Couponing Adventures

If you watch TLC, I’m sure by now you’ve seen the commercials for a new TV series, called Extreme Couponing. It comes on right before the hoarding shows. If you haven’t, where have you been? I remember cutting out coupons with my grandma when I was little–it seemed to be the most time-consuming, boring thing. But now, looking at moms and dads who get at least two shopping carts worth of food for only $5, I’m re-thinking the time-consuming boredom for the overall savings. Just take a look at this clip from Extreme Couponing.

Grant it, some couponers seem to go overboard–hoarding their goods and buying things in quantities that no one needs, but if there was some sort of nuclear disaster, they’d be in business. But that’s not the type of couponing I want to do. I like the way the lady in the above clip does it. She started couponing for survival, is debt-free, and shops for what she and others in her community need. Sure, a few extra gallons of water for when the power goes out in the summer would be good. But I just don’t want to pay more than 50 bucks anymore, especially when I see these coupon divas getting much more for their buck. So hubby and I have decided to begin a couponing adventure, and hopefully, we’ll figure out how to get our grocery costs down to under $10, too. For this beginner’s trial run, we are putting our hopes at saving at least $10 with coupons. This is how we did.

We actually saved almost $50 with the bonus saving on our Safeway Club Card, and nearly $12 with manufacturer’s coupons! Though the price was still heftier than we’d like, our savings are promising for future couponing adventures–especially considering that we managed to do all this while Noora was throwing the-tantrum-of-her-life in the store.

Tomorrow is our next shopping day, and I’ve cut out all the coupons we’ve got. Now I’m just cutting coupons on anything we may ever need, just in case…and actively searching for coupons for the things we need instead of letting the coupons dictate what we’ll buy. Pray for our success…and if any revelations of how to correctly coupon come out of this, we promise to share.

P.S. We’re gonna have to order a coupon organizer now because the dining room table is covered with coupons, and Noora almost had coupons flying everywhere with her tantrum.

P.S.S. That’s a tip–bring all coupons to the store, you never know what will be on a surprise sale at the store. I learned that the hard way during the last shopping trip. Missed out on what would’ve been free pasta as a result! So far, the only other tips I’ve got are 1) buy stuff already on sale at the store, 2) try to double your coupons on those items, and 3) buy smaller sizes of items because they cost less.

Coupon Organizer from Two Happy Stampers Etsy Shop

Coupon Organizer from StacknRack

Coupon Organizer from GetOrganized!

P.S.S.S. Whaddya think of these? My fingers yearn for the more decorative, scrapbook-looking, feminine coupon organizers, but I have to keep hubby’s feelings at heart. I guess it’ll be the red and black one–it’s the cheapest too. I could always spice it up with something else crafty, right?! Plus, looking at couponers’ blogs, the accordion folders seems to be no good without velcro–too easy to fall and for coupons to go everywhere. A binder or an accordion folder with velcro that attaches to the shopping cart seems to be the way to go!


Noora’s Ribbed Cardigan

I know it’s been kind of quiet…you were due for two more sneak peeks by now, right? Apologies–I’ve been working on a sweater for Noora. It’s a spring/summer sweater designed by my favorite crochet designer, Linda Permann. I’m altering it to be 3/4-length sleeves because Noora dislikes having her arms covered, but it’s still chilly out!

So I’ve been working on the body of this sweater for a little over a week now. I was actually aiming to have the sweater done in a week–on the same day as Little Crochet‘s (the book the pattern comes from) one-week anniversary (April 12th). What ambition! I should have known better. Everything was going great except…

About 6 inches over the required size...

I completely lost gauge. Gauge, for those of you who don’t know, is the rule to live by in crochet. If you don’t have gauge, your pattern can completely go off. A baby sweater could turn into an adult sweater by being off 1/2 inch…and that’s exactly what happened to Noora’s sweater. That half an inch added up to be about seven inches over in the long run, in effect making a ribbed corset body for myself, not a sweater for Noora. What a pain, too, because I really struggled to finish the last ten rows in two hours on one night in an attempt to meet my deadline of completing the sweater by this Tuesday, April 12. Sighs.

See what a difference gauge makes? This is the difference between a 3.75mm hook and a 4mm hook.

Luckily though, there is ravelry, a sort of facebook for crocheters and knitters, where you can friend people…and talk about your issues. And guess who is in my friends list? Linda Permann–the designer of this cute sweater! She knows me by name now simply because of this sweater. The only idea I had was to just rip back the sweater until it was the appropriate size, in effect, lose some rows. Yep, rip out all the rows I worked until midnight to do on the last night. Shoot, if I only knew that then…thankfully though, Linda agreed that I should be able to proceed that way without having to do crazy math on the pattern, but reminded me to keep gauge with the rest of the sweater that I have to do…

I must admit that I broke a couple of rules during this project. I didn’t make a gauge swatch to begin with, and I didn’t size down my hook like I usually do (I always use a smaller size than the pattern calls for because my stitches are slightly looser than the more accomplished designers’). But I’ve learned my lesson now. Never again. And I’m so happy I discovered this before I made the rest of the sweater–the sleeves, the floral motifs…ah! Taking out about ten rows is much better than taking apart a whole sweater! So away with you Size 7 hook! I’m going to my trusty G hook so I can keep gauge and…finish this sweater…this time, by April 26th–the three week anniversary! I’m giving myself some leg room here….just in case…

Oh, and by the way, this is what the sweater is supposed to look like when it’s done.

Ribbed Cardigan by Linda Permann, photo courtesy of Linda's ravelry page

Spring Sneak-Peek #1

Nylon Rose Cloche

Hello again! I’m back from my “vacation”…with your first sneak peek into Noora’s spring/summer hat collection. Here’s number 1… a 100% nylon cloché embellished with roses, leaves, and a floral edging, with thoughts of fresh air in mind for warm, sunny days.

Inspired by Noora’s love for her Daddy’s kufis, I made this girly-girl version of a kufi for Noora to play dress up in. Problem is, Noora still prefers Daddy’s kufis. Oh well, I tried.


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