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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.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Organizing papers

More about getting papers organized

Yesterday evening I decided to do a little more organizing and filing of my papers. I pulled out my batch of warranties and instruction booklets to see if anything could be disposed of. Anything I needed to keep got it's own individual file folder which was then put into my file box. This should make it easier to find when needed.

I thought.... hey, maybe I should record information on my stuff in my emergency preparedness packets while I'm at it. I'm already touching the papers.... why not go a step further at the same time? So I did an internet search for a form I could fill out but nothing seemed to suit my personal needs. I thought.... why not create my own? Which I did. This is not what the final finished form will look like but it will do for now. I will add more information and photos later and reprint the forms. This picture should be clickable to see it larger. It's just something I typed up in MS word.

As I went through my papers and booklets I started filling in the information on my sheets. I was not concerned about getting all the information right now. It was an organizing session.... not a fact finding session. If I came across the information I recorded it.... if not, I didn't worry over it.

I know it's not very frugal of me to plan on reprinting all these forms later but easy is more important at this point. I don't want to drive myself crazy. I just want to get my papers organized. I had warranties and booklets in one place. I have receipts and cancelled checks in another place. I have repair information in yet another place. Right now all I want to do is get all the information in one single place. Hmmm.... make that two places. In a file or on a sheet.
So here is an example of one of the sheets I filled out.

I happened to have the receipt for my stove with the operation manual for some reason. The manual went into a file folder and the receipt got put with the sheet. Why? Well because this will be what I take with me if I ever have to evacuate my house. Whether it be because of fire, flood, or other reason.... this packet will go with me. Insurance companies want to see receipts. I'll also keep these sheets handy when I find time to start sorting through my receipts file. It will be easy to simply attach a receipt as I come across it.

I think that's about all I will do for now. Quilts must get done.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Emergency preparedness - batteries

As soon as I heard we might get an ice storm and possibly wide spread power outages I started getting prepared. I gathered the items I might need.... just in case. By the time the ice storm of 2009 arrived... I was ready.

During the wind storm of 2008 when I lost power for over a week; one thing I really should have had on hand was batteries. Getting prepared for this storm.... I could have bought several packages of regular batteries and hope they would last... but which size and how many? So, being the frugal person I am; I bought rechargeable batteries.

Well hmmm..... without electricity I can't be plugging in a battery charger can I? So I ordered this little gadget. A solar powered charger. I bought it on Amazon.com. They have several different brands. I ordered the cheapest one. Now I can charge up batteries even without power. Actually this is the third battery charger I've owned over the years. I bought my first one back in the 70s when my generation first tried to get people to use alternative energy. The charger I had before this quit working a couple of years ago. I procrastinated on ordering another one until after the wind storm taught me a lesson.

With shipping it cost about $25. I believe it was well worth the money. This is a frugal person's gadget because it uses only the sun to charge batteries. This gadget would be good for anyone who is expecting their utilities to be turned off too. Lots of things run on batteries like lights or phones or toys.

So if you are thinking about items to keep in your weather related emergency kit.... a solar battery charger and rechargeable batteries might be a good investment. Aww shucks.... a gadget like this is good for anytime if you want to be frugal and green.
The power is still on

I had my neighbor take some pictures for me. I was too afraid to walk on the ice. Old bones break easily. These pictures were taken when my neighbor was standing in the empty lot next door. Here is the tree branches on the power line I told you about. See the broken part of the tree? See that large branch just above the broken ones? It's normally straighter and not leaning.

Here is where the branches rest on the power line. It wouldn't take much to make the line break. Another falling branch would do it. The one that's leaning above is the one I'm thinking may come down too.

Another view of where the branches are hanging on the lines.

And a view of some branches on the ground.

I won't have to worry about cleaning up the mess though. The man who owns that truck lives in the house behind me. He gathers up fallen trees and branches to burn in his wood stove. As soon as the weather is better he will be out there with his chain saw cutting this mess up into the right size and stacking it in his yard for next winter's fuel. He goes around to different neighborhoods gathering wood every time there is a storm and downed trees.

