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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

MONEY: From Trash To Treasures with Pictures----- How I Do It. Hope U Enjoy It.

 Over the last three years I have written about 27 articles dealing with personal finances.  They started with what to do when you become unemployed and how to deal with it. As the saying goes, "Been there done that."  While times may be hard it is not the end. See my 2/6/12 post for the story. Over a 20+ year period I also ran my own business. If you type in Money in the search bar at the start of my blog, it will bring up blogs that might help those that are in financial trouble. They cover everything from how to generate some income, how to start over, how to get a house cheap, and starting your own business. Hope some of them help somebody.  Thanks for visiting my site

     I have explained in several of my blogs that when I had my heart attack and became unemployed we needed to cut back.  The one area I could help with was the trash. I knew I could do it cheaper than the $25 a month we were paying to get it carried away.   Just hauling it to town and paying per bag was cheaper than what we were paying.  We did not have a lot of trash.  About eight bags on average.
   Having had several people ask about it I decided to do a page with a lot of pictures to show you how to do it. You can make your stuff out of about anything.  This first picture is of an old detergent bottle.  Pictures of birds using it is what sells it.  I get $3 to $5 out of them,  I call them redneck feeders, gets laughs and a few
bucks.  The whole thing is to use your creativity to help meet your needs.  Hopefully you will see something you can find or use that will work for you. Like anything you have to plan it, pursue it and do it to make any money at it.  It does not just happen.  If your waiting for the government to help your wasting your time.  The only thing they care about is their own paychecks. As long as they continue to get them you will not see them worrying about you.

 If you go to a Farmers Market or Flea Market good pictures will sell the item for you.  You just have to be creative enough to take the time to do it. That whole deck and patio area is all made from recycled materials.  The little fireplace was a gift from my daughter Angel and her family.  The sunflowers came up volunteer from what fell off the bird feeders.  Hope this helps someone to find a way to help themselves make a few bucks to get by.  It helped me  in several ways.  It gave me something to do and money for the little things I need that the retirement check does not quite cover.  So here we go.

Milk jug feeders usually bring only about $3 but but even a $1 beats paying to get rid of it. It is another of my Red NeckFeeders.  Selling point is that the buyer does not have to do the work.  A razor knife, a piece of clothesline and drill a hole in the cap and your in business with this one.  You can make about ten of these an hour.  Some days they fly away and some days they just sit.  Sooner or later they sell though. Especially if you have proof they work.  With all feeders make sure you make plenty of 1/8 inch holes for drainage so the feed does not go bad.  You can get creative and paint them bright colors, but I usually leave them the color they are.  My big contributions is to take a marker and put the words Red Neck Feeder on them.
 A little time, a little paint and a few pieces of scrap wood and you have the makings for this green feeder.  One of the later pictures shows how it works.  The perch holds in a bottle or a can, which acts as the living area.  Selling point is the easy clean out. Get about $7 to $10 on these.  The more elaborate the paint job the more you can get out of it.  The point of these things is that if you are out of money it can make you some change to get by and save you some as you do not have to pay to get rid of it.
    I break my trash into several groups. Garbage which goes in my compost pile and helps the garden.Burnables which is exactly what I do with them. Junk mail makes good fire starting material.  I live in the country but still have to burn in a metal container.  If you work it right you can get a $1 to $2 from neighbors for hauling off their trash.  Then you break it down and end up with only about one bag to get rid of and you have made $10 to $20 if not more. Being a trash man is beneath some peoples dignity though.
Patriotic colors sell good.   Everybody loves the red white and blue.  It is the same style as the earlier one with the sunflower on it.  It takes time to do this but when you get the hang of it, it's not bad.  You can almost make an assembly line production system and really pump them out.  Once you get going you can cut out the pieces. Print out some basic directions and sell them as kits for kid to do. The magic number is $4.95.  Much over that and they do not sell good. You can always cut prices.  If you are using scrap wood the only thing you buy is a piece of clothesline and a 100 foot will make about 66 hangers and that means you have about 8 cents in the project + time.

