nickeled and dimed or why an abundance mindset can't support scarcity actions

Hubs and I are both self-employed, so health insurance is a big expense for us

(more than our mortgage actually).

We have had the same insurance for many years and for a long time the rates stayed the same unless one of us had one of those big birthdays, but the last couple years the rates have increased at random times.

Sooo, a couple months ago we received an increase notice ... again ... and I called them to see if they had any comparable but less expensive plans and long story short (actually longer story long) I switched us to a cheaper policy with a $1000 deductible - my thinking was that we would be saving $1200 and had rarely had any medical expenses (other than a few biggies last year that would not be repeated) and even if we did - we would still be saving money

and in theory this was all true.

But in actuality, what happened was that the very month I switched the insurance hubby spent the night in the hospital which cost $9500 - yes, you read that right - one night in the hospital with tests = $9500.

(no jacuzzi, turn down service or chocolate on his pillow either)

My decision to switch policies which looked like a no brainer cost us $1000 in one month rather than $1200 over 12 months which would have been easier to budget, create money to pay for, create time to shop around for something better .... and well, just stomach.

This kind of thing has happened to me before. Switch cell phone plans to save money and end up paying more somehow, buy a slightly cheaper whoseewhatsee to save a couple dollars and it never works as well, take plastic bottles to the cash recycling center to make 20 bucks instead of putting them out at the curb and get into a car accident (not my fault) with an uninsured driver that costs me out of pocket my $500 deductible.

I could go on and on.

Whenever I set out to do something solely as a way to save money it almost always backfires on me.

Now, I am not sure it works this way for everyone. I think different people are here to learn different things (some people need to learn to save money or to spend less).

The lesson for me which life has been hitting me over the head with for years is to trust that the money will be there to pay for the things I need to pay for and to value myself in the process.

I didn't come from a family that said, "you can do it, if you believe you can", "buy quality", yada, yada.

My mother was more pragmatic - she always told me that I wanted too much, that I was headed for disappointment, that I needed to love what I already had (not something to be discounted by the way), to buy the lower priced items so you could get more.

It was the kind of scarcity mindset that she took away from her own life story and although this wasn't my story

these are the lessons encoded in my maternal DNA and there is always that little voice

(who do you think you are?)

when I really go for it telling me to be careful - "are you really going to buy that - shouldn't you check around first for a better price? do you really need all these cell phone minutes? those maple cabinets? why are you paying someone to do that when you can do that yourself?"

Maybe the reason the little steps to save pennies don't work is that we are applying scarcity thinking when we have already adapted an abundance mindset. We can not truly believe that life is supportive of us and then be willing to fight each other to our deaths over a $2.00 waffle maker.

(although I have been known to throw it down over a $2.00 waffle - this family really needs to learn to let go of my Eggo).

GIVEAWAY - zJayne 6 First Aid Recycled Wristlet Pouches! CLOSED

And the winner is - chosen by

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1

= Rain!

Congrats Rain and thanks to everyone who took the time to enter!

zJayne is the home of the incredible Cleveland artist Jane Pierce - maker of some of the most amazing eco friendly recycled goodies on the planet!

zJayne features earth friendly handmade organic lavender sachets for the dryer, closets and more, pouches, recycled market bags, art made from repurposed t-shirt materials and reclaimed jewels.

You have seen her work everywhere including Rachel Ray and Better Homes and Gardens!

We are so lucky to have one of her amazing upcycled wristlet sets for this week's giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive this zJayne 6-pack of Red Cross wristlets - perfect for holiday parties, especially little aspirin filled New Year's Eve goodie bags, glovebox first aid kits and more!


It's easy, peasy - just pop over to zJayne and let Jane know in a comment below which item is your favorite!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.


Enter by midnight on Sunday December 11th! Good Luck! EXTENDED TO 12/16! WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED 12/18!

Oh Yes, It's FREE - there's no parking at the mall, so keep your butt parked in your barcalounger this weekend

Oh Yes, She Did ...

 1st in my Uncorked shop get a FREE Cork Snowflake Necklace with ANY purchase

AND in my Polarity Shop get a FREE Snowflake Lid Set with ANY purchase

AND get FREE Shipping with a $50+ purchase
(includes purchases combined between my 2 shops 
and shipped together)

who said the only thing FREE is bad advice?
actually I still charge for that ....

