Sunday Morning Musing with Coffee: One Drop of Rain of Water at a Time Fills the Lake
Some of you are brand new to selling on Ebay and some are old pros. All of us need to keep up with new technology and new ideas that work, whether we like it or not. If you want to grow and be successful.
You can continue to do it the same way you have always done it (if you have done it in the past) and that is fine with me as long as it is fine with you. But I do ask you, please, don’t complain that you are not getting any sales, that your sales THIS year are not as good as LAST year.
I know mine are not. As are most people’s. However mine are improving week by week and I look forward to 2015 as a great year to be an online seller. What am I doing different than those who are not doing as well as I am?
1. I have a business Facebook page that talks about my business. My goal is to post at least once a week, twice or 3 times would be better if I can do it. I have a note on my computer telling me to do this. I have notes in front of me, screaming at me to do this.
What do I post? Things that relate to getting a sale but in a disguised way. I talk about the history of Haviland Limoges dinnerware and make it interesting but short. Then I refer the readers to my Haviland Limoge that I have for sale. Same for smoking jackets, coffee mugs, jewelry, ANYTHING that I am selling that I have more than 1 of.
Cannot write? Yes you can. Everyone can write. You just have to start and practice. Use Wikipedia, other research places. Take no more than 15 minutes to research and write it. Think of it as a blog.
2. I own Oceanbeachtreasures.com.www.oceanbeachtreasures.com. Cost me $15 a YEAR. What is there? Absolutely nothing!! It is a link to get people to ebay. Try it. Why do I have it? Because every single time I use it (in my thank you letters, on my Facebook page, on my Twitter page, it goes out into the universe and the search engines pick it up and remember it.
It is a clickable link in my email correspondence no matter what kind it is. People click links.
It is easy to do, easy to buy and well worth the 1.3 dollars a MONTH that I pay to have it.
I own Glassconfusion.com. There is nothing there right now (again as I rework my ideas about what that business will be in the future) but soon there will be a new website that will point people to not only me on Ebay but me on Amazon, Etsy and Alibris book site. It is part of my 2015 future.
Don’t think you have to build a website. You do not. All you have to do is buy the domain name which would be the name of your store. Then you just easily change where the link (your domain name) goes to. You just change it to stores.ebay.com/yourstorefrontpage, whatever that is.
For this to work you must have a store. To have a store on Ebay you must pay Ebay more money each month to “own” a store. Think of it as rent.
3. I have a store on ebay. Premium Store for me, you can start with Basic store. The store lets me build my business MY WAY. I can link people to it, I can link listings to store pages, I can Facebook, Twitter and blog about my store. MY STORE.
Let me tell you this loud and clear, without a store you will not succeed. It is the number 1 on my list of must haves to be successful. Number 1. No matter how well you shop, how well you sell, how well you list, take pictures, anything. Without a store to showcase your items, well…just get it. The page on Ebay that explains the stores, what they cost per month, how many listings you can have “free” of listing fees is:http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/subscriptions.html
Stop giving yourself reasons NOT to have a $16 a month store. Just stop it. Stop arguing with me that you do not need it and in the next breathe tell me that your sales suck. One of the reasons they suck is you do not have a store. This way of selling is a business. You have costs as a business. This is one of them. When I had a brick and mortar store my rent was NOT $16 a month.
4. Do you have business cards made up for your business? I do. They go into every package I send out. It is a cheap and pretty way for people to remember me. This year I will get some that are magnets. Everyone likes magnets for the fridge. They will like mine as well. I also have a nice thank you paper written and printed 2 to a page on pretty colored paper. It goes with the business card attached into each box of things I sell. It matters.
I also send out a Thank YOU letter by email using the real email address found normally either on the email given to me by ebay or at paypal. Some have commented it is a waste of time to do this. Some are feverantly against doing this. Not me. I think of it as a handshake after the deal, a way to honestly THANK THEM for buying from me.
Maybe it goes into spam folder on their end, maybe not. I don’t really care. I send it out anyway. It is not only a heartfelt thanks but it once again gets my name into their minds so maybe, just maybe they will remember me in the future.
I also give the feedback immediately. I do not play the feedback game, the “I won’t leave feedback until THEY leave Feedback”. I leave it because they have done exactly what I want them to do, they bought from me and paid me money in a timely manner. What else do I want them to do??? Handstands? Bake me a cake? Introduce me to Mark Harmon?
5. Networking. When I was a real store I had groups and meetings I attended where I spoke to people and they always knew my name and my business. I do this online as well. How many times in COST have I said I am Marcia Glenn, Glass Confusion and Ocean Beach Treasures? Is it because I like to hear myself type? Hell no, the more I can cram that down your throats (gently) the more you will remember it, the more you will remember the types of things I sell. The more you will check out my store and maybe spend some money on my sites.
Many of you at COST have purchased from me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, truly. But first before you could buy from me, you had to know where to go to purchase my items and you had to have Glass Confusion and Ocean Beach Treasures stick into your mind.
Who are you? Why are you not shouting it to me? I cannot find you if you don’t tell me who you are and what your store name is…..shy just does not cut it if you want to be successful. Get over shyness. Be proud of who you are, what you do.
I network in a very few Facebook groups. I do not have the time to go and chat but I do my best to help in the 2 groups I belong to and I know if I help I will reap. I stay away from Social Groups on Facebook, I stay away from groups that are negative and poorly run. Again my time online is for work not play. I value it and I schedule it out and I work the hours that I need to work online.
When (if) you had an office job or any job that took you away from your home and family to somewhere else, you had certain rules to work by. Working on personal things was not to be done at work. While you were friendly to those around you, you did not hang out by the coffee pot watching football games, you did not spend hour shopping online, reading books, knitting or the million of other things that do in your own social time at home.
The same goes for this type of job. YOU are home now. So is the television, the books, the knitting, all the things that you do for fun. I have to plan out my days/week each week. There are times I schedule for walking, with friends, appointments that need to be made, volunteer work that I have signed up for.
I must also schedule in work time. During work time I work. List, pictures, paperwork, research, sell, box, ship, source, organize, store. I can do this NOW in my bunny slippers with “Staying Alive” blasting on the computer, this could be frowned upon at the city water desk or anywhere else “out there” that I could work at instead of here.
You have trade offs. The successful selling people on Ebay never forgot that while this can be fun it is also a job. Act like it is a job. More people come online to try and make a living selling on Ebay every single day. More competition. But I feel that more and more people drop out of Ebay every single day as they never understood that this is a JOB and they did not teach themselves how to do it correctly, thus they failed. It all evens out in the end.
Don’t fail. Do the work needed. Do the learning needed. Get better at everything you do. Understand how to write a title, do the research, pictures that sell your item. Customer Service that is the best it can be. Do this right.
One drop at a time fills the lakes and the rivers and the oceans. Your business is the same. Every single thing you do to enhance it, every single time you talk about it, every single time you promote it on Twitter and Facebook and your own website, every single time you showcase your business it is like a new drop of water entering YOUR pond, stream, lake and ocean.
It all fills you up. Your business plans from last year or 2 years ago needs to be revised. Start doing different things that will fill up your business.
Now that your are full of turkey, football, waiting in line to buy something in a big box store that you really did not need or did not need to waste the hours to save a bit of money, NOW that all that frenzy is over it is time to buckle down and start building some frenzy of your own!!
Have a great week, stay warm and dry and keep listing and promoting and shipping. Christmas is 25 days away, remember that January will be good as well with the Ebay gift cards as well as the Amazon gift cards if you sell on that site too.
When you are out searching for kits to resale at yard sales or thrift stores there are two types that might just say “cross stitch”. They are stamped and counted. Counted is more common today. Both make x shaped stitches on the fabric. To make the stitches in both counted and stamped you have two opposing diagonal stitches to form an X. Step One of a single stitch: /. Step 2 of the same stitch: \. End result: X. Always make sure that your bottom / is always going the same direction. Then your top \ will go in the opposite direction. It doesn’t matter which way you start but just make sure that each stitch has all the bottom threads laying one way and the top threads lay the other way.
This is a huge hint in buying completed Cross Stitch whether it be stamped or counted. If all the top threads are laying in one direction not including half stitches and quarter stitches that you see in faces and hands then this is possibly a consideration to buy but if you see the top stitches going in every direction walk away and don’t buy.
Stamped cross stitch kits have the pattern printed onto the fabric. You stitch with embroidery thread the colors shown on a chart. Counted cross-stitch has the pattern printed on a separate sheet of paper. You will have a blank piece of fabric in front of you. This means that you have to count the squares yourself to see where each stitch goes. This the term counted. Many stitcher’s start stitching in the center of the pattern to make sure there’s equal room on both sides to frame the design. I like to have three inches on each side and tip and bottom and I always start at the top and never the center so that all my new stitches come up in an empty hole and go down in a hole with stitching in it. It makes for a more even stitch in my opinion.
Stamped cross stitch is easier and easier and in my opinion (my opinion only) not as easy to make look consistent with stitching. It is also more popular for beginners. You can start anywhere you want because you don’t have to count squares. Stamped cross stitch does not have as much detail as counted cross stitch. Squares have to be bigger for the x’s to be visible on the printed fabric so you don’t get as many half or 1/4 stitches or color variations usually. Counted cross stitch kits come in many higher count fabrics (more stitches per square inch) so you can work small details and use more colors. Counted cross stitch has become more popular due to many reasons. 1. Overall appearance with consistency of stitches 2. More patterns and kits are made in counted.
A finished counted cross stitch project can have enough detail to look like a painting and they can be framed to be a focal point in a home or office. Stamped cross stitch are usually seen tablecloth and tablecloth borders, pillow cases, and place mats.
Stamped cross stitch is usually done on a tight fabric such as broadcloth or muslin. Counted cross stitch can be done on a fabric called aida (little squares), linen or other specialty type fabrics with different names. Aida cloth comes in several different counts, or stitches per inch. For example, 11-count aida cloth will measure eleven stitches to each inch. Other common counts are 14 and 18 – the higher the number, the finer the weave.
Most people start of with stamped cross stitch and then move up to counted patterns as they get more experience. I started out on counted cross stitch when I was in college and never did stamped Cross Stitch because I never liked embroidery as a child and it reminded me too much of embroidery. If you are listing kits on eBay stamped Cross Stitch will go under hand embroidery kits and counted cross stitch will go under Cross stitch.
In my Facebook group “Cindy’s online selling tips” (CO$T) I get it asked quite often “what is a Cross Stitch sampler and how do you define one or recognize one?”
Many believe that the samplers were made in the home when in reality they were made in schools.
Samplers are often inscribed with the name of their maker the date and many times the age of the child. Many times you will also see the school in which they were embroidered.
Many believe that these embroideries were the only exposure to formal education received by young women in the early 1700s in America.
The format of the sampler was entirely up to the teacher. She developed a pattern for these creations and then supervised the stitchers.
As education for girls in America became more widespread samplers increased in popularity.
Teachers were inclined to pick recognizable motifs and regional patterns began to emerge.
