Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sending out 2014 with a big spending bang !

Have you ever gone to a fabric or hobby store, intending to spend maybe five or ten bucks, and walk out having blown about $25. ? Reason I’m asking is because I don’t want to feel like an idiot alone. ‘Cause that’s exactly what happened at Jo-ann’s today – and that’s with a 15% off everything coupon !

Well, $6. of it wasn’t mine – I got Dearest Son a Transformers poster-and-stickers pack, and he selected a pack of silver Sharpies to plus-up his Optimus Prime, from his allowance. He spent the rest of it on a Deluxe Age of Extinction Bumblebee on markdown from Amazon. We really get the most for our money in a Prime subscription – just in free shipping ! And I got to see two great documentaries on Drive-In movie theaters this week, also for free.

So, yeah, I did go a little crazy. Got a MH ‘charm pen’ for a dollar, and couldn’t decide between the $1. green sequin tiara and the blue one. So I got both, and got the discount on ‘em, too. The only post-holiday markdown item I got was some pretty blue ribbon at 75% off. They had some gorgeous wreaths, also at 75% off, but I’d rather pick one out with Beloved Hubby, so even at $10., I had to turn them down.

Jo-ann’s also had a lot of Frozen stuff, but it was mostly what I’d seen at Hancock Fabrics earlier, so it was easy to move along. Not to even mention I’d already bought three Elsa embroidery designs this morning… Only reason I even got off my round rear was because of the 40% off batting sale – I finally found a free tutorial for microwave bowl potholders, something I’ve wanted to sew since I saw the pattern offered for $5. on . These are kind of floppy fabric bowls that go under a bowl in the microwave, so you can remove it without burning your fingers trying to get a potholder under it. Only problem is, you need non-polyester, all cotton batting for them, and all I had was some Poly-Fil from a yard sale. So I bought a package of Wrap-N-Zap, made just for microwave projects, same price as regular cotton batting. It even comes with a free pattern for microwave potato bags on the back. Between the coupon and the sale, I snagged it for half price – and for less than the pattern cost ! (grin)

Fat quarters were on sale for 99¢, so I snagged two, and got half-yards of three lovely fabrics from the discount racks. Their remnants are just as confusingly labelled, price-wise, as Hancock’s are, so the two I was interested in got put back. I wanted the discount half-yards more. They also had the black elastic I originally wanted for the MH bleachers, so I snagged an eight-yard pack. I’ll probably just replace the three bottom rows' elastic, since even I can’t see the bands on the upper rows.

A sheet of glittery white fun foam  and the craftsy shopping bag I’ve wanted for months wrapped things up, just as it started to snow. Only a light dusting, it was nearly over by the time we arrived home. And that’s how I went for about $5. and came home with $25. in a tote bag. It’s also why I rarely go to Jo-ann’s. I may be an idiot, and yes, a broke one – but I’m also a very happy one !

And the green tiara is quite comfortable.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

At least the tree was still up to hang it on !

I did it ! I made a Christmas ornament last night ! True, I’m a few days off, but better late than never, right ? It doubles as a demonstration of how chintzy cheap I am – the designer (Bee Stitchin') sells a blank version but gave away an identical one with a tree applique added. So I saved three bucks and subtracted. Came out just the same. Don’t worry, though, she has several designs on my wish-list that I’ll definitely order in January. Heck, I can buy more ‘cause that one was free !

This was my first trial, and it’s rife, I tell you, rife with errors. Had to re-sew the bottom ‘cause I cut too close to the line and popped the stitches. I’m sure you can see others. But I’m still proud of it ! I had all the materials already, even the clear vinyl, stashed in my copious supply stores. Didn’t think I had glitter, but I did – soon as I saw the nail art shimmer powder I bought from Dollar Tree for the tiny bottles, I knew what I was using. I probably should have used the whole bottle, but it scattered as I was stitching, and there’s potential for Brody-machine damage, so I’ll probably leave it off of future attempts. I saw another designer’s version, with tiny seed beads replacing the glitter, and it looked great, so I’ll have to try that. It’s funny, but now I’m looking at my fabric and other embroidery designs with new eyes… To think, I was considering selling everything three months ago ! Glad I didn’t.

The shopping frenzy continues. Big Lots was a big disappointment when it came to after-holiday sales. They expected $4.25 for a popcorn tin on markdown – and it was $6. to begin with ! About all I got was a plastic candy cane with Mike and Ike’s candy in it for 50¢. The best find was Nestea ‘water enhancer’ squeezers for just 50¢ each ! Those are usually $3. at the grocery stores. I got eighteen of ‘em, mostly peach tea, but also some lemon and green tea with citrus flavors, too.

The new thrift in the same strip was more like an antiques and collectable mall, but I found a pretty brunette vintage-style 1994 Barbie ballerina figurine for 99c. Some paint has chipped off her toe shoes, and she’s missing her stand, so I’ll probably make her into an ornament with a tiny screw eye. Dollar Tree just had a bread delivery, so I snagged three loaves, and three boxes of half-off candy canes. Also two t-shirts, one for each of my guys, and Dearest Son is picking out what he wants embroidered on his.

Came home – so cold out, and I saw a few snowflakes – and cleaned the kitchen for two hours. It’s needed it, some is moving stuff I should have finished weeks ago. Glad that’s done ! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

MH musings and grocery shopping... happy Monday !

Once again, I think I got out of Monster High at the right time. Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but I don’t see my old wild ‘gotta get ‘em all’ worship returning anytime soon. Tell the truth, I kind of miss it. The things that drew me into it in the first place seem to have been left behind and forgotten, and that makes it so much easier for me to let it go on without my support. The first real crack was the Zombie Shake series – how in the (expletive string deleted) could Mattel possibly create this line and leave out all the already-established zombies ? Just a few already overused characters made up to look like zombies much fancier than the (chortle) authentic ones. It just didn’t make sense to me. If they weren’t gonna include Slo Mo or (gasp !) Ghoulia – who appeared in the ZS video only in her very first issue clothes – they could have maybe brought out a limited number of Don of the Dead or some other cleverly named undead… but, no. Denied.

I kinda felt that way all over again when I saw the first Geek Shriek doll today. Of course it’s Frankie, there’s almost always a Frankie or DracuLaura in any MH series, narrowbox or otherwise. But there’s Abbey, who is beginning to take Ghoulia’s place in the ‘overused / shelf sitter’ doll space, and Howleen, who isn’t as over used, but I’ve yet to see anyone having a desire to own all the ‘leens. Yup. No Ghoulia. Oh, the three GS dolls have oversized glasses and semi-scientific emblems on their clothes, but who was the character who’s had that all along ? If Mattel’s gonna drop Ghoulia, well, there’s a reason I’ve only bought two male dolls in the last six months, when I used to buy a doll at least every other week, and playsets and clothes whenever I could find them !

Anyway… got to do some Aldi’s grocery shopping. Spent a bit over my limit, but it took forever because they had so many post-holiday markdowns. Some were definitely worth it, others weren’t, and it takes time to discern that the Black Forest Cake Kit (frosting and cherries included) at $1.35 is worth it over a 99¢ box cake mix. Many items were unmarked, or the price for them was several feet away, and some were marked down and still the same price as the regular non-holiday item. It’s kind of fun, though, and part of the challenge for getting the most for the money. Since Dearest Son has mentioned how much he enjoyed making – and devouring – the cake this week, I bought several cake and cookie mixes, and if I can remember if the flour is regular or self-rising, we may make our own from scratch. Of course, if the flour is that old, I should probably pitch it regardless…

There’s also a new GoodWill near Aldi’s, which I was hesitant to visit, since the one down the street is a total BadWill – most stuff is broken, it’s in random piles, and the prices are still a bit high. The new one is much cleaner and better organized, but there wasn’t much I wanted. Had tons of Valentine’s Day cards – good ones, with pencils and stickers included – for a buck each, for early holiday shoppers. I nearly bought a couple themed ‘Candy Towers’, miniature boxes with sweets inside, marked down to 99¢ until I saw the date on them. 2011 ! I might have taken a flyer on last year’s, and just used the boxes, but yikes ! Should have known something was up when the glue holding the boxes together was giving way, and it looked like only the cellophane was holding them together.

Tomorrow – Dollar Tree… and maybe Big Lots !

Sunday, December 28, 2014

(happy sigh) All I needed was an hour in a fabric store...

I suppose it was inevitable. I get to go to a Hancock Fabrics, and I end up leaving with Frozen stuff. At least it was just the pattern (on sale for $1.99) and the fabric (on sale and with a coupon, half yard for $2.80). They had everything but the dolls, too – appliques, bracelets, crowns, trunks, charms, ribbon, buttons, fleece, t-shirt kits, art sets, stuffed Olafs, notepads, stickers, you name it. I’m surprised they didn’t have ‘Elsa’, ‘Anna’, and ‘Kristoff’ branded thread ! No one would buy ‘Hans’ thread, it would be prone to trickery and probably break a lot, just when you needed it not to. And ya can’t take ‘Olaf’  of 'Sven' threads seriously, plus you have to keep them in the fridge, near the carrots.

I also bought a Northern Lights-like fleece remnant, a fat quarter, a remnant that I got charged full price for, but it isn’t worth dragging all the way back for a buck and a quarter, a dark green felt square, and some Victorian-themed buttons, mostly for the two tiny cameos. Yup, still a sucker for those. Even adding in the pricing error, with sales and coupons, I got a pattern, over two and a half yards total fabric, and some buttons for less than twelve bucks, and I handed out the coupons I didn’t use to other shoppers in line (with the cashier’s kind approval), so I’m satisfied. For this year !

Once home, I did two loads of laundry to get the fabric washed, including one with a huge comforter from the ILs that’s been sitting around getting dirtier since the move. It’d take at least two hours in the dryer, so I have it air-drying over two widely-spaced chairs. Be glad to get that put away ! Junior-kitty likes the new hiding space but sort of resents losing a favored napping area, if even temporarily. He’s gonna be hating life when I put the Christmas tree skirt away. Beloved Hubby’s promised me a clothesline come spring.

Got another freebie of a machine embroidery design I had on my wish-list. I tell ya, it really pays to not trust Etsy. If I hadn’t checked websites and Facebook pages, I wouldn’t have known about any of the sales, much less snagged two that I was planning to buy for free. Don’t know why I’m whining that the few I still want are probably not going on sale any time soon – I should be darn glad to have scored what I did ! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Coming Soon to a doll shirt near me...

