Monday, March 24, 2014

Keeping Busy

Since being out of work, I have been using my free time to go through this house and do some sorting and de-cluttering.   I need to make room  in case my dad should be moving in.   I took two lots of clothing to a consignment shop after going through each bedroom closet and I put a cardboard box in the garage for donation items that I find while I’m doing household chores.  Having the donation box in the garage and out of sight prevents me from having second thoughts after I’ve made the decision to let something go, but if I really have separation anxiety after a day or two or if I can re-home items with someone I know,  I can still retrieve them.   My decisions are based on the “the one-year rule” .   If I didn’t wear it or use in in the last twelve months and have no known use for it in the next twelve months, then it needs to go.   Sometimes I make exceptions to this rule for gifts I’ve received from family members and close friends.   

Next, I decided to confront my basement sewing room and the UFO’s and stash fabric that lurks there in the dark where no one is  the wiser but me. (insert scary music here).   I eliminated five boxes of scraps which were really just fabric “crumbs” and   I merged two boxes of strings into one mixed box of neutrals and colors  and kept only strings that were at least 1” wide by 6” long.   From now on I only plan to keep fabric scraps that have at least three square inches of usable area.   Don’t worry, even with these new restrictions I still have plenty of scraps left!

After that I listed all of my UFO’s and made a calendar item for my iPhone and laptop so I get a daily reminder about the next project on the list till it’s completed.  So far I’ve completed nine of my UFO Projects in the last month and a half.  The only problem is that I have twenty-five more to go! 


Baby Quilt for My Neice

Baby Quilt for my neice’s baby shower—now it’s a 1st birthday quilt!

(my first attempt at a scalloped border too)


Flannel Self-binding receiving blanketsDSC02617for friend’s new grandson.


New micro-fleece kitty cushions for Ernie.



Patchabilities Kit (Monthly Mini #7, Set 3) purchased in 2010

DSC02628 (2) 


More pics to come—the other projects were on the previous laptop.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately—how about you ?   


Sunday, March 23, 2014


My new laptop came with Windows 8.1 and it has been a bit of a technology culture shock. Even though I own a “smart phone”,  it just seems crazy to have a touch screen on a computer.  I feel like I have walked into an unfamiliar room.   I was extremely happy with Windows 7 but I guess Microsoft has to make more money and in order to do that the tech buyers have to be kept interested.

One thing about 8.1 is that it does not come with Windows Live Writer.  It has to be downloaded separately.  I panicked a little when I did not see it  in the preloaded “apps” (programs are no longer called programs?) but after some web searching, I did find it and was able to download it as a separate “app”.  

I now feel just a teeny bit more comfortable with this new set up. 

Change is good, it stretches our limits and challenges our resources, but sometimes you just need to find a familiar space.



Gail :)

Positive Thinking

It's been two weeks now since the disappearance of MA flight # 370.   Two hundred and thirty nine souls were on board but there are five times as many anguished parents, relatives and friends on the ground waiting and hoping for news.

I have been praying each day since the flight went missing for a miracle--that some group will come forward claiming responsibility for hi-jacking Flight 370 and are now demanding ransom for the safe return of the passengers and crew.

As time goes on that scenario seems less and less likely but it is still possible.  I believe in miracles. We see them everyday and often don't even realize it.

I know the power of positive thinking--in my own life I have seen it work--just imagine what our combined powers are if we all send out positive thoughts into the universe that this flight is found and that there are survivors and even if the outcome is not what we hope, finding this missing plane and knowing it's fate will bring some solace and closure to those left behind. 

Life is miraculous!

Gail :)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lessons Learned

I haven't posted  this month but a lot has been going on.  I have been searching for a job and have gotten some good feedback and interested queries about my resume.  It seems to me that the job market is much better than even a year ago, though I know there are still many who are out of work.   I'm still keeping my fingers crossed though that I can find something close to my dad's house, which would make it possible for me to stay there during the week.   .  

Since my last post, he has had two trips to the ER.  The first was after a middle of the night call that his BP was very high.  I raced down to take him and we sat around for 5 hours waiting to be seen.  Turns out he has not been taking the new meds that were prescribed for him because he read the enclosed contraindication statement--didn't like what it said and threw out the pills!

The second trip to the ER I was there.  He had taken the barrels to the curb for rubbish pick up day and slipped on ice and fell.   Luckily there were no breaks, but he managed to debrade the skin off of his left hand and needed stitches. 

Because of these two ER visits and on the recommendation of the Visiting Nurses, my sister and I have been told that he must see a neuro-psychologist for an evaluation or he can be removed from the home as "a senior at risk".   Well we have the appointment, now comes the task at hand of telling my dad and getting him to keep it.  We have learned that it's best to wait till the last minute.    So far he has cancelled all of the social services we have tried to arrange for him--meals on wheels, visiting nurses, home aid!

So what other new things have I learned lately--well, most of you probably have the good sense to know this, but living on the edge as I tend to, I learned a very costly lesson this week about drinking hot tea in close proximity to an electronic device!  [Sigh].  As a result, I'm writing this post from the replacement device sans any beverages!

But in spite of everything that has been going on, I have still managed to complete a few projects which I'll share pics of soon.  I'm also planning a virtual yard sale HERE on my blog!   I've gone through my stash of fabrics and patterns and have a pile of items that I need to rehome. 

More soon--once I get the hang of Windows 8.

Gail :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

“Throwing Good money after bad”

My grandmother used that expression every time some one in our family wasted money buying something that didn’t work.   I’m one of those people, I guess,  because of all the money I’ve spent on needle threaders.

I’m sure it’s not as much as I imagine but I have bought and tried a LOT of them.   Age has made my arms shorter and my eyesight fuzzier and I’m positive that needle manufacturers are cutting corners and  making needles with smaller eyes than they used to.

In my search for a decent needle threader, I even bought one from a shady a street vendor who was hawking them on a city corner at Christmastime.  Of course his worked perfectly for every demo that he did—mine fell apart when I got it home, lol.

The  ones I’ve relied on the most were the little cheapo wire threaders that used to be included FREE when you bought a package of assorted sewing needles, and now are sold separately in packs of 2 for $3.18!   They work fine for a while but wear out quickly and usually break at the worst time like when your flight’s been delayed or the doctor is running late for your appt.   Sound familiar?



singer needle threader







I’ve also bought some of the prettier versions of the wire threaders because I thought they would last with all that prettiness but I also thought they were a little difficult to use because of that plastic “thing”  and they broke too.  pretty

Then there’s the type that reminds me of a Chinese puzzle.  This also wasn’t inexpensive costing around $5.95.  They are made a little better but it took me a couple of hours of reading the directions before I understood how to take it apart and thread the needle!  Eventually though, even this broke.

clover 1

Then I saw this Clover needle threader demonstrated on the Missouri Star Quilt Channel but  I balked at the price-- $14.00 for a needle threader!  Come on?   It even reminded me a little of the street vendor’s version.  Eventually though, I gave in because $14.00 is not a lot to pay when you are exasperated and because I’ve already spent $20.00, or more, on the other versions. Clover Needle Threader 002

I’m happy to say, that this Clover needle threader works on most of the needles I’ve tried.   Really long needles and heavy needles like tapestry and darning needles won’t fit in the needle slot but it works great on tiny quilting betweens and John James sharps which have the smallest eyes. I’ve used it with “Thread Heaven” thread conditioner on different weights and fibers of threads.  It seems pretty sturdy too.  I dropped mine and it still works.

To use it you have to insert the needle upside down and lay the thread loosely across the thread slot—loosely is the key word here.  If the thread is too short it won’t work.   You then push the lever on the right side of the device and that threads the needle with a nice little loop that you can pull through the needled.  Sort of reminds me of the auto threader on my sewing machine.   It also has  a thread cutter, which is handy.

By the way…I’m not affiliated with Clover, Dritz, Singer, DMC, Colonial or any other company that manufactures or sells sewing notions.  I’m just a consumer who has used these products and shares her experiences with them.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Wonderland


The storm on Wednesday left us with about eight inches of fresh snow.  This has been a particularly harsh winter—lots of snow and frigid temps.  

It’s hard to appreciate this latest gift from  Mother Nature when you have to shovel the stuff off decks, stairs, patios and driveways but it does make the landscape look magical, covering up all the ugly spots sort of like parsley sprinkled on a recipe that didn’t turn out quite the way it was supposed to.

Feb 5th storm 2014 003Feb 5th storm 2014 004

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Winter Storm Warning

Winter is back from a brief vacation elsewhere.  I didn’t pay attention to Puxatawny Phil’s prediction Sunday, but if today is any indication, I would say he predicted another six weeks of hard winter weather coming our way.


Today’s expected accumulation is 6 to 10 inches but this is the Merrimack Triangle so there’s no telling what we’ll end up with.  

My favorite snowy weather lunch combo is tomato soup and a grilled cheese, followed by a cup of hot tea and an afternoon  of reading on the sofa!  

I like to make my grilled cheese in my George Foreman grill.  I toast the bread in my toaster first and end up with a crunchy grilled sandwich that comes very close to a real Panini.