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IMG_20160204_140957 copyBack in December I gave away some of my friend Linda B’s handcrafted jewelry. The response was so enthusiastic I’ve decided to do it again, in time for Valentine’s Day. Also in time for her “First Friday” event tomorrow evening at the 2 Friends Gallery here in Anchorage. (If you’re in the area, you should go.)

Once again I wish I were a better photographer. But I’m not, so you’re just going to have to trust me with the details about these pendants.

This time around Linda started with a copper disk and a copper rectangle, knocking both of them silly with a texturing hammer. You can catch a glimpse of this detail despite my sub-par photography.

Next she added colorful metal accents and some copper ones, attaching them with rivets she makes out of heavy-gauge copper wire. Each of these comes with an 18-inch cord.

These would be fine Valentine’s Day gifts if that’s the sort of thing you do. They’d also do well as birthday or Christmas presents — or maybe for a little self-gifting. As one of the characters in “Steel Magnolias” put it, what separates us from the lower animals is our ability to accessorize.

 


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thI resist making resolutions at the ends of Decembers. The idea of “resolving” to do something doesn’t work for me.

Not because I’m too lazy. If there’s one thing that’s proved true over the years, it’s this piece of folk wisdom:

 

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

Defeatist? Maybe. But not really.

That’s because time and again what I thought I would do/not do has been wrong, although not always in a bad way. In addition, things I knew were true turned out to be, um, untrue. A few examples:

 


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Finishing your holiday buying in person? Get ready for warfare on wheels – and not just as regards scoping for prime parking spots.

Combat shopping can be murder on your ride. Whether you leave it in a garage, on the street or in a mall parking lot, you’re at risk of being tagged by a clueless driver and/or having your purchases stolen before you can even get them home to be wrapped.

While some consumers prefer to shop entirely online nearly six in 10 will do at least some brick-and-mortar visits, according to the National Retail Federation. Excited, distracted or stressed-out shoppers may dent your fender or scrape some paint on the way into or out of a parking space.

The honest ones will leave contact information on your windshield. The others just keep driving, which is not only bad manners but could also be a hit and run, legally speaking. Most states don’t define this as taking place on roads or highways, and many include parking-lot incidents in the hit-and-run definition.

One of my recent NerdWallet articles can help.


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thJust got a press release from a company suggesting “fun and affordable” stocking stuffers. What got my attention was how it defines “affordable”: items under $50.

Um…no. I don’t spend $50 altogether on the stuffers for five stockings. In fact, I generally don’t spend anything at all (more on that in a minute).

On what non-frugal planet is “under $50” considered a low price for a small item? And when did stocking stuffers graduate from candy canes and stickers to things like $50 iTunes cards, Sharper Image six-port USB charging hubs ($29.98) and $30 bottles of perfume?

Little things mean a lot, but they shouldn’t have to cost a lot. Thus I refuse to pay a lot. Here are some ways to save.

 


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IMG_20151210_113500This week’s giveaway achieves two of my favorite goals: supporting the local economy and helping readers finish up their holiday shopping.

I only wish that my meh-photography did justice to the two pendants up for grabs this week. They’re quite striking and hand cut- and hammered by my friend Linda B.

She started by cutting two disks of aluminum: one a deep maroon and the other a vibrant violet. Onto each she riveted a five-armed, gear-like circle that makes the pendants look, at first glance, like sheriffs’ badges or combat medals.

The colors below seem richer, possibly because you’re seeing them in concentrated glimpses. The overlays give a suggestion of motion that I like to think of as, “Hey — get your life in gear and start moving!”

Know anyone who needs an accessory with a built-in kick in the pants? Or maybe you need it yourself.


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