Friday, October 28, 2011

Give Me Free with Love 2 Upcycle blog & W.O.M.B. Lifestyle!

Upcyclers Team from Etsy have a great Blog had a contest for a designer and lifestyle website. You can view the winner blog post here:

Love 2 Upcycle: Thank You~ W.O.M.B. Lifestyle!: We are very excited to announce the winners of our latest Giveaway from W.O.M.B. Lifestyle~ two of their most popular t-shirt designs, Human Race.

I was the first picked Winner and picked up this great Tshirt!

When it arrives, I will let you know more. In the meantime, visit

WOMB Lifestyle and read about there mission. 

When I first signed up for the give-a-way, I had a great conversation about how many forms I have to fill out for my children's schools to ensure them that English is their first language despite their ethnic background. We are all human, and we all deserve a fair and just world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The eBay: Unusual Activity!

Quite to my surprise, I found another sale this morning and an email from eBay.

They had frozen my ability to list anything else on the website and asked me to call their customer support due to:

"Unusual Seller Activity"
 Oh really? I wondered to myself and called my husband to complain. "What could I have done? I have 100% positive feedback and good prices."

He had no idea either. "Ugh." I complained, "Maybe it's unusual that I am doing well and my customers are happy." He laughed and said he'd make the call to Customer Service when he got home.

Sure enough, after waiting 6 minutes with a xylophone wait music blaring, we get a nice young American man who is also clueless about why we'd get a warning. He politely put us on hold for a moment and returned congratulating us on how well our account has done in so little time. He went on about how they had very good feedback about the account, and that was the reason they wanted us to "Check In." eBay Seller Management had flagged our account as an outstanding seller and wanted to know if we wanted to have the next seller limit lifted early.

Good to know I'm succeeding somewhere. Even if they think it's "Unusual."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Adventure Around: Magic Mushrooms and Geocaching

This may never be the first nor the last time I make a title like that. At least I hope so.

Polyporus squamosus?
or Chicken of the Woods?
My only sibling came down for a two day visit this weekend. We spent most of it wandering around Indianapolis together looking for caches and talking. We were stopped by police near the high school for a "Park and Grab" in what we would come to find out was an abandoned strip mall plagued with "Rif raff."

The poor officer was barely my sister's age and completely uncomfortable with the idea that two adult women were playing a "GPS hide and seek game" in this, of all locations.

We had a good laugh and took the Interstate to the Capitol Building for a photo shoot with a travel bug and a cache along the White River. It was a great day out thankfully.

We roamed around the grape vine and wild rose filled area in the Catholic Cemetery for 3 caches. Really beautiful grounds and really great mushrooms!

Hericium erinaceus (also called Lion's Mane MushroomBearded Tooth MushroomHedgehog MushroomSatyr's BeardBearded Hedgehog Mushroompom pom mushroom, or Bearded Tooth Fungus)  Edible and medical.

Chinese cooks, like myself, use it with pork.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kitchen Garden: Used Green Onions - Scallions

Or shallots.

Whatever you can them, Louisiana cooking requires them as a staple ingredient.

Since its always better to buy produce in a living state, take them home, cut down to the white stalk, and add water.

These were cut 3 days ago and sit in my kitchen window sill. ($1.00 free to me!)

Free food is glorious.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Other Mother: Halloween Newsletter Arrived!

Martha Stewart has sent out another Halloween Subscription email.

How cute are these pumpkins?!  

Check it out at
Subscriptions through Martha's companies:

My mother has dropped off a WHOLE slew of mini pumpkins and gourds. I'll show some in a post later.

On a related note, I just added this item to the shop:
Air Plant Pumpkin wine cork desk garden 

soil less culture

Brown glazed pottery pumpkin is recycled from a baking ramekin to grow a living Tillandsia fuchsii anywhere! Decoration for Halloween, Samhain, Thanksgiving, or a gift for the Fall nature lover in your life!

Air Plants do not need soil to grow. They have a single long stem flowers of purple. Roots may be trimmed.

Find this item here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Frugal Finds: Costco has my Pop on sale - Hansens Natural

What a soggy day out today here in Indianapolis. It was cold and rainy, even a spot of hail while I pumped my gas.

I had been putting off Costco to do other things but I had another run to the Post Office for a sale. My coupons were in need of spending and now was the time.
I found some great deals and even some extended price reductions!

Oh, and if you didn't know, I grew up in Chicago. I don't know what Soda is, I call it Pop!

SKIM Milk is *still* $2.29 a gallon! 

Hansens All  Natural Sugar Cane 24 case is only $5.97!!
This is a clear pop except for the Root Beer 6 pack. Also comes with Orange-Lime (my favourite), Cherry Vanilla, and Strawberry Kiwi

Free Samples!

Finish Dish washer tablet - Box of 200 *NOW* for the same price as the old 100 box- $14.99! (Save $2.00 over Cascade)


Angus Burgers - $4.00 Coupon off a box of 8
Pot stickers (Chinese dumpling) - Coupon available
Fiber One bars!
Pretzel Crisps- LOVE THESE!


If you haven't heard the news, peanut crop failure in China and the Southern US states is causing a rise in the price of peanut related products. 

$7.99 Two-Pack of Skippy Creamy Peanut Butter
or $7.69 for Chunky

Huge 32 ouces Jars (two) of Smuckers Starwberry Preserves or Kirkland Organic 45 oz $6.97

Healthy White Wheat bread (for the kiddos) currently 2 Loaves for $2.99!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life Lessons: Scheduling Online Payments

It really bit me in the *bum* today. Apparently I was more organized than I perceived myself.

