Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I hope everyone has a New Year that is full of health, wealth, love and happiness!

Do you make resolutions? I don't, but I do come up with better ideas on how to do things. Mostly trying to pay off my debt. I'm going to ask my boss to pay me every two weeks, so I have a bigger 'chunk' of money to put towards one of my cards.

I also plan to buy myself an exercise bike. I have the perfect place for it: where my recliner is now. It won't be in anyone's way, and I can pedal while I watch TV. (The kids can have the recliner for the playroom.) I just need to find one with a comfortable seat so I don't kill my back any worse than it is.

BTW, I had a great Christmas. My Christmas Eve party was a hit, and I made way too much food. We had appetizers for lunch for almost a week, LOL!

Mike gave me gift cards that I'll have lots of fun with...especially the $100 one for Joanne's! And the kids gave me a Nintendo DS! My first game is one with lots of card and board games. It's very addictive. Angelina has one, and we were able to play some games with each other. I cashed in a bunch of change at Coinstar for an Amazon gift certificate and have ordered the Personal Chef one and Brain Age. I can use brain exercise as much as I can use physical exercise.

Once again, Happy 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Adorable, FREE Christmas Scrapping Kit!

I found the cutest embellishments that are part of a wonderful kit for scrapbooking Christmas pages over at this blog:

I think it was very nice of Karen to make so many downloadable elements for us to enjoy, don't you?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I should be doing other things... finishing my Christmas blouse. But you know how an idea strikes you, and you want to try it right away? That happened to me this morning when I was looking at the tangles of wires around this house, mostly associated with computers. So I made up some wire wrappers (for lack of a better name) from scrap fabric. I've only made 3 so far, since I really do plan on doing legitimate Christmas work today, LOL!
Basically, you cut 3 rectangles: 2 of fabric, one of something cushy (I used a scrap of fleece). Sandwich these together, right sides of the 'good' fabric out, and sew around the edges. Then pink or serge the edgegs. Okay, if you want to do this right, you should cut the rectangles a little more evenly than I did.
I used sticky-back Velcro, which I put on the short end. I wrapped it around the looped-up wire, then pulled off the second backing and stuck it together. I just sort of fudged the measurements, which is how I usually do things. But again, if you want to do it pretty and right, try looping up your wire and taking a rough measurement around it.
Regarding the blouse: I did get the buttons (they look like purple and green crystal) and I have the green thread in the machine and the buttonholer on I'm on my way. This might actually end up being my 2008 Christmas blouse, after all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cranberry Meatballs

Here's the link to the recipe, which I posted a year ago!

BTW, I don't see any reason why you couldn't make these with ground turkey or chicken!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Must Be Santa Monday

My donation to MBSM today is my list of appetizers for my Christmas Eve party:

Cranberry Meatballs--half in freezer. I'm making more this week. The sauce gets made the day before.

Coconut Chicken--again, half in freezer. I decided to make more. I have the chicken cut up already and will do that this week, too.

Cocktail Hot Dogs--in a kind of cranberry sauce. I made the sauce a while back, and I can't tell you what's in it because it's one of those 'throw it together with what you have' sauces, but I tried some on another batch of hot dogs and it was yummy. I just froze the rest and will heat it up with another package of mini dogs--possibly in the crockpot.

Shrimp--this is the one time of year we splurge on the really good stuff from the seafood store (our favorite restaurant, btw--Catfish Annie's.)

Celery Cheese Sticks--basically just cream cheese and shredded cheddar in a celery stick with some nuts on top.

Swedish Meatballs--I need to make another batch, plus the gravy.

Cheese Bites--I also plan to make these this week to freeze them

Nacho Dip

Bacon Wrapped Crackers--just bacon around crackers. Intriguing. I think there's a recipe out there that uses parmesan cheese, too.

I might find a few more things to make. I have no qualms about buying some things from the frozen food section, LOL!

The main dish, as I've posted before, is scungilli and sauce over linguini. I'll pass on the snail, but I make enough appetizers to fill up anyone who doesn't want that. My kids (other than Nicky) and my husband love the stuff.

Do you do a Christmas Party? Any suggestions for make-ahead appetizers?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doll Dress

Here is Molly (with a bad haircut) in a crocheted dress I made for her. It just needs one more button on the back. The t-shirt is a blue knit with daisy print on it.
Molly is only borrowing the outfit. It is a gift for Angelina's doll, Amanda. Amanda is also getting a crocheted blanket and pillow (lavender) and possibly a nightgown and jacket. I'm not sure I'll have time to finish the latter two, but I'll try.
Last night, I picked up a dowel at Michael's. I'll have Mike drill a hole in it, and cut it shorter, then I'll put some yarn or rat-tail in it, tie on a magnet, and it will become a fishing pole for the little fishing set I made for my nephew. The fish are done. I'll post a picture of the finished gift soon!

The best part of these? Most of my materials were things I already had on hand!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Really Yummy Cookies

I mean, truly melt-in-your-mouth cookies! You've seen several versions of these. They are similar to Mexican Wedding Cakes. Here you go...

Butter Nut Cookies

1 Cup of butter(please don't use margarine--ick!)
1/4 Cup of sugar
2 Cups of flour
1 Tablespoon (yes, that's a Tablespoon) vanilla
1 1/2 Cups of chopped nuts--I like walnuts, but pecans would do if you can swing them
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. (Yes, that's 300, not 350.) Cream the butter. Add everything else except the powdered sugar. Roll into balls about the size of a walnut. Put on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes.
Let them cool until you can handle them (they'll still be a little warm) and then roll them in the powdered sugar.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Must Be Santa Monday: CVS Deals

It's that time of the week again, and I hope more people join in! I want to know what you are doing, how you are saving, what you have planned!

My donation today is about a good deal at CVS. Maybe you can snag it, too!

They have a nice Craig MP3 player with this little screen on sale for 24.99--marked down from 39.99. And you get 5 ECBs back!

I happened to have 2 5.98 ECBs, so this is how the deal worked for me:

-15.00 savings
=24.99 sale price
-10.96 ECBs

So I paid less than $15 and have $5 to spend on something else. Nicky's getting the MP3 player as a 'big' gift.

Other deals for ECBs you can use for gifts:

Buy $15 Tide and Duracell (Tide is 12 this week and Duracells are 3, so you only have to buy one of each) and you get back $5 ECBs. Look for mfr. coupons in the most recent P&G circular.

There's a deal on Energizer batteries, too, but I don't have the circular in front of me so you have to look that one up yourself. All I know is I got $10 ECBs back from it, and there is a coupon for the batteries in the Smart Source circular of November 9th.

Have fun!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

Must Be Santa Monday

It's time for "Must Be Santa Monday," so join already, will you? Don't tell me you don't have anything to post about Christmas!

When I saw this fabric, I couldn't resist. I had no idea what I planned to do with it, but then it hit me: a friend of mine (she won't see this--she doesn't read blogs) is a big fan of "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

So I made her an apron. I had enough fabric left to make one for myself, too, although at the rate I'm going my own will be finished next year, LOL!
The bias binding is candy-cane striped, and I made it myself. Making binding is a pain, but it's so cute when you're done.
The apron is from the book "A is for Apron," and the pattern is "Lemon Meringue," sans pockets. I really do need to make something else from the book, but I like this pattern. It's easy and very flattering--no gathers at the waist!
BTW...the green blouse is my Christmas top, so far.

More news: I cashed in my quarters for an gift card via Coinstar. Can you believe I had over 250 quarters? With some other pocket change, I ended up with about $75. I've ordered a few things, and still have about $25 left to play with later. I took some items out of my cart because the shipping was so high, and stuck with 'eligible for free shipping' items only. I'm danged if I'm going to send someone $22 just to ship a few t-shirts!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

28 Years Today

Mike and I are married 28 years today! We'll be trying out a new Italian restaurant tonight.

This time, 28 years ago, we were at our wedding reception. My bridesmaids wore red and my ushers were in classic black tuxedos--my father said they were 'correct,' LOL! One thing for sure, there were no ruffles. I hate ruffles on a guy's shirt.

I had to laugh when I saw the movie '27 Dresses' and heard the line (several times) 'and you can shorten it and wear it later!' That's exactly what I had in mind when we picked out the pattern for my girls' dresses! But really, they did use them again. It was an empire waist dress in red satin with spaghetti straps. There was a separate piece in sheer red fabric, with long sleeves that was worn over the bodice and closed in the back. It fit over the bodice, which means it was hemmed under the bustline. Can you picture it? It was very simple, yet very elegant.

