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Archive for January, 2011

What you Always Wanted to Know About Flying, but were Afraid to Ask

January 24th, 2011 at 09:46 pm

My MIL passes her Reader's Digest to me which I enjoy before passing again to my officemates (gotta love that re-using stuff!!).

Just a few from an article in their Nov 2010 issue...

Things a Pilot Will Never Say
"We're heading into a thunderstorm."
Instead it's: "It looks like there's some weather (or 'rough air') up ahead."

"Well folks, the visibility is zero out there."
Instead it's: "There's some fog in the Washington area."

How about something good to report?

"Most of the time how you land is a good indicator of a pilot's skill. So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you're getting off the plane, say 'Nice landing.' We do appreciate that." ~ Joe D'Eon

"At some airports with really short runways, you're not going to have a smooth landing no matter how good we are; John Wayne Airport, Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Chicago Midway and Reagan National." ~ Joe D'Eon

"The two worst airports for us: Reagan National (Washington DC) and John Wayne in Orange Co, California. You're flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live nearby don't like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you're airborne." ~ Pilot, South Carolina

This one is easy to get in and out of, custom order to make a plum veined turquoise stone wearable with different chains.

Open Weave Bent Line Sterling Silver Necklace
click here cause pictures are not loading

"Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It's all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash. We avoid turbulence not because we're afraid the wing is going to fall off but because it's annoying." ~ Patrick Smith

"Most of you wouldn't consider going down the highway at 60 mph without your seat belt on. But when we're hurtling through the air at 500 mph and we turn off the seat belt sign, half of you take your seat belts off. But if we hit a little air pocket, your head will be on the ceiling." ~ Captain at a major airline

"The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing. The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you're in the middle, you don't move as much." ~ Patrick Smith

"We don't make you stow your laptop because we're worried about electronic interference. It's about having a projectile on your lap. I don't know about you, but I don't want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 mph." ~ Patrick Smith

Tackling the birthday party and gifts - Part 2.

January 20th, 2011 at 08:17 pm

Two birthday parties happen the second week of February at our house. My oldest has firmly decided 'birthdays are overrated' and does not want a party. Not even to go out bowling with just the family or to a comedy show (which we have 4 free tickets already). HuH? He has developed this over a few years, starting from about age 11. I don't know EXACTLY why, but some not all, of his feelings probably stem from my stress and worries at having 2 big parties for both the kids during the years when they were in the ages 1 ~ 10. I am not going to pressure him, but hope he changes his mind.

The younger of my two kids LOVES the party scene. OK, fortunately she also has a sense of cost but unfortunately is a PROFESSIONAL DAWDLER. Which means she takes forever to make up her mind. I have given here a deadline of this Saturday to choose what kind of party so I can make invitations and send in time.

Her two choices are:

$ sleepover with about 5 other girls and we will do a nail parlor/make up/hair dresser theme. Throw in a cake and pizza (probably homemade) and rent a movie (Secretariat) and we're done.

$$$ trail horseback ride with 2 other girls and return home for a sleepover.

A wish list of birthday gifts they would like has been posted on a white board in our kitchen for a few weeks. I also have some secret ideas of things we did not give them at Christmas.

On my oldest list:
NFL football jersey
cap with NFL team logo
secret additions:
football receiver (sticky) gloves
wood box project

On my youngest list:
big jewelry box
earmuffs
ice skate blade protectors
rhinestone laces for ice skates
secret additions:
new sleeping bag for friend's houses and girl scouts

I wish I had loads of time to run around getting cost comparisons for these gifts!! Enter the internet...

Time Out: The internet saved a Pretty Cheap Jewelry smart customer a lot of time and money with the purchase of these $5 earrings today!


Lots more at that price range, just click the sampler in the left sidebar.

The licensed football stuff is ridiculously expensive, and I am not willing to pay over about $20 for a jersey. So before I ran around to the nearby sports stores, I did an online check of what was available. SportsAuthority had clearance on just what I might like, official jerseys for $10-$20. YAY! The catch is that mostly weird sizes were left (extra small, extra large). Without being particular on a team or player, it was just a matter of finding one in his size. DONE!

The prices of football glove prices were about $15 on line, just about what I was willing to pay. In fact, it turns out I was able to pop inside the local store for 5 minutes and saw NO NFL JERSEYS and gloves for $40! BAH! So I ordered them online too. DONE.

Score Home: 1 set of birthday gifts done, time saved less shipping costs

Score Visitors: 1 set of birthday gifts and party to do

Post Coming Soon ~ Birthday Party on a Rhinestone Shoestring

How To: ON THE GO Invites

January 18th, 2011 at 07:27 pm

Since I'm stuck to this office desk for some hours, there is time to plan my coming weeks IN GREAT DETAIL! Birthday gifts and parties are on the near horizon and I want to do everything on a shoestring.

