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Archive for December, 2013

What Sold and What Didn't

December 30th, 2013 at 06:22 pm

Follow your heart or follow a more proven formula? This question is present in many many forms. What to advise my soon-to-be college bound teens in what to study? How to decide on which charity to donate my time and money? What to produce in my small business?

That last question is easier (a little). Though it is important to make income from the jewelry crafting, I don't live off the sales. I have the luxury of using the money for non-necessities. Certainly any hobbyist seller should prioritize their goals. Mine seem to be: (1) creative or artistic fulfillment; (2) income; (3) tax deduction; etc.

So I concentrate on making what I want, sometimes the results are popular, sometimes not.

The holiday events are (nearly) over for Pretty Cheap Jewelry and the bottom line is solidly black. Here's the summary-

Wire weave jewelry +++++
Beaded glove sales +++
Vintage glove sales -
Handbound Booklet +
Collage Card +
Jeweled egg +

Guess what 2014 will bring? Luckily the wire design is what I want to do.

All hope is not lost on showing off the vintage gloves and the jeweled eggs, there are spring holiday events. But there will be a big GIVE AWAY if many of these things are still around in mid 2014 (I do NOT like clutter!).

The first week of the year brings new items to my Etsy site, in fact a few have already arrived...

Pink Ribbon Pearl Necklace
An update to a traditional look, a large pink glass pearl is set in a 3-strand wire weave. Hung on 18" black leather. See more here. Perfect for Valentine's Day, priced to fit small budgets.



Sail Boat Silver and Blue
Nice contrast of circles and lines around a sky blue cut crystal. Modern yet feminine design has enough detail to impress, never too much to be gaudy. More pictures and info here



Thanks for the reading, see you in 2014!

Chocolate iPhones

December 19th, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Ticking off the events ... my son had a secret santa exchange in journalism class and needed to come up with something for a 15 y.o. boy by Friday. The clues? The recipient liked 'tech, food, quirky' things. The spending limit was $10 but the essence of the gift was to be HANDMADE. So my son came up with the idea of a brownie or cookie or fudge in the shape of an iPhone (he would use frosting to put the logo and buttons on). Okaaaaaay.

Guess who would make the basic shape? Me. And the frosting. Me. How was I going to fit this in the schedule? When was he going to have time to draw the logo? It turned out he requested fudge; that was a happy choice. There was ONE can of sweetened condensed milk left in the pantry! And a bag of house brand (low cost) chocolate chips. WHEW! I made that super easy type of fudge in the hour between coming home from work and going to exercise class.

Later that evening I made the frosting more quickly than I thought it would take (must be all that practice doing gingerbread houses for the last 2 weeks), and he got to work on the logo. Here's the results:



The best part is he is pleased, not an easy thing to accomplish with a teen boy (who like most teen boys are in the thickest anti-mother phase of their lives). We had a very happy no stress time working together.

Please I'm hoping!! If that only will happen with the next thing on the TO DO: my daughter giving a gift to her figure skate coach and her friend next door.

I texted two days ago to my daughter to 'think of what she wants to give her coach and schedule a time to shop that we can both do'. Why did I TEXT? She has been really reactive lately, being defensive and very hard to work with. Texting is a more calm way of getting her thinking. OY

We will be with her coach in one day, and her friend two days later. There is very little time free before these get togethers.

And she hasn't made a reply. No surprise there. Wish me the patience of a saint Frown

Didn't overeat! and clothes prices going south

December 17th, 2013 at 09:58 pm

The busiest week of the year is over (for me), YAY! Ice skate Christmas show as always: guaranteed to get the spirit going. From dress rehearsal to bake sale cake pop to gift table selling to ...

Toy Soldiers Spindle




The wire wrap jewelry is the hot sell. I think it will be the future of Pretty Cheap Jewelry. Total income from this last event of the year (after fees and taxes) is about $200.

Things fall into place on the calendar now. Today? A work potluck and gift exchange. I participated in the potluck but PASSED on the gift exchange. One of those 'steal the present' games. Not everyone plays. I wish folks would focus more on charitable giving instead of being a 'have'.

And I didn't overeat at the potluck!

My daughter would like an insulated vest (for skating) and after striking out in her size at 2 good sports stores I went to Old Navy. There I found the right thing, and yes, there are some significant discounts now. All long sleeve shirts are priced to move at $5, fleece jackets $8 and lots of other deals. I partook, and got a $10 coupon for January.

CRAZEE happy week of the year

December 9th, 2013 at 07:08 pm

It's here ~ the busiest week of the year for me. Working backwards...

(a) Four shows at the ice rink (Fri night, Sat afternoon, Sat night, Sun afternoon)

(b) Dress rehearsal Thur night

(c) Set up my gift table Fri afternoon

(d) Add in donations to the organization dinner (big green salad for Sat night) and the show bake sale (cake pops, lots and lots to bring Fri)

(e) Extra dance rehearsal and regular skate lesson on Wed night

Um, two driving school lessons for my OTHER kid on Tues and Thurs

Also, one group homework project to be done on Tues after school

Perhaps but not definite: Girl Scout meeting on Mon after school

and oh: my MIL is staying with us Sat night Smile

OOPS yeah, I work during the day, RIGHT?!

Haha.

My iPhone calendar has lots and lots and lots of dots.

This past weekend we managed to hold a nice gingerbread house decorating party. My daughter started this tradition a few years ago with a few of her friends, and I invite a couple adults now too.

We use the store kits and I add extra home made cookies. I make a crock pot of chili, a big salad, and spaghetti for a buffet dinner.



One more mini silk tie purse of mine sold at our art assoc pop up store this weekend. Wish it was more, but happy for the small steady sales!

News Flash: Big Clothes Discounts on the Way Soon

December 5th, 2013 at 05:29 pm

Saw two recent reports in the papers that due to excess inventory (lower than expected sales so far), that clothes discounts are expected in the next couple weeks.

The tip? Wait if you are in the market for clothes. "[one expert] predicted that clothing, especially children’s clothing, will be discounted up to 60 percent and small home appliances could be marked down by up to 55 percent before the season is over."

These articles were in Wall Street Journal (but I only saw the first paragraph since I don't subscribe) and NBC News here which are both trustworthy sources.

Myself? I have two vouchers to redeem:
-a $10 Kohl's card
-a $6.50 Sport store card

I'll ride my bike over this weekend and see if they have underwear on sale!!

Chore Genie meets Driving Teacher on #GivingTuesday

December 3rd, 2013 at 06:21 pm

Remember the Chore Genie? It lives at the Pretty Cheap Jewelry house to increase teen participation in mundane tasks. The chore genie charts rewards of $1 or 50c for duties like: unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, dog poo duty, cutting the grass. These rewards add up and can reach $20 or more at the end of each month.

There is no Allowance Fairy anymore who hands out $xx before tasks are done. The Chore Genie doesn't rely on pestering teens to follow through, and pays only after the work is done.

It's going fine! All of us are on the chart, and I LOVE getting a little extra 'allowance'. Yes, I made the most $$ last month, but it was nice to see proof that I do more than anyone else around the house. Smile I am still under a some stress to (work a day job!), make wholesome dinners, run a small business, and manage my children's schedules, the Chore Genie is still being useful.

NEW this week: My son starts AAA driving lessons. Hoo boy! Yahoo! It is a 4 week course with 10 hrs behind-the-wheel. After a total of 50 hr behind-the-wheel he can take his test and get the license. Using this AAA class gives us a significantly reduced rate for him on the insurance for 1.5 years.

NEW today: It's Giving Tuesday, please do something to help another in need. I have two wishes from shelter kids that I am filling.

Two inexpensive ideas:

- put a book in Toys for Tots
- put change in a Salvation Army red bucket

More ideas:

- take worn rugs/towels to the animal shelter
- donate canned foods to the food bank
- give a teacher or school supplies (ask for their wish list)

Thank you and good karma!

There's a Downside to Shopping Early?  YES

December 2nd, 2013 at 07:33 pm

I did most of my shopping already (it's not a ton). Gotta do it early to be sneaky and hide the gifts for mostly my kids and husband. All that's left are a few out-of-town family members, a few in-laws, and small things for guests at our annual gingerbread house decorating party.

So what's the downside? Simply that it's hard to STOP shopping and get the extra things that are wished for by the kids. And resist taking advantage of good deals for the next couple weeks.

OK, I have a lock on the wallet! and I threw away the key!

You saw the post about checking your American Express deals? I checked and used only one for a $10 credit on any Small Business purchase on Nov. 30. None of the other offers work for me.

But here an example I'm debating:

Spend $50 and get $20 off at Old Navy (with my VISA). I got this in the mail about a week ago. Today that place has 30% off everything also. Hmmmm. Certainly the 'sweatshop' aspect doesn't thrill me. But I will go and check it out because I really would like a few Tshirts for me and pajamas for the kids.

So do I want to spend another $30.....
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In other news, our artist pop up shop is humming along. Nothing earth shattering, but several things are sold every day. FINALLY a jeweled egg ornament was sold yesterday ($25). Also another wire weave necklace was sold that day ($35).

So far I have netted $100 (post fees and commissions). There's 4 more weeks, HOORAY

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My daughter started a new tradition a few years ago that I like! We have a few of her friends (and I now invite a couple adults) to decorate gingerbread houses. It's fun, and inexpensive!

Gingerbread House Decorating Party
(1) Buy a couple gingerbread house kits (using a coupon from Michaels or BBB). These are about $8 ea.

(2) Use sprinkles in the pantry, I also pick up sale ones through the year. It is also very easy to think of unusual inexpensive candy decorations, e.g. gum (cut into squares), crushed peppermint canes, slivered almonds. Or you could ask the guests to bring an item to use.

(3) Put up the walls ahead of time so they dry and are hard.

(4) Make a buffet meal: crock pot of chili, boil a pot of spaghetti, and a nice green salad.

VOILA, it is a great way to let out the artist in your guests. They can take home the house, or I donate it to a bake sale/shelter/boys & girls club.

I had time this past Sunday to make some gingerbread cookies for guests who don't have time to do a whole house. My daughter and I did some for practice! She is very creative, these are in today's lunchbox, and my teen son will undoubtedly eat them fast.