Monday, September 29, 2008

Productive Hobbies

Get Rich Slowly had a post today about productive hobbies - pasttimes that can help you either save money or make money. I've been thinking about this all morning since I've been struggling with this crafting stuff lately. The great thing about crafting is that it can save money on gifts - like the jams that most people will be receiving these upcoming holidays or baby showers gifts of stuffed animals. And it definitely feels more heartfelt to give home-made things. I've enjoyed the challenge of selling my things and it is definitely satisfying to know that people would spend money on the things that I make. However, I've been struggling with making sure that I still have fun working on things. I was really pretty burnt out after the craft fair and while I have a large number of ideas in my head for projects, finding the motivation to sit down and just get started has been difficult.

One thing that I'm trying to remind myself is that being creative and making these things needs to be about fulfilling my own need to express myself and not about just making some extra cash. Otherwise it just becomes another responsibility instead of a release. I'm going to challenge myself to work on something that is totally for my own benefit in the next couple of months. I'm still deciding on what my project will be, but will keep the blog updated.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


So here's some photos of a new product for my Etsy account. I got some great feedback on these at the craft fair, but no purchases. That was either because a. they were more expensive than people wanted to spend at a craft fair, b. they were hard to see the impact because they had to be folded on the table and you couldn't see the full impact, or c. the colors weren't what people had.

I plan to offer them on Etsy as examples of what I could do for custom orders. That way people could order specific color schemes or phrases or names. And I think that I'll create a few that say things like "Congratulations", "Happy Birthday" and "Happy Holidays". Ron thinks that I should do some that might be more appropriate for adults.

I would really appreciate some reader suggestions.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Junk in da Trunk Craft Fair

First craft fair completed. It was a modest success. It was held on Friday night and Saturday during the day during two days which were apparently record breaking heat for Savannah. Not so nice. I made a few sales and enough money to pay myself back for the table and supplies and a little extra in profit. Overall though I'd say that the weather really held people indoors and even we packed up early on Saturday because of it.

Highlights included:
Selling with Lane and Ashleigh - without them it would have been quite boring.
Lots of interest in the baby block sets and the mobile.
Overhearing that another vendor said that I had a "fancy" table.
People love elephants.

If I do another one, I've got some ideas about how to change my display and know what I would do in regards to products. I plan on doing more of the baby blocks and advertising more about the custom orders that I can do. Also more stuffed animals that adults might want - not as strong a focus on just nursery items. I think that I could probably do some shorter garlands too with some adult-friendly statements.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Craft Fair This Weekend

Nothing to do this weekend? Come down to check me out hosting my first table at a craft show. Here's the details:

When? Friday 7-10pm & Saturday 10am-2pm.
Where? Desoto Ave in Savannah (The alley between Bull Street and the Farmer's Market in Starland District)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nora's Baby Shower

So during my drought of blog posts on crafting this summer, I mentioned that I'd been busy working on some things but couldn't post them yet. Well, my friend Nora had her baby shower yesterday and so I'm finally able to post about some of the things that I was busy making for her.

Kanga and Roo always make a good baby shower gift. I'm especially proud of the sweater since it's the first time that I've knitted anything that needed to be pieced together. I know that I got the pattern online, but I can't track it back down at the moment. Once I find it, I'll post the link. The booties were made by a pattern from Heather Bailey.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Coping with the Urge to Spend

One of my favorite personal finance blogs had an interesting reader post today on addiction to spending that got me thinking. I am really proud of how I've taken responsibility for my financial situation in the past six months and how far that I've come. I thought that it might be good to note the behaviors and new habits that have really helped me change.

1. I have been very good about not shopping for things that I haven't already noted that I needed. (I did make a couple of mistakes.) To do this, I avoid the mall entirely. I think that I've gone twice in six months - once to buy an interview outfit. The second time I spent money on items I wasn't planning on and I remembered why I am avoiding the mall. This also applies to general window shopping or superstores. I have a really hard time with Target. I use their pharmacy and every time I run in to pick up a prescription, I have to really focus so as not to wander the rest of the store.

2. I have a short list of personal finance and frugality blogs that I read daily. I find it really encouraging to read about other people's struggles and successes and I've been learning a lot of tips on how to save money and still live a rich life. Here are some of my favorites:
Get Rich Slowly
Frugal Dad
Blogging Away Debt
Simple Living America

3. I've created and revised and revised again my budget. I did in it Excel because I didn't want to spend on a new software program and felt nervous to do it online. Plus I know it well enough to tweak it to all my own needs. But the really successful part of this is that I've kept it updated. I use it to track my bill payments, all of my discretionary spending and my debt snowball. Seeing where my money goes has helped me to tailor the categories and be able to anticipate costs instead of just reacting to them.

4. I have set very specific savings goals. I would like to pay for a wedding in cash when the time comes. In five years, I would like to be fully debt-free and that includes my student loans. Specific goals help me to keep from being tempted to spend on unneeded items. Sometimes it kind of sucks to not buy any new clothes and wear things out before replacing them, but ultimately I know the other goals are more important and plus it's better for the environment anyhow.

5. I have set a very small amount of money in my budget for me to blow on whatever I want each week. It's just $20, but with a little planning that pays for some time out with my friends and maybe a couple of coffees or a little treat.

I am really interested in hearing how other people stop themselves and keep focused on the bigger goals. I love hearing new ideas and tips of how to stay on track.