I saw on tv the parade of heroes coming into town. The long line of utility trucks from out of state. It looked like thousands. Those guys and gals are certainly heroes for lots of people in this area! This is the second time in only a few months they have come to our rescue.
I'm getting restless to do something... besides quilting.... for a day or two. The contest quilts are almost finished. I hope to have the last one done today then I'll reward myself by cleaning house. Doing something physical instead of mental for a day gives me energy to get back to the machine.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice, ice and snow everywhere

I thought I'd let you know I still have power for now. This is a Dogwood tree near my front door. It's bent nearly double from the ice.

This is the light pole directly across the street. See the ice hanging from the light?

Sometimes I have the best luck! I always say it's because angels whisper in my ear to "do it now" even when I don't think I can afford it. When I follow their advice it's usually a good thing. Let me tell you about one time when I listened. Last summer I had some branches cut off the trees behind my house. I was worried that a big storm might bring the branches down and damage my house. At the time I really didn't think I could afford to pay to have them cut. It was a financial struggle but I did manage. Now I'm so glad!
These are the trees I'm talking about. I would have walked out to get a better picture but I was afraid I might fall on the ice or something might fall on me. I took this picture from my front porch looking back.

This is some of the mess the storm has left. As far as I can tell, none of it is on my roof.

What you can't see in the picture is a very large branch laying across a power line back there. I tried to take a picture from my back window but the glare from the plastic made it impossible. I'll see if my neighbor will take a picture of it for me later today... if he ventures out.
That branch could snap the power line at any time. At some point I may loose power if the line snaps. I'm not sure though because I'm not sure if that line would affect my house or not. If I do loose power I have my kerosene heater. Yes, I do know how to use it safely. I used kerosene as heat for 7 years while I saved enough money to buy a furnace.
I guess I best get into the studio and get some work finished while I still have power. I'm still working on the contest quilts that I can't show pictures of yet. They aren't large but the quilting goes very slow because I have to be so careful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Interesting frugal idea

A man staggers into his home panting, sweating, and exhausted. His wife looks at him with concern and asks.... what's wrong honey? The man smiles and says.... I just ran all the way home from work behind a bus. I saved us $1.50.

The wife replies.... Well honey, why didn't you run behind a taxi and save us $30?

Have you cut every expense you can think of only to find rising costs are moving faster than you can keep up? You're throwing every frugal hint and tip you can find at your problems.... but you just can't seem to get ahead of it because costs are rising faster than you can do an internet search?

Trust me.... you are not alone! Thousands of people are now feeling the same way. Everyone who has lost their job and everyone who believes they may loose their job is searching for answers.

Let me say that I'm no financial expert. If I were; then I would not be writing this blog, I would be living a life of luxury some place. In this blog I show you things I do in actual life. My frugal living blog may contain some ridiculous ideas for saving money. For example the reusing of furnace filters or going back to using hankies. You may laugh and say.... I could never do that because tissues are cheap or furnace filters are cheap.

Then again; what if you lost your job and had no money at all coming in? Would these ideas seem so ridiculous? Only a couple of years ago tissues were on sale two for a dollar and furnace filters went on sale four for a dollar in the fall. Now days both are over a dollar each and probably will go even higher in the next couple of years. Even frugal living experts are feeling a financial pinch these days.

So I say to you; when cheap becomes too expensive.... then the ridiculous becomes serious. I hope to include more alternatives in the weeks or months ahead. Ridiculous or not.

I think I will go work on a quilt now.... instead of buying myself a luxury mansion on a tropical island.... I can save myself a few million.

I think I figured it out

What am I talking about? My last post about furnace filters and how there has to be a better way than paying for a new one every month. Well, yesterday when I was looking for a special piece of fabric I came across this. It's bridal veil.

I thought..... why not? So I made a simple envelope for the filter to slip inside then whipped a few large stitches on the remaining side to keep it shut. Two or three should do it.

I'm not sure this will work but I'm giving it a try for a few days. So far it doesn't seem to be causing a problem for the furnace. It's thin enough the air flows freely. I'm hoping that the dust will be caught on the veil so it can be slipped off and washed.

Why would I go to this trouble for a cheap air filter? I'm only experimenting. I don't know if you have looked lately; but, some furnace filters cost 30 dollars or more. For my furnace that would mean paying for two filters a month..... which would be over 720 dollars a year. Nope... nada... not in my budget for that.
I'm not going to pay that much for filters but maybe a blog reader does? Or maybe someone has lost a major part of their income and is searching for ways to survive? This would be one way of reusing a filter.... if it works. Even if it only works for one extra use.... it saves money. Money that can be used in other ways.
If you decide to use this.... please be very, very careful. Keep a close watch on the furnace to be sure it works for you before using it permantly. Some furnaces may not work properly doing this. 
Another quilt finished.

A formal feather on the outside border.

A fun feather on the inside border.

One block design.

Second block design.

A fun leafy design on the sashing around the blocks.

I didn't get any work finished on Friday because I took my SIL shopping. Saturday I didn't get any work done either because I was babysitting while my daughter went to buy her another car. Hmm... seems she has graduated to a family size mini-van. It was not her first choice but was the one that is payment free. Paying cash is sensible. I'm proud of her for not taking part of the insurance settlement and buying a car with payments due.

I have some very important quilts to finish this week. The guild challenge quilts. I'm not allowed to show pictures of them so I may not be making a post for a few days. Any time I need to concentrate to get lots of work done.... I stay away from the computer, the tv, or anything that might distract me.
We are expecting an ice storm. It's not supposed to be a major deal; but, it might cause some power outages from falling branches. Which is why I want to get as much done as I can before anything happens. I'm glad I bought some extra lamp oil and new wicks for my lamps. I'm getting my laundry done and doing some cooking. Just in case....

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Short sizing

I'm sure you have heard of short sizing.... right? Ok, let me explain just in case you haven't figured it out yet. Short sizing is when a manufacturer will change the package so it appears you have the same thing you have always bought; but, they have done something to the package to give you less for the same amount of money.

A box of crackers will have one stack with a few missing crackers so it looks like a packaging mistake. Peanut butter, mayo, and many other things that come in plastic bottles now have dimples in the bottom so you really don't notice a few ounces missing..... until you run out sooner than before. Some plastic bottles are now touted as having a handle grip area.... sure that's what they say but it's another way of short sizing.

Well here's my latest discovery of short sizing. I came upon this one by accident. At least I think it's new. I've been unable to find smaller furnace filters. I'm a person who will use what is available so I decided to cut a larger one to the right size. I figured I can make two from one.

You see this furnace filter clearly says 12 x 24? I measured it to find center.

Just look at this. 23 1/2 not 24.

Awww geeze.... this company is short sizing furnace filters! Not only is it 1/2 inch smaller but it's much thinner fibers than before. Does this mean they expect me to buy filters more often? Not if I can help it!! There has to be another way and I will find it somehow.
Well anyway.... I did cut the filter in half. But this leaves one side too flimsy. It needs more strength to handle the strong furnace intake.

Well.... I got some of my trusty cardboard and made a new side for it. Taped the ends and stapled the filter to the cardboard. Now it's strong enough to use.

When it's time to change again, I will remove that piece of cardboard and use it again.
The thing with furnace filters is that the larger size has always cost the same as the small size. Which confuses me about the short sizing. Why not just charge more for the larger size instead? There must be something about their logic that's going over my head.
When I come up with a more frugal way to use furnace filters I'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

She loves it now

The returned quilt is done and received by the owner. She's much happier with it now and so am I. Being a machine quilter means I become a partner with every topper who brings me a top to finish into a quilt. Just like I will be honest when I see a piecing problem.... I hope my customers feel comfortable enough to be honest with me when my quilting isn't quite what they expect. If they don't feel comfortable then I'm doing something wrong.

This is the quilt before it was sent back to me.

I did an echo around the characters on the border corner blocks.

I did a lot of meanering. Meandering is the only thing I could think of doing because of all the do-dads on the signature blocks. But; to make it a bit more interesting I put in some things related to a quilt guild meeting. Coffee/tea mugs. Don't ya love the expression on the face of that dog?

Well what's a quilt guild meeting without sissors, needles, and thread?

Needles need pincushions. None of the pin cushions have needles in them, except for one. Want to know why? Well, it seems all the needles were busy sewing the quilt sandwich together.

Feathers just naturally go with quilts too. I know the feather is hard to see. The best picture I could get though. Try clicking on it to make it larger.

Another top is now a quilt.

Sometimes its hard for me to find the block within the design. I will lay it out on the table and step back. That's when the blocks appear. This one has a border made of squares. It got a feather design on the green / blue part (inside border) and a leaf design on the (outside border) white part.
You see the sashing and the setting triangles? The setting triangles have a leaf and curl design.

The sashing and cornerstones got another type of leaf and curl design. The blocks got line dancing.

Another view of the setting triangles.

Another view of the border feather.

I got another quilt finished too but I can't show pictures of it. I'm not allowed to show picutres of the guild challenge ones.... only my own.
Another top is loaded onto the machine and waiting on me. It's another top that the blocks are not quite visible at first. I haven't quite figured out what to quilt on it yet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Emergancy preparedness

My last blog entry was about how I'm getting my stacks and stacks of papers cleaned up and filed. I thought that while I'm at it I might as well start gathering information for some emergency preparedness packets. I'm going through the papers anyway so why not sort it for the packets at the same time? It's better to prepare for an emergency before there is an actual emergency don't you think?

I got to thinking about what type of emergency I should prepare for and what information I should put together. Remember hurricane Katrina and the thousands and thousands of people who got evacuated? How the kids went one place and the parents went to another? Remember the wildfires that took whole neighborhoods within minutes? Remember the floods and tornadoes that took out whole towns last summer?

After these things happened there was the battle with the insurance companies. You ever wonder why the insurance companies are hesitant to pay? Well, a part of it is just insurance company strategy; but, a major part is that people couldn't prove ownership. You could say you just bought a brand new $30,000 quilting machine two weeks ago when in reality you had a 30 year old machine you found in someone's garage. Insurance companies want proof.

If a burglar broke into my house could I prove what I owned and it's value? Could I prove to the insurance company that I had a whole kitchen full of appliances and a new freezer full of food? How old are my appliances? If a tornado destroyed my house could I prove I own a Gammill and a few thousand dollars worth of gadgets? What about my fabric stash? Or prove I had customer quilts here?

If you evacuated your house without your purse or wallet what hassle would you go through to replace your bank or credit cards and driver's licence?

If you have adopted children or are the guardian of your grandkids and you got separated from them by a disaster.... could you prove they were your children? Especially if you have adopted a child from another country (race) and it's still an infant. Authorities want proof. Can you blame them? What if some desperate person tried to claim your child as theirs?

Ok, I think maybe I've scared you enough. I'm only trying to get you thinking about what information you would need should you loose your house suddenly from some type of disaster.

These are the ideas I've come up with for me.

1. evacuation - if I need to get out of the house in five minutes or less
2. medical - if I should become incapacitated
3. household maintenance - what I own and when it was last repaired
4. household ownership - proving what I own for insurance purposes
5. business - what my daughter would need to know to close up my business
6. furkid - if my purse dog should get lost or bites someone
7. business inventory - machine and all the tools/gadgets for insurance purposes
8. online - sign in names and passwords to all the sites I frequent
9. warranty packet - what is no longer under warranty, what is and when it expires

The emergency preparedness packets you put together should be for your needs. What I put in this blog is only a starting guide. A way to get you thinking. For example if you have children you might need a children's packet - their birth certificates, shot records, fingerprints, dental records, or adoption/guardianship papers, etc. Or maybe you include the records for the whole family in one packet.

Maybe you own a lawn mower or a snow blower or a generator? Do you know where the warranty is? When was it last repaired? What parts? What date? Who was the repairman? What company? If those parts are still under warranty but the same parts break again could you find the right papers to prove the warranty?

When you are preparing your emergency packets.... don't make it convenient for a thief. It's important to have this information in a convenient place to grab as you evacuate out the door BUT....... don't store original documents or personal information that's easy pickings for a thief. If you record things like credit card numbers, social security numbers, and things like that.... it should only be kept in a separate place away from your home. Preferably with someone you would trust with your life or in a safe deposit box.

Some of the packets will have originals and some will be copies. For myself, I'm going to either buy a water/fireproof safe or get a bank deposit box to keep originals copies. Copies of some information can be stored in more than one place too. Some of my copies of important papers will be given to my daughter to keep and some copies will be given to other family members to keep. I think it's important that information is stored in several different places.

Its not going to be easy for me to get these packets of information together. I have quilt deadlines to meet and can't spend the time I need to gather papers. But, this is a necessary thing I must do for myself. As I put together my packets; I plan to post about them here. Maybe by reading about how I create mine you will get ideas for your own..... just in case.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I need to pay attention!

Snow? We were supposed to get snow? I didn't know that. I woke up to snow on the ground. That's what happens when I don't pay attention. I have become so focused on deadlines that I forget to pay attention to the world around me.

Saturday when I was working on the returned quilt.... I ran out of thread. Guess what? I didn't have another cone. Geeze! Another one of those didn't pay attention things. So I have to take that one off the machine and wait until I can get a ride to buy more thread. My daughter was working the weekend so she couldn't take me.

I can't let my machine just sit idle..... can't earn a living that way.... so the returned quilt came off the machine and this one went on. Did I tell you I love my zipper leaders? This quilt is an easy one. It will balance my time between a difficult quilt and an easy one.

It got the circle lord fan design..... which is quick and easy.

I finished that quilt early; but, not early enough to work on another one. So I started looking for a paper document I really needed. I realized that my papers have gotten totally out of order. If there was a disaster and I should have to evacuate on a moments notice; I would be in big trouble. No way could I grab the right papers to take with me. Also, if something should happen to me and my daughter had to take over for me..... she couldn't do it. She wouldn't know where anything legal is kept. Well I started sorting and filing and came up with some ideas to file papers. I put a post about it on my other blog. Here's a picture of the start. It's not a lot but anything is better than what I was doing.

Yesterday my brother took me to the fabric store to get the cone of thread I needed. Today I will get the returned quilt finished and shipped out. This past weekend has been a wake up call for me. I need more organization in my life! I've stayed too focused on quilts while everything around me has gotten totally out of control. That's just not me. I'm usually really organized and a whirl wind of activity.
I have carry over December quilts that still need doing. I have January quilts waiting. I have February quilts here already that somehow now have January deadlines. How did that happen? I guess I didn't pay attention..... again. Obama says this is the year of change.... well it's a year of change for me too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Invoice, invoice, where the heck is that invoice..... you sure you paid me?

Yes, I feel just like the woman in that commercial! Only I'm usually looking for legal documents such as my power of attorney original copy. Now where the heck is that darn thing anyway?

Ok, I've tried to keep my papers organized but somehow it never quite seemed to get done. I would be busy working when the mail came or I would be in a hurry to get onto the machine after an appointment. So I would just toss everything into a box or a pile. Rarely did I take the time to keep my papers organized. For the last two or three years my life has slowly been taken over by the chain that held me to the quilting machine. No time to sort and file papers. There were deadline quilts to be done first!

Everything paper would get tossed into a pile. It didn't matter if it was a sales ad or a legal document. I would not take the time to put it in its proper place because I'm constantly behind schedule. When the pile of papers got tall enough that it was ready to topple over; it would get shuffled out of my way to make room for another pile. Sometimes, on rare occasions, when I found time to file papers; I would not take the time to weed out old non-relevant papers. Which only compounded the problem.

A couple of days ago I was looking for a copy of my power of attorney for my mother. Couldn't find it anywhere among the stacks and stacks of invoices, magazines, sales ads, paid household bills, etc, etc. You know what I mean? It should have been filed but wasn't.

I was also watching the weather channel about the same time a few days ago. It was a show about natural disasters and how people only had a minute or two to evacuate. Their houses were destroyed in minutes by wildfires or floods or hurricanes. Then I got to thinking.... what if there was a disaster and I needed certain papers in only seconds? What if I had only five minutes to grab what I needed and get away from the house?

There's no way on earth I could quickly grab what I might need in only 5 minutes considering the way my papers are right now. How would I prove what I owned if I should have to file an insurance claim? Or show I have power of attorney for my mother if my copy is destroyed? What if I were somehow injured and my daughter had to take over for me? How would she find everything? Would she know what's important and what's not?

Well, I'm determined that this year is the year to finally get my papers in some sort of order.... but it must be easy to maintain. Not just another file cabinet with file after file. But something that I can just go through now and then to polish it up. I also need to make myself a disaster package of necessary items.... just in case. Something I could grab at a moments notice and get out of the house.

I know I can't make several years of papers get organized over night especially with the quilting schedule I have.... but this is a start! One small step in the right direction can get me motivated.

Here is where the "center" of my paperwork organizing is going to be. The second shelf of this bookshelf in my studio. This is only the starting place for my papers. Some things will find new homes along the way.

Here is some of the ways I kept papers in the past. A box that I could toss receipts, invoices, and intake papers into until I got around to it later. I have a bunch of files in a cabinet way back in another room. I have a bunch of books that I use for keeping track of different things. One is for household bills. I use it like a checkbook register. Another book for keeping track of my mother's medical bills and nursing home bills. I need to know what is covered by medicare and what isn't. It also has contact names and numbers concerning her. I have three more of these little books I use to track different things.

Then I have this file of all my appliance warranties and instruction booklets. It's quite overflowing! It needs to be weeded out too.

I took a couple of hours today to sort through some of the paper stacks. A bunch of magazines got sorted out and are ready to be donated to the clinic waiting room. Old sale ads and fabric catalogs were tossed. 5 year old bill statements got shredded. I found the power of attorney that I really needed.

I also got these handy gadgets ready to use this year. Instead of just tossing business related papers into the box. Each month has an envelope for me to put the papers into. At the end of the month I can record everything. Or wait until I have the time because everything will be contained in the right envelope. I've used the envelope file system for many years.... but I wouldn't create the envelopes until the end of the year. Whats new is using them through the year.

Next I went and dusted these trays off. I've had them for a long time but only used them for holding printer paper at the computer. These are going to serve a different purpose from now on. The top "do" tray is for any bill that must be paid or any forms that must be signed. Actually its for any paper that requires me to do something. Make a phone call, write a check, or any action. I will know exactly where the papers are.

Second is the "file" tray which is for any papers that don't require me to do anything. It's either been done already or I simply need to keep the paper. This I can do when the tray gets kind of full or when I take a few minutes each week to do the filing.

Third is the "shred" tray and I'm guessing you know what that means. For me this is a good idea! In the past the shredding stuff was just another pile waiting on a shelf or a counter... in the way. With this tray I'm limited on how much can sit and wait before shredding must happen.

Fourth is the "track" tray which holds all my tracking books. When I come up with a better idea and feel confident enough to switch then I can get rid of the tracking books too.

So here is the shelf with the "center" of my paper organizing. The purple case holds information about quilt shows and contests just in case I want to go. There is my personal phone book, my custom quilt catalog, my customer phone numbers file box, the monthly business envelopes, and my trays.

It felt really, really good to get this much cleaned up. There were 4 garbage bags of shredded papers put out in the trash. Also, I have two stacks of magazines gone. A neighbor took them because she's going to the clinic on Tuesday.

I have a bunch of papers that still need weeding and sorting. For example my appliance file. I need to find a better way of keeping these. I've been thinking about how I would prove ownership if I should need to file an insurance claim? Could I prove the value and age? Is the warranty still good? When was the furnace was last cleaned or repaired? Were the parts guaranteed? For how long?
Hmmm..... this could also apply to things like your car or your snow blower or even the quilting machine. Now when did that guy from Accomplish Quilting come do the maintenance? Was it last year or the year before? Is it due for maintenance again?
Yup, I gotta find a better way to keep track of papers! Hopefully this year it will happen. I must keep reminding myself.... no organizing system will work if I don't take the time to use it.
Now where did I put the bolt cutters? I need to cut the chain that holds me to that quilting machine......

Friday, January 16, 2009

It came back to me and I'm glad

This quilt doesn't have enough quilting. Some toppers like lots of quilting and this owner is one of them. I knew that this would most likely come back to me when I sent it out. I couldn't figure out what else to do with it. I'm still not sure what else I can do. There are lots of do-dads on the signature blocks. I have to come up with something really fast because it needs to be sent back out by Monday at the latest. Hmmm.... there goes my weekend and my MeMe time.

I'm serious. I'm really glad the owner felt she could send it back to me and that she did. The worst that can happen for a machine quilter is for a customer to be unhappy with the quilting but not tell the machine quilter. Instead of returning the quilt and working it out with the machine quilter; the topper just doesn't go back. Then when someone asks why the topper isn't going to the quilter anymore... the topper tells how unhappy they were with their quilt. Then that person tells another.... and that one tells another.... and that one tells another. See what I'm getting at?

All machine quilters know they are part of a team creating a finished quilt. A bad reputation as a team member is nearly impossible to overcome. Toppers should feel comfortable enough to go back to their machine quilter with any concerns. The machine quilter will fix the problems. So while I may be unhappy I made a mistake.... I'm really glad the customer trusted me enough to send it back.

Ok, enough type-talking.... this quilt won't get done unless I get in the studio to do it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catch up work

I had too many life happenings before xmas. Some quilts had to be put off until this month. Yesterday I spent time taking this memory quilt apart. The big pink square should not have been put into this quilt. My mistake.

Before I put it back together I will contact the owner for approval of the new arrangement.

I started to put some pictures in my webshots albums yesterday. I thought it would be a simple process but it didn't turn out that way. There was updates to their software that needed to be downloaded. Then I got to looking at the older pictures. I'm wondering if I should delete any of the albums? I haven't had much traffic to the photos except for the album of organizing.

I really want to make the webshots more search friendly. Make it so that if someone needs ideas for a particular quilt design it's easy to find. I can't take the time and go back to change the old albums but I can work on the new albums.

Before I make any more changes to the webshots I need to think about the best way to arrange them and how to make it more user friendly. It won't do me much good to do a lot of work on the albums only to figure out it should have been done differently.

I would also like to start making some short videos to put into webshots. I read in their new set up that I can do that. I think my camera does let me make short videos. Maybe I'll give it a try just to see if I can figure it out.

I also need to make a few changes to my blogs. To make them easier to find things. I have made one change to my blogs already. I added the "friends" feature so visitors don't need to visit each day to look for a new post. You can become a friend and you will know when I've last posted. If you take a look at my sidebar you can see I have one friend signed up already. You can also see the blogs I frequently visit myself. I have a lot more of those to include as I find time. I like both features!

Time for me to get to work.....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My home made rug frame

A friend has asked to see pictures of my rug frame. Maybe you would like to see it too so here it is. The pictures "should" be click able so you can see them close up. I've had this rug frame for a good many years.

It's merely some 1 x 2 boards with some drilled holes and nails. The nails across the top are 1/2" apart. These boards (called rails) are 2 feet each.

The holes in the side rails are so the size can be adjusted up and down. The bolts are long enough to go through two pieces of wood. The bolts have wing nuts on them. To make a shorter rug, I simply move the top rail down to lower holes.

The legs are simple design. Just enough to hold the frame while I work. I drilled holes through the sides of the boards to hold the bolts for the legs. The reason I didn't make the legs permanent is so I can change the rails for different size rugs.

I have rails in different lengths and widths. To be sure the holes lined up perfectly I taped two rails together before drilling the holes. This makes the rug frame adjustable in many different sizes. All the top and bottom rails have nails. All the side rails have holes about 2 or 3 inches apart. I painted everything just to make it pretty.
For stringing the frame I use polyester twine. I prefer to us this twine because it drys quickly when the rugs are washed. Jute or fabric twine won't dry as easily.
I make t-shirt memory quilts quite often. I don't like throwing away perfectly good fabrics. The left over backs and sleeves make really good rugs. But... if you have a bunch of left over quilting fabrics they make good rugs too.
I use headless nails to make the rug come off the frame easily. At the end of the weaving process it becomes extremely tight. So tight that in fact I have to use a crochet needle to pull the fabrics through the strings. If you use nails with heads on them it will be impossible to remove the finished rug.
I hope you can follow these directions. Pictures are usually better than words.