Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One Bobbin Challenge

There are so many stinking piles around the house that needed some tending but the baby boy quilt was calling me to play today. I decided in order to have some quilting time I would do a one bobbin challenge. Once I had used up a bobbin quilting I had to get up from the machine knock out a pile of whatever struck my fancy then return to the fun at my fancy machine.

 First up was this pile of receipts, coupons, reward points, need to call on, or deal with stuff on the kitchen counter. I hate doing this stuff but I hate the mess even more.
 All done!! I have my coupons and rewards points organized and in my purse. Spent more time than I wanted clearing up the rest of the mess. Back to quilting, YAAAA
 One bobbin later I finally got around to unpacking the projects I took on our girls trip in the mountains that I never touched. I have TOOO many projects!! Back to quilting.
 Another bobbin empty, time to get busy making Hubby some candy for his goodie box I want to get in the mail this week. I mistakenly bought semi sweet chocolate squares instead of milk chocolate this past winter. It's a real pain to chop it up for candy coating but I don't want it to go to waste.
 Leftover chocolate covered peanuts after I put together hubby's goodie box. Most (some) of the leftovers will be going to hubby's BFF that sooo loves home made goodies.
 Next bobbin empty, next problem to addressed. My hexie quilt is a WIP that may take an additional year to complete the quilt top alone. I needed something to store all the pieces I that I can grab and go when I help out with DD#1's kiddo's when they are napping. These freebie bags from way back when will do the trick.
 Pockets all around the outside that hold the baggies of white and green sashing hexies, yellow center hexies, thread, scissors and thimble.
 The inside holds hexie block kits, WIP blocks, and additional sashing fabric.
 Lots more empty bobbins during the day, more piles dealt with but this post is already photo heavy!! Quilt COMPLETE!!
 Lots of meandering FMQ.
 The inner border, flags and bias tape were left unquilted. Once this guy is washed and dried those areas will get all puffy and cute.
 I found the backing at one of the big box stores on clearance!!!! While it's not the same line of fabric as the front they work great together. Kara is in love with this fabric. I am going to have to figure out something to make for her with the leftovers.
 Scarp sister package in addition to a surprise package and hubby's goodie box are loaded in the car for a early morning trip to the post office.
By the end of the day I was out of energy but the yard needed some tending to. Front yard is finished the back yard is on the To Do list for tomorrow.

Holy Hanna it's been a LONG day!!!! So much completed but of course there is always more to do. I am super happy with how the baby boy quilt turned out and even happier I took time out to address the piles of stuff I haven't been able to find time to do. In addition to everything listed here tonight I cleaned out the fridge and 2 1/2 of the freezers. Thanks Lena for giving the motivation to face that BEAR!!! The scrap/sewing room received a little TLC today as well. More sorting, organizing and wrapping of fabric is needed but that's for another day as I am DONE!!!! At least my body says I'm done.

 Think I have finally finished up this months progress on savings. As always there is good and not so good, I won't say bad!! As long as we are moving forward I have to be satisfied, right?

Do any of you play tricks or make deals with yourself to make time for the MUST do's so you can get to the fun stuff? Share your idea's with the rest of us as I need lots more motivation!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Busy Times

The Grands have been keeping me super busy the past week, I seem to be meeting myself coming and going! Even When Kara is playing quietly she is a busy bee!!!
Caught Kara at the scene of the crime over the weekend. All last week and this week she heads to the back of our yard where I can't see her due to all the trees. She then returns with no pants, shoes, socks or diaper, What the heck!!! Seems Ms. Kara has decided to potty train herself using a DOGS guide to pooping. GRRR. Mommy and I were both mortified by Kara's idea of potty training, my neighbors think it's a hoot!! I have been wondering why lately she asks anyone she see's if the do poop, grocery clerk, friends, Karsyn, the list goes on and on. She always follows up with "dogs do poops" Now we know. Mommy's job is about to get messy!!!
Between Kara and DD#1's kiddo's I have been working on getting my fabric scraps ready for the Scrap Sister Swap hosted by Carla. I could spend weeks pulling scraps together but time is short so I HAVE to finish up tonight.
The baby boy quilt is pin basted, hope to have time to begin quilting this week. Fingers crossed!!!
After a hard day of toddler time I deserve a sweet treat don't you think!

Where does the time go? Each day I think as soon as the grands leave, I clean up, have supper, do a little yard work, and whatever else is waiting in the wings I will get a post done on the blog. The reality is I fall in the bed with hopes of a calmer day tomorrow. Who am I kidding!!! Ha

I have declared tomorrow as Nanny's day, unless someone is in an emergency situation I will be taking a day all to myself. There are SO many things that I am falling behind on that I must catch up, sleep is one of the many must do's.

