Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 273 of 365

For the most part, I try and stay out of trouble. I might make mistakes (and that has been happening more often lately), but I try and do the right thing. I try not to take advantage of others. I obey traffic laws. I always have worked at being the "good girl".

But a couple weeks ago I got an infraction. An infraction from the quilting website I've been visiting for the last few months. The one where I give away fabric and quilt blocks and quilt tops. The one where I share my quilt projects and my sewing-based tutorials.

The quilting website had gone through a change over the past month. From what I understand they sold their site to another company. They then took on a radically new look and a bunch of additional advertisers. They lost a lot of the members as they became frustrated with the changes. It didn't matter much to me either way, but thinking about those changes probably should have been a heads up to me that things were different.

The site doesn't (and never has had) the capabilities for quilters to post videos. Since all my tutorials are videos, I usually post a picture of what I made on their site and then link to the how-to video. When the change-over to the new website occurred, I wasn't able to post pictures anymore. So I just posted a link to the video.

And that is where the problem lies. One of the moderators that patrol the website deleted my link and let me know I'd been given an infraction. An infraction for posting a "spammed advertisement".

Now, I have never collected e-mails from anyone. I don't advertise anything on my blog. I don't ask for donations or money. I don't even have my YouTube videos set to air advertisements. So how the "spammed advertisement" came about, I'm not sure. Of course, my messages to them attempting to find out more have gone unanswered.

At first I cared about getting in trouble. After a while, not so much. I occasionally go to the site to get an idea for a pattern, but haven't posted any free fabric or quilt blocks or quilt tops or tutorials or pictures or anything since.

The way I see it, the site has served its purpose. It gave me lots of ideas for quilting, but even more importantly it is where I found out about all the different charities that needed donations. Because of that site I've done work for the Quilts for Kids organization, Operation Kid Comfort, The Painted Turtle, Quilts of Valor, and Stocking for Soldiers. But now it's time to move on.

Although after my $5 ebay purchase that arrived today, I'll need to search out some ideas somewhere. The big box of fabric being sold was called a "Quilter's Dream". It sure is.

Yards and yards of beautiful fabric and dozens and dozens of very, very old  hand-stitched quilt blocks. Someone obviously put in a lot work into something they couldn't finish. Now if I could just figure out what to do with it all...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Make Lollipop Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments - Day 272 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

I'm crossing my fingers. Crossing my fingers and closing my mouth.

I  need to make sure the words I can't do this don't wind up slipping from my mouth during either one of my meetings today. After thinking it yesterday, I'm going into today with some I can do this thinking. Now whether that will carry me through the day, I'm not so sure. But I'm going to try. Today is a new day. Doesn't mean it's going to be any better, but there's a chance it just might.

There is a chance I might get some ornaments on my Christmas tree, though. Yesterday's picture didn't include all my new ornaments. I made some new ones this weekend for today's tutorial. A piece of fabric, some clothesline cord, and a lollipop stick from the candy making section of the craft store led to these.

Homemade Fabric Lollipop Christmas Tree Ornaments Sewing Project

Let's hope when I get home tonight the I can do this has carried through the day and at least a few ornaments make it on the tree.

Looking for something else? 
Check out some of my other Christmas sewing and crafting projects!

The step-by-step how to tutorial for the homemade lollipop Christmas tree ornaments made with fabric scraps and clothesline cord can be found here:
Looking for more holiday sewing and crafting projects? 
Check out some of my other projects:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 271 of 365

As I was sitting at a training at work today all I could think was, "I can't do this."

I can't sit here any longer. I can't stand how bad my back hurts. I can't stand how much my hands are aching. I can't stand how stiff and painful my knees are. I can't concentrate on what the speaker is saying. I can't pay close attention to what others are saying. I can't form my words to get out anything intelligent to add to the conversation. My mind is numb. I can't will myself out of this. 

Something has pushed me over the edge. I'm not sure if it is the combination of working and holiday stuff or the weather or what, but something is off. Something has hit me like a ton of bricks. My pain is worse than usual, bordering on severe.  I usually can will myself out of the pain slump, but it didn't work today. Usually I can put on an act so no one knows what is going on, but I couldn't today.

I have pain pills at the ready, but still have avoided taking them. Days like these make me want to go back to them. Days like these make me wish I hadn't gone back to work. Make me wish I didn't hurt so much. Make me wish things weren't like this.

As much as I want to focus on others, right now I can't. I have some new pictures from Operation Kid Comfort to make into some quilts and pillows for some kiddos with parents in the Navy, but I can't get my mind into it right now. I have quilts to make for my husband and daughter for Christmas, but I can't get there, either.

A feeble attempt at keeping my mind off the pain happened this evening when I thought I might decorate our Christmas tree. Our daughter put it up last week when she was home for Thanksgiving so I could decorate sometime this week. I desperately needed a mental distraction. Unfortunately, a pre-lit tree and a determined deep-into-the-pain person with non-cooperative joints did not equate to a decorated tree tonight.

What I did manage to accomplish was to sort through our new ornaments for the season. Every year we pick up new ornaments, mostly at the after Christmas sales. I always forget what I had purchased, so every time the next Christmas rolls around, I get excited about the new ornaments I bought the year before.

New this year we have a Charlie Brown and Luci ornament that plays lines from their "sessions". A See and Say that tells us what the animals say and a View Master that works. A Playschool Jet. Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation on an ornament that plays music and lights up. A kitty cat that looks like ours.

