Jewelry Extravaganza In Full Swing

Things have calmed down a bit on the home catastrophe front - the remediation company signed off on their work and removed their equipment, meaning the reconstruction is free to begin. We have full use of the plumbing again and so far see a big improvement in the water quality. It is no longer slimy from the salt-based water softener and my hair color is no longer running down the drain. All of the water is safe to drink but I will be keeping the water cooler as I enjoy cold water. The next step will be to have the drywall repaired and a new floor installed in the laundry room so the washer and dryer can be put back in place. In the meantime it will be the laundromat for us until then.

I found a laundromat nearby and it is a small place but it is under new ownership and all of the machines are brand new Speed Queens. They have a card system for payment which is so much better than having to come up with quarters. It was $2.00 for a regular load of laundry and $1.05 for 25 minutes of drying time which I thought was so reasonable. If $20 is added to the card at once a $2 bonus is received. I hang dry my clothing and 25 minutes was sufficient to dry sheets and towels. We were not organized enough and learned from the experience so things will go much more smoothly and efficiently next time. We also brought Vivi with us, she loves to go anywhere in the car but she barked at people from the car most of the time. Next time we will leave her at home. The laundromat is in a strip mall with a convenience store, a bar and a Mexican food joint. Mother was traumatized because the police came and took someone away in handcuffs right in front of us but this person was not a patron of the laundromat. The Mexican place was recommended to us, we thought it was pretty good but the place in my neighborhood in Mount Prospect is better. I am not a Mexican food connoisseur but I do not mind it once in a while. It is called Pueblo Viejo and it is at 712 E Northwest Hwy three blocks from home, next door to where our second store was located. I recommend it! My go-to is the chorizo with scrambled eggs.

Before the plumbing disaster struck, I was already in the process of working with a landscape designer to redo the backyard. We had a meeting at their office this week and they presented their plan to us and showed us photo examples of each type of plant they plan to use. It is going to be a glorious desert garden filled with different types of blooming plants - cacti, other succulents, climbing vines and trees. A hedge will be planted on one side of the yard and a flowering pear on the other to give us privacy. There will be a water feature to provide a pleasant sound, cool modern lights to highlight the plantings and the existing tall planter will be used for a future herb garden. Since the first person I hired trashed the irrigation system, it all needs to be replaced but the new system will be state of the art and will have special controls so each type of planting receives the proper amount of water. The company will also keep an eye on everything for us to make sure it is all working properly which is especially important since we will probably not be around during the hot summer months. I told Mother maybe she will take up meditation! While it would be nice to change the patio pavers and overhang to updated styles, it is not in the budget right now so we will work with what we have. The project is scheduled to start Tuesday March 2 (the owner told me he learned the hard way not to schedule new projects on a Monday because the helpers are worn out after a weekend of fun!) and should be completed in plenty of time for us to enjoy before we leave.

Mother received her second COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday and other than some arm soreness, she is doing well. We are very grateful that we were able to get a timely second appointment for her and the process was perfect and smooth from beginning to end. The volunteers on site were all so friendly. One woman got so excited when she saw the Briesmobile and then her face fell. She told us she thought we were a cupcake truck bringing goodies for them all! After that I paid a second visit to the jewelry contact I met and sold him a bunch more silver along with some gold. The amount of silver that I have purchased these last three years has been overwhelming and although I did not want to sell it this way, it has helped with these unexpected expenses and making the task of getting the inventory under control possible. When I return home it will be with a clean slate. My at home "peeps" are ready to sell me more!

I converted eight of my fixed-price buy it now jewelry listings on eBay to 10-day auctions starting at a penny. This works very well for the local jewelry contact so I thought I would give it a try with some of the pieces he was not interested in purchasing. So far, so good as I have been receiving bids every day. The photo above is an example of one of the pieces - a gorgeous sterling silver cuff bracelet with a variety of stones including turquoise, coral, jade and orange spiny oyster shell. I will definitely convert some more listings next Thursday. I have more pieces at home and I may just have Kuochun ship them all to me. He has been very helpful shipping eBay and Etsy items here and there since I have been gone but I know he would not enjoy shipping everything individually! I have been selling on eBay since 1999 under user id chummie. I thought about changing my user id to cestlabries to match everything else but I have not had the heart to do it yet. I made a living selling QVC customer returned clothing for seven years, it enabled me to stay out of the imprisonment of corporate life and I will always be appreciative of what eBay made possible for me. To see the auction listings, CLICK HERE. There are buy it now listings as well.

We are in the midst of what I thought was a pretty blockbuster weekend for February but it turns out next weekend will be even bigger! We will be extending our Burr Ridge sale to a second weekend and we picked up sales in Kildeer on Wednesday and Northbrook last night. We will have a total of 5 sales - two are 4-day and three are 3-day. All available hands are on deck! It was really hard work to get it together with all that is going on but I am so glad I was able to send the two packages of jewelry back home. Quite a few of these pieces have found new homes this weekend! Thank you so much to all of you who purchased jewelry from the caravan this weekend. I was so pleased to see pieces from all of the categories sell - sterling silver, Thai, Tibet and costume. I put together another box of goodies to send home yesterday - lots of sterling silver including more gorgeous bracelets, amber and marcasite pieces, a bag of Brighton jewelry and more.

I am going to push through and hopefully complete the rest of the sterling jewelry pricing for the caravan tomorrow and ship one more package which should arrive Wednesday. The package I shipped yesterday is scheduled to arrive Tuesday. Once it arrives Kuochun will be off to Burr Ridge to take an updated round of photos. He will bring most of what I shipped plus the rest of the Tibet jewelry which will come back from Deerfield. Lots of Tibet jewelry has sold in Burr Ridge so far so next weekend the remainder of the collection will be together. It would be amazing to sell out so I can buy more once the Gem Show comes around!

In the box is something I have been looking for a long time - the right size bag for Kuochun to take estate sale deposits to the bank. I got it at See's Candies just before Valentine's Day and it was only $2.25. I let Kuochun know the "I love you" bag is on the way which he is finding mysterious. Mother also contributed another one of the bird toys she originally bought for Vivi to give to Margot. This will be Margot's second bird, she basically has not dropped the hummingbird since she received it. Margot is such a sweet little thing, she is so happy with whatever she is given. She still likes the toys we got her when she was a baby and she is almost three years old now. She is a good example of how to be in life.

I am signing off for now, until next time!