It's just a life, but its all mine and I love it!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

How many bank accounts does it take to change a lightbulb?

Ok so there is no witty punch line to this one.  Blame it on a combination of frustration that two of those little in the ceiling lights have blown AGAIN! and that we're paying attention to household finances right now as we try and save a deposit for a house.

The question should be "how many bank accounts does it take to run our house?"

The answer is 5.  For 2 adults.

So what do we have? Why so many?  Or maybe this is normal?

We each have our own chequing account that we've always had.  We get paid into these and we keep a little private money in them, what might have been called pin money in regency times.  It's money that we don't need to think about spending, we know it doesn't affect our ability to pay the bills.  Also we've kept these accounts as my partner is self employed and people are used to paying him in that account and I've had mine as long as I've been in Australia.  It's continuity.

So that's two accounts.

Number three is our bill account.  This one is very important.  All of our bills, electricity, gas, rent, phones, subscriptions, tolls , kids child care, blah, blah, blah get paid out of this.  All we have to do is top it up at each pay day with our estimated bills for the month plus a little buffer.  Then we don't touch it.  I monitor it, make sure the bills are going out and for the right amount, but we don't touch it again till next payday, and then only to top it up to the required amount.  It gives me massive peace of mind, nothing gets forgotten and there is no chance of running out of money before a bill comes in.

Number four then is our household day to day costs.  Food shopping is the biggest, plus petrol and clothes if we need them. Also haircuts, car services, any normal everyday costs to run the family. And then fun stuff.  Family meals out, cinema or laser tag.  Trips to the swimming pool. We have a budget of course and the major food shopping tends to get done once a month just after payday again so that we know where we stand and whether we can afford to go out.

Having number three and four separate might seem overkill but it really does mean we know how much we have available for food, necessities and if we're really lucky for a bit of fun!

And finally five.  Five is our savings account.  Anything left over from the other four goes in here.  We're watching it grow, slower than we'd like but still grow.  Account number five is our future.

So how many accounts to make sure we have the money to change a light bulb? Five!  But I still don't know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Is Crochet Old Fashioned?

YES!  Well sort of.  And also NO!

It's definitely old.  Really old. Not pyramid old, but certainly a couple of hundred years.

There are suggestions that it came to Europe from China, or the middle east.  And certainly there were crafts such as tambouring, embroidery using a drum like frame with the thread being worked by a needle with a hook.  It's as likely an origin for crocheting as anything, but it's not crochet.

There are rumours of Irish or Italian nuns creating lace using crochet from the 16th century, but no evidence although they certainly did so with great skill in later centuries.  In fact the first evidence of actual crochet appears in the late 1700s to early 1800s.  The first known crochet pattern in a magazine was published in 1819.  A Swedish ladies fashion magazine called "Konst och nyhetsmagasin för medborgare af alla klasser" if that type of thing interests you.  I haven't yet managed to discover what the pattern was for, but that is probably due to my lack of Swedish.  The magazine only began circulation in 1818 and was probably cutting edge for it's time.
Fashion Plate from Konst och nyhetmagasin for medborgare af alla klasser, courtesy of Nordiska Museet

So that covers the old part, but old fashioned?

Well you'll definitely get a few odd looks if you sit crocheting in public, yes this is the voice of experience.  But then when I stop to think about it, doing anything productive in public whether it's painting or writing, fixing a bike or a bit of carpentry will get you strange looks.  It's almost like these things have been relegated to the level of bowel movements.  We all know they have to happen, but would you mind closing the door so that we can all pretend it doesn't. 

Take street art for example, people tend to glance at it as they go past if it's already there, but if an artist is in the process of drawing it becomes street entertainment.


Progress always seems to be linked to automation, having machines do things for us instead of having to do them ourselves although the end bit often gets missed off that statement.  Doing things for us so that we have more time to do the things we enjoy.  Like crochet? So from that point of view is crochet old-fashioned because we do it by hand? Or is the time to do it by hand simply a luxury?

So I guess it boils down to the project.  A hideous 1970s diarrhea yellow and dog turd brown tea cosy made out of granny squares is going to get judged as old fashioned by most people.  Unless you're being ironic of course.  Or happen to like that kind of thing in which case errr lovely.

On the other hand a gorgeous crochet wedding dress can be the height of style.  And a baby blanket in modern colours and ripples would I hope be considered unremarkable if not down right fashionable.  This may of course be because that is exactly what I am currently working on.

Progress on a ripple blanket for a gorgeous little baby girl


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A Real Bargain!

I have a weakness.

I suspect you do too. And yeah the title kinda gave it away. We all love a bargain.

But. Because you know there has to be a but. But what about all the times you get home, proudly unwrap or debag your bargain, and it's not exactly living up to expectations. You notice the little imperfections, the poor stitching, cheap materials, poor build quality.

What's your response? Well if you're anything like me, it's complete and utter denial. You put on a brave face. Of course it's not going to be perfect. Afterall, it was A BARGAIN!

Exhibit A

A pair of trainers, sneakers, whatever you want to call them, I'm not too worried. Only $15 in the sale. Yeah!

Exhibit B

The thing is I have a pair of dearly loved, incredibly comfortable pair of trainer like shoes that I live in when not wearing my very favourite knee high boots. My knee high boots are bizarrely enough are also divinely comfortable despite the heel.

Exhibit C

The other thing is they both cost in excess of $100, the boots especially. So a year or more after there purchase and substantial mileage they are beginning to look worse for the wear. :(

Now I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to shoes. Not to put too fine a point on it if, my feet see a pair of shoes they blister. On the toes, the heel, the sole, wherever. So shoes that don't cripple me (slight artistic licence) are to be treasured. My new sneakers do not fall into this category. Five minutes tops before I was hobbling. I won't wear them again.

I reckon I've got maybe another week in my poor boots before I find myself limping along with no right heel. So this weekend I'll be hitting the shops. But the moral of the story is, if every time I bought a bargain I just saved myself the trouble and put the money in a jar, I could pay for a new pair. My cupboard of shame would also be a good deal emptier.

How many bargains are shoved in some dark drawer in cupboard of shame?