The tree may not have gotten decorated, but my ornaments are ready when my body is ready.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 270 of 365

It's FlyLady time.

After Mommarock posting a comment about FlyLady and me thinking about FlyLady as I was piling up trash yesterday, I decided it was time.

FlyLady is about housecleaning and management of housecleaning. It's about cleaning in zones. About shining your sink before you go to bed. About always getting dressed - including shoes - every day. It's about a household notebook/control journal and the use of the 27 fling boogie for decluttering.

I've done FlyLady for years. Because of her, our sink is always shining before we go to bed. We've had a household notebook sitting on our kitchen counter for the last several years. Most days, even when I'm home by myself, I make sure I have shoes on.

But the 27 fling boogie she writes about has long disappeared. The zone cleaning has stopped, even though I have lists typed up in my household notebook, a notebook that is rarely opened. I even have a monthly menu plan that was used years ago (but hasn't been looked at since).

So today I'm back to reading the book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for years.

My first few items I tackled today? One of the printers, one of the staplers, and one of our bath scales are headed to the donation bag. And a start on revamping our household notebook. Today we have new zone cleaning lists specific to our house, all on different colors of paper, ready to slip into sheet protectors for checking off.

The cleaning lists might not seem picture-worthy, but I know having them hanging out here on the blog will give me an additional reminder to keep on top of them. (As well as an additional layer of guilt if I don't.)

Baby steps.

If you haven't heard of FlyLady but are interested, under today's picture I've posted where you can find the book on Amazon. She also has a website

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 269 of 365

I have too much junk around the house. Not really junk, just too many things. Boxes, envelopes, computer cords, plastic containers.

I tried downsizing several months ago but lost the itch to get it finished. Now is the time to try again. After yesterday's (and today's) den cleaning, I realized there is an abundance of things that I really don't need. Like our four staplers. One in the desk drawer, one still in the package in the desk drawer, one that resides in the pen holder, and one in my sewing room. The only stapler we ever use is the one in the pen holder. Printers? Just as bad. We have three even though only one is used.

Pens and markers? In the pen holder. Plus in the desk drawer in two different places - in a big drawer and in a little drawer marked pens. My husband's plastic container on the bookshelf has some more of his, and my plastic container on the shelf has some more of mine. That's just in the den. (Let's not talk about how many other rooms where we have dozens stashed.) Scissors, paper clips, blank envelopes, glue sticks, and post it notes can all be found in multiple places around the house. We've accumulated stuff I didn't even know we had accumulated.

We're even accumulating pies. In addition to the pies my daughter and I cooked up, my husband bought one from a student (another pumpkin). Then just tonight he collaborated with Marie Callender to make a chocolate raspberry pie.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 268 of 365

It almost happened today. For the first time in 268 days, I almost forgot.

Maybe my daughter calling this morning set things in motion for it to happen. Usually she calls every evening when she's on dinner break or after she gets home from work. Today she called this morning when she got off work.

She works at one of those department stores that opened at midnight last night. So at 11:30 PM on Thanksgiving Day she had to be at work. And she worked all night long until 9:30 this morning. I hadn't even had breakfast yet and she had already put in a 10 hour shift at the mall.

I spent the rest of the morning on school work and some computer clean-up on our home computer. In the afternoon, I gathered all the kitty pictures I've taken over the last year and made a calendar for my daughter for Christmas. In fact, the reason I started this picture-a-day thing was because of the cat calendar I made for my kiddo last year. (The full story was back on Day 9.) You'd think that would be enough for me to remember it, but no.

The rest of the afternoon was spent going through old software, desk drawers, pen holders, file folders - all those things in the den taking up space on bookshelves and tables and desks. I'm working on getting rid of things that we no longer need. The den has been a mess all afternoon as I've sorted it all into a million piles. 

At one point this evening I was doing some shredding and looked out the window. I spied birds sitting on the power lines, silhouetted nicely against the evening sky. I thought to myself, That would be a nice picture.

And that's when it hit me. I forgot about the blog.

I forgot to write. I forgot to find a picture. I forgot to even think about it. Never, in all these months and months, has a day gone by where I even came close to forgetting about it. But I did today.

Thank goodness for those birds. If it weren't for them, I might have skipped one of the most important things I do.

Thank you, birds, for saving me today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 267 of 365

Thanksgiving is simple around our house every year.  You'll find no card games, no people cheering loudly as they watch a football game. Every year it's just us. My husband, my daughter, and I. If it's a year my mom is around (like this year), she'll join us too. No people bringing food, no extra dishes to wash up.

Despite all the pies and prep work my daughter and I did earlier this week, today was a party of four. Packed up enough leftovers for my daughter to have meals at work for the next four days. Plenty of turkey for sandwiches and soups and enchiladas and anything else turkey we can come up with. Slices of pie sent with my daughter for her and her boyfriend and my mom.

Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn, green bean casserole, homemade cranberry relish, homemade rolls. Our standard, simple fare.

Whether your day was a quiet one, a loud, boisterous one, or somewhere in between, I hope it was shared with family and friends.

Speaking of sharing, my husband shared his plate for today's picture.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 266 of 365

This notice is to inform you that the request for benefits has been denied based upon our review of the information provided. Infusions and all associated charges-benefits are not provided for the proposed service, supply, drug or other charge that is not medically necessary.