Samplers are oblong pieces of linen embellished with patterns of embroidery stitches or crosses worked in silk threads.
Samplers were first brought from England and northern Europe where they had been a form of schoolgirl Art for centuries.
Many scholars believe that the first samplers were made by young women during the middle ages as a way of recording patterns for future reference.
Through the years the definition of a sampler changed from that of a learning exercise and embroidery technique signed and dated to the finished work intended for framing and display.
Many samplers made today are not signed or dated but they are still considered samplers.
English samplers from the 16th and 17th centuries were long and narrow and always worked on linen that was cut in a thin strip across the width of the woven fabric from selvage to selvage.
The earliest settlers brought this technique with them to the new land.
Most colonial samplers that you will find will have the alphabet, numbers, the stitchers name and date and like I said before sometimes the school.
I had the opportunity a number of years ago to view a sampler stitched by my husband’s great great great great grandmother. His aunt was the owner of it at the time and it now has been passed down to her granddaughter in Texas. Someday I would love to be able to look at it and copy it and make one of my own and maybe even publish the pattern.
If you look in my eBay store at Bubbacandance.com you will find a number of samplers in our store category.
Many times samplers will have a poem or a saying along with motifs and not necessarily the alphabet or numbers but they are usually Long and narrow or just long and rectangular.
I will post a few photos below to show you ideas of different samplers.
You can see the family tree which was done and in many ways it still considered a sampler because it has names and dates.
Counted cross stitch has the design either on a piece of paper and you count to the fabric or you do it freehand like these young girls did in schools where their teacher taught them how to design. She may have written it on a form of board or designed herself one on linen and then they copied it.
I will continue this series about needlework in the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy
We carry a full line of counted cross stitch items from current to long out of print patterns and kits. We also carry linens, aidas and other specialty fabric items. We have a warehouse full of four closed needlework stores. We carry hand dyed threads, Needles from John James and very unique stitching accessories including unique scissors.
We are also the the automatic mailings from designers such as Mirabilia, Lizzie Kate, Needle’s Notions, Ink Circles, Barbara Ana. etc.
I get asked by many sellers about buying completed and stitched and sometimes framed needlework that is already stitched for resale. There are a few factors to take in mind when purchasing.
1.The quality of the work. If you are buying counted cross stitch you want the stitches to go all in one direction on the top stitch and the bottom should go in the opposite direction. There might be half and quarter stitches that will be different directions due to the detail. But all full stitches should lay in one direction. You also don’t want to see holes. This means the stitching is too tight. On crewel work (yarn embroidery) you want to make sure the stitching is nice and tight but not Puckered and that the yarn covers the line work underneath (the stitching lines). For needlepoint, you want to make sure that you see even cover and not big holes.
2. The theme. Theme is very important on any piece of needlework. I recently sold two pieces of artwork that I knew would have a very limited buyer market and was shocked when they sold in Ten minutes. I thought I would be sitting on them for months. What were they? Completed and Framed Guns… They both went to Australia to the same buyer for over $125.o0. If you think something is ugly.. others may think it is awesome. If you think something is just gorgeous others may find it awful… so keep that is mind.. if the theme and workmanship are good… think about it. Great themes are: samplers, animals, scenes, children, etc.
3. Price. I usually don’t buy items that cost more then $5.00 unless they are going to make me at least $50.00! Why.. I have to ship the framed picture and that is a pain. I have to have a box to fit and prepare the glass to not break… lots of time considerations here.
4. You have to have excellent photos of the finished item and the closeup of the stitching. People want to see the workmanship..
5. The Technique – I have found counted cross stitch does much better than most of my stamped or crewel embroidery. I also do much better with items stitched on linen over aida. (you will see the little squares on aida). Needlepoint, if stitched correctly can do incredible and if a pillow or picture that is geometric or dogs and cats will do really well and can bring in hundreds.
6. How you market it. You have to know the technique before you start so get to know what needlepoint is to cross stitch etc. Make sure you have size in your title and also if you know the designer and title.
7. I seem to get better money on eBay over Etsy on completed cross stitch and needlework which many find hard to believe. I think it is because of the international audience.
8. Pricing Make sure you are not throwing money away. Just because you purchased something for a few dollars does not mean you have to sell it to make a few dollars profit. Research completed and sold needlework on eBay
I was able to spend seven full days in New Hampshire with Robbin Levin and we had such a marvelous time. I flew into Logan in Boston and had a delightful dinner with Linda Bryant and her friend Paula and Robbin at the Salty Dog in Boston. (Parking was $35.00 ouch).
Tuesday Robbin and I drove in a snow storm to visit with our friend Sunita and Kristine. Sunita sells a ton of yarn on eBay and esty and it was fun to see her place. On the way back from her house we decided to thrift but apparently NH has other ideas and closed the stores due to the storm… We were die hards and got a couple in but others did not understand how we wanted to shop.
Wednesday we met up with local eBay and Amazon sellers to take them thrifting and show them the ropes on what we look for. We met at Goodwill and spent 3 hours.. yes three hours.. We went through every part of the store. The look on Jim’s face when I said buy this cup you will get 24.99 for it… It sold six days after he listed it.. Always look for flower mugs with Marjolein Bastin. Good investment. We found some fun finds. There was not a lot of needlework.. I am not sure that New Englanders do it anymore. We then moved to Savers for two hours and had to leave for the Meet Up where I was the speaker. We found some fun items such as Tattoo Thigh high tights that will not make a bunch of money but hey 7.00 in my pocket with a multiple variation listing… I think I bought 25 packages ($7.00 profit x 25) I am on it. Look for vintage Pantyhose and Large cup bras.. they sell and are consistent sellers.
