Monday, January 31, 2022

Budgeting and Insourcing....How I'm saving money in 2022..

Insourcing will look a little different in 2022.

Now that it is just Hubster and I at home, our priorities have shifted somewhat. I guess that happens to us all. No longer is it bulk cooking and make-from-scratch, although those things do have their place from time to time.

Really, now, it's about labour saving, and quality of life. Hubster has had health issues over the last twelve months, and I have so many itis-es, that it's hard to keep up sometimes. Nothing life-threatening thank goodness, but certainly enough to see us re-evaluate and reassess.

This year, my goals are:

1. As I do each year, learn a new crafting skill with a view to both selling and gifting. This year, I am concentrating on Resin crafts. Look at these pretty bangles I made, pictured above. Resin and cake sprinkles. That's it. And very well received I might add. Coasters, trinket trays, pendants and earrings will be added to the repertoire as I go along. I think these will be HUGE fun.

2. I'm going to focus on expanding my wardrobe choices (note I said 'choices', NOT the items in the wardrobe), by utilising my extensive collection of accessories. I tend to gravitate to the colourful and quirky these days. Life can't be so serious that we wear our pearls EVERY day, right?

A wardrobe cull has already occurred, turning this....

...into this fab hanging section made by Hubster, for my necklaces...

...and this minimalist hanging space, having kept only the pieces that I genuinely love. It's difficult to photograph, but I have culled my wardrobe by two thirds, and reallocated the remaining space to scarves, bags, and costume jewellery...I really am becoming my Mother, whose costume jewellery and accessories collection filled a tea chest, and was distributed amongst her 3 daughters, and five granddaughters, upon her passing...

I'm quite proud of myself. The wonderful result being, that I can actually SEE what I have, and I'm wearing pieces that haven't seen the light of day in years.

3. I'd like to add some new favourites to my baking lineup. We don't consume a lot of baking, but when the occasion calls for it, I enjoy having a few tried and true selections up my sleeve. Above are Cumquat Syrup Cakes, below is French Almond Cake, Gold Dusted Meringues, and Banana Bread Pillows made in the sandwich maker.

4. I've engineered myself a little niche in upcycling statement necklaces from a well known maker here where I live. Their feature pieces are joyful and fun, but are often let down by their Plain Jane chain. I'm adding colourful beads to their connector chains and making some pocket money on the side.

5. I'm finding that Arthritis and other Itis-es are messing with my embroidery skills, so I'll be dragging out that embroidery sewing machine I purchased several years ago, and acquainting self with it's delights. I think there could be some pocket money in embellishments on hand towels and such, that are also modern and quirky.

6. Hubster and I are mid Retirement Renovation. You know....that one that takes you through to when they carry you off the the Aged Care place? Hopefully thats some decades away, but meanwhile, we don't want to be patching and painting in our 70s and beyond.

This means rearranging and repurposing some pieces that we already have. I've been looking to have a corner like this for years. A re-imagining of the dining room, saw this antique chest of drawers that I restored about thirty years ago, relocated to our entry room. The Ginger jar was a Christmas gift, the bowl, thrifted and already in our collection, the tiny teapot was my Mums, and the print, although not my favourite, reminds Hubster of his water skiing days. Everyones happy.

What has changed for you?

How will you save money and attack insourcing in 2022?


Friday, January 7, 2022

Living well in challenging times #3....Control the things you can....

We all thought 'this' would go away once we were vaccinated, didn't we. 'This' being the Covid craziness. The mask-wearing, the staying-in, the missed family events, the just plain silliness and sadness and frustration of it all.

It's worn thin, am I right?

For our part, we don't watch the news much any more. We've more or less taken matters into our own hands. By which I mean, we're triple vaccinated, we wear masks everywhere, we hand sanitise, check-in, social distance and generally otherwise behave like hermits, because frankly, that suits us. That's pretty much our personal preference.

I am struggling to find a reason to be angst-ridden any more. I think this might just be life on Planet Earth for the foreseeable future, whether that's 5 months, 5 years or 50. I've always been the person that just goes 'okay, problem, where's the solution', and then just dealt. What, honestly, is the point of doing otherwise??

We just control what we can, and ignore the rest. Why is that so hard for some folk?

Here's what we can control:

Watching (or rather NOT watching) the news.
Finding new ways to amuse ourselves, lockdown or no lockdown.
Finding new ways to 'travel', coz, you know. we LOVE to travel, but can't for now.
Finding new ways to connect with family and friends.
Ensuring a well stocked pantry, so that when supply chains fail, we do not have to panic-buy.
Just being a bit Zen, for want of a better word. What will be, will be.

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas in Middle Sons apartment building in 2021. What a delight. And an event that wouldn't have transpired had not Covid intervened. He only lives where he is, in part, due to impacts of Covid. What a view, seen above, and what a beautiful day we had. Travel pangs satiated. 

That avocado salad, pictured at top of this post was lipsmackingly delicious. Restaurants? Who needs 'em?

For my part, finding a new craft and gift making skill was paramount, and how cute are these Resin bangles I made with supplies found on Amazon...above using cake sprinkles, below using crushed boiled sweets.

I took my appearance seriously, even when in lockdown, and certainly when out and about. Wearing a mask, for me, meant Power Accessorising in other ways. I cannot tell you how many strangers smiled at me, or struck up a conversation with me due to my brooches, earrings, rings and necklaces. It brought joy to them and to me.

I nested at home. A lot. A very lot. I persuaded Husband to build mantelpieces and rearranged, and moved furniture, and repurposed. When we were kids, we used to rearrange our bedrooms during holidays, just for fun. It was a no brainer for decluttering too!

Pinterest, ever the friend of the crafter, inspired the silk orchid arrangement above. Thanks Pinterest. I had everything on hand. I just needed to put it all together.

We ate and continue to eat, a good deal of vegetarian food. Growing a few herbs and soft leafy things, and having dried pulses and beans on hand meant that a mouthwatering meal is always available. Even carnivorous Husband is now a convert. We sleep better, feel better, and we've both lost weight. Above, Split Pea and vegetable soup topped with home made coconut yoghurt. Below, Herbed Vegetable and Ricotta Texas sized Muffins. Yum.

This mindset is not new to me. From a very young age, I intuited that the world was not always the way we wish, and that the only way to navigate it, was to manage your expectations, control what you can, and ignore the rest. But certainly the last two years have tested that mindset stingingly.

I struggle somedays too. As I'm sure do you. But if you just breathe, turn inward, and make home the haven, it's not all bad. Really.

How have you navigated the tough times over the last two years?