According to my insurance company, there will be no infusion-type treatments for my rheumatoid arthritis. I guess they'll have me keep taking what I'm taking - a combination of two weekly injections that have not improved my condition. I can't blame the insurance company for not wanting to pay. Thousands of dollars a month for one medication?

I'm a big believer in things happening for a reason, so I'm going to take this as a sign that at this point I don't need to be pursuing this particular treatment.

I have an appointment with the rheumatologist next week and will find out if his office is planning an appeal. I'm certainly not. In fact, I'm getting close to pulling the plug on the whole darn thing. I'm tired of having bald patches, I'm tired of intense headaches, I'm tired of being sick, I'm tired of being tired from medication. Having all the side effects from the medicines without seeing any benefits is getting old.

Working with my daughter in the kitchen keeps my mind off things. Yesterday, in preparation for Thanksgiving Day we made:
  • Berry and cherry pies (from a frozen state).
  • Lemonade pie. (From Day 202.)
  • More pumpkin puree. Cooked up the pumpkins and froze the puree for later.
  • Homemade rolls.
  • Homemade pumpkin pies from our pumpkins from the garden.
  • Pumpkin seeds. Again, from the pumpkins from the garden.

Everyone kept their hands off everything. Almost. The pumpkin seeds have been dwindling quickly. My husband loves them, my daughter loves them. And I figured I better take a picture of the seeds before they disappear completely.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Make Easy Homemade Fabric Bookmarks - Day 265 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

Homemade Quick and Easy Fabric Bookmarks Sewing Project

I'm an avid reader. Or should I say, I used to be.

As a kid and as a teenager I read a lot. Not just for school work, but because of my interest in knowing more things. I used to keep a list of all the things I wanted to know more about and would get books and magazines on the topics. I'd read after homework time and would read all summer long. I also kept a list of all the books I'd read after I read them. (I'm not sure why I did, but maybe it was so I could impress myself with my knowledge.)

As an adult my reading waned. Although we have many bookshelves with many books, I've tended not to read as much. I think it's because of the type of books I always buy. While I may have a couple fiction books, the bulk of the collection is self help books, inspirational books, how-to books. Reading isn't nearly as relaxing when every two pages I'm given an "assignment" of something to write down or do or whatever.

The only other type of books I read are mostly non-fiction biographies. Those are more relaxing to me, less work, and I can get into them. Knowing Christmas is coming and our Christmas Eve tradition of giving books is coming, I'm on the lookout for another one of interest.

I need another book anyway. I just made some super, super easy bookmarks with some scraps of fabric. Don't want them to go to waste!

In addition to the standard sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

Looking for a different bookmark? 
Check out my other bookmark projects!

Otherwise, find the step-by-step how to tutorial for making your own homemade quick and easy fabric bookmarks right here:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 264 of 365

I'm tired of being cold.

The weird thing is that I didn't really realize I was tired of it until yesterday. I always have goosebumps. My toes are always cold. My arms are always cold. My nose is always cold. And I just figured out why.

It's cold in my house.

At night the heat doesn't ever kick on since it's set for 55 degrees and during the day the setting is the same. The days I'm home I override it and set it anywhere between 64 and 67, but never, ever, have we ever, no matter how cold it is, had the heat over 69 degrees.

But here's where the bigger problem lies. I spend most of my days at home wearing either jeans or sweats. And a t-shirt. No sweatshirt, no fleece. A t-shirt. No wonder my arms are always so cold!

My husband owns probably a dozen or more sweatshirts and fleece. I own one sweatshirt, and I keep that one downstairs for when I'm in the basement. So each and every day when that heat is setting at 64 or 65 or even 67 I'm in my t-shirt. And I'm cold.

Since turning up the heat isn't an option because of our power-conservation attempts, today I am going shopping. Shopping for something to wear with my jeans and sweats. Something that won't pick up all the extra thread I accumulate as I'm sewing. Or, if it's warm and snuggly enough, something that can pick up as many extra threads as it wants.

I'm on a mission to be warm.

I'm also on a mission to start hubby's baseball quilt. Have lots of big squares cut, but haven't figured out what I'm doing with them yet.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 263 of 365

Who could have predicted that something that happened in 2007 in Indianapolis combined with something that happened in February of this year would come full circle today.

Back in the summer of 2007 we took our cross-country tent camping trip across the United States. From Idaho to Maine and all the way back. Lots of miles, lots of campgrounds, some hotels thrown in, restaurants shown on the Food Network and Travel Channel, and touristy-stops along the way. And in particular, lots of sports-themed stops.

Turner Field for an Atlanta Braves baseball game. Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. National Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The Field of Dreams (from the Kevin Costner movie) in Iowa. Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was of particular note. Being a non-race car fan I've watched the Indy 500 a couple times but haven't been too interested. But when we stopped at the raceway and a Richard Petty Driving Experience was happening, my husband made me take lots (and lots) of pictures of cars. He especially wanted Tony Stewart's car. I had not a clue who Tony Stewart was.

Fast forward to February of this year. Recovering from shoulder surgery, in a sling, unable to drive, sitting at my daughter's apartment while she was at work, and no cable TV. Flipping through the channels and finding the Daytona 500 about the only thing on. I sat there and watched that race. And enjoyed it. (Granted I was on pain pills at the time.)

Right before I started this blog in March I was able to move back home. Told my hubby about enjoying the race. He suggested we start watching those NASCAR races. So we did. Every weekend they've raced since March, I've settled myself into my recliner to watch the races. For the first few weeks, I always picked who I thought would win the day's race - based on who had the prettiest car. Wouldn't you know it, for several weeks in a row I was always right.

