Thursday, January 31, 2013

Carla's January Challenge-Final Update



Here we go Carla!
 
Here's where I ended the month.
1. Lose 10 lbs. Reassess at the end of the month and set a new goal for February. - Gained 1 while sick this week for a net loss of 5.  I din't hit my goal, but it was better than not setting a goal and not losing anything.  BLEH -
2. Make a menu plan each week. SUCCESS
3. Complete my January block of the month for the Don't Call Me Betsy activity.  SUCCESS



4. Complete to do list for Carla's January Finance and Decluttering Challenge.


For the decluttering challenge:

A. Clean and organize the sewing room and walk- in closet in that room. It looks like a fabric explosion from my Christmas sewing.SUCCESS AND FAIL - I cleaned up the sewing room, but not the closet.



B. Clean out the walk-in closet and dressers in the master bedroom and donate the unwanted items.SUCCESS


C. Go through the kids old clothes and set aside for a spring yard sale.  FAIL - moving this to next month.

For the low spend challenge:

A. 10 no spend days.  SUCCESS - I actually had 12 no spend days!
B. Set up automated savings to online account to fund a Roth IRA in the new year. My husband was putting 15% in his 401k but his company only matches the first 7% so we dropped in back to 7% for the new year. We will put the other 8% in automated savings, but this will get difficult because his pay fluctuates due to sporadic overtime. I guess I will set an automatic amount based on regular pay. Then I will have to be dedicated enough now to go online and transfer 8% of any overtime as he gets it. This worries me as I do not want to fail and end up saving less. This will crush us on our income taxes now, but the win is that we will be able to withdraw it tax free in retirement.  SUCCESS
C. Sock $400 away in our vacation account.  SUCCESS
D. Increase our automated college savings by $50 per month for each child. My kids are in 9th and 10th grade and the fear of tuition payments is starting to wash over me. We have saved a good bit but it is no where near enough. I just don't want them to be crippled by student loan debt when they graduate.  SUCCESS5. Participate in the good cheap eats pantry challenge. SUCCESS


6. Make a noodlehead gathered clutch. I have had the pattern for months and it is just sitting in my sewing room. I love her patterns!SUCCESS

7. Order the pattern and make a sidekick tote - also from noodlehead. It has a recessed zipper and that is something I really want to learn! FAIL - I purchased the pattern but have yet to make it. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A small to do - jazzing up some potholders.

This is the other small thing I would like to do soon.  I love these bright potholders I found in primary colors at the dollar store, but they need some jazzing up!  I have seen some cute ones on pinterest.  They might stay potholders, and I might turn them into something else.  We'll see what I can do with them!

4 More Gathered Clutches Ready to Go



Wow - what terrible lighting!  Oh well, it's not the finished project.  I have 4 more Noodlehead gathered clutches cut out and ready to put together when I am feeling better.  You can see the first one I made here.  I got them ready earlier this week and then I got sick.  Hopefully they will be done soon.  I am thinking about opening an etsy shop, but I am not sure it will be worth the bother.  Any thoughts on that?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Carla is Having a Great Giveaway!

 
Oh my GOODNESS!!  Carla is having an awesome giveaway at My 1/2 Dozen Daily!  I have been a follower of hers for at least a year and she is amazing.  She budgets, cooks, sews and organizes like nobody's business.  Go check it out.  I strongly suggest becoming a follower.  She is one cool lady!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January Goals


Let's see how I am doing with the month ending in a few days.

So here it goes - January goals:
1. Lose 10 lbs. Reassess at the end of the month and set a new goal for February. lost 6 so far so it looks like I am going to fall short on this one.
2. Make a menu plan each week.
3. Complete my January block of the month for the Don't Call Me Betsy activity.
4. Complete to do list for Carla's January Finance and Decluttering Challenge.
For the decluttering challenge:
A. Clean and organize the sewing room and walk- in closet in that room. It looks like a fabric explosion from my Christmas sewing.
B. Clean out the walk-in closet and dressers in the master bedroom and donate the unwanted items.
C. Go through the kids old clothes and set aside for a spring yard sale.
For the low spend challenge:
A. 10 no spend days.

B. Set up automated savings to online account to fund a Roth IRA in the new year. My husband was putting 15% in his 401k but his company only matches the first 7% so we dropped in back to 7% for the new year. We will put the other 8% in automated savings, but this will get difficult because his pay fluctuates due to sporadic overtime. I guess I will set an automatic amount based on regular pay. Then I will have to be dedicated enough now to go online and transfer 8% of any overtime as he gets it. This worries me as I do not want to fail and end up saving less. This will crush us on our income taxes now, but the win is that we will be able to withdraw it tax free in retirement.
C. Sock $400 away in our vacation account.
D. Increase our automated college savings by $50 per month for each child. My kids are in 9th and 10th grade and the fear of tuition payments is starting to wash over me. We have saved a good bit but it is no where near enough. I just don't want them to be crippled by student loan debt when they graduate.
 
I kept putting off doing this and actually only did it now so I could cross it off the list for Carla's challenge.  So thank you Carla.  It's easy to always think "Oh I'll do it next month!"
5. Participate in the good cheap eats pantry challenge.
6. Make a noodlehead gathered clutch. I have had the pattern for months and it is just sitting in my sewing room. I love her patterns!
7. Order the pattern and make a sidekick tote - also from noodlehead. It has a recessed zipper and that is something I really want to learn!

It looks like I am going to fall short on what I wanted to get done.  That being said, I still accomplished more than I would have had I not signed up for this challenge.  I will still try to cross another thing or 2 off the list before the month ends later this week.

Since I haven't updated I did give silently to someone in need for last week's challenge, but I did not clean out a closet.
For this week I cut down to $65 in groceries and my pantry is in order.  It is in order from trying to eat our way through it for the good cheap eats pantry challenge.  The extra freezer is looking pretty sparse too.  That means I will start February off with some freezer cooking!

Neon Gathered Clutch from Noodlehead Pattern


Can I just say NOODLEHEAD ROCKS! This is made from her gathered clutch pattern. I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to sewing anything other than straight lines. Noodlehead's patterns come directly via computer when you pay. They are 15-20 pages or more with step by step photos and details. If you think you can't follow a regular pattern (like me) give one of noodleheads a try. It is kind of like step by step sewing for newbies. Anna has not compensated me in any way for saying these things and doesn't even know I am writing this post. It is 100% my own opinion and your opinion may differ.

Anywho, back to what I was saying - Anna's patterns are fantastic. I don't know why I held off
so long on making this because it came together rather quickly. I whipped it together in a couple of hours after dinner. It shouldn't have taken that long, but I am kind of a perfectionist when it comes to sewing. It has the option of a divider, which I did and am not happy with it. I did not put it tight enough, so I need to be more careful next time. It also has the option of single and double credit card holders, which I did both and am pleased with how they turned out. 

The divider is orange and too loose which is my fault it is NOT a faulty pattern. The single credit card holder is also orange and the double (forgot to get a picture of that) is paisley.
This was really fun to make. As a matter of fact, I already have the parts cut out to make four more. Hopefully I will get them made and a post done before the end of the week!



Noodlehead Go Anywhere Tote

Ok - I guess it is kind of a Noodlehead day here at the domestic groove.  If you saw my last post on the Noodlehead gathered clutch, you already know how much I love Anna's patterns.
I actually made this Go Anywhere Tote back in 2012 and have been carrying it as my purse for months.  I have learned at least one new sewing technique with each Noodlehead pattern I have made.  This time it was piping and a hidden magnetic clasp.  When I made the 241 tote, it was a regular magnetic snap and an interior zipper pocket.  With the gathered clutch I ruffled material and made zipper tabs for the first time for a neater finish.  These were all things that I thought I would never be able to do, but the step by step color photos made it a breeze.
I have also purchased the sidekick tote and with that I will learn to install a recessed zipper.  Just the other night I purchased her basket pattern and with that I will make my first basket with a divider in it.  The beauty is that once I learn these techniques from her patterns, I can then apply my new found skills to other projects that I want to make.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dishcloth - a - pa - looza

Ok - so I might be a little obsessed with making dishclothes.  They are just something simple and mindless to do when I am watching tv.  I have given away about 20 of them and I still have about 30.  I can't stop making them and I am not sure why.
I like to sew, but I have to be in the mood to go upstairs and sit alone when I sew.  I can just whip these up real quick when I am sitting with my family.  They are kind of fun and I don't see me stopping anytime soon!

Update On Carla's January Challenge


Ok - truth be told, I was a little behind on the junk drawer task.  We have 2 that are side by side in my kitchen.  They have been organized over and over.  I always have these containers, but things still just get tossed in there.  I would like to note that I used mostly containers that I already had.  An extra bread pan (who really needs 5 or 6 of them for bread) and some old kitchen containers that actually had lids in a former life.  The little pink, blue and green ovals were something I picked up in 3 packs for $.25 at the end of the summer season at dollar general.
The lesson here is that organizing does not have to be expensive.
The other part of the challenge this week was to find a way to earn some extra money.  I have been gathering things as I clean for a spring yard sale.  The pile is really starting to grow and my junk is getting eliminated.  WIN WIN!
Thank you to Carla for giving the kick in the butt I need to get things in order.

Bread Machine Pizza

Layer the ingredients in the bread machine in this order:
1  1/4 very warm water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4  1/2 c white flour
1 tsp salt - in one corner
1/2 tsp sugar - in opposite corner
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1  3/4 tsp bread machine yeast - make a shallow well in the center of the flour for the yeast

Choose the dough setting - mine takes 1  1/2 hours.  About 10 minutes before the dough is done preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray baking sheet with pam.  When the dough is done work it across the baking sheet.  We like thin crust so I use a pan the is big as my oven rack.  You could use a smaller pan for a thicker crust.  Bake about 6 minutes to get the crust started.  Remove from oven.  Layer with sauce (I just use 1/2 a jar of spaghetti sauce), mozzarella cheese and toppings of your choice.  Bake about 12 more minutes.  YUMMY!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Don't Call Me Betsy Lucky Stars BOM

So I think I did ok for my first attempt at paper piecing a quilt block.  This is the practice block that was sent out at the end of December for the Lucky Stars BOM club by Betsy.  There was a lot of matching up to do in the center and I only had to rip it apart once to make it work.  I did have to make an extra unit with the aqua and dark brown because one of mine was backwards. 
 
The block above is the January block.  It went together faster because it only has 4 main pieces instead of 8.  I was not careful when cutting and cut too much so I had to make one of the 4 over.  The dark purple in the upper left hand corner does not come to a good point because it folded weird.  It is really bugging me, so I might rip it apart and make that fourth over.  I have to look at it again because it might get covered up by the 1/4 inch seam allowance when I sew it to the next block.  I have time to ponder that before I decide what to do. 
All in all I am quite pleased with how the 2 blocks turned out.  I really wasn't sure if I could do it.  I don't want to say it didn't take some skill, but I really think it was more about patience.  I worked on these about 4 hours today and already had about an hour into the top block.  That seems like way too long, but maybe I will get better and quicker with each block I do.  Thank you to Don't Call Me Betsy for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to try paper piecing.  It was only $10 to sign up (I think it is $15 now), and well worth it to stretch beyond my comfort zone.
UPDATE - I just realized one section has the 2 purple sections BACKWARDS!  UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

To Do Needs to Be "To Done"


SOOOOOOO...............................

I set some goals for January instead of New Year's Resolutions.  I stink at resolutions because a year is too long of a time frame and I like instant gratification.  For example, it could take forever (in my mind) to crochet an afghan, but I can crank out a simple quilt in 8-12 hours.  That is why I prefer sewing over most other types of crafts.

Anywho - I need to meet these smaller, more manageable goals that I set for the month instead of a year.  Tomorrow I am going to work on:
1.  Finishing my paper pieced practice block and January block for the Don't Call Me Betsy Block of the month club that  joined.  This is my first go at paper piecing and the math geek in me is loving the process. 
2.  Make a gathered clutch from the pattern that I ordered from noodlehead and have had for months.  Her patterns rock!
3.  Start a sidekick tote - also from noodlehead.  I doubt I will have time to actually make the tote tomorrow, but I at least want to get everything cut out and ready.  This is not quite my normal style (like what I do can actually be referred to as style), but it is cute and I really want to make it to learn how to do a recessed zipper. 
Knocking out these things over the next day or two will help me stay on track with my list for the month.

On a side note - I also set out to lose 10 pounds this month and that might actually happen.  If not, I should come close.  I need to clean out my junk drawers (yes, I have 2).  Thanks for the extra homework Carla.  AND the eat from the pantry challenge is going well.  Thought it might be a drag, but it is actually turning out to be a fun little game.  My freezer should be pretty much empty by the end of the month and then I can do a nice freezer cooking session or two to start getting it restocked with new, fresh food.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Updated Menu Plan

                                                                            source

So you know how it goes, things happen.  Below was my original menu plan for the week.

1-6-13

Sunday - Broccoli Cheese Soup, Potato Soup, Quesadillas
Monday - Pork Chops, potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Hot dogs, cheese, crescent rolls, homestyle mac and cheese, fruit
Wednesday - spaghetti and meatballs, mixed veggies
Thursday - Ham and rice casserole. corn
Friday - gortons fish, buttered macaroni, fruit
Saturday - homemade belgian waffles, canadian bacon, fruit
Things have changed, but nothing significant that will involve a trip to the store.

Sunday went as planned.  Monday we had 2 changes.  Neither was a big deal.  The kids said they had carrots for lunch so we grabbed a bag of frozen peas from garage freezer.  I was going to fry potatoes (which I guess I didn't actually say that) but I decided to make baked potatoes in the microwave instead.  This was based on the fact that I had a bunch a stuff to do that seemed more important that watching potatoes in the electric frying pan and that I had sour cream left to use before it went bad.  They were delicious!  I have only made them a couple of times before and have no idea why because they are SO EASY!
The big change will come Friday.  I have induction for National Junior Honor Society for my students and I am in charge of the event - yikes!  That means setting up after school and maybe not even coming home before the ceremony.  Therefore, I am sending my husband and kids to Suway, BUT we will be using a gift card from Christmas.

I didn't post anything but this week before, but I am working on getting the whole month thought out and below is what I had saved so far to my computer.

Menu Plan

1-6-13
Sunday - Broccoli Cheese Soup, Potato Soup, Sandwiches
Monday - Pork Chops, potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Hot dogs, cheese, crescent rolls, homestyle mac and cheese, fruit
Wednesday - spaghetti and meatballs, mixed veggies
Thursday - Ham and rice casserole. corn
Friday - gortons fish, buttered macaroni, fruit
Saturday - homemade belgian waffles, canadian bacon, fruit

1-13-13Sunday - chicken noodle casserole with peas
Monday - tacos and ????
Tuesday - hamburger helper, frozen veggies
Wednesday - hot sausage sandwiches
Thursday -grilled chicken salads
Friday - french toast, sausage, eggs
Saturday - At my brother's for a party!


1-20-13
Sunday - turkey chili, corn muffins
Monday - pulled pork sandwiches, fried potatoes
Tuesday - pork fried rice
Wednesday - canned soup and grilled cheese
Thursday -chicken and rice, frozen veggies
Friday - homemade pizza
Saturday - maybe eating out on a gift certificate from Christmas????


Why am I showing  you this now?  My oldest said he doesn't want spaghetti and meatballs for dinner because they are having sloppy joe's in school.  He likes both but I guess it is reasonable to not want red sauce twice in a day.  I think I will swap it with the chicken noodle casserol listed for next week.  These are things we have to use up, but which days we have each thing can be flexible.






January Low Spend and Decluttering Challenge

Ok - so I had no spend days Jan 1, 2, 3 last week and Jan 7th this week.  I have already hit 4 of my 10 for the month.  Maybe I can do even more than 10.  The hardest thing I went without last week was miracle whip.  We had bacon, lettuce, tomato and roast turkey sandwiches last week and when we went to eat there was no miracle whip!  Instead of going to the store, we used ranch dressing.  I bought no groceries last week and I am at about $70 for this week.  That includes $12 worth of Sunday papers for coupons, $12 worth of cat litter and $12 worth of cat food.  That means I have only spent around $34 in real food, but am counting the whole 70 in my 100 limit.  We really are eating down the pantry and freezer or we would not be able to do this at all!
I took care of reworking retirement deductions from my husband's pay so we could finally setup a Roth Ira (USA).  We should have done this years ago as personal taxes are only going to go up in this country over the years.  I also cleaned my sewing room (not the closet - that is this week).  I will snap a picture tonight as I forgot my camera in school.  (now updated with photos)  Thank you Carla for this challenge!  You can see my original goals here, here and a pantry challenge here.
The tv in the photo below is for our spring yard sale.  It is not hooked up, just taking up space until someone else adopts it!
I am happy with the status of this space.  It's not perfect, but I sew often and want everything easily accessible!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Candy Tree



Check out this cool little tree.  I went to a fundraiser for a family friend and won this at the Chinese auction.  My kids really wanted to keep it and I am a serious chocoholic, but we did part ways with it. 
We decided to give it to my husband's grandmother for Christmas.  It was a huge hit at our gathering.  I am not a total el cheapo.  I did not give it to her in place of another gift, we gave it to her on top of the other gifts we already had for her.  I just wanted her to have it because she really likes candy.  Also, I knew how much I loved it.  What makes a better gift than something you actually love yourself? 

Souper Supper

 
It was soup for dinner today!  Broccoli cheese soup above and potato soup below.  Only one of my boys likes broccoli cheese soup, so I only made a small batch.  Originally I was going to make grilled cheese sandwiches but we opted for chicken quesadillas to go along with it. 
This will give us lots of leftovers for lunches this week.  We are working on the eat from your pantry challenge.  We will be working on this challenge all month!

HMMMM - What am I doing?


Ok - so I guess I really don't know what I am doing with blogger.  I started this blog a couple of years ago and only  used it to follow other blogs not really to post.  When I started posting a couple of weeks ago all the old comments were there in my editing page so I deleted them.  As I was reading current posts I would reply to people and delete comments.  I didn't realize I was deleting them from my posts.  GRRRRRRRRR.
Now the really frustrating part - I was able to upload pictures from my computer last week and now I can't.  I tried disabling add-ons, deleting cookies and browsing history, switching from internet explorer to mozilla firefox and nothing seems to be working.  Anyone know what I am doing wrong?  I have more posts I want to write with pictures I have taken.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Menu Plan and Grocery List

                                                                        Source
Menu Plan

Sunday - Broccoli Cheese Soup, Potato Soup, Quesadillas
Monday - Pork Chops, potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Hot dogs, cheese, crescent rolls, homestyle mac and cheese, fruit
Wednesday - spaghetti and meatballs, mixed veggies
Thursday - Ham and rice casserole. corn
Friday - gortons fish, buttered macaroni, fruit
Saturday - homemade belgian waffles, canadian bacon, fruit

So 1-6-13 is one of the biggest coupon days of the year.  There will be 6 or 7 inserts in the Sunday paper in the morning.  As a result, I need to get to the store early so I can buy 4 copies.  I want to pick up anything else I need for the week while I am there.  The menu plan is done.  I need to get milk, bread, some lunch meat, cat food, cat litter and chips and crackers for the snack cupboard.  We have tons of cereal and other stuff for breakfast already at home.  I had turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches the other day and realized we were out of miracle whip, so on the list that goes.  Even with cat food items and $10 in newspapers it souldn't be to bad.  I vowed with Carla's challenge to stay ar $100 per week in January and this will be my first trip to the store.  Wish me luck!  I also took the eat from your pantry challenge

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free Financing Is Not Free

I am sure that many people realize that "Free Financing" is not free, but I also know that many people don't realize it.  I am a math teacher by day and it upsets me that a finance curriculum is not required by my state.  I do a finance unit in 6th grade late in the year when the state tests are over, but only because I think it is important enough to fit it in above and beyond required course work.   No wonder America is in the financial state that it is. 
Back to the title of this post.  I wonder what percentage of the population realizes that free financing isn't free.   We bought a new couch and loveseat over Christmas break.  We could get free financing for 2 years if we didn't have the cash.  It would not add anything beyond the sale price.  How lucky for us.  If that really was the case we would be foolish not to finance and keep our money in the bank earning interest for the said 2 years. 
We did spend a good bit.  We have been saving and waiting for new furniture.  We wanted built in recliners which makes the price for each piece jump a good bit.  We also waited longer that we should have to purchase because it is a lot of money.  The couch was $1099 and the loveseat was $999.  It would cost $2098 plus $125.88 (6% tax) for a total of $2223.88.  If we put that money in the bank at 1% interest compounded annually (sad) we would have $2268.58.  At the end of 2 years we could pay off the $2223.88 and have left the $44.70 that we earned.  Free money, lucky us.  Of course I am sure any financial bloggers that might see this post would know what I am going to say next.  We were given a 10% discount for cash when they knew we didn't need to finance (standard practice for this store).  We not only save $209.80 right off the bat, but also the 6% sales tax on that amount. 
It ended up going down like this...
$2098 - $209.80 (discount) = $1888.20 x .06 (sales tax) = $113.29
So...........
$1888.20 + $113.29 tax = $2001.49 total price

$2223.88 (final price if financed) - $2001.49 = $222.39 saved over free financing

HMMMMMMMMMM........This ended up getting even more interesting.  I asked the lady how the process worked out of curiosity.  Turns out all the prices in the store are based on the fact that you might finance.  10% off is the price they really want to charge because they are assessed a 10% fee by the financing company if a customer goes that route.  Turns out, I didn't have to pay cash, I just had to not finance to get the 10% off.  I ended up using my upromise cc for which I earned 1% for my kids college fund.  I then went online and paid it off before I was even sent a statement.  Therefore, I had no interest charged on the cc.

Did you ever notice new cars often run a special like $2000 off or 0% financing?  The same theory applies.  If you choose 0% financing you don't get the $1500 or $2500 rebate that is advertised for the sale (or get offered a smaller rebate).  Losing the rebate $ is the premium price you pay for 0% interest.

All these little tricks are so enticing to someone who doesn't have the cash in hand and that's how people end up getting into trouble.  Before you might judge me for the amount I spent on furniture please know that we are at the point in our lives where we can do it and are able to afford it.  We have always been frugal. 

Caveat Emptor - Buyer Beware!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pinterest Recipe for Dinner

As per my menu plan for the week, we had beef with broccoli in the crockpot.  The verdict from my family is a definite 2 thumbs up.  Collectively, that is 8 thumbs because there's 4 of us.  With 2 teenage boys, I altered the recipe to make more. 
Here's what I did:
Ingredients
3+ pounds boneless beef chuck roast, sliced into thin strips
1 cup beef broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cooled sauce from the crock pot after being cooked
3 heads of fresh broccoli florets
Hot cooked rice
I am linking to the original blog, not the pin.  Yum, yum, yum BS Recipes.

Swedish Dala Horse and Flag Quilt

 So I wanted to make my mother something special for Christmas as she already has everything she needs.  She is extremely proud of her Swedish heritage, so this is what I came up with for her.  She has a yellow and blue "nice" living room.  I saw the Dala Horse fabric on Ebay and immediately knew the yellow/blue color way would be perfect for her.  I ordered 2 yards at $25/yd (gasp) over Thanksgiving break.  I fully intended to cut it up for quilt blocks for the front until I opened the package.  The repitition in the print made it very difficult to find a way to cut it without cutting through many of the dala horses.  I just couldn't bear to touch it with my rotary cutter after what I paid for it. 
I went to bed that night hoping for clarity and it came to me.  It seems that is when I do my best thinking.  The living room is blue and yellow, the fabric is blue and yellow  .................  the Swedish flag is blue and yellow and now I know what I am going to do.  I new I had to vary the prints and shades in the flags so the pattern stood out.  If I only used only one blue and one yellow it wouldn't look like flags.  It would show up as big blue rectangles with yellow borders.
I love how it turned out.  I know the real Swedish flag is medium blue and medium yellow, but I love the variety in color and pattern.  The Dala Horse fabric intended for blocks on the front made an awesome backing.  My mom cried when she opened it.  I have definitely spent more money on presents for her, but never gave her something so touching and from the heart.


I forgot to take measurements before I gave it to her, but each flag s 10x15 and I believe the yellow border was 5 in (maybe only 4 in) before the seam allowance.  I guess that makes it a hair under 55 x 70.  (It really isn't crooked, my son is just holding it that way!

Please comment and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let's Be Clear for the New Year!

I posted my monthly goals yesterday as I feel a New Year's resolution is too big and will fall by the wayside.  I copied them below.  The thing is, the explanation for #4 is in an older post, which I am going to add in red.  That way everyone knows what #4 involves so I am more accountable.

So here it goes - January goals:
1. Lose 10 lbs. Reassess at the end of the month and set a new goal for February.
2. Make a menu plan each week.
3. Complete my January block of the month for the Don't Call Me Betsy activity.
4. Complete to do list for Carla's January Finance and Decluttering Challenge.
For the decluttering challenge:
A. Clean and organize the sewing room and walk- in closet in that room. It looks like a fabric explosion from my Christmas sewing.
B. Clean out the walk-in closet and dressers in the master bedroom and donate the unwanted items.
C. Go through the kids old clothes and set aside for a spring yard sale.
For the low spend challenge:
A. 10 no spend days.
B. Set up automated savings to online account to fund a Roth IRA in the new year. My husband was putting 15% in his 401k but his company only matches the first 7% so we dropped in back to 7% for the new year. We will put the other 8% in automated savings, but this will get difficult because his pay fluctuates due to sporadic overtime. I guess I will set an automatic amount based on regular pay. Then I will have to be dedicated enough now to go online and transfer 8% of any overtime as he gets it. This worries me as I do not want to fail and end up saving less. This will crush us on our income taxes now, but the win is that we will be able to withdraw it tax free in retirement.
C. Sock $400 away in our vacation account.
D. Increase our automated college savings by $50 per month for each child. My kids are in 9th and 10th grade and the fear of tuition payments is starting to wash over me. We have saved a good bit but it is no where near enough. I just don't want them to be crippled by student loan debt when they graduate.

5. Participate in the good cheap eats pantry challenge.
6. Make a noodlehead gathered clutch. I have had the pattern for months and it is just sitting in my sewing room. I love her patterns!
7. Order the pattern and make a sidekick tote - also from noodlehead. It has a recessed zipper and that is something I really want to learn!
*I made the go anywhere tote and it taught me how to do piping. I have made 8 or 10 of the 241 totes and learned how to insert a zipper pocket. Noodlehead rocks! (I am not affiliated with the noodlehead website in any way and was not reimbursed to make the above comments. I just happen to love her patterns. It is solely my opinion).

That's it. I will cross the items off as I go.


Happy New Year!

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How about a quote to start the new year off right?

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." Henry Ford (1863-1947), American founder of the Ford Motor Company

This thought applies in so many ways!  Good night everyone and Happy New Year!