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Twill, Baby, Twill

Recently, I read on another blog that I frequent the author’s question about what sort of fabric he’d gone and bought to make himself a pair of pants. Male Pattern Boldness

He thought it might be ‘some sort of twill’. Several of us recognized immediately that what he had was not twill but I thought that perhaps a little bit of information on what twill is…and ain’t..might be useful.

The picture at the top is a twill (more…)

Wardrobe and Spending Management Through SWAP

Once upon a time, like a lot of people, Aunt Toby ‘fell in love’ with certain items. That’s the way I used to shop. Really. Before Aunt Toby ‘saw the light’, that is exactly what would happen. I could rationalize any clothing or shoe purchase on the basis of: bargain pricing (as in, % off); merely hanging on a rack with the sign ‘Clearance’ on it; or the fact that it came in my size (with a foot that needs a 6-D, this is an argument that Aunt Toby STILL fights on a regular basis since that size in a comfortable but fashionable shoe is pretty close to performing ‘cold fusion’ on my kitchen table…but I digress).

This is one of those roads to Economic Hell — we invariably end up with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t go with anything else and spend too much time staring into it hoping for inspiration. And then, we get disgusted and send bags full of stuff to local charities, having wasted our money. A couple of years ago, this changed for me when I stumbled upon something called SWAP. (more…)

Sewing: Make it worth even more

Aunt Toby has, I suspect, a rather unique philosophy on sewing clothing for family members in terms of ‘making it pay’, which is this:

Learn to do one thing really well. Make that a bunch of times…and then learn to make another thing really well and make THAT a bunch of times.

Example One: Men’s shirts. I make men’s shirts for the DH as an act of love (ok, I admit it), but also because he has a sort of shoebox shaped body and the tails are just not long enough. Men’s shirts, from a sewing and design aspect are like Japanese pen and ink drawings: the buffet of design opportunities is pretty narrow. The items that are usually seen when the man wears it with a suit or sportcoat are the collar, the cuffs and the band (and even then, with a tie an observer doesn’t get to see much, actually) . The only other place to do anything is the yoke in the back and the chest pocket and even then, there is this really thin line between “Oh, that’s nifty” and “Oh, you’re subbing for The Tumbleweed Boys” this evening?” (more…)

Don’t Save Money — SAVE MONEY!!

Money You hear this from people all the time, “I saved xxx much money.” “I got a great bargain; on sale, it was $xxx but I paid $yyy.” “I found a way to only pay, $xxx for thus and such; I saved so much money.”

As many of you know who read my other diaries, I am someone who believes in the power of language. I believe that words and their meanings have almost a magical quality to change our thinking. Think about the phrase “Homeland Security” – think about what THAT’s done to us.

Aunt Toby is here to announce the opening salvo (remember that detergent?) in my war against any of the words starting with the letters: S-A-V. That word and all of its daughter and sons (saved, saving, savings) have basically lost complete meaning. And here is my reason why: People think that “saving money” (that is, paying less for something you are going to buy anyway, or buying something based on the discounted price) is SAVING MONEY.

What you really DID was “NOT SPEND MONEY” or, perhaps more clearly, “NOT SPEND AS MUCH MONEY.” You did not actually SAVE MONEY. (more…)

Don’t be Seduced By All The Bargain Sales Right Now

You’re getting them; I’m getting them. With the state of the retail sector, we’ve all been getting them for at least a month: the most amazing, attractive, drool-worthy emails from retailers that we have (or perhaps have never) either visited, filled a shopping cart for, or purchased something from. (And yes, I do know that ending a sentence with a preposition is ‘a bad thing’, but I could not figure out how to do that sentence without that.)

Now that the holidays are over, it’s even more tempting. I received one today with the headline: “The one you won’t want to miss: $5.99 and UP!!!”

That’s the sort of thing that, except for the fact that I have never been able to use my store credit card to shop ON their site, would have, in the past, had me with the plastic out, clicking off item after “bargain” item. But, I have taken an entirely different philosophy about my closet these days that I would like to share. I think it works for all genders and certainly makes ME feel that I’ve got one more thing under some modicum of control. (more…)

If You’re in a Financial Mess, You Might Thank Shopping For It

shopping There are a whole lot of blogs out there. One researcher estimates that there are 175 million of them. I read a bunch of them. What I really look for is someone who says something that really makes me think. I read a blog recently that was a “lightbulb moment” for me.

The young lady whose blog I was reading, a couple of months ago faced a financial crisis – she and her husband have one of those “modern relationship arrangements” – she pays hers; he pays his; they pay the household stuff together. So, when her credit card balance got to be the size of AIG’s bailout, she had to do some negotiating with her DH in terms of how to pay that sucker down because she couldn’t afford the minimum payment any more.

Now, this is all well and good. Her DH was kind, nice and nurturing – he took the credit card away and told her to come up with a plan. He even recognized that she could not go “cold turkey” and she came up with this: She would get $10 a week to spend however she wanted to. This did not include costs like lunches, car fare (what a homey, old fashioned term that is) and so on. This was her “play money” and she could spend it however she wanted to.

Ten dollars. $10.00. This, for a woman whose purchases had produced a credit card balance that required her to make a fairly humiliating appeal to her husband for her own personal bailout. (more…)

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