Saturday, October 18, 2008

More Jewelry In The Store

I am so excited to show some of my latest creations that are up and available in my store.

For Halloween I made a few different earrings.

A new ID lanyard. The green beads are so feminine.

Awareness jewelry is so beautiful and for a great cause. Donations to the awareness fund are made every time I purchase these beads.

Below are two different bracelets...

This one below is my absolute favorite.

and an awareness ID lanyard....I love this!

What do you think? I have so many new ideas for Christmas and projects on my table including more awareness jewelry, earrings, and pins.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time To Brag

Thank goodness that my princess isn't like me at all when it comes to an artistic side. Up until recently I never had an artistic side and I always felt that this has limited me in certain aspects of life. But not my little girl. She LOVES to do anything with art whether it is coloring, pasting, watercolors, computer drawing and any variation of the above. She has now started to create books including her best attempts to write in sentences and spell words. She does her own illustrations. The only thing I help her with is binding the book together. Her recent creation was a book she wrote for her dad. In the book she writes the sentence "I will never give up on you." Where she got that saying I don't know. Maybe I have said it to her before and she has never forgotten it. Either way I believe she has a gift.

So this morning she was tucked in her room at her desk. She was pretty quiet and I decided to peek in on her to see what she was up to. She was cutting and pasting and coloring. There was a pretty big mess of paper scraps on the floor. I let her finish and when she came out of her room, she shared this with me. It's a creation she made for our entire family. The saying at the top of the paper is from a plaque she has hanging above her bed that says "I love God and God loves me. God bless my family and God bless me."

No Dining Out Allowed

My month long moratorium on dining out has proven to be quite successful in this first month that it has been implemented. I made the decision that in order to quickly pay off our vacation credit card charges I would have to implement a few spending moratoriums. The first one is on dining out. So this past month we have not dined out once and I was pleasantly surprised when the VISA bill came in to see how little we spent based on months past and how much more I could pay off because of this. I am feeling very optimistic that we will be debt free going into this holiday season.

But the moratorium took some really extensive planning on my part. It is quite difficult at time with my hectic schedule to continue to ensure that all dinners are made at home and in a timely manner. But I am an engineer by trade and a career analyst and process supervisor in my job. Certainly I can create a "meals at home" process from all that training at work.

I sat in front of my computer and created a calendar for each month. In that calendar for each day I chose the meal that I was going to prepare also based on the schedule of activities. So for days where we have baseball or dance planned the meal will be a fairly easy one such as spaghetti, salad and rolls. Sundays are reserved for the nicer, bigger meals like lagasna or turkey and trimmings. I also managed to incorporate some of my kids favorites. How I accomplished this was I took a survey with all of my kids and asked them to tell me their top 5-6 meals they really like for me to cook. I simply filled in the calendar days with some of the favorite meals.

I am still playing this game and loving it so after I pull up my shopping lists, I grab my weekly calendar with meals filled in and go about writing up a shopping list of what I need for my meal plan.

I build in one easy day a week for those inevitable times when we literally are running in and out. On those days we have frozen pizza and salad and everyone is happy including mom.

I had my doubts at first because it does take a bit of planning ahead and sticking to the plan but so far it's working out nicely.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thrift Shops

I just read this story online regarding a rise in sales at Goodwill and thrift stores around the country and I have to chuckle to myself because the phenomenon is nothing new to me.

I have been a regular at these types of stores since I was a poor college student living on grants and student loans. Every dollar counted. I relished at finding awesome sales and cheap deals. And now that I have a decent job and salary to accompany it, I can certainly afford to buy an occasional item in a retail store. But I have been programmed to look first at the cheaper thrift stores. And if you find a high quality thrift or consignment store in your area, you have won the jackpot. I have found both and I frequent them a lot.

Case in point is a kids consignment store near my house that I have been going to for 15 years. They are so extremely picky about what they accept so I know that when I buy something there it will be odor-free, dirt-free, and spot-free. I have actually purchased stuff there with the original price tag on. But the other day I was there looking for discounted school uniforms when I stumbled upon Halloween costumes. I found a perfect $6 Thomas the Tank Engine costume for my little man. I snagged it and brought it home and he loves it. The exact same costume is going for $22 at the Party City down the street. I don't know who was more excited - me or him. Oh and while I was there I bought a couple of cute pajama sets for him at $4 each versus $10 at Target. Clean, spot free, and dirt free.

I don't stop at kids stores. I frequent the adult consignment stores for myself. I have found really amazing designer shoes and purses and jewelry and sunglasses along with clothes too. The key is to find a shop that has the quality and kind of merchandise that you like.

I know a lot of people have a problem with wearing previously worn clothes but when I buy my second hand clothes I wash them thoroughly and in some instances I will send them off to dryclean if the clothes are for me. If shoes or purses look a bit dirty I will go to my local shoe repair store to clean them up for like $5-$10.

There are certain things I don't buy used like underwear or bathing suits. But everything else is fair game.

One of the other reasons I love these shops so much is because all of the items are sorted by sizes and then by colors and since I have very limited time to shop I can go directly to the spot I want and look as opposed to department stores which have racks of clothes scattered over a large area and some sizes are not there which is a huge waste of my time.

So before you shake your head and say "this isn't for me" try it out and you might be glad you did. You might be surprised at what you will find.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Jewelry Ideas

I am so excited to be coming up with a few new jewelry ideas by the end of this week. I will have everything posted by then and on my new blog. They will also be in my store as well.

This is a great time of the year with some really neat Halloween and Christmas gift ideas especially for the little girls. I also have some really beautiful pink pieces in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. The best thing is that these pieces are all at very affordable prices and are going to make really nice gift ideas.

Stand by. I will have pictures for you all very soon.
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