I played around with our April budget numbers this morning before I headed to DD#1's to watch her kiddo's. With all the cash I have been putting out lately on the grands and big kids I didn't reach the goal I had set for savings this month. I REALLY need to do better in May. Another area of the budget that has to be addressed is what we have on auto pilot for 401K and our HSA. I think I have over estimated the amount we are contributing, therefore we are going to miss out on hubby's employer's matching contribution. Communicating with hubby is sooo darn hard right now as his phone service stinks in AZ and he is working such long hours I can't seem to get him to understand the questions he needs to ask payroll Dept. It's always something when he is on a project. Keeping up with the house, yard, family, financial planning and everything else can get a little overwhelming. I try hard not to get fussy about it all but.......

Off to the races again to see what I can accomplish tonight. My focus is going to be in the sewing/scraproom. As usual it's in a hot mess once again.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Stuff

 I loved the baby girl bunting quilt sew much I thought I would try one for a baby boy using triangles instead of 1/2 circles. It's still a WIP as I decide if I should add and additional border.
 Once again I machine appliqued the triangles on rather than hand sewing in hopes it will hold up better with little hands.
 How cute is this farm fabric?
 Silly Mason man sitting at the upstairs hall nook to say goodbye yesterday. Oh this boy, he has my heart.
 Remember the curtains (drop cloth's) I was hemming for DD#1 last week? Here they are all finished and hung on her back porch. Pretty cool and the price was right.
DD#1 and her hubby are hard at work this year getting the hardscape stuff done in the back yard. They had the porch added last fall, now it's time to pretty the place up!

While Kara is napping I thought I would jump on here for an update on our spring doing's. While my yard is still in a sorry mess I have been over at DD's on and off for the last week helping her decide what trees to put in and where. Last night a friend who is AMAZING at yard design came along with me to go over what we had in mind. Just as I figured she came up with great idea's that wouldn't break the bank!!

DD#1 and her hubby don't have a single tree in their back yard. Like most new neighborhoods the builder came in and leveled the land of everything living to build what has turned out to be a wonderful subdivision but is bare as a baby's butt of anything green. GRRR. I hate when that happens, in our area it seems to be the normal thing to do.

We give our DD's a tree or two as a house warming gift when they bought their homes. DD#1 decided to hold off until they could get a plan for the back yard. Now's the time for hubby and I to lay down the cash, yikes!! Here I am trying to be frugal this month. Ha

I priced out a Crepe Myrtle tree of a good size for them to be delivered and planted. Price...$317.00 CRAZY for a tree that only cost $127.00!!!

DD and I took all three little ones to a different nursery this morning for some price comparisions. We set their spending limit at $300.00. Low and behold we were able to get two Crepe Myrtles, one River Bank, and a nice size Hydrangea delivered and planted for $387.00!!! Yippee. DD and hubby kicked in the extra $87.00 as I was determined to stick to my budget.

The grands and our big kiddo's are one of the biggest money pits of all for hubby and I. It's not like any of them ask for a single thing, it's hubby and I that can't control ourselves. I made a deal with my overspending self that I would have a set an amount any time we want to do the extras for the big kids. If what they decide on is over the limit I should be spending I no longer just fork over the cash. Now I make sure to share the budget with them then they can pick up the extra costs. Setting limits on myself seems to be the only way I can contain my excitement in wanting to do the extras.

Anyone else find themselves spending more than they should on gifts, surprises, or the little extras for you kiddo's or others? How to you police yourself? I am always looking for more idea's on self control!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lots of Sewing Time

 Kara left yesterday just in time for she and Mommy to have and afternoon nap. I too hit the bed soon after they left to recharge my batteries which were running very low!!
 After getting the house back in order I got busy on the next project I have been wanting to try from the "Fresh Fabric Treats" book, a Craft Bag. I have a bit more work to do to finish it up tomorrow as I was too aggravated to work on it any longer today. Check out the cutting from our Lady Banks Rose, she is in full bloom now.
After putting the Craft Bag away for the day I started working on a soon to be Baby Boy quilt I have had rolling around in my head. It to has been put aside for the night. I'm looking forward to hitting the floor in the morning to work on both of these jewels.

It was nice to have the house back to myself today however I really did miss that little trouble maker. Nothing better than hanging out on the deck making conversation with a two year old just as the sun is coming up! Ha

After a quick clean up around the place and returning all the phones back to their bases (except one Kara has hidden well) I got back to working on a Craft Tote I had cut out last week. What a pain!!! Total pieces for the tote 31 as well as 18 jelly roll strips!!!! Way more work than I think it was worth, but it is turning out pretty cute. I am using "Noteworthy" along with "Odds and End's"  for the bag both of which I love however I think the next one (if ever) I will do in darker colors so it won't show dirt as much. Crafters hands and work area's can get pretty darn messy!

