Saturday, August 30, 2014

Together Again

Today, I drove up to Berkeley, again, to be with my daughter.  We will spend the holiday weekend together.  I brought up the rest of the items she wanted, which we couldn't fit into the car last weekend.  Things like her old pillows (the new ones we bought for her were "too fluffy" she said), a favorite wall hanging and a potted plant which she received as a gift.

It was a long 6+ hr. drive, today, partly because of the holiday travelers and partly because I had a late start.  I had planned to leave early, but discovered that a tire had low air pressure.  A trip to the tire center revealed the cause: a nail!  So, I couldn't leave on the trip until the tire was repaired.  But I was very grateful to have discovered the nail before I had a flat tire when I was on the freeway!

It was a tiring journey, but so worth it to be hugged by my daughter at the end of it!  Seems she missed me!  :D

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Empty Nester Day 4

The day started with a phone call to my daughter to wake her up!  Maybe I should call myself a long distance parent rather than an empty nester!

Then, off to the office.  I went to the bank during my lunch break and the pharmacy.  I had hoped to go to the farmers market, as well, except the weekly farmers market wasn't being held this week due to road closures in downtown.

I spent the evening video chatting with daughter, again.  Even when I had a visit from an aunt and cousin.  They were able to see and chat with daughter and get a virtual tour of her apartment!  And later, when I called another cousin. 

Daughter and I went over this week's grocery ads and she made herself a grocery list based on this week's sales.  And she cut out some coupons, too.  :) 

It's been a quiet day, but that's OK.  Quiet days are a blessing, too.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Empty Nester: Day 3

Monday was the 1st day as an empty nester, but most of it was spent driving myself home.  Yesterday (Tuesday) was Day 2.  Today is Day 3.

Still getting used to having daughter away from home.  She is getting used to being away, too.  We've been video chatting every evening.  So far, we've been able to have dinner together, she at her end and I at my end, by doing so in front of our computers.

The wonders of modern technology!  Such a blessing that we can do this and, an even more of a blessing is that she actually wants to!  Eventually, I see us doing this less and less as she gets used to being on her own, but for now, she says it makes her happy to see my "smiling face" as she puts it.  :)  Apparently, I have very long apron ties!  :D  I must admit that spending the evenings on-line with her has eased my entry into being an empty nester.

Anyone else experiencing being an empty nester?  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


When my daughter's relatively new backpack (bought in early January of this year) developed some worn out spots on the bottom, she didn't want to spend more money to buy herself a new backpack.  Instead, she asked me if I could mend it for her, the way I had mended her previous backpack, which she bought when she was attending high school and used during most of her undergrad years (I mended all sides of that backpack and only stopped when the straps started to fray).

Worn Out Areas

Torn and Worn Spots

I looked through my fabric scraps and selected a piece of black fabric and a piece of denim fabric.  I used the denim fabric as a liner to reinforce the black fabric and sewed them together:

Black Fabric with Denim Fabric Reinforcement

Then, I pinned the reinforced fabric strip to the bottom of the backpack to cover the worn out spots and hand-sewed it in place:

Fabric Strip Pinned, Ready to be Sewn

Embroidered Pocket Added to Side

Since there was extra fabric, I sewed a pocket on the side and added a little hand embroidery to personalize it. 

The mending took a couple of hours to do.  The materials didn't cost anything since I had everything I needed.  Best of all, it extended the life of the backpack and saved daughter the $40 she would have had to spend to buy a new backpack.

I mended a few other items, too, for her - several clothing items that had ripped seams and frayed hems. 

Anyone else mend garments and other items to extend their use and save some money?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

I'm back home, again, after moving my daughter up north to continue with her studies.  Moved her into her apartment over the weekend.  It was hard to leave her there and come back home, but it's the beginning of a whole new chapter in her life.  Reminds me of the time, several years ago, when it was my turn to leave my mother and fly halfway across the world, at age 18, to pursue my own higher education.  I survived and thrived; I know my daughter will do the same.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Today, I picked two kinds of guavas from the garden: the green colored pineapple guavas which are also called feijoa, and the red colored cherry guavas.  I have 3 pineapple guava trees and 1 cherry guava tree.  Every year, daughter and I look forward to their fruits.

The cherry guavas can be eaten whole, as they are.

