Monday, November 4, 2013

More Crafts from My Girl

Another ornament from my 5-year-old
I can't keep up with her crafting needs. Is this familiar to my mother back 25 years ago? Probably...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

My Finished Birdie Needle Case

It's all done. And the baby is still firmly in "the egg."

My Finished Needle Case with my four little birdies and the egg (coming soon!)
 I do many things by initials, so you can see i have embroidered their initials on each of the birds. We honestly have no name for the egg yet (we will work that out between contractions) nor do we know whether the baby coming is a boy or a girl. I picked the colour of a robin's egg.
My little birds, detail
I also know that in the bird-world, boy-birds tends to get the fancier tail feathers. Well, not in my bird world!
Mom and Dad birds--obviously very much in love since we have so many little birds!
And finally, the inside, where the needles are kept.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is My Little Girl a Crafter Too?

Maybe she is. She is 5 years old. We call her G. Isn't this cute?

G's Little Hand Sewn Dove

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Little Bird Family

Little Birds Needle Case
I need a needle case. Okay, I don't really, but I have been using the torn cardboard one that comes with the Guterman needles and thinking, this is silly. I should just make myself something nice!

I fussed around on Pinterest until I realized that there was nothing that I particularly wanted to make. And then I remembered that I don't like making other people's patterns because they never suit me 100%.

So I designed this and am working on it. One little bird for each of my little birds. And then an egg for the baby we are waiting on. The kids love the "egg." "That's our new baby. He's just an egg!" (We don't actually know if the baby is a "he," but I already have three "he's" so it seems more likely somehow. I do understand probabilities, FYI.)

I'll show you the results when I am finished. Maybe by that time, I should have five little birds and no "eggs"...

Monday, October 21, 2013

My Old, Old Project is coming along: Now the Starburst Quilt

The Starburst Quilt in process, 2013

I feel I need to add the year as I do these steps because as I suggested previously, I started this project while I was still in high school. (I think I did anyway. Or maybe I started it the summer after first year. Regardless, in the early 2000s.)

My normal clutter mantra is to get rid of things like this. This has been my one exception because when I took out, I felt inspired. I don't know why. Old, unfinished projects rarely give me this feeling. And then I just get rid of them because I am busy and I don't need to feel guilty about things that I am not doing--because I am doing plenty of new things. And new stuff is always funner than old stuff.

Except in this case.

Now I have appliqued the pieces onto this dark blue fabric and I'm debating what to do. The blue fabric was at the recommendation of my mother who thought it would give it a good contrast. I agree. But now what? Maybe my mom will have to take it home with her and think about it... (Heads up, mom.)

I am also debating on whether I should make it big enough for a twin because we are increasing the number of twin beds we have in our house yet again.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Cost of Raising Kids for $3000/year--Can We Do It? Yes We Can!

I've been getting away from my quilting articles to talk about other things. Don't worry if you like quilts. I am working on some projects right now.

There has been a lot of talk about the article put out by the Fraser Institute article regarding the costs of raising children in Canada. In the article, the author, Chris Sarlo, suggested that it cost $2100 for a four-year-old and $4100 for a 12-year-old. I don't have a 12-year-old yet, but I feel that the cost he quoted for a 4-year-old to be reasonable.
Guess how much this cost? It was free! (Minus the cost of sunscreen.)
Apparently, I am the only one who thinks this. There has been a deluge of parents and experts claiming that this amount is totally unreasonable. For example, this author sees the estimate as foolish particularly because it doesn't include childcare costs. (He also admits to spending $4000 for a week of dance camp for his daughter which screams EXCESSIVE!) According to Sarlo's report, less than 50% of Canadians use any kind of paid childcare. (This includes me--I don't even use babysitters! I would also say that a majority of my friends don't have paid childcare at all. But maybe we are the rich elite? My little bungalow might suggest otherwise.)

So I started to look around on the web to see if there was anyone who agreed with this report. I couldn't find anyone. I did click on a promising link by Frugal Edmonton Mama, but she didn't really seem to agree. Although she did omit things from her calculation like (my comments follow):

- preschool (not a necessity)
- swimming lessons (we've been personally experimenting with just taking the kids to the pool during free times and they are all learning to swim quite well)
- preschool gym (maybe try the playground? Even McDonalds has a nice playground in winter which you can put all your kids on for the price of a small coffee and muffin--$1.39)
- horse-back riding lessons (?!)

she did include RESP contributions and her larger house. (I'm amazed at how many people think RESPs is a necessity. Although I admit it would be nice, I do not think that it should be taken out of money that would otherwise go towards food. Now, if you discontinue horse-back riding lessons and use that money for RESPs, then that would be another story.)

Anyway, the frugal in Frugal Edmonton Mama is a misnomer. We are definitely raising our four kids on less than $2500/year each (what we actually spend) and we even plan crazy, epic vacations--like the one we are planning for Florida in February. (Regina is cold in winter.)

Here is his chart from the Fraser Institute report:

Spending         4 year old child (G)        12 year old child (B)
Food                          $1,638.60                           $2,517.12
Clothing                        $332.33                              $519.04
Personal care               $114.05                              $222.64
Household supplies      $127.68                              $127.68
Personal allowances,
school supplies              $51.72                        
Total                          $2,264.38                            $4,115.04

According to his calculations, it costs $1.50/meal for a 4-year-old and $2.30/meal for a 12-year-old. My personal calculations say that we spend about $1.40/meal for each member of our family (or $700/month assuming exactly 3 meals a day). I think we eat quite well, but I also feel that I am quite careful about our food spending. We also eat at home 90% of the time.

I rarely buy clothing for the kids. I "put the word out" and now have a deluge of people giving us clothing. I wouldn't be surprised if we spent about $332.33 (the 4 y/o rate) on all four of our kids in a year. Not shopping is the ultimate in being frugal. There are so many perfectly good clothes that are used. And no kid needs more than two pairs of jeans. I'm sorry. Please read my post minimizing clothes here.

I'm not sure what this would include other than soap and sunscreen? This seems like a lot to me as a result. (Or maybe it would include diapers, but I do cloth. And really, a 4-year-old should not still be needing diapers, so that doesn't make sense either.)

Maybe this is low as it would barely cover the cost of a bicycle (at the 4 y/o rate) and is only $14/week for the 12 y/o. But he did outline that this is the basics. It certainly wouldn't include ANY type of lessons taken over the year (eg: piano costs $15-20/week), but would pay for a few rounds of swimming lessons ($42/session).

Am I crazy here? Am I the only one who agrees with the Fraser Institute's assessment? Let me know your thoughts...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Font quilt panel finished; now what?

Font quilt top
I sewed all my letters together and now I have this. I like it, but I'm wondering if I should just quit now or continue and make it into something larger.

This size is not particularly large and I have historically made a case against wall hangings (no function!). But I also used spray paint to make the blocks and I'm worried that making it for a bed might result in the spray paint peeling off after many washes. So maybe this should be a wall hanging (I hate to admit this).

I will think on it more, but at the present, I am pleased with the results.