Vintage Rhinestone Earrings
These lovelies are from my JULIA collection, a line that is characterized by opulence, intricacy, and elegance. These pieces can be worn individually as single statement pieces, or combined together for a look of true indulgence. Classically elegant and so very vintage-chic, the pieces in this collection will undoubtedly… details »
Day of the Thread iPad Covers
Our products are cute, cozy, 100% hand-crafted iPad covers that help protect the iPad from scratches, dust and wear while sporting a stylish and unique flair. Each iPad cover has a durable flap that folds over and buttons down securely.
Fascinator made of three organza blooms with ostrich feather centers over coque feathers and a pouf of black French veiling. Attaches with an alligator clip for easy placement and tangle-free removal.
Last week we talked about back to school which must mean that we’re edging toward fall. I like to buy as many multi-purpose and multi-season items as I can, so I have spent this week thinking about how to extend our summer purchases into the autumn days ahead. This week I focused on a particular color scheme – orange, rust, amber and red – that will still look fresh in the coming months when the leaves start to change.
My first find this week is a gorgeous photo from The Garden Shed. Gerbera Daisies always lend a cheerful touch to your wall and the vibrant color will help perk up any dark corner.
Living simply is not just a nice idea on a piece of paper; it is a realistic and achievable goal.
People make the choice to live simply for all kinds of environmental, financial and ethical reasons and I think in mine and my husband’s quest to adopt a less “stuff” obsessed way of life we’ve come to realise that all reasons of living simply seem to tie themselves up together.
When I was first married over two years ago me and my now husband, B, decided that we’d live without a TV set in our new place – and ultimately set the goal that wherever we went we’d live without a TV set.
We hadn’t lived together before we were married so there was no dry run; we went into things without any prior knowledge of how things would be since we both were used to having a TV and had grown up in a culture so steeped in entertainment in the form of television programmes and the understanding of the World around us from news programmes – and the bias that comes with these programmes.
Plus there was an added expense (and luxury) of owning a TV set. In the UK you are required by law to purchase and own an up to date TV Licence. On top of owning a TV Licence there was the cost of a cable subscription and the running costs of a TV; we just didn’t see the point. We carefully budgeted for what we needed; food, clothes, our bills and rent paid and worked out what we could live without in order that we could save up our money for when we ran into a brick wall and needed funds to fall back on.
Whether you want to cut back on funds, want to save up for something special or you want to live simply, here are a few of my own personal tips:
Always, always write out a shopping list.
This means no impulse buying, (if you have the will power to not succumb to impulse spending, of course) no frivolous spending and if you commit to your list and don’t deviate from it then it allows for budgeting. If you make calculated spends then you know the outcome of the spend; no shocks at the cash register and no shocks when you check your bank balance.
Make a weekly meal plan.
(Image: Good enough to eat but might have you burping bubbles, Dirty Ass Soaps.)
By writing out a weekly plan of what you’re going to eat that week you’re planning ahead and are less likely to be indecisive and pick up the phone to order pizza or any other take away food. It will also save you on the one thing we’re all saying we don’t have enough of: time.
Making a weekly plan also goes hand in hand with writing out a detailed shopping list; a well stocked kitchen with everything you need for the week is a lot less stress and hard work than dashing out to buy food every day and humming and hawing come dinner time. Decide on what you want to eat and plan accordingly. Look through cook books and on-line cooking forums for inspiration!
Host a book/clothes swap
The clothes swap seems to be sweeping the World over; we have convinced ourselves that shopping is therapy (‘retail therapy’, I rest my case) and in turn have accumulated clothes we don’t wear, need or will never work up the courage to wear – or perhaps you’re just bored with the same look.
Don’t go on another clothes spending spree in order to spruce up your wardrobe, organise a clothes swap. The rules of this are pretty simple: you, your home, your old clothes, your friends and their old clothes. Everyone must bring round suitable (not tatty/worn out/out of style) clothes they don’t have a problem giving away. You go through each other’s clothes and take out what you want; win/win all round as you get to have a clear-out and gain a new wardrobe (or at least a few added pieces to the wardrobe) in the process.
A book swap is similar but instead of clothes, you swap books. I have yet to trial either of these ideas but I’m really liking the idea of a book swap – not only because my bookshelves are heaving at the weight of my book collection but because I would get new books in the process of it all!
Join a local library.
I love to read and I know I’m not alone in this feeling. However, by joining a local library, you’re not being disloyal to your favourite author. Authors still receive money when you check out a library book. Libraries also sell off their stock at below average prices – be on the look out for a corner dedicated to selling books or notices for stock that is going up for sale.
Libraries are also a great source of information; notice boards displaying free services, groups and even garage sales in the local area. Most libraries also offer free computer, Internet and WiFi – in fact me and B used the library computers for a whole year until we cracked and signed up for our Broadband.
Children also love libraries; most children’s sections have easily accessible book shelves, reading areas and are generally kitted out for children. They also have a plethora of DVDs and CDs to keep children (and adults) amused.
Have a vegetarian (or vegan) day once a week.
In Once A Week Vegan six friends are on a journey to attempt going Vegan one day a week for a year and have lots of inspiring food ideas. Or pick up some tips on going Vegetarian for a day a week from Ask Men (UK.)
We’re a Vegan family so going vegan for a day isn’t a hardship however the savings we make on our shopping are noticeable from our meat-eating counterparts. Lentils are cheaper than steak, after all.
Gone are the days of pre-soaking foods over night for veggies and vegans and hello are the days of mock meats, tasty treats and all kinds of choice. Having a day once a week where you don’t eat meat is not only good for the bank balance, but good for the body. I know of a few families who have trialled this and have success with it.
Still not convinced? You could try having one vegetarian/vegan meal once a week and see how that works out for you.
By making small changes (and it’s always best to start small and realistically) you’ll notice that you’ll save time, money and sanity when it comes to living simply. So keep it simple, make a few realistic and achievable sacrifices (not everyone wants to live without their TV) and make room for adjustments when you’ve made changes – not everything has to stick and you’ll work out what you can and can’t live with or without over time.
Image above is from: Miles of Light
Are you a collector? I think most of us are, and I know I am. When I really think about it, I’ve been a collector for quite some time – and some collections started unintentionally. My collections have included: lip gloss, shoes, clothes, and even movie tickets from favourite date nights, as well as gadgets, books, cd’s and on and on. I think a big part of our culture – for good or for bad, revolves around collecting. These days – I’m happy the internet exists, because I can collect and curate without actually purchasing anything. Having said that – I do currently collect art from independent artists – and while I’ve slowed down, I have a tough time keeping up and getting everything framed.
For the camera collector – this beautiful collection is from: Kitty Rogers.
I can’t think of a person in my life who doesn’t collect things – my husband, who purchases little, can’t help but collect books. My father is the same way, not a big shopper by any means, but he collects tools.
For the nature lover, a gorgeous collection from A Place for Twiggs:
Everyone has a different attitude about their collections too I find – for some each item is a keepsake of sorts, and they would never dream of parting with even one piece. I know I’m that way about the art I collect – even if it’s not hanging on the wall, it’s still special to me. My husband – he doesn’t keep most of his books, once he’s read them – he’ll usually sell them or gives them away.
For those who feel the seaside is their second home, a photo from Quercus Design:
As I get older, my desire to collect has certainly waned – and it becomes more important to me to collect memories and to create, though I still love seeing other people’s collections.
If there’s a collector in your life who can’t fit another thing in their home or their collection – they might enjoy this genre of art I’ve noticed popping up here and there, photos based on collections… Almost as good as the real thing I figure, and it’ll result in less clutter in your home for sure!
I create inspired handcrafted jewelry and pet accessories at my home in coastal Maine. I love working with natural materials (seaglass, wood, etc.) and also recycling vintage materials (especially buttons).
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started making jewelry quite by accident. Back in 2005, I moved to Maine and was having trouble meeting people. I decided to sign up for a jewelry class as a way to meet new people and ended up loving it.
The hands-on process of manipulating metal and ending up with a completely wearable piece of art were so gratifying to me. I gradually began purchasing tools and supplies one by one until I had my own little studio.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My studio is located in the loft of my house, so Lofted Designs seemed like a natural fit. I also like the double meaning…I hope when people wear my jewelry it will loft their spirits and attitude.
Another cool thing–my initials match the initials of my company!
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
Although I started making jewelry as a way to meet new people, it ended up being a completely solitary endeavor for me. I almost always work alone in the studio, but I often consult friends and family for advice on my ideas and designs. And even though he doesn’t wear much jewelry, my husband is a great problem-solver when it comes to design and engineering issues.
It is challenging to balance a full-time job, my jewelry studio and still have a personal life, but when I need to (like, when I receive a bunch of orders) I can really focus my energies and get it done.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell my work on Etsy — lofteddesigns.etsy.com — as well as in person at craft fairs and art shows. I love selling online and shipping my jewelry all over the world (very exciting)! But selling in person is amazing too, because I absolutely love talking to people about the process and inspiration behind my work.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
Patti of Posy Studio (Bar Harbor, Maine) makes amazingly creative miniature diorama jewelry.
Colleen Kinsella‘s prints are moody Maine masterpieces — I’m amassing a collection of them.
Amity Joy (Odd Showroom in Portsmouth NH) crochets and sews what I consider to be one-of-a-kind wearable art. She also paints amongst other talents.
(In case you couldn’t tell, I’m all about supporting local artists!)
What inspires and motivates you?
This sounds cliche, but I’m constantly inspired by nature. I also draw a great deal of inspiration from traveling to new places and from listening to music.
What do you wish I had asked you?
It’s very important to me that Lofted Designs is not only a creative outlet, but is also a socially responsible small business. Each quarter, a portion of the proceeds from my jewelry is donated to a non-profit organization. Many people have supported me in the creation of Lofted Designs and this is my small way of paying it forward.
Thanks Lori. And if you would like to be interviewed next, just go over to DIY Interview.