You know I had to have this one.
From MMD Embroidery, on Etsy.
Yum. Made a huge pot of ‘ham beans’ – basically red beans cooked with a meaty ham bone and stuff like garlic and onions for two hours or so – yesterday. While I meant to make a double batch, I really didn’t mean to make so much, though. Forgot the beans were 16oz bags, not the all-too-familiar 12oz, and didn’t realize it ‘til I went to check their soaking and over half the water had been absorbed, and the beans were peeking over the pot. Ended up cooking them in two pots and combining them after some got eaten. Still delicious, and I swear, they taste better the next day. While Dearest Son and Beloved Hubby will eat them fresh, all the leftovers become mine. And I’m just soooo upset about that, too ! (grin)

We also made a cake, Dearest and I, and I’m reminded of why I rarely make them – I can’t frost to save my soul. Not that he cared ! We tried to do a simple two-layer cake, and while it looked fine from the top, the sides were just terrible. Glad it tasted much better, ya can’t go wrong with whipped cream cheese frosting no matter how bad it looks.

Awoke to a light dusting of snow at 5am, and woke back up at 8 to a full-on snowstorm. Well, about a two to three inch accumulation may not seem like a storm to areas used to measuring by feet and yards, but to me, it was like living in a stirred-up snowglobe for several hours. So beautiful. About 3pm, it started to melt, but it was gorgeous while it lasted. Wheeled the trash cans back around, tossed a few handfuls of snow back and forth with Dearest. If it’s gone tomorrow, we’re going to Dollar Tree ! Hopefully the more ruthless bargain hunters have bagged their limit by now and moved along.

Decided to spent my most recent PineCone funds on new embroidery designs – big surprise ! – but I wanted to get the most for the money, so only bought the ones on sale. A mere $12.68 got me a load of designs totaling $26. without the discounts, and I got some nice freebies, too ! There’s still several more I want, but they’ll have to wait a week or so. That $17. worth isn’t on sale anywhere right now. You know I checked. And subscribed to mailing lists, just in case. So don’t be surprised if you start seeing more embroidered doll clothes in ’15. I gotta justify spendin’ all this cash, ya know…

Friday, December 26, 2014

Brody and me are buds again !

Pretty much had all Christmas day to do whatever I wanted, provided I didn’t wanna go anywhere. (grin) We actually did go to Sevvy (7-11), and I got a bag of my favorite cheese popcorn while Dearest Son got a big Slushie and Beloved Hubby got his customary Big Gulp. I knew what I wanted to do, but I danced around it all day.

First, before I could sew, Beloved had to re-hang my fluorescent light back up – I’d have done it m’self, but the screws were lost, and he had the big box of screws with him at work all week. After that, the fabric I wanted to use looked dingy, possibly even splotched with stains, so I washed and bleached it, with a few other laundry items that also needed treatment. After that, I wanted to wait ‘til after lunch to start anything. Fabric looked much better.

Once lunch was out of the way, I needed to clean the sewing Arena. Then I had to swap machines and find all the embroidery accessories – the hoop, interfacing, the right thread colors – and the pattern and thread for the regular sewing machine. All that assembled, I couldn’t remember how to transfer designs from my laptop to the embroidery machine, and I barely remembered how to thread it. At least I was smart enough to tape the power cord to the machine this time.

But once Beloved and Dearest stretched out for afternoon naps, I really didn’t have any more excuses. The fabric was hooped up correctly – after I made sure there was plenty there to make the shirt front, and enough left for the back pieces not embroidered – the thread was in order,  I remembered how to skip steps, and even the bobbin was full and ready to go. I took such a deep breath before hitting the ‘start’ button, I almost passed out.

In spite of my anxiety and not being used for probably two years now, ‘Brody’ worked flawlessly. The original design was an applique-ish stand-alone (aka, in-the-hoop) ornament, but I stitched just the fancy part - although an ornament stitched around the Beauty and the Beast design probably wouldn't have looked bad here. I found the design itself a bit sparse, so I ran it twice, one on top of the other, and worried that it stitched too low in the hoop, hence too low for a well-proportioned shirt design. Turned out to be unfounded, I just moved the pattern a bit further down on the fabric. Came out just right !

So, now that I know Brody’s fine, I can go to town with other projects, starting today, and maybe stop flailing on m’self for putting off using my embroidery designs for so long, maybe sometime next week. I really don’t know what took me so long to come back to it – I know before, I was super-tense every time I got near Brody, so it wasn’t as pleasant an experience as it should have been. Today, it took a while, but I relaxed and once it was begun, just went with it. I didn’t agonize for hours whether or not I hooped the fabric correctly, or put in the right / enough stabilizer, or worried constantly that the hoop would break. If it hasn’t rotted away yet, it’s probably pretty stable ! In fact, the only thing I ever broke (besides the occasional needle or thread) since I’ve had Brody has been the finger-screws that came with the hoop. (grin) And when I went to a hardware store for replacements, the helpful hardware person said she’d had to replace her sister’s screws, too – and hers was much higher end than my entry-level model.

Maybe I just needed to take a year or two off, to learn to relax ?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I had too much caffeine for Christmas Eve !

It’s a Festivus miracle ! My PineCone funds are already in PayPal – usually, it takes at least three days – ready for me to spend. Of course, I decided that I really need to make sure “Brody”, my embroidery machine, still works, since it’s been at least a year and a half since I even plugged him in. You’d think I’d have all day to do that, but the kitchen’s a disaster and I’m having to ride Dearest Son’s butt all the way to Bethlehem to get him to finish tidying up the living room… and I just got a text from Beloved Hubby, he’s on the way home. So much for my plans for the day ! Don’t care, though – I’d rather have everyone home and happy with a kitchen disaster than a clean kitchen and everyone scattered.

