Thursday, July 28, 2016

Make it or buy it?

As a seamstress & costume designer one would think that I make everything in my wardrobe... and you would be WRONG!  One would wonder why I don't just sew everything that I need...  well the simple answer is...
cheap foreign labor

When I get an email from a store that they have dresses on sale for only $30...there just isn't any way on earth that I can sew my own dress for that little.  Even finding nice quality fabrics on sale for $10 per yard (and that's dreaming is more like almost $20 per yard usually) I would just scrape by at that price range, but you're not including any thread, zippers, lining, and the cost of the pattern. 

So when I get that email, I look and see what all I can find.

Today I got such a notice and found 4 dresses for myself.  I put them in my cart and went through the check out process and thought that I had completed my order, but after waiting 20 min for my confirmation email I scrolled down and found the hidden submit order button.  :-/   k folks I don't need a page full of pictures of things I didn't order on my order form...I NEED the submit order button.  :p

I wonder how long until I get my dresses?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

TV saga continues

Daughter and I had gone to a rehearsal.  Upon returning we see that the dead tv set is in the garage...on the floor of the garage.  Just where I told husband to NOT put the tv set!!!  I told him to not put the tv on the floor of the garage because I knew that we would NEVER get it back up off the floor again.  but alas, I don't know anything.  sigh!

Apparently, he must have seen the neighbors outside and invited them in to help him move the set.  he paid them a 12 pack of Pepsi to do it.  I hope they didn't choke on the dust too much.  This thing sat in a hole in the wall (literally!) for the past...I don't even remember how many years we had the thing.

Well great, now the tv is out of my house.  And now we get to figure out how to get the tv set up off the floor of my garage and into the back of my car which wasn't at home when he had the neighbors help move it, so that's why it's on the floor.

Remember this is the heavy tv set that I dropped several years back trying to get it into the house.  And now hubby thinks that we can rig something up that will help us lift this thing the 3 feet we need to get it into the car...supposedly once we get it to the mysterious tv guy, he'll be able to get it out of my car.  (yeah right!)

So all weekend hubby was trying to think of how to get some sort of ramp situated that we could use along with my car's tire jack to lift this thing off the floor.  ???

In the mean time we don't have any replacement tv set...which is not really a problem.  I think that by the time we finally get a replacement we will be totally weaned from even needing one.

and perhaps we'll get used to having a dead tv set in the garage also?

Thursday, July 07, 2016

update of sorts...

the reason this is an update of sorts is that absolutely nothing has been done...really.

oh, this is about the tv situation.

apparently long gone are the days of just throwing away in the trash your broken tv set.  something about them being toxic and such (and I've had this thing in my house for how long???)  you now have to recycle them...and pay for the recycling (even though the recycler gets money from the parts?)  but FIRST you have to find someone willing to do this...because apparently these things are toxic or something.

so I look online and find someone with ads all over craigslist that will come and get my tv set for only $1 per inch.  I contact the dude and he tells me that his truck is broke and he can't come and get the set.  I ask, can I bring it to him.  He says yes.  I ask him where to bring it.  crickets.  hummm

Hubby found someone here in our town (the other guy was two "towns" away). 

But then our HOA sends out a notice that our trash company is doing a large item pick up.  Hubby decides instead of finding out himself, that I should call them and see if they'll take it or if they know someone who will.  sigh! 

Instead I look online at our trash company's website and they have a huge list of things they can't take...and guess are listed on the do not take list TWICE!

So I contact the local guy that hubby also never contacted.  And guess what... he also can't come get it because he no longer has a truck.  ???  what the actual hay?  What is happening to all the trucks in the land that no one has a truck?

so we can bring the set to the guy, and it isn't far.  The problem is that this set weighs too much.  When we got the set and tried to bring it into the house, I actually dropped it.  Hubby got the neighbor to help him bring it in and put it on the shelf above our fireplace.  Now we have to find some muscle to get it down and into my car so we can take it to the recycler guy who doesn't have a truck.  And he charges a flat fee.

Monday, July 04, 2016

We finally cut the cord...

we had been discussing this for a long time.  Doing this made us really nervous.  It seemed really hard to give it up after having it for so long...and what if we weren't happy afterward?  We would never be able to get that rate again.  :-/

I'm talking about our cable tv subscription.

When we first moved into this house in 2001 we quickly learned that our tv sets would not pick up any tv stations via their antennas ... well not true entirely.  We could get PBS on the little black & white tv that used to sit on my kitchen counter in Wyoming so I could watch tv while doing the dishes.  And the old tv set (it's from the 70's I think) would pick up one station.  But the newest set would only get one station and that was with no sound.  ???  sigh!  So we called up the cable company and got the cheapest package they had and were happy.

