Posted in Dollar Tree

Upcycle random fabric sources into a Covid-19 Mask.

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I own three sewing machines and even a hemming hand sewing unit. For precise stitching when making a bag or purse for someone, I typically use my regular Singer sewing machine. But with the recent concerns for having a mask, I wasn’t concerned with the irregularities of making hand sewn masks.

I created two masks for one for me and one for my husband. He liked both, but he chose to wear the one I made from a wine bag(first photo), and I chose the one I made from the back pocket of a pair of old jeans that were ripped up that I used in the garden. I also used the elastic from an old pair of boxers for his, after cutting down the band so that it would fit over ears.

The jean pocket one is reinforced with chenille sticks, which are both soft and strong to add the needed crimping to frame the nose and conform to the sinus areas below the eyes, (second photo). Yes, the jean pocket one, made me the butt of a few jokes on Facebook , but it was fun to make, and I knew I would get laughter. I like to be different, and well if poking fun at myself gets people to try to make something whether is a COVID-19 mask or a Halloween mask, so be it it. I punched holes in the jean pocket mask and then inserted stuffed animal eye sets that I already had, that would give a place for fabric to adhere and elastic straps. The original photo shows chenille sticks but I have since replaced them with Remington Wraps from Dollar Tree, 3 for a dollar. They are exactly the right width and price and make the mask very comfortable.

We wore our masks to a regular grocery store we frequent and the Meat Department manager who knows us, laughed so hard at our masks, and then he called me back to snap a photo of me in mine, saying, “That is a great idea, that made me laugh, may I take a photo?” So I let him.

You have to find a sense of humor these days. So I am glad I made the mask out of a jean pocket, even if it makes me the “butt” of a few jokes.

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new mask from a wine bagScreen Shot 2020-04-06 at 1.37.51 PM


Posted in Dollar Tree, Handmade Christmas Ornaments, Recycled Art, Coffee Cup View Master, Uncategorized

Dollar Store Savings…

(While reading my blog, think about what you could make with awesome ideas and products, I have been making clutch purses for a long time, and Dollar Tree and these resources are true gems Zip It Up: Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags)

I highly recommend Dollar Tree Stores for the crafters, stagers, and for casual purchases of staple items. Dollar Tree doesn’t necessarily sell cheaply made products, rather it sells things that are actually uncommon or resold to them from the bigger box stores and grocery stores. From a craft standpoint, I have mentioned before, that depending on what you are making or needing for your crafting or staging is to buy the merchandise that is most versatile or has the most fabric, solution or product size. You might be buying something for a dollar that is barely 1″x1″ such as a student’s eraser, or a 5 pack of chewing gum. What I look for if needing fabric material is the strongest easiest to manipulate fabric or material. Depending on the project, I may only need fabric-like material, but not cotton. Fabric-like material is products like vinyl, plastic, jute, mesh, and nylon. 

Vinyl shower curtains and thin plastic table cloths are great sources for numerous uses. I often use Dollar Tree Vinyl shower curtains as tarps to wrap my fruit trees in the winter. The added bonus is I can pull twine or thin rope through the shower curtain grommets and tighten the curtain tarps around my lemon trees and keep them from blowing away in the wind.  Plastic Flannel Table ClothTable clothes do not tend to last long wrapped around my trees, however, these thin plastic often holiday tablecloths with soft thin .mm type padded backs make great gift bags. I also have made holiday decorations and wine bags out of plastic table cloth covers. 


Some of the things that brings to mind for my complete overall savings from making purchases at the Dollar Tree is end result. Will it full fill my project goals? How much waste will there be? I am into recycling and repurposing. A big failure on my part would be to purchase to make something and have a big percentage of it thrown away. I try to utilize the biggest product and minimize intended waste. Its hard to know what someone else will do with what I create, but saving the planet starts with me. I can only strongly recommend that someone not throw it away. 

I buy shampoo, shaving cream, 3 blade disposable shavers, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brushes and hair gel, all at the Dollar Tree store. At the prices that most department and grocery stores charge for these products, it seems foolish to not take advantage of these savings. 

