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Archive for March, 2010

No Crash Diets

March 31st, 2010 at 09:58 am

Most of the stories by others here are straightforward saving money or getting out of debt anecdotes. But I've found my joy in saving more by way of reducing spending, and thrifty spending so to speak.

Lots of ways to do this, including, buying used (books, furniture, clothes) and doing it yourself (meals from scratch, home improvements, backyard gardening).

It's an ingrained pleasure and daily way of life, and like a healthy diet, takes off 'weight' a little at a time over the long run.

Thanks for stopping in, and for your time, take one free pair of these with any purchase at Pretty Cheap Jewelry

MOON & STAR DOLPHIN EARRINGS




NO MINIMUM purchase. Just mention this offer at checkout and please specify which color you want.

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Hurry! Offer ends 4/1/10 (no April Fooling!)

Satisfaction is...

March 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 am

making something of value using supplies costing almost nothing.

One of my goal's this year is to make an item for holiday shows which will fit into a little box, be appealing to many, and be priced very affordably.

A couple weeks ago I obtained the boxes; little 2" or so white fold up favor boxes from the wedding section of Michael's. The boxes were priced just as I wanted (in a pack of 50 and using a 40% coupon) and I was ready to make them into little treasures.

Now for the fun! I have a nice stash of supplies, too good to throw out, some leftover from other projects, that were waiting patiently for just this moment!

1. Old stamps. The philately society at the County Fair last summer gave visitors a small bag of old stamps. Very colorful, international, historic and others. I had about 20.

2. Scraps of very nice specialty paper. After mounting photos, I have some pieces left of a variety of scrapbook papers from Michaels.

3. Lone beads, buttons and silk flowers. Extra pretty or interesting little things.

4. Stampers and stickers. Leftover from valentines, little party favors my kids have received, and even some stickers that come in the mail.

I glued and arranged and let dry. Here are a few, what do you think? (pics not great, sorry)



Hilarious Peeps

March 21st, 2010 at 07:22 am

If these faces don't make you smile, must be your first name is Ebenezer?



These are air dry clay (lightweight) dolls made by my sister, a full time artist, ZoltenWoodDesign

Not intended as a toy, nor to stick a pin in if it resembles your boss!! A hanging hook embedded for display.



She calls them 'chicas' ; I don't know what to call them! Except funny and definitely full of personality.

I have about a dozen to take to summer and winter shows. Whee!

Half a Puzzler Solved

March 12th, 2010 at 01:08 pm

Later this year a slew of winter holiday craft fairs are on the schedule. Last year I took notice of what was selling, and what I needed to improve my inventory. So on the 2010 resolution list was to come up with the perfect thing for the shows that:

1. Fits into a small (2" or less) box
2. Priced about $10-$15
3. Widely appealing to everyone as a gift item

Well, hmmmm. OK, I found the box for starters!

I've been scouring wholesale, in person, and internet sites for hinged ring boxes lately and hadn't found the right one.

However, at Michael's yesterday I wandered into the wedding section hoping to find large white envelopes (because the paper section was out of them).

Instead there was a pack of 100 fold up 2" boxes. Sweet. For a great price including my 40% off coupon. Just about what I wanted for the ring boxes. Just about the right number in the pack.

And oh yea! Just right for the *thing* I was going to make for the holiday shows.

In fact, I remember seeing a crafter last December with exquisite little decorated matchbooks. She glued little sparkles, old photos and whatnot on them. They were only a couple dollars each and she was selling out of them. I loved this idea, but wanted to come up with something original.

Later in the afternoon, I brainstormed some ideas for the boxes with my kid. Stamp little scenes on them? Glue little floral bouquets? Beautify with fancy ribbon? Modge podge old stamps? I have loads of little craft supplies just waiting to be used.

OK, that solved! I can't wait to get started.

And now the other half of the puzzle, what to put inside...

I have an idea brewing, stay tuned.

and now a word from our sponsor...

Winning the Game



Fine embroidery on A Quoted Card.

see more info here

How do you Homestead?

March 9th, 2010 at 09:55 am

Last week one of our bloggers showed how she homesteads: homemade (very nice) soap, etc.

Omgosh. Aside from building our weekend home from scratch (a little house on the prairie), I am the quintessential urban homesteader!!

