Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Pay Check Debacle... AKA... BE Careful What You Put Through Your Shredder!

The Shredder Container

Being that today is the last day of the month and payday for teachers, I drove over to Central Office to pick up my June check. Instead of driving directly to my bank with the deposit, I went to my hair appointment.....after 6 years of mid-length hair, I was about to have it all cut OFF!  Once I finished there, I went to the post office to post my two quilt squares to Anna Maria Horner and her “Rainbow Around the Block” project for making and giving quilts to the victims of the Tennessee floods before winter arrives. Continuing down my list, I went to WallyWorld to pick up milk and sugar and then home.  Before pulling down the driveway, I got the “mail” from our box, proceded to drive on down, parked the car, grabbed the my bag, paycheck, and all the “junk” mail.  Once inside the front door, I dumped it all on the dining room table and started going through the flyers and the rest of the junk so I could shred it as I always do. Once I had finished, I got this sick feeling deep inside my stomach.....oh, dear.....where is my green paycheck?  Immediately I started freaking out, charging about the house and back and forth to the car several time to no avail.  IT WAS GONE, and I knew where.  

By now the reality of the situation was hitting home, so I began planning out what I needed to do.  I did not want to call the school board office....I knew that would NOT be good.  Then I had one of Oprah’s lightbulb moments.  I taught the county treasurer’s children and have know her for years.  Knowing that the checks are all cut at the county treasurer’s office and not by and at the school board office, I decided to call Carol, our country treasurer.  When I broke the news to her she couldn’t believe it.  I asked if it had ever happened to anyone else during her 20 or so years in the office only to hear, NO!  She said someone had lost one in their chicken house and another had burned up one on top of the toaster, but no one had called saying she had shredded her check only 2 hours after receiving it.  I started getting that sick feeling all over again. Things didn’t look so good. Carol, being the lovely person she is, told me to calm down and gave me the following directions:  find enough of the pieces of the check to prove it had actually been shredded and could NOT be cashed, bring them to her, and she would cut me a new check. 
 The pile of shredded pieces I was going through-the needed ones on the right!

Now the agony and a half hours of going through the trash can of the shredded paper pieces.  Fortunately, our checks are a green, gridded paper so I was looking for light green and not white.  What an undertaking! Fortunately, I had not torn the check on the top half from the check stub on the bottom half so there was a bit more to hold together as it was cut and squished going through the blades.  The good Lord was kind to me.  I still cannot believe it, but I actually found a sliver with 3 of the 6 digit red check number on it, a piece with my name on it, another with the am’t of the check, and the funniest piece was the one that said “Void after 90 Days!!!!!  Once I found the am’t and the red number, I called Carol and she said to get in the car with all of the pieces in an envelope, she had already cut my check, and she would be happy to escort me over to the bank to be sure it got deposited....I thought that comment was pretty darn clever.  I used Scotch tape and affixed the important pieces to the paper so I wouldn’t lose them, wrote a little thank you to Carol at the top, and put the rest of the green pieces in a sealed envelope.
Pieces with my name info on them.

Piece with check number on the “void after 90 days!"

All the important pieces taped to sheet for Carol.

At this point, I called Buddy into the room and had him take these photos so I could actually show them to her when I got to the county treasurer’s office. Trust me, the smile on my face is because of the pieces with the check# and the check am’t in my hands!
Genie with major haircut holding pieces with name and check # on them

Well, it all ended up fine.  My check is in the bank, the receipt is in my desk file, and we have all have lots and lots of laughs at my gigantic boo-boo.The moral is...........THINK BEFORE YOU SHRED!!!!  Once it is a done deal, you do not want to ever want to have to try to reconstruct any document.  IT IS NOT A FUN THING TO DO! Hope you all get a good chuckle out of the photos......Genie

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.”

Thrifty Thursday Is Here Again!

