Just call me Jiji

…me, just pretending to be me ….now, where did I put that cape??

Archive for the tag “going green”

I Gots Skills

In a previous post; Gettin’ my Creative Juices Flowin’ I wrote about my various talents, and things I have tried my hand at, with the latest thing being wood burning.

I recently took up wood burning for the sake of my sister, Suzy. She is getting married in May, and asked me to use my creativity to make a few things for her. She had some basic ideas of what she was looking for and showed me a few pictures of things she had seen on Etsy.com. But she pretty much gave me carte blanc to come up with my own vision of things. I toured Etsy, which by the way is now my favorite artsy-fartsy site, and I found inspiration and ideas all over the place.

My self-imposed deadline was this past Sunday for her Bridal Shower. I managed to get everything done that I had wanted to (thanks to a few 3am bedtime). As usual I pushed myself to accomplish a bit more than necessary. It was important for me to put so much into it because I want Suzy to know how much she means to me. She may be Ron’s sister by birth, but I have known her since she was 15 years old, and I have watched her grow into an amazing young woman that I am proud to call her my sister too.

It was her intent to reimburse me for any purchases I needed to make for these creations. But I refuse to accept any reimbursement, I want to make this my gift to her (and Eddie) from one sister to another.

I am so happy for the both of them. And I wish them the best that life and marriage has to offer them.

As a result of her asking me to do this; she has unknowingly given me a gift as well. Because of her, my enjoyment of; and desire to; create art, has once again been rekindled. I find myself sketching new ideas and getting inspiration from the things around me. I have really enjoyed being creative again.

I am also pretty proud of the outcome on most of what I have made. I wanted to give her options so I made different versions of the items she wanted for variety.

These are the his and her hangers she had asked for. She really only asked that I somehow write the word Bride and Groom on these hangers that she provided to me. I wanted to give her the option of dressing them up with the flower I had made using two other flowers and Swarofski Crystals and the bow tie I fashioned with cardboard and black ribbon after I simply woodburned the hangers;

Bride Hanger - wedding dress photo prop

Bride & Groom Hangers – wedding attire photo

Another item that she had asked me to make was a cake topper. She had seen my very first attempt at wood burning a tree design and had decided that she had wanted it as her cake topper. Since it was my very first attempt, and I wasn’t happy with all the mistakes I had made I refused to let her have it. Not only was it a scrap copy it was also on scrap wood. This is the initial piece she had seen;

It was the smaller one she was interested in using, but I really did not like how it came out. I was also concerned with how 1 dimensional it would be.I made a new one similar to this on a better piece of wood; I liked the way it came out;

The heart can be personalized with the couples initials or the date.

And although I am pleased with the art, it just seems so flat for a cake topper. So I came up with the bright idea that I would have to make a woodcarving of a tree to make it more 3-dimensional. Yes, I did say wood carving. Here are 2 I managed to make without nicking a major artery in the process.

This second one is left plain in case she prefers a lighter color;

The tops of the trees are interchangeable. Personally I like the balls on the top, but the tree slice can be further personalized. Perhaps with a simple scroll design, green leaves, or their names in a heart in the upper portion and the year in the smaller heart on the tree trunk. Suzy also asked me to make Mr. & Mrs chair signs.  These are similar to ones I have seen on Etsy;

I managed to come across these really great baskets and I loved the idea that I could make the chair signs and then they could repurpose them as his and hers letter sorter;

I burned the wooden letters and adhered them to the baskets, I wanted to get dried lavender stalks but I didn’t have enough time, so I used silks instead;

I also am going to make a signature mat for them. Suzy order a tree slice for me to do it on. But just for practice i made these;

And I did this second one too;

Which I am very proud of. I took inspiration from the wedding invitation. I decided to turn this into a cute sign for them;

No that isn’t a misspelling, their last name is/will be Mora.I also made these;

And the wishing well for the shower too;

But my favorite is this;


Cleaning my Plate – Part 4 – Decluttering

….continued from Cleaning my plate – part 3      

Cleaning my Plate / Decluttering my Life…      

                                                        …same thing.      


There are plenty of different ways to do this.      

Quite often the clutter just gets so big that you don’t know where to start. Turns out it doesn’t matter where you start, only that you actually do start.      