Come inside my DH's greenhouse ....


It is a small portable type, on a second floor patio. He says it has a couple great advantages: very consistent growth (ie spinach leaves are all nice and uniformly tall), and a perfect absence of bugs (especially snails which decimate baby plants).


We already have about half the (small) backyard full of vegetable beds and fruit trees. And DH was dying to try to grow winter tomatoes. Ahem, this expense was my Christmas gift to him and thank goodness it has been a success.

Warm yourself in the house:


We run the central heat for about 1.5 hours in the morning from wake up to school/work departures. That's it.

But wait! Where do we get that fuel?


Um, that's my glove down there. We find wood throughout the year here and there. As well as clear the land at our weekend property (very important for fire suppression). However, I do not like power tools and saw by hand into bite size pieces. Yes, I am nuts, but it is good exercise. But time consuming.

OK, ok, all work makes Jack a dull boy. Other garden benefits?


I've made sure to plant freesias, calla lilies (shown below), sunflowers, roses, and as many other good flowers and greens to cut as will fit. (I don't like buying them.)

And you?

Customer Loves His Special Order

March 4th, 2010 at 12:25 pm

About 2 years ago (maybe 3?!) I made a set of party invitations for a 'typography' craft challenge.



(outside: Come to my Party | inside: or Else)

The style is something I did years ago as a single person once when I helped throw a bash for a co-worker's party.

I didn't win the challenge but left the above invites in my webstore for sale all this time. They have been wildly viewed and picked as favorites by some 50+ visitors (but not sold, hmmm.)

Still, they attract attention and just last week an eclectic groom-to-be asked me to make a set of 'Ransom Thank You' cards for his future groomsmen.

Here's how they came out.

Outside: Thank You


Inside: You Made My Day




Not my usual type of craft, but fun and the money was great!

Worked Hard for Free

March 1st, 2010 at 12:26 pm

For the past 3 years as a member of the local art association I contributed the norm, maybe a little more, including the required volunteer hours and membership fees.

The return on the time and money investment has been good, and I received a regular modest check from sales of jewelry in the gallery retail area.

As is probably the case with anyone starting a new endeavor, once I got to know the players and the game, I upped the stakes. Why? Partly for selfish reasons, ie the more I put into improving the group and its resources, the more I could receive in sales from my own work being a member. However, alot of the reasoning behind upping the stakes is indirect and less conscious.

For example, I feel good helping the organization succeed. Whether I personally steer new customers to an individual artist, or promote the group to the community at large in a more general way, it keeps the association strong and long lived.

So this year I volunteered as chairman of the retail shop which is resulting in an increase of hours and dollars on my end.

For one, I am responsible for display aesthetics, (a couple other members join me in this effort). The good news is I get to move things around by placing things more (or less) prominently on shelving and in display cases. In other words, play interior decorator! The bad news is I have a strong desire to make the place look great and end up spending my own money on props and helpful tools. Being of a thrifty nature, I am trying to create great displays on a shoestring but it is exhausting! This past weekend I made the first big changes to the 'shop' like this:

1. Used one of my never used vintage white lace tablecloth in a glass case to increase light reflection and as a backdrop for jewelry work. COST: $0

2. Purchased red/black/white felt squares for geometric backgrounds of other jewelry work in the glass case and surrounding shelves. COST: $5

3. Purchased under the counter lights for inside the glass case (it is an old case and desperately needs better lighting). COST: $30

4. Purchased artificial flowers and greens for accenting displays in a simple and classic manner. Scoured the craft store for great deals and cut the florals apart to stretch their use. COST: $20

Whew. That's enough out of pocket for now.

Then on Saturday I spent 5 hours putting up the new look. It's an improvement, but minor changes will be needed every month or so to keep the displays fresh and attractive. However, there's enough breathing room now to to think up and obtain no-cost items (such as baskets) before the next change.

And, yes, I have placed a few of my own (more expensive) items very prominently in the shop. I deserve it.

Thanks for reading!

Almond Candy Earrings

New work in 14K GF and natural stone. The shape and color of these classic earrings remind me of the wedding favors candy - Jordan Almonds. Available at the Harbor Village Gallery (Ventura) or as a custom order.