

Posted in business-a-go-go, Main at 2:29 pm by carrie

I’ve been buying and selling on ebay for just over 8 years. I have had over 4500 transactions.

For years I would hear people complain about listing fees going up, how greedy Ebay has become and I would shrug it off because overall, I have had good luck with ebay. (Knock on wood).

But this last run of sales have been… annoying for me. Out of about 100 things listed, 10 people were giving me a hard time and three of them REALLY tried to manipulate me. One even said they were unhappy with the product and gave it away, so they couldn’t mail it back to me… but if I didn’t give them a refund, they would leave negative feedback. I thought the product and service was acceptable, especially for the bargain price they got the item at. So, I started feeling a little gun shy about the whole selling on Ebay experience.

Then today, Nathan was going to leave feedback on ebay for a seller and got this little pop-up window:



As a seller, being able to leave negative feedback for a buyer was my security net. If the buyer tried to pull a fast one or complain about something, we both knew I could leave negative “retaliatory” feedback. Ebay claims this would “scare” buyers into leaving positive feedback even when they were unsatisfied. Really? Before I purchase an item, I look at the feedback the seller has left for others… if it is smarmy, derogatory and full of *$#! symbols, I refrain from bidding. I also look at their positive feedback, for you know, clues. Ugh.

So, I read up more on the new Ebay feedback policies. Although, it’s sort of hard to understand, the bottom line is that buyers are encouraged to be more “vocal” about their buying experience, and sellers no longer have the ability to leave negative feedback for a buyer. Period. Sellers can, however, wade through the form-filling-out process and fill out “non-paying bidder” forms, “feedback extortion” forms and the like. I love forms, don’t you! Also, the way our feedback score is calculated is different. Normally, one negative feedback would not affect me, but now… if I even got ONE, my score would go down almost a full percentage point.

Sellers are complaining left and right. There are two things at work here… if your feedback rating goes under 98%, you can be dropped as a powerseller and/or your “good ebay seller” discounts can be revoked. Apparently, Ebay is going to revisit this issue in July… sort of let the dust settle and then figure out if they are going to downgrade the powersellers or not. Bottom line is, Ebay gets more money and sellers have less of a voice (those sellers are greedy anyway!)

So, the large guys selling the same stuff by the thousands may survive all the changes and fee hikes, but the little guy will not. Ebay once advertised that they sold “It”, whatever “it” was… well, in my opinion, the diversity of the Ebay marketplace is going to suffer severely for this. That “it” product at a good price is going to go away.

The other thing I noticed with this last batch of sales… people demand above and beyond your normal customer service. The items I sold were new (prices starting at 90-95% off of retail price) or gently used collectibles. I charged either shipping costs or below shipping costs with ZERO handling fees and I still got complaints on shipping costs or shipping time. When is the last time you purchased something online, got 90% off, a low shipping rate AND you got the item in less than a week?? I’m not sure where all these demands came from? Who is meeting this new customer service experience because I would LOVE to shop there! :)



Nathan pointed this model out to me once… really think about it.

1. Good… meaning, excellent quality, good condition, good shopping experience or good service.
2. Fast… meaning, delivered quickly, made quickly or on your doorstep immediately
3. Cheap… meaning, doesn’t cost a lot :)

Pick Two… because really, it’s hard to get all three. Any service… including food service…. it’s impossible to have all three.

For example…
Food. If you want it cheap and fast, chances are it’s not going to be any good.
Service. Let’s say you want fast service for something. If you get something fast and cheap, it’s probably not going to have very good quality. Or, if you want it fast and in good condition, it probably won’t be cheap.

My brain is starting to hurt. I need to go do art or draw or something :) Can someone else handle the “business side” of my business? I just want to throw glitter on stuff ;)

05.12.08

Ummm…

Posted in Main at 8:29 pm by carrie



05.09.08

Trivia…

Posted in Main at 11:30 am by carrie



You say tomato…?
I need to catch up on my American history!

Oooohhh, okay…. The Wright Brothers worked on the idea for their planes and gliders in Ohio and built them in Ohio, where they were from… but, the wind and altitude were more ideal in North Carolina for flying, so the first successful flight was here. Conceived in Ohio, born in North Carolina… who gets the credit? ;)

Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know this? :)

05.06.08

Space to create…

Posted in Main at 2:06 pm by carrie

I’m surrounded by semi-marked and unmarked boxes… I have no idea where anything is. This makes me want to curl up into a ball and hide. Funny… if these boxes were filled with new merchandise with a clean invoice it would be less intimidating. Finding a place for everything, sans all the shelving I used to have, is the chore of the week :)

I started with my jewelry desk. Currently, it’s a folding Samsonite table with curtains and a tablecloth thrown over. It’ll do… for now :)




Because it has been such a huge transition to not have a store anymore, I’ve been tucking little happy reminders of the store everywhere… like this Violets are Blue Cupcake Michelle at Mosaic Cottage made me for our cupcake swap a while back. Also, pictures of Meg and other small trinkets make my heart happy :) On the other hand, I want to find the deepest, darkest filing cabinet to hide all the old bills and tax records ;)



Never before have I been able to line up my art supplies so that I have easy access to them everyday. I used to have boxes here and there that would go back and forth from my home to the shop. I rarely knew where anything was and often would take trips in my p.j’s to the store at 2am to get a glue gun or some ribbon… now, it’s all going to be in one room! Neat!



It’s sort of hard to see, but now as I type, my view is the winding street leading up to our house… with trees and birds and sky. It’s pretty awesome. The other thing… I know when everyone is coming and going and when the neighbors are taking a walk or jog. I feel a bit like a cat perched in a window… there’s a little yellow bird… OOOH! and a red one! it’s really sort of cool :)



Here is one of my fellow commuters on the way to work… with her stuffed chicken “briefcase”

I started decorating downstairs a bit… the living room is painted a shade of burgundy, which at first, was really intimidating to me. Most of my living room “stuff” is in the green and blue family… but, with the help of some vintage hankies and a little purple, I think I was able to bring the red family into the mix.
Some beaded flowers, a poodle, a vintage compote and hankie…



Here’s one couch in the set of 2 (the other is on backorder) that we just got. I really wanted a black couch… but our dog leaves a coating of fur on black that gives it an unwanted texture (ask anyone who has been in our car after Meg). So, we opted for the “Golden Retriever” hued couch set. This is the first couch we have purchased that wasn’t from Ikea (which broke within a month of having it), or a hand-me-down (and those couches were awesome, but they were drooping, too expensive to fix and came with grocery store coupons from the late 70’s). I sort of feel like a grown-up now :)



Here is part of the kitchen with the appliances ready to go… and on top of the cabinets is my vast collection of 50’s kitchen stuff… including my nesting mixing bowl collection. I found it difficult to mix the brand new wood and granite kitchen with kitschy kitchen ware… so, it’s up on top of the cabinets for now :)

And finally…



The candy jars, swizzle sticks and candy sticks from the party. I drove those cross-country and worried about the m&m’s melting the whole way. I know I’m insane… but looking at those jars all filled up makes me happy :) And the kids LOVE it… I have 3 sleepovers lined up based on those candy jars alone.

Raleigh Flea Market… take 2

Posted in Main, outings at 1:36 pm by carrie

Found a few pictures from the Flea Market from 2 weekends ago…



05.04.08

A hydrangea sent from home with love

Posted in Main at 10:03 pm by carrie

My Mom sent me the loveliest of blue hydrangeas on Friday…


What’s so sweet about it is that it looks just like the ones from my party AND it came with a lime green grosgrain ribbon just like we had at the party. Thanks Mom! :) Now… to figure out where to put it… or what to put it in… hmmmm….

Nutmeg had a play date yesterday with Rocket. They are like 2 hard-to-tell-apart peas in a pod! :) SO cute! Goldens really do have similar personalities… even if they were born on the other side of the world… the same temperament, mannerisms and obsession with bouncey round things :)


05.01.08

Moving right along…

Posted in Main, outings at 1:49 pm by carrie

Okay… let’s see…

I have a new zip code, a new routine which is slowly forming, new things to see out my office window (oh, and an office window), a new bed (which is really taking some getting used to)… really…. most everything is different. It’s scary, frankly.

We were able to visit the Raleigh flea market over the weekend… I was semi-impressed after a good walk around. I took pictures but then found out I had a bunk memory stick in my camera. So, we got a new memory stick then visited Revival Antiques in Raleigh.

Oh. Mi. Gosh. They had AWESOME stuff at California Swap Meet-ish (give or take) prices. They had about 10 old built-in cabinets from the early 20’s from an old apartment building in Knoxville… one woman was buying 3 of them for her store. I was jealous.



They had two shop cats which were adorable and climbed into Nathan’s lap. Now, with my photographer distracted and your blog host distracted by gobs and gobs of awesome furniture, we didn’t get more pictures of their other warehouse which is about 10 times as big as the one above. No kidding. There were stacks of chairs, rows of built-ins, towers of desks and dressers, all of them waiting to be taken home… like a furniture orphanage. Joe, the owner, said that it was a side business that just took off so he quit his day job. Awesome. They have all sorts of stuff… mostly farmhouse-looking antique pieces in need of love… and they refinish them. The hot color right now is black, which I chose for our dining room table. I was going to get something smaller but I got whisked into the adventure and excitement that is Revival furniture and ordered 10 shield back chairs from the 1800’s and a table (similar to the one in the link although those aren’t ours) that matches… and they are painting them black for us. Wow. So cool :)

So, we’ll be able to entertain everyone we know in North Carolina… in one room ;)