Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guest Post: Susan's eBay Finds

More Ways to Waste Time reader Susan Schulz posted a comment the other day gently suggesting that maybe I've gotten into a bit of a rut with my recent eBay Finds. (OK, what she actually said was, "I'm almost at my wit's end with your Arabia Finland, tulip side tables, globes, and enamel bowls ... ") She then generously volunteered to curate a collection of her own eBay booty to help break up the mind-numbing monotony of it all.

Take it away, Susan:

"I'm 31-year-old designer in Houston, Texas. I do graphic design, interior design, textiles, custom paintings, and art projects.

I'm also an expert at wasting time on eBay. I kind of swing wildly between obsessions. Right now I'm looking for vintage ID bracelets with my name on them, collecting Liberty prints, and searching for the perfect pair of wedges for summer. Next week, I'll be scouting lithographed British tea tins or Victorian silver jewelry. Last week, it was books about knots. I refuse to buy almost anything retail until I determine if it's available for a better price on eBay.

My favorite (and largest) eBay purchase is my sofa: midcentury on teak ski legs -- awesome! I put in a half-price 'Best Offer' at 3 a.m. one night after a half bottle of wine and didn't consult the boyfriend. Thankfully, he ended up liking it, but at the time the ink wasn't even dry on our first lease together!

My best eBay tip is simply asking sellers for what you want: Is there any way to ship shoes cheaper? Ask for a new rate without the box. Missed an auction? Ask the seller to relist. Think the starting price is too high? Ask them to add a 'Best Offer' option. Most eBay sellers are pretty reasonable -- they want to get a sale and make a few dollars, and as long as your requests aren't insulting or ridiculous, everyone wins."

Great advice! Herewith, Susan's current eBay picks (and her commentary on them):

Midcentury Modern Orange Ashtray (Yes, it's an ashtray. But it's so sculptural and I love the orange color -- perfect for rings and earrings.)

Danish Modern Bent Silberg Teak Magazine Table (A great side table with simple lines and storage for magazines. Plus, all of the accessories pictured on the table are included gratis in the auction.)

Midcentury Modern Lucite & Wood Lamp (Yes, please! I love lighting -- lamps and hanging fixtures are a must for layered decorating.)

Retro Blue Hanging Swag Light (Blue has been such a huge trend lately. I'd love to have this in a corner hanging over my Eames lounger. Sweet colors and optic pattern!)

Danish Modern Frosted Glass Swag Lamps (Swag lamps can always be rewired with plugs and don't necessarily need to be hardwired into a junction box. These are very Jonathan Adler-y and would be beautiful over a vanity.)

Vintage Portable Lightbulb Swag Lamp (SO fun. Great for a kid's room or a craft room -- lightbulb moment!)

Vintage Retro Ugly Quilt (One of my favorite eBay tricks is using misspellings and weird adjectives to find interesting items. So yes, I did search for 'ugly retro' ... beauty is in the eye of the beholder! This would be fun in a stairwell or over the foot of a guest bed.)

Left to right: Vintage Murushka Silkscreen Print Flowers; Marushka Canvas Buoy Boats Silkscreen Print; New Marushka Pines Signed Silkscreen Art (I love textiles and I love researching and finding new -- or old -- artists and designers. I recently discovered Marushka, a designer from the '70s and '80s out of Michigan whose prints are very simple and graphic. They're now being reproduced at a reasonable price.)

Vintage Mod Barkcloth Sewing/Knitting Basket (This basket would come in handy to wrangle pet toys and leashes, or for sewing projects waiting to be done.)

Couroc of Monterey Two Cats Brass Inlaid Tray and Drink Inlay Cork Tray (Another vintage brand that I like to stalk is Couroc -- Californian resin serveware that's inlaid with natural and sometimes unexpected materials like cork, wood, coins, and newspaper, with striking, whimsical designs. Always available at good prices.)

Josef Albers Exhibit Screenprint Poster OP-ART (I want, need, and lust after this classic '70s poster design for the retrospective of a classic American/Bauhaus-inspired artist.)

Vintage Curmanco Metal Desk Organizer (I love old metal office supplies. This deluxe sorting tray would be nice under a side table for magazine sorting. I like the 'Cold War gray,' but a good spray-paint job would spice it up, too!)"

Muchas gracias, Susan!

P.S. I'm totally open to guest posts from any of you who might be willing. Want to pull together your own selection of eBay or Etsy Finds? Hand-pick items from your favorite indie e-tailer to highlight? Show off your recent remodel, room redesign, or crafting project? Share images from your inspiration file? Just let me know! (Believe me, I get bored by the sound of my own voice, too. I've asked some of my design-savvy writer friends to contribute from time to time, but they're all giant losers and have actual work to do, I guess.)


Ana said...

Great Job Susan!!

Bob said...

If you have a partiular item that you're looking for, you can save that search on ebay and get alerts once a day if an item is listed matching your saved search. can also do this, but it's set up for misspelled versions of saved searches rather than proper spellings. It checks many times daily, rather than just once like ebay.

If an item that you want is listed in auction style format, try using a sniping service for your bidding., and are a couple, but there's more to choose from.

Mary said...

I know this post is old, but hopefully you can help me.
I love the portable light bulb swag lamp, and I found one in a local vintage store, but I'm curious what a reasonable price would be. I can't seem to come up with anything online, and I'm hesitant to splurge at the store if I can find it elsewhere for cheaper. It's tag says about $120, and I really can't see myself spending that much on a lamp.


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