I used to buy Colgate mint fresh toothpaste with Tricolsan, for anti-gingivitis, from target, for a 3-6 ounce tube, on average, for $2.69 each. However, Triclosan, even in small doses is extremely toxic to humans and animals;[citation,  . Even washing our hands with it is questionable, but I still do wash my hands with Triclosan antibacterial soap. Since I have eliminated Triclosan toothpaste from use, toothpaste is much cheaper. Regular generic toothpaste, such as Colgate Gel, Aim, and MaxFresh are less expensive at Target and even cheaper of course at good old Dollar Tree. I can  also buy my preferred toothbrush softness  in a 5 pack’s at Dollar Tree, and when I am done with my tooth brushes they go into a bin for art projects and cleaning tough stains in difficult places. I use and reuse as I can. Old toothe brushes make excellent fingernail brushes too. 

My cologne is a Dollar Tree special. I only buy one kind and its the closest impostor scent to Lacoste,, that I have found, and my husband says he likes the scent, and he only buys name brand cologne. I typically buy two to EcUni European American Designsthree bottles at a time. These bottles go fast at Dollar Tree and are not always in stock. The caps that cover the bottle sprayer are rudimentary and four packaging purposes only. They do not stay on, and I do not use them. They do get thrown away with the packaging. The brand I use is called EcUni and is produced by European American Designs. 

Dollar Tree has greeting cards too, and often two for a dollar and they are really beautiful greeting cards. The best way to shop at Dollar Tree is to shop frequently and to shop at the same stores. Get to know products and how they are displayed. Think about what you need and when to buy it. Do not wait until the last minute of a holiday as products fly off the shelves as soon as the holiday seasons start. 

Lastly, another thing I have found quite by accident, was Dollar Tree fridge magnets. I was needing more magnet material for glass magnets I was making. I was thinking that I could just buy the dollar tree magnets that are thin magnetic plastic with themes on them, cut them down and make them into ma182386_v1gnets. It didn’t work out because the magnetic material were minor magnetic and somewhat use a static clean and magnetic properties to stick to the fridge. When I tried to use them as magnetics to hold heavier objects, they fell under the weight. Usually Dollar Tree magnets have 5-7 magnets on a 10×10 sheet of mixed themes, heritage designs, or holiday icons, with at least two magnets that are 4-6 inches wide with smaller ones. After I realized I couldn’t use them for magnets, I set my bottle of ice water on one for a moment to collect my thoughts and I realized they make excellent beverage coasters. They actually work better as coasters, then working refrigerator magnets as they do not have much strength to hold up anything. But they are beautiful and crafty. 





Posted in Dollar Tree

Full Circle Spring

I purchased more Vegetable seeds this season, ahead of schedule 5 weeks before April. The normal planting time for my zone is about late March to Early May. I started seeds tissue paper rolls, that can be planted in the ground once they sprout, in the tubes and they will disintegrate as they root. A great way to recycle. They seemed to have more choices for planting seeds from the Dollar Tree this year. I purchased Large Cherry Tomato, Cucumber, Onion, Basil, Pumpkin, Acorn Squash, Zucchini, Beef Stake Tomato, Bell Pepper, Wax Pepper, and Jalapeño Pepper, Cantaloupe, Crookneck Zucchini, and Straight Neck Zucchini, Watermelon, Egg Plant, Iceberg Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, and Snapped Peas. all-veggies

It’s pretty incredible the amazing luck I had buying seeds last year from the Dollar Tree from the American Seed company. Many people scoffed and said, “What are they from Japan after the earthquake, which wasn’t really funny or positive?” Or they said, “Are they made with radiation? Or What’s wrong with them< Are they GMO’s.” I said, I doubt anything is wrong with them. They are probably just smaller seeds or second quality (smaller, etc), as they don’t have very many seeds in a packet. To me, I think they are just starter seeds. You actually get to buy 4 packets for a dollar. But really, if you like to plant veggies like I do, you don’t need very many. I planted a Fava Bean seed, last October, and one huge plant has grown and overwintered, FROM ONE SEED Pod, which is fantastic. So if you plant them correctly, you can get a great crop with just a few seeds.

Fava Bean Bush.png

American Seeds form American Seed Company, are considered Promotional Seeds. They are often smaller, or last season seeds, or surplus. To think that every seed purchased has to be planted the following season, however it is wasteful and erroneous to think that seeds won’t grow, without trying. Sure seeds are most vital, they sooner they can be planted. But I remember finding a seed packet, unopened from 2 years ago, that I planted in a pot. Some of the seeds were viable and some didn’t produce. I think would have better luck with promotional seeds, then seeds that were just plane old. Promotional seed packets are a cost effective way to grow seeds.

