Black Friday

Just a very short post to make my readers aware of the Black Friday weekend special in our Etsy store.

As a token of appreciation for all of my wonderful customers (many of whom come back over and over), I am offering $10 off all orders in the continental U.S. of $50 or more November 26 through 30.  Use coupon code 10OFF50.

Perhaps you are making a holiday gift list.  Here are a few items currently in our shop that you might like for friends, sisters, daughters, and even yourself!

 

Best Selling Entrelac Scarf
Best Selling Entrelac Scarf

 

hand dyed
Hand Dyed Yarn For Your Favorite Knitter

 

headband
Everyone Can Use A Headband, This is Hand Dyed and Hand Spun Before Being Hand Knit

 

Tri-Color Infinity Scarves Are Another Best Selling Item
Tri-Color Infinity Scarves Are Another Best Selling Item

 

Thanksgiving – Why Not Make It Every Day?

Thanksgiving is at our throats here again.  I have mixed feelings about big holidays in general.  They are a lot of work that I don’t particularly enjoy, and unrealistic expectations can lead to big disappointments.  They are also really difficult for people who are grieving or alone.

Having said that, I do believe it’s important to remember everything we have to thankful for.

Clearly, gratitude is one of the keys to a wonderful life.  Epictetus said “He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”

thankful

I don’t think it’s wise to save gratitude for one day a year.  People who aren’t grateful tend to be the complainers.  You know who they are, we all run into them all the time.  Traffic is terrible, everyone is stupid, and they deserve better, blah blah blah.  They focus on the negative to the exclusion of everything else.  These are people who have cars, phones, flush toilets, plenty to eat, a cozy bed in a home that is safe from the elements.  Many people all over the world would trade lives with them in a heartbeat given a chance.  And yet, they have no gratitude and drop their nonsense all over everyone else.

A little gratitude might turn a life like this into one great big juicy joyfest.  That’s how I want to live and even though I sometimes forget and join the complainer’s club, when I notice what I’m doing I drop that behavior and get right back into the habit of gratitude.

Every morning in my journal I list three things I’m grateful for in that moment.  Today’s were a book I’m reading, Mondays (I like the feeling of a new start in a week that isn’t all jacked up yet), and reading glasses.  As you see I try to be grateful for small and practical things as well as huge, abstract things.

One thing I’m always grateful for is my Etsy shop, which makes it so easy to offer my lovely knits and supplies for fiber artists.  So many wonderful people have purchased from something from me.  Last week I received an email from someone who said she feels like a queen when she wears the angora scarf I knit for her.  That really made my day!  And it made me realize how many lovely people I’ve met online and in person through my business.  Something to be very grateful for indeed!

I’m grateful to everyone who takes a few minutes to read my blog a couple of times a week.  Wishing all my readers a very happy Thanksgiving, may we all remember to be grateful, not just on one Thursday in November, but every day.

 

 

Friday Finds, November 20, 2015

Today’s amazing finds include this article on tiny houses.  I am fascinated with the concept of living in a tiny house.  So perfect for older people, singles, those newly out of their parent’s house.  What’s your take on the tiny house movement?

Doesn't This Look Amazing?
Doesn’t This Look Amazing?

Next up – I’m a big fan of Stan Lee, the creator of Spiderman and many other Marvel superheroes.  As a kid I spent many happy hours wandering the Marvel Universe.  And of course, I’ve loved the recent movies, especially Guardians of the Galaxy!  Mr. Lee was recently interviewed on the NPR show Fresh Air.  In case you missed it, you can listen here.

He has a new graphic memoir out.  Must get my hands on that!  Can you believe he is doing publicity for his book at 92 years old?  What a cool guy!

Coloring books for adults are soaring in popularity.  They will be under many  Christmas trees this year.  They are an easy way to unleash creativity, relax, get into a meditative state and release stress.  Here’s one I love!

Secret Garden - I Want You So Badly
Secret Garden – I Want You So Badly

Doesn’t it look delightful?  I will ask my kids to give me this book for Christmas. Lots of relaxing fun for just a few dollars!

