What do Barb Tobias (The “Thrift Talk” Diva), Tori Spelling and Carol Burnett have in common?
I was stunned to learn, after reading numerous reports on People.com, Omg.com, and Thefrisky.com, that real celebrities were raising serious money through holding all types of sales; garage sales, tag sales, yard sales, porch sales, divorce sales, downsizing sales, moving sales…and are now moving into the corridors of high-rise apartment buildings where city dwellers are holding “lobby sales”. And, here I thought that this Thrift Talking Diva had the corner on making good money at my fancy Diva Sales.
Yikes! Little did I know that I was going up against the likes of Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson. I’d been snookered and outclassed. And, I would have to imagine that my stuff was probably pretty paltry in comparison to their stuff.
Sure, I’ve yakked for years about the benefits of holding tag sales and purging homes of unwanted and unloved things. And, I’m still a strong advocate for the yearly cleanse (because it’s the only cleanse that’s capable of making a fast buck). But, I was still having trouble wrapping my arms around celebrities hawking their junk … like the rest of us.
I kept asking myself, “Why would outrageously wealthy superstars hold yard sales?” So, I started doing a little celebrity snooping, and, voila, Diva Detective was born. True, most stars hold sales through auction houses, but a few, such as Tori Spelling, Scott Baio, Teri Hatcher, and Pamela Anderson actually worked their own sales, albeit with professional and agent assistance. Many of them do it for charity; however, Tori actually pocketed the cash.
Star Willie Aames sold off his belongings at his suburban Kansas City home. Apparently dozens showed up while Aames bargained with treasure-hunters and even signed autographs. Hundreds of people stood in line to snap up movie memorabilia, taxidermy, antiques, artwork, furniture, and even his piano. And, the shocker…his production crews were even there to film a television documentary.
A cable network recently shot a pilot for the project, titled “Celebrity Garage Sale,” staring actress Illeana Douglas. Apparently the hook is that Douglas is on a mission to help her famous friends get rid of their unwanted junk by holding, you guessed it, a garage sale. They’ve brought in Tom Arnold to mix it up because his garage sale is said to have raised $5,000 for Camp del Corazon, a summer camp for children with heart disease.
Scott Baio’s sale raised funds as well as awareness for mandatory newborn screening in all fifty states after his daughter tested positive for GA1, a metabolic disorder. Fortunately, she is fine, after it was discovered that her results were a false positive.
Teri Hatcher raised $20,000 for her favorite charities through an invite-only, fifty-dollar entrance fee, yard sale and served Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee to her customers!
And, Pamela Anderson was reported have sold one of her homes with all of the contents with the proceeds going to PETA.
Now here’s one that shook the fibers of my “divaness”. Supermodel Erin Wasson held a garage sale selling off pieces from her personal wardrobe … the likes of Balenciaga and YSL. Now, rumor has it that these rags sold for under $100. Where was I when all this was happening? According to Erin she was attempting to “edit down my wardrobe and be very Japanese, where you have one rolling rack…I love the idea of being super edited.” Awww…
So what’s the difference between their yard sales and mine? So okay, the autograph signings are probably a draw. I’ll give them that. And, maybe their furnishings are a tad more elegant. And then there are the gowns, and posters and the jewels. Hmmm…
The idea behind my book, Tossed & Found, came as direct result of a sliding economy and corporate cut backs. After managing a sales team in the Midwest and Western United States for years, my team and I suddenly found ourselves … jobless. With few options available in an market spiraling out of control, I knew I had to reinvent myself – again. The inspiration for writing a thrift memoire came during my regrouping stage. I visualized a book that not only talked about my tumultuous life, but also showcased the shift to thrift that was occurring across our nation.
What was the hardest part about completing your book?
Two thing actually; learning all the parts to the entire process; from writing the book to getting it published. And, and the edits … the seemingly endless edits.
Well, there’s actually a third item I had difficulty with … letting go! After countless edits, I learned that my book would never be perfect; there would always be mistakes or a better way of saying something … a sentence or paragraph that could be written differently. And, there would continue to be a lurking temptation to do another rewrite – or two. At some point an author needs to let it go – give birth – push it out into the world.
