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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, June 30, 2009

Bernina dealer that's great to work with

Well gee whiz! I finally got the bobbin case for my Bernina and the bobbin race cover decided to break on me. I feel lost without a working household machine.

Thank goodness I do know of a repairman that can fix it for me. My friend Emma gave me his name and phone number. He's been working on machines for many, many years. I called and asked if he could pick up my machine because I don't have a car. Yea!! He can pick it up. He will be here Friday.

He works on residential and commercial machines. He used to be the main repairman for Baer Fabrics before they went out of business. I decided to let him work on two of my other machines too. My Featherweight and another very old singer machine. This old Singer has a wooden travel case covered with paper. I think it's a model from maybe the 40's or 50's?

It's not real pretty but should be very good for a back up machine. I inherited this machine when an aunt passed away a few years ago. No one in the family wanted it but me. I also got another machine of hers but I'll wait on getting it fixed. It's a Singer in a table.

The Smocking Shop people still have not returned my phone calls. If they can't or won't return simple phone calls..... how long would it have taken for me to actually get the part? This is a shame because they claim to be the only authorized Bernina dealer in this area. Not a good reputation for Bernina to have dealers like that. Needless to say I won't be shopping there for anything.

I have to brag about the place that did send me the bobbin case. It's called Loose Threads Online and they are wonderful to deal with. Not in this area but not that far away either. I could have gotten my bobbin case several days ago but I got a phone call from them saying the Bernina parts were due to be on sale in a few days.... would it be alright to wait a few days before mailing it so they could give me the discount? Absolutely! What a wonderful thing to do. I plan to do a little more shopping at their site as soon as my finances get straightened out again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I wish I could show you a finished quilt this morning. The next one is on the machine and it's stabilized. Friday was Sean's father's funeral. It was extremely hard on Sean. His mother refused to go to the funeral so I was there for him. No one understands why she refused to be at the funeral. It's not surprising to me because I've seen her act this way before.

My mother is also giving me grief. Over the weekend I had to ask that they send her to a mental facility hospital to give me a little relief from the stress. My mother simply refuses to understand that she can't live on her own anymore. She's very strong willed (extremely stubborn and opinionated) and hears only what she wants to hear. She has an answer to every situation I tell her that might happen. All of it so easy in her mind. Dangerous in mine.

I tell her that she can't get an apartment because no one will rent to anyone who can't care for them self..... she says she can get someone to live with her and they will take care of her. I tell her that it has to be someone who can give her insulin shots.... she says she can go to the doctor every day to get a shot. I tell her she has to get her own groceries and cook her meals.... she says she can eat at the soup kitchen every day. I tell her she can't walk and must use a wheelchair which she isn't strong enough to push..... she says she can get a scooter chair. I tell her that she can't afford all her medications that are not covered by medicare and medicaid.... she says then I will just stop taking them. I tell her she can't call the 911 (fire department) to change her light bulbs.... she asks me "why can't I?". I tell her because 911 is for emergencies only.... she says but that is an emergency for a senior citizen. I tell her again that she can't get anyone to rent an apartment to her.... she says then I will just stay at a homeless shelter. No matter what reason I give her for not being able to live on her own again.... she has an answer.

I'm tired of the constant stress of trying to make her understand she can't live on her own anymore. I don't want any more 1 am phone calls from the FBI, CIA, sheriff, police, fire department, congressmen, aldermen, adult protective services, social workers..... on and on. I'm tired of people telling me "Do something with your mother!" It's very hard not to answer the phone in the middle of the night when I see FBI or CIA on the id box. It's even more difficult to not answer the door in the middle of the night when I see the police or firemen standing there.

I'm at the point where I want to say.... OPEN THE DOOR AND LET HER GO. Whatever happens... happens. I simply can't deal with it anymore!! Even the trained professionals can't handle her anymore.... so where does that leave me? I'm the one they call and tell me..... "Do something with your mother. Do what? If the trained professionals can't handle her... how can I?

When I get myself calmed down I will be able to get onto the quilting machine for awhile today. It's hard to quilt when my mind is stressed. First I'm going to see if I can find myself a support group that is for people in my situation. Surely there are others who deal with this type situation? Maybe there is an online group or a local group? I'm going to stop writing a post and see what I can find.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Now that's truly frugal!!

