Friday, March 30, 2012

On not sewing

I look around at all the other blogs I read, and it seems like everyone except me is working on projects.  The thing, is, I've spent the past month and a half moving in and out of my house so the exterminators could do their job.  Today, we finished cleaning out the storage space and got everything home.  Which means that there are boxes everywhere, and while I now have my supplies back, until I get everything unpacked and arranged, the next project will be bows to go with the Easter dresses I picked up second hand instead of trying to make them.  Now normally, the girls would probably get a lovely embroidered and beribboned creation from me.  But at a Community Yard Sale, I lucked into a Strasburg dress in the right size for Gracie for $5.  Now, (my camera was in storage) I don't have pictures, but it's a pale sagey green and 100% silk.  I did have to get it cleaned, but I couldn't buy the fabric (Duponi silk runs around $17/yard) to make it for what I paid for the dress and cleaning it. 

I've been checking Strasburg dresses for Lizzy lately on ebay because they tend to be longer than most RTW, and she needs the length.  And lucky, lucky me, I actually found a coordinating 100% silk Strasburg dress for baby sister Nikki in the right size.  And even more fortunate, I have ribbons in my stash that match, color-wise.  So tomorrow, after the library Easter egg hunt we're hoping to take Gracie and Nikki to, I'll be making bows to match the dresses. 

All it requires, is a little teeny bit of hand stitching to smush the ribbon together.  I may not be able to use my preferred thread, but I already located a tub of old thread that will do, and I know exactly where the boxes with the ribbon and hot glue gun are!  But actual, real sewing will have to wait until my house is livable again.  Right now, the bonus room is piled high with boxes and there are boxes, bags, and bins spread all over the house.  I hate moving!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

More things I've learned about raising kids

Heck, I don't remember what number we're up to now, but....

People will fuss more over an almost naked baby than a beautifully dressed one.  (Which is why I sometimes kind of wonder why we bother to sew clothes for them.  Oh wait, they're cuter and warmer that way!)  It's true.  Case in point-- Saturday, which is usually 1/2 price day at these things, we went to two consignment sales.  Boo had a poopy diaper, so I took her into the bathroom to change her.  Got the diaper off, her cleaned up, and was reaching for a clean diaper when she decided that poop wasn't the only thing she had to get rid of!  Now, at the time, we hadn't paid for anything yet, and I didn't have any extra clothes on me.  So I cleaned her up again, dried her off, and put her in a clean diaper and then in the stroller.  Went up to pay and the same people who hadn't paid her any attention fifteen minutes before had to gush over the naked baby.

And this brings me to the next one:

If you don't have a spare outfit on you, something will happen, like a diaper malfunction, that will mean you need one immediately.  Which is why I keep three full changes of clothes on hand at all times for both girls!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Ebay buying gude for the cheap... or thrifty

Kids grow.  And if you're like me---I have champagne tastes on a water budget--you figure out ways to get what you want at prices you can afford. My mom and I are the few people I know who will walk into a store, and pick out the most expensive thing there without first glancing at the price tags.  For kids' shoes, I prefer to stay away from the discount brands, because those developing tootsies don't need to be molded to fit the shoes!  My brands of choice are Pediped and Stride Rite.  Yep.  $40-$60 a pair, retail.  And more for the boots Gracie loves.  Raise your right hand and repeat after me, "I do not need to pay retail for new, brand-name kids' shoes--ever."  You don't.  I don't.  I never have.

So, here's my rules.

I don't pay more than $5 over what a pair would cost at Payless.

I only buy true second hand if they've only been worn once or twice, or they're infant shoes, and thus nearly new.  I only buy second hand dress shoes in infant sizes or if they've never been worn.  (It would surprise you how many people buy their kids multiple pairs of expensive shoes that then sit in the closet, unworn.)  If they've been worn twice, but are scuffed on the toes, shoe polish can fix it unless it's patent leather.

I always take the price of shipping into account when placing bids.  If the shoes cost you $15, and the shipping is $10, it's not a bargain.

Never place a bid before the last 15 seconds.  All that does is make what you want more expensive.  Let the other people who want it bid, and steal it at the last second.

Just because you don't get it this time, doesn't mean that you won't get it the next time around.  There will always be another auction.  Therefore, if you don't get something, don't sweat it.

However, this leads to my next rule--plan ahead.  Unless you pay the Buy-it-now price, (which is usually too close to retail for my liking; I only do that for patent leather dress shoes) you need to be organized and buy in advance.  Gracie is in size 10 toddler/child right now.  The only thing she's lacking in 11s is boots, and she has a brand new pair of size 12 black  patent  Strasburg dress shoes waiting for her to grow into.  (I paid $21.  The retail price listed on the shoe box was $86.)  I'm starting to collect 12s now for Gracie.  Nikki, well, I'm looking for a pair of size 5 sandals before I move on to 6s.  She's almost into 4s.

Just because it's there and cute, doesn't mean that you need it.  You don't have to bid on everything you watch.  I cull my watch list at least once a day, and add more to it.  I don't bid on even 1/3 of what I'm watching. While Gracie and Nikki have more shoes than they need right now, all they really need in one size is dress shoes for church, sneakers for every day, sandals for hot weather, and water shoes for the pool.  Gracie loves boots, so I try and get those, and I do admit that I like for them to have both a black pair and a white or bone pair of dress shoes.

I know there are automated bid snipers out there, but I prefer to do it in person.  That way, I can make adjustments--especially if it's something that they need right away.  My SIL has turned over shoe shopping to me, because I've learned how to get cute, better shoes for around the same or less than she spends, anyway.   A little patience and preplanning go a long way...