February contains both my kids' birthdays, followed by Valentine's day 72 hours later. And I threw in a modest neighborhood Superbowl party to kick off the month.

Here's the plan of the SuperBowl Kick Off--

Football Invites on the Go. My son is big into football this year so I decided to have a very casual open house on Superbowl Sunday. We don't really care about the game, but there's a few new neighbors on our street and this is a good time to get everyone to meet. We're a close knit street and there's less excuse to help each other out in coming years if they've all met.

Most of the neighbors are on email and they received invites on the computer. Those few who aren't received smart funny invites I made ON THE GO.

Since I didn't have much time at home to make cards, I just took the whole project with me when waiting while my daughter practiced ice skating for an hour. It all fit in a school folder.

How To Make Superbowl Party Cards
..... On a Shoestring .....
... On the GO ...

blank cards
glue
scissors
colored paper scraps
Sports section of the Sunday paper
Pen or marker

1. Cut out newspaper pictures of football logos, helmets, scores, words such as 'touchdown', etc.

2. Using colored paper scraps, cut out a goal post.

3. Glue the goal post to the card front.

4. Glue a newspaper cut out helmet or logo or part of a player - I cut out some of the players heads (which usually had a great yelling or tackling expression) in a pleasing arrangement on the front. You can overlap a bit of the goal post for example.

5. Glue a couple words on the card front in a pleasing arrangement. I used the words 'Sunday' and 'NFL'.

6. Inside use a marker and write the WHAT: WHEN: WHERE: stuff.

7. On the left inside, glue another bit of newspaper graphics or words. I put another player's head which had a great yelling expression and drew a cartoon text bubble with a pen that said inside, "Be There!".

It looked hilarious.

Use this concept for any party theme. For an Easter or spring party, grab a Gardening or Home magazine and cut out plant stuff! There's tons of ads in the sunday newspaper with pictures of foods, sports, etc.

I made these general party invitations a long time ago and they can be customized for any subject:


Pack of 6 party invitations in a ransom style. Inside contains 'Or Else' and the who/what/where stuff. Great for getting your guests off their butt! Order here.

Watch upcoming posts for How To: Party Decorations on a Shoestring, On The Go!

Colossal Waste of Time and Money Nomination of the Year

January 12th, 2011 at 06:05 pm

If this weren't so dumb I'd laugh. According to Reader's Digest (who reported from Popular Science), there are folks studying the theory of 'queues'. ACK! Here are a few facts you never wanted to know:

1. An equation has been developed to predict when a customer will avoid a line if he feels it is too long.

2. There is a monthly journal devoted to the issue! Queuing Systems: Theory and Applications is used by amusement parks, banks, retail, fast food restaurants.

3. Why do you care? According to the smarty pants, those winding rope serpentine lines look longer, but people feel they are more fair.

4. Why do you care replay. What do you guess is the amount of time a person takes to gather their things after paying at checkout? The term for this is 'faffing' (SHEESH, there are definitions of this stuff). Scroll below for the answer.

No Queue Rosette Earrings

You don't have to wait in line to order these handmade, original design earrings. Circle, round loop motif in sterling silver inspired from the blue 1st place winner ribbons. Genuine natural moonstone briolettes and freshwater pearl complement the silver. Affordably priced, perfect for winter.
Order here.

Answer: Average 3.17 seconds. Don't let me catch you with your stopwatch next time at the market.

Chocolate Means Love

January 10th, 2011 at 05:25 pm

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Red | Hearts | Chocolate ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
It's January, month of the garnet birthstone and February (not far away) with all things Valentine.

Here's a sweet, low cost gift idea for January birthdays and February loves.

--------------------
Hot Cocoa Mix
2 1/2 C powdered sugar
1 1/4 + 2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
Mix thoroughly.

Instructions
Place 3 tablespoons in a mug, add 1 Cup scalded milk. Stir until dissolved. YUM!
--------------------

Pack in a birthday favor bag, tied with red ribbon, stuffed inside a big mug and tagged with instructions.

A couple other low cost gift ideas? Here's a few $15 and under from Pretty Cheap Jewelry ...

Corkscrew and Gold Earrings

These earrings feature flat gold curves and a little surprise - two sets of little corkscrew twists. The end is in flirty garnet dangles. Order here.

Double Sterling Silver Scroll Heart Earrings



Sterling silver heart earrings have twin garnet dot dangles. Completely hand formed. SALE PRICED $6.00.Order here.

