Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! I hope that your family is enjoying the holiday and remembering the meaning of this day. I bought a new flag to hang outside our home to mark the occasion (and replace our previous flag which bit the dust).

I hope that while you and yours are celebrating, you take a moment to remember the valor and dedication of our men and women in the Armed Forces, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live free.

Long may our flag wave, representing freedom to all the world!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well Lookie Here!

Isn't this little fellow adorable? He is a work friend of mine's first grandson, laying on the quilt I made him. The back side is facing up.
Remember this quilt? I think he likes it!

Wow! I want one!

This is a cool giveaway. Click here to check it out! The ever amazing AccuQuilt cutting tool is now on Facebook and they have been giving away the AccuQuilt Go! to some folks who befriended them on Facebook. Well, Joanne has won one and she is giving away a pre-cut tumbler quilt kit in red, white, and black.

Go check it out and enter!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Frugal Mindset

I've always been a little bit, well, cheap. I've more or less had to be. Now, having resigned, I am looking at bringing in no income, at least temporarily. So, I have been rethinking lots of things that we can do to help bring our expenses into line with our downsize budget. Of course, even if I hadn't resigned, I wouldn't have gotten paid in the summer, so it was time to pare back a bit regardless.

1. Eat at home. We have gotten way too comfortable with the convenience of eating out, usually fast foods that are terrible for our health. Cooking at home is somewhat complicated with my doctor having put me on a special diet that no one else in the family is following. Hmmm. That will take some thought.

2. Haircuts at home. Keep cutting the boys' hair at home. Only rarely do I get a professional cut to help with thinning out hair. Maybe I will invest in some thinning shears. At $10 per haircut for the boys, it can add up quickly as we don't let the boys have long hair.

3. Repurpose. We are working on a few projects that involve this principle. When DS13 outgrew his captain's bed, hubby kept the pieces. We needed a chest of drawers for him because we had used the one under the bed. Since none materialized, he took the dresser part from the old bed, added sides and a top out of MDF and stained it all to match. As soon as it is dry, it will replace the repurposed coffee table that holds his video game system, etc. Now, it will be both a video system and a dresser for very little cost! I need a desk now that I will be at home. Hubby is making me one with a piece of the left over MDF that will anchor between two bookshelves. All it will cost is the angle irons to attach it and maybe some paint to decorate it.

4. Frugal gifts. I have always loved to make things, crafts, crochet, knit, quilt, even scrapbook using computer software. Now, I have time to make more things, but less money to invest in materials. I am collecting Vintage Sheets from thrift stores for quilting and other things, as it is very cheap yardage. Old jeans can be made into nifty, strong shopping bags and other things. Lots of projects can be made from my stash of fabrics and scraps. If I don't have something suitable, I'd bet my mom does and she is trying to reduce her stash and save money also.

5. Basic sewing. I am no seamstress, but as a quilter, I know my way around my cheap-o sewing machine! Simple repairs, alterations, simple valences, bed coverings, pillows, etc. are all within my grasp. I have some capri pants that I will dart in to make sure they continue to fit for the summer. I can cut off the boys' too short pants into durable shorts. Any purchased materials will need to be on super special sale or with a mega-coupon (or thrift store finds).

6. Freecycle. I really could use a new sewing machine. I really can't afford to buy one, but I would consider using one that I found on Freecycle.

7. Thrift Stores, Yard Sales, Estate Sales. I generally look for vintage linens for sewing, but I am not above looking for other inexpensive, usable items if it is something we REALLY need.

8. Minimize Car Usage. Combine trips, etc. Just plain stay home more.

9. Canning. I love to can fruits and veggies. When I get windfall foods this year (like pears off of my parent's trees) I can can them for later and even give them as gifts. I used to make baskets of home canned foods and jams. They always went over quite well.

10. Free or Reduced Admission Days. Many local attractions have one day during the week that has a reduced admission rate or is free. I will take my kids on those days. That way, we can have a "stay-cation" and the kids won't feel deprived--and neither will I! This includes our annual parking pass for all Georgia State Parks. Since there are so many parks in this state, we more than get our money's worth on this one.

Proud Mama

This has been a really tough year for me, both personally and professionally. I found myself making choices that I wasn't prepared to make, sometimes painful ones.

Monday, I resigned my job as high school teacher in order to make sure that my kid's needs are being better met (particularly DS13, my aspie). I am trusting that I am keeping my steps in accordance with God's plan, but it's hard to step out into the unknown.

I've been approached about a couple of other schools, but I don't think they can meet our needs, either. Besides, I don't know that I am ready to merge in with another high school as a staff member anyway.

Tonight, we went to our (former) school's Awards Program and got to see lots of kids and parents. It was good.

It was even better when DS12 won the Christian character award, highest GPA in his class, the Spanish award, "A" Honor Roll, and 1 silver and 6 gold awards for his grades!

DS13 won awards, too, but I don't know what they are yet because he didn't attend the program (on the advice of his doctor--we had some issues toward the end of the year).

I am so very proud of my boys as we step out in faith to see what the next chapter of our lives will be!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Latest vintage sheet foray!

On my latest trip into the new Goodwill store, I scored even more beautiful vintage sheets! Where other stores in my area rarely get new linens, this store is turning over new items frequently.
Bright yellow with orange flowers. Pow!
The photos don't do this one any justice at all.
Stripes! Stripes! Stripes!
in beige, periwinkle, orange, and mint green. It's MOD!

Lovely lavender and purple violets with a blue watercolor stripe.

The sweetest windowpane pattern with little rose colored flowers.
Gotta love it!
Got all of this (one twin, two doubles, and a queen flat sheet) and the original Lon Cheney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame on VHS for my son for only $13.30! I scored!

New Goodwill Store

A brand new Goodwill store has opened in our area. I was able to go by on their opening day for a moment to check out the selection of vintage sheets. It was on May 13th, so I am very delayed in getting this posted.

Overall, I really liked the store. It was clean, roomy, well laid out and pleasant to shop in. It didn't have that funky "thrift store smell" yet. Love that.

This is my haul for the first day. The prices were a tad higher here, but the selection was great!

This looks like little blue hankies stitched together on the diagonal. Love it!
These pop art flowers in yellow, blue, and purple are terribly spring-timey!

This is my favorite. Lttle pink rosettes on a crisp, white background! It brings out all of the girly instincts in me. I don't get those often with two boys and hubby around!
For me the best part is knowing that I have loads of yardage for a small price and it's all so adorable! I will definitely make a summer quilt for our bed and maybe a gift for someone special!

Monday, May 17, 2010

As the school year starts grinding down...

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. I haven't been doing anything much on the quilting front. I did fix (with help from my mom) the baby quilt for the colleague and I am much relieved! The mom to be is going to the hospital tomorrow to be induced. She has had such a hard time with this pregnancy, I know she is glad it is almost over!

Lately, all my attention has gone toward the final school field trips and getting ready for final exams. We start administering them tomorrow! They should all be over by Thursday afternoon. Whew! No matter how well I plan or try to get work done ahead of time, the end of the year is always hectic.

Add to that the drama that comes from working with other people and it's been crazy lately. But, we are almost there!

I am going to do some serious quilting this summer!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Best wishes to all of the Moms out there! There is no doubt that we are all influenced by our own Mom and also by other Moms that we meet along the way.

I will be doing a bit of hand quilting today. I started machine quilting a baby quilt and my machine is doing a horrible job. I got it roughed in with straight lines and I will put the little flowers in the open spaces by hand.

Oh well! At least it is nice, meditative work.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Dilemma

Okay, I was so excited to give my friend at work a quilt for her first grandson who will be born any time. I had washed and dried it and checked it thoroughly before I gave it to them.

Today, my friend brings it back to me and it has large holes in the seams. Could I have missed them when I checked it? Are my seams falling apart?

I did this as a quilt as you go with long seams that run horizontally across it that are both the piecing seams and the quilting. I had a couple of small places that came apart earlier, but was able to close them up by hand and cover them with appliques.

I used a larger than 1/4 inch seam allowance and was extremely careful when I sewed it together. I can't imagine why it is falling apart. The fabric is good quality that I got in a bundle at the Scarlet Thread Quilt Shop, so that shouldn't be it.

The only thing that I can imagine that could have caused this is that my sewing machine might not have been sewing a truly strong seam in the few hours before the timing went out. The seams looked okay, but maybe they are letting go now.

I will try to fix it, but I might just feel better if I just make her a new one on the other machine (the one I fixed).

Yeah, BABY!

After much consternation and internet hunting, I found a few websites about simple sewing machine repairs that I was able to glean some information from.  No one site had all that I needed.  I had to read for quite a while to wrap my non-mechanical mind around.  

But, I was able to fix one of my sewing machines, my Euro-Pro.  It is my spare, but I am so glad to have anything working right now, I can't even see straight.  Plus, since I don't have any spare money to have either machine worked on, it's even better that I learned to do it myself.

I basted an earlier quilt top for quilting and I am going to try and begin quilting it tonight with the techniques that my Aunt shared with me.  It will be divided into large blocks with large flowers quilted into the blocks.  Perfect for a baby girl's quilt, don't you think?

I am so excited!  I am quilter, hear me roar!

Monday, May 3, 2010


Okay, it's not a great photo, but this is what the blue flannel baby quilt looks like after being finished, bound, washed, and dried. It didn't get as crinkly as I generally like, but that is okay, too.

I borrowed Mom's machine to finish the appliqued circles and she put the binding on today for me when I emailed her that the mom to be is in labor (3 weeks early) and I needed to finish it tonight. She was such a doll to do that.

Now, I have another one to finish up for a girl at church and one for a work colleague's first grandbaby. No pressure, right? HA!

It's killing me not to have a working machine right now, but I can use Mom's when I need to. I guess I just didn't realize how much I got accomplished with just a few minutes here or there when I am home. It's going to get tougher when I have to plan for time to go to Mom's and stay and work on projects. Which is, well, right now if I am ever to get finished with these baby quilts!