Saturday, November 22, 2008

Check out my little boy

Here he is, all clean. I let him soak overnight with Spray and Wash and then washed with Gain with Bleach. After the wash he was still pretty grubby so I poured Gain with Bleach on the worst parts and scrubbed him with a brush. Let him sit for a while with that to soak in and then washed again and this time also added bleach. I was absolutely surprised that all the dirt was gone this time. Unfortunately his hair is pretty bad and since I had thrown in a towel to wash with him and balance the load, he has a lot of towel fuzz in what hair is left. No matter, I'll brush that out with the doggie's brush and then make him a hat.

Next I want to show you something VERY SPECIAL. Jean McCain posted on the Knittingmachine group that she likes to make beads with clay and travels around always looking for clay but had never had any Georgia Red Clay. Well, I knew my neighbor's pond was surrounded with red clay so gather up a zip lock bag full and sent it to her. She sent me some beads back. I LOVE THEM! To make it even nicer, she sent me samples from Franklin County, Arkansas andOzark Arkansas Clay beads. My beads are pretty much one color but look at those that have the dark streak through them. Absolutely beautiful.
What makes these so special is that I never saw red clay until I came to SC back in 1960. Actually I hated it because it got in our clothes, on our shoes, on the house, car, etc. We couldn't wash it off. Now that I've been back so many times and finally live here, I have grown fond of the red clay. With these beads I will have a forever-memory when I move. Thank you soooo much Jean.
ps... 2 of them broke, so I quickly ran to the drug store and got some clear fingernail polish and gave them all this nice finish. I will keep them safe I promise.

And, check out that sculpture she made.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hand Made Dolls

A couple months ago I went to visit a neighbor. She doesn't live here year round but comes every couple months to mow the lawn, check the house over and camp out in their house. The house is sort of a get-away for them, here in the mountains. She is a seamstress and has a huge sewing room in her house here and in her other house as well. While I was visiting with her on their back screened in porch, I noticed a doll laying on the table. It was mildewed and the seams were popped open in places. She told me she was going to throw it away, her girls were now grown and no one wanted it. So I asked if I could have it. (I have no idea why I asked for it, it was pretty nasty really). When I left, I forgot to get the doll. A few weeks later, I was knitting a baby sweater for a contest the Carolinas Guild was sponsoring for the members. The contest was to knit the Baby Surprise Jacket as written up on or use the Susanna Lewis machine pattern for that jacket. The original was a hand knit jacket designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman.
I decided to give the jacket a try and once I finished, I needed a model. I thought about the doll I forgot to get and told myself I'd go see if I could get on the porch. If not, I'd go to Walmart and get myself a life-size baby doll. Luckily the doll was still there but oh, what awful shape it was in. I brought it home and sprayed it with pre-soaking solution (Spray and Wash) and left it sit in the bathroom sink overnight. I didn't have a lot of hope. The next morning I threw it in the washer and threw in so much bleach I was afraid the whole thing would disentigrate. Well, she turned out beautiful. Her hair was pretty much gone so I did make her a hat. The hat pattern is from Knitters Edge, lesson # 2. Here's a picture of the doll wearing her BSJ (as we like to call the EZ Baby Surprise Jacket).

Honestly I was afraid to show it to the neighbor when she came back, I just knew she'd want the doll back but luckily she didn't. She did ask for a picture of it to show her daughter. Yesterday she came up to see me and brought me another doll. She called it the "brother" to the first doll. I thought I'd take a picture to show you how dirty and nasty it is, before I clean it up. I took the picture yesterday as he sat in the sink soaking with Spray and Wash. Today I restuffed his arms and sewed them up and he's now in the washer. My fingers are crossed that he'll turn out as nice as his sister did.

When I get time, I will make him a sweater and hat to match his sister's. BTW, my neighbor originally made these dolls for her girls. They have beautiful little faces, don't you think?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Valeria says:
Money saving ideas for knitting?
1. Any yarn you are sick of seeing, donate it to a charity knitting group. You
can deduct the fair market value from your income tax as a charitable donation.
2. Use even tiny yardage of leftover yarns to design unique items: tote bags
(particularly felted ones), Joseph's Coat sweaters, kaleidoscope scarves or
3. Stick your wool yarn in the freezer to protect against moths.
4. Make your own needle-retainer bars (lots of instructions on the Internet).

