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Archive for February, 2007

Another No Spender

February 25th, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Didn't even spend moms money today... Smile

We stayed at her place, all day. Worked in her kitchen for hours, helping her organize cupboards and drawers. She had moved out, moved back and never really took everything out (grandson & family stayed at the house) so things have been a jumble ever since she returned (and grandson moved to another of moms houses)

So, we sorted, tossed, washed and re organized everything in 3 big banks of cupboards and drawers. Mom is a very short little lady, so we moved everything where she could reach it this time around. Now, we have a trip to the thrift store scheduled for tomorrow ...with a trunk full of stuff to donate. Also have a BIG box of things she is giving to another grandson who is just setting up his own place for the first time. Another couple sessions and the kitchen will be done.

Worked a bit on the planning for the trip, just which one of us will take what....since there is no need to double up on many of the things we want to take. Also worked on menus for the week in the condo in Palm Springs.

The natives at my house are not fairing well in my absence. I got a call yesterday and again today.... Seems one young lady thinks someone took something of hers from a storage shed on the property (and no, she didn't have it locked). I have told them all they need to try to act like adults & pretend I'm there. Apparently, quite a bit of nastiness flying around the ranch these days. The main toilet sprung a leak and the same young lady came unglued. Didn't offer to try to figure out the problem, just blew her top.

A guest that was visiting someone else, took a look at the toilet and has already fixed it, a matter of tightening up something he said. No problem any more.

Can't imagine how many difficulties will surface if I'm gone for 2 weeks! Yikes.

And........Again, with the Amazon.com emails........I sold another book. Room mate person has it already to take to the post office tomorrow. We've pulled in almost $250 in the last week, just with the book sales. Wish I could do this on a regular basis!

Spent Mom's Money

February 25th, 2007 at 05:34 am

A no spend day for me, but I "spent" some of moms money on accessories for her house. We're still working on it....the biggest pieces were first, and now we're just plugging away on the little things. Today was some fabric (from the close out area) so I can make some fabric runners of sorts to try to make the larger wood pieces sort of match??? Maybe?? Tassels put our total up a ways, but they will make the items look finished & not home made.

Also took a couple of moms vintage photos in to get matted.......we had the frames, but we're both hooked on professional mats....and the pictures look so much better this way. Too fun. She has had the prints just leaning up against furniture......now, they are framed, matted, under glass and on the walls. Much more fun to view.

I spent the day driving moms car, so I'm a bit more familiar with it prior to taking off on our trip south next month. I no longer turn on the wipers when I mean to shift! Smile

Started another sock......pair #6 this is. A yummy purple super wash wool....I can't wait to get these finished! This means I'm totally out of sock yarn now, so will be putting in an order online, so I've got yarn to knit with while waiting for all my passengers to gamble on this upcoming trip!

Still have to gather up a few items for the trip..........waiting on room mate person to provide a smallish suitcase event (I have none). Mom is loaning me a make up bag of sorts ....I don't do make up, but since we're all sharing 1 bathroom, it will be nicer to have all my stuff in one place. I need a case for my sunglasses; I usually carry them in the holder in my van, but that won't work on this trip. This coming week will be sewing week, aiming to get a couple new things pulled together so I don't look like too much of a farmer on this outing.

Missing my walking partner while at moms, next walk scheduled for Wed. Another dental appt scheduled for Tues, so I'm keeping ME on the to do list.....which is one of the largest goals I had for 2007. Will have to review the goals after the trip & see how I'm doing for the first quarter......

Sold Another Book

February 24th, 2007 at 07:14 am

Writing at my moms as I'm visiting for the week end........and somehow published the entry prior to writing anything... Odd

Anyway; I logged on to email here & I had sold yet another book! Too weird. I've had books listed for a year and not sold this many all together. I'm not complaining however! Explained to room mate person where the book was, where the shipping stuff was located and have fingers crossed the book gets in the mail on time.

Finished another sock tonight......for another finished pair. I'm up to 5 now in my personal challenge to create hand knit socks to fill my sock drawer with by the end of the year. (wearing a wool pair of hand knit socks right now)

It's a no spend day for me.......easy since we didn't go anywhere.

Spent what seemed like the entire afternoon on the phone with hotels.com folks, getting "The Trip" details ironed out for March.

And Again with the Post Office

February 23rd, 2007 at 02:14 am

I'm selling a book a day still......another note in the email this AM. The new batch of books seems to be very popular; photography and massage texts. Wish I had a bunch more!

It was a no spend day, other than the postage which will get deposited in my paypal account.

The fitting went well for the sewing customer; no money at the end of this job, as it's the barter one from Craigs list. I need to keep reminding myself of all the new fabric I now have........just so I don't start resenting my decision to take on this job.

The potential new pasture rental person was here again this afternoon to show the area to the other person that will be riding. So, it seems like it is going to pan out. Will curtail excitement until I get the first check in my hand however.
The pasture is looking better, even with just 2 weeks of rest. Should be looking much better by the time the 2 new horses get in here.

Got the cc statements back with the pay offs included.......of course, there is a teensy amount still due.....how does one ever get it to zero out anyway? I had called in for the payoff figure prior to writing the check for heavens sake. Will be closing these 2 accounts out, rather than keep them open. Both were related to the business, but have my name on them. I have other accounts open with no balance and no annual fees.......so I am not worried about closing these out. It will feel like the last chapter closed on this I think.

Took one of the tenants here to the food bank.........my kitchen will benefit, as they don't know how to cook dried beans, nor make oatmeal out of oatmeal (used to the little packets). Sounds like a batch of chili and a pan full of oatmeal bars with homemade jam to me! I used to volunteer for this same food bank, and it is now more irritating to me than it used to be. I know there is food stored and food tossed..........yet, they severely limit the amount of food they let clients take. Just the bread issue drives me nuts! This one couple was limited to 4 loaves of bread for 2 weeks. When I volunteered there, we were all responsible for disposing of excess bread at the end of our weekly shift! Seems so silly to me.

Waterproof Checks???

February 21st, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Nope, the Navy doesn't issue waterproof checks. I know now. Not that I was attempting this experiment on purpose....Smile

The Navy had posted his rent check on the fridge, which I saw this AM and promptly tucked it in my pocket..... And, the rest is just a story of how one can get sidetracked from being sidetracked here. The clothes with the pocket, with the check, found their way to the washer......since Wed is my laundry day....

While I was walking this AM, I remembered NOT taking the check out of the pocket and sure enough........it isn't waterproof, not even close!

So, I will need to get in touch with him and let him know I need a new check issued..........as I routed the first one through the wash. (not recommended)

The rest of the day is a no spender........no money in either. Still spending time in the sewing room, getting ready for a fitting tomorrow.

Did spend an hour or so in the gardens as it is almost 50 degrees here again today & sunny. Still just prepping ground, so nothing exciting.

Forgot about spending money yesterday, did send a check off for a half years membership in a gleaning organization. I used to be involved on the board of this one, I wasn't sure it was still around...but it is, and the distribution site is only 2 miles away, on the way to my walking connection. So, it will mean almost free chicken food all the time for us.........in addition to other items; which I won't know for sure about until my orientation. Money well spent, considering the fee was only $25.00 and the chickens can go through that much feed in a week.

Off to the Post Office..........& other errands

February 20th, 2007 at 09:06 pm

Three books as of today. Yes, 3. I've sold another book on Amazon from this new batch I've listed. Never have I sold more than 2 a month & here it is 3 days in a row. Not complaining!!! I don't however, have a box to put one of the oversized books in, so will have to spend some of the earnings on the box. Drat. I've been saving boxes and mailers, but absolutely nothing fits either of these 3 that sold....wouldn't you know? Other than that expense, it will be a no spend day here.

I've got a repeat knitting student today, a fun one, she wants to start a sock today on double points.....it's been ages since I had anyone that wanted to do socks. Looking forward to an afternoon of knitting.

Heading to the bank after class.....to make a deposit. I've been rolling change for the last couple days and now have a little over $100 to add to the tax fund. (actually, it all goes in one account here, I just keep the list of the monies, so room mate person knows what her half of the expenses are)

Tonights the last night for the Navy man here............he ships out tomorrow for a month and a half. Will miss him & all his help around here! When he returns in April, he has invited me to bring my mom & aunt to tour his ship.....they are more excited about this event than the trip south I believe!

