key to my heart.

Anyone who knows me or has seen my work knows I have a thing for cocktail stirrers, as seen below in my TV drawer. I have made and sold many earrings and other accessories made from these molded plastic sticks of wonder.  The whole idea of them overwhelms me, don’t know why.

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One of best selling earring sets is made from a long key, so when I found this little bag of awesome, I pounced.

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More earrings!!! A very good friend told me I had to do a better job of bullet pointing my process so here goes.

1. Measure and mark the center of the stirrer.

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2. Using a sharp wire cutter gently snip it in two.  Any shape wire cutters will do this is just what mine look like.

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3. Using a thin drill bit, drill a hole in the top of each piece. I used my monster drill press, but you could a cordless drill (just make sure you brace it down somehow so it doesn’t slip)

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4. There are talented people out there that make the own earring wires for earrings, this is how I avoid learning this skill.  I buy commercial ear wires from my local craft store and make them look nicer by snipping off the loop on the bottom that holds the spring and the cheesy bead.

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5. Once I have snipped off the loop without taking out an eye (those suckers take flight) I use round nose pliers or looping pliers to make a new loop. It turns out looking like it wasn’t bought at my local craft store.

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no that is not my hand.

6. Cut a small length of heart chain and attach a Lucite heart to one end using a jump ring. I just happened to have this adorable heart chain but any would do.

7.  Attach the other end of the chain to the ear wire and key using another jump ring.  Walla!

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Check out my etsy store to purchase. Electricbelle on Etsy

members only.

I started thrifing at a young age, which apparently is not a word. The outfits displayed on the mannequins at the mall and the need to look like everybody else wasn’t on my agenda, and I sought to express myself through my clothes. Another contributing factor was that by the time I was 14 I had a job and was told, rightfully so, that I could purchase my own clothes above what was “needed.”

As I recall, selling Birkenstocks in the late eighties was grueling.  All employed eyes would be on the customer silently hoping that they were just browsing in the back, and not be about to summon one of us to climb the rickety thousand degree stairs to retrieve a million pairs of shoes, one at a time.  It sounds dramatic, but I was a teenager, and that money was precious.

I can still hear her.  My mother commenting on my recently thrifted articles. Sometimes she just looked, sometimes I was called a ragamuffin, and more often times than not she said “I used to have that same dress, I wish I didn’t get rid of it.”  This statement used to make me cringe. I dreamt of all the cool 60’s and 70’s dresses I could be wearing, and reluctantly thought that my mom must have been pretty stylish.

Fast forward to my own Teenaged spawn. She is not employed yet, she has plans to be, but she also likes to thrift and has an eye for picking out awesome stuff out of the jumble.  I taught her how to shop just by looking at the fabric, color and the tag.  I love old tags, here are some I grabbed last week.IMG_8325 IMG_8323 IMG_8322 IMG_8321 IMG_8320

To my great astonishment The Teenager came home all excited about her “new” jacket  that she scored for 12 bux.  She had already taken a slew of selfies of herself in it, so a photo document was easily secured.

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However she didn’t believe me this time so I had to pull out the scrapbook and prove it.

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And now we are a part of this member’s only mother daughter club. Jealous? LOL

I took the bait…

I took that slimy bait and swallowed because I have a bad habit of not finishing projects, or that is at least what I am telling myself.  It absolutely has nothing to do with the fact that I have little to no control over my second born child.  Either she is the youngest Jedi master ever or I am just plain exhausted. I did find this though which helped her case.

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We went to purchase our new family members only learn that we needed to buy more equipment first.  We shelled out cash for a heater and purchased a plethora of colorful plastic plants (thankfully there were no pineapples.)  We asked the same questions of a different employee, got different answers, and scurried out before I got even more confused and irritated.

Two days later….and a warm tank… We are back, hovering in front of a million fish, and the pressure is on. The UV light is highlighting each fish and I try to explain that this is not what they will look like in our tank while the employee that is on duty today says we can get 8 fish at a time (5 more than other employees said on previous visits.) I roll my eyes and wonder exactly how much commission you can make on 4 dollar fish that is on sale for 2.24.  “WE are only buying three fish” I blurt and somehow step away with two additional African dwarf frogs.

I artfully dodge all other adorable items, by illustrating exactly how much money we have leaked, and we are bobbing out the door changing the names of our new friends, for the fifth time.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you…….

Stephanie, Kathryn the great, and Matthew.. Tropical tetra fish

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Victor and Vanessa the African dwarf frogs (possible daytime soap characters) have yet to come out of hiding, and hopefully will live forever.

I am trying not to take the bait….

The Associate wants fish. I resisted for a long time because of the many misfortunes of previous fish. I asked The Teenager if she was scarred by my ruthless though unintentional slaughter of her pets. She says she isn’t, but I am.

