Welcome to my blog

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.


Thursday, December 31, 2009

I didn't want to be out of bed but the new stove had to be delivered and installed. Isn't it nice? The bed is just way too tempting right now. A little computer time kept me awake while they finished.

I decided to think about my new year resolution. My birthday is New Year's Day. A nice time for thinking about changes I'd like to make for the coming year. So here's my list.... in no particular order.

1. Do whatever I can to stay healthy. This means more time with my kids, less work related stress (the reason I retired), and more frequent doctor visits.

2. Don't work so much that I get overwhelmed. It's better to say no and loose a friend (customer) than to say yes and get sick from overworking. Just do what I can each day and leave the rest for another day.

3. Stop saving so many things that "might come in handy someday" or "I could make _____ from this". Trust me.... for everything I get rid of, something takes it's place. I have enough to last a very long time.

4. Stop creating and stockpiling more UFOs. I have enough UFOs and PIGs to last me for a whole year or longer. For every new quilt I make, one UFO or PIGs must be finished too. (UFOs = unfinished objects, PIGs= project in a grocery sacks)

5. Get rid of all the over abundance by not purchasing more than essentials until everything is in control again. This includes quilt fabric.

6. Do a better job of posting to my blogs.

Not too many resolutions and not difficult ones either. Here's to a better year! Right now I'm headed back to bed. This cold still has me feeling rather yucky. Ladybug and I are spending a lot of time cuddling and sleeping. The medications are helping too.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I'm feeling really yucky again. I thought I was fine and getting over the last episode of a few days ago. This morning I get up feeling a little tired. I've tried to do a few things around the house but I just feel too yucky to move much. Aches, chills, stuffy nose, cough, queezy stomach. It's been getting worse as the day goes by so now I'm headed back to bed. Geeze, I sure do get sick of getting sick.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Old phone books and wash cloths

I've removed the posts about the $10 a week grocery challenge. I realized it doesn't matter if I set a limit on my own spending.... what matters is the original focus of my blog. My blog is about telling my frugal story. It's the closest I will ever come

to being a real writer. With my blog I can talk about what I do to save money, regardless of the reasons. If a visitor happens upon my blog; all that I have written will be here to see.

Here is one thing I do to save money. I bought myself some el cheapo wash cloths. $2.99 for a dozen. I know these will shrink and go wonky when washed and it doesn't matter. I would have preferred to make my own out of something I already had around the house. I needed these in a hurry. I can look around for an alternative and make more later. Perhaps out of old night gowns or old flannel sheets? Hmm.... maybe left over t-shirt backs?

What do I need these for? These are a replacement for paper towels. These dry hands and wipe up spills just as well as paper. Actually, better. My daughter uses paper towels and I'm trying to convince her to stop spending money on paper to throw away. Think about the costs. A 6 pack of paper towels costs around $8. If you use 6 rolls a month then you are spending about $96 (not counting tax) a year for something you will only throw away. Do you really want to throw away nearly $100? I sure don't.... I'd rather buy quilt fabric with it.

Ok, what do I do about spilled icky stuff that must be picked up from the floor? Well old phone books work just fine for icky stuff. They are destined for the landfill anyway so why not give them a second life first?

What about soaking up grease from fried foods? Who says it must be soaked up into something? Are there grease police hanging around someplace? Isn't it enough to just drain the grease away? For draining grease from fried foods I use this. Actually, I have several different sizes. My favorite is a splatter screen because it's largest and it's flat.

If you are struggling to make ends meet think about what disposables you are buying that can be replaced. An extra $8 a month for food can go a long way.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Quiet Christmas

I spent some time making myself some more undies.

I finished putting the pockets on Ladybug's dress.

I got exactly what I wanted from Santa. It's an air compressor. I use it for cleaning the bobbin area and tracks of my machine.

I spent time at the nursing home with my mother. It was fun watching all the residents getting their gifts from Santa.

My mother gave the director of the home a picture she drew. It looks really nice in a frame and hanging on the wall.

Ladybug really enjoyed her gifts too. No tree to put anything under but she didn't mind one bit. It took only one time of Mommie showing her how to rip the paper and Ladybug was off and ripping for herself. Then she would say.... Mommie, opin dis. Next year she should be able to get things out of the box too. She wanted to stop and play with everything before opening the next gift.

I think her favorite is the table and markers.... or maybe it was the toy cleaning cart with broom and mop.

My daughter got money which is what she asked for. She's putting it into her house buying fund. It was pretty nice holiday after all.
Now it's time for me to get moving on plans for next year.... it's only a week away ya know.

A comment answer

Anonymous said...

But what will you do about fresh fruit and veggies? Dairy products like yogurt and cheese? How does healthy eating play into the challenge? I hope you will be posting your meals so we can get more ideas on the frugal eating but I do wonder about the health of the meals.

I thought I would answer Anonymous with another post rather than try to fit an answer in a comment box.

My pantry is stuffed to the gills right now with canned goods and frozen foods. I confess I got into a panic after loosing all my freezer foods three times in a row this year. I went panic buying to restock each time and as a result bought way too much. It's only because we have so much to eat and so little space for storing it that we decided to use what we have before buying anymore. I also get government commodities every month. I get canned milk, dry milk, canned fruit, canned veggies, canned meat, dry beans, pasta, fruit juice, cereal, peanut butter, cheese, and rice. These are free and go a long, long way toward stretching my food budget.

Sometimes I give some commodities to neighbors because I can't eat it all. 5 pounds of cheese or 10 lbs of oatmeal or 15 cans of milk a month is a little hard to swallow sometimes. I do find different ways to use these but after awhile I need a break.... know what I mean? Over the years I've searched cookbooks and the internet for interesting ways to use canned milk or oatmeal or other commodity foods.

The challenge for me to spend no more than $10 a week was mostly my daughter joking around but I was serious. I think we can get by with what we already have plus a few purchases now and then when I find a good bargain on meat or something. The monthly commodities will add to what we have. I'm making plans to have a back yard garden again too.

I've often said.... "The best thing a person can do to stretch their food budget is to do the obvious. Learn to cook!" Ok, I guess I better explain that. It's only since WW2 that women have been convinced we need to pay food processing plants to be our personal chef. I prefer to think about the things our colonial ancestors did without and they did just fine. In their wildest dreams they could not have imagined shopping at a mega store to buy frozen skillet meals. Heck, I don't think they could have even imagined deboned meats or already cut up veggies. Budget or no budget, don't you think we could all be better off if we had to get along without some of the things "unknown" to our great-grandparents?

If you buy quantities of convenience foods aren't you paying the manufacturer to be your person live-in cook or maid service? Can you afford servants? I don't want anyone to think I spend enormous amounts of time in my kitchen because I don't. (I'd rather be quilting.) I do rely on convenience foods...... just not pay for it. I create my own convenience foods. For example: frozen green beans in butter sauce. The extra cost for paying someone to put butter in my green beans for me is too much. I can scoop a spoon of butter in them myself and save a few pennies.

A frozen broccoli and cheese side dish with mostly bread crumbs costs more than double what I pay for plain broccoli then add my own cheese and crumbs. I can peel, slice, boil, and stomp my own potatoes.... why pay for someone else to do it for me? On very rare occasions when I find fresh fruit in the discount bin, it gets processed and canned or frozen right away. I can make my own pies instead of paying someone else to sell me a tiny bit of pie and a mountain of meringue.

When I first started housekeeping; chicken was only sold as whole, not cut up and deboned like today. I already knew how to cut up one chicken to make several meals. I learned how as a child. Every part of the chicken was used for something.... even the neck, back, and gizzard was used. These days you can't find necks or backs unless you buy whole chickens. The best chicken and dumplings I made used necks and backs.

Back then we were also able to buy beef bones to flavor our soups and stew. Have you seen any bones lately? I haven't. Heck, I can't even remember the last time I saw a beef bone in ANY beef. It'a all deboned these days. The food processing industry believes we don't want these things anymore so they aren't sold to us. If it's not offered..... we won't be able to buy it. Then we must rely on what the mega stores want us to buy... convenience.

Ok, I think I've ranted enough about the high cost of convenience foods. I get into a bad mood when I start talking about what foods are NOT offered anymore just so we MUST buy what the food industry wants us to buy.

As for the challenge.... it's only me planning to spend no more than $10 a week. I was hoping that others might have some good ideas for cutting the food budget they would share. Maybe as a result of cutting back they come up with a new idea. I could start posting some of what I do, so you get the idea, and maybe later some others will join me?

Oh, I forgot to say we have enough non-edible stuff to last a very, very long time. We have 30 super large tubes of toothpaste, a couple hundred rolls of t-paper, laundry liquid is always under my feet so I trip over it. My daughter has dozens and dozens of bottles of shampoo, I don't use shampoo. And so forth..... I'm really looking forward to using the last of some of these things just so I can make my own again. I want to make my own body soap and laundry detergent!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why do they leave?

Yes, I've have been playing around on the computer almost all day. Taking a machine quilting break gives me enough time to reorganize my thoughts so I can write better blog posts. I noticed I lost one of my followers. I can't help but wonder..... why?

Did they get bored with my blog? Are they giving up the internet? Are they looking for something different? It's sad when someone leaves. It's like having a friend move out of state and never see them again. Hmm.... I guess I need to learn to not take things so personally when a friend decides to unsubscribe to my blog.

Well anyway, I came across some of my frugal quilting thoughts when I was putting my tickler file together. Here's what I used.

Next I got out all the bits and pieces of paper and sorted them into categories.

Whew! A couple of hours later and my memory tickler is all organized.

Ok, now if only, if only, I can keep up with the organized habit of my tickler file. It's very tempting to just start jotting down notes and sticking them someplace. I decided to get rid of the little note pads and place file cards all over the house. If it's written on a card it will be easier to file it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What's up?

I've been playing around with my helpful hints blog today. I learned how to create a Mr. Linky and how to write a blog post but schedule it to show up on the blog at a later date.

During the next few days I'm going to spend time learning more about my photoshop elements software. I want to use it for some quilt ideas as well as create better photos on my blogs. I also need to figure out how I posted a video before. I know I did it but I can't remember how. This time I'll make myself a cheat sheet and put it into my memory tickler file.

I started a $10 a week grocery budget challenge. I've had a $10 a week grocery budget before with no problems. This time the budget will be for 3 people instead of one. My daughter issued the challenge and of course I had to take her challenge. Read about it here.

If there is time I will be updating my webshots albums. I've not had any time for posting photos there for almost a year. That's not good since I pay a fee for webshots. Hmm... maybe I can spend some time learning about Picassa too since I pay a fee for that as well.

Hmm.... I sure do pay a lot of fees so I can be helpful to others. Maybe I should rethink those fees? Ok, That's enough serious thought for awhile...... back to playtime.

Yes, yes, I will get back to the quilting again (for friends).... just not until after I've had my holiday vacation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A tickler file for organizing your thoughts

For many professional machine quilters the end of the Christmas rush comes to an abrupt halt. Rush for me always started in July. It gradually got busier and busier. As the days got closer to Christmas the stress level rose while the deadlines became more and more the focus of my days. Rush, rush, rush!

I have to get the quilts done. Work faster. Say no lots more often. For several weeks I would be wishing the stress would end. Then suddenly the last quilt was finished and picked up by the owner. An abrupt halt. One day I would still be in rush mode and the next day there was nothing else to do. The stress was gone. Everyone was happy. So I would ask myself..... Now what?

For the first few days I wander around the house thinking something is missing. It's all out of balance. I'm no longer letting my feet hit the floor running, as soon as I wake, to rush to the quilting machine. Suddenly I have all this free time between the end of the rush season and the start of the new year and I don't know what it is I want to do or in what order. It's overwhelming. What to do first? What's most important? So many Me projects have been put on hold and now there is suddenly time to get some of them done. I can't do all of my ME projects so which ones should I do first?

What I do is start making lists. Lots of lists! I'm big on making notes and lists. Through out the year I make notes on pieces of paper. Notes of books to read or recipes to try. Notes of sites to visit or names I don't want to forget. Organizing ideas I have and re purposing ideas to try. Lots of notes and lots of lists.

Here is one example of my notes. Actually many are just rambling thoughts of things I want to remember later.... when I have more time for putting ideas to use instead of on bits of paper.

I keep little note pads like this all over the place. Every room in the house has note pads of one type or another.

At first I thought I would gather all the bits and pieces of paper and organize them into a binder. I got out my tabs....

and created a really nice binder.

After getting it created and all pretty, I decided I don't want to use the binder. I prefer a tickler type file. A tickler file is a file box filled with file cards. (tickle your thoughts) One thought or idea per card. As each card is acted upon it can be tossed. A tickler file is much easier to keep organized. In a binder it would be a terrible waste of paper to use one sheet per idea.
So now I'm going to gather all my bits and pieces of paper and get them organized for 2010. The past year wasn't the hardest I've endured but it was tough none the less. I'm glad it's nearly over and a new one is starting in a few days.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The last 2009 quilt

I'm still feeling under the weather. If I could get rid of the deep chest cough I know I would feel better. I managed to finish this last quilt for a customer. She picked it up yesterday because she's having knee replacement surgery this morning. She can work on the hand binding while she's recovering.

It's hard to see it but I did a leafy and curly type of feather design on the outside border and a leaf design on the inside border.

I did line dancing on some of the blocks.

This leaf and curl design on some of the blocks.

Here's a better view of the designs from the back.

The line dancing frames the leaf and curl designs.

Now that the 2009 commitment work is finally finished it's time to move on to my organizing my plans for 2010. I pretty much guessed right at how long it would take to finish up the work I had already scheduled..... way back in February and March.
Having a toddler here every weekend and in the evenings means my entire schedule must change for awhile. When they move into their own home my schedule will change again. The computer in my daughter's room means I can't post until after they leave in the morning. Impossible to post on the weekends because Ladybug doesn't want me to sit at a computer when there are so many toys to share with NaNa.
Laundry schedule must change. Cooking schedule must change. Cleaning schedule must change. Gosh, there are many things that must change. Isn't it great!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Borrowing from Ladybug

When the Mommie got home she cuddled Ladybug while NaNa took a long bath to ease the aches if illness. This stuff really works! I felt much better and ready for a good night's sleep. The meds helped too. Then the Mommie gave Ladybug a good long soak too.

We both went to bed last night without any fuss. We are still resting as much as possible today. It's hard to keep a child still when the fever is gone but the cough and sneezing keeps them home from daycare. We don't want to pass it on to other kids if we can help it. I hope to get more work done when Ladybug can go back to daycare. I have one last quilt I really want to finish before xmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sick again

I have another quilt finished. I got it done yesterday morning after taking Ladybug to daycare.

A curly vine design on the outside border and loops on the inside border.

Cross hatching through the center area.

A view of the stitching from the back.

I finished this one in the morning and my SIL had brought her quilt. She needed it quilted before her bunco party on Thursday. Why does she wait until the very last minute? Because she can I guess. Anyway we got hers done before time to pick up Ladybug at day care at 4:30.
Long about lunch time I started feeling icky. I started coughing and sneezing like crazy and starting to ache all over. By 4 o'clock I felt absolutely awful. The daycare said Ladybug was coughing and sneezing too. I made some chicken soup for us for dinner then we cuddled together and read some books. A dose of meds for us both and we were asleep by 8 pm. Neither of us wanted to get up this morning so we just slept in. She's eating right now and then we'll go back to bed and rest again.
There is one more quilt I really, really wanted to finish this week. It doesn't look like it will get done though. Rest seems much more alluring than quilting. I think bed sounds really good right now. Ladybug thinks so too.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What happened to my house?

I spent weeks.... I mean months... clearing stuff out of my house. Now look at it.

This is only the kitchen. You should see the two bedrooms that were empty a couple of days ago. Geeze!

You ever hear the saying.... college students leave home just temporarily, they always return, and they bring more with them.

Mommie and Ladybug now have their stuff in my previously semi organized house. Mommie had to leave town for a business trip so she brought their stuff, set up the beds, packed a bag, and left. Ladybug and I had an adventure putting things away in her room. Ooo whee, that is one very independent thinking child! Put something in the wrong place and I get told where it really belongs. Books go here Na Na. Shoes go here Na Na. Jammies go here Na Na. Pull ups go in the bathroom Na Na. Well, at least she's organized. Her Mommie never was. Her Mommie liked piles of stuff instead. I'm sure glad the floor work was finished before they moved back home.

Yesterday, after picking up Ladybug from daycare, about two blocks from home, 6 police cars came racing past me. As I got closer to home there were about 20 police cars and a couple of ambulances at the corner where I turn toward home. I didn't know whether to turn around and go someplace else or not. I thought the trouble might be something we should stay clear of for awhile. I kept going though because home was just around the corner. I believed the trouble was at the motorcycle club at the corner but it turned out to be at the store on the opposite corner. A bunch of people had gotten into a fight and several got hurt. No one died that I know of. This neighborhood is going through a bad time again. It comes and it goes.

I have another quilt on the machine but more stuff needs to be put away first. I best get off the computer and get started.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The bathroom floor is done

I finished another quilt. I realized I forgot to say these are not Christmas commitment quilts. The last 4 or 5 have been "only if I have time" quilt tops that belong to friends. The quilts kept me busy as I stayed out of the way of workmen moving around the house. There's no better place to stay out of the way than against the wall behind a quilting machine.

I did a simple feather on the outside border and a curly vine on the inside border. I think my brain is stuck on curly vine designs.

The inside of the quilt got square dance panto.

Finally! The floor in the bathroom is finished. This is how it looked before.
Water damage had caused the vinyl tiles to start coming loose.

This is how it looks now.

Much better! It looks like real tile instead of linoleum.

Only a few things left to do, like level the washer and put the closet doors back up. I want to paint the doors first. Lots to do before Saturday's moving day and tomorrow I'll be gone all day. It's shopping day for my SIL and I'll be picking up a few things while I'm out. Chauffeuring has it's advantages. (smile)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Am I prepared?

Yesterday, I saw the news report of a wicked winter weather system racing across the country. It reminded me of these scenes from last year.

This was the ice storm that caused power outages for days, several deaths from misuse of generators, and lots of damaged homes.

Seeing the news reports got me to thinking.... am I prepared? Could we survive a power outage like we've had before?

Over the last year there has been a wind storm, an ice storm, and a flood in my area. Numerous disasters happen all over the country ever year. Right now there are people out west suffering from record snow fall, wind storms heading east, and lots of rain in other places.
I'm only partially prepared. I have lots of things to consider before I can call myself "prepared" and ready for just about any emergency. I let things kind of fall by the wayside as I continued to finish quilts. Out of sight, out of mind. There wasn't any pending disaster so why worry? Well, hopefully I can change this in the next few weeks. A person needs to be prepared for just about anything, including job loss. Yes, that's a very big emergency too.
I'm going to put the things I do on this blog so I can keep it for future reference. If you choose to follow along I'd be happy to have you join me. Just change what I do to things that will help you in your area. Everything I do to prepare for emergencies will be done with a frugal mind. As little spending as possible while not sacrificing quality. So if you are a tightwad or penny pincher, like me, maybe you can offer suggestions along the way?
I hope to have the preparedness hints as a regular feature of this blog. Now that I have fewer quilt commitments it shouldn't be so hard to continue adding to the saga of my frugal living blog. I have forgotten so many things I did over the years and now it's all flooding back into my mind. I feel a little guilty for giving up so much of my frugal ways. I think of all the money I wasted trying to live up to the life expected of me..... going for convenience instead of frugality.
I repeat what I said in an earlier post.... several weeks back.... it's much easier to tell other people how to live on very little money if I live the life. Even when I was earning money from quilting, I wasn't well off. With very careful planning I could buy things instead of make them myself. I still had to scrape by.... just not so much as when there is NO money.
I will be making some changes to this blog during the holidays. Hopefully to make it easier to search for posts on different subjects. Please be patient about the changes because I'm not a computer person. It takes a few trial and errors to find the blog features I like and eliminate those I don't. I hope the changes will make this blog into one that blog steppers find very helpful!
What's a blog stepper? Hmm.... you know how you find a great blog which has a list of favorite blogs on it? You click on one of the blog links which takes you to another great blog with a favorite list.... you click on one of them.... which takes you to another. That's blog stepping. It's not a term yet. I just made it up to describe how I see moving from one blog to the next. You think it will catch on?

Monday, December 7, 2009

They're back

First, the next finished quilt. A crib size. The owner wanted it very lightly quilted.

I did line dancing on the outside border and a small loop design on the inside border.

Clam shell panto in the center.

These guys are back. I was really hoping to show you a before and after picture of my new bathroom floor. If you ever have need of emergency fixes.... these guys are fantastic! Extremely helpful, reliable, and honest.

When the washer and dryer were moved to put in the new floor they found this mess. More wet wood. Apparently when my new washer and dryer were delivered the delivery guys didn't want to tell me there was a problem under the old ones. Hmm.... I hope it was the old ones. I'll have to check the new ones just to be sure.

Well, the new washer and dryer are sitting in the kitchen. It's the only place in the house with room for them to sit a couple of days. It's ok though because I can still cook.

Those dreaded blowers and dehumidifiers are back. They do the job but the electric meter goes crazy while these things run.

There's three machines running this time.

The guys are due back here today. Hopefully the old floor will be dry enough to put in the new floor. I hope I never have to get any more floor work done. It's such a mess. Everything removed to do something new.... finds more problems. I'm ready for all the extra problems to go away!