Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa 

While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over the door hooks.   They can serve a lot of purposes.

This one is in the laundry room.  Its a great place to hang clothes as I get them out of the dryer.  Also, its where I hang clothes from the washer that need to air dry.


This is one type of hook that I use.



These hooks are in the sewing room and 2 of them work perfectly for hanging the ironing board on the back of the door and so its out of sight.


On the back of the bathroom door, out of sight, are a towel and my bath robe.


Behind our bedroom door, out of sight, are my coats.


This one is on the inside of the closet door where I store Christmas things.  When the door is closed, its completely out of sight. 

If you want to create more storage space or get more organized, over the door hooks are a good idea.  Truthfully, I need to do a deep purge in all our closets to make more room.  Then I wouldn't need as many hooks.  Still, I love the convenience and usefulness of over the door hooks.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Frugal Friday - Saving for Christmas 2020

(Note 1 :  my referral codes/links for grocery apps and Swagbucks can be found at the bottom of this post for anyone who might be interested.  Thanks)

(Note 2:  These are not for earning fast money, but consistently using them over time will add up!)


                                 ************************************************

Beginning on January 1st, I decided to see how much money I could earn using Apps on my phone, Swagbucks, selling on EBay, Pine Cone Surveys, etc.  The purpose of this is to save toward the cost of Christmas gifts in 2020, or at least put a chunk of cash toward it! 

In my planner I assigned a page to each source of income.  My plan is to update the page with the amount earned each month in 2020, so I can track the figures and also get an idea of what's worth doing and what's not worth doing.

Here are my current planner pages and the categories:

1.  Paypal

I started out with a balance of $198.53 as of January 1st.  I don't spend the Paypal money too often and it reached this amount over a long period of time.  Things that go into my Paypal account include things like payment for doing Pine Cone Research Surveys and an occasional sale on EBay or Etsy.   

So far since January 1st, I have added $12 from Pine Cone Research and $16.93 from Ebay sales (net after all expenses) So currently there is $227.46

The surveys earn $3.00 each and I usually do 2 or 3 a month.  Pine Cone Research is a great way to earn a little cash.  They have open applications every so often and you have to be accepted by them.  If I see that they are accepting applications, I will post it on here.  The surveys are easy to do and occasionally  they will send a new product for you to try out for free.  Then you complete a follow up survey which earns another $3.00. 

I don't sell a lot on EBay.  In fact this is the first time in a couple of years that I have sold anything.  What did I sell?  I don't use the conditioners that come in my hair color boxes.  So I had been putting them to the side for quite a while.  I had accumulated 11 of them!  They sell quickly.  Its not a lot of money, but they are out of my house and the money goes toward my goal of Christmas money!








I have some ideas for other things to sell on EBay, such as a dress that I bought a couple of years ago that still has the tags on it and I haven't worn.  It might be fun to see what I can get for it. 


I haven't had anything for sale in my Etsy shop in a very long time.  I would love to though.   Maybe soon!

2.  Amazon Gift Card Balance

This is by far the place that I accumulate money in the most.  I started out on January 1st with a balance of $210.53.  As of today I have $299.48.    The increase is made up of the following:

Fetch Rewards $10.00
Ibotta $20.00
Swagbucks:  $53.00
Amazon refund 5.95

I consistently earn points on Swagbucks which I redeem for Amazon Gift Cards!  Here's my Swagbucks Referral Link if anyone is interested:  CLICK HERE

The grocery apps on my phone are a source of income, but its slow.  Here are the ones I am using:

Shop Kick.  As of today I have 681 points which I earned since January 1st.   I need 1250 to get a $5.00 Amazon Gift Card.  The way it works is that you earn points (kicks) when you go into certain stores.  Then while in stores you scan the bar code of certain items.   Watching short videos earns a few points. You can also buy certain things and scan in your receipt for points.  I haven't bought anything yet that qualifies.  I'm only doing the things that don't require me to spend money.  So, at this rate I should have a $5.00 gift card in a couple of months.  This is REALLY slow, but its kind of fun to do and eventually there will be items that I would be interested in buying that would accumulate points much faster than just the scanning in the store.  So, I am going to continue on and see how much I earn by the end of the year.

Fetch Rewards.  This one is easy to use and earning a gift card doesn't take too terribly long.  You just scan all of your eligible receipts and if you purchase certain items you earn points.  If there are no eligible items on the receipt, you still earn a flat 25 points.  You need 1,000 points to earn a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card.  I started out on January 1st with 1433 points.  I cashed out for one $10.00 Amazon Gift Card, and after earning points since January 1st, I currently have 8,896 points.  I will soon have enough points for another $10.00 gift card.

Ibotta.  This one isn't as easy as Fetch Rewards, but I can earn gift cards pretty quickly.  I enjoy using it.  You need to activate the offers before shopping and I find that I already purchase many of the eligible items.  Sometimes it is for any item, such as any pasta sauce, or any oatmeal, etc.

You have teammates, which for me are friends on Facebook that also do Ibotta.   I didn't do anything to add them as teammates, they just showed up on my account.  To be on my team, use my referral code shown at the bottom of this post.  We can see what each of us is earning and help each other earn more!  I started out on January 1st with $18.71.  You have to reach $20.00 to cash out.  Since then I cashed out for one $20.00 Amazon Gift card and currently have $12.66.  I need $7.34 more to cash out for another $20.00 Amazon Gift card.

Other Grocery Apps.  The apps I am also attempting to earn money are Checkout 51, SavingStar and Coin Out.  I've earned gift cards before on Checkout 51 and SavingStar, but so far this year I have not earned anything.    I started out on January 1st with $9.50 on Checkout 51 and that has not changed.  I need $20.00 to get a gift card.  I started out on January 1st with $13.25 on SavingStar and that has not changed either.  I will keep an eye on SavingStar and Checkout 51, but they just haven't offered any items so far this year that I actually use.  I'm not going to buy something that we don't want or need just to earn a few points.  Coin Out is a new one I am trying and so far have $2.22.  Its easy to use because you just scan any receipt and earn a few points. There are other ways to earn money with Coin Out, but I haven't really tried any of them, other than scanning receipts.    It might not be worth the trouble, but I'll keep plugging away.  I have to reach $10.00 to cash out for a gift card, so at this rate it will take 10 months!

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If you would like to sign up for any of these Apps, I would love for you to use my referral Code.  It would be especially fun to be teammates on Ibotta.  Here are my codes, or links.

For Fetch Rewards use this code when signing up: B4AEN

For Ibotta use this code when signing up:  foujkwh

For Checkout 51 use this link:  https://checkout51.app.link/9JidDdPcg4,   or just click HERE.
 
For Coin Out use this link:  https://coinout.com/referrals/new?r=MGPHCWC   or click HERE.

I don't think SavingStar has a referral program.

I'm off work today, so had time to put this post together!  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Things that make me happy.....





 .... peeking into grandkids' bedrooms and seeing quilts I made for them being put to use.



I hope your 2020 is going well so far! 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Glimpses of Home - A Little Bit of Fall

I've been enjoying Fall.  I love this time of year.

Having a hubby who is retired is great.  He does so many things around the house. Here is a picture of a little bit of Fall decorating done by my Hubby.  I guess the NC State Flag gives away who was involved in it.  Haha


I finished a quilt and took a few pictures that show some fall in the background.




A few sunflowers came back from seed that fell earlier in the summer, and if our first frost holds off a little while longer, there will be blooms.


We have some huge mums!  This picture does not show just how big this one is.


One more quilt picture:


Fall cleaning:  I don't why, but I always get in the mood to do extra cleaning in the fall.  I don't usually do much deep cleaning in the Spring.  But something about Fall makes me start cleaning under things! LOL

We're still having a lot of warm days and the weather has been beautiful most of the time.  I hope your Fall is going well and that you are enjoying life!


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A Quilt Finish - Kintergarten Art Quilt

I am happy to say I am finished with this quilt, except for a label!  Its different than any quilt I've ever made.  I would describe it as bright, bold, and striking.  It looks like basket weaves.



Here's the original art work.  The quilt looks a lot like it! I should have turned the quilt the other way when taking the picture so it would match, but then it would have dragged on the ground. 


This picture shows the backing fabric.  It was the only fabric I could find that would work and it turned out to be perfect.  It has the same pattern as the front of the quilt, just no purple and red.








Now on to the next grandchild's quilt.  Here's a sneak peek.






I am linking this post to Monday Making at the "Love Laugh Quilt" blog.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Sewing Machine Story - Roger's Sewing Machine

I have a "new to me" sewing machine!  She's a beauty and here is her story.


The machine is inside this beautiful wooden cabinet.


My sister gave it to me.  She bought it at an estate sale, but not just any estate sale.  The person who's estate sale it was sold at was her boyfriend, Roger.  Both Roger and my sister had lost their spouses a while before they met, and had only been dating about a year when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  He only lived about 6 months after that.

It was one of the saddest stories, because they were in love, and had already lost their spouses.  They really enjoyed doing things together before he became ill.  It broke my heart when she told me that the last time she saw him, he was being transported to a different hospital by ambulance and had asked her to watch the ambulance until he was completely out of sight.  She did and he died later that day, before she could get to where he had been transported.

So this sewing machine actually belonged to his first wife, but was included in the estate sale after he died.  My sister went to the estate sale and to quote her, she said, "I could NOT just leave the sewing machine there".   In fact she saw the machine the first day of the sale and could not get the machine out of her mind.  So she ended up going back the next day and bought the machine.  I feel honored that she gave me the machine and love that it has a story.

Another story that my sister shared with me is that Roger had told her that somehow he would let her know he was ok after he died.  Just a few days later she was working in her flower bed and a blue bird perched very near her and just stayed there near her for several minutes.  If you know anything about blue birds or any wild bird, for that matter, they do not come over close to a person and just sit there looking at them.    So my sister firmly believes that the bluebird was a sign from God that Roger was ok.

Roger's Sewing Machine


This sewing machine is a Singer, Model 15-91.  HERE'S a link to the Singer website where I can order all the parts I would ever need.  At the top of the page it says:

  "The SINGER Model 15-91 Was the Top of The Line Machine in The 1940's Decade. It Featured the SINGER Famous Direct Drive Gear Motor. Millions of 15-91 Machines are still in Use Today Throughout The World."


However, when I checked the serial number of my machine on THIS Singer Sewing Machine Serial Number site, it says my machine was made in 1951. 

There are definitely no plastic parts and this machine is bound to be a workhorse!  There is already a box full of attachments and other things, so I hopefully I have everything I need to start sewing.  I also have the original handbook!

Box of attachments, etc., the handbook, and key that locks the cabinet.

I'm looking forward to sewing with Roger's sewing machine and am planning to make a simple mug rug as the first official project that I will make with it.


So I wonder if you have ever had a first hand experience of having a sign from God?  I have had my own and I bet you have too.



Monday, August 5, 2019

The Power of Five Minutes

My black and gray fabrics organized through the power of five minutes.
 The title to this post came to me the other day after my post about list making.  I checked it by searching through Swagbucks and of course I'm not the first person to use that title!   There are also these titles:  The Power of 10 Minutes and The Power of 15 minutes.  So then the title, "Five Minute Miracle" came to me, so I checked that one as well....... Um No.  I didn't want to use that one either.  Oh well, this post is my own take on spending 5 minutes getting things done.

I don't want to come across as wanting you to be constantly hustling and working and striving.  No, not at all.  If anything, this is the lazy way to get work done.  I just know that for me I can do 5 minutes (or 10 or 15 or more) consistently and get things done.

Here are some ideas:

1. I've always loved the idea of spending 15 minutes a day on a certain project or housework job.  I first learned this trick from Emilie Barnes (Author) and then more recently from the Flylady.  (www.flylady.net)   But, honestly, some days after work, I am just too tired, either physically or mentally, or both, to even spend 15 minutes.  BUT... 5 minutes, that I can usually do.

2.  After spending 5 minutes, I often keep going because I start to feel that great feeling of accomplishment when I see the progress.  Even if I only do 5 minutes, it adds up.

3.  No need for a timer.  I just glance at the time, add 5 minutes to it in my mind, and when I reach that time, I stop.  (Or maybe keep going.  See #2)

4.  The biggest hurdle to working for 5 minutes is to know what you are going to do!  It could take me 5 minutes or more to figure out what I should do, which kind of defeats the purpose.   So I've started keeping a list of 5 minute jobs for certain areas.  Or I try to think ahead to what I can do for 5 minutes in whatever room I am concentrating on at the time.

I am currently organizing and cleaning in my sewing room and this is a list of 5 minute jobs I can do in there.

Organize one drawer or shelf
Trim scraps into usable sizes
Dust one small area
Fill bobbins for quilting or sewing
Put things where they belong for 5 minutes
Quilt for 5 minutes
Chain stitch quilt blocks
Do a quick 5 minute vacuum of the floor.
Throw away some quilt batting scraps
Organize yarn into one container.  (currently in 3 places)

Here is one drawer that I organized in 2 five minute time periods.  I just sorted them into color families and threw away a few pieces.

I use a lot of 2 1/2 inch wide strips and having them organized is a big help when making a scrap quilt.


Before:  Just thrown in the drawer.


After:  A little easier to find what I need.

I came to the conclusion that there are a lot of ugly fabrics in this drawer!  But, placed in the right  color combination in a project, they will be pretty. 

