Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gift Ideas’

Remember the contest I ran in March to see who could identify the mysterious subject matter in one of my photographs? Wildly creative guesses came in, but, alas, the subject matter was not a galaxy, a burst of confetti, a drop of water magnified a 1000 times, or a flash freeze photograph of an atomization process. At long last I am happy to announce the winner of my mystery photo contest. Sorry for the delay in revealing the winner, but I actually had two winners which meant two prizes!

The sleuthing teamwork of the winning pair paid off. One day while sitting in class, obviously not focused on their studies, they noticed I had published a new post on my blog. After reading it they decided, since they were already on my blog, to go back to the mystery photo and examine it once again. Very cleverly they clicked on the photo to see if I had titled the photo when I’d saved it on my computer. Much to their surprise when they clicked on the photo the image became larger. They clicked on it again to see what would happen and it was even more magnified. They found themselves looking at honeycombed-type clusters of spheres – that’s when they knew the photo was of bubbles!

To my delight and my embarrassment, my son Adam and his girlfriend Melissa won the contest! Adam actually submitted the winning answer, but I learned later that Melissa was equally deserving of the prize. They live in another part of the state so they had no unfair advantage over anyone else. To those of you who say this is not fair, I can only respond by saying, they played by the rules and, in my mind, won fair and square.

Designing their prizes/necklaces was my next task. Adam’s necklace was the first masculine piece I’ve had to design. Not only did I want the piece to be larger, I also wanted it to look heavier. I accomplished this by incorporating different metals into the design. Cutting first a square out of copper and then a rectangle out of sterling silver, I was able to layer the two metals on top of one another and still have both metals show. After hammering the letters into the metal, I finished off the piece with a sterling silver leaf charm (to cover his words for privacy) and added a rustic looking Peruvian opal. Although, I presented the necklace to him on a stainless steel ball chain, this piece would also look great if worn on a leather cord.

As in the past when I’ve designed affirmation necklaces, determining the exact words to hammer into the metal is always my greatest challenge. This time was no different. How to encapsulate all the thoughts of what I want my son to hold in his heart forever – in only a few words? Besides my desire for Adam to “love life,” I want him to remember to always try, no matter the difficulty of the task, and to always try his best. This is all anyone can ever ask of another person. I want him to continue to dream and to always hold onto his dreams. And to support his dreams he must always believe in himself, no matter what others say or what obstacles are presented. Hence:  Always – Try, Dream, Believe.

Melissa’s necklace was also designed in layers, but this time with three layers of sterling silver. The simple heart frames the word “be.” After much thought and some discussion with my son, we decided our wish for her is to always be loved, to be endlessly happy, and to be strong in her beliefs. Hence:  Be – Loved, Happy, Strong. Her piece was finished off with a beautiful fluorite gemstone dangle.

With every piece of jewelry I create, I experience a huge growth factor. Outwardly, I am learning to manipulate the materials better and better, but inwardly, I am absorbing all of the positive energy that comes from deep thought and soul searching.

Desideri means wishes in Latin. Look for desideri . . . in all my  jewelry creations! Contact me if you have questions about my Desideri jewelry line or would like me to design a piece for you or for someone else as a gift.

Read Full Post »

The holidays are creeping ever so close, but don’t panic! I’ve got a couple of thoughts and ideas for you.

#1 – Send E-Holiday Greetings
Last year in an effort to reduce the amount of paper goods going to landfills, I sent email Christmas greetings to 95% of my friends and family. Those that I didn’t have email addresses for received snail-mail versions. The email greetings had all the components of my usual holiday greeting – a family photo and a newsletter. For me the unexpected bonus of sending this type of correspondence was all of the spontaneous email replies from friends and family that I normally only heard from during our annual Christmas card exchange. No stamps and no addressing of envelopes are involved and no paper products go to landfill, but still all the best wishes of the holiday season are sent to those I care about. In my mind this is the best of both worlds.

#2 – Gift Idea
Do you have someone on your shopping list that spends a fair amount of time commuting to and from school or work? Consider giving this person a book on CD. My family has long been fans of listening to classics and thrillers while in riding in the car. When my kids were young they listened to cassette tapes of children’s classics such as Anne of the Green Gables, Hatchet, The Odyssey, and Lord of the Rings.

Along this line you can also give a subscription to Audible.com. Different subscription rates provide for different numbers of free downloads of books per month or per year. New book releases can be downloaded to your computer to be burned to a CD and/or downloaded to your iPod for listening. The cost is significantly lower than the cost of a new audio book.

#3 – Recipe for Bath Salts
What about treating a friend or yourself to a spa treatment, but at home? Homemade bath salts are easy to make! Put 3 cups of Epsom salts in a large glass bowl or large glass jar. In a smaller glass container mix together 1 tablespoon of glycerin, a few drops of food coloring, and enough essential oil to attain the desired intensity of fragrance. Add the perfumed liquid mixture into the salt crystals and mix thoroughly. This mixture should be stored in a glass container with a lid. Make a tag or label describing the contents of the jar and directions for its use (add 3 heaping tablespoons to your bath). Some recipes for bath salts also include a quarter cup of sea salt and/or a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.

#4 – A Healthy Gift Idea
For seven years I have subscribed to the Nutrition Action Healthletter which is published 10 times a year by the Center for Science in the Public Interest or CSPI for the nominal fee of $24. Packed in roughly 20 pages are easily understood articles on diet, health and food safety, latest updates on food and health supplements, columns on recent studies, and nutritional comparisons of products. The most recent issue featured articles titled Seven Facts You May Not Know About Exercise and What the Label Doesn’t Tell You. The knowledge gained from this periodical enables readers to make better and healthier life choices.

#5 – Definition of Joy
I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters. Oprah Winfrey

Have a joyous weekend!

Read Full Post »

Sitting in front of the fireplace with my furry little dog at my feet, I warm my hands on a mug of hot cocoa and savor the rich chocolate flavor. Ah, the good life. You’d never guess that just a few short hours ago I packed up my kids and sent them on their merry way. Each got a hug and a goody bag of Thanksgiving leftovers. Since they left, I’ve washed six loads of laundry, stripped and remade all the beds, cleaned every sticky square inch of my kitchen, mopped dirty floors, and vacuumed leaf-strewn carpets. That was the easy part of my Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the nonstop cooking and cleaning, the craziness of playing referee between my kids (yes, even at their ages they still have tiffs), and the constant scheduling of family time around their social schedules, I really love it when my kids come home! But four days goes by quickly, and soon I find myself standing in the driveway waving goodbye to them one by one. As they each drive off, I feel a little emptiness in my heart and sadly I turn around and head back to the house. Miraculously, though, every time they leave and I pass through the threshold of the front door and see the chaotic mess they’ve left behind, that sad feeling is gone! It’s replaced with the Do-You-Think-I’m-The-Maid feeling!

So whether you’re feeling blue because your kids are gone again or you’re just happy to be by yourself again, here’s a recipe for a nice, comforting spicy mocha beverage. A neighbor gave it to me many years ago and it’s a good mix to have around the house during the holidays to serve to guests. For a great gift idea, put the mix in a cellophane bag, tie it up with a pretty ribbon, attach the directions, and tuck in a small bottle of brandy or your favorite liqueur (such as Frangelico or Kahlua) to make your gift complete. Wrapping a bag of mix with a cute pair of coffee mugs is another way to give this mix as a gift. Marshmallows optional with this version!
.
Spiced Mocha Mix
Mix together:
1 cup nondairy powdered creamer
1 cup hot cocoa mix
2/3 cup instant coffee powder/granules (decaffeinated or regular)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Directions: Place 2-4 tablespoons in the bottom of a mug. Add 6 ounces of boiling water and stir until smooth and blended. Garnish with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. Add your favorite liqueur or brandy to taste – not optional during the holidays!

Don’t forget: When packaging this mix as a gift, make sure to include a printed copy of the directions!

Note: My “Falling Leaves Snowflake” cards were made from outdated calendars. Calendars with beautiful images and high quality paper can be reused for other projects!

Read Full Post »

P1090588_1

Some things are too pretty to throw out. Cracked or chipped teacups fall into that category for me. Recycling or reusing them in different ways seems to be the best compromise and for years I have looked for ways to do this. After much thought and research, I have compiled this list of ways to reuse mismatched cups and slightly damaged teacups:

1. Teacups as Planters
Pack crocus corms tightly with point side up in water over a bed of tiny pebbles. Or drill a drainage hole into the bottom of a teacup and pop in an herb plant. Plant three or more of these and line them up along your sunny kitchen window.

2. Teacups as Storage Caddies
A teacup set in your guest bathroom makes a cute container for small guest soaps.

Teacups can also be used in a bathroom to store small items such as nail clippers and hairpins or used in your bedroom as jewelry sorters for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

What about using an old tea cup at your desk for storing paper clips, rubber bands, stamps, etc.?

3. Teacups as Pincushions
I’ve seen old teacups converted into pincushions with attached saucers used for holding buttons, bobbins, etc. Just make a compact ball of stuffing, cover it with fabric and hot glue it to the inside of the tea cup.

4. Teacups as Candy Dishes
Collect and group an assortment of teacups. Place different colored candy in each cup. This would be especially sweet for a springtime luncheon.

4. Teacups as Candle Holders
Put votive candles into an array of teacups for an instant candle-scape indoors or out. Varying the heights of each teacup and saucer set would add visual interest.

5. Teacups as Candles

I haven’t made these myself yet, but I plan to. Basically, a wick is attached to the bottom of the cup, wax is melted in the microwave and then poured into a tea cup. Complete instructions for this project can be found here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/11/diy-project-kates-teacup-candles.html

6. Teacups as Bird Feeders

Check out this website for ways to convert teacups into bird feeders for your garden.

7. Teacups as Decorative Items

Broken pits of teacups can be used in mosaics and in jewelry designs.
Teacups have been converted into bangles, wind chimes, and chandeliers. Look at these clever ideas.

Now that you know what to do with those misfit teacups, don’t forget that tea leaves can be recycled, too. Throw loose tea leaves into your compost pile. Composting tea bags is a little trickier, depending on the type of tea bag fabric used. Used tea bags can also be placed in the bottom of plant containers, especially in hanging plants, to help retain moisture. And remember the old beauty tip of using them as eye compresses. Warm or cold, teabags can help to relax tired eyes. Lastly, donate dried, empty teabags to native artists who use them to create original artwork that they sell to raise money for themselves and their communities. Check out this company in Africa that makes art and useful items out of tea bags. Good for our planet and good for our souls.

Note: I created the photo mosaic teacup card at the top of this post for my Auntie Ella who is a lover of hearts and of tea, but more importantly, is a very special person to me.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: