New Life for an old Clock

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Ten years ago I moved to Mexico and rented a beautiful furnished condo on the water. It was quite complete, but there were no clocks. As shopping was limited in Rosarita Beach, I went to the 11 peso store, which is like our dollar store.

There I found two clocks, one round and one square, and both in a very pale tourquoise. That was it. For ten years I have used these clocks and today I decided that as I never liked the color, it was time to fix that.

I was inspired by my favorite designer MacKenzie Childs. All her dishes and accessories are hand painted, so I figured that with a few nail polish colors, I could transform my mundane clocks into little works of art.

Unfortunately I painted the square one before I thought to take a before photo. However it was pale tourquoise. Now the sides are purple and the top and bottom are dark blue. You can see the original color around the inside edge.

Nail polish covers a multitude of sins and is very easy to apply to plastic.

Here is the ‘new’ clock.Photo on 10-4-14 at 10.46 AM

Here is a photo of the round clock in its before mode. Boring.Photo on 10-4-14 at 10.43 AM

But not now. It is not perfect, but sure looks like a lot more fun than before. I used these colors because that is what I had on hand. Here is a craft tip, paint the inside edge (purple ring around clock) first. You can hide your mistakes with the stripes. Also keep a nail polish remover soaked cotton pad and some cotton swabs on hand for cleanup. You and clock.

Photo on 10-4-14 at 12.00 PM


Circus Stamps

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I always like to use unusual postage stamps. Sometimes the pickings are slim, but today there were several nice ones. Flowers, Harry Potter (which is an amazing foldout), and a few others. But I chose the Circus poster stamps. These are so well done. Just like the circus posters I remember from my childhood.

I got the last two sheets of these at the Saratoga Road post office in Waikiki. While I was waiting in line, I thought back to when I was six (seventy years ago) and a regular stamp was three cents but airmail was seven cents. And a postcard was a penny. And of course our US money was stamped HAWAII. (as in ‘territory of’)

Photo on 7-21-14 at 11.42 AM

I think it makes sense to do something like this. It makes a mundane task into something fun. And think how many people actually see the stamp. Let’s see, there is you and the postal clerk who sold it to you. Then the mailman on either end, and finally the person you are sending this to.

So give someone a smile, and go to the post office and buy a sheet of ‘fun’ stamps. Use them on special cards and notes. Don’t always just send an email to wish a Happy Birthday or Thank you.

I also have a set of colored marking pens to coordinate the address with the stamp I am using. Why not?

Bet You Didn’t Know That…

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Use a post-it note to catch drilling debris. Today I got an email with this interesting piece of information. The photo shows a post it note folded across, with the bottom forming a V. The note is then stuck to the wall directly below the hole you are drilling.ATT00490

Gee, and to think that sometimes I just delete something like this. If this article saves one person from having to clean up ‘drill dust’, my day will be complete.


My Cat Collection

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This is a repeat of one of my first posts. I was trying to get my readers to ‘know’ me and this sort of sums up some of my traits. (I like to shop, get a bargain, make something out of nothing, fix things and be original.

I am a collector of many things. (Three is a collection). But my cat collection is huge.

Gift from Peter…guess he ‘knows’ me

Here are four of my crystal cats. The two on the right are Baccarat and the one on the left is the Swarovski cutie in the previous photo.

I have been collecting cat figurines for over forty years. Some were found on trips and in flea markets. Many were received as gifts from family and friends. I try to find small ones to fit in my curio case, but if there is a larger one I like, it goes on a bookshelf or coffee table.

This is a bank I am jeweling.

If you don’t have a collection of something, I highly recommend it as a fun hobby. Mine started many years ago, when I went to a garage sale. There was a little girl with her own table of toys and dolls and in the midst of the Barbies was a tiny ceramic cat with a missing ear. “How much?” “Twenty five cents.” I gave her one dollar and made her day.

I took my adopted cat home and replaced his ear with a mixture of spackle and glue. Then I painted it to match with some craft paint and a coat of nail polish. Even tho’ I have more than a hundred cats now, it has always been my favorite.

I have met many interesting people through my collecting hobby. While on a Mediterranean cruise I mentioned to a woman that at our next stop, Nice, France, I wanted to find a cat for my collection. She asked if she could go with me. I said, “What do you collect”. She said “Nothing”. So I started her on her new hobby. She couldn’t decide what to collect, but when we got to the curio shop, they had hundreds of angels and so I recommended she collect angels. It took her more than an hour to select one. Meanwhile I found a beautiful Lalique cat.

You can choose whatever you want. Cats, dogs, pigs, cows, angels, butterflies, owls. Once you decide, you will be amazed at how many different ones you will find. Sometimes your figurine might have a little flaw, but it is fun to repair them and makes  you feel very accomplished. My best “deal” was a Herend cat from a fine shop. It was $120, but the tip of the tail was broken, so it was marked down to $10. It was white porcelain and very easy to fix with a little spackle and white nail polish.

This is the top of my curio cabinet and cat silhouette is over my bedroom door

To display your collection, you will need a case or a shelf. I have outgrown several over the years. You can use all sorts of things as stands to make your collection more interesting. To get various heights and make more room on each shelf, I have used small boxes, upsidedown wine glasses, perfume bottles, and little tin cans and jars.

As your collection grows you will search for ways to expand your cabinet.  If your shelves are far apart, you can add another layer of glass shelves simply by laying a narrow piece of glass (like from a medicine cabinet) across two wine glasses.  I have six of these “additions” in my cabinet.

Simply placing an item on a mirror gives it a whole different look. And it is fun to mix in photos and other momentos with your collection. Thimbles, jewelry and little rocks here and there add variety.

Look in the grocery store for small bottles with flat tops, such as a pretty olive jar from Italy, or a jam jar from France. Asian and Mexican markets have great jars and cans. My most interesting stands are two cans of Spam, one regular and one Lite.

See if you can find the can of Spam in the first photo. No prize for this contest.

Funny Money

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Photo on 2-27-13 at 3.01 PM #2NO. Not counterfeit money. Money tablets. I guess I should say ‘fun money’.

Whenever I go on a trip, I make myself a couple of money tablets. These are fun and easy to make. They also make good gifts for grandchildren in a tablet of 20 bills. Much more fun than a $20 bill.

I am going to Las Vegas for my birthday in a couple of weeks and it is so handy to have these for airports and hotels. Much simpler than digging out a wallet for a tip. I keep these in an outer purse pocket.

Now for how to do it:

First go to your bank and ask for a package of 100 $1 bills. These have to be brand new, and you will probably find that your bank doesn’t have any on hand (unless it is Christmas time). So have them order you a pack and they will call you when you can pick up your money.Photo on 2-27-13 at 12.01 PM

Now separate these into two or three stacks. Hold sides together with clothes pins, and spread a nice layer of rubber cement along the long edge. You may have to move the clothes pins and make another coat after a few hours of drying.Photo on 2-27-13 at 3.01 PMPhoto on 2-27-13 at 12.02 PMWhat you have are some money tablets. This is a lot less bulky in your wallet than thirty loose one dollar bills, and they don’t get ‘stuck’ together.

Now when you need a few dollars for an ice cream cone or a tip, just peel them off, as you would checks in a check book.Photo on 2-27-13 at 3.01 PM #2

And you can make $10 tablets to put in a Christmas card for the mailman.

When you whip out your tablet to tip the bellman or the parking valet, they will do a double take.

The only ingredients needed are the bills, some rubber cement and a few clothespins. If you don’t have any clothespins, you can use big clips, the type you use to seal a bag of potato chips.

Valentines Day in the Doll House

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I have a doll house and my hobby is miniatures. I subscribe to several miniature publications and today I got the most recent catalog from HBS or Hobby Builders Supply.

Featured on page one were all the Valentine goodies. Here are just a few for you to enjoy.

The prices for a dozen one inch roses is about the same as for the real thing. Same with candies and cookies.

I always enjoy making little goodies for my dollhouse to celebrate Valentines Day, Christmas, Halloween, Easter. I get my ideas from these catalogs, but no way am I going to spend $17.99 (plus shipping) for a dozen one inch tall pink roses.

By the way, these are all to the scale of 1:12″ so a one inch rose is actually an exact duplicate of one that is 12″ tall.

I must say the Five Piece Valentine Gift set is really cute. I especially love the shopping bag and the boxer shorts with little hearts all over.

The catalog has several items that aren’t shown online. The most spectacular one is a three layer pink heart shaped wedding cake with a bride and groom on top. It is 1 5/8 inches tall and it is on a 1 3/4″ doily. $22.99. Now this is something I can’t make myself.

It is so spectacular, I actually dreamed about it last night and plan to order it today. This will be MY Valentine present to Me.Scan

Cherry Topped 'For You' Cake
A perfect choice for Valentine’s Day but also great for everyday dessert. Handcrafted on a 1″ paper doily.
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Five Piece Valentine Gift Set
Whatever the Valentine’s gift may be, even the fabric boxer shorts included in this set, you’ll have…
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Heart Mug
Hand-painted ceramic heart mug. 3/8″H
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Lovely Rose Cake
Heart shaped hand decorated cake on paper doily. 1″Dia.
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Set of 12 Large Pink Roses
Beautiful, realistic handmade clay flowers/leaves on flexible wire “stems.” Can be separated and use…
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Sweetheart Vase and Rose Bud
Red glass vase with flexible stemmed rose bud (trim stem and position as desired). Vase: 3/4″H
Add To Cart

Valentine Ideas


If you want to give a Valentine candy bar to someone, why not wrap it in a special wrap? I was at Neiman Marcus and they have a line of adorable candy bars in fabulous wraps. However they are $16 a bar.

Why not just buy a good quality bar like Godiva or even Cadbury and wrap it yourself? Here are some ideas to get you started.

In any craft store there are stacks and stacks of paper in every theme imaginable. These are meant to be used in scrapbooks and are usually 12″ x 12″. Perfect.

Or you could find something interesting in a magazine, cut out the page and use that for a wrapper. For a woman, some of the perfume ads have great graphics. (and this is ‘free’ paper)

For a man, something to do with sports or cars. And for a teen, an ad for electronics or food. For a child, how about the comic section of the Sunday paper? And you can always add a bow, or use some of the new colored scotch tape.

If you want to get fancy, you can make a personalized tag by typing a sentiment on your computer in a large pretty handwriting font. I like Lucida Handwriting or Lucida Blackletter in at least an 18 size font. Just print, cut out and Voila!

Or if you are really printer smart, you could print the sentiment right on the paper you are using for your wrap. I haven’t actually done this as I don’t know how to get the print in just the right place. But I may try it and see.

Or you could paste the sentiment tag on the paper, draw a bow and ribbon with a marking pen and copy it in your copier. That sounds even easier. And you could use colored printer paper for the wrap. There are lots of great colors, neons and patterns at Office Depot.

All you have to do is measure the length of the candy bar and cut the paper to match. Wrap. Attach back of wrap to itself with rubber cement. (or scotch tape).DSC_0535s DSC_0531s DSC_0531s-1DSC_0537s

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