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Where did last week go?

October 1st, 2017 at 11:43 pm

It seems like this week flew by. Not sure where it went and looking back, I'm not sure what kept me so busy, but I was. I got behind on reading blogs so hopefully I have caught up today. I feel like I miss out on everyone's lives when I get behind.

One thing that kept me busy was planning for a fifth grade to meet the police that they are adopting this year. My friend, the teacher and I worked through this and I scheduled their visit as well as the local newspaper to come out and cover it. I unfortunately had to miss it, but here is the article if you are so inclined to read it:

http://herald-review.com/news/local/education/south-shores-elementary-fifth-grade-adopts-police-for-year/article_5041b6a4-1d56-5ad3-ac40-cdbb57baf02e.html

I have been busy knitting hats. I took our new pastor to meet the principal of the school. The principal was telling the pastor how much the hats meant to the kids last year. So, this spurred me on to getting more hats made in addition to the other ones I have been working on. In between the hats, I have been crocheting dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I took in 31 of them for the church's bazaar that is coming up.

I also have been working on PR for the upcoming bazaar and learning to do the church's web page. I already update the church's Facebook page.

Wednesday was DH's birthday. I spent a big part of the morning baking a cake from scratch. We went out to a local restaurant that is pricey, but the food is exquisite so we felt it was worth the expense. We don't eat there often so it is a real treat.

I have also canned a few more things to add to the pantry.

One couple called and asked about going to lunch for DH's birthday. We haven't heard from them in over a month. We wound up changing some plans so we could meet with them. One thing that absolutely drives me nuts is the fact they are almost always late. The place where we were going to meet is on the other side of town for us -- it is far closer to them. But, it doesn't matter. They are usually late and this day was no exception. I guess they feel if they call and say they are on their way, that makes it OK. Yet, we have noticed they can get places on time and even early for others. It just hurts that I feel we are being taken for granted. Because this was the only time they could meet with us last week, I gave up seeing the kids and officers meet and I didn't get to attend the knitting group at church. I guess I could have been less flexible, but I know DH wanted to see his friend since the visits are getting fewer and far between.

One of my other friends was talking about the end of the month being tight for them, so we were exchanging ideas on how to try to keep this from happening with the new month. It's kind of fun brainstorming this way. It makes me rethink about some of the things we are doing and realizing I have gotten a little lax on a few ways to save money.

We had a heat spell this week and many of DH's tomatoes ripened. He brought in some yesterday and some bell peppers. I made spaghetti sauce with the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, basil, and oregano from the garden and added mushrooms to the mix. I have one quart and two pints to add to the pantry.

One of our local stores had penny pincher coupons with some of what I call loss leaders. I bought some pasta (especially since i have spaghetti sauce) as well as some other items for the pantry that were far less than regular price. My pantry is getting well stocked.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Being Crafty

September 21st, 2017 at 09:08 pm

A friend emailed me that he was a little irritated at his wife. She is very talented when it comes to crafts and sewing, but she has the bad habit of going to the craft/sewing store and buying things because she thinks she's going to do the project. She said she was going this week and he asked why when she had so many things already in her sewing room.

I know the temptation. Every time I go, I want to buy this and that and this because it is fun thinking about doing them and then having a finished project. It doesn't help that this chain also sends out coupons about every day in email. Fortunately this store is across town, so that helps curb the temptation. DH probably wouldn't care, but I care. I don't want to buy a ton of stuff that just sits around. I recently bought two skeins of yarn and some buttons because I crocheted coffee cozies for a class to give our local police department. I sewed the buttons on the cozies. The school's mascot is a star and since police officers used to have a star, I figured this would go along. It was a nice little project and then I used the smaller star buttons and glued them to index cards for the kids to write messages to the officers.

I will admit I have bought some things at the thrift stores lately for some personal projects. I bought some crochet thread that came from France -- really nice stuff -- for 99 cents a skein. I saw a towel pattern on Pinterest I thought I could use. I recently purchased a piece of material for a dollar at another thrift store and used it to make a pillow case for a pillow I have had for a long time. The other case was pretty ratty. And I also have some other crochet thread I bought at rummage sales and thrift stores that I hope to use to crochet some ornaments.

