Sunday, December 21, 2008

Busy with Christmas Crafting? Take a Break!

I've been busy getting ready for Xmas. Just one crafted gift this year but I did manage to get all of my trees, lights, wreaths and garlands up this year!

Big accomplishment for someone who barely got one tree up last year and sparsely decorated it! I guess you can say I'm really feeling the holidays this year.

Anyway, I'm off to bake doggie biscuits but I wanted to share one entertaining piece of news from the New York Times.

SantaCon 2008

This was hilarious and so timely! I think this year is all about individualizing the Christmas experience instead of everyone going mass-commercialization. I even managed to stick to a budget this year and came out pretty well!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Warning: Rant Ahead

I love Berroco yarns. And their patterns. And they employ my favorite designer ever, Norah Gaughan (Benissimo's designers are a *very* close second).

But this, well, I found it kind of offensive. And now they're on part 3 of a series on "recession fashion"!

In a recession, I realize they have to take a look at saving money. But are people really cutting back to where $50 is a deal>

Not in my world! My most expensive projects are in the $50-70 range. I like to buy expensive yarns and make smaller projects with them in a time of recession, not spend as much as my most expensive projects!

Here's a clue, Berroco - try listing smaller projects, not full sweaters, or giving a discount on your yarns (as in, buy a book or pattern booklet get 15% off or something) and don't try to kid that you're into the whole cutting the budget thing.

For those of us who have to cut our budget down, here are some better ideas:

1. Learn to unravel old sweaters from the thrift store. I can get all the cashmere/angora I want for $10 a sweater!
2. Learn to use expensive yarns next to the skin or places where the design impact will matter. Its not necessary to use the most expensive wool for a standard stockinette cardi, but it is necessary to use softer product for a pullover or for a cardi that will be worn on your skin, like with a tank top.
3. Buy some $10 gift cards from the store each month instead of buying yarn. Save them up to make a big purchase and it won't feel so bad in this economy (its already paid for!). If your yarn is "no dye lot", than buy one skein at a time.
4. Use your stash. Nothing costs more than yarn you aren't using. And if you just can't bring yourself to use something, donate it. Get it to someone who will be overjoyed at the thought of using your neon green fun fur (hello new crocheted Oscar!).
5. Learn to block acrylic. Its a different technique than learning to block wool, but once you try it, you'll never go back. I'm still learning it myself, but there are several projects that I need to photograph that show the results of learning to lightly block it.
6. Learn about knockoff brands. Like Noro Kureyon? Try Patons SWS. Like fancy sock yarn? Try Knitpicks. Like Malabrigo? Try some of the hand-dyed yarn on etsy. Hobby Lobby is especially famous for knocking brands off. I particularly like I Love This Yarn's selections!
7. Hankering for something new to learn? Purchase a set of knitting looms and learn how to knit differently. You'll be amazed at the way it will blow your mind at just how many ways you can enjoy knitting!

All of those will help squeeze some yarn time out of your budget without insulting you, making it seem like its a token gesture, or making it "fashionable" to be under budget.

Berroco, I'll still buy your yarns and avidly read Norah's blog, but like the parent of a five year old, all I can say is that I'm very, very disappointed in the company.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One Dollar Giving

I regularly read many blogs, and Frugal Dad is one that I subscribe to because many of his insights are very good. (I also like Retire at 40 - he's very inspiring!).

Todays post was about small giving to charity - its been a rough, rough year for many people and charities are suffering for it.

The One Dollar Give

So here's the idea, 31 charities, 31 days, and all they're asking is that you put forth $1 through Network for Good.

I decided to skip my weekly hamburger and throw my buck in for Community Access. I encourage all of you to do the same - and they are looking for etsy sellers to donate $1 from each sale of items on etsy to the various causes.