77 Year Old Woman Makes a Difference by Holding Garage Sales

April 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Blogs, Garage Sales

 Rochester Hills, Mich: Neighborhood gives back for 19th year

Here’s a tip: When visiting Joanne Marcil’s home, watch your stuff. Just ask her husband, Ray, who left a jacket lying around. Joanne grabbed it and sold it at her community’s Make A Difference Day flea market. When Ray later asked her about it, she just smiled.

The project began in 1992 as a garage sale, raising $150 to buy high chairs for a soup kitchen. Marcil, 77, had such a good time she enlisted family and friends to create bigger events every year. The two-day market is now tradition, requiring 150 volunteers and five families’ garages to store donated items.

In 2010, the sale raised $13,000 for women in crisis, the homeless, people with chronic diseases and others. In 19 years, the project has raised $71,000. It’s hard work but well worth it, Marcil says. “I’m doing something to help this world, not just wishing things were better.”

$10,000 Make A Difference Day Award from Newman’s Own goes to The Baldwin Center, Pontiac, Mich.

This year’s judges:

Charles Gabrielson: President & Publisher, USA WEEKEND Magazine

Brian Gallagher: President and CEO, United Way Worldwide

Michael Havard: Vice President of Marketing, Newman’s Own Inc.

Kim Martin: President and General Manager, WE tv and Wedding Central

Michelle Nunn: CEO, Points of Light, Institute & Co-founder, HandsOn Network

Thrifty Holiday Decorating Tips

December 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Decorating

 

I am a hopeless thrift-aholic … saver of parts … collector of broken stuff … savior of discarded orphans.

I love to put together all the unloved pieces that people throw away to make creative masterpieces.  And, no season brings more opportunity than the Holiday Season.

I begin my Holiday decorating by purging and sorting.  First I pull out all my Christmas finds and begin the process.  One pile is a group of “orphaned” items that will be used to fashion holiday displays.

This year I made a splendid centerpiece from odds and ends collected throughout the year from various thrift venues…garage sales, flea markets and estate sales.  Earlier in the year I found a solidly built chrome stand that once held a globe … I presumed.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with the piece, however I loved the height and heft of it and snatched it up for a mere $2.00.  I was a little concerned that I might not find a lantern that would fit effectively within the ridged top, but felt it was worth a try. 

 

 

 

I’ve learned, from being a hopeless thrift-a-holic for over thirty years, that patience eventually pays off.  And, sure enough … four or five months later, I was delighted to find a cracked glass hurricane.  I placed my new acquisition on my miscellaneous shelf where it sat until this holiday season.

After I had sorted all my items I was anxious to see if the globe would fit into my tall, stately stand. As I slid the lantern into place it was the perfect fit!

Next I got busy creating my Christmas centerpiece.  I took two random greenery vines, twisted them about the base and placed a fresh pine-scented candle within the globe. Now I had a centerpiece worthy for the most festive table … for under $10.00!

 

 

 

Greenery and garlands, collected throughout the garage sale season, are draped over mirrors, mantels and bowls.  These festive ropes are often decorated with odd flowers, berries, balls and candles. 

 

And finally, I enjoy decorating with some holiday humor … adding a little spice and personality to my rooms. Often, décor pieces that adorn my home year ‘round, are decorated with a bit of holiday whimsy.

FORT COLLINS DIVA TOUR

October 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Press Room

The Diva Tour heads to Fort Collins, Colorado. Simply Beautiful Consignment Presents … An Evening with the Thrift Diva!

From Farm girl to fashion model to frugal fashionista, Barb Tobias, America’s “Thrift Talk” Diva, has audiences on the edge of their seats with her entertaining and timely presentation …

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
970-691-5645

$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
Edie Barton
424-426 South Link Lane
Tuesday-Saturday 11-5:30, Sundays by appointment
970-691-5645

For more of Barb’s upcoming events, please click here.

An Interview with the Diva of Thrift

January 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Press Room

Q.  Why do you refer to yourself as a Diva?

 A.  I struggled to come up with a title for myself . . . a name that would reflect my journey to the top of the proverbial pile so to speak.  When considering strong, self-actualizing words for women, the English language provides few choices. 

Was I going to call myself a Princess? Well, we’ve all pounded that word into the ground. And, I really didn’t want to defend my title against all the little, fluffy, cutesy dogs named Princess.  

