Sunday, April 5, 2009

Change in Course

I have a million little ideas about how to make a difference in one's pocket book, relationships, environment.  I have chided myself too often for using this blog to talk about things other than crafts.  So, I have decided to set up a second blog for all things not craft related.  I really don't think I have enough interesting things to say to fill up one blog, much less two but the second one is called "Why It Makes a Difference" and can be found at

So, this blog area is now reserved for all things crafting and hawking my wares and the other one is going to be devoted to the wonderfully strange things I discover.

The first entry in the new blog is going to be a hoot in the finest sense.  It's going to be all about how I bought 6 bottles of wine for $7.97.



Friday, April 3, 2009

What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar

The average wage earner in the U.S. should start seeing an extra $13 per week in their paycheck in the next few weeks.  Why?  The stimulus plan, spearheaded by the Obama administration in February 2009, made a provision to give money to wage earners called "It Pays to Work".

So, I don't care about the politics of that, what I want to address is how are you going to spend $13?  You can breathe easy again, this isn't a test.  I'm on a crusade to figure out what people can do with their $13 and how spending this money in this manner benefits the overall economy and the greater good.

This week I'm going to dive deeply into some self promotion.  I make coffee cup sleeves and sell them on Etsy (  You know what a coffee cup sleeve is, right?  It's that cardboard thing they hand you at the coffee shop to go around your cup to keep you from burning your hands.  The barristas I've spoken with said they hand out about 200-300 on an average day.  Some website said that each coffee drinker is responsible for 6-10 pounds of wasted paper from the coffee cup sleeve!

Okay, so now we have a problem (the environment) and a solution (my coffee cup sleeves).  They are made out of cotton in high-end designer fabrics with flannel in between the layers to insulate the cup a bit.

How am I going to re-direct your $13?  I have a sale going right now.  Choose any three cup sleeves in the store and send me $13.  The sleeves, normally $4.75 each, will cost you a grand total of $13 for all three and that even includes shipping in the U.S.!  (Sorry to the rest of the world, President Obama only gave us $13 so you're going to have to pony up for your own shipping.)

You will be getting a coffee cup sleeve treat for you and possibly two great, environmentally friendly gifts for other people.  You will be easing pollution because less energy will go into making cardboard coffee cup sleeves if less people use them and there will be fewer items thrown into the landfill.  By carrying around a spiffy coffee cup sleeve, you will encourage the people who see you to adopt your new coffee cup sleeve custom so they don't miss out on looking as stylish as you.  Just think of the positive environmental impact you will have just by putting your coffee cup into a stylish sleeve without the coffee shop's logo all over it. 

They money you send to me, admittedly, will not go to orphans in Thailand.  However, I buy most of my gifts and supplies through local sellers or sellers on Etsy.  I promise to keep the money in the system helping other people out, maybe even by going out to dinner at a local restaurant and I promise to not save the money under my mattress for the better days ahead.

So this is how you can spend $13 this week.  I'm cooking up more ideas for this topic but if you have an Etsy shop and would like to have a $13 sale too, let me know and I'll plug it here.  If you are interested in offering a service for $13 I can also plug that here but hear me now, those services must all be above board: weeding, raking, laundry, grocery shopping, Mother's Helper (not mommy's LITTLE helper).  Get back to me with your ideas and I'll get it into the blog.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Power Of Niceness

Politeness mixed with genuine friendliness at the cash register is now saving me $70 a month.  Here's the deal, because I'm the family caregiver in all matters medical, I am a frequent flyer at the pharmacy.  They know me by name.  It's creepy to be known by name at the pharmacy as a regular.  When I brought up my shame at being a regular, the pharmacists laughed at me and told me that I'm well within the sane range still.  I'm not drooling on them or the register and I'm not high so they regard me as one of the regulars they can talk to.

I'm always incredibly polite to people in service oriented positions.  Whatever the job from waitress to doctor and all throughout the spectrum, dealing with the public is sometimes a miserable task.  It's also my experience that your politeness/niceness is directly proportional to how polite/nice the person on the other end treats you in return.

So here is how this is saving me big bucks this month.  The pharmacists noticed that my family has some regular prescriptions that are expensive, even after insurance kicks in.  (In fact, one member of the family's prescriptions are so expensive that without insurance they would cost about $1200 per month).  The pharmacists let me in on a little tip: any of your name brand drugs typically have a website associated with them where you can print off coupons.  They gave me this little tip because I never rush them, I'm always cordial and they feel as though they have a good relationship with me.  I'm not sure they would have shared this with me if I had been a jerk each time I had gone in.  

So now you know.  If you want to save money on your prescriptions, go out to their website and see if there is a coupon or a rebate.  Another tip is to take the coupon or rebate to the pharmacy WHEN YOU TAKE IN THE PRESCRIPTION or when you ASK FOR A REFILL.  These coupons typically require the pharmacy to call an outside provider on the spot like they do for your insurance so the routine is, they call your insurance and adjust how much you owe them based on your insurance.  THEN they have to call in the coupon and adjust how much you owe.  If you present the coupon when you go to pay for the prescription this might make the pharmacist cranky and it will definitely take an extra 5-10 minutes to get your prescription.

So, here's what we're all going to do from now on:

Check for coupons for our name brand prescriptions
Get that coupon to the pharmacy when you take in the prescription or when you request a refill.
Save money.

I hope this saves somebody else money too.

I promise, my next entry will be about crafting something.  I'll probably even solicit people to come out to 1st Thursday next month to visit my booth!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Money Making Opportunity

I dated a guy a long time ago who told me once he throws away all of his change.  What, you mean all of the stuff a cashier hands back to you?  Yes.  And all of the stuff that comes out of machines?  Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters?  All of it.  Now, I'm not good with money, in fact I bought Sirius Radio stock recently because I thought it was cute that it was only 15 cents per share, but throwing away change?

I was changing out purses over Christmas and did a fast change over to get me out the door.  A few days later I went back to the old purse to clean it out more thoroughly.  I recovered the usual stuff and a couple of dollars in change just swimming at the bottom of the purse.  I became slightly fascinated and went through some of my other old purses and came up with a few dollars more.

This caused me to become super fascinated.  How much change do we collect on a regular basis and then toss aside because it's "just 15 cents"?  So, I bought one of those coin collector counter things for super cheap at an after Christmas sale and started my "data collection".

I started adding to it on January 1, 2009.  I did take out change for parking meters, which is what would have happened to the change I had around anyway.  I figured that parking meters and sodas would make the whole thing a wash.  I haven't done anything special like hunt for pennies on the street or recycled cardboard for more change.  I continued tipping when it seemed appropriate in drive-thrus and continued to ignore dumping my change into Jars for Random causes (Pony up, write a check and get the tax rebate--reason why is your employer might have a matching program and you should check because it benefits the program more if you take the time to go home and write a check).  

After using the change collector for 87 days, the grand total is $28.07.  I have collected $28.07 just from not misplacing where the change goes when it gets handed to me.  Over a year, that's $112.28 in loose change that was kind of just getting lost in pockets, old purses and under the seat of my car and then in the belly of the car wash vacuum.

If you're looking for some quick money, you could probably try the local landfill or my old boyfriend's garbage and see what it has to offer.  I'm sure both of those suggestions are illegal so you might want to weigh the cost of bail with how much you expect to recover.

I'm sure the car wash guys are onto this one already, come on, they are onto this one, right?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Martha recommends you take all of your pots, empty the soil and put them away in the potting shed at the first sign of frost.  I don't do that.  In fact, I leave them out all winter with the sincere hope they will crack and break with the frost heaves that come with winter.  My plan?  I'm using pot shards (sharp side down, of course) to make a path over some weed block.  If I lived near the ocean, I would use seashells but I don't so here I am using shards from pots.  So, if you accidentally left out a pot that cracked and fell apart over the winter, send it my way!  The more colorful, the better.  It's like a mosaic only better.  It's not really a walking path so I'm not worried about anybody walking on it.  It's just an area between a fence and a raised bed that should get no traffic.  It's my attempt to make it slightly more interesting than just a weed free patch of area. 

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Little Glassy Eyed

I have a new personal mission in life: to answer the new (must use shrill and whiny voice) question, "what can I possibly do with $13 extra dollar."  So, now I'm on a crusade to list all of the ways I can think of to spend your $13.

The first way you can spend your $13 is by visiting either on the web or in person.  You can either buy something extraordinary or save up your $13 for a few weeks and take a class and make some things on your own.  Jessica Lewis, the proprietor, is big on two things: safety and creativity.  Once you take a class that introduces you to the basics, the world is your oyster.  Yes, there are some serious safety considerations, like these safety glasses, but during the basics class you will do more than learn the rules like: cut glass and complete a project.

You cut and create and then Jess puts your project in the kiln for a nice long bake.  It goes through the fusion process and then, if you choose to have your object made into a dish or another shape, once it has cooled it goes back into the kiln over a mold to be "slumped."  The end result is a bowl, a plate, a dish etc.  Once it has gone through all of these processes the glass is remarkably sturdy and completely out of the ordinary.

Glass fusion is fun.  I'm even going to come straight with "funner" to describe the process. In this strangled economy, how can you not love taking a piece of glass and breaking the crap out of it and then putting things together in a cohesive way to make art? 

I listed some of my projects in my Etsy shop but if you're local to Boise, you should go into the shop and take a look at some of the ready made items available for purchase.  The stuff in the shop is extraordinary and is way beyond those melted wine bottles we've been subjected to at craft fairs. 

Making Cents

I've always been cheap but I'm using the economy as my excuse to clip coupons without feeling like a nerd hauling around my mass of coupons.  I'm no novice at this coupon thing either.  Before I shop, I go out to coupon sites and grab all of the coupons I can use.  I know where Fred Meyer keeps their extra coupons and then an extra extra flyer.  I even weigh the benefits of buying a second Sunday paper for extra savings.

So what's my beef this week?  I've been hauling my coupons around in an old envelope in my purse.  The envelope split open and I've been losing coupons for weeks.  Enough already!

So, I needed something to contain the coupons but the project needed to use scraps, needed minimal time to complete and needed to be replicable, just in case.  I like to call it the Cache Stash.  I made mine out of (2) 10" x 15" scraps with double fusible inferfacing between.  The whole thing was ironed together and then folded together as an envelope and ironed again.  As a "no sew" option I could have just stapled the sides together but I decided to sew the sides together and then finish the edges with a top stitch.'

The same could be constructed with a number of materials including cardboard with holes punched and then sewn together with yarn.  Old school style.

This should contain the mess of coupons for another day and I will no longer whip this thing out in shame at the store.