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Despite it routinely being advertised as safe, doctors regularly recorded incidences of Lysol poisoning and uterine irrigation. We now know that our vaginas are, for the most part, self-sufficient and self-cleaning, naturally able to regulate pH levels with a spate of healthy bacteria and microorganisms. Sometimes this shift in direction can mean a simple, effective way to replace a harmful practice with one which is gentler yet still effective — like making your own cleaning products , rather than buying antibacterial ones, for example.

I am not kidding you with this shit. What on earth is a toxic womb? It holds our deepest pains and is still responsibility [sic] for bringing forth souls to this world. The toxins from a poor diet, chemical based environment, and emotional stress get stuck in your womb. Is sticking little bundles of cheesecloth-wrapped herbs into our pum-pums to rid ourselves of deep rooted pain really any different from douching with Lysol to retain our eager, happy marriages?

In other words, ladies, stop trying to clean your hot pockets by filling them with strange substances, herbal or otherwise.

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Take a look at our collection of authentic Bakelite Beads and Components. Discover a treasure trove of history, right here at A Grain of Sand. Smell is my first test. When heated it has a very strong odor from the formaldehyde.

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Very hot water can release the smell, but some pieces can release the smell simply by rubbing the Bakelite hard enough to create a little warmth. Once you have smelled genuine Bakelite, you will know it when you smell it again. Touch the Bakelite with the pin. If it is Bakelite it will not penetrate because bakelite will not melt. I prefer the Simichrome over as it has a stronger reaction. Lucite, Fiberglass, Acrylic, and Vinyl are some of the "new age plastics" that replaced it although it is still used today in electronics as as substitute for porcelain components.

Oh yeah. I am obsessed with Vintage Bakelite. And it probably will. The pleasure afforded by browsing eBay is the pleasure afforded by any flea market or garage sale. Something ruminative, but with an underlying acuity, as though some old hunter-gatherer module were activated. It's a lot like beachcombing. Where eBay departs the traditional pleasure of a flea market, though, is in its sheer scale and its searchability. If you can think of a thing, you can search it on eBay.


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And, very probably, you can find it. If randomness is what you're after, though, there are ways to surf eBay, rather than search it. Modes of sheer drift. Every item offers you a chance to peruse Seller's Other Auctions, which can take you off into categories of merchandise you wouldn't have thought of. A search for Hopi silver, for instance, brought up other kinds of Native American artifacts, much older ones, so that a series of clicks through stone adzes and Clovis points led to an obscure monograph on mound-excavation in Florida in the s.

The best way to kick this habit, I decided, was to binge on serious watches. I'd find a watch I wanted, work my way up to high-bidder position, check my position regularly eBay regularly informs you of your bidding status, and outbid notices arrive promptly, but it's still fun to check , and find, as the auction ran off, that I'd been zapped, in the last five minutes of bidding, by someone offering just one increment more than I had bid. I began to smell a rat. The nature of the rat became apparent when I started checking out "Dutch" multiple buyer auctions of eBay-specific software, and discovered that one could buy plug-ins that automated the bidding process.

The idea of this software ran entirely counter to the peculiar psychology of bidding at auction. The software-driven sniper isn't really bidding; he's shopping. Skimming an existing situation. The sniper or his software package is able to look at the final minutes of any auction as a done deal, then decide whether or not to purchase that item at the fixed price, plus one bid increment. Which pissed me off, and took some of the fun away. A friend's hacker boyfriend, in Chicago, offered to write me a piece of software that would outsnipe anything on the market.

Tempting, but not very. Instead, I sent eBay a message to the effect that allowing autobid software detracted from the eBay experience. That it spoiled the chemistry of the thing, which in my view was a large part of what they offered as a venue. I also suspected, though I couldn't think of a convincing way to put it, that sufficient proliferation of sniping software could eventually, theoretically, bring the whole community to a halt. I got no reply, and I hadn't expected to, but the problem seems in the meantime to have been resolved.

Entirely to my satisfaction, and in a way that illustrates exactly how things have a way of finding their own uses for the street. A bid bot is a program which bids on many items or the same item over and over again. Our SafeHarbour team is tracking down the source of the bot, and will be working with our lawyers and the authorities to take appropriate action. In an effort to prevent this type of system attack in the future, eBay plans to make an internal change to the bidding process.