My gown is up in the attic. Alas, it's been about 27 years since I could fit into it, LOL! (I can't believe I was ever that tiny!)

Found Treasure

Know what's even cooler than unwrapping Christmas decorations?
Finding a box that's been tucked away and forgotten for five years!

How do I know it's been that long? 'Cause the newspaper used to wrap the items is dated December of 2003.
I found things in that box I completely forgot I had. Including this sweet little angel. She stands about six inches tall and is made of paper.

Can you believe she is well over 40 years old? Her story is this: my Aunt Mary (who is now 87) worked in a gift shop in Zanesville, Ohio. She always sent us the coolest, most thoughtful gifts. One year, she set three of these to our house--one for me and one for each of my sisters. Each angel had hair to match our own hair color.

I also unearthed some of my own Christmas decorations, but none as priceless as my little paper angel!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Thoughts'd think stores only had sales once a year.
Okay, I know there are some amazing buys out there today. I suppose that, if you are in the market for a high-end item and you can get it at 70% off, it's worth the lines and crowds. But... anything worth spending the night camped in front of Best Buy?

I kid you not: on the way home from our Thanksgiving dinner at my bil's house, we saw a line of people with sleeping bags and tents at the door of BB. This was 7:30 at night! And I don't think they were opening for a midnight sale--at least, none of the ads said they were. So, if the doors opened at even 4 a.m., that means more than 8 hours (and who knows how long some of those people had already been there) camped out in chilly weather.


I sure hope those folks got what they went for!

Now, me...I need to put my paycheck in the bank, and I'm thinking of heading to CVS or Walgreen's. CVS has a lot of FARs today (and, I think, tomorrow), including some nice earbud headphones that would make great stocking stuffers. If I get them, I get them. If I don't, I don't.

It isn't the only sale day of the year!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Must Be Santa Monday

It's Must Be Santa Monday! I took a pic of some of my WIPs for today's offering:

In the back corner is an aqua/white and yellow apron--with an aqua towel attached. I have to do the waistband and ties.
Next are two cloth balls I have actually finished (yay!)
Molly is wearing a crochet jumper that just needs another button, and a yellow coat that needs a lot done. By her feet are pieces for a t-shirt that is aqua with yellow daisies.
I need to add some 'frillies' to the purple tissue holder.
The thing behind it is a cloth bucket. I need to finish the binding. It does not have any batting inside, so it's rather mushy, but I'm sure it's useful in some way.
The odd crocheted cat head was supposed to be an owl, but I didn't like the way it came out so it's going to be a cat. Which explains the little pink nose...
The blue and pink thing actually is going to be an owl!
The red thing in the lower right hand corner is a towel topper.
And finally, those are fish for a fishing game for my nephew. (Isn't it great to find a sewing project for a boy?)

A lot of these ideas came from "Sew, Mama, Sew" or from just looking around the internet. Really, blog 'free sewing patterns' or 'free crochet patterns' and you'll be surprised at what you find!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I feel so loved...

...cause sweet Heather from "The Six Scavos" gave me an award. Two awards in a week...gosh, how can I stand such admiration? You guys don't know how much I need an appreciate the good words!

Here's Heather's blog:

Here's the rules:

1. Name 5 things you love.
2. Pass the award on to 5 blogs you love.
3. Please link back to my blog.

Five things I love:

1. My family, of course!
2. Going out to dinner when all my kids can join us. With different school and work schedules, it isn't easy!
3. My animals, including the fat squirrels who come up to my back door for peanuts. They drive the dog crazy, but I think the cats consider them just more pets. Really--the squirrels walk right past their noses!
4. Going for drives with my husband.
5. Relaxing in bed (most) mornings with my coffee, puzzle magazine and current reading.

Okay, so who do I nominate? So many good choices, but here I go!

1. Becka, of "Renaissance." Baby Number 3, currently named "Bunkin" is expected very, very soon!
2. Punkin, of "Bittersweet Punkin." Okay...I'm horrible with names. It isn't really Punkin. Is it Robin?
3. Cynthia of "Nana's Toybox." Total creative cuteness!

Well, okay, just three...but feel free to award yourself, esp. if you are on my sidebar, LOL!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I got another award!

TX Poppet over at "Canned Laughter" nominated me for this cool award. Isn't it pretty? Check out her's got great tips and some funny stuff, too!

Poppet doesn't believe in following the rules, so she is a woman after my own heart. So here they are, and I'm not nominating that many people.

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool

I nominate:

Susan at Blackberry Creek for making the coolest quilts in creation.

Debbie J at Homemaking Dreams for the great tutorials!

Lettie at Polka Dot Pineapple. Who knew you could do all that with yo-yos?

Enjoy these great blogs! And please scroll down for "Must Be Santa Monday."

Must Be Santa Monday

Amy over at "Be Jolly, By Golly" is hosting "Must Be Santa Monday" again. She posts about a cool little present she's giving her Dad this Christmas. Go on over and take a look:

I'm trying to make a bunch of presents this year, and will post about those at a later date...when I have something to show! Meantime, my big, for-the-whole family gift this year is going to be a...

DVD recorder.

Except I don't know anything about them. Does anyone have one? Any recommendations? I can't afford top-of-the-line but I can do better than the cheapest one since I've been saving up. So I'm open to suggestions!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

CVS Duracell Deal

This week, CVS has a deal where, if you buy $20 of Duracell batteries, you get back $15 ECBs!
C'mon, you know you're gonna need batteries, so this is the deal for you!

There is a coupon in today's paper, in the Redplum section. I think it's $1.50 off a package of Duracells, but I already used it so it might be different. It's in my Very High Value list, so it's definitely more than a dollar.

The way it works is that you'll have to buy 4 packages, because only 3 will put you under. Curses on "x.99"! I found some with a free little screwdriver as a bonus--those will make cute stocking stuffers.

If you look on the endcaps, you might also find a CVS coupon for $5 off 2 Duracell packs. I did not use this myself. There was a big line, and after my last CVS screw-up I didn't want to take a chance at losing my $15 deal. But you might want to see if you can use that $5 coupon, too!

Also, if you need fall decorations, CVS has them 90% off--at least at my store.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My Husband Rocks Friday

Katie Lyn's got some cute wedding photos on her blog, so go take a look, and read why her husband is a 'keeper.'

Here is another reason why My Husband Rocks:

He does things I should do for myself, but hate putting gas in my car. I used to do it, but for some reason I don't like to do it now. Who knows why? Not only does Mike take my car to gas it up, he usually adds another $10 to the money I give him for gas!

Why does your husband rock? Wanna share?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dare to Share Thursday

I found another Thursday Carnival, over at "Be Jolly, by Golly!" It's called "Dare to Share", but Candace (omg, to be named "Candy" at holiday time!) is looking for another name. So if you think of one, let her know!
Here's her link:

And here is my 2 cents:


1 C butter, softened
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 Cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Colored sugar for decorating

In a bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture.
Fill cookie press and press dough 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Decorate, then bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown.
Cool on a wire rack, then enjoy or freeze for later.

Now, my hint. Actually, I posted one a few posts ago: get some zipper type bags and measure out your flour, baking powder and salt. Label the bag! Do this for any cookies you plan to make, and you will have all your messy flour ready when you want to bake. You can use quart-size bags to measure out your sugars, too, and put this right down into the flour bag. Another mess taken care of ahead of time!

And another hint, since that was an old one. Use your weekly 40% off coupon for Michael's or A.C. Moore and get yourself a good cookie press if you don't have one. Wilton makes a nice one. Trust me on this, you want a decent toy to play with, not some piece of junk that is hard to 'press' and will only frustrate you. Consider it an investment!

Please visit Candace and join in her Christmas Carnival. And please scroll down, as I am playing in two carnivals today!


It's time for "Thrifty Thursday" over at Thrifty Jinxy. Jinxy, btw, is a lovely kitty-cat. Here's the link:
The above photo is my donation. It ain't pretty stuff, but hey, it works!
The red jar used to hold coffee. I painted it with some extra "Fusion" plastic spray paint (great stuff, btw) that I had, then I cut a slit in the side. What's inside? Quarters! Quarters I've been pushing in there for more than a month now. It's almost getting too heavy for me to pick up.
How do I avoid the temptation of dipping in there for spending money? I glued the top on! I'll have to cut the jar open to get the money. I plan to do that in December, and put whatever I have saved towards our family Christmas gift (a DVD recorder)! I threw in a twenty dollar bill just for fun. I have no idea how much is in there--for all I know, it's barely fifty bucks. But that would be fifty bucks I wouldn't have otherwise.