The cable company had tried to pull a bait & switch on us at first.  So for the first 3 years we were paying for the basic package and got expanded basic cable.  I suppose the cable company's intent was like with their "free trials" to get us hooked on the expanded cable and then tell us that we had to either switch back to the regular basic or pay the extra for what we were used to.  And that probably would have worked much better if they were paying attention.  But they forgot about us for 3 years!  Then one day out of the blue I hear someone at the side of my house...note: he didn't ring the doorbell first.  just went to change the cable as if WE were stealing it.  When I asked what he was up to he said that I had called for the change.  I didn't argue with him because I knew we were getting the expanded cable without paying for it and I didn't want to give the cable company any reason to pretend like I had stolen it.

So we had the basic cable that we were paying for and even though we suffered a wee bit of withdrawl from the Disney Channel, Food Network (although, my weight went down afterward) and HGTV we made the adjustment just fine.  We never upgraded to better packages or a DVR.

Over the years the cable company kept changing what channels we were attempt to get us to switch back to the larger channel packages and of course pay them more money.  And of course they kept raising our rates too.  We went from paying less than $13 a month and getting around 20 channels to eventually paying over $30 a month...note: while we were actually getting a lot more channels...they weren't anything that we were watching as there were about 100 music channels that were included... channels with a black screen that played music.  ???  we have a radio for that!...and it is FREE  :p

One day I picked up the bill that hubby had just been paying without complaint, and I noticed how much we were paying for basically garbage!  We barely watched the stations that we did have as the regular stations had programing that has no morals and even the Discovery channel (the only "decent channel") started having mostly shock value shows.  I mean when the show has mostly bleeping, what value is that?  and I ask you..."Naked and Afraid"  ???  there was nothing worth watching.  In fact I would be on the computer until about 10:30 each night, then flip on the tv...find something remotely acceptable and fall asleep during the first commercial break.

We kept asking ourselves why we were still paying for this.  We kept thinking that we should cut it off.  But we were scared of what it would be like with no tv.

And then, one day I flipped on the tv and the picture tube blew!  Just a soft pop and no picture, no sound.  Dead!... well except for the high pitched sound that only my daughter could hear.

That settled it!  It was finally time to cut the cord.

I first researched how to shut off the cable because like everyone else, I had heard about the terrible time several folks have had when trying to disconnect the cable...and yes I had my service with THAT company.  I saw that they have about 10 excuses for cutting off the cable that they actually accept without arguing.  And my excuse wasn't on their list!  The first 3 excuses they accept really weren't cutting off the cable at all, but switching it to another address or another person!  sigh!  BUT I found that if you just take all the equipment back to their store you have the upper hand and they won't argue with you in person.  (big chickens!)

So I packed everything back into their handy dandy boxes that they gave them to me in and took them back.  The guy there took one controller out and brought up my account using it's number.  He asked me to verify the account and asked why I was cutting it.  I told him... the TV blew and we aren't going to replace it.  That was it.  A few seconds later I had a receipt for my cable controller boxes and was on my way.

And now we are trying to find someone willing to take our old TV set (you have to recycle them now...and PAY for that!)... and of course we aren't truly doing without a tv set.  Hubby is researching what super huge HDTV he can get into the old tv space...that will only have an internet connection and mostly be used for watching our collection of movies.

Friday, June 03, 2016


I had seen several ads posted on Craigslist for free bee swarm removal, and thought it would be cool to actually have a swarm.
Around May 23rd or so (date pretty foggy there) I was out working in my garden and thought I heard bees buzzing by. I looked around but didn't think anything of it.
May 26th I was out in the back yard again and knew I heard bees. I looked around and saw that we had bees who had decided "su casa es me casa!"

I love bees but I know that hubby is highly allergic and while having bees in a hive is awesome (honey!) having bees in your wall is not awesome. So right off I contact a friend of mine who keeps bees who upon hearing that the bees are in my wall has me contact John, who has me contact Stuart. Stuart says he has an opening on June I want it? um yeah!

Today Stuart opens up the soffit

takes a few pictures.  
hive after opening up soffit
after vacuuming off most of the bees
I grabbed a few also...there are more on my camera. My dining room made for the perfect bee operation view point.
He vacuumed the bees using a shop vac with hoses that ran through a special bee box first. The bees get caught in the box. He cut out the comb and we discovered that the queen (who was hiding behind the very last comb) had been very busy laying a lot of eggs. After finding the queen bee and cutting out all the comb, he went to lunch to give the bees a chance to figure out where the queen had moved to.

Funny, at first the bees were flying mostly around where the hive used to be, but after a while they figured out where the queen was and stayed by her...some fanning her with their wings.

After lunch, vacuumed out the rest of the bees in the soffit, and started putting it back together. now the soffit is all sealed back up and the bees are on their way to a new home...I don't know where. But Stuart said that last year he had to provide his own bee removal service because one of his swarms had decided to move into his own house. :D I hope this swarm behaves better for him.
oh no honey in our no honey for anyone.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Did it myself! Cell phone case tutorial

So we were shopping at the Disney Store on Tuesday and I found this beauty…/…/ but it only comes for the iPhone. I have an Android. So today we went shopping for stuff to make it with! We found gear die cuts and gold paper (originally gift bags). Had a blast cutting out all the gears.:D freaked out the kid because her cutter didn't like it much. oops, she needed a new plate anyway. ;)

 Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the steps for you.  But I should be able to explain it...I hope.

Items I needed:

clear cell phone case for my phone.  I found this easily by googling my cell phone brand.  The only problem I had is that the site selling the case did not indicate that the case I bought wasn't entirely clear.  There is part of the case that is cloudy.  However, for this it doesn't matter much as you can still see the design and from a distance the cloudy part isn't noticeable.

background paper.  Since the original design that I was copying from Disney is white, I just used scrap white paper.  The thinner the paper, the better as there is some bending required.  If you have white wrapping paper that works really well.

the gears.  We found these Tim Holtz gear dies at our local craft store and I had a coupon.  My daughter already owns a die press although we did need to improvise getting the thickness correct (there is an adapter you can buy, but we just used an embossing folder).
I wanted to copy the gold foil look and since we couldn't find gold foil scrap booking paper we bought some gold foil gift bags instead.  They were thinner and worked better.  gold foil wrapping paper would have also worked for this.
The dies have tiny holes on the back to help remove the cut paper.  We gently pushed the paper out of the dies with pins.

the rabbit.  My daughter actually already had the rabbit stamp (go figure!) so all we needed was the gold ink stamp pad.  It took a few tries to get that right but practice makes perfect.

Now for the assembly!  First I popped off the back cover of my cell phone and traced it onto some thicker paper to make a template that we saved to make other cell phone case inserts.  (actually, my daughter popped her cover off to make the template.)  Traced the template onto the white paper and carefully cut it out, using an exacto blade for the cut outs for the camera, flash & speaker.

Carefully arranged the gears to see where everything would go, but don't attach yet as the rabbit stamp goes on first.  Stamped the rabbit and then glued down the gears.  Let everything dry with some weight on it so it is flat.

Then place the new cover over the back cover of the phone and place the clear case on.

Finished phone case

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Update on Constant Snoopervision Required

When I posted  I had assumed that my dryer wasn't working because of a broken belt.  I mean it sure sounded like the belt had broken...there was a slapping sound at first and then the drum stopped spinning.

However, when hubby took the dryer apart he realized that the belt was just fine... the problem was that, oh gosh, I don't even know what you would call the part...let's see if I can describe it.  The drum of the dryer sits on rollers on the bottom and then has an axle of sorts connected to the back of the dryer.  This axle looks very similar to an artificial hip joint. 

Here's a picture of the actual part and they call it a shaft.  (go figure!)

470053-1-S-Frigidaire-5303931781        -ShaftWhat broke was the ball from the shaft.  No idea why it sounded like a broken belt.  ???

So I searched for our favorite local appliance parts online and discovered that they are no longer in business.  *SOB!*  I had to order the part online.  Not a huge deal, but we had a trip planned for my daughter's 18th birthday and wanted to have clean clothes for that.

Luckily even though FedEx Smartpost tried to give me heart failure by leaving my order in the truck for 24 hours just two hours away from my house and pushing back the delivery day by those same 24 hours...we did get the part in time and hubby was able to get it installed in about an hour & a half.

Of course our snoopervisor had to check out the package (she checks all packages coming into and out of the house now) and keep a close eye on all work.  All work was approved by the snoopervisor!

I now have a running dryer!  YAY!  Not bad for a dryer that is going to be 24 years old this summer.  note: we have not had to replace anything on the washer in all of those years.  Going out on a limb of speculation here, but I assume that part of why we have had to replace some of the parts on our dryer are because the washer & dryer were in storage for 20 months back in 1999-2001.  Or those parts were never meant to last this long.

At any rate I am so glad that we have these well built old machines.  I am just bummed that all the kitchen appliances are not so well built and instead of just replacing a part when they go down, we have to get new ones.