Thursday, December 14, 2017

Gift for Mommy and J...


My Dear Grandson wanted to make an ornament for his Mommy and J for Christmas.  I saw this simple ornament made from clothespins and thought it may be perfect.  This morning I showed him the video on how to make it and his huge smile told me it was a winner!  As per the instructions, I grabbed 8 clothespins from my bag and he happily began twisting them apart.  A few were a bit ornery and grandma helped yank them apart.  Then came the dangerous part!

While Grandma used the hot glue gun to arrange the pieces into the proper shape, K went through my ribbon drawer and picked out the perfect ribbon to hang the star from the tree.  He measured off a 14" piece of ribbon and after I made the cut I fashioned it into a loop and glued it in place.  There is a little more glue glopped onto the back than had been used in the video but the glue was just not holding well.  Does anyone know if glue sticks have a shelf life?  No worries, though, as I pulled the thin plastic from the inside of a pill bottle lid and wrote on it his name and the year with Sharpies.  When the ornament is finished the label will be glued onto the back.

Next comes the painting.  Of course I have absolutely NO acrylic craft paint in my supply cabinet!  What kind of crafter is without acrylic paint?  Once I drop K onto the school bus I will run to JoAnn's to pick up some paint and also some iridescent glitter.  Glitter wasn't part of the video, but he wants his star to shine!  He also wants something blue and shiny on the front!


While the paint may not cover every inch of the star, he had a BLAST painting.  While the paint was still wet we sprinkled on some super fine glitter.  I don't think I will ever get all of the glitter out of my sewing room rug, but that is what childhood is about, right?  A bit more glue glopped onto the heads of the upper portions of the clothespins and the "blue shiny button" stayed in place.  I just hope he can keep quiet until Christmas morning to give it to them!  He is SO excited!!!


Today he and I played chess.  It has been quite a while since we played and surprisingly he still remembered everything.  Now that he is really beginning to strategize it is even more fun.  We have a "standing date" for noon Monday through Friday before he goes off to school.  I will get his "little gray cells" all warmed up for his afternoon kindergarten.

Life is good!

Toodles...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

GEARING UP FOR 2018...




It has been almost a month since Dear Hubby and I returned from our two week vacation.  We stayed at our usual beach front resort in warmer climes and I feel emotionally rejuvenated and ready to make 2018 our most frugal, CALM year yet!



As part of my mounting frugality I have begun a "Money Stash" book.



In this book I track my "change stash", ie all quarters and dimes that I have saved.  If I have either $1 in quarters or $1 in dimes I drop them into a large jar and log them in my book, calculating the running total each time.  If I cannot make $1 in quarters or in dimes I put the coins in a cash box until I have enough to transfer to my jar.  Any other coinage is dropped into Dear Hubby's 5 gallon coin jar.  Our change is taken to the credit union, counted, and deposited frequently because it doesn't take many coins to weigh a whole lot!

I am also trying to stash "paper cash" for Dear Hubby's impending retirement.  With the state of employment in the U.S., I fear he could be forced into retirement before his intended date and we are NOWHERE near ready!  So, any cash I have left in my purse at the end of the month, dollar bills I receive as the result of a store transaction, and any "found money" (such as the $20 bill I found in the street while on vacation!) is placed in an envelope and logged into my book.  When the envelope stash hits a point where I am uncomfortable with it hanging around the house, it is immediately (and I mean IMMEDIATELY) transferred to a bank account.  I struggled too hard to have the fruits of my labor stolen in a home invasion!  An MP3 player and about $10 in change for tolls was recently stolen from Dear Hubby's car...in our driveway!  I fear our once peaceful and safe neighborhood is headed downhill.



I have also continued the purge of our home.  After almost 29 years we have WAY too much "stuff" in here to live a calm, comfortable life.  Certain things have "gotta go"!  So I have been listing items on eBay to see if I can recoup at least a portion of the money we spent on the item.  Money from any  eBay sales is directly deposited into a Paypal account and logged in my book.  Anything not sold after a few listings is immediately donated.  For some reason sales have been down, but at least I can get a tax credit and someone else can benefit!



I am also trying to watch videos and do searches through MyPoints or Swagbucks.  When I have enough points I redeem them for gift cards that I can use for practical living expenditures and gifts.
For years now I have made purchases through MyPoints to help build my point tally.  Over the years I have experienced many occasions when MyPoints failed to issue earned points.  In order to keep a tighter reign on this issue I have begun a small notebook where I list the name of the company and the date I made the purchase through MyPoints.  It really is keeping my points going where they belong!  I can question missing points and provide proof much more quickly and will not lose out due to waiting too long to submit the query.  I have also begun purchasing through Ebates when the store is not MyPoints eligible or when I will get more "bang for my buck"with Ebates cash!  I track these purchases, too, though I have yet to experience a loss of credit through Ebates.


In addition to our finances, I am trying REALLY hard to address the stress in my life.  Stress is hard on any body, but especially on a body already compromised by various medical conditions.  I have begun to faithfully use my essential oil diffuser and my salt lamp.  When I began delving into oils, I set up a storage system to house these precious liquids.  However, accessing them is far from convenient and sometimes I was just too tired or just too sore to make the effort.  Bad me!!!



So, I pulled out a few of my favorite oils and placed them on a small table right next to my diffuser.  However, the oil could do major damage to the surface!



Five minutes in front of my sewing machine and I had a cute little mat to hold a few bottles.

I truthfully haven't accomplished much in the way of sewing since we got back, but I feel like I have established a solid foundation to move forward with a frugal, creative, healthier new year. 

What are your plans?

Toodles...



Saturday, October 21, 2017

I FINISHED MY FALL MINI...and it feels SO GOOD!!!!!



I have been basically away from my machine for six months now!  Quilting this made me feel like a total newbie...but within a very short period of time it all started to come back.  Guess it is like riding a bike, LOL. 

It took me two days to quilt and bind this mini, but I was filled with joy the entire time.  Quilting really IS my therapy.  I still don't know why I walked away from my hobby at a time when I needed it most.  Maybe deep down I didn't feel I deserved to be joyful after losing Mom.  Whatever the reason (and I'm sure a psychiatrist somewhere would have a ball with it), I'm back and planning tons of quilts moving forward.  For right now, though, Ellie (my sewing machine) is in the shop for a much needed once over.  I just realized yesterday that I never took her for her yearly check up!  Life just got away from me. 

Tomorrow I will take down my Spring/Summer mini and hang this beauty.  First thing on the agenda when Ellie gets back?  A small topper for the "catch-all" table just inside the front door.  Dear Hubby even asked if I could make different quilts/wall hangings to hang on the walls throughout the house and change them throughout the year.  That is a request I will be happy to fulfill! 

Toodles....

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

I DECIDED ON EMBELLISHMENT...


Somewhere between my last post and now, I decided that my mini quilt really DID need "something more".  I "think" I love it, but I'm still not completely sure LOL.

What I WAS sure of was the need to sew up a tiny table topper for the little white table also in the foyer.  I cut off one of the other panel blocks to use as the center section of the topper.  It turned out to be the entire topper!  Some quilting and a multicolored binding and it was good to go!  Easy, Peasy!



That is the extent of the quilting/sewing I have done since we lost mom.  I just haven't had it in me.  Until recently.  During a meeting with the bereavement counselor who had come to my parents' home, she began commenting on the beautiful quilts in their family room.  They were the quilts I had made for my dad and then, the following year, for my mom.  The counselor has encouraged me to get back to my quilts.  My quilts have been my therapy, but in my time of greatest need I have failed to reach for my machine.  Maybe she was right.


So today I began rummaging through the TON of mending piled on top of my sewing table and came upon a Fall mini quilt I had begun way back...when?  To be honest I don't remember when I began working on this piece, or if I even showed it to you before, but I think it is time the work continues!  I need to get back to the creative side of my life.  This year has seen the full gamut of emotions for me....concern, confusion, anger, disbelief and heartbreak.  Now it is time to concentrate on the future and the happy times ahead.  Mom would want it that way.


Wedding plans are moving ahead and G and J will be married on my mom's birthday next year.  She loved her only grandchild with all of her heart and wanted nothing more than to see him married and meet her first great grandchild.  While she may not be here in person for their wedding, she did spend time with The Little Guy and was as crazy about him as he was about her.


I'm sure that when they say their "I DOs" she will be watching from above, proud of the wonderful man her grandson has become, and filled with love for the wonderful woman and precious child who have filled our lives with joy.  And, for every ensuing anniversary, as they celebrate their love, they will honor the woman who loved them with all of her heart.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I'VE BEEN GONE TOO LONG...


I looked today and realized that the last time I posted anything here on my blog was March 30th.  I am so sorry.  Time has disappeared somehow while my life has been crazy, hectic and heartbreaking.






On the twelfth of April I lost my precious mom.  Some days I don't know how I'm existing without her and other days I remind myself that she is no longer suffering and that thought gets me through.  It's been tough, but I know she would not want me to stop living...so I keep plugging along, hoping for more of the fleeting moments when I can remember her with a smile on my face, and less of the moments that rip my heart to shreds.




We have had some good times, though.  Our son, J, became FORMALLY engaged to his wonderful girlfriend, G.  Her ring was on order when my mom's condition took a turn for the worse.  Fearing her sudden change in condition and wanting her to know their good news, they took a picture from the jeweler's catalog to show to mom.

In her last lucid moment my mom recognized them both, smiled from ear to ear, congratulated them and told them that the ring was "beautiful...not gaudy at all".  Amazingly, she remembered discussing some overly ornate rings that G had dismissed as ugly and mom had agreed were "gaudy"!

My mom, who for DAYS had not recognized anyone, or even spoken, gave J and G a wonderful lasting memory.  For a few short minutes, when it really mattered, she was "MomMom".  Five minutes later she retreated back into her far away world...never rallying again before she passed away.   
 
G and her adorable son have moved into our home while they save for a wedding and a place of their own.  I have found joy, and hope, in the little guy.  He is the grandson of my heart and I would give my life for his.  Just the sound of his voice calling for "Grandma" can instantly lessen my pain.  He and his mommy have saved us all.


Last week I sat in front of my sewing machine for the first time and completed this mini for my foyer.  My original plan was to add embellishments such as buttons and beads for bling, but it's a thought still caught in limbo.  I am finding it difficult to make even the smallest of decisions...so unlike my usual decisive nature.  I find my mind drifting off, a million miles away, only brought back to the present by those around me.  When, oh when, will I once again live fully in the here and now?  I guess that, too, is beyond my control at the moment.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day?


Thursday, March 30, 2017

TODAY I'M MENDING...


...my future daughter-in-law's favorite jeans.  You know what I'm talking about, the soft, "worn in" (though slightly "worn out") pair of jeans that your hand reaches for almost on auto pilot!  G had asked me to mend these jeans months and months ago...but my quick fix just wasn't enough.  The rip continued to spread until it had grown larger than the previous patch!  I needed to be much more aggressive this time!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take photos of the process. 

I removed the outer patch, while leaving the inside patch where it was.  I cut a larger square of denim (from her son's old jeans) and sewed it around the edges to hold it in place.  Then I used Fray Check to keep the edges intact.  Once that was dry I used a zig-zag stitch all the way around the edge.  The patch was firmly adhered to the jeans on unshredded fabric and reinforced by the denim patch inside.  However, the shredded area in the middle was still not secured, and was likely to grow as it had previously.  What to do?


I searched my sewing machine stitches for something that seemed like it would "cover a lot of area" with each pass.  I have absolutely NO idea what this stitch is actually used for!  I reduced the size so that the stitches would be close together (I've blown up the photo of my practice fabric so you can see the stitch).  I filled the entire center of the denim patch, one row at a time, slightly overlapping the previous row.  When the inside of the denim patch was covered, the fabric had taken on a firmer texture, like the patches that were so popular in the 60's and early 70's.  I still remember my denim jacket, covered in patches, fondly.  Gosh I wish I had saved that jacket.  Sigh...

But I digress.  Since G loves pink Real Tree camo, I cut a piece of camo to the approximate size of the "darned" area.  I used Wonder Under to make the camo fabric fusible.  Then, using an iron, I adhered the camo rectangle to the denim patch.  I then fray-checked the edges of the camo fabric and sewed a line of stitches approximately 1/4" in from the edge. 

I'm hoping against all hope that this patch holds.  The fabric in that area is SO thin and frayed!  If this doesn't work, I'm afraid her jeans will be goners :o(

Toodles...




Thursday, March 23, 2017

TWO LOOSE TEETH...



...prompted me to spend a bit of time in front of my sewing machine.  Sure hope the tooth fairy likes it!