Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last Day to Enter!!!

Just a reminder that today is last day to enter the bag giveaway. I will announce the winner tomorrow morning. Good luck to you all:o)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My last post till late Feb

Ok folks - you have heard me state several times that a rebound in prices past the highs of late 2007/early 2008 would put our 'bubble bursting' graph into doubt. We are there, however...


....it seems like we may have a little reprieve. My technical analysis friends, tell me that there is such a thing as a divergent high.


First you get a 'momentum high' as prices get driven up-wards by panic buying, then you get a scary drop, followed by another zoom up- but this time it is a 'divergent high'. Which means that while prices move up again, things don't smell as fresh.


The divergent high usually happens as the powers-that-be try to sustain the bubble by what-ever means necessary. It is driven by late-comers, bears throwing in the towel and the last few buyers left behind.


In stock terms that would mean the second high comes with lower volume, and just a few star stocks participate in the final climb up, while the majority were flat.


In real estate terms, we could argue that we have just had the divergent high.


1) Much lower list/sales than the previous high. check.


http://agentwill.com/weekly-stats/

2) Limited participation. Check. We have the West-side making new highs (how's median prices of $1.78 Million sound?)- but the Valley, Okanagan and even East and North Van are stagnant or dropping:

http://www.yattermatters.com/real-estate/friday-counsel/

So the rebound has been much more narrow. The OK is nowhere near it's all time highs. But Down-town Vancouver is pretty close, even though there is more inventory and lower list/sales that the previous high. A clear divergence.

Daisy chains

Vancouver, in fact Canada as a whole, is one of the few areas in the world, along with China were RE prices have been on a continued up-swing despite the recent credit events.

You have read me state several times, that many assets seem to be linked at present.

Gold, oil, stocks, commodities, non-US RE have all moved up in lock-step. The driving force has not been increased use, or a sudden jump in population but zero interest rates and a return to speculation.

http://themortgageblog.ca/_wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/boc-lending-graph-1024x717.jpg

The zero interest rates are not for borrowers BTW, who still pay 4-7%, but for savers who get next to nothing. The goal is very simple, to allow banks to mint money and repair their balance sheets (6% - 0% = 6% which is a very large spread historically), and to force savers out of money market funds and back into more speculative investments or better still- to just spend the money and keep the consumption orgy going strong. It has worked.

Though commodities such as copper have seen a drop in use and large increase in storage, they have been bid up close to recent highs. Even Chinese pig farmers have been buying up stocks-piles of commodities as investments:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=a1B_ZBQfii8Q

Ok, so what does this have to do with Vancouver RE. Well we are linked in a daisy chain of assets to these speculators, since we have one of the most speculative RE markets in the world. Nothing compared to China which has seen 40-60% annual rises in some of it's major cities. Some say that bubble is about to burst too:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/investment-ideas/where-is-the-next-bubble-going-to-burst-i-bet-on-china/article1450367/

We have started to see risk-fear returning to the stockmarket, and when it happens, things drop quickly. Look at oil or gold or our own TSE -a 9% drop in just two weeks:

http://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui?s=$TSE&p=D&b=5&g=0&id=p60710887103

So what does this all mean. Not a lot :)

It means that we should look outside Vancouver to see how our RE will fare. We need to watch the Chinese stock market, the S and P, the TSE , gold and oil. They are all moving together and a slide in one is likely to auger a drop in the others.

More than that is impossible to forecast. Why? Because we do not have free markets anymore. If a fat-figered trader at a major bank losses money on an illegal trade the market will drop hard, but if the government decides the tax-payer will pick up the tab, then speculation returns very quickly.

It happened in France, when one trader lost an astounding $7 Billion and brought bank stocks down 6% world-wide - the US FED quickly cut rates and the French Government arranged emergency loans and back-stops.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_2008_Société_Générale_trading_loss_incident

In the US, the government bailed out AIG to the tune $200 Billion for foolish, negligent and perhaps criminal (an insurance company should not sell more policies than it can cover) trading.

The bubble has to be inflated at all costs, even mortgaging the future to do so.

The Owe-limp-pix

You all know I was 100% against this wasteful, unnecessary, corporate, nationalistic shin-dig. Why did the proponents want the games again?:

1) To pump RE even more and enrich developers
2) To inconvenience locals, many of whom are fleeing the town.
3) To leave us a legacy of debt.
4) To allow our City councillors to try and negotiate with Wall Street sharks for money and get fleeced.
5) To attract more low and semi-skilled jobs at a time of boom from RE construction, digging more holes and filling them with concrete so that we can have a complete collapse after the Olympics and have to retrain all these people for more sustainable careers.

Ok now that we have that out of the way, I have to say I want the games to be a success.

Unlike some permanently-negative bears, I want to see the games go as well as possible, with as little added costs for bringing in snow by helicopters. Oh and I do want us to win Hockey gold (coz it is our game) and hope we don't have riots if we do or don't.

Why? Because the more it costs, the more we are all - buyers and sellers, Vancouverites and Canadians, going to be on the hook for it and have less money for daycares, and schools and affordable housing which are things worth going into debt over.

And we have to keep those nickles handy for the CHMC, if RE turns sour, or maybe one of our banks gets carried away with gambling, sorry I mean trading and needs help in the future.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601082&sid=a1FRg17zgqGw&refer=canada

Have a safe and healthy Olympics and I will see you at the other end.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My First Giveaway!


I am so excited about this being my very first giveaway. At first, I wasn't sure if I wanted to get into it, but it's just too much fun not to. I made this bag yesterday. It's called the "I'll Have One of Everything" Bag. The pattern is from the Seams to Me book by Anna Maria Horner. My b.f.f. from high school is making(and selling) these, and I fell in love.(Her website is modernmommysewing.blogspot.com) This was the "trial" bag to see if I wanted to start making these as diapers bags for gifts. And the answer is...YEE-AH! Love them! Of course it isn't a full size diaper bag, but it will do the trick. The dimensions are from tip to tip 19 1/2", and from strap to bottom 20". The straps are braided...it's hard to tell from the picture.
Now for the details...leave a comment. You don't have to be a "follower," but I would love it if you would:o) Leave a funny quote that you have heard recently or one that you always use...and keep it clean;o) I need a laugh. The winner will be announced on Monday February 1st...my 7th wedding anniversary:o)(yay for us!!) Now get to thinking, and post those quotes!!:o)...(open to U.S. residents only) This Giveaway is now Closed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Travel Sippy Cup Holders



I don't normally post more than one blog a day, but I had to put this on as soon as I finished because I was so excited about it. I had to take the kids to the doc yet again today, and on the way home they simultaneously dropped their sippy cups in the floor of the van. Well of course I couldn't reach them, so I got to listen to the poor pitiful cries of two thirsty babies...Then it hit me. I MUST do something about this. When I got home, I got online to see how much sippy cup holders were..the ones that the kids can reel in after they drop them, and they were around $10-$15 each. I have 2 kids...not happenin'. So I pulled out a notepad and started sketching and came up with a design that I thought would work and got to cutting. Here is a tutorial for all of you frustrated mothers whose lil' ones have the dropsy's at the wrong time too:o)
What you will need:
-Fabulous fabric(around a 1/2 yd?)
Cut:
*(1)12 1/2" x 11" square..I guess it really isn't a square if it isn't...square?
(this is the holder fabric section)
*(2)Circles 4 1/2" in diameter(bottom)I used my circle cutter to make a pattern
*(1)22" x 4" strip(strap)
-1/2" Elastic strips(2), 8" & 7 1/2"


Fold the holder fabric in half(the 11" length) and press.


