Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frugal Decluttering - Buttons

The first step in re-purposing clothing for use in a quilt is to remove any buttons. Last weekend I removed the buttons from some denim jumpers and decided I should keep them. You never know when you will need a button and I've seen some really cute crafts that use buttons.

I also decided I would gather all the buttons I had around the house and put them into one jar. I have accumulated quite a few buttons over the years, having saved all the tiny zip lock bags of extra buttons that come with clothing. I don't think I ever actually used any of them to replace buttons on the clothing. I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to find the right button, since they were stuck in different containers and drawers.

Some thoughts on these buttons:

1. How blessed I have been over the years to have plenty of clothes, as all these buttons reflect!

2. These buttons didn't take up that much space, but nonetheless constitute CLUTTER!

3. I will put this jar in my sewing room and from now on all buttons from re-purposed clothing or extra buttons that come from clothing will go in there.

4. I bet you have collected lots of these little zip lock bags of buttons too! Why not put them in a pretty jar for decorative and useful purposes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cozy Cabins Progress

I actually got started on a new quilt!

These are three blocks I have made so far.

What do you think? How do you think they compare to the ones in the magazine?

The blocks are smaller than I realized. Each one is only 8 inches square. A twin size quilt will need 56 blocks. I want the quilt to be at least full size and preferably queen size, so I have quite a few blocks left to make!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Frugal Decluttering

Two of the things a new year always inspires me to do are to be more frugal and to declutter. Why not combine the two?

My son has way too many clothes in his closet, most of which he never wears. I was looking through there Saturday and noticed that there were several pairs of jeans that were so worn out, they needed to be thrown away. However, the backs of the legs were in great condition. Can't say the same for the knees and hems!

I recently bought a new Scrap Quilting Book by Bonnie Hunter called "Scraps & Shirttails: Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle! The Art of "Quilting Green"". I love this book because it shows how to re-purpose old clothing into beautiful quilts. This is not new to me, as I've made a couple of blue jean quilts in the past. But it does give me some ideas for more quilts.

This is the stack of denim fabric I had when I finished cutting out the good parts of my son's jeans, as well as some more articles of denim clothing that I purchased at a thrift shop, just to reuse in my sewing. A small church run thrift store located in a small town near me has a quarterly "39 cents sale". Everything in the store, except large appliances and furniture, is 39 cents. I take advantage of this sale to purchase denim clothing or men's cotton shirts.

As Bonnie advises in her book, I plan to go ahead and cut these pieces of denim into usable strips and organize them into containers. Being organized makes sewing much more fun and saves lots of time and money.

When I got through cutting up these old jeans I had a garbage bag full of leftover scraps to be thrown in the garbage. I plan to continue on my crusade to declutter my son's closet and to increase my quilting fabric stash too!

Friday, December 26, 2008

An Apron and Bread

I've been off work all week and am so thankful to have had those days to prepare for our Christmas celebrations. Today was the first day of the week that I was able to settle down, not go anywhere and concentrate on "home" things. When my hubby woke up this morning, he asked, "What are we going to do today?" I replied, "Whatever we jolly well please!".

The first part of the day was spent tidying up from Christmas and cleaning up. I received a new printer from my hubby as a gift. In the process of getting it hooked up I realized how "dirty" it was behind the computer desk. Evidently someone spilled a beverage back there which combined with dust was very disgusting! I cleaned this area using some hot, soapy water and a cleaning cloth.

I also wanted to do some sewing, so I decided to make another bibbed apron. This is the second apron I've made. Click here to see the first one that I made a couple of weeks ago. The apron I made today is in my Etsy Shop.

We are still nibbling on Christmas goodies such as ham, roasted pecans and butterscotch chip cookies. But, I wanted to make some bread in my bread machine. I found a recipe in a book called "Bread Machine Magic" that I had all the ingredients on hand for. Its called "Herb Bread". The herbs are basil, rosemary and dill weed. It also has a small amount of chopped onion sauteed in butter.

