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Monday, September 30, 2013

Is a low price really a better price?


You can tell by the shiny cover that this came from the library, like all of my books. I rarely ever want to read a book more than once, I don't care much about the presence of books, and I read at least one book a week, so I think the library is great. And you should, too. Unless I ever publish a book. In that case, you should buy it. But this post is not about libraries.
I started reading this book by Ellen Shell yesterday, and it's pretty interesting. It's called 'Cheap' and not 'Chear' or 'Cheab' in case you hadn't guessed what was behind my fingers. Come on people, those aren't even words. Unless you're a bad speller.

Part of the premise of this book is that just because something is cheaper, it does not necessarily mean it is a good deal. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. If something is low quality and it doesn't last as long, doesn't work as well, is less comfortable or less durable, then you didn't save money. And you will be throwing more into a landfill somewhere. I'm not an environmentalist, but I hate to be wasteful. Like that spatula I bought for $1. It was so bendy that it was not even a functional spatula. I threw it away and bought a $10 spatula. It's higher quality, but it's not really my dream spatula. Yes, I have a dream spatula, ok? It is compatible with teflon, does not bend or become misshapen over time, and it does not have bits of plastic that peel off and sometimes land in your food. If only there was Spatula City where such a spatula could be found.

The other premise of this book seems to be that assembly lines and chain stores are bad. I can't agree with that. Assembly lines and chain stores are able to give us lower prices, and there's no reason that low quality has to result from that. I make stuff all the time, and I know that much of it isn't as high a quality as what you could get from an assembly line. Things I knit sometimes unravel. Things I sew might have bunched up thread. Things I dye don't turn out the right color. Things I paint have problems too. (I sure have blogged a lot of failures). Granted, someone who creates things full time will have a better success rate than me, but they can't offer the same prices as someone with an assembly line.

Being on a budget really makes a person evaluate each purchase. Each month, I have $80 cash to spend on clothes, special coffees, shoes, yard sales, etc. So I ask myself, "is this going to last a long time?" "Am I going to love it?" "Is it going to be out of style soon?" "Is this the most important thing to spend my money on?"  When I think I want something, I often put it on a list. It has to wait until we get our "allowance" again. Sometimes, when I don't buy things right away, it doesn't seem important anymore later. I realize I didn't need it or want it that much. I don't often buy food or coffee with my personal money. Why? It doesn't last. I will consume it once and it will be gone. I can eat much cheaper at home. But sometimes, I just really need a good coffee and some quiet time. 

To make sure that you are purchasing high quality goods, there a few things you can do. Look at reviews online. I think the internet age is great because of all the information that has become available. A business that makes low quality products won't be able to stay in business, if we do the research. When you see something at a yard sale that has already been used, and it is still in good shape, you can bet that it is high quality and will continue to last for a while. At yard sales, you should get 90%+ discount, so it's always a good bet. When you buy furniture, you should save up and buy solid wood. It will last forever! Think about passing it down to your grandchildren. I have some side tables passed down to me from my grandparents that I know will last a long time. I love the unfinished wood furniture stores. When something is already finished, it's sometimes hard to tell if it is solid wood, or if it has some kind of veneer that will peel off in a few years.Yard sales are also a great place to find solid wood.

Not everything that is more expensive is better. Don't pay more just for a certain brand name. A good rule of thumb is, if something costs twice as much, it should be twice as good, or last twice as long. For example, you can buy a pressed board cabinet that might last five years, or you can buy a solid wood cabinet that will probably last 100 years. (Make sure you don't buy something that will go out of style). The wood cabinet will last twenty times as long, but only cost five times as much. You can buy $1 batteries, or you can buy $5 batteries. The $5 batteries will last longer, but will they last five times as long? Probably not. So buy $1 batteries. If you're interested, I will do an experiment to find out just how long they do last.

Have you ever bought something that seemed like a really good deal, but ended up never getting used, or going in the trash?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Throwback Thursday


It must be Throwback Thursday. Is that a thing? I've been seeing it on facebook. 
I had to look at a calendar and verify that it is Thursday. When you stay home everyday, the days run together.

Anyhow, look what my Great Grandmother (MaMa) made for me! An apron with separate colored pockets for each crayon. And they were giant crayons, too. 

Wouldn't it be great if I had a picture of me as a tiny person wearing this? Mom?



I'm glad she put the year and her name on there. Otherwise, I wouldn't remember, seeing as how I was four, and this was almost thirty years ago.
I am not a sentimental person, and I throw away almost everything that I don't find useful. (It cuts down on the clutter). But this has survived because it's so special. It makes me want to make extra special things for the people I love. I think I'll start putting the year and my name onto things. Maybe I could sew a little embroidered tag onto the knitted things I make. 

Do you have any handmade gifts that are special enough to keep even though they aren't useful anymore?

Did you get any horrible handmade gifts that didn't survive even one cleaning of your closet?

People, don't you dare make horrible handmade gifts!
Please forgive me for making those chimes for everyone that year.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Should you rent or buy?

When is it a good idea to rent a house and when should you buy?


A lot of people say that renting is throwing money away, while buying a house creates equity. This isn't true in every situation. When you start paying a mortgage, only 20-25% of your payment goes to paying off your house (principal) and the other 75-80% pays the interest (throwing money away). Each month, you pay around $2 more towards the principal, and $2 less towards the interest, depending on the size of your loan. If you have to sell a house, you have to pay the realtors and brokers 6% of the purchase price. If you sell your house for $150,000, you pay the realtors $9,000. I realized this after we bought and sold two houses in six years.

If you are planning to buy a house, you should be reasonably certain that you will be living there for at least five years. Otherwise, you may not have paid down your mortgage enough to be able to pay the realtors out of the excess. Meaning, if you owe $145,000 on the mortgage and the sale price $150,000, in order to pay the realtors $9,000, you will have to come up with $4,000. If you live in this house for three years like we did, that averages out to paying $250 a month to our realtors. If you live in this house for thirty years before you sell it, the realtor price becomes $8.34 per month. There are other factors to being able to pay the realtor, obviously, such as paying extra towards your mortgage, making improvements to your house that will raise the sale price, and the ups and downs of the housing market.

When you are renting, as long as you are out of contract, there is no cost, and no waiting period, to moving out. If you are in a contract, it won't cost you more than two months rent to get out of it.

If you move to another city for your job and you own a house that you have to sell, it might not sell for months, or even years. During that time, you'll be paying for two houses.

If you are out of college and single, it is statistically likely that you will be married soon. The average age women get married is 27 and the average for men is 29. If you are single, it is my suggestion that you rent a small apartment in order to save up as much money as you can (or pay off as much student loans and other debt as much as you can).

When you get married, if neither of you already owns a house, you can continue to rent a small apartment, socking away as much as you can towards a down payment when you do buy a house.

When you have your first child, it might be time to buy. But you need to discuss this carefully. Is this the city that you plan to live in long term? Is this the house that will meet your needs for years to come? Will it fit all ten of your future children? Is it the sort of neighborhood that you want to raise your kids in? Are you happy with the schools? Maybe you can't afford that house yet. In the mean time, you can move to a two bedroom apartment, and continue to grow your house down payment fund to astronomical proportions, while living as simply as you can.

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Few Decorating Ideas for Fall

I had the opportunity to host my Dad's birthday party last night. Lots of family came. We all had fun, although my five year old was feeling a lack of cousins to play with. I always knew my parents should have had more than just us two kids, and if they had there might have been cousins on hand.

I enjoyed getting my fall decorations out and arranging them. I snagged that green vase from the buffet table. Husband picked some canna lilies and zinnias. The ladies of small group got together and Ashley organized that pumpkin paper craft. Great idea, Ashley! I have a bag of fall potpourri that I put into that Atlas jar, tall clear vase, and squat shoulder vase on the mantle.





It would have looked nicer to have two separate tables accommodating all eleven of us, but it's more fun if we can all talk to each other. So I turned the dining table sideways so it goes from the dining room into the entryway and added a small table on the end.

Someday, we'll have more than four matching chairs. No hurry.

You can just barely spot the glass etching I did on that vase. Also, I swear I ironed those place mats.
That wire ribbon is easy to curl. And we've had it for years, so I feel that it was a good purchase.
I put this picture up so you could see our TV antenna sitting lopsided on the TV and admire our lack of satellite/cable bill.

 Mom and Dad brought us a mum and two pumpkins!

Husband put it in this pot which I guess we have had long enough for it to develop a lovely "patina". I'm going to call it a patina instead of dirt and mold.
Edit: If you bring a pot with a "patina" inside, when you move it, you might find something moldy growing underneath it later.

These will last quite a long time if we don't carve them.

I may get a few more smaller pumpkins to sit next to these, since I like groupings with varying heights.

Now I am wishing for a pumpkin spice latte.

What's your favorite part about Fall?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Marry Well

This deviates from my theme of "Saving Money. Making Stuff." But I thought it was worth sharing.

When I was twenty-four and I had dated a few guys that were not right for me to marry, I decided that I wanted to get married, and I was serious about it. I was two years out of college, and while I wasn't yet "past my prime", I had several friends that were already married and I felt that I should be deliberate about getting married.

My dating experience showed me what I did and did not want in a husband. And I did not want to waste time in dating any more of the wrong guys. So to aid me in my decision of who to date, I made a list of what I was looking for in a husband. My list had two sides. One side was for things that I could not compromise about. Things like: being a dedicated Christian, being responsible and a hard worker, being good with money. The other side of the list was for things that would be a plus, such as being handsome, enjoying singing, being taller than me. I wish I kept that list so I could tell you everything on there. There were probably twenty or thirty items on my list.

When I looked at my list, I saw a wonderful man who would probably not want to date me. 

I resolved to become better. Among other things, I decided to spend more time in prayer and bible reading. I chose not to complain about things. I did my best to become the perfect woman for the perfect man of my list. I prayed over my list every day.

It wasn't too long before I visited a new church. I hadn't met any men at the old church. Unless you count the man who gave me a candle that smelled so powerful that I had to put it in the hallway outside of my office and I had to stop somewhere on the way home in order to throw it away. He meant well. But he wasn't the man for me.

When I went to the new church, I had two guys asking me out at the same time. This had obviously never happened before, and I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. One of these guys took me on a date and walked around his car to unlock my door, but he did not actually open it for me. I think that maybe he wanted to open the door, but he had offended a certain kind of woman by opening doors for them. It was a small thing, but he didn't do what he thought was right because he thought he might offend me. Would that spill over into more important areas? The bigger reason that I did not continue to go out with him was that he didn't pray at dinner unless I suggested it. If I hadn't resolved not to date men without the necessary qualifications, would I have continued to date him? Well. Probably not. Because the other man taking me out was (cue angel choir) David. 

At first I thought maybe he was cheap, because he took me to Hardee's on the way to the circus, and he wanted to share fries. But I realized he was just careful with his money, with the added bonus of not being gluttonous about his french fries. And that was exactly what I wanted in a man, but I guess I had this idea that men should be a little more free-spending when taking me out on dates. Ladies who hope for a man who knows how to manage his money, let us all appreciate it when he does not spend too much, even on dates. Men who know how to be frugal, tell your date how managing money is important to you and having a savings account and no credit card debt is important to you. Tell her that you want to spend time with her without spending more than is in your budget. Then ask her if she would like to share fries with you, and she will not worry that you are just being "cheap". 

