Monday, January 30, 2012

Spending and Shooting (pictures, that is)

This is a blog post of sort ofs. It’s sort of about crafting, sort of about Lara, and sort of about random things. Collectively, it’s about what I did during the month of January.

January was my buy-nothing month. And by “buy nothing,” I mean I purchased a camera that costs hundreds of dollars on January 1st, and then decided to make up for the subsequent hole in my wallet by avoiding other frivolous purchases such as beauty products, fast food, and lovely warm coffee drinks that I enjoy almost every day. In addition to saving money, I figured this would be a good test of my will-power. I’m going to start off by saying I failed, but before you shake your head in disappointment, rest assured that I came up with a back-up plan.

I was lucky enough to get a Starbucks gift card for Christmas from my landlord, so that helped take care of the coffee problem. Feeling pretty good about myself, I became a bit more empowered every time I didn’t eat out or buy some cute item I saw. But then I chose to go to both the Banff Film Festival and an Oilers game on the same weekend (frivolous for sure, but our good friend Lara can explain both purchases, just not on the blog-o-sphere—sorry ladies). It went downhill from there.

Even though I was able to keep most of my dollars in my pocket after that weekend splurge of films, hockey games, and obligatory game day hot dogs/soft pretzels, I had a huge hurdle looming: Georgia. Georgia = tempting travel expenses, splurges on food and treats, and an adorable, present-worthy niece and new nephew. Granted, this trip was to serve as our family Christmas and I hadn’t planned ahead for my buy-nothing month by making gifts, so I was feeling a tad bit justified in any upcoming spending. After all, is a Prance-a-Pony unicorn for my niece REALLY a frivolous purchase?

Don’t answer that.

Georgia came and Georgia went; my mom and sister were gracious and treated me to 90% of the coffee I consumed. But now as I reached the end of my buy-nothing month I was presented with a problem—my bank statement. Somehow I’ve managed to wind up a couple hundred dollars poorer. I asked myself what good was an exercise in frugality and will-power if neither occurred? I needed to come up with some sort of remedy that wasn’t synonymous with punishment. Should I extend my buy-nothing month for another week? Should I put the equivalent amount I had spent into my savings account? Neither of these options seemed right; not buying something for a week is easy, and I always have the option of taking the money right back out of savings. I decided instead to increase my Kiva account amount by the amount of unnecessary money I spent in January (note: if you’re not familiar with Kiva, check it out: One may ask, how will decreasing your account balance even MORE satisfy a lesson in will-power and frugality? My argument is that this month also made me consider the value of each purchase I made. I decided that if I placed a value of $xx.xx on Oiler’s games and film festivals, I certainly valued the idea of giving back to my community just as much. Hopefully from this point forward, I’ll think about how easy it was to throw a few extra dollars in the collection plate once in a while instead of buying a latte. But to be clear to my coffee break partners: I’m not planning on eschewing ALL future coffee outings—they are necessary for my sanity—perhaps just choosing a tall instead of a grande more often than not.

On a completely different note, let’s get on to what prompted this buy-nothing-month in the first place—my new camera. It’s definitely a starter DSLR (Canon Rebel T3i), but it was easiest on my budget and will be perfect for learning some tricks while in the meantime allowing my bank account to refuel before I eventually upgrade. I have been wanting, pining for, and whining about a single-lens-reflex camera ever since I was in high school. Over ten years later, I finally got over my hemming and hawing cheap self and put the money down. My first subjects were my niece and new nephew; after one week and over 700 shots later, here are some of my favorites. This counts as a craft, right?

As far as doing another buy-nothing month, I think I'd like to try it again sometime and be a bit more strict on myself. But I think I'll wait until my birthday month--chances are good I might get another Starbucks gift card to help me out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A recap of today, and this past year.

A quick analysis of my day reveals that so far I've managed to:

1. Turn a cheestring into Ollie the Orangutan, as suggested on the packaging;
2. Eat 4 packages of '100 cal' Special K bars (This type of gimmick doesn't work for me apparently);
3. Contemplate whether this product is going to change my life:;
4. Lift weights at Goodlife with our gym crew (whaddup M&L) (P.S. I was secretly thinking of cheesestrings the entire time);
5. Conclude that ramen is great, but pho is better;
6. Turn another cheesestring into Helicopter Heather;

Despite the fact that I have clearly already had a very productive and gratifying day, I am really going for it...a blog post to top off this day...

... so I present: Crafts of 2011!

I made a quilt.

I made pottery.

 Aaron and I made mittens out of his deer hide.

I made other random things.

This recap makes me realize that I didn't make much this year.

I've plotted an interesting relationship based on my observations of my photos from this past year:


Friday, January 13, 2012

Just Wishing and Hoping

I want to sew, but I know I should be working on my thesis. Seriously, this thesis thing sucks. Hard core. To cope, I allow myself to surf a few certain internet sites much too frequently. Sanity is just as important as a degree. Am I right? The last thing I made was a Halloween costume. I learned how to do a bubble hem skirt which was so incredibly easy. Cora loved the overkill of pink. I thought it looked like she threw up peptobismol, but it worked.

So, instead of sewing, I have been daydreaming. I thought it was going to be hard to find fabric I like for a baby boy. Not so! Here are just a few that have caught my eye in the last couple of weeks. This was only the icing on the cake. I guess having a daughter had blinded to me to all the wonderful "boy" fabrics there are. I still have not fallen in love with boy clothing patterns yet. I envision a mini-Lee that looks like me. Hey, he got a mini-Sascha that looks like him. It's the least I could ask for. :) Anyways, I guess I had better try my hand at plaid button-up shirts.

I bought Lee a new tent for Christmas. Our 3-person backpacking tent was getting a little tight with two adults, one kid, and a dog, so we upgraded to a good ol' car camping tent. Yep, we've become that family. Introducing the REI Kingdom 4!

What in the world does this have to do with sewing? Since we'll have a brand spanking new baby this summer, we definitely need a nice big quilt that we can all fit on. A quilt with a laminate back side. Otherwise known as a PICNIC BLANKET!! Woot! :) Check out this laminate. It's much to busy for a front, but perfect for a waterproof backside. Next project, maybe??

The other thing I have been wasting my time with is daydreaming. Daydreaming about silly stuff like what color walls I would paint my bedroom if I could. And, then. It happened. The unexpected of all unexpected. I was nearly moved to tears. Well, that could be this pregnancy hormonal shit, but I digress. Anna Maria Horner has turned my absolute, all-time favorite fabric, into a rug. I shit you not. Begin hyperventilation. I love this fabric so much that I backed a queen size quilt in it. And, put it on the front, in two different colors. And bought it in home-dec weight to make a bag for my mother-in-law. I'm psychotic.

 OMG. Amazing, right? To top it off she threw in another one that I might, dare I say, like more. Hello RUGS! I may have to invest. I wonder how well they are made?

Mmmm, on second thought, I can't cheat on my first true fabric obsession. That is what is on my mind this lovely Friday night. I think I should put the thesis to the side for an afternoon/evening and sew. Yeah, that sounds good.

Over and Out,