December 21, 2008

Make Your Own Jewelry Tree!

I am updating the instructions to this project, as I found out that it is not best to use a LIVE tree branch, because it will die and shrink, leaving it loose in the base (and the leaves will fall off). So even though it looks better using a live tree branch in the beginning, it will look worse in the end :) Sorry if any of you have already tried this using the live tree branch. You can also try to buy a tree branch from a local crafting store if they sell them (already dried).

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT crafty. Far from it. I have tried for many years to cultivate any specimen of a craft gene that may be in my body, but have failed. So if I can do this, anyone can! I have been thinking of cheap gifts to make people for Christmas, and my sister mentioned in passing that she wanted a jewelry tree (and jokingly said "maybe you can make me one!") So I sought out to do just that. Here are two pictures of the jewelry trees I made just yesterday (not the best quality photos, but hopefully you get the idea):

One in Silver:

One in Gold:

Here are the supplies you will need for one jewelry tree:
-1 glass votive holder (or any container) as a base
-1 tree branch with many offshoots (mine were from a lemon tree, and I chose one about a foot high), dried for about a week before the project.
-Scotch tape
-Plaster of Paris (from your crafting store)
-Mixing tool (to stir the plaster with water)
-Spray Paint (any color you want)

-Put adequate amount of plaster of paris into base and mix with water (2 parts water to 1 part plaster).
-Immediately put tree branch into base
-Hold in place with one hand use the tape to form a "net" around the tree branch bottom, secured to the base so that you can take your hand away without the branch falling over.
-Let dry for about an hour
-Spray paint when dry, and let dry for another hour or two.

On one base I just sprayed it silver, while on the other one I took some ribbon and glued it to the base to make it prettier (the gold tree). I left the leaves on for effect.

The most expensive part of the project is the Plaster of Paris (about $8 a box, and the spray paint for about $8 a can). However, once you have these, you can easily make dozens of trees. I bought my votive holders at IKEA - 4 for $1.50.

Enjoy, and if you have any questions, please let me know!

December 15, 2008

More Closeout Sales

Yesterday a friend shared with me that Steve & Barry's clothing store is going out of business now too!  If you have not been there yet, let me tell you, they have CUTE clothes for CHEAP.  They carry Sarah Jessica Parker's Bitten clothing line, Venus Williams Eleven clothing line and Amanda Bynes Dear clothing line (those are just the women's lines that they carry).  All clothes in the store are under $25, most being around $10.  Last Christmas we got a men's black winter coat for only $10.  I am sad that they're going out of business, but this means that everything there is now 50% off.  I would recommend going soon because I'm not sure how much longer they'll be open!  Check their site for the store nearest you.

Also, Linens N Things continues to slash prices, although I was just there and noticed that they had marked items way up just to liquidate.  I bought a comforter set last year there for about $50 and they are selling it 50% off right now for $85.  Our nearest store is selling everything at 50-70% off, but things will go lower in the next few weeks.  I am waiting until then to buy anything.  You can also shop their store online and get many of the same great discounts.

Mervyn's is continuing to liquidate, and our nearest stores are also at 50-70% off.  Again, wait another two weeks or so because that's when you'll start to get the best deals.  Circuit City is liquidating as well, so head over if you need some electronics, but just remember that you cannot return anything at all.  All sales during liquidations are final.  Circuit City's liquidation is especially being targeted by bloggers everywhere as a scam.  Liquidation companies notoriously hike up prices just so you think you're getting a good deal.  Be careful when shopping, and wait until the very end for the best deals.

If you want to read more about liquidating company scams see: