Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gifts from heaven

My husband rocks.

I've been working on this quilt (that is HUGE!). On a teeny-tiny glass cafe table. Mind you, this cafe table isn't attached to the base, so if I put my machine to the far right to give me more space for fabric, the top will flip off. Means that I end up sewing, while bunching up fabric on my leg (propped up on a chair). Fun times, fun times. Still, this is what you do when you don't have a lot of money to BUY things and you want to get something done.

We had looked online for small sewing tables, and have been waiting to get one. Just cost prohibitive. And nothing screamed "I love it and it's worth it." to me. Why spend hundreds of dollars on something that you don't love?

I came home from my son's therapy last night to see a white desk in my living room. With my husband asking me "Well, what do you think?" It took me a few minutes to comprehend that this is a sewing table and it is for me.

My husband works as a mechanic and happened to be in a warehouse that is moving. They are clearing out a bunch of old goods, and this item was in a old box. About 10 years old, but all the parts are there. He got it for $75. I looked it up online, and found the same model for $1,500. WOW!! Shocking. The owner just didn't want to move it to the next warehouse.

What a blessing! And what a WONDERFUL husband to remember that I needed a sewing table. And thank you, God, for providing more than I could have dreamed or afforded.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Working on those potato boxes

Today is the nicest day of the year yet. I am enjoying our sunny weather. Got out in the garden, added some more straw to the potato's. They are finally taking off. A few bloggers wrote about having good success using straw and newspaper shred instead of soil around their potato's, so I am trying that in the boxes. It lightens it up, and is less expensive than dirt, plus, I am the one hauling it around, so it is easier on my back! I will tell you how it turns out in a few months.

My other chore of the day is trying to keep ahead of the dandelions. We have renters right next door, and they finally mowed their grass for the first time of the season last week. Weeding is not high on their list of priorities. The renters prior to them also didn't think that yard maintenance was part of their duties. Needless to say, the yard is covered in weeds. Which means that MY yard gets covered in weeds.

I try to do something about it. A few times a year, I go out and weed. Plus, I am courteous to my other neighbors, we mow often enough to keep the dandelions from going to seed (you are welcome! I don't want to pass on the "joy".). But it is a never ending battle. Not helped by the fact that A) I refuse to entrench myself and wage war on a weekly or daily basis. Sorry, my ego isn't tied to my lawn! and B) I refuse to use chemicals on my lawn. I don't want to harm my family or my animals, nor have the run-off go into the ground water. Between the two issues right there, it's a losing battle.

Most years, I do basic hand-to-hand combat. Or the hot-water method (not always successful). This spring, I heard about using straight lemon juice on weeds to kill them. Huh. Well, shoot. I don't have an issue with straight lemon juice. I did add a drop of dish detergent in hopes of getting the whole capillary action going on (don't remember where I heard that, but adding dish detergent means the plant will soak it up better? or is that only with oily concoctions and I didn't need it? Either way, it can't hurt anything!). Sprayed the heck out of the front yard and a bunch of the back yard.

It made the dog sneeze (duh, avoid that, sweetie!). Was a bit depressing, doing all the spraying in the back. Step, spritz, spritz, spritz, spritz. Step, spritz, spritz, spritz, spritz. Felt like there were 10 weeds to every one step I took. Pities sake! If I kill all the weeds in the back yard, there won't be any green there.

And as I finish, I look over at my neighbor's, see his fenced in gravel area, ripe with snowy dandelions.....and know that my efforts are, for the most part, completely pointless.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Costco, looking for suggestions

Well, folks. I must be one of the rare hold-outs in America. I don't belong to a warehouse club. I know, I know. It's a shocker.

We don't have a Sam's Club where I live (so it's not an option). As far as I know, all we have around here for a big-box store, is Costco.

All of you Costco lovers out there, who love a good deal, please let me know. Is it worth the fee for the privilege of shopping there? More importantly, what do you shop for? What are the biggest savings??

I have read a few articles on the subject (Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping), and they say Advil, prescriptions, paper goods, etc are good buys. But they took ONE item and price matched it across a few stores. They showed direct comparisons for only 6 items (which isn't how I shop, what if I don't need Vanity Napkins? Sure, it's a good deal, but I don't use that!). Frustrating.

I am appealing to you, the regular consumer. What things do you find to be the best deals at Costco?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Save money-check that unit price

Out shopping today. Had a hankering for a spring salad. You know the kind, lettuce, blue cheese, crisp apple, some green onion and some chicken. Nice! And healthy to boot! I could just pick one up at the store or fast food, but if I buy all the ingredients, I can make several of them myself at home.

I am a lover of the blue....cheese, that is. I stopped by the cheese aisle, and picked up an "inexpensive" package of crumbles. Five bucks for five ounces. Made a mental note to check over in the dairy aisle to see if it was less expensive over there. Snagged a few other items (mandarin oranges on sale, that would also be good on a different salad!).

Stopped by the dairy aisle. Sure enough, same size package of crumbles is a dollar less per ounce. Four bucks. Yes, it isn't imported, but I am not trying to impress anyone with my salad. I just want to eat healthy. Okay---I'll take the less expensive blue cheese crumbles. Then I notice, they have a four ounce solid cheese pack, in a wax wrapper, for two dollars. Oh really?

Let's see. Save myself a buck and a half (its one ounce less) if I crumble it myself and store it in my own container? Which will take me all of, oh, a minute or two to do. YES. I will do that!

Think about it. Time taken to make the crumbles myself VS money saved. This is so worth it! Knowing myself, I picked up two packages of the wax packed crumbles so I could enjoy them in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully, this will encourage me to make more salads. And I still spent less than my original package of blue cheese that I picked up.

I have chicken baking in the oven to top my salad with as we speak. I just season with seasoning salt, bake, cool then cut into bite-sized strips. Toss it in the fridge and add it to salads over the next few days. Makes for healthy, "lazy", eating!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My quilt grew, and grew, and grew

This is the project that has been eating up all my time.

All those crazy, teeny-tiny pieces. Sewing strips together, then ripping them apart, just to sew them back together in slightly different order. Oh, a completely crazy project.

Then, once I finished the middle, I decided it was too small, so I added a border onto it. Oh, yeah.

Funny thing? This is supposed to be a lap quilt. A throw or something to toss on the end of the bed. Err.....not anymore. I think it's bigger than that now! Opps.

But that borders TOTALLY makes this quilt work. I love it.

Now I need to measure for the backing, sew that up, then send it off to the quilter. I'm super excited!