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Archive for February, 2012

Doing Something Worth Remembering Every 4 Years

February 29th, 2012 at 09:33 pm

It just seems though an extra day in the year is a great opportunity to do something out of the ordinary!

My first ideas were to: Get Out and HIKE, bike, zumba, or otherwise be active in a different way. But I had to work!

Another thought was to visit the library and check out something new like: iPhone Apps You'll Never Live Without, or even grab a $1 book from the sale shelf like Fodor's Hawaii.

So far I haven't a good answer but am not yet giving up! What are your suggestions??

And for anyone who wants to seize the savings, I will give every 4th item free for orders TODAY ONLY (2/29/12).

Simply checkout with 3 items and ask for your free item in message to seller*. Everything eligible! Here's a few new, original choices, see them all at Pretty Cheap Jewelry or click on the sampler (left side bar).

Silk Mini Purse $6.50
Fashion meets eco ethic in a pure silk mini shoulder bag made from fine men's neckties. Fits a phone or gift card perfectly. Shown: Diagonal Stripe, one of several available.


Kid's Cute Gloves $7.00
Tuck into an Easter basket, stay warm till spring has sprung. Shown: Silver Hearts, one of several pair available.


Feather Me Beautiful $4.25
Green your St. Pat's Day, or save for Mom in May. Big hair barrettes from all naturally shed feathers (cruelty-free). Shown: Sweeping Peacock, one of several glittering styles.


*Free item to be equal or lesser value than other items.

Going on a Treasure Hunt

February 24th, 2012 at 04:43 pm

In this area there is an unusual supply store, aimed at preventing stuff from being put in the trash. Any number of things can be had for literally pennies: construction materials, fabrics, paper goods, plastic products, vintage items, the sky is the limit. It is not a thrift store, the market leans toward teachers, arts, and the environmental community. It's called Art from Scrap and gets very busy when parades are on the calendar and at holidays such as Halloween!

I'm going to take a walk there at lunch, it's a bit far but do'able in an hour. Am hoping to find beads! But who knows what I'll come out with! Hopefully nothing too wacky. Watch this blog to see what great creative products I make with whatever I buy. Low cost supplies is just one reason you can count on truly low prices for the original work from The Frugal Artisan.

Here's a special offer in fact on gorgeous silk mini bags, fashioned by me from fine retired men's ties. Click HERE to get to the live offer.


Memory Loss can be Good

February 22nd, 2012 at 08:11 pm

I've taken so many small trips around the states in past years. From lesser known public parks and nature hikes, to rock collecting and historic spots, travel is one of my favorite things in life.

So I am usually pleasantly surprised when visiting any given place when my husband remarks, 'You've been here before, remember ...' But usually I DON'T remember. The upshot is I am perfectly happy to relearn what is interesting about the place all over again.

It doesn't always happen, big trips stick with me! But all those little places which I spent half hour?!

Just this past weekend, we went to a couple little destinations (which I will probably forget about in 10 years). Both within about 40 miles of our weekend house, we just had never gone down those roads before. Though they do not jump out as highly desirable, we had a GREAT time, very INTERESTING, fun for the whole family. And didn't cost more than $3...

Boron, California
There are 2 borax mines in the world, here lies the 2nd largest (the other is in S. America). And yes, this is the stuff that gets put in detergent, but also loads of fiberglass (insulation, boating) and ceramics.



Remember when Borateam sponsored 'Death Valley Days'? I was 3 or 4! There is a visitors center with video of the old shows playing (Clint Eastwood was in an episode in 1956! and Ron Reagan hosted in the 1950s!). There are tailings piles from the mine which my husband could not resist digging through (see above), but which also the kids climbed right on up and joined him.

The 20 mule team is explained (when the borax was originally collected in Death Valley it was taken to the nearest train by mule team). It said 'NOT ONE WORKER OR MULE WAS LOST during that whole period'. If any of you know anything about Death Valley, especially Death Valley in the 1920s, that IS ONE IMPRESSIVE RECORD.

There was a very educational movie about the mine which depicted the company workings, Rio Tinto Minerals, and I saw my kids absorbed in the chemistry explanations (yay!!). Total cost? $3

OK, next we went on to...

Edwards Air Force Base
The shuttle landed here for 10+ years and we never made a point of coming to see that. One of those things that if it's in your backyard, you eschew it I suppose. But now we wanted in!

On a Sunday the place is mostly deserted, but there was a good number of mounted air craft. As soon as we saw this one, my son leaped out of his seat! 'Blackbird!' he yelled.



Apparently just recently he saw a video in school about breaking the sound barrier and this puppy, the Air Force SR-71 (above), was one of the tools. In fact, he very clearly explained it to me on the spot for which I was grateful because I didn't really know the phenomenon that well! Not bad for reinforcing a bit of classroom lessons!

Cost? $0

As we drove around the base, we explained why there was a bowling alley and houses and a library and a school. Who lives there and why, and what those folks were allowed to do. My daughter understood more about what it means to enlist in the service.

So get out and see what's nearby. If you're like me, you can forget the details and relive them again in a few years!

Thanks for getting to the end! And now for a peek at a new mini purse, made from a fine silk men's tie. New from me and available for $6.50 at Pretty Cheap Jewelry

Daddy's Little Purse Strings - Classic Grey
Stash the barest essentials in a fine pure silk retired men's necktie. Fits a cell phone perfectly. Take it on your dog walk, hiking or biking.





Battlefield Leads to Investments

February 21st, 2012 at 08:01 pm

Video gaming is the scourge of modern teen boys' moms! But wait, those handheld consoles are great for passing the time waiting in lines, or when the child comes with a parent to a meeting or other adult obligation, and of course they are a very effective solution for entertaining kids on long car or air trips.

How many of you have used gaming as a tool for the kids?

It starts in kindergarten. Small kids (6 years old) play on Game Boys (remember those?). Grandparents gladly provide them at this age. The next step might have been a Wii (got one? raise your hand). Some families selected XBox, some picked Wii, others went for PlayStations. And now it's all on, or coming soon to a phone near you!

The usual common sense parenting rules would have to have kicked in at the beginning (and if they didn't woe to those folks):

1. Limiting the number of hours used.
2. Allowing only appropriate type of games.
3. Including as part of a balanced life, which means getting exercise, sleeping enough, and eating well.

The temptation to play is SO GREAT! It is a constant struggle to keep a teen boy off the computer. Is it such a problem?

Well maybe there is a bright side.

My kid is very smart, (knows it all in fact), cooperative in the family (except he hates his sister as is supremely normal at this age), and makes good choices in all aspects of his daily life over which he has control (friends, social settings, etc.). I'd say his weakness is simply being less willing to try new things for fear of failure.

Until now. For the past few months he has been interested in what stocks are, how does a person buy/sell, the workings of the market, etc.

OK. He wanted to try it. I have a portfolio which is managed by a conservative advisor, and am not really fully knowledgeable in doing it myself. WAIT, maybe it is not that I am uneducated, more that I am afraid to jump in myself for fear of LOSING a bundle.

But my kid has saved a nice little pile of cash (even after depositing in his bank account). And how better to learn than trying things??

YES! We spent some hours with the basics (buy low, sell high!), how to look at individual companies, and what to watch in the news as far as indicators.

My bank has a program that gives 100 trades a year fee-free of which we use only a few annually. So it was easy to let him use some of the free trades. See what he picked as his first investment below .....

First, let me show off a new product from my small biz! I saw a prototype of this at a yard sale long ago, in fact I LOVED the idea and purchased the prototype.

Now introducing Daddy's Little Purse Strings - Mini Bags


Sized perfectly to hold a cell phone, a few credit cards or driver's license, each mini purse is fashioned from a fine silk retired men's necktie. Beautifully colored, rich detail, simply carry over your shoulder when walking the dog, on a bike ride, or just want to have the bare essentials with you.



Shown: Diagonal Stripe, pure silk, $6.50
Order: HERE

My 14-y.o. is now a proud owner of stock in...
Electronic Arts, Inc.

These are the folks who put out the Madden Football video games, the Battlefield game, etc. Not bad to start investing in what you know well, right??

I'm very pleased he is trying out such a grown up activity and learning some very important lessons at a pivotal time in his life.

Thanks for reading and comments, tweets, FB likes welcome!

Couldn't Outrun the Inevitable

February 16th, 2012 at 10:16 pm

It's finally caught up with us. We are no longer in the 'guinea pig' phase, that young grade school time when little kids want furry little pets (that the mom takes care of). Or the blithely innocent age when the kids had fun shopping (the thrift store!) for good used stuffed animals, toys, clothes and books.

Nope, we are firmly in the chauffeur phase. When the parent is present to deliver and pick up (I'm not talking about pizzas), is best seen but not heard, and whose sole purpose (if the kid were asked) is to provide as much as possible, measured in material goods, toward the social acceptance of the young person.

Ha! Not really, but what brought this on was the reality of having to buy $85 tennis shoes for my kid. Yes, they are for running track team, a little more important than just lounging and walking around.

BUT DRAT! That was the price AFTER a generous local store policy of reducing for track club runners and knocking off another 15% for last year's model.

AND JEEZ! They will surely only last him 1 year. Makes those used ice skates I just bought from a friend (who's kid outgrew them) look good! The skates were $75, for my own fun, and will last me 10 years (or more).

Oh well. Am very happy to patronize a really GOOD local store because their experience is worth the extra cost (even though they discounted away the extra and didn't make much I presume).

So here's to the next few years of higher expenses in raising the kids, right? Someone tell me it ain't so!

THANKS - an original pressed flower card
Send a beautiful greeting without spending a fortune.

Available from Pretty Cheap Jewelry
Click HERE to order.

Why I Reuse Tissue Paper and other Environmental Ranting

February 14th, 2012 at 05:41 pm

Am I the only one who doesn't like the inferred assumption made by economic experts that shopping and CONSUMING is the answer to rebuilding prosperity? Again today on the news:

"Americans rebounded from a weak holiday season and stepped up spending on retail goods in January, an encouraging sign for the strengthening economy...

"The positive data suggest that hiring gains have encouraged more people to spend, which should lead to stronger growth...

"The good news is that the strong January gain establishes that the consumer trend is not folding"

(from LA Times)

WHY WHY WHY are we told that buying more STUFF will solve unemployment, raise people out of poverty, etc.

I HATE IT.

So we should speed up digging up mountains to mine metals and raw materials, we should suck up the very limited fresh water resources for stoopid manufacturing of any number of things such as fabric, plastics, or foods, and how about we cut down more trees to make paper for advertising which gets THROWN AWAY???!!

I have a better idea. Instead of producing and CONSUMING new things, can companies and people focus on producing and consuming re-used, recycled and things contain NO or LITTLE NEW RAW MATERIALS.

OK, here are some free ideas to start your own small business:

-- Born Again Books: Not just for Sunday!
-- Rags to Riches: Glamorous Clothes remade from People for Pets
-- TimeShare Sports: Monthly Rental on Fitness Equipment without Commitment

These may be small scale, but big scale enterprises are certainly possible!

Yes, there are already resale sports stores, clothes stores, vintage malls and any number of other eco-companies. I'd just like this philosophy to be FIRST in our shopping consciousness, not secondary.

Oh, and the tissue paper? After the weekend's birthday celebrations, I have a nice supply of tissue paper saved from gifts. Is it a futile step in my 1-person rebellion against the 'SHOPPING to save the economy' mass hysteria?

Thanks for your read and comments, tweets and FB likes welcome.

GARDEN BOUQUET WELCOME CARD
Composed of pressed plants from my own yard, a thoughtful way to say hello to a new neighbor, co-worker, or baby. Handmade, no power consumed in the production.

Order HERE

Is Bunko a Waste of Money?

February 9th, 2012 at 06:32 pm

I don't follow trends, am always behind on the latest in pop culture and will be completely lost when the Academy Awards roll around this year (as always!). Who are those people? What movie? I recognize a few but no matter. I don't much care about fashion especially in clothing, will stick to basics in even in fitness like simply walking and hiking (my dog is very happy about this), and even cook from scratch as much as time permits using backyard produce, nevermind the food truck rage.

Like the 'Story of Stuff' video explained; I see right through that perceived obsolescence marketing. In other words, those shoes ... computer ... ___fill in___ ... are perfectly fine and there's no reason to replace them unless you want to throw away your money obeying psychological advertisers who persuade you your things are out of date.

So perhaps this is why I've never played Bunko. Never invited to a group until this month. Who of you have played? It's been around years, right?

I guess it involves some dice, about $5 and hanging out with some friends. It's not about the money I hear, it's about the fun and friendship. OK. Do the players put in the cash and someone win the pot? I'm all for the girl time, and if I win some $$ so much the better!

Maybe I'll wear one of these new Romantic Heart Necklaces I've made recently. Available by special request only (ask me for more information in a comment below).

SNEAK PREVIEW ~ NEW SPRING 2012 COLLECTION
BY THE FRUGAL ARTISAN

Pretty Cheap Jewelry


Dotted Oval Romantic Heart Necklace


Feminine and modern continuous oval has little inside circles and is closed with a sparkling crystal. Detailed with sparkling garnet red glass dots all around. Softly striped smooth stone heart charm at the bottom. 18" Sheer white ribbon.

Graceful Wandering Romantic Heart Necklace


Gentle curves and turns of gold wire are decorated with sparkling red dots and bright swarovski crystals. Softly striped smooth stone heart charm at the bottom. 18" antique gold satin cord.

Double Double Loop Romantic Heart Necklace


Natural almost nautilus shaped pendant with double curls each end and sparkling garnet red glass dots wire on the outside. Softly striped smooth stone heart charm at the bottom. 18" narrow wine red satin ribbon.

Thanks for your time and more Heart Necklaces to come Spring 2012.

Inexpensive, Impressive, and not Intoxicated

February 1st, 2012 at 07:56 pm

While you're munching the chips and guacamole on Sunday, and quaffing the 'tastes great, less filling' stuff, you might need a bit of amethyst. Why? The name AMETHYST comes from the Ancient Greek ἀ a- ("not") and μέθυστος methustos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.

Amethyst is also the February birthstone, and while I don't really play along with those seemingly random timeline attributes (like the Chinese 'Year-of' designation or zodiac signs), put yourself on the receiving end. When you're given a birthday present that is a tiny more personal because it was picked out to fit your circumstances, doesn't it actually make a slightly better impression on you?

With all the above in mind, consider wearing or giving something like this --

Amethyst 14K Gold Filled Adjustable Ring


True original and one of a kind, genuine faceted amethyst is secured with a wave of heavy 14K gold filled wire. Little sparkling cut (zircon) stones in shades of purple add color repetition (also fastened with 14K gold filled wire). Handsome enough for a guy, perfect for the girls as well. Adjustable size, recommend from about 6 1/2 to 9. Click here for views every side and more detail. Gift boxed (not shown).

So get out the guacamole, the beer and this amethyst ring!

...SPECIAL FOR BLOG READERS...SPECIAL FOR BLOG READERS...

Get 10% off with the code SWEETTWEET at checkout

Thanks as always for reading and tweeting with me!