Monday, October 27, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. An all natural gum rubber stamp sheet for green minded crafters.

With the economy at a low point I'm sure a lot more people are thinking about reducing the amount of items they buy, reusing old items and recycling trash for either the planet or for turning into new fun stuff. I plan to make a tutorial page of crafty projects you can make with stuff around the house, like soda bottle caps, soup cans, hard plastic from packaging materials etc.

To get me started in my green crafting I've designed a new earth friendly theme stamp sheet. I'll update with project ideas once the stamps become available in about 3 weeks.

Ps. The holiday sheet (gift-005 with the present fairy a couple posts back) became available on my website today.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How do you cut corners during this time of economic crisis?

How are you saving/making money?

I hate to admit it, as I was feeling optimistic for a long time, but I'm feeling the pinch from our economy being in shambles. I've had to work really hard to keep a loose grip on "middle class" standard of living throughout the years. Or at least whatever you call that "class" that is above poverty - the ones that can afford to eat what they want and have a car & insurance, but could never afford to own a home. I fear things getting worse if this trend continues for (many?) years.

In the past I've always believed that in America you can always make more money by working harder / being inventive / creative. Lately it seems much more difficult as good jobs disappear and the general public is trying to save money, so less spending goes to support businesses who are hurting. I don't really know how that cycle ends, but I certainly hope that our next president actually creates tangible change (even if that's not in his power, at least help our government stop wasteful spending.)

And as much as I hate to add to the problem, I was forced to apply for a new credit card this month so that I can pay for my next cancer test (a 4k petscan) and the unexpected expense of some root canals (how on earth can dentistry be this pricey?!)
It makes me feel bad that I can not live within my means, but I live in a cheap apartment with a roommate and I eat as inexpensively as possible for not eating garbage (no junk food here! I <3 Trader Joes.)

The lease agreement for my car is almost up (January) and I've moved to a much more public-transportation friendly town (Portland, OR.) Once I turn in my car I'm saying good-bye (forever?) to the expense of monthly car payments, insurance and gas. That should certainly help my budget! I'm hoping that some of you have also cut corners somehow or found a way to make extra cash and would like to share your tips? As it turns out, my roommate has a Costco membership so the next time we do grocery shopping I will see if there are things I regularly buy that I could get in bulk cheaper there.

I certainly don't want to sound like a sob story, but with this scale of economic stress I don't think it should be a secret when you're having a tough time and need ideas! I plan on opening an Etsy shop in addition to my Ebay store next month to sell some handmade jewelry (like the domino pendants and things I make for example art around my site.) I also hope that I've been of service to you all with my angel policy allowing you to sell your handmade items created from my rubber stamps or molds.

As a business I'd like to expand the products I offer. If you have anything design-wise you're looking for in stamps, I'd love to hear it. (I've gotten a couple requests for Skulls and unusual art in domino sizes, so that is coming soon.) Also, I have an account with Ranger Ink, so in the future I may stock some of their products. They make the Tim Holtz ink pads, distress paints, stickles glitter glues and alcohol inks along with a variety of other neat stuff like UTEE. I'm not sure what people who are already shopping at my site would be interested in the most though. I may carry jewelry supplies like acrylic charms or domino size stampbord for making rubber stamped jewelry. Do you have a product in mind that seems to fit in with my site?

It's been a hard week, the signs of businesses cutting back and people in need is tremendous. Everyone in our apartment complex got a note on their door today from the Oregon Food Bank, which is in charge of donating non-perishable food to families in need. I quote their letter "With the economy at a low point and the cost of gas driving up prices, the number of families needing assistance has skyrocketed - as much as 30% in some areas." There are now collection barrels all over my neighborhood. I'm sure I don't need to mention the stock market, as I'm sure you've heard about that roller coaster ride and this crazy bail out plan... but my bank (WAMU) went under, so all my credit cards and savings accounts have turned into Chase. Others of my money market accounts have been on a steady decline since last year, when I was earning 5% + interest, but now is closing in on 1% (it can go negative) so I've gotta pull my money out :(

Even the big companies I buy wholesale or services from are making obvious cut-backs. Yahoo this week announced a 1,500 person lay off, the second mass-firing this year. The company I buy my mold compound from has cut back on their packaging materials (I don't mind, I hate excess paper waste) but it's gone from nice big boxes with smaller cases all contained inside, to everything dumped in a small box. Thankfully the prices of products have not gone up yet, but since my items are made of rubber I worry about the rising cost at some point.

Super sorry for the long post. I really needed to get it off my chest and it's hard feeling alone when you're scared. I hope that instead of being bummed, this will help spark your creativity on ways to deal with this financial problem effecting so many of us. I also hope that the bright minded people out there are working hard on new inventions, creative projects and alternative energy that will help put the USA back on the right track. We can be great, let's show em how it's done!

Next post will be fun, light hearted and artsy I promise!!!


ps. Anyone out there (on the west coast) have independent dental insurance? (Any coverage you bought on your own, independently of a job or health insurance?) I can't find anyone who will let me sign up without also applying for health insurance (which I can't, cause I'm classified "uninsurable" due to the cancer, so I can only get government high risk pool health care - no dental.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three New Rubber Stamp Sheets + Christmas Card

Three new mini 4.25" x 5.5" rubber stamp sheets will be available next week. Sized for use with memory glass, domino pendants and the holiday set for seasonal cards (the cardinal bird stamps also fit on dominoes.) I'll be working on more example art in the next week or so. I also have a really big UTEE / Embossing powder jewelry tutorial page planned! Next will be shrink plastic charms and memory glass jewelry, but one thing at a time :)

Christmas Card ingredients: The Enchanted Gallery stamp sheet #Gift-005's Present Fairy. K & Company Remake 100% recycled green and red pads, stickles stardust, red and green glitter glues, nestabilities die cuts.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Ebay Sale - Hand Carved Bone Pendants only $15 to $25

Hi everyone, it's time for me to clear out my personal collection of hand carved bone pendants. I'm putting them up for sale in my Ebay Store There are many more than what is pictured here, so go check it out :)

These designs will not be made into molds, so if you like something, be sure to snatch up the original carving so you can enjoy the pendant forever!