Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Home Again...

Quote for the Day:
“Vacation is what you take when you can't take 
what you've been taking any longer.”
~author unknown

We're baaaaack....

Yep...Andy & I arrived home at 2 AM this morning from a brief vacation to Florida and Georgia.   WARMTH...YAY!   It was such a nice break from the bitter winter we've been having here in West Virginia.

My eldest sister has a condo in Florida and every January, four of the six of us siblings get together there for a much-needed respite from the northern winters.  This is the fifth year we've done this so far.  I plan on many, many more to come!  :)

This was an interesting trip as several "unusual" things happened during it.  First off, Andy usually doesn't accompany me on these trips because this is the busy time for his work and he usually can't get the time off of work.  But since he turns the "Big 6-0" this year, I just flat -out told him he was part of my birthday present to him.  I didn't have to twist his arm very far before he gave in!  LOL

Secondly, we were planning on only taking carry-on luggage to save on checked-baggage fees.  However, on the first leg of the trip they announced at the gate that the plane was going to be VERY full and they were asking for 10 volunteers to check their bags for free.  We agreed to do this.  However, when we picked up our luggage in Florida at the baggage claim, we found that one of the bags had a huge gash cut through the fabric of one of the outside pockets.  There was nothing missing, but the framed drawing of the New York City skyline that I had packed inside the suitcase to give to my sister was EVERYWHERE inside the suitcase.  We notified Delta and they gave us a voucher for $50 towards our next ticket purchase.  The gash can't be fixed, but we will probably put a piece of duck tape on the inside of the pocket and continue using the suitcase as long as possible or until we find a suitable replacement at Goodwill!  

Thirdly, I had a scare at the Goodwill in Valdosta, GA, when I realized that I didn't have my purse with me.  We had been sitting on a sofa waiting for Andy to finish his looking around when we got up to go to the check out to pay for what we were buying.  As I approached the cashier I realized that I didn't have my purse. Paul took off in a sprint to get back to the sofa we had been sitting on where he found my purse...untouched!  Thank God!  Luckily, we had only been away from it for about a minute and the store wasn't too busy at that particular time, but it took quite some time for the adrenaline rush I experienced to calm down.  Then after I paid for our purchases I put my wallet on the counter and closed up my purse.  Luck was on my side again because I noticed that it wasn't in my purse before I actually walked away from it, although the cashier was very nice and would have gotten my attention immediately, I'm sure, had I actually walked away from it on the counter.

And lastly...we had a 2 hour lay-over in Atlanta on the return trip.  When we got to Atlanta, we found out that there was going to be an hour delay because they were waiting for our crew to arrive.  The plane was there (and had gone through the safety checks, they said) but our crew was not.  The hour delay turned into 1 1/2 hour delay.  We finally were allowed to board the plane.  However, there was a problem with some internal lighting near the bathrooms, so we had to wait on board while a mechanic came and fixed it.  That took about 15-20 minutes.  We FINALLY arrived in Pittsburgh at midnight...2 1/2 hours later than originally scheduled.  From the airport we had to catch a shuttle to our car.  We live 90 miles from the airport, so we pulled into our driveway at 2:00 AM!!!  


BUT...we had a great trip overall and especially a wonderful but short visit with Paul, Trinity, and Andrew III...our son, daughter-in-law and grandson!

While we were in Georgia we got to go see their "new" house!  The closing was pushed back a couple of times, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that the closing scheduled for tomorrow at 2:00 PM does actually take place so that they can get moved in this weekend!  :)

It is a darling little house with a BIG yard!  Just perfect for a young family!  I'm so happy for them and I'm looking forward to staying with them this year when we go there for Andrew III's third birthday!  :)

This is a video of Andrew III "stomping" the bubbles in the plastic drop cloth at the new house!  

Now for some vacation pictures!

Andrew III "helping" Grandpa fix the dryer...

Checking to make sure Grandpa is doing it right...

Organizing the toolbox for Grandpa...


Lunch at Starfish Restaurant on Cortez Island, FL...VERY windy! But the food is soooooooo good that I will battle the coolness and wind!  :)  MMMMM...fresh seafood! 

left to right...Sharon (sister), Denny (married to Bev), Bev (sister), 
Mary Ellen (sister), me, and Andy

 Look at the seat backs that we saw at a restaurant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!  Only a quilter would take pictures of this...LOL...

As you can tell, we had a wonderful trip!  We didn't want to come home!  But it is good to get back to your own comfortable bed and have a good night's sleep!   :)  Can't wait till next January when we do it all again!  :)

This is what we came home to...
it has been snowing continuously ALL day!  :( 

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  Please leave a comment to let me know you were here!  :)


Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's a Heat Wave!!!

Quote for the Day:
I was just thinking, if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime.  
~Will Rogers

The temperature has made it all the way up into the 30's today...a veritable heat wave after the last couple of weeks of high's in the 20's!  Time to dig out the swimsuit!  LOL  

No really...time to dig out the swimsuit because this Thursday I am headed to Florida!  YAY!  

I've been busy so far today...a little of this and a little of that...

Lady, our Boston terrier, was beginning to smell like a dog so it was definitely time to give her a bath and wash the pet-bed linens.  She sleeps in a rectangular clothes basket that is lined with a crib sheet, has a pillow in the bottom for her comfort, and 2 baby blankets for her to curl up in.  :)  Not that she's pampered or anything...LOL.   When it is cold she buries herself under the 2 blankets.  

Lady is one of those dogs that LOVES to go to the vet.  She doesn't mind the shots or anything else.  BUT...Lady does NOT like having a bath.  She doesn't fight or try to run away...she just hides when she hears me turn on the water in the downstairs bathtub.  She knows it is for her because her baths are about all we use that downstairs bathtub for.  

Here she is hiding behind the rocking chair...shaking...ears pinned back because she thinks that if she ignores me I'll forget about the bath!  LOL   (Sorry that the video is on it's side...this is the first video I've taken with my new camera and I didn't know that you can't turn the camera on it's side like you can to take pics...I can't figure out how to "flip" the video.  So you're just gonna have to tilt your head sideways to watch

Well...suffice it to say, she lost this battle.  Andy had to CARRY her into the bathroom and put her in the tub.  But she is all nice and sparkly clean and fresh smelling!  :)

Now on to some decluttering!  I FINALLY got up the nerve to tackle the table linens.  I've been putting this task off for MONTHS!  I looooooove my vintage linens that I pick up at estate auctions, yard sales, etc. for CHEAP!  We use a lot of dresser scarves in this house!  It helps to cover up the not-so-perfect tops of furniture!  ;)  

This is what the over-crammed drawer of dresser scarves and miscellaneous linens looked like before...

And this is the stack of table cloths that I took out of a drawer in the china hutch...

The table cloths all went into one drawer together...

The dresser scarves all went into one drawer together...loosely...not crammed!  :)

And the miscellaneous linens went into one drawer together...

I ended up with an empty drawer in the china hutch...

Two table cloths to put in the yard sale box...

Some things to be released into the trash...

And a pile of linens to be released to my favorite cheesehead neice!  :)

It feels good to finally tackle this long-dreaded task!  :)  

Now...for the gratuitous quilt's of the whole cloth quilt that I've been hand-quilting for a couple months now...

I'm about 1/3 of the way done with it.  It's like eating an do it one bite at a time!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave me a comment to let me know what you have decluttered recently!  


Monday, January 10, 2011

Latest Quilt Project...

Quote for the Day:
 “Few have spoken of the actual pleasure derived from giving to someone, from creating something, from finishing a task, from offering unexpected help almost invisibly and anonymously.”
~Paul Wiener

SPOILER ALERT FOR TRINITY:  If you don't want to see what Andrew's birthday present looks like, don't read this post!!!!

Now...on to the main post...

A couple of months ago I started making the "bug jar" quilt top that is to be my grandson, Andrew III's, present for his third birthday in May.  He is ALL boy and I thought a "bug jar" quilt would be PERFECT for him!  

Isn't he just the cutest thing you ever did see???

Don't you just want to kiss those cheeks!!!!!  BTW, he's holding leaves that he has found in the yard of the house that they should be closing escrow on very soon!  :)

Anywho...he turns three in May of 2011 and I have finished the quilt for his birthday present...all except for the binding and the label... and I'm going to share pictures of it with you here!  :)

There are 72 "jars"...all with DIFFERENT fabrics...there are no repeats!   It is machine pieced and machine quilted.

The "white" that you see around the edge of the quilt is the batting.  It will be trimmed back to the outer edge of the blue when I am ready to add the binding.   For those of you who don't know what "binding" is, it is when you take a strip of folded fabric and sew it along the edge to "enclose" the quilt.

The back is pieced also!  :)  How's that for using up extra fabric...can I call that my "decluttering" for today???  LOL

I just heart that lobster fabric!  :) 

Scattered throughout the quilt I did machine embroideries...I put the particular insects/animals/reptiles by their "jars" if they had "escaped"!  :)

I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  Now I just have to put the binding on, and make a label and sew it on!  

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave a comment to let me know you were here!  


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two Days, Two Posts!

Quote for the Day:
Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.
~Oliver Cromwell

Yesterday's decluttering made me feel so good that I was eager to jump in and do some more today!  Cleaning begets cleaning!  :)

In yesterday's post I mentioned the armoire in the dining room that I've been working on decluttering and mentioned that it had seven drawers...but I was wrong...I counted today and there are only six drawers!  And after today they are ALL decluttered except for ONE!   The lone hold-out is the "linens" drawer.  This is the drawer that holds all my dresser scarves, doilies, etc.  They are STUFFED into the drawer because the drawer is too small to hold them all.  So my goal has been to get at least one of the other drawers emptied so that I can divide the linens into two drawers instead of crushed into the one.  

Today I worked on the last non-linen drawer.  Before decluttering it looked like this...

Most things were reassigned to a new place..."like items with like items"...but this is the pile of things that were thrown away...

And this is what the drawer looks like AFTER decluttering!

As you can see, it is completely empty.  This is the SECOND drawer that ended up completely empty during the process of decluttering!  This means that not only can I divide the drawer of linens into two now, but also the table cloths that are in the hutch can now be moved to this extra empty drawer...keeping ALL my table linens in the same place!  Who knew I'd have so much room after "releasing" so many items into the wild!  

I came across this picture in this drawer today.  I knew it was there but haven't seen it in a while.  It is an original pencil drawing of the New York City skyline that I bought on a trip to NYC in 1997 to visit my sister that lives there.

Notice the Twin Towers in the picture?  This was obviously pre- 9/11.
At the time I bought this picture I was living in southern California and it hung in one of the bathrooms.  But since moving into this old Victorian house in West Virginia, it doesn't really fit in with my decor so I've never hung it up.  I think I'm going to offer it to my sister (that lives in NYC)  to put in her Florida vacation condo.  It goes well with more modern decor like that than what I have.  If she doesn't want it, I'm not sure what I'll do with it because I am a little attached to it.

When people ask me where to start with their own decluttering, I always recommend that they start in a "utilitarian" area such as the bathroom or a linen closet.  That is because most things in there they are not "emotionally" attached to...they are simply things they "use".  These are the easiest things to get rid of because you know what you use and what you don't use.  The things you are emotionally attached to are more difficult to part with. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog and listening to my ramblings!  :)  Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and what you have "released" into the wild!


Back on Track...

Quote for the Day:
“Even though you are on the right track - you will get run over if you just sit there”
~Will Rogers

If you read my last post you know that one of my goals was to get back on track with the decluttering that I started out to do a couple months ago...before injury and illness befell me.

If you look about my house, it looks clean and neat for the most part.  However...DON'T...I repeat, DON'T, under any circumstances open any doors or drawers.  That is where my clutter is hidden!!!  Yes...I am subversive that way.  :(   I want to get rid of this hidden clutter for a couple of reasons.  First, it feels like a "lie" to me...things look good on the outside but there is mess and disarray inside.  And secondly, I want my house not only decluttered, but also organized!  I want to know where things are and be able to readily find them without moving a ton of stuff. 

Back when I first started this decluttering adventure and blog, I was working on decluttering an armoire in the dining room that we use for storage.   It has a total of 7 drawers in it and thus far I had decluttered 3 of them...and they have stayed that way!  YAY!  

Today I decided to declutter the bottom drawer which happens to be the deepest drawer in the armoire.  This is where I keep padded mailers and a few other miscellaneous shipping materials...and whatever else gets thrown in there.  Most of these envelopes and materials are saved from when I receive things in the mail.  I do believe in recycling to help save the environment and to save money where possible.  It's always nice when doing something for the environment also saves you money!  Padded mailers can be reused at least once, if not more often as long as they are in good condition....but I think most people know that.  :)

This is what the drawer looked like before...

Not only was finding anything in it difficult, but it was also difficult to close!  There was so much stuff that it always got in the way when you went to shut the drawer.

Some items have been moved to a more appropriate storing "like items with like items". 

These items have been "released into the wild" by going into the yard sale box...

Why did I have 100 tea lights???  I don't even use them!  LOL  So to the yard sale they go!

These items have been tossed....


And this is what the drawer looks like now!  :)

When organizing a drawer, containment of small items is key...thus "drawer organizers".....who'da thunk it!  LOL   But look around you and see what you can repurpose for something like this.  In this case, I used a shoe box to contain the cords.   Cheap and readily available!   I know that there are other cords in one of the drawers that I have not decluttered yet, so when I get to that drawer I will move the cords into this box, too.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!  Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and tell me what you have "released into the wild."


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy First Monday of 2011 to Everyone!

Quote for the day: 
A dog has so many friends, cause he wags his tail instead of his tongue!!!
~Author Unknown

It's that time of year when there's a lot of talk about New Year's resolutions.  I have decided that there are a couple things that I'm going to "work on"...but I haven't gone so far as to call them "New Year's Resolutions".   They are just "Things I Want to Work On in My Life".  :)  

1)  I am going to make more time for family and friends.  Several things have happened to people close to me within the last 6 weeks and it drives home to me how important it is to spend time with friends and family because none of use are guarranteed tomorrow.  Yes, we all think we have "forever" and we'll tell them "next time" how we feel about them.  But what if there IS no "next time"?  I have a tendency to drop out of get-togethers at the last minute.  I can always find a reason to not go to a something...   But I've decided to work on that and make an effort to spend more time with people and build up friendships.   Yesterday we had friends, Susan & Mike, over for brunch and had a great visit!  :)

2)  I want to stay out of gossip and "fights" that aren't mine.  There is a lot of gossip and "shit-stirring" at work...always has been.  My goal is to stay out of the fray and mind my own business.  A friend said she is working toward the same goal and the way she said it was "if my dog ain't in the fight, I'm keepin' it on the porch."  I like the analogy!  :)   "Shit-stirrers" want to get people around them riled up and then they like to sit back and watch as those newly-riled people run around like a chicken with it's head cut off fretting about whatever.  I've decided that I don't need the aggravation.  And there is no healthy reason for me to listen to or repeat gossip.  

3)  I'm going to declutter this house as much as I am physically able to do.  'Nuff said...already started!  Continue reading this post for more information...

4)  I will be gentle on myself.   I tend to beat myself up when I don't follow my roads I have mapped out to my goals.   I've decided to be more like "Jill".  "Jill" is what we call our new GPS unit that Erin and Dale gave us for Christmas.  We call her "Jill" because that is the voice we chose from the options available.  
"Jill" on her maiden voyage in December...

When we mess up and don't turn where Jill tells us to, she doesn't get mad...she doesn't berate us...she doesn't call us names like "stupid".  Nope...she simply says "Recalculating...", figures out where we are, where we need to go and what we need to do to get there from this new location.  Her purpose is to move us forward to our goal.   So when I step off the path to my goals in life, instead of beating myself up, looking back, moving backwards, etc., I will simply "recalculate" from my new position and move forward from there.

Now...onto the decluttering.  Here's what I decluttered yesterday and will be "releasing into the wild"...  

This is a bedskirt that I bought at the Goodwill Outlet and used to have on Erin's bed.  Several months ago we took the bed down so the quilt frame would fit into the bedroom.  I have moved this bedskirt from place to place in the house...not quite sure what to do with it...picking it up...putting it somewhere else...picking it up...putting it somewhere else. I'm tired of moving it and I don't need it but it is in good condition, so I decided to Ebay it.  I posted it yesterday evening and it already has a bid on it!  YAY!    Baby long as stuff I don't need is leaving the house instead of sticking around...that is the goal.  

Please leave me a comment to let me know you stopped by and to let me know what you have "released into the wild" recently! 


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Time Keeps On Slipping Slipping Slipping...Into The Future...

Quote for the Day:
“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. 
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.”
~Bill Vaughn
Happy New Year to all my friends, family, and blog readers!  
I'm so glad you've been stopping by even when I haven't posted anything new for a few days.  I can tell from the "stats" that people are stopping by and reading my posts...and trust me, I appreciate each and every one of you!  :) 
I do promise to get back to the decluttering in the new year!  I promise!  Really I do!  :)  
Every time I clean house it is driven home to me how much superfluous "stuff" I have in this house that I don't need and resent having to clean around.   So please check back often to see my progress in decluttering as well as to see what I'm working on in my sewing/quilting rooms!  :)  
Our son and daughter-in-law have been working on buying their first house and they found out yesterday that they are scheduled to close escrow on 1/6/11.  I am so very happy for them.  I've seen pictures of the house and it looks perfect for them!  I so excited for them to start this new phase of their life!  It will be especially nice for them to have a fenced-in back yard for Andrew to play in.  He has so much energy that he really needs to get outside and run and play.  But living in the apartment where they have been for the past 3 years, it isn't feasible for him to run and play outside.  So this will be GREAT!  Can't wait to see the house in person!  
Isn't this the most adorable, picture-perfect house for a young couple???  
The only problem I see with it is that it is Georgia and we're in West Virginia!  :)  I do so wish that that my children and grandchildren lived closer.  But for now, this is the way it has to be.  :(

Thanks for stopping by and please leave me a comment to let me know you were here.  And if you have "released" anything into the wild recently, please let me know when you comment!  

Until next's wishing each and every one of you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!