Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Vintage Pillow Case Dress

I thought I would share a dress I made today. One of the outreach programs for our Homemakers' club this year is to make Pillow Case Dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa program.
We needed a "prototype" to show at the county board meeting, and I was asked to make one. I had this beautiful vintage pillow case just hanging in the closet, and I knew it would be great for the demo dress & perfect for my S.R.
 The needlework on the bottom of the dress is all done by hand...it's beautiful!
 Instead of tying a bow on either shoulder, I decided to go with the "less-fuss" approach, and go for the one shoulder bow.
I can't wait for S.R. to wear this dress.
She squealed when she saw it. Hopefully that same enthusiasm will be there when spring arrives;o)

Taking a Minute to Breath...

This winter has been one of the strangest I can remember. It has felt like spring most of the winter months. It's been great for the kids because they have been able to spend a lot of time playing outside with our neighbors.
Yesterday, I decided I needed a break from all of the insanity that has been going on here lately...lack of sleep, and trying to catch up on that..homemakers club stuff...and then there is a certain someone's birthday coming up on Saturday as well:o)
Our neighborhood is nestled in beside a river, and there is a nice paved path and picnic tables there as well.
So we grabbed the wagon, some food & the dog and headed down to the river and had a wonderful little picnic.
I sat back, snapped pictures, and enjoyed just watching my children...just watching:o)

 E being silly, and S.R. mad because he "bonked her head."
 Flowers that S.R. picked for me
 Sweet smile

 Throwing rocks into the river

 Scosche waiting patiently as we eat in front of him:o)
 Sticks make great toys..E has a "gun"..go figure;o) And S.R. has a "smiley face."
 There is also a little playground beside the pool house, so they absolutely wanted to play on that.
 Our "Monkey" on the monkey bars...they both can cross them, and I love the look of accomplishment they have on their faces when they do!
We had a great time, and it was nice to take a moment and just breathe.
Now that our school week has officially started, it's time to hit the ground running, and there won't be any "breathing" until after the party Saturday:o)
I have a few sneak peaks that I will share with you guys as teasers throughout the week, so stay tuned!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wizard of Oz Mini Coloring Books

I am hard at work putting the finishing touches on The Wizard of Oz birthday party. The house has started to transform into Munchkin-land...it's actually really neat looking:o)
Since I am on a strict budget right now, I am trying to come up with inexpensive and free favors.
I am not usually one for handing out coloring books, but most of the girls attending love to color.
I found a site, Kids-n-Fun.com, that has a great selection of W.o.O. color sheets. I copied and pasted them in Publisher to turn them into a mini color book.
Here's how I did it.

Supplies you need:
Blue & white gingham paper cut into 9.25"x6" sheets(folded in half)
Print outs of Pages 1, 2 & Cover
Double sided tape
Sewing Machine
 Start out by printing your color sheets. To make them double sided, I printed page 1 first. I then laid the printed side UP into the printer with the Tin Man going in first...see pic below...& then printed page 2.
Once you have printed your pictures, fold into quarters with Dorothy being the first.

 Now trim very carefully across the top of the folds.
 Make sure to leave just a snippet in the very center..this will make it easier to keep everything in line when sewing the seam.
 Now fold it back in place. Line the middle seam of the gingham paper and the middle seam of the color sheets together, and run a basting stitch down the center. 
 It should look a little something like this.
 Adhere the Cover to the front, and you're done!
 A quick, easy & super inexpensive party favor.
I'll share their goody baskets very soon..they are adorable!!

To download each page, click on the links below.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Playing Around...

I have been M.I.A. for a bit.

 I had to go to the doctor on Tuesday because I was uber sick. I found out I have an upper respiratory infection. I am on meds right now, one being a steroid...I am tweaking my blog right now because I can't sleep because of said steroid...grr!

 I have been up since 12:00 a.m....it's now 4:10 a.m. 

Some good news...I have been decorating for S.R.'s birthday party this week. It's gone a lot slower just because I have felt miserable, but it's coming together. 
I hope to share some pics very soon:o)
I think I am going to try to lay back down:o)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Attached = Condos and such

Inventory/sold last 31 days and I did the MOI to save Makaya the trouble :)

Coquitlam = 532/72 = 7.4

Maple Ridge 278/25 = 11.2

N. Van 478/75 = 6.3 (2 X the SFH MOI)

Richmond 1226/130 = 9.4

Surrey 1485/152 = 9.7

New West 137/15 = 9.1

Burnaby 956/132 = 7.2

Nothing bullish in these numbers...

The downside of housing speculation..

To read some of the housing and bank economists it would seem like there is no downside to having a bubbling RE sector.

Lets see what the benefits are:

1) Hundreds of thousands of low-skilled employment in the construction industry and thousands of skilled jobs too (electrician, plumber etc)

2) Lots of transactions generating tax revenue, and commissions which keep another big swath of folks working and paying (hopefully) some taxes.

3) The 70% of people who own FEEL richer. they spend more, buy that BMW they always wanted, renovate which employs another chunk of people.

4) Money pours into the country to buy into our RE bank from all over the world.

There would seem to be no downside. No wonder Governments love to stimulate housing. Even the Conservatives who closed the Wheat Marketing Board against the Farmers' wishes because it was not 'free-market enough' turned to the enabler of speculation, CMHC, to boost housing and get them re-elected.

Of course we bears know the down-sides all too well.

An economy overly dependant on one sector, which when it stumbles will bring many things down with it. Firstly how will the hundreds of thousands of hammer-ready workers transition to anything else? There will have to be a constant stream of 'road to nowhere' projects to keep them employed.

What will replace it?

Should we not be looking at retraining this army of low-skilled workers now and diversifying our economy away from just banging together two-by-fours and putting up some tarp paper??

Real Estate Agents could transition to other sales jobs.

Then there is the effect on young couples who have to enter this frenzied markets, burdened by debt and fear and uncertaintity. Even is China where the frenzy of speculation has reached fever pitch and which is being exported to our shores, the fate of those just entering the property market is precarious.

Once again the prudent are being penalized and will be penalized even further when the bust happens and we will all be asked to help out the speculators and the innocent young couple. Interest rates will remain low forever, the CMHC will affect the Canadian government's fiscal rating (the IMF has said as much) and we will enter a post RE-party with a hang-over that will damage our society.

The worse thing is that it could have all been prevented.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some numbers

Sorry no time to calculate the MOIs. But you can work them out. Some areas still hot and some definately NOT.

All SFH unless otherwise stated. 1st number = inventory. 2nd = sold in the last 31 days.

New West: 78/19
Pt Moody: 93/17
Richmond: 891/88
Squamish: 155/11
West Van: 391/60
Van West: 786/141
Van West condos: 1985/246
Surrey: 1806/197
Bowen Island: 66/4
Coquitlam: 354/85
Maple Ridge: 587/56
North Van: 234/76

21st century personal finance trap

Do you know Gabriel ?  'G'abriel actually represent  'god' within MalPF world.

  • He worked for less than 10 years
  • Then he runs some businesses for about 13 years, some of them making loses
  • Yet he retires at 42 and live happily ever after (details)
The trick is . . .
 there is no trick.  You have to live your life as the life itself.  Don't ever forget what you really want, don't ever get confused by the money figures.  There are many ways to achieve what you want or need other than using money.  ( what do you mean ? )
There is an increasing trend of young people retiring early.  While it may seems like a great personal finance trend.  But that will soon become the 'new' personal finance trap of 21st century !

A 30-year-old man who only uses $500 expense but with passive income of $999 may thought he is financially free.  But he will find himself caught at middle age crisis when he realizes his $999 is no longer enough and yet he can NO LONGER find a job after his 10 years rest.

A blogger who earns enough for his living may thought he is financially free.  But in less than 3 years of resting he has to make more multiple streams of income to stay 'retire'.  Just as when he thought he has written enough books, he found himself writing another one.  At the end, his so called passive income turns out to be really an active income.  

Gabriel part 3 story tells it all.  Not many people caught the warning the last time, so herein I re-write this again . . . beware, if you think you are already financially free, think again, if you haven't lay down your figures on a paper, you may have just been living in your own dream that you built for yourself - and that is no where near real life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ghost streets

MOI coming up tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I had a very interesting conversation with a couple of West Van realtors. They said there were some streets in West Van which are basically 'Ghost streets'. Almost all the houses are owned by Mainland Chinese owners and are mostly unoccupied and sitting there as insurance or to park money- or for rent at exorbitant amounts (hence mostly unoccupied too).

You can tell how devoid the street is of habitation by the very few garbage cans that are put out on garbage days.

They mentioned Westhill as a hot spot and certain streets in the British Properties. Should we be pleased that we have owners who are elsewhere paying taxes for the services we all use, or upset that houses come out of the over-all stock putting strain on those trying to live here.

Should we even care. Yes, I know China is very tough on outsiders owning property and has even clamped down on Chinese owning multiple properties, but we are different.

Friday, February 17, 2012

As the CHMC draws closer to it's cap..

Let us remind ourselves who is at the helm of this many Billion dollar organization...that should reassure us:

From an earlier post:

(BTW- Will do some MOI numbers later in the week-end)

Board of Directors — Biographies

In accordance with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Act, the CMHC Board of Directors is responsible for managing the affairs of the Corporation and the conduct of its business. The Board is comprised of ten members, including the Chairman, and the President and Chief Executive Officer.

Dino Chiesa
Toronto, Ontario
Chair of the Board of Directors, CMHC
Principal, Chiesa Group

Karen Kinsley
Ottawa, Ontario
President and Chief Executive Officer

James A. Millar
National Capital Region
The Sussex Circle

Brian Johnston
Toronto, Ontario
Monarch Corporation

André G. Plourde
Montréal, Quebec
President, Groupe immobilier de Montréal Inc.

Sophie Joncas
St-Hubert, Quebec
Chartered Accountant

E. Anne MacDonald
Pictou, Nova Scotia

Michael Gendron
Edmonton, Alberta
Chief Financial Officer
Mancap Group

Rennie Pieterman
London, Ontario
Partner, Practical Plumbing Co. Ltd.

A rather small board considering the Hundreds of Billions which are at stake. Their background, from what I have gleaned from the CMHC web-site...

A developer, a CMHC employee and executive, a consultant, another developer, a real estate broker, a CA, a small town lawyer with RE/Wills and municipal experience, another developer, a partner of a plumbing and renovation company.

I am sure they are well meaning people. However I am not reassured. Neither it would seem is the IMF which has called for more supervision.

Where are the well-known Business and Economic Professors from U of T or McGill? Where is the seasoned insurance executive who has dealt with major losses? Where is the representative from the Canadian Tax Payers Association? WHERE is the significant representation of NON-housing interests? Why not have an a housing skeptic Economist like David Madani on the Board?

Would we only let Doctors and Nurses run the Ministry of Health? Of course not. Should the Minister of Health only ever be a doctor, and the Minister of Defence only ever be a soldier? Of course not. We need outside views to be heard too, especially when we all have to share in the liability.

Here is more of what the IMF had to say..

Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, the IMF official who led the review of Canada, stressed on a conference call with reporters that the fund has no reason to think CMHC currently represents a risk.

Rather, the IMF simply thinks the government should evaluate closely whether it’s appropriate for one of the country’s largest financial institutions to operate without formal oversight, he said.

This has the potential to have very serious adverse consequences. Anyone who thinks we cannot have a crash like the US because we do things differently here, have not lived through the last few crashes we have had here! This time the stakes are much higher.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Follower Button

Hey Guys!
Just wanted to let you all know that Google Friend Connect is shutting down March 1st...for those of you who have no clue what I am talking about...you remember that little button you clicked on my sidebar to become a follower? Well that little thing is going away.
However, I put a new little "follower" box up, so you can just click on it to become a "follower" again..
Easy Peasy:o)
And if you didn't know that you could sign up for emails, there is a little box for that too!

Drive-In Movie Night

Last night for Valentines Day, we celebrated at home with a Drive-In movie night. I made these Cars for the kids to sit in using some cardboard boxes, acrylic paint and foam sheets.
The kids LOVED them, and the hubs called me the best mom ever;o)
They were geared up and ready to go with their bean bags and travel pillows tucked inside for comfort.
 I attached little storage bins to the sides with clips to hold their food and drinks.
 Can you tell that S.R. wants to show off her Valentine card from her brother...when she opened it, she squealed and jumped up and down...unicorns are her favorite right now:o)
 ...and purple:o) Can you tell what the licence plate is supposed to say?
 E called his a hot wheels car:o)
And this was the concession area:o) These were some leftovers from E's 3rd birthday party...the decorations that is:o)

Our spread...
This is what was hanging under the refreshments sign. I just used publisher and one of the templates.

 And I had this hanging on the front door so that the hubs would know where to go when he arrived home...I found it online somewhere, copied and pasted in Publisher and added what I needed.
We had a fantastic evening, and the movie was really funny. I'd say that this was a great way to spend Valentines!! I hope our was as great as ours:o)

Participating in these Parties:

Design Dazzle

This was featured here:
Design Dazzle

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feeding Frenzy

Just a diversion from our regular programming.

Forget HAM- we have home-grown pork barrelling.

The missing women's inquiry is costing us $80K a day in lawyers fees!!

WTF! - the police screwed up. Admit it. Move on. Give the money to the families.

But NO we have to have a media circus, with everyone lawyered up at the tax-payer's expense including apprently Mr Greenpsan (who represented that up-standing citizen Conrad Black)- at over $1000/HOUR!

So far they have spent $4 million on this circus, most of it going to lawyers, with no end in sight.

That's on top of the trial which ate through untold Millions to tell us that Picton-the-devil was gilty and now we have to pay to hear how the police didn't screw up.

Right next to the Sun article on the missing women legal expenses is another article about heart surgeries at Childrens Hospital. Do you think we could spend our money a bit better on the latter than the former.

End of rant.

Happy Valentines Day

I hope you all are having a fantastic day. I wanted to share the Smilebox Card that we sent out to our family.

                                 Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
This free digital ecard created with Smilebox

Also, since S.R. is still recovering from strep throat, we decided to have a special girls day in...including manicures...
 along with heart-shaped mini pizzas.
Can I just say that I love have a girly tom-boy:o)
We have lots of fun things planned for this evening. I can't wait to share it with you all later on this week!! Gotta go get Mr. E so we can get ready for the festivities!!
Have a great Valentines guys!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Valentine's Outfit

This weekend I got to work on a Valentines outfit for S.R. to wear...unfortunately, she will be wearing it at home:o( She had a really bad weekend, and after two doctor's visits, it was confirmed that baby girl has strep throat:o( This is a first in our household. Thankfully E is already on antibiotics for a double ear infection, so his chances of getting it are slim-to-none...the hubs and I?? Only time will tell:o/

Anyway, while perusing Pinterest the other day, I came across two different tutorials for little girl's skirts. You can find them HERE & HERE.

                                         I kind of used little tidbits from both, and came up with this.

 I wanted the shirt to have the skirt fabric tied in, so I cut out little hearts in the shirt itself, and added the strawberry fabric in behind...just "heat-bonded" it and stitched. Easy peasy:o)
This outfit was made possible by the abilities of my friend Stephanie's sewing machine...mine is still on the fritz & will need to be taken in for repairs...
Thanks Stephanie!!! 

We will be having our own little Valentines party at home tomorrow while E is at preschool, and that way she will still get to wear her new outfit. 
This shirt/skirt combo will be perfect for when spring & summer role around too.

Here's my sweet little sickly today...this is after her dose of Motrin...all smiles:o) Gotta love modern meds!!