* specials thru midnight Monday, 11/28

Recycled Tutorial - Wire Hanger Countdown to Christmas Advent Calendar

It's almost time to begin the countdown that ends with Merry Christmas!

And you can make an amazing little upcycled advent calendar in about 5 minutes with a wire hanger and a raid of your craft drawer!

Start your countdown with your letters, beads, balls, etc on the left side of your tree and move one over every day.

I think this little guy will be perfect on everyone's desk or bedtable!

you will need:

a wire hanger, some kind of base for your tree (wood, foam), beads, letters, etc - wire clippers and a drill

This one is of course, easy peasy. Form a tree with your hanger, cut off the hook, mark your holes for the base, drill the holes, add your beads, balls, etc, push in your wires and glue those babies in. This could be a great project for your family to make on Thanksgiving - if you add the correct number of beads (I didn't) you could start it the next day!

GIVEAWAY - The Candy Thief - Gorgeous Handmade Headband - CLOSED


I bought one of Casey Dwyer's gorgeous headbands last year and I love it and I know you will, too!

Casey's amazing shop The Candy Thief had its beginnings in the corner of a tiny attic apartment in the spring of 2006. Since then her one woman operation has moved its headquarters to a full scale fiber arts studio!

The Candy Thief is dedicated to bringing a high level of creativity and craftswomanship to the marketplace. Each piece is designed with function and flare in mind

(and gorgeousness, did I say gorgeousness?)

We are so lucky to have one of The Candy Thief's wonderful makings for this week's giveaway!


One lucky winner will receive The Candy Thief's beautiful Bathilde Band!


It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post
Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.


Enter by midnight on Sunday November 27th! Good Luck!

live it or leave it

I was in an office yesterday with a framed (and dusty) mission statement on the wall.

It was HUGE.

It rambled on about how important every customer is to them and how they will work hard to exceed our expectations, yadda, yadda, yadda.

It was obvious though that the mission statement had lost its mission.

I was left waiting. The place was dirty. The employees were talking loudly to each other and not wanting to make eye contact with me. The curtain was wrapped around a plant in a way that had the ficus screaming at me

(yes, I hear plants)

"HELP, I am being choked and this curtain has been here for ... months!"

In short, this was an office badly in need of some authenticity (and leadership and common sense and lots of other things, but it is the lack of authenticity that I took with me).

We have to be living it.

The difference between standing for something and saying we stand for something is the difference between authenticity and the usual business crap we have been listening to for the last 30 years and nobody even hears anymore.

Our authenticity is what cuts through the noise and gets us noticed.

Last week I said "different is better than better" and I think it is. But I also think authentic beats different. Because without authentic

(the place where our brand's DNA meets our customers' needs, wants and desires or maybe we will just say desires because that sounds more ... well, just 'more' - giving people what they desire - I like that, that's what we should be doing)

different is ... well, it's just not enough.

Having an authentic brand isn't about whether our thingamajig is cheaper or better than someone else's thingamajig

(unless our brand is all about being the cheapest or being the best - which for our sanity I hope it isn't)

it's about the kind of relationship that emerges when we are who we say we are - it allows our customer to be themselves, too.

It creates a connection that creates loyalty and even allows us to make mistakes sometimes - a kind of jumping off point.

It sounds easy and it is, but it isn't at the same time. It is hard work. It takes courage and a willingness to release trying to be everything to everybody.

(and I hope we have all given up on that already - it's a doomed business model)

So, after unwrapping the plant and leaving that office without saying a word I have nothing but gratitude to them for the lesson they offered up ... and, I'm sure the place that eventually gets my business will be grateful to them, too.

* if you can't stand the heat print by blimp cat studio

(I should add that most likely the reason I took away the authenticity lesson from this situation is that I am dealing with one of my own trying to decide between my usual chicken charity giveaway Thanksgiving weekend in my shops vs. the free-shipping that the changes on Etsy has me considering - maybe thinking in terms of what my customers desire will help me figure this out)

Upcycled Holiday Gift Ideas - Week # 7

This week 3 easy, peasy upcycles.

You may not have the goods on hand to create exactly these pieces, but they may get you thinking about things that you do have and ways to rework them!

The level turned coat rack above (add hooks, knobs and hanging hardware on back) makes a great gift for someone's entry way.