I plan on getting the baby boy quilt appliqued tomorrow and hope to pin baste it sew I can get to the quilting next week since Ms. Kara will be back on Friday-Sunday. Her Mommy and Daddy got in some MUCH needed rest and a few projects done around their place while she was with me. As much as they missed her having down time was VERY welcomed! Ha We are going to set up a schedule for her to stay with me overnight at least once a month for awhile as she really is a handful!!!

Spending time with Kara brings back lots of memories of our DD#2 when she was little, still wonder how we survived it! DD#2 was never ever still, she was on the run and into something from the second her feet hit the floor every day. She is all grown up now at 31 years old and still full of energy but at least the energy is used on productive endeavors these days. As soon as Kara is old enough she will be signed up for lots of athletic activities as her Aunt Amber was. Sports gave DD#2 a great outlet in and organized safe way to burn off those batteries that never seemed to run down.

I am sure if we talked to the Dr. they would label Kara as hyperactive and be quick to get her on pills. NO WAY, NO HOW!!!! Together as a team we will lasso all that energy into something good for her and the world. Until that time Nanny is gonna need some new tennis shoes with extra supports!! Ha

Monday, April 22, 2013

House Guest

 This little gal (Kara) has been my house guest since bright and early Sunday morning. Mommy and Daddy needed some rest from her shenanigans!!
 Time to get the summer sippy cups for the large and small kiddos close at hand.
 DD#1 gave me her back porch curtains (painters drop cloth's) to hem. Sew little time for sewing the past 5 days!!
 I forgot to take a photo of DD#1's porch now that it has had a bit of spring TLC and her curtains are all hemed. Maybe next time.
Weekly update on the 52 week challenge. Grand total is up to $611.00

First off, thanks to all of you for your sweet comments lately!! I haven't had time to catch up on comments or other blogs in days as I have had my hands full of the grands since last Thursday. I thought maybe tonight would be the night, however.... I have been on Kara's heels since 6:00AM this morning, she is finally tucked in bed sound asleep but this old gal is ready to crawl in with her. Keeping up with her is a HUGE task. Bath time is the last step, ever try to give an alligator with long hair a bath? Holy Hannah!! Enough said!!!!!

I am thinking my little house guest will be around for a couple of more days as Mommy and Daddy recharge their batteries as well as get some home projects completed that can't be done with their little firecracker. Oh why, oh, why, didn't I lose those extra pounds over the winter as my body needs to move a heck of a lot faster than its willing to go right now.

BTW. Here is a little Nanny tip for any of you new or soon to be Nanny's. Ring around the Rosie is a great old fashion fun game that toddlers just LOVE. However.....Participation by Nanny's is highly discouraged as the toddlers think that each time they play Nanny has to be part of the fun. "All fall down" for them is the best part, they are rolling in the floor laughing. As for me, I am praying God will give me the strength to get back up just one last time. While the toddlers bounce back up it takes me many steps to get off the floor. All that stretching and straining can also bring on a bout of Nanny "toot's". Oh how they love a good "toot" these days. As they call it "Tooty Fruity's" Not a pretty sight!!!!!

Off to bed for this old gal as 6:00 AM will be here before you know it. I must say sweet morning kisses from a two year old can't be beat, AJ the beagle however is very put out with all the kisses and hugs going to Kara in the mornings!!! I need to make sure and work in a tummy rub for AJ tomorrow! Ha

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Toddler Times

 DD#1 brought her little ones over yesterday with lunch to share with Kara
 It's not often they are all 3 setting still at the same time!
 Making silly faces is a new favorite thing for the little girls
 An making tents! Karsyn is under this one, but not for long, AJ the beagle is on to her tricks
 Mason's favorite toy for now is the Mother Hen. The boy can't get enough of watching her lay eggs.
The one and only thing I have gotten done in the last 2 days was to wash the kitchen windows inside and out. Can you spy that stinkin Kara in the window getting ready to pick the new flowers! Ha Can't take your eye off from her for a second!!

Super duper short post as I am on my way out the door to sit  DD#1's kiddo's for the evening after having Kara for most of the day. I did get in a short nap before the next round of toddlers but it was one of those wake up with a headache naps, GRRR might be a long night!!

Back tomorrow with a real post (I hope)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Clean Up

 I am overwhelmed by the amount of work there is to do in the yard and garden!!
 I decided to start the outdoor spring cleaning on the deck.
 Lots and lots of playing in the dirt today.
 Sure is going to be nice to have a pretty place to rest after a day of doing the not so fun or cute stuff.
 In keeping with my goal to be MUCH more frugal for the next month or two I cut WAY back on the spending for flowers this year. Here is an example. I bought hanging baskets instead of individual plants. The hanging baskets have three or four individual plans in each basket. I took them all apart then spread the plants out around the deck. Even had some leftovers to share with DD#1 this afternoon.
As you can see the planters are not full right now using this money saving trick however in a month (maybe less) they will fill out nicely.

I am dirty as a pig tonight and in need of a cool shower ASAP.

I hit the floor in high gear this morning after checking prices around town yesterday on annual flowers. After some quick math the best deal was to purchase flowers in hanging baskets from the grocery store.
Here is the breakdown
Hanging basket at grocery store $7.99
Hanging baskets at big box home improvement store $15.00
Individual plants at the home improvement store $3.99 - $5.99
Total cost in hanging baskets at the grocery store $118.18
Cost for hanging baskets at the big box store would have been $210.00
I didn't do a great count on the individual plants but there are about 60 plants in total.
Had I bought the plants individually at the lowest price it works out to $240.00

Another cost cutter this year was I didn't add any new potting soil to the containers. Instead I mixed in dirt (red clay) from the yard along with homemade compost (yard waste thrown in a pile out back)

Total spent for our deck and DD#1's porch was $182.67!!! I picked up a couple of Shepard hooks for DD's home (so the dog doesn't pee on the flowers) that ran the spending up however she will use them for years and years.

While I wouldn't want to buy tree's, bushes and such from the grocery store, for plants I figure they should be fine. Unlike a nursery or even big box store the grocery store plants don't get any TLC. What the heck, if they can grow in that environment surely they will do fine for me.

In the past we spent well over $500.00 each spring on flowers. I am pretty darn happy with how low I have kept it this time around. I will put out seeds for zinnia's, sunflowers and other flowers for cutting, the cost should be pretty low as I saved seeds from last year (hope it works), That task will have to wait until I get the garden tilled (who knows when)

Next on the outdoors clean up is the herb bed. I also plan on pulling all of the strawberry plants from their raised bed as they do nothing other than feed the durn squirrels. Like eating a watermelon its going to have to be small bites each day until hubby gets home to lend a hand.

How do you save on flowers and garden plants? Do you have any luck with growing plants from seed or do you go with buying flats at the store?

Time to get that shower. You know your dirty when your sweet dog refuses to snuggle up at night! Ha

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Busy Beaver Kinda Day

Free motion quilting wears me out. I can only do about an hour at a time on the machine before my shoulders start freezing up.

 During breaks to rest my shoulders I have been working on our photo files. Holy Moly I was 3 years behind on this BIG job!! I have finally worked my way up to 2012 photo's.
 Then it's back to more quilting
Needed another break sew off to the grocery store to pick up the deals on butter this week. Total spent $38.32, total saved $16.62

 After 3 days of quilting she is finally finished and I sew LOVE her!!
 I found binding and backing that worked out just right from my stash
Lots and Lots of tiny loop D loops. Once this gal is washed she will be supper crinkly and soft.

Super short post as I am very tired tonight from all this FMQ quilting!!! I just had to take this sweet quilt out this afternoon to show her off. I love the simplicity of the quilt top the soft curves and of course all that FMQ!! The verdict is, everyone loves it as much as I do. One friend now wants a full size just like it for her spare bedroom. HA, you are nuts. I am willing to do the quilt top but...she will have to find a long arm quilter to do the quilting !!!

 Sorting digital photo's has been on my "To Do" list since last year (maybe longer) I decided two weeks ago it was time to get on it. All I can say is My, Oh My. The game plan is to finish the sorting by the end of the month, then it's on to working each file folder. Deleting photo's, cropping, converting to black and white, and all that jazz. Once done with all of that I will burn each folder to a CD, one copy for home, back up copies to the DD's. Finally it's on to the photo shop to begin the printing (spending) While I do have a photo printer at home it would take FOREVER to print all I want to do. A GF and I are going to start scrapbooking once a month (maybe twice) when we get it all together. I am embarrassed to say I haven't done a layout in at least 2 years!!! Tyler has 7 scrapbooks, the little girls and Mason man have not a SINGLE page (blush)

I have more scrapbooking supplies, tools and gadgets than any one person should have sooo... other than printing photo's this should be a pretty thrifty endeavor. I love scrapbooking but once I got my fancy sewing machine I put it on the back burner, WAY back on the burner!! Ha