Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's the Little Things...

Quote for the Day:
"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."
~Marian Wright Edelman

Erin, Dale and Sara are coming home for Christmas, so we are looking at how we can get some of the kitchen renovation materials that are currently sitting in the entry way and dining room out of the way as much as possible.  It's one thing for us to live "around" them, but they take up so much space that when you have company, they really decrease your amount of available space.  :(   Plus, we need to make a space to put up the Christmas tree!  :D

We are going to try to go ahead and put up the wall cabinets that will go on the opposite wall of the kitchen which will not only get them out of the entry way, but also provide us immediately with additional storage.  That's a good thing!  :)

In the meantime, today we attached the rest of the hardware to the cabinets that have already been installed since the end of May!  :)

I love the antiqued bronze pulls...they remind of of what you would find on a drawer in an old office, library, or hardware store!   :)

Close up of lower cabinets...
Close up of wall cabinets...

Don't they look GREAT???  I LOVE them!

After installing the hardware, we went through the old drawer-full of plastic lids and pared it down to fit the current drawer, which is much smaller.  We had a lot of lids that had lost their containers, so we ended up throwing out about 1/2 of a garbage bagful of orphan plastic lids.  So now we have removed 3 more of the drawers that were sitting in the dining room...(1 drawer had the plastic lids but we had it sitting on top of two empty drawers so we wouldn't have to bend over as much to get things in and out of it.)

I did my coupon shopping today at Walgreen's and Rite Aid and got some very good deals for my money!  :)

At Walgreen's, I got $56.34 worth of product, paid $33.25 out-of-pocket, got $32.00 back in Register Rewards, so all of this only cost me $1.25!!  :)


At Rite Aid, I got $58.59 worth of product, paid $5.35 out-of-pocket, got $11.99 back in +Up Rewards and SCR's, making this a $6.64 money-maker for me!  :)

Rite Aid...


Saturday, November 26, 2011

My First Quilt...

Quote of the Day:
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Over at Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville blog she posted about her first quilt and offered to let her followers link up a post about our first quilt, so I thought I'd do just that!  :)

Before I had ever quilted my first quilt, I had embroidered 2 quilt tops that my Aunt Priscilla then hand-quilted for me.  The first of those two was this full-sized sunflower quilt...

I started embroidering this pre-printed top in 1978 when I graduated high school...but with 5 years of college, a new marriage, starting a career and having 2 didn't get finished till 1991.  It took Aunt Priscilla 3 weeks to hand-quilt it!  LOL

My dad came from a Mennonite family and quilting ran through their veins like blood runs through everybody else's.  LOL  

The second quilt top that I embroidered was a set of 6 blocks with animals pre-printed on them that I then joined together to make a quilt top for my then unborn first child, a son.  I did these while I was pregnant with him, sent them to Aunt Priscilla, who then added a border to it and then quilted it, along with 3 other of my aunts.  They each embroidered their name in the four front corners of the border!  :)     Because of the "specialness" of this quilt... having all the Aunt's names embroidered on it... I never did use remained stored away where Paul couldn't spit up on it or have a diaper leak on it. 
Today, this quilt is with my son and daughter-in-law, so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it to post.  :(

Up till this point, I had only embroidered the quilt tops and had not actually "quilted" them. 

When I was pregnant with my second and last child, I decided to embroider a pre-printed top for her, too.  However, since I was working full-time, suffering with 7 months of morning sickness, maintaining a household, and raising a toddler, I didn't get the embroidering done till she was about 4-5 years old!  :(  

By this time, I was beginning to get interested in learning how to quilt and decided that I'd "learn" on this quilt.  I called my Aunt Priscilla and, over the phone, asked her a million questions about hand-quilting.  She was patient and answered them all!  I bought a simple round hoop for a few dollars at the local fabric/craft store, polyester batting, some hand-quilting thread, a package of "betweens" needles, and some fabric from the "$2 Fabric Store" for the border and backing!  No, really...there was a store that sold "seconds", etc, and the name of the store was "$2 Fabric Store" and all fabric was $2/yard or less!  I don't even know if the fabric was 100% cotton or not.  The fabric was NOT good quality, but I was cheap and I about fainted the first time I went into a true "quilt fabric store" and saw that in the early 1990's they were charging $6-8/yard of fabric.  (This was southern California.)  HOLY MOLY!!!  I had been fabric sewing since 1975 and had NEVER paid those prices for fabric!  HIGHWAY ROBBERY!  LOL kids were past the toddler stage so I was able to spend some time hand-quilting this quilt, and was able to complete it over the course of a summer...

Nobody told me that you needed to have dense quilting when using polyester batting to keep it from shifting inside the quilt!  YIKES! 

By the time this quilt was 1993, according to my primitive label, LOL...Erin was 6 years old, so never actually used this quilt, either!  

Thanks for taking this trip down memory lane with me...oh, the things I've learned since then!  :D


Friday, November 25, 2011

Post-Thanksgiving Post...

Quote for the Day:
"On Thanksgiving Day, all over America, families 
sit down to dinner at the same moment -- halftime.  
~Author Unknown

For my US readers...Happy Black Friday!  I hope that if you went out and braved the crowds that you at least got some good deals.  :)

I was warm and snug in my bed....there was nothing out there I needed.  I have done the "Black Friday" early-morning shopping thing a handful of times in my life when there were good deals on electronics that I wanted/needed....but not for several years now.

Although we didn't have the traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal yesterday, I wanted to share a really cool recipe to use up those leftovers.  We've made this before and, trust me, it is delicious...even though it doesn't sound like it would be.  LOL

Take all your leftovers...mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, veggies, gravy, turkey, and even your leftover cranberry sauce!  EVERYTHING!!!  Yes, the cranberry sauce, too!  :)  Put it all in the crockpot and cook on low all for about 6 hours.  Serve with the leftover rolls!  :)  It makes the best stew/thick soup!

MMMMMMMMMMM...............  You're gonna have to trust me on is WONDERFUL!   If you try it, please leave a comment to let me know what you think!  :)

Well...wish me luck...

I have another MRI this afternoon...this time of the pelvis.  "Something" showed up at the lower levels of the lumbar spine MRI on the right side so my doctor has ordered an MRI of the pelvis to see what it is...swelling, mass, lump?  We'll see....


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Where's Waldo???

Quote for the Day:
"Always gotta keep busy or the voices start telling me to do wild things."
~Steven Brown 

I've been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger!  
All of my non-work time and non-sleep time has been taken up working on a legal issue we are fighting right now.  I can't say anything at this time, but if it all works out in the end, I will blog about it.

Though I've had a few scarce moments to sneak into my quilting room and do a few hand-quilting stitches on the Sunflower Quilt, I've not had time to do much else, much less, time to take pictures and post about it.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the USA and I hope that everyone here in the USA has a great celebration...enjoy your time with friends and family...or just enjoy your day off of work, if you get it off.  :)

Blessings to all, please keep us in your prayers over this legal issue.


Monday, November 14, 2011

A Baby Quilt Ready for Borders!

Quote for the Day:
"If you build it, they will come..."
~Field of Dreams

Yesterday I posted about using some leftover HST's to make a Carpenter's Star baby quilt.  I had all the blocks made and arranged on the design wall yesterday so today I sewed them together into an "almost finished" top.  It currently measures 36" X 36".  It still needs the borders, but I will decide on the color for them later...when I know what baby this is for.  :)

You see...I'm hoping for a new grandbaby in the next year or I'm taking the advice that "The Voice" gave to Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams"... "If you build it, they will come!"  I'm hoping that if I make a baby quilt, I'll get another grandbaby!  :) worked in the movie!  LOL

BTW...for the quilters that read my blog...
I have a tip for helping you keep the correct placement of the blocks when sewing a top together...especially when you are doing a scrappy quilt or one that you don't have a pattern for.