These giant old casters will make someone a great pair of industrial bookends. I was originally going to screw them into a book or board, but thought I would give them as is since that would make them more versatile.

(attach directly to furniture, hold more or less books, etc)

I realize this type of thing isn't for everyone, I won't be giving an old pair of casters to my mother-in-law for instance, but there is someone on my gift list with a work table of books needing a good home.

This vintage suitcase and Anthropologie faux-vintage metal painted shelf racks will make an amazing shelf. The suitcase can be displayed opened or closed.

If your vintage suitcase has a musty smell - I have found that airing them out outdoors and then putting a bar of soap inside a sock inside the suitcase usually works. If the smell is very strong you may need to place a small bag of charcoal inside the suitcase for a few days or some newspapers (change them every couple days) until the odor is gone.

Hubby and I are going out tonight for a "we both forgot our anniversary" night on the town so I have been getting ready as I posted this causing my toenail polish to go all the way down to the knuckle and also on the carpet and maybe just a little on the baseboards - but that's just more festive, I think ...

we are determined to party until they start stacking the chairs upside down on the tables – the universal sign for "you have had enough, go home now" ... or at least until 9:00 ....

xo all

olive rants .....

Drove up to the ATM. Rolled down my window. Put in my card.

Got $100. Magic. Me likey.

But, I got my card back even though I still had a check to deposit.

Went to put the card in again and it slipped out of my fingers and bounced. Under. My. Car.

By now, of course there was someone behind me. Tapping. His. Steering. Wheel.

I pulled forward and by some miracle he didn't ...

Got my card and stood there, trying to figure out how to make a deposit. Finally the ATM spit out an envelope so hard it flew under the tapper's car.

I'm clearly not smart (or fast) enough for this whole process.

(whimpered for my mommy)

Made eye contact with the tapper.

Indicated with sign language that I was about to slide my arm under the front of his car. He indicated back by throwing his hands in the air something that looked like either

#1. I understand, go ahead or
#2. I understand, go ahead, make my day, I would love an excuse to accidentally on purpose run you over - I decided he had kind eyes and probably wouldn't want to explain an ATM hit and run to the small boy seated next to him.

I tried to reach the envelope. Couldn't reach it. Went back to the machine.

Realized too late it helps if you don't hit "continue" before typing a dollar amount for your deposit. Transaction denied. Got my card back.

Put my card in again. The ATM shot out another envelope, but I was ready this time so I caught it. Between my teeth. Really, they are enormous. Resisted the urge to bite it into tiny pieces and throw them up in the air all over myself like lunatic confetti.

Finally got our tax refund check deposited. Yes, you read that right. Tax. Refund Check. In November. For $47.00 - Just. Don't. Ask.

* one of those days print by tinoiseau

thanking our vets today

Have a nice weekend everyone.

New Artist Collaboration Lockets Will be In My Polarity Locket Shop Soon!

1. HamjArt NURTURE (Mother) Set
2. LavennzOsy ENCHANT Set
3. LittleSonrisa MAGIC Set
4. ShayneoftheDead CRYPTIC Set
5. LavennzOsy HARMONY Set
6. SSCPhotography SAN FRANCISCO Focus Set
7. TheShabbyPhotographer FREE Set

why it's ok to be wrong .... and not in an "i'm ok, you're ok" stuart smalley kind of way either

It is easier to be amazing when we give up the fear of being wrong.

(maybe it's the only way to be amazing actually)

And this should be easy because life is not a contest and no one wins and no one gets famous (for more than a second) and no one is ... well, no one is ... right actually, but somehow (like most of the really important stuff) it isn't easy.

Sometimes trying to be right feels like the smart thing to do, the less risky thing, the safer thing ... but maybe it's not really any of those things.

And maybe eliminating the criteria of what is "right" and making the only criteria what brings us joy - what we love to do or what we have never done before - can keep us in the present moment - the only place we are ever in the presence of something greater than ourselves.

The place the magic happens.

Being wrong is a risk - we could look stupid, we could lose something, we could ... well we could really blow it, maybe big time.