Perhaps calling myself a master of my trade would work. Naw, that term was obviously reserved for men. 

Okay, so how about mistress of my trade?  Well, that one is sure to make the tabloids, and not an image I wanted to portray.  Plus, the word no longer carries (if it ever did) the element of accomplishment that typified someone who has walked the bumpy road to success.

A Queen?  Now, there is a moniker that negates the thought of achievement brought about by hard, creative work.  The term typically refers to a birthright not accomplishment.

Alas, there remained . . .  the Diva.  Strong, accomplished, talented.  That could work.  Of course, I knew that there would be those that would scoff at such a self-proclaiming title, but I would ask.  What word has this culture cultivated to capture the strength, the magic, of talented, smart, resilient women? 

Thus, another Diva was born . . . The Thrift Diva

 

 

Q.  What exactly is Thrift?

 A.  Thrift or thrifting, as it is often called, is the act of purchasing secondhand items at a fraction of their original cost.         

 

                                                                  

 Check out my FAB 99 cent 60’s swing coat . . . 

  

 

 Q.  Don’t most people regard the act of thrifting as a rather seedy, back-alley type of activity? 

A. They used to, but times are changing. With the downturn of the economy thrift has stepped out of the closet . . . so to speak.  Many people furnish their entire homes in fabulous but frugal secondhand finds.  I have.  I just talked to a fellow thriftier that furnished her 3,800 square foot home with used bargains . . . for $8,000 . . . and it looks fabulous.

Others build their wardrobes from posh designer fashions they rescue from thrift stores, garage sales and auctions.

Q.  I find the phrase Thrift Diva to be somewhat of an oxymoron.  Isn’t thrift the polar opposite of being a Diva? 

A.  That is actually one of the reasons I began calling myself The Thrift Talk Diva.  My mission is to take thrift out of the gutter. To show people how to decorate or dress using recycled products.  Think of it.  No packaging, no shipping costs, no advertising.  Not only is thrift socially responsible, but we can all live in wonderfully appointed environments at little to no cost.

 And . . . The Thrift Diva can show them how to do it.

 Q.  Why are you the expert on thrift?

A.    I have been shopping America’s thrifty by-ways and high-ways for 30 years, I have outfitted my home and myself in fashionable thrift bargains, and I have taught countless Divettes how to create fabulous interiors for little to no cost. 

Q.  Am I right to assume that thrift shopping is becoming more in vogue with the downturn of the economy?

 A.  Although the art of thrifting has been around for years, it is definitely in vogue . . . it is the new black. 

Q.  Why does it matter?

A.  There are several factors that make this frugal trend a hot topic:

  • The economy is in the dumper but people do not want to give up their lifestyles . . . and they don’t need to.  What they need to discover is a cheaper means to accomplish their goals, whether it is outfitting their families or decorating their homes.  
  • Women are hard-wired to nest, to create richly appointed, comfortable homes.  Fashioning a home is the primer creative outlet for most women. It started when hides, caves and timbers were crudely fashioned into habitats.  These abodes were adorned with drawings, beads, animal relics and other adornments.  
  • It is fun.  The thrill of the hunt is as alluring in the halls of thrift as it is in the fields of prey. 

 Q.  Do you consider the Art of Thrifting to be a business or hobby?

A. My fascination with garage sales, flea markets, antique and consignments shops started out as a hobby.  I was a single mom on a tight budget and was thrilled at the thought of decorating my home at little to no cost. It wasn’t until years later and the change in perception that I actually turned my passion into a coaching and speaking business with the launch of my book Tossed and Found.

 Q.  Was thrift hunting an accepted activity 30 year ago?

 A.  Absolutely not.  As a matter of fact I write about going to garage sales, incognito.  I used to carry a pair of sunglasses and a scrunchy hat in my car to use whenever I stopped at a yard sale or thrift shop.  At the time I was a fashion model and I was doing a lot of radio and television appearances.  Back then my Divaness had not yet fully blossomed and I would have sooner died than been spotted with my head in a dumpster or in the back of some grubby barn searching for my holy grail. 

Q.  What is the best find you ever found?

A.  I will share my most cherished possession because I feel that worth is not measured by the actual price that is paid, but the value that it holds for the huntress.    

