Grandma and her boys

Monday, 31 August 2009

Budgeting for Christmas

On my daughters blog this week she talks about budgeting on the food bill as her challenge for September.
I remember one year when we were young and penniless, reading an article about budgeting for Christmas and I actually did it.
You need to organise yourself way before the Christmas period, now is not to early for you need to work towards it.
The way I felt afterwards was so good, when I realised the achievement.

There are years in every ones life when a budget is imperative and if this is yours read on .....

Is it possible to celebrate the holidays and escape a financial hangover in January?
Absolutely. You just have to know how......

It is simple really you just need a note book and a pen for you are going to make lists... so here we go !!

The Budget
No one actually wants to make a Christmas budget,
but having no budget gives the illusion of no limits – leading straight to debt.
A budget will help you avoid the slippery slope.
First, determine how much you can afford to spend. . The more detail, the better.
People often have a rough idea of the total amount they want to spend, but they don't know the specifics.

So make a list of all your expenses – gifts, decorations, food and allocate the appropriate amount for each item or each person.
"But you must stick to it"

Use the same approach if buying gifts for friends . Rather than feeling restricted (OK, maybe you will a little), When you realise you spent within your Christmas budget you will feel guilt-free.

Keep you eyes open for specials in the few months before the holiday period...but consult your list.... remember to keep a list of items bought and where you have hidden them !!!

When shopping with out the budget, you'll likely be tempted to buy more extravagant gifts – that flashy video game system instead of a soccer ball . Before you purchase the more expensive item, ask yourself, Where am I going to get the money for this? is it in the budget,
Please remember though you have to make this into a bit of a game so you enjoy it.

Keep your receipts and track your spending to help you stay the course.

Even if you're celebrating Christmas on a budget, you can still enjoy the season with a little creative thinking: , Make a menu, this way you will purchase only the things you require and not be tempted by this fancy packet and that special offer that don't fit into the menu.
Purchase food items that will store in the couple of months before the holiday period, an item here and there on you normal weekly bill will be absorbed easily.

Share the cooking, Mum bring the veg, Auntie bring the dessert, you supply the meat and so forth.
Some times you really have to reign in so here are a few suggestion that will not break the budget hopefully at all.
Give "gifts of love," such as baby sitting for a weekend, gardening ( sweeping leaves or lawn mowing) ... Household chore time (something you know the recipient does not like to do ) this will cost you nothing but time.
A food basket put together over time.
Or ready mixed recipe ingredients in a nice container or jar with your favorite cookie/ cake mix ..... plus instructions.
Even cook something, a special cake .... it costs not a lot more to increase the recipe and make a small extra cake on the side. How about Jams, Marmalade's, cookies and pickles ( people love home made goodies)
If you sew make a tree ornament, then tie to a favorite food/ sweet item.

Lavender from the garden, made into Lavender Bags for the undies drawer, with a little effort and time making things gives that extra gift of "love" for the item was made especially.
Give a gift certficate to the kids for a day out to something they enjoy but don't get to often ...(this kills two birds with the one stone) but they don't realise it.

I remember giving our young teens 13 and 15 yrs old a certificate of a free run at the after Christmas sales or January sales..... we would have had to buy their clothes any way (another double kill.) They had a great day out and bought all they desired with in reason of course and the budget ... oh! and we supervised the day and just paid the bills.

Get your shopping done early. There's no need to wait for the mob of holiday shoppers to signify the start of your hunt for the perfect presents.

Additionally, you can contact family and friends and let them know that you are planning to purchase small gifts to keep within your budget and ask them to please do the same for you.

For Stress Free Christmas...every third year buy everyone a gift certificate from a store of their choice, plus a small article to attach it to.


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Sewing Machine is home

My sewing machine is home again and is purring beautifully I did not realise how bad it was until it had been repaired for the 2nd time.

The 2 nd repair man a reputable Brother Agent said I quote

"What ever had been done to it before had been a botched job, and the person who did it obviously did not have any idea of what they were doing".

But never mind all is fixed now.

So be aware, I took my machine to a patchwork / embroidery shop locally the 1st time and put my trust in them they said they had a chap who did Brother repairs but they used a repairman who dealt with " all machines" and was not an agent for Brother machines of course this was unknown to me at the time and they did not let on either.

The Brother Agent also said

These new machines are like most technology that is run by a computer programme, if any thing goes wrong they need to be fixed by an agent with the right computer programme and experience / training that will fix it.

so learn from my experience, make sure your repair man is a reputable agent for the make of machine you have before you let him loose on it.

No Music

Mozart's Piano Concerto 21

You may have noticed that the music
has disappeared from my blog
I have been into the widget companies website
and it seems all music is no longer available.
I guess this is due to the licence now needed to play
and use other peoples music in public areas.
So I guess again that blogs are deemed as a public area

This is such a shame as I love that piece of music
and it used to lift me each time I opened my blog

I will leave it on for the present and may be they
will sort it and it will reappear in the future
In the mean time I will play the CD
I sure hope the neighbours like Mozart
I love to play it quite loud

Something from my garden

Today I awoke to the most glorious morning,
birds singing and sunshine
this is the picture from the window in the bedroom

I got up early and did the normal bits
and with a cup of coffee in hand took a walk around the garden
every thing is in flower the plum tree is full of blossom
also the flowering Cherry,

Azalea's are in full bloom and of course all the camellias
are laden with flowers,this time of year is the best
in my garden so much colour,
really welcome after a very depressing
and cold winter this year in NZ.

The orchids are just beautiful

I planted some miniature Tulips months ago
I had not forgotten them but I had thought they had forgotten me
but this morning this little one had appeared

Now one thing I have always longed for is my own Rhubarb plant
we have had lots of gardens in our life
but none that would have taken a rhubarb patch
I happened to mention this to my neighbour Shirley
in passing one day

There on the back step yesterday was my very own Rhubarb plant
I tell you it is like winning the lottery
such a little gift but much appreciated...thank you

In an earlier posting I mentioned my Cyclamen plants
that I just love to have around the house
Well this one just gave up the ghost and I put it for
the want of somewhere to drop it outside
on to one of my two elephants
( bought from Dubai to stand guard outside the rear door)
it was just about on it's last legs, but I gave it some water
and this is the result it has turned back into a flourishing plant.

I am sorry to have to say the sunshine was short lived
it is now 90 minutes later and the sun
has disappeared and the clouds have rolled in

Friday, 28 August 2009

More Stitching

The needle case in progress

A lot of stitching on a project unable to say

what it is yet, as the recipient regularly reads my blog

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Just look at these and I have finally done it

These flowers are Magnolia and are enormous
my neighbour was cutting her boundry bushes
and this tree is between some fir trees and can not really be seen.
So she cuts the flowers and takes them inside to enjoy the beauty of them
she came across with some for me
they are so large each flower head is larger than my hand

All this sunshine has made get out and do things
I finally managed to clean the car
and the campervan yesterday
I have been looking at them for ages now
but every time I decide to do it ... down comes the rain

The grass also needs cutting so the company
who look after it for me will come in the next couple of days
to give it a tidy up.

I keep seeing things that need attention
so I just can't wait for more of this weather
to get out there and get started

Monday, 24 August 2009

I feel really good

I feel so good today, I have kept my word
and have gone Aqua Jogging,
okay may be not so often as I should
but I have been that is the first step.
I am on my second week
and I will be taking the Aqua Aerobics on Thursday

I have come back inspired and I might even
clean the car in a few minutes after my coffee and toast
I find it is best to go to the pool as soon
as I rise in the morning any later
and I am trying to find excuses why I should not go
Thus I go before breakfast.
But Gee!! I enjoy the breakfast when I get back.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Hardanger Tassel Class

A few weeks ago I signed up for a Hardanger Tassel Class
we received the instructions with sign up
and this homework had to be done before the class day.
Our tutor for the day was Marjorie Irwin

This is one of Marjorie's tassels for us to see
and her table ready for the days tutition

Every thing is so neat and delicate

16 ladies took the class all at different levels of ability
and everyone achieved the final tassel

Ladies from our guild working away at construction of the finished item

This is some of our finished tassels

This one is mine, it is so cute
now what do I do with it ?

Thursday, 20 August 2009

What am I stitching

This week I am on to embroidery
( which really is my first love in stitching )

I have started this needle case.
it is done on linen and worked with one strand of DMC thread
I must admit to having to use my magnifer
more now than in the past
( must be a sign of the time...age. )

For some reason quilting has gone on to the back boiler may be it is
something to do with the fact that my sewing room
is freezing cold and sitting at the machine
in there is just not comfortable
and it is so much more comfortable
to sit in the lounge and hand stitch.

Indoor pot plants

I just love cyclamens and have pots of them indoors

large ones, small ones also miniture ones
I have them in the dining room and lounge they add such colour.
Mine have all given up indoors,
I have had them for 2 or 3 months
so they are really good value for approx $10 each
against cut flowers that do not last for any where near the same time

So I need to take a trip to the garden centre
to collect either some more
or some other pot plants to take their place.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Friends are like balloons

Another of those emails
Life is too short to wake up with regrets.
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.
Nobody said life would be easy.
They just promised it would be worth it.
Friends are like balloons.
Once you let them go, you can't get them back.
So I'm gonna tie you to my heart so I never lose you.

Today's suprise

I have this small non discript cactus
that has just sat in a dish for years and years,
hardly ever changing size or shape
sometimes it just gets put on the garden table
ignored and unloved,
while we were in Dubai for 2 years
my sister in law had it on her front doorstep.

Since my return it came home
and was on our doorstep,
but once the frosts started I decided
may be it ought to come inside.
Today I noticed this beautiful flower
that it has produced all on it's own
I can take no credit, amazing what neglect
and nature can produce.
I also noticed it has produced some baby growths
I wonder what it is that makes it lie dormant,
for it must be 5 years I have had it ... then spring into life

Monday, 17 August 2009

A Beautiful Day and Flowers

The sun is shinning and it is actually warm

There is no heating on the windows are open
and the breeze is bringing in lovely fresh air

These pictures are walk around the garden

It looks like spring is on the way

My Friend Prue came to Supper
and bought me these absolutely beautiful Orchids
they have always been one of my favorite flowers.
along with freesias which are really my 1st favorite