(although when we get real with ourselves what we have to lose most of the time is more about ego and less about any real loss)

And being always right or being smugly right or doing work that is right or righter than someone else's work -

maybe work that is different is more impactful than work that is better - we would probably never say someone was the best potter or seamstress or metalworker because what would that mean anyway?

but we would remember the potter or seamstress or metalworker that showed us something different or made us feel something different and I am not talking regretsy kind of different, but if that's where we need to start to get to amazing then wth let's go with that

or making right in any way a criteria for our creative work is fear based.

It is also that inward polarity that takes our focus from the outside world and puts our attention (and intention) on ourselves and what we are going to get - attention, applause, money, etc, rather than what we are going to give - which is our amazingness, passion, enthusiasm and talent to the world!

(which will inevitably lead to attention and applause and money and most importantly happiness and I offer a complete money back guarantee on all of this - as I do with all my posts actually, of course, I pay out in milkbones - which are like dog money - this is a dog blog after all)

Being right is sometimes about looking backwards to prove where we've been, to prove that we know better - the risk of being wrong isn't about where we've been or about where we're going ... it's just about the now.

The place we have to be as makers.

(and this is not a post about the lessons learned from failure - the real value in failure is that it builds the stength in us to take more risks!)

Yup, it's a process. Yup, it's work. Yup, no one can tell you where taking a risk will land you and yup, it may be on your ass (that's why most of us have extra padding there), but not to risk being wrong when there is even the tiniest chance of being amazing is maybe the only real risk anyway.

* everything will be ok print by PrintedInc

Holiday Upcycled Gift Countdown Week # 7 - STEAMPUNK - Faucet Necklaces

This week's handmade gift ideas are total awesomeness for those lovers of clunky and recycled jewelry on your gift list!

These beauties are made with 2" faucet knobs (one old and one not so old that I sanded to distress) and lots of cool doodads I picked up in the discontinued bins.

you will need: faucet knobs (valves? handles? whatever these things are actually called), heavy chain and jump rings (I just used some of the heavy chain for the jump rings), doodads, pliers, glue

These will vary depending on your aesthetic and supplies, but the basic idea is to glue a doodad into the center - for both of these I had to do a little damage breaking off the attachments on the ends of the center doodads (one is girly bling and the other is tomboy blang just like the girls I am giving these babies to), add some heavy chain that has big rings (you need to be able to open the rings over the faucet knob ends to attach - maybe bring the faucet knob to the store with you) and some extra doodad dangles.

(and yes, the words "doodad dangles" just needed to be said by someone somewhere sometime ... seriously)

The results are some serious faucet awesomeness I am calling "the farrah".

(DISCLAIMER 11/9/11 - in a little twist of synchronicity I walked into a Barnes and Noble to waste a few minutes waiting for a take-out order at the Chili's next-door and discovered that GreenCraft magazine has a very similar tutorial this month to this one - so even though I searched google images and Etsy for anything too similar prior to posting this and truly did not see this magazine first - I just wanted to add this disclaimer because if the tutorial is in a magazine it is almost for certain some artist is making this for sale somewhere so I just wanted to be extra sure to mention that this tutorial - as almost all tutorials you will ever come across - is for personal use only and not intended to make items for sale)

GIVEAWAY - Charlotte's Web Book and GreenCycleDesigns Book Paper Flowers! CLOSED


This week's giveaway is a special one!

We have one of my all-time favorite books

(hint - that's some pig!)

Charlotte's Web and a GORGEOUS paper flower bouquet created from the pages of another copy of Charlotte's Web by the amazing paper artist and recycler Tara Ackerman of Green Cycle Designs!

(her name is Tara and she is a green-aholic)

Tara says, "Anything that can be saved and used again, MUST! Green Cycle Designs is the manifestation of my childhood dream. Based in Plantation Florida, GCD is quality eco-friendly home decor and jewelry done right. We are focused on promoting a green yet fashionable lifestyle, without breaking the bank in the process."

(I love that and am sure Charlotte and Wilbur would approve)


One lucky winner will receive the Charlotte's Web book bouquet from Green Cycle Designs and the actual book!

It's easy, peasy - just leave your contact information below!

For additional entries:

(5) Twitter this post
(5) Blog about this contest; linking to this post
(5) Follow my blog
(5) Facebook this post

Let me know if you have done these things so I can give you additional entries. This contest is open to everyone.


Enter by midnight on Sunday November 20th! Good Luck!

some pics and purchases from last month's asheville trip - aren't olive and her best friend ruby the cutest sweater wearing boggles evah!