November 29, 2010

Money Blows, Crafting Rocks.

On Saturday, Nekos and I had a come-to-Jesus talk about money. It went something like this:

Nekos: We are both really bad about spending money. Like, really f***ing bad.

Ellen: You're so right. S***. We should probably make a budget or something.

[An hour later, after an honest and fearless review of expenditures ... ]

Nekos: Oh. My. God.

Ellen: We are total idiots. What were we thinking?

The realization that we are bad with money wasn't so much a realization as an admittance. We've known that we were bad; we just didn't want to deal with it or say it out loud. And it's sort of like, "Well, Ellen spent $60 at Anthropologie, so I can spend $60 at Grimey's." It's an equal opportunity arrangement for financial peril. The great thing is that Nekos doesn't give me hell about what I spend money on, and the terrible thing is that Nekos doesn't give me hell about what I spend money on.

So, we set some guidelines, like eating out only once a week, instead of three or four times. And that means Nekos packs his lunch most days or comes home for lunch. I've been clipping coupons for months now, but too often I feel compelled to use them to buy things I don't necessarily need just because I can save $2 on that thing I don't need. I have to get better at this. My friend Laura has a blog where she explains how she uses coupons to get overages. As in, the clerk hands you money back and you walk out the door with the merchandise. This is actually legal.

It's not that I want to broadcast my finances online; this is more like when you go on a diet and you have to tell people that you're going on a diet so that you actually can't eat Snickers bars in front of them anymore.

So I'm telling you people: During the month of December I'm not spending any unnecessary money on myself, Nekos, Tessa, or our home. But, guys, that doesn't mean my love of pretty things just goes away. So I've devised some ways to get a month's worth of "new" pretty things by using my old pretty things. I've also been thinking crafty thoughts about Christmas presents for my girlfriends this year. Here's what I've got in mind to fill the void while there is no Newness.

1) Take too-small Tessa clothes to consignment and get just-the-right-size Tessa clothes for free. Today I started sorting Tessa's clothes into piles: one pile for her one-day little sister (who I want to name True, even though Nekos doesn't), one pile for consignment, and one pile for trash (because of stubborn baby food stains). This is a task. The kid has already grown out of three-fourths of her clothes. Next step: Find a consignment store where I can trade in these little outfits for slightly bigger outfits.

Consignment ready!
2) Repair the necklaces that have been sitting, busted, on my dresser for months. This will be like having three new necklaces, right?

3) Make this necklace. Speaking of jewelry, have you ever seen anything more amazing than this doily Anthropologie necklace? The Bleubird Vintage blog shows step-by-step how to tackle a DIY version. I'm on it. Continuing with the Anthro necklace craze, my friend Blair gives a great DIY for their A Fine Fete necklace on her blog A Case of the Mundays.

4) Turn my oversized vintage tee-shirts into something fitted and wearable. I saw this picture the other day and got inspired.

I've been hanging on to these two tee-shirts of Nekos' for years. When we first started dating, I would fish them out of his drawer and sleep in them because they're so soft. Now they're even softer because I've been sleeping in them for eight years. But they swallow me. How cute would it be if I clipped them and stitched them to fit like this Harley Davidson tee?

5) Make handmade Christmas presents. The Ever So Lovely blog recently lit my latent love for all things cross stitch and embroidery, and I decided to hand stitch my close friends and family personalized gifts for Christmas. Close friends and family, look away. I especially love the stuff from this etsy shop called Rugglesstitch. Here are some of my favorites from the Rugglesstitch lady:


And ... here's what I've done so far (while Nekos watches football). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, no?

I also love the idea of stitching fabric to plain notepads. Cheapo but super cute and good for my arty friends. Got this idea (and photo) from the Honestly ... WTF blog.

6) Lastly but not leastly, something for the home. About a month ago, Design Sponge featured this from artist PerlaAnne. No offense to PerlaAnne, 'cuz her stuff is so super fly, but I feel like this "LOVE" could be easily recreated using a black pen, some resume paper, and a few of the many picture frames I have lying around. I want it on my mantle to set the vibe for the whole house upon entering. :)

So, the challenge is on. I'll knock out these six projects (at least) and keep the blog updated about my progress. I love blogs that set challenges. My sweet fashion stylist friend Kimberly took on a hairstyle challenge on her Style Me Kimberly blog, and the adorable Jen Loves Kev blogger is posting photos of 30 days worth of outfits pulling from 30 items in her closet.