Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saving Money is Always MY Style...

Quote for the Day:
"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success." 
~ Robert Orben

I've blogged on here before about my chronic arthritic back pain that I've been living with/suffering from for almost 2 years now.

Well...I have an update with some good news!!!

On Friday (2 days ago), I had an epidural injection for pain control.  Leading up to the procedure, I tried not to get my hopes up too high and expect any miracles.  

On Saturday the pain wasn't too bad, but there was still pain.  However, it was not severe enough to keep me from being a whirling dervish when it came to cleaning  the house and preparing for an upcoming trip.  I was able to get a great amount of work done (a great amount for me, anyway, considering that I have spent the last 1 3/4 years only able to do the barest minimum of housework because of the pain.)

This morning when I woke up I noticed that I didn't have any pain.  I've gone shopping today (something that has KILLED my back in the past) and I have only had a rare twinge of pain every now and then.  

Right have about 97% pain relief from my normal levels of pain!!!  How exciting is that?  All from a procedure that took about 1 minute to perform.  Heck...getting me positioned and applying the antiseptic took longer than the actual procedure!  :)

I feel like a "normal" member of society again!  :O   Instead of having "pain" when I do something, I will sometimes get a sensation of "tightness" or "pulling" in the area that would have hurt from the same motion just a few short days ago.  

I thank God for Dr. Mahmood, my pain management doctor!  What a blessing his skill and knowledge is for people like myself dealing with chronic pain!!

I have also started doing some simple yoga for arthritis, so I'll keep that up and see if we can't extend the intervals between future injections, too!  :)

I haven't done any couponing since late December.  (I find that I don't like to deal with it during the winter and all, ya know.)  Since December we have been using from the stash of supplies, toiletries, etc., that I had built-up.  About 2 weeks ago, I resumed my couponing again, although for now I'm only going to Walgreens since Rite Aid hasn't had any really fantastic deals the last couple of weeks.  Today I went to Walgreens and got some great deals that I thought I'd share with you.

Missing from the picture is the Sunday paper that I picked up there, too.  After coupons, I spent $20.18 out of pocket and got $15 back in Register Rewards, making the net cost $5.18 for all of the above items!  Not too shabby!  You'd spend more than that at the dollar store!

And now....I have a Public Service Announcement for you...
Have you heard of Biscoff Spread, yet?  

I had heard about it from co-workers so when I saw it at Walmart today I decided to pick up a jar of it.  (There was a $1.00 off coupon on the side of the jar!)

Let me just warn you DO NOT BUY THIS ITEM!!!  It is THE DEVIL!!! is DELICIOUS!!!  You will thank me for warning you to not buy it!!!  Trust me on this!   I think this link says it all!!! 

You have been warned!!!  I can not be held accountable if you choose to ignore this warning.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Make Your Own 'No-Slip' Hangers...

Quote for the Day:
"You can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. 
After that, you better know something."
---H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I've been a cleaning maniac today!  I don't know what has gotten into me except that I've been noticing a lot of things that have been "bothering" me about the state of the house lately.  I had an epidural injection yesterday to help with my chronic arthritic back pain and it seems to have helped quite a bit.  So I guess I'm just taking advantage of the lessened back pain and finally tackling some of those bothersome things/chores!   :)

Laundry was on my "to do" list today, too.  I like to use hangers that have some kind of "no slip" on them to help keep clothes from sliding off the hangers.  I needed some more and didn't want to buy anymore hangers since I have plenty of plastic hangers so I found this tutorial on how to make regular hangers into "no slip" hangers. 

I've made 3 so far today between all the other cleaning and laundry tasks today!  :)

I will say that on two of the three hangers, I did apply a little dab of hot glue at the end to hold the pipe cleaner in place and to deter the little wire from poking any of my clothes, even though the writer of the tutorial said she didn't find it necessary.

Well...that's all that I have for you today, Folks.  Sorry that there isn't more to share but sometimes life is just foot in front of the other...and not all that exciting or blog-worthy.

Till next time...


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Decoupage Tutorial...

Quote for the Day:
"Necessity is the mother of invention"

When my son was young he was into collecting baseball cards and all things baseball!  I bought him a plain white plastic trashcan and he and I took some of the extra, worthless baseball cards he had and we decoupaged them onto the trashcan.   That was truly a one-of-a-kind trashcan that he had in his room!  :)

I like to use containers in my sewing room to help me organize my fabrics and projects, so I'm always looking for useful containers.  I use a lot of baskets, but I also use a lot of plastic containers of various sizes, too.

I had these two white plastic containers that some type of baby wipe or similar had come in.  I had been using them to hold the pieces to my latest quilt until I could get them sewn together.