I still have the whole weekend ahead of me!!! I plan to make some of my "Sewing Plans for 2009" a reality. Or at least start on them! I can't decide which one to tackle first. I should probably start on the UFO that has been sitting around the longest, which would be the NCSU Quilt.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Blessings of 2008

I lay awake last night thinking about all the blessings of 2008.

Here is my hubby on the first day of his new job on April 21st. He was very happy about it! (Me too!)

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:3-4.

My mother had a devastating stroke on Memorial Day. With much TLC she has returned to about 75% of her former independence.

This is a picture taken in 1958:

Her children rise up and call her blessed... Proverbs 31: 28

This one was taken December 21, 2008:

On July 22, 2008 I was T-Boned in my van. I only had a few cuts and bruises from what could have been a deadly wreck.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. Psalms 91: 11-12.

I turned 50!

Come grow old with me! The best is yet to come...


Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas 08 has begun!

Which one is the Santa?

(Hint: The NC State Shirt is a clue as to who the older Santa is!)

Any presents in there for me?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sewing Thoughts for 2009

Its a little early to be making New Year's resolutions, but I've been thinking about them anyway.

One of my hopes for 2009 is to finish all of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and WIPS (Works in Progress). Here's a list:

1. Spiderman Quilt for my grandson. His Dad is a big Spiderman fan and I purchased Spiderman fabric before my grandson was born. I also found a cute quilt pattern to use. I never got past that point and have even used some of the matching fabric in other projects. I'd like to finish the quilt and give it to my grandson for his 2nd birthday or next Christmas. I probably need to make it a little larger than previously planned since the baby is growing so fast.

2. NC State Quilt for my stepson. I posted about the progress of this quilt quite a long time ago HERE and haven't worked on it since. It wasn't turning turn out quite like I wanted, but I think it will be a nice quilt anyway. Yikes! When I read the post I realized its been a year and 4 months since I worked on this quilt.

3. John Deere quilt my mother started. Yes, I'm even taking in orphan UFOs. My mother started a John Deere quilt for one of her Great Grandsons a few years ago. This great grandson is now about 6 feet tall, but nonetheless, I want to finish it for her. I think it will be special to him to know his Great Grandma wanted to make it for him and his Great Aunt finished it.

4. Leaders and Enders Baby Girl's quilt. I have made a lot of progress on this. I had a stack of pink strips by my sewing machine and would stick a set under the presser foot at the beginning and end of a seam when sewing other items. Its an easy way to do two projects at one time. Most of the babies in my immediate family have been boys lately, but I'm sure a girl quilt will come in handy sooner or later. My cousin recently had twin girls, but I would have needed two and this one wasn't finished anyway.

5. Cozy Cabins Quilt: I haven't actually started this one yet, but have purchased some of the fabric and it is in the planning stages. I would like to start making some of the squares as soon as Christmas is over.

6. Valentines/Hearts pocketbook. I have all the fabric and notions for this and will make it after the first of the year.

5. Lots of Ideas. I've got plans of all kinds in my head to use fabric I already have in my stash. Some of them will require me to purchase matching fabric. I want to make quilts, aprons, clothespin bags, pocketbooks and several other new projects I've seen on line.

I'm wondering if anybody else has any UFOs or WIPs they want to finish in 2009? I'd love to hear about them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great deals on Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and other books!

If you are a Gooseberry Patch Cookbook fan check out this site:

I own one Gooseberry Patch cookbook that was a gift and love it. They are usually too expensive for me to purchase, but at $1.99 each, I have purchased 5. The shipping was $3.99, but its still a great deal. For less than the normal price for 1 Gooseberry Patch cookbook, I got 5, even taking into account the shipping cost.

They won't come in time for Christmas this year, but isn't that a great start on next year? I'll place these in my gift closet and add to it all year.

There are many other great deals at To find the best discounts, click on "bargains". Then click on "discounted at least 90%". I saw many CDs and books for 99 cents and 49 cents.

Can you tell I'm excited about the cookbooks?

Simplifying Christmas

I have been beating myself up over the fact that, once again, I didn't prepare for Christmas early this year. Then I read two refreshing posts here and here that said that not preparing early or getting organized early for Christmas can actually be a good thing! Can it be true? Can we really wait until December 1st to start thinking about Christmas? Are you tired of feeling bad because your Christmas shopping wasn't done in August? I am!

This still doesn't mean that I will wait until the last minute for everything and become a crazy person! I have a new plan. I would like to do one thing per month in 2009 that will contribute to the peacefulness of Christmas 2009. This might be to make one homemade gift. It might mean keeping an ongoing list of gift ideas that I notice during the year. It might mean to address a few Christmas cards. I think if there is something that stresses you out every Christmas, then that is the thing to work on ahead of time or eliminate.

One thing I have done this year to simplify Christmas is to cut down on the amount of decorations. I only put a fraction of the many ornaments we own on the tree. It was so easy! It will be so easy to take down too. I put out a few Christmas pillows, a couple of Christmas throws, a small nativity scene, a Christmas wreath on the front door, and voila! Its Christmas at our house!

Here are some simple ideas:

This Christmas stocking was purchased for my unborn grandson at the after Christmas clearance sale at Cracker Barrel in 2006. I cross stitched his name, pressed under the edges and hand stitched it onto the stocking. I want to make new stockings for everybody in the family some day!

Its such a shame to throw away some of the beautiful Christmas cards we receive. You can frame them and make a nice little Christmas touch for your home.

This card came from a special elderly aunt. Its also a way to remember her in the years to come.

This one hangs above my hubby's "NC State Shrine" year round.

I wanted to include bookmarks with books given as gifts, but forgot to pick them up. So last night I covered cardboard with scrap fabric and made these.

All you do is cut your fabric so that when you fold it over its the right size for your piece of cardboard. Then with right sides together, fold it over and stitch on two sides, leaving one short end open. Turn it right side out and put your piece of cardboard in there. Then tuck in the open end very neatly and hand stitch the opening closed. Just make sure the cardboard isn't too thick. This is nothing fancy, but serves the purpose. You could embellish the fabric with ric rac or any number of things before sewing it together. After its made you could attach a tassel, etc. These two were a last minute project, so they are kind of plain, but if I worked on some of these during the year I could make them extra special.

So as you are finishing up the last week before Christmas remember: KISS (keep it simple sweetie)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Cookbooks!

I've been richly blessed recently with FOUR new cookbooks!

My husband brought this Katie Brown cookbook to me from a trade show he attended for his job in Florida this past fall. She was at the trade show and he had her to personally sign the book for me. It says: "To Debbie G, Keep it Simple, Katie Brown". To tell you the truth I never heard of Katie Brown before receiving this cookbook, but now know she is a popular cook on PBS and I also saw her featured in the last Kraft magazine I received.

Katie Brown's Outdoor Entertaining

My husband and his family call me "Debbie G", so its not misspelled. LOL

I received this Debbie Mumm Cookbook as a surprise in the mail from an internet friend who knows I love quilting and Debbie Mumm is a favorite quilter.

Country Casseroles - Debbie Mumm

I received this one in a recent internet swap I participated in.

Comfort & Joy by Gooseberry Patch

I purchased this one from the United Methodist Women's group my sister in law is a member of.

Pleasures From The Good Earth

I ought to be able to do some mighty good cooking with these wonderful new cookbooks in my collection! I hope to share some of the recipes in the year to come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt - FAVORITE

I spent last weekend babysitting my little grandson. I took this Santa Hat with me in hopes of getting a cute picture to put in my Christmas cards. He didn't much like the hat and this turned out to be my favorite. He was making his escape from Grandma and that camera!!!

Click here for more favorite photos.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sew Crafty Friday

Its Friday!!!

This Sew Crafty Friday post has a project completed and a project planned.

1. I recently made this pocketbook with a matching wallet and tissue holder for a friend. She chose this fabric which is a Mary Engelbreit design called "Isn't Christmas Jolly?". The lining is the same design, except in black. She did a great job picking the fabric, button and trim. I hope carrying this bag will help her Christmas be "Jolly"!