Cherry Guavas

 The feijoa have a thicker skin and are generally cut open to have the flesh scooped out for eating.

Pineapple Guava or Feijoa

Cut halves of Pineapple Guava
Both kinds of guavas can be eaten fresh, as they are, or made into jam. 

Daughter and I enjoyed some of the fresh fruit, as soon as I had picked and photographed them. 

At present, I have 11 fruit trees in the garden: 3 pineapple guavas, 1 cherry guava, 1 pomegranate, 1 orange, 1 calamondin (a type of small orange), 3 lemon, 1 loquat.  A 12th fruit tree, a peach tree, died and I haven't replaced it, yet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Car Shopping

Yesterday, I went shopping for a new car.  I hate car shopping and I put it off for as long as I dared to, but it was time for a new car.  My old car was 14 years old and had 186,000+ miles on it.  I was spending more on car repairs than the car was worth.

And so, I ventured forth into the car showrooms, yesterday, to look at cars.  I had a couple of makes in mind but it was hard for me to narrow down the choice to just one particular car.  I had a list of requirements, with price being a major factor.  But there were other factors, too, such as cargo space, fuel efficiency, etc.  I also knew what I didn't want (sunroof, leather seats, etc.), so it was easy to eliminate those choices.

I had done some research on-line and learned about the different features of the models I was interested in, but there's nothing like actually going into the showrooms and looking at the actual cars and test driving them.

In the end, I made my choice and with daughter helping to negotiate, I bought myself a new car.  Yes, I know that conventional wisdom says not to buy a brand new car because it depreciates in value the moment you drive it off the lot and it's best to get a slightly used car.  But I have always bought new and I prefer to buy new.  I am happy with my choice and look forward to driving this car for at least the next 10 years.  I'm in no hurry to go new car shopping again!  :D

Do you enjoy new car shopping?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

This Week's Meal Plan

I'm glad I admitted that I don't always follow my meal plans in last week's meal planning post, because I didn't follow it quite as written!

There wasn't enough salmon leftover from Sunday's dinner for Monday's dinner, so I made the smoked sausage stir-fry, intended for Wednesday, on Monday, instead.  Then, on Tuesday, I made fried rice, with the leftover smoked sausages (fried rice had been on Friday's meal plan).  The ground beef I had intended for Thursday became Wednesday's dinner, made into a cottage pie with lots of veggies and a mashed potato topping.  Leftover cottage pie for Thursday's dinner as well.  Daughter had gone out to lunch on Friday and she brought me a share for my dinner; she had dinner at a friend's house.

So, the important thing is to be flexible with the meal plans.  Just because something is slated for a particular day of the week doesn't mean one can't shift things around. 

This week's meal plan will be done in a slightly different way.  I have taken a week of vacation, so there will be even more flexibility built into the meal plan; more brunches than breakfasts and lunches, for example.  I haven't gone grocery shopping yet, this weekend (will probably shop tomorrow, need to buy milk), so the meals are based on what I have in the fridge (lots of leftovers!), freezer (chicken, ground beef, salmon, smoked sausage, ham, smoked sausage), and pantry.

Here's this week's meal plan:

Brunch:  Leftovers (Chinese food) from DD's lunch out with friends, yesterday!
Tea: raisin buns and melon buns, bought from the Japanese bakery
Dinner: rice, beef curry, lentils (dhal), green beans, sauted potatoes, tomato chutney; fresh fruit for dessert (oranges, cherries, grapes, etc.)

Brunch: waffles
Tea: zucchini bread
Dinner: Leftovers 

Brunch:  French toast
Tea: Crepes, with sugar and lemon juice
Dinner: rice,  chicken curry, sauted cabbage, beetroot

Brunch: Milk rice (rice cooked with coconut milk), spicy onion relish (sambol), juggery (coconut sugar), etc. 
Dinner: Leftovers (rice, chicken curry, etc.)

Brunch: Boiled mung beans, with spicy onion relish
Tea: muffins
Dinner: rice, salmon, cashew curry, green peas, tomato chutney

Brunch: Pancakes
Tea: Muffins?  Sandwiches?
Dinner:  probably fried rice or various bits of leftovers from the week!  

Brunch: Ground beef filled puff pastry turnovers
Tea: Cake and cookies
Dinner: rice, chicken curry, tomato chutney, cucumber salad
That's the plan for the week; subject to change, of course!  Flexibility is the key, here.  I'll probably switch the meals around a bit, but that's OK.   