After a couple months, I started liking one driver over the others - Carl Edwards. He won quite a bit and had great poise off camera. So I started rooting for Carl every week. My husband kept rooting for Tony Stewart, even though he didn't win a race all season - until these last few weeks.

Tony and Carl have been close in points through these few weeks. Today was the last of the Sprint Cup Series Championship races. Who could have predicted that the two drivers - my husband's longtime favorite racer and my driver who had lots of pretty cars throughout the season - would wind up in a tie in points. Except...

A tie in the series goes to the driver with the most wins in the Championship Series that was held these last few weeks. That would be the driver who won today. Tony Stewart.

So congrats to my husband who has been cheering his driver on for years. Now I know why I took all those darn pictures years ago.

I don't know why I took today's picture out my den window, though. Sun rising in the east shining on the dusting of snow on the mountains to the west.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 262 of 365

At the end of every gardening season we take stock of what occurred during the year. Since we hadn't grown a vegetable garden for a while, the past several years have focused on the lawn. This year is different.

As we looked back on this year's vegetable-growing season, we knew some things needed to change for next year. And some things needed to continue.

Our keepers:
  • Using the high school greenhouse to get a jump start on our vegetables. We would never have had big, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes so early - on July 18 (Day 138) - this year.
  • Keep the kale. My husband loves it and is still picking it now. It sure looked pretty all picked and washed back on Day 218. His favorite way of eating it - in a peanut butter and kale sandwich - isn't nearly as pretty.
  • Plant jalapenos again, but we'll also add in another variety of hot peppers.
  • With the red potatoes we might consider doing a couple different plantings so we have them throughout the summer instead of a bunch all at once like we had on Day 145. Same with radishes, arugula, and spinach - several plantings throughout the season will keep us in the salad-making business for the entire summer.
  • Having our daughter help with the planting. If it wasn't for her we wouldn't have had a garden. And if it wasn't for the garden, she wouldn't have gotten fresh produce to take back to her place, either.

Things to change:
  • No more russet potatoes. This is Idaho after all, and potatoes are easy and cheap to find around here. Might as well save that garden space for something else.
  • Probably no corn on the cob. It took up a lot of space, and there were people all along the roads selling it out of the back of pickups during corn season.
  • No more watermelon. Although the greenhouse jump start was beneficial, we had late frosts here and had to replant them. They came on, but much too late. My daughter and I wound up doing watermelon bowling with the smallest ones on October 27 (Day 239), but even the biggest ones weren't edible.
  • I want garden beds. This year we planted in rows and sections, but the organized part of me would like actual beds laid out. We have some old landscape timbers that line our rose garden that we've considered replacing so we may move those old ones into the veggie garden to give us true "beds". Although raised beds would be my preference, the old landscape timber idea would certainly be much cheaper.
  • No more pumpkins. Between them, the attempt at cantaloupe, and the late watermelon, the vines were just too much. Neither of us is great with our balance and we were always tripping over the vines in the garden. Yet...

After yesterday and today, I think I've changed my mind on one of those items we were planning on changing. Pumpkins. As much as the vines were a pain in the you-know-what, the beauty of the pumpkin puree compensates. I'm sure my husband isn't complaining about the pumpkin seeds we did up, either.

I still have several pumpkins to work up, but some of  yesterday's puree became very tasty, gorgeous (in my opinion) pumpkin bread. You can even see the pumpkin in there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 261 of 365

It's all her fault. I take no responsibility for this one.

Today I've been cutting up our pumpkins we grew in the garden to get ready for pumpkin pie. I baked one and I cooked the other in the microwave to experiment with which method I wanted to use for the rest of them. The pumpkin smelled delicious cooking, the house was warm, and I was wearing my sweats.

I usually have the TV on when I'm working in the kitchen, but Idaho executed someone this morning and that's all they were talking about so I skipped the TV noise. That's where the radio came in.

Now there's this gal I work next door to. She's the one that I went to lunch with and the movies with during the summer (and the one whose birthday I forgot). Well, she's been listening to Christmas music this week and singing Christmas songs around me. Three days in a row I've heard it. And so I just had to give her a bad time about it being too early for Christmas songs, about how I don't want to hear them. Those kinds of things.

But today when I was baking up those pumpkins and wasn't wanting to listen to the television, I turned on the radio. To the station she told me about. The one playing Christmas songs already. Yep, I caved in.

So it's her fault that I'm listening to Christmas songs. Yet it doesn't end there.

It's also her fault because of what happened when I was listening to Christmas songs. Not too long after the Let it Snow song finished as I was washing up some pumpkins seeds at the sink, I look up to see this out my kitchen window.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 260 of 365

We live near a sugar beet dump.

Lots of farmers around the state of Idaho grow sugar beets. (Sugar beets are a root vegetable that look a bit like a turnip but are closer to the size of a bowling ball.) When they are harvested in the fall they are loaded in farm trucks and sent to sugar beet dumps. Morning 'til night, week after week after week, those trucks arrive and deposit those sugar beets on the ground.

When the beets have been all collected at the dumps and the sugar beet factory is ready to accept them, larger trucks come back during early winter to load them up for their trip to the processing plant where they'll become sugar. Those bigger trucks work days and nights and Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the dump finally being emptied and shut down around New Year's.

