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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Ms. Bunny has been moved to a psychiatric facility to stay for awhile. She has always known she has cickle cell and that it caused her pain along with many hospital stays. She is now realizing the implications of what her life will be as she grows up. She's having a hard time mentally absorbing these things at only 6 years old. The doctors there are better equipped to help her understand it all.

SIL is still waiting to have her arm set. She has to be off her blood thinner for a few days before they can do surgery. It's broke in 4 places. She will have screws put in to hold the bones together.

My daughter has a rental car and an attorney to help her deal with the insurance companies. Neither her's nor his insurance were offering her the full value of her car which meant she couldn't get a replacement car without making payments. She doesn't want anything more than enough money to own a car without any payments due on it. This is only fair since her car was completely paid for.

My own update? Hmmm..... I tried to learn to use photoshop so I could start doing some portrait quilts. The version I bought didn't come with a book of instructions. It requires logging onto the website to read and learn. My brain wasn't willing to absorb the information so I'll leave that for later. I worked on my guild challenge quilt a bit then decided that's not what I wanted to do. I couldn't concentrate.

When my quilting brain is on overload and desparately needs a rest; I change to doing plenty of physical activities. I won't bore you with before and after pictures but I scrubbed and cleaned the bathroom. Including all the woodwork, tile, and walls. The physical activity left my body suffering from aches in muscles I forgot I had. That's a good thing though. My creative mind is starting to come alive again. Toward the end of the day my mind was coming up with ideas for the quilts that are waiting.

Today I'll start scrubbing the kitchen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Me! Me! Pick me! Days

One of the problems for me the past few years is that I've had so many missed opportunities because of quilting work committments. Missed opportunities cannot be gotten back and always make me feel so sad.

Now that I've made the choice to "say yes to less" I want to make myself a "sudden opportunity" list. Most people call this a "to do" list. Anytime I find a few extra minutes of time I'll choose one of the items of sudden opportunities. That's the reason for the Me! Me! Pick me! title. I can almost hear each of my projects begging to be the one I choose for that time.

Hopefully, as the year goes on, you'll see a far different approach to my organizing and using the "sudden opportunities" that come my way. I tried to describe them in this post but I'm finding it too difficult. It's better that I just show you along the way.

You can read about my "say yes to less" on the other blog.
Say yes to less! (Less is more)

I've come up with my personal and professional goal theme for 2009. I'm saying "yes to less" which means;

1. less guilt
2. less stress
3. less spending
4. less waste
5. less accumulation
6. less clutter
7. less work
8. less perfectionism
9..... ok, there are many others but these will give you the idea.

As I was thinking about my goals for this coming year it once again occurred to me that I can't be all things to all people. Somewhere in my childhood I got it into my head that I must be perfect in order to be loved, successful, and important. I keep forgetting the permission I give myself over time and I take on project after project, committment after committment.

For 2009 I'm once again giving myself the permission to "get over being perfect" and allow myself..... to be myself.... for myself. I'm hoping that this time I won't forget.

Maybe I'm still suffering from rush season burn out? Maybe I'm getting older? Maybe I'm just ready to retire and have fun? Oh goodness, who knows why, it doesn't matter. The point is that I'm ready to do much less. Yes to less is also a way to have more later. For example "yes to less spending" on household stuff gives me "more money" for fun later. "Yes to less work" gives me "more time" for friends and family.

In order to "say yes to less work" and "yes to less stress" some of my projects will have to go. These projects are not just quilt ufos or the customer quilts but other committments as well. I may be committing professional and social suicide by saying no much more often. It's a chance I will have to take. People will either like me or they won't.... whether I say yes or no.

I give myself permission to be "less perfect".

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yesterday was another one of those days.

A day when you just want to rewind and start it all over. You know what I mean? I type talked yesterday that I was supposed to be going shopping for things to stash away for next xmas. Not long after my post I received a phone call that my SIL had fallen the night before and broken her wrist in 4 places. She was in the hospital to have surgery to have it set.

I also forgot to mention in my last post that my daughter was on her way to visit Ms Bunny at the hospital when she was hit by a drunk driver Christmas night. She was t-boned on the driver's side. She's going to be fine but the car isn't. It's a total loss. The baby was at home with daddy.

So instead of shopping as I had planned; yesterday was a day of waiting on phone calls, cleaning house, planning, making notes, and evaluating goals for 2009. Today will be more of the same.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas is still waiting.

First thing Christmas morning my six year old grandaughter, Ms. Bunny as I call her, asked to be taken back to the hospital. She didn't want to open gifts to see what Santa brought. She just wanted to go to the hospital to stop the pain. She has sickle cell. She was in the hospital earlier this week but was sent home to have Christmas. It's very sad to see a child so sick. Her gifts will wait until she is back home again.

I gotta tell you a story about one of her gifts. On the day after last Christmas I went shopping to find bargains. Lots of great bargains are found the day after Christmas. That's the time when I start getting things together for birthdays through the year and the following year's Christmas presents.


I found gifts for several of the grands. I happened to find a couple of Bratz dolls at 75% off for Ms. Bunny. I bought them hoping Ms. Bunny would like that kind of doll. She had never indicated to me that she did so it was a gamble. When Ms. Bunny came to see me a few days ago, after her last hospital stay, I asked her what she wanted Santa to bring her. To my pleasant surprize she said she wanted a Bratz doll. Well there will be two Bratz dolls waiting for her.

While the parents took Ms. Bunny to the hospital, I stayed with Ladybug and cooked dinner. She loved her gifts too. Her's were not wrapped.

I helped unpack some things for my daughter while she was gone. She's still unpacking from her recent move to a bigger apartment. I kept the boxes to use in some of my cardboard crafts when I get around to doing more of them.

Today is another big shopping day. Time to find bargains for birthdays and next year's Christmas again. Actually, today is the day I take my SIL for her grocery shopping so it works out for me too. We plan to go to several different stores. It's probably going to be a very long, busy day. But wow.... who doesn't like finding bargains?


I do hope that all my blog readers had a very pleasant Christmas and that you got all your heart desired!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I finished the baby quilt so I took it with me to visit the nursing home. Mom was delighted to see it finished. Today was the family Christmas get together. Lots of people making the patients very happy. I was allowed to take pictures but I'm not allowed to show them publicly. So here is Mom with her Santa's helper hat on.

Here's the finished quilt ready to be bound then wrapped.

Primitive applique gingerbread man and flowers. Can you see the message written? It says for Ellisa Jewell. In another block I wrote from her Na Na and great Na Na.

I did simple quilting so I could finish it quickly.

It's hard to see but I did meander in the background of the blocks and a leafy design on the sashing. Both very quick to do.

Here's a view from the back.

I don't think I told you that in my family it's a tradition for all the women still living that are a direct line (to the child born) would put some work into one quilt for the child. Mother, grandmother, great grandmother etc. My daughter still has to put her part into the quilt. She's going to write a poem on the back with pigma pen and then draw some flowers or something around it. My daughter won't sew anything no matter how hard I try to get her to. She hates it.

I'm glad the tradition is to continue. Now I have to figure out what I can get Mom to do for a quilt for my newest great-grand. She can't sew anymore but maybe she can draw on some fabric. Hmmm..... I wonder where I stashed my fabric crayons? I'm sure I have some here somewhere.

You got scrap fleece?

Just look what I did with the small scraps I found in my stash. Not enough to make a quilt but far too good to throw away. So I made reusable swifer covers. When they get dirty I can just drop them in the washer with the washable mops and rugs. I would have made a reuable fleece duster but I couldn't find the handle. I think my daughter took it to clean out her old apartment and hasn't brought it back.

I will resist! I will resist!

I will resist the temptation to start quilting for customers another three days!

I received these by UPS and it was a big temptation to open the boxes to get started on the 2009 quilting. I resisted though so I can relax until Christmas is over. If I open the boxes and put one on the machine I will be tempted to stay home instead of visiting with family. Actually, my first priority will be to complete the quilts my customers were kind enough to let me move to after Christmas. The boxes won't be opened until those are done.

Today I'm working on completing a quilt for my youngest grandaughter. My mother made the blocks many years ago when she was in the first nursing home. She did the best she could to do applique. The blocks were intended for my daughter's first child when ever that might be. When my daughter became pregnant I pulled out the blocks and finished the top. A crib size. My grandaughter will be a year old in February so I think it best if I get this one finally finished.

Its amazing how many machine quilters will set aside their own projects in favor of making our customers happy. I'm probably more guilty of this than most. Which is why I plan to change things this year. I believe I planned to change it last year, and the year before that, and the year before. This year I have much more determination but we shall see how the new year turns out.

This evening I will visit my mother at the nursing home. I hope to show her the finished quilt so I best get in the studio and do the quilting.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I know I'm late posting today. I've been busy putting an organizer box tutorial together and onto the other blog. This is the next box I created. If you care to take a look at the instructions the link is on my side bar.

If everything goes according to my 2009 goals there will be many other cardboard crafts showing up in my tutorial blog too. Actually, I've been thinking maybe I could sell some of the cardboard craft patterns on Etsy shop to earn a little money. I'm still undecided on that though.

It sure does feel good to not have any stress hanging over me for a few days! It's like a big weight being lifted off my shoulders all of a sudden. I'm enjoying every minute of my free time. Still, there is sooo much I want to do and sooo little time to do it before my vacation is over.

Tomorrow I hope to get some house cleaning done and maybe work on my guild challenge quilt. Or maybe work on a quilt for my newest great-grand.

Rotating can organizer

Please read through all the instructions before creating your boxes. It's important you understand the steps you will be taking so you don't get confused along the way. These organizer boxes can be made to fit any size cabinet or can. For heavier cans please use heavier strength cardboard or glue layers together before cutting pieces.

1. To get the height of the box measure across the can. In this case it is just over 2 inches. I added a little and make it 2 1/2 inches for easier math. Multiply this measurement times 2 and add 2 inches more. So it would be 2.5 x 2 = 5 + 2 = 7 inches in height.

2. To get the width of the box measure the height of the can. In this case it's just over 3 1/4 inches so I round it up to 3 1/2 inches to be sure there is room for the cans to roll smoothly. This might sound confusing but you have to remember the cans will be laying on their side so the height of the can actually becomes the width of the box. Like this.

3. To get the length of the box measure the distance of where you plan to store it. The depth of the cabinet I plan to use this organizer is 12 inches deep.  I want some wiggle room in front so I use a measurement of 10 inches.

Now we know we are making a box 10" deep x 7" high x 3 1/2" wide.

4. Corrugated boxes I have for this project have a tougher outside than an inside. The strength is on the outside so plan on keeping these as the outside of my new rotating organizer boxes. When you are cutting apart your cardboard be sure to gently remove any tape. The tape will interfere with glueing and painting later.

5. Cut 2 pieces 10" x 7" for the two sides. (10" depth x 7" height)

6. Now take one of the sides (with the inside up) and mark a tic mark 1" above the lower left corner.

7. Now mark a straight line from the tic mark to the opposite very bottom corner. It should be at an angle.

8. Now go to the upper corner (diagonal from the first corner) and mark a tic mark 2 1/2" down from the corner like this.

9. Now go to the opposite upper corner and make a dot that's 3 1/2" down and 2 1/2" in from the side.

10. Now draw a line from the dot to the tic mark. Like this. The marked lines are going in opposite directions. One angles up and one angles down. Imagine the rolling of the can. It should drop down and drop down again.

11. Ok, all done with that side. Now you need to do one in mirror image on the other side piece.

12. Set one of the side pieces aside for a little bit. It's time to make the shelves.

13. The shelf is the length of the box minus the height of the can. In other words 10" (length) minus 2 1/2" (height) = 7 1/2". The width of the shelf is 3 1/2" (the width of the can laying on it's side). So we need a shelf piece that is 3 1/2" X 7 1/2". WAIT! Don't cut yet. Before you cut the pieces you need to add the glueing strips to the sides. The glueing strips are 1" each. This means the shelf pieces need to be cut 5 1/2" X 7 1/2" . The picture shows you that it comes out to 7 1/2" from the side when you measure the mark. You'll see what I mean about the glueing strips in a moment.

14. For the bottom you need a piece 10" (length of the box) X 3 1/2" (width of the can on its side) plus the glueing strips of 1" each side.

15. Ok so now we cut. Cut the piece as we figured at 7 1/2 X 5 1/2". Then gently score a line 1" from each side. Be sure you don't cut all the way through. You just want to break the surface paper.

16. Now we want to make the piece for the bottom shelf. Which is also the bottom of the box. The measurement is 10" for the length of the box X 3 1/2" the width of the box plus 2". In other words 10" X 5 1/2". Score along the 1" line on both sides.

17. Gently remove the pieces that have been scored on both shelves. The wavy inner core should come off with it leaving only the outer paper. They should look like this.

18. It's time to put glue along the glueing flap and align it with the bottom line you marked earlier on the side piece. It's hard to see the line but it's really there.

19. You want your glueing strips to be up toward what will become the top of the box. This is the way that the cardboard has the greatest strength for holding heavy cans. You also want the cut edges of the shelf to be inside the glueing strips facing toward the top. This will give it more strength too. Like this.

20. Ok, go back to the top shelf you cut before. Peel off the scored glueing strips and glue it to the upper line on your side piece. When you have glued the two shelves to one side it should look like this. I found that using just enough white school glue to make it tacky works best. If you put too much glue on the side strips it takes forever to dry.

21. Ok now glue the shelves to the other side piece. You want to get these shelves done first because it's easier to get the pieces in the right place along the drawn lines. When that's done it should look like this but it's still a little wobbly at this point.

22. Set it aside for now and cut the piece for the back of your box. The size is 7" (height of the box) X 3 1/2" plus the glueing strips. So that would be 7" X 5 1/2". Score the 1" sides and peel off.

23. When you glue on the back..... you want to be sure it's glued to the correct back. (wink) If you glue it on the wrong back you won't be able to roll your cans down to the front as they should. The correct place to put the back piece is where you have a gap between the upper shelf and the "back" of the box. The gap is where the can drops from the upper shelf to the lower shelf bottom.

24. Wrap the glueing strips around the outside of the box to give it the most strength. Also use the glueing strips to pull your box into a better shape. Like this.

25. If you've glued the back on correctly it should look like this. See the gap back there? That's where the cans will drop.

26. Looks great, you've got a lot of it done. You've got the sides, shelf, bottom, and back done. Let's make a top for it now. The top is the length of the box (10") minus the can size (2 1/2") or 7 1/2". Like before the width is 3 1/2" plus 2". So it's 7 1/2" X 5 1/2". Score the two 1" sides and peel away.

27. Glue the top on the box making it even with the back.

28. When you turn it around you will see a gap at the front. This is where you load your cans into the organizer.

29. Now you need to add a "catch bar" for the front so your cans don't just roll out onto the floor. I cut this at 5 1/2" by half the can height. It's actually 1 1/2" instead of 1" like it shows in the picture. Peel the glue strips.

30. Glue this piece to the front bottom of the box. Like this.

31. Now you need to make a front for the upper shelf. Again it is 5 1/2" by the height of the can which is 2 1/2". Score on the 1" lines and peel.

32. Glue it to the upper front of the box at the place where the cans drop in.

33. The box is almost done. Now you need to cut out some side gaps to make it easier to remove a can when you want to use it for cooking. Mark a line even with the catch front going back to just a little less than 1/2 of the can size. My can size is 2 1/2" so I made this just about 2 inches. Then draw a diagonal line to the upper front. Use your utility knife and cut this piece out. Repeat for the other side. I waited until this point for cutting out the gaps to make glueing the box easier to handle.

34. The catch front piece has a weakness along where the glue strips meet the sides. To give this area more strength I glued small pieces of cardboard paper on the inside. Like this.

35. So now then.... the can organizer is finshed. The cans go into the top here. They roll to the back and drop through the gap.

36. Then roll to the bottom front like this. Easy in.... easy out!

37. It fits nicely inside the cabinet.

I could paint this right now to make it prettier but I'm going to wait and do all the painting at the same time. It will be easier to clean up one painting mess than several different ones. I'll make some glueing strips and cover the raw edges too. I don't want the little wavy cardboard showing. I'll also do some kind of labeling too.
As I was making this box and writing this tutorial it occured to me that I need a way to do an inventory of what I have in each box before going to the grocery. Here's what I've come up with. Remove the first can.... mark it with an X.... insert it at the top.... count it as one.... remove the next can (don't mark it) and insert at the top.... two.... the next can.... three.... and so forth until the can with the X shows up at the bottom again.

Also, somewhere on the box.... maybe on the label.... I will write the number of cans the box holds. That way if it holds 10 cans and I only count 6; I know I need 4 more when I go to the grocery.
I must also point out that your cabinets will not store as many cans this way as they would if you stacked them up. The main purpose of these organizer boxes is to make "rotating" easier. It's always difficult to put the newest bought can goods behind the older ones. If you're like me, some things don't get rotated enough and I wind up throwing it away because it has expired. I'd rather store fewer cans than waste anymore food because it expired.

I hope you find the tutorial helpful and that your kitchen cabinets get organized! Please let me know if you use this to make your own. I really do love knowing what I put on this bog is helping someone. I'd love to see pictures of your cabinets after you get some boxes made!! If someone could teach me how to put other people's pictures in my blog I'd love to see them here too.