5.  Sometimes the 5 minute slot of time becomes available when we are waiting for other things to happen.  Such as waiting for the microwave to finish, oven timer to go off, or waiting for clothes to de-wrinkle in the dryer, or waiting for someone to finish getting ready to go somewhere, when you are already ready to go.  Or while in the drive through at the bank or restaurant, you can dust the area of the car right in front of you.  Just keep a dusting cloth nearby.   The secret is to be aware of these times and also to have an idea of what you can do without having to figure that out. (see #4)

6.  When you see something that needs to be done, go ahead and write it down on your 5 minutes jobs list because if you are like me, you won't think about it again until that job starts to bug you later on.

7.  You've heard of a backlog, I am sure.  Why not create a FRONT log?  Here is the definition:
  1. Frontlog is typically used as a verb to indicate that you're going to do things sooner than later, even sooner than necessary. That way they are done, and out of the way. Let's frontlog this work because we know we're going to require several iterations before we get it right, so we don't want to wait for the last minute to start.

Create a list of things you can do ahead of time.  Just small things that only take about 5 minutes.   Think ahead to what you have coming up that you can go ahead and be working on.   For example, recently while at Dollar General, I went ahead and bought all the birthday cards I will need for the rest of the year.

8.   At work I have a list of little things I can do as the end of the day is approaching.  The reason for this is that I may be tired, but need to keep working.  There are always some little things I can do that don't take much brain power and will allow me to coast until the work day is over, but not feel like I am a slacker.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment to check off these small things and to make good use of all the time right up until the end of the day.

This idea is good at home too.  Save some easy 5 minute jobs for when you are tired, but want to keep on going.

9.  Delegate some 5 minute jobs.  Most of the time family and friends don't mind helping you out if the job is only going to take them 5 minutes!  And you won't mind asking them since there's not a big time investment involved.

10.   Don't limit yourself to just 5 minutes, if you have the time and energy.  This weekend I am still quilting the "Kindergarten Art Quilt" and I found myself quilting for 20 minutes at the time.  This way I give both myself and the sewing machine a break which helps me to not get burned out on the project.  I'm three fourths of the way through with the quilting!  I hope to be binding it next weekend, since I will be quilting for short periods both before and after work.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Weekend Sewing - Kid Quilts

I finished pin basting the Kindergarten Art Quilt and began the machine quilting.






I also worked on pulling fabric choices for the next two quilts. One for our 3 year old granddaughter:


 


And one for our 5 year old grandson:




I bought a few pieces of the fabrics and then pulled matching pieces from my stash.

There's a whole lot of quilt activity going on around here!!!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Today is the Day

I thought I'd share how I am getting more things done lately!

This is a little notebook I found at Dollar General.  Its great for my never ending to do lists.  Every time I think of something, no matter how important or unimportant it is, I jot it down in this book.





When I start a new page, I circle the month and the next seven days underneath it.  I keep marking off and adding on until the page is full and then start a new one by carrying forward the items not finished.  I always have several ongoing things on there, such as working on a certain quilt, working on Christmas gifts, etc.  When one of these on going items is done, its so satisfying to mark it off and NOT carry it forward!


Some time during each work day, I will check my list and decide which things I want to get done that night after work and the next morning before work.   The picture below is an actual example from one day last week.  Sometimes the items only take a minute.  Other times they may be a little more involved.  But they never take too long.

AM and PM notes


Some more examples from recent AM and PM notes:

Spend 5 minutes putting things away in bedroom
Spend 10 minutes organizing and cleaning in sewing room
Get items together for donating to thrift shop
Pin baste quilt 30 minutes
Order birthday gift for Eli
Send Sympathy Card
Send Get Well/Thinking of you card.
Sew binding on pumpkin runner

There is even an item on my to do list with ideas to post about on this blog!  Maybe I can be more regular about posting as a result of the AM and PM sticky notes.

The idea is that the to do list will never get done if I don't break it down into manageable tasks.  No matter how small the jobs are, they really do make a difference.  I have been getting much more done and it makes me feel like I am really accomplishing things.

I do the same thing for Saturdays and Sundays, but I can  accomplish more items since there is usually more time available.  So my AM note may contain things like doing laundry, cleaning, cooking and hopefully I can get more things done that I enjoy, such as quilting and sewing.  

One final tip:  Do you have a hard time remembering to take vitamins or other medications?  Put a reminder sticky note on your bathroom mirror.   Every time I brush my teeth, I see the note and go right straight into the kitchen where my pill organizer is and take the vitamins.


Do you have a tip for getting things done?

Have a great week!

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Quilted Pumpkin Table Runner ......... in July!