Holden asked me to be sure his Sallie Mae student loan was paid today- payday. I thought I had already done that but was unsure. To check I searched "Sallie" in gmail and didn't see any receipt for payment in the list. So I went online and posted payment for today.

Then I get the receipt of payment from this vaguely unfamiliar source, NOT Sallie Mae's email address at all! I frantically search this new email address and there it is. The scheduled payment I made about 2 weeks ago!

Now, Holden is working mandatory overtime and I have no way of calling Sallie about this. I can't give them his information and expect them to understand our bill paying situation. So I'm left hoping someone sees my generic customer service email. (You can't type your own message! How frustrating!!) I really need to cancel that second payment... seriously.

Having a negative balance and your only income check coming exactly 14 days from now would NOT bode well for the family.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Give Me Free: Hitomi's Life (Blog)- My First Giveaway!!

A very affordable jewelry designer has opened an International Give-a-way! She gives you 4 entries to win based on simple promotions via Etsy and Facebook.

I choose these pearl and goldtone earrings. 
Two of my favourite elements together in my preferred style of BIG!!

Follow along and sign up for the Free jewelry until OCTOBER 31st! 

Hitomi Jewelry: Hitomi's Life: My First Giveaway!!:
" I'm so happy that I now have 50 followers!! I'd never imagined that I could have that many people interested in me."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Etsy Experience: You have Convo! from both homes

Maybe You've got Mail dates me...
 I'm okay with that. 

Last month, my nephew Zandon turned 1 year old and we'd decided building blocks would be great for a little one learning to move around more expertly. My William has a lot of fun with Legos, but his first building toys were a wooden set I found with wooden Thomas the Tank Engine trains and matching rails. I spent a small fortune at craft fairs and a train dealer shops for the wooden pieces. (I don't think they make Thomas and Friends in wood at all anymore.)

So I found myself  on Etsy searching away for a good deal, a good owner, and a good product. I sent out four convos to four artists and, even to this day, I only received 1 reply- one. Coincidentally, he was the only shop who had a very complete profile of information about himself and his products. I think we had a wonderful little chit-chat and I enjoyed getting my very simple answers. I felt good about our transaction and I hope he felt good about my excitement.

It was very interesting as I look back on it. I'm sure those three other artists have had sales since I asked my questions. I just don't understand, then, where I went wrong.

Mini Glass Pot gardens of Semi-precious Stones
Two of my recent customers started out as purely conversations in my message inbox. I guess it was just fate that both buyers come from places I consider close to me- Chicago and Connecticut. A part of me already wanted to connect with these people and I hope my work continues with them.

Each had their own reasons for wanting to step into the shoes of aquatic gardener. One managed to hold her husband back from deleting her Etsy account, pleading her sanity was intact. Both worried about finding so many international options, wondering about customs, shipping costs, and damage to the plants. They are living colonies of algae, after all. I enjoyed hearing their enthusiasm about options I could offer and budget tailoring. My tanks are lined with these amazingly plush families of "sea weed." I never knew so many also share my fascination for them as well.

0.5" babies, 1" Sisters,
& 2" Big Ole Brother
Truly, I couldn't have asked for better opening sales to my newest product "line." Shipping has gone very well and I feel more confident about introducing more and producing more of my Marimo Moss balls. My luck with these has been great over the years of apartment living. I've enjoyed growing them, and they greatly out number my fish friends.

If you'd like to know more about my Marimo Moss ball garden or work on a custom order within a budget: Click Here!

If you would like to chat about farming, growing, Etsy, or fair value supplies- Contact me on Etsy or  via Email

I think my theme for this Holiday season will be  Marimo Green and Maroon

Monday, October 3, 2011

Inspiration: Discarded Asphalt Art

I find myself pondering about the most discarded objects in life. Perhaps it is my way.

As a Rat of the Chinese Zodiac, I admit I have many of the tendencies. Although I am not a hoarder, I really do find myself pining to figure out every other way to use an object before I throw it away. Is it wrong? I surely hope not.

My son and I used to walk to the grocery store at our last apartment nearly every day. Not really as an exercise plan, but a way to wear him down physically to make him more acute mentally. My children, like many or most, are prone to be categorized as having ADD. These same children can sit for hours doing puzzle based video games and Sudoku.

Anyhow, William and I decided to go out together alone today. The local grocery here is called Marsh. They are also kind enough to offer 5 cents for every reusable bag you bring into the store. We are only two blocks away from a very busy intersection with lots of useful shops including a small Jo-Ann fabric. Along the way back home, I noticed him kicking a small piece of asphalt. I noticed there were a lot of pieces near the edge of the street where they haven't yet finished the side walks.

Being a Science Olympiad Mineral and Rock event person many moons ago, I was intrigued. I saw a piece that wasn't completely rough. The sparkle of pale gypsum pieces in the paving concrete made me pick it up to inspect. Like all good strays, it came home.

Soon, my husband stared at me awkwardly, as I steam sterilized it and sat looking for a good use for it. There was a small niche in the side where I instantly thought about one of my air plants. It took a couple of my plants to find one that fit naturally into the space.

But I feel pleased. If it doesn't sell on etsy, I welcome my air plant friend to continue holding the stack of bills, coupon pages to cut, and school newsletters at bay.