Thursday, October 22, 2009

As the Clutter Leaves, More Projects Get Worked On.

I had this fabric laminated more than a year ago. My plan for it was to line the shelves of my large hutch, sew appliance covers and cut a tablecloth from it. The nonlaminated fabric was to become napkins, window valances and a room divider for the laundry area. I got some gorgeous silk for sheers for the windows. It has sat there mocking me for some time now. Today when I went to change the tablecloth I found myself walking into the sewing room to lay my hands on this fabric. Happily, I have a brand new tablecloth and one long shelf lined. Hubby even asked where I got the nice new tablecloth. I'm back to work tomorrow, so no more progress this week, but I do plan to get this project completed over my next few days off. The room really needs the change, plus the cats are too interested in the long curtains. It's time to make some cute little short ones.

How gorgeous does that farm food look on my new tablecloth?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Easiest Refashion Ever

Can I even call this a refashion? I needed a shrug to wear with the dress but didn't have anything that suited it. The 'shrug' you see here was originally a tightly fitting wrap top. I tried it over the dress and while it didn't look bad, it took away from the nice structure of the dress itself. I untied it and caught a glimpse in the mirror when I went to take it off. Loose like that the bottom had a nice flare that flattered my figure and let the fit of the dress show.

At first I thought I'd just leave the four strings dangling, and I might have if not for the fact that I needed this outfit for work. It would just look too sloppy. I tried a couple more tops but kept going back to the wrap. Finally I realized I hadn't worn it as intended in the entire time since I got it as a hand me down from my kid, so why was I hesitating to snip off those extra strings? So I did. Now instead of an unused wrap blouse I have a great little black shrug.

I got SO many compliments on this outfit and can't wait to wear it again! But do you think I'm cheating by calling this a refashion?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Financial Decisions

I'm very big on living within, or hopefully below, one's means. My mind can't grasp the concept of buying a huge McMansion, fancy car or material goods to 'impress' others. My joy comes from the simple things in life - a gorgeous organic yellow beet from our CSA share, the kids sharing a story about a pleasant happening in their day, the feel of nice wool socks on a cold morning. I always strive to make the best possible financial decisions. In order to be able to sleep at night I have to know we are able to pay our bills.

We're at a point now where the kids are taking care of their own expenses. We're both working. We have a comfortable home, functional vehicles, good medical coverage. And yes, I confess, I am a Disney junkie.

While I will always be a New Yorker through and through, I would love to own a little place near WDW to escape to now and then. We have the Vacation Club, but what I'd really like is to have a little place of my own, as Carlin said, 'for my stuff'. I'd love to travel without a suitcase, stay in the same place every time...and maybe even catch the fireworks from my balcony while working on a sewing project or touching up some trim with a little can of paint.

Real Estate is, without a doubt, bottoming out in that area. I looked at some places a couple of weeks ago. We thought for sure with prices so low it was time to do it. We checked on financing, discussed how much to put down, even fell in love with a sweet little condo with lots to do in walking distance. And then my spouse brought up a question that I hadn't previously considered.

Would we prefer to have this little getaway or pay off our kids' college loans?

We chose the latter.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Beautiful Organic CSA Pumpkin

Picked from the patch by me. Looks great on our porch, wouldn't you say? It's been there for weeks and still looks beautiful. I'm surprised the squirrels haven't begun to peck away at it yet, they usually get started pretty quickly.

My only disappointment? I didn't meet the Great Pumpkin there. ;) Or any Peanuts characters for that matter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Bless Someone Else

I've begun working on shredding years worth of files that I have been needlessly saving mostly because I couldn't face going through it all. I've gone at it here and there but I never tackle it. Generally, I'd say it is because I seem to always have to stop because the house gets out of control if I don't keep tending to it.

Well, I'm about at the end of my rope with the house and have made that very well known. As a result it seems that my spouse (the official dishwasher, lawn-mower and mechanical handyperson) is making an effort to wipe off a counter after making a sandwich and that sort of thing that seems small but takes tons of time out of the day when you have to do it over and over again. We won't even mention the built up resentment over it.

Adding to the ability to keep the house a little more under control is that the kids have their own spaces now. I say spaces and not places because only my son has his own place. My daughter has taken over the studio apartment over hubby's workshop which previously served as their teenage hangout and childhood pool cabana. So she's not exactly left home but she's in her own space. This is wonderful for two reasons - spouse can't abdicate responsibility for cleaning up something by blaming it on someone else but best of all - when I come across something that belongs to one of the kids it goes in a bag or box that gets handed to them. If it isn't important enough to occupy their space then why should I have to store it? You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff my kid has told me to donate. It has been great to give so many things (often brand new) to OA to give to folks to enjoy.

With these two great improvements under my belt I have decided to begin to tackle the next beast - our attic. I used to be very good at keeping up with it but when I got sick I couldn't go up there any more. That was over ten years ago. I've made short bursts of progress up there in the last couple of years but my daughter just bags things she can't deal with up and tosses them there so any progress disappears when the clothing season changes.

I've decided to come at this by taking one box, bag or plastic tote down to look through each week. Today, the first day, I actually brought down a kitchen trash bag, a plastic tote and a few items I pulled out of another tote. Lots of little gifty things for the Angels to put up for auction, a few toys still in their boxes, some moldy baby outfits bought for a gift and never given (makes me wonder how badly the few keepsakes I have up there of the kids' fared *sniffle*)...and a bin of 3X clothing.

Now I'm not much for saving that kind of thing. As I lost weight my clothing was given away to family members who it would fit but I couldn't let go of the last of this. My spouse promised me that if I ever needed it again he'd just buy me something new but I'd already spent quite a few dollars on these very nice dress clothes. At the time I wasn't very keen on dressing up so each item was worn very few times and very carefully.

What a blessing these items will be for a person who needs these for job interviews or office work! They're boxed up and ready to be dropped off for shipping to Online-Angels. No refashioning of these - I think they'll do more good as they are.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crafting Between Household Chores

Having been away for five days last week my house is an even bigger disaster than usual, since I was the only one away for the bulk of that time. That means I'm spending my days off cleaning up after them and will have to put off for another week the tweaking I need to do to my Halloween costume and the hacking up of some sweaters that need to become shrugs to fill a gap in my wardrobe.

So here are three quick projects, knocked out in a few minutes each during breaks I needed to take in order to keep my sanity.

First up, a little bag for my clothespins. I, unfortunately, don't use an outdoor clothesline due to allergies but I do use clothespins with my drying rack and to close things like chip bags. So we don't have a large collection and with the bag not being stored outside pretty could take precedence to durable. You may recognize this remnant from the jeans to skirt refashion a little while back. This used up the last of the fabric, with the exception of a few small scraps that go into the box I send off to OA's quilter every so often.

This little bag is now hanging on the rod over my washer and is quite an improvement over the plastic bag you see next to it.

Next up a bouncy skirt from leftover giftwrap tulle and a bit of stash elastic. This will go into the box for my Christmas child. I look forward to giving a box of gifts to a child through OA each Christmas. I'm thinking I'm going to include some dress-up items this year and thought this would be a fun start.

Last up, a guinea pig pillow from a recently unearthed dishtowel that belonged to my mother-in-law. It is stuffed with the rest of the towel and scraps from my scrap bag.

Each little project was fun to make and a nice diversion from how cranky I am over lack of housekeeping cooperation.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waste Not Want Not Wednesday: Curtain to Grocery Bags

More from the ultra-soft 80's curtains Mom gave me. I used the bulk of them for pillowcases, put some parts not large enough for me to work with but large enough to be quilted with in the box where I collect fabric to send to the wonderful Karen who makes tons of quilts for OA and have made some grocery totes from the leftovers large enough to work for that purpose. One for Mom, one for me. Extras will be split between OA and Christmas giving.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Wow, they're coming down like a hailstorm here. Last year there was talk about the lack of acorns, this year seems to be making up for lost time.

Anyone have suggestions on crafty uses for these?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Tasty Thursday: My Opinion of Spectrum Naturals Spread

I bought this for the first time today. I'm sorry to say I'm not impressed with the flavor. It has an artificial taste to me. It also has a texture that seems more gelatinous than margarine should be, in my opinion. I won't get the chance to cook with it as I'm out of town and just have a fridge & microwave here. Have you cooked with it? What did you think?