I quit my day job!

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I quit my job on Friday.

I had given two weeks notice, of course! But this month I finally made the hefty decision to quit my day job and become entirely self employed. After almost 10 years as a cubicle jockey for Wells Fargo, I’m cutting the ties and striking out on my own. My income now will depend entirely on my Etsy shops, Ebay, craft shows, and anywhere else I can think to make a dollar.

This is a decision I’ve been wrestling with for over a year now. I’ve asked for input from every friend and family member I have, and gotten lots of different responses. But in the end it’s my decision, and I’m confident that I can make this work.

I made sure to be prepared; I paid off all of my debts, including student loans, car loan, and credit cards, so I have no debt except for my mortgage. I have a decent sized savings account emergency fund, with enough money to cover the bills for at least a year. I’ve tried to cover all the bases and give myself the best chance at success. Now I can focus on growing my business without worrying about survival.

So this is the beginning of my new adventure! Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but I’m giving myself the chance. I’m nervous, but definitely excited! πŸ™‚

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Thrifting Haul 5/23/15

What a great morning for thrifting! The weather was warm, skies were sunny, and yard sales were plentiful. πŸ™‚ We (my mother and I) hit about 10 yard sales, then swung by Goodwill as a chaser.

Here are the highlights of my haul:

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I love vintage needlework, and today I found a bunch of them!

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These are my faves; two yellow and orange flowers in deep round frames.

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This soft blue yarn was a steal at 25 cents a skein! My mother plans to use this to crochet a baby blanket.

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This vintage clown toy was at Goodwill. He is dated 1972. Needs some cleanup, but he has a great old timey look.

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I got a whole bag of these, though I’m not sure what they are. Pill boxes, maybe? I love the 1970s colors.

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I had to grab this cute old turtle. I think it’s a pincushion, though it feels odd…the puffy part feels like it’s filled with sand instead of stuffing. Google tells me that this is emery sand, which helps to sharpen the pins. Learn something new every day!

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And last but not least, here’s Mr Crab. He’s made of metal, painted bright red, and has hinged arms. I don’t know what exactly this thing is supposed to do, but it’s cool! I’m keeping him. πŸ™‚

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Overall this was a good morning! Most of these will be cleaned up, photographed, and put up in my vintage shop.

Anybody else love thrifting as much as I do? What have you found recently?

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My shops;Β  Handmade: PeachPodΒ  |Β  Vintage: PeachNifty

New items 5/20/15

Here are the latest items in my vintage shop, PeachNifty.

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Handmade Roundup #12

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I love this whimsical necklace by ZingaraCreativa. It features a chibi Snow White hand sculpted out of polymer clay, surrounded by flowers and mounted on a pendant base. I love the detail in this piece, especially the locks of her hair and the folds of her skirt. Lovely!

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There are lots of handmade leaf brooches to choose from on Etsy, but none quite as unique as this one from WoolBoon! This cute little guy has shiny black eyes, rosy cheeks, and a big toothy grin! Watch your fingers, or he might give them a nibble. πŸ™‚

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Now this is a cool find! SusanJohnsonDesigns is offering this antique jewelry/sewing box, complete with contents. The outside of the box is covered in seashells, and the inside contains some old sewing notions, including unopened packages of seed beads. It looks like it’s in great shape to be over a century old!

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I love love love this mosaic from BerryIsland! It’s made of vintage plastic beads in all shades of pink, accented with pink flowers, and framed in an upcycled thrifted frame. This bright, cheery work of art would be perfect for a nursery or little girl’s room!

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Fairy Tails

Here are a pair of fun new additions to my vintage shop. I found these two cute birds in a toybox at a yard sale last week, and I snatched them up. Both were in good condition, except for the hair, which was a tangled mess (I wish I had taken a before picture!). But I gently untangled them and returned the locks to their original silky beauty. πŸ™‚ The pink one is named “True Love Tails” and the blue one is “Tippy Tails”.

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They are called “Fairy Tails”, and were part of Hasbro’s My Little Pony toyline in the 1980s. They have the same soft plastic bodies and long, brushable hair. In this case, REALLY long! Those are some impressive tail feathers there, girls! They also have spring-loaded feet that can grasp an object and let them perch.

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Want more info? My Little Wiki has a page of information about this little toyline, and FairyTailsCollector is a whole site dedicated to them. And check out this 80s TV commercial.

I love finding 1980s toys! πŸ™‚

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My shops; Handmade: PeachPod | Vintage: PeachNifty

Farm Hunt – Property #2

Time for another edition of BUY THAT FARM! πŸ™‚

This listing appeared online just a few days ago. It was for an old farmhouse with 18 acres of land, for a very good price per acre. The listing said that the house had been built in 1890, and needed extensive repair. It has a natural spring as the water source, and according to Google Earth, a big portion of the land had been logged and was mostly clear.

The location was good, the price was reasonable, and I was hoping that the home wasn’t in as bad shape as the agent said. “Extensive repair” could mean a lot of things depending on the point of view of the speaker…it could mean something as simple as “the cabinets are dated and the floors are scuffed” all the way to “death trap on the verge of collapse”. So off we went to check it out!

Observation #1 was that there was a train track along the edge of the property, running only about 20 ft from the front of the house. Minor negative. After driving down the gravel driveway by the tracks, the first building we encountered was some kind of old accessory building. It had partially collapsed and was deteriorated beyond hope, but it had one cool feature: a horse hitching post in front! Had this been some sort of hotel or store in the (distant) past? Neat!

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As for the actual home, the house looked GREAT from the outside. It was a huge white plantation style home, with two stories and tall columns on the front porch. It had obviously been inhabited recently, because it had modern vinyl siding and a satellite dish on the side. (PS, that’s my dad in the pic.)

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The house was locked, so we couldn’t go inside…but honestly, I don’t think we would have wanted to if we could. A peek in the windows revealed that it was bad. I mean BAD. I’m genuinely surprised that it wasn’t condemned.

Apparently the spring behind the house had increased its output in the recent past, and the ground under the home was turned from solid ground into a near swamp. You could smell the mold even from outside the door. All of the visible floors were warped and collapsing, and there was black mold everywhere. I couldn’t get good pictures through the (moldy) windows, but I did find an old dog door to stick my head in and get this lovely shot of the ceiling.

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So right away, I knew the home wasn’t salvageable. I’m pretty sure no amount of repair could compensate for the fact that the house was sitting in a permanent swamp. Even if you spent the money to fix it up, it would just start rotting again in a few years. Not to mention the constant risk of flooding every time it rained. Here’s a shot of the bottom of the back door, where the door frame and foundation are rotting away.

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We decided to look around the property a bit more while we digested this information. We found the spring behind the house, in a little brick building by the edge of the woods. The entire area around it was flooded and soggy.

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Evidence of wildlife: a big snake skin! Blacksnake, no doubt.
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The land beside the house was nice, once you got away from the marshy part. Good potential pasture here.
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The main acreage was up a hill, where a huge section of trees had been logged, probably about a decade ago. We hiked up and found a lovely, private meadow, completely hidden and surrounded by trees. Lots of shrubs and weeds and sticker bushes had grown up since the timber was cut down, but that can be bush- hogged fairly easily to get clear land again.

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As we were hiking up the hill, we startled a wild turkey, who flew off in a hurry. I peeked in the brush where it had appeared from, and found a nest! The turkey had been sitting on a clutch of eggs. Don’t worry, I didn’t touch them or get too close. πŸ™‚

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Obviously we didn’t walk the entire 18 acres, but I think I got a good feel for the property in the hour or so we were there.

PROS:
-good location
-natural water source
-county electricity hookup available
-lots of potential pasture
-love the private meadow on the hill

CONS:
-existing home is 100% unusable
-train track runs right by property
-a road would have to be excavated up the hillside to get a car to the meadow
-paying full price for land with no house doesn’t leave much money for anything else

FINAL VERDICT: Undecided.

The house being a disaster was a big disappointment, but this property has a lot going for it. Should I risk spending a lot on land with no usable dwelling? Or wait to see if I can find something else with a good house? 18 acres is fantastic, but the price doesn’t leave me much room to buy or build a home, put up fences, buy livestock etc. Honestly, money is the only issue here…if I had plenty of it, I would buy this property. Right now this land is a bit of a mess, but it has major potential and could be a very nice farm with some work.

My gut is telling me to pass, but I’m definitely going to keep thinking about it…

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My shops;Β  Handmade: PeachPodΒ  | Vintage PeachNifty

Handmade Roundup #11

It’s been a while, but here’s another edition of Handmade Roundup! πŸ™‚

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I love this cool forest dragon from MiraCrafts! This unique pendant is made out of polymer clay, and sculpted to look like a dragon made of wood and moss. The textures on the wood and plants are amazing! Very cool.

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Awww, piggies! These cute clay canes from MiniatureSweet look like a litter of cute little piglets. Aren’t they adorable? These pigs would look cute on jewelry, nails, phone cases, or anything! The shop even gives the choice of a full cane, or pre-cut slices.

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This vintage bento box from ggsdolls has such a great retro look! The girl illustration was drawn by Masako Wantanabe, who is known for his work in mid-century shoujo manga. This would be perfect for a little girl or a great addition to an anime memorabilia collection.

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Say “thank you” with a rainbow! Apaperaffaire offers these colorful cards in a set of 5, in red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua, with a coordinating flower design. I love the simple beauty of these lovely cards.

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My shops: Handmade: PeachPodΒ  |Β  Vintage: PeachNifty

The Property Hunt Begins!

So, a while back I wrote about my dream to have a farm. My first step toward that goal was to get out of debt, and after a lot of hard work, that step is complete (cue tears of joy!). I’ve also been skimping and saving like mad, and so far I have about $7000 in the bank for a downpayment. A few weeks ago I went to the farm credit bureau and got preapproved for a modest loan.

Soooo the time has finally come to start looking for a property! YEEEEAAAH! πŸ˜€

One day I’ll write out the process for evaluating listings to find something suitable, but today I want to post about a little lot that I put some real thought into buying.

This particular piece of land was listed on the real estate section of Craigslist. Craigslist isn’t the greatest place to look for property, but occasionally something worthwhile pops up there, so I’ve been glancing over it once a day. The ad for this parcel said it was a deep, private lot of 2 acres, with a well, a stream along one side, a storage shed, and an old concrete foundation that once held a singlewide mobile home. The owner mentioned that the septic system might not work anymore, but otherwise the lot sounded good; the location was nice, it was zoned Agricultural, and the price was $18,000 negotiable. Definitely worth a look!

It was an easy and relatively quick drive to the property, on a main highway about 20 minutes out of town. It shares a gravel driveway with another home, which is up on a hill to the east behind some trees. The first thing I noticed about the lot was the stream, which ran alongside the driveway. It was a nice little stream, but it was in a deep gulley that was too wide to jump across. We had to walk all the way up to the busy main road to get to solid land and over to the lot. (Notes made: there would need to be some sort of little bridge to easily get from the driveway to the land.)

Here’s the view from the street. Obviously the lot hasn’t been used for a long time, so it’s overgrown with weeds and brush. You can see the shed, the concrete pad, and the well head (the short little white thing on the right).

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Here is the stream. This was a relatively flat section; some of the streambed was carved deep into the land, so there was a 3 ft drop or so down to the water. It was too wide to step across along its entire length, and the stream cut across the land both at the top and side. (Notes made: there would need to be *multiple* bridges to reach all areas of the property.)

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The shed and concrete pad up close. The shed itself was in decent shape, but the roof looked like it needed some work. The concrete pad had definitely seen better days; it was warped and cracked, with cinderblocks piled up beside it. (Notes made: foundation probably won’t pass code for putting a new structure on it. Would have to be removed or just leave it there unused and in the way.)

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A view from the far end of the lot, looking toward the street. There was some junk back here, including some tires and a really old shed that had completely collapsed and was just a big pile of rusting metal and rotting wood. (Notes made: this is going to take some truck hauling to clean up the debris.)

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One random cool feature, a REALLY old well pump. I pumped it a few times and got some nasty brown water out of it. Obviously unusable, but it was cool!

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As we were walking around the lot, the main problem of this property became apparent…it was very very damp. The entire area was marshy, with a thick layer of mud between the clumps of weeds and occasional mini-streams that had to be stepped over. I wouldn’t think much of it if it had just rained, but it had been 3 warm, sunny days since the last rain. Meaning that this land had terrible drainage, and was probably never 100% dry. No wonder the septic system didn’t work…

No septic system means that it would be difficult to build a house, or even bring in a new mobile home, because there’s no way to handle the waste water. There *are* actually several options available, but the government won’t allow most of them. No normal option for sewage is a huge negative. The marshy nature of the land would also cause problems with livestock, since a perpetually damp and muddy environment can cause hoof rot or other conditions, as well as providing a moist breeding ground for parasites.

So, in summary:

PROS:
Good price
Good location near town
Natural water supply
Existing storage shed

CONS:
Very damp and marshy and muddy
No possibility of a septic system, BIG PROBLEM
Shabby concrete pad probably unusable
On a high traffic road, so lots of “cars going by” noise

VERDICT: Nope. 😦

I like some things about this property, like the location, the shed, and the price. But the soggy land would cause way too many problems. So for now I’m going to keep looking…