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Category Archives: Loot!

Change is Good

If you know me at all, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m not particularly good at making money; I’ve come to accept that about myself. It’s the curse of those of us with medium-to-low ambition.

I am, however, quite practiced in the art of finding a few extra pennies here and there. (Have I mentioned that once or a thousand times before?) Since we are, despite what the 90 degree weather would suggest, about to roll headlong into the holiday season, I’ve been scouring every last nook and cranny for extra scratch. Here are a few of my favorite silver* mines:

  • Amazon Mom: It’s also no secret that I love shopping on Amazon. They do send a lot of emails, though, and most of them barely get a glance. That’s how I missed this little nugget: Enroll on Amazon Mom, and not only do you get the “Prime” benefits (for a limited time; click on the link and check out the Terms and Conditions for details), but you save on diapers and can save even more if you enroll on their auto-ship program.
  • Speaking of Amazon, they also have a Trade In store for books (not just textbooks). I usually run all of my books through the calculators there and at my other fave. Amazon has a trade-in store for DVDs, too, which has proven useful. Not exactly lucrative, but a couple of bucks is more than they were making me in the entertainment center [a.k.a. the dresser in the living room].
  • Gazelle.com buys old electronics. This is fairly meaningless to us, because we’d actually have to spring for something cool in order to have anything to trade in, but hey — you might be able to cash in! Good for you — best of luck!
  • Local folks: Don’t forget that we are in a deregulated electricity  market, which means we get to choose are own provider. Shopping for a new plan may save you some cash; it worked for us. You can compare plans and providers here.
  • Even if you’re perfectly happy with your auto insurance provider, it might be a good idea to check with them every year or so to make sure you are receiving all of the discounts to which you’re entitled. I switched mine several years ago (and saved *major bucks*), and can think of at least two separate occasions where I spoke with a rep and found out that we were eligible for discounts which hadn’t been applied to our account. Every little bit counts, no?
  • Would it be a discussion about change if I didn’t mention my beloved Coinstar at least once? Come on! It totally feeds my online shopping addiction. Makes it feel almost guilt-free, too, I might add. (Not totally guilt-free, because I could cash the coins in without a counting fee at my credit union, and then have actual cash in hand, but am I not going to shop? Seriously.) It also helps defray the cost of my love of Starbuck peppermint hot chocolate in the wintertime, and also the occasional music download year-round. And, of course, my old friend Amazon.

[I am in no way shilling for Amazon, although I can totally see why one would think this whole post is a thinly veiled ad for their many products and services. Not so, my friends; my world is just very small. ]

*You know, as in the color of lovely clinking quarters, dimes, and nickels.

They Have Me Pegged

My week of birthday celebrations wrapped up with a meeting of our Crafty Syndicate, and look at the loot I came away with:

img_2232

Yep, that’s right: free money to be used on books and fabric, and handmade goods. What’s better than that?! My husband told me last week that when he thinks of me, he thinks books and fabrics. Exactly, my good man. Sure, I like other things, but these are definitely at the top of my list.

Ladies, you know me so well. The gifts were just the icing on the cake; the  getting together part was the best, as usual. Thank you (very much-a) for the lovely morning!!

Or, perhaps,  img_2231 domo harigato.

Some People Are So Spoiled

In this case, I am those people. Last Thursday, Heather came over to help me finish (or start, depending on your perspective) a few things that I’d like to wrap up before Baby #2 comes along. We framed the wall art for Joey’s room, which came out exactly the way I had pictured it in my head, which was so exciting! Don’t you hate it when your great idea won’t cooperate in the physical world? Happens to me all the time, but not this time. [I’ll share pics as soon as we everything hung on the wall, which will be soon because I can’t wait to see them up and Joey won’t stop asking for them.] Then, she and her son were kind enough to prep the nursery for painting while I sorted the remaining outgrown boy items which were still lingering in the changing table drawers. Turns out all I needed was a little company to coax me into getting this little task out of the way. Oh, and she cooked me a delicious dinner to boot.

Good company + crossing stuff off of to-do list + dinner I did not have to cook = A *fabulous* afternoon, let me tell you!

