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.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2009

Michael Phelps smoked pot.  A-Rod used steroids.  The nation is obsessed by these negative stories.  Particularly in the case of A-Rod, is anybody particularly surprised?  The thing I am surprised about this week is the glaring lack of American media attention on the Special Olympics 2009 World Winter Games held in Idaho.  

The Dutch are making fun of us because we're spending an inordinate amount of time covering A-Rod and a two-month old photo of Michael Phelps smoking pot but there are few American news outlets covering the Special Olympics.  The Dutch are making fun of us.

How is this not a very competitive sporting event?  There are 79 countries represented.  The events are just as rigorous as the Olympics.  The athletes are just as committed and if you're watching online or lucky enough to be watching here in Idaho, the show is just as spectacular.

It's a sad statement about Americans if the demand is for more A-Rod, Phelps and pictures of the controversial octuplets than for some of the greatest athletic talent we have seen in America since the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Here's hoping the media just misjudged the American's appetite for a really great athletic event.

If you're local to Boise, there are a number of great events around town including the free festival downtown in the Grove.  I for one am trying to get down to see the curling event.  Check our for the schedule.

It's incredible to watch Olympians stretch themselves beyond human limits to compete but watching the Special Olympics and watching these Olympians stretch themselves beyond human limits DESPITE limits they were born with, well that's a cause for Hope and Celebration.  I'd challenge anybody else to watch these events and not walk away thinking, yeah, I can't do that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Finger Exercises

Growing up my parents called it doing your finger exercises.  Did you do your finger exercises?  The translation: did you turn off the lights in your room?  Here is a monitor after their own hearts: It's the new Blue Line Innovations PowerCost Monitor, Model # BLI-24000.  For $271.99 you can hook a device up to your utility meter and gauge how much electricity you're using.  There is a handheld device so you can walk around your house and show your kids how much money you're spending every minute their lights, computer, games etc. are running and then show them how much money you save when you turn it off.  My parents would love this device.  This is one of those items that really can pay for itself and show you where you can save money by just unplugging a cell phone charger that isn't even charging a cell phone or unplugging the microwave when it isn't being used.  You'll save money and the environment at the same time.

You can find this device at and some other retailers.  The move to eliminate "power sucks" from the home may seem trivial but you would be surprised how much money you can save by doing things that you would probably do anyway if you were aware they were draining energy and costing you money, like unplugging your cell phone charger from the wall.  This is a good investment and might be one that you can share with your neighbors if you don't want to cough up the $271.99 on your own.