We've had a couple solid weeks of beets being hauled in and now it's quiet.

A pile of beets as tall as a two story house and as long as I-don't-know-what are sitting, waiting to be picked up.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 259 of 365

Well, Snake River Mart is no more.

I was so excited that the gas pumps there were converted to Shell pumps, I didn't realize there might be more changes coming. After almost 25 years of us shopping at Snake River Mart, our only little store in town, a name change has happened. I don't know if there is person named Logan who owns it, or if it's part of a bigger chain of grocery stores, but the building has been painted and a new name has appeared.

Logan's Market.

My husband reminded me about the good ole' days at Snake River Mart. Years ago when we first moved here we had a charge account there. No credit check, no credit card. Nothing like that. If you wanted to buy groceries, you just signed for them. And at the end of the month or the beginning of the month or the middle of the month or whenever you wanted to, you paid your bill.

We charged our groceries for years until that day when the building caught fire and burned down. It took a long time for them to rebuild a newer, bigger, nicer store just a block away. When that store opened, we just never started charging again.

Since then the store has had another owner (maybe two) and they've allowed grocery charging. But I heard today that the new owners have stopped the practice. And folks aren't happy about it.

I'm sure it was the same way when the local burger joint stopped letting people charge. (We used to do that when we first moved to town, too.) Go and get some burgers and fries, just sign for it, and pay it off later. Even as a teenager my daughter (responsibly) used to tap into our account occasionally. But we stopped going as often so we didn't charge. After a while we heard they had stopped allowing charge accounts.

Change is hard, particularly for people in a small town. We're used to doing things our own way - and by golly, we've been doing things the same way forever. I'm just fine to keep things the way they are, but I guess at some point we have to move into the modern age.

Another change? The weather.

While yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day, today has become a cold, blustery, cloudy day. When I left work this afternoon the temperature on one of the businesses read 33 degrees. It sounds like snow is on the way tonight. I imagine the only tree in the yard with any leaves left on it - the one outside my window - will be changing with this upcoming stormy weather.

But that tree against the backdrop of last night's sunset needs no changing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Make Easy Drawstring Gift Bags - Day 258 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

Looking for a homemade drawstring gift sewing project? Check out this quick and easy one!

Homemade Quick and Easy Fabric Drawstring Gift Bags Sewing Project
I started this blog back eight months ago with a sewing project. Pincushions. In that first month of writing and picture taking I made a:
In the food department, I made:
Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

Since then, I've done tutorials on a couple of those things and this week's tutorial adds another. On Day 8, I made the fabric memory game with a drawstring carrying bag.

A drawstring bag is a good way to wrap Christmas gifts, too, so today is all about the bag.

Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

You can find the step-by-step how to tutorial for the homemade quick and easy fabric drawstring gift bags sewing project right here:
Homemade Quick and Easy Fabric Drawstring Gift Bags Sewing Project

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 257 of 365

I'm into before and after pictures. I've taken them of kitchen cabinets, the downstairs TV room, and look at them on home improvement websites. Slow and steady changes don't impress me nearly as much as the radical changes that show up in those kinds of pictures.

When I got up this morning, I planned on taking another set of before and after pictures. It's time for us to clip our roses down low for winter, and what better way to document what I accomplish in the garden but with pictures.

So I took that "before" picture, knowing the "after" picture wasn't going to be coming until I was finished with the roses - and that might be a week or more from now. Took that picture, then got to work for a while. Filled up almost a garbage can full of dead canes.

On the way out of the garden, I found something I'd never noticed before. In 10 years. Never knew it.

Usually in the fall, I'm not working in the garden much. School is in full swing and I've always been someone to put my all into it. Which leaves nothing for the garden. Or the family. (Yep, my priorities were out of whack.) Then two years ago, I hurt my back in the fall. Definitely no working then. Last year I was in the sling because of the shoulder surgery and no working in the garden.

So this is really the first time in a very long while I've done any type of work outside in November. And wouldn't you know it, I learned something new.

We have these burning bushes. One is out by the fence (that's the one on Day 224) and then we have a couple right at the entrance of the rose garden. They're a good bush in the summer, and I love their bright red leaves in the fall. But as I found out today, there are more to them than just their leaves.

As I was exiting the garden I noticed these bushes also have gorgeous orange berries with purple coverings.

In all the years we've had these burning bushes, I never knew it. And if I hadn't forced myself to work outside today for a bit, I would have missed such a colorful sight.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 256 of 365

While lots of things happen in the movie Thelma and Louise, there's a line that has resonated with me. My idea of happiness, contentment, bliss.

We'll be drinking margaritas by the sea, mamacita.

I always thought if I had no worries, no responsibilities, and could drink margaritas by the sea, things would be okay with the world.

One Thanksgiving I had the chance. My husband had a Social Studies conference in Florida the week before Thanksgiving. We traveled along and spent our days at DisneyWorld while he was in meetings. When the conference was over we went to Clearwater Beach for the Thanksgiving holiday. Stayed in a hotel right on the beach. And on Thanksgiving Day as we sat there by the pool, I drank margaritas. No worries, no problems, no responsibilities.

And yet, no bliss.

That thing I held up as the representation of what happiness would be, didn't turn out to be. I went all the way to Florida and had a great trip, but happiness in that very moment eluded me.

I think about happiness a lot. Or maybe it's contentment or bliss. I do know, now more than ever, that I'm more happy at home than anywhere else. It's not about the dollars in the bank, the stuff in my house, or the travels I've taken.

