Saturday, August 31, 2013


A very dear life-long best friend...has just received some bad news with regard to her health.  If you could please send prayers, or warm wishes...whichever you are most comfortable with...I would be most appreciative.  She is only 51 years old and way too young for these problems, but she has lupus and it plays havoc with the body.  Thank you so much for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers.



Evenin' folks!  It is just about midnight on Friday and I'm still wide awake!  Amazing change, and I'm not all that sure I like it, lol.  For someone who has had to take Provigil daily in the past to combat EDS (Excessive Daytime Sleepiness) from my sleep apnea, being awake at close to the bewtiching hour is unheard of!!!!

A little over a week ago my rheumatologist called me out of the blue.  It seems he had received a second notice from my insurance company that the Cymbalta he has been prescribing for my fibromyalgia is contraindicated due to my liver disease.  Despite my liver specialist giving the okay, my rheumatologist called to find out "just how much relief" the Cymbalta is providing.  Quite honestly, I think the steroids he prescribed for my inflammatory process and the Flexeril muscle relaxant are helping my pain the most.  So I was okay with him taking me off of the Cymbalta.  Less drugs in my body and less money out of my wallet!

However, I am now realizing just how much its sedating effects were countering the insomnia side effects from the steroids.  Since stopping the Cymbalta "The Sandman" has apparently lost my address!  I WAS hoping that once I am weaned off of the steroids I'd go back to my normal sleep pattern.  I kinda doubt it though, as the last two times the doctor stopped the steroids my pain increased dramatically...and then I'm awake for a whole different reason.  Oh well, I do some of my best thinking while counting sheep!  I am forever grateful to the Serta company for giving me such an adorable little representation to hurdle the fences in my mind. 

So, without any further ado, I am going to toddle back to my bed and try (for the third time tonight) to fall asleep.  I do hope my poor little sheep aren't getting too tired!

Nighty-night.... (fingers crossed, lol)...and sleep tight!

Friday, August 30, 2013


WOW...two posts in one day!  The stars must be aligned just right, lol.  Actually I just had to share my thrift store scores.  After I treated myself to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts I headed out to my FAVORITE thrift store to do a little browsing/shopping.  Even though today wasn't the "everything 50% off" sale, I did manage to get some really good deals!

Starting at the top, that little fold out sewing box was only $7.49.  I have wanted a bigger version of this box for AGES, but refused to pay the ridiculous prices asked.  This smaller version was just the ticket to satisfy my need for an accordion box...without the high price.  I intend to paint the box pink, blue, white or turquoise.  Decisions, decisions...

The little crystal cordial glass was a necessary replacement.  Many moons ago I received a beautiful Waterford wine decanter as an engagement gift.  It held a place of honor on my dining room buffet, surrounded by much less expensive Crystal D'Arc (sp?) cordial glasses that just happened to match beautifully.  Unfortunately one of the small glasses was accidentally broken.  Thankfully it wasn't my beautiful decanter!  Today I found a replacement for a mere $1.49.  Score!

Next to the cordial glass is a flower shaped wire holder, I assume for toast?  Whatever it was originally intended for doesn't matter because I think it will make a cute little quilt ruler holder; and at just $2.99 I couldn't let it slip away!

Next were four Fimo polymer clays...tagged at $1.49 each...but all Yellow stickers were 50% today.  WooHoo...$.75 sounds MUCH better!

Next to them is a small rolling pin I will use when playing with polymer.  It was tagged at $.49...but since the tag was yellow the price was only $.25!

Next to the rolling pin is a pack of 6 peel and stick foam sheets.  I am going to use them to make a few project boards a-la Lori Holt of Bee In My Bonnet.  If I stick the foam to some scrap cardboard they should be firm enough to cover with batting.  At $1.50 it is worth the experiment. 

Under the foam sheets is a single vinyl placemat for $.49.  I REALLY need something to protect my work surface when using glue or paint.

The remaining items were all found in the "Thrift" shop of the thrift store, lol.  They were $.25 each:
a set of small buttons to cover, a set of extra large buttons to cover, two bias tapes, four DMC embroidery flosses, and a Hello Kitty lanyard.  I dislike Hello Kitty intensely and will trash the ribbon, but purchased the lanyard solely for the clasp. 

OOPS...I forgot to include in the picture a 45 mm. OLFA rotary cutter for $6.49.   It was hiding in the bottom of the bag, lol. 

So once again the thrift store has proven to be an incredibly inexpensive source for many of the things on my "wish list" or "need list".   What I couldn't find?...9 x 12 manilla envelopes, snack size plastic bags, dark green rick rack, rubber bands, a power strip with a flat plug, skinny elastic hair ties, and ice cube trays.  Maybe next week... 


Yesterday, a very WISE poster reminded me that perfection isn't necessary.  Even on my good days I am only operating at 50% of the old me...and I should be PROUD of whatever I can accomplish given my constraints!  You know what?  She was ABSOLUTELY RIGHT (Thank you for being so wise!).

So today you get to see the front of one of the three mug rugs I am making for Christmas gifts.  It was supposed to be four mug rugs (one for guests), but the fancy stitch I used went crooked (okay, I went crooked while feeding in the mug rug...but we will blame it on the rug (or the weather), not my shaky hands, lol).  I MAY be able to unpick it all on a REALLY good day...but seam rippers can be deadly you know, lol.  Since I only need 3 mug rugs for Christmas's no big deal.  Hopefully in a short while I will be able to finish the back of this one (need more rick-rack) and I will post more pictures.  (By the way...if you look at the bottom right of the rug you can see that my machine skipped some stitches.  Anyone have ANY idea why my machine would do that?  I was using Sulky thread.)

When I got thoroughly disgusted with my sewing yesterday I decided to move on to another craft that may not require such precision.  

About a month or so ago I was cleaning out my craft drawers and came across some polymer clay.  The clay had sat in my drawers, still wrapped, for at least 15 years.  I opened it, expecting a brick-hard rock of clay that had to be trashed.  Surprisingly, I was able to pull off a small chunk and work it until it became pliable.  I played for a bit and made 4 swirly flowers.  Hmmmm.  I think they would make cute scissor fobs!  So, before baking, I added some little jewelry findings.  Once baked all nice and hard I decided they needed a bit of shine.  I went to Amazon and added some Sculpey Glaze to my cart.  I was working toward a $25 Amazon gift card through MyPoints and would place my Amazon order only when it was free, or darn near close, with my card.   I try to get the absolute MOST for my money!  Fast forward a month or so and the Sculpey Glaze arrived at my door.

When my frustration hit yesterday I grabbed my bottle of glaze and a paintbrush.  How much trouble could shaky hands cause when painting on a bit of glaze?  Answer:  None!  Woo-Hoo, happy camper here!  While the glaze dried I pulled out some variegated pink and some white pearl cotton and made the peppermint stripe cording.  A few minutes spent in Word making up the tag and I was almost done!  I printed my instructions on cardstock and went over to my Sizzix to cut it into a cute little tag.  As you can see, my wording is not straight on the tag, but perfection isn't necessary on a tag.  So I popped the little scissor fob into a small plastic bag and added it to my giveaway pile.  I told you I was still adding to it, lol.  It's addictive!

However, I have a question that I am hoping one of you can answer.  When using one of the original Sizzix dies (red plastic bottom, foam looking dies inside) HOW do you center your wording on the die when you can't see through the cardstock?!?!?  Lol.  I know I must have done something wrong, but since this is only the second time I have tried to use my BigShot, I'm at a loss! My BigShot came with an Extended Multipurpose Platform that includes sandwiching instructions for many dies and embossing folders....but not the original!  Any help you skilled scrap-bookers can give would be most appreciated!  Like most things now-a-days, instructions included with the BigShot are minimal.  Gosh I miss the days of INSTRUCTION MANUALS!  Ha-ha....I think I just dated myself!

So that is what is new here in the Cottage.  I still have the other 3 fobs to glaze, but I will wait for another frustrating day when I feel the need to craft and my body won't cooperate!  In the meantime a nice mug of coffee and some breakfast sounds perfect.  I received a coupon for a free coffee from DD for my birthday this month so I think I will treat myself to a trip to DD for breakfast!  

Take care and see you soon back at the Cottage!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Sorry I haven't been around much, but my tremor has been HORRENDOUS and I have gotten very little crafting done.  This morning I was a tiny bit steadier so I decided to do some work on the mug rugs I was making for my aunt and my folks for Christmas.  Well...long story short...they flopped.  Badly.  I'm even ashamed to show them on here!  But, rest assured, I'm NOT completely discouraged.  I refuse to let this DANGED tremor win!  I will just pick out some new fabric and this time hopefully complete them without incident...when my hands are steadier than they are now, lol.  

I'm off to try a different craft that maybe I don't need to be quite so steady to master!

Don't forget...the giveaway will be drawn on 9/8/13, so follow me and then comment ON THE GIVEAWAY POST if you would like a chance to win!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


WOW, time really does fly when you are having fun!  I can't believe that September 7th will be my ONE YEAR blogiversary!!!

I began thinking about my one year anniversary and celebratory giveaway a few weeks ago.  I decided to keep my eyes peeled for ideas during my recent trip to several quilt shops in Lancaster County, PA.  In the very first store I spotted the cute little snail shown above.  It's a tape measure!  I stood there, holding this cute little treasure in my hand, giggling...when my eyes fell upon the "Giggles" charm pack.  I didn't need a V8 smack in the head to show me where destiny was pointing, lol.  So I quickly scooped up my treasures, paid, and left the store...smiling all the way back to the car.  A bit more hunting through my goodies at home led me to a package of matching double fold binding, a package of 6 ADORABLE buttons from Fee's Shabby Shack and a hot pink zipper.  

Oh what a cute little hexie pouch I could make with these supplies!  But wait, this is for the giveaway!  My heart sank a bit as the realization hit...but my followers deserve this package of cuteness even more than I do!   My bundle was already chock full of happiness, but I wanted to add something else that would truly say this giveaway was from ME.  So, I popped in the supplies needed to make a Collapsible Craft Container...2.5" squares in an adorable 30's print, cardstock hexies, hair ties and 3 buttons.  Now the package was complete.  (Not really...I keep adding to it, lol!)

To win this bundle of goodies, simply follow me on Bloglovin (or by email, etc.) and leave a comment on this post stating that you did (or already do, lol).  That's all.  Easy, peasy.  I will draw a winner on Sunday, September 8th.  Please make sure you leave an email address so I can contact you!

Sunday, August 18, 2013


 Woman Smile And Hold Gift Box In Hands Stock Photo

Anniversaries mean presents, right?  So help me celebrate!!

My one year blogiversary is coming up in early September and I want to have a giveaway to celebrate!  I have begun gathering goodies together for one lucky person to win.  Stay tuned....giveaway details will be coming up soon!

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Well, I'm FINALLY starting to work on some Christmas gifts!

Today I began work on a set of holiday mug rugs for my mom, dad and aunt...and one extra for when they have a for each place at their kitchen table.  They no longer decorate the house for the holidays, it is just too much effort for them with all of their health issues...and DH and I are lucky if we get anything decorated at OUR house (we have reduced our decorations to just a table-top tree and 4 stockings), so we really aren't able to help them much.  I thought maybe having just a few mug rugs in a holiday theme would give them a little bit of the "holiday" feeling without having to run down to the basement and pull out boxes of decorations.  They can slide these little pretties into a drawer for storage.  

The golden text fabric is The 12 Days of Christmas, which has special meaning in our family.  Every Christmas Eve when J was little we would sing the song...with each member of the family taking two days.  My aunt even bought a set of 12 ornaments and we would randomly pick two in order to be assigned our days!  The funniest part?  My husband HATES to sing in front of people and especially hates The 12 Days of Christmas.  But, MOST Christmas Eves he would give in and mumble his two days, lol.  I'm sure the back of the mug rugs will ring some bells for the folks and my aunt! 

I have had both the green fabric and golden fabric for a few years now.  They were part of a bundle of fat quarters I purchased on Ebay when I first shut down my business.  The burgundy stripe is a material that I got for free yesterday.  What did they used to say on A-Team?  I just LOVE it when a plan comes together!  I plan to attach the little block with some decorative stitching and then stitch something on the empty side (in a matching burgundy thread).  I think I have a plain Christmas tree outline in my machine embroidery patterns. 

The green fabric included these cute little blocks along the bottom selvage.  The piece I received had 2 of the Season's Greetings block... Happy Holidays...

and one Merry & Bright.  I will give a different one to each and wrap the second Season's Greetings separately for the last place setting at their table.  I only got as far as pinning on the blocks today...dang tremor!  But I will continue work on them the next chance I get. 

In the mail today I received this GORGEOUS necklace from my Best Friend ( waving wildly...) who lives in Florida.  She picks out the BEST birthday presents!  They are always something beautiful, super unique, and usually purchased from talented local crafters.  She knows me so well!!!  I can't wait to call her tonight and thank her!

All in all this has been a great day!  I have managed to chip away a bit at my LONG "ToDo" List and received a beautiful gift from a special friend.  Can't do much better than that!  I'm off to "rock and read" for a while...

Take care, everyone!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Today feels like my birthday!  It isn't.  Not yet, anyway.  My birthday IS this week, but it feels like my gifts arrived a few days early!  As anyone who sews or quilts can tell you....fabric is your lifeblood, and there isn't much else that can give you quite the same happy high!  Especially when it is FREE!

A while back I met a LOVELY woman on Freecycle.  I had put a "WANTED" out for some cotton fabric when I first began sewing again.  This woman contacted me and offered me a TON of free fabric, free batting, etc.  Over the past year she has contacted me a few more times when she has had a lot to get rid of.  

Yesterday I received an email that she once again had tons of FREE fabric and FREE patterns.  I immediately emailed her back and said I would be over today at 10:00.  I arrived to find her two car garage FILLED to overflowing with tons and tons and TONS of fabric, along with 9 or 10 "xerox" boxes FILLED chock full of patterns.  

I made a real quick sweep through and grabbed an armful of fabric and placed it in a box.  Although she told me everything was completely free and she wanted it "GONE", I hesitate to take too much.  I don't want to see like a "grabber", lol.  She asked me, "You make quilts, right?  So you need cotton, right?"  I confirmed that cotton was my favorite material for quilting, lol.  She quilts ALOT, so she knew what I needed, lol.  With that she grabbed the box and started filling it with everything cotton she could get her hands on.  I also picked up a few poly/knit materials that I thought I may want to use to try to make some clothing...although I don't know if I am THAT good with a sewing machine yet, lol.  I even found 3 heavy placemats and placed them into the box. 

She then asked, "Could you use white?"  Yes, definitely.  At which point she picked up two big boxes FULL of white cottons and put them in my car.  Next came a big shopping bag filled with pieces of woolen fabric.  Oh. My. Gosh!!!  

Finally I told her I thought I had enough material.  As much as I would have LOVED to have taken a whole lot more, I have to find a place to STORE it all, lol.  If it was up to her I could have taken all eight 6 foot tables filled to overflowing with material, and the rows of boxed material on the ground underneath the tables!  But, like I said, I sure don't want to appear greedy and I don't have all THAT much room in my house, lol.  She has a full 2200 square feet of sewing studio, so I am sure the amount she piled into my car seemed miniscule, lol.  

She then led me over to 9 or 10 xerox boxes stuffed completely full with patterns.  She asked my size.  Ummmm....fat?  She immediately began pulling out every large pattern she came across.  She had gone through one or two boxes and I finally had to stop her...once again I need to store them, AND I'm just starting with sewing clothing and am not all that sure how proficient I will be.  She told me to call her if I had any problems at all.  Oh, if only I could sew one quarter as well as she does and had one quarter the space she does!  While we "caught up" on what was new in our lives, I had told her that J was now engaged... so she immediately threw in every wedding related pattern she could find.  From what I hear K's mom sews so maybe it would be something she would want?  I told her I didn't know if I needed all of the material and patterns she loaded into my car.  Would she mind terribly if I Freecycled what I couldn't use?  Of course she didn't mind!

When I got home I carried the patterns up to my Expanded Sewing Room and put them away.  Then I carried the first box of fabric into the house.  Barely.  I was completely bent over with the box balanced up against my lower legs.  I dropped it the split second I reached the kitchen floor.  I don't think I could have made it six inches further!  I carried a few handfuls of fabric at a time up the stairs as there was NO way I would be able to heft the box to the second floor!  The other two boxes and bag of woolens...well, they are still in my car waiting for Dear Hubby to come home and move them!  This girl knows when things are beyond her abilities!  

So, I now have 2 more boxes and one more bag of material to sort through.  I'm sure it will take me at least the next few days.  As I was leaving her husband told me to feel free to come back later this evening if I find I have more storage space.  She and her husband are amazing.  Everything is offered totally free to anyone who wants it.  Not many people would be that generous!

After I had finished "playing" with the fabric and patterns that had made it upstairs, I cut a pile of embroidery cards with my Sizzix.  These were the skeins I had purchased at the thrift store for $.25 a piece.  I had only wound a few when my tremor got really bad and I was unable to cut the slits to hold the beginning and the end of the thread.

I put the completed embroidery thread cards in one of the drawers of my button cubbies.  I still have a LOT of room for more thread!

Speaking of my cubbies, I have finished the containers for five of my button colors.  The cubbie next to each container holds button cards of like buttons...making searching even easier!

The next Collapsible Craft Container I need to make is orange.  It will have to wait though, as my hands are in no condition to pick up a needle today, lol.

My mail today included 3 crafting catalogs and a Martha Stewart Living magazine (I don't like it much and am VERY glad I got it free!), so I am going to head downstairs and relax and read for a while.

Hope you are all having a wonderful, sunshine-y day!

Friday, August 9, 2013


Counting The Pennies Stock Photo 

These days I am pinching pennies and turning to my favorite thrift store to meet my needs, particularly when it comes to my crafting and sewing room decor. 

Several years ago I purchased a WONDERFUL travel sewing box at our neighborhood garage sale.  I think I paid only $3.00 for the box.  

It is wonderful, with a padded handle, strap, prongs to hold my thread, little containers to hold bobbins, etc.  

 The bottom is large enough to hold a ton of supplies for my EPP, and can also hold the travel stitchery kit I use for my embroidery!  It all fits wonderfully (although the embroidery stitchery kit is not show above) and makes taking my handwork in the car a breeze!

The only problem with it...the handle and strap are attached to the lid of the box...and the only thing holding the box closed is a plastic latch, which doesn't close all the way and will probably break off from frequent use.   I can understand the handle being attached to the lid, but why didn't they attach the strap to the BOTTOM part of the box?  

 I searched through my scrap containers and found some green material that I thought would work well as a strap to go around the sewing box, like the bands you put around suitcases to keep them from opening in airport baggage claim.  I didn't have anything to hook the strap with so I searched the sewing area of my thrift store to find the above latch...for $.25! 

I came home from the thrift store and pulled out my material and quickly sewed up a strap.

I am really happy with the way it turned out.  It should prevent any opening of the box...and the material is a pretty good match to the pattern on the box!  Free material and a $.25 latch.  Definitely a thrifty fix!

While at the thrift store I found a pretty metal basket to hold my packages of rick-rack.  I was using a clear plastic jar (from peanuts), but I really wasn't happy with it.  This is much more "my style" and there is still room for a lot more rick-rack in the basket... a good thing in a sewing room!

I also picked up a skein of green yarn for my queen sized bobble afghan.  It isn't a perfect match to the green I started out with, but since it is separated from the previous row of green by a lot of other colors, I'm hoping the match is "good enough".  Of course I will keep looking in case I find something that matches better, but I couldn't let this one go by as it was close enough to be "passable".  I also picked up 12 skeins of embroidery floss for $.25 each.  They had two full shoeboxes of embroidery floss and I could have spent a LOT of money, but I tried to pick up colors I thought I might use in the future.  I will try to pick up a couple more skeins the next time I am in the shop.  

All in all it was a great thrift shopping day.  Unfortunately the store moved the "craft" items and the new location is HORRIBLE...way too crowded given the number of people who shop for crafting supplies.  I heard several other people complaining as we had to keep scootching up to the shelves to allow a person to fit down the aisle.  If someone had a cart we would have to move completely out of the way so they could get through.  Hopefully if enough people complain they will move the crafts area back to where it was!  Browsing was SO much easier in the prior location!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CHRISTMAS DECISIONS...I'm late, I'm late!!!

About Time Clock Shows Late And Tardiness Stock Photo

Yes, the summer is flying and Christmas is getting here in double time!  It is time to start thinking about gifts to be made for my family.  Actually, I am LATE in making my Christmas decisions and starting my projects! 

Last night lying in bed a quilt started taking shape in my mind's eye.  Yup...I decided...this year MOM is getting a quilt!  It is going to be a quilt that incorporates applique, piecing and machine embroidery.  I ordered the embroidery patterns today, downloaded them some five minutes later and moved them all to a folder on my desktop called "Mom Christmas 2013". 

The designs I found are absolutely AMAZING considering the theme of the quilt and name I have chosen for it.  Sorta like when I wallpapered my living room before I had even bought one piece of furniture.  I explained to DH what I wanted in furniture to match the wallpaper and he said, "Just because you want it, doesn't mean they make it!"  Well, he was right...I was EXTREMELY detailed in my description of the furniture I wanted...and had to agree that my chances of finding it were not that great.  Until the following Friday evening when we ate dinner at a restaurant with an attached "furniture and gift store".  In the window....EXACTLY what I had described to my DH.  Eerie....  This time it was a "saying" that was so specific for my mom that I couldn't possibly imagine it pertaining to another human being!  Again, eerie.... (cue the Twilight Zone theme). 

First I need to search through my stash and find some "scrap" pieces where I can do a test embroidery of each design...all in a single color just to get an idea of size, etc.  Then after I am done the samples, I will need to search through my fabric and see if I have some cream colored material to use as a backing for the nine embroidered designs.  I will probably end up buying new, as I have an idea of what I want and I know it isn't in my stash!  Then I will purchase any poly thread I need for the patterns, substituting thread in my color scheme as opposed to all of the colors in the embroidery color sheet.  I think I am then going to alternate the embroidered blocks with dresden plates on a slightly darker backing.  The "arms" of the dresden (sorry I can't remember the real term) will be the cream material, alternating with novelty fabric.  I think I will use a decorative stitch on my machine to attach the dresden plates.  It is really starting to take shape in my mind!!!  The final piecing, sashing and borders will be decided after the embroidered blocks and appliqued blocks are done and I have the basic layout determined.  I am getting SO excited.  Hopefully tomorrow I can start doing a few samples of the embroidery! 

Sorry this is a "text only" post, but I will post pictures as I move along!  If I could open a window to my brain I would give you a sneak peek.  Heeheehee...I can't WAIT!  I just hope I can get it done in time for Christmas.  There is always the option of a box full of blocks and an IOU if I can't get it done in time!  I am also planning to make my aunt a cover for her Nook.  I've already made my mom a Collapsible Craft Container for her sewing box.