Free Sticky Silver Lining

January 7th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Hard to see the 'Going Out of Biz' signs especially for local businesses. But it is a silver lining, at least to me. I don't particularly seek them out nor wait until they show up. But there have been many instances where we've furnished and decorated our home, bought clothes and in many ways made the most of these opportunities.

A couple years ago I went to Ritz Camera to finally purchase a digital camera. This particular store seemed bare and in fact was planning to close. Though my camera was not liquidated (but priced aggresively anyway), I cleaned up on photo mats, and blank cards. Then there was once a skateboard/ clothes store closing. I just happened by and needed some tennis shoes and got some black DC shoes. They have lasted WAY longer than the usual sport shoe! How many times have you had this experience?

Be assured I am a more mindful shopper these past couple years than long ago, and look for made in USA goods and using locally owned businesses.

But those 'Going Out of Biz' signs are still going to happen.

TODAY? It happened again. I was tipped off by a friend there was a bead supply store going to close in 2 weeks. I was looking for the place and went into a copy store to ask for directions. I found the bead store but the prices were not to die for. The stock was good quality and reasonable and a few things came home with me.

But the happy ending is that the copy store had a stack of boxes of old sticker paper (used by draftsmen some years ago), and boxes of logarithm graph paper for FREE! Lucky find and I took 3 boxes!

I'm not closing or going out of business, and just use everyday low pricing like this-

Garnet Oval Earrings $5.00

It's the month of January's birthstone. Wine red dangles on oval frames. Pure copper earwires. A handmade original for the smart woman.
Details and order here.

Gold Leaf is not from a Tree

January 5th, 2011 at 09:30 pm

The books are closed, the ink is black. Hard work paid off in my small business but a little unexpected help also sweetened the pot (my sister Linda Zolten Wood partnered with me and sold $150 worth of my work in December).

My jewelry hobby is a joy, more when it is successful, less when time is scarce due to family obligations. But I feel refreshed to start a new year. Here's a peek into 2011...

This is the year of the gold leaf! Inexpensive composite leaf is coming to a large size notecard near you soon! Or a pendant or journal cover. Or?

Smart Abstracts in Gold Filled Wire
All of the earrings like these have sold, an unusual yet feminine design. Perhaps something similar with 2 small links might work?


Shapes and Sheers
Original shapes, especially based on nature, would be fun. I love leaf shapes, ocean life, or maybe just musical symbols wired with details. You've seen my starfish bracelet? Twig earrings?


The earrings are available here.

Instead of chains, pendants will be hung on sheer ribbons. Commercial chains discolor unless they are precious metal (too expensive). I can make chains by hand but they are time consuming.

Take a look then at one of the last chains to be made for awhile...
Steel Lace Necklace and Earring Set

Stainless steel links with grey glass pearl, sky blue cubes and black ceramic accents. Heart shaped locket. Matching earrings.

Blooker

January 4th, 2011 at 09:56 pm

When in Rome do as the Romans please! We returned from a 2 week family trip to UK and Europe last weekend, a (somewhat expensive but important) success in introducing the world to my preteen kids.

The crowds! The food! The cold!!
We saw lots and lots of hats, scarves and boots.
We walked 10-15 miles per day and not one peep from a kid except for the cold. My husband bought a hat the 2nd or 3rd day and it didn't come off much the rest of the trip.

Whether or not it was the time of year (a week prior to Christmas), London was like Disneyland on a bad day. Did I mention the crowds? The streets and sidewalks were narrow. They bus whizzed past inches from you. How brave were the women with strollers. Especially in the underground train stations. Crazy! One false move and you would be trampled. Or maybe the people would just stream past you like a river eddy.


Quiet Hyde Park. If only we knew the crowds that were in store after this walk to our hotel the first day...

Funny, I saw maybe one or two Starbucks and a handful of McDonald's in 3 world cities (London, Paris and Amsterdam) and despite the BIG temptation for the comfort of what kind of food you'll get at what price, we resisted. I discovered a coffee chain called 'Costa' in London that was good.

[EXCEPTION: when we were desperate for the McD's free wi-fi internet we visited because our hotels did not provide a lobby computer station.]

There were a some good pubs with upstairs family restaurants, a couple good moderate french restaurants (but not great and we were disappointed), and lots of street festivals with sausage, hot cider and sweets to sample.

Our favorite? Dutch chocolate bars. They were about $1.25 in Amsterdam for these big 1 lb+ bars. Nut, dark, white, etc. Everyone in the family picked two kinds and are still nibbling today!

I learned that the Amsterdam harbor handles the most cocoa in the world. So my husband was smart and found a box in the grocery. WHOA under $2 a box! There are two brands we saw: you've probably heard of Droste, and the other was a bargain brand called Blooker. YES I brought a box home and it is my prized possession of the trip!