Category Archives: pets

Hack Yo Dawg

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1. DIY a treat-dispensing toy to entertain them for hours.

DIY a treat-dispensing toy to entertain them for hours.

Or until they eat all the treats. Cut open a tennis ball with a scissor and stuff it with their favorite snack.

2. Play fetch downhill to tire your dog out faster.

3. Use a carabiner to easily leash your dog.

Use a carabiner to easily leash your dog.

Don’t spend 10 minutes undoing knots when you get out of the grocery store. Loop the leash handle through the carabiner, wrap it around a post, and hook it onto the remaining length of leash.

4. Put a ball in your dog’s food bowl if he or she eats too fast.

Put a ball in your dog’s food bowl if he or she eats too fast.

They’ll be forced to move the ball around the bowl, which prevents them from scarfing it all down in one lick.

5. Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

Make an ice lick by freezing toys, bones, and chicken broth into a cake mold.

I think this one is SUCH a good idea….especially for people living in particularly hot climates.

6. For an on-the-go water break, try a collapsible water bowl.

For an on-the-go water break, try a collapsible water bowl.

I have one of these for Beatrix.  
7. Make a dog car seat using a laundry basket, a pillow, and a blanket.

Make a dog car seat using a laundry basket, a pillow, and a blanket.

To keep your dog safe and in one spot, wrap a blanket around a pillow, place the pillow in the laundry basket, and use the excess fabric to drape around the basket to soften the edges. There’s a chance you’ll want to curl up in there, too.  In Oregon, one needs to safety belt-restrain their dogs, so I have devised a comfy little bed for Beatrix that includes strapping her safely into place.

8. To DIY a cute dog bed, use a crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and a wooden pallet.

To DIY a cute dog bed, use a crib mattress, a fitted sheet, and a wooden pallet.

This would be a California King size bed for Beatrix.  She would barely fill a child’s shoe box!
9. And if you want to reduce clutter in the bedroom, put your crate where a drawer would go.
And if you want to reduce clutter in the bedroom, put your crate where a drawer would go.
You can hang a curtain over it with a tension rod.  Good idea, yes?

10. If your dog hates the crate, opt for a pillow instead.

If your dog hates the crate, opt for a pillow instead.

Our Beebs loves a soft pillow!

11. You can also hack an Ikea shelf for a super-modern dog bed.

You can also hack an Ikea shelf for a super-modern dog bed.

This one, I like!

12. To save on floor space, put your dog’s bowls in a bottom drawer.

To save on floor space, put your dog's bowls in a bottom drawer.

Our Beatrix is so small that we could use a thimble for a water container and she’d still be perfectly hydrated.

13. Use peanut butter to distract your dog during nail trimming.

Use peanut butter to distract your dog during nail trimming.
I just take Beebs to the vet to get her nails trimmed.  It’s a three minute walk from our house.

14. And if you accidentally cut your dog’s nail too short, stop any bleeding with a mixture of cornstarch and water.

And if you accidentally cut your dog's nail too short, stop any bleeding with a mixture of cornstarch and water.

I don’t trim Beatrix’s nails myself because I’m terrified of nicking her.

15. If you’re traveling with a pet, get a spillproof bowl.

If you’re traveling with a pet, get a spillproof bowl.

We have one of these.  Works great!

16. And if your pet loses a toy while you’re on the road, make a crinkle toy from a sock and an empty water bottle.

And if your pet loses a toy while you're on the road, make a crinkle toy from a sock and an empty water bottle.

Have been doing this for years.  Another good idea is to stuff an old sock with crumbled up newspapers, unless you have a big dog that might tear it up.

17. Use a squeegee to remove dog hair from your car seats.

Use a squeegee to remove dog hair from your car seats.

Works like a charm.

18. For the dog that’s constantly trying to climb into the front seat: Use this zip line harness.

For the dog that’s constantly trying to climb into the front seat: Use this zip line harness.

Fortunately, little Beatrix is quite obedient, so these extreme measures aren’t necessary.

19. You can also hook the harness up outside while you’re camping or barbecuing.

You can also hook the harness up outside while you're camping or barbecuing.