As if that weren’t enough, my sister hosted a Craft Day/Shower at her house on Saturday. Craft Days are always the best. Add on a stack of gifts, and how could it not be wonderful? Please! Plus, the surprise to me was that the theme turned out to be “Gifts for Mom”. Well, say! I came away feeling very spoiled indeed, especially since I’ve been tossing all the half-used bottles of bath stuff and old nail polish and such, and was left with . . . not much. Talk about good timing! Even scored a few things for the Little Miss, and a nice combo gift that’s for me as much as it is for baby. Check it out here. Oh, the pictures don’t even do it justice. Thank you for everything, Girls!

So, yes, I still have a little extra spring in my step today, even though you probably wouldn’t think so if you saw the graceless way I waddle around. It’s not pretty. (No, really: I rolled myself out of bed in the middle of the night with as much momentum as I could muster, and stuck the landing like a gymnast. Even threw my arms in the air with a little Olympic flair to celebrate the moment. Managed to wake Kevin up in the process. Oops.)

I’m Getting Dizzy

First, for Kelli: here’s a snapshot of the sweet haul of $1.99/yd fabric I was going on about the other day. The second one from the top is slated to become an autumn table runner. As for the others, well, I assure you they won’t go to waste.

I’m having one of those afternoons where I just keep circling around picking up stuff and setting it back down, not really accomplishing a whole lot. A hailstorm rolled through at about two o’clock, and that threw everything off. Yeah, that sounds ridiculous, considering I work inside. We kept losing power, though – just those 10 second blackouts that jack everything up – so I didn’t want to get into anything on the computer. Or the sewing machine. Or the washing machine. You see how limited I was. Besides, even after fifteen years, the thunderstorms here kind of scare the crap out of me. No, not the toddler sleeping peacefully through the whole thing – just him mom. Whatever. Anyway, that’s when I decided to pick up the first of my official light summer reading picks, Sister of the Bride by Beverly Cleary.

Oh, my goodness.

OK, I haven’t read this since I was in junior high, and it was dated at the time. I feel like I’m translating it from another language. In one passage, Barbara asks her dad to remove his green eyeshade (because her sister doesn’t like it when he wears it in the house.) What? Is he wearing a visor? In the house? I thought that was something you’d see in, like, the Old West…in a bank. I don’t know – the whole story so far has been cracking me up.

[Speaking of books, I finally got around to updating the 2007 portion of the Reading Log page. I can sum it up simply: autobiographies, mostly related to food.]

And I needed a good laugh, because I made a quick trip to Target earlier and, on the drive home, realized that I should not shop at Target. Ever. OK, that’s crazy talk, but maybe just once a month. Why must their clearance aisles be so compelling? I go in for one thing and come out with a fine bucket of goods every time. And, Friends, this is the new and improved me talking. I used to go through there like a Supermarket Sweep contestant. Still, note to self: AVOID TARGET.

This post is probably giving you a real feel for what it’s like to wander around aimlessly, is it not? Let’s wrap up with a couple of other random bits of fun that I came across today:

If only we had ground almonds and lemons in the house, I’d be feasting on this cake even as we speak. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to give that recipe a go in the very near future.

Some people are naturally organized and have great leadership skills. Sadly, I am not one of them, but I do know good ideas when I see them. I love this post – bookmarking it for next summer – and yesterday’s ideas? Priceless. That easily cut months, possibly years, off of the time it would have taken these systems to evolve on their own in our home. Now to see if I can set up said systems without another trip to Target.

Pressure’s on –
must…resist.

Sometimes It Doesn’t Take Much

Behold: the first watermelon of the summer. I was so excited when I found them on sale at the grocery store yesterday (in no small part because groceries are getting to be so expensive – any sale is exciting!), I just had to grab one. This one isn’t quite as sweet as it looks, but we sparked up the flavor with a little lime juice and enjoyed it with our Tuesday sandwich dinner. Yum!