Quarters, I decided, are better to save than smaller coins. They add up faster. Mike gave me almost 2 dollars' worth yesterday, and I found another 2 dollars in quarters on my son's floor. (I consider it a tip for the maid--that's what he gets for having a messy bedroom floor.)
Okay, on to the funny paper. That is how I list my coupons. I don't cut coupons. I keep my circulars in a binder, each in a plastic sleeve. Each week, I make lists of what I have in each circular, with the date at the top. It doesn't take me long--I only list what I will use. (If I think one of our clients' at Dr. A's office can use something, I bring those coupons in to work).

I have 3 columns: Under $1, $1 and VHV (Very High Value). I list the coupons not by type but by worth. Nobody here doubles dollar coupons, but there is one store here that sometimes triples up to 99 cents!

You'll see there are colors. I use Pink highlighter for Health & Beauty, Green for Food and Blue for Household. It makes it easier to see what I have. When I use a coupon, I simply cross it off the list.
I keep the highlighters, a pencil and scissors in a zipper pouch right in the binder, so they are always on hand. I keep 'loose' coupons, like ones cut from magazines, in another zipper pouch in the back, and always remember to check it.

So that is my Thrifty Thursday post--I hope you join Jinxy, too!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Shadow's Meme

Sophie Belle Patterpaw over at Blackberry Creek tagged my dog Shadow for a meme, so here are Shadow's answers!

1. What breed are you?
I am a chihuahua, of the black and tan variety. Some people think I am a min-pin!

2. How old are you?
I turn three years old this month!
3. What is your full name?
Shadow Dante
4. Do you have any nicknames?
Moona, Gaboo, Poopadus, Poopa Stinka, Mommy's Little Man, you see a theme here? Mommy says I need doggie mouthwash.
5. Where do you sleep?

If Nicky (he's my uncle) is home, I sleep in his bed. Sometimes, I get to sleep with my mommy and daddy. In the daytime, I like to sleep on the couch like Sophie does, but mostly I like to bury myself under a quilt or some pillows and sleep like that. I like the hot-shot bed Katherine bought me, but the cats took it over. And you don't argue with cats.

6. What is your favorite thing to do?

Play dress up or run outside in the backyard like a lunatic. Oh, and bark at squirrels and my uncle Jamie's friends.

7. What is something unusual or interesting about you?
I'm little and cute, isn't that enough? Okay, when I was a puppy, I was small enough to fit in an Easter basket.

8. Who is your best friend?
My big mommy and daddy (that's Clare and Mike), my second mommy (that's Katherine) and Nicky. Dogwise, I am mucho in love with Roxy, a Pom who lives down the block. But, alas, she spurns all my advances. No Chi-Poms in my future! I also have a twisted crush on Nutmeg--she's the black and white cat. I am afraid of Melody, a little.

9. No, I did not go to Obedience School, but I have such a little brain I would not have been Top Dog.
10. Can you do any tricks? See answer #7
I touch my paw to any dog who wants to play! TAG!

Starting My Christmas Prep

Today, I measured out flour and other dry ingredients for 3 types of cookies. I labelled the bags (spritz cookies, brown sugar cutout cookies and sandwich cookies), including what ingredients are in them. In the case of the sandwich cookies, I also made a separate bag of powdered sugar, which I labeled and put inside the bigger bag.

That makes four baking steps already done!

Now all I have to do is watch for sales on butter, sugar, flour and eggs. Butter's on sale this week, so I'll stock up, but I haven't seen any deals on other baking needs yet. I'm keeping my eyes open!

Friday, November 07, 2008

My Husband Rocks Friday

Short and sweet, again...

My husband rocks because he approaches things in an analytical way and cuts through the propaganda and hearsay. What I mean is, if I'm confused about something I've heard (he's very left-brained, I'm very right-brained), all I have to do is ask him and I know I'll get a sensible and real answer. Lately, I have a lot of questions about the president elect. There's some scary-sounding stuff out there, but I'm going to listen to my husband's interpretation of it all and feel much better about the world.

Go on an pay a visit and see where "My Husband Rocks" got started!

Etsy Shout-Out

Brenda over at "Country Romance from the Heart" has started her own Etsy shop, featuring homemade mixes--"Gourmet from the Heart."
I received my package today, including Mexican Fiesta Dip and Sesame Seed Dip. I may or may not save them for my Christmas Eve Party, LOL!
Not only were they beautifully packaged, but Brenda threw in a free sample of Bacon Dip Mix. Oh, boy--I love bacon! Bacon, bacon, bacon...I sound like the dog in the Beggin' Strips commercial.

Hop on over there and see what she's got. It all looks amazing.

PS--you can also reach the shop via Brenda's blog--see my sidebar.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pantry Inventory

Well, first, I passed my 500th post mark and didn't even realize it, LOL! Blogging Time Flies!

Okay, onto today's offering: Debbie J. inspired me with a post about stocking up for winter:

I had taken an inventory of my pantry way back in July, so it was high time to do it again. I still had the original on my computer, so I just printed out copies and took those to the pantry (actually, a big hall closet) and did some editing. I crossed off what was gone and added new stuff, and now I have two nice lists--one for the bottom shelf and one for the middle shelf. (The top shelf is cereal, which fluctuates too much to bother with inventory.)

By going back over the old list and seeing what was crossed off, I was able to see what things I need to be stocking up on. I just jotted them down quickly, but I plan to make an index card to keep in my wallet to have on hand whenever I go out shopping. You never know when you'll see a good deal on ketchup, LOL!

Next stop: the freezer!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

I actually have a kitchen tip today for "Kitchen Tip Tuesday" over at Tammy's recipes.

It's a little silly, but it worked. I was making breaded chicken tenders. You're supposed to let them sit for a bit to let the egg/flour/bread crumbs 'set up' before frying. All my dishes were in the dishwasher. But I'd just finished an 18-count egg carton, so I decided to use that! What do you know...six tenders fit perfectly on this. It keeps them 'up' a bit so the bottoms dry out, too.

Of course, I threw out the egg carton when I was done. But now I think I'll have to remember to save these, LOL!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

He had scungilli for his birthday

Scungilli--Skun-GEE--lee. A kind of ugly sea snail. For some reason, my husband and 3 older kids love the stuff.
This was what Jamie (he of the flak jacket and serious expression in my Halloween post) requested for his birthday dinner. Mike made it for him with homemade sauce. It was a big hit, except not with me or Nicky. I had a ham sandwich. I'm not sure what Nicky had as I was at work.
I made some hamburger sliders that Jamie ate for lunch. He requested a jar of pickles and some ketchup as a gift--easy kid, LOL!

Friday, October 31, 2008


This is my 3rd post today, LOL! Here are some Halloween photos:

When we were in Ohio, we dressed up my mother's 'goose' in a Groucho Marx Mask. (That's Katherine, my daughter.)
Angelina in costume...dont' know if you can see the green teeth.

Shadow loves to dress up, but as you can see, he does NOT like hats!

My son Jamie, who will be 22 tomorrow. Yes, that's a real flak jacket. And yes, he really is a NICE kid. Really!

Here's our pumpkin...Katherine did the carving.
Have a happy and safe Halloween.

My husband rocks friday

I remembered this week! Read all about "My Husband Rocks Friday" over at Katie Lin's blog:

I'm a great lover of animals. Right now, I've only got a dog, 2 cats and 2 ferrets, but I've had rats, guinea pigs, birds, hamsters, lizards and more. Once, two of my guinea pigs had litters, making a total of 12 (including the papa)!

My mother says to me, "what does Mike think of all those animals?"

I don't know that he'd have any if he was single, except maybe for a cat. Cats are easy. But he's come to love my furbabies, even the outdoor ones. I said to my mother, "who do you think buys all the peanuts for the squirrels?"

So that is another way my husband rocks...he shares my love of animals, even the wild ones!

Two Frugal Thoughts

Edited to join "Financially Free Friday" over at "Not So Perfect." Here's the link!

First thought: generic packaging that looks almost exactly like the brand name stuff is annoying. Really annoying. Almost as annoying as the little sales stickers they put right under the generic stuff when what you want is the real thing. You need the 'real thing' to get your ECBs back at CVS.