About 20 years ago one of the local gas/convenience stores had a big promotional advertisement. If anyone bought one of their refillable coffee cups or soft drink cups they could get free refills for as long as the person owned the cups. All the person had to do was bring in the cup and fill it up.

I bought several of each to give as gifts. I gave one set to a good friend for his birthday. I lost touch with this friend until yesterday. I happened to be down town at the courthouse. I had some other places to stop since I was already there. I started making my way from one place to another. At the end of my stops I walked to a bus stop in front of a gas/convenience store to catch my bus home. I walked inside to cool off a bit before the bus came and who should I see? My friend I hadn't seen in several years. He lives within a block distance of the convenience store.

Guess what he was doing? Yup, you guessed it. He was getting a free refill for a soft drink. I was amazed at him. He told me he hasn't paid for a cup of coffee or a soft drink in all these years. The best gift he ever got. Now that's truly frugal! Geeze, why didn't I keep my own set?

This and that

Well now.... another finished quilt. A sampler quilt. I did line dancing on all the blocks.

I did a feather on the sashing and corner stones. A curly vine on the inside sashing and corner stones.

Here's a view from the back.

This is the house block. It looks better with straight lines than it would look with line dancing.

Here's how the line dancing looks on the other blocks.

Another block.

Next I did this little quilt table topper. I did 1/2 inch cross hatching in the center and holly leaves on the pieced border.

Here's a view from the back.

I've had trouble with my mother again. She's getting more combative and very hard to handle. I went to the courthouse to start the paperwork for her to be transferred to another facility. There aren't any nursing homes in Kentucky that deal with her special needs. She will have to be moved to an out of state facility. I've been assured she won't be moved until the staff simply can't handle her anymore. I'm getting the paperwork started so when it's time to move her I won't have to rush to deal with it. As hard as it will be to see her moved out of state...... her health needs are more important than my convenience.
I got the first reality shock of how it will be to do things without my quilting income. The filing fees at the courthouse were $168. I had to borrow money from my daughter to cover the costs. Yes, its going to be a little rough through a transition period but entirely do able. I'm going to find other ways of earning money.... just not with the constant deadlines and stress of quilting for a living.
My daughter and I have talked and agreed that she should move back home for awhile. Her lease is up in November so that's when she and Ladybug will be moving here. This will give me enough time to finish up the last of the customer quilts (I already have) and start clearing out the rooms for her and Ladybug. It will take me from now until November to get the house in order so there is room for them. I don't move as fast as I used to.... smile.... not a spring chicken anymore.
Her goal will be to save enough money to buy a house of her own and at the same time give me the financial help I need to make a transition from professional quilter to.... what? I'm not sure yet. Writer maybe? Artist? Crafter? The possibilities are endless. Ok, time for me to get to work.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Time with grandchildren

Ever since the wind storm last fall, it seems we loose power during every storm. With almost daily thunder storms the power is out almost every day. It doesn't last more than a few hours but it sure does put a damper on my days.

I'm still working on the latest quilt. It's almost finished. I got down to the last part of the quilting before calling it a day. Yes, I am working but at a much slower pace. I still feel the effects of the bronchitis so I rest a lot.

This is E J. A step-grandchild. He's 5 years old. He's here from Indianapolis for a few days and wanted to visit me for awhile. What grandmother can resist a little time with a grandchild? Here he's showing me how to use his game.

He was actually more interested in the quilting machine than showing me the game. He asked about every button and knob and wheel. What does this do? Can I try it? What does this one do? Can I try it? I unplugged the machine so he couldn't hurt himself or change a setting and let him pretend he was quilting. I didn't even think of taking pictures because I was very busy making sure he didn't move the machine too fast. He liked that it moved very fast on the wheels. Trust me.... he's a very active child. But then he got tired. Time for his nap. Na Na.... would you rock me to sleep? (Grandmothers have very cushy comfy laps ya know.) Ten minutes in the rocking chair and he's ready to lay down on the bed. I sat in the rocking chair and rested too.

So today I should be able to finish up the quilt and get another one on the machine. Providing a storm doesn't come through again. 40 percent chance of one.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Storing favorite recipes

Are yours in books? In a binder?

Or in a file box like mine?

Over the weekend I needed to go to the grocery to pick up a few things to make a meal and get a few groceries for my friend who lost her husband. While there, I happened to walk past a discount table. Wow.... I've wanted these for quite awhile now. I can't resist a 75 percent off price so I bought eight packs.