It's right here, right now. It's when I write, when I read, when I take pictures, when I sew. I'm just as happy sitting on the couch reading a magazine as I am sitting on a beach drinking margaritas.

Traveling through the town of Bliss with my mom, this sign (and the surrounding view) got me thinking about that happiness factor again. Dilapidated, run-down buildings and unkempt empty lots welcome us to Bliss, Idaho.

Not quite what I would define as bliss.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 255 of 365

Remember all those Stockings for Soldiers I finished up Day 222? The ones I did a tutorial for on Day 237? The ones that high school kids were collecting items for? Well, the challenge to gather items was given to the kids last week. On Day 252 we had a few items - if you call 415 items a few!

But those aren't the only boxes and packages going to the post office. The rest of the kids' quilts for Operation Kid Comfort from Day 233, Day 245, Day 246, Day 253, and Day 254. And Quilts for Kids from Day 236, Day 238, and Day 243. And more Stockings for Soldiers.

Boxes are headed to Delaware, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Washington state. You'd think I was sending off Christmas presents.

But what was I thinking? I obviously wasn't thinking about the trouble it was going to be getting this packed, wrapped, and out of the house. I wasn't thinking about how hard it would be to get them all into the post office on the same day. (But thank goodness I was able to talk my daughter and her boyfriend to help me get them delivered.)

And I certainly wasn't thinking ahead about the cost of postage. I probably should have prepared myself for the hit.

And not one is a Christmas present for anyone I know. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing.

What do I know? I can breathe a sigh of relief for just a bit.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 254 of 365

They're done. Done, like finished. Like no backlog anymore.

The Quilts for Kids project - four quilts. The Operation Kid Comfort - four quilts and a pillow.

I don't know how I got myself in over my head so much, but it's time to crawl out from under the quilting for others craze. Yet, I still have a couple quilts to work on.

My husband has requested a quilt for Christmas. He's a huge baseball fan. He's a basketball and football fan, too, but baseball wins out.

When he was a kid he was a bat boy for the day for the California Angels. He still has the black and white picture hanging up from so many years back. For someone who was handicapped with cerebral palsy, he felt pretty special.

Now he wants to feel special with some fabric I used for one of the kids quilts. One of them had baseball fabric and when my husband saw that, he knew exactly what he wanted. A baseball quilt.

So a baseball quilt it will be. A Christmas gift for my hubby. I've made quilts for dozens of kids, so might as well add him to the list!

Now that the last one for Operation Kid Comfort is done, he'll be up to bat next.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 253 of 365

I started wearing gloves last weekend. Not winter gloves, not mittens, not driving gloves.

Arthritis gloves.

I remember after surgeries having to wear compression stockings. I figure these arthritis gloves are similar to those. The look like tight gloves with the fingertips cut out. They press on my knuckles and joints. I use them for sewing, for typing at home and at work.

But I can't tell if they're working or not. My hands hurt just as bad as before. I still can't tie anything or grab anything in the morning. My hands still feel like they're cramped up.

Like everything else, I probably need to give it some time. More time with the gloves on, less time with the gloves off. Although I do look pretty dorky wearing them, I'm gonna keep on doing it until it works. I hope.

While I wish it didn't hurt so much to finish this next quilt for Operation Kid Comfort, I still got it done.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day 252 of 365

In Ferris Bueller's Day Off there is a scene where a waiter tells Ferris and his crew, "I weep for the future."

I think at some point lots of adults feel that way about kids - particularly teenagers. Some folks even feel that way about them all the time. Even for me, as an elementary teacher, teenagers haven't been my favorite age to be around. My husband, on the other hand, as a high school teacher? Loves teenagers.

Something happened this week that could sway anyone who might have lukewarm feelings about the goodness of teenagers.

On Day 237 I wrote about my husband sharing the list of items needed for Stockings for Soldiers. The deadline to have items in is fast approaching. I stopped by the high school this week and picked up items the kids had collected.

Thanks to the National Honor Society members and the Future Hispanic Leaders of America (FHLA) at Marsing High School, I'm just not sending more stockings to Stocking for Soldiers.

Just check out the haul!
  • 45 canned goods
  • 56 packs of Ramen noodles
  • 21 meal items
  • 56 drink mixes
  • 13 CDs
  • 28 toiletries
  • 182 snacks
  • 14 Christmas cards

That's 415 items!

Add in my previous 80 stockings, my mom's eight stockings, and quite a hefty amount of postage I'll be paying at the post office, deployed servicemen and women in the remote areas of Afghanistan will have Christmas stockings full of goodies.

No weeping for the future here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Make Fabric Covered Decorative Clipboards - Day 251 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

Decorative Fabric Covered Clipboards Made with Mod Podge Craft Project

I always thought PE teachers were the only ones who used clipboards. At least that's what my memory was from my school days.

But it's not true. Classroom teachers use them, too. Elementary teachers, middle school teachers, and high school teachers. We take attendance, write notes, make checklists. Even in my last position out of the classroom I carried a clipboard with me everywhere.

It started out as an ugly clipboard. A brown, pressed board, ugly clipboard. I even had one for my hubby, the high school teacher. Brown, ugly clipboards didn't work for either of us, so I covered them in contact paper. And boy, have they lasted. Year after year after year. I think going on 10 or so by now.

