Friday, May 31, 2013


Whew!  I was beginning to wonder if I was ever going to get two simple potholders completed!  But they are done and my Dear Aunt absolutely loved them.  The apron and potholder set I made for her is so adorable I may just have to make one for myself, eventually. 

Just a few quick pics of the apron in case you forget what it looks like!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


 US Flag In Heart Shape Stock Photo

Good morning!  I hope your Memorial Day weekend was wonderful.  Mine was "different", lol.  I did not accomplish even one thing that I had hoped to accomplish...but instead accomplished a few things that really needed attention.

Woman Asleep Stock Photo 

I have been horribly fatigued and sedated recently thanks to an increase in my medications, and have not had the energy to do any sewing.

My Dear Aunt's potholders have been sitting on my craft table for almost a week now, I think, (I've spent a lot of time napping and have lost track of days!) and I have not even finished the basic "piecing" for the front.  So simple, yet so out of reach right now.

Over the long weekend, however, I did accomplish some very "necessary" things around here.  Yesterday I decided to tackle our "stationery drawer" in the kitchen.  Since I couldn't stand too long I pushed a kitchen chair over in front of the drawer.  It is located near the phone and holds the usual things...pens, pencils, paper, clips, binder clips, rubber bands, phone book, scissors, tape and take out menus.  I can honestly say it was barely shutting there was so much junk just "shoved" inside.  SHAME ON ME!

So I began pulling out one item at a time and either setting it on the kitchen table to keep or tossing it immediately into the trash can next to me.  When I was all done emptying the drawer I tested all of the pens and threw out TONS of old ones with dried up ink.  Where in the world did they all come from???  I really think they multiply in the darkness of the drawer!  Unfortunately I forgot to take photos before the revision.  Let's just say the drawer was ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE! I found things in there dating back to 2009!!!

After I had purged through and drastically reduced the "junk" I then used some disposable containers from take out Chinese food and separated the drawer into sections.  Now everything has a place and the drawer is NEAT!  Not much to accomplish for the average person, but I was thrilled with getting it done...even though it took an entire day in 5 minute chunks of time!

On Saturday I had employed the same tactics and cleaned out the bottom of my vanity.  I eased myself down onto the floor and pulled everything out, one piece at a time.  The things to be kept went on top of the vanity and the things to be trashed were immediately tossed into the can.  After much maneuvering and grunting I pulled myself up and laid down to rest for a while.  Over the course of the day I put everything "good" back into the piece at a time, lol.

On Sunday I tackled Dear Hubby's side of the vanity, which was really easy as there is practically nothing in there!.  I took out the two Sterlite 3 drawer units that we had stopped using years ago and put them in my craft room closet instead.  Once again I forgot the "before" pictures, but would have probably been too embarrassed to post them anyway!   These are things that should have been cleaned out long before now, I just have been in too much pain to tackle the job.  It took a full day broken into 5 minute intervals to clean out each side, but at least it is done!

Yesterday J and his Dear Girlfriend K came over so K could cut my hair and J could set me up on a different computer and hook up my new printer.  My printer died last week and the MacBook computer I have been using is dying a slow and painful death.  It was purchased for J back in 2006 and he handed it off to me when he upgraded.  Unfortunately last week I received a message that Firefox could no longer support its operating system.  That was the final straw.  Time to set me up on something a bit newer!

So J set me up on one of his other old computers (an Imac I think it is called).  It is newer and has a newer operating system.  He also set up the new printer I bought.  I love them both.  Unfortunately, after he left last night I discovered a LOT of stuff that didn't transfer over, so I will begin recreating bookmarks and copying things to a travel drive and then pasting on the new computer.  Oh, and please ignore the paper monster on the desk in front of the computer.  I have a LOT of papers to get through this week! 

Geez, I almost forgot!  On Friday Dear Hubby took me to my favorite thrift store and I came home with a pretty little tin container to hold my scratch pads and six more skeins of yarn to use on my guest room blanket (which is going to take FOR-EV-ER at the rate I am going!!!!!). 

So my long weekend was a good one.  I spent a LOT of time resting, but did manage to accomplish a few necessary things around the house.   Hopefully this week will be a continuation of progress toward our 2013 goals of purging through and organizing the entire house. 

Off to chomp on the next bite of my elephant....after a bit of rest, that is!!!!! 

Friday, May 24, 2013


It's that time again!  Time for a FRUGAL FRIDAY Linky Party!

Legal Gavel And Law Book Stock Photo
Now that my disability hearing is over, my focus can once again return to living a frugal, sustainable, low "carbon footprint" life.  That darn hearing was so much work for me AND my lawyer!  But at this point I've done all I can to substantiate my inability to work and have sought more medical care than the average person would in an attempt to alleviate some of my disabling symptoms.   There is really nothing else left to do...not for me, my lawyer or my many physicians.  The reality is that this is the hand I have been dealt and all I can do is adjust my daily life accordingly to accomplish as much as possible within the confines of my physical condition.  Time to focus on what I CAN do instead of what I can no longer do!

Living a frugal, sustainable life is not something that can be mastered overnight.  You can't flip a switch and suddenly become the queen of frugality.  The transition works best when you incorporate one frugal activity at a time, weaving it into your daily routine over and over until it becomes "automatic", thus freeing your mind to work on the next step on your frugal journey. 

I have been "frugaling" for many years now...and have only attempted a mere fraction of possible frugal activities.  It is a never ending process that changes almost daily based on your time, talents, physical abilities, stage in life and money constraints.  No matter where you stand, there is ALWAYS something you can do to tread more lightly upon this earth. 

Following is a short list of the "frugal activities" I have pursued this week...


*I have been taking a quick shower and judiciously using toiletries. I am still washing with FREE body wash/shower gel.

*I have washed my hair only when necessary, saving on water and the natural gas to heat that water.  I am still using FREE shampoo.

*I have worn slippers or crocs in an attempt to extend the life of my "good" shoes.  I am just SO hard on shoes...although I have no idea why!

*I have washed our laundry in cold water with 1/2 the usual amount of laundry detergent.  

*I cashed in the coins in my "personal spending" piggy bank.  Of the $120 cash, I spent $50 on material for sewing/quilting and chose to put the rest of the money toward overpaying a bill.  This week I have put $2.00 in quarters into my "piggy bank" to begin re-funding my personal spending money. 

*I have unplugged my phone when it beeps to notify me that it is fully charged.

*I have been using hand made handkerchiefs instead of boxed tissues.


*I have purchased the above set of "As Seen On TV" coffee filters for my Keurig.  I was skeptical at first as they don't feel very sturdy, but they work WONDERFULLY (better than the Keurig brand filter) and are allowing me to take advantage of any deals I find on regular ground coffee.  In fact, I have four packages of FREE ground coffee in my cabinet that I can now use!  Making coffee in the Keurig without using prepackaged K-cups will save me a TON of money.

 *I sent away for several freebies and this week have received a free trash bag, a coupon for a free International Delight coffee creamer, and a free soft sided rolling cooler.  I really need to increase the number of freebies I send for on a weekly basis as only a small portion of what I send for is actually received! 

*I scored a "home run" (4 or more benefits) with the purchase of a new all-in-one printer.  The printer I liked (regularly $199.99) was on sale for $149.99 (first benefit).  I placed the order at Office Depot through my MyPoints account and earned 1000 MyPoints points (second benefit).  I am a member of Office Depot's reward program so I received "reward points" for the purchase (third benefit),  Because I spent over $100 at Office Depot I received a free rolling soft sided cooler (fourth benefit).  My previous quarter's purchases at Office Depot gave me a reward cash value of $45.51 which I applied toward the printer (fifth benefit).  Because the printer was over $50 I received free delivery directly to my home (sixth benefit).   I find Office Depot and Kohls to be the best stores with regard to stacking benefits! 

*I purchased over $200 worth of quilting books on sale at JoAnn's for less than $30.00!

*I am crocheting a blanket for the guest room.  I finished 4 rows this week.  Since I sleep in the guest room for 5 out of 7 days per week (so I don't keep Dear Hubby awake all night) I know I am going to need it for warmth this winter. 

Monday, May 20, 2013


TA-DA!!!  All finished and I'm loving everything about it.   I didn't realize until my mom mentioned when my aunt was showing it to her that it can be reversible too! 

A little closer:  

The reverse:

The pattern can be found at:


4-H Center - front Learning Gardens

On the first weekend in April my Mom, Dear Aunt and I went to our local 4H club quilt show.  All three of us were totally enamored with the beautiful quilts and handmade items on display.  My Dear Aunt fell particularly in love with a few bibbed aprons for sale in the consignment section.  She asked if I would be able to make her an apron.  Of course I said, "Of course!!!"

That weekend I began searching online for a free apron pattern that just shouted my Dear Aunt's name.  After a bit of rooting around websites I finally decided on the Kitchen Confections in Moda's Vintage Modern:  Pleated Apron, found at:

If you have not yet discovered the sew4home website, grab a BIG mug of your favorite beverage and plan to spend "hours" just searching through all of the beautiful items.  Drool, Drool, DROOL!

I decided to hold off on buying fabric until I visited my favorite quilt store at our vacation destination.  I don't know if it is the geographic difference, or simply that their buyer has my tastes down to a "T", but I ALWAYS find exactly what I want in her store.  This time was no different.

My Dear Aunt's only request was that it be "bright".  She LOVES color as much as I do now (don't know how I was a "basic beige" person for so long).  I knew I wanted a material that was somehow "food" related, but when I saw this bright, cheery COFFEE themed fabric my search was over.  My Dear Aunt loves coffee almost as much as I do!!!

So, over the course of an entire day yesterday (broken down into about 20 short sewing sessions) I completed the bib and pockets.  Don't you just LOVE the cute little coffee beans and appropriate beverage phrases?  

I decided that after dinner, if my body was cooperating, I would attempt to move forward with the skirt portion of the apron.  However, that section of the pattern began with sewing on the jumbo rick-rack that would become the finished edge of the skirt.  I pulled the last of the red rick-rack off of the card only to discover I was short!  What?  Short?  Somehow I had miscalculated the amount of rick-rack needed to complete the project.  Obviously, any further work would have to wait until I ran to JoAnn's for more rick-rack.  Grrrrr........

I hopped in the car and drove to our nearest JoAnn's.  Naturally I came away with not only the necessary rick-rack, but two more quilting books (value $24.95 and $24.99) cost $2.97 and $3.97, a half yard of heat proof padding to make matching pot holders, and the "Pocket Hose" retractable hose to replace our old "heavy" hose.  I just don't have the strength to schlep that hose the 45 feet to the far edge of the porch to water my hanging baskets (if I even GET hanging baskets this year...the weather is still kinda stinky here!). 

I'm hoping that today I can garner up enough "umph" to finish the apron.  If not, there is always tomorrow (after my court hearing)!  

Oh, and about the 8 books you see above?  The original price of all 8 books would have been $209.80 (total of the suggested manufacturers price printed on the book).  I, however, got all 8 books for.....drumroll, please....$22.76!!!  I would say that was a SCORE!!  Now I just have to keep myself out of that store until the remainder of the books have sold (there were probably a good 20 to 30 books still on the sale shelf when I left the store.  Time to dream and drool over the next 20 quilts in my head!

Friday, May 17, 2013


I don't have anything to share this week as a crafting "finish", so there were no photos to make this post a bit more colorful.  But I am working on multiple projects and am making a bit of headway on all of them...yippee!  My crafting is in addition to reading and resting as needed. 

Instead, this week I have been concentrating on tightening our frugal belts and reducing our carbon footprint here at home. 

So what HAVE I done "frugal" this week?

I have been waking up in the morning with my phone alarm.  We have unplugged most of the old fashioned clock radios around the house...a step toward lowering our electric bill and our carbon footprint!

I take LOTS of medications every day, but I use generics whenever possible in order to lower our exorbitant medical bills.  Our local Shop Rite also provides one of my medications free of charge!  They have a program where they provide several different antibiotics and several different diabetes medications for free.  If you have a Shop Rite nearby it may be worthwhile to see if they have a similar program!

I take quick showers and use free shower gel, free shampoo and a handmade cotton washcloth.  I did buy the cotton yarn to make the washcloth...but, as usual, I bought it on sale. 

I wear my jeans more than once and put on clean polo shirts as needed.  I have had these polo shirts in my closet for several years.  I also have an additional 6 shirts, brand new with tags, in a box under my bed to switch out as my current supply becomes ratty.  They were all bought at ridiculously low prices on sale at Kohl's ($7.99 each)...with an additional 30% discount taken at the register!  

I am wearing my Crocs...saving wear and tear on my socks and my shoes.

I posted a "Wanted" on Freecycle for acrylic yarn for my queen sized guest room blanket.  If I can't score any free yarn I will check out the local thrift shops before I head to JoAnn's. 

I have turned off the lights all over the house in order to reduce our electric bill.

I have clicked through several emails to add points to my freebie accounts.  I have also done "searches" to earn points.  I have cashed in some Swagbucks points for a $5 Amazon gift ecard.

I have pieced, marked, sewn and trimmed six 5" squares for my quest room quilt.

I have crocheted about 2.5 rows on my guest room blanket, made mostly with free or drastically reduced yarn.

I have sent for and/or received a few freebies this week.

I have read 4 "trash" newspapers (Enquirer, Sun, etc. LOL) passed on to me by my mom.

I have read 8 magazines (free subscriptions to Women's Day and Good Housekeeping earned through Recyclebank, I think) and will pass them on to my mom.  

I am reading the first in the Jennifer Chiaverini Elm Creek Quilts series.  I purchased it at a ridiculously low price ($1.99 if I remember correctly...and it is a signed first edition).  I have five more hard bound books stacked in my sewing room to read while I am resting in my rocker.  Three were handed on to me by family members, and two were received as gifts.  I have several large bookcases in the basement FILLED with hard bound books that I got free on Freecycle.  I also have an enormous number of free books on my Nook for reading on days when my tremor is too bad to hold paper books. 

I have sent away for a free $50 gift card from our new electric provider.  We are saving money on the cost of our electric and the gift card "thank you" just makes the deal even sweeter!

I bought two new quilting books, original prices were $26.99 and $28.99.  My cost?...$2.97 each.  When I told Dear Hubby about my incredible bargain he told me I should not have stopped at just the two books if there were more there that I was interested in.  There were, and he is is a bargain that probably will not be repeated for quite some time.  I think I will go back tomorrow and pick up two or three more books that I had been interested in!

I think that is about all I have done this week.  So, how about you?  What frugal things have you done this week?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


After 11 days of vacation in a beautiful condo on the beach, I am FINALLY starting to feel "at home" again.  For the first couple of days it seemed as if I had too much "settling in" to do and my house just didn't seem like "home".  It was "out of sorts" and so was I!

But, now that the unpacking is done, the laundry is caught up, the fridge contains fresh milk and the foot high pile of mail has been opened, sorted and mostly relegated to the circular house is my home once again; a cocoon of warmth, familiarity and safety where I can spend my days resting in peace and tranquility.

Today I will be having a conference with my lawyer, a "review", prior to next Tuesday's Social Security Disability hearing.  I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this ordeal is finally over.  Dealing with health issues is hard enough without having to deal with mountains of red tape, forms, medical records and money worries too! 

Yesterday morning my mom and dad stopped over.  It is wonderful to see them both looking so well.  Hard to believe that less than two months ago Dad underwent major lung surgery, compounded by a case of shingles on the inside of the arm adjacent to his surgery site!  He is a tiny bit short of breath when walking up steps, but overall is doing great now. 

Dad took his car to the shop for an oil change while Mom gave me a hand with some of the mundane "household chores" around here.  She ADORES cleaning and...if she could whistle...I am sure I would have heard the classic Disney tune floating through the house.  She was in heaven "putzing around the house" as she puts it... running the vacuum, dusting, wiping fingerprints off of the woodwork and emptying trash cans. 

Now that the house is back in shape (Thanks, Mom!) I am able to take life a bit easier.  I managed to crochet a tiny bit on the guest room afghan I started on vacation and sewed up a few of the 5" blocks I am using to make my quest room quilt.  I have separated those activities with hours spent resting, rocking and reading the first of Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilt series.  So far I am loving it.

For Mother's Day my dear sweet son, J, gave me a gift card to Barnes and Noble.  With it I was able to order the second book in the Elm Creek series, the new Dan Brown book Inferno, and a book to teach me how to do Tunisian Crochet. 

Well, the lawyer should be calling in 10 minutes, so I had best get my desk organized for note taking during our conference.  It's good to be HOME.........

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Dear Hubby and I arrived at our seaside vacation destination on Wednesday evening, May 1st. 

It was a dreary evening, with occasional "spritzzles" (our word for something a little more than "spitting", but less than "drizzling").  Even the outdoor pool area was totally empty, quite unusual!  But, we were in North Myrtle Beach...and therefore ALL was right with our world, lol.  Before we even bothered going to the condo to check in, we headed to Walmart and did a quick food shop, purchasing cereal, milk and some munchies.  We then checked in and, after putting the food away, had a quick bite to eat at the condo restaurant.  As soon as we got back to the condo we headed for bed.  We were BOTH totally exhausted. 

For this vacation we rented a one bedroom condo as we were only staying for 10 nights.  The bedroom had a wonderful king sized bed.  The blue pillows are our pillows from home.  We learned the hard way that sleeping on "uncomfortable" pillows for anything over a couple of nights could make for some grumpy mornings.  The tubing you see on both night tables are our CPAP machines.  Yes, we take them with us when we travel.  Heck, we even use them for quick naps during the day.  My doctor calls me the "poster child" for CPAP usage, lol.  One of the things I missed in this smaller condo was a bedroom balcony.  The two and three bedroom units have balconies off the living room and master bedroom.  We usually leave the balcony sliding door cracked so that we can fall asleep with the sounds of the ocean.  I missed the ocean sounds!

The condo bathroom was pretty much "the usual".  This condo only had one bathroom, accessible from the hall.  The two and three bedroom condos have master bathrooms and hall bathrooms.  Again, nice when it is more than just two people staying there.

All of the condos have stacked washers and dryers by Bosch.  They are nice in that there is no "vent"to have to worry about clogging and causing fires.  At one point in time I understood how it works (something having to do with condensation), but I have forgotten the particulars.  As long as my clothing is clean and dry I'm happy!  We only bring 3 days worth of clothing in our suitcase and I do laundry several times during our vacations.  Doing laundry with the ocean in the background is relaxing!

Ah, the kitchen...  My biggest complaint about this condo.  There is NO counter space at all.  The cabinets are all filled with the kitchen supplies such as dishes, glasses, pots and pans, small appliances, etc. leaving absolutely NO room to store food, and the small counter top is almost completely occupied by the coffee maker so there is absolutely NO prep room.  When we stay for two weeks I do cook meals in the two bedroom condo to keep our costs down.  I couldn't do that in this condo.  It was difficult just readying our cereal, juice and coffee in the morning!

The  living room area was pretty much as expected.  It had a sofa, chair, two end tables with lamps, a coffee table, a dresser, a TV, VCR/DVD player and a table and four chairs.  The sofa was a sleeper sofa. 

For extra sleeping capacity the room also had a "murphy" pull-down wall bed.   Since we had no intention of using it, we moved the table and chairs to that side of the room so we could watch the news and vacation channel while playing on the computer.  Dear hubby spent every morning going through his work emails and handling emergencies.  Yes, he was on vacation...but dealing with tons of emails and emergencies on vacation is better for him than having it all hit him the first day back to work. 

So, all in all the condo was "nice", but it definitely lacked in the kitchen area!  Our next vacation in November will probably also be in the one bedroom condo since we will only be going for 10 nights again.  In 2014 we will probably spend two weeks in a 2 bedroom condo.  

Up until Monday the weather was really dreary and drizzly and "spritzzley"!  Since the weather wasn't too nice we spent most of the day in the condo.  Dear Hubby spent his time reading or watching TV. 

I spent my time working on crocheting a pair of slippers for him, or crocheting a bobble afghan for our guest room.

After a few so-so days the sun finally showed its face.  What a beautiful day it was!  Lots more people on the beach and a few people by the pool!

I spent lots of relaxing time...water or wine in hand, crocheting on the balcony.  Heaven!  

Dear sweet hubby took me to a local yarn store to pick up some stitch markers and a stitch counter you wear on your finger.  It definitely made things easier!  He also took me to my favorite quilting store, but those purchases will be in a separate post.

Ahhhhh....sunset at the beach!  The best vantage point is on the "city" side of the building and since we are only in a one bedroom we didn't have a room with that view.  But the slight pinkish sky on our side of the building was pretty anyway! 

I can't wait for our next trip back to North Myrtle Beach!!!