The Meet up was a blast as we talked customer service and about the eBay of 2014 not being the eBay of 2013. Changes are not fun but I will tell you every one of the changes that eBay has made has been helpful and has increased my business.
Thursday morning we drove to Massachusetts and made a stop on the way at Alpha Cars to see Dmitri and Olga who sell Ural Sidecar Motorcycles. My husband Jim not only dreams of one but covets it every minute.. with eBay sales staying steady I hope to have him one by the end of summer. We then drove to meet up with one of our favorite CO$T (Cindy’s Online Selling Tips) members, Ron. Ron showed us his eBay and Amazon business and shared with us his lovely antique home he shares with Phillip and their three incredible children. We went to Savers where we met up with another favorite, Raymond Smith, who drove from New Jersey to spend time with us. Ron had a cart full of stuff. Big hint is to look for odd shaped Christmas Plates and Platters.. Good money. Raymond found a really cool mold that he paid under $5.00 for and will make at least $70.00 on. I will post some photos later.
We went to Connecticut for the Meet Up in Avon and had a full house. I spiced up the talk but had the same type of talk to the sellers. It was really well received. We were also able to have a great cake to celebrate Maida’s birthday. It was great to meet so many CO$T members who drove so far to come here me speak.
Friday morning found us thrifting with a large number of the attendees from the Meet Up. Some marvelous finds for everyone. I was tickled to find some Pendleton Scarves in Tartans but they are not going to be sold. They will go to my sons. We went to two stores, a Goodwill and a Savers. I love to eat and drink locally so they suggested George’s and it was incredible. Thanks Kim and Jason for buying my dinner.
We drove back to New Hampshire after dinner and stopped at a couple of stores where Robbin and I scored a few good finds.
Saturday we spent at a gymnastics meet for Robbin’s son where he took second overall and the team first place. That was fun. We stopped and hit the goldmine in Goodwill. My $30.00 purchases will bring in over $400. Saturday evening we met up with Jeremy for Lobster. That was the best… we were able to watch #Thrifthunters on the TV at Petey’s. A great time on the beach.
Sunday we had a marvelous time thrifting time with Jeremy and Robbin.. we all scored and Robbin his the Cross Stitch Gold Mine. (we stayed up til 3:30 Listing some of her finds and he cha ching went off early the next morning from a sale). Dinner at the Old Salt was a wonderful last meal with great friends in New Hampshire as I had to get ready to leave the next afternoon.
After packing and catching up and spending the morning going over some eBay tips and hints Robbin and I headed to Boston. Just past Seabrook the car engine seized up and stopped. Cassi, a friend of Robbins came to the rescue and brought her car for us to take to the airport and she stayed with the broken down car and waited for the tow truck. I made it to Boston on time and was through security in seconds as I was picked for the new TSA quick screen.. no shoe removal, no jacket removal, no computer removal etc. After an uneventful flight on an exit row, Thank you Delta. I arrived home late Monday and had to fix some shipping problems that Jim and Steven encountered while I was gone.
It was a marvelous trip and I met some amazing people Thank you… I will post some of my finds on the next blog to you.
I would like everyone who reads this blog to know that I don’t charge, make a cent of money and that this blog is for informational purposes only. I share the knowledge I have gained from being in the Needlework business off and on for 33 years and by being an eBay, Etsy and Amazon seller for a long time. That being said. I get NO profit from this blog. This is where you get to know me and where I can offer help to you, an online seller, to better your business practices and become a better seller. My advice this week… Align yourself with those that you want to be like. Are you going to follow and get help from someone that shows no measurement? There are a lot of Mentors, Coaches, Experts who sell a few items a month but charge monthly fees to join their “support” group. Most, if not all of theses “gurus” sell a few items a month and travel the world on YOUR money that you gave them. Most are not current with the new changes on the platforms and are giving bad advice. Follow Best Practices and you will succeed. I will follow up more on Best Practices next week. Facebook and other forums are rich with “FREE” information. Find the best groups to join. Don’t get caught up in the drama and the negativity. If you see it, leave those groups and find others. There are lots of them out there. Today was a really trying day for me as I had an issue to deal with from one of the rudest and most whacked persons I have ever encountered in 33 years in the needlework business and let’s just say the other half of me you never see came out….. I realized that she took too much of my time and that I need to align myself with those that are positive. I am changing gears in 2014 with building my business more, leaving Facebook groups that do not benefit me. (I will be staying in Thrifting with the Boys, Shipping with the Boys, Cindy’s Online Selling Tips CO$T (I better huh?) Scanpower though I have pretty much left Amazon but I like Chris Green. So think Positive and don’t let the jerks of the world get you down… Don’t spend time thinking about them and their obvious problems in life.
Cleaning Needlework including washing Cross Stitch
The method you use to clean needlework depends on the type of dirt or stain to be removed, and on the fabrics and threads used.
Before you clean any type of needlework, be sure that it really does need cleaning. If you were careful when you stitched, it might be fine as it is.
CAUTION: Needlepoint should NOT be washed in soap and water. Much of this page is for cross stitch, not needlepoint. If you have a needlepoint that needs to be cleaned, commercial dry cleaning may be your best choice. Needlepoint canvas has a water soluble sizing that gives it body; washing in soap and water will remove the sizing. A needlework store in your area can probably recommend a good dry cleaner to take your piece to. I would suggest asking the dry cleaner to clean the piece, but not press it. The needlepoint will come back wrinkled, but this will come out when the piece is finished. Again, be sure you really need to have it cleaned.
