Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Monday, 29 February 2016

How's the budget going?

Remember a few weeks back I put myself onto a $500 cash a week budget? (US$329; UK pounds 237; Australian $461).

Well it is going brilliantly! (Remembering that this is MY self - imposed budget - not what the husband spends nor the entire household budget). For me it covers petrol, food, things like scout fees, clothing, shoes,haircuts and everything else I might (or NOT REALLY) need/want like stationery, wool, fabric, post office, book things.

(Luckily I think we need zero clothing/shoes for the next year bar soccer boots and a pair of shoes for the oldest - my boys only tend to need 1-2 pairs of new shoes an entire year! Two wear whatever shoes they like to school and that usually is their choice of the same pair of sneakers day in day out all year long and one has no uniform.... We bought a few items of clothing each in Hong Kong and the boys now tend to wear the same thing all year round only throwing on a hoodie in winter!).

We've managed to grab a few free petrol vouchers via our credit card and my little toyota corolla only uses around $120 worth of petrol an entire month (Being such a homebody lately helps!).

So the deal has been $500 is the upper limit and nothing on the credit card (which is always paid in full every month anyway). In four weeks I've spent a sum total of $1300, which is $700 under budget!

I am so pleased with myself and took myself of to Spotlight (working within the weekly budget!) for a spot of shopping with a 40% off voucher and a bunch of bargains and wool and fabric already at discounted prices. I really only needed the knitting needles...

My purchases:

The fabric all up was $45 which will make me a skirt, a dress and 2 pairs of winter pj pants. The buttons worked out to be $2.08 (should have bought more!!); wool at $2.77 a ball; Simplicity patterns were $15 for 3 (usually $11-17 each!) and the ribbon for future swaps was $1.38 a roll. Great  super bargains and a whopping saving of $97.31 in savings too!

Now to carry on with the budget - the husband really was not convinced that I could do this, but I have. Looking forward to  record low visa bill ! Cash is king as long as I keep to said budget!!

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Easter Swap partners

It was rather hard to tear myself away from my beading in my knitting to collate the swap partners :) . I had the youngest pull names out of a hat and match them up.

Partners for the Easter Swap are as such:

Miriam and Glenda ( )

Amanda and Ellie

Laura and Melanie

Dotty's Daughter and Linny (

Cerato and Sarah Berg (

Kimberley and Tracy

Please get in touch with your partner and exchange addresses etc and find out some likes/dislikes.

I've already been making as university (blah!) starts again tomorrow and this is a straight in semester with my first essay due in 2 weeks (what the???!!!!!).

Please do aim to have your parcel to your partner by Easter. Happy swapping, shopping and making.

Any problems, please do get in touch with me. xo

Saturday, 27 February 2016

yesterday and today

99% humidity. STUPID. I am over 2-3 changes of clothing a day and 2-3 showers and clothing that sticks to me. My life seems to revolve around this humidity and I'm becoming a hermit! (twas 35 degrees yesterday after school in my car! Then a silly women pranged into my car on a very busy motorway - I've never been in any car accident before. I just sat there in the lane on a huge bridge and the gap between me and the person in front got quite big while i sat there going OMG and then snapped out of it and motioned in my rear vision mirror for her to move over lanes and stop. Her car was dinged; the towbar on mine saved any damage to mine thankfully. I felt very stupid on the side of the motorway and it was very freaky getting out in front of everyone and checking cars / talking to the other driver).

BBQ with school staff good - small crowd but that is okay. Last people left at 11.20pm. Then we have had the cousin's 3rd birthday today but the big cousins working/at other parties/too cool to go to 3rd birthday party (they barely know the cousin who won't talk to them anyway).

I joined up to Vintage Purls latest club - The Lightfinger Club - where an exciting little surprise package arrives in my mail box each month for the next 3 months. All I know is that I will receive every month a skein of 100grm wool in either 2 or 4 ply and a newly released pattern designed by Morag. This is the February package (fudge in there too). A beautiful grey/bluey 2ply. I've started knitting the pattern - it has BEADS - this is a new adventure (adventure or nightmare??!!) - I've put 10 on so far in the 2nd row of 101 stitches and am taking a break for the night... took me a while how to figure it out, but I've learnt another new skill. 2 ply is so thin and new to me as well. And it took 25 minutes to wind up with the husband's kind help. I'm hoping this might be a good alongside university study pattern... (I started last week, although the official semester starts on Monday. I do all my study by distance so all by my little self.. I have the readings and past exam papers, but no study guide as yet, but have started making notes for the first assignment/exam stuff. The very first thing I always do for a new university paper is print off the exam papers.. this exam has remained pretty static for a few years... a good thing!)

Any new exciting knitting/knitting/stitching makes going on?

(OH - whew - cooler temps for wee bit...!)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

in the groove

Well I think we are back into the groove of the new school year.
Back into scouts - the one and only thing the boys do (soccer in winter for one). Certainly makes my life easy now. I do zero school runs, which is fab.
The days are still sunny, hot and humid. I've a wet back by 9.30am at school (even with the air con on today!) and even reading books is too hot!
I've re-arranged shelving and love it; we've dozens of new books already flying in the door; I've invited the staff here for a bbq this Friday night. (I'm trying to be more social - we are rubbish at it and I adore staying home...)
I've been stitching...
I'm not loving doing mitre corners...
I've been making more dishcloths...

We impulse sold the bunk beds on Saturday and on Sunday the kid had a new king single bed (still need to get the right size mattress) -

This room needs a paint (new walls really) and either new carpet or wooden floors polished.

The university work arrived -
And I've become obsessed with postage stamp art again - I've been participating in the Month of Letters and have written and posted a lot!

Slow lazy days really!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Easter Swap

This will be a super fast swap as Easter is only 5 weeks away.

What to do:

make something Easter orientated (ie dishcloth, bag, mug rug, mug cosie, bookmark, rabbits, chickens etc) (you could even start now)
buy something Easter orientated (ie fabric, egg cup, stationery, teacup, mug etc etc)
buy some Easter chocolate
contact your partner for address/find out their favourite Easter things
send off to your partner

Please leave a comment below if interested and state if you are willing to post within your own country/region or worldwide.

Sign ups close next Saturday February 27 and partners announced Sunday February 28.
Packets must be in the post by  Wednesday March 16

Tracy at Mad About Bags has a very cool stationery swap happening too.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Another Ramona cardigan

My second Ramona cardigan was finished on my Central Otago road trip. It is fab having someone else drive you around! It had been close to finishing for months and months, but I never got my act together! It was also the case of getting on a flight to Christchurch last September and then realising no scissors to cut the cotton on which a sleeve was being held and then finishing that sleeve at the airport going home and getting on the return flight and going "duh woman, you've just done the same thing once again!".

I love the pattern - it really does not use a lot of wool - I think I used about 400 grams in the end. This wool was just the Spotlight 100% pure wool made in Australia 4Seasons variety - nice and cheap on special at $3.99 a ball. (It is currently on special right now, but since I'm not shopping, I haven't been anywhere... ). Buttons were bought from Spotlight a long time ago.

This was my first Ramona - I really like bright colours!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

past few days

I'm whacked tonight but happy with rain and cooler temperatures! Today was manic with school, running out for prizegiving and finding a carpark 20 minutes later (grrrhhhh), library system crashing and still crashed!; picking niece up un-expectedly from daycare (she is so sweet) and getting 8 students after school to blitz the Mt Everest of shelving! Driving around all day it seemed as well. (not my thing in Auckland traffic).
Outside of school - lovely new bras (ha! First bought in 18 months); gorgeous notecards from a friend. Lots of dishcloth knitting. Heart and bunny rabbit ones. Sewing scout badges on blankets (NOT my favourite thing to do!). Eating courgettes and beans from the garden. Eating supermarket chocolate croissants and a good cup of tea.
And I'm determined to do a few rows of knitting before I fall asleep.  (oh I do just adore those dishcloths, but really how many does one woman need?!)

Monday, 15 February 2016

it's another Dottie...

sitting at the sewing machine. I looked on-line to see my next university paper there today - it looks totally daunting and well over my head (stage 3 education when I have done 1x stage 1 and 1x stage 2 education)...starts in 2 weeks, so 2 more weeks of freedom (or not getting stressed when doing stuff when I think I should be studying!)

Before finishing that, the bedroom floor looked like this for a few hours... I've a mighty patient husband, but after years of having fabric and bits and bobs in 3 different places, it is all sorted and together in one place. I am pleased I only have one big bin of fabric! A good pile was sorted to go to the op shop too. I even colour sorted buttons - ha! Such a satisfying job overall.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas Swap

Last year I signed up for the Twelve Days of Christmas swap over at Jo's Through the Keyhole. I was partnered with the lovely Alison of Life at Slyvan House.
It was a bit of a wait for my package, as Jo had posted it off mid-October by surface mail (we only have the option of airmail now for parcels in NZ) but it did not turn up before my school ended for 47 days of summer holidays on December 15. I was quite surprised - usually mail between the UK and NZ is brilliant (for example a parcel from Dunedin in the South Island that I posted to myself up here in Auckland took 10 days to get here 2 weeks back - I posted a parcel to England this week and 4 days later it had arrived! That is incredible!).
So I arrived back at school, on the day I thought I was due to start work except I wasn't..., and there it was in the first mail lot. (we get loads of mail at school).

I opened one at school and then I got home and e-mailed Alison and then I opened all of them..... in one go! The excitement of waiting for weeks was too much!  Hee hee.

These are the gorgeous items which Alison sent me in the cool box -

I love swapping with people from overseas, as you end up with such neat different items! I especially love the cute little tape measure, wool and the wire bracelet. That will be something totally different for me to make. The paperchains will look fab either around the tree or across a room this Christmas. Love the heart too which is now hanging on my fridge door. Thank you so much Alison for such neat gifts. And to Jo for hosting the swap.

Alison blogged about the items I sent to her - you can see that blog post here with the items I sent her.

I'm still hot and bothered - boy does it slow one down and make one very lazy and un-motivated to do much! We did go for a massive walk today around a regional park (at 7pm when I could half tolerate being outside!) and had a lovely picnic tea. Great views and interesting geology.