Yet I just recently came up with an even more attractive type of clipboard. One that uses Mod Podge and my favorite thing of all. Fabric.

I have fond memories of Mod Podge. I remember as a kid taking a piece of styrofoam, a decorative napkin, some Mod Podge, and some glitter (maybe?) to make something you hang on the wall. I remember the distinct smell of the Mod Podge. Almost reminds me of that white paste we used in second grade.

I got to use that memory-inducing Mod Podge, fabric, and another one of those ugly clipboards for this week's tutorial. My husband happened to see my materials sitting out before filming and decided he wanted one of his own. His fabric came from Day 133 and mine came from a giveaway at thevintagebicycle blog.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

New clipboards for us both! You can find the step-by-step how to video for making this decorative clipboard with fabric and Mod Podge right here:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Day 250 of 365

There are some down sides to being in a small town. Goodness knows I've written enough about how far it is to the doctors, the stores, the pharmacy, and the movies.

But there are a couple down sides to living close to the river, too. Particularly at this time of year.


Hunters like to sit out on the island or in their boat and hunt geese. Now I'm not a hunter, I don't live with a hunter, and I've never been hunting. Don't even have anything against hunters. Except those hunters on the river that aim their shots toward the houses. On those days when the hunters are out on the river close by us, we tend to stay in the house.

Then there is the fog.

It can be sunny and clear everywhere in the valley, but there are days we are socked in with fog. Can't see three feet ahead of you. I don't mind it so much when I'm home, but if I have to drive in it? I'd rather pass. Fog is bad enough, but when the roads are icy and it's foggy? Even worse. Add in driving in the dark. Driving to work in the dark, in the very dense fog, to another town on the same river (with the same fog), with icy roads, and no street lights because it's all country driving (which then means you don't have any landmarks to help you out) is about the worst driving conditions out there. There have been times when it has been so bad driving to work I don't know where I am. Not looking forward to that kind of day anytime soon.

Today's fog was manageable. Actually quite pleasant to look at. Grass still green, some trees still green and some trees and bushes with the leaves all gone, a clothesline not being used, a bit of fog on the river. And don't forget the owl sitting in the tree on the left.

Early November in Idaho.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 249 of 365

It happened the other day when I was at the grocery store and it happened again early this morning.

It snowed.

It's not cold enough for it to stick to the ground, but it stuck to the roofs and porch railings. Just a dusting, but still a day (or two) worth remembering. With time changing back last night it seemed appropriate to wake up to snow. It's darker, it's colder, and winter will be on its way.

In winter I want to be a hibernating bear, keeping warm and sleeping my days away. However, as I reported on Day 24, I'm obsessed about tracking our power bill. So we have our heat system programmed to kick on when the temperatures at night hit the mid-50s in the house. That's pretty darn cold. We never have it set higher than 64 degrees during the day. (Although some days we'll cheat and crank it up to 67.) I imagine some day we'll keep our place warmer, but just not yet.

The snow and the cold temperatures got me thinking about our gardens. The vegetable garden is all pulled up, the wildflowers and perennials have all died off, and the roses are done for and awaiting a good pruning in preparation for winter.

We have one - and only one - flower still blooming. Some of our mums have been killed off by the heavy frost, but there is a lone holdout where it is protected by the eaves of the house.

The last blooming flowers of the year.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 248 of 365

It's quite interesting how when parents become empty nesters, pets become the new kids.

I've always chuckled at older folks with their little dogs. But since we're empty nesters and we have a cat, I shouldn't be chuckling anymore. When our daughter was at home, the cat played a somewhat small role in our lives. Not now.

Our cat was born to a barn cat. She was several weeks old, bright blue eyes, a tiny little body, and a big bushy face when she was given to us by one of my fourth grade students. We started out calling the cat Furby because of how her facial features looked in comparison to her body.

She was quite a wild little thing. She only let us pet her on her terms. She didn't even care to be around the three of us, either. Even as she got older, she still had no interest in hanging out with us. She was an indoor cat, an outdoor cat, and a back and forth cat. Didn't seem like she preferred any one over the other.

But now that daughter doesn't live here anymore, the cat acts differently. And so do we.

Granted, she's 10 years old or so now, but she sure has calmed down. She's decided she wants to be a lap cat. She can be sound asleep upstairs but as soon as I head down to the basement to watch TV with hubby, she tags along. Jumps right up into my lap and falls asleep. I go back upstairs - back up she goes, too. She sleeps at the foot of our bed, but for some reason if I'm turned on my side in bed she'll use me as a balance beam. She'll start at my feet and walk herself up my legs, past my hips and plant herself on my upper body and fall asleep. What's up with that? But the even bigger question is, why are we putting up with it?

Because she's become our new kid. We talk to her all the time. We ask her questions. We keep her on a regular feeding schedule. My husband is always looking for good sales on cat food - both wet and dry - and has us buying the best food out there. If we're outside, she's outside. If we're inside, she's usually inside. On cold nights and hot days, in the house is where you'll find her.

She gets to sit on the barstool when my husband is getting her dinner ready. We let sleep just about anywhere she wants. She bawls to go outside at four o'clock every morning and hubby gets up to let her out. She wants back in every morning at six and she gets let back in.

Spoiled little ball of fur.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 247 of 365

As I was driving into Boise early this morning for a doctor's appointment I was wondering what it would be like not to have to drive so far for these kinds of things.

