Where Are All the Skills?

I walk my dog everyday. I enjoy the fresh air and the time to THINK.
Today we took a different route. We passed by the cobbler’s shop.
For those of you under the age of, say, 30, you probably never heard the term.
A cobbler is a skilled person who mends shoes (not a pie, thank you).

The cobbler in my town is probably close to retirement. Once at his shop I asked if he had an apprentice. He said no, no one is interested in learning the trade.
I can understand why. It would take years of training for very little money.


That prompted me to think about the future of small mom&pop shops, most especially skilled tradesmen(& women). If we don’t pass these skills down, what happens next? No cobbler.
Guess we will have to just keep buying new shoes.

It kind of makes me sad, that thought. Today I brought my late mother-in-law’s ring to the local jeweler A Jour. He is an incredibly talented jeweler (and artist, if you ask me!) He is another example of a skill that may not be passed on.

Then again, if we continue to buy items made overseas that are cheap, I suppose we won’t need these skilled people will we?
That is pretty disturbing.

This is why I love the library. I can get a book on almost anything and try and teach myself a skill.
I will certainly never be a cobbler or a jeweler but can at least educate myself!

If You Don’t Like It – Change It….

I don’t usually rush out and buy trendy jewelry.
For a long time I resisted the Alex & Ani craze.
After a while though I did feel badly for not supporting this local business.
Low & behold my husband bought me a bracelet. I loved it because the words on the charm meant a lot to me.

Like most trendy jewelry, this piece ended up gathering dust in my jewelry box. I recently purged my jewelry collection, and of course, did not have the heart to give this one away.

I thought about it for a while. How could I somehow display this so I could see it everyday without wearing it?

I went out to Michael’s for a cheap mini frame. While at Home Depot I grabbed some free paint samples. I used some pliers to pull the bracelet apart and break the ring off the charm.
I used these nifty glue dots to secure the charm to the outside of the frame.

(Awful photos, I know. Too lazy to drag out my camera!)

Love Is…

It has been almost ONE year since I married Kevin. The wedding was very sentimental and included lots of items like mom & grandma’s wedding dresses.
(Mom and I at the wedding with the dresses on display)

After the wedding was over, I gave my mom the dresses back. We started a conversation about what to do with all the dresses. Hers is still in great shape but grandma’s really took a beating.
My mother and I were on Pinterest looking at ideas on how to transform dresses into keepsakes but never really talked about it after that.

Today I paid mom a visit after a long and frustrating day; quite frankly in a cranky mood. Of course she was in a great mood and happy to see me as always. But here is why –

Mom spent a lot of time taking apart grandma’s dress and making it into this lovely Christmas tree skirt. She was careful to use many of the details of the dress. The button and loop of the train now help secure the skirt sides together. The many loops and buttons are now flowers. The lace edges are from the veil. And if you look closely, she took the smallest of beads for extra detail.

This is the most wonderful item I have ever received. I cannot wait for Christmas!


There is one more item! A Christmas tree angel!



Self Sufficiency

Self Sufficiency: able to supply one’s own or its own needs without external assistance

     Technology appears to make life easier but I think it is making us less self sufficient! We rely on Google, online accounts and Amazon, among others. We have services  at our fingertips to deliver cars, food and products right to our doorstep. Would we have spent cash  buying something in the store that we had to drive or walk to that we just purchased on Amazon Prime?
That being said, this girl is on a mission: to be more self-sufficient. In some ways, my husband and I already are, but there is a long way to go. Since we’ve been married, we’ve been trying our best to keep it up. I don’t like the discuss politics but this election has really freaked everyone out as well as the recent news about Wells Fargo. Many of us have forgotten what this country is about – FREEDOM. We are free to be independent. So why aren’t we? We are slaves to iPhones and retail companies (guilty here!) But how can we stop? Here’s what we’ve been up to.

1. Quit the Gym – Save $400/year


For a while, we liked the gym. But after a while, the wi-fi didn’t work, it became crowded and we weren’t too happy. We decided to workout at home. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money on equipment, so we purchased an inexpensive bike/elliptical machine and a few DVDs. The bike is in our living room so we have NO excuses but to ride it! I have learned from Jane Fonda (that’s right, the leg warmer Fonda) that you don’t need anything but yourself to workout! Also love Shaun T. I can believe for an hour that I am a great dancer while burning calories.

I get up at 6am for a quick workout and then long walk with the dog(weather permitting).
The work day is a lot more bearable when you can clear your head and breathe in some fresh air.

2. Use the Library – Save $5000.00 
That number is no exaggeration!! Your local library is the #1 place to start. If you don’t utilize the library then you are in the dark and probably broke!!
If you can find one, check for a library return on investment calculator. It will BLOW YOUR MIND. Here is the ROI calculator for Rhode Island libraries. Try it!
If you’re an avid reader, listener and pop culture junkie like me, you could (potentially) be spending LOTS of money!
Hardcover books cost $28, magazines are up to $5 a piece and audio books are VERY expensive.
If I bought a book & magazine once a week for a month I’d spend well over $100 a month.
Imagine 4 books and 4 magazines a month – over $400 a month!!

That is almost $5000.00 a year! YIKES!!!
Luckily I spend $0.00 at my library!


Here are a list of items & services we utilize on a daily/weekly/monthly basis:
  • books
  • ebooks
  • audio books (discs)
  • audio books (downloads)
  • magazines
  • movies (DVDs)
  • movies (streaming)
  • music cds
  • museum passes (discounted admission to museums)
  • e-reader use (at home or in-house)Check out your local library! You will be shocked what they have to offer!
3. Growing…growing…GROWN
My husband loves his garden. He loves the process of planting, watering and tending to his fruits and vegetables.  I like to eat them! What a team. This Spring & Summer my husband planted a variety of items – lettuce, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, peppers &  spaghetti squash. I absolutely LOVED how my shopping list was shorter and the grocery bill was a lot lower. Next year we will try and freeze the abundance so that come Fall & Winter we still buy less.  I don’t have an accurate number for how much we saved but it was awesome! Certainly worth the time.
4. Sewing
I have just begun sewing on my own. I took one class a few years ago where I learned to make a pillow and tote bag. While I learned some basic info I am still trying to teach myself now that I am on my own. I recently made curtains for the living room. I am amazed how expensive curtains are! I hope to someday sew more advanced home decor items and maybe even clothes!
Well that’s it for now – baby steps in the right direction!