As I got to know David, it turned out that he was everything on my list. Both sides of my list. Thank You, Jesus. However. I should have written "sings well" instead of "enjoys singing". Those are two very different things.


This was only seven years ago, but we look so much younger.


In conclusion:
Don't date someone who doesn't meet your "must have" requirements.
It is better to be alone than to be married to the wrong person.
If you're not the right person, make improvements.
Be yourself, and do what you believe to be right, instead of what you think someone else thinks is right.

What do you think? Is this helpful at all to people who aren't married?

What are the spouse requirements that you won't/didn't compromise about?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

What Women Want, and How to Plan for it.

In today's world, women can be anything they want to be.

I'm glad that we have so many choices. When we are graduating high school and going into college, the possibilities are endless. Should we be doctors or lawyers or the president of the United States? Whatever we decide, we'll be sure to follow our dreams. 

But when we get to be about twenty-five, many of us start to realize that our dreams might be different. Maybe what we want is really to get married, have babies, and stay home to take care of them. But by the time we turn twenty five, many of us have finished our bachelor's degrees and maybe our master's degrees, but we are no where near finished paying for them. At this point, we don't have many options. We have to keep working until we pay off our student loans. Hopefully we took out those student loans in order to obtain a high paying job, and we are not, say, private school music teachers who take home $1,400 a month. But that is another post altogether. One I hope to get to soon.

Why didn't we realize that we would want to stay home with our kids? I think it's because our culture is so concerned about women's rights and equal pay and respect and all that, that there are not many voices telling us that it is a good thing to stay home. A better thing. Therefore, it is something that many of us don't think about and plan for until it's too late. And it is something that must be planned for.

Here are some ways to plan ahead:

1. Are you about to start college? Do everything you can to avoid loans. Go to a cheaper school, maybe a two year school. Maybe take a year or two to save up while you work full time. Work and go to school at the same time. Do you need a master's degree? Not if you want to stay home with your kids. (You can always get one when your kids are older if you still want one). Do you even need a bachelor's degree? Not really. Of course, college is so fun, I would hate for you to miss it. But as far as learning goes, I found that I learned a lot more after college when I started voraciously reading books and directing my own education towards what I was interested in. This kind of education may not lead to a job, unless you're creative. But it can lead to self employment, which has more earning potential. I only skimmed this article, but it has something interesting things to think about when it comes to self employment.

2. Save up and pay cash for a reliable, oldish, used car. Often, the only thing keeping women at work is a car payment. I do not think that you would choose driving a new car over staying home with your children.

3. Before you buy a home, find one that will fit your future lifestyle with children, and will fit into a husband-only earning budget. If you have to sell your house, you will be paying a 6% fee to the realtors. On a $150,000 house, that's $9,000! I would suggest that you a rent a small, inexpensive apartment before you have kids, and save up for a big down payment on a house that fits your budget. Many women feel that they have to work because of their house payment. It is just another choice to make. Live in a big house with granite counter-tops, or stay home with your kids. I always hear people say that renting is throwing money down the drain, but in situations like this, it makes sense.

4. Make a plan for your money. Don't let it go anywhere without you putting it down on paper ahead of time. When you make the decision to stay home with your future kids, arrange your budget so you live on your husbands, and your income goes first to pay off all of your debts (except your house) and when that is done, to building up your savings account.

5. Choose your husband wisely. Pick a man who will support your effort to stay home. Pick a man who is responsible and has a good job; a man who is moving up in the world. I'm not saying he needs to be a CEO, just that he needs to be a hard worker. As wives, we play a role in encouraging our husbands to reach their full potential. If we build our husbands up instead of tearing them down, they will feel more confident, and likely make more money. 


I chose wisely.
I encourage you to talk to your daughters, sisters, cousins, and young friends about their futures and how to plan for them.

Do you have any other ideas about how to stay home with your kids?

Writing this post gave me so many ideas about other topics I should cover soon. Look out for these:
2. Why you and your spouse should have a joint checking account.
3. How to make a plan for your money.
4. Don't take out expensive student loans for a job that won't pay well.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Knitting Face-Off

Do you knit or crochet? Or both? Which do prefer?

I first learned to knit from college roommate, Christy. We would stay up late doing wild things like knitting scarves. Just kidding, I only stayed up late once in college. I'm a bit too practical for my own good. At least I did not bring my knitting with me to lectures and sit in the front row like a certain visible person you might remember. Although I admit to seeing the appeal of that now that I'm older and less inclined to worry about people think.

For my first project, I picked a great lumpy blue yarn. As a beginner, I should not have picked a lumpy yarn, because every time a little bit of yarn caught on the needle, I thought it was a stitch, and I would knit it in. In this way, my scarf was getting wider and comically wider. I realized my mistake and took it apart and started over.

This is the first scarf I knitted twelve years ago.

Not bad.

But then I saw how my friend, Rebekah, crocheted a scarf, using a huge crochet hook and two different yarns, and she whipped that thing up in an hour or so. I'm sure I took at least a month to make a scarf, so I learned how to crochet from here where you can also get a lot of free patterns for knitting and crocheting.

So I've been thinking about which is better, knitting or crocheting?

Knitting pros:
You can use beautiful lumpy yarns.
You can make cable patterns.
Knitting can look more "professional" than crocheting, because sweaters and scarves that you can buy retail are generally knitted. Though by a machine, of course.
Knitting sounds cooler. Like something that celebrities do.

Knitting cons:
It is worse for my carpal tunnel problem.
It takes longer.
If you mess up and have to take out a row, it is hard to get it back on the needles correctly.

Crocheting pros:
If you mess up, it is easy to pull the yarn out and find a point to start over.
It goes faster.

Crocheting cons:
You can't use lumpy yarns, because you have to be able to see where the hole is to put your hook.
It can have more of a "granny" look to it, if you don't use a good pattern.
Crocheting sounds like that something that grandmas do. Of course, everyone loves grandmas.

I guess they're both great for different reasons, but I think I'll be doing more crocheting because of the speed and because of the carpal tunnel problem I sometimes have.

Which do you prefer?

I better get to work and use up some of this yarn. And stop buying new yarn.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Winners!

It's time to announce the winners of the headbands!

Draw some names.

  

 Rachelle and Angela are the winners! Could you send me the measurement around your head, in case I need to make any adjustments? And your addresses so I can mail it. If you click on my name where it says "about me", you will see a link to email me.

Yay!

This is what else I am working on. 



Spinning lumpy, kinky yarn.

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Five Year-Old's Education of Debt

I found out recently that in the local schools, if you forget your lunch money, you can still get lunch on credit. How wonderful that the sweet children won't be allowed to go hungry for a few hours.

As a result of this, if you forget your ice cream money, you can also get that on credit. If your friend forgets her ice cream money, you can get it for her on your credit, too. In fact, borrow to get a round of ice cream for all your besties! 

One Mom told me that her daughter was distressed because she had racked up $30 in lunch room debt by buying snacks for her friends. Thirty dollars isn't a big deal. Just write the check, right? It is a big deal because of what it teaches our kids. 

If we don't let our kids experience the negative consequences of their actions, we are teaching them that there are no negative consequences.

If the school system is teaching him that he can charge his lunch to his account, we have to work extra hard to teach him debt is bad.

Didn't plan ahead to pay the electric bill? Charge it. Didn't save up to buy a new car? Borrow for it. Can't pay rent? Mom and Dad will let me live with them. Want nicer stuff? Want to give generous presents? Charge it.

We have to teach out kids that it's not okay to borrow. You have to save up in order to buy the stuff you want. Be prepared for what might happen.

My son brings his lunch every day, but we put $10 in his account to be prepared for the day we might forget his lunch or not have time to make it. When I told him about that money in his account, he said "No no no no no, Mom. You don't have to do that. They give us a special card. It's like a credit card, but not, and you can get lunch with it." When I tried to explain to him that credit is bad, he just looked at me with his "I know I'm right, but I'll be quiet about it" face.




Thursday, September 12, 2013

Headband Tutorial

I recently figured out how to wear headbands in a way that is not unflattering. I've always liked headbands, but I tried to wear them in a way that was actually functional, pulling all the hair away from my face. That looks horrible on me. So I wear my headbands in a nonfunctional way, with hair hanging out in front.

I went headband shopping today and since I couldn't find what I wanted, I went to the ribbon and lace section so I could make my own. The lace I found is two yards, so I thought I'd be able to make about eight headbands out of that. It turns out that I only made three. It would have been four, but I messed up.

Why did you do this, Sewing Machine?
Here's how to make your own headband with a lace or ribbon that is not stretchy.

1. Measure around your head where you would wear a headband.

 2. Cut your lace three inches shorter than your head measurement.

3. Cut your elastic to seven inches.

4. Pin two inches of your elastic onto the back side of your lace. My elastic is 3/4 inches wide and my lace is two inches wide, so I'm folding it over to sew it.



5. Sew two rows of zigzag stitches to make sure your lace doesn't unravel. Does everyone know to sew backwards a few stitches at the beginnings and ends of rows to prevent unraveling? Did everyone's mothers teach them that on their pink sewing machines? What? Are you saying that my  mother is the only who had a pink sewing machine? That's a shame. Can we all agree that the makers of sewing machines should take a page from Kitchen Aid mixers and come in every single color? Let's start a letter writing campaign.


6. Sew a zigzag row at the top of elastic.


7. Repeat steps five and six on the other side.

8. Wear in an impractical manner that doesn't keep hair out of your face.


This was so easy that I made two extra and I am going to mail them out to two of you! (As long as you live in America). Just share this post on Facebook or Pinterest, and then leave a comment below. I'll draw two names out of a hat (not a literal hat) on Monday and announce the winners!



I probably won't know if you don't actually share my blog.

Do you think there are at least two people who would like to win a headband?

Update: The giveaway is over, and Rachelle and Angela are the winners!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I do not admire your fancy schmancy car.

In my volunteer financial counseling, I have noticed that one of the biggest financial problems people have is a car payment. I was about to fill in the end of that sentence with restaurant spending, but I realized that's not the biggest problem. So I will tackle restaurant spending another day.

The average car payment is $460. If you are paying something like that each month, imagine what else you could be doing with that money. Stop and think right now, I'll wait.

Did you think of what you would do with that money? Tell me in the comments!

I have talked to several people who have bought new cars in the last year and have big car payments, but are living with their parents. If they were driving old, paid off cars, they could find a small apartment for the price of their car payment. At least in my area you can. A quick search on ApartmentFinder.com found several.

Many people think that they will always have a car payment, only new cars will be reliable, you should get a new car if yours reaches x amount of mileage,  you should sell your car before it starts breaking down, or that once it breaks down a few times, it's time to get a new one. In reality, unless you have the type of repair that costs several thousand dollars, it is cheaper to pay occasional repair bills than to get a loan on a new car and start paying car payments.

I hope this blog reaches you before you get a loan on a brand new car. But it's not too late if you have bought (and borrowed for) a new car. But you got a really good deal on it, you say? Why is it that everyone tells me they got a really good deal on their brand new car? Could it be that car salesmen are good at making us think that we got a good deal?

It's no secret that new cars lose a lot of their value as soon as you drive them off the lot. If you didn't have a down payment, you now owe more for your car than what you can sell it for. You can find out what your car is worth at kbb.com It will take a while for you to pay the loan down to what it is worth, but I suggest you do just that. Then sell it.

Are you part of a two car family? Is there any way that you could make do with one car for a while? Do you live and work in a place for public transportation is reliable? Is there someone you can carpool with? If any of these is an option for you, you can do without a car while you save up cash to pay for a used car. If not, you should save up $1,000-$2,000 for a cheap used car. While you are driving the cheap used car, save up to buy a better used car, unless there is someone else more important to do with your money at this time. The good thing about a $1,000 car? It will hardly lose any value. When you go to sell it, it might still be worth $1,000.

When buying a car, always look at Consumer Reports. Your library might have it, or you may have to pay about $6 for a one month subscription. You can look up a car from any year and see how well it is expected to perform in several different areas. Then be patient. You won't see the best deal right away. Wait for the right one.

In my research, I learned that the average car is about eleven years old. Each year, this average goes up. That means cars are built better and are lasting longer, and age/miles is not a reason to get rid of your car.

Maybe it's just my age, but when I was a kid, I remember ten year old cars looking really old. Now, for the most part, they don't look old at all. Of course, I'm not interested in cars, and I don't pay attention to them except to wonder if the drivers of fancy schmancy cars are in debt up their eye balls. In fact, I am so uninterested in cars, that when I was in high school, and my parents bought a new used car, it took me about a year to be recognize it with confidence. This car was so nondescript that I always had a fear that I would walk up to someone else's car and get in and die of embarrassment.

Why does this car come up when I search for "most nondescript car"? This car is definitely fancy schmancy.
I believe this is the most nondescript car. It is practically parking lot camouflage.

So instead of admiring your friend's new cars, let's start a new trend of admiring your friend's oldest cars. Have a contest to see who can keep an old car the longest. We used to drive a car that was almost old enough to vote. We did not really love that car. When it rained, it poured. Inside. Especially when turning left. But we saved up while we drove it, and bought better cars for cash. Our current cars are six and eight years old, and they feel brand new. And they are going to last a long time.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Varied Amazing Uses of Cardboard

Yesterday, you may have seen a $100+ kids teepee on my blog. Today, I will share with you instructions on how to make your own teepee.

1. Obtain three or more pieces of 1 x 2 wood five feet long.
2. Set them up in the teepee shape you want and tie them with twine wrapped around many times.
3. Measure the triangles formed between each piece of wood.
4.Get some canvas or other sturdy material of the appropriate measurements.
5. Cut the fabric in a zigzag pattern to best utilize the fabric.
6. Sew it together, then on to the wood.

Or, don't do that. Because kids don't need all that. Kids need to pretend. Sometimes pretending doesn't come naturally, and you have to teach them how to pretend. But after a few times of pretending them with them, they will be making up their own pretends. "Mommy, it's raining inside the house. This broom is my umbrella." If you have a teepee, it will look cute, but it may only be a teepee, when a cardboard box can be so many things.

Take this particular cardboard box. It started it's life by bringing us something wonderful from Amazon. It was stored in the garage with a few other boxes. Then it made itself useful as a drop cloth while we spray painted something blue. (Husband doesn't like it when I spray paint right on the grass, even though it will grow out. Gosh.) Cardboard boxes make the best drop cloths because they don't slide around much like actual cloth and plastic. If you're using it outside, it won't blow in the wind and attach itself to the painted surface like cloth and plastic.  When you're painting inside, it's so easy to push them up against the wall when they move. When you drip paint on them, they soak it up just enough to let it dry quickly, without letting paint soak through to the floor. Canvas drop cloths will let paint soak through. Plastic drop cloths will allow paint to puddle and not dry quickly. Then you can step on it and track it around. So it was used again as a drop cloth in the laundry room when I painted the walls.

Then the children wanted to make a train, so this box joined two other boxes, they all had hand holes cut in them for carrying purposes, and they followed Husband, the engine, around being coal cars and box cars. They were just walking around, following each other, carrying boxes and pretending they were train cars. Isn't pretending wonderful? Then the Children requested "shields" and Husband used this box to cut one triangle and one circle shield. Then this two year old requested a box this morning, and I noticed that it was now a little building with a perfect triangle door and circle window. I added some packing tape on the corners so it wouldn't be so floppy, and it's a perfect teepee.

See the blue paint?



See the white paint inside?



 
Windows don't make good doors, apparently. Please forgive me for taking a picture before I helped him get out.


I've also used cardboard to line the bottom of my reusable grocery bags. It makes them sturdier and easier to fold. The cashiers seem to appreciate the cardboard too.

So keep a small stack of cardboard handy for when you might need it. We store it behind a low shelf so it doesn't take up much room. 

What other uses have you found for cardboard?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Indie Craft Parade

I got to go to the Indie Craft Parade yesterday. I didn't think I was going to because I was sick and I did not really feel like I could concentrate enough to drive all the way downtown and find a parking spot by myself, but sweet Husband took me, dropped me off and took the kids to a park while I browsed. 

I love the craft parade. I'm not sure what makes it a parade. But it does sound more hipster with that title. And there were hipsters everywhere! I don't get out much, but I'm fairly certain there was a much higher than normal concentration of hipsters at this event. I was afraid they would notice if I took their pictures, so I didn't.

This parade had the whole ball of wax: hair accessories, jewelry, clothing, purses, baskets, bags, scarves, dolls, doll clothes, tee pees, chairs, journals, bookmarks, stationary, food, tea towels, ceramics, paintings, yarn, and fiber crafts. Where else can you buy anatomical fiber art hearts complete with valves and blood vessels? Who is the target audience for this item? And none of these things are at bargain prices. Not that they should be. This is not Walmart. These are artists, and I know from personal experience that it takes a long time to make beautiful things. I think the reason I don't try to sell my crafts is that I would have to charge such a high amount in order to make a decent wage based on how long it took to make, plus the cost of the materials. I don't spend that much on things, so I couldn't bear to charge that much. At least, not at this time. Here's some of the lovely things I saw:
Awesome earrings I can't afford, but I'm sure they will find a happy home.
Amazing kids' teepee for more than $100. But as for me and my house, we will throw a blanket over some chairs and be content.
The sign for Overton Iron Works. They made shelves and signs and things from pipes.
These paintings are cool, but I think they would look better as an animated movie than as art on the walls.

I really like these dolls. But they are out of my price range.
I imagine that if I had some of these leather journals, I would write really amazing, best-selling stories in them. With a journal like that, my whole life would probably be more interesting.


You can see more pictures of what was for sale here. Maybe get some ideas for what you can make yourself. That's one of the reasons I went.

Here's what I bought:




Two skeins of roving that I can spin into yarn.
 Last year I bought some roving and made a scarf. But it was only enough for a very small scarf. So this year I bought two, and I hope to make it into a larger scarf. The colors aren't the same, though. So I appreciate your opinions. Should I combine these into one ball of yarn or two separate?

I crocheted them together so you can see how they look together. I love that surprising bit of yellow in there! She hand paints the roving from her own sheep over at Merciful Hearts Farm.
I also bought this infinity scarf. I wasn't going to buy it at $32, but I asked if she would offer a discount since it was almost closing time for the parade. I had my eye on a green one, but she had a pink one that hadn't sold very well, and she offered it to me for $25. I like the pink one, too, so it came home with me.

Me and my scarf after a lovely dinner in downtown Greenville.

As we were leaving, I thought I'd take some pictures of Greenville, in case you haven't been here. It's a beautiful city with lots of great shops that are generally not in my budget.


You should see Falls Park.


Maybe I'll take a walking tour soon and do the mouse scavenger hunt so you can see more pictures of my city.


This august monument was in a cemetery we passed after we went past the turn we meant to take. Does anyone else get interested in old cemeteries?
 Tell me in the comments, one skein, or two?