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Archive for September, 2012

Trial Month

September 27th, 2012 at 07:13 pm

I am a skating mom (not a soccer mom or a football mom) and spend a good bit of time at the ice rink. Our rink is somewhat out of date and almost closed when the property was sold and slated for new housing about 5 years ago. Fortunately the economic slow down changed the housing development plans and the rink became non-profit. It is now run by a very dedicated group of adults. We parents also help with fundraising and all manner of events.

So it is well loved ice facility and seems to be attracting more families with time!

Inside the rink is a pro shop. The shop is owned separately (leased to the rink) and always has had a small stock of items for figure skaters and hockey players. But recently a new owner took over, a younger guy who loves hockey.

And he really beefed up the place! Take a LOOK

So being the small biz on the look out for opportunity that I am....

I took him a sample pair of my hand beaded gloves and asked if he would be interested in wholesale!

The answer was 'Sure!' but let's give it a month trial to start.

Now EXCLUSIVELY at Goal Line Sports! Gloves for the skater (or dog walker or playground teacher or...)





KEEP THOSE (beaded) FINGERS CROSSED!

Golden Egg - Step 4 and 5

September 26th, 2012 at 06:27 pm

The proverbial golden egg! A sought after treasure and something near and dear to a frugal life stylist. Wouldn't it be fun to give one as a gift? Perfect for the newlyweds! Or as appreciation to a life long spouse who's been saving and providing for a family for years. Even funny for a retiring employee.

I will show you steps in the decorating of a real turkey egg. It's not expensive to do, and if you don't have access to the real thing, there may be artificial ones at craft supply stores. I hope the design will inspire you to give it a try!

It starts with blowing and prepping the egg, and early design planning. See Steps 1 - 3 for photos.

Step 4. To repeat or not to repeat? Repeated patterns result in a pleasing effect, but I would avoid doing too much of a good thing (it's more interesting to have a few different patterns). I decided the top and bottom areas of this egg will be similar in design, and the central band will be different.

So I glue a strip of gold braid trim around the top third of the egg to isolate where the pattern will change. It makes it easy for me to STOP adding a pattern if the ribbon is there!



The rest of the top pattern will be a second row of crystals and painted black hatches.



The second row of crystals was easy to put in place - they are just alternating in the spaces below the first row! And the little black painted lines around the ribbon are in a sort of wave pattern, but could have been a more simple design.

Step 5. Next I repeat those patterns around the bottom, except I decided to do only one row of crystals and one row of the black hatches next to the ribbon.




Come back for Step 6 in a future post.

If you liked this idea, here's a couple more!

Click to see the Tuxedo Egg

Click to see the Pagoda Egg

Thx for visiting!

Step by Step Golden Egg

September 25th, 2012 at 05:00 pm

A finished jewel adorned egg is wonderful to see, but it's really fun to watch the transformation in progress.

I invite you to visit this blog over the next few days and watch the steps in the third of my original creations.

GOLDEN EGG

Step 1. Starting with a turkey egg (lucky I have a source!), I blow the inside, dry for a few days on the shelf and then paint with simple craft paint. This is a pearl gold color which took several coats.


Step 2. Cut a small piece of co-ordinating fabric (from a scrap) and glue over the blow holes at the tips. I used E6000 glue, a bit better craft glue than white glue. A small triangle or circle of ribbon, or even colored paper could be used instead of fabric.

After the hole covering dries, thread a loop of string through a bead and knot on the bead underside so it does not pull through. Glue the bead, knotside down, at the top of the egg. Glue a decorative bead or two at the bottom tip for a nice balanced look.


Step 3. Plan the design. In this case I decided to start with a pattern at the mid point. I used small decorative stick on body jewels (these are 'bindi's from a store with India supplies). Rather than rely on the sticker, I glued them permanently. I prefer to do the design almost entirely by hand, but these body jewels were exotic and very inexpensive. (You could use any of the huge variety of stickers in scrapbook stores.)

Also, start hand painting little accents. Here I have added hatch marks around the tip. This design extends the fabric circle and is a transition to the next adornment.


Come back for Steps 4 and 5 in future posts.

Click to see the Tuxedo Egg

Click to see the Pagoda Egg

Thx for visiting!

Tuxedo Egg - From Farm to Formal

September 24th, 2012 at 06:36 pm

Making use of things already on hand is a pleasure. Not to mention a frugal and environmental plus. Why spend money or consume more resources if you are thoughtful and smart enough to 'just so happen' to have what fits the need.

Instead of throwing away, I keep a good variety of supplies in my craft storage just for this reason. I don't always know what something's future use will be, but maybe it just seems to be worth saving.

In my desk right now? Some examples:

- clean empty nut containers (with tight fitting lid)
- box of bits of ribbon and trims
- ziploc bag of embroidery threads
- a couple dozen pair disposable wood chopsticks
- odds and ends artificial leaves and flowers

Now a person could overdo it and hoard too much, but I am good with limiting the supply. When the box of ribbons is full, that's it! No more saving until some are used. I also have a strong desire to reuse and visit my supply storage for gift wrapping, school projects, and fundraising donations frequently!

So when I started buying a neighbor's eggs (for better nutrition and to go more local), I just couldn't pass up trying to decorate some of the wonderful big turkey shells.

I already had: a few bottles of craft paint from an old project, some stray beads, some glue on swarovski crystals, and those bits of ribbon!

The first egg was practice, but I loved the results! It reminds me of a pagoda (see pictures on my Pretty Cheap Jewelry Facebook page here or just click the FB box in the left sidebar. Click on the FB pictures to see the whole thing better, top and bottom).

The second one was going to be even more fancy! Introducing the....

Tuxedo Egg





Painted with black gloss, the top and bottom are capped with a ring of swarovski crystal. Red scallops near the top are duplicated with tiny silver dots. The lower half is painted with a red diamond pattern tufted with tiny swarovski crystals. A hanging thread is included.

Not bad and I only had to buy a $2.79 tiny paint brush!

I'm now working on a Golden Egg (and no, I am not a goose, Mother or otherwise). This time I'm taking progress pictures. You can see steps 1 - 4 already on my FB biz page here and, again, click on the photos to see them better.

Or simply watch here for the story over the next week!

Before and After - Front Yard Garden

September 21st, 2012 at 05:01 pm

A few months ago we took it out...the grass in our postcard patch front yard. And put in produce. We've had the typical backyard garden for 10+ years (no corn shortage here), and there was nowhere else to expand!

Seriously, putting in a front yard vege garden may be trendy, but it is a logical extension of our personal environmental ethic. A front yard garden:

* makes wise and better use of water, an increasingly scarce resource

* reduces environmental degradation due to transport of commercial produce

* reduces environmental degradation from manufacture and application of commercial farm pesticides and chemicals

* is incredibly healthier for you personally in eating completely fresh and chemical free food

These are just a few of the biggie effects. So here is what it started like:



And here is what it looks like this week:


A rock swale runs up through the middle (to solve a chronic drainage issue on our little lot).

On the right side: green onions, red chili peppers, eggplant (upper right, not shown well)

On the left side: white bulb onions, tomatoes, (head lettuce already picked)

Yes, you can do this too!

Where's the top? or can I keep this up?!

September 20th, 2012 at 04:51 pm

About every 1 1/2 - 2 years this unplanned plateau happens to my small jewelry design business. Around that time it seems that I unexpectedly raise the bar in my own design and product line.

It's a good feeling! But sort of makes me nervous! Can I keep this up? Is it going to stress me in the long run to try to outdo myself? Should I just back off and give it a rest if I can't maintain the flow of big ideas?

It happened a couple years ago when I turned out some nice original designed pearl mix rings;

Candy Colored 14K Gold Filled Pearl Ring

Sweet but guaranteed no calories! Lots of pearl and swarovski crystals in gold, peaches, pinks, and whites make a very pretty piece of jewelry. Hand made, original design, size 6 1/4 (not adjustable). The last of its kind, I am not making this type of ring anymore. See the complete details
here

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And again when my right brain geared up and used a spent guitar string to make a pretty neat bracelet;

Honey Brick Guitar String Bracelet

Glass pearl and stone jingle jangle on a re-used bronze guitar string. Adjustable clasp. A great accessory for young adult and musical folks. See the complete details
here

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Or lately with making found bits of sea glass into little treasures;

Sea Glass Earrings

Why does sea glass has such a mystique? Is it from the fact it spends years in nature getting smoothed by the ocean and beach sand? I found a surprise cache of sea glass and used copper wire to bring out the natural color in a pair of earrings. See the complete details
here

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Whatever the item I am hand making seems to be the best I've ever dreamed up!

So it's happened again. Those faberge eggs, y'know with rubies, emeralds, diamonds and the like? We all know them as absolute stratospheric treasures from a past era.

I have been buying backyard eggs from a neighbor (at our weekend house) and she has given me some turkey eggs. They are about 25% bigger than your average chicken egg, and since the turkeys are much more free to exercise, have a much better diet and are not rushed to produce, these eggs have good thick shells.

Instead of throwing the shell out, I just had to try this:

Jeweled Egg

A heritage turkey egg decorated with a budding tree. Completely original and hand made. I've blown the egg (and scrambled for dinner!), painted, trimmed and added glass jewels. Not for sale.

..................................................
I am very gratified with the result, and one of the MOST HAPPY aspects of the project to me is that -- I had the supplies already on hand!!

So the cost of the materials? Nil.

I have about 5 more eggs to try. In fact, #2 is in progress and is turning out SUPER BEAUTIFUL. It is formal black and silver with swarovski crystal. Almost like diamonds!

Yes, these will go for sale sometime, but probably locally (I would shudder to think of shipping one).

So what's up after this? I will just not even go there!

Thanks for reading and watch here for pictures of the next one!

Replogle - Why is it not in the Dictionary?!

September 10th, 2012 at 05:29 pm

You've almost surely seen one. You can google it. It's a bit different, but not that unusual. So why isn't it in the dictionary? Well I learned what the word was in September.

My husband is a earth scientist and teaches world geography at night. He is also the sentimental half of us (read: SAVES stuff and likes neat surprises on his birthday).

In September we were inside a nice consignment furniture store looking for a dresser for my daughter, to my surprise he practically hollered "I've been looking for one of these all my life!"



Oh, really? All your life? First time I knew this.

Anyway, I told him to get on his phone while I continued to dresser hunt, and look on ebay to research going prices for such a thing. This one was about $100. Yes, there was a similar used one for about double the price.

Well he stood next to it for another 30 minutes worrying that someone else might buy it!! I calmly walked about giving it some rational thought.

I had cash (but that was most of my spending money for a couple weeks), but it would be a long standing birthday gift. My decision was to put a deposit on it. The clerk in fact told me I could call the next day and change my mind. Perfect, in case he took a pass after sleeping on it.

As we left, he said "What if some other Geography professor comes in and snatches it up?!" HAHAHA! What a goof ball!

We both did a bit more research the next day online, and were satisfied with the price and item. He found a very similar new one (it is decorative and not meant to be geographically accurate) from Italy for $600.

So Happy Bday husband! And it still baffles me why this word is not in the dictionary.

Tip 1: How to give to someone who has everything

September 7th, 2012 at 03:38 pm

Another trip around the sun, another time to put on the thinking cap for something that says "You're Loved", that makes my husband feel appreciated, and doesn't cost me $100. Oh, and if possible, isn't little itty bitty and needs electricity!!

How do you give something to someone who basically has it all? Or as my daughter says when we try to make out a little birthday gift list, "Mom, he can just go buy this whenever he wants."

Read on below this picture of what I am doing with colored sea glass lately!

Sapphire Blue Sea Glass Earrings

Sea glass seems so much like a treasure and has a magical quality. Maybe because it is made directly from the qualities of nature; wave and sand action creating the matted surface. And colored sea glass!! A truly rare find. These two nuggets are a pure sapphire blue. I've handmade wire cages and added a bit of gold glass to enhance the gorgeous hue. A really classy pair of earrings.

Tip #1
Secretly take notes during the year about things a person mentions needing or is particularly interested in.

In my situation it's been anything from audio books (on subjects I would NEVER have remembered) to any manner of tools that would have helped on a past home improvement project.

Oh! and as far as the itty bitty electronics, I have finally seen the light and take notes on my PHONE!!!! Yes I use that little yellow notepad and have one note for every subject such as: Michaels, Dad Bday, and so on. Why not? That dang little phone is nearby me most of the time anyway. (don't say 'I TOLD YOU SO')

So here's what's on the note called Dads Bday:

o 5 to 7 padlocks, keyed the same. OK, is there anysuch thing as a locksmith anymore?! I bet this would cost almost $100 anyway.

o Shoehorn. Really! He mentioned this many mornings getting dressed at 6am, and he has just so happened to remember to look when we were on vacation going through antique malls and thrift stores. But he seems to be picky!! No metal. Yes, I secretly tapped it into my phone notepad!

o Bathroom Remodel Handyman Guide. He's going to DIY to ours starting soon {send me patience!}. And this was a cinch for me to get after researching awhile on my paperbackswap and Amazon accounts. A big (used) hardback comprehensive guide is coming to our house for $3.99.

o Big Heavy Gauge Aluminum Stock Pot. First of all, this year he decided to make tomato sauce from scratch. I warned him it is hugely time consuming and we already do it easily with Smart and Final size tomato puree adding seasoning and doing the canning. But he was determined! he:
(1) He planted extra tomatoes;
(2) did a blanching;
(3) screened with his trusty Vittorio machine {AH! a previous gift from me, it is a handcrank mill that de-skins and de-seeds}

We have a couple large stock pots, but one is a lightweight stainless and the other an ancient aluminum. He remarked that he is unsatisfied with both (he burns things too easily) and wish he had one like his mom used to have.

Well, these are about $100. Or more. He looked around already and turned down a fairly good one at Kmart (enameled porcelain). So I will look into what is out there at Sur La Table and/or Bed Bath Beyond.

More tips coming soon, stay tuned.