Using your iron, fold the strap in half and press. Then fold each edge towards the center line and press again. This prevents any flipping of which I absolutely detest:o)


Stitch as close to the edge of the strap as possible. Make sure that there aren't any places that slipped and did not get stitched. Fold under one end of the strap and stitch making sure raw edges aren't showing.


Fold finished edge over 3 3/4" over and stitch.


Take the holder fabric and stitch 5/8" to the left of the folded edge. Then stitch another line 2 inches to the left of that. Then another line 5/8" from the second stitched line. These are the slots for your elastic strips.


Grab your 2 elastic strips along with a safety pin to help you run them thru your slots.


Take your 2 elastic strips and run them thru your slots. The 8" strip goes on top and the 7 1/2" strip goes on the bottom. Make sure to have something at each end so that the strips don't slide back thru. Place right sides together. Make sure to add the strap on the inside matching all raw edges. Stitch. Back stitch over the strap for extra strength.


Take the 2 circles that you cut out and put wrong sides together. Baste around the edges so that there isn't any slippage. Now put one of the right sides of the circle and the right side of the holder together matching bottom edges and stitch. Turn right side out.(Sorry that there isn't a pic, forgot to take one)

Slide a cup in to make sure that all stitches are secure and that there aren't any gaping holes;o)



How to attach the holder to your car seat:

Slide strap around bottom of car seat strap as shown here.


Slide the holder thru the loop


Now just pull all the way thru.


Insert cup, and there ya have it! A sippy cup that will never be lost again...unless they try to physically remove it from the holder:o)

Hanging Letters




I have been waiting a while to post this one because I was searching for the perfect wall hanging to put S.R.'s letters on that I made her. E.'s letters came from Pottery Barn, and that was when we could afford to spend $10 per letter. Ain't happenin' now. Sister will just have to deal with moma-made letters:o) I found these letters at Hobby Lobby for 99 cents each. I found scrapbook paper that would coordinate with her room and busted out the Modge Podge(I used several different pages, but only posted the S). I am really starting to like this stuff! It took some time, and it was very tedious, but I am fairly pleased with the results. The edges were a little rough so I hot glued white ribbon all the way around, and then glued a strip on the back to make a bow to hang the letters from. The "Princess" sign came from Hobby Lobby as well and I got that beauty for $4.99. It was perfect in so many ways, but the main reason was it had 5 hooks...enough for all the letters of her name..YAY! My next project for her room is to make a large canvas mural with a butterfly theme. It's in my head, just gotta get it on the canvas:o)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Kitchen Table and Chairs (with new matching curtains)

This is our "new to us" table and chairs. I bought this set off of Craig's List for $50 right before we moved into our new house. I loved the lines of the table and chairs, and could see the potential in it. The hubs was not happy about having yet another project ahead of him, but now that it is FINALLY complete, we are both extremely happy with it. He sanded the top down, but only slightly and we painted the whole set this mint'ish green. Once that was done, the top just wasn't cutting it, so he re-sanded only the top, and stained it. I distressed the chairs, hubs polyed it and I covered the seats with the same fabric that I used for the valances. We are very pleased with it. Now all it needs is a little accessorization and someday a small church pew on the back side and it will be able to seat 6 on a regular basis. I think we make a pretty good team:o)

Before...see that stank nasty fabric on the seats?? I removed one covering and then passed it on to the hubs. I get a little freaked out with other people's filth:o)


After...yes you are having flash backs of your granny's house if you caught the plastic coverings on the seats. If you have small children whose food ends up on the seat instead of their mouths, you understand. They are super easy to maintain now, and when I have guests they don't have to look at my seats in disgust thinking, "do I really want to chance sitting on those seats and ruining my nice pants??":o)If they spill something, I just wipe them down and they are as good as new..looooove it!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ottoman Re-do(No Before Pic:o(..oops)



I found these two little beauties at the Goodwill as well. I just keep comin' at ya with these Goodwill finds, and YES, I got them all in one day!! These cutey pies were $7.99 each. They are Target brand and still had the original price tag on them of $59.99 each(yes, I scored majorly!!) The fabric was a little on the dingy side, but everything was in good working order, the piping was still in good shape, so off to deconstructing I went. It was sooooooooooo much easier than when I pulled apart the chair to recover(see pic of living room curtains, and it's the yellow one with stripes). It took less than an hour to pull the 24,000 staples out of them. I used some more of the green and purple toile from dear Ms. Stephanie to recover them, and now I'm all coordinated and stuff;o) I painted the legs black b/c I still have 3/4 of a gallon left, so anything else that comes in the house to be painted will eventually be painted black:o) I put them upstairs in the bonus room in front of the couch. See that big empty space on the wall??? That's where the top of the coffee table will eventually be...It's gonna be great!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Coffee Table Makeover

I keep writing about my trip to the Goodwill store up north, and wish that I could go back every week! That place was awesome! While I was there, I kept passing by this coffee table, and thinking, "do I really need this?" Well of course I do! My first thought was to make it over as a table for the kids to put their blocks, train tracks, and lincoln logs on, but then a selfish thought hit me...I want it for my living room! I took it to the register thinking that I was paying $14.99 for it, which I thought was a pretty good deal, especially since it didn't have the glass panes in it(btw, I HATE glass top coffee tables). The lady said, "That will be $7.49", WHAT???? Holy Cow, I was soooo excited! Got it home and the hubs was pumped about it too. He made a special trip to Lowes for a nice birch top(expensive, I know), and put it on all in the same night. I painted it the next day, and now it resides in my living room.

Before...(the top will be used in another project).


After...I love the size of this thing! I bought the tray at a yard sale back last summer, and had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. I think that this is the perfect spot. It has a little brother that is still waiting for a home...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Thanks to vancouvercondoinfo for the above graph.
As regular readers know, I have posted the typical 'bubble graph' several times in the blog and until the end of 2009, there was still a strong possibility that Vancouver was following the path of Dutch Tulips and the Dot-com-laden NASDAQ of the late 90's.
However as you can see from the graph detached has made a new high in average price, which puts this model under some stress. All is not lost...yet. But it is getting close to the wire.
Just because we think something SHOULD correct and clearly is over-priced, doesn't mean it will oblige. There is often a confounding factor that we did not account for that could prolong the bubble or push it to higher heights. Remember Japan had a RE bubble that went on for 15 years without a pause and has been on an equally long down-ward path.
Lets look at the graph above once more.
The Boom-bust sequence often follows a predictable course:
First there is a trend change which is subtle at first and then picks up momentum and feeds on itself.
You can see in this graph that 2001 marked that departure. Prices rise at an even steeper trajectory and bears talk of 'bubbles' and 'unsustainability'. Each minor correction is hailed by bears as the beginning of the major drop, each bounce back is a vindication for bulls that the move up will keep going. People move from the bears to the bulls campand are quickly rewarded by an increase in equity and feel smart for making the jump.
Those who don't change camps, become ever more dejected and bitter towards all the factors that they believe are keeping the bubble inflated...government policies, rich immigrants, tax breaks, realtors, pumpers, lax bank lending etc They feel and are made to feel like losers.
The peak is marked by absolute recklessness as people throw money at the asset. That would be late 2007/2008. It is the last gasp of the main run-up.
Then we have a drop, which was quite rapid and frightening. Bears are jubilant.
There is usually a retest up to the highs. The late-comers see their opportunity, the vested interests try their best to keep the bubble inflated and up goes the asset again.
Bears who didn't buy are ready to leave town or are getting divorced by their spouces :)
However the mood is different than the first peak. It is not as reckless. The recent memory of the drop is still in people's minds and their is anxiety in both camps. I would say this is the part of the graph where there is the most anxiety and worry.
Both sides worry about which route the asset will take. Despite all the bravado from both sides, no one knows, or can say with conviction which way the graph will go.
Buyers, especially recent ones, will turn on any bears who may suggest that their buy was at the top, where-as bears are looking for some indication that they didn't miss the last chance to gas up for 200 miles.
We are at this point now.
I note that the UK was in a similar position and thanks to herculean efforts from the government to pump up the asset and bail out the speculators, the price of housing has rebounded but even they didn't get to new highs as we have in Canada:


http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/46503000/gif/_46503012_house_prices_10_09_466gr.gif
Ironically we felt proud in Canada that we had more sound lending and did not end up with the same problems as the US. Then we increased the CHMC limits at the all-time lows of rates and at the all-time highs of prices. To paraphrase Einstein...to repeat the same actions that failed before and expect them to succeed is true stupidity.

The next few months will make things a lot clearer.

Well.....

I thought that I was going to finish all those curtains in one day. HA! Fat chance. I did get the curtains done in the living room and I love 'em! They make the room look complete. Thank goodness. There was almost a catastrophe though. As I started sewing this beautiful fabric, I realized that when you have two windows, you generally want to have 2 panels per window...duh! I only cut 2 panels. Then it hit me, do I have enough fabric???? Just barely(sigh), and I had to do some piecing to make it work, but you won't be able to see it because I am that good...well, not really. That panel ended up behind the chair:o) I started the kitchen curtains, but was getting tired and started to make a mess of things, so I called it quits. I am really pleased with how the living room turned out!
The clock in this pic was a Goodwill find. All the old ladies were eyeing it with jealousy. One said, "My what a pretty clock you've grabbed." And I thought to myself,"Oh yeah lady, and it's all mine!!!!" (was that a little too over the top???)


The curtains hung in all their glory:o) The hubs is gonna be a little irritable when he sees that I moved that huge pic above the fireplace from the dining room to the living room...a bone of contention in this household. I had him take the top part of the hutch to the attic so that I could have the massive pic hung above the bottom of the hutch. (I am a woman and have every right to change my mind if I want to...)After almost loosing appendages, and having to take the stairs off to get it thru the hole in the attic, it found a resting place, and the hubs thought that it was staying put;o) Little did he know...But the pic looks soooooooo much better above the fireplace, don't you agree?

I'll get busy on more projects tomorrow, hopefully. Taking a day off. Yesterday wore me out!! I'll post the new coffee table tomorrow. Very proud of this find!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Busy Beaver


After searching for all the perfect fabrics, I have finally gotten everything I need, and I must sit down at my machine and GET BIZZAY! I have around 60 yards of fabric just sitting around in the guest bedroom waiting to be turned into something beautiful. My windows have begged and pleaded with me to clothe them. They are tired of being nekked, and frankly I'm tired of them being nekked too:o) So today is the big day. My poor children don't know what's in store for them today. Mommy is going to be neglectful in the hopes of finishing 8 window treatments in one day...can it be done??? Probably not, but it's worth a shot. I also have to paint a coffee table I bought at Goodwill in Fayetteville yesterday for $7.50. I am beyond pumped about this table!! It is 3 ft. by 3 ft. HUGE! Love. love, love it! It's going in the living room, and now we will have a proper place to prop our feet up. We also got the table and chairs refinished, and I will post that as soon as I replace the seat cushions. It turned out GREAT! Hope everyone has a fab day!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Somehow I missed this....

VREA's prediction of how RE could could unfold in the near future:

http://tinyurl.com/y97ex74

This is more or less how I see it unfolding too. However I also thought that the bounce in 2009 (caused by lower prices and lower interest rates and the CMHC) would not cause a rebound to new highs, which now seems to be the case.

It seems our RE market is more highly correlated with that of China and HK than with the US, who would have thought it.

The ironic thing though is, while the average price has hit new highs, we are at a higher MOI than we were when we were last at these lofty levels. The market also feels a lot less tight, with more listings coming every day, and less frenzy in the market (except at the end of December).

But as I said before, until we get the Olympics out of the way, we wont know what to make of the numbers.

Curtains for the Bonus Room

Before:


After:

I got some fabulous fabric from my fabu-lo-so friend Stephanie, and had to make curtains with it. Love, love, love toile fabric. It could be in the nastiest color and I would still try to make something great out of it...well, maybe not. Anyway, I thought it would go perfectly in the bonus room b/c there is a lot of black and white, but I couldn't figure out what color I wanted to coordinate with it, and then Stephanie offered her left over fabric. Aaaaawesome! Did I mention how much I love this fabric? Anyway, I made a simple pattern out of some freezer paper(my new found love) and got to sewing away. These curtains would have taken around 2 hours if there hadn't been numerous interruptions:o) I love how they turned out, but they do seem a little naked. Waiting for the perfect trim to show it's lovely self, and I will probably just hot glue it on...the lazy man's way of sewing. There was a ton of fabric left over, so I will definitely be making pillows and a seat cushion for my cedar chest that I will be refinishing and possibly distressing??? Should be fun!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Apartment rents drop 9.4% from a year ago!!

A huge number!

Ok this is New York, we are talking about. Manhattan to be precise, which as we know, is not as world class as Vancouver and has lots of land.

Actually the drop is probably much higher, as landlords are giving big incentives for leases, such as two months free rent for a 14 month lease. That is equivilent to another 10%+ drop!:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2UfZHjKxKrk


Of course this could never happen in Vancouver. BTW I tried looking up the Vancouver Vacancy rate, but had a hard time. Vacancy rates have increased across Canada with increased home ownership, by 1% according to the CMHC, but I couldn't find precise numbers for Olympicville.

Clean Up, Clean Up, Everybody Everywhere!

When we decided to build our house, we knew that the bonus room would be the kids "domain." We made sure that everything in there was going to be kid friendly. I wanted to have a space for them to color and do crafts, and this corner was the perfect space to set up shop. My parents gave us my grandmother's table and chairs(Thank you Papa & Gia), and also tons of colored paper. My children, bless their little souls, are little tornadoes at times, and thus the BEFORE picture. I had to come up with some quick ideas or I was going to go nutso with the disorganization.




The pencils and markers are always strown, and even though they had a basket to put everything in, it wasn't pretty and it had holes in it. I made these from veggie cans. Just glued scrapbook paper to them, and voila. Instant pencil and marker containers.


I had this basket which was formerly a home to all my hair stylist products, but it seems that it served a better purpose by housing all the kids coloring books and craft paper.


And the After. Now doesn't that look much more pleasant:o) They actually like putting the pencils and markers back in the containers. Now I can be a little more sane:o)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

S.R.'s Canopy Hung!!


Well we got it hung last night, and I LOOOOOOOOOOVE it!! I clipped the butterflies on the petals and voila! Beautimous!!! Even the hubs was giving me props. We used a regular hook, one that was a little beefier(is that a word?) than a cup hook. Now to keep S.R.'s sweet little hands off of it, and we will be in business;o) Just a few more things to add to her room, and then I can move onto E.'s room.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flower Canopy


I am so super pumped about this canopy. I sooo copied it from PBK, and am very happy with how well it turned out. S.R.'s room is going to be so saaweet when the hubs gets this one hung. It was "fairly" simple to assemble, but may be for the intermediate sewer, as there were a few tight seams. PBK sells this for $99(w/o shipping) and I was able to accomplish this bad boy for about $45. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. I found some cute little butterflies at Hobby Lobby that were 50% off this week. They will be "perched" on the canopy. I already have the paint color picked out for her room, but I still have to purchase it. Looking forward to finishing up S.R.'s room. It's sooo girly, and I am sooo in love with it!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last Minute Hair bow


Sunday we finally made it back to church. So, S.R. got to wear her pretty new dress that I made for her. She looked sooo cute! The only problem was that she didn't have the proper hair bow to match...no good. I ran across some ribbon in my scrap book materials that I also used in my hanging folder, and thought that it would be a perfect match. I was right! It took 5 minutes to make, super simple. I have made hair bows in the past, and just wasn't too thrilled with them, but this one I loved. Can't wait to make more:o)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I'm back


Hope everyone had an excellent break.