20. Use chalk around outdoor pet bowls to keep ants out.

Use chalk around outdoor pet bowls to keep ants out.

Who knew?

21. If it’s really hot or really cold out, rub Vaseline onto your dog’s paws before stepping outside.

If it's really hot or really cold out, rub Vaseline onto your dog's paws before stepping outside.

I had to tell my friend about this one.  Those of us with tiny dogs that are low to the ground can really use this hack.

22. If your dog scratches the door to go out, use a door protector to minimize damages.

If your dog scratches the door to go out, use a door protector to minimize damages.

Easy solution!

23. Make your own pill pockets in flavors you know your dog will love.

Make your own pill pockets in flavors you know your dog will love.

Roll the mixture into small balls, poke a hole in each ball with a pencil eraser (for the pill), and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Get the recipe here.

24. If your dog is an escape artist, get an escape prevention dog harness.

Beatrix could squeeze through ANY opening.  This is a great idea!

25. And lastly, check out this chart to know the basics of what your dog can and can’t eat.

And lastly, check out this chart to know the basics of what your dog can and can't eat.

Day #28-Pink

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Day #17 – Home

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Day #8 – 4 Things

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I Am Light….and so are you.

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This beautiful song by India Arie was performed by Dr. Wayne Dyer’s daughter, Skye, acapella, at the recent “I Am Light” seminar that I attended with my friend, Shannon Kringen,  here in Portland.  I thought of another of my friends as I listened to these words… and was grateful for his teaching and his loving light.  As I listen to this song, I am thankful for the love that I receive each day, and I am reminded again, of how lucky I am.  There is only one spirit and one mind, and we are all part of this collective intelligence and love.  We are one.

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Bow Ties for Dogs??!! (Straight out of Portlandia)

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Bow Ties for Dogs??!!  (Straight out of Portlandia)

I have written about the food cart “pod” that is a couple of blocks from our house.  It is an amazing gathering of carts that serve gourmet quality international food selections on the cheap.  We love it, both for the food and the low prices, as well as for the diversity of the crowd that gathers there.  In addition to the food carts, there are also a couple of cool shops, one in a double decker bus.

My daughter, Sarah, her daughter, Ingrid, and I took a stroll there over the weekend just to see what was going on.  They usually have music on the weekends and sometimes jugglers or acrobats or other types of free entertainment that Ingrid loves.  This week, we met a nice guy named Josh who had his sewing machine set up at a little table and was making bow ties for dogs.  Said he makes enough to support himself, which you have to admit, is very cool.

See?  This is what I love about Portland.  When people are broke, they don’t just sit around and complain about the economy.  They invent ways to make money.  This is my own way of thinking.    Here is a little video that I shot of Josh.  You’ll probably get a kick out of it.  Looks like a scenario straight out of Portlandia:

 

Using Diffusers to Get Rid of Mice the Humane Way

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Using Diffusers to Get Rid of Mice the Humane Way

You may recall the post I made the other day about using diffused essential oils to aid in concentration.  I promised to write more about diffusers, but today, my friend  submitted this story about her own experience in getting rid of mice without killing them.

Getting Rid of Mice the Humane Way

This is my first autumn in this century-old cottage, which I am renting in a woodsy area in the middle of the city. One of the agreements I made with my landlord was that I would accept the house as it was, including the formerly mouse-infested basement.

I agreed because I love this little house a lot.

This was the most disgusting job I’ve ever had to do and I wasn’t sure that I had the gumption to tackle it myself. I thought about hiring someone to do the job for me, but I was only procrastinating… I had to clean this shit up myself.

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With the help of a borrowed shop vac, gifted steam cleaner, shop towels, bleach, and lots of elbow grease, I thoroughly cleaned that basement so that I finally felt safe enough to start moving my basement stuff down there.

The wooden shelf above the utility sink was the first shelf that got scrubbed and then covered with contact paper. Perfectly clean and easy to wipe down.

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The nice contact paper shelf at eye level also made it easy to spot mouse droppings one day last week, when the temperature dropped down into the 50s. A mouse! I must get rid of it!
I knew there must be a natural way to repel this mouse so I did my research and learned that mice hate the smell of peppermint. I happened to have peppermint oil in stock and so I put some peppermint oil drops on some cotton balls and shoved these into crevices and corners near the site of the mouse-dropping.
It worked for a couple of days… then on the third day–rats! He was back. Not as many mouse droppings as before, but still… I want him entirely gone.

I pondered to myself… “How can I keep a perpetually consistent smell of peppermint going in this corner?
AHA!

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The SpaRoom Aromafier that my friend gave me to try!

The diffuser is about the size of a computer mouse (how ironic!) and it comes with a USB adapter. I happened to have an AC adapter on hand (it also runs on batteries), so I plugged it into the wall near the dryer vent (where I think the critter sneaks in), and I aimed the diffuser fan at the suspected entry point. I put about 8 drops of peppermint oil on the pad, and it’s quiet as a whisper so I’ve been running the Aromafier 24/7 and great news…. no more mouse droppings! It’s been over a week now, so this method works.
I found that I have to replenish the peppermint oil about every other day (every 48 hours). It smells nice and no more mousies!
The Aromafier is around $25, which includes a bottle of peppermint essential oil. You can order it here.

Day #24 – 12 o’Clock

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Original photography by Stacy Alexander, ©2015 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

When Someone You Love Succeeds

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When Someone You Love Succeeds

I have to admit it.  Personal success feels great.  Each time I accomplish something that sets me one step closer to my goals, I feel elated.  However, that feeling pales in comparison to the emotions I experience when someone I love achieves success, be it a friend or a family member.  That’s right.  I take more joy in seeing someone I love succeed than I take in my own accomplishments.  For instance, yesterday, I received this email from my husband, John:

 

My Dearest Wife,

Early this morning,  I received the news that my “The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” was selected to kick-off San Francisco Dramatists Guild’s  spring Footlights, staged-playreading series on March 2nd.

Attached is the invitation that will be sent out from New York in a few days.

Love to you,

J

SAN FRANCISCO FOOTLIGHTS – March 2, 2015 presentation.

Please join the Dramatists Guild for a staged-reading of John Freed’s

 

“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy”

 

on Monday, March 2 at 7PM
Tides Theatre
533 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA

 

Play Synopsis:


“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” is set in an Equity-based, regional theatre in the late eighties and concerns a fed-up Jewish board member who takes over as acting artistic director in order to stage a Shylock-friendly production of “The Merchant of Venice” while being forced to confront his own set of racial and ethnic prejudices.

 

                        “A brilliant mashup of Shakespeare and August Wilson.”   Arno Selco, Ithaca College

 

 

John Freed’s Brief Bio:
East Coast native by birth, the high point of his acting career occurred at age seventeen playing the lead in “Kiss me, Kate.” He received a standing ovation for his fireman’s carry off-stage of  his co-star after her slap nearly knocked him out at the close of Act One.
Fast forward to teaching dramatic literature, especially Shakespeare,  at Penn State as well as being the theater critic for the “Erie Daily Times” and film critic for New York’s “OneWorld Magazine.” He adapted Richard Wright’s novella “The Man Who Lived Underground” as a radio play produced by the local National Public Radio station and co-wrote “When Shakespeare Was a Woman” while functioning as pro bono drama consultant for the artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
His own writing evolved further from developing a series of creative writing and new media courses at the University of St. Thomas in Texas and at Brandman / Chapman University here in the Bay area.   During this time he wrote  “Love me, Fuseli: A Play about Mary Wollstonecraft and her Circle of Friends” and “Figaro’s Follies” – a new adaption of  Beaumarchais’ “Le Mariage de Figaro” which had staged-readings by the EastBay Players in the fall of 2014.

 

He is currently working on the book and lyrics for a musical entitled “All Hallows at Hearst Castle” with composer, Jeff Dunn.

John bi-locates to Portland, Oregon where his wife, Stacy Alexander, is a graduate student, a professional writer and a mixed media artist.  His playwright website is http://freed98.wix.com/johnfreedplaywright .