Most of you will not notice this change. It will NOT affect the interface you use at all. All bidding processes will remain the same as they were before. Unfortunately, the change may disable most, if not all 'automated bidding programs' aka sniping programs. We apologize for this, but it's important that we make eBay safe from robots of this kind. I'd love to know what that bot was bidding on. Beanie Babies, probably.

A follow-up message partially reversed course: eBay would not outlaw bid bots, but would require that they conform to sign-on procedures. With a level playing field restored, I decided to kick this eBay watch-buying habit in the head. Addictive personality that I am, I decided that the best way to do that was to binge: to do a whole bunch of it at one time and get it out of my system. To that end, I decided to buy a couple of fairly serious watches. I bid on, and won, a late-'40s Jaeger two-register chronograph in Hong Kong. The idea of sending a check off to Causeway Bay for more than a thousand dollars to someone I'd never heard of, let alone met, seemed to be stretching it a little.

But Eric So, a B Tech Mech at the Hong Kong Water Supplies Department and an avid watch fancier, was so evidently honest, so helpful, and responded to email so readily, that I soon had no reservations whatever. Once the check had cleared, the Jaeger arrived with blinding speed and was even nicer than described.

And I did have one authentic auction-frisson over the Jaeger when, very near the end of the auction, someone bidding "by hand" topped me. This gentleman, when I checked his profile, appeared to be a European collector of some seriousness. After I bid again, I waited nervously, but he never came back. My other binge watch was a Vulcain Cricket, an alarm-watch introduced in the late '40s, which sounds like a very large, very mechanical cricket.

I wanted one of these because the older ones look terrific, and because "Vulcain Cricket" is one of the finest pieces of found poetry I've ever stumbled across. Most sellers' goods on eBay are spread, as it were, on the same huge blanket, but Vince and Laura's tag allows them an edge in rep-building. I think it worked, the binge cure.

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Possibly because getting serious about choosing serious watches made the shuffling of pages a chore rather than a pleasure. Whereas before I'd been able to veg out, in the style of watching some version of the Shopping Channel that actually interested me, I now felt as though I were buying real estate.

I'd always hoped that I wouldn't turn into the sort of person who collected anything.

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I no longer open to watches on eBay first thing in the morning. Days go by without my contributing so much as a single hit. I wonder, though, at the extent to which eBay facilitated my passage through this particular consumer obsession. Into it and out the other side in a little under a year.

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How long would it have taken me to get up to speed on vintage watches without eBay? Would I have started attending watch shows? Would I have had to travel? Would it have taken years? Would I have gotten into it at all? In Istanbul, one chill misty morning in , I stood in Kapali Carsi, the grand bazaar, under a Sony sign bristling with alien futurity, and stared deep into a cube of plate glass filled with tiny, ancient, fascinating things. I'd been living on a Greek island, an archaeological protectorate where cars were prohibited, vacationing in the past.

The glass cube was one man's shop. He was a dealer in curios, and from within it he would reluctantly fetch, like the human equivalent of those robotic cranes in amusement arcades, objects I indicated that I wished to examine. He used a long pair of spring-loaded faux-ivory chopsticks, antiques themselves, their warped tips lent traction by wrappings of rubber bands.

And with these he plucked up, and I purchased, a single stone bead of great beauty, the color of apricot, with bright mineral blood at its core, to make a necklace for the girl I'd later marry, and an excessively mechanical Swiss cigarette lighter, circa or so, broken, its hallmarked silver case crudely soldered with strange, Eastern, aftermarket sigils. And in that moment, I think, were all the elements of a real futurity: all the elements of the world toward which we were heading - an emerging technology, a map that was about to evert, to swallow the territory it represented.

The technology that sign foreshadowed would become the venue, the city itself.


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  • And the bazaar within it. But I'm glad we still have a place for things to change hands.

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    Even here, in this territory the map became. The Universal Flea Market. I thought I was immune to the Net. Then I got bitten by eBay. View Comments. Sponsored Stories Powered By Outbrain. More Stories. National Affairs.

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