This conversation happened at least year ago and the threat of never having a fish has been wielded frequently,  so much that it isn’t taken seriously at all anymore and I begin to consider this new addition to our family.  Being practical ( I do try) I first address the placement of this tank, and where would it be least likely the fish die by my hand. So kitchen. Next up what will this tank look like, and where will it come from. I am very frugal when it comes to purchases like this and I am pretty sure there is an abundance of fish torture chambers available for free.

Duh. I have one in the dining room that I have been using as a terrarium forever and is sorely in need of a replanting.  We clean it out.

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buckled it in and took it to the aquarium store to get a second opinion.

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They were very helpful and thrilled by my tank. They had never seen one like it, and tried to convince me to get jellyfish, I was sold, but The Associate didn’t want a salt water tank.  OK then.  We went home with a filter, a pump and a very stern warning to make sure it was watertight before any further action was taken.

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We set it up on the porch and filled her (she is definitely a she) up to see.  The Associate thought it was funny to splash water on the cardboard to make it look like it was leaking, but we had too much momentum to stop now and my empty threats fell upon deaf ears.  She held her water and we did some research about fish and ease of care.  After the test was done we emptied her again and moved her around the house to find a good home before I filled her up again.  Following the advice of our fish friends we let it run for two weeks and then set about getting some fish. I unfortunately fell ill and couldn’t pull it together until Sunday evening to make it to the store and they promptly closed as we pulled in.  Melt down ensued… “I am devastated, I have had to wait through winter, spring, summer and now it is fall again!!!! I am paraphrasing of course, but it went on and on.  The Teenager chimed in “and you will have to wait a whole 24 more hours, get a grip.” “you get a grip!” was shouted back but the mood slowly wound down as we strolled through whole foods looking for soup to make me feel better. 30 minutes later she is singing about being on top of the world, and The Teenager inquires about her roller coaster ride.  I go to bed wondering if she is stable enough to parent fish, because we already know that I am not.  What to do….

 

when censoring is good

So much has happened in the last couple weeks globally and locally.  My proverbial panties have been in a twist and I have started several blog posts that were very political.  Fortunately for me, WordPress has been malfunctioning. My media could not upload during at least five attempts and I would have to walk away from my computer, or my draft did not save when I returned to put the finishing touches on my abundant unprovoked opinions.  At first this made me even more upset and then I realized this was indeed a good thing.

Now that I have cooled down, I can continue my more subtle attack on society with words and pictures.

The other day I needed to flee The Family, and with a slight backwards glance I took off for an antique mall that was calling my name.  I have my little rules in places like this so I don’t buy everything that I want, besides that little thing called a “budget.”

The first gem I spotted mint condition.

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I knew I should buy it, but those little rules would not allow it. (I may go back and get it) Ohhh to play a game centered around a homophobic, racist, sexist character would be so much fun!!!

I picked up and put down many things, sometimes carried said things for a mile at least before my fingers almost broke, and then put back in the wrong place. (sorry)

The I found this! Rules don’t apply!!

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You have to snap off her normal flesh and organs, to experience “The Miracle of Creation” immaculately concepted of course.

When I step back and look at all my panty twisting feelings I see one very political vortex from which many issues stem, and this 1960’s plastic model was sure on the right track. Look what it says on the back of the manual.

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“If the human body, and especially its reproductive organs seemed less mysterious to us, our culture would probably healthier-minded.”

“Your “Visible Woman” enables parents and children to share information which is otherwise so difficult to communicate, and lifts the veil of ignorance behind which many adolescents hide their doubts and fears.”

You are not going to see this for sale at Hobby Lobby anytime soon.

friday freak day.

Utterly apathetic, a tad crabby and restless are not a good Combo. Actually I felt similar to what a nasty pretzel imposter must feel like when the pizza flavoring is dumped upon it. I could mope around and get nothing done or I can hop in my car and drive all over Cleveland to attend two promising estate sales. The first sale was on the west side of Cleveland and I purposely arrived late so as not to endure the aggravation of watching while early risers make off with all MY stuff.

I bet you could guess it was disappointing,  but did you think it would be disturbing? Well it was. First and foremost I was perturbed by the fact that nothing was priced! I wanna wonder around muttering to myself not asking for prices.  Second, there was an enormous wooden “structure” looming above my head,  I spied chain, wires, carabiners, leather, pulleys, and  multiple implements of dubious function. Third, I turned around, bumped into and spilled the contents of a box, and a massive pile of metal speculums came tumbling out as if trying to flee the scene with me.  Mid century modern my eye! Try Middle Ages torture chamber. Fourth offense false advertising.

I could go home and have some lunch, but no I am looking for more trouble, so I hopped back into the car and headed east. The curse of the self-important collector was running rampant and I ducked and covered. Unfortunately all there was to duck under were really, really, really decorative afghans. There were three fur coats identically fashioned out of the same rodent in violet, hunter green and brown. There were a few beautiful and expensive pieces of furniture. I, however hadn’t yet removed the unneeded piece from The Husbands car from yesterdays excursion, so I don’t consider adopting any. I did acquire a little bundle, I don’t need any of it, but I cannot go home empty handed.

The lure of ridiculous cross stitching cannot be controlled and I grab this beauty.