On Dec. 1 I’ll be putting out my gift guide to Christmas shopping for the women in your life.  I have lots of fabulous ideas, selecting the best will be the tricky part.

Here’s a picture for those who come here for fiber eye candy.

Fingerless Mitts - Free Pattern Coming Soon
Fingerless Mitts – Free Pattern Coming Soon

Until next week, be good to yourself.

How I Took Charge Of My Money And Began To Feel Rich, Part 1

At the end of 2014 I owed about $8000 on a car loan and was struggling to pay all my bills monthly.  Today, with no huge change in income, I have paid off the car, paid almost $5000 extra principal on my mortgage, and never struggle with money.  As a matter of fact, I often tell my husband “we are standing under a money waterfall”.  What changed?

I heard somewhere about YNAB, which stands for “you need a budget”.  Let me guess, your first thought is “that sounds boring,” right?  Well, standing under the money waterfall isn’t boring at all!

YNAB is a simple to use tool that makes budgeting and tracking your spending a breeze.  It lets you import transactions from all your bank accounts, and tells you know exactly where your money is going.  If I can do it, anyone can – believe me.  I am quite math challenged, but I found it easy to understand and use.  I spend about 15 minutes twice a week catching up, and now I find I have plenty of money.

Money bag

They say anything you track will improve.  For example, if you record everything you eat, you’ll often find you eat much less than usual.  I found this to be absolutely true with money.  I began paying attention on Jan. 1, 2014, and it was easy to make good choices, curb impulse spending, stop eating out so much.

Where did I find the biggest savings?  I tried to focus on one thing at a time, and picked the low hanging fruit first.  Restaurants were the first thing to go.  I began cooking at home almost daily, and simplified meals considerably.  This saved money, time and work!  Yay!

Utility costs were next.  I installed LED bulbs to replace incandescent and halogen lights everywhere.  My electric and water are billed together.  We went from monthly budget payments of $139 to $79.  That is a 43% decrease, I was amazed!

I began reading blogs about frugality and early retirement.  My favorite is Mr. Money Mustache.  His blog is stuffed with information about how to live frugally and be happier than ever.  I can honestly say I’m happier now than I was before I started reading his blog.   His tagline is “Early Retirement Through Badassity”.  Don’t read this blog if swearing bothers you, but I find the judicious and creative use of swearing enhances my reading.  I recommend you read all his posts from the beginning of time.  It will take you a while, but you will be transformed by his writing.  You don’t have a deadline so go slowly and savor it.  Take what works for you and leave the rest, don’t get hung up on stuff that you can’t see working in your own life.  Just take the juicy bits that apply to you.  Read the comments.  You’ll get so many ideas and information on how to make your money work to make you rich(er).

Next, I bought a Nest thermostat.  I turned my thermostat down at night, now I wear adequate clothes in the house instead of turning up the heat automatically.  I monitor each day’s energy use, it takes less than a minute.  My gas company tells me I’m among the most efficient customers.

This all led to a cascade of changes – I’ll write more about those in a future blog post.

I estimate that I’ve saved literally 100 times the $60 cost of the software since I bought it.  This is in mortgage and car payment interest, money spent on stupid impulse buys and restaurants, and other little leaks that all add up.  I will pay my house off about 4 years early (10 year mortgage).  I have no trouble paying big expenses, like semi-annual property taxes.  I save for nice vacations.  We may buy some rental properties once the mortgage is paid off.

YNAB has great customer support and training, not just on using the software, but on the way you think about money and use it.  It will absolutely change the way your financial affairs play out.  You’ll be able to plan for big expenses, and never scramble to pay for emergencies like unforeseen car repairs again.  Because car repairs aren’t really a surprise, are they?  We all know a car will eventually need some kind of work – YNAB helps you prepare for such “emergencies”, which aren’t really emergencies at all.  And if you do have a true emergency, wouldn’t it be nice if your financial affairs were not in a big snarl?  Who needs that on top of everything else?