Last summer I bought a pair of pillow cases that were to be embroidered and I worked on them and have them finished. I plan to give them as a Christmas gift. They were still in a sealed package. I was delighted to get them and it was fun working on them.

Our church group is continuing to knit the hats on the looms. So far we have 680 hats made. Our intention is to adopt a couple of schools and give them the hats as well as tissue, wet wipes, and pencils. Fortunately people have donated a lot of yarn so I have used a lot of that besides buying some to fill in. I try not to bring home more yarn, either the donated stuff, or the stuff I buy, than I think I'll use. I did run out of yarn a couple of weeks ago. I use the yarn to work on the hats and then if there is some left I use the remainder to make dish cloths. I'm trying to adhere to the "Use it up" slogan.

As much as I enjoy crafts, I think they can be a hit on the budget if one would let them. I have tried to pick stuff up at rummage sales and thrift stores as much as possible. I did buy the knitting loom, but I think I've made more than a 100 hats on it since I bought it over a year ago. I had the crochet hooks so that wasn't an added expense.

My mom used to crochet and I remember she always had a ton of yarn around the house. Then, in her 60s, she decided she didn't want to crochet, and instead taught herself to quilt. No small feat by any means, but she was very talented when it came to sewing and crafting. I didn't want the yarn so we wound up donating it to the school where i worked. When she died, she had so much material that it was just a shame that she never got to finish all the quilts she had some day hoped to make.

I would prefer to use up everything. I don't know if that is possible, but that is my goal. I don't want a bunch of stuff sitting around. So, my goal is to limit myself to only having the stuff I will actually work on and finish. It sort of saves money because then I'm not as tempted to go out and buy a lot of other things.

Anyway, here is a photo of a completed cozy on a coffee cup. Sorry it is so dark, but I never can get the light to be just right.


Catching Up

August 11th, 2017 at 03:18 pm

Yesterday was our meeting for our knitting group at church. I had to chuckle over the ladies because they counted the ones that were brought and it made for a total of 597 hats. Well, they wanted to know who could finish a hat before time was up for the day and said we have to have 600 before we leave. Too funny. One lady said she just had to put a pom pom on hers and another two said they had to do a little more. Not all of our members were there, but when two came in, they had a few more hats and when all was said and done, out total was 605 hats by the end of the time. That's a lot of knitted hats. That doesn't include the scarves that people have made nor the preemie hats. The preemie hats are donated to NICUs at local hospitals and to a group that helps women who are pregnant. We are small, but I think we are mighty.

An added benefit was one of the ladies brought in some produce. She had cucumbers and bell peppers. She asked if anyone could use any and some people said yes. But, when it was all said and done, hardly anyone took the cucumbers. She asked me if I could use them and I said yes. I see sweet pickles in my future.

A couple of years ago we went to a Bed And Breakfast in the Amana Colonies and part of the breakfast was Mango Juice. DH can't have orange juice since the acid really bothers him, so he tried the Mango juice. And he was smitten. Whenever Aldi has mangoes on sale, I buy them and let them sit on the counter to ripen. Actually, I prefer them overripe because they are juicier that way. I made DH a quart of it and he has been enjoying it. I looked up on the Internet on how to make it and it really isn't hard. I don't have a juicer or anything, so I do it by hand. I guess if I were making gallons it would be an issue, but it isn't. And it's a nice treat for DH. I make apple juice for him too. I refuse to purchase apple juice that has had apples grown in China. After reading some of the conditions of the growing of apple trees and other fruits and vegetables, I choose not to go there.

DH's tomato crop has been good one. We have been eating lots of fresh tomatoes and I have been canning some. I believe that is also in my future...some more canning. I don't mind and they are sure nice to have in the winter. I spoiled myself and made tomato juice the other day. Last year we didn't have quite enough for me to do that and felt I needed to can just the tomatoes. But, since DH planted more plants we have extra and I'm making myself some juice. Funny as I type this there is an ad for V8 on the bottom of the screen. I also intend to make spaghetti sauce since we have onions, bell peppers, garlic, and basil.

The other day a friend brought over some turkey he had smoked and 4 ears of sweet corn he had gotten from someone. We had over three meals off of that turkey. We don't have a smoker so it was a real treat. We are so blessed to live in a country where so many fresh foods are available, aren't we?

Handmade

July 23rd, 2017 at 06:21 pm

When I was a kid, I remember a commercial showing a man laying bricks. I don't remember what the ad was touting, but i remember the bricklayer at his craft and was fascinated.

As an adult I'm still pretty fascinated at how things are made, both commercially as well as by hand. Growing up with a mother who crocheted I realized the work that went into many of her creations. She was a seamstress for the garment factories of many years and she could sew about anything as well. When she was in her 60s, she decided to teach herself how to quilt. I learned to appreciate fine talent.

We were watching television the other day and an ad came on for a show called "Handcrafted." I guess it is going to start a new season. I don't know if we get that network, but if we do, I hope we can catch a few of the episodes.

I am amazed at how talented so many people are with their different skills. Some people make things simply because they enjoy the craft. Others make things to save money or even sell their wares to make money.

When I was in college there was very little available funds, but I decided to crochet an afghan for one of my friends for Christmas. I scraped up enough money for the prettiest yarn I could find. I worked hard on this during the summer. It was a labor of love because we didn't have air conditioning and it's often hot and humid here in the Midwest. I was so proud of my work (My mom had taught me to crochet a few years before) and I worked hard on making it as nice as possible. I really thought she would appreciate it because it was a labor of love. It really hurt my feelings when I gave it to her and I could tell when she opened the present it wasn't anything she thought much of. A few months later I went to her unfinished basement to get something she sent me down for and there was the afghan thrown over some boxes. It still kind of bugs me because I worked so hard on something and she didn't appreciate the work. I guess I didn't know my friend very well, but she didn't take into account I didn't have a lot of money then and tried to make her something nice with what I had.

I can honestly say I make things now because I enjoy making them and give them to people I think might like them. I appreciate it when people give me handcrafted items because I know the labor involved. I give away some of the things I bake and jams and jellies because I like working on these items and think people appreciate them. I have decided that one couple will probably never get a gift like any of this again. Every time we give them something I've made or fixed, they admit that they didn't eat it, but one of the kids or grandkids did. It isn't a dietary concern. I don't give stuff to people that I know they can't and won't eat.

I wonder if we have become a society that no longer appreciates handmade items whether it is goods or foods? Yet, I have one friend who makes me feel very special. Every Christmas I give him a basket of handmade goodies and canned items. I asked him one time if he liked it and his comment was "I love everything you give me because I know you made it and gave it with me in mind." You sure can't beat that!

Not Uber But Sort Of Frugal

July 14th, 2017 at 07:04 pm

Friday is the day we usually make a day of it. We eat lunch out and go to thrift shops and garage sales. I have been trying not to buy anything at the thrift shops for awhile since I really don't need anything. But, I succumbed at two of them. I bought two jelly jars with rings for 55 cents and at another one I bought some metal Christmas ornament hooks in a sealed package and a ceramic mini loaf pan for 53 cents. I bake sweet breads and give them away at Christmas. Last year I found enough of these ceramic loaf pans to give quite a few of them away and although I'm sure people would be OK with foil pans, I just think it makes it look nicer. I refuse to pay retail for these and most of the ones I pick up at thrift stores still have the price stickers on them. I originally had picked up a couple of greeting cards, but put them back trying to use up what I have at home before purchasing any more cards or stationery. Oh, at another place I bought 4 packs of brand new pencils for $1.32. I give them to a teacher friend since he can't keep pencils and the kids don't seem to think they need to bring them after they bring a few at the beginning of the year. I didn't spend a lot, but I can't claim I'm Uber Frugal either. Darn it.

I went to the knitting group yesterday at church. We are closing in on having almost 500 knitted hats so far. One of the ladies brought zucchini to give away so I brought one of them home and can I say I was delighted. I know there's the joke about neighbors leaving zucchini on doorsteps, but we never seem to have that problem. Wish we did. We like zucchini and if we can't eat it all before it goes bad, I shred it and put it in the freezer to bake with bananas for sweet bread.

Change

June 18th, 2017 at 07:48 pm

Every year we take our change into the credit union. We are fortunate that they have a change counter, but you have to have an account there for them to use it. This year we had $162.49 in change. DH uses cash for just about everything so he has far more change than I do. I use some cash, but often I'm paying for things like groceries or stuff at the home improvement store so I use the credit card. If I find change I put it in our trusty pickle jar. I was cleaning the other day and moved a chest and found a penny so you know where it wound up. We would have had more change, except we used quite a bit of quarters in January when we went to Tybee Island - Savannah. You pay for parking everywhere and according to the locals, the meters are strictly enforced. We also did laundry there since we were there almost two weeks. We put the money in our Christmas Club Account from our change jar. This gave us over $900 in our Christmas Club account.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm happy to report I've bought two gifts this week. Yay, me! LOL I have also made a few gifts so far. Plus I bought a gift in January too when we were on Tybee Island.

The knitting group I belong to at church has over 300 hats made so far. Most of us are making hats outside of the 4 hours a month we meet. Our intention is to give them to classrooms in high poverty schools in our area.

I used to enjoy doing crafts like crocheting, embroidery, cross stitch, etc. Then for awhile between work and my hands going numb, I gave it all up, even after having surgery on each hand. I started crocheting again a couple of summers ago -- I made star ornaments out of crochet thread for every staff member at my school for Christmas. Our mascot was the Super Stars so I thought it was appropriate. I discovered if I didn't overdo, my hands didn't hurt. So, I again have found the pleasure in crocheting and now knitting on the round loom. My goal for this Christmas is to crochet a small ornament to put in our Christmas cards. I do one or two here and there, but I have a ways to go. We send out a lot of cards. I thought it would be something nice anyway and keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. Smile

I found a brand new package of pillowcases at our church's rummage sale. These are the kind you embroider upon. I'm looking forward to working on these. I know they aren't popular, but for $3 and my work, they will do. Some of those sites on the Internet talk about how out of style Baby Boomers are. Guess I fit that bill. Who needs to be in style anyway?

I Hear the Cha Ching!

June 4th, 2017 at 07:10 pm

It's downright hot and humid here in Central Illinois. The a/c is running and I can almost hear the bill going up. But, being asthmatic and allergic, I will pay it, perhaps not happily, but knowing I can afford it and feeling blessed that I can. And although I gripe, putting in extra insulation a couple of years ago really did help.

I'm working on some decluttering. It never seems to end. But the yarn stash is going down. Between yarn donations from friends and some yarn I've purchased at thrift stores, I had quite a bit of it. I have mentioned before knitting hats with the church group and then I use the the bits and pieces leftover to crochet dish cloths and Swiffer covers. Every two weeks when the group meets, I take the hats I've completed in so I'm getting those out of the house anyway. Today was the paper monster. I save all the credit card receipts and then reconcile them with the statement. Finally got through that pile and they can be shredded. I also have some other paperwork I had to finish before seeing the end to it. Plus paying some bills. And here we were promised that we would have less papers with all this technology!

My heart goes out to those in London with all the sadness.

Hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

As Seen On TV

April 21st, 2017 at 08:33 pm

It's been an exciting week around here. Lots going on. I am involved in some things for both church and the schools where I volunteer. I can't say it's been a cheap week because we have purchased some things here and there, but nothing to break the budget by any means. Most of it planned too.

I know I've written about the knitting loom and making hats with some ladies at my church. And by now, you have probably figured out I have an ornery side to me. A few weeks ago we were watching the local news and the sports director commented it would be slow sports night and he might have to take up knitting. Well, I thought it would be worth a try so i emailed him and invited him to join our little group. Especially since Rosey Grier used to do needlepoint so why not be a good sport and join us. I wasn't sure if he would even answer, but he did. The sports director, Gordon Voit, took us up on the challenge and came and did a little knitting and broadcast a sweet story. I wish he hadn't spotlighted me so much, but he spent almost two hours with us and by the time he was ready to leave, he had endeared himself to all of us. One of the ladies, the one who talks about reading obituaries is 89 1/2. She is a spunky little thing and is always ready to do something for someone. So, if you have a few minutes and want to view this little clip, I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.wandtv.com/story/35194853/knitting-challenge-gordon-voit-goes-head-to-head-with-the-loom

A little of this...a little of that

April 12th, 2017 at 07:59 pm

Today has been quite a busy day around here. DH and I cleaned house. I am happy that we did and I like having a clean house. I just threw in a load of towels after putting fresh ones out after freshening up the bathrooms. They weren't dirty, but I have found if I do touchups here and there, they don't get bad either.

Lunch today was chicken and noodles. I had purchased a whole chicken and cooked it in the Crockpot the other night with some spices, herbs, and a few vegetables to make a good broth. We had some of the chicken for dinner, and I used the rest to make chicken and noodles with the broth. I also froze the extra broth so I will have it on hand for something else. So, we have had three meals from that chicken and I think one more is on the horizon. Not enough to make it an entree, but we may be having potluck for dinner one night with the leftover pork chops from another meal. I like having extra food because it means it is easier to put meals together. I usually have some soup in the freezer so if we need a quick meal, I can thaw and heat it up, but I used the last of it. So, that is on the list to get done.

Well, after my rant the other day, I can say a couple of things seem to be worked out. I emailed the city librarian about the fact our books weren't checked in and we were getting fines. He emailed a response and within an hour, we received a phone call from the person in charge of circulation and our books were checked in and the fines wiped out. That was a relief. DH checks out bunches of children's books because he reads to classes during the week. It's one thing to pay a fine that you truly owe because you were late and we have done that without grumbling. But it is a whole different story when you owe fines on stuff you returned on time or before. Right now DH has 24 books out and I'd hate to see what the fines would be if he returned them and they weren't checked in.

Yesterday the neighbor kids played on another street. Hopefully they will find the other street a better fit for their kickball game. I don't like being a cranky neighbor, but I don't like it when you've had to ask them more than once to stay off your property and there is so little regard for both your request and your yard and plants.

I don't know when you get the ads for your grocery stores, but we get two of them on Wednesday and one on Thursday. I do wish we'd get them all on Wednesday because I prefer to make my lists on Wednesday night. So, i have to make a tentative list and finish up on Thursdays before I go shopping. Oh, well.

I just finished a fictional tome last night. If you like Fannie Flagg books, this one is similar, but it is a Christian novel. It is "Velma Still Cooks in Leeway" by Vinita Hampton Wright.It is set in a small town and kind of an interesting outlook.

I have been working on knitting hats for my church group. We meet tomorrow and I like to have some finished before we go and work some more. I have been making Swiffer covers and dish cloths out of the leftover yarn. I have a feeling one of the dish cloths is going to be wild because I have lots of different colors, but not enough to make anything out of just a couple. One of my friends has a tea room and I have been giving her some of the Swiffer covers and the dish cloths and she is delighted. She told me she didn't care about the colors, and on the dishcloths, she intends to throw them in bleach so eventually they will all be faded out. I just like that I can use up these leftovers. I have lots of dishcloths for myself now and can use a clean one every day since I have made so many. Guess I'm rich in dishcloths. Smile I used a Swiffer cover today to polish our floors. I bought some special cleaner/polish and like the fact I'm not using a disposable pad, but can wash it when I'm finished.

It is sunny here. Not super warm, but a pleasant spring day. We had so much rain last week that is makes it seem so much more like spring when we have a couple of days of sunshine. Hope things are nice where you are too.