Did you learn any lessons in the book creation process, if so what where they?
Having been a first-time author, I learned many, many lessons, the most important of which … staying on task, committing to writing every day, surrounding oneself with mentors, becoming a storyteller, and showing the reader versus telling the reader.
Did you enlist support in getting your book done?
Yes I did. Right out of the shoot I hired a coach. Although he was supportive and directive with my goals I quickly realized I needed to enlist the help of coaches that lived and breathed writing and publishing. I regrouped and hired a book coaching team the literally took my book from limp to alive!
What tips or advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Authorship is a lonely and complex process. However, a fledgling author does not have to attempt the process alone. There is an abundance of writers groups and a wealth of seminars and publishing gurus that can help writers sift through the glut of information and options.
If you self-published, what made you self-publish?
Launching my speaking career determined that I self-published. My book was my calling-card, so to speak. After dipping my toes into the publishing arena, I realized that traditional publishing would take me many more months to get my book out than I was willing to sacrifice. Additionally, I felt that it was judicious to retain all the rights to my creation.
If you had to do your book all over again, would you?
Writing Tossed & Found was a wondrous adventure; it was cathartic, revitalizing, wearisome, creative, exasperating, nerve-wracking, euphoric, tedious, liberating, frustrating and inspiring. And yes, I would so do it again … to feel the euphoria of holding my creation in my hand for the first time, the delight in doing a reading to that first audience, and the appreciation expressed by those inspired to reinvent their lives or lifestyles.
Are you writing or planning to write an additional book(s)?
Yes, I have a Diva sequel planned; Decorating like a Diva … On the Cheap.
But, there is another book begging to be published. I was a dog trainer for 20 years. I envision a book of dog stories; true-life adventures of the many dogs and situations I’ve stumbled upon during my tenure with dogs … from antics on fashion runways to heroic deeds of brave dogs and their owners.
What else would you like to share about you or your book?
The title Tossed & Found is really a double entandre. My book chronicles the journey of trash to treasure, contrasting those that toss things out versus those that find unloved items and turn them into beautiful furnishings or fabulous wardrobes.
And, it is also about my life … my journey. I believe my path parallels the journey of many people that find themselves tossed out of relationships, jobs or life. I also suppose that life throws us curve balls to teach us great lessons. So, it’s not whether we get tossed around, living a meaningful life is about what we do when it happens … whether we find ourselves again.
How can people find out more about your book?
Tossed & Found is available at local bookstores, on Amazon or by visiting www.ThriftTalkDiva.com.
Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, is an author, speaker, coach and the entertaining mistress of thrift. This radio and TV personality renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of turning trash into treasure, Barb shares her secrets for finding deals, repurposing before tossing and reconstructing the tattered in her new release, Tossed & Found. Her “tell all” book is not only a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.
The Diva Tour heads to Fort Collins, Colorado. Simply Beautiful Consignment Presents … An Evening with the Thrift Diva!
Frugal Fashions and Decorating Secrets
Have you run out of money or at a loss for new ideas for your home or wardrobe? Enjoy an engaging evening of networking, refreshments, an autographed copy of Barb’s newest release, Tossed & Found and a lively presentation from world-class speaker, author and entertainer Barb Tobias.
Date: Thursday, November 11, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Simply Beautiful Consignment
426 S. Link Lane, Fort Collins, CO 80524
$20 pre-registration or $25 at the door
To pre-register visit Simply Beautiful Consignment
Or call: 1-877 711 DIVA (3482)
Or: Send $20 via paypal to BarbTobias@ThriftTalkDiva.com – Comment: Simply Beautiful Event
Simply Beautiful Consignment
424-426 South Link Lane
Tuesday-Saturday 11-5:30, Sundays by appointment
For more of Barb’s upcoming events, please click here.
I just made the best buy of the day… a Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because they are closing for good. I found a free bookcase and had just taken it to my car when I walked back in to find that they had just pushed out a love seat from the back room.– FREE, courtesy of
I was the first to look at it and another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it. Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales people let me have it. Can you believe that?
This is a big ole’present to myself. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s feeling more like my home every time I add something.
Oh, and I got a fabulous lamp Goodwill $24 with my Senior Citizen’s discount! Ha, ha! My family room is so cozy and the lighting is great now. I love it.
