Saturday, January 2, 2010

Clean Up Time

Well, it is the New Year and that means it's clean up time. We took down the tree and decorations and cleaned up that mess. Then we moved some dressers and shelves around to give me more room in my workshop to store things and then we cleaned up that mess. Then I decided to tackle my file drawers....that was a very BIG mess to clean up. See, I never removed the stuff from 2008, then had no room for 2009 and just stacked that wherever I could find room. Then I dug into my very old, very slow running computer and cleaned that out too! From there I went into the kitchen and cleaned out some cans and boxes that were way past their "safe to eat" date and tossed those. Next I uploaded a bunch of stuff in my camera to clean that out too!

I didn't photograph any of the clean up, but I can show you some pictures that were in my camera.

Here is a silly little primrose that has somehow managed to survive since last spring in my office at work. This is what he looked like after my six days off.

I gave him a big drink of water and here is what he looked like the next day. He just doesn't quit! He is such an inspiration. :)

We were sitting in the drive through at Starbucks on Thursday morning and I took this rather blurry picture of the icicles on the building next door. There are icicles everywhere right now because of our fluctuating temperatures. If I can, I will try to take some other ones to show you. Some of them are pretty amazing...including the ones hanging off my own roof!

This is Michael and Bernadette's Australian Shepherd, Teagan. Isn't she beautiful?

Whenever we see her, she gets so excited that she smiles just the biggest toothy grin you would ever want to see. I have tried so many times to get a picture of her smiling, but while she is smiling she is also jumping and wiggling and wagging her entire back half and the pictures never turn out. This is what I got while trying on Thursday.

I just love this! I can't wait to show this one to Michael and Bernadette! She looks like she's meditating! Hmmmmmmm.....

Here is my newest tote bag. I will be listing it today. I just loved this fabric. The lining looks blue in the picture, but it's really purple. I would love to keep this one, but I already kept one and I have a rule about that. NO KEEPING THE MERCHANDISE!!

Today I will be making a couple more totes for FourDogDay. If my clock parts come, I will be finishing three little desk clocks I made.

I will also be taking inventory of everything in our cabinets and freezer and making our menu for the week based on what we already have. We start our new budget plan on Friday when we get paid, and I want to see if we can stay under $150 a week at the grocery store. I am only allowing $150 a week for food and household items AND our weekend carryout. If we want carryout....we have to spend very wisely. I know we can do it.

Well, that is about it for today. Make it an awesome day today!

Friday, January 1, 2010

My Wish For You

Happy New Year to you! May this be the year that dreams are made of for you and your family. May 2010 bring you good health, happiness and peace.

Normally, I am ready to slam the door shut on the old year...and even though it has been a terrible year in many respects....for me it has been a year of personal discovery. I have learned to live in the present and that has changed my life. I no longer fret over what has already happened and I no longer stress over what might or might not be.

I am enjoying each and every day for exactly what it is, and every day brings me a feeling of joy that I have never felt before. I wish the very same for you in 2010.

Even though we have never met, I consider you, my blog friends, to be some of my dearest. So many times I have written "Love You" at the end of my blog post, only to go back and remove it lest someone think I'm a wee bit "strange" telling people I don't even know that I love them....but in all honesty...I do love all of you. I love you for who you are and for the tears and laughter each of you have brought me this past year through your writing. For that, I thank you!

Here is to another whole year filled with love and laughter my friends! Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Budgeting Fun

Irv and I have really struggled financially during our 37 year marriage. With medical bills, raising 3 active kids, being unemployed and underemployed…we dug ourselves deep into debt. We got out a couple of times by refinancing our house but then crawled right back in again. We don’t want to refinance again at this stage of our lives and in this economy, so what option do we have? Only one…it’s time to tighten our belts and bite the bullet.

Let me say that Irv and I don’t live a luxurious life. We have a tiny house, don’t wear fancy clothes, don’t drive fancy cars, but we do live beyond our means at times, and that is a problem.

We have always had the mindset that if we need or want it and don’t have the money for it, we’ll just charge it and pay for it when the bill comes in. Well, we follow through on the first part and charge it, and then we never follow through on the second part of paying it off when the bill comes.

Doing that over the course of many years digs you into a great big debt hole and that is where we always seem to be. It isn’t that we can’t pay our bills, it’s tight, but we can pay them, it’s just that we seem to have more and more bills every year. We really haven’t charged much in this past year except for car repairs, tires and our new dryer, but it will take a long time to pay that off.

I’ve been working for a while on a budget…one where we truly set limits for our spending. We would take cash out for weekly expenses like food and gas on payday and leave the debit cards at home. Then if we need or want something and don’t have the cash for it…we will have to think about whether or not it’s something we have to have right now or not.

Debit cards are a great way to see where your money is going, but it’s also very easy to overspend…oh, it’s just a cup of coffee, or it’s just a pair of shoes, or it’s just some carryout….when you add that all up over the course of a month, you may have spent hundreds of dollars you didn’t really have.

The first thing I would like to do is to set a food/household budget. Irv and I tend to buy whatever we need/want. We have no idea what we’ve spent at the grocery store until we get to the checkout. It could be $120 or it could be $170. Then on top of that…every Friday and Saturday night we get carry out. Nothing expensive, but it’s still $25-$30 a week. Do we really need to spend that much on food and household supplies a week? I don’t think so. It's just the two of us for Pete's sake!

I think we should be able to keep it under $150 total. So, my thought is that we take $150 with us to the store, pay attention to what we are spending….then if there is anything left of the $150…that is what we have for our weekend carry out.

I love my carry out so you can be sure I will be paying close attention to what goes in that cart. I also read once that if people looked in their cabinets and freezer they could probably eat for a week or two without buying anything but perishables. Think you could do that? I think we could. What a great way to save some money. Plan your menu around what you already have on hand!

The other thing we need to look at is our personal spending…all of the little junk we spend our hard earned money on….but my head is spinning and my vision is blurred by little dollar signs right now so I think that is enough for today.

How do you keep your spending under control?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I don't make resolutions. I really never have. What I usually do is to make a with a purpose. I don't wait until December 31 to come up with a plan, I'm always thinking and planning.

Most people make resolutions like:

I am going to lose weight.
I am going to save money.
I am going to find a better job.
I am going to quit smoking.

If you asked those same people how they were going to do those things, most of them would shrug their shoulders and say they had no idea...and that is why resolutions don't always work.

Resolutions are nothing more than unguided goals, and unguided goals normally end up in the failure column. That is why I make plans. Plans work best if they have steps or mini goals within the plan or goal if you prefer.

One of my personal plans is to eat better. Without some kind of a would I start? How would I make that happen? How would I be successful?

I plan to eat better by creating a menu each week for my meals, buying the right foods to prepare those meals, preparing certain things in advance and packing as much of my lunch and snacks as I can the night before. I already started that this week.

One of my business plans is to keep better track of my etsy earnings and spending. I have already started the process. I am doing that by opening a separate checking account with debit cards for me and Irv, and a separate joint savings account for the business. Paypal money will go into my business checking or savings. Etsy expenses will come out of etsy earnings and not out of our personal accounts. All income and expenses will be recorded in a monthly ledger which will make taxes SO much easier!

Get the idea?

I don't know about you, but in order for me to have success, I have to have something to follow and I like it on paper.

I also plan to start exercising more. I am working on that plan right now. It goes hand-in-hand with another plan which is for ME to come first in my life. That means making the time to do yoga, pilates, weight lifting and walking. This is going to be a tough one for me, because I live for etsy and my workshop.....but in order to stay healthy and be able to enjoy what I do....I need this plan to be successful.

That means putting ME before etsy, my workshop, my blog, my e-mail and Facebook. Like I said, this is going to be a tough one, but I am of the mindset that I can do anything that I really want to do, so it will be fine. Plans can also be altered or fine-tuned...they aren't written in stone. If I find that I got in over my head, I can tone it down. If the plan was a snap, I can step it up a notch.

So, do you make resolutions? If so, do they work for you? If they do, what do you do to make that happen?

I know a lot of people wait for the New Year to change their attitude and their life...for me it's an ongoing process. I think it's important to go into every year, every month, every week and every day with a positive attitude and a feeling of hope. I try hard to do just that.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho

It's back to work I go! After a glorious six days off, I am headed off to work this morning. The nice thing is that I only have to work two days and then I am off for four more!! That's a big Chee Hoo!

It has been a wonderful break, filled with fun and family, and even a little etsy thrown in. I've been able to organize my etsy shop, FourDogDay a bit, organize my workshop a bit and organize my life a bit. What more can one ask for?

Work should be quiet with no kids or teachers. I have some enjoyable projects to work on and then it will be time to celebrate the coming of the new year. I have put a lot of thought into my plans for the upcoming year, and I will talk about that later this week.

Do you go out to celebrate New Years Eve? We use to go out. After we got tired of doing that, we use to get together at some one's house each year to celebrate. After years of doing that we started to stay home and watched the TV celebrations together. Now Irv can barely stay awake until 9:00 and I can barely make it past the 10:00 news.... much less midnight. I can usually manage if I keep myself busy, but Irv doesn't even get close. We'll see how we do this year.

I did get a new tote bag finished up today and listed in FourDogDay, and I also finished one of my new clocks. I used the same fabric for the clock as I did for the one I made for myself. Here is mine.

The fabric placement is different on the etsy one. I'll try to get that photographed as soon as I have some good lighting and get that listed as well.

Here is the tote. I love the new style and I love brown and pink together. I have other fabrics to make three more like this one, fabric to make quite a few clocks and even fabric to make some of my new envelope back pillow covers. Yes, I had fun at Joann's and on etsy over the break!

Well, it's time to get myself going. Make it an awesome day for yourself and I'll chat with you soon.

Monday, December 28, 2009

When Old Friends Part

Did you ever love something so much that even when it was really old and really ratty looking and in very, very bad shape and you even got a new one to replace the old one...that you still could not bear to throw it away?

These are my beloved old slippers. My old slippers have holes in the bottoms, there are holes on the tops where little bows use to be, they have little splats of paint of them and they are just plain old wore out....and yes, I was still wearing these on a daily basis.

These are the new slippers I asked for and received for Christmas. My new slippers are beautiful. They are blue and soft and comfy and clean.

I started wearing my new slippers on Saturday. My old slippers were laying on the floor of my workshop. I actually picked them up and put them on one of the shelves because I didn't want Maggie to get them and chew them up. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? Chew them up? Look at the things!

I must admit that being a person that loves to reuse old things, I've been looking at them trying to think of a way I might be able to use them for something, but nothing is coming to mind.

So, today I am going to dig deep and I am going to throw my old slippers in the garbage. It's going to be sad as it always is when old friends part, but I think I can do it.

Have you ever had something you just can't part with? Spill it....I need some encouragement today.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Black and White Plaid Hat and Mittens Part 2

This post won't require many words. You will be able to "see" the fun we had when our daughter-in-law opened her Black and White Plaid Hat and Mittens. If you don't know the whole story behind the hat and here. Tresa ended up buying the hat for Bernadette and Irv and I bought her the mittens.

Bernadette was so happy with her new hat and mittens that she happily posed for a photo. She wanted to be sure you could see the mittens so she held her hands like this.

Michael made fun of her holding her hands up like that....

So, then she tried a new pose....with her hands down.

Michael decided that he wanted to see how warm the hat was....

and he liked it...

a lot.....

apparently a whole bunch!

Matt checking out the ear vents....

One happy girl playing wii in her Black and White Plaid Bomber Hat!

I spent a lot of time in my etsy shop, FourDogDay yesterday setting up my BIG end of the year Clearance Sale. Today I am off to Joann Fabrics. I need fabric for my new line of spring tote bags. Hard to think about spring when we got this yesterday!

Have an awesome day today and I will chat with you soon!

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