Wednesday, March 7, 2012

"Dollars and Uncommon Sense"

Dollars and Uncommon Sense by Steve Repak, CFP
I'm so excited I got this book, because it's helping check something off my 30x30 list: Becoming debt free! Confession: I have had three books by different financial guru's in my immediate TBR pile for months. So long, in fact, that one of them has been renewed from the library three times, is due back next week, and still hasn't been read. Why? It's big and intimidating! That old guy with glasses holding a wad of hundreds just staring at me...So I started with this one. It was the smallest. But I'm glad I did! It was a quick read (I read it in just one night) and very easy to understand. Repak even made it so I understand investing! Not a whole lot about investing, but a little overview. Anyways.....

Steve Repak speaks from experience in this book. He left the military with more than $30,000 in credit card debt. Now he's a CFP helping others manage their money. He offers very simple steps to recognize where your money is going, start saving, pay off debt, and start investing. It's very simple to understand, and he offers blank worksheets to help you put the lessons into practice.

I really like his uncommon-sense approach. He makes the point that most people are in debt, worry about money, and live paycheck to paycheck. "So why the heck would you want to be like most people?" One tip was something I had always thought: Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, not the debt with the lowest balance (contrary to what other famous financial guys say). A lot of his tips are of the common sense variety, but since they are rarely practiced, they seem like uncommon sense. For gexample: Spend less than you make.

If you are struggling with managing your money and getting out of debt, check out this book. It's a quick and easy read with great, simple tips to manage your money.

Highly recommended, 4/5 stars!

*Note: I received this book free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer's program, in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to provide a positive (or negative) review.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Duvet

Once upon a time, I was trying to fall asleep in a bed that looked like this:
It was one of those nights where my mind was running a million thoughts a minute and keeping be up. For some reason, my brain decided I needed to make my own duvet cover since this blue monstrosity isn't very pretty and real duvet covers (the ones I like, anyways) are pretty expensive. So after creating it in my mind, I finally drifted off to sleep, and promptly googled "how to make a duvet cover" the next morning.

So I made a duvet cover! And I'm loving it!! I followed the directions from this site, Design Sponge (mostly. Some stuff I made up). It was such a huge help! So since I have no real tips, I'm just gonna show you what I did, okay? If you want a step-by-step, go check out Design Sponge. I started with these fabrics from Joann's:
and got started measuring and cutting
I learned how to do French seams from that website, and they are SO pretty! French seams make it so that there are no raw edges anywhere,
inside or out.
However, it takes a very long time, since you're basically sewing each seam three times. I did them for the front (picture on the left), but I cheated for the back. See, the other issue I had was that the butterfly fabric wasn't as wide as the other one. So it was going to be almost two inches shorter! I figured by cheating, I could get the look with less "waste". So I simply stitched it the regular way, then added the topstitch. And from the outside, you can't even tell! Then it was time to attach the front and back together:
Notice that the back isn't as wide as the front....the front was the perfect measurement for my comforter (according to the website).
So I did the grown-up thing. And did this:
Then I took a break. Went shopping. And did what Tim Gunn taught me: made it work! I just went with the shorter one and prayed that my comforter would fit! Then it was zipper time!
Not too shabby for my first zipper installation! I added a little inspirational quote I've read a few places lately:
"Never settle for less than butterflies". I love it! And I apply to every area of life, not just romance (which is probably what most people think of with this quote). But life's too short to not enjoy every moment!

Anyway. Without further ado, I present to you my finished duvet cover!
And guess what? The comforter fit perfectly! However, with these photos it's become apparent that I need to now get new sheets. And pillowcases. And my bed frame needs to be painted. And my room needs to be cleaned. So stay tuned! I may have more projects coming soon ;)
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