I can’t believe that I’m so looking forward to garage sale season! I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert!
To repurpose means to use an object for something different from its original purpose. This creative process is not just rewarding, it is addictive.
When I am browsing through a thrift shop or scoping out a yard sale, everything I look at has endless possibilities. Some people refer to the process of looking at things differently as having an ‘eye’ for decorating. I simply call it creative adornment.
I’ve made candlesticks from the bases of lamps, wall hangings from table tops and table tops from wall hangings. I’ve covered interesting pictures with glass and used them as trays or vanity tops, and used architectural pieces, signs and windows in between pictures to make an interesting wall.
This wall assembly boasts two items that were repurposed and slipped into a picture arrangement; the shabby chic 1900’s church window hangs in good stead along with a coveted family heirloom…the original dressmaker’s shop sign that hung above my husband’s grandmother’s shop in Denver.
Individual expressions are as endless as they are personal. I might use a wonderful old porcelain basin or pitcher as a planter while a scarred and dented antique birdcage might find its way to my porch to hold an array of trailing vines and flowers. I have even cut a peeling garden post into varying sizes and grouped them together to form a table top arrangement topped with scented candles.
Thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales or tag sales are ripe with abundant possibilities and unique finds. Start examining them with a new eye.
In a friend’s home there is an amusing surprise at every turn. She loves to bring outdoor items inside. Here she uses a freshly painted metal awning as an architectural effect over an inside door. In addition, a bright checkerboard hangs as an object of interest on the wall next to the door.
And finally, one of my favorites, in Sonia’s guest bathroom, a rusted and peeling wrought iron fence was turned sideways and functions beautifully as a magazine rack…and conveniently sports a pair of reading glasses, a courtesy for the Baby Boomers.
Creative people have been repurposing for decades. I am often reminded of Scarlet O’Hara and her desperate attempts to repurpose an old set of curtains in the movie, Gone with the Wind. She stripped the windows of their coverings to make a new dress and hat so as to appear unaffected by the ravages of the Civil War.
Although I would not suggest that your curtains become your next holiday gown, I am suggesting that you keep your mind open to new possibilities, and perhaps scale new heights in Diva decorating.
It is fun and frugal to generate a new look from an old item. So if you are on a budget think about going green and repurposing all of the worn and weary items that are clogging up the beauty and individuality of your home.
Take a thoughtful walk around your home and think of ways to repurpose items that are worn or dated, or those things that you have simply grown tired of. Think, “How I can use this for purposes very different from its origin? Have fun. Get creative. Think outside the triangle!
There are several things to consider when grouping collections.
- Collections make eye-catching statements when grouped using odd numbers. Stick to three to five items. More than five pieces tend to be too distracting, unless it is a very large grouping that will be viewed collectively as one piece.
- Spacing is critical when arranging multiple items. Although most collections are initially viewed as a whole, there needs to be enough space between each item to allow an admirer to also observe each item separately.
- Vary the heights of the objects so that the eye flows easily around the collection. If the objects are the same size, think about placing some of them on risers of different heights.
The large antique horse at the top of the picture was purchased at a garage sale in Michigan years ago. When I moved to Colorado I realized I needed to work with the vaulted ceilings that graced the living room and dining room areas. To create height, I hoisted this wonderful old carousel piece onto a vintage hutch (from my mother’s farm) and initially displayed him all by his lonesome.
Over time I found his other two companions and two different thrift venues. The one on the right was snapped up at a 75% off clearance table at The Great Outdoors. And, the one on the right was a garage sale reject that I bought for a few dollars along with her broken ear and tail. I loved her old wounds and chose to display her just as she was.
Together the three make a great arrangement atop my dining hutch, and add the height I needed to fill up the tall ceiling space.
These three charming hats grace a bureau in a guest room of my girlfriend’s house. She has a knack for finding vintage items and displaying them with nostalgic grace. And note that she has used parts of a fence post to display her bonnets.
She has also incorporated two other elements of artful arrangements; an odd number of hats was used, and she varied the heights to create visual interest.
And finally, a simple raised bowl holding three different textured balls makes a simple but elegant display.