Tuesday, February 26, 2013


The painters just left!  I am absolutely IN LOVE with the color.  The room is SO much brighter.  Right now the ceiling light fixture is just hanging by its wires.  Our new light fixture just arrived by FedEx about 10 minutes ago.  The current light is way too dull.  The new light will accept three 100 watt bulbs.  I should be able to see with no problem given that many watts!  I wish it would have come sooner, maybe the guys would have put it up for me.  Oh well, I'm sure R or J can handle putting it up.  This weekend hopefully R can help me wipe down the furniture and the two miniblinds.  As expected there is a bit of dust from sanding the walls.  Then I can ask J to carry the two folding tables upstairs for me and set them up so I can plan the rest of the room around them.   I guess I can ask R to help me move supplies as soon as the furniture is clean.  Happy, Happy, HAPPY!!!!! 


This is the last of the three stitching kits that I had begun to construct shortly after Christmas (I think that is when it was).  This kit I am keeping for ME.  My ability to hand sew is severely restricted, but on the rare occasions when I can stitch I now have a cheerful little bag to hold my project and supplies!  Colors galore and I LOVE IT!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Yup, it's the beginning of another week here at UggaBear Cottage! 

My main goal for this week is to sew up the last stitching kit (this one is for ME, lol).   I just love the multicolored yumminess...and it kinda "goes" with the other bags I have hanging in my room.

This little pink and purple bag is just the right size for carrying my Nook, MP3 and all of the associated accessories.  It is small enough to stand up either in the center console or on the floor of the car while we are driving to Myrtle Beach on vacation...giving me easy access to my "time killers" if I get bored with the drive. 

This is the bag I use to carry my yarn, crochet hooks, scissors, measuring tape and needle.  In a pinch I could also add my Nook and MP3...as long as I wasn't taking too much yarn with me.  Unlikely...but possible, lol.   

I also hope to finish crocheting the final washcloth of a matching set.  This is the first time in my life that I have EVER followed a crochet pattern and, amazingly, it worked!!!  Yay Me!

IF I finish those projects I will begin the piecing of the queen sized quilt for my guest room.  I have gathered all of my fabrics and I am just DYING to dig into the pile and begin creating!

I am thinking of using a pattern similar to the above. 

To me it has a bit of a "lattice" look, which should pick up nicely on the lattice frame of the picture in the guest room.  I am in love with the cottage chic border and curtains.  I think my hand made quilt will feel right at home. 

Things are really moving ahead with feathering our empty nest!  Today the painter and his crew are coming to begin prepping my "expanded" sewing room.  This room will be for supply storage, quilt basting and TV watching.  I am still keeping my original sewing room. 

Dear hubby said yesterday that he is surprised I haven't asked him to break through the wall between the two rooms to make one giant sewing/quilting room.  Please, dear, don't give me any ideas!  Honestly, though, I will have more viable wall storage if we leave the two rooms separated. 

I also just realized I never included a picture of my original sewing room anywhere on my blog!  It is warm, cozy, feminine and my FAVORITE place in the whole house!  Since my expansion sewing room will also be shared by dear hubby I will make the room a bit less "girly" (hence the gray walls and streamlined "modern" Ikea furniture that we will be keeping in the room).  After all, it is OUR nest.  I am looking forward to lots of hours spent relaxing, watching TV, and talking with my best friend in our new room. 


SEW sweet!  One more to make...but the LAST one is for ME, lol!!!

Friday, February 22, 2013


Now that J has moved out of the house, dear hubby and I have been contemplating the most efficient and FUN use of his former bedroom.  My vote was short, sweet, incredibly fun and totally expected...quilting!  Up until now I have been opening up two folding conference tables in my family room to form a 6 foot by 6 foot flat surface on which to baste my quilts.  There is no way I can crawl around on the floor basting quilts like I did in my younger years, lol.  If I'm not able to finish pin basting my quilt in one day (it is NEVER done that quickly) my main living area is severely compromised, both in space and decor.  A room where I can close the door to hide the inherent mess would be wonderful!

Dear hubby's vote was quite practical, about a 5 on the fun scale, and quite easy to incorporate into the space right along with my quilting...a TV watching spot.  Since we both suffer from insomnia (mine from pain, his from thinking about work), having a spot to go to and watch boring infomercials (which will hopefully induce sleepiness), without waking the other, is a wise and fairly inexpensive endeavor.  Likewise, on the evenings when we can't agree on a channel, a second viewing location keeps the peace.  We already have a TV for the room, we simply need a comfy chair and small side table to hold a warm mug of camomile tea on those sleepless nights.

To this end, R and J have emptied out the room and I have arranged with a painting contractor to eradicate the electric blue walls in favor of a calmer, more neutral gray.

J's PAX armoir from Ikea is absolutely HUGE and will provide tons of storage for my fabric and yarn stash.  I am thinking seriously of adding at least 4 more drawers (maybe 6) and quite a few shelves.  I will, however, make that determination as I begin to move my stash into this storage piece.

His three drawer Ikea cabinet (the bottom one is a hanging file drawer) will provide lots of storage space for my patterns, notions and books.  The TV will be at a perfect viewing height perched on top.

 I also still have two black Ikea Lack shelves that were removed from the walls a couple of years ago when a furniture rearrangement made them unnecessary.  It is still to be determined if we will need the extra storage space they afford.  At least we have them already so there will be no further outlay of cash!  Also, should an additional flat surface be needed, we have an unused black Ikea desk in the basement.  The black writing desk is smaller than the disassembled beech computer desk that you see to the right of the three drawer cabinet.  The computer desk will be relocated to my parents' basement the next time J is available to move it.  We have plenty of things to furnish this room...we just have to be careful not to "crowd" the more necessary items (like leaving sufficient space for the conference tables to be occasionally unfolded in the center of the room)!

The painting contractor is expected to begin work within the next week.  I just can't wait to get in there and wash down all of the furniture (there will be lots of sanding of the walls...sure to make a mess) and begin setting up the space.  More photos to come of the conversion as we move forward!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This past weekend I found a wonderful blog for crocheters who LOVE color!  The name of the blog is Attic24... and even if you don't crochet I think you will find Lucy's blog an incredible explosion of color and whimsy, nestled snugly inside a cocoon of warmth and sentimentality.  She shares lots of photos of her beautiful creations, her lovely home and the gorgeous scenery of her native UK. I hope you love her little bloggy home as much as I do! 

After seeing all of her beautiful scenery shots, I SO want to go to the UK.  Not specifically London (although I do want to get to the Liberty store), but to all of the rural areas she has shared on her blog.  I have always been somewhat of an anglophile, but am becoming more and more so now that the internet has connected our one small world.  Her home is just SO idyllic.

Happy #Crochet Flower Decoration on Attic 24http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/crochet-bag.html  Pattern hereLucy at Attic24 has done it again!  She designed and crocheted this lovely flower wreath!  What a beauty is it. . .and, as always, Lucy is so generous with her photos, tutorials, and explanations.  She used a styrofoam wreath as a base, and to see the entire project, visit her blog at www.attic24typepad.com.Folded blanket by Attic24.
Above are just a few examples of her fabulous work!  They can be found at attic24.typepad.com.

Her crocheting awakens in me a memory of my dear sweet grandmother sitting on the sofa crocheting a beautiful granny afghan, the Crayola colored squares held together by ebony stitches.

Although I have been trying to learn to knit since before Christmas, I'm not getting much better at it.
So I pulled out my cotton yarn and a crochet hook and set to work on figuring out how to make a Swiffer cover to replace the disposable, high priced sheets.

I had it done in no time flat and I am really happy with how it turned out. I am SO much faster with crochet than I am with knitting!  My dear grandmother taught me just the single crochet and double crochet when I was about 10 years old.  Back then I made all kinds of crocheted bags, scarves, and hats.  I then put my hook away until dear hubby and I started dating and he bought himself a new car.

I made him an afghan to keep in his car...and it still sits on the rocker in my sewing room.  A few years after we were married I made a ripple afghan for my folks.  Then once again my hook was relegated to the bottom of my sewing box.

Reading her blog has rekindled my love of crochet and my new-found love of color!  I decided I wanted to put together a "go-bag" to grab whenever I am heading out and think I may be able to accomplish a couple of rows of crochet.  I searched all over and, though I could find plenty of tote bags, nothing was catching my fancy.  Then I remembered a BRIGHT, cheerful bag my aunt had gotten years ago as a "free with purchase" gift.  She had no desire to use it and passed it on to me.  Did I still have it?  Oh I sure hoped I did...it would be absolutely PERFECT to hold my colorful, crochet-y goodness.  Now, where did I put it?  After a few minutes of frantically opening cabinet doors my eyes spotted a glimmer of bright pink.  FOUND!!!

It is absolutely wonderful with its bright stripey goodness...and even has a matching zippered pouch in which I can store my crochet hooks, small scissors, needle and tape measure.

I am totally in love and have been moving my newest treasure from one place to another in my sewing room trying to find it a perfect home (for the few occasions it isn't by my side, lol)! 

Friday, February 15, 2013


I woke up this morning feeling pretty good!  AMAZING!!!!  So, I decided to take advantage of my body's cooperation and dove into my "stash" to work on some stitchy projects. 

A while back I started work on a few stitching kits.  They have been slow going.  I'm just lucky I don't have a deadline because boy-oh-boy does it take me long to accomplish just a few little things!  Thankfully, though, I am still able to enjoy my hobbies for small bits of time here and there.  Not as often as I would like...but I'll take what I can get! 

In fact, I have managed to actually finish one little kit!  Yippee and HOORAY ME!!!

It was just SO nice to have a an hour or two of pleasurable crafting time!!!  Even though the pin cushions and needle books have been completed for quite a long while, I know better than to push myself to complete another little bag today.  One is definitely it for me, lol.  But, oh what FUN I have had!!!  At least now I have a sweet little bag sitting on my work table to remind me JUST HOW WONDERFUL A GOOD DAY FEELS and JUST HOW GOOD LIFE CAN BE!!! 

Thank you, God, it's been a GOOD day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


My dear hubby thinks I am nuts, lol.  No, not certifiably nuts; but he cannot understand my need to establish savings envelopes for different purposes.  He is an accountant and I guess he is just more adept at looking at a total monetary value and figuring in his head how much is available for each spending category.  Not me.  I need to see it broken down by uses and I need to see each individual category growing!  It is the ONLY thing that keeps me motivated!  So tell me....am I really as nuts as he says, lol?  I think not...especially if it works!  And IT DOES!

HERE'S HOW.........

At the present time I have seven separate savings categories....some necessary and some just plain FUN (my FAVORITE kind, lol). 


Probably close to a year ago now (if not more...I'm really bad at judging time) our local Bottom Dollar was giving away little orange piggy banks.  I put one in my desk and have begun placing quarters and dimes into the pig...in one dollar increments.  I have a post-it note on the outside of the pig that states how much money I have saved in quarters and in dimes.  This is my "hobby" money.  When I finally hit a total of $200 I will allow myself to spend up to $100 on my favorite hobbies.  The $100 that remains in the bank will be a hidden "emergency fund" to help us out in case of a crisis.  My piggy bank is mostly funded by change from purchases, "found money" (you would be amazed how many coins you can find on the ground), money found lying on the floor in our house, or in the sofa cushions, or the washer or dryer, or coat pockets, or the floor of the car, etc.  
In fact, last evening I hit the mother-load of coins...found in the bottom of a purse that I have not used in over a year!  I was cleaning out one small shelf in my closet, looking for donations for Purple Heart, when I lifted a purse and it felt "heavy".  I stuck my hand inside to find the entire bottom filled with coins.  I quickly dumped them out, sorted and counted them to find $11 in quarters, $2 in dimes, a handful of nickels and two handfuls of pennies!  SCORE!  So with my little discovery I was able to further fund my hobby piggy, plus two other change stashes.  It was a GREAT night!


For my birthday last year my best friend sent me a beautiful imported pottery  money jar.  The accompanying little card says one is supposed to fill the money jar and then break it open, spend the money on something fun, and it will bring good luck.  What?  Break this beautiful jar??!!!  The online explanation from the company says that it is possible to just break the very top off to get to the money (if not, I am sure they would be MORE than happy to sell me a replacement, lol).  So I have begun filling the jar with all of my nickels.  At this point in time I have absolutely NO idea what I will spend the money on, nor do I know for sure that I will actually break open this beautiful piece of hand crafted pottery!  It may end up being a several hundred dollar stash of coins that remains intact unless we suffer a major catastrophe.


Years ago my hubby brought a 5 gallon water bottle home from work.  For years this was our major coin depository.  We have, in the past, used the money to pay an unexpected bill...but our main goal lately has been to fund our vacations every year.  Every night my hubby empties his pockets into the jar, while I feed it my pennies.  After all, I have several other coin stashes to fund, lol!! 


Years ago we established formal Christmas Funds with our local bank.  As we have now switched to a credit union for all of our banking, I don't have easy access to a Christmas Fund.  So this year I have decided to follow along with some online friends and have established a Christmas Fund right here in my sewing room.  I have a manilla envelope into which I place my weekly contribution.  I then log the date, amount and running total on the front of the envelope.  So far I have not yet missed a payment in 2013.  Okay, okay...so I know it is only the middle of February, but I have fallen off the horse well before this date in the past, lol.  A few years back I managed to fund my Christmas Club every single week up until Thanksgiving.  Having that stash of cash REALLY helped lower the after Christmas bills and I am planning on January 2014 being even easier than before.   


My friends on the Frugal Living Forum at About.com have started a 52 week challenge.  The premise is to deposit into the fund the amount of cash corresponding to the week of the year.  The first week of 2013 you would deposit $1.  The second week of 2013 you would deposit $2, and so on and so on.  As this Friday is the 7th of the year, I should have a total of $28 in my envelope.  However, I recycled some aluminum cans and used part of the proceeds to fund through next Friday.  WooHoo...I'm ahead of the game!!!  Unfortunately, since my son has moved out I will no longer be able to handle taking the recycling to a local company for cash and will have to go back to putting my cans out with the rest of the recycling picked up by our trash hauler.  At the end of the year I will deposit my 52 week money into an official "Emergency Fund".  

I have a manilla envelope marked "Bills".  Every Saturday I take whatever cash is left in my wallet (minus $1 bills, as I will explain later) and place the money in the envelope.  Some weeks it may only be $5, other weeks I can put up to $20 in the envelope.  It all depends on how much money I need to spend during the week.  Then hubby and I will tap MAC and refill both of our wallets, based on the amount of money we assume we will need for the week.  When this envelope reaches $200, I will put $100 additional payment on the bill with the highest interest rate.  The $100 that remains in the envelope will be another source of hidden "emergency funds".  

Every Saturday those $1 bills in my wallet that I mentioned above are placed into an envelope marked "Retirement".  Like my "Bills" envelope, when I reach $200, I will take $100 and deposit it into my retirement account.  The remaining $100 will be yet a third source of hidden "emergency funds".


Throughout the year we receive reimbursements from our FSA account for medical expenses we pay out of pocket.  I am hoping to be able to add that money to our Bill Fund, our Christmas Fund, our Retirement Fund, or our Emergency Fund...depending on which account needs the most "help" in staying current.  We may also decide to place the money into a totally new fund...an Improvements Fund.  As our house is now 23 years old we are reaching the "replacement" time for many of the larger items such as the roof, the siding, the carpet, etc.  Almost two years ago we purchased a whole new heating and air conditioning system.  It will be paid off in just a few short months.  Hopefully this new HVAC system will last as long as we are still living in the house.  I guess the decision as to where to put any "found money" or "reimbursement money" will be made based upon our needs at the time. 

So, now you can see my convoluted method of saving.  But, like I have frequently told my dear hubby...what does it matter HOW I am saving, as long as I AM saving?

On that point we agree!