Thursday, February 26, 2009

~A house or a home?~

I'm just musing here...

TLC has a new program called My First Home (which I have only seen advertisements for). The advertisements for the program show people telling why it is so important to them to own a home. Some of them have pretty shallow reasons - "so my son will have a place to remember". You know what? If you only rent all your life, your children aren't going to look back and have a blank spot in their memories when it comes to their home life. It really doesn't take owning a house to have a home.

Kevin and I do own our house - but we had a home long before we owned a house! I have many fond memories of our first home together. It was a tiny 500 square foot apartment. It had the smallest kitchen I've ever had, and the largest bedroom closet we've ever had. The apartment was old, the oven could have blinded me one day due to an electrical problem, the walls were thin and the neighbors were noisy. But it was our home. I happily cooked and cleaned and we had company over and we spent many happy hours together in our home.

I do think TLC's program ought to be named "My First House"...because it doesn't take buying a house to have a home!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

~Stitched in Time~

I was delighted to get a copy of Stitched in Time: Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share from the Creator of Posie Gets Cozy from my local library! In fact, I was the first person to check the book out!

I have read Posie Gets Cozy for quite a while now. Alicia's style of writing, photography, crafts, and food is very enjoyable.

I had a fun time looking through the book. There were several projects which could be jumping-off points for me. I don't think I would make anything exactly like the book shows, but I could change my mind down the road. I'm sure I'll check out this book again for crafting inspiration!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

~An Interesting Read~

As I read through blogs, I occasionally come across a book that looks interesting. I then look on my library catalog and see if it is available. If it is, I place a hold on it. Often, by the time I get the book, I've forgotten who recommended the book.

Such is the case of White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen. Regardless of who recommended it, it was a very interesting read. It allowed a peek into the White House, through the eyes of the chef. Walter Scheib was the chef for 7 years of the Clinton administration, and 4 years of the Bush administration. It is not a book on politics though - far from it. The book is peppered with recipes as well as short commentaries on different occasions and events. I really enjoyed reading this book!

Monday, February 23, 2009


Last May I snapped this picture at a park:

Ah, it would be lovely, lovely, lovely to be able to go to a park and see this. But alas and alack, we still have much snow on the ground!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

~Counted Cross Stitch Projects~

I recently posted about my finished counted cross stitch projects...the bunnies that took me 16 years to complete. As any good crafter would, I actually had several cross stitch projects that I completed while my bunnies sat untouched. *Smiles*

This project was one I completed before I started my bunny project:

Projects finished during the bunny projects:

I haven't done a lot of counted cross stitch projects, but I am very happy with the few that I have done over the years! I recently started another counted cross stitch project, which I will show soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

~Infant CPR Class~

A few nights ago, Kevin and I took an infant CPR class. This class varies several ways from a regular, certified CPR class: the methods used are for "friends and family" rather than the methods used by the medical world, and it was specific towards infants and small children.

I have never had a CPR class, and the last time Kevin took CPR was in 8th grade. The class session was just under 3 hours, and was a video course that you practiced on an infant mannequin/dummy right along with the video. After the video, we also went over other emergencies that are specific to infants and children.

If you spend any amount of time with children, I highly recommend taking a class such as I've described! It was well worth our evening, and while I hope that we never have to use what we've learned, it could quite possibly be the difference between life and death if we are ever around an infant or child that is not breathing and/or is choking.

To find a class in your area, check through your local hospital or health clinic.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

~Spring Fling!~

Well, it isn't technically "spring" yet, and certainly with snow on the ground here it doesn't even feel like spring! But I'm in the mood for getting rid of things! It is a great feeling to clean out your home and rid of unwanted things!

Here's how I choose to get rid of my clutter:

***Donate to a thrift store
This is the easiest way to get rid of clutter. All you have to do is load the car up and drive to the nearest thrift store. I use this method for clothing and small household items.

***Donate to someone via
I have blogged about Freecylcle several times. If you have a group in your area, this is a great way to get rid of larger items. I was just looking at my group, and there is someone wanting non-working lawnmowers. This would have been great to know a few months ago when my husband took our old lawnmower to the dump! You can find a home for practically anything on Freecycle!

***Sell on Craigslist
If you have larger items that are really nice, you can make some money selling them on Craigslist. In the last year, we have really started using Craigslist, both for finding items we needed and selling items we didn't need! In recent months, we have sold Kevin's old truck, a mirror, and two different sets of mirrored closet doors. With the listing, make sure to post a picture of the item you're selling. A picture is worth a thousand words, you know! :-)

Be cautious when dealing with people, either through Freecycle or Craigslist. There are scams you have to watch out when you sell large items through Craigslist. If at all possible, have the item you're giving away or selling either outside, in the garage, or as close to the front door as possible.

Most of all, have fun getting clutter out of your house!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

~Do you clip coupons?~

In looking for some ways to save money, I've turned to our grocery bill. We don't spend a ton on groceries, and in fact, we make almost everything from "scratch". But there are still coupons out there that I know I could put to use. In the past I have purchased the Sunday paper and clipped a few coupons here and there, but I've never subscribed to the paper, so it was always a separate trip out to get the paper, which isn't very convenient!

Last night we went grocery shopping at Meijer. For those of you who don't have Meijer stores, the closest description would be a Super Wal*Mart. But in my opinion, Meijer is much better than Wal*Mart. =) The only coupons I had were Meijer promotional coupons. We had gotten them on previous grocery shopping trips (they print when you check out), and they were set to expire, so we had to use them or lose them.

I was so excited to look at my receipt and see that I saved nearly $42 by combining sales and the Meijer coupons!!! I am far from posting a picture of a table full of food and saying, "Look what I got for $1.89", but I was still very happy to have saved so much money!

So far, our money-saving tactics are:
To go to the store after 8 p.m., so we can hit the meat counter. They close at 8, and put meat out at greatly-reduced prices.
To go through the weekly ad and buy as much as possible on sale.
To stock up when something is on a good sale.

I'd like to add couponing to my list of tactics! Do you coupon? are you "gung-ho" about it? or just casually interested in it?

I know that a lot of people save money by shopping at CVS and Wal-greens, but I'll be honest. I'm not interested in the amount of work it takes to do this, and I'm really not interested in the products that I see people saving money on/getting for free. This is just a personal preference, because I know a lot of people save a lot of money doing this! It just isn't for me! :-)

Friday, February 06, 2009


Yesterday I picked up my cross stitch project from the frame shop.

They did a great job, and it has already found a home in the nursery.

I have finished a handful of counted cross stitch projects over the last 16 years - and framed them myself. But this project needed not only a custom mat but a custom frame/glass. Adding the cost of labor for them to frame it was not that much more, and well worth it, in my opinion.

Now that these are finished, I'm looking for a new counted cross stitch pattern!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

~Washing Counted Cross Stitch Projects~

In my previous post, QuiltedHeart Lisa asked:

I'm concerned about you washing your project. Are you certain all of the embroidery thread is colorfast? Can you get away with not washing it? Sometimes the fabric underneath shrinks, causing puckers. Just another idea...but a wonderful job!!!

Good question!

First of all, I used DMC thread for my project. DMC is known for making good quality, colorfast threads. Since that is what I used, that is what my answer applies to. Some of the cheaper cross stitch kits may not use quality threads, and then I would be concerned about washing the finished project (I would venture a guess that these wouldn't bleed either, unless some of the threads were red or extremely dark). Also, the aida cloth I used was quality fabric. I have washed finished counted cross stitch projects with great success.

Since it has been a while since I have finished a project, I looked up some instructions, and found these excellent directions for washing a finished project: How to Wash Your Cross Stitch Piece. All washing is done very gently by hand, in lukewarm water. No tossing in the washing machine or dryer!!! :O

When I took my pieces in to the frame shop, the lady who I was working with told me, "This is exactly how we like to see finished projects: clean and pressed."