You can make lots of things from gourds.  The hard part is getting them started, but if you put them in sunny area, Give them a place to climb you can get 10 or more per plant.  If you get more than that. Take the time to pinch them off so you get bigger gourds..I try to limit mine to about 5 per plant.  Bad thing is it takes two years to become self sufficient with gourds.  First year you grow them then lay them out over winter in a dry place. Like a barn loft and by spring they are ready for you to make something out of them.  When picking make sure the vine has turned brown.  That means they are grown.  Freezing does not seem to hurt them. Like I said just make sure the place is dry and out of the weather. You can make lots of things out of gourds or you can just sell the gourds.  People who do crafts will buy them.  Here I have two patriotic bird houses and a gourd bird house chime.  It is in the background.  The spoons I pick for virtually nothing at yard sales.  A drill some fishing line and a few washers and you are in business.  I get the beads from jewelry I buy for next to nothing at yard sales and take apart.. My trade mark an preference is to use a piece of dowel rod to make the hanger. You can buy it at any hardware or lumber place.  Usually 3 or 4 feet for a buck.  You only need 8 inch pieces so you get 8 to 10 per rod.  Like I said when you clean them out you get seeds for your next years crop.  You should wear a mask when sanding on gourds.  The dust can cause breathing problems if you get to much. It is commonly called Gourd Flu and can be serious/
Sometimes you create something so fine or funny you decide to keep it for yourself. This coffee pot was one of my very first projects and I have had it for about 8 years.  If people hang the gourds out of the weather they will last quite a few years.  However out in the weather with a good coat of enamel or varnish they will last three to four years before mother nature takes her toll on them. I found the best thing for drilling holes in gourds is the type bit you use to drill door knob holes.  Some people say make smaller holes but I like at least 1 1/2 inch holes and I have a pretty good occupancy rate.  You do need to clean the old nest out in late fall or early spring or it probably will not get used the next season.  I have one on my front porch that has had occupants every year. The last three years have been cardinals, which normally nest in my hedges..  You'll also get finches, sparrow, chickadees and several others.

This is a side view of the earlier sunflower and patriotic bird house.  You can use cans, old plastic coffee cans or glass bottles.  I have about three or four sizes I like to use.   Especially the Vlasic Pickle jars.  You do not need the lids, but do not pitch them. I use the lids for paint mixing cups to get the color I want when I am doing something I want to looks a certain way. Notice how the piece of dowel hold the bottle in placed.  I leave the labels on, but many take them off and some have told me you can watch the birds making nests and feeding.  I have not done it myself.  I am more into feeding.  Some winters I go through over a 100 pounds a month.  I do not mind it as these little critters make me my spending money.  Only fair they get their share.  I have found on the bottle houses a 1 1/2 inch opening seems to work best.  Some people will tell you they do not want perches on the houses cause predators can use them.  One thing I will tell you is that if you get into making this stuff.  There's always going to be the people who tell you a better way to do things.                                                                   Just smile and take their advice and their money.

   These gourd characters are my favorites to make for a couple reasons.  One is that it is just fun figuring out how to make a neat face that will attract people.  The second is they sell real good and make real good money.  Some of them I get $20 and more out of.

Notice the skin color and the eye color.  That is what I use those lids for.  Just mix enough to do the job at hand.  It does not seem to keep good.  After a while you will know how much to mix for almost any project.  When done pitch them and cut down on the amount of cleanup you have to do. I keep my paint in my garage. Drilled a hole in the side of an old freezer and rigged up a light fixture.  One sixty watt bulb will keep the temperature about 60 degrees when the outside temperature is at 10 degrees.  Paint can be expensive.  Make it last.  Clean your brushes as you go and it will make life a lot simpler.  The idea is to keep the cost down and some spending money

    These swords and shields I made from wood scraps I would normally have burnt.  The handles on the shields is held on with rivets and the material is old lawn chair seating straps cut to size. The more creative you are the more you can make.  I usually sell the swords for $10 and the shields for $10 or $17 for a pair and believe me kids rule and they will get both.  Remember the only thing you have in this is your time and some paint.  You just saved something from being thrown on the burn pile.  You just helped beat global warming if your into that.  It is a good line that sells the stuff.

