Saturday, April 30, 2016

Finished Object Roll Call: April 2016

So, I've been slacking on the Finished Object Roll Call this year. As I look over what I've accomplished so far, well, it doesn't seem like much. According to my Ravelry page, I've only completed 3 items this year. I'm gearing up for a productive summer and hope to start showing off some great items here! 

If you ever see an item here that you would like a tutorial on, or more info about it, let me know! I have done Finished Object posts that break down things such as cost and time invested in projects, and would happily do more.  


I had some high hopes for a couple of projects this month. Unfortunately I ran out of time on most, and yarn on one. Next month though. 


I adapted the Pillowcase Tutorial found on Made Everyday

If you'd like to see the FO's in progress, as they are completed, and some other random bits and pieces of life, follow me on Instagram!I also do GIVEAWAYS on Facebook.  You should go 'like' the page, be sure to be following it too! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


I finally finished it. I started it last August, I think. It was a long time ago.

At the beginning I had decided that this shawl needed to be bigger than the previous two Curls shawls because this one I was keeping for myself and I wanted it to be able to actually help keep me warm. I have plenty of scarves already and didn't want to really add another one into the mix.

I stopped tracking time on it. Other than the feeling that I was STILL knitting on it and it would NEVER END. But I stuck it out and it's really finished and I'm going to put it away nicely for awhile until I'm ready to look at it again.

I used two skeins of Cascade Heritage sock yarn. I have a third one but couldn't bring myself to keep going when I saw the end of the second one in sight. It's a decent size and I'm happy with it.

The current internal debate is whether I should try to knock out a few other projects (I have 10 Christmas stockings on order and only completed about 25% of one so far. My goal was one a month) or if I'm good to cast on the next Curls shawl. I have the yarn caked and ready to go. I even have a recipient in mind for it. But I'm not sure I'm ready to slog through another shawl just yet.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Stash Goals 2016

We've made it  to April. A time of year when some have abandoned the "resolutions" they made back in January. If you are a regular reader, you know I don't like the whole New Year Resolution deal. I just like setting goals, because you can do that any time and adjust them and be successful with them.

As I had a few days home over the winter break, I once again was frustrated and overwhelmed with the amount of stash I have. I have been trying, quite unsuccessfully, to reduce my stash. Fabric to zero if possible. And yarn by.... a lot. It would free up an astonishing amount of space in our apartment. (We've also been going through things and have a sizable donate pile.)

In order to reach a goal, you have to have a plan in place though. Here's THE PLAN.

Overall Goal: Use 3 balls of yarn for every 1 ball acquired   Revised (already): Move more skeins out of stash than I acquire. So far, I'm not doing so great at it, but have a game plan.

The Plan:
1.  Find one skein projects, such as baby sweaters (for the Etsy shop and to have handy for baby showers), and use up all the single skein sock yarns I have.

2. The Box: I have a box. I've filled it with dishcloth cotton to start with. The goal is to use up all the yarn in the box without acquiring more of the same kind of yarn.

3. Make all those sweaters for myself I've been planning and buying yarn for.

Overall Goal: No more stash. Buy fabric as needed only.

The Plan:
1. Finish all the partially done projects hanging out in the closet, and basket. Yes, there is a basket for sewing projects as well.

2. Make the clothes I had planned for myself.

3. Use pattern books to find suitable patterns for the fabric I have. Again, probably baby stuff for the Etsy shop and baby showers. (I know a few lot of pregnant folks, it's that season of my life.)

4. Do not buy fabric. Ha! Revising to a 100 day no buying streak (like last year)

5. Sew every day. Just 15 minutes a day will add up to 7+ hours a month. And on weekends, once I get going I usually end up sewing a lot longer than 15 minutes.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Emergency Fund: Why I didn't listen to Dave Ramsey

Quite awhile ago, my husband started listening to Dave Ramsey. We got his book Financial Peace and read it. And set up ourselves a plan.

A pseudo-DR plan.

One of the biggest disagreements I had with DR and his baby steps was the Emergency Fund step. He advises you set up a $1,000 emergency fund, then stop there. After that you pay off all your debts and then work on a 3-6 month emergency fund.

This didn't sit right with me. Ever. Only $1,000? I did the math and that would not cover our bills for one month if just one of us were to stop working for whatever reason. Not one month. That would have meant using credit cards and accruing more debt, and we already had more than we could handle.

Now, I am a Wardle Woman. When we make up our minds about something, our minds are made up. I made up my mind that we would not have a $1000 emergency fund, then work on paying off all our debt. After calculating with our current salaries, it would take us 3 years to pay off all our debts. And only having $1000 in the bank, and not working on building our retirement for that long, made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

I felt very strongly about this. Very, VERY Strongly. No matter how I reasoned, and no matter how my husband reasoned, I could not sleep well at night knowing we had only $1000 to take care of us. I just couldn't do it.

In my experience, if I feel that uncomfortable about something, it means I need to do something to change it. You can call it whatever you want, "gut instinct", "intuition", but for me I usually feel that this is the Spirit prompting me to take certain action.

So, I told my husband I was still going to contribute to our emergency fund until it was $5,000. We could get by for about 3 months, longer if we were super careful, on that amount of money.

We reached a milestone of $2,000 in our emergency fund at the beginning of the year. I started to feel a lot less stressed and worried about our finances at this point. I felt like we were on the right track to keep us afloat for a month or two if something were to happen. At this point my disaster list consisted entirely of job loss. It would tide us over long enough to find a new job.

I kid you not, less than a week after reaching this milestone my car broke. Broke in a big way. Broke in a $2,000 repair bill way.

And I was so relieved that we had the cash on hand to pay for it. I was glad, that despite my husband's hesitations, I had put aside as much as I could after tithing (which always gets paid first) and paying bills (including extra credit card and student loan payments) into an emergency fund. I was glad I had IGNORED (sort of) DAVE RAMSEY.

At that point in our paying off debt journey, a $2,000 credit card charge would have put us right back where we started out at. Even if our emergency fund had been at $1,000 and we had to charge the other half, it would have been a major setback.

When it happened all I could keep saying and thinking was, "Isn't it great that Heavenly Father let me know that we needed more? That He kept this from happening until after we had what we needed to take care of it? Isn't it great!"

Since then, I have continued to ignore good ol' Dave Ramsey's advice about the emergency fund limit, and contributing to retirement (I recently read an article saying that most Millenials don't even have retirement and don't plan on having any. I do not want to be a 70 year old working the grocery bagging line).

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't listen to DR. We listened to him. I think my husband still does, but I got tired of hearing him answer the same questions, the same way, over and over and over again. If you are listening to him, and following what he recommends, 90% of his radio show would not be happening.

Anyway. I appreciate what Dave Ramsey is doing for the people who listen to him. I appreciate that he has facilitated a very open financial relationship between myself and my husband. Because of him we BOTH know what are finances are like, where we are, and what needs to be done in order to get where we need to be.

But that doesn't mean we are following his advice verbatim. We are taking the concepts he advises, and adapting them as our situation dictates. And, honestly, as we are being led by the Spirit to adapt them.

When you do that, it allows Heavenly Father to see to your needs as you are able to take care of your own family. I am still working on that $5,000 goal, but for different reasons now. And if I feel like we need to save up more, you bet I am going to listen to that prompting because I know it's one way that Heavenly Father is keeping an eye out for our little family.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday Productivity: The Double Ups

Last week I posted my personal Saturday Productivity posts here. Number 5 on the list was to Double Up during laundry. For me this is a no-brainer, and hopefully it's something that you already do. How they work is I start the laundry, set the timer on my phone, and instead of sitting in front of the tv while I wait for the laundry to be done (we use a laundry facility), I get things done!

Here are my Double Up Duties. Some weeks the laundry gets done partway through these, but that doesn't mean I stop doing them. Most weeks it's the to-dos that get neglected, or bumped back. I do not do them in the same order every week, so don't feel like you have to if it's just not working for you. Also, you might not have to do some of these, but have other things that do need doing.

  •  Clean the House

I start with the bedroom because I want it clean and ready to go by the time my husband gets home. This is purely for selfish reasons, I don't want to finish everything and start with my relaxing only to have to get myself back in cleaning mode at 5:00 p.m..

I work my way through the house leaving the bathroom for last. Mostly because I will shower after all the cleaning is done, so I clean the shower while I'm showering (I've found this to be wonderfully efficient for me).

I don't mind vacuuming at 6 am if that's when I'm ready to vacuum because I have neighbors who don't have a problem vacuuming at 11 pm when I need to be sleeping. However, sometimes I don't get that far in the process and vacuuming has to wait until after my husband wakes up in the afternoons. Which I don't mind as long as the rest of the house is clean.

  • Clean out the fridge and start the dishwasher
This next step sets me up for the one after it, as well as the final Saturday morning duty I have. I clean out the fridge for leftovers or expired food. Then I finish loading the dishwasher from last night with the newly empty containers and start the dishwasher. This can be part of the cleaning the kitchen part of cleaning the house, but I like listing it as a separate step, just so I can cross two other things off my to-do list for the day. 
  • Meal Plan and Grocery List
After cleaning out the fridge, I will go through what is left as well as what we have in our freezer and staples in the cupboard. Using what we already have, I make a meal plan. This involves looking up recipes sometimes, as long as I don't get distracted by cat videos or sewing/knitting blogs, I am allowed to get on Pinterest to look at my Food to Make or Accomplished board or search using the foods I have on hand for recipes. (This week's search was 'broccoli'.)

On pay weeks (my husband and I both get paid the same week, him on Tuesday, me on Friday) I will do the staples stock up. This includes things like flour and sugar, 'cream of' soups, rice, toilet paper, detergent, toothpaste, etc. I also try to meal plan for the two weeks we have until the next paycheck, but this doesn't always never happens. 

Then, I go through the planned meals, what will be used from staples and the freezer, and other small things we might need (like toilet paper) and make a basic grocery list. I then will look through the recipes for the week and add anything we need that we don't already have (sometimes I run into a spice that we don't already have, little things like that). 

This list is ready to go when it comes time to get groceries later on. 
  • Tackle the To Do's 
I have some wonderful hobbies, a great job that I love (sometimes hate), and lots of other things going on. I like being busy. It's part of what my dad calls the "Go Gene". So I use this time to tackle the to-do list.

My list usually includes things like finishing up a custom order, getting pictures taken of things for the etsy shop, facebook, or here. Writing blog posts, getting packages ready for shipping. I also am a moderator for a swap group on Ravelry and this is a great time to check in on it for the day.

Since technology is great, I can also use this time to write posts on the Facebook business page, listings on Etsy, and here on the blog, and schedule them for the week. That way I don't have to scramble late on a Thursday night to post something on Facebook.

  • This is also a great prep time for getting everything together that I need for out of the house errands if it's a grocery week. 

  • During all of the Double Ups I listen to podcasts. One podcast I listen to has multiple episodes a week, and several of the others I am behind on. These couple of hours during laundry are great for catching up on podcasts. Plus, my phone is mobile, I can put it in my pocket or connect to the speaker and still listen while I'm scrubbing the toilet or putting away laundry in the bedroom. I am not chained to the living room like I would be with a t.v. show!