Friday, August 31, 2012

September Challenge

 Tyler's first day of school went great, he was ready to have a go at it again this morning. Hubby and I just barely made it back to the bus stop in the afternoon, wheee. DD#1 survived her first born going off to school, her two little ones help fill that long first day. :)
 I worked on a few Halloween pinwheels after dinner last night. Here is a tip if you are playing along. Keep a sample of a completed block nearby to follow otherwise you may have to do some seam ripping!
 Much better.
I have a nice stack of pinwheel blocks stared as well as the rest cut out and ready to complete. I hope to finish my blocks up over the weekend so I can move on to the sashing next week.

Check out Carla's blog for a financial challenge in September. I am SOO in on this one. Over the summer we have been sloppy with our spending and savings. I hope this challenge will get us back on track. My goal for the month is to bump up our savings an additional $500.00 to add too our Vacation/Christmas account. Hubby added an additional trip in October for us to attend his class reunion, I need to get the extra $$ put back to cover the costs for motels, gas, food and extras that are sure to come up. I went ahead and sent the check for our dinner and dance out today from the vacation/Christmas account and will be checking our motel points to see how many free days we have coming LOVE those points!

Here are the obstacles I will need to overcome this month

DD#1 has a birthday coming up. I do have the fabric for her Birthday quilt on hand but we will be including a card with a GC or cash along with the quilt. Added to that is dinner out for the entire family. Sometimes the adult kiddo's want dinner at home which would help me reach my goals much better.

I have a Dr appointment coming up in September for my feet that will run about $200.00 (please no more) While I could use our HSA to pay for the visit we consider that account as another tool for our retirement health care cost so we don't use it.

Our 37th Anniversary trip is also in September. I have already pre paid for the cabin and will receive part of the $$ back from the others who will be joining us. I cook the majority of our meals in the cabin and pack lunches on the bikes so we can stop and eat whenever the mood strikes us. I don't really expect that we will spend much more than that but you never know when I might run into a book from the area that I can't pass up!!

I will stick to my $200.00 weekly spending cash for groceries, gas and odds and ends around the house, whatever I can save from that will help me reach the goal. The rest I will need to squeeze from our regular paychecks. We made a HUGE change to our budget this week that will save us a TON of money in the long run but for now our monthly expenses have gone up. ( a separate post is coming on the increase)  It's gonna be tight but I am determined to get back on track. Make sure and link up with Carla if you would like to join in!! The more the merrier.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Beginers Quilt Along

 Lori Over at "Bee in my Bonnet" is doing a row quilt along for beginners that I decided to join in. Last night I pulled the fabric that I think I will be using so I could get a fresh start this morning. I have added her blog to the right side of my page. I have had so many comments from ladies who would like to take up quilting I wanted to pass this information on. She has some great get starter tips and lots of  tutorials on her blog, check her out. 
MONEY saving tip!! If you are new to quilting or sewing you probably don't have a stash of fabric on hand. Call around to some of your sewing or quilting friends and see if they would like to help you out. Quilters are such sweet ladies and are happy to share their stash!!!! (So they can make room for more, shhh don't tell)
 I got started on the first row this morning bright and early as in 5:00 AM, what was I thinking!! Her technique for piecing 1 1/2 inch squares is the best by far I have ever seen.
 However I was making myself a bit crazy with all the tiny pieces but mostly standing on my feet for all the ironing was more than I could take so I am only about a 1/4 way finished with my first row. My other problem might be I was a little distracted this morning.
 You see Tyler started Kindergarten this morning...... I was doing pretty good keeping the tears back until I looked over at DD#1 who's lips were quivering. She was smart enough to wear sunglasses to hide the tears, me not so much. I should known to wear waterproof mascara on days like today. GRRR
 Papaw and I are so lucky to live close enough to our Grands that we can share in special days like this. Believe me we know how blessed we are and thank God for each day we have with them.
 OK, that's enough the water works have started again!!! 
While I think Lori's tutorial is wonderful I personally started quilting with 5 inch squares. To me they are small enough to not overwhelm anyone but big enough to understand what you are doing. I have had the charm pack shown above for awhile now "Happy H"owl"-O-ween" by Moda. Today I needed a fast fun something to do to overcome this whole growing up thing with the Grands. A  Halloween lap quilt might just be the ticket. Lena put me in the fall mood with her oh so cute Halloween wreath a must see and do one of these days!
 Want to do a quilt along with what I hope might be a bit easier to start with before joining in with Lori's row along? First off go to this site and check out the video "Pinwheel Quilt" . She calls for a print charm pack along with a solid charm pack. Of course I can't seem to follow what I should do plus the fact that I didn't have a solid charm pack on hand so I went with some Halloween fabric from my stash. It took around 1 yard  of fabric to cut into 5 inch squares to use as the contrast with the printed charm pack. (Not that anyone cares but my hubby is driving me bonkers today, if he walks in here one more time he is gonna go back on mopping duty) Lets move on. I have all 42 of my squares sewn up like the video shows. Now on to the cutting.
For today I might only do one block as there is again a lot of standing at the ironing board pressing seams. I like the way the stash fabric is still Halloweeny but adds enough contrast to make the pinwheel pop. Seeing that it cost me nothing is a big plus!!!