What's a girl to do when its July and its awhile until Fall is here?

 Sew some pumpkins!



I already had everything I needed to make this runner.  I have been working on a quilt that has a lot of orange in it, so I was able to pull fabrics from that project and I also found some in my fall fabrics that I store in a plastic tote. A while back I found some orange remnants in the remnant bin at Joann's Fabrics, so that came in handy for this project.   I love going through that bin! 


Its a perfect project for using up some scraps.


I always have scraps of quilt batting left over from other projects and found a piece that was just the right size.




The backing fabric is a calico print that I'm pretty sure is from the 80s or 90s.  I'm not sure, but that small orange flower made it perfect for the backing.


I love the orange dotted fabric I used for the binding and one of the pumpkins on the front.  That fabric came from Walmart and is probably still available.


Here is a link to the pattern.  (click here)

I did not use the printable sheets.  I just did regular fusible applique.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Thoughts from Debbie J.

I thought I'd just leave this tab for a new post on my blog open, and as a thought comes to me, I'll type it up!

1.  I am currently listening to the audio version of "Only Love Today", by Rachel Macy Stafford.  I love this book!!!  It has been life changing for me.  I'm currently on my second time listening to this book.  My only problem with it is that I wish I had it when I still had children at home.  But the things I am learning are just as important for any loved one in your life, whether its your husband, grown children, grandchildren, co-workers, and even yourself.  Listening to the book is so calming and soothing to me.

She has written another book that I haven't read, called "Hands Free Mama", which is probably more well-known.  I may just check that one out too, since I feel it would apply to anyone, even if there are no children in the home.

As I've told you in a previous post, I listen to audio books for free with the Overdrive App on my phone.  This is done through your library.  I usually listen when I'm driving to and from work and other times when I am driving alone.  The sound comes through the radio with the blue tooth on the vehicle.

2.  I gave up Sirius XM Satellite Radio.    I got hooked on it when I had 6 months free with the purchase of my vehicle.  They know how to hook you on their product!  But, did you  know if you call them trying to cancel, they will keep dropping the price until its pretty cheap?  The last time I called to cancel mine, the price started at about $125.00 for 6 months, and the person I was talking to came down to about $40.00 for 6 months.  Just be sure to call BEFORE your current subscription runs out, or you have to pay for the part of the subscription you have used.  They don't send a bill until after the next subscription has started.  I decided to go ahead and cancel mine completely though, since I can listen to books and free radio.... well for free!    But $40.00 for 6 months isn't bad.

3.  When I am trying to eat right, or exercise, it doesn't have to be ALL OR NOTHING!  Even doing the right thing health-wise most of the time, is very good!  I don't have to never have another Diet Coke!  I don't have to never have any real sweets!  Its ok occasionally.  And that way I don't feel deprived so much.    As my husband says in his deep eastern NC Southern drawl,  "You don't have to take a bath in it!"  If I don't get my steps in every single day, its still ok.

4.  Speaking of getting steps in,  I am proud to say I usually do get in the recommended 10,000 steps most days.  I started out feeling like I would never be able to reach that goal, but now its easy for me to do.  I found out that its easy to walk inside.  No more using the weather or not having a good place to walk as an excuse.   Its not as boring as a treadmill to me.  I simply walk  back and forth from one point in my house to the other.  Listening to something on my phone is very helpful to make the time pass.  I also walk on my lunch break inside my office., upstairs where no one is watching.  I love listening to instagram stories of certain people while walking, or an audio book.  (See number 1 above.)  Walking 20 minutes before work, 30 minutes at lunch time at work and 20 minutes or so after work, is usually enough to reach my goal.  The other times of walking in the course of the day also add up.

I was given a Fitbit as a birthday gift in 2018 and rarely take it off now.  I love it.  Even bought my husband one for Christmas and he loves his too.  He loves to get more steps than me...

5.  As far as eating right, I am fine, until I get through eating what should be enough.  That's when I want to just keep eating!  Just one handful of nuts.  Just a couple of cookies.  Just a few chips.  And its so hard to not do this!  I have found that if I will make myself a cup of coffee, (half caff or full caff if its not too late in the day) and I can get past those end of meal cravings.  Or if I can ignore the cravings and get busy doing something else, I can usually get past it.  There's no eating for me after I brush and floss at night, so I've avoided many a late night ice cream snack, by not wanting to brush my teeth again.

Well, no pictures today, just words. 

To be continued......


Glimpses of Home - HOOKS!

Now that's an exciting title, isn't it?  HaHa  While working around the house the other day I realized that I have a lot of over t...