The RE numbers have continued to be bullish. The end of last year was a steady and panicky stream of buys, near asking, in many Vancouver areas.


The December stats show a new high for average prices:



There are not many places in the world, one year after the credit crisis, which show new all time highs in their prices..maybe Hong Kong and Shanghai- due to the Chinese Government stimulus, a few smaller European countries like Norway, and of course Canada.

If you had told me a year ago, in the midst of the near financial collapse, that in one year the following events would have happened; Dubai would have nearly defaulted, Greece, Spain and Ireland would have their debt downgraded, one hundred US banks would be closed due to insolvency, the unemployment rate in the US and Europe would be over 10%, we would have 8.5% unemployment in Canada and move up to 8.4% in BC (just before the Olympics and all) AND residential RE would have moved back to all time highs, I would have thought the two scenarios impossible to co-exist.

But yet it happened.

Of course not everywhere has bounced right back to new highs. In Kelowna, where I just returned from, there was a much more muted rebound:


In Victoria, a strong sales number this year, did not prevent the first year on year decline in average prices (that's 2009 compared with 2008) since 1998.


Fraser Valley had a rebound from last year, but not new highs.

Places which deal with the real economy, ie making and mining things, like Prince George, have seen drops in both sales and prices from even 2008:


So will the strength move out again to the rest of the province, or will the boom die out in Vancouver too.

Now we have 2010 to deal with. Here are some themes:

1) So far we have seen a little flood of listings, with less sales. However the list prices are high and in some places, we are back to 'wishful pricing'. We will have to take any stats coming between now and the Olympics with a huge grain of salt. No one knows what will happen in the next 30 days and then we have 30 days of probably very little action and then the market will reveal itself in all it's glory. After the Olympics, I hope to post the weeks of inventory again.

2) Flaherty the Federal Finance Minister - who is no coward when it comes to dealing with thorny issues- remember he got rid of the tax-free trusts- is finally making some noise about the bloated house prices and the problems that this could cause. How this jives with the expansion of the CHMC's lending capacity is beyond me. It's like pouring gas on a fire, and then wondering why the flames are leaping up.

Once again I say = aiding and abetting low-income or even high-income folks to get into over-priced houses, with high leverage mortgages, while interest rates are at all time lows and prices are at all time highs, and transferring that risk from the borrowers and the banks, to tax-payers is stupidly negligent at the least. Especially as we have just watched the failure of this very same policy in the US.
This will NOT end well.

Governments should encourage affordable food and housing and healthcare.

They should not enrich one group (owners and developers) by helping others, who cannot afford it, pay inflated prices for an asset.

Anyhow, if Flaherty is serious, then we may see some of the more reckless activity taken out of lending.

3) Is this the end of the recession? What recession? A couple of points more on unemployment- it didn't feel too bad here in BC. For that we have to thank the Chinese Governments huge stimulus package, the US government and UK governments back-stopping their willfully foolish banks (and AIG) to the tune of One Trillion Dollars and zero interest rates.

The net result was a stabilisation of banking and a re ignition of speculation. Gold, Commodities, stocks and RE- anything but cash- which was king a year ago but now is a pauper.

Of course we are very far from being out of the woods yet. The governments cannot keep writing checks and eventually the huge deficits will have to be acknowledged. When that happens, if the private sector has not recovered enough, part 2 of the recession starts. On the other if we get an economy on fire again, then interest rates will spike up in anticipation of inflation, and squeeze borrowers (of all types).

So the policy makers have to try and engineer a smooth recovery, without too much inflation, and without a double dip. Good luck to them. Their play book says = if a bubble deflates, blow up another one.


