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fritshooterPalbluestarorn1aPictured is a fused glass ornament I made by fusing frit in a mold and then kiln firing it. I make different styles of these and suncatchers from fused glass.

Back in April I wrote and article on how to make frit from recycled glass using the mortar and pestle method.

It’s strenuous and takes time to crush the recycled glass into a fine enough powder to then place in a mold and fuse it.

“Surely there has to be a better way,” I thought. After researching, I found very little info on electric frit makers. There are some do it yourself suggestions out there–everything from using a recycled blender to making your own frit maker from a converted garbage disposal.

I asked for a frit maker for Christmas and the one my husband purchased is custom made from an electric router from Devardi glass. It’s not pretty, to work as a sort of gun or frit shooter, it has pc pipe as a nozzle and loading compartment, but it get the job done.

They suggest using compressed air to clean it between glass colors since you don’t want to get glass particles of another color mixed in. Taking it apart and getting it reassembled should something get stuck in the lower part of the shooter isn’t as easy as I would like it to be. If you don’t get the wire mesh back on right the fused glass can shoot out through any remaining crevices.

All in all it works well. Here’s a brief video I did demonstrating its use. It cuts down the time spent on crushing the glass to just minutes where it normally would take hours to get the same results.  I get no referral fees for taking about this shooter. It is merely intended to help simplify frit making.

 

 

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

spaghettiThis homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is my own. I hope you enjoy it as much as I and my family have.

 

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Merlot or Cabernet, 1/4 cup

2 lbs lean ground beef

1 clove of fresh, crush garlic

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 large cans of tomato sauce

1 large can tomato paste

2 small cans of cut mushrooms or 1 large can

1 T basil

2 T oregano

spaghetti noodles

Directions:

In saucepan saute onions and garlic in 2 T of olive oil

Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking apart any large chunks

Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, basil, and oregano. Simmer on medium heat for ten minutes. Add mushrooms. Cover and reduce to medium-low heat and cook approximately 15-20 minutes until sauce is thickened. Cook spaghetti noodles according to directions. Serve with parmesan cheese.

 

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Dog for Dog, Dog Food that Helps Dog Shelters

shelter dogSince I sell handmade gifts for pet lovers I like to alert folks to products that make pet care easier or is for a good cause. I just learned about a pet food company called Dog for Dog. The company makes dog food, dog treats and dog care products  but the company’s goal is to feed as many shelter animals as possible.  Whenever you purchase dog food or dog treats from the company, they will donate another bag or snack to an animal shelter.

Great cause, don’t you think?  Here’s a link to the dog for dog website.

Here’s a link to my serendipitinipet shop 

 

 

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July Giveaway

GiverawayBannerJuly 2015It’s monthly giveaway time again and this month Serendipitini is giving away two sets of Bohemian Gypsy earrings. The contest is open to U. S. citizens age 18 years and older and runs from June 27 – July 26.

Sponsor Info: Serendipitini Jewelry features handmade earrings and jewelry many of which incorporate creative reuse of glass and wire wrapping. This month’s giveaway features two sets of handmade earrings.

Set one is a colorful set of rainbow tube earrings complete with copper wire spirals.

Set two features multi colored dangle earrings .  Let  your inner Gypsy take over with these fun earrings.  Just complete the contest entry form below.

 

julygiveaway2015

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Inspirational Quote of the Week

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Tip Garden Header School CorrectedEvery Friday  Jan Thomas of The Tip Garden Blog hosts My Favorite Things, items chosen to be featured in that section. Recently Serendipitini Jewelry was selected to be spotlighted there. The blog is a unique blend of recipes, household and money saving tips, craft and do it yourself ideas and  an occasional product spotlight.

I particularly enjoyed the tutorial on how to make your own bath teabags and can’t wait to try that out.

Jan is a former Kansas farm girl and that home  spun feel is a part of the blog. If you love to add personal touches to your home, enjoy making gifts with a personal touch and relish learning ways to stretch your income, this is a great site for you. It’s also a potential place to get your handmade items reviewed.

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WA1022AHere’s one of my latest creations made from recycled metal scroll work /wrought iron works and recycled wine bottles and beverage bottles.

The main piece for this is actually a reworked plate rack that I picked up at a garage sale. I used my acetlyene and oxygen and a cutting torch attachment to cut off pieces I didn’t want. The inner decorative piece with the light bead glued on was recycled from a metal candle sconce.

I never know when I find different metal pieces what other piece they will go with. Sometimes it takes a while before I see how two pieces will work together.  I also used pieces I had cut from the plate rack and reattached them via brazing to the right and left side, merging them onto the inner decoration. I added a metal circle to the bottom and brazed that on with two added pieces of round steel.

Glass components are from slumped wine bottle bottoms and slumped beverage bottoms. Many wine bottle bottoms have hump on the bottom called a punt and depending on which side of the bottle bottom you lay face up in the kiln you get different looks. They slump more evenly when I lay the humped part on top and this leave an inner circle on the round glass bottom that make it interesting. You can see that on the two amber green pieces on the right and left at the bottom.

This wall decor window art is listed in my craft star shop.

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Promoting Successful Giveaways

Holding giveaways is a great way to grow you subscriber base. I’ve found a few sites that help with this info.

Here are the links.

Giveaway Tips

http://blog.rafflecopter.com/2014/08/giveaway-best-practices/.

Places to Promote

giveawaypromote.com

giveawaygurus.com

 

 

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Product Review E-6000 Glue

E6000I use E6000 glue frequently in my work with glass and ceramic tile and pieces. It is a strong petroleum based glue and works well for gluing ceramic tiles and pottery pieces to glass or wood. I also use it for gluing glass pieces onto wood, metal or glass.