I have a couple more hints for the house.
If you have a fireplace that has to be vented, close it up and stuff insulation up near the vent. Stuff insulation around the fireplace surround also. Yesterday it was soooo cold in my house. I read this hint in a magazine and ran out to the garage where I had put some extra insulation in a plastic bag to keep it from getting moisture in it. I brought it in and stuffed it into the fireplace as I said above and couldn't believe the instant difference in my cold living room.

I also have laminate floors and love them but they are cold so I went to a local Freds (discount store) and bought a $35 rug for the middle of the room. It makes a lot of difference in the warmer look and the warmer floor, believe me.

I also read to get lined curtains. I have a sliding glass door and its cold, cold! I do have a rubber lined drape and kept it closed all day yesterday. That made a big difference in the warmth that stayed in the room.

Here's a couple more hints from Ladies Home Journal that I didn't know:
Try making holiday meals in a slow-cooker. According to Progress Energy, a North Carolina energy company, it costs 2 cents an hour to use a slow-cooker. Only 18 cents for an eight hour roast. Fire up an electric oven burns more than 22 times as much power per hour (who knew?)

Use ceramic or glass when cooking, it allows you to lower your oven temperature by about 25 degrees F and the food cooks just as quickly.

Knit yourself a pair of pants, you'll be shocked at how warm as well as nice and cozy they are. Can't do it? Don't be silly, pants are just elongated sleeves with a belly, butt and waist band. If you don't know how to chart your own, go get the demo version of Knitware Basics (which has standard pants built in to the program) Make your first pair out of some leftover yarn that isn't the best in the stash. That way, you can tweek the sizing once they're done and my first pair are definitely great, just a bit too short in the leg and a bit too big in the thigh. Who cares, I still love them. The second pair eliminated that problem and I can wear them in public .

Knit some socks, you won't believe how warm knitted socks are, I LOVE every pair I have. And socks make fabulous gifts. My daughter, Natalie, made me and my husband both several pair of socks. I have them all now and its a wonder I haven't worn them out, I wear them inside and outside (with shoes of course).
Make yourself some slippers while you're at it also. And if you are going visiting for the Holidays, definitely take a pair of your homemade slippers with you. When you're visiting you don't want to run around barefoot but you can slip on your slippers to wear while you're sitting around visiting and keep those tootsie's looking guest-worthy. Last year I visited Tacoma and Spokane and rather than pack an extra pair of shoes, I bought and wore some LLBean Winter Mocs. When I was in the houses I slipped on my slippers and when I went outside I slipped on the mocs.

Last hint: KNIT CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. Who among us doesn't have a huge stash of yarn they need to use up. Knit something wonderful for gifts. Right now I'm knitting a Lion Brand kit, the ruffle scarf for a friend. If I hurry I will make 2 more for a couple other people I usually give a gift too (the mail lady and the post mistress). OK, so that didn't come from my stash but....the stash has dwindled thanks to EBay.

That's it! Tomorrow I have a couple things I want to show you that have nothing much to do with saving money but are something I'm doing...stay busy!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More Money Saving Hints

Money 2These great tips came from the LK 150 group

One tip I have is when you see milk on sale buy extra and freeze. Most people don't realize you can freeze milk. I found out cause I tried and now do it all the time, the extra bonus is I always have milk on hand for my 4 kids!
Karen P

Just make sure it's all the way thawed before you use any of it. The water thaws at a different rate than the milk fat and it really throws the flavor off if you don't let it completely thaw before using. I do this all the time too,and it's a great way to take advantage of the 2 for 1 sales on milk :)
Clarisse >^..^

I buy large quantity of milk also and there are only 2 of us, so what I do is transfer the milk to the large ziplock freezer bags. They lay flat in the freezer, and thaw quickly when you need it. Take less room than a 1 gallon bottle.

I like to make banana bread and cakes so therefore, when I buy bananas I usually buy a big bunch. When the bananas start to turn or after you have eaten all that you want------Peel the banana and put 1 or 2 or 3 (your choice) in a zip lock bag and smash right in the bag and put in the freezer. Then you have bananas when you want to bake without having to bake the minute they start to turn. Plus they are never wasted or thrown away.
Joan in Longwood, Fl.

