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showing my mosaics

March 8th, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Not much has happened this past month. Doing my job, getting paid, planning a trip, collecting dividends, doing my taxes. (taxes are going to be ugly this year.) And I've found so $40.78 since mid July.

But I did talk to the co-owner of Bean City, and they are showing 4 of my mirror mosaics. We put them up this afternoon. We'll try it for a month and see how much interest there is.

Mosaic clock

January 18th, 2014 at 08:25 pm

As promised, here is a picture of my handmade mosaic clock. And yes, I need to dust! Big Grin

To keep it moderately fiscal, I got the wood backing board for free, the watch mechanism & hands from Amazon for $4, and the stand was $8 from Fred Meyer. Most of my glass and tile was bought on the 4$/lb ... but I did get free materials from friends of friends. That little bit of gold glass at the 12/3/6/9 cost up in the $20/lb, but I figure I maybe used less $1 worth. The Weldbond (Elmers but a lot better) and the grout are each $20, but each will last for tens of projects. That really leaves labor - about 30 hrs or so.

...as I was saying (long)

December 13th, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Well, this is the first post in about 5 months. My entry title is a take off on Jack Paar's first words when he came back to his Tonight show after a big long kerfluffle.

Anyway, what happened was not a mere storm to my routine it was a fiscal hurricane (apologies to those still coming back from ss Sandy). It was all self induced. Pull up a chair and let me tell you about it.

First of all, no more DH. Actually, just to be clear, DH was more a DP (partner). We never got married, but we were together for over 20 years. I fudged the legal aspects of the relationship to provide myself a hair more anonymity. And now, it matters little except for the fact that no marriage, no divorce.

I had been dissatisfied in our relationship for some time, but something good usually happened that I could go on for a little longer. Last July though, I just looked around and saw that DH (okay, DP) was not going to change and I was damned, if I continued, that I was going to spend my next 30 years picking up after him. I blew...for me I blew, and then while I snapped back I snapped back into a different place ... a different realization.

We broke up, but we did go to Argentina together. I did give him the option to not go (he took out trip insurance), but told him that we all did want him to come. I can't say what he thought about the whole thing. I know that strangely enough, it took the heat off of me. If he did something cringe worthy, I didn't think of it as a reflection on our relationship because there now wasn't one.

Next day after I snapped, I went to my credit union in search of a home loan. Which, if you look at my net worth, was easy to get. I had 20% and could qualify pretty easy for a 3% 15 yr fixed. Next I thought hard about what I really really wanted. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to have a real yard? Yeah, I suppose, but really yard work only appealed to me once in awhile, while plants in the yard grew relentlessly. And if I waited for Seattle home prices to turn reasonable, well I'd still be spending 30 yrs waiting for that. Plus, if I truly wanted to do yard work for a couple of weeks, I could fly out, spend some time with sister at the farmette, help her with the garden and weeding, and since I co-own the farmette, well, it helps me also.

After a bit of searching, I found probably one of the last sweet condo deals in Seattle, out in Lake City/Cedar Park, out at the northeast edge of Seattle. And yet the bus commute was 20 minutes shorter than what I'm used to (buses here are express, and I'm on the last stop before downtown), and the neighborhood itself sports a +90 walkability score. So I now am a proud condo owner.

With it, well I'm still spending money right and left. However, I'm buying quality and getting exactly what I want. New carpet, but carpet tile instead of wall to wall shag; new paint, but high end paint which means I can get away with 1/2 coats, only buying 1 gallon and taking only 1/2 sessions to paint a room. V.I. (kitty) has moved in with me and seems to have settled in well. Of course that litter genie could have helped much.

I can't rightly say that I'm saving money yet, but I am saving my sanity, resetting my routine, making new friends (I'm now closer to Spondilucks, who invited me to her New Year's party).

More to come, but as it is, while life is different, it is nicer for me than before.

chore vs hobby

January 2nd, 2012 at 09:34 pm

Read this interesting

Text is article about weight loss and Link is http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general
article about weight loss last Sunday. Since weight loss and saving money are aligned a bit, hear me out because this blog post has a lot to do about money.

The article was particularly interesting to me because I appear to be one of those rare persons who has managed to keep the weight I've lost, um lost. Although I can't seem to lose lots of weight in one smooth movement, I seem to lose the 10lbs, then plateau, then wait for some change to lose 10lbs, ...rinse and repeat several times. I'm right now at 166.6 (40 lbs down since November 2005) and have managed to survive this year's holiday carb-fest.

Anyway, much of the article described what it takes for others (and me, frankly) to sustain the weight loss. Basically near constant monitoring, food and exercise diary, treating yourself as a data point. In a sense, the weight loss maintenance takes on its own place in the calendar. Its really become a hobby, something that requires energy, attention, thought, discussion.

Thinking about that, I had my first epiphany: most people think of eating as a hobby, and exercise as a chore . Most of us vary our eating, can tell you where good restaurants are, and hate cooking themselves because that's a chore. The weightloss sustainers inverted this - they essentially try to make eating as much a chore as possible. They cook at home, they try eat as consistently as possible and measure it. On the other hand, they try to exercise as much as possible - walk, garden, gym, bike and try to mix it up. Vary it, talk about it, measure it and journal it. They try to turn it into a hobby.

My second epiphany came when I thought about saving and spending because they parallel weight loss. Most Americans spend as a hobby, save as a chore. I mean when we blog about others buying that 50K countertop, well what are they doing? Spending as a hobby. They save (or try to) as a chore. Pay yourself first - try to make it automatic ... which works mechanically, but boy not very much fun.

The thing that gets me about the bloggers at saving advice is that we all try to think of saving as a hobby - play games, try different things, journal and discuss what we do or what we've discovered. We also try, at least, to put some aspects of chore into spending. Spend on needs first, then wants .... and not just any wants, needed wants if that makes any sense.

And then investing. You are turning the spending hobby on its head by saving, but buying money.

Now the chore piece ... I don't really want to discount it, make it sound awful because its really not. Chores are important they are necessary and they can even be semi-fun. Just not as fun as a hobby.

saving games

November 22nd, 2011 at 08:40 pm

Its been wet and rainy, so I'm getting fiscal, fiscal to take my mind off of sopping....everything.

Over the last month:
I've found about $7 in found money as I've walked.
BECU gave me about $2.50 in interest in my checking and savings accounts.
I put 45$ into savings, coming from my tip box at work (when I think about it, I put money in a little covered box in a drawer at work called my tip box)
ING gave me about $75 in interest coming from my savings.
I transfer $125 from checking into savings (1 paycheck), and I transfer $100 into ING (other paycheck)
I've made $375 in stock purchase ($75 is usual, $300 is a quarterly, once-in-awhile-buy)
I've put in $1200 into my 403B from work.

I'm having good luck playing all my savings games, from little to big - from the amounts that I find on the sidewalk, to the $1 or several dollars that I put into my tip box, to paying myself first, to making sure that my checking and savings accounts pay me instead of I pay them. I know that others can't or aren't interested in some of these games, but I find that the more of them I play, the more mindful I am to save and the more inspired I get. If anything, the big stuff is less inspiring to me because I overshoot a hair and it means that I take some out of savings.

What kind of savings' games do you play?

anything but not everything

August 21st, 2011 at 08:18 pm

I read an insightful

Text is article and Link is http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=magazine
article about decision fatigue in the NYT Sunday magazine.

The basic point of the article is that decisions of any size require energy. The more you make during a day, the more likely you will either make a crappy one or that you will go with what is recommended to you ... and in a sales situation, its always going to cost.

Insightful to the frugalistas and frugalistas-in-training, for a number of reasons.

Remember the saying "you can have anything, but you can't have everything"? Of course, it means that you have to figure out what your anythings are in the whole universe of everything ... which means setting priorities .... which means decisions. Lots of decisions.

People sometimes consider my tactic of setting a routine to be ho-hum, but it means that I don't have to re-make routine decisions and I free myself for the biggies during the day.

Every so often the question, "what is the most frugal skill one can develop?" pops up. I thought it was math estimation skills but I might make the case that preventing decision fatigue might well be it.

I'll take it, I guess

August 13th, 2011 at 09:03 pm

At home, I looked over my invoice at the thrift store. I appear to have gotten the 10% senior citizen discount.

I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or dye my hair. But I will take the discount.

crafty patch part 2

July 20th, 2011 at 08:22 pm

I listed out all the crafty creative projects I've been roped into or found to do -

Wrote the story board and wrote about a 1/3 of the shooting script. Screenwriter friend brought his camera and showed us how to use it, so now the camera people are working out shooting the piece. Today I made four joke pledges as props - Montgomery Burns giving to the Release the Hounds Dog Park in Springfield, for instance. Since stamping is part of my job, I made a joke Bulls%*t stamp. It will be small, but subtle. Thank you mom's side of family for the mean sense of humor, it came in handy.

Working on getting the database to play nice with Office 2010. I got the database to load (yay), and 80% of it works, but a number of functions were lost, and I'm working to get them back.

Got my first mosaic piece mortared with thin set on the wedi board (wedi board is a stiff styrofoam board coated in concrete and mesh. Thin and light but waterproof). It went about as smooth as I'd expect it to go the first time. The big thing is that even though I was careful in my calculations I still made a lot more than I needed. I'm willing to bet that many people try to finish several pieces before mortaring. There is a bit of thin set on the glass, but not much - I've been successful taking a knife and gently scraping it off. I learn to grout on the 30th.

I'm gluing glass onto mesh and making my second piece. Goin' solo on this one!

Have all but two of my yard sale frames painted. Time to take a look at pictures.

tourist silly season

July 14th, 2011 at 09:30 pm

Its July in Seattle, the height of the tourist season, and everybody is looking to make a bit of coin off of them....