Archive for January, 2008

My Inspiration Board is in an e-zine!

Erin from design for mankind contacted me awhile ago asking if she could include the picture of my wall board in an e-zine she’s working on.  The e-zine is about inspiration boards and the artists behind them.  I just checked her blog and the e-zine is out!  I’m on page 8!  Everything looks so yummy in there (just like her blog) and I’m so honored to have been chosen.   🙂 

Cats and Paint … Don’t Mix

This is what happens when a cat discovers a tray of paint left unattended.  I went downstairs to grab something and when I came back up to my room, Elliot the cat busted out of the door and went flying down the stairs … leaving a trail of evidence!

Here’s a close up.

Guess who got their little paw washed in the kitchen sink?

A Win-Win-Win deal

I found a guy who was selling 5 gallon buckets of Benjamin Moore paint for $10 on Craigslist.  He owns a painting company and that’s how he ended up with extra paint.  It’s great for me because I’m saving a lot of money.  It’s great for him because instead of paying hazardous waste disposal fees, he’s saving himself money and making a little extra.  It’s great for the environment because now all this paint won’t be sitting in some landfill!

It only takes a little more extra work but it’s so worth it.   Whenever I need something now I look for it on Craigslist (or Freecycle) first.  For instance, my power drill died and I needed one to put up the drywalls for my bedroom renovation project.  I found one on Craigslist for $20.  The guy who was selling it got a new drill so he didn’t need the old one anymore.  It worked out well for the both of us.  I’m sure I’m not helping the US economy by throwing my money at the stores but I’d like to think that I’m helping by doing my share of the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  🙂

Boring white walls

Well, I had some left over paint from painting my bedroom a few years ago and I was hoping that it would be enough for the walls but it’s not.  So the walls are not completely done BUT now that means I can get new paint and maybe this time I’ll pick something that’s a little less white.  I thought the door was white but apparently not when you compare it to the walls!

Here’s the before picture.  I think the drywall gray is more interesting than this white I have right now.

Any ideas on what color I should use for the walls?  I’ll probably go with something neutral … like the “darkest” shade of premixed white they have at the store … can you tell I’m a little afraid of picking out wall colors?  OR, I can dump all the paint I have lying around the house in a bucket and mix my own paint … that way I can use up what I have (which is what I’ve been trying to do) and get rid of all those half empty paint cans!  Decisions decisions…

UPDATE!  Someone is selling 5 gallon buckets of off white and deep beige paint on Craigslist for $10.  God I love Craigslist! 

Goal for long weekend

MUST.FINISH.PAINTING.BEDROOM.

So in my head I think it should only take a day to prime and paint the room…which means it will take about 3 days in reality. I can’t wait until the bedroom is done so I can move on to my other projects!!

Coyote love

I’m so in love with the dailycoyote that I’ve started calling my dog my little coyote.  The photography is simply stunning!  Check it out.

33

That’s how old I’m turning today!  Yup, I’m a hardcore Capricorn.

We had our first snow storm of 2008 yesterday and as a present to myself, I stayed in.  The snow was coming down pretty hard.  Just look at Molly’s face!  That silly dog LOVES the snow.  It always makes me laugh when I see her hop around in the snow like a bunny.

So I used my day off to sand the drywalls … something that I’ve been dreading but it HAD TO BE DONE.

This could be a picture of my bedroom floor.  There was soooo much dust but the most satisfying part of the whole job was sucking up the dust with my dryvac.  There are only a few places that need to be smoothed out a little bit more with mud and then the walls are ready for paint!! 

Tracking your expenses

A friend tipped me off on another free online personal finance managing site, Expensr.  The cool thing about this site is that it shows how your spending compares with other people’s in your age range, location, profession, etc.  You can also add friends and compare spending with friends (anonymously).  This could be a good way to “compete” by seeing who can spend the least amount of money. 

It’s still early in January, start tracking your expenses and see how you measure up!

Good Habits – Living with Less

I think it’s hard for artists/crafters to live a minimalist life.  We need stuff to create.  We like having pretty stuff around.  We see potential in ordinary stuff that’s toss out on the sidewalk and we bring the stuff home.  I am definitely guilty of all of this and then some but I think it’s possible for me to live with less and be more organized. 

There’s a great article about simplicity on Zenhabits called The Four Laws of Simplicity and How to Apply Them to Life that really clicked with me.  The article is a great read and here are the four laws:

1. Collect everything in one place.

2. Choose the essential.

3. Eliminate the rest.

4. Organize the remaining stuff neatly and nicely. 

And a commenter suggested rule #5, Don’t collect more junk.

I’m quite excited about this and now I want to follow these steps for EVERYTHING in my home.  I love how these steps can be applied to a junk drawer, a room in the house, or life in general. 

As for my own journey to living with less, I’ve been doing the following:

1. I get rid of stuff I don’t need by diversifying the ways I give.  I always ask my friends first to see if they need anything that I’m about to part with.  Goodwill and Salvation Army are good places to donate usable things.  Yard sales, Craigslist and Ebay are good ways to make some money for getting rid of stuff.  If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of taking things to the donation site or post office, post them on Freecycle and ask people to pick them up.  Lastly, if you have blankets/towels/clothing that are too worn to be donated or sold, you might try calling the animal shelters to see if they need materials for the animals.  Oh yeah, and don’t forget to recycle as much as you can.

2. I try to use what I have instead of buying something new.  I’m trying to buy less “things” so I thought I can use my creativity to come up with alternate uses for what I have already.  For example, I’ve been trying to air dry my clothes over the heating vent (a great way to humidify the room AND save electricity) but I don’t have a drying rack.  I looked on Freecycle and Craiglist for one but couldn’t find any.  So instead of going to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a drying rack, I’ve been trying to think of ways I can make one myself.  So far I’ve dried some clothes on a ladder (since I still have 2 in my room!) and I’m trying to come up with something that involves 2 aluminum saw horses I have.  I’ll post it if it works so stay tuned.

3. Stop getting stuff.  One way to limit the amount of stuff you have is to stop shopping.  I somehow developed an aversion to shopping over the past year.  I’ve never liked shopping for clothes or shoes but I didn’t mind going to Target or JoAnn’s.  Now the sight of aisles and aisles of things piled up to the ceiling at the stores make me sick.  I’ve also been asking friends and relatives to stop giving me presents.  I tell them that I’m trying to live with less and that I really don’t need anything.  This is actually hard for many gift givers but be persistent and eventually they’ll respect your lifestyle. 

And if you want to stop getting most of the junk mail, give GreenDimes a try.  If you join through me (leave me a comment and I’ll send you a referral link), I get a $3 bonus.  🙂  I promise I won’t use that 3 bucks to buy useless stuff.

Some Good Habits – Financial

I started making some changes in 2007 and they’ve been working well for me so far.   I’ve divided them up into several categories (financial, household, simplifying life, etc.) and I’ll be writing about these in the next few posts.  These habits are nothing fancy and in fact I was inspired by many bloggers who are doing similar things so I thought I’d write about them here and who knows, maybe they will inspire others.  These are just some things that I’ve been trying and I’m still tweaking many of them.  Feel free to offer suggestions for improvement.

Good Financial Habits

1. I finally started thinking about retirement last year.  Before that, I was too young and dumb to think about it.  Retirement seems like such a long ways off and if I’m not even sure what I’m doing next week, how am I supposed to plan decades ahead?  Luckily, my work has been contributing some money automatically into my retirement account so I’m not as behind as I could be.  Now I’m maxing out my retirement contributions to catch up.  The magic of compound interest is in the time so it’s important to start early.  I have a couple of cousins who will be entering the working world soon.  If I could only give them one piece of advice, I’d tell them to start putting money into their retirement accounts right away and take advantage of any company matches (duh, free money). 

2. I’ve been tracking all of my spending with SpendingDiary for the past two months and I’m surprised at how little bits of spending here and there can really add up.  I’m a natural saver so I’m pretty aware of my spending already but when you actually put in the effort to track everything, you’ll immediately see what areas are draining your wallet. 

3. I’m working on creating streams of alternative incomes.  I started selling books on Amazon (whoa, I just sold 2 today!) to get over my mental block about selling on line.  Hopefully I’ll be brave enough to sell on Ebay and Etsy soon!  I’m also hoping that I can work for a carpenter on the weekends because I’d love to learn some more carpentry skills.

4. I used to be good about making my own meals and bringing lunch to work but then I got lazy and started getting lunch from the cafeteria and ordering takeouts for dinner.  No more!  I’m back to making my own meals and that’s good for the wallet AND good for the waistline. 

5. I’m starting to use the stockpiling strategy for my grocery staples.  For example, instead of grabbing a few cans of chicken stock when it’s half off, I now buy enough to last me until the next time it’s half off.