2. This is another pattern my husband bought me during our trip to Tennessee. Watermelons are a big part of my husband's job and he would love to have this wall hanging in his office. The store was The Cherry Pit Quilt Shop in Sevierville, Tennessee. There was a completed sample of this cute wall hanging on display and it was gorgeous. I hope I can make one that looks as good!

I have to tell you that I'm really excited about making more aprons like the one I posted about here. I want to make some for Christmas gifts if I get time!

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

CVS today at lunch

CVS deals at lunch today!


2 Glade Candles $ 5.00
2 20 oz Vitamin Waters 2.00
1 32 oz PowerAde 1.59
1 Quattro Razor 8.99
1 Neutrogena Tgel 8.5oz 4.99
3 Johnsons Easy Grip 3.57
children's soaps

Total before coupons $26.14

Coupons and Extra Bucks

$1.00 on 1 candle
$1.00 on 1 candle
$1.59 free Power ade with purchase of 2 vitamin waters
$3.00 off any 3 Johnson and Johnson's products
$1.00 off T gel shampoo
$2.00 off Quattro Razor
$5.00 off $25.00 order
$5.56 Extra Bucks
$5.99 Extra Bucks


Paid out of pocket 67 cents (NC sales tax). You can't use extra bucks for tax.

Extra Bucks Coupons earned:

$4.00 for razor
1.59 for Power Ade
5.00 off another $25.00 order

With these extra bucks and the $5.00 off another order I still have $32.04 in extra bucks to spend at CVS.


I was very careful to give the cashier the coupons in this order: $5.00 off $25.00 order, then the manufacturer's coupons, then I see how much is left and apply as closely as possible, without going over, the extra bucks. Today I was over by a few cents, so the cashier just entered the amount I needed. I lost about 20 cents, but that's no problem. I don't think I've ever come that close to zero before!

Also, for the month of December you can buy 2 12 oz bottles of Complete contact lense solution, which will be free after extra bucks. I checked the shelf, and as usual they are all gone. If I keep checking, usually by the end of the month I'll catch some on the shelf. Then I'll just roll some more extra bucks on them.

I plan to go to Walgreens tomorrow, if I can get time to get my "PLAN OF ATTACK together.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My First Apron

My tip for Kitchen Tip Tuesday is "make your own aprons".

While in Tennessee last month my husband bought this pattern for me. We were in a quilt store on the Craft Road near Gatlinburg called "Mountain Stitches by Susan". To save money, I think it would be easy to make your own pattern and I'm sure similar ones are for sale at fabric stores. Of course, there are also many different styles of aprons besides this one. They are useful and would also make great gifts.

I've never made an apron and this pattern looked very cute. Last night after work, I got in the mood to make one. I had some Christmas fabric that I thought would work and this is how it turned out:

This picture shows what the back looks like. Its reversible.

I think this would make a nice apron for gardening, sewing, housework and of course, cooking. For the gardener's apron I would make the bottom pockets wider with 3 or 4 sections and place them lower on the apron. The gardener could put seed packets, hand gardening tools, etc. in there. For housework, it could carry dusting cloths, a spray bottle, sponges, etc.

There are so many possibilities for this pattern. I did have some kinks to work out while making it. Have you ever tried to turn a 100 inch string inside out? I spent an hour of my precious sewing time trying to do this! I threw it in the trash and started over by making the string the same way I make my pocketbook handles, only more narrow. It was SO much easier and faster and looks better!

For more kitchen tips, be sure to go to Tammy's Recipes.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Update on Mama

I have'nt posted any information about Mama lately and thought I'd do an update.

We've had out ups and downs!

An up: Last week we took the step to allow her to stay by herself at night. She has been insisting that she would be fine for a while now, and it seemed like a good time to take the plunge. The three of us that have been taking turns spending the night have so many things going on that it gets harder and harder to keep the commitment.

I am going by every morning before work to do a few chores and to check on her. If needed, I can go after work, but prefer to go home since its dark and I don't drive much at night. The days will be getting longer before you know it and I will stop by after work more then. My two brothers are also continuing to check on her and do chores daily, bring food, etc.

A down: Yesterday morning she fell! She was trying to plug in a radio to hear Christmas music. The outlet was behind a couch and she bent way down low and lost her balance. Luckily she was near the floor so the fall wasn't as bad as it could have been, but her hip hit a magazine rack. She didn't have the cordless phone with her, but has one of those "life line" necklaces with the button you push. She hated to do it, but she couldn't get up, so she pushed the button and help came to get her up. Apparently she didn't break anything, but is SO SORE!!! I haven't talked to her yet this morning, so we'll see how sore she is today!

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Scrap Quilting Treat to Myself

This is a new book by Bonnie Hunter who has the Quiltville site. I've gotten SO much information from Quiltville and when I saw this book I couldn't wait to own it! Its just one small way to repay Bonnie for all the free information I've taken advantage of.

I love to make scrap quilts from real scraps and by repurposing old clothing such as cotton shirts and jeans. Bonnie's new book "Scraps & Shirttails" is all about "Green" quilting. Not only is this a thrifty way to quilt, I love the way the quilts turn out.

I've made a couple of quilts using outgrown jeans worn by my son. I've shown them on my blog before, but here they are again.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Junk Drawer Challenge

I have been decluttering my home lately and love the results. While I was waiting for pizzas to cook tonight, I organized my "junk drawer". Here's the before picture:

Now I ask you. How many bread ties does one need to function in today's society?

I counted our stash and there were 48! Maybe I should organize them by color....

In the true spirit of decluttering, I think I'll put them in the trash compactor!

Here's the after picture of my junk drawer.

I think it would look nicer if I had some long rectangular organizers. I'll check Dollar Tree next time I'm in there.

Does anyone want to post before and after pictures of their junk drawers? If so let me know so I can check it out.

Or leave me a comment of what is the weirdest, silliest or most useless items in your junk drawer!

Six things that make me happy

I've been tagged by Alexandra and Dianne. Alexandra's tag is to name six things that make me happy and Dianne's tag is to name six random things about me, so I hope to combine them both in one post!

Six Things that make me happy and random tidbits:

1. My Hubby, of course. He always makes me laugh and is so much fun to be around. A random tid bit: We are both the youngest in our families, but he was a late baby for his mother. His brothers and sisters were much older than him and he has nephews who are older than him.

2. Sewing/quilting. If you've read my blog, you know this already! Random tidbit: My first real quilt was made using the Georgia Bonesteel Lap Quilting System, because I didn't have a quilting frame and thought this was the only way I could make one. My Lap Quilting book is raggedy I've used it so much. The quilt was for my daughter and was a Sampler Quilt. Maybe I can take a picture of it while at her house some time to post here.

3. Reading the Bible and spiritual books. I don't do this nearly enough, but I feel such peace when I do. Random Tid Bit: I am trying to read the Bible before I do anything else in the morning. I get side tracked by the computer sometimes. I noticed the other day that the computer (dial up!) was so slow first thing in the morning that I couldn't use it until the virus protection finished updating. I think maybe God is trying to tell me something!!! Now I read the Bible while the computer is doing its thing.

4. Blogging. I never knew how enjoyable this would be and how many new friends I would make in the process. Random Tid bit: It took me much trial and error to figure out the whole blogging thing. I'm still not too good at lots of things. It makes me sad when I don't get many comments, but realize that doesn't mean the content isn't good. Comments make me happy! (hint, hint, hint)

5. Couponing/thrifting/deal shopping. This is a hobby that has the side benefit of saving money. Random Tid Bit: It makes me nervous to go up to the counter in a store with all my coupons. I feel like the clerk and the people in line behind me are irritated with me. I'm trying not to let it bother me. I do try to have my stuff organized and not make a stink when something won't work. After all, its only a dollar or two. I just say ok, and go on.

6. Just being home.... candles, music, sewing, gardening, cooking, cleaning, loving. Random Tid Bit: I think I could stay home for days and not mind. I don't have to be on the go like some people, who my husband jokingly says are working for the state packing the roads! LOL

I tag anybody who reads this and wishes to participate! Let me know so I can read the random things that make you happy.

