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Archive for May, 2008

Nice to be Featured

May 31st, 2008 at 12:24 am

A young, hip design shopping site featured one of my items on their home page (see those white wedding style earrings on the big green leaf over there in the left margin?).

Nice to be noticed Smile
http://wickedlychic.com

Mixed Feelings

May 29th, 2008 at 01:47 pm

Am learning a new craft, wire wrapping. It appeals to the precision part of my technical brain.

After practicing using inexpensive wire of various weights, I bravely moved on to sterling silver and 14K gold filled wire. These are not terribly expensive, but there is hardly room for waste.

Inclined toward the classic and timeless simple design, this is my very favorite result:

Pure Class Pearl and Swarovski Crystal Ring


I wore it for a day and it was very comfortable! It is small, size 5.

With mixed feelings I put it for sale on my website Pretty Cheap Jewelry because if it sells I will never see it again. Of course it can be made again, but never exactly the same.

Next tool needed soon: a ring mandrel!

Rich=Better Education? Then I'm a Millionaire!

May 22nd, 2008 at 03:40 pm

The news came out today that my kids' elementary school is NUMBER #1 in the State of California for test scores. It has been so for 6 YEARS RUNNING. There are 3 high schools in town and one of them scored NUMBER #1 in the state too.

If California were a country, it would be 6th largest in the world (as I've read somewhere based on $$, population or something).

So that just means my kids are UNDOUBTEDLY future world leaders.

Local news report details here:
http://www.kvta.com/content_page.php?pid=local_news

So why are we so hot?? It is not just money for sure. I am not by any means hugely upper middle class. We are a solid middle class neighborhood. Our ethnic diversity tends toward Caucasion, but is certainly heavily influenced by Central America. There are African American, Muslim, and Asian all present in our everyday life.

It is a magnet school to be sure, and a math magnet at that. Parental involvement is likely much more prevalent, but there are plenty of 2 working parent households, and everyone has their story!! (Volunteer out of the classroom, homeschoolers, you name it).

State testing just finished a week ago and 2008 scores are not out yet. But I am confident we are going to be tops again. Thanks for reading.

Put a Dryer Sheet in your Pocket, and other Zany Savers

May 18th, 2008 at 08:27 pm

Tips from the Tehachapi Loop May 2008

Mosquito 'Spray' - Put a dryer sheet in your pocket to keep mosquitos away.

Static Cling 'Spray' - Pin a safety pin to the seam of a dress or pants to banish static cling.

Envelope Sleuth - Open a sealed envelope without a tear by freezing for an hour or two.

Ant Trap - Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants for them to take back to the colony. It is indigestible to ants and they die. Great to try where you have dogs or kids who might otherwise touch pesticides.

Pizza Nerds - Reheat pizza slices in a non stick skillet on the stovetop. Keeps the crust crispy! Bye bye microwave.

Yesterday's Weed Killer - Place layers of overlapped wet newspaper under mulch around new outdoor plants. Weeds are not able to grow through.

Cake Queen - Whip storebought ready frosting to double the volume! Less calories, less sugar per serving.

Find Buried Treasure Site

May 15th, 2008 at 06:07 pm

You already know I am in the Etsy handcrafted internet marketplace. There are 100,000 shops (of which about only 1/2 are really active). But it is a fabulous community of buyers and sellers as you might have checked.

The good? What fun!! You have never seen the likes of some of the outrageous and inspirational crafted goods.

The bad? What a mountain of stuff! It is a huge task to see and be seen sorting through the items.

One of the active and smart sellers who undoubtedly has some advertising know how started a new site to pull out some of the 'Buried Treasure'.

I joined here:
http://buriedtreasury.blogspot.com/2008/05/prettycheap.html

Please make a comment on my little gallery if you like! And you can put in other tags (where it says 'Dig it Up') to see other galleries.

Try the tag 'bargain' or 'clever'!

Have Fun!

Inexpensive Graduation or Vacation 'Souvenir'

May 14th, 2008 at 07:31 pm

Here's a great idea for saving memories (and $$). Instead of buying something for the graduate, get friends to autograph their remembrances and memories in this nifty little book:

Bear Hopes and Dreams Blank Journal


Such a personal gift will last a lifetime.

Great also for that summer vacation instead of buying souvenirs. Paste in pictures, stubs of tickets, snippets of brochures and more. A fabulous project for a kid.

Or the newly engaged! Take it to the shower and get autographs and wishes. Add photos later.

Maybe even at the baby shower, have guests write a little something and include pictures of the event.

It is a blank journal with a cover I cross stitched and accented with silk flowers. It is a real bargain and wonderful for many occasions.

For more details and pictures, click here:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=8918179

Just when you thought you knew it all...

May 9th, 2008 at 01:47 pm

Without dissecting the details, the underlying message rings true, dont'cha think?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7140193618475975826...

I am not a utubie by far, but this is too important to not share.

$10 From JCPenney - Did you get one?

May 8th, 2008 at 06:33 pm

Don't throw out that JCPenney circular in the mail. The one with the folded side on the first page.

It contains a coupon for $10 off ANY purchase of $10.01 or more at JCPenney. (Read the fine print about electronics and whatnot).

These come at the rate of 2 or so a year. Always one for Mother's Day (2 weeks prior), usually one around Father's Day, and maybe one later in the year.

It is always useful for ~
underwear
socks
kids shoes
bath towels/rugs
gifts

This time I was invited to a 2 year old's birthday of an important neighbor. We are not able to attend, but I used the coupon for a hooded towel & Pooh wash puppet set.

It was sale priced at $9.99, the clerk let me use the coupon and even with tax, she charged me $0.

Free gift for an unexpected expense. I mean un-expense.

Long Days + School Week = Disruption

May 7th, 2008 at 03:56 pm

It has been a struggle the past two weeks handling my grade school kids in the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Being outside to play is far more attractive than the routine necessary:
piano practice,
homework (thank goodness there's not much lately),
dinner (6:30 is about as late as I'll let it go),
shower (needs to be underway by about 7pm),
reading assignment (*sigh* if there is any time left)

What a dichotomy! Why am I'm nagging them to get outside for fresh air on weekend days, and nagging them to get inside on weekdays.

Will someone please send the Spring Fever Relief medicine over here?

You know about REI, right?

May 6th, 2008 at 09:06 pm

Recreational Equipment Inc., a mostly west coast sports supply retailer has a no questions asked return policy, incredible.

My husband happened to be in the Idaho store this past weekend (just for fun! he was way away from home) wearing the hiking boots he purchased from them over a year ago.

He mentioned to the sales person about the squeeze in the toe and that the boots never really fit great. The clerk encouraged him to return the boots right there. Sans receipt, worn for over a year.

Even my husband, Mr. Ruthless Return, was sheepish. But not that sheepish.

Up to the cash register, with the opening statement, "The sales person over there told me to do it..." and it was done. The year old transaction was instantly in the system. They took a return and he went over to find a better fit. And $9 later had brand new Vasque boots.

REI is a membership type place, no fee. You receive a check every summer in returned profit from the company. The check comes in the form of 'advance toward new items' or you can take it in cash soon after.

I joined this place many many years ago (think 25 or more) when they were way smaller. The Southern California population exploded in the 80s including a huge wave of outdoors enthusiasts (me too!).

This is one establishment, for some reason, which has not batted an eye in changing their culture in the wake of exponential expansion.

They are very worthwhile not just with merchandise. They do classes, charitable work, and environmental lobbying with out heavy handedness.

Check em out
http://www.rei.com

No Drive Day

May 5th, 2008 at 06:38 pm

Since before there was such a thing as a blog, I paid attention to 'not driving' for a whole day. (It must be the environmentalist in me trying to win out.)

Yesterday was a no drive day. Naturally, this means more than it used to 15 years ago.

I love the idea of 'no spend' days, but they are a little second in priority behind the 'no drives'.

Gripe #2-Groceries prices are NOT skyrocketing

May 3rd, 2008 at 02:37 pm

Here is a picture of the groceries I bought for $59.54 and this will easily feed my family of 4 for a week. Why? I cook, I'm creative with meals, I don't waste food. And there is ALWAYS something on special or marked down for fast sale.



What's in there?
-1 Big Flank Steak (to be used sliced thinly for BBQ steak sandwiches)
-1 Big Box frozen fish sticks (for kids meals, fish sandwiches, etc.)
-Package of turkey breakfast sausage
-fresh fruit: apples, bananas
-fresh vegetables: lettuce, carrots
-3 doz corn tortillas
-Cans and cans of hearty soup (8!)
-Cans and cans of Ravioli (4!)
-Cans and cans of fruit (3!)
-Boxes of pasta side dishes
-2 gallons of milk
-Bags and bags of frozen veges (3!)
-5 lb of whole wheat flour
-box of cereal
-Big bag of chips
-cream cheese
-Bag of cat food

and the 5 cups of yogurt aren't even showing.

So what's for lunch/dinner? with a few afterschool snacks thrown in:

BBQ steak sandwiches and french fries
Fish sticks and frozen corn and can fruit
Pasta side dish with tuna and salad
Ravioli and salad
Soup & salad
Smoothies (yogurt, banana)
Fish sandwiches with can fruit and salad
Quesidillas (I already have cheese) w/chips
Turkey sausage on pasta

and my cat gets to join in.

Why don't people cook? I don't get it.

May 2nd, 2008 at 02:41 pm

Yesterday was a work potluck (for May Day).

1 person brought pasta from Pizza Hut
1 person brought a large premade Cesear salad
1 person brought a bag of chips and premade artichoke dip
1 person brought a premade pie
1 person brought store bought brownies
1 person brought brie/blue cheese & crackers
1 person brought store bought cookies

This luncheon was planned 3 weeks ahead. There was plenty of time to budget for cooking and freezing a dish.

With all the news on higher grocery costs, I don't get it. What are they thinking? It is kind of a pet peeve of mine I guess, I like to cook. Even if you don't cook much how hard can it be to make an onion soup dip by hand?!

To be fair others brought:
Homemade muffin assortment (me)
Crock Pot vegetarian stew
Fruit Salad (a great choice for the non-cooks!!)

I'm off to the grocery store this morning. Sorry I don't see a huge price problem. A small price increase I suppose, but I:

Buy 'Day old' bread,
Use a $6 off coupon for $60 (pre coupon total)
Use a $3 off coupon for produce purchase
Use a $1 off coupon for Chef BoyRDee (my kids love)
Use a $1 coupon off store brand cereal
and many more