I’ll tell you what, when you don’t go to the mall very often, a quick trip can be a lot of fun. Today, I had to run a couple of errands and decided to pop into the Williams-Sonoma to check out what’s new. Plenty, as it turns out! They had the prettiest Indian-inspired table runners, which got my crafty wheels turning, and lots of fun cookie cutters. There was a cute ocean-themed set and then these, neither of which came home with me. Hey, you have to know your own limitations. When it comes to hand-painting cookies, which is the only way to end up with ones as beautiful as the sample on the box, my limit is about four cookies. After that, I’ve totally lost interest. No – I will admire you from afar, sets of cutters, rather than bring you home to collect dust until I try to sell you for $3.00 at a garage sale in 2010. You deserve better than that.

Next stop was Hancock Fabrics. This is where I hit the mother lode. Do you remember the Laurie Smith home dec collection from a couple years ago? I liked it at the time, but it was too expensive and I didn’t have a specific project in mind for any of it. At $1.99 a yard, though, I’ll find a couple of projects. $1.99! It was all I could do not to jump up on the table and roll in it. (Really.) That having been said, I think I showed great restraint and only left with a few pieces. Note I said “pieces” and not “rolls”. OK, but that having been said, there were a couple that would make great tablecloths that I passed over. I mean, four bucks for a full-length table cloth? Maybe I’ll go back in a few days. If it’s all gone, it wasn’t meant to be. That also gives me a little cooling-off time; I’m still buzzing a bit from the fabric score high.

But wait – there’s more! I even managed to wedge in a little bit of sewing this afternoon. Unfortunately, the sun started to set before the photo shoot could take place so we’ll save that for tomorrow. Ooh, the suspense – will you be able to sleep?!

Manly -Yes- But I Like It,Too

Due to technical difficulties, we were without internet access for a couple of days, but it seemed like a week! Boy, the computer sure is a time-sucker, isn’t it? I didn’t realize how often I just pop in to check email or have a quick read until yesterday, when I didn’t have the option. It seemed like a very long afternoon indeed.

Anyway, the time was well spent. I finally managed to turn part of my pile of “to do” fabric into a new bag for the boy.

His old tote was too big for him – he looked like he was running away with my purse – and he doesn’t like backpacks, so I went with a lunch-bag. It’s just the right size for his diapers, clothes and snacks. I interfaced it with insulated batting with the hope that it will keep his apple juice reasonably cool for longer than five minutes. The pattern came from the book Sew Gifty, on loan from Mom’s crafty library. I don’t know why I even search for patterns without first checking her sewing room; you think I’d learn. After I made it, though, I realized that I’ve made this bag many times without the lid. Or a pattern, for that matter. That having been said, this was a pretty user-friendly project/pattern, even for a beginner.

Oh, do you like my other new bag?

This was waiting for me when I got home on Wednesday. Woo-hoo!! Thank you, Kelli! You couldn’t have known this, but that’s one of my favorite Nancy Drew covers. Now I just need to pack this baby and toss it in the roadster for my next adventure!

And Prizes, Too?!


Picture this: I’m at the computer early last Sunday morning, catching up on some crafty reading, when I came across this post. “Oh, hey, the February InStitches Winner. Well, congratulations Make It Sna–wait! I’m Make It Snappy! That’s my project!” Yes, you would have thought that I’d just read that I’d won an Oscar, and I actually did almost fall off of my chair (which is one of those things people always say and I have to wonder how that could be, but now I know.) But really, I’m not sure that anything I’ve ever made in my life has won a prize!

[I feel a little like the father in A Christmas Story talking about his “MAJOR AWARD”.]

And what a prize. Feast your eyes on this:

Such bright, cheerful fabric and thread, and the stationery – oh the stationery! It’s handmade by Ms. Finny herself and is almost too pretty to use. There’s also a Hershey bar that was more like a chocolate tube-o-goo upon arrival; it’s returned to its bar-like state now, though, and I’m sure it will be no less delicious.

Have you ever finished a project, and even though you’re pretty pleased with it, you don’t want to show it to anyone because they’re going to know what a loser/hack/oddball you really are? Because it’s not perfect, or clever enough, or the most amazingly original thing ever made? Well, the moral of this story is: don’t be shy! That’s how I felt by the time I’d photographed the ol’ eye mask, and for once, shrugging my shoulders and saying “aw, what the heck?” has paid off. In a fabulous prize, no less! So thank you, Finny and Donk – thank you very much.