Saturday, February 28, 2009

Garage sale score



Husband got all these games in mint condition for $2 each! And no missing pieces!!

These are from a time when they bothered to make games out of durable materials and not that light, crappy plastic.

I've never played Jumanji and Yahtzee I remember my Nanna playing with my siblings but I never wanted to play (don't know why).

I feel a games night coming on!

Oh, by the way, I've made a few changes to the look of my blog, even girls can have too much pink. Hope you like it!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another bear doll



She is being sent as a gift to someone who has been generous to me. I like making these - they're really cute and feel just right to hold. My 3 year old daughter is giving much encouragement at the moment with her exclamations of "oh Mum, she's beautiful!" and by hanging around the sewing table to watch and read to me while I work. I even have to appreciate my 19 month old daughter snatching handfuls of wool from the bag and running off with them held to her face - at least she appreciates natural materials!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is the beginning of 40 days of fasting and penance for Lent to prepare for Easter. As Jesus went into the desert for 40 days before the crucifixion we try to imitate Him as we prepare to celebrate his Resurrection at Easter. It is a great time of "toughening up" mentally, physically and spiritually by challenging yourself to go without and denying yourself comforts and luxuries.

A near perfect evening....

Lastnight. The children were all silently tucked up in their beds. It was cool outside with a breeze. My husband sat at the keyboard playing beautiful, relaxing and random music. I sat at the table working on a doll at my leisure. The phone did not ring, there were no disturbances.
Sigh. It was wonderful.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What I've been up to




I finished this custom doll to send off to a US customer, I hope she likes her. She is 18 inches tall and came together beautifully. Now on the to do list is a bear doll as a gift and another doll for the shop, which is looking a little empty. I really think we need a better camera, my photos always come up blurry and don't show detail.

We spent a nice sunny morning at the park where we met some other homeschoolers, which is always nice. The kids had a ball at the park, I must make the effort to get there more often!

Monday, February 23, 2009

New fabric


I love new fabric, oh the possibilities! These will be used for doll's clothes. I've been furiously dollmaking the past few days as sales are better than ever so I'm trying to keep up!
We spent the morning rushing around to appointments and errands, then the afternoon at the beach. There weren't many people about and the water was beautifully clear. As per usual, I forgot the camera, so no pics.
I'm hoping to fit in some more sewing tonight after the children are in bed, fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dolls

Well, most of the day was spent dollmaking, after the usual housework drudgery was satisfactorily (half) complete. My doll inspiration seems to have returned with a vengeance, I only lament the lack of time compared to the number of ideas. Just came across the Froken Skicklig blog, how gorgeous are her dolls?! (not to mention her other work). What does she use for hair? How does she get her dolls to look so warm? Aren't the little knitted caps beautiful? Can you tell I get excited when I find dolls I love?

Happy Saturday all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Teddy bear



I finally finished this bear for my son. Bearmakers - I take my hat off to you, this is much more difficult than I thought! I had numerous problems in the making process and was not in positive spirits when I finished. He is 13 inches tall and passed the snuggle test lastnight, so at least he'll be well loved.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Family Finance 4. False economy?

I'm always willing to try "home brand" products and many offer a true saving for a product equal to brand names. You do however have to be selective and be aware of certain pros and cons. Here is an example:
I recently bought "home brand" liquid soap. We go through a lot of liquid soap with young children in the house there is a lot of handwashing to be done. After it was all used up I bought a brand name soap to compare. I found I can use about a quarter of a squirt of the brand name, as opposed to 1 - 2 squirts of the "home brand". Therefore, I'll keep buying the brand name soap.
Another example is toilet paper. I buy middle to high range quality paper as the cheap paper disintegrates on contact with moisture, therefore you have to use about 3 times as much.
There are some "home brand" products I've used for a long time that are just as good as others, such as flour.
So, try all products but be aware that "cheap" products won't always save you money.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Family Finance 3. Credit Cards