They were useful...but plain and ugly looking!  :(

So yesterday I decided to "pretty" them up a little!  :)  I had a cute paper bag that looked like an old newspaper so I decided to cut it up and decoupage it to the plastic bins!  

If you've never tried decoupaging anything, you really must try is INSANELY easy!  :)  I already had the bottle of Plaid Decoupage on hand, as well as a couple 1" sponge brushes.  (I like to stock up on them when ACMoore or Micheal's has them for 10 cents a piece.  They come in handy for quick paint touch-ups, etc.!  Just use and toss!)  You can apply paper or fabric using decoupage paste.

So....back to the project...
I started by cutting the bag into strips that would cover the sides of the containers.  Then I brushed the decoupage paste onto the backside of the paper strip, working in 6" sections at a time.

Working fairly quickly, I applied the strip to the side of the container.

Then I added paste to the next 6" of the paper... pressed it onto the container...and repeated this process till the paper was wrapped all the way around the box.  When the sides are done, just fold the bottom of the paper onto the bottom of the box, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles.

At this point, you now paint a thin layer of decoupage paste over the OUTSIDE of the paper, sealing it to the container and let dry for 20 minutes.

If the item is going to be subjected to a lot of heavy use, you should apply a second layer and let dry again.  When the second coat is thoroughly dry, you sand it lightly with #0000 steel wool.   Since these bins won't get that much rough usage, I didn't bother with the second coat.  With only one coat, I didn't think it needed sanding, either.  (When 2 coats are used, it looks kinda "dull", and the sanding brings out the gloss.)   When I decoupage light switches or other things that will get lots of use, I always add a second coat to help them hold up.

And now for the big reveal....TADA....

Quite an improvement over those bland, white containers, huh?   If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can add ribbon, etc., and really dress them up.  However, since I want to be able to stack mine when I'm not using them, I didn't want anything like that to get in the way.

Now how's that for fast, easy and fun???

So go and look around your house for things you can decoupage!  LOL


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...

Quote for the Day:
"Good moms let you lick the beaters...
Great moms turn them off first!"
~author unknown

It's Mother's Day here in the USA and I would like to extend a very happy mother's day greeting to all mothers around the world.  This day celebrates YOU!

I know I haven't posted for a while...10 days to be exact...but who's counting???  But I have been around and have been keeping myself busy and out of least I'd like to *think* that I have been staying out of trouble!  :)

Sewing and quilting projects have been popping I decided to make a "To Do" list for 2012 to keep me on track.  (I am very much a "list" person!  I have lists all over the house...especially when getting ready for a trip!  LOL)

The first item on the list is "Andrew's valance".  Trinity had asked me to make a valance for Andrew's room to go with his "Bug Jar" quilt.  I didn't have all the fabric to make new "bug jars" to make the valance, so I just went through my stash to see what fabric I had left over from the quilt, cut 10.5" squares from those fabrics and sewed them together.  I backed it with plain muslin.

Here's a picture of it hanging vertically from a hanger for the obviously will hang horizontally at the top of the window it is intended for.

I can now scratch the first thing off the list!  :)  However, I need to add "finish 'Blue Ridge Beauty'" to the bottom of the list, now!

I started making blocks for "Blue Ridge Beauty" as a "leader/ender" project back in January.  However,  I frequently worked on it when I wanted to sew, but didn't have anything particular in mind to sew.  I have now finished all 120 blocks needed to make the size quilt I want!  

So for the last couple of days I've been doing a lot of this...

...squaring up all 120 of those blocks!!!  :)    I just want you to know how much I HATE HATE HATE squaring up quilt blocks.  **sigh**   But is it a necessary evil if you want your quilt to lay flat!

Here they all are...all squared up and placed in a box for storing until such time that I can make myself a new design wall and then get them arranged and sewn into a quilt top.

Doesn't look like much, does it?  But there's 120 blocks in there...each block has 12 pieces to it...for a total of 1440 pieces that I have sewn together!  And that doesn't include the borders that I will add to it! 

That's why the description of a quilter is:  Someone who takes LARGE pieces of fabric...cuts them into SMALL pieces of fabric...and sews them back into LARGE pieces of fabric again!  LOL's insanity...but it's fun!  :)

In the meantime, I'm working away on the daffodil quilt that is in my hand quilting frame right now.  I've also been busy doing some mending that's been piling up in my sewing room...when we start running out of clothes to wear, it's time to tackle the mending!  LOL


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book Recommendations...

Quote for the Day:
"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three."
 ~Elayne Boosler

I've finished a couple of books in the last couple of days, so I thought I'd share my "book reports" with you.  Remember "book reports" from school?  Wow...that was a LONG time ago!  LOL

First on the list..."The Soloist:  A Lost Dream, An Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Poser of Music" by Steve Lopez.  

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. That is when he discovers Nathaniel Ayers, a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent, even through his half-broken instruments. Inspired by his story, Lopez writes an acclaimed series of articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. However, Lopez's good intentions run headlong in the hard realities of the strength of Ayers' personal demons and the larger social injustices facing the homeless. Regardless, Lopez and Ayers must find a way to conquer their deepest anxieties and frustrations to hope for a brighter future for both of them.
If you are thinking this sounds familiar, it probably was made into a movie a couple years ago.  I've not seen the movie, yet, but I'm pretty sure a friend gave it to me on a DVD, so it's just a matter of taking the time to watch it.  

Even if you have seen the movie, I would still recommend reading the book because there is so much that goes on "behind the scenes" in Lopez's thoughts that would seem difficult to capture adequately in the movie version.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.  It is a long book, but I listened to it on audiobook. 

Next up is "Holy Ghost Girl:  A Memoir" by Donna M. Johnson.  

Donna Johnson's remarkable story of being raised under the biggest gospel tent in the world, by David Terrell, one of the most famous evangelical ministers of the 1960s and 70s. Holy Ghost Girl is a compassionate, humorous exploration of faith, betrayal, and coming of age on the sawdust trail.

She was just three years old when her mother signed on as the organist of tent revivalist David Terrell, and before long, Donna Johnson was part of the hugely popular evangelical preacher's inner circle. At seventeen, she left the ministry for good, with a trove of stranger- than-fiction memories. A homecoming like no other, Holy Ghost Girl brings to life miracles, exorcisms, and faceoffs with the Ku Klux Klan. And that's just what went on under the tent.

As Terrell became known worldwide during the 1960s and '70s, the caravan of broken-down cars and trucks that made up his ministry evolved into fleets of Mercedes and airplanes. The glories of the Word mixed with betrayals of the flesh and Donna's mother bore Terrell's children in one of the several secret households he maintained. Thousands of followers, dubbed "Terrellites" by the press, left their homes to await the end of the world in cultlike communities. Jesus didn't show, but the IRS did, and the prophet/healer went to prison.

Recounted with deadpan observations and surreal detail, Holy Ghost Girl bypasses easy judgment to articulate a rich world in which the mystery of faith and human frailty share a surprising and humorous coexistence.
WOW!  That's about all that comes to me at this time!  This is a riveting book...most nights I had trouble putting it down and going to bed!  Not to sound redundant, but I highly recommend this book, too!  :)

Hope you find these book reviews helpful...or at least, interesting!  Now let's get reading!  :)


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mama Has a "New" Car...

Quote for the Day:
“In less enlightened times, the best way to impress women was to own a hot car. But women wised up and realized it was better to buy their own hot cars so they wouldn't have to ride around with jerks.”
~Scott Adams

We've known for about a year now that our trusty 2000 Subaru Outback was going to need replaced soon because of the amount and length of road trips that we take, but we've been putting it off until just the right replacement came along.  We've been watching Craigslist and the local weekly "penny saver-type" newspaper for our area, and other available sources, looking for a good deal on a reliable used car. that replacement showed up on the lot of the local Ford dealership...a 2011 Toyota RAV4.  We test drove it as well as a 2011 Subaru Forester and the RAV4 won out!

Part of the deal was that they put on 4 new tires and that still has to be done, yet, after they get them in stock.  But we drove it home today and are very impressed with the way it handles and rides!  Can't wait to take our first road trip in it in a few weeks!  :)

Ya know what we thought was really cool?  No temporary plates!  They registered the car right there at the dealership and issued us a permanent license plate! it's the little things that we find amusing!  LOL

Ya know what else we found amusing???  It only has 28,800 miles on it.  Do you know how long it's been since we've had a car that new with that few miles on it???   About 15 years!  LOL 

Like I's the little things in life that we find amusing!  ;)

Oh yeah...they also filled the gas tank up for us (for free) before we drove it off the lot!  We've never had that done before.  Do you know how much that had to cost at today's prices??  The low gas indicator light was on when we test drove it!!   That's $50.00 right there!  :)   I'll take that all day, any day!  :)

BTW...I know that car salesmen are considered sleazy and untrustworthy...but I would highly recommend anyone in the area who is interested in buying a car to visit Toothman Ford and speak with Sam Gerkin!  He was a great salesman.  Not pushy, not rude, not condescending...just helpful!  Their motto is "cars cost less in Grafton" and from our many hours of research online before one in the north central West Virginia area even came close to their prices!  We went in prepared, knowing what the ratings and averages prices were for the cars we were looking at and we feel we got a great deal. 

All in all, it was a pleasant buying experience...which isn't always the case when you are buying cars...and we are comfortable and happy with our decision/selection!