Thursday, March 31, 2016


The french doors have been installed at the entrance to my new sewing room.  They have been primed by the supplier, but still need a coat or two of glossy white.  This weekend I will pick up a quart of paint and spend a few minutes each day working on "finish" painting.  

Many moons ago I purchased this black and white panel.  After retirement, quilting truly did become my therapy!  Following years of working 12 hour days, I needed something to save my sanity and quilting was the solution.  This piece would make a great "welcome" quilt at the entrance to my sewing room!

I decided to use Prismacolor pencils to fill in portions of the fabric.  I didn't want to color in the entire piece as I felt it would be "too" colorful and busy!  Sometimes less is more.  After I had added just the right amount of color I placed the design face down on top of a paper towel covering my ironing board.  I pressed it with dry heat from the back to "heat set" the colors.  Now how to connect the saying strip to the main body of the picture?

Several years back I had designed a fabric at Spoonflower.  It was a series of colored pencils lined up and then photographed as a closeup.  All of those pencils would be wonderfully bright and colorful as a dividing strip...and the fact that the design had been colored with pencils?...PERFECT!  I found the sample and cut 1" strips, which I then sewed end to end making a strip of fabric long enough to fill the gap between the picture and saying below.  I'm lovin' it!

While moving my sewing room I found a piece of prequilted fabric.  I almost included it in my  Freecycle giveaways, but something stopped me.  Now I know why I hesitated!  This super thin batting and backing all in one was just what I needed!  Once I have finished a small amount of quilting, I will decide if the piece will be bound into a mini quilt to hang on my door, or placed into a frame to hang above the entry.  Either way it is the perfect WELCOME to my room.  

I sure do look happy sewing away, don't I?


Friday, March 25, 2016


Something is missing from my desk this morning! Murphy is at it again...I was on my computer last evening and I heard a "pop" like the sound an old fashioned television made when it shut off. My screen went black and then up popped a message that said "Your computer shut down because there was a problem". I tried to restart it. No chance. I texted J and he said to pull the plug immediately. He did NOT like the pop I heard. J and his girlfriend and her son came over and J took it apart. Not just because he is mine, but he is so danged GOOD with computers. Within 5 min he called me out to the kitchen table..."Look here, see how nice and shiny. Now look here." It was definitely brownish. Something about the capacitor going which means if I had not unplugged it I could have had a fire! We discussed spending $169 on a new part...but we don't know if anything else was damaged when it broke...and the computer is already 8 years old. Ancient in tech life. We looked up another iMac and the prices are astronomical. Can't do that. I suggested a laptop, though I really don't like typing on a laptop. J laughed...they cost even more. So I am getting a Mac Mini. It is a teeny box that is actually a computer! J has a monitor I can use, although if he finds one cheap I will get new. My keyboard and mouse will still work. He is buying me an extra usb hard drive so he can run something called Timecapsule which will back up my entire computer every so many hours. He took the hard drive out of my computer in the hopes that he can transfer over to the new. If not, I have lost a lot of photos and the excel sheet that I use to do my folks' veterans paperwork every year. That can be recreated with effort. The photos...gone. For Xmas I asked for a high capacity thumb drive so I could back up all of the machine embroidery patterns I have accumulated. I just backed them all up in the last week or two. Wish I had thought to back up the photos! Sigh...... Once again, in the big scheme of things, losing my computer is totally inconsequential. On the aggravation scale I give it a six. I just went outside and cut a hyacinth and put it in a jelly jar with some water. I am breathing deeply and enjoying the calming scent. Better than Calgon... Toodles...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


I am about a third of the way done the front of this quilt and I am happy, Happy, HAPPY with the way it is turning out!  I can't wait until the flimsy is finished and I can offer a legitimate Ta-Dah!  More to come as the days move along.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I was on my own for dinner tonight and really didn't feel like cooking.  So, I simply ate a bowl of cereal.  Quick, yummy and filling...well for a little while anyway.  By 8:00 my stomach was reminding me that I had provided it with much less sustenance than usual.

I knew there was roast beef deli meat and cheese in the fridge but I didn't want something as heavy as a sandwich that late at night.  I decided to improvise!  I pulled out a slice of beef, topped it with a slice of american cheese positioned down near one end, added a small squirt of horseradish sauce and rolled it up jelly-roll style.  I repeated the process.  When the two slices of beef and cheese were all rolled up, I sliced them in half.  Hmmm...should I eat them plain?  Nope.  They needed some crunch!  I opened the pantry door and pulled out a box of salt free "saltines".  The grocery store had accidentally sent the "salt free" variety, and there was little to no chance they would get eaten prior to going stale.  They were just too bland.  Why would you remove the salt from "Saltines"?  Hopefully my meat and cheese would give them a little zip.  Anyway, I plopped a round of beef and cheese on top of each of four crackers and called it "done". 

One bite of these yummy little snacks convinced me that the remaining three crackers needed to star on my blog.  Oh my, these are SO good!  Quite a successful "refrigerator scrounge", if I must say so myself!


Thursday, March 17, 2016


A very special little guy made me this St. Paddy's Day blessing.  It is hanging proudly on my sewing room storage cabinet. 

Speaking of my sewing room...there are lots of things going on!  I have continued to empty out my old sewing room (how the heck did I get so much stuff IN that tiny room?).  The contractor has almost completed my french doors, I assembled my portable design wall (how did I EVER live without one?!) and my button rug is now back where it belongs!  Now that I can almost see the "finished" room I am really itching to get it all completed.  But, the sewing room isn't the only thing happening at the cottage...

The contractor is almost finished installing and painting new baseboards in the basement.  On Monday the laminate flooring that we picked out for the "office" area in the basement will be installed.  Later that day the contractor will finish up the last of the baseboard work.  Then on Wednesday the carpeting will be installed.   THEN we can go out and buy new furniture to replace everything that was destroyed.  Joy...NOT.  I loved the way our basement looked pre-flood and while some of those things can be purchased still, one or two items are no longer made.  And all of that new furniture is going to mean a ton of work for J and his dear girlfriend!  I REALLY hate to impose on them, but Dear Hubby and I have absolutely no other option!  Both of us have significant health problems making us incapable of doing all of this on our own.  We are SO blessed to have their help!  They have truly been life-savers here at the cottage. 

While loving my son to death is a given, the love I feel for his dear girlfriend is so strong sometimes I have to remind myself that she isn't actually my daughter!  But she will be, as soon as their lives and finances have settled down enough to get married.  Unfortunately, Murphy has been visiting their lives almost as often as ours!  Every time they take two steps forward, it is followed by about six steps back!  But they love one another and the three of them are already a "family" in the truest sense of the word.  And her adorable son?  This "grandma" and "grandpa" are absolutely smitten with the little guy!  I don't know who is more anxious for them to be married, LOL!

All in all, in the big scheme of things, I am truly lucky and truly blessed.  I have a wonderful family, a lovely home (including my awesome new sewing room), food on the table and clothes on my back.  That's all I could ever want or need.  The dark days are over and it is time to focus on the light!  I'm alive and doin' fine!

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Today is my first attempt at sewing in my new sewing room.  Oh. My. is STRANGE!  Something just feels "off" despite everything being in the exact same relative position to my body as it was in my old sewing room.  Part of it could be that it has been months since I touched my sewing machine.  Most problematic, though, is the horrific lighting in here.  We are going to have a bunch of "high hats" put in the ceiling, but that will have to wait until we build up our coffers from the expense of the flood and my sewing storage units.  In the meantime I am stuck with just the lights you see in the photo.  Not good during the day and totally impossible at night.  Oh well.  I will make it work for the time being.  Thank goodness today I started sewing in here by working on my charity quilt.  Not that I want my charity quilt to be less than my best work, but if I messed up on the little guy's quilt...I would be heartbroken!  Maybe by the time I am done sewing today it will all feel more comfortable and familiar?  I sure hope so!  Wish me luck!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


The main storage unit in my sewing room is finally finished...well almost ;).  This past weekend J and his dear girlfriend built the third cabinet.  I spent Sunday night and Monday filling the final section.  I love the look of this clean and "cottage" looking.  I hung one of my favorite handmade decorations on the door, a prize I won on a year or so ago.  The little birdie applique and hand stitchery is just SO cute!

This is the inside of the first and second unit.  It is considered "done", except that I may buy a few more clear shoe boxes to wrangle the items on the center shelf on the right.  Also, the top section on the left could use another shelf so that the slightly larger box "sits" properly.  Since both of these are "cosmetic" items I may not spend the money.  But the perfectionist in me would sure like to see it done, LOL.

This is the right hand unit that was just built this weekend.  I need to ask J to move the shelf all the way up so that I can continue to stack the boxes for easy access.  The shelf brackets are actually screwed in place...and even with a step stool it would be hard for me to manage.  I really don't want to fall off of the step stool and break something when I am just getting my sewing room back together enough to be able to sew! 

The rolling cart next to the cabinet has served many purposes in our home over the years.  It was originally purchased as an extra work surface in our kitchen.  In my old sewing room it was where I stood to use my Sizzix.  However, whenever my Dear Hubby looks at it...all he sees is a kitchen cart, and he thinks it looks "off" in a sewing room.  I told him that at some point I will try to find another home for the stuff in the cart.  But not now.  Eventually I may do away with it, but until I come up with another storage unit it will stay!  I have an idea what storage units I still want to purchase to house all of the items still in my old sewing room closet, but I will work with the current layout to make sure my ideas on paper will work in reality. 

So far I'm lovin it!


Friday, March 4, 2016


J and his girlfriend came over last weekend and built the first two of my three Ikea Pax units.  They will probably build the third one this weekend and it will be placed to the right of the first two.  I absolutely LOVE these units as they provide lots of storage...and most importantly ORGANIZED storage!  Dear Hubby was hoping that these three units would provide all of the storage I need.  Silly hubby.  I am a quilter!  As anyone who IS or KNOWS a quilter can attest...our fabric stashes, tools and patterns multiply like rabbits; and I'm going from a room with a large closet to a room with NO closet!

In my defense, I have been sorting and purging through EVERYTHING before placing it into my new sewing room.  Here's proof...a big bag of mostly free fabric going out to a fellow Freecycler!  I'm handling this sewing room move in teeny tiny bites...the only way I can complete this gargantuan process.  After doing this, I can't imagine how I would EVER move to another house!  More reason to complete the massive purge through that I began last year.  I'm heading for everything except my sewing room.  There I will take purged and organized! 


Thursday, March 3, 2016


A little while ago I made my daily stop to read and maybe even "chat" at the wonderful "Jenny of Elefantz" blog.  Visiting Jenny's blog is like stepping through the door of a dear friend's home.  Her blog is warm and inviting; and Jenny is honest, caring, thoughtful, prayerful and incredibly insightful.  Without even knowing it, today I was deeply in need of her wisdom.

Jenny's blog post was all about "self care"...remembering to restore and replenish ourselves in the midst of our overly hectic lives.  I think, as women, we are almost "programmed" to think of others, especially those we love, before we think of ourselves.  As my doctor reminded me recently, "In an air disaster, you put on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else put on theirs.  Only if you are breathing can you help them."  Oh boy am I lacking in that department! 

I have been trying to take a bit more care of my physical and emotional needs recently, but it seems like my "care" isn't keeping up with my "need".   Jenny was taking time to center and really "feel" her body condition...feeling the aches, pains and exhaustion.  Wow.  Taking time to sit and "feel"?  Most of us have become so used to pushing through those signals or totally trying to "forget" the pain we feel, that we neglect to heed their warnings...advising us to stop, feel, nurture, replenish and repair our bodies.  When you are someone with a chronic illness, particularly chronic pain, you spend all of your energy and thoughts fighting to ignore those live a normal life in an "abnormal" body.  Blocking those messages is necessary to keep going.  It sure isn't easy.  But, even though pushing through is a daily necessity, it doesn't mean we should ignore the signals completely.  There is housekeeping our bodies sickness even moreso than in health.

So, following Jenny's lead, I decided to brew myself a pot of my favorite "pampering" tea (something I haven't done in AGES), fill my aromatherapy diffuser with calming essential oils and slather my dry/cracked hands with antioxidant moisturizing lotion.  I felt so pampered and loved.  I had forgotten how it feels to love ME, too!  Everything I did was about taking care of heart, body, mind and soul.  I wanted, no needed,  to feel it all...the creaminess of the lotion as I massaged it into my hands, the smoothness of the ceramic teacup, the delicious tones of Earl Grey as the tea caressed my throat, the warmth as it traveled from lips to tummy.  How many times have we chugged down our morning or evening "brew" without even tasting it...let alone enjoying it?  So many wasted experiences!  I breathed deeply as the essential oils filled the room.  I had tried a new blend when my lavender ran dry.  I have no idea what particular oils were contained in the blend, but I was immediately transported back to grade school.  I breathed more deeply, straining to inhale more of the familiar scent.  They say scent triggers our strongest memories. 

By the time my cup was empty, my body was relaxed and my mind was traveling back to memories of childhood...good times, good friends, carefree days of laughter and love.  Thank you, Jenny, for pointing me in the right direction.  From the comments on your blog it seems like we all need a bit of a reminder from time to time.  I've even set up a little table in my new sewing room,  stocked with  my teapot for one and favorite teas.  Hopefully, seeing it every day will remind me to slow down every once in a while...and breathe.  


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

OH THE URGE... reach out and touch someone...with my FIST!

Sixteen months ago Dear Hubby and I went to the local Verizon cell phone store and upgraded our phones.  The salesman informed us that if we bought insurance through their store we could get a brand new phone handed to us at the store if at any point one of our phones broke.  We loved the  opportunity to have a BRAND NEW phone to replace a broken phone (Verizon insurance provides refurbished phones).  We were told that if our model was not available, we would be given the next model up.  All of this with a quick trip to the store, instead of "phoneless" days spent waiting for the delivery, convinced us to purchase insurance through the store.  A day or two later, J upgraded his phone and was told the same thing.  He, too, bought his phone insurance through the store on our family plan.

For 16 months we have been paying approximately $30/mo for the phone insurance on all three phones.  Last week J's phone broke.  Now this was not a cheap phone, it was an iPhone 6!  I called the store to ask if J could come in to get a new phone, only to be informed that the replacement with a NEW phone at the store is ONLY if the phone is in stock in the store...and they have NEVER stocked J's phone in the store.  "Then how did you have one to sell him?"  It was an accident that one was in the store.  I now wonder if the one he was given was handed back by a customer!  Nowhere and at no time did they tell us the phone had to be in stock in the store in order to get a brand new one!  They told us J would have to pay $210.94 deductible to the insurance company and they would send out a phone. 

So, with J not having a cell phone and not being able to use the work lines, I called the insurance company...only to be informed that our son would be getting a "like new" phone that was less than 14 days in the hands of a customer and had been returned.  Huh?  Our insurance was for a NEW phone.  Fine.  I put the $210.94 on AmEx and told them to send a phone, but it had better be a brand new phone like we were told we would get!

Yesterday J's phone arrived.  It is not a 14 day old "like new" is REFURBISHED!  It says so right on the outside of the box.  Since J works in the cell phone industry he looked up the information on that particular phone based on the ID numbers and, no, it is not a "less than 14 day old phone that someone returned without really using".  It is a REFURBISHED phone.  

I called the store again and was told that YES, the "new phone" policy was in effect when we bought the insurance policy, but the insurance company changed the policy so now he will have to get refurbished.  They said I would have to take it up with the insurance company.

So, I called the insurance company...who said that the policy had ALWAYS been for a refurbished phone, there is no 14 day "like new"...the phones are refurbished, and the store was lying!  I told the insurance company that I didn't care who was lying...they could point fingers at each other from now until Hell froze over...SOMEBODY was providing us with a BRAND NEW PHONE!  "No, we will not provide you with a new phone".  I ask to speak to someone higher up the food chain and he refused.   I got off the phone and began my outreach to organizations who should be informed of such fraudulent business practices...PA Attorney General, PA Insurance Commissioner, Small Claims Court, etc. etc.

This evening J came home and went to transfer info from his old phone to the refurbished phone.  I told him that he would have to live with the refurbished phone while I wrote letters and made phone calls.  Surprise...the refurbished phone is cracked!  I called the insurance company and they said they would send J another phone in 4 business days.  J hands me a piece of paper from inside the refurbished phone box that states they will overnight a replacement for any defective phone.  I tell the man I want it overnighted.  "We can't do that."  "What do you MEAN you can't do that?  There is a paper INSIDE THE BOX THE REFURBISHED PHONE WAS IN that states you can overnight the phone for the defective replacement."  "No, we can't do that".   I will not inflame your eyes with the tirade that came out of my mouth.  Justin went over to the store and calmly asked them what they were going to do to rectify the situation.  They said, "Nothing".  Justin said the word "Fraud" and they asked him to leave the store.

I have already completed and submitted the paperwork for a complaint about the store to the Attorney General.  I have placed a call to the Supervisor at the local branch of the AG who will be handling my case to ask her to include the additional information about the insurance company.  I have filed a claim with the PA Insurance Commissioner regarding the insurance company.  I have printed out paperwork to file for Small Claims Court to get back my $30.xx per month I paid for insurance.  I called AmEx and put in a dispute on the $210.94.  I wrote a review of the store on Yelp...stating only facts of our experience.

Tomorrow I will be filing a complaint with Verizon since this store cells only Verizon contracts and phones.  I will be writing reviews with Angie's List, Better Business Bureau and any other review site I can find.  I will also be calling lawyers in the area to see if any of them want a contingency case against a big name company with almost all of the proceeds (if the case is won) going to the lawyer.  All we want is the brand new phone we were promised.  Lastly, I think I will contact the consumer protection anchorwoman of our local television station. 

Between the second flood caused by the water mitigation people, and now this, I have lost my faith in humanity.  Nobody stands behind their word anymore and companies are willing to stick it to as many customers as long as their profits grow.    I feel like Ebeneezer Scrooge humming, "I hate people..."!

I am WAY too revved up to sleep so I just turned on my diffuser and poured a glass of wine.  I have been a bad girl and have NOT been drinking the 4 glasses of wine my doctor prescribed per week.  I think this week I will make my quota!  Please, please, PLEASE NOT trust anything you are told by anyone.  Get everything in writing, even if they claim they can't do so.  If they claim they can't do so........RUN!

Oh and the phone store has now installed electronic signature pads at every desk.  Things are "explained" to you by the salesman and then you written contract to hold in your hand and review.  You are given your "receipt" as you are leaving the store.   Tell me THAT isn't ripe for fraud!!!  We upgraded my mom's phone a few weeks ago and were given a deal on a tiny tablet.  The day after we were there we were sent an email from Verizon congratulating us on a new phone line.  Nope, we were not told we were signing up for a new phone line, for a two year period with up to $175 in early cancellation fees.  I returned the tablet.  I will go back to smoke signals before I will EVER purchase another phone from that store.  Driving down the road the only sign you can see is the large red and black Verizon sign.  The interior of the store is Verizon from top to bottom, but it is not OWNED by Verizon.  Don't assume because Verizon is the only name you see that the store IS Verizon.  While I know there is nothing stopping the big companies from fraudulent activities, this smaller company (Cellular Sales) seems to be working some kind of angle.  I was told our insurance was through Tech Protect.  Imagine my surprise when they answered the phone, "Cellular Sales Tech Protect".  Makes me wonder if they are keeping all aspects in-house to rake in the money.  Yup, I hate (some) people...