One of “those” days…

Ever have a day when you’re so overwhelmed you sit at your desk for the last 4 hours of the day and just do nothing? Not really nothing… just anything but work.

Or have you ever had a day where the project you have to get done, doesn’t? Not because you didn’t work on it. Rather you worked on it for 15 minutes in every hour of they day but then got interrupted at least, if not more, than once an hour by something that is absolutely more important than your project.

The world is burning and you’re project is to find out how to stop it – but you keep getting interrupted by the little fires starting to eat away at your building which you legitimately have to stop now, but these little things keep interrupting your work on the big picture.

For me, this happens every day. Its frustrating. I think its what makes me so crabby in the evenings.  I think it causes road rage as well.  However I’ve come up with a way to work with it.

My most successful way to focus, I’ve found is to estimate an amount of time that I think I can get a specific task completed. Sit there for that amount of time, close my email, put my phone on do not disturb, and do it.  If I get a little longer than that allotted time, I let myself. But I have to complete that task.

Then I choose my next task and how long it will take. And I do it again.

This also makes my time sheet easier. I have to account for all my time spent in a day, what project I spent time on, what customer I worked with.

Embroidery and Budget Update

I went ahead and bought a cheap embroidery machine – a Brother PE-500. Its pretty nifty. I’ve used it a couple times. I’m waiting on some tea towel fabric to get delivered. I’ve been playing around with free embroidery files from the Internet. I keep having to remind myself I only have a 4 inch square. That’s 10 cm. Any larger and it won’t transfer to the machine, it can tell the size. So I’m playing with some free software to see if I can re-size the patterns. One thing I was looking forward to on the Ellure model is that it can do sewing and embroidery. At first that wasn’t a big deal to me since we already own a sewing machine, however on the table that I’ve got the two machines on it would be difficult to have both actually operating. The sewing machine is pushed to the back to give me enough room for the embroidery machine. And if I want to make the tea towels I would need to have both available. I envision being able to start one towel embroidering and then have another towel that I’m hemming. So I might get another little table for the other machine. Right now I’m using a drop leaf table in our dining room anyway and I could get another table and put it in my room, or I could expand the other side of the drop leaf… I’m still planning.

I’ve blown my budget for the month on that purchase. But I’m happy I bought it. I’ve still been not eating out too much. Took my lunch to work. Was home sick for 2 days so I ate at home those days. Today I’ve ordered in but that’s because I have to leave early and didn’t want to be starving all afternoon.  And its Friday… So quit judging me…

The dogs and cats (of which we have 2 and 3, respectively) also ate into my savings. I’ll be splitting the bill for their checkups with my mom and sister, so I think I’ll be out about $400 from my savings for them.  On a good note I finally hit $1000 on my savings account.  (it will be $600 now but its the thought that counts right?)

This month (January) I spent only $129 on restaurants – not counting what I paid in cash and debit.  For Gas I spent $114.  Not bad over all.

Flea Market

We just finished the flea market today – had a great 2 days. Saturday attendance was the most I’ve ever seen. Thankfully it calmed down. (I don’t like crowds.) I walked around after it thinned out and found something I’ve been looking for. “Elongated Penny” Albums. Yes I’m a nerd. I get my pennies pressed at various tourist sites I visit. Within St. Louis and out. (I reside in the St. Louis area and always find it funny that I act like a tourist in my own town, by buying souvenirs and pressing pennies.)
On a side note, who knew these things were called “elongated” pennies? I certainly didn’t. But I’m happy I have albums for them now!
On a another side note, I didn’t get my bottles cleaned. But my sister had plenty to sell. We think we sold over half of her inventory.

Weekly Project Update

Accountability.  I don’t generally follow through on things I say I’m going to do.  Look at this blog for an example.  I started it in September of 2012.  Then didn’t post anything for 4 months.

I overeat/don’t exercise – I say I will – then I don’t.

Well, maybe this blog will help me be accountable for something finally.  Here’s an update on my budget situation.

This week I brought my lunch 3 out of 5 days.  That’s better than 50% so I’m happy about that.  I ate out twice but made sure not to splurge.  Total spent on food out for the week was around $12.

Overall, I’m very pleased.

On the crafting front – I’m almost halfway through the second pillow case I’m hand embroidering. I’d like to have this done for the Belleville Flea Market.

On the Antique front – I have a bunch of milk bottles I bought a few months ago and I would like to get those cleaned up for the flea market too.

Lots to do…

What I’m saving for (right now)

I love arts and crafts – I have yarn and embroidery thread and scrapbook paper out the wazoo.

Here’s my new desire.

http://www.babylock.com/embroidery/ellure/

Image

I went to a local vacuum and sewing machine repair store (shout out to Fenton Sew and Vac!) and the sales lady gave me such a demo that I was hooked.  Of course the price made me choke a little. But they have in store classes and full support services and a package deal that really makes me drool a little.

As opposed to a comparableBrother model, the Ellure is a sewing and embroidery machine. The package deal includes a starter kit of full spools in a variety of colors, an assortment of stabilizers, and digitizing software.

I’m planning on monogramming and putting designs on towels, and pillow cases, and all sort’s of stuff.  I want to sell some of the things I make. We have a table at the Belleville Flea Market every month and I thought I could try to add a few items there and see if they sell.  I’m also thinking about Etsy.  I’ve also wanted to make wedding gifts before but usually don’t because I don’t have the time to actually sit down and do nothing but embroider.

Even though the shop offers free 0% financing for 24 months, I’m scared to just go out and purchase it and then not use it and regret it.  So I’m saving up. Not only will this give me the time to really consider if I’ll consistently use the machine, but it will also let me see if this desire dies out.  I get a lot of half brained ideas. A lot of buy it now and start a business ideas that never pan out, too.  So heres my saving schedule that I’ve figured out.

Out of each paycheck I already save $150 automatically (setup as an auto transfer through my bank) to my savings account.  Before I can buy the machine I decided I have to get $1000 in my account to give me a cushion in case of emergency (car, house, health, etc.) after that first $1000, everything on top is for my machine.

So I have $754 as of today.  If I keep saving $150 per pacheck I’ll have $3454 by the end of  August 2013.

However, if I start saving $250 per paycheck, I’ll have what I need by the first week of July 2013.  Seems like a significant improvement to me.

So I upped my auto transfer today to $250.  Lets see how it goes!

**Update** Inserted better link for the Belleville Flea Market.

Budget (Update #1)

I just re-read my first blog post and remembered my first decision was to live by a budget.  I haven’t given up on this yet.  The first couple of month’s I didn’t drastically change anything. I listed how much I spend on everything and then gave myself some reasonable limits.  These limits didn’t stop me from spending, however.

I tried bringing my lunch to work – I stopped after a a week.  I kept meaning to but I didn’t do it.  Turns out living by a budget doesn’t just happen.  It takes thoughtfulness.

I’ve noticed this to be a recurring theme in my life. I tend to just float by in life. Whatever happens, happens.  Whatever doesn’t, doesn’t.  I feel that I don’t have a lot of control over what goes on in my life.

I’m wrong of course.  We control most things in our lives.

If I want to save money on lunch by bringing it, I need to think ahead and plan how.  I don’t need to buy a lot of special things for lunch. Whatever we have in the house will probably do just fine. We always have can’s of soup, lunch meat, salad stuff, left overs, etc. The task I had to commit myself to was to actually make it each night.  This week, and last week I finally succeeded in doing this for the most part.

The second thing I needed to do was start thoughtful purchasing.  I’ll discuss this in a further post.

Auctions

My sister is a computer programmer with a shopping addiction. So she decided to start channeling that addiction into a business. She buys and sells antique and vintage items. And sometimes, plain, old crap.

I’m of two minds on this business. There is nothing more exciting than hearing her phone go off with bids on Sunday night. (Ebay app for Iphone). I’m part of the shipping department.

I’ve never discussed my anxiety issues with too many outside my family. But when we have to start packing I get the biggest anxiety attack and I get mean. So I don’t do the actual packing. I do the postage and labeling. I’m also the packaging materials acquisition expert.

Another problem I have is I’m an aspiring minimalist. This business and minimalism do not go together.

I guess you could call me a minimalist hoarder.