The glues now comes in clear, white or black. Once it dries it is very strong.

You can find it at Walmart, craft stores, etc.

Negatives are that it can be stringy so when your project dries you need to clean up the strings and any excess. One way to dissolve the extra glue you don’t want showing is to use nail polish remover and a Q-tip. It takes a few moments to dissolve but it works well. The tube also tends to oose and can leave a tough residue on the end of the tube. It’s best to try to clean the tube before putting it away and roll the tube up from the bottom (like a toothpaste tube) as you go.

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Review of Project Wonderful Advertising Service

leaderboardonmillondollarmodelAny entrepreneur knows the challenge of getting exposure for their business. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard handmade entrepreneurs lamenting that they are not getting any traffic to their blog or shop.

Even with social media and web site optimization, you may still fall short of the traffic you need. Paid ads can generate exposure but advertising isn’t cheap. Gone are the days when Google Adwords were just ten cents a click.  If you are not well indoctrinated into the world of paid advertising, it can be daunting.

When I heard about a relatively new ad company called Project Wonderful from several sources, I decided maybe it was the solution to getting more traffic at a reasonable rate.

The way this site works is that you pay for ads to show on blogs/websites and you bid against other potential advertisers for ad space on a site of your choice. The reason advertising is so reasonable is that many of the sites which air these ads are not pulling in the amount of traffic the really well known sites are. You can search for potential advertisers by category. It’s also a potential revenue option for up and coming blogs to get paid advertising.

Since I sell handmade in several different categories I looked to see which site seemed most promising. I really wanted to promote my jewelry line and a fashion site seemed like the best targeted audience. There wasn’t a huge selection that seemed like a fit for my jewelry style. I chose Million Models blog which seemed to have decent traffic. Though it is UK based it has reach into the U.S., Canada and several other countries and you can choose which countries your ad shows in.

Project WonderfulerLeaderBoardAdYou can choose the type of ad as well and I chose to have a leaderboard ad, which is a banner ad of 728 x 90 pixels. I created my own ad which you see pictured here and I made sure to make it as eye catching as possible. No where in the ad description on Project Wonderful, did I see a location of where this ad was going to show on the blog. I assumed that it would be below the site’s masthead which is pretty standard.

You must pay into your account, like Google Ads, so I loaded $15 from Paypal into my account. The ad ran for 10 days and I was outbid a couple times by another competitor. When you are outbid, your ad stops running until you outbid the person who out bid you. It’s a little like Ebay in that regard. So, after a couple of times of being outbid, I upped my bid and remained on top with the ad running.

Then I got busy. On 6/12 I received an email notification from Project Wonderful that my funds were half spent. So far I had spend $6.83 on the ad. Stats showed the following: 61,045 views, 18,381 unique views and  0 clicks. That’s when I went to Million Dollar Models blog to see if my ad was showing. Guess where I found that ad?  At the very bottom of the home page. Now, really?  Who is going to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to click on said ad?  Nobody, that’s who.

leaderboardaddescriptonI went back to the Project Wonderful website to see if I could find anywhere in the description of the ad I had chosen where it said it would appear at the bottom of the page.

I had a difficult time navigating the site to find that info. When I did find the ad description there was nothing I could see on that page where is said it would appear at the bottom of the page. Here’s a print screen of what I saw. (Sorry it’s not larger.)

 

Maybe I misunderstood what a leaderboard ad was. I looked it up in several places which indicated they appear between the masthead and content.

I promptly paused my ad and, after more research, saw that if I wanted a refund of what remained in my account, I would have to eat $1.00 of it because I would be penalized that amount. At that point I took screen shots of how my ad was appearing on Million Models blog and a screen shot of the ad description of the leader board ad and I contacted customer service at Project Wonderful via email. I figured I would be taken more seriously if I explained I planned to blog about Project Wonderful and currently the experience hadn’t been good. After I explained my frustration with the leaderboard ad appearing at the bottom of the page and that I wanted a full refund, I sat back and waited for the battle to begin.

I was surprised to get a relatively fast response within and hour or so. Here’s what Linden, the rep said.

“I’m sorry for the confusion and disappointment this caused.

All of the ad box names refer to size only, and not location. The locations vary from site to site, depending on the publisher’s needs.
“Leaderboard” is an industry standard name for the 728×90 ad size, and while it does most often appear near the site’s masthead, it’s not uncommon for publishers on many different ad platforms to use it in the footer, or in some cases between sections of the site (this last more commonly done with forums).
Previews are available if you click the site name, and if you’re viewing the site in preview mode it should outline the ad box with a red border to make it easier to find on the page. A few site designs don’t support the border outline, but most do. In any case, the preview still allows you to take a look at the site’s content and how the ad boxes are displayed alongside it.”
The good news is they refunded the full $15 I loaded into the account with no penalties. Bravo for that. I suggested they might clarify their ad description.
His comments about it not being uncommon for the leaderboard to appear in other locations besides below the masthead seemed like a feeble excuse. Sure, he has a degree in advertising. The average Joe doesn’t. Are they going to know that? Shouldn’t there be a better explanation of what a leaderboard is on Project Wonderful’s site.
Would they have refunded my money so easily if I hadn’t played a little hard ball? It is hard to say. Will I try Project Wonderful again?  Maybe. I think if my ad had been at the top of the page, I might have had some click throughs. Would that resulted in any sales? I don’t know. I will definitely research more. A huge down side to this is their lack of disclosure. Like any contract, always look for the fine print, but you have to know where the fine print is.

 

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