Cross stitch can usually be hand washed in soap and water. I highly recommend Dawn dish washing soap and it has to be Dawn, not an off brand. Others recommend Orvus, a Procter and gamble product. I find the dawn works well for me so I have not needed Orvus.
Before you use water to clean your cross stitch, make sure that 100% of the materials you used are water safe. The fabric and cotton floss are probably fine, although bright red floss can sometimes bleed (see below). Be sure to check things like embellishments, unusual threads, and so on.
Color bleeding when washing. Color ‘bleeding’ or ‘running’ is when the dye moves off of where it should be, and attaches itself onto another area. It is usually red dye bleeding onto light colored fabric. Fortunately, it does not happen often, but you have to watch for it. The cause is usually excess dye that was not completely washed out of the threads in the dying process. This is why it is recommended that you prewash red threads before you stitch, but in practice very few people do this. What you do want to do is watch carefully for any signs of bleeding when you are hand washing. If you see any signs of bleeding, stop washing, and start rinsing under running cold water right away. Rinse for several minutes and then let it soak in cold water while you decide how to proceed. Do not let the stain dry.
Before you do anything, make sure that what you see is really color bleeding. Often it is not bleeding, it is just the thread on the back of the fabric. When the fabric is wet, it becomes more transparent and any loose threads on the back can make it look like the colors have run.
The longer a stain remains, the harder it is to remove; so if you do have colors bleeding, it is better to decide how you want to proceed soon. Still, take a few minutes to think about what you want to do. You have two choices. First, is there any way to cover the area that the the red dye bled into? This sounds funny, but give it some thought. Maybe it was a red flower that ran; maybe all you need to do is stitch some more leaves and cover it up. Maybe add a charm or embellishment. If you can do it, covering up the stain is the best choice. If this isn’t an option, you need to try washing the red out. Usually this requires some pretty aggressive scrubbing and you need to balance removing the stain with damaging the fabric.
How to wash cross stitch
Use only cold water for the wash and rinse. Tap water is fine unless you have very hard water, then you will want to use distilled water. Make sure the sink and any containers you will use are clean.
Pre-rinse the piece under cold, running water.
Place in a soapy cold water and gently wash. I only use DAWN Dishwashing Soap. Nothing else. Do not scrub. Avoid soaps that have additives such as fragrances, softeners, etc. Use only a small amount of detergent.
If needed, rinse and wash a second time. DO NOT WRING the water out; this is not necessary and can pull the stitches.
Rinse three times in cold water.
As you work, check carefully for any sign of color bleeding, ‘hoop marks’ or other stains.
Remove the piece from the final rinse. Let the water drain out of the fabric, but DO NOT WRING.
Place the cross stitch on a dry bath towel, and roll up the towel (with the cross stitch still on the towel).
Unroll the towel and repeat on a dry section of the towel (or another towel). Gently pressing on the rolled up towel will remove all the water you need to remove. Repeat as necessary.
Unroll the towel. Lay the cross stitch face up on a dry section of the towel. If necessary, let the piece air dry until it is just damp but not dripping wet.
Once again, check for any stains or marks. Once you iron the piece, it will be even more difficult to remove any stains.
Place the cross stitch FACE DOWN on a DRY BATH TOWEL. Use an iron set to a low or medium temperature and lightly press the BACK of the cross stitch. If you have beads, special threads, etc. you want to be extra careful with this step. Keep the iron constantly moving. If you have not used that iron in a while, practice on a scrap piece of cross stitch fabric. Make sure the steam setting is ‘off’, and the iron is not ‘spitting’ steam. For the temperature setting, keep in mind the types of materials you used in the cross stitch; if there is any question, use a lower temperature.
The cross stitch will still be slightly damp. Lay it face up on the towel and allow to air dry.
Below is a reprint of an article from the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute. It has some very good information on removing tough stains from needlework and textiles. This information is for spot removal of stains, not general cleaning.
Stains disfigure clothes and home furnishings, and it is desirable to remove them, especially if the stains stiffen or corrode the fabric beneath them. However, the removal of stains can be hazardous to the fabric – and to the person attempting to get the stain off. To be successful, care and caution must be exercised.
Old Stains There is often the effect of time upon a stain: the older the stain, the harder it is to remove. Drycleaners who are trained in stain removal prefer to work on fresh stains which have not had time to “set” or react with the fabric, dyes, finish, or atmosphere. Generally, a stain less than two months old can be treated; a stain one-day-old is easier than one that is two-weeks-old, etc.
Perhaps the most distressing example of ageing is the soda or cola beverage stain which does not appear to stain but left untreated turns brown because the sugar syrup caramelizes (oxidizes) with time or heat.
Type of Stain There are two fundamental types of stains: those that are water-based and those that are oil-based. Coffee or tea exemplify water-based stains. Paint, lipstick, adhesive stains are classified as solvent-based stains, so are latex type paints or Elmer’s glue, which contain water initially, and harden to a different, non-aqueous compound. Water-based stains, including most food stains, are acidic and will require an acid mixture to remove them. Oil type stains will need non-aqueous or “dry” chemicals (hence the term “dry-cleaning”) in most instances. Many stains, like sebum (“ring around the collar”), and smoke damage, are complex mixtures of oily-type components with water-based salts, acids or bases and particulate matter (carbon, dirt). Inks, especially ball-point and felt-tip pens, contain complex mixtures, along with pigments (colored particles) and dyes (water soluble, fiber absorbed colorants). Perspiration may be acidic or basic depending on the person. The residue is complicated by the composition of the deodorant or perfume used. Pet stains are also variable and complex. Vomit mixes bile from the digestive process with the foodstuffs themselves. Cat urine is not comparable to human urea, as it contains a sulfur molecule. Each is broken down and removed by enzymatic actions specific to the molecular structures. Other types of stains that require special chemical reagents are: dried aged blood, and food colorings like Kool-Aid�.
