Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Good investments

I'm not talking about stock or real-estate investments. Rather, what do you consider a good equipment investment, to spend money on at home. My rule of thumb is: it has to serve more than one purpose, reduces waste and has to be able to last a long time. Especially if it's not cheap!

One such investment, happened early last year. It was purchased with a gift card, received for Christmas. This particular item, has been on my radar for several years.

3 in 1

It was a Fiskars brand, gift tag maker. At $40, I considered it expensive for the purpose of making gift-tags! However, in the one tool, it had three different processes. The first slot at the bottom, was for cutting gift tags. The second slot (at the front) was for punching a hole in the gift tag - and finally, the spindle underneath the handle, attached, metal hole protectors.

Finished gift tag

Why a hole protector? It ensures you don't cut through the hole, when attaching the string. I've done that before! The metal eyelets, came with the cutter, but will have to purchase more, when they're gone.

The main reason for purchasing this cutter, was for recycling Christmas cards we receive. But also, any card we come across that would look good as a tag. Do you want to know where the above card, came from?

Card stock 
waste not, want not

A packet of chocolate! Mmmm...chocolate. We like the plain stuff, with high cocoa - so not the milk chocolate, or flavoured centres. We don't normally buy this particular brand, but our regular chocolate wasn't on special. So improvised!

As the packet was transported to our recycle bin, that gold embellishment caught my eye. It would look perfect, as a gift-tag. So before any card goes into the recycle bin now, I see what parts can be scavenged for a gift tag. So long as it's clean card, that is!

What do you consider a good equipment investment, in your home - and what is your rule of thumb, for making them?


  1. I've never seen a gift tag maker! How neat is that! Excellent idea.

    I agree with investing in tools and equipment. Our main aim are things that help us toward greater self-reliance, preferably manual, but sometimes power tools are very useful too.

    1. Absolutely on the power tools front, especially if it can help towards better self-reliance. I think your investment in a saw mill, counts as a good investment. It's really saved you money on the barn build, and utilises a resource you grow on your land - wood.

      Personally, I wouldn't be without a good drill, but I um and ah, whether to mechanise my saws. If I had a dedicated space to store power tools, without them being subject to heat and rain, I'd be more eager to make the switch. But I do like a good manual saw too, so I'm not in a hurry to change. If I had a need to make more cuts than I do, well then mechanisation, would be on the cards.

  2. I'd have to disagree with you on this one, Chris. A bit gimmicky for my liking, but if it's Fiskars, it will be good and hopefully long-lasting. I seldom have a need for gift cards anyway, but when needed I always have a pair of scissors or a Stanley knife and a metal ruler and I've had a hole puncher, an eyelet putter-inner gismo and a bag of various eyelets for ages. All those things can be used for other things than making gift cards....I've put eyelets in canvas and cloth and plastic....I can cut a multitude of things with the scissors and used the Stanley knife for all sorts of cutting and the ruler for well, ruling lines and measuring. Collectively they all probably cost a good deal less than $40. So no, sorry, not impressed. But if you're happy that's the main thing. :-)

    1. The gimmicky part, is what held me back for so long, Bev. I started collecting my old Christmas cards in a box, just to see if it really warranted buying. After several years, the box got full. Then my gift tags for Christmas ran out, and I considered buying more.

      That's when it dawned on me, I would never have to buy another pack of gift-tags again, if I made it easier to make them myself. I was only going through them so much, because I was giving away more preserves, year round. It provides a handy place to write "refrigerate after opening", along with the person's name, etc.

      Totally support the Stanley knife idea though! I just purchased some refill blades for my ancient ones, that had rusted. The body was perfectly fine. I use the blades, to cut note paper with my metal ruler. It fills an old note tote which ran out decades ago. They're handy for cutting open boxes for recycling, and string around bales of hay too. Such a versatile tool! And a good one will only be half the price, at $20. :)

  3. After decluttering the whole house over the past few years, I always think long and hard about what to bring back in, I use the same rules as you, and I buy less. Last year I was looking at sewing machines which do embroidery, I would love to do some, but on consideration I know it would not get used enough to warrent the cost of the machine, so I still have my faithful machine.

    1. I hear what you're saying. I considered upgrading my old Brother sewing machine, simply because it's very basic. I didn't know if it could even quilt, until I looked into the "accessories" you can buy for it. I've used it for one quilting project, and have another smaller one, lined up. Yet I only spent around $100 on accessories, versus several hundred more, on a new machine!

      I actually really like my basic machine. It hasn't let me down yet. :)

  4. If slow cookers come into this 'equipment' category then that's something I find very handy especially for making soup in winter. I used to buy a lot of craft gizmos when I went to the big craft shows in Brisbane back in the day but a lot of them I didn't use unfortunately. That gift tag maker would really come in handy if you give a lot of gifts, preserves etc. away. Spotlight always has big sales so I imagine one could always be bought at a good price. Mind you, I avoid the shop like the plague these days as I am trying to declutter my craft supplies before I get any older. LOL!

    1. Do you have different sizes of slow cookers? I have the really large one, but have heard people collect different sizes for different sorts of meals. If you do a lot of slow-cooker meals, then I think it's justified to have different sizes. I just use it for making soups and casseroles, during winter though, so very pedestrian usage. One large one, does our family. ;)

  5. I picked up my Dressmakers shears from Big W. They are a fab investment. I sew most days so a good pair of scissors are required. Best part of this was I was able to use my Woollies card and had many dollars taken off the cost.

    1. Now that's a good investment. I've tried cutting with older pairs, and it really massacres the fabric! Sharp, is indeed the better option. I have a vintage pair, my mother gave me, from her dress making days. Those ones have always stayed very sharp. But it's quality metal, so I could get them sharpened, if required. Great to hear of your dressmaking. :)

  6. mm quality tools.... i have to think long and hard before i buy anything new these days
    1, it has to be very good quality
    2, it has to be something that will be used offten
    3, we try to buy Australian as much as we can, i have even been know to go without something because i really dont like to buy anything made in china.
    as the saying goes, im too pour to buy cheap
    i think my food dehydrator has been one of my best investments

  7. Good points Nicole. What brand of dehydrator did you go with - if you don't mind me asking? I hear Excalibur, is often touted as the best quality. I like brands made in the US and Germany/Switzerland, if I cannot find one closer to home. It's ironic that our oven which died recently, was a Gianni, manufactured in China. It came with the house build. Yet, what has kept it going for twelve years, are Electrolux parts. They're a Swedish based company, manufactured mostly out of the US.

    It's hard to find good quality products. But when I do, they last an incredibly long time. Which makes me happy! I think the dehydrator sounds like an excellent tool to invest in. I know Bev (2nd commenter above) has one, and it helps preserve her harvests.

  8. i have an ezidri dehydrator, think i did a review on the going green blog cant remember for sure.
    i did a lot of research before deciding on the one i wanted, the excalibur is very popular but it didnt have the capability of the ezidri. i have had it quite a lot of years now. it only gets used in the spring summer early autumn as we need full sun to run it on our solar. One of the best things about this one is you can add up to 30 trays. It came with 5 and i have added another 5, could probably use another 10 tho.
    i dried a lot of foods before we moved down here and it was a good job to as they kept us going the first year here.
    we only have a very small freezer as we cant run anything bigger so drying as much as we can makes sense.


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