The Zizzler

Living THE life on a shoestring budget. Traveling, DIY projects, general fabulousness.......

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Beaches are Free

Aside from my much needed respite in Puerto Rico, I am not a beach girl. Baking in the sun for hours bores the hell out of me. I like to swim...and play in the sand, but then that covers 30 minutes, what do I do for the rest of the day? I don't tan (skin cancer is for jerks and dead people) and reading in the super sun hurts my eyes. But now its getting to be the perfect time of year to visit the Jersey Shore. Its warm enough to walk the beach in a jacket, but cold enough to keep the beach jerks away. I love wandering around closed up beach towns on misty, moody days. The now abandoned amusement parks with ancient ferris wheels make a perfect backdrop for a photo project day, which you can later use to make notecards for friends. Its quiet, serene, and you can feel like you are the only person in the world. These are my favorite beach days.

Unless of course you are lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest. I have family in Vancouver, BC, and every summer they rent a condo on Vancouver Island for a week. These are the kinds of beaches I truly love; rocky, full of creatures and nature, and surrounded by mountains and breathtaking views. My family rents a place in Madrona, near Parksville on Vancouver Island. The beach is semi private and is full of tide pools, sand dollars, hiking spots and mountains. Aside from a great photo project, the days are spent treasure hunting for sand dollars, shells, or cracking open oysters in hopes to find a pearl (I know, its not very vegetarian to do so, but I've been guilty of it). Sand dollars, although very fragile, make great souvenirs. I think most people don't think of them as living creatures, as opposed to shells. When they are alive they are black, and when they die they turn white and harden. They live in tide pools or in water right below the surface of the sand, and float more to the surface when dead. I've collected sand dollars of of all sizes, glued baby ones to a box for my cousin, made necklaces...they are just so visually pleasing that the ideas are endless, and they aren't as "tacky" as shells. I have a few just displayed on a shelf in my room, they still shed some sand now and then, reminding me of my last trip.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Making a Good Gift a Better Gift
I'm a big fan of Latin American folk art- Day of the Dead stuff, Sacred Hearts, Recycled tin wares. It's one of my favorite things to give (I've made dozens of cards/gifts from one set of Loteria cards alone), but I also like to add a personal touch. But my main reason is, the mini altars and tableaus I really like can run from $30-$50, which I can't afford. So, I bought a tin sacred heart ($12.50) at Eyes Gallery in Philly. It's the only Latin American folk art store here so it's pricey, but if at all possible, I go to Love Shine at 249 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (near Roebling, take the L to Lorimer 718.302.2913). The man who owns it is from Barcelona, and seriously has the most zest for life I've ever experienced, and it is contagious. He knows everything about all of his inventory- who made it where, what it means etc. Occasionally he'll have a 50% off everything sale, and I stock up. Plus I love his conversation. He's so inspiring, he told me he lived in Barcelona and had a great life, great house, great job....and said "Hmm...ok, can I die now?" so he moved to New York to start a new challenge on life!
Anyway, I didn't want to give my friend a plain old tin heart. So I went to trusty Ikea and bought a cheap shadowbox ($6). I found some old red and black paints, and kinda splotched it on the back, and put a piece of cheese cloth on it for texture, then painted over it. Then I hotglued the heart to the background. I painted the box black and decided to put red Xs around the "frame". I messed up on the black (I am really sloppy) so I painted the inside of the plastic to cover my mistakes- which ended up looking really cool and added dimensionality to it. When it was dry I just put the background back on and voila! I think it looks great. I wanted to add some rhinestones around the frame part, but it was for a boy, so I decided a painted heart was gay enough already. He loved it, and loved that I had made it from the heart.

*Please forgive the photo quality. The finished box was hard to photograph with the reflection of the plastic. The paint job doesn't really look that chinsy, I swear.

Monday, April 03, 2006


The budget just went from shoestring to paper clip...