What are you planning to have this week?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Morning

There was a time when daughter was younger, and my mother was still with us, when Saturday mornings were busy.  I'd take daughter to her piano/voice lessons by 9:00 a.m., wait until she was done, then take her to dance classes.  Drop her off and go grocery shopping.  Rush home to put the groceries away and get mother's lunch (she was a semi-invalid by this time, after her hip replacement surgery and strokes) and back to the dance studio before daughter's ballet class to tie up her long hair in a bun!  I'd wait until she was done and then, bring her home.  Sometimes, we'd take a detour and go to the library, before going home.  But always, any time I was away from home, at the back of my mind, was the worry that my mother might have fallen again; so I was always impatient to get back home to check on mother.

These days, in contrast, Saturday mornings are quite leisurely.  No piano or dance classes.  No rushing around to get errands done.  Today, for example, I slept in.  Then, I sat down, with a cup of coffee, to watch some knitting and sewing shows on TV, to go on-line, to write this post, etc.  

Eventually, I'll get around to doing some housework and sewing, etc.  But it's nice to have a relaxed morning after the busy-ness of the work week, isn't it?

How do you spend your Saturday mornings?

Friday, August 15, 2014


This has been a long work week; a bit stressful, too, due to an issue that came up.  But that makes one even more appreciative of the end of the work week, doesn't it?  I try not to bring work home with me, although, occasionally, I have to.

It has been a busy week at home, too.  On Tuesday evening, daughter and I went to the temple to pay a visit to the monks and to make an offering of alms.  The monks chanted blessings and wished daughter well in her continued studies and future endeavors.

On Wednesday, two of daughter's friends visited her at home and spent the evening watching movies.  I made dinner for us all and did a load of dishes.

On Thursday, daughter came to the office with me and visited some of my colleagues who have known her since she was born.  We went to the nearby pharmacy to buy some vitamins and visited the weekly farmers market to buy chocolate croissants for breakfast.  After that, daughter went to meet a friend while I went back to the office.  I picked up daughter from her friend's apartment on my way home from work.  Daughter and her friend had baked chai latte cupcakes and she had brought a cupcake for me, too, for my tea.  :)

Later, I phoned a cousin and a friend and put water to the back garden.  My orange tree and one of the lemon trees were looking rather wilted.  The orange tree has another crop of oranges developing and I am anxious to give it sufficient water for the fruit to grow and ripen. 

Today, after work, I dropped daughter off at the home of some friends for Friday night movies.  

There used to be a time when Friday evenings meant ballet classes, for both daughter and me.  It meant rushing home from work, changing clothes and rushing off to class to get there in time.  But once there, it was a fun way to spend a Friday evening.  Daughter danced; I made believe.  Good times.  :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Organic or Not?

I was discussing my grocery budget with some of my younger colleagues, many of whom would like to reduce their grocery budgets, and the subject of organic products came up.  Apparently some of them purchase organic items and, of course, those are more expensive than the regular grocery items.

The decision to buy organic often means weighing the pros and cons between the perceived benefits and the higher costs.  For some, the benefits outweigh the costs; for others, cost is a deciding factor. 

I was asked if I bought organic products and I said no. But, it has me wondering how much my grocery costs would rise if I did purchase mostly, if not all, organic items.

A quick peek at the weekly grocery ad from the big chain store supermarket revealed these prices for regular food and their organic equivalents:

regular milk: $3.49/gallon
organic milk: $3.49/half gallon

regular skinless, boneless chicken breasts: $2.99/lb.
organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts: $6.99/lb.

I think, at that price, I'd become a vegetarian! 
I grew up eating mostly organic food because, well, that's how it was grown, in that place and at that time. Farmers used cattle manure as fertilizer.  Everything was natural, with very little artificial additives.

However, the ceilings of our home and my school were formed of asbestos and every evening, we sprayed the house and the garden with DDT to get rid of the mosquitoes.

I suspect they each cancelled the effects of the other!

Speaking of organic foods...this pomegranate, growing in my garden without any artificial fertilizers or sprays, went from hanging on the branch to....

Pomegranate on the tree

being picked and placed in my fruit bowl on the dining table in under 5 minutes!  

Pomegranate in the fruit bowl

The lace table cover was crocheted by my mother. 