Unfortunately, Beloved is working Friday, and probably at least part of the weekend. I kinda felt stupid for bustin’ butt yesterday to finish getting the last of the move out of the Garage for him, but he appreciated the effort. After a nice afternoon of movies and video games, he’s already asleep. I was just as tired yesterday, but I think I overdid it on the coffee this morning – I’m all bouncy.

It’s fine, I gotta work some stuff out. Some of the embroidery designs I have wish-listed are very specific to a project I’ve been wanting to create for months. Haven’t shown those to ya yet. Just to make sure I’m getting what I want / need, I got my measuring tape out – Arrrgh, annoyance ! One seller has what I want as a complete set, and two of the three parts are perfect for my fiendish plans. The third part is close, but… proportionally awkward and a bit too small. I found another seller, with nearly the same designs, in a size closer to what I want, more accurate, too, and lucky for me, they sell theirs piece by piece. But it’s still galling to have to re-buy part of a set, and spend nearly twice as much. Gonna hafta, to get what I really want. I’ll probably buy the complete set first, see if the off portion is something I can work with. If not, I can always buy the other piece separately. I have no idea why the set seller / designer went so small with the largest piece of the set, though.

Another miracle ! A gorgeous machine embroidery ornament I also wish-listed turned out to be a free download to friends of the designer’s FaceBook page. I asked to join – she has four other designs I hope to snag after my current obsessions play out – and figured Monday or Tuesday, I’ll hear something. Nope ! Got approved today, and I already have the stunning ornament on my hard-drive. With any luck, I might just get to stitch it out late tonight…

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Actually, this entire blog is an all-year-long Airing of Grievances...

Made Dearest Son happy – my old office chair that’s been in the garage for a week or two, is now his. Now he has one upstairs and downstairs ! It’s missing a wheel, but we had a spare one, that’s what took so long. I couldn’t give him the chair until I found the spare wheel. We have a spare because the chair came to us with a broken caster wheel, so we replaced it –  you can find ‘em at Home Depot, btw - but spares came in two packs only. While moving our stuff around for no reason, and ultimately leaving everything right where we had it, just all stirred up and messy, FIL somehow lost the replacement wheel (it fell out occasionally) completely, necessitating me finding the second one. If he’d just left it alone… Arrrgh. This time, I hammered that sucker in !

I also emptied a couple more last-minute miscellany boxes and relocated a few more things. All that’s left in the garage is Beloved Hubby’s stuff, including his bookcases. With Dearest’s help, I even got my heavy jewelry armoire upstairs. Who knew dime-store jewelry was so weighty ? Too bad we left our furniture dolly with the ILs. Got all that done so Beloved could set up his garage / Shop to his liking over the holiday weekend, without junk and stuff in the way. As for me, I still have to hang the Barbie cases and various pictures up, but I’m kind of saving that for tomorrow’s big task.

Decided to hold off a bit on the Frozen embroidery designs. I still want them, but figured I’d just request my PineCone funds to be transferred to PayPal and use that to pay for ‘em, instead of feeling guilty about using House checking. I’ll probably have the completed deposit a day or two after Christmas, which is fine. I’d rather have the maximum funds available for the holiday weekend movie and snack marathon ! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

I get obsessed with the craziest things...

Mine, maybe tomorrow. 
The recycling bin is full of broken-down liquor store boxes – glad it gets picked up this week. Dearest Son helped me drag the second bookcase to the Parlor, finally in from out of the garage, so I spent the morning liberating our books. Well, most of ‘em. A box of Beloved Hubby’s favorite paperbacks went upstairs, ready for when he decides where he wants the final bookcase. I figured he’d want his Matt Helm novels and art books nearby like I enjoy my fairy tale and doll books – but if he doesn’t, it’s a good box with handles, it can be moved.

So the latest bookcase is stuffed, and I feel so wealthy, between all the dolls, all the fabric, and all the books. Hard to think of anyone more rich than me, unless he / she  has money. The best place for the case was right in front of a power outlet, but I ran an extension cord before placing the books, so we still have use of it. I’m still delighted in all the power outlets here. There are some we’re not even using at all !

Unfortunately this evening, I was left to my own devices after dinner – Beloved brought home two new-to-us video games, a milsim shoot-‘em’-up he wanted, and one of the Lego choices from Dearest’s Christmas list, so my guys were on other worlds tonight. Of course, I got in trouble, what else could I do ? I’ve been good for far too long ! Ended up looking at Frozen craft stuff  - the licensed things are still thin on the ground, and I’d rather spend money elsewhere - and got all obsessed over a tiny, two-inch felt machine applique embroidery design of Elsa. I saw at least four sellers on Etsy hawking it in various ways, but I couldn’t find the design itself, just end products.

Well, you know how I get. If I can’t have something, I’m like a dog with a bone, I just won’t let go until I’ve worn the situation completely out. Mildly ironic, that I refused to let go of an Elsa product. Anyway, I searched and fiddled and studied – and found a ton of other things I wouldn’t mind having someday – and it took almost two hours, although it went pretty quick once I realized the Etsy seller had flipped the design, but I finally found the source material. It was even on sale, and available in three versions, five sizes, in both stitch-filled and applique ! But I figured, sale’s on ‘til the end of the month, sleeping on it won’t hurt.  Some rested eyes would help me decide better which one I really want. Bookmarked the page, favorited at least a dozen other goodies, and started making little plans. I think Beloved’s getting me about $10. worth of embroidery designs for Christmas…

The question I have is this – when I use a pattern or design, I normally credit the creator. Most people who sell stuff like that ask their buyers to do so, to attract more sales and attention. I like to do so, ‘cause if the originator gets more business, they might make more stuff I want. So why did I darn near drive m’self crazy trying to find this design, when at least four Etsy sellers were using it for hair clips, pins, and ornaments ? Yup, not one of ‘em mentioned ‘Lynnie Pinnie’ in the descriptions. If I hadn’t known how to focus my search, I could easily have believed each of them created the design independently. Lynnie Pinnie even has an Etsy store – not that it shows up on any of the sellers' / crafters’ favorites. Funny, that. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I got my MH dolls back !

Hooray ! All my MH ghouls and guys are out of the two space-heater boxes and on their bleacher-shelf. My two bleacher amendments really worked. Three strips of cardboard, wrapped up in a half-sheet of copy paper and secured to each row gave them a cushion that boosted them up so they could sit straight and not kick other dolls, and long elastic loops secured them in place, as a sort of shared group seat belt. Still doesn’t help the dedicatedly floppy ones, but I put them in the back row, so the wall could prop ‘em up a bit. I hate that the elastic seat belt shows, especially on the bottom rows, but it’s that or deal with them falling over all the time.

One of my DracuLauras suffered a broken finger, possibly during the move, possibly cat related, but I had a spare hand of hers, so it wasn’t tragic. I’m so happy to see them all, to have cleaned and brushed their hair, and spent time with them while my guys napped. It really was another grey day, but I had lots of fun with ‘old friends’ !

We decided to splurge on fried chicken take-out, with lots of leftovers, for a late lunch. I was all set to order the 12-piece-two-sides family dinner with a gallon of sweet tea, but they had the 10pc.-dark-no-sides special on the marquee. So I got 20 pieces of chicken, two sides, and the tea, for $2. less than the twelve-pack deal. I’d worry how just us three would eat that much fried chicken, but Dearest Son has been applying himself, and enjoying it ! Teen age boys can eat their weight and look around for snacks fifteen minutes later. Beloved’s planning on packing a couple legs for lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's the most spendiest day of the year...

Beloved Hubby asked me to run up to Mal-Wart, pick up some mechanical pencils he likes. I agreed – it’s been a while since we went, we needed a few random grocery items, and Dearest Son had a list of stuff he wanted to look at. It wasn’t until about midmorning when I realized – today’s the last Saturday before Christmas. Quite literally the biggest cha-ching sales day of the entire year. And I was going to Mal-Wart ? Oh, my !

I put it off for hours, and we ended up not going ‘til 10pm. It wasn’t very crowded then, but our very weary cashier told me it’d been a full-court press of humanity all day long ‘til about 9pm. We’d driven past earlier, about 2pm, and I took note that the parking lot was so full, cars were lined up along the ditches, in the traffic islands within the lot, and even the auto service lot was filled. Both turning lanes to get in and out were slow as parade routes. I was glad we were headed elsewhere !

So I spent the morning cutting up cardboard – a resource I am well-stocked in right now ! – for the MH bleacher adaption. Got it all measured and taped up and ready to go. If tomorrow is as grey and blah as today, I should have them all deboxed and seated by that night. About time ! I miss them… Before I knew it, it was time to face the retail music.

Dearest found the Transformers aisle – he’s back into them now – and decided to spend his allowance on one. He was all settled on “Lockdown”, a Lamborghini-style bounty hunter, because his currently very thin lineup contains no bad guys or morally ambiguous characters. Then I found a “Bumblebee”, and poor Lockdown had to deal with shelfdom once again. Even though he still has his old ’07 ‘Bee, that’s his favorite character, and the new version is fun to transform. Even I played with him. He will probably find a few new ones under the tree shortly. Maybe even a Lockdown…

Nothing new in MH, although ours had an entire case of Casta Spellas sitting out. I love the School Lounge playset, for both the Ghoulia and Slo Mo paper dolls modeling and the pieces themselves, but there is simply no way I can either use or store them. Got a good look at the Catacombs playset, and it really looks cool, but I’m still just not interested. Eyed the DP&M knockoff Sparkle Girlz (Girlz come in every size from 4 to 19 inches) since they now come with clothes other than ‘Ballerina’ and ‘Generic Princess’, but even the new clothes are more ‘HyperPink Pop Star’ than anything else, so I didn’t buy one.

About all I did buy – besides mechanical pencils, Miracle Whip, salsa, and malt vinegar – was eight yards of quarter-inch braided elastic. I had just enough to finish my amendments to the MH bleachers so I can get them out of their boxes, hopefully tomorrow, so I needed to restock. Beloved can’t complain about $1.77 ! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

I will health check again, someday...

We finally figured out why my health check device stopped working after a few days here and isn’t working anymore. After, of course, I spent all day with the VA representative and by myself, troubleshooting the thing all over the house. I had laziness I could have enjoyed, ya know ! Anyway, I got the new one installed and it sent a successful test.. but the actual tele-check… you guessed it, nada. Nada in the Parlor. Nothin’ in the living room. Nothing in front of the twelve-foot bow-shaped dining room windows. I had some frustrating fun relating it all to Beloved Hubby over text in obscenely descriptive rants – if you type it yourself, you can even use the worst of your common swear words – but aside from cleaning off several places for the thing, the day was looking like a near total wash. I couldn’t even get my rep to return my calls.

But later she did, and as it turns out, it really isn’t my fault. The day it quit working was the day after a cell tower malfunctioned and is still out. Even moving the devices around didn’t change the fact that both of them locked onto that one tower, and as far as either device was concerned, it was that tower or nothin’. As it's only partially working now, the tower has just enough presence for the test, not enough power to transmit data. So, what’s gonna happen now is that I’m getting a third device, this one set to use a different carrier, hence, a different tower. Gosh only knows how long it’ll be before I get that, but it takes as long as it takes.

Good news was, I’ve gotten my weight back down – it was creeping up a bit just as the tower went south on us. I will say having a staircase ( I call it my personal StairMaster !) has helped. I don’t get winded climbing them now, the backs of my ham-like legs don’t ache, and actually make sure to take a flight at least three or four times every afternoon. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Content as a sunset

Dearest Son and I did get to go out for a bit today – FIL told Beloved Hubby they’d found some of our stuff, so I offered to go get it. I realized on the way there that not only was I really happy to visit, I felt lighthearted and even a bit eager to. I don’t like who I become when I live with FIL. I get petty and jealous and angry and I start believing the worst of everybody around me. I have my reasons (which may also be petty), but it still doesn’t make me a nice person to be around. Even I don’t like myself. But when I’m away from him, I don’t care what he does, his deeds don’t immediately affect us 98% of the time, so I can enjoy being around him. Since I don’t have to depend on him, or have to ensure I know where everything is all the time, his more charming aspects are more readily apparent. I’m sure he and MIL have similar issues with me, I am simply too trifling to care what they are, but in short (too late !), we’re better off separated.

And they’re doing well, they’ve of course moved back into the main house, out of the much colder Garpartment, and they’re about where we are in their move. Stuff is in the house where it belongs, but not everything is in the room where it’s going yet. We still have bookcases in the garage, they got half-unpacked boxes everywhere. However, I’m still small enough to snort that they were so anxious for us to get our stuff out so they could stage ThatPit to sell it – and now that all our stuff is gone, they got so many huge piles of clothes scattered around that MIL had to kick several out of the way for me to get to our little stack of stuff. If they’re staging, they’re evidently going with a ‘pre-Hoarders’ theme, which is intriguing, but unlikely to help sell the place.

We also got to hit Dollar Tree, which was packed. I think today is the first day of Winter Break for the schools, there were kids everywhere at noon. Even with Christmas fast approaching, I can’ t think of a thing I’d want, except tasty snack food and some home improvements we’ll get to soon enough. Money, of course, but you can’t buy money, especially with what we have to spend. There’s no dolls I want, no fabric, no hobby stuff, nothin’. I am content, if hungry – and usually I’m not even hungry, I just get the idea that I want cheese crackers, and then try to talk m’self out of going to get ‘em.

We’ll have a few bucks to get Dearest a couple games to put under the tree, and some little things, but on the whole, I think we’re all content. It’s wonderful !

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookies !

Dearest Son and I were supposed to go out for a bit today, but the Fates were against us – that or vulcanized rubber. Flat tire. To make it up to him, I made his favorite lunch and together, we made chocolate chip cookies ! Even managed to save some for Beloved Hubby. We ate all the lunch, every grain. He made a holiday card for his grandparents, and we’ll take it to the PO tomorrow.

One good thing about my dietary changes – it took a lot fewer cookies than before ‘til I was ready to push away and say ‘done’. Wish I could say the same for the unbaked dough, though… I could probably have eaten a third of it all by myself, no chips. I swear, that’s better than cookies to me.

Finished reading Merchants of Deception, a muckraking book about Amway from a former near-Diamond distributor, online. Made me glad we’re too poor to invest – we need every coin we can scratch up to maintain this decadence ! I confess, it’s kind of hard to feel sympathy for folks who went bankrupt buying Cadillacs and travelling all over the world to sell soap and vitamins, but the biz really did a number on that guy, and his whole family. No money costs as much as easy money, and realizing there’s no such thing as unlimited wealth by selling things most folks buy much cheaper at Mal-Wart would have perhaps gone a long way to helping him not take it as far as he did.

Beloved and I traded car stereos last night – just in time, he had one heckuva long slog home tonight. His quit working, mine worked fine, it just wasn’t installed well, and bounced like crazy with every pebble on the road. Since I’m rarely in the car for more than ten minutes at a time, and the bounce-noise drove me nutz, I was glad to get rid of it. Plus, he’s behind the wheel for at least an hour a day, often twice that, so it made sense to swap. When I drive more than that, like to the VA, I prefer to have the trip totally quiet anyway, just in case. I’m glad he has some company on the road !

He brought us home some cherry candy canes, as the Dollar Tree he went to today required a minimum purchase for ATM cards. They look quite pretty on the tree !

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Or, they could be a very noisy Advent countdown calendar...

Nearly all my oxygen supplies went bye-bye today. Too healthy to retain the prescription. Beloved Hubby’s worried, but even with this cold, I feel pretty good. Sure, I’m horking up gunk and the coughing hurts a bit, but at least it’s moving, and in between coughing series, I feel fine. Tired, but fine. I’m hoping the coffee I just made helps.

Gained about half a closet of storage space, and immediately filled it up. Of course, once I put the vacuum away, I needed it out. Just like my sewing machine, if I leave it uncovered, anticipating some activity soon, it ends up sitting around untouched for a week. Soon as I start covering it again, I’m sewing like a fiend. Never fails.

Speaking of sewing, I actually did a bit today. Beloved found some beige Velcro ® during the move and asked me to make him some extension cord / power cord straps for him out of it Basically, six inches of loop sewn reversed to six inches of hook, so it’ll work either way. Cheap-serged the raw edges so they won’t fray, too. Five finished off the length, and he’s pleased. Me, too – that stuff’s been kicking around for weeks, so I’m happy to have it somewhere else ! I also repaired a washed-twice potholder the previous tenants left behind.

Thanks to other things forgotten, and misdirected mail, I know a lot more about the people who used to live here than I want to. I had hoped the bag of kids’ shoes was just forgotten, since very little other kids’ stuff was left here, but I think the truth is a bit sadder than that. I hope that, wherever they are now, they have a great holiday and better 2015. And that we don’t get anything else from the county’s CPS department. Or any of the local casinos. I mean, how many ‘frequent player’ cards could they possibly have collected ? 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The VA drops a bomb on me in the mailbox...

Oookay. I got some startling news today. I’m scheduled for my ‘borg implant’ (my cardiac device, not sure which one I’m getting, there was some debate going on during my last appointment) on Jan. 22, provided I pass the physical the day before. After the implantation, they’ll keep me overnight, and if all goes well, the rest of my recovery will be at home – including a ban on driving for two weeks ! It’s probably fine, I may not feel up to driving anyway, but gosh, that seems like a long time to be stuck at home. Then again, my little hermit self has gone longer without going out by choice before… and think of all the sewing I’ll do…oh, wait.

I’ll have to avoid electromagnetic fields. Do sewing machines put out those ? Yes. Aw, cruddles … well, I guess I can keep it six inches from the motor, especially if it’s put in on the left side. I’ll have to ask about that.

Meanwhile, I’m slightly sick. I don’t know if I’m just having allergic reactions, or I’ve caught cold, ‘cause the symptoms are the same. Took some antihistamines and darn near fell asleep standing, and when I woke up, my throat was Sahara-dry. Ten minutes later, I’m wondering how to Velcro ® a box of tissues to my leg and enjoying the fine taste, if not any medicinal properties, of Luden’s Wild Cherry Throat Drops. Not cough drops, throat drops. There’s an important distinction there.

My new checks arrived – said they wouldn’t arrive ‘til the 23rd. It’s amazing how good it feels to actually have checks with the same address we live in. Checks from the shared account are from at least six years ago, we still have a box and a half. I just got one box this time, and it’ll probably outlast our stay here, too, mostly because we just don’t write checks for anything other than rent these days. I got At The Beach simply because I thought they were pretty. As with most checks, they’re not that vivid in the harsh light of the front porch. It’s odd how they shipped. Each of five packets were attached to a cardstock folder, with the register and cheapie checkbook holder making up the sixth slot. Guess shipping them flat like that saves on costs. Too bad they charged me as much as they could for it !

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Nightmare stands guard until the students, faculty, and parents of Monster High return...

Was planning on not unpacking my dolls for a bit longer yet – even though I miss them like crazy and almost can’t create anything without them, there were so many other ‘house’ tasks I needed to complete, it seemed almost selfish of me to take care of my things first. But then I watched Beloved Hubby enjoy his stuff and internet hobbies with quite a lot on his ‘to do’ list, too, and decided they’d been penned up too long. So, while he napped, I cleared and swept the space, then Dearest Son and I moved one of the bookcases into our ‘parlor’ (i.e., where the Arena is, I’ve started to call it The Salon) and took a break for lunch. Another dismal, no-sun day, so we had soup and I tried to perk m’self up with some coffee.

I could hardly wait to get my dolls back, but I knew if I rushed, I’d probably end up with another tummy-ache, as I’m starting to think at least some of these too-frequent roils are stress or just plain psychosomatic. The pain is real, but I’ve come to wonder if it isn’t a bit convenient at times. Not to mention I had to clean the shelves and bookcase first.

So I dawdled a bit, strung out my coffee, and plotted where the MH shelf would go. I almost hate to mess with the doll bleachers again – removing one (or attempting to) wrecks the whole thing – but I doubt the shelf could hold 60+ dolls on stands. Plus I’d most likely run into the whole ‘touch one and spend the next ten minutes picking the rest up off the floor’ thing just the same. So I’ve come up with two amendments to the bleachers, and until I’ve attempted the ‘fixes’, the MH crew has to stay boxed a bit longer. Beloved woke up and installed the shelf, a bit lower this time, so I can reach everybody. Much as I loved where it was at ThatPit, between the shelf’s height and the width of the Arena table, I could barely reach anybody anyway. I want all my dolls accessible this time !

So as night – and a hail-loaded thunderstorm – approach, nearly all my dolls are out, but none sixth-scale are posed or arranged. But that’s OK, I have the rest of the week to get that done. At least now, I can see everyone, and I have plans. Yaaay ! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Odd Sequence Day

It’s 12/13/14 ! I didn’t realize it until I ran to the bank for a deposit for Beloved Hubby. When I told Dearest Son, the bank manager laughed.

Since Beloved actually has the weekend off, we decided to make one more run to ThatPit for our stuff. Which M&FIL had thoughtfully moved into piles on top of piles, on top of piles. Gee, thanks. It wouldn’t have been such a pain, but half the stuff in the piles wasn’t ours. Don’t know whose it is, maybe they’re trying to give us stuff, but we don’t have space for much beyond our own junk at this point.

I know it’s petty, and they’re helping in their own minds, but…  I left the MH bleachers on the shelf where they were displayed. Shelf is still anchored into the wall, located behind one of the bookcases. Why they felt they had to move two of the bleachers to the bookcases and the third on the floor is beyond me. The shelf was still there, anchored to the wall. They relocated a bunch of our stuff – fragile stuff at the bottom of piles of not-our junk – for no apparent reason. I understand they wanted to move back into the main house for as long as they could, but all that stuff was already in the still-abandoned living room, why did they waste their time messing with it at all ?

I ended up repacking everything I could and shoving boxes into the car while MIL told me everything but what I wanted to know – by now my allergies were at FULL TILT !! – and taking out most of my blistering verbal aggression into the innocent air of Emmy-car’s front seat on the way home. I was so glad to be alone, as it was my only option. That, and the simple knowledge that the few things left are too big for me to get, so while there may be one more trip left, that’ll be it, and if there’s a Christmas present for me, it’ll be that I never have to go to ThatPit ever again.

But my jewelry armoire, my bike, the bookcases, my sewing fluorescent light bar, the MH bleachers, and some random everybody’s crap boxes are home now, staged in the garage, waiting for eventual placement. The few things that remain at ThatPit I really don’t care about, but a couple we may be able to sell, so… During the upcoming week, I hope to get most of our things moved out of there, as both Beloved and I like that he can park in the garage at night – better security for all those pricey tools.

We also put the camper shell back on – it’s been off since the last ThatPit run last weekend – so at least his tools will have shelter on the way to and from work again. Emptied three small boxes that have been in the way for the last couple weeks while watching Dateline episodes - Beloved and Dearest napped – and dumped the boxes in the recycling cart. May have it filled by next pick-up if I keep to my schedule !

Friday, December 12, 2014

Total Flea Market Disappointment

The Flea Market was a complete wash-out. Last time I saw that much valueless junk in one place, I was trying to move it to our new house ! I mean, do you know anyone that wants a large still-in-box John Goodman ‘Fred Flinstone’ doll from the live-action 1994 movie The Flintstones ? Maybe if your American Girl doll wants a father figure…

We walked around twice, and about the only interesting thing, besides the sheer volume of crap nobody wanted, was the birds who flew around inside, dining on spilled popcorn and perching on booth walls. Mostly sparrows.

My stomach started up again towards the end of the second circuit, and we left for home without visiting the nearby thrift I’d planned to. Didn’t buy a thing. I’d promised Dearest Son a slushie if we didn’t, and I want him to see that Beloved Hubby and I will do all we can to keep our promises, so off we went. He had to go in by himself, though, I was really in some pain. I kept an eye on him, and he did fine.

A nap at home, and I felt better. Made lunch, but couldn’t eat much before my tummy was ticked again. I think I’m gonna give up eating, it only ends in pain for me ! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Halfway between 'Ever After High' and 'Frozen', there is... Snow Princess.

I love it when bootlegs come to me,
I don't have to send to China for 'em on eBay !
BTW, there was no 'Elsa' version, just a
very generic blonde Cinderella. 
Massive tummy-ache today, so I didn’t get a lot done. Put switchplates on a bunch of naked power outlets, dragged the last of the torn-up carpet down from our bedroom and into the trash and wheeled all the cans around – tomorrow’s trash day, after all. Broke down a collection of used liquor-store boxes and added them to the recycling bin, and cleaned and swept the porch. Was supposed to finish cleaning and lining the cabinets, but that just didn’t happen.

I really should start doing the work I have planned for the day first thing. After all, I did get to the grocery, the pawn shop, Dollar General, and the thrift down the street, but all I bought were some of the most beautiful apples I’ve ever seen. On sale, too – huge Red Delicious, eight pounds for $3.33. Every one of them looks like it just got bagged up after finishing its work as set dressing on a Disney movie. Nearly bought Top Secret!, but it’s just not the classic that Airplane ! is. I can see most of the funny bits on YouTube anytime.

Beloved Hubby says he’ll help me with the cabinets this weekend, but I really hope to knock them out tomorrow. First, though, Flea Market ! Wish us luck ! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Even mundane accomplishments are still accomplishments !

Whew. Busy day, if a bit on the mundane side. I’m happy ‘cause I got to visit Big Lots for the first time since before I ended up in the hospital this summer, and found three more thrift stores while I was out at the new Aldi’s for the first time in ThisCity – I can’t begin to describe to you how much I love living here again ! I even came in $4.05 under budget, with some treats, which is darn near a miracle. I almost invariably over-spend on groceries even when I’m strict with the purchasing.  

And it’s Flea Market weekend out at the County Fairgrounds ! There’s also a Craft Fair in another building Saturday only. Hmm. Do Dearest Son and I go Friday, to avoid traffic and crowds, or go Saturday and hit up both ? Dearest is all for going both days, in case there’s sellers one day but not the other, and maybe visiting one or two of those thrift stores. Maybe it’ll seem less silly if I look at it as an opportunity for some walking exercise…

Other than that, I did a load of laundry – I love having my own washer and dryer again, so much ! – and a load of dishes. I also love the dishwasher. I hadn’t planned on doing laundry today, but while I was cleaning out the downstairs bathroom cabinet, I found a really nice hairbrush. Nicer than the Dollar Tree ones we’re using. So I pulled out the wad of dyed pink hair trapped in it, and tossed it and our DTree one into the washer with all the dirty clothes I found around. One weekend is all it takes, and I have a full load scattered everywhere. I even washed Beloved Hubby’s slippers. Both brushes came out nice and clean after a good hot wash, and after an afternoon to air dry, are just like new.

Potato soup with ham for dinner. Yum !