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Archive for October, 2012

Costumes on a Shoe String

October 30th, 2012 at 09:58 am

What makes a good Halloween costume? Good detail, a clever representation of a popular or current subject, or just fright factor? I feel strongly that the best costumes are smart, funny, and hand produced! This last feature is the most important. And is, of course, why you will also save money. There is a big sense of personal satisfaction in pulling off a good costume of your own making.

I've made numerous past costumes for myself starting in high school. For one Senior Crazy Day I wore a green turtleneck, brown jeans, boots, wound a string of christmas lights around myself and wired them to a battery and walked around as a christmas tree. Some years later soon after college, I went as a graduate and wore my black gown, cap and carried a handmade rolled up 'diploma'. In my 20s I made a guy friend into a hilarious bride with a (large) full length white dress from the thrift store, handmade a quick tulle veil, and bought a dollar store bouquet of fake roses (his buddy wore a tux and they went as newlyweds).

Last year was the first I bought a ready made costume. It was for my tween, and after 10 years of sewing and making my kids' costumes I finally succumbed! She went for an Alice in WOnderland dress with tights. These store bought costumes are flimsy and expensive but I said OK provided she used it more than once.

So we are remaking the outfit into Wizard of Oz Dorothy. You've got a picture of Dorothy in your mind, right?

...white/blue pinafore (perhaps gingham)
...puffy sleeve white blouse
...ponytails with ribbon
...sparkly red shoes mary jane style shoes

Well google Dorothy images and I can't believe how many things are different!!

Sometimes her hair is in pigtails with a little bow at the tip, sometimes there is a bow on top in the middle. Sometimes she has blue ankle socks. Sometimes they are white.

And the red shoes. My daughter swears the shoes in the book are silver! Well, I told her, nevermind - the famous ones are red. Look at the google images, they are in fact low heel pumps with a bow at the center!

Enter the handmade, cost saving elements this year...

Red Sparkly Shoes. A simple matter! Visit to the thrift for any pair of low heel shoes in her size. We would cover with glue and red glitter.

My secret tips:

-Use glue that will not be rigid and crack when cured. Do not use white school glue. A good easy choice is 'Goop'. Simply a silicon type glue. Get at Michaels or a hardware store.

Basket with Toto.
We already have a small basket and a small tan stuffed animal dog. Easy!! If not, these would be a couple dollars at the thrift store.

Success! Saving! See them below!

Thrift store pair of black tap shoes = $2.50
Goop glue, with Michaels coupon = $2.50
Red tinsel glitter, with Michaels coupon = $3.50
TOTAL = $8.50

You can try this at home too ~







Silver and Gold - Reclaim Tip for You

October 19th, 2012 at 10:43 am

I am a jewelry designer (if you didn't know already) and learned to craft wire rings a few years ago. Wire is a great material which allows limitless imagination, is reasonably easy to work with, and is long-lived. But I did NOT want to make rings that turns your finger green! The only answer was my decision to make better quality pieces with sterling or gold filled wire. Rings like this would last years, and be a valuable possession:

Anniversary or Friendship Band in 14K gold filled wire weave

Adjustable ring with row of sparkling pure white swarovski crystal. Available here

Notice the price? It reflects the increase in sterling and gold. Those commodities have doubled, tripled, quadrupled in the interim since I started ring design.

Though I am extremely careful not to waste my precious metal wire supply, there is no way to avoid bits of metal scrap completely.

Enter the inside jeweler's tip (which you can take to the bank, literally):

A particular company, well known to crafters, buys back sterling, gold, gold filled, and several other precious metal material. Not just wire scrap, they accept any manner of precious metals including damaged jewelry, natural bits (any gold panning hobbyists out there?), coins, etc. They buy at one of the best prices that I've seen around. The price fluctates daily with the market rate, but you can compare it for yourself. Go to Rio Grande Buy Back Page

A very good resource!

Rock? Pop? Classical? A Commercial Tune is a sign of the times

October 18th, 2012 at 10:14 am

Neither of my kids listen to music alot. Of course, these days one does not buy records, tapes or even CDs. Neither do my kids seem to desire tunes for their iPod type devices. We don't watch the teen TV shows which seem to have bands integrated into the themes. They have a radio in their room but you have to look closely, it's really simply a clock/alarm (with a radio inside). In fact my son has his alarm set to the beep for waking up - not the radio.

Thank goodness we watched both Fantasia movies many times when the were little! They know those classical passages and can recognize George Gershwin.

I love music and had a radio glued to my ear through my teens. Music is such a mood lifter. A great tune makes me go work out! So fuddy duddy ol' mom plays classical or pop or classic rock on the car radio to school. The kids recognize Paul McCartney (though they don't know much of the Beatles), know some of the latest bands (though it took me a long time to figure out what Lady Gaga sang because I don't listen to those kinds of stations), and have a few (very few) modern favorites.

When my daughter needed to pick a tune for doing a figure skate program, she did not have a favorite. I put on some old CDs (though she completely rejected Bruce Springsteen, Nickelback, any Windham Hill new age stuff and even my husband's Duran Duran collection). We browsed around Songza (a really fun free app). Nothing struck her.

So what did she pick? Answer below!

A word from our sponsor (not really, it's just me!). Just one of the fall glove designs from Pretty Cheap Jewelry. Click my FB page (left sidebar) to see others.

Peachy Pink on Teal



Peach sequined fronds on pale teal gloves. Made even more delicious with peachy pink glass beads from the wrists and up the back.

The tune? a little skate friend was using a Home Depot commercial song and pointed out this Lowe's commercial tune . Crazy, but she said yes.

Just a sign of these times, don't you think?

1942 penny

October 16th, 2012 at 01:34 pm

A couple days ago my daughter found a wheat back (US) penny. The date? 1942. She knows these are scarce now and is definitely saving it in her little coin collection. What was happening in 1942? In April, President Roosevelt made a radio (!) speech starting "MY FELLOW AMERICANS: It is nearly five months since we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. " Read the whole speech here

On her 13 birthday, Anne Frank writes in her diary June 12.

The Holocaust is occurring in Poland, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, and many more places.

Gasoline rationing begins in the US on Dec. 1

More 1942 history here

Just looking at this coin makes me take a few moments to think!

The wheat back was made from 1909-1958. Look in your change, do you have any old pennies? I in fact have a moderate coin collection (that's why my kid started one!). They didn't seem old when I was saving interesting coins in the 1960s and 1970s. But folks, it's half a century later.

More later!

Golden Egg - Done

October 1st, 2012 at 10:06 am

If you've been watching this blog, you've seen the making of a golden egg. Though I wish it was the type laid by a goose, in fact, it is a REAL egg that I've blown, dried and decorated with painted patterns, trim and swarovski crystal.

Take a look at Steps 1 through 5

I left off showing the finished the top and bottom thirds.

The center band needed a different pattern, but something that had similar color, shape or style as the parts already done. Something that tied together the gold ribbon, the swarovski crystal, the black pinstripes, and the set of 5 little decorations in maroon and copper spaced evenly around the midpoint.

Hmmmmm! This was the point where a bit of artistry, creativity and imagination was needed. It was hard for me to figure out! I let it sit for a couple days looking and thinking of different ideas.

First, I decided to bring out the copper on the little center emblems. A kind of easy choice since I already had the copper glitter glue (from a past project) and knew I wanted to use it somehow.

Step 6. Add Copper Pin Lines.



I added an arrow and drop line at each emblem with the copper glitter glue. This accomplished 2 things: (a) repeated the copper color in the emblem (which had not been repeated yet and kind of needed to be), and (b) made separate compartments around the center band. Separate compartments would be much easier to decorate in the overall design.

Step 7. Add Painted Gold Scallops.


The final idea to come up with was the hardest!! What would look good in each of those compartments? It had to tie the whole thing together!! I liked scallops but did not want the whole compartment to be filled with a pattern because it would look to busy.

So I tried to make a scallop in a circular shape (like a flower with petals) with light gold paint (which I also already had). The color was right. The pattern mimicked the crystals. It seemed to fit well. My only issue is that I am not very precise with the size of each 'petal'!

And here is the finished Golden Egg!



Thx for reading and watch for more fun and fine crafts right here!