I might not buy organic products, but I do grow some organic items in my garden.

How about you? Do any of you buy mostly organic items? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A First Budget

Last night, daughter asked me to set up a budget for her living expenses, and we did that. She's been paying for her clothes, stationery, going out with friends, hobbies, etc. with her own money, but this will be the first time she'll be paying for her own groceries, toiletries, medications, cleaning products, etc.   I will be paying for her tuition, text books, health insurance, rent & utilities (included in the rent).

I budgeted $75 for groceries for her, but told her that the 1st couple of months might be more like $100 while she gets the staples like rice, oil, sugar, etc. But I've given her $50 from my July grocery budget and I'm planning to give her another $50 from the August grocery budget, too, to help defray the costs of stocking up, and no doubt, she'll receive some items from my stock pile, as well.

$25 per month for toiletries and household products.

Another $50 per month for going out with friends/eating out/entertainment. She thought that was too high, but I reminded her, a movie ticket is almost $15, a cup of coffee or smoothie close to $5, a lunch at a café can easily be $12.50 and so forth. I gave her alternatives for less expensive entertainment - rent a movie and invite friends over; have potlucks, etc. But, even with all that, there will be occasions when it would be necessary to have a cup of coffee with friends/classmates, especially when she first makes friends with others in her classes, etc. So, better to have a budget and be prepared.

$20/month for stationery/supplies: pens, printer ink, etc.

I suggested $20/month for clothing and $10/month for hobbies, as well, bringing up the total to $200/month.   Add in another $50/month for medications and she's looking at $250 for her monthly expenses.

She won't have transportation costs because her tuition includes the cost of a bus pass. 

Since she doesn't have a job at present, she'll be paying from her savings. She's planning to get a part time job once she's there, but that might not happen right away.  She will keep track of her spending and adjust as needed.

Anybody else has any good suggestions for setting up a first budget?  


Mondays always seem to come too soon after the weekend, don't they?

Mondays mean getting up early and going back to the office to start another work week.  I wore a new-to-me skirt (thank you, Aunty T), paired with a blouse and jacket I have worn before.  It was the first time I had worn this particular combination, though, and my outfit was admired and I was told I looked very nice.  I guess my colleagues were tired of seeing me wear the same outfits, day in and day out and appreciated something new!

I came home and had a short nap, then, watered the front garden.  Mondays also mean taking the trash cans to the curb for pick up on Tuesday morning, so that was done, too.

Then, dinner was cooked, some of the leftovers packed for tomorrow's lunch, and the dishes done.  I dropped a plate when washing it and it broke and nicked my right index finger.  Daughter put antibiotics on the cut and a band-aid.  I chipped a mug, the other day, when washing it and I've broken umpteen glasses the same way!  It's one way to have less dishes to wash, I guess!  After all, just how many plates and mugs and glasses does a person need?

How was your Monday?


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Weekly Meal Planning

I don't always do a weekly meal plan and even when I do, I don't always follow it!  And I rarely make a meal plan before I go grocery shopping.  The only time I make a menu and then, grocery shop for specific items based on the menu, is when I am planning a special meal for an occasion like a party or a religious event.

Instead, what I do on a regular basis is, I grocery shop according to what's on sale that week and the few items I always need, such as milk, and then, plan the week's meals based on what I've bought and what's in the freezer and pantry.  This approach seems to work out best for me.

But, however loosely I meal plan, having a list of possible meals is helpful.  It's one less thing to think of when coming home after a long day at work and I feel a little more organized.

So, every week, I come up with a weekly meal plan based on menu options: options for breakfasts (which I almost always take with me to eat at the office), lunches (usually leftovers, and again, usually packed to take to the office), and dinners (usually eaten at home).  We don't mind having leftovers, or eating the same items 2 or 3 times a week, so, often, I'll cook in quantity and have that during the week.  Weekends are a bit different, in that we tend to have brunches instead of breakfast and lunch.

Here's this week's meal plan: I didn't go grocery shopping this weekend, and don't have any bread on hand, so, those 2 factors shape this week's meal plans.

Brunch: scrambled eggs, chicken chorizo sausages, fried potatoes
Tea: zucchini bread (previously baked and frozen)
Dinner: rice, salmon (sauted with onions and tomato), sauted green beans; fruit salad with ice cream for dessert

Breakfast: choice of zucchini bread or cereal for me; daughter is home and can make herself a cooked breakfast, if she likes - she has a choice of pancakes in the freezer (onion, taro, mung beans) as well as oatmeal, eggs, sausages, etc.
Lunch: pasta with meatballs and garlic bread (leftover from Friday's dinner), salad; fresh fruit
Dinner: Leftover salmon from Sunday, with rice or pasta (menu options!), cucumber salad; fresh fruit

Breakfast: choice of zucchini bread or cereal
Lunch:  leftovers from Monday dinner
Dinner: rice, beef curry, cashew curry, sauted cabbage; last of the frozen eclairs for dessert

Breakfast: choice of cereal, granola bars, or crackers with cheese/peanut butter
Lunch: leftovers from Tues. dinner; fresh fruit
Dinner: smoked sausages stir-fry with vegetables (carrots, celery, bell peppers, etc.), rice; chocolate pudding

Breakfast: same as Wednesday's choices, unless I buy a pastry from the weekly farmers market near my office
Lunch: leftovers from Wed. dinner; fruit
Dinner: something with ground beef from the freezer, with choice of rice, potatoes, pasta and veggies; leftover chocolate pudding for dessert

Breakfast:  choice of cereal, etc.
Lunch: leftover from Thurs. dinner; fruit
Dinner:  probably fried rice or various bits of leftovers from the week!  Or eggs and potatoes.

Brunch: pancakes or eggs and hashbrowns.
Dinner: at friend's house
That's the plan for the week; subject to change, of course, depending on mood, energy levels, etc.

Anyone else meal plan for the week?   

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Wall Hanging/Pocket Organizer

Another newly finished craft project:

Cherry Print Pocket Wall Hanging/Organizer

There was some fabric leftover after I made the table runner and cushions for daughter.  I decided to make pockets out of them to make a hanging organizer for her.  It's on a clothes hanger (which, being white, is barely discernible against the white wall in the photo), so, it could hang from a closet rod, as well.  She's planning to hang it near her desk, which is in the living area of her studio apartment, and it will help tie in the different fabrics of the table runner and cushions.

Daughter had bought half a yard of each cherry print fabric; regularly priced at $9.99/yd., it was on sale for $5.99/yd. when she bought it, so, she paid $3 for each half yard piece.  The red fabric is regularly priced $3.99/yd., but I bought it on sale for $1/yd. after Christmas.  I had bought it intending to use for Christmas gifts, but it is proving to be very useful for making daughter's home decor items!  The wall hanging is lined with some fabric that a friend gave me, years ago.

There were two small pieces (each 4" by 14") of the cushion fabric left, still.  I made a hair bow for daughter with one piece (still have to hot glue it to a hair clip).  Haven't decided what to make with the other piece, yet.  Probably use it to trim something.

Next project: pillow cases!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Busy Days

Ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day to do all what you want to do?

The past couple of days have been full to the brim: daughter has had a medical check up and lab work done, her friend since middle school has been over to spend a couple of days visiting, there have been other visitors and we've gone visiting, as well.

We went to the fabric store twice in as many days and bought more fabric and we've all been sewing!  My sewing machine and daughter's sewing machine have been set up on the big dining table and our dining area has been temporarily converted into a sewing room!  Daughter and her friend are making scarves and I am making more items for daughter to take with her. 

In between, there have been all the other home keeping tasks, such as laundry, changing bedding, watering the garden, sweeping and mopping floors, doing dishes, and cooking.

How do you cope with busy days when so many things are going on at once?  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Grocery Budgeting and Shopping

Daughter has been asking me how much she should budget for groceries when she moves up north.

Right now, my grocery budget for both of us is $150/month (for food items only; pet food, household and cleaning products, toiletries, etc. not included; I budget separately for those items).

Logically, if I am spending $150/month for 2 people, then, it should be half of that, or $75, for one person.  However, I suggested she budgets between $75 to $100/month for herself, especially while she stocks up with basics and builds up a pantry.  Most probably, I'll send her off with items from my own pantry, as well.  I also managed to save $50 from July's grocery budget and gave it to her towards stocking up with basics (rice, sugar, oil, condiments, etc.)

I would like to save another $50 from my August grocery budget to add to what I gave her in July.  Let's see if I am able to do so.

I've been going on-line to check the prices of advertised items at the 2 main grocery stores DD will be shopping at when she's up there.  One is more expensive, but convenient to her (on the direct bus line between campus and apartment); she can stop and shop on her way home from classes.  The other store means 2 bus rides.  The prices at this store are comparable to prices at several of the major chain supermarkets down here.  I will be coaching daughter as to how to make the most of her grocery budget and I'll be happy to share those tips here, too.

I went grocery shopping yesterday at a nearby ethnic store; spent $47.57 and bought:

1 bread = $2.39
2 pkg. cookies, $2.19@ = $4.38
1 doz. eggs = $2.09
4 pork chops, $2.49/lb. = $2.63
3 salmon steaks, $4.99/lb. = $8.18
1 celery = $.34
hothouse cucumbers; $.79/lb = $0.56
1 regular cucumber = $.50
10 lb. bag potatoes = $1.49
bananas, $.49/lb. = $.56
tangerines, $.99/lb. = $2.50
lychees, $1.99/lb. = $1.97
white champagne grapes, $.99/lb. = $2.26
cantaloupe, $.25/lb. = $.65
green beans, $.69/lb. = $0.48
English tea, 100 bags. = $3.79
Assam gold tip tea leaves, 1 lb. = $6.89
1 bottle spicy chili sauce = $3.49
1 container spicy seasonings = $2.39
Total spent: $47.57

Stopped at a regular chain supermarket on my way home from work today and bought:
1 gal. milk = $3.49
1 qt. half & half = $2.29
1 lettuce = $.99
.54 lb. salmon fillet, reg. price $7.99/lb, on sale for $2.58 for the piece
.72 lb. salmon fillet, on sale for $3.44 for the piece
Total spent: $12.79

Total spent to date: $47.57 + $12.79 = $60.36

Balance remaining in August grocery budget = $150 - 60.36 = $89.64

I cooked the pork chops for tonight's dinner, with sauted carrots and celery and fried potatoes.  Leftovers in the fridge for someone's lunch, later in the week.

Anyone else shopping the sales and trying to make the most of the grocery budget?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Growing up, afternoon tea was very much a fact of life.  In fact, the day started with a cup of tea - bed tea, it was called, as we were woken up with a cup of tea, served to us while we were still in bed.  That first cup of tea was followed by several other cups of tea throughout the day, but afternoon tea was always a main stay.

When my mother was alive, we always had tea in the morning and in the evening.  Mother was not a coffee drinker; she wanted her tea. 

These days, I am much more likely to make coffee in the morning and in the evening, too.  But, every so often, we will have tea, daughter and I.  Today was one of those days.  We had gone grocery shopping, earlier in the afternoon, and bought 2 kinds of tea - Assam gold tip tea and Ceylon tea (box is labeled English tea, but the contents state Ceylon tea, packaged in Sri Lanka).   So, when daughter offered to make us a cup of tea, I happily accepted.

And so, we had afternoon tea, today, with some amaretti cookies to go with it.  The crocheted table runner shown in the photo above was made by my mother.  The china was a gift from my daughter to me on my 50th birthday.  I accidentally broke one of the cups a few weeks ago and was very sad about it, but daughter bought me a replacement cup recently, so once again, I have a complete set.

Patiently waiting nearby, was Dancer kitty, hoping for some tea time treats for him, too.
Any Tea For Me, Mummy?           

Monday, August 4, 2014

Completed Craft Projects: Pictures

The Blue Heart Sweater I Knitted

Cherry Table Runner and Cushions

Close Up of Table Runner Fabric

Table Runner


Close Up of Cushion
Pictures, as promised!  :D

I finished sewing the 2nd cushion cover, today and daughter took the pictures for me to post.  I reused 2 pillow forms I already had (bought on sale, of course), to make the cushions.

The table runner is lined with red fabric, but I forgot to turn it over to show that.  I sewed it in a way that makes it completely reversible, should she want to display a red table runner for a change.

Daughter sketched out the sweater's hearts design and I graphed the hearts on square ruled paper and used that as my knitting pattern.  The rib at the waist and wrists is a mock cable rib, which is my favorite rib - almost all the sweaters I knit have this same rib! 

Daughter bought the cherry print fabrics when they were on sale, as well.  There are 2 more cherry print fabrics, to be sewn up when we decide what to make with them, as well as the leftovers from the table runner and cushions.  I am thinking of making her a patchwork quilt with them, perhaps.  Maybe for Christmas.

Daughter is thrilled with her table runner and cushions.  And I am happy to have made them.  :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saturday: Shopping, Sewing, Laundry, and Rain

It was a cooler, humid day, today.  I decided to do some sewing in the morning and sewed a table runner for daughter's apartment.  She had bought some fabric with a cherry design for the table runner, which will go on her coffee table. 

Later, after lunch, we went shopping at one of our favorite discount stores. Daughter was looking for a white long sleeved shirt, but we didn't find one.  She did find some long sleeved t-shirts, though, and bought those, as well as one or two other items.  I bought a set of bath rugs for my bathroom. 

Then home and I made us some faluda to drink: rose syrup, water, condensed milk, ice cubes - very refreshing on a hot afternoon.

In the evening, I did several loads of laundry.  I generally tend to do laundry once a week and have 3-5 loads each week. 

After the laundry was done, I put the sprinklers on to water the back garden. 

And then, I sewed a cushion cover for daughter, with a different cherry pattern fabric.  I'll sew the 2nd, matching cushion cover tomorrow and then, maybe I can persuade daughter to take a picture to post. 

I was still sewing the cushion cover when it rained!  Around 10:00 p.m. and it was so wonderful to have a shower of rain!  I love summer rain, and we need the rain so badly. 

My neighbors had another of their almost weekly parties, tonight, with loud, amplified music playing until after 1:00 a.m.  I think they turned the music off at 1:20 a.m.  At least it wasn't karaoke, tonight.  

It's past 2:00 a.m. I had better publish this post and get some sleep. 

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

August Goals

I've been making monthly goals for years, now.  Some are long term goals, others are short term goals.  Some months, I attain all or most of that month's goals.  And that's ideal.  Other months, I don't quite achieve my goals.  But that's OK; sometimes it means my goals were too big to be achieved in one month.  Occasionally, goals change, for one reason or another, and that's OK, too.

So here are my goals for August.  
Spiritual:  Continue to perform daily devotions/meditations, be more present in the moment, and attend the monthly prayer meeting (scheduled for 2nd weekend in August)

Environment: Outside: Continue to spruce up the garden (regularly weed, water, prune, cultivate, landscape, etc.)  Inside: Continue to clean and declutter (daily/weekly routines).

Daughter: Spend time with her before she leaves for grad. school; drive her up there and settle her in towards end of August.

Family: Keep in touch through letters, e-mails, phone calls; Get together with family once or twice.

Friends: Keep in touch through letters, e-mails, phone calls and also get together with them once or twice.

Career: Need to balance career demands with family obligations, this month.

Finances: Start a new budget/spending plan!  There will be several changes in my expense categories, this month, and so, this month's budget will be more trial and error than in months past.  I paid off my mortgage in June, but I will be paying for daughter's apartment and utilities while she's in grad. school; also, her tuition has increased as grad. school costs more than undergrad.

Health: Be mindful of diet and exercise; get adequate sleep; call to schedule a dr's appt. for myself (regular check-up).

Organizing:  Organize daughter's move.  Lists, lists, and more lists!  In previous months, I've made lists of items she'll need for her new apartment and we've shopped and bought most of the items she'll take from here.  This month, I'll make the list of items we will buy up there and the list of all the things we need to do before she leaves, and all the things we need to do once she's moved.

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies: Sew, knit, read, garden; finish knitting the blouse for DD, sew a table runner and cushion covers for her.

Time Management: Lots to do before DD moves up north; I basically have 3 weeks to get stuff done.  It's going to be a busy month.

Do you make monthly goals?   Do you do regular reviews of the goals during the month to see if you are where you'd like to be in terms of achieving your goals? 

July in Review

I can't believe that the month of July is almost over!  The days seem to fly past!

A quick review of the month shows I was able to accomplish a few things, big and small, in several areas of my life:

- I crocheted a baby blanket for a colleague's new baby
- I knitted a sweater for my daughter
- I acquired a new laptop computer
- I started this blog (with daughter's help)
- I went away on a visit to Berkeley with daughter
- Had several visits with family and friends
- Celebrated 31 years of employment
- Stayed well under my monthly grocery budget

It's been a good month, altogether.  Looking forward to another good month in August.