Me, I started with all those baby items that I kept in the hopes of a baby # 2. Alas, my dream of having a Brady Bunch Family is not meant to be.      

Although with all the babysitting I do it sometimes feels like the Brady Bunch household. 🙂      

Every year, since April of 2008 I have been consigning all of Leon’s clothes, toys, and other items with The Kids Kloset. Consigning is a terrific way to get rid of your clutter and make some money while doing it! And Gail Roca, the owner of The Kids Kloset makes it very easy. The process is simple; once you register as a consignor on the website you will get a consignor number and gain access to the consignment manager, where you can enter information about the item you want to sell, as well as name your price, and then print out your bar coded tags to be attached to your items. This is only one aspect of the preprep process; it is important to thoroughly check all your items for stains, missing parts or defects; only the best will do. Each piece of clothing you consign is to be on a hanger and sorted by size. It is a lot of work but completely worth it. I have made as low as $300 and as high as $650 at sales. The amount you make depends on if you volunteer at the sale or not, and for how long. At minimum you can earn 60% of your sales if you do not volunteer to work the sale and as much as 75% if you do. I always choose to volunteer for 12 hours in order to gain the maximum earning level of 75% of my sales. And like I said Gail always makes it so easy, she gives her consigners options and incentives. Like allowing me to drag Ron into it, where we both put in 6 hours to complete our 12 hour volunteer time slot. Some how we both end up putting in much, much more than our 12 hours though, probably because there is just something about Gail and what she has created here that makes you want to chip in and be a part of it. She is always coming up with new ways to make the sale great. The sale has always been about recycle, reuse, and resell; she was green before green was popular. And this year she came up with something new to get the kids involved. And I have to say it worked like a charm on Leon. Consignors were invited to sign their children up as consignors as well, earning their own consignor numbers. The incentive for the children was “Sell your old toys and earn your own money while helping out the enviroment”. As a bonus the kids relieved a $5 gift certificate to purchase items at the sale and a certificate stating that the helped the enviroment. Leon is always hesitant to part with his toys, even the ones he hasn’t touched in over a year or so. When asked if I could sell them previously, he would say they are part of his “collection”. However once he signed up to consign, it was a different story, he was willing to part with things that he never would have let me sell before. We of course had our own set of rules about the sale too; such as, the money he made would only be given to him on July 25th once our vacation began as pocket-money, and that Ron and I had the veto vote on purchases we felt were inappropriate. He gladly went along with it already deciding on what he wanted to spend his money on. After parting with all but a few Thomas trains and track, his Pixar cars, and various other toys; he was on cloud nine when he received his very first paycheck in his own name to the tune of $264. He was a little disappointed that he fell short of his $400 goal in order to buy the Lego Death Star at Legoland in California, but he wasn’t surprised either because we prepared him for that outcome. It never stops him from reaching for the stars though! I myself made close to that amount as well. Now we have spending money for our trip.      

 The Kids Kloset isn’t just good for selling things, it’s also amazing for purchasing incredibly inexpensive previously owned and sometimes new items with tags still on them. As I do every year I picked up a few great items at a fraction of the cost. Being that Leon is such an avid reader my favorite section is the books, and then of course it is the toys (but that’s because I am just a big ol kid myself).  I managed to pick up about 30 chapter books for under $15, as well as a few miscellaneous items.      

Robosapian sells for over $100 - paid $20


Electronic Marble Maze that took Ron 2 hours to build -paid $25


2 foot Dino to Guard Leon's Door at Night - $5


And the bonus to all this decluttering is that we were able to turn Leon’s room from this




To This


Now the challenge is to keep it this way! Well that, and getting the rest of the house to look this way too.      

So far, we’ve done a really good job of keeping it this way and the rest of the house has come along nicely. And even if I can’t always keep up with it, I make sure that the areas most important to Leon, are as clutter free as possible. Like his room, the kitchen table where he does his homework, and the computer room where he plays video games with playdates.  I really, really feel it makes a huge difference in Leon’s life. His ADHD brain is already too cluttered enough, no reason to let everything else around him get too cluttered.      

….more coming in Cleaning my plate – part 5 (ugh, it feels like I will never get my plate clean)      

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