This week was a good one for me at our “Antique Mall.”  Not only did I have lots of fun with my granddaughter and her mom wandering in and out of all the booths, I also came across some really “fine" finds.  The first one is this little cream pitcher, though I am probably going to use it for my flowers.  It is the prettiest blue you have ever seen, the flowers are just precious, and it doesn’t have a nick in it anywhere....$2.00.  
Next I same across these 5 little woven, wicker-like wreaths.  I love to add small, unusual  things to the wrappings of gifts I give so these will be perfect.....and are you ready for this one????? 50 cents for the five of them, and they are in perfect condition.
Finally, my last “buy” was some vintage heavy silver plate bread and butter knives.  I always loved the patterns on the silver plate my parents used as their everyday silver....the sterling was always in the buffet silver drawer covered in Pacific cloth to keep it from tarnishing.  My mom’s silver plate has simply been worn thin due to many years of use, so a while back I started looking for replacements in as many different patterns as I could find.  I did not want sets of any of them....just mix and match...I like that so much better.  When I found these 8 little knives for $1.00 each, I almost flipped.  Six of them are the longer style and two are the shorter, more dainty ones.  Yes, Saturday was a GREAT day for the thrifty shopper.

“Cannot people realize how large an income is thrift?
~Marcus Tullius Cicero - 106BC-43BC

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HURRAH.....It’s Rednesday Again!

It is Rednesday again, but this time I am focusing on my granddaughter and her daddy, my  39 year old son, Gene.  They were here this weekend along with Patricia, mommy and wife, so I definitely have them on my mind.  When they come for a visit and then leave, I have a hard time getting used to them being gone.  As the years have passed I have gotten better, but I still get really “down” when they with my daughter and my other son. At Chrismas when I was visiting them in Richmond, Eloise was in the process of painting this picture.  Well, I fell in love with it, and requested they give it to me for my 71st birthday.  I just thought it was the cutest thing, and the red in it was the best.  I have a special wall just for her art work, so this picture has been framed and I look at it each day from my bed.

This wood carving is one that Eloise’s daddy, my “baby, Gene”, gave me years ago for a Mother’s Day present.  Like so many of my presents, it is one of my “SPECIAL" treasures.  It hangs by my bed and reminds me of my boy. Maybe I am silly, but at 39, I still call him "my baby".  Where he got the wood carving I do not know, but I love it as I love him.
This is a happy Rednesday, though I really do miss Gene, Eloise, and Patricia. We have had some nice showers so it is not so hot and humid. No mom could ever ask for a more loving and caring daughter-in-law than Patricia.  She is wonderful to me, my son, and to my granddaughter.  This is a somewhat lonesome Rednesday with them gone, but it will not be too long before they return to their little spot out in the country on the creek. The happy part is I have Buddy (my better half), Jack (the dog), and Trouble (the cat) here with me to put lots of smiles on my face. HAPPPY REDNESDAY TO ALL OF YOU!

“Happy is the son whose faith in his mother remains unchallenged.”
~Louisa May Alcott - 1832-1888

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Farmer’s Market with Eloise

The joys of summer and our local farmer’s market are innumerable.  I cannot wait to hop out of bed each Saturday morning to drive down the the Virginia Horse Center to see my friends and all the goodies they have brought for me to eat during the week.  It is like one big happy family enjoying a Saturday morning tea party together.  This week was the best!  The berries and the flowers were divine, the corn was at its best, and the breads and sweet rolls were  to die for.  Now my little dining room table looks pretty and smells so good. It’s gonna be a good while yet before we start harvesting from our own gardens....that is IF the deer and other varmints don’t come in for some free food!

“Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables.  They Probably get jet-lagged, just like people.
~Elizabeth Berry

Eloise, Gene, and Patricia Come To the Creek To Visit Baga and Grandbud

     It was a VERY hot weekend here in Virginia, but we all had a wonderful time together swimming in the river at John’s house, sitting here in our creek while moving rock and creating new dams and hoo-doos, Baga and Eloise getting their toenails polished, rambling through the antique mall, watching the USA lose their soccer match, shopping at our local farmer’s market for fresh fruits, meat, veggies, and bread, eating around our “one-of-a-kind” firepit we built down by the water, and just hanging out together with lots and lots of love floating about in the air. IT WAS GREAT, and here are a few of the photos - with no music - to share.

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Happy Times with Eloise
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“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.”
~Author Unknown

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Functionally Dysfunctional ME Monday Challenge

     Both my daughter and my BFF’s daughter have been social workers for years, so we have heard the word “dysfunctional” used over and over again in many, many conversations.  We are convinced the two of us are basically somewhat dysfunctional, but fortunately we are very happy dysfunctionals. We do not need to put the fun back into it because it never left! When I found this Mary Engelbreit  zipper bag in a local gift shop, I just had to have it.  I have used it for all kinds of things, but for the last few years it has been my carry-along embroidery bag.  Inside it I have room for a little plastic container for my floss, a needle holder, scissors, embroidery hoops, the design schematic for my 100 Blessing Sampler, and even more.  It really holds a lot to be so small, and at the present it contains everything I need to work on my 100 Blessings Sampler. Everytime I go out with it I always get a comment.  Guess there are a lot of folk out there that do not know about ME and all of her wonderful expressions.