Saw a new number on my scales again this AM........too exciting! The walking and watching what I eat is really beginning to pay off. So far, still not enough of a change to warrant new jeans however.... Hopefully, that will happen prior to the trip. (starting to call this a trip, not a vacation..........just found out the other sister will be going, so it's me and the 86yo twins and their 88yo sister....beginning to sound like work; or at the very least a labor of love. Not sure how much of a vacation it is going to feel like???)

On a Roll

February 20th, 2007 at 03:18 am

Another email in the IN box today.....sold another book on Amazon.com. Two days in a row, a record of sorts here! With todays holiday, I'll be mailing both of them tomorrow & then just sitting back to see the $$ added to my Paypal account. Pretty easy money. This was one of the original ways I tried when beginning the $20.00 challenge here a year ago.........and it's still plugging away.

RE; putting ME on my 2007 goal list....I walked again this AM for an hour. (in the pouring rain, mind you!) Enjoying the walk and the company; one of the women who answered my Craigslist post for walking partners. It makes a huge difference to me if I've got someone to meet at the trail....otherwise, I could come up with dozens of creative answers as to why NOT walk.

Spent nothing ........used a bit of gas to get to the trailhead...but that was it. Thought I was going to sew, but it was too cold in the sewing room to concentrate. Will try again tomorrow; hoping for a warming trend here again.

Continued the Cooking From Scratch lessons today for the non cooking tenants here. They bought the ingredients & I showed them how to make ranch dressing (a food group for them I think) from scratch. Everyone agreed it was better than the stores. Duh!! We did pancake syrup last week...not sure what next weeks "lesson" is going to be. I always forget how spoiled I've been; to have everything home made all the time. I can't imagine how much money that has saved over the years???

Sold Another Book

February 19th, 2007 at 02:36 am

Wow, this is a first.

I listed a couple dozen new to us books today, on Amazon.com..... And, the next time I logged on, I had already sold one!

I never know what sells it seems........this was a total surprise. A book on how to take professional quality portraits. Nice, as it was a pretty expensive book.

Room mate person is on a roll, feeling some pressure to assist with the property taxes on this place. It takes very little time to list things like these books for her, and if the money goes in the tax fund, I'm more than happy. Works for me!

I'm still in the dark about what sells online........so, I'll just continue listing whatever gets brought to my desk here. So far, I'm re listing once, then returning the books to the room mate person; who then attempts to sell them in her swap meet booth. Not sure where they go from there........but, I've done my part. I would like a crystal ball as to what types of things would sell; todays sale just proves I know nothing re; what people are looking for!

Vacation Planning Heats Up

February 18th, 2007 at 08:53 pm

I have no idea how many years it's been since I've had anything closely defined as a vacation. Decades for sure. So, this planning stage is getting me jazzed up to be headed south.

My mom & aunt have done this same trip for years.........every year, the same roads (no freeways), mostly the same hotels, and many of the same restaurants. Not my way to travel, but this particular trip is for them, so who am I to complain?

However, they called me last night, as they had a "thought". They were wondering if I could get them cheaper prices for anything if I did it on line? Duh.... Yes, lots cheaper. So, with the phones a buzzing, and me on line.......we've got the Las Vegas nights booked, and tentative nights in Oregon on the way down. There are many more nights to book, but they need to refer to their travel journals to see exactly which hotels they want to use this time....then I'll have another go at Hotels.com.

They may be able to gamble & pay for some of this trip, but I'm frugal enough, I should be able to cut the cost of the trip before we even head out!

I've got to hit the sewing room to come up with a couple new things to wear before I start packing. Not much of my regular uniform here is vacation ready. The fabric I got in the Craigslist trade is going to come in very handy. I've got some pieces set out that are in the 'thinking' stage. We won't have room to take much, but I just want a couple summery type things to go with my usual jeans & sandles.

Also putting in an online order for some yarn to take with me on the trip....I would be a crazy person if I didn't have things to do when we stop for the night.

Survived Oral Surgery

February 17th, 2007 at 11:20 pm

I did more than survive.........I hardly noticed I had surgery. Nice. I've been the "nurse" many times with kids having oral surgery & they always made the entire ordeal look pretty nasty. So, of course, I had those mental images in my head before heading out Wed.

But, either I had a better dentist, or I'm just older & it didn't bother me as much or something........ The stay in the hotel was heavenly; took goodies for the tub! Had knitting with me (finished my sock) and a great book (also finished).

On a real plus side of this event.....I am down 5 more pounds, and feel like I can keep this up! I'm being very vigilant re; eating things that are good for me...and then I start walking again on Monday AM, which can't hurt either. Walking & dropping pounds; both of them on my goal list!

The next step in the process will be after my trip in March....which will give me time to heal up. I'm crossing things off my list of 2007 goals here.... Getting my teeth "done" will be complete sometime in August I believe...if all goes according to plan.

Anyway, I'm back home and to work this weekend with my one remaining young man here for 2 days. I've been working in my sewing room and finally finished up my felted bag. (odd pic to post along with oral surgery topic!) Love the bag, not so wild about the handles....will try this version out and switch if I run across anything that feels better in my hands.

The Navy man is finishing up another of the big windows inside today....that means 3 rooms are done with the new trim and sill treatment. Next step will be dragging out the painting stuff and getting some color on the walls, as well as the new trim. Can't wait to make that change.

Back to work.....the sun's out, it's 58 degrees and my garden is calling!

Scheduled Dental Work Begins....

February 14th, 2007 at 02:05 am

Tomorrow is the day. I've never had any sort of oral surgery before, but tomorrow I'm having all sorts of work done. Wish me luck on the recovery portion of the event!

I've planned for this......and it was high up on my 2007 goal list, and it is funny that has really changed my outlook towards this fairly significant appointment. I'm looking forward to it, oddly enough. Mostly so I can cross it off my list. (boy am I a sucker for crossing things off!)

I am staying in Seattle for a couple days, so I can recover in peace & quiet....there is a serious lack of both at home here. I splurged and reserved a lovely room....with a huge tub no less. I figured if I feel awful, I might as well be able to soak in a tub at the same time. Maybe that will make it not so bad?

I've worked very hard the last couple months to see that I'm as nutritionally healthy as I could be prior to the "procedure" so I'd be ahead of the game when it comes to healing up.

On another good note......I got the remainder of the tenants rent check. Also got paid for another private knitting class today; they are beginning to add up!
And, a client picked up the most expensive alterations order I've ever done today. I was unsure about charging this much, but it was exactly what I quoted her & she truly was excited when she picked the clothing up.....so, it seems we're both OK with the number. Now, I just need to have a couple more weeks like this and see if I can get on a roll here.

Did have to send out a furnace repair person to the rental today; but he is a friend so hopefully it won't be too expensive. With luck, he can perform some magic and make this antique of a furnace heat up again. I'll have to handle the other complaints from the tenant after I get back home.....

Getting Paid to Knit

February 13th, 2007 at 05:58 am

It doesn't get much better than that.
I still find it truly amazing I can sit with someone & just knit .........and they pay me by the hour! Too fun. Had 2 new students today, both private lessons......they are quick learners, use yummy fibers and are both wanting to continue to learn new things. Can't wait to meet with them again.

Started my morning off with a walk with my new Craigs list walking partner. We've gone several times now & I think it is going to be a regular thing for both of us. (TA DA for me here, this was one of the items on my 2007 goal list) We're managing to get in a couple walks a week...no idea how far we're going yet, but it is a full hour each time. I'm learning my new friend is a frugal person too...she knits, cans, raises her own chickens, sews and loves to remodel & refurbish her rental properties. We both even used to square dance! Can't get much more alike. Nice to visit with someone that practices the same frugal lifestyle.

Sold another book on Amazon & got it in the mail. Averaging one a month. Need to get some more books from the room mate & get them listed......they won't sell at all unless I get them online.

Went to my moms for dinner, her twin, my aunt was visiting & we had a great time. Reviewed the plans for our March vacation to Palm Springs. I've been invited to drive them down & back......sounds like they want to do the same trip they usually do, so I think it will be a matter of how many casinos they can visit before coming back home in April. They are both pretty good at blackjack & usually pay for their trip plus $$$ to take home. I don't gamble, so I should have time to knit a few pairs of socks! They have a condo arranged for our time in 2 different places for the longer stays.....so it sounds like a fun time for me........no thinking required, sort of time off on auto pilot.

Spent the money to mail the book; although that is covered in the fees that will be added to my paypal account. Still managing to add to that account each month, so it is starting to look like something. Have never taken anything out of it yet......forget it's there, until I get the email saying my funds were deposited from someone.

The Pasture is Resting

February 12th, 2007 at 03:23 am

The 4 boarded horses are gone........so the pastures can rest after being so totally beat up. I have learned much in the year they were here....not enough, but I'm a whole lot more knowledgeable when it comes to pasture keeping!

And, not surprising.......but according to the Master Plan.....guess what wandered into my life today? Two horses. Yep. A woman was here to purchase a truckload of items I had listed for the room mate person....and she was just jazzed about the pastures, etc....said she was moving and needed space for her 2 critters in March. That will give the space just time enough to start looking a bit better and then she can move in.

Two horses and more than twice the monthly rent. Not a bad stroke of business....to say nothing of the truckload of items she paid cash for today.

I now have the opportunity to tune up my boarding contract, to cover the things I learned during this past year. Hoping to close up some of the vague areas and add in things like what happens if they don't move out on the appointed date!

Crossing my fingers that tomorrows mail brings the balance of the tenants rent money for Feb. It would be very nice if that situation resolved as easily as the livestock event did.

Sewed, picked up a freecycle item and spent no money. Very productive day all round!

The Opposite of Frugal .......My House????

February 11th, 2007 at 06:02 am

I have always been frugal.....raised in a frugal home with 2 parents who were both raised the same way. If you needed something, you figured out how to make it. If you wanted something, you waited.....sometimes for years. You used all of everything, didn't throw much away, but recycled.......before it was a word and gave most old things new life as something else.

Spending time here at my house this week; it has really hit me. No one else in this place has an ounce of frugality in them. People use paper towels like they just magically appear on the holder (no, I'm not buying these.....but others here do). Food is bought, not always even cooked......and tossed out without a thought. Things break and no one even thinks about fixing them; it's one quick toss into the trash. (and no, we don't have trash pick up either!)

I'm still frugal......because I don't think I could sleep at night if I wasn't.
Seeing the opposite types of choices played out in front of me by so many people has me befuddled. Besides the navy gentleman, I'm the only one here that owns anything valued over a few hundred dollars. They are the ones purchasing multiple meat entrees for ONE meal. I'm the only one with en emergency fund. No one here has enough money to buy gas at the end of their pay period.

How is it that frugal is hard to learn, even when people don't have the basics? I'm so stumped. Beyond stumped.

I am getting better about keeping my mouth shut. I still FEEL like handing out free advice about a frugal lifestyle, but I don't. (that's pretty amazing all by itself, now that I think about it!)

I'll just continue opting for my re usable rags instead of paper towels, stick to my soup for dinner at least weekly and keep working on stacking up the firewood so I can be assured of a cozy home next winter. Hopefully, examples will do what lectures can't.

Tenants' Trauma ...............con't.

February 10th, 2007 at 01:50 am

I mustered up my landlord voice and called the horse lady again.........she did answer me this time and assured me she would be here this evening to start hauling her stuff out of here. And, the horses would be leaving tomorrow. No permanent place for them she said, but she has a temporary place lined up. Can't imagine how one comes up with a temp. situation for 4 horses!!

Got a check for partial rent on the house...and an email explaining the amount. It is a two family share situation, as the house is actually 2 homes, one up, one down. The Up people paid, the down people....not yet. So, now I wait again, to see if the downstairs folks bring some money to the table. If not, I need to ask them to move too.

None of this is working out well for me. Need to wait til Monday to make any calls re; renting the big house out again. I'm planning on posting a sign on the pasture fence after the current critters are gone; so that could be done by this weekend.

The only thing going great guns here is the sewing and the knitting. Busier than I remember being when I was doing this before. I think less people are capable of sewing these days....at least that is my simplistic reasoning for the numbers of customers.

I have begun a new venture here; in my spare time! Smile Room mate person has been purchasing storage units at auction for years now. Selling things at a local swap meet, advertising in a little local paper. Not big money, but enough to keep going to more auctions. I am now meeting with room mate person every AM, and reviewing the Wanted posts from Craigs list. I can type and read faster than this person, so can enter a ton of responses as well as ads. My ulterior motive is if enough stuff sells.......room mates portion of the rent here is paid. So far this week room mates phone battery has died.......and the voicemail box has been stuffed to overflowing with responses. (I'm happier when everyone is working as hard as I am!!! ) Smile

The potential for this auction bit to become income to cover all the expenses here is a definate possiblity. I'm just not sure how long I can continue to work this close to room mate person. Practicing patience daily! Will continue to fine tune this whole set up.

Temp Tops Out at 50!!

February 9th, 2007 at 04:48 am

Amazing..........but it wasn't raining (truly amazing when you know I live near Seattle WA)......and the temperatures today hit 50 degrees. The sun was even attempting to shine a couple times...I saw it! (not enough to run for the sun screen however.)

So, I tossed the sewing projects onto the table and headed outside to pick up my forked hoe and take a break, working in the gardens!

I know it's only mid February, but in my gardens I can almost hear the weeds growing during the winter....so I like to get a head start on them. I hate getting ready to plant something in the spring and finding my garden beds filled with weeds that have been taking over while I've been indoors all winter.

I don't have many beds here at the new place and they are all brand new gardens, so I made serious progress on 2 of them today. There is something quite heady about seeing the dirt all ready for new plants or seeds. (I can tell I'm a serious gardener now; finding a thrill in a totally cleaned out patch of ground!)

I've become adept at wielding my forked hoe; finding it to be my best weapon against my gardens getting ahead of me. Just disturbing the little weeds keeps me running about even with them; they don't keep multiplying that way. If I can truly pull them out of the beds and feed them to the chickens....I win!

I am getting itchy about the gardens here...it has been months since we picked our salad out of the garden and headed to the kitchen to prepare it. I'm longing for fresh pea pods to add to stir fries, there truly isn't a substitute, even if I did decide to spend the money for fresh pea pods in the dead of winter!

On my last turn through the gardens, I checked the rhubarb beds........nope. Nothing yet. That will be a sign spring has arrived here in my garden and I can work outside without wondering what people think!

I'll be sleeping well tonight after an afternoon of fresh air and exercise......dreaming, I'm sure.....about seed catalogs!

Odd Events Continue

February 7th, 2007 at 10:38 pm

My life is certainly not boring. In fact, I'd like to try boring for a day or two. Smile

Sewing like a crazy woman here, taking on some jobs I had no business taking on....since they are the kind that makes me cranky for doing it in the first place. When will I learn to hold the line on the ones I really don't like?

Picked up 2 new knitting students; fun ones, that actually know how to knit but want to add to their skills. These always make me learn new things too.........so much the better.

The first of Feb came and went, and guess what? The 4 horses were still in our pastures. I had given notice to their owner to move them out by 1/31.....and apparently, she has no calendar! I have a call in to her but I'm pretty sure she won't call me back. I just can't imagine doing something like what she is doing....just ignoring my request, pretending we don't see her when she comes daily to feed???

And, if the horse bit isn't making me cranky, I got a LONG email from my renters (who were scheduled to start paying rent this month.........they had been repairing the house & property for me in exchange up til now).... They informed me they needed a new furnace, new water heater, and they would like the floor leveled in the upstairs... An exterminator for the ant problem (any hints Thrifty Ray??....I've already had an exterminator & still have ants) They were upset I had told them my electric bill was $150 a month (average plan) and their latest bill was over $700..... They want me to do something about one neighbor and a neighborhood dog.... They were miffed about my recent email letting them know I was going to list the adjoining empty lot, complaining it would increase traffic, disrupt their parking situation and generally mess up their lives. The last sentence was the topper however.........they only plan to pay less then half the agreed upon rent, as they couldn't consider paying the original amount with all the things that were wrong with the house/neighborhood, etc.

I had to sleep on this email for a couple days or my reply was going to be delivered with flames attached. I ended up with a decent sounding, but VERY firm response. I reminded them of our agreement and told them I wasn't in a place I could underwrite the property any longer. They did respond back this AM, saying they would pay the correct amount, and I agreed to get someone in to look at the furnace & hot water heater. I'm just not cut out to be a landlord. I hate this part of the job. Seriously thinking about selling the property .........and did tell the tenants that in my response. Surprised myself and told them if they didn't hold up their end of the agreement, to consider my email their 30 day notice to vacate.

Anyway..........life here is just sailing along. Still have a houseful of formerly homeless folks, with one additional gentleman added to the mix as of last night. Lots of my odd jobs are getting attention these days....Smile

Times up, must head back to the sewing room.