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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, May 30, 2009

The danger of using coupons

Although coupons can be a very good way to stretch your budget; coupons can also cause your budget to get out of control too. Coupons can cause you to purchase far more than you would normally buy. If you are not careful, you will find yourself buying shampoos you don't like, deodorants you would otherwise not dream of purchasing, far too many packages of hot dogs or mustard, and several bottles of detergent when you realy only need one. (You think I needed 7 bottles of tide? I'll explain why I bought these later.)

How can coupon usage cause your budget woes?

(I will be using the word "you" instead of "a person" in this post to help me keep my thoughts on the comment instead of the grammar.)

In my opinion it's a combination of events that cause someone to over spend using coupons. So let me explain the events. First, there is the economy and the constant media attention of how things are going downhill fast. We all watch the news and read the paper. We hear how more and more people are struggling to stay in their homes. We hear how people are loosing jobs. We hear how the costs of utilities are going up what seems like everyday. We hear how the price of gas is going up which means grocery prices will also be going up. You know the reports I mean. You see or hear them everyday.

You get the news that some of your family members, or friends, or neighbors have lost their job too. It's hitting close to home now. Pretty soon you start to wonder..... will I be the next person to loose my income? A spark of panic starts in your thoughts. How will I support my family if I loose my job? Maybe its a stay at home mom wondering if her husband will loose his job. Maybe it's a senior worrying about how they will manage on Social Security if the prices keep going up and up. Maybe it's a parent thinking what will happen if the kids and grand kids can't afford to live on their own anymore. What ever the reason.... you start to wonder if you will be the next person hit hard by the economy.

So you tell yourself to start finding ways to "get ready just in case." You think to yourself.... hmm, maybe I should start using coupons to stretch my budget. So you start studying the coupon inserts and sales ads from the paper. That's when you realize that some stores will give your money back in register receipt money IF you buy certain products. Drug stores are the ones doing this most these days. Hmm.... a light bulb moment clicks.... if I buy this deodorant instead of my normal brand I can get my money back. I can use the register receipt money to buy more free stuff next week. Hey! This is great! If I do this over and over again every week I can get lots and lots of free stuff from the drug stores.

Next you tell yourself to look for more of these coupon deals in other store ads. You see a grocery ad with a certain mustard on sale 10 for $10. The ad tells us the normal price is $2.99 each. Why don't they just say $1 each instead of 10 for $10? It's a mind game. They are trying to get you to buy 10 instead of just the one you would normally buy. To help them convince you to buy all 10; they also put coupons in the paper making the price at the register only 50 cents each instead of a dollar. So you tell yourself... hey, this is great! I can get $2.99 mustard for only 50 cents. You ask yourself..... Why not? Nothing wrong with a good bargain is there? You find several people to give you their coupon inserts so you have 10 of the coupons for mustard and you purchase all 10 bottles.

Next, you get a big mental pat on the back from the store. How? By the register receipt. It always tells you just how much you saved by buying all 10 bottles of mustard. It's right there at the top of the receipt where you can't miss it. They highlight it with stars so you can't possibly miss the mental pat on the back. Between the sale price and your coupons.... you saved $24.90. Wow! This is great! You spent only $5 and got $29.90 worth of mustard. Never mind that in your normal budget you would have spent only $2.99 instead of $5.

What if someone asks you "What will you do with all that mustard?" Still high on the fact you saved $24.90; you tell them you are stockpiling groceries.... just in case. Your mind is thinking "Hey if I do this on all my groceries, I can save a ton of money". The advertisers have won. You are hooked into the buy, buy, buy,..... buy the amount we tell you to buy strategy.

Your next session with your sale ads and coupon inserts have you searching for more bargains. As many as you can find! So you can save even more money. Lots of money! Hmm... you find hot dogs that normally cost $2.25 can be bought for only 25 cents a pack if you use coupons. Hmm... hot dogs to go with the mustard is not bad. This week you got smart.... you bought 10 news papers instead of one so you have 10 sets of coupon inserts. Potentially you will save $20 on those hot dogs. Never mind that you don't eat more than two packs of hot dogs a year..... you are saving money! You also find toothpaste normally selling for $2.50 on sale for $1.99. You find a coupon for $1 off. So, if you buy 10 tubes of toothpaste you can save $15.10! Never mind that its a brand you wouldn't use without the coupon savings. Over the next few months you find bargain after bargain using the coupon strategy. You buy as many as you can get! You're saving tons and tons of money. You somehow forget to account for the cost of all those newspapers you are buying.

Hmm.... after a few months of stockpiling groceries you get a really big mental pat on the back as you stand and look at all the stuff you've stockpiled..... saving you all that money. Why heck, you've even gotten it down pat by now. You can go to the store and buy $200 or $300 worth of groceries for only $20 or $30! You have enough groceries stockpiled that you could live several months without an income. You could even survive through a disaster like a flood or a tornado or even a power outage. (Just a thought for you to ponder.... what if the disaster wipes out your stockpile?)

Hmm.... as you stand and gaze at your smart money saving stockpile you might start to ask yourself..... why are there still 9 bottles of mustard on the shelves? Are they ready to expire? Why is the freezer still full of hot dogs? Is that freezer burn you see on the hot dogs? Why do you still have so many toothpastes, toothbrushes, and deodorants not being used? Here is where reality sets in..... you have a ton of stuff you will never use. This is the danger of using coupons. You have been lulled into buying for the sake of saving money..... not for simply stretching the grocery budget.

Advertising companies get paid millions of dollars to come up with strategies to part you from your hard earned dollars. The combination of sales and coupons are making millions for the manufacturers during these hard economic times. The advertising companies are professionals at what they do. You are an amature trying to hold onto your money but they are smarter than you at the money game. You can't outsmart the professionals at their own game.

These days the advertisers have other people helping them part you from your money..... coupon sorting sites. The sites that will search out the bargains in the sales ads for you and tell you exactly how much money you can save using coupons. Don't get me wrong, there are advantages to using these sites as well as dangers. You need to fully understand the best way to use these sites for you to truly gain from them.

You might think my purchase of 7 bottles of laundry detergent a bit excessive. (or I wash clothes alot) Not at all. I was going to the store anyway and I had the coupons so I bought 2 for a neighbor, 3 for my daughter, and 2 for myself. I use my coupons only to stretch my budget. I stockpile only the products I would normally buy and use. My stockpile of items are things that I will use before they expire.

Yes, I could buy a cart full of groceries for only a few pennies. I used coupons for many, many years and did the cart full game on more than one occasion. Yes, yes, I know I had given up coupon use a few months ago. I went back to using coupons a couple of weeks ago. The reason is that I have a group of young people wanting to learn about coupons. I agreed to start working with coupons again for awhile so these people can learn by example. I may continue to use them and I may not. It depends on my budget in a few weeks.

I would continue on writing this post but I believe it will be better if I wait until tomorrow and do another post. Tomorrow I can take pictures of each step as I work out my strategy for the best use of my coupons. Right now I need to get into the kitchen and put away the food I bought Friday. The reason I bought 7 bottles of tide is.... 2 for my neighbor, 3 for my daughter, and 2 for myself. I really shouldn't have bought the tide and stuck with a cheaper brand.... but I indulge myself now and then.

Friday, May 29, 2009

This one won a ribbon! Congratulations Sheila.

This quilt (at least I think it's this one) won second place in the Southern Comforts Quilt Show in South Carolina. The reason I'm not exactly sure it's this one is because I did two quilts, for two different ladies, that used the same pattern and very similar fabrics. The lady that made the winning top is Sheila Wright of Bluffton, SC.

She called me about it a couple of days ago but I had to go searching through my blog posts and my photos before I could post about it. If you want to see more of the photos and close ups of it then go back through my blog posts to April. I would put a link here but blogger isn't cooperating with me on links at the moment.

This is the center of the quilt.

I'm very proud that I could quilt it well enough to win a ribbon for her. I hope it's the first of many ribbons for the ladies of Bluffton, SC! Hi Ladies!

On another note.... I'm very tired. The all day shopping trip is over and I'm taking a short break before starting to put everything away. I wanted to get off my feet a few minutes. That's why I'm sitting at the computer.

I scanned through my emails looking at the titles. I didn't want to open them up to read but I was looking to see if there was anything extremely urgent to answer. I saw an interesting title that got me curious. It seems a reporter from the Courier Journal wants to interview me about my frugal ways. I can't see that I'm any more frugal than everyone else these days? I guess I'll find out why she chose me when she calls me. When I find out when the article will be in the paper I'll let you know.

Ok, my short break is over. Time to put all that STUFF away. I won't be doing any quilting this weekend. I've GOT to get some organizing things done...... for my sanity.
The next finished quilt

This is a baby quilt. The design of the fabric is the focus so my challenge was to do a design that didn't take away from it. I did stitch in the ditch around the blocks and borders with clear thread.

I did a simple bow pattern on the four patch blocks.

I did a pretty feather design on the border and a loop design on the inside border.

Here is the bow from the back. These are freehand so no two are exactly alike.

This is the simple outline of the fabric design. Just enough to hold this area together but not distract from the fabric picture.

This is the feather and loop designs from the back.

After the day was finished I worked on this for about half an hour. There's no hurry on getting it finished. I just like working on it is all.

This is a quick post because today is shopping day. I did take some time yesterday with things other than quilting. I know..... I should have kept quilting. What I did was take measurements and made notes of things that must be done around this house. I want to do what I can to get organized again. If I don't..... it will start to make me depressed. I can't keep quilting if the house is mentally weighing on me. I'm still behind schedule and it will be impossible to catch up so a couple of days of making plans is good for me mentally. It energizes me.
I took yesterday to do the measuring and planning because I'm shopping today. Since I'm going to be in the stores anyway..... why not take the opportunity to check out some prices and look for organizing ideas? I won't be buying just yet. For now it's enough to know what I want to accomplish and start looking for possibilities.
It's almost like the sensation one gets when deciding what quilt to start piecing next. Look through books. Look at fabrics. Look online. You know what I mean. Somewhere along the search, the next quilt just pops up and you start making it. That's what I'm doing with the organizing. Searching for the next project. Hopefully by doing one small project at a time.... it will eventually get done.
Gotta get off the computer now. Time to catch the bus to get my brothers car and pick up my SIL. It's going to be a full day of shopping.... smile.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Next finished quilt

It wasn't difficult to do. It just took more time than I thought. Not from the quilting but from the interruptions. Pleasant interruptions though. I've had some quilt tops dropped off to be quilted and a couple picked up. These are occasions to visit. So though there were interruptions, I enjoyed them all.

This is a view of the completed quilt.

I have a hard time getting good pictures on cloudy days. We've had a lot of clouds and rain lately. I did a flower in the center pieces of the blocks.

I did a leaf vine design on the pieces around the block. I treated them as if they were sashing. Going from the corner to the middle is usually the way but these are a little different. One side has a longer vine and the other has a shorter one. The vine is worked opposite on the other side. I hope you can see that in the picture.

I did a simple swag design on the outside border and a loop design on the inside border.

What's up with customer service lately? I went to one of the local Hancock Fabrics to take advantage of a thread sale. I should have known better!! Actually, I hate the local Hancock stores but its the only place where I can purchase the thread that works best on my machine.
Anyway, they were sold out of the colors I wanted to buy. Naturally! Sale stuff is rarely in stock at the time of a sale. So I asked for a rain check. Can you believe it? They wanted me to PAY for a rain check. Geeze! I think that's going a little too far.
When I complained to the manager about having to PAY for a rain check and said I was going to contact the headquarters.... she smiled at me smugly.... wrote out the phone number and handed it to me saying "go right ahead." It would be different if the sale item was something they don't normally carry; but thread is always there. You would think knowing I buy lots and lots of thread regularly and the threat of Hancock stores closing all over the country would give them incentive to treat customers better. Evidently not.
There is another store that also has questionable customer service. It's the Smocking Shop fabric store here. I've called several times to purchase two new bobbin cases for my Bernina 1230. Several times over the last week I've left my phone number and what I need. I guess the clerks can't order parts. Only the technician can. She's always gone and has never returned my calls. I asked if I might call her where she was at? I had to laugh when one of the clerks told me the technician couldn't be called where she was at because there was no phone yet...... but before I hung up, the clerk said she would call the technician right away to have her call me right back. Huh? If she can't be reached by phone... how can you call her? I hung up.
I guess it's a good thing I'm was not purchasing a new very expensive machine because I wouldn't be able to place the order. Then what if I did buy a new machine and there was a problem with it.... no technician available to help solve the problem. I called a friend that lives in Indianapolis to ask where she takes her Bernina for service. I have a new phone number to call today. Hopefully, I can order the new bobbin cases and a couple of extra screws for them.
I was reading the manual for my mp3 player and it does say it's WMA compatible. So in theory it should work to get books from any site that has WMA. I think the problem is that most books need lots of memory but this player doesn't have it. Maybe 2GB is not enough memory to handle books? My daughter is taking it back to exchange for one that is listed on the library sites. She insists on getting me another one. Tells me it was a Mother's Day gift and she still wants me to have it..... and no arguments from me about it. So I give in.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Update on the mp3

I've been able to get the audio books from the library to my computer. I visited these sites which are a part of the Louisville Library system.

Foreign Service Institute Language Courses - Includes MP3s of language learning audio tapes and PDFs of student textbooks that have entered the public domain. Over twenty languages are represented
LibriVox - Includes public domain books, poetry, and dramatic works read by volunteers.
NetLibrary - Includes best-sellers, book club favorites, biographies, award winning authors, language study programs, young adult fiction, and more.
OverDrive - Includes best-sellers, popular authors, fiction and non-fiction.
Podiobooks.com - Includes serialized audio books available through direct download or RSS feeds.
Project Gutenberg - Includes human read and computer generated audio books.

I now have Adobe Media Player, Windows Media Player, Overdrive Media Player, and Netflix Media Player on my computer thanks to the different sites requiring different media players. That's a lot of media players on one computer.

I can listen to the books easily on my computer; but, the computer is 4o feet away (in another room) from where I want to hear them.

As was suggested; I went back to each site to check for compatability of my mp3. Well it seems my brand is not supported at any of the sites. Only the most expensive mp3 players are supported. I should have known that! I should have known it was TOO easy. I thought it would be soooo convenient to get books as often as I wanted by simply getting on the internet. For me, nothing is ever that easy. I'll have my daughter see if the mp3 can be returned.

I guess I have to go back to the old fashioned way of getting my library books. I have to actually go there to check them out. Or maybe.... just maybe, I can burn the library books to a cd with the computer then play them on my cd player? Would this work? I don't know. I'll put cds on my shopping list so I can give it a try. If I get rewrite disks I can use them over and over again... is that right?

Ok, enough worry over the mp3 problem. I have a new problem to deal with. My kitchen sink has decided to run constantly. I heard it start during the night and got up to see what was going on. It's not just a drip.... but a good size stream of constant hot water. The faucet needs new washers. Constantly running hot water is an expensive problem. Not only will the water bill be higher but so will the gas that's used to heat the water unless I get it shut off right away.

Guess what? Yup, the water cut off knob is way, way in the back of a deep corner cabinet. The cabinet is full of cleaning supplies and other stuff. I was not going to clean out the cabinet in the middle of the night so I could crawl in there to reach the cut off knob. I let it run until this morning when I can clean out the cabinet. I guess I'll be carrying water from the bathroom to wash dishes for awhile. It's just not in my budget to pay a plumber yet. I guess if I have to pay a plumber anyway; I might as well buy a new faucet and sprayer too. The sprayer quit working several years ago. So a new faucet and sprayer go on the shopping list and plumber goes on the budget sheet.

Well..... I'm getting off the computer now so I can go clean out the cabinet. Then it's back to the quilting machine. I enjoyed my holiday away from work.... even if it was frustrating.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How can anything so small and cute be soooo FRUSTRATING?!

See the new mp3 player? Smaller than the cell phone. Really dainty and cute.

It's supposed to be very simple to operate. It's supposed to be able to download books from the library so I can listen while I work. It's supposed to be as easy to operate as a simple tape player. YEAH... RIGHT! What it's supposed to do and what it actually does are not compatable.
Today and most of yesterday were spent trying to make this darn thing do what it's supposed to do. I've gotten absolutely nothing accomplished except doing laundry and house cleaning while I wait.... and wait.... and wait as different software upgrades loaded to my computer so I could access the library site. I've gone through all the instructions time after time after time. Done one step at a time over and over again.
It still doesn't work. It's now been shoved inside a drawer to gather dust along with all the other electronic devices I can't seem to get to work like the instruction books tell me "is really simple". Either the books lied or else I'm a complete idiot when it comes to electronic gadgets. Or.... it's simply not compatable with the libraries where I can download books.
Ok, I've wasted enough time on this dag gone thing! Tomorrow I go back to quilting without any books to listen to while I work. At least the house is half way clean again. (smile) Oh yes, and I did add an "issue quilt" tutorial to my other blog today too.

Dealing with quilt issues

My sincere apologies..... this is not going to be a really good tutorial. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.... well I forgot to take some pictures and some are lost in cyber space. I'm doing this post because it's at least a start. Anyone stopping by for help with issue quilts will get some ideas. Even if the instructions aren't complete.

I have another issue quilt waiting that I will try to do a better job of taking pictures for better instructions. With issue quilts we cannot take it apart and remake it. (Unless we are hired to do that.) Our job is only to get it quilted so it can be used and loved.

Ok, the first thing is that I always float the tops. Floating is when the backing is attached to the leaders but the top isn't. The top floats on the backing and batting. Floating lets me control the top as I manipulate it to stabilize. I stabilize by doing a stitch in the ditch around all the blocks and borders. No quilting is done anywhere else at this time. I don't stitch around any of the pieces either.... just around the blocks and borders only. If I plan to do any stitch in the ditch around the pieces this is done at a later stage of the quilting process.

As I stabilize I'm also going to the end of my machine to check on the straightness of the blocks (or sashing).... by eye. I can look down the machine to see if the sashing is fairly straight. Since the top is floating; if I see things are not quite straight then I can lift up the top to shift it here and there. I don't worry about extra fullness anywhere at this time. It's more important to keep it "pleasing to the eye straight".

As I advance the quilt to do more stitch in the ditch; I'm keeping myself constantly aware of whether the top is doing the hourglass dance. This is when the beginning edge is very straight but the top gradually bows in toward the middle then outward again as you pass the center of the top giving it an hourglass figure.

If you have ever had a really good beginning when quilting a top; but, when you get to the last edge find that you have lots of friendliness (waves) in the last border, this is most likely caused by the hourglass dance. It shifted into the center but didn't shift back out again. I check this with each advance by measuring from the end of the bar to the edge of the top. I try to keep the measurement within 1/4 inch of the same amount with every advance. (I will take pictures of this when I do the next issue quilt.)

So here is when I can start showing pictures. I've done a stitch in the ditch to stabilize the whole top and basted along the edges of the top. Now that the stabilizing is done, I can move back and forth with the quilting..... going to the areas that need quilting first. Moving to the next area and so forth.

Here is what the blocks look like after the stabilizing. See all the extra fullness in there? This is when I can start to deal with it. Before starting the quilting in each block; I first use my hand to evenly distribute the fullness as much as possible.

Then I do a small amount of quilting in the block. Here I've done the stems and tulips on half of this block. That's the only quilting I will do in all the blocks for now. I want the quilting to be done gradually in each block so it's quilted evenly over the whole top. I hope that makes sense.... geeze.... I wish I could make a video! Maybe I can figure out how to quilt and film at the same time before I get to the next issue quilt.

Here I've moved to another block and distributed the fullness as much as I can.

Here I've done some of the quilting.

I do only this much quilting in every block across the whole top. I don't worry about the extra fullness in the other areas of the blocks... I only deal with one spot in each block at a time. When I reach the end of the quilt I start working my way back to the beginning by repeating the process of distributing fullness and quilting only one area of each block.

Here is my third pass over the quilt top. The tulips are all quilted and I'm quilting in the next area of fullness.

I do the top of the block and the bottom of the block.... leaving the side areas for the next pass.

Now I'm ready to go back over the top again filling in the side areas of the blocks. See the fullness? It's starting to look a little better. (Its the wrong picture but it fits the idea)

I guess I should have also said that I do stitching designs with open areas where the extra fullness can lay without looking too obvious. As much as possible I do stitching that does not cross over itself. Backtracking is ok but crossing over creates tucks. Tucks are very distracting to the eyes taking away from the beauty of the quilt. Tucks are much worse than extra fullness.

Here is another block I'm ready to do some quilting on. Notice the fullness before...

and how it looks after.

The next pass I did the sashing. No pictures.... sorry. Although you can see it in this picture. Yes, there is extra fullness in the sashing. But, it's less obvious now. Next I started quilting the last area of the blocks... the corners.

The fullness is still there.... I can't wave a magic wand to take it all out. The point is that the extra fullness becomes far less of an issue when the quilting is done and the quilt is "eye pleasing straight".

Here's what I mean. Here is the finished quilt. The sashing is relatively straight making the whole quilt look pleasing to the eyes.

This quilt didn't have any actual borders so I couldn't show how I deal with those. A couple of washings and the extra fullness will relax into the batting. Vintage quilts are very rarely perfectly flat and even. Vintage quilts were made by people without our modern tools and gadgets.... or our knowledge of pressing at each step of construction.

In my personal opinion.... pressing... is the number one thing a new quilter can do to improve their piecing. It's also one step a beginner will avoid doing. But that's another tutorial story.

Although this post isn't quite what I had planned... I hope you get at least some useful information from it. Issue quilts are a big part of the professional machine quilter's income. Whether it be a vintage top, a beginner's top, or a not so careful intermediate topper's top..... issue quilts somehow find their way onto our waiting list. Only the most advanced toppers will create tops without any issues. Learning to work with issue tops is a major part of becoming a good professional machine quilter.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A couple more quilts done

This one belongs to my friend Marilyn (Metaphor in fabric). I knew as soon as I saw it what design would look nice on it. It's very small so it didn't take long. About 3 hours total.

Native American designs look really nice with straight line type designs behind them. Not perfectly balanced lines though. They look better if done freehand and a little off balance.

I did three different line designs on the three blocks.

I like this background design the best.

I also finished this quilt.

I had a hard time getting pictures of the stitching. It only showed up on the lighter color fabrics.

I did different designs in each of the colors of the fabrics.

See what I mean about the stitching not showing up in the pictures?

When those two were done I saw it was time for some machine maintenance and cleaning. Picked strings from the leaders.

Gave the machine wheels and tracks a good cleaning. Then cleaned and oiled the machine.

When I finised that I started sewing another backing to the leaders..... what the heck? I wasn't getting any bobbin tension on my household machine. I thought maybe the thread wasn't in the bobbin correctly. Nope, that wasn't the problem.... the screw that holds the tension spring is gone. Yikes! It's so tiny there's no hope of finding it. What do I do now?

The Bernina dealer where I could get parts went out of business a few months ago. I get online to see if I can order parts from the Bernina home. Nope, evidently they don't sell parts. They had a list of Bernina dealers and I found one here locally.... but it might as well be in another state. It's on the other side of town and I don't have the time for long bus rides. Quilts need to get finished. I called the store and yes they can do an over the phone sale but the technitian is out of town until later today. Whew! I'm relieved. I can wait for a little while. I do love my Bernina 1230. It's a workhorse of a machine.

This morning I did some online research for instructions on diabetic diets. Online research takes a bunch of time before I know it. I have a ton of books with recipes for diabetics. What I want to know is how to figure out what portions are correct when I create my own recipes. I know there is a formula but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. I remember it's something about adding up the exchanges of all ingredients then dividing to get the portion size. I searched dozens of diabetic information sites.... but none have the formula. Bummer! Maybe I'll come across it when I finally get a chance to sort and organize again.
Now it's time for me to get to work.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Well now.... this one is finally done

This is the vintage quilt I showed a few days ago. This is one side.

This is the other side. Can you see that the sashing is relatively straight?

If you remember after stabilizing, the blocks originally looked like this. Plenty of fullness in them.

The fullness is still there but it's distributed so it's less noticeable. See in the corner of this block where some of that fullness is?

The side of the block where more fullness is hiding.

A close up of the tulip and a part of the sashing so you can see the fullness is less noticeable.

Once this quilt is washed a couple of times the extra fullness will relax into the batting and be even less noticeable than it is now.

When I get a chance I will put this on my helpful hints blog giving a little more details about how I accomplished it. I should have time by the weekend.... no promises though.... I never know when I might wind up in the hospital.
I've noticed that since I started moderating the comments sent to my blogs.... I've gotten no bad or weird stuff. I'm glad I did that!
Gotta go now... lots to do today. My doctor appointment was changed to another day due to her having an emergency elsewhere.
p.s. The corn I put into the freezer was store bought. It was on sale 5 ears for a dollar and I bought 40 ears of it. My daughter took half leaving me wishing I had bought more. I'm sure it will be on sale again around the 4th of July holiday so I plan on stocking up again then.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The fabric fairies came again

This time they left me something to organize the fabrics instead of leaving fabrics. These are really nice. I don't know exactly where I will put them up. I'm thinking in the basement if I ever get a stairway built to get down there.

These shelves came with a whole bag of connectors. I can make the shelf unit in any way I need. I can use them for anything I want.... not just for fabrics. I think they will be great for storing my canned goods or my less often used dishes or maybe even my small cardboard pieces when I get back to creating cardboard furniture again.

I slept almost the whole day. The after effects of the morphine made me too drowsy to operate machinery. On one of my brief awakes I decided to put these in the freezer. I didn't want them to go bad.

Got them all flash frozen and repackaged for single servings. Then I went back to bed and slept until this morning.

Each bought with an illness and each hospitalization leaves me more feeble. I can feel it. Not a good sign at my age. Yet the bills must be paid and the quilts must get finished. I'm even more behind schedule. I best get into the studio pretty soon and do what I can. Tomorrow is another day away from quilting because I have a follow up appointment with the doctor. That takes a whole day.
How far behind schedule am I now? I haven't a clue. My best guess is about 3 or 4 months. That's not good. Customers don't want to hear about medical or personal problems.... they don't want to hear excuses..... they want to know when their quilts will be finished. I can't be a professional quilter and sick at the same time. That simply won't work.
I have a choice and I choose to be healthy again! It will require some work on my part to do less quilting and make healthier choices. I will work less, eat better foods, sleep regularly, get out of the quilting chair and exercise, get more sunshine. I will start my health journey by asking advice from my doctor tomorrow. It's always best to start with the doctor.
Ok, enough self pep talk for now. A quilt is waiting on me. I must remember..... I am but one person. I can do only so much. I have to accept what I can do and trust that the rest will get done in it's own time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hmm.... where have I been?

Back in the hospital. I sure do get sick of being sick. No it wasn't strep throat. I seem to have escaped that.... which rarely happens. This time I had kidney stones again. This time the CT scan found three stones were being passed. Very intense pain! A couple of shots of morphine in the IV and I'm in la la land without a care in the world. But... there is no more pain. A couple of days of morphine and it's all over... for now.

I left the hospital last night acting like a drunk person. My daughter laughs at my attempts to walk straight and talk without slurring the words. Ladybug can't figure out why NaNa won't carry her as usual.

Today will be used for sleeping off the after effects of all the morphine. I have a doctor appointment on Wednesday for a follow up. I'm told that the doctor can prescribe a medicine to help prevent the stones. So why didn't I get the prescription the last time? Who knows? Wednesday I'm going to be sure I come home with a new prescription. If I can prevent it... I don't intend to go through that pain ever again!

I'm down to the very last row of finishing the vintage quilt. If I wake up enough to safely get on my machine later today then I will get that done and another one put on. I'm not going to take any chances though.... safety first.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Studio desk - part 2

I was asked how to make the drawers slide easily in my cardboard furniture so I decided to include the instructions here as the next step of creating my desk. I had hoped to have more time for working on this and creating really good instructions but as always... quilting comes first.

In order to make the drawer area.... you need to enclose it with cardboard sides. These areas are cut separately and custom fit into the space. What you see at the back of the drawer space is the back of the desk cabinet.

Here is another drawer area. Can you see how I've measured and cut the interior pieces to fit?

The piece that was cut from the front profile to create the drawer space now becomes the front of the drawer itself. The rest of the drawer is custom cut to make a simple box. I make the box itself at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch smaller than the opening in both width, height, and depth. This give the drawer plenty of room for sliding.

All exposed connections and edges are covered with paper packaging tape. The kind that requires water to activate the glue. Can you see down inside the box (drawer) where I have covered the joints with tape? Sometimes I make my own paper tape from newspaper strips and school glue.

Can you see the tape around the opening of the drawer area and around the top edge of the drawer? This disguises the flutes and creates a smooth edge for painting later.

At this stage the drawer fronts fit exactly the opening it was cut from. To make it better; another piece of cardboard should be cut at least one half inch larger than the opening and centered then glued to the front piece of the drawer. This not only gives more strength but keeps it from sliding too far back. Of course if you don't mind the drawer being flush with the front then don't do the extra piece on the front.

I plan to make some drawer pulls from buttons or maybe paper mache ones. I could buy some drawer handles but that would take away from the whole make it all myself concept.

Instead of making drawers these openings could become open shelves or with the addition of a door could become the shelves inside a cabinet.
I'm planning a book or a dvd or another blog.... something? It will have more complete details about creating cardboard furniture. It will include instructions about how to put decorative details like scrolls and carvings on the pieces. How to make roll top desks and sliding doors for cabinets. How to make drawer handles and door hinges from cardboard. Things of that nature. So far I've just been doing a plan. An outline of the things I want to include in the book or whatever it turns out to be.
Once I get the plans together then I will need to decide how it will be made. Do I go with a publisher? Do I buy a camcorder and hire to be the editor? Should I hire someone to make me a pay to view website? Should I self-publish? There are lots of details to be worked out. This is where I need advice from someone who is already a published author.... or a financial advisor.... I'm not sure who to ask for advice? Anyone know who I should ask?