What I found on the web by, is great testimonials, and company statements, they make them Nostalgic American Seed packets and they are great for use as “giveaways for store openings, shower and wedding favors, gift baskets, mailer inserts and as a token from any special occasion!. Great quality, and affordable. ” The vintage style is made to appeal in the gift or giveaway feel.

“Over 80 million packets sold every year.”
“All seed is purchased from the same suppliers and is the same quality seed as all the other seed lines.”
“With the cost of living on the rise, the American Seed packet offers quality while still remaining affordable.”
“We invest in equipment to keep our costs down and all seeds are packed in Norton, MA.”
“None of our seeds are genetically altered or treated with any chemicals. They are produced through traditional methods.”
Where else can you buy something that grows hundreds of dollars of food for $.20?”
It’s a win win in my opinion

3/21/17 Update: Dollar Tree seed packets, are actually less likely to be Hybrid GMO’s because most of the time GMO seeds are mass produced and sold to Corporations. These are either same year or second year promotional seeds. My seeds have all come up and are performing as well as last year. I planted my seeds late in the season last year, but they caught up with the nature. They only seeds that did not do well were any of bell pepper seeds or pumpkins, which makes sense. The bell peppers need warm soil, but not hot soil, and the pumpkins need 60-80 days to mature, I gave them only 30 days, and then by late fall, they had the wrong sun and heat to grow. If are an experience grower, hobbyist grower, or a first timer, I recommend strongly getting your veggie and flower seeds from Dollar Tree. Around April to June, at some point, there will be a mark down on the seeds. Normally Dollar Tree sells season seeds for your current planting year for 4 for a dollar. But once the season heads into summer, they mark them down for ten for a dollar. I snapped up as many flower and veggie seeds as I could. It’s such a great deal, and everyone knows seeds last a long time. You should check out the video on your youtube, of the gardener that planted seeds from framed art piece that 87 year old seeds that he was able to sprout, 87 YEARS OLD!!!. That’s why I don’t immediately toss out year old seeds or even two year old seeds, because nature has a way of coming through and giving a great yield no matter what., and the second video for the the results,, not that I want to try to find 87 year old seeds, but this is proof that old seeds are often still viable. I like how Mlgardener | Simple Organic Gardening & Sustainable Living, showed us that heirloom crops that have been missing came back in his experiment even after 8 decades. Pretty amazing.

Posted in Dollar Tree, Glass and Mixed media mosaics for art and jewelry, Uncategorized

Tile and Glass mosaic Jewelry

Online Jewelry Making Classes

I began making jewelry after a fellow artist and friend got me interested in learning to make glass pendant necklaces from kits in a glass oven with templates that she had made the past several years and sold them on line and at art shows. I thought that I was going to excel at making glass pendants, even though I made a couple and sold them to some friends, I found that the time and space required to work with high fire temperature glass mini ovens was something I was not quite ready to commit to. I didn’t have the space or attention to give to managing a hot glass oven nor invest in the resources. 

I am  inherently a “work-around” problem solver. I wanted a hand made glass look and being that my focus has always been recycled art designs, my work around to the glass firing kits was to use other resources.  I have worked as an in-house design consultant in a leading tile & stone design retail showroom in Sacramento, Ca and have access to many glass and mixed media mosaics. Often a glass mosaic line becomes discontinued and after we have sold the remaining available stock, we are often have left over sheets which my manager lets me purchase at a reduced cost. 

I have made several pendants using a glass jewelry industrial adhesive to make the same look of the glass oven jewelry with beautiful results. They are fun to make and involve artwork “fused” between glass pieces or pieces “fused” on top of one another. The lower right photo is actually a vintage image of a swallow behind a translucent glass tile. 

The technique is not novel, but its a safer way for me to make jewelry that doesn’t take a high powered glass oven to make, because the glass has already been made, and I feel I am doing my part by not making more glass pieces, but instead am reusing ones that normally might be thrown away. These pendants and many more are similar to the styles I have been able to create. If interested in seeing these and some of the kit necklaces I have available for sale please contact me at