About Me

Life is learning. Life is change. Life is good. Life doesn't have to cost a lot. I want to make my life greener, healthier, and thriftier. And I want to enjoy doing it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Week In

A week into 2012, and not a lot to show for it so far ... except on paper.

I've been on the internet for at least four hours every day, and so far have found exactly three jobs worth applying for.  The rest are all either minimum-wage, which wouldn't even come close to paying my share of the mortgage let alone anything else, or commission-only sales, or jobs I'm not even remotely qualified for.  I can hear you now ... "Take the minimum-wage job while you look for something else!"  No.  If I can't find a job that pays enough to live on, I'm better off collecting EI and not working.  And believe me, minimum wage would be far less than EI.  Besides, that's why it's called Employment Insurance.  I've paid more into it over the years than I will ever collect, and I'm not taking anything I'm not entitled to.

Apart from the job search, I have been getting things done, though you'd never know it by looking around the house!  All the holiday paraphernalia is packed up & stowed away and the mending pile is shrinking visibly at last.  And I've been making plans ... not just in my head, but in my "Projects" notebook ... complete with action timelines. 

One thing about cleaning out the basement really hit a nerve with me.  We found a tall stack of boxes that had been shoved way in a dark back corner behind the old furnace when we first moved in.  After seeing what was in them all, I sadly realized that it all had to go, due to age and potential health hazards ... nine cases of home-canned fruit, jams, and relishes, all dated 2004 or earlier.  Lids into the recycling, contents into the compost, jars washed and stored away ... that much waste just hurts.  I try to comfort myself with the knowledge that it will never happen again; as soon as the shelving is all put up in the basement, I'll be organizing the "home-canning centre" to make sure all the home-canned food gets properly rotated and eaten while it's still good.  Which also means that since there's just the two of us (as of the end of this month), I won't be canning in massive quantities any more, except for the jams and jellies I plan to give as gifts.  I suspect that when the boxes were first put there  -  not by me, I assure you  -  they were moved with a dolly as one stack, and someone thought they were boxes of empty jars.  That won't happen any more either; all the empty jars are being packed into milk crates, so we can tell at a glance that they're empties.  The full jars will go into labelled and dated cardboard boxes, with a tally sheet on the front of each box so we can also see right away how many jars we have left of pickles or salmon or applesauce or whatever.

Tomorrow's afternoon project is a pantry cleanout and inventory.  Since Big Guy does almost all the cooking, he also does almost all the grocery shopping.  But he's short on patience and has admitted he can't see what he's looking for if it isn't exactly where he expects it to be, and the result is that he tends to go out and buy stuff we already have.  Case in point: in various cabinets in the kitchen, while helping him look for egg noodles, I found eight  -  yes, eight  -  packages of elbow macaroni ... but no egg noodles.  The really tricky part will be persuading him to mark something off the list when he uses it, so we can keep track of what we have plenty of and what we're almost out of.  I can see myself going through the shelves every week and updating the inventory.  Sigh.

I've also begun making a detailed inventory of all my sewing, knitting, and craft supplies and equipment.  As soon as I've completed the move into J's old room, I'll be able to start putting things together for next fall's craft sales and this summer's Renaissance Faire booth, as well as the items I want to make as gifts for birthdays and next Christmas.  I've already gone through my clothing-fabric stash, and paired up each length with the pattern I plan to use it for, and the necessary notions such as thread, buttons, and zippers.  Next week I'll do the same with the yarn stash and knitting patterns.  I must admit I'm not looking forward to measuring myself all over and adjusting my dressmaker dummy accordingly.  But it will be so nice to be able to look at the "to make" list, pick something from it, and actually have the working space to do it!

This year, as stocking-stuffers for Big Guy, I knitted some wool frypan-handle holders.  His mother used to send him a batch every few years, but since she died the collection has gradually eroded down to two, both very ratty and almost completely worn out.  Well, he loves them!  Not only that, but he's going to take a couple with him on his next trip to his favourite outdoor store, to see if they'd be interested in buying them from me as a regular thing.  I told him even if they are, whether or not I go for it will depend on how much they're willing to pay me for them; they're a business, not a charity, and will need to put enough markup on them to make it worth their while to carry them.  So the main considerations are how much they'd pay me, and how cheaply I can find a source of good-quality pure wool ... definitely not something I can pick up at thrift stores!  In the meantime, I can use up the rest of the wool I bought for a few to put away for the craft sales; I can easily knock out six or eight of them a day.

Have I mentioned the university courses I have on DVD?  Earth sciences, economics, oceanography, anthropology, history, climatology, and astronomy  -  now I have to decide where to start!  Each course is a series of half-hour lectures, with accompanying guidebook and suggested reading list  -  but I want to start them all first!  And I have a lovely tall stack of new books, all received as Christmas / Yule gifts ... does this qualify as an "embarrassment of riches"?  It does to me!  I'm sorely tempted to put the job search on hold while I read, and watch lectures, and work on all my future craft projects and wardrobe additions ... sometimes being a responsible adult has a downside.

I'm ending this post with a question, and hoping someone out there has read this far and perhaps can answer it.

This year, I want to learn to knit socks.  However, I can't wear wool ... do knitting patterns for wool socks work just as well with synthetic yarns?  I'll be grateful for any and all advice received!

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