When my blocks are on the design wall, I take a picture with my digital camera so I look at the picture on the display screen (or you can upload it to your computer and look at it there).  I'm looking for "mistakes" in placement, color balance, etc.  For some reason, looking at them on a smaller scale like this shows up things that you don't see when you are looking at the larger item on the design wall.  When you have everything just as you want it, take a picture and print it out on regular paper.  (To save ink, I also use the "fast print" setting.)

Use your picture as a diagram to double check things as you are sewing the blocks together.  I invariably turn blocks or switch them up when joining them to each other.  But with the picture to look at, I can make sure everything is just where it is supposed to be before sewing them together.

And another tip...just because I appreciate my readers...
I fold quilt tops and drape them over the bar of a hanger to store them till I am ready to quilt them.  This prevents deep creases that come from folding and stacking them.  :)

That's all my tips for today, Folks!  If I gave you anymore at one time, I'd have to charge you for them!   LOL

By the way, Loretta...what time is it???

It's "Book Review" time!!!  :D    *band strikes up fast tempo music*

I just finished reading "All By My Selves" by Jeff Dunham.

It is his autobiography and was quite interesting.  I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.  Well...maybe 4.25 stars...
It was interesting AND that's a good combination for me!  :)   I like watching his work, so that made it even more appealing to me.

Remember, Folks...I don't charge any extra for the book reviews!  But you get what you pay think about that...   :D


What To Do With "Leftovers"???

Quote for the Day:
 “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years 
she served the family nothing but leftovers. 
The original meal has never been found.”
~Calvin Trillin 

No, no, no...not those kinds of leftovers!  

I'm talking about the "leftover" HST's (Half-Square Triangles) that I have from making this quilt...

A less frugal person might have thrown them away...but anybody who knows me, knows that I am not able to discard usable fabric!  :)  I paid good money for this fabric!  I can't throw it away!  

These are the blocks, or HST's as we quilters call them, that I had leftover.  I threw them on the design wall to see what I could do with them.  There were 44 of these 5" blocks.  Whatever I made with them would be either a lap quilt or a baby quilt.

After playing around with them and doing a little research on the internet the light bulb went on in my head!  

I have always wanted to do the "Carpenter's Star" pattern...and that pattern uses a lot of HST's!   I had to add just a couple more blocks to the mix to come up with this...

All of this was made from "leftovers" and scraps that I had in my stash!!  :)

It's not sewn together, yet, but the design is there...ready to be sewn together tomorrow!  

I would really like to make this a baby quilt.  Whether it's for a boy or girl will decide what color to do the outer border, but I can get the rest of it finished up to the borders.  

I know it's not the "traditional" baby quilt, in the normal "cutesy, babyish" way, but it does have blue, pink, yellow and light green in it...among other colors, too... so tell me what you think.  If someone gave it to you for your baby, would you like it?

I'd really like your feedback!  


Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Good Night's Rest...

Quote for the Day:
“There is only one thing people like that is good for them...
a good night's sleep”
~Edgar Watson Howe

This weekend was the end of Daylight Savings Time here in the USA, so I hope everyone remembered to turn their clocks back one hour!  I also hope you were able to enjoy that extra hour of sleep!  :)

Unless you are like me...I like to stay up late, so that extra hour for me was an extra hour I could stay up and quilt and still "go to bed at my normal time"!   :)

Either way, I hope you enjoyed your extra hour this weekend.  Today starts the days of the sun going down "early"...which means about 5:30 PM at our house.  There is a mountain behind our house so when the sun gets to a certain point on the horizon just past the top of that mountain, it's "down" for us.  During the dead of winter, this turns into about 4:15 PM for us.  :(

Last weekend when we went to Pittsburgh, we went to the Select Comfort Store, tried out their beds, and ordered us a mattress to fit into our existing bed frame.  It arrived on Wednesday in this big box...

Sleep Number beds come disassembled so you have to assemble them yourself, but the instructions are very clear and pretty easy to do. 

HOWEVER...before we could get to that point, Andy had to make some modifications to our existing bed frame...

Our bed was, originally, a waterbed that we purchased in December of 1986.  How do I remember the date???  Well, it was one month before Erin was born!  :)   Silly things like that stay in my brain for some reason!  LOL 

I love this bed!  I remember when our kids were young, on Sunday mornings both kids would come into our room and get on the bed and sit and play or talk with us.  It was kind of our ritual.   There are even teeth marks on the foot board from Erin!  I would put her on the bed to watch TV while I dressed and she would crawl down to the foot and try to "teethe" on it when she was cutting teeth.  :( 

It's these kinds of memories that make getting rid of this bed frame hard to instead of buying a whole new bed...$$$...Andy had to make some adjustments to this one to hold the new mattress which is not as deep as the frame.

Anyway...back to the bed...we loved the waterbed very much, but when we moved into this house and our bedroom was on the second floor, we weren't sure that there was enough support below our floor to support the weight of a waterbed.  So at that time we went and got us a cheapo air mattress that was made to fit into a waterbed frame.  All the air was in one large chamber so that both people had to agree on the softness/firmness, which between Andy & me is not an easy decision.  To put the air into the mattress you had to use a manual pump that got difficult to operate once the mattress started getting full.  About twice a year or so we would have to "add" air to the mattress just because it would lose a little over time.  

We had placed a 4" memory foam topper on top of the mattress, so it wasn't too bad to sleep on...unless it was down on which case, it "hammocked".  Until more air was added...which meant stripping the entire bed to get to the air inlet hole...the bed was VERY uncomfortable.  Needless to say, the whole thing was a hassle to deal with...thus causing us to make a decision to buy a new mattress.

This is what the frame looked like after removing the old air mattress and liner...

Andy needed to build up the base by 2" so the new mattress would be the same height as the side rails.  On top of the current base, he put some 2 X 4's and then some new plywood on top of those...

Now it was time to start assembling the components of the mattress that looked like this when we unpacked them...

Yeah...doesn't look like much, does it!  LOL  I didn't get a picture of the electric pump, but there was that, too.

We put the original waterbed liner back in the frame to protect the new mattress from the wood base.  Then came the outside of the mattress and the foam "walls"...

Then the air chambers...two of we can each choose the firmness on our side of the bed...

There is another piece of foam that runs down between the two air chambers that you can't see in this picture.

Next we added the padded top that zips on...making it look like a regular mattress...

Sleep Number has a memory foam topper that you can buy and add to the mattress, but since we already had one, we just used it, instead.  I really need the memory foam to relieve the pressure points on my "curvy" body!   Regular mattress are hell for me to sleep on because they don't "give" enough and I'm constantly waking up from the pain caused on the pressure points and have to change positions, causing me to toss and turn a lot.  Doesn't make for good sleeping on vacations because hotel mattresses are too firm and feel like I'm sleeping on a slab of concrete.  :(    (BTW, Celeste...I LOVED the bed we slept on at your house because the mattress was SOFT!!)

Finally...our new bed is made and ready for that extra hour of sleep!

The instructions say to fill the air chambers completely and then, while laying on the bed, let the air out gradually until you get to your comfort level, which we did.  I let more air out of my side than Andy did on his. 

At first, I thought the mattress felt "harder" than our other mattress, even after letting air out, and I thought I would have trouble sleeping on it.  Just because it was "different", I did take a little longer to fall asleep, but once I did, I slept very well and woke up with NO STIFFNESS this morning!  Usually, I have trouble with my hips not wanting to straighten out immediately when I stand up...usually I have to take several steps before I can straighten out completely.  But not this morning!  YAY for that!   I'm hoping that this new mattress will help alleviate some of the pressure on my back and help with my back pain over time!

I'm looking forward to more REALLY GOOD nights of sleep on this bed and have high hopes for it!  :)