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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.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching up

The hearts are finished. The color of the photo is not the true color. These are primary red and yellow.

I think they should be auctioned as a pair. Don't you think so too?

I really hope they raise some money for the charity. They might be a little too cutesy among all the rest of the artists stuff. There are some really fantastic and well known artists donating to this charity auction.
Oh goody! Look what I get to do the next few days.... or is it weeks? It's time to weed through the confusing government medicare stuff for Mom.

I had to test out the machine for level and all that good stuff after the floor got finished so the practice quilt went on for a day. While sitting and waiting for someone to pick up their quilt I doodled a bit testing out some designs to go on it eventually.

By the time I get ready to actually work on this one again I'll probably change my mind and do newer designs.

I did finally manage to get accepted to Freecycle. There was a problem with my yahoo identification. An easy fix and a simple reapplication did it. As soon as I learn the rules of the group I can start putting things on there I want to get out of my house.
Right now I'm feeling overwhelmed and under appreciated. I can't seem to find time for ME these days. Doing things for my Mom. Babysitting for my daughter. Calming my brother. Chauffeuring my SIL. ETC. Normally none of this would bother me.... but (there's always a but) It's been continuous for several weeks. No restful times in between.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday was for my daughter. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning for my brother. Thursday afternoon for Mom and my brother again. Friday for my daughter again. Saturday day for my SIL. Saturday night and Sunday for my daughter again. Hmm.... did you see a day for ME in there someplace? And this is just this past week.
Don't get me wrong. I love that I can help. I love all of them so I don't mind helping if I can.
How do I explain it? I've talked about it before that NO ONE sees quilting as a legitimate business. To them its just a hobby. A hobby is something you do when you have nothing else to do. They believe since I work at home I can just drop everything for them whenever they need something. What they can't seem to grasp is..... if I don't create it, I can't sell it. If I don't quilt it, I can't get paid for it.
So.... next week, (two weeks if I can swing it) I will not be available for family!!! I'm not answering the phone unless its a customer. My curtains will be drawn. My doors will be locked. I'm not the only person in this family so let everyone call somebody else for a couple of weeks. Heck, call each other for a change. The world will not fall apart if I'm not available.
I'm gonna have myself an at home retreat. For the next two weeks I'm determined to get my house back in order and also get some quilting done.
Hmm... I'm gonna get of the computer and get started right now.

Slippery templates and rulers?

I thought the quilters reading my blog might want to see more helpful hints for quilting. I wanted to come up with a catchy phrase like other blogs have. I've seen some like Tool Time Tuesday or Design Wall Monday. Lots of good ones out there. I just couldn't come up with one for me.

Since I hadn't been quilting (or anything else) for several days it was difficult to come up with a new hint for you. Well, the floors are done except for the bathroom / laundry room. Most of my things for the studio are moved back in. At least enough so I can function. I had also gotten side tracked with several other frugal living tips.

Let me ask you.... Have you ever gotten aggravated when you are cutting fabric with your rotary cutter and your ruler slips a bit? Have you used a plastic template for machine quilting and it just doesn't want to stay perfectly lined up? There is a plastic film you can purchase.... hmm, I can't remember what it's called... but it's clear and you cut it to fit the template or ruler. It keeps them from slipping.

Hmm.... I've bought that plastic film before and it didn't want to stay put either. Way too much money for something that only works part of the time. So here's a cheaper alternative. Rubber cement. This one is acid free, photo safe, and costs about $1 a bottle. One bottle goes a long, long way.

Simply coat the back of your template or ruler and allow to dry overnight. It dries clear enough you can see the lines and numbers. It won't harm the plastic and it can be easily removed by rubbing with your finger. It's a temporary fix for slipping. It will eventually rub off with use. When using this on your template or ruler just be sure to pick them up to move instead of sliding. Sliding will roll the rubber cement right off. Oops!
If you are putting this on very large rulers or templates it's best to put the cement in spots rather than all over. Put in just enough places to keep the ruler from slipping. Rubber cement doesn't dry completely. There's a stickiness to it even when dry. This helps with the slipping too.

Membership denied?

I got a lot accomplished yesterday. Most of the studio and kitchen stuff got put back where it belonged. At least enough that I can function.

I was tired from the work and started getting irritated that I have sooooo much stuff. It seems sometimes to be an endless cycle of stuff piling up.... stuff getting organized.... stuff piling up.... stuff getting organized.

I decided more things have got to go! I think I went through this same thing not long ago? Getting rid of stuff! I tried signing up for Freecycle here in Jefferson County. I believe some of this stuff is what would be good to give away to someone else.

I was denied membership in the Jefferson County Freecycle Yahoo group. The reason given was that my Yahoo profile was "inappropriate" (whatever that means) and they couldn't verify I live in Jefferson County. I looked at my Yahoo profile and it clearly states I live in Louisville, Kentucky which everyone living here knows is Jefferson County. I saw nothing inappropriate. Well! Since the local Freecycle doesn't want me as a member then the stuff will go to a thrift store or to a landfill.

I best get started on my day. Lots more to get organized and I have two customers coming today to pick up their quilts. These were finished before the floor work started.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Give me a break! Pretty please

The floors are finished. Well, except for the bath room/laundry room. That flooring hasn't come in yet. It won't be a big problem of moving things around for that though. I'm very happy with the work the floor guy did. It's even better than it was before the flood. Time for me to put everything back where it belongs. Nothing in the studio except the intake table and stuff that happened to land there.

As well as the quilting machine and the stuff that landed there too. Yippie! An organizing clean slate.

The trouble with emptying a whole room and getting new shinny floors is that I started noticing how dirty everything else was. Moving the shelves and tables out of the room let me see all the accumulation of dirt and dust. Oh yes, and the grimmy door too. I have yet to figure out how the door gets so many hand marks when I always.... always.... use the handle. It must be everyone else's hand prints? You ever notice that no one pays much attention when things are clean but they sure do notice when things aren't?

Geeze, the baseboards have dust.... how long has this been there? It was hidden by the shelving unit.

Heck, the dust even clings to the walls.

There are cob webs everywhere! Especially near the ceiling. I swear I never noticed those before the room got cleaned out. You think the fabric fairies were decorating for Halloween?

The skylight has several years worth of dust and cobwebs; but I don't have a 30 foot ladder to reach those. They will remain. No one ever looks up that high anyway.

The things on the walls, clock, business licence, threads... it all has an accumulation of dust. Just look how thick it is on this.

The curtains? Yup, dust there too.

Not just on top either.

So everything is getting a really good cleaning. I started at about 4 am washing the baseboards and the walls. As soon as it started getting light I took down the curtains to wash them. Removed the old window plastic too. The wood got a thorough cleaning and new plastic went on there by the time the curtains got washed and dried. (Sure wish I had those window quilts done.)
I even spent nearly 30 minutes trying to open the windows so I could wash those. I wanted to wash the inside between the storm window and inside window. I finally gave up because they are painted shut. So I washed the outside. Washed the inside. I'll let the dirt in between remain until sometime in the spring. (but which year?)

I'm cleaning and scrubbing away (on a roll) when I get interrupted. My SIL had her panties in a bunch and wanted the Peddlers Mall booth cleaned out.... today. We had already talked about giving it up. She wanted my brother out of the house and out of her way so today it was. Not Thursday like I had planned. So all the stuff from the booth that is mine gets put into the studio in the corner. (Gosh! I hadn't even got it all cleaned before stuff gets tossed in there again. No matter how hard I try to keep things clean and organized, like a well oiled machine, someone tosses a wrench into the cog wheel.

I made a side trip before coming home though. I bought new floor vents. Can't have nice shiny new floors with ugly vents can I? I also bought the pieces to rehang my closet (bi-fold) doors. Years of use has broken the holders at the top and bottom. Oh shoot! I forgot to get some hooks so we can keep little hands from getting into the wrong closets. Well, I do need to baby proof the house so another trip to the hardware will be in the near future.

I am determined that at least one room will be organized and clean before it all gets messed up again with my daughter and grand daughter's stuff. Ya know, I could have left the dirt and dust and got back onto the quilting machine.... but.... this is my time. One more day can't hurt. I didn't plan this but I'm sure gonna catch the silver lining. I can reorganize and make it better. As Kathi told tell me..... I'm not months behind on the organizing for this year.... I simply have a head start on it for next year.
Thanks Kathi, I needed that!
It's late and I've put in a really full day of cleaning so I'm headed to bed to watch a little tv before my eyes get too heavy. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Recycle? or re purpose and up cycle? Just words.


It's hard to be creative when new floors are going in and nothing is where it's supposed to be.

While at the same time there is equipment like this in my creative space.

I am always thinking thrifty even in the kaos. I've told you how I sometimes save money in micro amounts? Well here is one example. I bought two new pillows on my last shopping trip. How is that thrifty? It's not the purchase of the pillows.... it's what I do with the plastic bags. It's going into a landfill anyway so why not save myself a few pennies.....

by using it as a garbage bag?

I calculated that garbage bags in my favorite brand cost about .04 cents each. So from two pillows I saved a whopping .08 cents. But these are only two bags I will use for trash. Sometimes I get large plastic shopping bags which are the right size. I usually ask the clerk to double bag for me. That's another .08 cents. Multiply this by 25+ times a year and I get enough in savings to buy a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread..... or better still.... a fat quarter of fabric on sale.

I have other thrifty things planned for this blog as soon as the construction dust settles. I've managed to quilt some plain fabric for window quilts. Nothing fancy - just quilted. I'm going to do a tutorial on how to attach the quilts to the window so they go up and down like a shade.

I hope to do a video tutorial of how I practice drawing a design so I can stitch it freehand with the machine. I first have to remember the steps for getting a video into a blog. I've forgotten. I also plan to show how I take an old sweater and create gloves, a hat, and a vest from it. No knitting required. Just sewing. There are several other things too.

I've always used the word "recycling" but recently realized I should be saying "re purposing" or "up cycling" when talking about making something out of an otherwise thrown away object. Geeze, it's hard for an old person to keep up with the new trendy words. At any rate, I hope I don't loose any of my blog readers before I get back to posting regularly.

No good deed goes....

Not long after hurricane Katrina I heard about a lady who was a costume designer but had lost everything. She desperately wanted to get back into business and a group of people were helping her by donating items. She really needed a sewing machine and a serger. I didn't think I would need my serger anymore so I gave it to her along with some silky fabrics. It was a really nice professional version 6 thread serger and I had collected several specialized feet for it. I never heard anything about the lady after she went back to New Orleans but I hope she managed to start earning a living again.

The minute the serger was gone..... I realized I really shouldn't have let it go. I truly missed it once it was gone. Isn't that how it usually is? We don't think we will need something so we toss it or donate it only to realize we should have kept it? Hmm... that's how people become hoarders isn't it? Keeping things they believe they will need someday.

I can't count the number of times I've wanted to do something but couldn't because it required a serger. Especially making alterations to my clothes or making the grand kids something. Did I tell you I really miss that serger?! I can't afford to just go out and purchase a brand new serger now that I've retired. If I set my mouth just right (and wish really hard) there might be a serger I can afford at some thrift store. You think I will be able to find one? Probably not. I will look but at the same time I'll set aside a savings so I can buy one again. This time I'll put a note on it to never donate it.

The flooring is almost finished. One last room to do and that will be done on Monday. They can't set up the saw outside while it's raining. Now why couldn't Mother Nature hold off on the rain just one more day? Since everything is hap hazard all over the house.... it's gonna be a great time for me to sort and purge again when putting everything back where it belongs. Hopefully I won't toss something I really should keep.

Well, I guess the stuff won't get put away by itself. Best I get started.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I'm not sure about it

Today in the mail I received an invitation to join the Louisville Artisans Guild (LAG). I received a one year free membership because I won a blue ribbon at the fair. The free membership leaves me with several questions that I need answered before joining. Even a free membership isn't a good idea if its not a good fit.

I've heard about LAG for several years. I've never tried to get into the guild because it's supposed to be a juried membership. Or at least I thought it was. In other words, in order to become a member your work must be judged by a group of judges before you can join.

The invitation to become a member read more like a request for me to volunteer than asking an artist to join. I kept asking myself.... Are they interested in my art work or just wanting me to volunteer work time setting up and taking down booths? I'll do more thinking before accepting the free membership.

On another note.... what happened to the CSPAN station? The one that had cameras in the congress room so the public could watch the discussions. I thought the president said he wanted more transparency? If he were keeping to that promise then why is it that the public is not allowed to watch the proceeding for such a dramatic change as health care reform? I want to see which of the congress persons are saying what. How many are really wanting to change things for the better and how many are listening to the lobbyists? I want to know if I will vote for them next year or not.

What's the big secret with health care reform that they wanted to take the cameras out? Doesn't it concern us all? So why is the public left in the dark while these people decide our futures? Me thinks something is rotten in DC these days and we are all going to pay the price for it. Politics as usual? Not hardly, as far as I can remember the cameras have not gone dark until now. You think we are all being manipulated? What else could it be? (just my own opinion of course)

The new flooring is getting put in. I just try to stay out of their way. They come and go as they go outside to cut the pieces then carry it back in to get installed.

They got one room done except for the quarter rounds. I'm not sure I like the new flooring. There is a groove between each board that may become dust catchers. The old flooring was solid and no problem with dust.

I manage to get to the computer for a few minutes in the morning and in the evening then take it back off the floor.

The blowers should be picked up today. A couple of them are still running as there was still moisture in some areas. I'm really anxious to get my house back into some type of order so I can find things again. I'm also ready to get some quilty things or winterizing things done.
I've asked the floor guys to leave one room empty when they finish their work. Either my daughter's room or the baby's room. It doesn't matter which one. I'm going to start putting the plastic on the windows and hopefully get a couple of the window quilts on them. My daughter wants to start bringing some things each week so there won't be so much to move at the last minute. I want the windows done before the rooms fill up with their stuff.
I did manage to get the fabric attached to the wooden hearts. I used the fusible web as suggested. Thanks Jay, it worked. Elmer's glue pealed away after it was dry. Regular staples wouldn't penetrate the wood at all. No tacks in the house to use. I have the hearts put away in one of the plastic drawers that go under my machine so they don't get lost in the shuffle. It's gonna take me several days to get things put back where they belong. Hmm.... this might be a good time to weed out more things I don't really need to keep.
I saw the guys moving my UFO cardboard desk. I longed to work on it but I really had to stay out of their way to let them work. Of course the guys were fascinated with the cardboard furniture. Almost as fascinated as they are with the quilting machine.
Ok, time for me to get off the computer and get what I can done before the floor guys arrive this morning.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Electronic envelope budgeting?

You may know (or have heard) about using envelopes to budget? Each envelope represents a different bill or expense. You put into each one what you can afford to spend on each expense. When the money is gone you do without until next payday when the envelope is filled again. I happened to be thinking about the envelope system while standing in line at the Kroger store Friday. I've thought of a new version of the envelope system. How about using refillable gift cards instead of envelopes?

You can find these refillable cards just about everywhere now days. Even utility companies offer gift cards. I haven't tried it yet but I was told some gift cards can be refilled online using your bank card. The electronic equivalent of putting money into an envelope. A person could have one for gas, one for a department store, one for the fabric store, one or two for grocery stores.... and so forth. Then carry only the cards when shopping. Not the bank card or checkbook. To limit one's self to only purchasing what you can afford to spend.
I sort of like this idea but I can also see problems. I should be very careful about putting money onto gift cards. Don't put money on a card that I may not use. I can't get the money off the card without spending it. For example: a shoe store card. Unless I am certain I will buy shoes at that particularly store, I may wind up loosing the money if I decide not to buy shoes at that store. Some gift cards expire in a short period of time. I would need to use the card before loosing the money.
There are certain stores I regularly shop every other week. Kroger is only one of them. Lately I've found myself over spending my budget. It's partly because the prices have gotten higher on things I routinely buy and partly because I can't seem to resist the discount tables. A bigger part is because I've gone back to shopping every other week instead of every 4 to 6 months. I'm still buying as if I won't go to the store again for a long time.... even though I know I will.
The more often a person goes into a store; the more money one spends (more than normal) because of the extra items you suddenly remember to buy. If you routinely buy one or two items you forgot to put on your list then it will happen each time you are in the store. Fewer trips means fewer "Oh, I need this too purchases."
I may or may not give the gift card system a try. I have to think on it for awhile. It would be a great way to be sure I don't spend grocery money on discount bargains at a department store or thrift store or yard sale. Know what I mean? It's too easy to use cash (or a bank card) for an unintended purchase. If the money is on a grocery card I can't take it out of my wallet to use anywhere else. If there is a limited amount then I won't be spending more than I can afford.
Some gift cards don't make sense to use in budgeting. Know what I mean? Like a utility company card. Why put the money onto a gift card then turn around and pay the utility bill with it? Just pay the utility bill directly. But for staying within budget at other places it might work?
I've also heard that some gift cards charge a fee for using them. I'm totally against paying a fee for someone to allow me to spend my own money. If I have to pay a fee to use my own money then I'd rather use cash. No fee to use cash.
Would anyone care to give me your thoughts about this? Plus or minus for using gift cards as an alternative to envelopes?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What happened to my house?

I had to laugh at my house yesterday when the floor guys left. I have spent several weeks of going through things, moving stuff around, sorting, and organizing to make room for my daughter and grandaughter. They will be moving here, in late November, for a few months while she gets ready to buy a house. I had rearranged and packed things into small spaces all with the idea that it would be out of the way of small curious hands. At the same time it would make enough room for two households of STUFF. Well just look at it now..... This is where I'm sitting and type talking right now. I have not a clue where my chair is at the moment so I'm using a bucket.

Gosh, I hadn't seen the old floor in a long time. I don't remember the paint being so worn.

This is the old transition between what is the dining room and the kitchen part of this room.

Well that is gone now. I was worried that it wouldn't have a solid floor underneath the plywood. I shouldn't have worried though.

This is the batting I had under my machine. Right before all the studio stuff got moved to the kitchen and a bedroom.

The new flooring has to sit in the room for awhile so it acclimates to the room temperature.

But....... (there's always a but) the floor guys can't start putting the new floor down just yet. After taking up all the old flooring they used a moisture meter to check the base floor. The beep beep beep let them know there is a lot of water still left in the old wood. It must have soaked it up like a sponge. So the dehumidifier came back....

A blower came back for the kitchen.....

These two are by the bedroom and bathroom.

These two are in the hall and my computer room..... (will be daughter's room)

So where is all my stuff? I haven't a clue. Well, what I mean is that everything is where it's NOT supposed to be. Closet stuff is in the kitchen and studio. Studio stuff is in baby's room.

Even my bed has stuff. Closet doors are sitting against walls.

And the closet is almost empty.

This is some of my studio stuff sitting in this room.

Is nothing sacred? Even the bathroom has stuff.

The blowers have to run until Monday when they will use the moisture meter again. If it's dry enough they will start putting in the new flooring. If not they will wait another 2 or 3 days to check it again.
Last night and today I've been at the hospital with my brother. I can't go into a lot details but I'm there for moral support. I wish I could figure out what is going on with him. I can't figure out if he's depressed, has manic mood swings, is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, or is simply having panic attacks. Whatever the problem is, it's not normal. I'm spending a lot of time with him these days because he and his wife need me.
What really scares me is when my brother tells me he thinks everyone will be better off if he simply disappears. Umm... not good. Thoughts like that are not normal for him. If he said it casually I might take it a different way. It's when he says it at the same time he's almost in tears and panicked that scares me.
Well, I best get this posted and get off the computer. I have to find my shoes. They are someplace in all the stuff that got moved around. As cold as it is, I can't keep wearing flip flops to the hospital. Hee, hee, my little piggies got cold.
The floor guys were supposed to be here yesterday afternoon to start tearing out the old floors so I didn't want to start on a quilt and get interrupted. I worked on some plain fabric for one of my window quilts. It's not fancy.... just functional. That went rather quickly because I used the quickest panto I have.

At about lunch time I got a call that the guys were not finished with their other job so they wouldn't get here until this morning. I decided to work on these art hearts. These are from my friend Marilyn (Metaphor in fabric). She brought them to me and is looking for other people to decorate some hearts too. These are to be decorated and auctioned off to benefit a food kitchen and pantry. There are going to be several artists participating in this. The auction is going to be in a local art gallery.

Actually, I'm a little intimidated about putting my work into a gallery with a bunch of well known artists. I've tried getting my art into shows before and always get a response...... "It's not the quality of art we are looking for." Well, duh, someone has to be an artist like me. Someone has to be the kind of artist that creates all those coloring books that children love... don't they? So why not me? It's the way I learned to draw so why is it not considered art? Coloring books don't just magically appear at the store you know. Someone has to draw the pictures before they get printed into books. No, I'm not an actual coloring book artist, but that's my type of art.

Maybe because it the kind of art for children and not adults that adults don't believe its art? Well heck, if no one buys my hearts, there is no loss. I can always give a money donation. If you haven't seen Marilyn's hearts you really should! I love her heart chicken. It has great personality. I wish I had thought of it. Just look on the side bar to find her link. I believe if anyone wants to decorate a heart that there is still time. It's for a good cause. Just contact Marilyn about the details.

So what can I do with two wooden hearts?

Give them a personality of course. I have a little touching up to do before I attach the fabric to the hearts. This is a "him" heart. I thought the little mustache gave him a mischievous personality.

This is a "her" heart. Looks kind of cautious doesn't she?

Now if I can only figure out how to get the fabric attached to the hearts. I don't have a staple gun. A regular stapler is not strong enough to penetrate the wood. I'm not sure if glue will work. Anyone have any suggestions?

Well I best get off the computer and get ready for the floor guys. They told me it will take about 3 or 4 days to complete the job. When they move my computer I won't be able to post until after the work is finished.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One more finished

The next quilt. It's an issue quilt. I finished it early this morning but the lights in the studio are bad. Not enough light to take good photos. I had to wait until later in the day to get light from the windows.

The thread doesn't show up well on the front. It's hard to get a closeup of the stitching.

The back is much better to see the design. This is the setting triangles.

This is the outside border and the inside border.

Another look at the border designs.

Finally, a view of the block from the back. Simple line dancing.

I thought about writing a post but there are some things I'd like to get done. The time I spend on the computer is best used in other ways today. I'll tell you about them in the next post.