A first for me

This is my first DIY leather purse. Actually, this is my first purse I’ve ever made. I made it from an old leather coat.

It was such a pain! A complete mind game. It’s not at all perfect. The button is off center. Pieces of the lining and leather will need to be hand sewn because the layers were too thick on the machine. I had the worse time with the lining and trying to figure out how to attach it so that it’s on the right side when turned inside out. That was the hardest part.

But you know what? I am so exhilarated that I actually made it! And I’m so doing it again!

I will be making some changes though. I realize that my sewing will be so much better when I slow down and quit skipping the little details just to be done faster.  I forgot to clip away the excess fabric before turning inside out and I didn’t put the darts in that the pattern suggested. Those techniques would have made a more refined purse.  I also just need to stop sewing when I’m tired. I push through so I can be finished, but it just results in sloppy stitches. I do much better when I’m refreshed and relaxed.

I hoping my next leather project will be 3 times better!


The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

I’m not really interested in debating about should we or shouldn’t we eat organic foods. I know that pesticides are labeled as a poison by the DOT, which is why certain vehicles (i.e. passenger aircraft) cannot transport them, but we put them on food?  People who work closely with pesticides have a number of health problems. The list goes on and on. I believe the evidence proves that it’s something that we need to be doing, but the practicality is still not there for all of us to eat 100% organic. Is there anyone out there that does eat all organic and still has money in their pocket?

I do like the idea of focusing on the foods that have the most pesticides and making sure those are organic. This is where the “Dirty Dozen” list comes in. These are the foods that tested highest in pesticide residues. It makes sense to buy these organic.  The “Clean 15” are the foods that have the lowest levels of pesticides, so buying these conventional won’t hurt.

Here’s something to keep in mind. These lists change, so you have to keep checking them to see what’s shifted. I found that interesting. I don’t know if these lists take into account the country where the produce was grown. That’s something I would think makes the list shift dramatically. I also make sure that any animal products I choose to consume are from organic sources. That doesn’t seem to be on the dirty list.

Still, I’ll be keepping these lists in my purse for easy reference. And I’ll be looking into doing a garden again, because the only way to ensure you eat organic is to grow food yourself.

Print and cut out guide from Foodnews.org

Full list of common fruits and veggies tested

The floor cleaner solution I like best

Stop throwing your money away!

“Make your own non rinse mop solution”

It works very well. No streaks. Smells nice. I don’t have to throw away those Swiffer sheets. Win. Win. Win.

I use an old Swiffer container to put my washable, reusable cloths in. I have a big one. I just pour the solution over the cloths, making sure all of them get sopping wet, not damp. I have a designated bucket for the dirty cloths, and when it gets full, I wash them with bleach and start the whole process over.

CrazySexyCrafty: Hexboxes

This is a really cute, really easy project I came across at the Evil Mad Scientist site.

It suggests the Fiskars perforating blade to score the cardboard for folding. I used my pattern tracing tool. It’s cheap and it worked beautifully.

Make sure you print your pattern to scale. My printer printed the pattern to fit the page. So when I assembled the box, the exterior box frame became the interior box frame. It was still cute, but I couldn’t stack.

This box is a blank canvas, since I used some manila folders I didn’t need anymore after I purged alot of old documents. You can draw or paint on it, decorate with stickers or pictures or magazine cut outs. I’ll get my brother to draw on it since he has all the illustration skills.

Identifying The Wants

Hey, we all have them.

I’ll start. I want these:

from Forever 21

Great summer heel that goes with some of the edgier items I have for summer wear this year.  They are cute and affordable.

But, that’s not the point.

What will happen if I buy these shoes?

I won’t wear them!

How do I know this?

I currently have three pairs of shoes sitting in my closet that have never been worn! They are all cute and they were affordable when I bought them.

I don’t want these shoes to have the same fate. I don’t want to feel like I spent my $30 in vain. I need to give my other shoes a chance to be seen.

I’m enjoying looking at the reasons why I buy certain things. Most of the time, it’s not because I actually need the item. Identifying the wants and the reasons for wanting them has been a real eye opener about feelings, impulses, spending habits, justification, imaginary lack, and excuses. I notice that when I work on the internal reasons for me spending money, I tend to spend less or nothing at all.

Here’s another good example. I was at GW boutique (we all know that one right?) There was a beautiful, never been worn coat on the racks. Tags were still on. They sell their coats for $8. I tried it on, and it fit perfectly. I was just about to plunk down my money, when I stopped cold. My brain said “What are you buying this for?” I actually thought about it for a minute. I didn’t need the coat! It didn’t match anything, it didn’t have pockets and I have several coats that are just as cute already in my closet. I was going to buy it because it was new and only eight bucks! So, I put it back. It wasn’t about the $8, but about why I was about to spend it in the first place!

I’m really beginning to see why I have such a huge chunk of money in my “shopping” piece of the money pie I posted earlier.

The cutest, easiest, cheapest earrings I’ve ever had

This is why it’s so important for me to get organized.

I had no idea that I had so many tools for sewing, knitting, crocheting, beading and jewelry making. When I was organizing the stuff i found these:

and these:

I knew I already had these:

So basically, I just put the ear wires on and voila!

Can’t wait to wear them!

The Little Things Really Do Add Up!

I was in denial.  I didn’t want to believe it.  Then, I saw it with my own eyes!

This is a snapshot of the spending that I’ve done so far this month (Courtesy of mint.com. No, they are not paying me!) I think the beauty their service is the ability to show you what and how you spend your money in instant visual aids.  I knew I was spending the majority of my money on food, which I’m ok with, but I had no idea that I was shopping so much! What was I shopping for you ask? Little things! Things I could really have done without.  Cool stuff I saw at the dollar store. I didn’t need them. Aluminum foil and baggies for taking food. My dad had already bought these items, so I didn’t need to buy them! I should have checked with him first. I couldn’t find my favorite nail polish so I went and bought another, only to find it when I got home! That’s what happens when you are unorganized!

Without the pie chart, I wouldn’t be taking these little trips to the store very seriously. I just would be wondering where all of my money went at the end of the month when I look at my bank statement. Now, before I go anywhere, I take a list, and before I get to the register, I do a soul search and ask myself if I really need what I’m about to buy. “Can it wait a little bit?” “Is there something else I can use that’s at home already?” “Do I really need to eat THIS for dinner?”  “Can I eat what’s already at home?”  “Does someone I know have this thing I’m about to buy?”  “I should ask them if I can have or borrow it.”

These days, and any other day, the little things are just as important as everything else!