The Butterfly Award

I was nominated for this award by Clare of the "Sort Of Frugal" blog. Thanks Clare! I think your blog is cool too.

These are the rules for the award:

1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs
6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool

Some of the blogs I'd like to nominate have already received this award, so please forgive me if you already have!

I'd like to nominate:

Melinda of The Next Egg because she has lots of great deals to share on her blog. She was nervous about starting a blog, but has done an outstanding job with it!

Ann of Ancient One because she posts such great pictures, especially historical type ones on her blog. You never know what interesting thing you'll see there.

Elizabeth of Turtle Cottage because she shares such great recipes, her faith and will share what's on her heart when she needs to.

Rhonda of a Home With a Smile because she shares her wonderful sewing projects, especially her quilts. She also shares ways she decorates her home, recipes and great deals she finds.

Alexandra of Happy Hearts at Home because she shares her faith and is always sharing great links for freebies, good deals and other interesting things.

Terri of Hearts in Service because her posts are always so uplifting and she has an open mind and caring spirit.

Mary Ann of Maryann's House because she inspires me in my homemaking skills, shares great recipes and other ideas.

Dianne of Majestic Mountains, Rolling Hills because she too has an uplifting blog with beautiful pictures.

Susan of By Grace because she uses the Flylady system in her home which motivates me to get moving in my own home with decluttering, cleaning and organization. She's originally from the South and understands my Southernisms too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Church Cook Books

Its Kitchen Tip Tuesday. For more Kitchen tips go to Tammy's Recipes.

I was organizing my cookbooks last week and realized that a lot of my cook books are from church fundraisers. I have Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian and Baptist cook books! I'm not sure if any denomination has better cooks, but these are my "go to" cook books more than any other. My first cook book was from a Methodist church and was a wedding present years ago. It is dog eared and yellowed, but has some of my family's favorite recipes.

My tip is this: If someone is selling church cook books, buy one. Not only are you helping a good cause, you gain the wisdom of all those church ladies!!! That's something money usually can't buy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Decluttering for a more stress-free Christmas

Every year when its time to start decorating for Christmas I get this urge to deep clean and declutter. I just can't seem to start dragging out Christmas decorations without first getting the house ready.

Slowly, but surely, the clutter has built up in my house. You just don't realize the anxiety it causes until you've removed it and feel so much more at peace.

Friday was my day to declutter before Christmas. I went through most of the house throwing out, organizing and putting away. I just worked as fast as I could and made lots of progress. I find that "just doing it" works better for me sometimes. I can think a project to death by making lists, schedules and plans.

Here's what I did in a few rooms.

Living Room:

Moved treadmill into the spot the piano was in my sewing room temporarily. Put away/threw away all books, cookbooks, magazines, library books and videos that had piled up. Bagged up all newspapers that had been stacked up for recycling and had my son take them and several bags of trash away. Rearranged furniture for a more organized look and made room for the Christmas tree. Dejunked the computer area. Vacuumed and dusted.

Getting the treadmill out of the living room has made a dramatic difference in there! I don't think I'll be bringing it back in. I'd rather have a sewing/exercise room even though there's no room for a cutting table that way.

I also hung new curtains which makes a big difference in the appearance of the room. This is the area where the treadmill was.


Went through cabinets throwing away out of date foods. Cleared counter tops. I made a space inside a cabinet to store cookbooks to get them off the counter. I made a space in the cabinet to store breads and rolls to get that off the counter. I rearranged the "must have" items left on the counter for a less cluttered appearance.

Pantry Area:

Organized foods into categories and transferred some to these "vintage looking" storage tins. I purchased this canister set at a thrift store for 25 cents. After washing them well in hot soapy water and drying them, they made great storage for my pantry area.

Spending some time decluttering, cleaning and putting away things makes the Christmas season much less stressful. I can now start slowly putting out things like Christmas pillows, Christmas dishtowels and other items. The spot for the tree is ready, so the tree will come down out of the attic soon.

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. ...