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The Teenager- MOM!  You are not going to hang that in the kitchen!

me- oh yes baby!

The second spoil of the day is simply a reflection on my most recent and current mood,  I’ll wear it often to keep the innocent from harm.

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The third bit of windfall is a 1970’s chia pet, which according to the teenager is a large cucumber with a snout.  She isn’t wrong, but I clean him up and name him Henry Higgins.

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The torture chamber theme marches on with this fourth little gem that was nestled among sewing paraphanelia.

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The batteries still work and now I can go home.

 

 

deep sea dresser.

This is the first thing I see upon waking everyday.

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Actually no, the dog is usually on top of us, but I am referring to that beauty behind him.

I know your familiar with pieces of furniture that are purchased or scavenged only to be put in place to be fixed up at another time.  We have a tiny little master suite and it was quite a challenge to find a dresser low enough and with enough storage, so I was keeping this baby around.  On this particular day after several years of looking upon this ” kinda ” interesting piece I was ready to go.  As if to echo the depth of the despair that this endless winter has brought. I settled upon deep-sea maps.

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Yes, we can all thank The Associate for the lovely drawing of our family “ON MY STUFF!”

After figuring out I had just enough to cover all of the drawers (this is a big step for me. I usually just jump right in)

I gathered my supplies

-maps

-glue

-paintbrush

-little cup

-sandpaper

After a thorough cleaning the drawer fronts and dresser, I mixed my glue with a little water to make it spread on nice and thin and smooth.

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I applied a layer of glue and smoothed on the paper from the center out, I then flipped the drawer onto the front so the paper would dry flat.

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When they dried I flipped them back over and gave them a coat of glue on top. When that layer was dry I used my 100 grit sandpaper to sand the edges, effectively removing the excess paper and making a nice straight cut.  I then put another layer of glue to make sure all edges were secure.

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FINALLY!

 

 

digging for gold.

Ever since I moved back to Cleveland I have been going to estate sales.  These usually occur on Friday mornings and they are serious business. There is one woman who shows up at the house at 5 in morning to get a number at 9:30 to be let in the house at 10. That is just plain crazy. I do have to avert my eyes as she leaves because she has bought all the stuff I would have bought. Actually it’s kind of hard not to hate her. I wish I was a morning person.

Before The Teenager was a teenager I would always bring her along. The nice ladies running the sale would always gush over her and give her stuff, but once she was in preschool I was solo again. Without my baby buffer and instant conversation starter I began bringing a book.  I found it difficult to make small talk about what would be in there. I just like to dig through people’s junk, and luckily I can usually find stuff that nobody else wants and make it into something cool, oorrrrr store it for ten years.

The Teenager managed not go to school this Friday so I dragged her along with promises of donuts, and a T.J. Max trip.  We arrived very late, around 12, and there were still people waiting!

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The Teenager- donuts…..?

Me- just hold on. It won’t take long.

The Teenager- Mom? I pretty sure there isn’t much left in that tiny house.

Me- that’s a bad attitude.

The Teenager- That woman just left with a dead person’s colander. I’m pretty sure only the dreggs are left.

Me- maybe she was specifically looking for a colander to add to her collection.

TT-  If she is desperate to strain something why doesn’t she just go to target and buy a clean one. I wouldn’t ever be able to stop thinking about what that dead woman “strained”  in there.

Me- thanks for image. Come on let’s go.

As we wait another 20 minutes in the biting cold, The Teenager continues to make me laugh.

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TT- If this was my house I would totally put pictures of my face in those Flan looking holes.

Me- pose for me.

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this is the first time I was allowed to put her image on my blog. (as if it isn’t already plastered across every other social media site.)

TT- I feel bad for that shovel.

Me- why?

TT- it has got to be the most useless shovel in the world, sad.

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Me- snort.

We finally get in, and nice ladies freak out! That can’t be Ruby!!! hugs.. well wishes…. I remembers….. so nice. I wish I took pictures.

We left about 30 minutes later with a pile a random stuff for 5 bux, off to get some donuts.

mess managed.

My wood shop/garage is 10 degrees. I can’t cut, sand, or paint. So, as I sit on my couch lazy as can be I decide I can organize.  I am sure many are guilty of this, but I am especially because the bookshelf that holds all DVDS and games is at least 10 feet away from the TV.

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Oops. just detected an overdue copy of The Little Mermaid.

On a recent thriftaganza I unearthed this gem with the 1986 version of THE Print Shop intact.

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The Associate has reached the age that she can play on my computer. (deep sigh)  When I left the room for 5 seconds the other day she managed to print out thirty of these.

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A 2 by 3 image on a full sheet of paper. I  explained to her that this is wasteful and banned her from future printer use.  However, these once coveted sheets have been in my studio for over three weeks, and that makes them scrap.  I cut them down to squares and put them in my new organizer in hopes that they might go between the disks to prevent further damage.

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handy-dandy labeler.

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now if the discs can just make it 10 inches into here we are all good.