In the infancy of my thrifting addiction, I stopped by a fairly seedy sale hesitating as to whether to even go in. I did a quick scope of the interior of the garage and made the decision to leave when I spotted a dust covered picture propped behind some old boxes.  Its back was facing me and I could only see the old and tattered frame.  Turning it around and wiping the dust off the glass I was enchanted by the yellowed but fetching picture. 

A turn of the century Diva peered out through her mask at a costume ball.  I knew that I had to have her.  Hesitantly I asked the proprietress of this fine establishment how much she wanted.  Her tired reply asked for a mere $5.00.  I knew that day, as I walked my treasure to the car, that I was hooked.  I am a thrift-a-holic. 

Q.  When and why did you begin writing?

A.  I have actually written for years, but I never brought any of my projects to fruition.  It wasn’t until I lost my corporate position several years ago that I had the unfettered opportunity to follow my dreams.  One day in had a serious talk with myself and threw the question out to the universe, “What course should I follow now?”  The answer came back like a bolt of lightning…”Write a book about your passion.”  Hence, the birth of Tossed and Found.    

Q.  Is there a bigger message beneath the clutter (so to speak) of Tossed and Found?

A.    Definitely.  I want to reach women and deliver this message:  No matter how humble your dreams, no matter what your circumstances, you can reach that goal.  You are powerful…own it.  You are creative…embrace it.  You are a Diva.

Q.  Are experiences based on the events in your own life?

A.  Absolutely.  I talk about the experiences I have had on the road, on television and radio, on the runway and in business.  I relate some of the amazing adventures I have had like having a gun pulled on us during a garage sale, finding true treasures for pennies, and decorating my home in thrift . . . at no cost. 

 Q.  Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A.  Yes.  I am writing my second book entitled Tossed and Turned. Whereas Tossed and Found is about finding and buying secondhand treasures, Tossed and Turned is about decorating with frugal finds.  It shows, step by step how to turn a ‘noplace’ into a ‘showplace’ at little to no cost.

 

                                                                                    

 

Modeling Picture from the 80’s . . . Was I ever that skinny?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The emerging Diva

I Love Bargain Hunting at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

January 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Blogs, Decorating, Fashion, Garage Sales, Recycling

Below is an email that I received from a very excited client. We are working to transform her somewhat worn home into a chic and stylish habitat.

Just last garage sale season, Jo learned how to shop using a newly frugal but creative eye. She quickly learned to spot the potential treasures beneath the tarnish. Prepare Jo Garage Sale

After holding a garage sale of her own, we spent a few fun and productive weekends looking for bargain furnishings to replace the items we literally hauled out of her house and sold on the spot.   Remember the old addage; One woman’s junk is another woman’s treasure? (Okay, so it is close enough.)

Jo was very hesitant at the beginning of our project.  She was skeptical of finding quality items at local thrift venues.  Now, she is an ardent believer and often ventures out on her own to find her bargains. She has learned that imagination and resourcefulness are key factors in finding the right deals.

Hi Barb,

I just made the best buy of the day… a love seat – FREE, courtesy of Aurora Library. I was actually looking at all their $1 books because the library is 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 pull a love seat from the back room and pushed it onto the sale floor.

I was the first to look at it, then another lady started pushing it around and inspecting it.  Since I had already made my decision to buy it, the sales person let me have it. Can you believe that?

I felt like  I just gave myself a big ole’ Christmas present. I can’t even tell you how great my family room feels to me – it’s beginning to feel more like home every time I add something.

Oh, and I picked up a fabulous lamp Goodwill for $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 next garage sale season!  I would have never thought I would be such an ardent convert!  This is fun and it is not costing me any more money because I am using the funds that I made when we held my garage sale.

Thank you so much . . . and, Happy New Year!
To your success,
Jo Guerra

www.YourMarketingGal.com
Denver Entrepreneurs LinkedIn Group

Motivation, Leadership and Inspiration

November 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Blogs

I have sought inspiration in varying level at various times and have found that there is a rich tapestry of the inspired and those that inspire. They come in many different forms; a song we hear in the background, a headline or even a book title. Maybe the Universe is trying to give us a nudge or some divine spirit is vying for our attention.  Regardless of the venue or purpose of these seeming innocuous whisperings, we know at a core level that we have connected with resonances of a higher power.

The following sites not only inspire but allow women to connect with other women from all walks of life. Businesses can be promoted, information shared, and a blog or forum started. Here are some of my personal favs.
 

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