is rather high.  I am asking $500 dollars.  I don't figure I will sell it for that, but if I did I would be happy and I would figure how to make me one similar.  No two are exactly alike.  The one here is called "The Clean Out." which is where it came from.  I was cleaning out a drawer and made several of these small ones out of the stuff.  Asking price on this one is $20 and it  is a working and functional wind vane. Again it is a little high but I do not really care if I sell it.  It is art.  At least I think it is. Others might have a different opinion. People tell me that is awful high, I say "Then go to Walmart and get one."
This one is made from some old pans.  A cake pan, a skillet lid.  The hanger parts are from an old lamp which I took apart and scraped for the copper in it. If you don't have a lamp and eyebolt will do.  The dowel is from an old broken shell unit.  Have enough dowels to make about twenty of these.  I have used a piece of PVC for the spacer to separate the top and bottom pan.  The problem with that is you need piece of threaded rod about ten to twelve inches long and that is expensive.  Later models I used a 3 inch eyebolt screw in from the top and a 3 inch lag screw inthe bottom to hold it
together.  The beads and shiny stuff on the bottom attracts the birds to the feeders.  I use cotter pins to hold them to the pan.  You need to drill lots of 1/8 inch holes around the edges and all over the bottom pan that holds the feed.  That lets the water out so it does not make the seed or feed moldy that you put in the pan.  To fill it I use a coffee cup,  You have to keep the pans far enough apart to be able to fill it.  These sell for anywhere from $10 to $25.  The look will determine the price.   Do not try to charge high prices for cheap work.  Give the customer his moneys worth but charge for your creativity.  If you spend three hours making one charge accordingly.  I can make one in less that 30 minutes, but I been doing it awhile.

Tea pot wind chimes easily bring $15 to $25 dollars.  The hard part is finding the pots.  I get mine at yard sales normally,  The most I will pay is normally $2 which I do not mind if it is a nice pot it will make ten times my money back.  The chimes can be from metal pipes, silverware, bamboo, trinkets or beads, Really anything you might want to try and have enough of to make it look right.  The trick is finding the right balance and not overloading the thing with to much stuff.  Weight can also be a factor.  Have made some pretty heavy ones myself.  Sometimes I buy wind chimes for a $1 or so at a yard sale with the idea to tear it apart and make something more marketable or the way I want to make it so it will sell.  After awhile you know what your customers want and what will and will not sell.   If it will not sell it is a waste of your time.
As the old saying goes, Time is Money.  Don't waste it.

  This one is made from an old porcelain teapot.  Porcelain is hard to drill but it can make some really nice pieces.  I usually buy one ten foot rod and it divide it to get five pieces. They have to vary in length. I usually use 2" or 3" variations.  I use chain to last and cotter keys and fishing swivels to make it so it is strong and will spin.  The clanger can be about anything you want to use. To give the clanger good mobility I use a piece of an old license plate and attach it with a fishing live swivel.  Then I bend it so the wind can make it spin.  Even when it is not blowing hard enough to ring the chimes.  One like this can bring $35 to $40 easy.  You can always cut prices if stuff is not moving, but do not even think about raising prices.  It will get you bad word of mouth, even if you never hear it yourself.
 This piece is made from an old Miracle whip bottle. A pan lid,  a cake pan, a finial (hanger) , a few nuts and bolts and some washers. First I take the knob off the lid. Then place an appropriate size screw into the bottom of the jar sticking out.  I recommend use a washer as it will keep the screw from tearing threw the bottom. Screw it into the finial and the top part is done.  You can find finials at building supply and hardware stores.  For the bottom you need for 1/4 inch nuts and bolts about 1 1/2  to 2 1/2 inches long.  Drill a 1 1/2 inch hole in the center of the cap.  Then half ways from the edge of the hole and the lip of the lid drill four evenly spaced holes.  You will need four spacers that are at least an inch thick.  You can use wooden beads, nuts, washers or anything else that will give a one inch space between the bottle lid and the pan..  They keep the lid far enough away that the food can flow out to so the birds can get it.  You can use old thread spools, wood beads, washers or small pieces of pvc plastic.  Whatever you have that does not cost much.  You can put the screws in from the bottom or from the lid out.  It does not matter, but again you need washers to keep the lid from tearing.  I prefer to have the nuts inside the jar and sort of hidden.  Either way make sure they do not block the lid from screwing onto the bottle.

  Finally my favorite pot chime with spoons and beads.  These can bring really good money if they are shined have good balance, good sparkelies and make a pleasant sound.  Have seen these go as high as a hundred dollars at flea markets.  It is all about how good of a salesman you are.  You have to pitch the sale to make it work.  Farmers markets and flea markets can be great fun and you can have a great time doing it.  Just remember your doing it to make money and keep your eyes open for new and better ideas you can steal and improve on.  The best money makers versus investment I have seen are the guys who do the sandblasted rocks and the guys who are really good at making scroll work art(very time consuming though) with a jig saw.  They make some awesome bucks.
    Hope somebody gets some use out of this article.  Especially ones that need to make a couple bucks to get by. You can now make going to yard sales into a tool. You can find materials and ideas for things to make. Also if you have business cards hand them out with the date and place you will have your yard sale and what you will be selling.  Network,,,,Helping each other, helps everybody.

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