At home, while cooking the meal, I updated my favorite recipes box. I file everything by main ingredient.

These are recipes I've tried or would like to try. I file by main ingredient so that I can use recipes for items that are on sale. For example: cake. The angel food cakes were on sale last week. By the time I got to the store some were marked down and on the day old table. I bought two. One for the freezer and one to make Angel Lush cake. It's not pretty (kind of sloppy) but oh so heavenly tasting.... fat free, cholesterol free, and mostly sugar free. It's a jello recipe I got from the jello website. Check it out, they have lots of good recipes. I printed the recipe then glued it to a file card.

Every once in awhile I go through my cookbooks looking for new things to try. If I see something that sounds interesting, I make a copy with my computer printer and glue it to a file card. This is much easier than asking myself.... now which book was that recipe in? Sometimes I go to manufacturer websites looking for new recipes. They are always putting new ones on their sites. Sometimes they even offer coupons to try the new recipes.

Using file cards also makes it easy to read the recipe while mixing and cooking. It's much easier than trying to find a place for a book on a tiny counter top along with the ingredients and the bowls etc. Here you can see how I've used the bottom portion of a freezer bag to make a file card holder. It's taped to my cabinet door at eye level.

There is another advantage to having my favorite recipes on file cards. Say for example I'm going on an unplanned trip to the grocery. I've not had the time to make out my grocery list. I can quickly pull out file cards for the recipes I planned for this week and take them to the store with me. I can use these to be sure I buy all the ingredients. This is much easier than carrying cookbooks with me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Lost power during storms

Terrible storms rolled through here yesterday morning. I didn't want to use the quilting machine during the storm so I just did a bit of busy work. I lost power at about 10 am. I didn't want to spend the whole day doing nothing so I cleaned up some of the cobwebs that constantly plague my house. Like this....

and this....

Swiffers are good for more than dusting floors ya know. It makes quick work of all those cob webs. Made a few spiders anger in the process. A good whack with the swiffer took care of that too.
The power came back on a little after 4 last evening. So I worked a couple of hours on stabelizing the next quilt. Everything in the freezer was still frozen when the power came on. Whew!

I spent most of today with Sean and his mother. The decision to turn off the machines was carried out at noon. Sean's father passed away at 2 pm. I came home to let the family have some time alone this evening. No arrangements have been made yet. I'm cooking some chicken, baked beans, and potato salad to take for their supper. It's almost done.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Playing the "Remember when" game

I finished the current quilt. A simple fan design using the circle lord.

A view from the back.

I have the next quilt on the machine but it will take me much longer to quilt it than in the past. Speaking of the past.... while I was at the hospital with Sean and his mother we started playing the "remember when" game. Well, it's not really a game, just all of us remembering things from years gone by. A form of entertainment when friends get together and want to think about happier times. I'm sure you all know what I mean.
I started by telling Sean of some things I remembered from his first visit to my house and we all continued telling stories for about 3 hours. It was good to see them relax during such a stressful time. Sean reminded me of some things I had forgotten about. I kept thinking of these when I got home.
Sean told me "the last few years you've been too busy to be a nice person." When I questioned him about this he explained that back when I didn't have much work I had plenty of time for fun things. Like riddles and games of hide and seek in the park. I had very little money but a whole lot of imagination back then. He is absolutely right. Becoming a machine quilter in high demand robs you of your life. It slowly takes away your time with others..... as you complete just one more deadline quilt..... then another.... then another.
Don't get me wrong, machine quilting is a fantastic career. I can't imagine I could have done anything more rewarding. So why the conflict? Hmm... it starts out innocent enough. I'm struggling to make a name for myself so I can get more customers. I work extra hard to do fantastic quilting. The word gets around; so I set up a working waiting list. I consider all the customers to be more than just customers.... they are friends. No one wants to disappoint a friend so the waiting list gets longer and the requests to finish by such and such a date are more frequent.
Then the friends start asking me to "work one in" ahead of the others because it's for so and so who isn't expected to live much longer. I don't want to disappoint the friend nor be the one left holding a top when someone leaves this world. I work extra long hours to get it done. Telling the kids "I can't" because I have to finish this quilt.
Then there are the requests to finish a quilt several weeks before it's scheduled to be quilted.... because the owner wants to enter it in a contest at the last minute. Again, I don't want to disappoint a friend so I tell the kids "I can't" and work the extra long hours.
Somewhere along the way I start telling other people "I can't" because I have quilts to finish. Even when I do manage an hour or two away from home.... the work is on my mind. Before I knew it my normal 8 hour day had become a full 12 hour (or more) day. It also increases from 5 days a week to 7 days a week.... yet, I'm still constantly behind schedule. There is "just one more", or "just an hour more" (which turns out to be more like 4), or "if I skip lunch today" or "if I skip a grocery trip" or "if I don't go to the quilt show" or or.... hmmm, this can go on and on but you can understand my meaning. It all comes down to one thing. I didn't want to disappoint a friend.
While I had my head down concentrating on the quilting.... my kids grew up. One day the child stands next to me and I'm looking up instead of down. When did you two get so tall? A few years later a grandchild tells me he has a girlfriend. Girl friend? You shouldn't have girl friends in grade school. But Granny..... I'm in high school. When did that happen? I realize I'm looking up at him too.
The machine quilting money has helped in so many ways. It bought a lot of shoes and coats. It paid for many school field trips. It paid for college tuitions and books. It paid for many new machine quilting gadgets and design books. It paid for a furnace and air conditioner. It paid for new flooring and recently new insulation. It paid for charity items for neighbors. It pays utility bills and helps pay for nursing home care. Machine quilting has paid for all the things that any income pays for. I became a workaholic to buy things I couldn't have gotten without the quilting money. It was also fun being able to give money to those who were facing a financial crisis.
This morning I checked my bank account. I have exactly $123.56 left. While I was busy being sick the bills kept coming in. Does the low amount bother me? Not at all. Hmm... just a little bit. I have a utility bill due in a few days and several hospital bills will arrive shortly. Will I get back on the machine and work like crazy to build up the bank account? No way! I'd rather be broke, happy.... and healthy. I will complete the quilts I have here but not at the cost of my health or happiness. I don't want to look up to find that a great-grandchild is suddenly taller than me too. Hmm... just how old is my oldest great-grandchild anyway? 4? 6? I need to find out.
These thoughts have actully been on my mind a lot the last few months. Sean just happened to be the latest one to remind me of how I've been much too busy. I've gone over the same feelings of guilt many times as I made my decision to retire. I will miss the income and the ways I could use it..... but..... I will be much happier. Retirement gives a senior the freedom to do all the things they couldn't do while working. I can now be a quilt piecer again. I can watch grandchildren grow. I can visit with children who have forgotten what a fun person Mom really is.
I hear thunder. Time to get off the computer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finally back to quilting

It was the easiest one I could find in the quilts waiting. I've lost track of which quilt is next and which ones had deadlines. I only got part way through it before a series of storms passed through the area. I don't quilt during storms because I don't want to take a chance of a power surge ruining my machine. Power surges can burn up the mother board of the stitch regulator.

On a sad note.... Sean's father had a blood vein burst in his brain. His father is now on life support with no chance of recovery. The hospital is keeping him on life support until other family members living out of town can visit the hospital. Sean was with me a good deal of time yesterday just talking about his dad.
Today will be more quilting and a visit to the hospital with Sean and his mother.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hee, hee, hee,

Bethany it took me a second to figure out what you were talking about in your comment. I get the comments in my email. I had forgotten what I posted about. Thank you, I needed a giggle this morning. Yup, I'm pretty proud of our Sean. Despite all his problems growing up he's turned out to be a very good young man. He even mentors a child with similar problems.

I have a little more strength today. I think it's because I ate more solid foods and the medicine seems to be breaking up the bronchitis. I made a meatloaf yesterday. It was something I could mix easily and let the stove do the work. No standing and watching. I didn't have any crackers or oatmeal to put into it so I used a box of stove top stuffing instead. This was a trick I learned from someone's blog on the net. Can't remember who though. It turned out pretty good. By the time it finished cooking I was too tired to fix any sides so I just ate a meatloaf sandwich and went back to bed. Today I'll make the sides and have leftover meatloaf.

I was in the Sunday paper yesterday. It was from the phone interview I did several days ago. It was in the features section. An article about saving money in these economic times. I think it was called Stretch that dollar? In the editing some things I talked about were dropped and a couple of words changed. People can visit my blogs to read more. The article did have my blog web address. I learned a few things from the other people featured in the story too.

Anyway, this morning I have 23 emails about it. I won't be answering them all in one sitting. That would tire me out too much. Even the most routine tasks tire me. I know it's because it's hard to breath. With bronchitis it's like trying to breath through water. I still can't talk very well. It comes out as croaks. I think my vocal cords are suffering from all the coughing.

Ok, time for me to do what I can before I rest again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More about the price book and inventory sheets

My apologies for taking so long to get this next post completed. It's hard to think about writing posts when I'm so sick. I'm still not up to my old self but each day is an improvement. I didn't get to go on my planned shopping trip. It will be two more weeks before I go again. I'll attempt to explain it and later show how I actually use it.

Ok, you've done an inventory of all the items you normally buy at the grocery and you have in your house. You have everything written in your price book in the inventory columns. Now you need to know what you paid for the items. There are a couple of ways you can fill in the prices and what store sells the cheapest.

Today is the day the sale papers come out for the week. You can look through the sale papers to see what is on sale. Use these prices for what you write in your price book. It will be a while before everything in your price book is on sale again so it may take a few weeks to fill it all in. While you are going through the sale papers to write prices; you can see your inventory to know if you need more or have a bunch already. For example: cake mix is on sale for 1.00. If I saw in the inventory column that I didn't have any cake mix I might buy some. Since I can see from my inventory that I already have 6 cake mixes I really don't need more.

You also need a store code that's simple to use when writing in your price book. This is my store codes. A simple letter representing the store.

Another way to fill in the prices in your price book is to save the receipts. Use these to write in the prices you paid last and the store you bought from. (I tend to save receipts of all kinds. I use these to work on my budget.)

It really doesn't matter how you create your actual grocery list. Whether from a set menu of meals or like me.... use what I have or what's on sale. I tend to keep my favorite recipes in a file box like this. I separate by main ingredient. Meats mostly. If I see that beef is on sale this week I can look through the recipes I have behind the catagory of beef.

If I want fresh ideas to use beef I may look through some of my books. I'll pick out a recipe that I want to try then copy it onto a file card.

When you are making out your grocery list it is very important to create two different lists. Hmm... how to explain the logic of two lists? One list is for edible items only. The food you will use to create your meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The other list is for non-edible items and snack foods. If you see that your money is running short after the edible items.... then cut out some of the non-edible or snack items.

For example if you have set aside 50 dollars for your two week groceries. How much will be for the edible and how much will be for the non-edible? If you use your price book and the sale paper you can get an estimate.

I shop with only cash. I don't use the checkbook and I don't use the debit card. If possible I leave these at home to keep me from temptation. Temptation can ruin a planned shopping trip. You might see an item at the end of an isle that appears to be a very good bargain..... but is it in your budget? Bargain or not.... if you haven't planned this purchase then you are going to mess up. You will go over your budget.

Ok, say it really is a good bargain and it's something you really do use. What then? Well, something on your planned list will have to be dropped. You only have cash with you and when the money is gone.... that's it. You are done. You can't be tempted to overspend your budget with a check or debit card.

When you get home from shopping and have put away all your groceries; use the receipts to update your inventory and your prices. This should only take a few minutes.
Using items from your inventory? Each time I empty something, I write it on a list I have in my kitchen. Say for example: I empty two cans of veggies and take out a meat from the freezer for tonight's supper. I write those on the "used" list. Or if I empty a spice or a tube of toothpaste, I write it on the "used" list before tossing the empty. Once a week I will use the "used" list to update my inventory in my price book. Here you can see a picture of my "used" list on the bulliten board inside my kitchen cabinet. Some people have a list like this that they use to create their shopping list.

I hope this explanation is making sense to you. I know what I'm doing but I'm not always sure I'm explaining it so others understand. If you have questions.... please email me or post a comment.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I'm still here

I know some are waiting to see what my next finished quilt will be. Sorry, I'm not doing much other than sleeping. I clean a little..... sleep a lot..... clean a little..... sleep a lot. The congestion in my chest seems to be lingering a long time. I'm told that is how bronchitis is. It take a very long time to get over it. I still don't have much voice either. I tire so very easily. I did eat some solid foods today. I think I don't want to see soup on the table for a long, long time.

A few updates. This is one of the neighborhood kids I took care of when he was little. He had ADHD which wore out his mother. She would get abusive trying to handle him. She would send him to me for a few days so she could rest. He was at my house so much that my daughter and he thought they were brother and sister. When he was little all the neighbors thought he would someday be in a gang. He fooled everyone though. He's a second degree black belt and a security guard at a major building downtown. Never once got into trouble. A very mild tempered person compared to his hyper activity as a child. This is his very first car. Got it all by himself.

An internet friend, Jurgen Nittner, sent me an email telling me he is going to be one of the featured quilters in "The Quilter" magazine. The quilt, Green Piece, is the one that will be on the last page called Photo Finish. The magazine is due on the new stands in July. His wife is the piecer, he is the quilter. He earns their spending money by teaching machine quilting classes at MQX and MQS. He also does machine quilting full time out of their home. I think we may have been internet friends for about 10 years or so. I'm very proud of Jurgen and Kathy.
I've gotten several invitations to submit art quilts or rugs for different galleries this coming winter. Right now is the time of year when the galleries try to get their Christmas stock planned out and commitments finalized. I'm not sure I want to submit anything. The way my health is going I might commit to sending some work only to get sick again. There's no guarantee that any of my work would be accepted either. So I'll skip trying to finish anything for this year and maybe later think about things for the following year. It will be better for me to work at my own pace around whatever health issues crop up. If I have anything finished next summer that's what I can submit. If nothing gets accepted then nothing will have been lost but my own time.
I talked (or should I say croaked) with an artist friend, Cathy, and asked her advice on a beginner drawing instruction book. She's going to loan me one of hers. I have some ideas for quilts but first I need to understand things like depth and perspective. If her book is helpful to me then I can look for more at the library. What I've observed over the past few years is that more toppers are going for quilt patterns that have visual motion.... hmm... how to describe it.... for example, straight sewing lines that create the illusion of curved lines. Or varying values of fabric that seems to create a depth in a flat object. You know what I mean? If I can understand this from an artist's view maybe I can create it in a quilt.
Yes, I know I can draw, but I'm not an artist. Just a talented machine quilter. For many years I've tried getting my work juried into some textile art shows. I kept getting rejection letter after rejection letter. The most common response was...... "not the caliber of art we are looking for"..... which hurt. I no longer even try getting juried in. My art may appear cartoony and child like.... but it's still my art. What I want to understand is why my art is not considered art but others who do cartoony type are considered art. I don't see that much difference in them myself.... which is why I want to study things from an artists view. I must be missing something in what makes art... art.
Ok, enough computer time. Need to lay down again. I just want to keep in the habit of posting as regularly as possible.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sick again

Wondering where I've been?

I've been sick with bronchitis for the last several days. I spent a couple of days in the hospital..... again. I'm on an antibiotic called a Z pack which is 30 times stronger than a normal dose. The doctors have me on bed rest until I can get this infection cleared up. I'm slowly gaining strength and out of bed for longer periods of time. I'm staying away from people for the time being. I don't want to get other people sick and I don't want them to get me sick again either.

I won't be doing any quilting until I can get my health issues under control. My retirement has come a few months earlier than I had planned.

I'm unable to talk (due to loosing my voice and severe coughing) so I'm not making very many phone calls. As soon as I can talk I'll be contacting the customers on my waiting list to let them know I can't do their quilts. My health is much more important than my income.

I'll still be doing my blogs and showing the work I do.... just from a different perspective and on a different timeline. Without the pressures of customer deadlines and staying on schedule I can concentrate on my health first...... the art of quilting next.

Forced early retirment is scary and at the same time exciting. I'll have to watch every purchase very carefully; but, I'll be able to concentrate on the art for whatever time it takes to get the design from my mind into the fabric. If I finish in one day.... fine. If I finish in a month or six months.... that's fine too.

Ok, I'm feeling weak again so I'm headed back to bed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Loaded with cherries

I feel just awful. I slept almost all afternoon. I simply can't figure out why any physical activity gives me flu like symptoms? If I go for a walk.... I get chills, congestion, aches, and fever. If I work extra long hours at the machine... I get chills, congestion, aches, and fever. If I mop floors.... I get chills, congestion, aches, and fever. I'm a senior citizen but most days I feel as if I'm a hundred years old. I'm too young to feel that old.

I worked on the current quilt for awhile before going to bed for most of the afternoon. Before that I asked my neighbor if she wanted the cherries from my tree. I walked back there with her to show her where the tree is. As you can see the tree is loaded with cherries.

She decided to pick only what she could reach from the ground. She didn't want to get on a ladder. Neither did I. I sat and kept her company for awhile then went to lay down. This is the tree from ground level.

This is the top of the tree. The birds will get all of those.

She got about 5 or 6 gallons of cherries just standing on the ground. This is an 8 gallon bucket. There's probably another 20 or 30 gallons on the tree. They will all be gone in a couple of days. Some birds have already started raiding them. I can remember the first year after this tree was planted. I got a whopping 4 cherries from the twig that it was. My how it's grown.

This little cherry tree is dwarfed by the trees hanging over my yard. The trees are actually in the empty lot next door. I've complained and complained to the city about having the trees cut down. I'm always told that I can pay to get it done myself. Like I can afford to pay for someone else's yard work! There aren't any help programs in this city to handle debris or trees. That's a shame.

You can barely tell that the cherry tree is in my yard. That's it next to the clothes line pole. I haven't been able to use that pole for many years. Too much bird poop gets on everything.

My yard looks just plain awful! Nothing I can do about it though. I can't clean it up myself and I can't pay a landscaper either..... so it just keeps on growing and claiming my yard.

All of the brush and trees are on the other side of the fence. See here. I do pay the guy that cuts my grass to cut what he can from my side.

But here's the problem..... this is on the other side of the fence. No way to get to it to clean out the fence.

Another view of the other side of the fence.

My fence is 4 ft and the debris is as high as the fence. Under all those branches are old car parts, tires, bricks, metal sheeting, wood with nails, broken bottles, and a bunch of unknown stuff.

I noticed this stuff growing in the yard too. Is this poison ivy? It does have three leaves. I have weed killer on my shopping list for next week.... if my SIL doesn't mind going to the hardware store.

It's growning near the gate going to the back yard and also near the back gate to the alley.

I guess the trip to the back yard today will be the last one I make this year. I won't go back until cherry time next year. It's not a place to hang out and I don't have any other reason go. I'm going back to bed now so I can get an early start in the morning. I should be able to finish the quilt that's on the machine..... if the fever and aches go away.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The deadline quilt is done

She picked it up yesterday. This is the top.

I did a leaf and vine design on each side of the applique design.

I did a leaf and flower design on the pieced inside border and a different leaf design on the very inside border.

I did line dancing on the nine patch blocks.

I meandered around the photos and a leaf in the corners.

Another view of the borders.

Ok, now that the quilt is finished and the customer is happy I finished by the deadline.... I can relax. I want to thank Quiltin Library Lady for the comment you sent me. I needed it to remind me that I'm in control of my life..... not the other way around.

I got another stern lecture from my doctor when I saw her Monday. She sent me home with some instructions to make changes in my life.... right now. I'm trying.... really I am. She just doesn't understand. My budget doesn't allow for simply going out to buy all new groceries or changing a lifestyle on the spur of the moment. I have to plan my budget carefully. She wanted me to see her again in two weeks but there weren't any appointments available that soon. My next appointment is July 2nd.

I went to the thrift store across the street from the doctor's office. This is what I got.

No, I didn't pay 19.95 for it. They had a sale 75% off everything in the store that day. The extra beaters were free. The clerk gave them to me for buying the mixer. It's been sitting on the store self for a few months. I've been eyeing it and waiting for the right sale while at the same time hopeing that no one would buy it. It works fine. A bit of cleaning and it will look great.
I'm not feeling quite up to par today. My head is stuffy and my throat is scratchy. I'm trying to decide what to do today. Do I finish the next quilt because I'm so far behind schedule and need the money? Or should I pick cherries from the tree? Maybe I should just leave them for the birds to enjoy this year? If I pick the cherries do I want to simply put them in the freezer or do I can some cherry pie filling? Last year I lost most of the frozen cherries when we had the power outage in the fall.
I had the interview with the reporter. It was over the phone. She was asking me about how I save money and about my blogs. Her name is Katya Cengel. I forgot to ask her when the article will be in the paper and she didn't say either. I guess I'll won't get to read it myself. I don't get the daily paper. There were a couple of questions I didn't answer. For personal safety reasons. I do live in a bad part of town. Too much personal information can put a senior at risk. Criminals read the paper too.
The ant problem is taken care of. I realized I pay a yearly fee for an exterminator. So I called. There wasn't any extra charge for him coming to spray for ants. I didn't see a single ant when I woke up. Yea!
Well I guess the work won't get done until I go do it. I have to make a choice and get to it.