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Archive for September, 2011

Need a Magic Charm?

September 28th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

After reading 'Why the Greeks Matter' (a book examining the ancient lifestyles especially in philosophy, art, science) I was inspired to play around finding these inside Etsy...

Amulets? Talisman? Enough said in this economy.



Get more detail on each item HERE

But seriously, I learned alot from that book about our modern society .

...Socrates was tried and convicted in a public (ancient Greek) court for 'corrupting the young' (basically questioning authority). And put to death by hemlock!!

...Plato taught in an olive grove called an 'Academia' because olive groves were a place sacred to the Greek hero Academos. That's why we call our big buildings for learning an 'academy' and 'academic'.

...Aristotle, a student of Plato, was the greatest categorizer who ever lived and it was he who gave us the academic categories we still use today. From his filing cabinet for the Western world: -ologies, ses, -ics, such as biology (he invented outright), meteorology, metaphysics, politics, etc etc etc.

Aristotle taught Alexander the Great and then there came the emergence of Romans out of Greeks. Society moved toward Christianity starting with Emperor Constantine (the first Roman emperor to become Christian).

Fascinating, I love this stuff. Maybe some of you already have an education in the classic societies, but it is a hard subject to grasp!! There were real somewhat regular people (tribes), specific ways of life dispersed in parts of the world. It is a matter of getting an overview of how it fit together and a sense of how much time lapsed in the societal developments.

It started with reading Walking the Bible (about what is historically proven in the Bible), and I am also reading other books about how did monotheism emerge. These books are a mixture of fact and opinion, conjecture and study, and I LOVE IT!!

It can take a lifetime to make get a small limited understanding, and some folks referenced in these books have done just that. But never too late to start, right?

Red. Green. and Football?

September 23rd, 2011 at 09:29 am

Faced with a bag of frozen cranberries from 2010 (on sale for about a dollar after the holidays) and a stream of ripening backyard garden zucchini, I got busy making breads and muffins yesterday. Great for time saving breakfast and lunchboxes, sweet but a sure way to add vegetables and fruits to my kid's diet.

Yield? 12 zucchini / walnut muffins and 24 mini cranberry orange muffins. All in the freezer for passing out over the next couple weeks.

And am I the only one who 'cashes' in on the grocery store mark down rack? I scrutinize the day old breads and discontinued product areas almost every time I visit. Think these are a bargain?

4 Blueberry turnovers $1.50
Med canister of quick oats $0.79

Here's a SMART idea from our local food bank. FoodShare (our organization) is having a FRUITSHARE on Saturday. They will take donations of excess backyard produce. I am bringing a BIG zucchini.

Here's a little fun, first time I will try to embed an Etsy treasury into my blog. A treasury is a collection of 16 handmade items on Etsy to showcase and promote. Any person on Etsy can make one and they are very popular and can be really beautiful. There is usually a theme such as color, type of item, etc. This one is obvious!!



Get onto this webpage live (and click on the individual items) here...

How to Make a Feather Barrette

September 18th, 2011 at 07:22 pm

All things feathers are hugely popular perhaps due to the hat craze at the Royal Wedding this past spring. But instead of crimping them into your hair (which are not removable), or only getting an occasional wear of a hat, how about making a more versatile and economical feather barrette?

Here's how, an illustrated step-by-step lesson, easy enough for beginners. Costs very little, and pays off big!

SUPPLIES
feathers
plain metal clip barrette
felt or fabric to cover barrette
ribbon for a bow
hot glue gun
bead or rhinestone (optional)



Top left: I prefer to use naturally shed feathers found in my yard and the environs. These are much more humane and make the work more interesting and personal. Look around for your own, you'll be surprised how fast and often you'll find them!!

(Feathers are also available at Michaels, but how and where they are obtained are unknown. Most are also probably dyed. Before you buy, think about the effects of your purchase to the environment.)

Center Right: Plain metal barrettes are available at Michaels, a pack of 15 or so for a few dollars, and don't forget to use a coupon to knock the price almost in half. Alternatively, plain barrettes with a cover over the metal are also usually available at the dollar store in packs of two or three.

Step 1: Cover the bare metal barrette by hot gluing on a bit of felt or fabric.


Step 2: Think ahead of the feather arrangement on your barrette and perhaps set them unglued in a practice arrangement. In this example, I placed feathers from large to small (right to left) with a small slant and overlap. Try a fan or bar arrangement (see additional examples at the bottom of this lesson).

Dab some hot glue on the reverse side of the feather.


Step 3: Adhere the first feather to the felt on the barrette.


Step 4: Dab glue on the second feather and adhere to the felt on the barrette (slight slant and overlap in this example).


Step 5: Repeat with additional feathers until barrette back is full.


Step 6: Tie a bow with a piece of ribbon, hot glue the bow at the end of the feather row, covering the bare end of the last feather.

NOTE: Use any other decoration at the end of the feather row, such as an interesting (flat) button, artifical small flower, puff ball, etc. Check your craft supplies on hand.



Step 7: (Optional) Finish with a sparkle. I am holding a pink rhinestone with tweezers and will hot glue it to the center of the bow.



VOILA! You are done! Wear and gift with pride.



Other variations:

FEATHER FAN



FEATHER BAR

Score: 1 Money, 0 Gaming

September 13th, 2011 at 11:46 am

Into week 2 of family housekeeping dynamics (see my previous blog post). Things are turning around, slowly but steadily. My oldest (the one entering teenage wasteland) has not-too-grudgingly re-entered the chore work force after living 10+ days iPod Touch free. He has asked NOT for his iPod back, but wishes to return to earning allowance! SURE, ok! Games are not us. At least so far.

My younger, predisposed with a better attitude to start, has performed chores relatively well given her innate professional dawdling nature. Her motivation has been to keep up with responsibilities so she can go to DANCE CLASS at the end of the week. She loves that class, let me tell ya. Her strategy, however, is to NEGOTIATE the chores away. Pffft.

A few other thoughts while I'm here:
~ Being an older parent has its benefits; It takes longer for me to care if their laundry isn't done. I just don't do it. I'll change their sheets once a week, but that's enough.

~ Being an older parent has its drawbacks; less energy to dicker (or maybe this is a benefit in disguise) but also less patient with the kid's even mild rebellious issues.

FINALLY let me introduce a few fall accessories from Pretty Cheap Jewelry. You knew I was not just jewelry...

Peace and Love Gloves
At last, victory can be yours. I have embellished lightweight knit gloves with my original design. Around the wrists are sewn 3 antique-style sequined hearts, with tiny pearl detail. On the back of the hands are sewn sprinkles of small faux white pearls and rainbow coated glass crystals. Looks vintage but are completely new. These gloves are equally at home at a wedding or in at a high school classroom. Color: Dark dark Blue Size: Adult (stretch fits small to large). For sale online with more pictures and info here.


Chocolate Brown and Gold Star Winners
Everyone's a winner who wears this pair of sparkling fun gloves. I have embellished the lightweight knit with my original design. On the back of the hands are sewn 3 sequin stars. The wrists are dotted with lots of sewn tiny gold glass beads. Great for on the way to school. An all around winner gift which is easy on your budget! Color: brown Size: Adult (stretch fits small to large). For sale online with more pictures and info here.


Dress Up Antique Sequin Flower and Pearl Gloves
These gloves may look vintage, but were made yesterday! I have embellished the lightweight knit with my original design. Around the wrists are sewn 2 large antique-style sequined flowers, with tiny pearl detail. On the back of the hands is a random sprinkle of small sewn faux white pearls. Fancy enough for a wedding, equally at home in a high school classroom.
Color: Dark Grey Size: Adult (stretch fits small to large). For sale online with more pictures and info here.


Thanks for your time, and see you on Twitter and Facebook!

Hitting the wall once again, time to Housekeeper?

September 1st, 2011 at 01:21 pm

I must be crazy in this weak economy to even think about hiring a housekeeper. It never fails to make me feel: like throwing money away on things I could (should) do myself, or perpetuate the cycle of inferior employment of women.

The problem:

1. Longer work hours.
I have increased my work day now that both kids are in middle school. The good news is that I can commute by bus (about an hour each way) saving on fuel, and greatly extending the life of my car. The bad news is I get home later, about 5pm, leaving little to no time for errands and chores.

2. Middle school kids.
Both kids had gotten used to doing chores in grade school. Each year they added a chore and earned an allowance which also went up comparably. My oldest usually was motivated by the money, but this year he is entering the sullen teen years and is more difficult to work with. My youngest was not motivated by money but did still did chores when she was in a good mood! (No chores, no money of course). She is not good with time management and now her homework load is greater which is leaving her with scant time to do the chores.

The options:

Do it myself. Whoa. I've told all family members that if I end up having to do most of the chores I am going to be one very grouchy mom. Home life is not going to be pretty. And YES I have reduced what I expect, even of myself. The bathrooms still need to be cleaned (once a week or TWO if necessary), the laundry done, the dishes/dishwasher emptied, the floors swept (OCCASIONALLY!), the trash taken out, their beds made (DAILY), etc.

Get kids to do the chores. So, if the allowance doesn't motivate the kids, what will. Keeping them away from activities such as sports and friend dates? Taking away electronics? Maybe. Not such a positive way to go. (By the way, husband does chip in, but he also is quite loaded at work).

The Housekeeper. I asked a couple other friends with kids in the same situation and guess what. They have a housekeeper. Once a week, or once every 2 weeks.

Am I going to kill myself over really wanting to try to get through the next 4 years (when my oldest will be out of high school) without a housekeeper.

Frown

Breathe...in...out...breathe

At least this ring has been featured online the past couple days!

Blush Gold Pearl and 14K Wire



Lustrous white, palest peach and soft gold freshwater pearl captured in 14K gold filled wire. Size 6 1/2 (not adjustable)

Thanks for reading and find me on FB and twitter if you want!

http://www.facebook.com/PrettyCheapJewelry
http://www.twitter.com/prettycheap