Titan Chains Update


It has been months since I’ve mentioned Titan Chains. This company literally saved my little homestead by providing needed income after my husband died rather suddenly. I was a happy crafter from 8/11 – 3/13 when Titan closed down due to difficulty finding wire that was consistent. During the down time they revamped the process & started over with a new team. The new website is much easier to navigate & the FAQs address the most pertinent questions that most independent contractors will have. Although the basics of the bracelet design are very similar there are enough changes to warrant formerly approved crafters to start from the beginning.
The new bracelets incorporate both single & double weave & are a wonderful improvement over the original design. The payment of $120 profit for a lot of 10 remains the same.
Once I’m caught up on fiber processing & knitting, I hope to start once again with Titan. Until then, I will use what I’ve learned to make a few bracelets to have on hand for birthday & Christmas gifts. I did this last year & the bracelets were well received. I incorporated stones that are peculiar to Michigan & are of special interest to anyone who grew up or spent much time around Lake Michigan. Titan also offers an array of supplies for sale for those who prefer to come up with their own designs.

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.

Catching Up

It’s been 8 months since I’ve posted here or on The Frugal Homestead. Not only have I missed being here, I’ve also missed keeping up with many of you through your blogs. Last October a hair/mineral analysis revealed toxic levels of copper. Not long after that revelation, the associated adrenal fatigue got the best of me & I truly wondered if I would be able to manage living this lifestyle. Recovery seemed slow with frustrating setbacks, but I am making progress & feeling more energetic.
Since my two blogs have a similar focus, I’ll be merging them into one. Hence the new title Farming In My Fifties/The Frugal Homestead. BTW, the first part of the title is now a lie as I’ve turned 60. I’ll move content from TFH here when I have spare moments.
My sincere apologies to those of you who took the time to comment & received no response. Some of you requested comfrey & I didn’t know how to answer. I’m willing to share roots. Before, I didn’t have the energy to dig them. I’m feeling much more able bodied now & will contact the post office to check the regulations for mailing the roots.
I hope everyone has been enjoying the best, most productive summer ever! I look forward to catching up & reading about what everyone has been up to.

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.

How Two Ladies Fixed Their Refrigerator Themselves

Our refrigerator was becoming unpredictable. It seemed that the automatic defrost was not shutting off thereby making the whole unit too warm. Of course, we called a repairman who had to come from another city to our rural area. A large trip charge was added to the bill. He could not tell what was wrong & left a monitor in it for a week. Murphy’s Law says that the fridge would not act up during this week. Old Murphy was correct. Now we had a big bill & still no fridge.
It seemed, from picking the repairman’s brain & doing some reading, that it might be the motherboard. This is a $200 part according to the repairman and not to be entered into lightly. So, we substituted with  coolers and 2 liter soda bottles that we filled with water & then froze in our freezer. That worked remarkably well & we managed for six months with this method. The biggest hassle was changing out the bottles and no longer having things like mayo. The prospect of a $300 repair bill offset the inconvenience.
Amazon.com to the rescue! We did a little checking & realized that we could ave about $100 by ordering the control board through Amazon. But we weren’t confident in our ability to change it out ourselves. Enter a PartSelect youtube tutorial  that walked us through the whole process. We Came, We Saw, We Conquered! Good to know that PartSelect has over 600 videos. I took a quick look & noticed repair videos for washers, dryers & refrigerators. Next time something breaks, I know the direction to head.
I have learned how to do so many things through info on the Internet & especially youtube. What we saved on the fridge repair will fund what we spend for Internet service for some months.

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.

My Ten Best Viking Knit Tips

I’ve learned a few tricks from weaving viking knit bracelets for Titan Chains.

These tips are meant to enhance and perfect your weaving method. Besides the mandrel and wire cutters, you will need:
·        Duct tape
·        Rubber bands/cellophane tape
·        Chain nose pliers
·        Tongue and Groove pliers
·        Vise
1. Wrap your fingers, where they rest on the wire, with duct tape. I wrap my thumb and index fingers on the hand that holds the mandrel. Your method my require you to wrap different fingers. Wrapping will prevent soreness and allow you to pull the wire for a nice tight weave. You might also need to wrap the fingers on your other hand where the jewelry tools rest.
2.  Use a rubber band or cellophane tape to secure the starter bundle tightly to the mandrel.
3.  Don’t worry about the size of the first loops you make on the starter bundle. They will be large and not consistent in size. It is more important to get the loops as evenly spaced as possible.
4.  My favorite and most used jewelry tool is a pair of chain nose pliers. It’s easier to grab the wire with these than with round nose pliers. It is worth paying extra for the padding on the pliers so they don’t dent soft wire. Use your jewelry tools instead of your hands, to pull the wire through the loops.
5.  Push the chain up to the top of the mandrel about every 6-8 loops you make. This will keep the chain from becoming stuck on the mandrel.
6.  Oops, the chain is stuck on the mandrel. To get the chain off, lay the mandrel on an uncarpeted floor. Step on the mandrel and pull the chain off. Be sure to wear shoes.
7.  Now that your chain is complete, cut through the first loops you made to remove the chain from the starter bundle. You may reuse the starter bundle indefinitely. This saves wire and the extra work of making a new starter bundle for every chain.
8.  Thread a couple of wires through the top first loops of the chain you just removed from the mandrel. You will thread these wires through the drawplate and grab them to pull the chain through.
9.  An ordinary shop vise is all that is needed to make pulling the chain through the small holes in the drawplate a piece of cake. Secure the drawplate tightly in the vise to hold it place.
10. Use tongue and groove pliers to grab the wires. The grooves in the pliers keep the wires from slipping, so you have a secure grip when pulling the chain through the drawplate.
Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.

Work at Home: Titan Chains

My Bracelets: Style 1 (R) and Style 2 (L)

For the past couple of years, I’ve worked from home at various jobs I found on the Internet. My favorite is making bracelets for Titan Chains. I ordered my kit in August of 2011, am now making a couple of lots each week and still getting things done around the homestead. There is no counting or place holding involved. My day is full of interruptions and the work can easily be set aside and resumed later.
These bracelets are made from stainless wire that is “knit” around a mandrel. The mandrel is so slender that it seems like it would be impossible to work with. Appearances are deceiving and once the technique is mastered, it is simple and relaxing work. Perseverance is key along with the old adage, “practice makes perfect”.  Even though I hadn’t worked with wire before, it wasn’t difficult to learn the process. The biggest challenge, for me was maintaining even tension and finishing the ends.

Titan Chains provides excellent visual and written instructions. There is also a help desk staffed by knowledgeable people to bail the crafter out when she gets stuck. I was surprised by the thorough review I received. Not only were my mistakes pointed out, but I was given tips on how to correct them.
There are fees involved with any craft-at-home opportunity. The fees pay for the tools and supplies that are sent to the prospective worker. The staff that gives the reviews must also be paid. The fee is returned after a specified number of lots have been submitted. Once you are approved to work for them, all supplies are provided free of charge. You are even reimbursed for the postage you pay to send the bracelets in. Payments are consistent and fall on the same day each week. 
This job is a perfect fit for my homesteading lifestyle. The consistent work and timely payments are as reliable as any off-site job I’ve ever had.
Another benefit is that I’ve gotten great deals on supplies from Titan to make & sell my own creations. Without putting forth much effort, I sold 10 bracelets around Christmas. I haven’t investigated selling on Etsy yet, but that is a future plan.
I have a few suggestions to pass along that make weaving viking knit chains a tad bit easier.

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: I may receive commissions/revenue from affiliates or advertisers for endorsements, recommendations, and/or links to products or services from this blog. It doesn’t change the cost to you and helps offset expenses on this frugal homestead.