Would you like to try YNAB for yourself?  Here’s a code for $6 off your purchase.  Disclosure: This is a referral link, if you purchase YNAB through this link you’ll save $6 (10%) on the purchase and I will make $6.  It’s a win-win.

I hope you’ll try YNAB if you are struggling to manage your money.  I’d love to hear from any current or new users in the comments.

 

Friday Finds Nov. 13, 2016

It’s Friday the 13th!  Did you know the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia?  Say that three times quickly.

Here is a post I enjoyed about the obsession with youth that is so prevalent in our culture.  The author paints a beautiful word picture of an ancient abbey she happened upon while on a midnight drive.

If you like Jon Stewart, the former host of the daily show, you’ll be interested in this new book his wife has written.  Apparently they’ve outgrown their house due to the animals they care for.  Tracy is a former vet tech and has big plans to help more animals, which you’ll have to read the short article to learn about.  I’ll be reading this book soon myself.

Tracy Stewart's New Book
Tracy Stewart’s New Book – What A Beautiful Cover!

This post by Melissa Dinwiddie (who I greatly admire) titled “A Practice That Can Prevent Binge Eating And Increase Your Happiness” is full of wisdom.  If you struggle with beating yourself up over food (like me), please read it!

And the delicious fiber picture of the day!

Doesn't This Remind You Of Macarons?
Doesn’t This Remind You Of Macarons?  Visit My Etsy Store To See More Pictures.

 

 

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You – Book Review

Decidopobia – The Fear Of Making Decisions – yeah, I’ve got that.

Last night at a local hamburger place I had to choose from an overwhelming menu.  I did make a choice, but it took me a few minutes.  I noticed many of my friends had to look at every page numerous times and had trouble choosing.  It seems the more choices a menu has, the more difficult choice becomes.

Why?  For me, it’s the fear of missing out on something “better”, or making the “wrong” choice.  This is obviously ridiculous.  How can there be a “wrong” hamburger?  Is this going to be my last one?  Unlikely.

While vacationing in Rhode Island recently, our little tourist group visited a tiny independent bookstore where this small book grabbed my attention.  I bought it, partially as a souvenir, but mostly because I am working on transforming many areas of my life.

A Very Cool Book
A Very Cool Book

This journal is all about making scary decisions.  The quotations help defuse the fear of coming to a verdict about some possible action. There is a section on each page to record details of your choice.  You can skip around in it using any page that catches your fancy, or take the pages in order – that’s the way I use it as I’m a pretty orderly type of person, especially when it comes to books.

For me this isn’t a daily thing.  I keep it on my desk, and when I’m turning a decision over in my mind I pull it out and read the next quote.  Today’s was the Decidophobia quote above. Another favorite of mine was “Behold the turtle.  He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”

It will be useful to look back over the book later to see choices that frightened me at the time I made them.

We all have things in our lives we want to transform.  Maybe you want to lose weight, find a better job, or grow a business.  It’s going to take a lot of new choices, and a lot of discomfort to get there.  This book is both a tool to help making it easier and a record of the choosing.  How cool is that?

Today’s pretty fiber picture –

Soccer Mom Mitts - Pattern Coming Soon!
Soccer Mom Mitts – Pattern Coming Soon!

 

 

Friday Finds Nov. 6, 2015

This week we begin with a poem.

Love This Tatoo From How To Be A Bitch 101

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.” ― Mary Oliver, Dream Work –

 

Mr. Money Mustache solves the world’s problems here.  Ok, maybe not every problem, but he has some great ideas about things we all see around us.  I love that he recommends a book on personal happiness by the Dalai Lama in this post.

 

Wicked Witch From Snow White
Wicked Witch From Snow White

Here’s a post about from NPR that discusses why old women are often the face of evil in fairy tales and folklore.  I found this fascinating!

And for the fiber lovers, here is something for you.  What would you create with these glorious colors?  You can see more pictures of these wool rolags in my Etsy shop.

Juicy New Rolags
Juicy New Rolags

Until next week, stay curious!