     This afternoon, my 5 year old granddaughter who was visiting for the weekend wanted me to make Shrinky Dink necklaces with her so we got out the plastic, Sharpie markers, and started creating. She put on my reading glasses pretending she was 18 years old and a teacher while telling me she was going to sketch out what she was going to draw. She tickles me to death when she pops on my silly little reading glasses.

     By chance, this little bag just happened to be on the floor right beside where I was sitting on the sofa.  When I looked down and saw ME’s drawing of the girl in her hat and glasses, I started sketching her on my plastic....then Eloise started copying what I was doing.  So here you have it....hers is on the left and mine is on the right, and I think hers has much more personality and appeal than is just too so cute.  She was upset with me for not following the picture and neglecting to put the flower on he side, so she insisted adding her own yellow flower to the top of my girl’s hat...and when she and I are playing, what Eloise wants to do Baga lets her do!  They turned out pretty cute, but the most fun was just playing with her. They sure don’t come even the least bit close to looking like one of ME’s drawings.

"Grandmother-grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love.”
~Author Unknown

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Photographing Our BEAUTIFUL Goldfinches with New Telephoto Lens

     During the 2008-2009 school year, I, for some unknown reason agreed to sponsor our middle school yearbook at the ripe old age of 69-70.  Sadly, I had not a clue what I was getting myself in for...the reality being that at the middle school level there are so many other extra curricular appealing options conflicting with yearbook that the idiotic sponsor actually ends up putting the thing together.  No one told me that, but it only took a few short months for me to figure it out.  It was a killer....those are the kindest terms I can use to express what happened to my life....I LOST IT...I became the pawn of a bunch of pages of color photos of lots and lots of children.  Two good things came out of the endeavor: the yearbook was a great success, and I was able to talk Taylor Publishing to give me a Canon Rebel EOS Digital XSi camera.  Wow! What a camera!  I fell in love with it, and once the year was over and we had a “young and talented” new sponsor for me to turn over the reigns to, I went through immediate camera withdrawal of the worst kind.  No point and shoot Canons could replace it.  Then to make things worse, within the year, both my 39 year old son and 47 year old daughter bought themselves that same camera.  That was a real bummer.  Finally, about a month ago, I bit the bullet and bought one for myself.  It came with an18-55 mm lens, bit I went ahead and got a 50 mm one, too.  Both of those are great, but I could not get the super close ups of flowers and birds without a telephoto lens.  Well, I looked and looked, but they were way way out of my price bracket...and then I hit on the idea of a refurbished Canon lens with a full warranty...I went for it, and two days ago it arrived.  Since then it has been in constant use.  Buddy and I are in camera heaven though it is heavy and a bit bulky.  What the does what we want it to do, and we will just have to adjust.  My “Hector Rednesday” photos were taken with it as were these of our goldfinches.  They were just too beautiful not to post....hope you enjoy them.  In time maybe I will learn how to REALLY use all of the lens properly and the manual setting on the camera, but until then I am happy as a clam with what I am able to come up with knowing very, very little about cameras.

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.
~Victor Hugo - 1802-1885

Genie’s First Thrifty Thursday Purchase

     While living through another of my “Sleepless in Seattle” nights a few nights ago, I came across Leigh’s blog over at Tales from Bloggeritaville.  She is quite the nifty thrifty gal with a huge group of bloggers following  her Thrifty Thursdays.  Go to her blog, and you can read all about it.  She and her friends post their thrifty purchases for the week each Thursday, and they are so neat.  This week is #71 so I am a tad bit behind the chase.  

After a trip to the doctor, I went to our local “antique mall”.....actually a bit of a junk, flea, collectables, and antiques in our old Rose’s building.  Being a lover of the anything old, for me I hit the jackpot today.  I had to do a bit of haggling, but I got these two precious embroidered and appliqued linen handtowels for $1.00 each, and finally got the price on the metal flower cart down to $10.00.  I really felt lucky about it because they are alway priced way out of what my thrifty wallet allows. After a stop off at WallyWorld and the purchase of some $2.00 plants, I drove home quite the happy camper. Now, I have ME Mondays (the ME stands for Mary Engelbreit) over at Cherry Chick’s blog, Rednesdays at It’s a Very Cherry World, and Thrifty Thursdays.  This is going to be one fun summer!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hector Says Happy Rednesday!

     Hector has finally come home, and Buddy and I are overjoyed. This afternoon we sat out back on the lower deck and waited in total silence until he decided to come in for some din-din.  These photos were so neat I wanted to share them with all of you.  Welcome home Hector and the rest of your beautiful little family.



“A flash of harmless lightning, A mist of rainbow dyes,The burnished sunbeams brightening, From flower to flower he flies.”
~John Bannister Tabb

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Little Dresses for Africa on Rednesday!

     This Rednesday I decided I needed to get back to work on my “Genie’s 100 Dress Challenge.” Earlier this year, after reading about the needs of the orphans in Africa, I set for myself the goal of making 100 pillowcase-type dresses for the Little Dresses for Africa Charity.  If you are interested in reading more about the project and seeing some of the dresses I have made along with photos of some of the children in their dresses, there are lots of entries listed on my right hand sidebar...”Little Dresses for Africa” and “100 Dress Challenge."  I was going great guns with the project until we got into the SOL testing those last 3 weeks of school.  Then, once school let out, I began just plain goofing off, “messing around my house, ” and working on quilt squares for the Rainbow Around the Block Tennessee flood victims project with Anna Maria Horner.  Unfortunately, my little dresses got placed on the back burner until I got the idea to make some for Rednesday.  All the material has been donated to me by children from my school...all I do is sew the dresses and add the applique. These three are not made from pillowcases but rather these 2 are from donated fabric...

and this next one is from a dress I picked up at Goodwill, cut it apart (it was full of holes but the material was so cute), and turned it into a new dress.

These little dresses are so much fun to make, VERY easy, and I get the warm fuzzes each time I complete one.  Since each dress will be the ONLY DRESS the orphan has, I decided to make and send along a little something extra special for each child. That was when I came up with the idea of the little necklace made from Shrinky Dink plastic.

Now I am faced with something else...LDFA needs little shorts for the boys. After my children grew up, and I no longer needed to sew their clothes, I made the mistake of giving away all of my patterns. In the stores they cost an arm and a leg. but I finally lucked out. One of the custodians at my school found an old Simplicity pattern she had squirreled away so now I have a pattern for the boys.  That’s great, but I still need to come up with a little something special I can make for them like I have done with the necklaces for the any of you have a suggestion? I am stuck on that one.  Once again, HAPPY’s a shame they only come once a week!

“He who wants to do a great deal of good at once, will never do anything.”
~Samuel Johnson - 1707-1784

I Got a “Susprise” Today!

Vicki Anderson of Cherry Chick loves Mary Engelbreit just like I do, though on a scale of from 1-10 she is definitely a 100!  Not only does she collect ME’s wonderful creations, she is an artist in her own right.  On her site you will find all types of precious jewelry she has made and has for sale through Etsy. I kept looking and looking at her things, and then decided to get two of her darling pendants. Well, today they came and I was like a child in a candy store when I opened her little package. These photos tell the story...

...and here they are on my chain.....thank you, Vicki....I LOVE THEM!

Not only is her work lovely, the way she packages the things she sells is extra special.  The entire presentation was so dear I decided I just had to share it will all of you who enjoy visiting her site and take part in her ME Mondays.

“Just as there is a trend  toward high tech today, there is a trend toward high touch - homemade and wholesome.”
~Meryl Gardner

Monday, June 21, 2010

It’s ME Monday, and I Found My Missing ME Decoupage Pin

     Thanks to Vicki at Cherry Chick and her wonderful SmileBox presentation of some of her many unique, signed ME collectables, and in particular her pictures of Mary’s little decoupage  pins, I got up at the crack of dawn this morning to search for the ONE I have had for years but couldn’t find anywhere. I was frantic I’d lost a friend missing... but much to my great joy and surprise I found it almost immediately under my bathroom sink in my “pin basket”...just where it was supposed to be...isn’t that usually the case?  Like I told Vicki, that poor little pin has been through the washer and dryer so many times I cannot count them, but what ME does she does well and for that reason it is in really good condition. Thank you V. for triggering my fading memory and sending me on my searching mission. I am such a happy camper this afternoon :-)!

“Friends though absent are still present.”
~Marcus Tillius Cicero - 106BC-43BC

Sweet Bee Cottage Fourth of July Giveaway

Sweet Bee at  Sweet Bee Cottage is having a FABULOUS Fourth of July Giveaway. Stop by her site and read all about it. It you are one of those people like she and I, you will not want to miss it.  How I love the fourth of July...the Boston Pops, the majestic playing of the 1812 Overture with the resounding fireworks in the background, the children’s parades with the little ones on their tricycles and the fire trucks tooting their sirens, and I especially love going to our very old Stonewall Jackson Cemetery - where Stonewall Jackson and all of his family are buried -  to pay a special tribute to the soldiers who fought with my daddy in WWI, also know as The Great War. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars.  Sadly, that has not been the case. I do not want that generation of patriots forgotten, and there are becoming fewer and fewer of us living who had a parent who fought in that war. Having been brought up in a very patriotic family, I alway stand at attention with my hand over my heart for the playing of the National Anthem, and it is stated in my will that the American Flag is to be brought to the front of our Episcopal Church at my funeral for the singing of ALL VERSES of My Country T’is of Thee. Yes, I love my country and hold its legacy and our freedoms in highest esteem.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes is well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy 1917-1963

Sunday, June 20, 2010

ME Monday is Upon Us Again

    Since I just finished writing about sending off my grandsons to camp today, I thought I would share this ME “Pal” frame with all of you.  The picture is of my eldest grandchild, Crenshaw (18), who is the one in Colorado this summer and not here at camp, and my youngest one and the only little girl, Eloise (5).  She absolutely adores her big cousin so it is sot fitting that their picture be in the “Pal" frame.  For some reason, this is one of my favorite of all of ME’s frames.  I’ve tried time and time again to get another one to give to my BFW, Weezie, but I cannot find one anywhere to save my soul.  If any of you know of one floating around for sale, please let me know. The little hat on the right has a tiny chip in it after all these years, but a Sharpie did wonders for it.  I just think it is the cutest frame ever.  If any you haven;t joined and would like to join our ME Challenge Group, give Vicki a visit at Cherry Chick. Happy ME Monday to all of you.

Camp Maxwelton 2010

     The following is a mosaic telling the pictoral story of two of my grandsons' return to Camp Maxwelton in Rockbridge Baths, VA. I am sorry the photos have not come out larger, but maybe if you click on them through Flickr, you will be able to see them a bit better.  If any of you have a suggestion for me, I am open to any help you can give me.  This special camp has been in the same family for years, and I have taught with the son that presently operates it. Maxwelton is a wonderful place for boys and young men to spend a month of their summers: a family oriented, closely knit,and Christian camp where the counselors are all former campers - probably 2 per camper - who continue to return year after year. It is a wonderful place here in the Blue Ridge Mts. of VA, that I recommend highly. As best I can remember, this is the 5th year for Willy - now a counselor - the 2nd for Henry, and Crenshaw, who would have been in his 7th year has now graduated from SAS and is out in CO, working for the summer. It is just not going to be the same without him here, but I will enjoy sharing my summer with two of my boys. As I grow older they move on as we all do. Sometimes that is sad for those of us who are grandmothers and great-grandmothers, but such is life. We just have to treasure the moments we have with them when we are with them.... one day at a time. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Covering the Strap to My Canon Rebel XSi

I have seen photos online of my blogging friends camera strap covers they have made and have wanted to do one for me for ages.  Finally, this morning I decided to give it a try, and here are the results.

First I took 4 April Cornell blue and pink floral honey bun pieces from Moda and sewed them together lengthwise using a 1/4 inch seam.

After ironing all the seams open going in the same direction I stitched a little hem on each side.  Trust me, this was NOT done by a was definitely "a sew as you go” project with me winging it as I went along.
 Once that was done I laid the strap on top of the fabric, folded it to the back, and pinned it. This was when I said a little prayer...” Please. Lord,  let my needle sew through all of this heavy stuff without breaking and making one big mess.” My prayer was answered. It worked out and here is the end product.  The strap is secure, doesn;t slide off the shoulder or rub my neck, and looks pretty darn good is you ask me for an hour’s work.  Oh, Happy Day!  My camera and I are so happy :-) !!!!!