I think there is any point trying to predict any of this. It is too much of a crap shoot. We have had many respected analysts from Robert Schiller to Mike Shedlock saying Vancouver is grossly over-priced and a correction is due. However, apart from the frightened drop late 2008 and early 2009, we have had remarkable resilience in prices.
We will have to look at the tea-leaves after the Olympics, an event which will inconvenience the locals, cost us a fortune to stage and police- but we can at least be reassured that our politicians can have some well deserved time in the international spot-light and some contractors and developers have made nice fortunes out of it.




Hanging "Idea" Folder


I bought a ton of Paper Crafts Magazines last summer for $3 at a yard sale(yes, almost all of my possessions come from a yard sale). I started flipping thru them b/c I wanted some great gift ideas and I always find some in there. I did find a cute idea for a recipe box that I will be making as soon as I can get back to Hobby Lobby for supplies, but I also found this cute idea to keep up with my craft ideas. It is a hanging folder made from scrapbooking materials. It took 30 minutes to put together, and was virtually free since I already had everything I needed. It has 4 different pockets for the different size papers I might need to store. I wanted to make a magnetic board, but didn't have the supplies to make it, so this will hold me over until then:o) Something colorful to look at until I get brave enough to start painting murals in my craft closet/room:o)

Friday, January 8, 2010

All That and a Bag of Chips...




Anytime I start running out of ideas for crafts, I always call upon Martha to get the creative juices flowing again. The kids got a play kitchen from Santa this year, and they have really enjoyed playing with it. However, there just wasn't enough food for it. Luckily, ole Martha was thinking for me and had instructions on her website for a felt cherry pie. Super cute and super easy. She also included a link to another website where they make felt food and sell the patterns. I had so much fun making these, and the kids LOVE them. They especially love the sandwich. I had to keep reminding both of them that we "pretend" to eat it:o) I plan on making pizza and possibly a cake later on.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby Burp Cloth and Wash Cloths



My kids ended up with way too many toys for Christmas this year, and we are very thankful to all of those who contributed;o), but one of the cutest things that S.R. got was monogrammed wash cloths from her sweet Aunt A. A girl from church just had a beautiful baby boy, and I was trying to figure out what I could make for her, and I remembered the wash cloths. They were super simple to make and I was able to try out some new appliques on my machine that I hadn't used yet. I made a quick trip to Dollar Tree b/c I figured they would have hand towels and wash cloths. The wash cloths were a little big, so I went for the hand towels and was able to cut them down to get two wash cloths per towel. Since I bought 2 towels, I decided to use the other for a burp cloth. I am so happy with the way things turned out! Can't wait to give them to the new mommy:o)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Phase 2 of S.R.'s curtains



I found a pair of sheer curtains at a yard sale a while back, and didn't know quite what to do with them. My mother mentioned to me that she saw some really cute curtains in PBK's magazine, and thought I might like them. Hence Phase 1 with the pink gingham curtains. That's where the sheers became Phase 2. I thought about using my 3rd love(following of course my husband(#1), children(#2))to embroider butterflies all over them, but evidently my machine was hungry. It ate one of the sheers. So after much contemplation, I decided to use some applique butterflies that I purchased from ebay ages ago for some unknown project. They were so simple to apply, and my machine was very cordial to the ever so delicate sheer. I am really pleased on how they turned out. Now, I just have to make sure that E & S.R. don't try to pick them off:o)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010



S.R.'s Christmas present from me. A little bag to take to church with goodies to keep her sweet little hands busy. It has an I Spy bag, and a crayon roll of which I "borrowed" the idea from another blogger. I also made one for E. with Transformer's fabric. They both seemed to really like it.


A dress I made the other day for S.R. I am so excited about this dress. We have to get everyone well so she can wear it to church!


Phase one of S.R.'s curtains. Not exactly sure what phase two will be yet:o)