Are you overwhelmed enough yet? So here is how I will work my "Pinwheel" quilt along.
This week I will make up all the pinwheels.
Next week I will add  sashing to make the quilt large enough to be a lap quilt. 
The following week will be adding borders if need be to enlarge the quilt even more.
Last will be sandwiching and quilting the quilt.
If you want to play along leave a comment on my blog so we can all follow your progress.

This might be a money saving tip for you. Here in the US most of the big box fabric stores are running great Labor Day sales. You should be able to pick up fabric, batting and thread at great prices. Cutting mats and rotary cutters are on sale at 1/2 off as well. You may have to go to a quilt shop for Charm pack, they run around $10.00 each. My goal is to get this quilt done WAY before Halloween and keep the price as low as I can go.

Now I need to get off so I can see what is so stinkin important hubby needs me for. He is off for the next 5 DAY'S. Prayers are needed for us both!!!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Shrinking Packages and UFO

 Have you noticed not only have grocery prices have gone up but that the packages have been shrinking? Here is a good example, as I was restocking the kitchen pantry today I noticed that spaghetti sauce now has 8 ounces less than before but the price is even higher.Another GREAT reason to get in on the sales and use coupons when you can to stock up.
 I got these photo's out of order :( Not only is the front of the Christmas kitchen towels super cute, the back turns out nice as well.
 6 Christmas towels will be added to the gift closet today. I should have layed one out so you could see how cute the prairie points turned out. This is not only a UFO but a "Make Do" project as well. The red and black fabric are from my way to large stash.
 The towel doesn't show up very well on my stove, trust me they are cute, and so quick and easy to make. I used  Darlene Zimmerman  "Fresh from the Clothesline" book. Check this book out, it is full of wonderful eye candy with great instructions.
 A nice pile of Granny Square blocks have formed.
More than enough to begin piecing a large quilt. I have them spread out on a spare bedroom queen size bed. After studying it on the bed for awhile I am going to add one more vertical roll so it will be plenty big enough for a queen size bed once I add sashing and a border. LOVE THIS!!

Quicky post today as I have a pounding head. Time to take some meds and see if a nap will knock this mess out. Supper is chicken and dumplings tonight. The chicken is on to stew so finishing dinner will be a no brainer.

Thoughts and prayers continue for those in the path of the hurricane, STAY SAFE!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

UFO and More Stocking Up

 Today was the last day of the beef sale. I decided after checking what we had in the freezer it wouldn't hurt to add more ground beef and beef roasts. It's hard to see the top shelf with the light on, that shelf holds beef roasts. steaks, and beef broth, it is full to the brim!! FYI we are down to 16 pounds of stick butter, come this fall I will stock up again. In our area the best time to stock up on baking goods and butter is late fall just in time for the holiday's. Having some buffer $$ put back helps us stock up on these things without breaking the bank right before Christmas. The after Christmas sales are usually super duper good as well. I picked up  10 pounds of vanilla and chocolate melt after Christmas last year for $0.25 cent a pound, I think it runs close to $3.00 a pound regular price. Yes it stores just fine!!
 The latest "Quilt of Valor" is ready to be put back for donating to our Veterans!!! Love the strip binding fabric, I do the binding on the machine so it will hold up better in the industrial washer and dryers that might be used if the Veteran is in the hospital.
 The back using some of the 50% to 70% off fabric. BTW, I DON"T use cheap fabric on quilts. I only use the good stuff but why pay full price when if I wait just a few month's it will be on sale. 
 I stuck with straight line quilting on this one. Straight line quilting is MUCH faster than free motion and seems to be a little more masculine to me.
 One of these days I am going to make a USA quilt for us!
Next project is cut out and ready to rock. After finishing the quilt I wanted to work on something that is small and quick to finish. Can we say Christmas gifts? There is an additional gift I want to put with these but I don't have the supplies on hand. I'm waiting for a good sale to pick up what I need.

Cleaning out of UFO's continues. I am no where near the end of the list and pile but some progress is better than none. I am itching to work on some new things. Patience is not a virtue of mine!!! My foot/feet continue to improve each day but I am not ready to go backwards standing on my feet ironing seams for piecework so UFO's will continue for an additional week or two. 

The crock pot is once again my best friend today freeing me up to get some of the "to Do's" finished up around here. We are expecting rain this afternoon so I am headed out to do a little Dumpster diving before the fabric bolt cardboard gets wet and is useless. Hubby informed me he didn't have a better way of cutting it up than I am already using :( this is going to continue to be a painfully slow project. One of the good things that is coming out of wrapping fabric's is I am running into lots of small pieces of fabric that needs to be cut up into 2 1/2 inch scraps for Granny squares. Oh how I love making these little quilt blocks.

For all of you in the path of this Hurricane be safe and prepared!!!! Thoughts and prayers to all of you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Odd's and End's

 More fabric,YIKES!! A friend picked up this bolt of fabric at an estate sale then decided she would never use it so she passed it on to me. Total yardage left on the bolt is 10 1/2 yards, this will be used on the back of a couple of quilts someday.
 The fabric is a nice medium yellow strip. I will find lots of good uses for this!
 One of the many "To Do's" in the sewing room is this pile of college tee shirts from DD#1. I won't be getting to this tee shirt quilt for awhile but I did at least cut them up over the weekend to reduce the bulk I need to continue to store.
 Left pile of tee shirt material is headed to the trash, right pile is what will go into the tee shirt quilt. DD#1 would like this quilt for her Birthday this year, (ain't happening) or maybe for Christmas (nope ain't happening) I already have the fabric for her Birthday quilt, Christmas quilt blocks for all the DD's are sitting around waiting for me to work up into a quilt so the cut up tee's will be neatly stored for another time.
 DD#1 borrowed this bounce house from a neighbor yesterday for the grands to play in during Sunday dinner. While I did make the sides and bring the meat for our cookout the mess was left at DD's home. I am determined to keep the house clean for as long as I can!  Love this picture of Karsyn diving in! Ha
 Needless to say I'm sure the little girls slept good last night.
Another "Quilt of Valor" is on the machine this morning for some straight line quilting. The pile of quilt tops is slowly being reduced.

Where did the weekend go? Oh ya, I remember now, it was spent cleaning house and doing more organizing of fabric. I still have the downstairs floors to mop today before I can consider the place back to normal but it feels GREAT to have been able to do the cleaning the way I wanted it done for a change!!! I know hubby and DD#2 feel the same way, ha Both have headed off to work this morning so I am left alone for a few hours to make my plan of attack for the week.

First on the "To Do" list is finish the quilting on the quilt shown above. Lot's and lot's of more fabric wrapping  is still to be done, it's a slow process to cut down all the bolts before I can even get to the wrapping. I am going to show hubby my process with the hopes he has some sort of power tool that would work better than a box cutter, who knows maybe he will want to take over the cutting of boxes himself. I pulled out 2 additional UFO's to knock out this week. One should be a straight forward just knock it out deal the other is taking a pile of leftovers and working them up into something. I am thinking a table runner or  possibly a pillow or two. I think I am very close to having enough "Granny Squares"  made for a nice size lap/twin size quilt, need to count the pile and come up with a plan for that quilt.

There will be no hexie update this week as I have not done a single thing all week on them :( I am giving myself a pass on the hexies from the past week as I was able to knock out SO many other things that were piled up waiting on some TLC. I might be able to get back to hexies in the evenings while watching the RNC this week followed by the DNC next week.

Here is something I did over the weekend with some GF's that I haven't done in years. We loaded up our bedspreads, comforters and such then had a field trip to the laundromat. I know all you other ladies are thinking, that debby has the life I have always dreamed of, going to such exotic places. We really did have a good time reminiscing about old times when none of us had our own washer and dryer. One GF in particular had us laughing so hard I thought we would get kicked out sharing what it was like as a single lady in California doing her wash with other singles. Who knew the laundry mat could be a pick up place.   Holy Moley the cost of washing one load was $3.00!! The dryer ran an additional $.25 for 6 minutes. A family could very easily spend $20.00 a week washing clothes. While I could have washed our king size bed quilt and mattress pad in the washer at home I am always afraid I am going to overload it from putting in such large things. Nothing like hearing the thumping coming out of the laundry room only to see the washer is trying to walk out the door.

Enough about my exciting weekend of cleaning and laundry, time to hop in the shower, do a little quilting then head over to DD#1 home to watch the babies. Tyler will be starting Kindergarten on Thursday :(  Mommy needs to take him in for his pre testing today. While it is much more convenient to have Mommy bring the little ones to me it will be nice not having to clean MY house once they leave! Then Hubby wants to meet for lunch out. It's looking to be a go, go, go, day the crock pot will be once again put to good use for supper tonight.

What are your plans for this last week of August? How can it be that fall is almost her, Christmas is right around the corner!!!

Friday, August 24, 2012


 This leftover fabric from a recent quilt was in one of the numerous "Figure out what to do with" piles.
 Why not a few mug rugs.
 I'm up to 5 mug rugs so far with 3 more at the sewing machine to finish up tomorrow.
Every single thing is made from leftovers. The pile in my sewing room is a little bit smaller after tonight's sewing.

I knew after having Kara today I wouldn't feel like taking on a big project tonight. This morning before she arrived I pulled out this little pile of leftovers from the quilt I made a few weeks back. Should I do mug rugs or zippy wallets? I decided to go with mug rugs, but I do have a few small pieces leftover that I will use to make a zippy wallet or two tomorrow morning. Then it's on to house CLEANING!!

While hubby has been gone the past two weeks I have let the housework slip. Enough said! HA Once I get the house back in order its on to sandwiching and pinning a quilt to work on next week. I would LOVE to get all the quilt tops that are waiting in the wings quilted before I start on anything new. Since I can't jump up and down from the sewing machine to the ironing board this seems like a good time to get back on top of the quilting. I really need to clear the decks around this place so I can get started on sewing Christmas gifts. Soon, very soon.

Have a great weekend!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

UFO and Stocking Up

 Here is the MOST aggravating, made me crazy UFO I have ever done. I bought this as a kit with fabric and pattern included, the pattern was ridiculously hard to understand and I ran out of fabric so I had to piece scraps to finish it. I have 2 more of the panels to do before Christmas. I will use my own fabric from my sale stash to save some $$. Now that I know how it should go together the next two will be much easier using better piecing options and not running out of fabric, grr I had some "Make Do" on this quilt top. The pattern called for (18) 3 1/2 inch buttons. The buttons run $3.99 @ that would have added $72.00 to the cost, no way no how!! Instead I made up yoyo's in place of the buttons. The yoyo's were just pinned on in this photo, I did get them lined up much better when I stitched them on last night!! Ha   DD#1 and #2 both think the quilt is not big enough. It turned out 45x62 so I might add an additional border around it. SOOOO glad to have this one finished!
 Couldn't go a day without making a granny square or
 Two, or
Stocking up at the 1/2 price sale.

Not sure I will get much if any sewing done today as getting the house back in order and grocery shopping took up so much of my day today. In addition I have Kara this afternoon so NOTHING will get done while she is here other than some song singing, dancing, and mess making.

This week beef was on sale for 1/2 price so I stocked up. With beef and chicken prices as low as they are right now and predicted to drastically rise in price this fall and winter maybe even longer it's time to do some major stocking up. We get our ground beef from a local farmer in the winter, his cattle are all grass feed so his price won't be going up too much. We don't like the steaks, roasts and such from his beef, it is just too tough for our tastes. I do however get all of the bones from the entire steer since the other family that purchases the other 1/2  isn't interested in making beef broth.

Two weeks ago chicken was on sale 1/2 off. I loaded up on that as well. Once I get all the beef vacuumed packed and check what I have on hand I have enough time to get back to the store and purchase more if need be. Are any of you stocking up on meats while the prices are so low due to the drought in the mid west? My goal is to have 6 months to a year of meat put back to help curb the higher costs on all food that is expected soon. 

Here is what I paid. Regular price of Beef roast was $4.99 a pound sale price $2.47 pound. Steak $19.99 pound sale price $9.99 pound ( we like the expensive cut) They were just about giving away the ground beef so I picked some of that up as well, regular price $4.29 pound, sale price $1.97 a pound.

Off to seal as much of the meat as I can before busy body Kara arrives. If I have any energy left at the end of the day I pulled out a few scraps from a quilt I made I want to use up on something little. Maybe some blog candy later in the week, yeepee.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dumpster Diving

 See all the empty cardboard bolt thingy's, they are from my first ever dumpster dive!! 
 I used some of them for my large fabric yardage. The two bolts on the right are the Christmas fabric's I picked up at 70% off!! I have more large fabric yardage to wrap tomorrow or whenever I find the bottom of all of the piles.
 I cut most of the cardboard into 11 1/2 inch strips to wrap the majority of my fabric on. It is not nearly as fancy and nice as Carla has but for free it will do!
 Messy, messy work.
I am afraid now that I am wrapping the fabric it won't all fit back on the shelves, yikes!

This morning just after I got ever thing set up to begin working on the next UFO a GF called to tell me the local big box fabric store had some Christmas fabric for 70% off. It was drop and go time! I scored backing for what I think will be enough for 4 Christmas quilts at $2.49 a yard, YA HOOO While there I ask about what they did with the empty bolt boards. The manager said they throw them out, I was welcome to check the ally and take all I wanted from the recycle dumpster. So I did. Cute dress, ugly boot and all, I didn't actually get in the dumpster I just took from the top what I could reach. I have NO where near as much as I will need but I wasn't brave (dumb) enough to really dive in the dumpster.

After wrapping the fabric I was using straight pins to hold it in place but then I remembered a U Tube video where a lady did the same thing but secured the fabric with rubber bands. Seems like a much better idea to me, I am always afraid I am going to lose a pin in the carpet. When DD got home from school we hit staples for rubber bands and a little something cute for her desk this year. I haven't needed to buy a single thing for her classroom this year although I did pick her up a super cute lunch bag, even packed her lunch, seemed like old times. HA

I am really excited to get this fabric organizing project started. Sitting on the floor with the massive boot ain't a pretty sight I can tell you but once it is all done it will be so nice to just thumb through fabric to find what I need. (I hope)

Tomorrow it will be back to working on a UFO that I am still so aggravated with I could spit but I want it done and out of the way so I can move on. Figure I will hit the dumpster later in the week for more cardboard so I can keep wrapping fabric.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hexie's and Making do

 I didn't do so well on hexies this past week. I need England to have another BIG event so I have something worth watching on TV at night so I can sit still!! I loved getting to see around the country during the Olympics. England is one of the places I so hope to visit someday!!! 
 Another Granny square
 Love the blue and red together, so sweet
 This one is too busy for my taste but it's all about making do and using it up for this quilt. Much of the fabric is the same in the blocks. I hope that by changing up the position of the fabrics they will look different enough to use on the same quilt. If not I might be making 2 quilts, what the heck it's all scraps!!
 Way back in March I made a table runner for a GF Birthday using Strawberry Fields and this pattern along with a charm pack. I liked it so much I squirreled away the pattern and leftover charm squares to make one for myself. After adding a few more 5 inch squares I came up with enough to get the center done. "Making DO"
 The side sashing should have been charm squares cut in 1/2 but I had scraps from the quilt I made for myself that I decided to "Make Do" with them.
 Leftover backing from my quilt worked just fine once I pieced it to use as the backing for the table runner.
 What the heck I pieced some small pieces of batting as well. More "Making Do"
Ta Da!
Even the binding was leftover from my quilt, I just added a little more to it.

While my hexies were a pretty big failure this past week I do believe I rocked the "Making Do" challenge. How stinkin cute is this table runner made ALL from leftovers. Not only is the table runner a "Make Do" project it was also in my pile of UFO's, two birds with one stone!! I know it's tacky to brag but bear with me while I am tacky just for today!!! OK?

I took a shower today...even got dressed!!

Then it was time to hit the road for some spending. I am all about this making do and cleaning out UFO's while I am laid up with this bum foot however I needed to get fabric for DD#1 Birthday quilt. I sooo need to get started on her quilt as her Birthday is September 9th, it's right around the corner! I had purchased fabric for a nice large picnic quilt for her back in the winter when it was on the 50% off clearance (so cute) however after she saw DD#3 minky quilt I made her for her Birthday DD#1 wanted a minky as well, grrr What we do for our kiddo's right? I do so well saving money and being frugal until it comes to our girls and grands, then the flood gates open.

I used a kit for DD#3 minky quilt which was quick and easy, the price was pretty good as well. No such luck for DD#1. I couldn't find any kits that were "Her" so I will be making up and cutting out as I go. If you have ever worked with minky fabric you know what a fussy mess it can be. I will be cutting up 5 yards of the stuff. I plan on waiting until hubby is back in town and have him set up a table out back for me to do the cutting. If the weather is right I want to do the sewing outside as well. I used this site's tutorial for making the last one, check it out. I used her spray adhesive method which was a pain to set up in the family room so I didn't get spray glue all over the place, outside will work much better!!!

Off to watch some trashy TV with DD#2 and make my plan of attack for the next UFO!! While I don't want to be off my feet much longer it really is keeping me focused on the UFO's that have piled up this past year (well maybe longer)