Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Birdhouses" Mamsie style

I asked the kids, Kayla and Monty this year to decorate a birdhouse and give it to me for Christmas. I figured out the style of the birdhouses and Monty cut them out of pieces of cedar he had in his stash. Since I had been collecting pieces of this and that with with this project in mind, I pulled out my shoebox of drawer pulls, escutheon plates, pipe clamps, one drain cover and upholstry tacks. They each sorted out what they liked and went to work on thier designs. What resulted is 5 very unique houses which I absolutely love. It was a very nice Christmas for Mams!

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Simple Christmas

This year I returned to my roots and decorated our tree with mostly all handmade ornaments, save for the glitter grapevine wreath balls and poinsetta flowers. Our tree is filled with little ornaments made over the last 33 years. From felt Christmas trees made in 1988 to cross stitch ornaments I made in 1980's when Monty and I first met. There are plastic canvas poinsetta's made by me and the kids in 1996, marshmallow snowmen made in 2006, wreaths made in 1984, small peach baskets in 1986 and lots of others that I never dated. Wish now I had. What is amazing is that I have made an ornament every year except for just a couple. The years I missed, well I just didn't get a creative vibe to make one. But hey, 30 yrs is a long time and with many more to come who knows what I will come up with next!

Merry Christmas and enjoy a memory moment from years past..

Monday, December 12, 2011

Budget, budget, budget

You know the ole saying...everything little bit counts....well it does. I think the biggest reason people fail at saving or budgeting is that they don't get the big picture. You have to think the long haul. Yes, it does take time and sacrifice on your part to break bad money habits.

1st-think of it like this...reducing your cable bill by $30 a month translates into a savings of $360 yrly. You should look at your cell phone and insurance plans as well to find more hidden savings.
2nd-use coupons(and I could do better). You can at the very least save $3-5 wk, which in turn will save you $144-240 yrly.
3rd-buy on sale and stock up. If it something that routinely goes on sale, buy only enough to get to the next one. This allows you to keep your capital in the bank for a rainy day event(like a flat tire, etc). The key is not to overspend on sale items.
4th-use credit cards wisely, again goes without saying. If you have to buy on credit then pay it off in a set amount of months. Make every effort to make those big purchases when your card offers 0% interest for a specific time frame. Then milk it, figure what you have to pay for that period. Set it up in on your bank site to pay monthly and forget it. Done. No shame in using their dime to fund a major purchase..hehe.
5th-make a commitment to not buy any thing other than the bare necessities for 3 months. This is harder than you think. But do it and you will be amazed at what you saved. $$$ ka-ching, ka-ching will add up.
6th-eat leftovers. I now plan meals with the sole intention of having the left overs later in the week. Not only has it simplified cooking but is a major time saver as well. Yeehaw on the time saving bit. Less food waste = less money spent.
7th-nothing new here but if you owe more than one credit card, take the credit industries advice. Attack the balance with the highest annual percentage rate first. When that one is paid off, move onto the debt with the next-highest interest rate. Transfer balances to lower interest card and credit card hop to get the lowest interest.
8th-now that you are working on #7, don't charge them up again. Instead, stay the course.
9th and most to save something every paycheck. Once you have money in savings you can pay for those unexpected expenses that come up. Plus, you have that nice little feeling of having a nest egg.
10th-impulse spending can undo your budget. Unless you have to have it to breathe, leave it on the shelf.
11th-shop used and pay less. If you have access to a Goodwill or the like, pop in and look around. You may luck up and find some things at a very cheap price.
12th and last, less bills to pay = more time. And having more time is always a good thing.

So, remember little savings add up to big savings. Everytime you save something, transfer the differece to your savings. Your financial health will improve as well as your well being.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Crafting away

You'll find me this time of year thinking about my Christmas craft projects and how I can dream up new uses for the "leftovers" from other craft projects. So, this year is no different from others as I gaze into my craft cabinet to see what can be reused, used up and recrafted. The main thing this year I want to do is use up ribbon that I seem to have collected over the years. Ribbon from pretty packages, ribbon left on mostly spent rolls, etc. I have to admit I like pretty ribbon! So far I have managed to use up most of the short pieces left on rolls. I gave some away that I never plan to use and I plan to use any new ribbon I buy this season up on current projects. I won't be packing any away in storage bins this year.

I'm going to do the same with my craft paper. Figuring new ways to use it up...again, although I don't scrapbook, I find I am sucker for cool and pretty paper! I have to say there are plenty of projects to use it on and I'm trying my best to come up with new ideas..or freshen up old From here on out though, I plan to buy only what I need for current projects. Again, reducing down is the name of the game!

So cheers to all, the Christmas music is on and I'm gettin all crafty this morning!