We live in the small town of Marsing. The grocery store we visit, the theater, the drugstore, the hospital and doctors' offices all range from about 15 to 40 miles away. (Not the gas station anymore, though!) Whenever we bring something home to eat (like McDonalds - although we haven't done that since Day 226) the food is always cold by the time we get home.

But the most inconvenient drives are the ones to the doctors' offices. Most of my doctors are 30-40 miles from here and they always involve rush hour traffic. If it's a morning appointment like today, I get caught in the morning traffic, and if it's an appointment anywhere from 3:00 on, it's the afternoon traffic.

No rush hour traffic here in our town. While a major highway runs through it, the speed limit is 25 mph. We have stop signs and crosswalks, of course, but no stop lights. And my drive to work consists of highway driving in the country to another town with no stop lights. While I like small town living, I wonder if we'll ever leave. Our house is paid for. My husband is a few years from early retirement. And some days I get darned tired of driving us everywhere.

I just took my husband to the local market again and sat there wondering how many times can you do something before it gets old. I don't go into this particular store with him anymore because he's a talker. He always, always, always strikes up a conversation with someone in there. Whether it's a current or former student, a fellow employee, or someone he knows from the community, he chats away. So I've learned it's best to just stay in the car and wait because it'll be a long time before he's done.

Depending where I park in the parking lot, I get an interesting view that never gets old. The store is plopped right down on the corner. The highway runs right by it, old homes sit beside it, and the high school gym is across the street.

Those old houses have old garages that go with them. A rolling stone may gather no moss, but an old roof sure does.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 246 of 365

I went back and read through some of my blog last night.

It's a weird thing reading what you've written in the past. It's like vacation pictures. A few days back from a vacation and you've forgotten half of what you did. Real life gets in the way and memories quickly fade. But if you took a picture, what vivid memories and stories you can tell about what was happening in that photo. (At least that's the way it works with me.) Just like pictures from when I was a kid. I don't remember most of my childhood, but if there's a picture? Yep. I remember that birthday under the patio table umbrella when I was 5 - but only because there is a picture to document it.

As it is with taking a picture for 246 consecutive days. Thanks to those pictures, I remember how I spent these last few months. And thanks to the words I wrote on those 246 days, I remember how I felt. (Pictures aren't always worth a thousand words.)

Unfortunately as I went back reading through some of these posts, I also found lots of typos in my work. It seems the days I struggle with pain and fatigue the most are the days I make the most mistakes. I used to be a perfect writer. Now, not so much. But at least I recognize - albeit at a later date - that I could do a better job editing! I'll continue working on not making silly mistakes. And I'll certainly work on not using so many doggone commas.

I'll keep working on the other  important things, too - pictures, words, and quilts for kids. 

Another one for Operation Kid Comfort.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 245 of 365

I wanted to jump for joy when I was driving home from work. I wanted to yell out, "There's a Shell, there's a Shell!"

The first credit card we ever had when we were married was a Phillips 66 gas card. It was only in my husband's name, but I was an "authorized" user. That was back in our college days in Boise. Every time we filled up with gas, we filled up at a Phillips 66. But soon the Phillips 66 stations started disappearing. Even on our short trips out of town it became more difficult to find one. So once my husband got a real job (a teaching job) and we moved out to the country we switched over to Texaco. Then we only filled up the gas tank at Texaco stations.

Then the Texaco stations in Idaho started disappearing, to be replaced by Shell stations. Thankfully our credit card just rolled over to Shell. We've had a Shell card ever since.

But we haven't had a Shell station nearby. In fact, for many years this town never even had a gas station. When our local market burned down quite a few years back (maybe 20?) they rebuilt and added a gas station. But not a Phillips 66, not a Texaco, and not a Shell.

To use our gas card, we've always had to go to another town to fill up our tank. 24+ years of never being able to fill 'er up nearby. Until now.

As I was driving by Snake River Mart, a big vinyl Shell sign is covering the old Sinclair gas sign. For the first time in umpteen years, I'll be able to get gas in the same town where I live.

It's a time to celebrate. (The little things that get me excited!)

Oh yea, and another quilt done for Operation Kid Comfort.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Easy to Make Fabric Gift Card Holders - Day 244 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

As an only child, my daughter used to get quite spoiled at Christmas. We bought her plenty of toys, books, and games. Too many of them. It took us a few years to figure out what we were doing. When we figured that out, we stopped doing the too-many-presents kind of Christmases.

Now we operate on the Christmas list kind of Christmas. She doesn't ask for much, but I feel like we should be getting her presents that aren't on "the list". Even though she's 23, I still feel like she's a kid and deserves many more presents than the adults.

Gift cards are a big one. I don't know how we got started with the gift card thing. When she was younger, I don't remember gift cards even being around. Gift certificates, yes. Gift cards, no. But now it seems you can buy gift cards for just about anywhere. Even the grocery store sells gift cards for dozens and dozens of other retailers. So over the years she's gotten gift cards for grocery stores, department stores, and restaurants. We've spent more on gift cards than we have other presents for both Christmas and her birthday.

Thinking ahead to Christmas and knowing gift cards might again be part of our gift giving, I made some gift card holders.

Homemade Quick and Easy Fabric Gift Card Holders Sewing Project

A great way - and super easy and quick way - to use up some scrap fabric.

For this project you will need:

Looking for more quick and easy projects? Check out these ideas!

Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you new sewing and crafting content.

You can find the step-by-step how to tutorial for the quick and easy gift card holder sewing project right here: