Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snail Mail Challenge Update

Mrs. Roy is happy to report that the snail mail challenge is going well.  Mrs. Roy has mailed at least one piece of snail mail every week since the first of the year.  The SIL pillow is headed to the post office in the morning.  There have been a few thank you cards and a couple of "just thinking of you" cards winging their way across America this month.  Mrs. Roy even have a list of cards that need to be mailed.  Mrs. Roy hopes the rest of you are keeping your postman busy, too.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Finished Project - SIL Pillow

Mrs. Roy's favorite son-in-law is a former Marine.  This t-shirt was a fond reminder of his time in the service but, quite frankly, it was about done for.  Besides the intentional cut in the neckline, both arms had been cut off and there were tears and holes all over this raggedy treasured tee.  So Mrs. Roy's daughter shipped the t-shirt to Mrs. Roy and asked that it be preserved as a pillow.  After much fusing, mending, trimming and clipping - Ta-Da!  And yes, that's camo peeking out from the top of the neckline. 

As Mrs. Roy reviewed the tags for this post, it became apparent that this project was fun just because it involved sewing and it was frugal and ecologically sound because we reused something we already had.  Mrs. Roy does confess to buying the pillow form but everything else was already on hand. 

Another project finished and another happy relative.  Life is good!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goodbye, Angel

One of Mrs. Roy's cats died yesterday.  Her name was Angel, short for Angelica, the bratty kid on the Rug Rats.  She was 11 years old. 

Mrs. Roy's daughter brought her home tucked down in her shirt while riding a bicycle.  Angel loved to cuddle and loved to play.  Sometimes she would hide around the corner and jump out at you in surprise.  She would arch her back and hop around stiff-legged, which caused Mrs. Roy's son to nickname her Beartrap.  Angel loved to be the center of attention and would greet everyone who came in the door, not like other cats who run and hide under the couch when company comes.  Angel loved to chase lizards and would then toy with them until they died.  Sometimes she ate them; sometimes she just enjoyed the chase. 

Angel wasn't allowed to go outside because she had a nasty habit of climbing trees - chasing squirrels, we think - and then couldn't get down.  One time we were able to get a ladder and rescue her but another time she stayed up in the tree for nearly a week.  Actually, it was the neighbor's tree and she and Mrs. Roy would each get out on their decks and talk to poor Angel, who really wanted to come down but didn't know how.  Mrs. Roy finally got the pressure washer out and squirted water up there, hoping to chase her down but at least giving her a drink of water.  She did come down a little bit and then a friend climbed up and grabbed her, then dropped her to Mrs. Roy.  She was really glad to be home after that. 

Angel would jump up in the air and catch cat treats with her front paws.  She would find nuts and roll them around on the hardwood floors until she lost it under a closet door or the refrigerator.  She loved to ride in the car but she made it hard to drive because she wanted to see everything that was going on.  Angel came running whenever she heard the can opener because she insisted Mrs. Roy share the tuna with her.  Angel had her own crystal water bowl on the bathroom sink and she sat in Mrs. Roy's lap every morning while Mrs. Roy got ready for work.

Angel is resting in the back yard next to Blondie, our beloved dog.  It's going to be sad around here for a while but that just means God gave us a creature to love who loved us back even when we didn't deserve it.  And that's a good thing. 

We love you, Angel. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

12 Things to Watch for in 2011 by Gary Foreman

This is a guest blog from Mrs. Roy's friend Gary at The Dollar  Mrs. Roy thinks Gary is right on and hopes you will consider following his advice.

I enjoy watching the old westerns on TV. One thing I've learned is that is that if you're going to be a gunfighter, you need to always know what's happening around you. Failure to do that could put you in the Boot Hill cemetery.

Right now our economy is a little like the Wild West. Sometimes it seems like there are no rules. Or that whoever has the most guns gets to make his/her own rules. So we might be wise to learn something from that old gunslinger and watch carefully what happens around us. We might keep our finances from an early burial. So here are 12 things to watch out for in 2011.

Watch for old pricing rules to become obsolete. You're going to have to pay attention to prices in the new year. Some prices will be trending up, while others slide down. And, some will change direction during the year. Now, more than ever, it's important to know your prices. Shop around for any major item. Use a grocery pricebook to keep track of food prices.

It's a good time to challenge your assumptions. Just because you always bought a specific brand or store doesn't mean that you should continue. Challenging times cause companies to do things they wouldn't normally do. Some may drop prices significantly. Others could lower quality. Just because you've known a product or company for years doesn't mean that they can't change. In fact, you should expect it to happen.

Watch for ways to save a few dollars. Even if it's only a dollar or two a day. With an increase in uncertainty, it's much more likely that you could need a few extra bucks in a pinch.

Watch out for inflation in 2011. As the government borrows more and more, some prices are bound to rise. It probably won't happen until people are comfortable that they can spend their money again. When they do, we'll all remember why government borrowing is dangerous.

Watch for opportunities to strengthen your position at work. Learn new skills. Be flexible. Do anything you can to make yourself valuable to your employer.

Watch for ways to help your friends and family. Even if you don't have money to spare, you can help. Volunteer to help with a plumbing problem. Or save them the expense of a trip to the store by offering to pick up a few items for them.

Watch out that you don't put your family in jeopardy helping others. It's nice to be generous, but things like co-signing a note could put your finances in a world of hurt.

Watch for opportunities. Even in the most challenging times, there are some opportunities. You'll need to think creatively, and it might take some work. But I bet that there's someone who owns an unoccupied "fixer-upper" home that would be willing to let a family live in it while repairs and upgrades were made in trade for rent.

Watch your stress levels. When finances are tight it's easy to get stressed-out. Letting that stress build up will only make things worse. Don't sacrifice your mental or physical health or marriage to stress. Watch a sunset, listen to music or find some other healthy stress reliever. By the way, shopping is not an acceptable stress reliever.

Watch for unusual bargains. You'll find more "liquidation pricing" on a variety of goods. Auctions will have fewer bidders and thus more bargains.

Watch your step. Now is a time to be careful in making big financial decisions, especially since some of your prior assumptions could be wrong. It's true that many mistakes are made when we're in a hurry. Those mistakes could be very damaging in this economy.

Watch your tongue. Saying too little or too much could be bad for your financial health. There's nothing wrong with letting a few close friends and family know that you're facing some financial challenges. In fact, it's wise to do so. But, you don't want to go to the other extreme where every conversation revolves around your problems. If you go there, you'll notice that people begin to stay away from you.

Watch your back. Is there some problem or debt that's sneaking up on you? Do you have a major appliance (think furnace, A/C unit, refrigerator) or car that's getting old and may need repair or replacement? Or maybe you're close to being unable to make a minimum payment that would trigger a slide in your credit score. Anticipating problems can allow you to fix them before they catch up with you.

Gary Foreman is the editor of The Dollar website and enewsletters. Visit the site for more info on how to reduce credit card debt and live frugally.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mrs. Roy Says Don't Text and Try to Drive

Because you can't do both.  Mrs. Roy wants you to know you are 23 times more likely to have an accident if you try to text and drive at the same time. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Baby Quilt - A Finished Quilt is Always a Good Thing

Mrs. Roy finished a baby quilt I've been working on for a while now.  And the baby isn't born yet, so Mrs. Roy is moving right along!  This particular quilt is for a friend who gave Mrs. Roy a large stash of fabric after her mother-in-law passed away.  All the fabric for this quilt was from that stash and is for Mrs. Roy's friend's first grandchild. 

The bunnies were especially fun - they are actually cutouts intended to be sewn into stuffed dolls.  Mrs. Roy appliqued the front of the bunnies onto the front of the pieced quilt, quilted them, then quilted the whole quilt, then appliqued the bunny backs to the backside of the quilt after it was quilted. 

Here's praying for a healthy baby and lots of cuddles in this quilt for Mrs. Roy's friend and her family.