 

Dramatists Guild’s San Francisco

(end)

My response to John:

To My Most Admirable Husband,
So, once again, a public acknowledgement and congratulations in the midst of many, my darling.   What an honor for your play to kick off the season!  There are insufficient words to convey how proud of you I am.  Each play you write is better than the one that came before it.   I enthusiastically encourage you to continue with your play writing, just as you have always encouraged me with my own creative endeavors.  It is with great happiness that I  look forward to seeing what you come up with next.  Oh….and “break a leg”  (figuratively…not literally)  🙂
Your loving wife,
Anastasia

Day #18- Bedside

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Original photography by Stacy Alexander, ©2015 – ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Are Flea Control Chemicals Killing Your Dog?

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Are Flea Control Chemicals Killing Your Dog?

Do you dose your dog for fleas every month?  Most monthly flea products contain pesticides, organophosphates and a wide array of other  toxic ingredients that have been linked with thousands of pet deaths and diseases. In November of the year 2000,  the Nation Resource Defense Council (NRDC) Recommended that EPA ban use of Orthophosphates in Pet Products.  The report stressed that the pesticides in flea and tick control products needed to be eliminated because they were killing our pets and posing risks to the owners that were applying them. beebe headshot

Another reason to give up these types of flea control treatments is the cost.  I have been picking up a prouct from Beatrix’s vet each month that does not contain organophosphates, but it costs a steep $30!  That can add up over time, so I went on the search for a natural alternative.  I found the answer in lemongrass essential oil.

Every time I take Beatrix to my daughter’s house, she comes home with fleas.  Sarah has two indoor-outdoor cats, and while they are delightful animals, they do tend to bring fleas into the house.  Sarah is diligent about keeping them at bay inside her house, but they still manage to hop onto her cats and come inside.  Fighting them is a constant battle. When little Beebs picks them up, she becomes absolutely miserable, so I have to treat her right away.

I did my research and learned that lemongrass is a natural repellent for fleas and ticks.  However, it must be used more than once a month, especially at first.  I began Beatrix’s treatment with it by adding some to her all-natural shampoo.  Mind you, this is an indoor dog, and she does not require frequent bathing, simply because she stays clean and has no distinct unpleasant odor.  However, I do keep a gentle, all-natural dog shampoo on hand for those occasions when bath time is necessary.  I use one that has oatmeal in it, since this calms irritated skin, and simply add a little lemongrass oil at bath time.  (Chihuahuas are noted for their skin issues.  So far, so good, with little Beebs.)

I recently received a sample of Dog Logic’s flea and tick shampoo,  and because it had lemongrass in it, I decided to give it a try during Beatrix’s last bath.  The shampoo smells really good without the addition of artificial scents, and it made Beatrix’s coat soft and silky.  The trick is to leave the lather on for 10 minutes before rinsing.  Beebs wasn’t thrilled about this aspect at all, since she hates baths in general, but I must say.  The fleas are gone and she is a much happier puppy than she was.

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Ok….for the bad news….This shampoo is expensive.  At nearly $30 for an 18 ounce bottle, it costs more than any other pet shampoo I had previously purchased.

The good news is that it only takes a couple of pumps of shampoo per bath, so the 18 ounces will last a long time.  This shampoo does not provide a rich, thick lather, but do not be put off by that.  It works….and it works well.  The ingredients in this shampoo are exceptionally high quality.  As a matter of fact,  the ingredients and price of this shampoo are similar to that of the  Bumble and Bumble shampoo that I buy at my beauty salon for my own hair!  However, the high price is worth it.  I assure you.

Between shampoos, I add a little lemongrass oil to a washcloth and gently swipe it over Beatrix’s fur.  I do not apply it directly to her skin, and I do not use a lot of it, but it works very well to keep fleas away, which is why I wanted to share this information with my readers.

If you use an all-natural flea preventative measure, please let me know what it is and how you like it and I will update this blog with the information.

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The Power of Empathy

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It can be very difficult to empathize with those people with whom you have no connection.  Fortunately, most people are not mean, and in most cases, I do try to connect and empathize with others. Do you?

Here is an interesting talk about empathy.