To remove rust spots left by needles try a little hydrogen peroxide on a Q-tip, stronger solutions up to 100 volume can be bought at Beauty Supply outlets but be very careful and wear rubber gloves it is a very strong bleach,. Test an inconspicuous corner first.
Condition of the Fabric
Water swells natural fibers but not polyester or acrylic, so a water-based stain will go deeper into a natural fiber unless a special hydrophobic (water repellent) finish has been recently applied. Polyester or acrylic, in contrast, will repel water-based stains but absorb oily ones unless a special finish has been fixed on those fibers. Consequently, the success of a stain removal method depends upon the fiber type and finish.
Some dyes and finishes are set on the fibers in the same manner the stain is: with salts, with acids, with warm temperatures, and with time. The chemical compounds that give color to food can be very similar – even identical – to those colors found in shirts, blouses, or oriental carpets. Older fabrics loose their resistance to tearing, to stretching, and to rubbing. Removing a fresh stain from an old textile may require too much stress on the fabric and leave a rip where there was only discoloration before. Thus, many drycleaners and conservators are reluctant to risk this additional damage to an old textile.
Stain Removal Supplies 100% cotton swabs, absorbent paper or cloth toweling, a clean non-porous working surface (a formica or glass table top), deionized water (for steaming iron), bright lighting, peace and quiet, patience.
Stain removal requires an appropriate work area and appropriate supplies. Generally, it is better to set aside a problem for a quiet morning than to attempt to correct it in the midst of a party or dinner, beyond soaking up excess liquid or dabbing up excess solids (in the case of ketchup, mustard, vomit, mud).
Any treatment should be applied by tamping (up and down) with a small cube of sponge or cotton ball or by rolling with a cotton swab across the stained area. The stain should never be rubbed because this can abrade or rip the fabric. Stain removal is sequential and repetitive, because removal involves taking off a percentage of a stain with each application. It is important to confirm the stain or discoloration by limiting the amount of reagent liquid to a small area, flushing that small area clean onto a disposable, absorbent toweling, and then reapplying the reaction liquid. To remove 100% of the stain, even with an effective reaction liquid, five to seven reapplications of the same sequence may be needed because of the chemical reactions to the stain in the fiber can be complex and time dependent. As long as a portion of the stain is being removed, the reaction sequence should be repeated. If you haven’t the knack for such work, lack the space, time or quiet, you can ask a dry-cleaner to treat the stain without his washing or dry-cleaning the entire textile afterwards.
Stain removal can involve solvency (dissolving the stain), detergency (putting the stain into suspension), saponification (using the stain to make a water soluble soap), bleaching reaction (oxidizing or reducing the stain to decolorize it), breaking the molecule apart with specific enzymes.
Water-based Stains (Coffee, Tea, Fruit Juice, Fruit) If the condition of the fabric – fiber, weave, dyes, finish – is good, then these water-based stains can be removed, if the stain is fresh. These liquids contain tannin and other acids. A small amount of diluted shampoo (no conditioner, no perfume) or dishwashing liquid can be alternated with applications of white vinegar, a mild acid. Here you are using “like to dissolve like” and detergency to carry away an acidic foodstuff. Be sure to rinse well with the deionized water, to blot and to dry the area.
Cola, Wine, Beer, Liquors …contain alcohol, sugars, tannins, in water. Glycerine (a water soluble glycol) can lubricate (solvent action) the stain, especially red wines like Burgundies. Glycerine should be rinsed out with water and the tannin/acid portion of the stain removed with application of white vinegar and dilute shampoo (see water-based stains above).
Egg, Ice Cream, Milk, Vomit … contain proteins and complex chemical compounds. Allow the stain to dry and then brush the solids gently off as much as possible. This will reduce the amount to be treated. Generally, enzymatic action is used to break down this type of stain. Some success may be found by using a dilute shampoo followed by dilute ammonia (an alkali). Silk and wool themselves are protein fibers and can be damaged by protein enzymes or alkali.
Salad Dressing, Gravy, Grease The oily part can be dissolved by dry-cleaning solvent (perchloroethylene; 1,1,1 trichloroethane). After these solvents have evaporated, the residue can be removed with mild shampoo (detergent action), followed if necessary by dilute shampoo with dilute ammonia. Alternatively, the oil can be reacted with a poultice of washing soda (sodium carbonate) and warm water. This poultice saponifies the oil into a soluble soap which can be rinsed off. If the oily stain has oxidized (turned yellow), this method will not work.
Inks … are best treated first with solvents and then with water-based reagents. Effective solvents may be acetone, ethanol, or dry-cleaning spotting agents. When these have each been used separately and sequentially, (i.e. each evaporated off before the next is employed), then water-based treatment can follow, using a mild shampoo and white vinegar lubricated with a little glycerine. Because of the amount of work time involved and the number of reagents, it may be wise to consult a dry-cleaner.
Paint, Plastic Resins … require dry-cleaning solvents preceded by reagents soluble in these solvents. because of the special ventilation and safety requirements, it is preferable to consult a drycleaner.
Cat Urine Do not use ammonia. Porous absorbent surfaces like fabrics can be treated with enzymes available at the veterinary; dyes or finishes of the fabrics may be affected by either the urine or by its removal agents.
CAUTION Acetone and amyl acetate (nail polish remover) are effective in removing lipstick, nail polish, by dissolving the lubricant carrying the pigmented color. However, these will dissolve cellulose triacetate fabrics (including the linings of ties) into a plastic pulp.
Ammonia or Alkali will react with acidic foods to make a permanent salt (i.e. a permanent stain).
Chlorine Bleach (“Clorox�”) will dissolve silk or wool – these fabrics will disappear. Cotton or linen will be bleached initially; with time, the fabrics will yellow slightly, weaken. More damaging than hydrogen peroxide.
Hot Water will set stain, but has been used to “push out” a stain by swelling the fiber by pouring boiling water from a height onto fruit stained cotton fabric (not a recommended method).
Club soda contains salt and carbonic acid (Seltzer water); the salt may set the stain (see below).
Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizing bleach with a limited action time. Used with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as a poultice; may decolorize some dyes; will slightly weaken fibers.
Lemon Juice is acidic but cannot be left in. Remove it with white vinegar.
Oxalic Acid (rhubarb leaves, etc.) will act slowly on oxidized iron stains (rust) but can damage cotton, linen. More effective but more hazardous (to people) methods are used by dry-cleaners in controlled circumstances.
Perborate (“Clorox II�”) becomes activated at higher temperatures and releases hydrogen peroxide (see above).
Salt is sodium chloride; it will set tannin stains (wine, coffee, juice).
Water will weaken silk or wool. These fibers will stretch more easily, tear more readily in water. Cotton or linen will be stronger in water, but if they are aged or already damaged, they can be torn also.
I got a random PM today from someone that has heard about me but didn’t know me. They asked “Cindy what are the top things you can tell a new eBay seller” I said… let me write it up for my group and I will message you later… so you all get to read what I will send to him.
By Cindy Sorley- Owner CO$T (Cindy’s Online Selling Tips) on Facebook. Please email me if you want to share this information. I do not want it on paid sites that an owner will turn it into an eBook and claim the information as their own and charge all of you for it. Please do not copy without permission.
1. Postal Scale: You must have a postal scale and not a food scale. You can get a 35 lb scale on eBay for under $20.00 with free shipping. This is something every seller needs to have before they sell on eBay. You can set your shipping price at listing and also never have to go to the post office. Never use the counter at the post office as it is much more expensive. Do online shipping and drop your packages at the post office without standing in line.
2. eBay and PayPal Account: Make sure you have an eBay and PayPal account and buy inexpensive items on that eBay account to get your feedback number to around 20 before you sell. This gives you experience as a buyer of what you do and do not want to do to your buyers. Also, make sure that your eBay name is easy to remember with not a lot of underscores and dashes. You will have selling limits as a new eBay seller to make sure your buyer has a good buying experience so my suggestion is to list items that will sell quickly and not sit. The more you sell you will get feedback and such and your limits raised.
3. Sell Your Own Stuff: Start by selling items in your own home. No need to go and buy items to start selling on eBay. Look in Closets, kitchen cupboards (for unused Coffee cups), children’s rooms, book shelves and ladies, how about the garage? Okay, maybe not. As you sell these items, save some cash back to buy inventory from thrifting, wholesale or arbitrage.
4. Research Before You Sell: Research the item you are selling. a. Go to eBay b. search box c. type in item and on the left side you can see show only, hit sold. You will see what has sold on eBay. (Remember eBay on PC or Mac is 90 Days, Mobile is 15 days). Make sure that if is sold for less than you thought it more than likely could have been a Buy it now and sold immediately without the seller doing research (I buy to resell on eBay). You don’t have to be the lowest. I am most of the times the highest and still sell… Make sure people know you are a business and not a thrift store. I use Terapeak because I can check items that have sold on eBay for up to a year.
5. Title: When you list an item make sure you use all 80 Characters in your title. Don’t use all Capitals. Use Title Case Like This. No ” ” ? or keyword spamming using words like style like etc. Look at your items and think what you would search for if you were looking for that item. Do not even attempt to sell a fake item. You will be kicked off eBay really quickly.
6. Photos: Photos are what can sell your item after they arrive on your listing from searching key words. Put your photos (you get 12 free) in GALLERY and not embedded. Mobile users can thumb through the photos and if interested will then open your description to see the rest of your listing. Sell your item with title and photos.
7. Item Description: On your item description remove all templates. You want to be mobile ready. More and more buyers are using mobile devices and it is shocking the number of eBay listings touched by mobile. Use short sentences to describe your item. Left aligned. no bullets. Google shopping does not allow bullets so why use them? You don’t need to tell people why you deserve five star feedback. You don’t need to tell people you will ship in one day or you ship international. eBay does this for you. When a buyer comes to your listing they see that you ship in so many days, that you ship internationally, etc. eBay states your return policy.. no need to reiterate it. You do have a box to add return policy information, Use it. When you have a long, detailed TOS “terms of service” you appear hard to work with and will lose customers so fast and they won’t be back. Use only one color of font, preferably black.
8. Organization: Get organized. Have your eBay listed items in one area and easy to get to to pull when sold. Organize your unlisted inventory in like categories in bins or on shelves in another area if you have space. . List Like Items all at once so that you can do it faster and easier. Pull a bin at a time and list that bin so you don’t have to change category, shipping prices etc much. For example, I grab a bin of coffee mugs and list 30 or 40 in one sitting. The next night I list 40 Cross Stitch Kits. My shipping stays the same. Category is not that big of a change and it just goes faster.
9. Shipping: Understand shipping and ship international. 1. First Class is under 13 ounces in the USA and under 4 pounds international 2. Learn about Regional A and B Boxes. These are not available at the post office. They have to be ordered for free online at usps.com. 3. Padded Flat Rate Priority envelopes can be your best friend. You can ship heavy coffee cups in them for under $6.00 anywhere in the USA instead of priority rates of up to $12.00. Check out my invention of FOMO Shipping at www.FomoShipping.com 4. If you ship lightweight flat items such as leaflets, patterns, kits, etc you can use the first class large envelope flat option and save a lot of money. eBay and PayPal does not offer it but stamp.com does. 3 ounces worldwide is $3.75 (Canada is less) vs almost $9.00 for Package first class. If you use eBay and Paypal shipping, along with Stamps.com the tracking information is uploaded to eBay immediately.
10. Ship Fast: When an item is purchased get it out as soon as you can. eBay has changed in so many ways in the 14 years I have been on the site and people want their item fast. If you have 1 day shipping listed you have until the next day at Midnight PST (eBay time) to get it the label on it. I have a policy that if a customer pays by 4:45 PM Monday through Friday I ship that day. Leave feedback for your customer now .. not after they leave it for you.
11. Be The Customer: Treat buyers the way you expect to be treated. Make sure customer service is your number one priority. When a buyer buys from you do what you can to have them come back and buy from you. I always send an invoice so they know who I am (have an easy name to remember so they can just type it in) Buy the domain name of your eBay store or seller ID and have it forwarded to your eBay name or store. I have www.bubbacandance.com forwarded right to my eBay store and it is on all my business cards and invoices and it so easy to tell someone. Just go to www. etc.) Yesterday I was talking to the owner of the place we eat breakfast occasionally and Steve said. When we go to McDonald’s and they mess up our order we sort of expect that but we go back. When someone comes to my place they expect more and if we mess up they don’t come back. Don’t be McDonald’s be the place you love to frequent. Again leave feedback when they pay.
12. Bad Experience & The Need for Customer Support: When you have a bad experience with a buyer, handle it professionally. When you get a neutral or negative feedback respond positively and not negatively to the buyer. Future buyers look at these neutrals and negatives and see your response. If you need to call customer service at eBay remember eBay employees are not your enemy. They, too, are available to coach and offer support. They don’t *only* protect the buyer- They protect the entire community.
13. Mobile: (My Baby) Consider Mobile. I am a 100% mobile user. I do all my listings on eBay mobile for IPhone App. This is the best thing I ever did when I changed my way of listing. You don’t need the best device on the market. The $299 IPad Mini with Wifi at 16 gig is great for an eBay seller. Your photos are NOT saved on the Mini but are launched through eBay on the eBay app and it doesn’t take up your space on the Mini. The eBay App I prefer is the IPhone app and I use it on both the IPhone and the IPad and the IPad Mini. It is the most frequently updated.
14. Paid Mentors: Years ago when there was no support groups and people willing to help other sellers there were experts, coaches and mentors who charged monthly fees to have you learn from them. Oh wait… they are still there in December 2013. There is no need for them. You have so much FREE Help and support there is no reason to pay them for this SUPPORT. I have heard of people charging these fees to their credit cards because they had no money to pay the fees and then rack up interest charges. Many times a seller is beginning and needing to pay bills and eBay is a must do situation to save someone from losing a house or helping with monthly bills and these seem to be the ones sucked into paying for support from a mentor. We can mentor you here for free.
15. Your Dashboard in My eBay: Watch your Dashboard (available after ten sales on eBay). Your DSR’s and feedback are found here. A lot of sellers get into trouble by not checking the dashboard. If someone dings your DSR’s you could be in a world of hurt if you ignore them. This shows you where you are on policy, DSR numbers and other very important information. I do this daily.
16. Best Match Search: If you find that your listings are not getting views and not selling I suggest tweaking the listing by fixing title, add to description and or item specifics. I do a search for an item and if I am not at the top of the default search of Best Match I look at the Best Match listing and see why they were above me and I change my listing to try to get the Best Match spot. Don’t get worked up about the search engines not working. eBay also allows you to pin your items and to twitter them right from the listing. It just takes seconds.
17. eBay Store: If and when you open an eBay store, make sure you have store categories such as the retail stores you shop in. Also make sure you use your title box for keywords. I had three eBay names and merged them all when I decided that store categories could allow me to sell Cross Stitch and Hunting rifle scopes all in one store. I had a guy last week buy a coffee cup, jeans and a cross stitch kit.
18. Love your eBay Job: Love what you do… eBay is not easy. Make it work for you. Set Goals. It can get frustrating.. ask for help in groups such as CO$T (Cindy’s online Selling Tips). My saying is Buy Low, Sell High, Sell What you Love! (I also sell things I don’t love because they make me money) I sell what I love because I know what it is and the value of those items.
19. Attitude: Have a positive attitude and ride the roller coaster of online selling with all of us. I have found when I am upset that things have not sold or that I don’t want to list… I kick myself in the butt and say.. you have a family to feed, bills to pay, chickens to feed and they are relying on you. I know when I list consistently on eBay I make more sales and so many a night I have stayed up to list when I didn’t want to … it is part of the job we chose to do. Be careful not to listen to naysayers or to get caught up in too much negativity. Stay positive and see this venue as a gift and opportunity instead of a right. It is a like a continual brain-teaser – challenge to be solved, not a one-time thing to learn. You don’t just do it and then forget it – you constantly learn and adjust. It’s what makes it maddening, challenging, fun, frustrating, and exhilarating all at the same time!
20. Thank You: Always say Thank You and let your buyer know you appreciate them. Write Thank You on your invoice that you mail to your buyer. Get in the habit of sending an invoice. You are now a business not a hobby. All business give you a receipt.
I love what I do… Thank you eBay for giving me that opportunity.