Can you tell I picked up generic 'Nyquil' and didn't realize it until after my transaction was finished and there was no ECB? It was a ten-minute production to get it straightened out, but I think that's because the guy behind the register was inexperienced. (And I'm talking about a man pushing 60, not some kid.) I got the money back in cash, and I'm still not 100% sure I wasn't stiffed somehow.

Warning: Take a good look at what you pick up off the shelf--pay no attention to little yellow stickers on the edge!

You can also imagine how p*s*ed I was when he insisted I gave him a five, not a twenty. ("I gave you a twenty. I don't HAVE any fives.") Thank goodness, he put that twenty in with the fives.

Second thought: while I'm so happy I have a well-stocked pantry, it's been a while since I even looked at the price of mayo and I almost had a heart attack when I saw Walgreen's had it on sale at 2 for 5.99--half price. Mayo is up to 5.99 now???? Okay, maybe Walgreen's is pricey, but I think I'd better start working on a little price book again. Last I paid for mayo, it cost me about $2 with a coupon. I know prices are going up, but this is ridiculous. What kind of eggs are they using for the stuff--golden ones from that famous goose? I sure think I'm going to treat my last jar and a half of mayo like gold!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Mystery Solved!

My wonderful Halloween Swap box came from Kat Ray, also known as Aurora, of "Touch the Spindle." I'm so happy to be able to give credit for such a nice present. Thanks, Kat!

PS--I'm back in New York again. It was a nice flight, although the 3-hour layover in Baltimore got a little boring. Then again, a straight flight between NYC and Columbus might have meant a 2-hour drive home from the airport in traffic. (We flew out of Islip, a much, much smaller and more convenient airport). If I have to be 'stuck' for a few hours, I'd rather it be in a place where I can get up and move around!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm in Ohio

My two older kids, Michael and Katherine, are with me visiting their grandma (my mom) in Ohio. We flew in on Saturday. The ride was a little bit bumpy due to rain, but not bad at all. We took Southwest. It's cheap and flies out of a local airport--much nicer than one of the NYC airports! The only thing I don't like about Southwest is that there are no assigned seats. You have to call 24 hours in advance to get your boarding pass, then they let you go on by category--A, B or C. I was mad because I called 23 hours in advance and ended up with B passes. But...they subdivide now (I don't think they used to do that), so we were at the front of the Bs. We got window seats from Long Island to Baltimore and then from Baltimore to Columbus. So it wasn't bad at all.

Do you know, it was 50 dollars cheaper per person to fly on Saturday as opposed to Friday or Sunday? What a difference a day makes!

I saw the weirdest phenomenon in the air, one I may never see again. Dang, if only I'd had a memory card in my camera! It was a circular rainbow! Somehow, the angle of the sun against the airplane made a reflection on the clouds. It started as a bright, white disk with a weird shape in the middle. As the plane went up, the disk grew and became surrounded with rainbow colors. And that weird shape turned out to be the shadow of the plane! So, there on the clouds was a beautiful, round rainbow with a perfect silhouette of the plane in the middle. It was so cool!

So we're here until Wednesday getting fat on Mom's cooking. We had baked macaroni on Saturday. There is homemade vegetable soup, and last night we had beef stroganoff. Michael loves stroganoff, and he helped grandma cook--and got some good pointers! I was armed with the camera then--I'd bought a memory card at CVS. (Ha, ha, frugal to the last--there was a five dollar ECB with it. I gave it to my mom, because I used her card.)

Mom made an angel's food cake to celebrate the kids' birthdays. I wish I could make cake like that. It was always a tradition to have angel's food cake on birthdays when I was growing up, and I'm glad Michael and Katherine had the fun of sharing that.

Today we are going to a cool restaurant called Der Dutchmann. Good food and a killer boutique--I save up to have fun there! Not sure what I'll get, but I know I'll come home with a few neat goodies. Oh! And down the block is an awesome Amish grocery store, where I will buy some spices to bring home. It has a little consignment shop next door that I'll browse. The prices are so reasonable (as compared to New York) that I'm sure I'll find something to bring home.

This is too long and I don't know if anyone actually reads this much text, but if you got this far...hi, hope all is well, wish you were here to have some of my mom's amazing food.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Costume I made

If Sew Crafty Friday was up and running, this would be my 'donation.' I hope all is well with Shereen and family!
Angelina wanted to be a 'spooky bride' for Halloween. She's got her Halloween Dance tonight. So...despite having yet another flippin' sinus headache...I finished it up today. (I also had to get it done anyway...I'm leaving for Ohio tomorrow.) I bought the fabric at a discount store, so it only cost a dollar a yard! But don't laugh about that eyelet ruffle around the comes from an old tablecloth. But hey, it works!
There is tulle around the neck that is held in place with little charms. The bow in the back is tulle as well.
I made this from the ground up--drafted the pattern myself. Basically, I used some exam table paper from work and held it up against Angelina and traced a bodice. I made a 'muslin' to check the fit, and it worked fine. The sleeves are a real pattern, adapted from a sweatshirt pattern.
P.S.--She'll use her first communion veil, wear creepy black nails, and of course she'll ditch the jeans, LOL! (She's wearing creepy lipstick here. Frankly...I made the gown 'pretty' so she could go either way with it...sweet or scary!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Halloween Swap Partner...

...remains an enigma. You forgot to put a card in the box with your name! So...WHO are you?????

Anyhoo, behold the cuteness! An awesome cup, bowl and plate in a Halloween theme...and the spider isn't scary. He's silly and adorable.
And behold the awesomeness...I opened up a red drawstring bag decorated with bats to find some hand made napkins! I love using cloth napkins. Isn't the skull one the best???? I like it so much I hung it on the bottom half of my kitchen cafe curtains, which are black and white gingham. So the skull napkin looks really cool there.

Thanks so much for making me smile today, mystery partner! It will make me even happier to have a name for you!
And thanks to Susan at Blackberry Creek for hosting this fun little swap!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CVS Today

I walked into CVS today with $9 in ECBs and bought:

1 Schick Quattro for Women razor 9.99-$2 mfr coupon=$7.99-- received $3in cost 4.99

1 Twin Pack G.U.M. toothbrushes-3.99--received $3.99 in cost FREE!

2 Cans Maxwell House--BOGO--final cost 4.99 for 2

Tootsie Pops (for work, I'll get reimbursed) 1.99 (orig. 2.49)

A little bag of sunflower seeds $1 (original price 1.69)

So, basically, I got over $29 worth of stuff for about $11.

Yep, sometimes CVS works!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Gift Wrap Idea

I missed both "Sew Crafty Friday" and "My Husband Rocks Friday" due to yet another sinus headache and stomach ache yesterday. Feeling much better today, thanks. I am trying a new homeopathic allergy/sinus medicine, which is made by Zicam. We'll see how it works. I've built up a resistance to Tylenol, I can't take ibuprofen and even though I can tolerate coated aspirin, the long-term damage to my stomach isn't so hot.

Okay, enough about me. I had to wrap a big gift for a little boy's birthday party today. We got him a remote-control truck. I already had some "Hot Wheels" paper on hand, but a plain wrapped box just doesn't do it for me. Neither do ribbons for a boy. So, I thought about the stash of Halloween candy I had and came up with this:

I think it looks like a truck, don't you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Whatever Wednesday: Pet Peeves!

Laurie's theme this week is Pet Peeves. (I forgot to link to her last week! Here ya go...)

Okay, pet peeves. First, a definition, if you don't mind. A pet peeve is a little thing that is really, really, really annoying--not a major 'hate' like cruelty to animals or mean people. I guess, basically, it's the things that make less quality of life. Okay, here I go:

SIGNAL, WILL YOU??? People who turn without signalling really annoy me. How hard it is to flick a lever?

Stop tailgating already. Honestly, whether or not you give my exhaust pipe some breathing space...I'm probably going to meet you at the next light, anyway. What's your hurry?

This one really just applies to me: just because Dr. A's office opens at 6 doesn't mean I want you there waiting in the driveway when I arrive. Dr. A doesn't arrive until 7:15. I don't need you under my feet while I'm trying to vacuum. (We do take walk-ins, and most people actually are pretty nice about waiting...or leaving. I usually let them sign in and tell them to come back later. But still, I wish they wouldn't come so early.)