Last Update of the Year

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Last Update of the Year

I have been trying to make it over here to do an update before the end of the year, but this has been my first opportunity to do so.   First, let me thank my 590  wonderful subscribers and other readers for your continued support.  I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you have gained something from being a part of my life through this blog.   I wish each of you a happy and prosperous 2015.

As I approach the end of 2014, I have made some big changes in my life.  First, I have eliminated some unhealthy familial relationships that were dragging me down,  and have grown closer to other family members.  Both moves proved to be freeing and healing.

I have begun a regular meditation and yoga practice.  I am making art again.  I still have a four point in grad school and am slated to graduate this summer.   As for friendships….every single friendship that I had at the end of last year is still in place.  One, in particular, is stronger than ever, and I feel so blessed because of this. (4).

r     Rene Best musician

Life here has been a December whirlwind!  I took a couple of fun little trips…some that I can talk about, and some that I can’t.  However, my break from school proved to be no break at all.  I had a difficult midterm that took an entire day to complete, two discussion papers to write, a paper on women in leadership roles and a psychometric analysis of a psychological testing instrument used to determine levels of creativity.  Eeeee!  I still have two papers left to write before the fourth, but I’m fairly certain I will be able to complete them on time.  I have also been finishing up a lot of work projects that I had to finish by tonight.  Those are completed and sent to my editors, so I feel great about that.

The good news is that John is home, and we have been having the best time!  We took Ingrid Christmas shopping and to Peacock lane.

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We spent a quiet Christmas together at home, then went to our daughter’s house for gift exchange and a delicious dinner.  My son in law, who makes THESE  gorgeous knifes and teaches black smithing,  hand forged an incredible cheese knife for me. I am so proud of it!  (I love handmade gifts best of all!)   For the handle, he used exotic wood that had some naturally-formed cracks in it.  He ground up turquoise, suspended it in resin and filled the cracks with it.  The picture does not do it justice.  This is a gorgeous knife! He also hand carved a beautiful wooden spoon for me and gave them both to me in a nice wooden holder.  So talented, he is! Thanks, Nate!

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John wanted to do something extra special this year, so surprised me with a trip to Sun Mountain Lodge   up in the beautiful Cascades. What an incredible trip! It was cozy and romantic, stunningly beautiful and gave us the opportunity to get caught up after spending a long time apart.  We loved it there and want to go back in the spring.

cascades

Met some friends there, and were able to parlay the journey into a side trip Seattle where our granddaughter, Maya, is visiting from the East Coast.  We were absolutely thrilled to learn that she plans to return to the Pacific NW.  We have missed her in the 5 months she has been gone!

ingrid and maya

We stayed with our darling friends, Sheryl and Dylan and really enjoyed the company.  Sheryl is like family to us.  It was high quality, beautiful family time.  We visited and took Ings to the park.  We went out for dinner.  We went to an incredible display of Christmas lights.  It was so much fun.  I feel so happy just thinking about it.

ings and sheryl

Much, much more has happened, but I haven’t the time to write about it all.  Tonight, we are going to join our friends, Toni and Peter, as we did last year, for dinner, drinks and dancing.  We’ll start the evening off at a little wine bar known as “Arrivederci” and then meet other friends in another location to ring in the New Year together.  There won’t be any redneck bars and plastic cups in the mix for this year,  but as my friend pointed out, I’ve always been more of a crystal stemware type anyway, so it all works out. 🙂  I know I’m loved.  I’m happy.

I’m lucky….and I know it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Be safe and have fun!

My Unruly Toddler

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My Unruly Toddler

For the most part, my chihuahua is a good girl.  She is completely house trained.  She is obedient.  She is smart….She does tricks……but when I try to talk on the phone.  Watch out!  She is just like a mischievous toddler!

She is not allowed to go into our bedroom unsupervised…but today, when I was on the phone, she did anyway.  One, by one, she dragged shoes out of my closet…socks from the hamper….and her toys, and set them at my feet until she had accumulated this nice pile right in front of me!

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I probably would have been irritated with her if she wasn’t so cute.

Ah….but she is cute.  She most certainly is.

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I’m so happy that I have her.

I Thank You….And I Wish You Happiness on This Day.

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thankful

To my family, my friends and my readers here….I am thankful that you are a part of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving with Love.

Sending love and strength afar.

Doctor’s Without Borders Auction is Now in Session!

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There are so many beautiful pieces up for bid at this auction.  With the holidays right around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to get a stunning piece of art at a great price while helping out an excellent organization.

BID NOW!

Let the Bidding Begin!

2014 International Mosaic Auction…a benefit for

Doctors Without Borders/Medicines Sans Frontieres

…is now OPEN!

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Don’t miss out winning, for your very own, at least 1 of the 141 extraordinary mosaic artworks from an international group of artists available for bid to raise funding for the critical and continued efforts of

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Place your bid!  

Whether you’re looking for an original Mosaic for your Fine Art collection or searching for a beautiful piece of Wearable Art for a special someone, you’re sure to find it in our auction.

Every bid helps support the ongoing and much needed humanitarian efforts of DWB/MSF

Tell Your Friends! 

The success of this mosaic auction depends on spreading the word to as many people as possible. We need your help. Please Refer a Friend and encourage them to participate so they don’t miss a single moment of the excitement, the ART, and the opportunity of being a part of helping people in crisis.

 

Be informed! Stay informed! 

Click on DoctorsWithoutBorders.org/news-stories for up to the moment field news.

“Humanitarian action is based on the conviction that ordinary people caught in conflict and crisis, whoever and wherever they may be, deserve to be spared from the excesses of violence and to receive lifesaving assistance that is impartial, neutral, and free from political or religious agendas.” Nicolas de Torrent; former Executive Director, MSF-USA

 

Payment & Shipping of your Mosaic Art

All dollars are in US currency. VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover accepted. All sales are final.

Winning bidders are responsible for all fees associated with the mailing/packaging of the Mosaic Art. Your Mosaic Art will be shipped as soon as payments have been processed. You are responsible and liable for ensuring the accuracy of your shipping address; please double-check your My Account profile (even if you believe the information is correct) to confirm that it’s accurate.

The winning bidder acknowledges that Auction Organizer, Linda Schorr/Lin Schorr – Mixed Media Mosaics, makes no representation as to the value of the mosaic art. The Artists Market Value will accompany the shipment of the mosaic artwork to the winning bidder.

All Mosaic Art will be shipped ‘As Is’. The winning bidder acknowledges that Auction Organizer, Linda Schorr/Lin Schorr – Mixed Media Mosaics will not be held responsible or liable for loss or damage incurred by the US or foreign postal delivery systems.

                                 SHIPPING INFORMATION

US/Domestic Shipments:

The majority of mosaics will be shipped individually via USPS Priority Flat Rate.

The current Flat Rate Fee per artwork:

  • Small Flat Rate box: $5.95. A $4.00 packaging charge will be added to each Flat Rate fee, bringing the shipment total per artwork to $9.95
  • Medium Flat Rate box: $12.65. A $6.00 packaging charge will be added to each Flat Rate fee, bringing the shipment total per artwork to $18.65
  • Large Flat Rate box: $17.90. A $6.00 packaging charge will be added to each Flat Rate fee, bringing the shipment total per artwork to $23.90

 

*Michigan Residents only: The 6% Michigan sales tax will be charged on the total winning bid (including shipping & handling) for all Michigan residents.

*In Person Pickup: If you are a local winning bidder and wish to pickup your mosaic(s) in person, you must notify Lin Schorr via email at:  Lin@LinSchorr.com by 12:00-noon, Monday, December 8th.  After this time, the shipping charges will be added to your charge card.

No exceptions.

 

International Shipments (including Mexico and Canada):

Your mosaic(s) will be shipped via USPS and will be calculated by destination & weight. An $8.00 box/packaging fee will be added to each artwork being shipped. Any applicable customs, duty or taxes are the responsibility of the buyer/winning bidder.

*Note – Item shipping fees being calculated by destination & weight may be charged separately from the winning bid to the winning bidders credit card.

 

View the mosaic art collection LIVE at the Northville Art House

215 W. Cady St, Northville, Michigan

Regular Art House hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm