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Thursday, October 25, 2012

My View This Morning

Yes, winter is here! Thankfully, it isn't here to stay this time.
See the large snowflakes in front of the garage openings? This was taken 1/2 hour later than that first picture. Strong north winds, but just now the wind stopped a couple of seconds and it was like the flakes didn't know where they were supposed to go. They were floundering around. . . until the wind started up again.
Aren't we sometimes like that? We go wherever the wind blows us, without any plans or self direction. And when that wind stops, we have no idea what to do next, which direction we need to go, or even where we are headed.
Even though I hate the idea that winter is here, even briefly, I am mesmerized by the large flakes as they come down. Everything, even though not pretty as a whole, has its own beauty, if we only look for it. (one beauty of this snow. . it doesn't need to be scooped!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Frugal Day

Yesterday was an interesting and frugal day. I did have to spend some money but still ended up quite frugal.

I had an appointment in Sioux City to get my annual mammogram done. That is a 60 mile trip one way. At the same time I go there I take all the caps I knitted all year to the Goodwill office for their Christmas shoe party. I showed pictures of those previously on this blog. I always ask if they have any free yarn that I can have.  This is what I was given --

I brought home a lot of future work! They usually give me all new yarn but they must be out. This looks to be someones leftovers that were probably donated at a store that they saved for ladies like me. There are some new skeins in at least one of the bags too. I don't mind that it isn't new since I depend on the people who clean out their stash and bring it to me. But first. . . I need to finish my counted cross stitch projects.

So free yarn . . . . very frugal!

After my mammogram, I headed for the area where Michael's Craft Store is. By this time it was close to 2 pm and I had only had a bowl of cereal at 8 am, missing lunch. I wasn't sure where I wanted to eat, just knew I didn't want fast food since that is what I get at home quite often. First saw Red Robin. My son had taken me to eat at one in Virginia a few years ago. I knew they have some fabulous burgers, but that didn't sound good. Then I saw Olive Garden and I usually like to eat there, but that didn't sound good either. A little further down was a Golden Corral. That was it! I was too late for the early bird special price, but do qualify for senior citizen price which was $6.99. Now, I have spent that much at McDonald's and got much less, more greasy, food. I had a variety of foods I really enjoy, but only a small portion - a spoon full of this, and a spoonful of that. And of course, I HAD to have bread pudding for dessert, but a small dish with much less than I normally take. And I was still quite stuffed when I left. I knew when I went in that by eating after 2 pm, I would not need supper either. And I sure didn't. I found everything I took very tasty as well, from orange chicken, bourbon chicken, fried rice, meat loaf, seafood salad, and more. This may not have been quite as frugal as McD dollar menu, but a very frugal price for the meal I got.

Then to Michael's. Naturally I left the coupons I printed the night before at home on the kitchen table. I even had my keys laying on top of them and still forgot to pick them up. I doubt I would have used them anyway since my body did not want to walk around the store looking at things. I usually will lean on a shopping cart while walking a store, but they have very small, low carts so that does not work well. Of course, the DMC, which is what I really needed, was in the far back corner, so I still had to walk a long way. I did get what I needed and only spent a total of $1.98.

Frugal . . . . walking out of a store and only spending less than $2. A rarity for me.

I also needed gas. I was going to fill up at home first since I had just slightly more than 1/4 of a tank of gas. But I had received my new Walmart credit card and there was a slip of paper saying Walmart gas purchased with WM card received 15 cents off per gallon. I thought the LeMars WM had gas pumps so waited until I got there, which is 30 miles away. No gas pumps. I did notice that gas had gone down to $3.49 at home. It was $3.32 in LeMars, then next small town the price was $3.22! I kept going. Hit the edge of Sioux City and it was $3.18!! That is 31 cents cheaper than at home. I knew where there was one WM on the north side so filled up there, with my 15 cent discount - so only paid $3.03 a gallon!

Frugal . . . . saving 46 cents a gallon of gas. Filled up with 18.6 gallons for a total savings of $8.38. I hear on the news that gas will continue to go down during the next couple of months.

I was really tired when I got home. I left home shortly after 11 am and didn't get home until close to 4 pm. I am still tired today, but the damp, dark day doesn't help any either.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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Today is a dark and dreary day here. It is very windy and RAINING! We need the rain so badly so best not complain about the dark and dreary. But winds gusting to 55 mph today is something I can complain about. We had winds gusting to 40 mph yesterday, and sustained winds around 20 mph. It wears one out if you have be outside.
This has been a busy week, but yesterday was the best. My daughter from Madison was here all day. We had a great visit, had the buffet lunch at the local Pizza Ranch which is a wonderful pizza and broasted chicken buffet. We ate enough that we did not need supper.
My daughter did come prepared to work and told me to make a list of things I needed help with. But the only thing I asked was if she would shampoo the carpet in at least one room. She had given me her old carpet steam cleaner but did not have the instruction book, and I had not taken time to look it up online yet. So she did the living room, even moving the very heavy hide-a-bed sofa. We did not move the heavy furniture along the walls but the sofa sits crossways in the middle of the room. There is also an area rug in there that is mostly off white and with a dark grey cat, it was looking pretty sad. Not anymore! Once that room was done she said, "Where next?" So she kept going and did the kitchen, bathroom and the small exposed area of carpet in the bedroom. Then started on the back entry/laundry room but the machine wasn't working quite right by then so it was time to stop. I will attemp to do that room myself next week now that I have seen the machine in operation. It did a great job of cleaning and did not get the carpets overly wet like the commercial machines I had used in the past.
The kitchen carpet was the dirtiest. No kidding. Not a surprise. I hate kitchen carpeting since I am not the neatest cook no matter how careful I try to be. I don't throw salt over my shoulder like Rachel Rae does, but things still get spilled. I wish I had some extra money to have vinyl flooring installed since I know the landlord won't pay for it. Would also remove the carpet in the bathroom. Who puts wall to wall carpet in a bathroom? (not the first house that had it but I changed the other one too.) Toilets have a way of overflowing now and then, and it usually isn't clean water that spills over. I think you know what I mean. It would be so much easier for me to be able to run a swiffer type floor duster over those floors every day than to drag the heavy vacuum out, especially with a cat that sheds all the time.
I am so very happy that the  carpets are clean again after over 6 years of living here. I am not even sure the carpets had been cleaned by the owners before I moved in. I know there were lots of large stains in the living room carpet which I covered up with the area rug. Now I need to get busy and do some other fall cleaning but that will all have to wait until next week because today I must prepare to teach the Bible study lesson for my early morning class tomorrow. Then tomorrow Bible study is at 5:45 AM, and I will be too tired to even think the rest of the day, so very little cleaning will get done.
And now I must get started with the rest of my day. Will talk to you again soon, I hope.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Home For Now

Remember this colander I got at a rummage sale?
This is the home I have given it for now. It hangs among the other old kitchen utensils that my husband had in his basement.
I am not sure it will stay there forever but it is 'good enough' for now.

Stitching for warmth

Caps, caps, and more caps. Or maybe you call them hats. Either way these will all keep some kids a bit warmer this winter. I make these all year long from yarn that is donated to me, or what I can find on clearance for the cheapest price. Then in the fall I take them to the Goodwill Industries office in Sioux City where they will be handed out to the kids along with new shoes, socks, mittens and scarves at their annual Christmas Shoe Party.
This is what I did this year, from last October until early summer. Usually I work on them continually, but I ran out of yarn for awhile, then got started on other projects that needed to be done. The table top is covered with stacks of 5 caps each. There is a total of 124. 75 are striped, 40 are solid colors, and there are 9 that really don't fit either of those categories very well.

This picture looking down on them shows the various stripes and colors, at least of the caps on the top of the stacks. I use every scrap I can, even ones that don't quite finish a row.

This is one that does not fit the regular categories. It is made with black as the base, using all black for the ribbing band at the bottom. The bright pink is that fun fur yarn added to the black, so that I am knitting with both strands at the same time. Cute?
Don't you love my 'model'? I used to have a styrofoam head used for wigs but that was discarded several years ago. So the best thing I could think of is a round metal mixing bowl sitting on top of the overturned Rubbermaid container. :o)

As I said before, I use ever scrap. This is made using two strands of different colored sport or baby yarn to get the tweedy effect. That gives the cap more weight and warmth than a single strand of the lighter weight yarns. And, the fringe is leftover fun fur yarn.

And here is the very tail end of that fun fur. The cap is made from a specialty yarn as well. It sort of looks like chenille when it is made up. It was some that was given to me and I have tried to find some more like that but wonder if it has been discontinued some time ago. I don't recall the name of it, but it wasn't called chenille.

This is how some of the variegated yarns can turn out when mixed with coordinating solids. The dark is actually a real dark grey but it looks more blue in the picture. The cap below is also the same variegated but with the light grey. I love working with the variegated yarns to see what kinds of patterns it can turn into.

I will be dropping these off on October 23 when I go to Sioux City for my annual mammogram. And if they still have some free yarn left, I will get a bag full to start for next year. Their auxiliary buys large lots of yarn for such distributing, and it sure helps me out.

More Stitching

These are the two cross stitch kits I bought at Walmart yesterday. The top one will be a wedding gift for a niece's son and soon to be wife on their wedding day, May 4, 2013. I think I have enough time to get it finished.

Isn't this just the cutest kitten? When I saw this picture I fell in love immediately, and there was no way I was not buying this!

A Stitch in Time . . . .

I knew I had not posted for awhile but was shocked when I saw August 24 as the date of the last entry! So I will update you on some of the things that have kept me busy for the last month.
I am currently working on a big counted cross-stitch picture that I would like to be a family heirloom. This will make the third one, one for each of my kids. This picture is called Angel of Summer.
This is how much is almost done, the bottom half. 

Here is the chart I am using, which is black and white. I use a metal board under it, and a magnetic magnifier on top to keep track of the row I am working on. Plus I have a magnifier that hangs from my neck so I can find the right holes to put the needle in as I am working on 32-count linen. Without those aids, I would really have a hard time!

This gives you a better idea how large the chart is.
So this project has taken most of my time. I can't put it done for long as I am addicted.