Speaking of Dr. A's office...stop sitting by while your kids trash the front room. It's just a small place. It isn't a park or a gym. I shouldn't have to be the one to tell the kiddies to stop screaming or throwing things. And what is it with kids and breaking off the legs off horses or removing wheels from toy cars?

Okay, enough griping, LOL!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My oldest is 26

Michael turned 26 yesterday! I still can't believe that 26 years ago, I was holding a tiny, 7 lb. 1 oz. baby boy in my arms after 14 hours of labor. I couldn't believe he was real. I thought if I touched him, my hand would go right through him.

We have had our ups and downs like all families, but he has turned into one remarkable kid. We all went out to a favorite seafood restaurant for his birthday dinner. (That was Friday, since I work Saturday.) Michael got a twin lobster dinner--it's cheap at this place and it was part of his gift. Michael had told me a few weeks ago that he doesn't need presents, since he can afford pretty much anything he'd want. Instead, he wanted to go to dinner.

He comes over every Sunday, too. First, Mike picks him up and they go out on the island to visit his uncle and aunt. Then they swing around this way for dinner. We had lobster again! (Well, I didn't have it friday.) James called from the store and told me lobster was only 5.99 a pound today! Wow, it's been up to $15. So, I treated Michael to another one and got one for myself.

Michael not only enjoyed his dinner, he completely cleaned up after--including taking out the trash. He truly is a man now, no longer a little boy. He's just awesome.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday--almost finished

Well, Shereen isn't back with Sew Crafty Friday just yet, so we have to hope she's happily busy in her new home!
Here are my two blouses. As you can see, I chose green buttons after all for the brown one. It is almost done. I just have to sew buttons on the cuffs and do a little sewing at the neckline.
The pink blouse just needs the neckline sewn. I wish I had more of this fabric so I could bind it to match, but I'll probably either make a contrasting facing (it wouldn't show anyway) or just roll it back and stitch it. I think the ribbon trim is wonky, but I already ripped it out once, so it's going to stay this way. I can also see I need to wear one of my better bras under it, LOL!
I posted twice today, so please scroll down and read my other one. Meantime...what have you been up to in the creative world?

My Husband Rocks Friday

Katie Lin over at "The Great Adventure" is doing a new weekly 'carnival' dedicated to showing the best of our husbands. I think this is a wonderful idea, especially in this day and age when couples seem to thrive on putting each other down and being mean. You wouldn't speak to your best girlfriend the way some women speak to their husbands. (And it goes for the goose as well as the gander--men are guilty of this, too!) So, with that in mind, pay Katie Lin a visit and see what this is all about:

After almost 4 decades together, there are a million things I can say about Mike. But I'll keep this short and simple and give just one example. My husband rocks because he does what he can to make my life easier, without complaint. He knows that I don't like driving at night. (I only drive home from work, barely a mile from my house.) So, even though he'd probably prefer to be in bed by then, he stays up until ten p.m. on nights that our youngest works so he can pick him up.
And speaking of driving, he'll drive me to work and pick me up if it is snowing outside! As I said in an earlier post, I despise driving, but driving far at night or on snow (or on snow at night--shudder) terrifies me! Mike doesn't make fun of me, he takes care of me.

How cool is that?

Oops--I came back to edit this to add: thanks, Debbie J., for telling me about this!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Whatever Wednesday

I've written 3 posts today, so be sure to scroll down for my other two! Laurie's theme for this week's "Whatever Wednesday" is fall memories. I have so many, since fall is my favorite season. I can remember my mom making us costumes from a trunkful of old clothes she had. One year, I was an angel. My 'gown' had actually been the graduation robe my brother wore when he graduated from kindergarten. (He's 10 years older than me.)
I can remember the smell of burning leaves. Alas, you aren't allowed to do that any more.

I remember being able to go anywhere for Halloween and coming home with a ridiculous amount of candy. We heard all the razors-in-apples stories but it didn't really worry us. My mom used to make bags of popcorn for the neighborhood kids, and they looked forward to it every year. Can you imagine doing that nowadays? (BTW, there have only been about 2 proven cases of candy poisoning, and both were traced to family members.)

We kids used to like to rake leaves into squares and leave part of one 'wall' (actually about 6 inches tall) open for a 'door.' Then we'd play 'house.'

One fall, I was actually a cheerleader for a local football team. Nobody who knows me now would ever believe that, and I only did it 'cause my dad made me. My sister and my friend Betty were better at it. (Yes, I had a friend named Betty--Betty Ann. Am I dating myself?)

The Cost of Groceries

Tyler over at Titus 2: 3-5, who hails from Canada, wants to know what we spend on groceries. I happen to have my receipt from Waldbaum's, one of the groceries at which I shop here on Long Island, New York. (You don't live 'in' Long Island. You live 'on' it. If you were in'd be buried.)

I bought a lot of stuff on sale, with coupons, and I got $114.27 worth for $61.80. I bought some Campbell's microwaveable bowls really cheap. Usually, they run about 2.39 each. Ouch--ridiculous! But...they were on sale for 1.33, and I had a bunch of coupons for 75 cents off two. So they ended up being about 58 cents each. I probably did the math wrong (Tyler did some great math converting Canadian gas prices to Americanese--I'm not that good), but I know I saved a ton.

It was a lucky weekend because the paper guy put extra coupon circulars in the paper. Don't you love it when that happens?

Okay, some regular prices--I bought most of these on sale:

Totino's Pizza Rolls (large) 4.99 (I paid $3 minus a coupon)

Coffeemate Liquid Creamer 2.99 ($2 on sale)

Head of Broccoli 2.99 (1.50 on sale)
Head of Cauliflower 2.99 (1.50 on sale)

Lemon--79 cents

Sorrento Mozzarella (16 oz) 6.49--double OUCH but it was BOGO so a good deal. And hey, this is an Italian family...we NEEEED Mozzarella!

I can also tell you that avocadoes are up to about $2 each now. I didn't buy any this week, but a few weeks ago they were $1 each, so I mushed up a few, mixed 'em with lime juice and froze them for future guacamole.

I'm sorry I don't have a lot to tell you about. I've been playing "The Grocery Game" for several years now and have a good stockpile, so I don't buy many 'individual' items at the grocery.

Do you want to tell us what groceries cost by you? Here's the link to Tyler's site:

Playing Tag Again

Hayley over at Happy Hawkey Homeschool House, (I feel as if I should take a breath now..., ha, ha) has tagged me for a 7 Random Things About Me meme. Okay, random stuff...

1. I love animals and consider my pets my second set of children. The outdoor animals are my 'wild pets,' including squirrels who will come over to me if I call them. (Some are more shy than others. My favorites are a very young male, a female with a notch bit out of her ear and two pregnant ladies.) I also consider pets cheaper than therapy.

2. I have four kids. I wanted eight, but it didn't work out that way. (In my own family there were 3 boys, then 3 girls. I'm #5.) My youngest is 18, my oldest will be 26 on Saturday. (My daughter will be 24 and my other son 22 in November.)

3. Mike and I celebrate out 28th wedding anniversary on November 29, but we were dating 9 years prior to that, so our total time together as of this November is 37 years. He was 17 and I was 15--wow, that was a long time ago!

4. I am a published author. I haven't published anything in a few years, but I'm working on a mystery story. The last set of books I wrote, which were for middle-grade readers, are under the series title "Journey to America." They are out of print but I think a lot of libraries carry them. One title is "Fiona McGilray's Story: A Voyage from Ireland in 1849." Alas, the market for historical children's fiction has died out so I only wrote 3 of these books.

5. I hate to drive with a passion and will use any excuse not to have to do it--which probably isn't a bad thing in this day and age!

6. My political thoughts are slightly to the right of the middle-of-the-road. I believe in hand-ups, not handouts. I think we should be kind to everyone, but I don't think people breaking the law should get any special privileges. I think people should shut up and take care of themselves as much as possible and quit whining. (Or maybe I'm just bitter because I'm broke, live with chronic pain and nobody's handing me anything.)

7. If I had one secret desire, it would be the ability to ice skate. But I can hardly walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, so there goes that idea.

Now you know more about me than you ever wanted to know! You can visit Hayley here:

I'm supposed to tag 7 people, but I'll just invite anyone who wants to play!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen and her family are safe and sound at their new home, so go over and say 'hi'!
No Sew Crafty Friday yet, but she's eager to get back on line!

I don't have pictures today. Sorry! The memory card to my camera decided to die. I'm glad I already had all my pictures transferred from it.

What I have today is a progress report:

1. Made the buttonholes for the green and brown blouse. I found green buttons that are a great match.

2. Sewed the lining to the brown jacket and have it pinned in place

3. Finished a padded baby hanger.

4. Sewed toppers for Christmas towels--you know, the things that have buttons on them so you can attach the towel to your oven door handle.

5. Crocheted a little jumper for the "American Girl"-type doll Angelina has. I'm making her a little wardrobe for Christmas. The jumper was super-easy and I just have to put buttons on it. I used some turquoise yarn I have.

That's it, I guess! I promise to have pictures soon. Maybe Walgreen's will have a deal on one of those memory cards this weekend. What have you guys been up to this past week?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Whatever Wednesday: Childhood Memories

I'm participating in Whatever Wednesday today at

Laurie's theme this week is Childhood Memories. I have so many, a lot of which I'd like to forget, LOL! But I'll tell you a few that always make me feel good.

The first is that my father had converted a small room in our basement into a sort of ham radio center. I loved to go down there and sit with him as he made his calls over his radio. I'm not sure they even have 'ham' radios any more! (Ham, Dad told me, was a joke word for "amateur.") I can still hear him:
"WB2MBU calling CQ, CQ, CQ!"

My dad used to treat us to Carvel ice cream once in a while, too. It was a lot more special back then because there weren't so many of them around. Nowadays, very little is 'special' because it's so convenient to us! Heck, back then a box of new crayons, or some construction paper or Play-do was like treasure!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday/Frugal Friday

I'm not sure if Shereen is doing Sew Crafty Friday today, since they moved this week. I sure hope all is well and the move went smoothly! But I'm combining Sew Crafty Friday with Frugal Friday, which is featured over at "Biblical Womanhood." Check it out for some wonderful ideas!

The top photo is a beautiful tea set that I bought at a school tag sale last week. All the pieces are there in perfect condition, in the box. Can you believe I only paid $3 for it? It is now up in my attic and will be the gift I give the little girl I babysit. She's almost 9 and has shown herself to be a kid who takes care of things, so I know she'll enjoy this.
This second photo is of two projects I made yesterday. The weird little triangular things are stuffed with rice. They're for a game called "Five Stones." I'm sorry that I forgot where I got the idea from. Basically, though, you put two squares of fabric together and sew around 3 sides. Stuff it about half full of rice or beans. Instead of sewing straight across the fourth side, you fold it so that the seams match. fThen it makes a sort of triangle. I got the cute Japanese fabric from an etsy shop. This is a great way to use up scraps. I have to admit, I can't really figure out the "Five Stones" game. I guess it's 'cause I'm not a kid.
Not sure who's getting this game, but I'm probably going to make a bag to put these in.
I was also thinking you could do five different colored bean bags and put them in a quart-sized paint can (available at Home Depot). A young child would enjoy trying to toss the bags into the can! Or make multiples of the colors for sorting and matching.
Obviously, the cloth bowl is for Halloween. But I plan to make some up for Christmas, too. I'll try to post a tutorial for it later this week. It's very, very easy to do--think 'giant yo-yo'!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday thoughts

No pictures today. I haven't done much since last week. I plan to hit Joanne's tonight and have a list which includes lining for my jacket, buttons for 2 blouses (40% off!) and some maybe fancy fabric (on sale) to make a 'spooky bride' costume for the little girl I babysit. I won't buy the pattern tonight, though. Butterick is on sale but there isn't anything like a bride costume, or even a dress I can adapt. I don't get it--why aren't they more styles for slightly chubbier girls? It was a problem I also had when Katherine was little. (Katherine's still a big girl, but guess what? So far she's lost almost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers!)

I'm debating if I'll buy any of the 1.99 patterns. I might get one for doll dresses and one for dog coats. But as far as people patterns, well, I look at them and all I see is variations on several themes. I can take the patterns I already have and mess around with them. If I'm going to buy a pattern, even for 1.99, I want something unique!

I'm going to pick up some fat quarters in fall colors, too, for craft projects. I don't get to Joanne's often (it's 40 minutes away and I don't drive that far) so I stock up when I can. Hopefully, after tonight I'll have what I need to finish a few projects!

One other thing I'm working on is my son's afghan. It's been up in the attic because it's been too hot to crochet, but since the weather has cooled down quite a bit I brought it out again. I'm determined to finish it by Christmas!

What are you working on? Visit Shereen's blog (see "Waiting for Him" on my sidebar) and see what others are doing. And wish Shereen and her family luck...they're making a big, big move to a new home this weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whatever Wednesday: Movies

Today's "Whatever Wednesday" topic is movies! I love movies. I don't go out to them often, but I love my DVD player. The last 'in theater' movie I saw was "I Am Legend." I highly recommend it! Will Smith is so very talented, and seems to be a nice guy who loves his family very much. His little guy stars with him in "Pursuit of Happyness." I saw that on DVD and also highly recommend it.

When my husband and I were dating, a million years ago, we went to the movies almost every weekend. I sure do miss drive-in movies! They were so much fun. I couldn't even tell you 80% of the movies we saw. A few stuck in my head over the years. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was amazing.

Speaking of Jack Nicholson, he stars in my favorite horror movie of all time: "The Shining." While I really, really like the newer TV version, I never get tired of Jack, Shelley Duvall and little Danny Lloyd. I could recite that movie almost by heart and pick out just about every 'goof' in it. It doesn't really scare me any more, but if it's spooky and rainy outside, no movie is better to watch.
BTW, I admit something: I have recorded it on VHS and cut out scenes I don't like. I can't stand when she comes to ask about his work and he starts swearing at her. It isn't scary, but it's just so...mean. Mostly because Wendy just stands there like a hurt puppy. (Her strength comes out later when Jack goes completely nuts and she has to protect herself and Danny. Way to swing a baseball bat, girl!)
The other scene is when Jack goes to check Room 237 and the nekkid lady gets out of the tub...and turns into a rotting old corpse. Nasty! I'm terrible, I know, but I cut those scenes. I don't think the movie misses them, at least not for me. Nekkid, I could care less--nekkid and putrid, well...ewwwww.

Okay, so what else do I like? For Comedy, I'd have say "The Hudsucker Proxy." It totally cracks me up, it's so 'out there.' Briefly, it's a fictitious story about the guy who invented the hula hoop. Full of cute twists and surprises, and very fast-paced.

Romance..."Jane Eyre" with Charlotte Gainesborough and William Hurt. I cry every time Mr. Rochester professes his love to Jane, who finds it hard to believe she is lovable.

I could go on for pages, but I'll end with my utmost favorite movie of all time: "To Kill a Mockingbird." My sister and I always looked forward to showings of it on television. Scout, Jem, Boo Radly and of course, Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck...what a gorgeous creature he was!) are like real people to me. I get choked up when Scout is up in the balcony with the black members of the community, and the man says to her: "Stand up, Miss Jean Louise. Your father is passing." Even though he lost the trial, they know how hard he worked when many would have handed Tom over to a lynch mob without any trial.

If you want to play "Whatever Wednesday," here's the link!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday: Jacket

Here's the jacket I've been working on. Obviously, it needs pressed! The sleeves are actually supposed to have a ruffled lower half, but I feel the fabric is a little too stiff for that to work. So it will be like this. It's a working 'muslin' anyway. If it fits nicely, and I figure out the lining part of it (I've never done a lining before, as I have already mentioned) I plan to make it again in nicer fabric with long sleeves borrowed from another pattern.
I don't think you can tell by the photo, but this is a brown and black herringbone.
I hope to get to Joanne's tonight to buy various buttons, lining fabric and other things I need (including a new seam ripper!) to finish my ongoing fall wardrobe projects.
Yesterday, I pinned a pair of pants from the free Burda patterns site. Don't laugh at me--I used my picnic table! It's outside under one of those net gazebos. My husband uses the dining room table for his work. I usually wait until he's gone and then move things, but I never get to use the whole table because I can't move the computer. But the picnic table is exactly the right size to hold my cutting board! The weather was pleasant enough, but I wish I had thought of this months ago, LOL! I doubt I'll be out there cutting fabric in the winter.

Please check my sidebar and click on "Waiting for Him" to visit Shereen's Blog, where you will find "Sew Crafty Friday."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We're going home... give the Magical Mystery Blogging Tour Bus a rest. I've glanced at gazillions of blogs and still can't find any for certain states. But I sure have seen some wonderful ones that I'd like others to enjoy, too! So for now, I'm going to be writing posts about blogs I like in general. The USA map is still on my bulletin-board, so as I find those elusive 'other states' blogs, we'll take some side trips.

Meantime, enjoy: --ooey, gooey girliness aplenty! --cute fall decor, cuter kitty-cat, even
cuter baby grandson! --more cute fall stuff!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Thanks for the ideas!

Thanks for all the nice comments on the blouse and the ideas for buttons. I think I'll try my hand at covering buttons for it. Haven't done that in years! I hope to hit Joanne's this weekend, so I'll get the 'kit' while I'm there. I also have to buy lining fabric for the jacket I'm making. Both the blouse and the jacket are at a standstill until I get supplies. Meantime, I have a peasant blouse I can finish and a few projects I can start.

Like I need more projects on my WIP list! Hey, it keeps me off the streets and out of the nuthouse.

I'm feeling better by 95%. Still tired and congested, but well enough that I'm going to work tonight. I've got homemade bread baking in the oven (from "Tammy's Recipes"--it's the Amish White Bread). We're having chicken salad melts with a cucumber salad on the side. The melts are a Paula Deen recipe, so if I like the results I'll let you all know!

Katherine, alas, has my cold now. I wonder how long it will be before Nicky gets it. He tends to catch everything I get!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

It's time for Sew Crafty Friday at Shereen's blog.

I'm going to make mine quick. My cold is worse today than yesterday and I'm totally wiped out. This is a blouse I'm making. (Please ignore the trash can on the floor, LOL!) The sleeves will have cuffs in the same fabric as the lower halves.
Opinions, please! I think that brown buttons would get lost on this. I'm not sure I can match that green. What do you think about beige, maybe wooden or wood-like buttons?
Have a good weekend and stay healthy.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Project Runway, etc.

I woke up this morning with a stomach ache, which isn't unusual for me. I also have a sore throat, which is--guess I've got a cold, dang it. I have to call in sick later for work tonight. I hate to do that because it's our busiest time of the year. Well, maybe there will be fewer people tonight because most of them came in over the last week for school physicals.

What is it about waiting until the last minute? And why is it that so few people believe me when I say you've probably got until September 30 or even later to get the physical done? Since last Monday (I mean before Labor Day) we have seen 140 children. This is impressive because a)this office is only open about 15 hours a week, and Dr. A is only there about 2/3 of that and b)90% of those kids were there for physicals.

Okay, next thing: thanks for the comments yesterday. I haven't made the ice cream treats in a while, but I think maybe I need to do so soon! Right now, the extent of my cooking is making homemade noodles this morning for noodle soup. Canned stuff just isn't going to cut it the way I feel so lousy. My noodles are nice and fat, almost like little dumplings. I already have some broth made. So when I finish blogging here, I'm going to eat some soup and then go take a nap.

At least I'm not babysitting today!

NOTE: If you missed last night's Project Runway episode and you're waiting to be surprised by the rerun, read no further! SPOILER ALERT!!!
Or else, scroll down...

Project Runway was a big surprise to me. I just watched the rerun because Mike and I were watching the 2-hour season premiere of "Bones" last night. Leanne won again, and Stella is out. Wow!

So, I need to take back what I said about Leanne being boring. She's such a little mouse, but oh-my-gosh, lately, the mouse is roaring! So she really does have talent--who knew? She deserved to win this week. I didn't like the jacket much, but that dress was gorgeous!

I, personally, would have picked Korto's awesome black and white and yellow dress. (I think I spelled her name wrong. My brain is not working very well right now.)

I don't like Kendall, but she did get me with how much this particular challenge meant to her. Her dress was very pretty. But, like one of the judges said, if it had had that extra layer it would have been the winner.

Now, Stella--there was a sort of surprise. Dang, that girl was starting to grow on me. You know, I almost missed her when the contestants were gathered to meet Diane VF. She really looks nice when she isn't looking freaky.

Alas, although the general idea of the outfit was nice, the execution was blecch. I might have mentioned before that the PR judges seem to tolerate just about anything except: poor execution and dull design. Stella just didn't hit it right either this week or last week. She looked p*ss*d about leaving. I was honestly sorry to see her go, at least at this point.

Is it too early to predict the final 3? I couldn't, at this point, but I really think Korto's going to be one of them!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Whatever Wednesday

I found a fun new blog with carnival called "Whatever Wednesday." Here's the link:
The blog is called "Whatever Comes to Mind." This week's "Whatever Wednesday" theme is food. Here is a super easy dessert that's fun for an afterschool snack:

Ice Cream Krispies

1/2 Cup light Karo syrup
1/2 Cup peanut butter
3 Cups Rice Krispies
2 1/2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream, softened

In a large bowl, combine Karo and peanut butter; stir in cereal. With buttered hands, press mixture into a greased 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Cut in rectangles. Make sandwiches with one scoop of ice cream between two rice layers. Wrap individually and freeze. Makes about a dozen.

I don't remember where I got this recipe from, but it tastes really good. I think it would be great with chocolate ice cream, too. And you could mix in some 'seasonal' M&Ms with the rice for holidays.

Check out Laurie's blog and maybe you can share a 'food' post, too!

Sunday, August 31, 2008


...where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain!" C'mon, you know you want to sing it!

I found a nice blog from Oklahoma! Here you will find some wonderful sewing projects, including cute fashions for Angie's adorable daughter, Lu. Angie's got the same problem as a lot of moms out there (and as I had when Katherine was younger)--finding fashions that are 'cool' enough for a growing kid yet appropriate! I think she really hits the mark with her projects, and I'm sure you'll agree!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen's hosting Sew Crafty Friday, but she just had a root canal! So go on over there and send her some best wishes, okay? (See my sidebar: "Waiting for Him" is the blog.) Take it from someone who has had nine of them...NOT fun!

Here is my donation today. I bought the sweater fabric on clearance for about $2 a yard. This was made with the versatile "Lydia" pattern from the Burdastyle website. Remember, there are lots of free patterns there! I love the "Lydia" top because it's basically a t-shirt and that means no buttons or zippers.

The ruffle is made from a fat quarter. I wanted to do something around the neckline, but not the same old-same old. I saw the fat quarter in my stash and had one of those craft 'ah-ha' moments. So I tore it in strips about 2 inches wide, sewed the strips together, doubled them over and gathered it up. This is not done of the bias. A fat quarter wouldn't be big enough. But, as you can see by the scoop neckline, 'stretch' isn't necessary here.

Don't look too close at the finishing in the second picture. That's just there for a closeup of the ruffle. It was a little hard to bind the neckline and some of the knit 'escaped.' I did a fancy topstitch over it. Frankly, nobody's gonna get that close to the top, anyway...unless they want a poke in the nose.
So, one top down for the fall!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Header

I recently redecorated the shelf over my sink with some of my chickens and roosters. The big white chicken is supposed to be a planter, I guess. I'm using her to hold all those packets of soy sauce we get with Chinese food.

That little green one is kind of strange, and I think it was originally meant to be for toothpicks. She might hold them again, yet. Right now, she's got some salt and pepper packets in her.

The can in the back has a chicken picture on it, and I've got our instant-read thermometers in it.

The big apple is just wood. The little one is opens up to reveal a teeny-tiny wooden tea set.

Everything was bought either on clearance, by thrift or at garage sales. You don't have to spend a lot to create a fun 'vignette'!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Check out what's cute in New Jersey!

I found this New Jersey blog this morning, and I love it! Hop on over there and check out Lorraine's tutorial for a very pretty beaded pincushion and fancy mirror. You'll enjoy the cards she made, and if you are like me, you'll drool a bit over the pictures of the little embellishments shop she visited--button heaven, as she calls it! I wouldn't disagree, LOL!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday Night's All Right...

...for saving money, that is!

Mike and I sometimes visit an Italian supermarket a few miles away. We like the quality of meat and seafood there, plus the selection of cheeses and other Italian treats. But what we've discovered is that the best time to shop there is on Saturday night after 8 p.m. That is when many freshly-cooked things go on sale BOGO. Last night, I bought two 8-piece buckets of fried chicken for $4. That's 50 cents per piece of chicken! I also brought home two rotisserie chickens for half price. They offer sushi and homemade sandwiches for the same deal. (For the record, stores must sell sushi on the same day they make it, or throw it out. If I hadn't already had sushi for lunch, I would have treated myself to some for a late snack. I looooovvvve sushi.)

Okay, so, now we have enough fried chicken for a few lunches. I 'broke down' the roti chickens this way: meat good enough for people to eat, meat/skin/goop the dog and cats will enjoy and the carcasses and bones. Of course, the bones are simmering in water on the stove for broth! (I'll freeze it later.) I put some of the 'good meat' into the freezer for future use. The rest will go for enchiladas this week, and if I have any left I'll make myself some chicken salad.

My frugal tip for you is this: shop late and see if the store has any special deals! In fact, if you get there near closing, maybe you could even ask for a deal. I would bet any smart manager would say 'yes,' rather than losing money on something they have to throw out.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Shereen's "Sew Crafty Friday" is on, so go on over and visit-- Better yet, show something off!

I have a bunch of sewing projects in the works but today I'm going to talk about baking. My friend from Pennsylvania gave me starter for Amish Bread when we were visiting last month. So far, I've made vanilla, chocolate and Oreo Cookie versions. The Oreo cookie one was so much like vanilla I don't think I'd bother with that flavor again.

This is one of those deals where you have this sort of 'batter' that you play with and every ten days you bake bread. It's a sweet, dessert-like bread. The basis for the flavor is instant pudding, and you can all things like nuts, chocolate chips or fruit to it.

Today, I'm going to bake lemon with blueberries. I found lemon pudding, as well as cheesecake-flavored. I'm curious to see how they taste--I'll do either the cheesecake or another vanilla one (maybe with streusel!) in 10 days.

The recipe makes up 2 loaves each time you bake, so I always freeze one. They freeze beautifully.

Has anyone else ever made this bread using the Amish Starter? Do you do anything special? I'd like to figure out how to make a pumpkin version, but I'm wondering how to incorporate pumpkin puree into the mix.

I'd love to hear your ideas!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Make Your Own Magazine Cover!

I found a fun site where you can make your own magazine cover. Here's one I did for Shadow. It's free and a lot of fun. Here's the link:


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Waste Not (Late Sew Crafty Friday)

I didn't participate in Shereen's Sew Crafty Friday on time 'cause I couldn't find my camera. I thought I had put it in one of the cubbies of my desk but didn't see it. I shoulda sat down and really looked--it was in there, tucked in the back. So I took a picture this morning. This blouse is two in one--a sleeveless one I started a year or so ago, and the sleeves from the Project Runway blouse I decided I didn't like. (But I do like the sleeves!)

By the time I cut the binding off the sleeves, the armholes were big enough that I didn't even need to gather the sleevecaps. Next step is to try it on again to see if I need to add a panel to the neckline. I think it would look nice because it would tie the whole thing together.

This is an interesting pattern. I no longer have it, so I can't tell you where it came from. But it has no zipper or buttons. The bottom half is cut on the bias, so it is stretchy enough to go over your head.

It will be part of my fall wardrobe. The sewing is at various stages--I got the buttons for the blouse I posted about last week but I'm waiting on the right color thread. (On order from Joanne's.) I cut out a brown blouse which is also in two coordinating prints. I traced a pattern from Burda's free patterns site for pants. I don't usually make pants because they never fit me right, but I thought I'd give it a go.

Another first for me is a jacket with a lining. I found some fabric on sale in a rust and brown herringbone pattern. I didn't realize until it came in the mail that is is polyester and I don't do polyester. I don't like how it feels. However, a jacket is not worn against the body and the poly will help it keep its shape.

I gotta tell you, though, cutting through that stuff is like cutting through Kevlar. Holy cow, is it stiff! And this is after washing, it sure does fray.

Oh, and something totally not related to sewing: Trader Joe's pizza dough rocks. I have not been happy with my own homemade recipe and decided to give it a try. My pizza last night tasted amazing! Not as economical as I'd like it to be, since mozzarella hasn't been on sale, but still cheaper and better than take out!

Check my sidebar and click on "Waiting for Him" to see the nice projects my more timely blogger acquaintances posted on "Sew Crafty Friday." This time, I'll be more careful to put the camera where I can actually see it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Project Runway

I don't usually write commentary on TV shows. I think there are others who do a much better job. But I thought I'd start doing it for the few reality shows I actually watch. The current one is " Project Runway." (The others are "Top Chef" and "The Next Food Network Star".)

I started watching PR a few seasons ago. After surfing a bit, I'd stopped on it for a few moments and was impressed the designers were asked to create something for the "Everyday Woman." Not only that...but the women were the designer's moms!

Watching how people think and create is something I really enjoy. The talent is amazing, for the most part. I do have to wonder, sometimes, what certain people sent in as their audition videos to get them on the show. Case in point is Leanne. She's been on the bottom too many times to still be there. I think the only reason she wasn't sent packing this week is because she was only the 'helper' end of the team.

This week, the contestants were asked to pair up to design an outfit for Brooke Shields to wear on "Lipstick Jungle." I honestly never watched the show, so I don't know what works there. But I know what I like, hate, or find here goes.

Korto and Joe--the jacket was interesting and I loved the color, but the dress was a snooze.

Jerrel and Stella--awesome creativity, workmanship and teamwork. Stella keeps on surprising me. For someone who looks like a half-burned out biker chick, she really is talented. (The outfit last week might have been okay except for that silly cutout, though.) This outfit was my own personal favorite tonight.

Keith and Kenley--I hated the skirt. Which is funny, because the judges loved it. Maybe it was nicer in person. Just MHO, and what do I know about fashion? I own exactly 2 dresses.

Terri and Suede--I just wrote 'yuk" in my little notebook.

Blayne and Leanne--the top was pretty nice, otherwise it was really boring.

Kelly and Daniel--I only wrote "not crazy about it."

An aside: I wish Kenley would zip it with that silly and often inappropriate laughter. Grow up, already. But maybe that's just crabby middle-aged me talking.

Okay, so Keith won. I wish it had been Jerrel and Stella. Leanne should have gone home, but since Daniel was the team leader the burden was on him, so bye-bye Daniel.

Does anyone else watch? (I know Becky does!) What do you think?

Friday, August 08, 2008

USA Trip on the road again! NEBRASKA!

That's how I typed it the other day. (I wasn't in the mood to actually write the post, but I didn't want to forget the link.) "Nebraska" is in big, fat capital letter 'cause I'm sooooo happy to have found a blogger in the middle of the country. Jessi's blog is clever and funny. There's so much to see there that every time you go back, you're sure to find something you missed before!

There is hope for the future that there ARE crafty and creative bloggers out there. But for today...hop on over to Jessi's and enjoy!

SCF: a few things, and a guest designer

Time for Sew Crafty Friday! Here's my donations, plus something extra:

Here are some little fabric buckets I made. Don't look inside...I didn't actually 'finish' them. The little one holds dimes and nickels I'm throwing in there. So far I have about $4. Hmmmm...maybe I'll cash them in next time I'm heading to Joanne's, so I can buy some of those patterns they always have on sale for $1.99. (Honestly, who spends $15 on a sewing pattern????)
BTW, you can see I only used batting in the pink one, which is why it is so floppy. But it holds the permanent markers nicely.
Here is a blouse I'm making for the fall. I posted about it on a recent SCF, and have added the trimming. I don't know if you can see, but I have pins marking where the buttons will go. They will be maroon (or should I be fashionable and say "burgundy"?), which matches the trim. I bought them on Etsy. I'm trying to buy my 'extras,' like buttons, on Etsy as much as possible. Better prices, plus you help someone make a little money.
Okay, so this is a long-sleeved version of this blouse: I cut the neck in a v-shape and won't put a collar on it.
Finally, my 'guest designer.' I babysit a little girl of 8, Angelina. She has a real eye for design and I think she's going to do something artistic in her life. I'm trying to encourage that. She has free run with my baskets of fabric scraps (but knows to keep away from my 'full' pieces) and enjoys making doll clothes. I decided it was high time she did something more than just tie pieces around a doll. So I took out a very simple doll skirt pattern--just one piece cut on the fold--and showed her how to pin and cut it. Here's the result:
I'm not yet comfortable with letting her use my sewing machine, so she did this by hand. I lightly drew a line for her to follow while she sewed, and I think she did a great job. The ribbon waistband was her own idea, as was 'tube' top. BTW, here's the designer:
So, that's some of the stuff I've been up to. How about you?