Did you know that you don't have to peel the bananas or put them in an air-tight container if you are going to use them within a couple of months? Just toss them in the freezer as-is, and peel them when you take them out. Saves the cost of a plastic bag, plus they are fairly mushy when they thaw anyway. However, in banana bread or muffins or pancakes, you'd never know they'd been frozen. It is rather disconcerting to the unsuspecting spouse when one opens the freezer and a frozen banana pops out, though.
Valeria Truitt

I freeze bananas too, I prefer them already peeled because they're cold and harder to peel frozen. I use them for banana smoothies. Add them to a glass of milk, sprinkle a little bit of cinnamon and sugar (or sugar substitute) into the glass and blend. (I have one of those little hand held blenders that fit perfectly in a glass or cup).

I throw mine in the freezer to use in bread or smoothies or what not. I either let them thaw for about ten minutes or pop them in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Snip of the end and sqeeze out what was a solid banana. It's already mush.

Another thing that we do, ever since we became empty nesters, we noticed a lot of food was spoiling, especially vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, bellpeppers etc. So while they are still salvageable, I chop them up (I'm lazy so it's usually a quick spin in the processor) and put them in a gallon freezer bag, adding to it as I go, and before you know it, I have all the chopped up veggies for a very nice vegetable soup stock. They do lose some crispness,especially since they are on the limp/beginning to wrinkle side of fresh to begin with, but because they are simmered a long time in the stock pot, it doesn'tmatter and nothing is being wasted anymore. I reuse my waste yarn over and over, you can imagine how difficult it must be for me throw away food LOL!! I've also broken off frozen chunks to saute for scrambled eggs or fried potatoes too.

I freeze my chopped up fresh veggies when I go away but never thought about freezing them when they start to get soft. I did buy the Debbie Meyers green bags and keep my salad veggies in them. They really do work great and I don't have near as many fresh veggies go bad since I started using them but of course they won't last forever in those bags.

Keep the hints coming, Love them all. To keep them off our knit list, send your comments to or send a comment to this blog.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Save Yourself Some BIG Bucks

Accountant Yup, I don't have anything to sell but I thought I'd tell you how I managed to save a little money.
I saved $1784 a year on my phone bill. (sounds like one of those email scams, right?) Here's what I did... I called the phone company and cancelled the "special plan" that gave me Caller ID and other features that I never used. I liked Caller ID but I have an answering machine and if anyone wants me to know they called, they can leave their name and number. Then I cancelled Inside Repairs...which I've NEVER used, EVER! I also cancelled Long distance. After all I talk to my kids and my grandkids all the time on IM and by email and we share tons of pictures. My monthly bill went from $91.20 a month to $28.03 .

BTW, I do still have long distance, I went to Google and typed in the words "cheap long distance" and found a service for $ 0.02 a minute. This month's bill was $6. Last month's bill was $2.50.
To sign up for my old land line long distance I had to pay a montly fee to get $0.05 cents a minute so I had an additional monthly fee tacked onto the bill. This new service doesn't have a monthly fee, just plain old long distance, I dial a number (1-area code and number) just like I used to and get who I want to talk to. BTW, the prices I paid for LD included tax.

Second thing I did was fill my SUV's tires with Nitrogen. Now my tire pressure stays the same whether its cold outside or hot outside, always the same pressure. If you have an accident that causes a fire, Nitrogen won't burn like oxygen does (so the car guy told me). If I get a flat I can fill the tire with air until I can get back to the Nitrogen guy. If its just a little low, a little bit of air won't hurt. My gas mileage went from 19.5 MPG to 21 MPG. I know exactly how much my MPG is because my car has a button I can push to see it. Fabulous!!!!

I got rid of that extra stuff on my cell phone and now I have a basic plan. I loved to surf the net while I was sitting in a dentist office waiting but its not worth the cost. My cell phone bill went from $90-to $100+ a month to $39.00 a month. $1080 saved (@$90 a month) now $468 a year.

Since I live alone, I don't got to the store if I run out of milk. I wait till I have an appointment or more than 1 thing to do in town and do my shopping. I keep a growing grocery list on the counter and grab it as I go out the door. Everything gets done all at once. Bonus is, I have more time to stay home and play with my knitting machines AND I've saved myself some gas.

If you have some ideas on how to save money, send me a comment so everyone can share it.