I've never owned a credit card. The only time I would like to use one is to simplify online purchases, but there are ways around that. I do not know anyone who does not have at least one credit card, and I do not know anyone who does not have credit card debt. Here is a very simple way to save money. Cut up your credit card/s.
Interest rates for mortgage loans may be falling to an all time low, but credit interest rates don't change. How do you think the banks make all their money?
If you don't want to give up the luxury/ headache of a credit card, focus on paying it off. Make more than the minimum repayments. Once you have paid it off ensure that it stays paid off.
Perhaps I sound a bit harsh in this post, but I really think it is up to the individual to be responsible with money. Part of that is not spending more than you earn and not spending money you don't have (credit). Think about how much more that purchase is going to cost by the time you pay it off on your card. Is it worth it? Could you wait a bit longer and save the money, hence paying no interest?
I know that if I did get a credit card I would be constantly tempted to use it - its a temptation I don't need.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Waldorf teddy doll

I've been thinking of combining doll and bear making for ages - and here she is!
I just happened to have some left over fur fabric from the bear I'm making for the boy, its so lovely and soft. I think this one would be a perfect night time companion. She is in my Etsy shop now, although some "little people" here would prefer that she stays......

SOLD - Thankyou Krissy!
























Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Bushfires

What can be said about the tragedy of events on the weekend leading to so much loss?
It is easy to feel as though there is no hope at times like these, but there are two very important things we can do.

1. PRAY! Prayer for people who are rebuilding and have lost their homes, prayer for those who have lost family members, prayer for the firefighters and all those working tirelessly to help and prayer for those who feel all hope is lost, is the most powerful action we can take.

2. GIVE! We can donate material goods or whatever money we can afford to give.

God bless.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

2. Wants Vs Needs

WANTS and NEEDS are 2 very separate things, but in an affluent society we often become confused. If you are going to take your family finances seriously you will need to decide which category the majority of your purchases fall under and start to prioritise.
Here is an example:
It is 45 degrees celsius here today (again). We have looked at all of our air conditioning options and decided the cost is too great for us at this point. I hate the heat, it is awful. However, I get through the hot days using strategies, as do the rest of my family. None of us have health conditions that will be adversely affected by the heat, and none of us are yet elderly. Air conditioning is a WANT not a NEED. Millions of people in the world get along just fine without it, so can we.
When you have done your spending analysis it is very obvious what you have to do. If you're overspending, cut back on or eliminate the WANTS. Once all of the NEEDS are payed for, then you can see what is leftover for the WANTS.
This also helps to simplify your life and organise your home. Consider every purchase carefully so that you don't end up with useless clutter or things that are hardly used.

Friday, February 6, 2009

1. Analyse your situation

The first thing I did to begin getting our finances in order was to purchase a small, lined exercise book. Over a period of 6 months I would write down every cent we spent, every day. Its not as hard as it sounds, once you have been doing it for a couple of weeks its just part of the routine.
At the end of each week write down the total. Then at the end of 4 weeks you can see what you spent over the month. I would also do separate totals for regular expenditure eg. bills, groceries, to note fluctuations.
Writing down every expense has a couple of benefits.
1. You find out exactly where all your money goes. If you need to make changes to save money, it is all there for you to make a start cutting back.
2. There is nowhere to hide! You must be completely honest in your recordings, therefore, I often re - thought purchases before they were made, knowing it would have to go in the book. I guess its like writing down everything you eat when trying to lose weight, the truth is there in writing.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Family Finance!

Given the current global economic situation I thought some readers may benefit from a series of posts on family finances. In these posts I will share the strategies and ways of living that we use and have used for many years. The economic situation is not affecting us at all because we never live any differently - I guess you could say we are consistently frugal and careful.
A little background...

We are a family of 2 adults and 3 (soon to be 4) children living on a single income. My husband has a good job and works hard, but we are classed as "low income earners". We have a modest but pleasant 3 bedroom single story home. We have a mortgage for this home. We own one family car. Our children are homeschooled by me - I am at home full time. Our luxuries are few, but we have a good lifestyle with plenty of healthy food, we always have spare money for unexpected expenses and we don't worry about money. We believe that God always has and always will provide for us, but we also believe that He helps those who help themselves.

I hope that sharing our way of life financially will help you to improve your own. I will endeavour to leave my first post tomorrow.

All the best.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Mmmm, toffee!

This is a great old fashioned treat for kids (and Mums!) and so easy to make.

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 oz. butter

Put all ingredients into saucepan and heat. Bring to the boil and boil for about 10 minutes (it begins to get frothy). To test if its done, drop a small amount into a saucer of water. If it starts to set then its ready. Pour into a slice tin or patty pans (well buttered). Allow to set.

Enjoy!