Friday, November 30, 2012

Saving Money and Time

It's that time of year when we are busier than ever, trying to get everything done that needs to be done as well as everything done that we Want to get done. We have people pulling us in every direction. Family who needs us, friends who want us, and people we barely know wanting us to help with this and that. 

WHERE do we find the time to do it all?  I do think sleeping is overrated, but we do need our rest. And we do need time for ourselves. 

We need to get our rest, we need to eat right, we need to continue getting the exercise so we don't get sick. And this is the time of year when the germs are everywhere attacking us. 

SO --- how do we do it? 
We set boundries, we set rules, we set limits. 
We somehow, and at times it's too late, but we learn to say 'No'.

To help with all the baking we like or need to do - form a cookie exchange with family, friends, co-workers, fellow church members.   

Have each person sign up so you know how many will be joining you.  
Pick a day and place to meet.
Then have each person make a different kind of cookie or more than one kind if they want.  

Each person makes enough cookies to have a bag of 4-12 cookies for each person who will be there.  Plus a few to share at the party.

When you all get together have coffee, hot chocolate, or beverages of your choice ready along with small plates for samples. 
Each person who attends gets to take home one bag from each person! 
So if there are 20 people who have joined in each person gets to take home 20 different kinds of cookies!  And all you did was make One kind!  

Recycle!  This is a pic of a formerly known as t-shirt!
It makes a great scarf that can be worn as pictured to keep your neck warm or just drapped over your head and just let hang as a long scarf. 

Take a t-shirt, a solid color with no imprint on it works best. Cut the shirt just below the bust/chest line. You will have the bottom circle of the t-shirt. 

Measure down from the top about 3 - 4 inches and mark it or remember where that is. Then from the bottom cut strips up to that mark.  Your strips should be less than an inch wide. You will have many many strips.  If the shirt is very stretchy you can pull a little bit on each strip and it will curl as in the picture above. If the shirt doesn't stretch much your strips will stay as they are. 
Then take the strips and you can tie a knot in some, add beads to some or just leave alone. 
Take the scarf and drape it over your head and just let it fall as it will. 
OR - take each side and pull it around your neck as pictures above and attach with a safety pin to hold it in place close around your neck. 

An easy gift to make, accessory to make and wear and people won't believe it's a t-shirt! 

Other tips to save money:
1)Shop with coupons, 
2)shop for sales. 
3)Instead of buying gifts for everyone in your family draw names. That way each person only needs to have one gift for that person. If you like to have lots and lots of gifts to open than this won't work, however instead of buying a lot of little things for several people you can spend more on that one person. 
4) Make your gifts instead of buying them.  If you can't make them yourself have someone else make it for you, or buy something that is homemade. 
5) Make up kits to give as gifts. It can be a recipe for hot chocolate, a muffin mix, a craft for the kids to work on etc. 
6) Do a Christmas letter instead of cards.  It will save you the money of commercal cards and give you a chance to share with loved ones and friends what you have been doing all year.  That way instead of just a card which leaves them wondering what you've done all year, the letter will tell them.  This also saves time as you can type it up, run off copies and you don't have to repeat all your news in all those cards. Add pictures to the letter and print those as part of the letter. 

Tips to save time:
1) Deligate!  Especially if you have kids. They can help in so many ways.  Cleaning the house, decorating the tree/house. Wrapping the gifts. Addressing the Christmas cards (for kids old enough to write). 
2) To save time in keeping the house clean and organized during the holidays put things away as you use them. Set a place in a spare room to stash stuff, but set up boxes or trays to designate where things belong. (One for each person works also so that person can check his/her box each day and put things away.) 
3) Create a calendar just for this time of year. Write down EVERYTHING that you need to do and when. Write down everything that everyone in the house has to do.  This includes shopping, working, specail events, parties, cookie exchanges, decorating the house, church and church events, visiting friends and family, and if friends and family will be visiting you.
4) Make menu plan and shop accordingly to help with the stress of 'what's for supper?" and "we have nothing to eat!"

When you think you just can't do any more, that you are stressed out and beyond your boiling point ---- take a deep breath and take time for yourself which is one thing you forgot to do in all the things you've been doing!   

    I hope some of these tips have helped. Some may be too late for this year already, but keep them in mind for next year or any time you have a lot going on.  And for some of us - that is ALL the time. 

Have a great weekend!

Til next time keep those needles stitching.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Keep the Christmas Spirit All Year Long

Thanksgiving is past, black Friday is behind us, Small Business Saturday is also a memory. Cyber Monday is tomorrow. How have you spent your holiday week? 
I hope you were able to spend at least a little bit with your family, doing traditional family things.  Whether it included traditional foods, heading out shopping together on Black Friday (or the new 'Gray Thursday, as I call it). Or sitting around watching football. Or some headed out for the beginning of hunting season. Or decorating the house for Christmas. 
So many things going on at this time of year. Each thing taking up our time. We continue to put in our time at work, plus add all the other extras. We eat too much, we sleep too little, we overdo our lives in so many ways at this time of year. 

This year let's try to keep the spirit of Christmas in our hearts. We get stressed trying to do it all for our kids, our families, our co-workers, and ourselves. There does come a time when we need to step back and just enjoy. 

So, what if you don't get ALL the Christmas decorations up that you normally do. What if you miss just one(or more) of the many Christmas parties you used to attend. What if you don't spend the same or more money this year as last year. Does it really matter?  
Now, if for some reason it DOES matter, than those are the things you should be attending to.  If you can think about it and realize that it will be o.k. to do less this year, then do less. 

Many of us have gone through rough times this year. The economy has affected us, emergencies have taken our savings, loosing a job has taken it's toll. Give yourself permission to do less. 
Often when we do less, we are doing more. Instead of spending money, we spend time. We stay home with family. We make gifts instead of buying them. We teach our kids and grandkids to make things. We remember the homemade things we made as kids or our grandparents made for us.

Yes, doing less. I sit here writing this with my tree not up yet, the house not decorated, the gifts not all bought or even made. I'm o.k. with that. (Tree may go up today, the rest of the house won't be getting done this year. Not like it used to.) I'm giving myself permission this year to do less. I'll admit it is a bit stressful in not doing it all, but I'll get over it. I have so much other stuff going on I have to decide what HAS to be done and what can be done and what can be omitted this year. 

And so, I leave you now with thoughts of Christmas memories, time to come up with money saving ideas, time saving schedules, and ideas for home made gifts. And don't forget ---- quilts or other quilted or sewn items make great homemade gifts. And if you can't make them, you know someone how has them for sale..... Quilter's Pantry! 

I'll be back later this week with tips to save money and save time. 
Til next time -- keep those needles stitching.




Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 Happy Thanksgiving! 
( I got to sleep in a bit late this morning as I will be working 8pm - 4:30 am. at my job in retail
 Giving thanks today for all that we have been blessed with this year.
I also give thanks for all those who are working today. As much as we in retail complain about having to work horrible hours and get little sleep, we appreciate: our military who are working 24/7 for our freedoms; our medical personal who are there taking care of us when we are sick, or on call 'just in case'; the police who work to help keep us safe; and for those who are traveling we appreciate the hotels, convenient stores, gas stations who are there as we need them. And to all those on the TV and Radio supplying us with news and entertainment a thank you to you too.
We often don't give these groups of people a thought that they too have to rearrange their family time to accommodate being there for the rest of us. There is no "Normal" in our lives today. For what is 'normal' for one is not the same 'normal' as another. 

Take time if you are out today to say a special "Thank You" to all those who are working and are there for us when we need, and yes, 'want' them.
So today - enjoy your 'normal' day however you get to spend it and be thankful for all that you have been blessed with. Even when things don't seem to be going well for us, we are still blessed with so much. Having others to reach out to is one of those things. 
As for me ---
I am thankful for my family, friends and all my readers, my quilting family and those who just stop by and read what I have to say. You mean so much to me even though I may have never met you.

Have a blessed day. 

Til next time - keep those needles stitching.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Today is the 'Day In-between" for me and a reminder of why we make t-shirt quilts.

 I am currently make three t-shirt quilts for a customer out of her late husband's t-shirts, jeans and a jean shirt. No real set block sizes, no sashing between the blocks. I'm just doing random squares of the logos and prints of a wide variety of t-shirts he had collected over the years.
He was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this year and she is doing these for her young grandchildren.

As quilter's we often get asked if we make t-shirt quilts, quilts from old clothes, quilts from baby clothes that they have out grown. Many quilters do not, because of the detailed work involved. I do make them.

Today, for me is, as the title says, The Day In-between.  You see on November 12, 1979 my father passed away. He had COPD, had been a smoker most of his life. The memories he left me are many. These include a quilt my mother made when I was 10 and is featured elsewhere in this blog.
It was made with scraps of the fabric she used to make so many or our clothes. It was also my Daddy's favorite 'blanket' as it was heavy and he liked the weight of it.

Tomorrow is the anniversary from Nov 14, 1993 when my father in law passed away. I had only known him for 20 some years. But he was special. He was a man of integrity, man of his word. Believed in a handshake was a contract, you took a man at his word.

Both men served our country, my Dad in the Army, my father in law in the Navy.  The timing of Veterans day around the time they each passed.... also special. 

Another interesting thing about both these men. Their birthdays. Born in different years, but one was May 2 and the other was May 7.

I have found so many things that connect my husband and I with odd dates that fit both his family and mine.

Today, as I sit here listening to my precious new grandson wake up, I am reminded of the love of family.  The joy a family brings to each other. And the wonderful memories we have of passed family members. What a great memory to younger family members to have a quilt, especially to have one made out of t-shirts their parent or grandparent wore.

While most of you may not have a "Day In-Between' to remember loved ones, take time as we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas to reflect on family memories.

Thank you Daddy and Jack for the memories, love and joy you brought into my life.


Thursday, November 8, 2012


We go through the year from special day to special day. We check our work schedules. We plan family events. We look ahead to what's coming up in the next week, next month. We write appointments on our calendars, in our phones, in our minds - which ever works for us to keep track of all that we have going on in our lives. 

At this time of year life gets real busy. We just got through Halloween and elections (here in the US) and now we look forward to Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  Sadly we spend more time thinking about Christmas than we do Thanksgiving. I say 'sadly' because we usually are thinking about the gifts, and what to get for whom and what we want for Christmas. 

We check the sale ads. The Black Friday ads that have been out for a few weeks already fill our email boxes. We hear about all the sales on the TV.  We plan our shopping day for Black Friday to get up as early as we can to get the best deal. And this year you don't have to get up early!  Just stay up all day and night. Some sales are starting at 8PM Thursday night (Walmart).  What ever happened to one holiday at a time? What ever happened to breathing? Now instead of planning Thanksgiving dinner with family and relaxing for a day of football or just family sitting around napping, eating, eating more.....we sleep, eat and now shop.  It's not even just 'another day'. It's become the official shopping day for Christmas.

Let us stop and rest our minds. Let us spend time remembering what we are thankful for this month. Many are posting on facebook each day the things they are thankful for. We are thankful for family, friends, jobs. We are thankful for our talents, our hobbies, our time that we have to enjoy the blessings we are granted. We all write and talk about the things we are thankful for, and like those who come to the end of their lives it is the little things, the family times that mean the most to us. 

With that in mind it does bring me to quilting. Quilts play a part in the lives of so many. Start a conversation about quilts and chances are the person will have a story about a quilt in their life. Whether it was made by their mother, grandmother or another relative most of us have been touched by a quilt.  They bring warmth both literally as we wrap up under one, or in the warmth of memories of our childhood. 
For me it was helping my mother make one when I was 10. I remember how my father loved it because it was heavy. While it is a bit stained and warn I still have the quilt. I also have the memories of the fabrics that went into it (all from scraps of fabrics that Mom had made our clothes from)

This year, think about the memories you have of family, growing up and quilts. Let's make memories for our families. If you don't have the time to make a quilt this year remember many quilters, including myself, have quilts for sale. A label can be made to go with the quilt to add the memory whether you made it or bought it for them. 

I will leave you for now with those memories starting to overtake your thoughts. Memories both past and the ones you'd like to make for others. 

Have a great day and.....
Til next time --- -keep those needles stitching.