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Archive for March, 2008

Remember! Tax Check will be Taxed

March 28th, 2008 at 01:40 pm

Our tug-o-war has begun! My DH is spending the tax rebate before we get it (Mr. Spender) and I am arm wrestling with him (ok, thumb wrestling) to save it.

He reminded me -- and all of you -- the income will be taxed on your 2008 return!

Don't spend it all therefore! At least 25% of ours is not really ours.

GOOD NEWS! We (mostly he) built a septic system for our weekend home which is scheduled for delivery in May (modular).

IT WAS APPROVED by the County Inspector this past week. A HUGE relief. Unbelievable what he did with a little bitsy tractor and loads of time. It meant:

--digging a big hole and placing a tank at 6' down, so it ends up with about 1.5 feet of soil cover (he didn't drop it!)

--digging 210 feet of some 5 foot wide trenches that had to be PERFECTLY flat. So he would dig about 6 feet, jump off the tractor, use a level to make sure it was flat (and hand shovel if it wasn't), put in a 'distributor' pipe, get the level and make sure THAT was flat, then get back on the tractor and do it again.

REPEAT 50 times.

Saving? LOTS. A septic system costs in the $5-6 thousand ballpark to hire out. Ours? In the $2-3 thousand ballpark plus sweat equity. A great way to save on exercise gym costs too! Smile

Back to the tax rebate:
He wants a new bed to furnish this new house. He deserves it. I agree to whatever he wants basically, and fortunately he doesn't have extravagant taste. Just something long lasting, nicely designed and to rest his tired self after all the work he has accomplished.

Just showing off new work...

March 22nd, 2008 at 08:29 am

I have monthly craft fairs starting in April and have made some new things, like
White Wedding or whenever Earrings
Classic for ladies down the red carpet, or just perfect for prom. White ceramic drop ringed with sparkling swarovski crystal. Finished on goldplated ball posts to keep them fabulously affordable. Shown in tahitian-style pearl and apricot. (click mini photo, left column for more description and price).

NOW is the time to sell your gold scrap

March 19th, 2008 at 09:06 am

Woweee! Gold is holding steady at about $1000/oz (pure).

For 15+ years I have stashed some bits and pieces of old gold jewelry to sell back, ie one earring (lost the other), damaged ring, broken necklace chain, etc. None of these items were of 'estate' value.

But I have always been afraid to take in the various old gold items to get cash or credit at a fine jeweler.

Because in the past I've tried and was disheartened at the pittance they were worth, as well as the very little value of any diamond or stone that might be involved.

Understand, of course the shop is going to weigh the items and give a percent of the gold value, and include no value for the item workmanship. I accept that.

Soooooo GOLD IS HIGH, right?

And I have three jewelry jobs I have been waiting on:

a. Repair a prong on a nice ring from my 16th Bday from my parents. This ring is a keeper and I want to give it to my daughter. It is fairly heavy 14K make.

b. Repair another garnet ring I gave myself upon the birth of my 2nd child (as a breast feeder reminder! put the ring on the other hand to remind me which side, get it?). This one of course is also a keeper.

c. The big job is to reset/redesign my wedding set. It is too small now (older hands, eh?) and I haven't been wearing it.

Very worried about the cost of 14K gold work, I still gravely went to one of the better jewelry shops and discussed.

YAY! The worth of the scrap was over $50! And the repairs (a) and (b) were a mere $58!

Why did I wait so long?! (Oh yeah, see paragraph #4 above...)

As far as (c), it is going to be alot more, but needs alot more thought and discussion. The shop was very very polite and I may work with them on it in the future. It needs another opinion from my second choice shop first.

Thanks for listening!

5 Tips How to Run a Successful Low-Cost Home Craft Show

March 17th, 2008 at 09:29 am

You've been to those infomercial home shows (BLEH) where a rep takes an hour of your time showing stuff you don't really need....

You've been to a home boutique where the place is packed with specialty items, they hand you a hot tea or coffee to sip, and it's a pleasure to walk around browsing...

How about something inbetween?

By default (since my first choice venue fell through), I am hosting a home craft show in a couple weeks. It has been fun planning! Without any retail experience, it's falling together well.

1. Get commitments from your sellers.
Every seller needs to take ownership of the event by taking a volunteer assignment. Examples: placing low/no cost ads in local media outlets, making street signs, or bringing snacks/drinks.

I am charging no table fee, a very nice perk for my sellers, however, each is responsible for some other part of the event.

2. Motivate your sellers in prior weeks in attracting guests
Prepare an email flyer, as well as a print flyer and send these to your sellers at least a month ahead of the event date. Send reminders (such as weekly) to your sellers to distribute these and give them specific ideas!

In the reminders, include anecdotes of your own experiences giving out the fliers to give your sellers a feeling of confidence and comfort. Examples: hand out to church friends, neighbors, school contacts, co-workers, shops frequently patronized (the shop will likely allow fliers to be left for other customers).

3. Have small refreshments for the guests.
I am holding my entire event outside, so this is less problematic than if you have an indoor event. We will have individual sized plain water, flavored waters, soda. Trays of very inexpensive snacks are planned, such as pretzels, cookies, crackers. The cost of snacks can be shared by your sellers, or (in my case) are being brought as part of the 'fee' to be in the event.

4. Have a 'freebie' for guests.
On our flier we have included a coupon to be reedemed at the event for a goody bag. My sellers have donated small items (representative of what they sell) and I have made very nice goody bags with the items, including: jewelry samples, greeting card samples, hair ribbons and bows, fun magnets and pins, and more. Coupons should indicate "while supplies last". Other shows have drawings for one large basket or box of similar donated items, but there are local laws regarding raffles I wish to avoid.

5. Make the event festive but inexpensive.
Our event is a spring boutique and I'll dress up the front of the house with balloon bouquets, a big banner, and create shade structures with draped sheer fabric overhead. Other holiday events can make great use of decorations you already have!

Wish me luck and stay tuned for more blog posts as the time gets closer!

Kicked B*tt on those Gas Prices!

March 14th, 2008 at 08:56 am

Today I took the (long-range) bus route to work. What a treat! It is about a 30 mile drive. Why did I wait so long???

Pros:
Gas ~ 3gal x $3.50/gal = $10.50
Bus Fare = $4.00
Savings = $6.50 (!!)

Convenient pick up TIME and LOCATION!

Add 1 hour of cross stitch time during the bus ride! Woo Hoo!

Cons:
I can't do it more often because I drop off kids at school M-W.

Riders were so nice, a friendly group. One fella brought the bus driver a coffee!
Am going to try this every Thur/Fri

Tomorrow is my bday!

March 12th, 2008 at 12:02 pm

But we will celebrate it tonight at:

an inexpensive chinese restaurant (the mall?!)

a 10 minute massage from the chair masseuse in the mall

That's all I want. Except a $100 canopy for craft fairs! hee hee, just kidding. My biz Pretty Cheap Jewelry will pay for that with earnings during the year.

Easy Sales to the Xtreme

March 5th, 2008 at 04:15 pm

Girl Scout Cookies.
Need I say more?
I am a troop leader and this is the 2nd year we are selling.

Not much of a sales person, I can hardly believe how easy this is.

These things go on nostalgia and I don't know what else.

effortless

our kids are going to have an educational and fun sleepover at a zoo with their earnings.

The Shopping Cart is the Indicator Species of the Urban River

March 3rd, 2008 at 09:39 am

As a longtime environmental advocate and past volunteer with urban river groups, I wrote and handmade a BIG oversized book gratis last summer for an exhibit curated by a local artist on our Fading Treasures.

The book is reproduced on-line here.

There is a pic of me with my 8yo girl under 'About Nina' (without my glasses!)

It is a quick read, with a lot of mini topics on endangered species, river habitat, and more.

I hope it entertains and educates!