Friday, October 31, 2008

October Freebies

Here is what I got completely FREE during the month of October. Click here to read a previous post explaining each category.

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
Publix coffee brick
candy corn
6 pack bottled water
loaf of white bread (it will become croutons)

CVS Extracare Bucks With Sales and Coupons:
2 Lady Speed Stick deodorants
3 tubes Colgate Max Fresh toothpaste
Colgate Jr toothpaste
2 GUM toothbrushes
2 Colgate toothbrushes
Always Infinity
CVS vitamin D
5 bars CVS soap
hand sanitizer spray
2 packets Listerine breath strips (on clearance)
2 bottles Life Fitness multi vitamins (on clearance)
2 bottles Natures Bounty vitamin C
2 bottles Hyland's Flu Care
large bottle Ajax dish liquid
2 bags candy corn

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:

5 cans Muir Glen tomato sauce
5 cheez n' crackers (on clearance)
Sara Lee hot dog buns
3 rolls paper towels
3 bottles Robitussin
4 10-packs disposable razors
2 bottles Pert shampoo
2 Reach toothbrushes
4 tubes generic Airborn
3 padded envelopes

Full Rebates:

Free Deals:
Gillette razor
Quaker granola bar sample
8 oz sliced mushrooms (Kroger price promise)
pie pumpkin
Chex Mix bar sample
Fiber One cereal sample
$25 gift card
$30 gift card

Given to Me:
red and green hot peppers (the last of the neighbor's garden)
3 bell peppers
peach salsa
peach preserves
hot sauce
leftover strawberry cream cheese
chocolate covered almonds
spaghetti and meat sauce (enough for a family dinner)
poppy seed salad dressing

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tote Bag Pattern

Several people have asked what pattern we use to make the toiletries tote bags for the women's shelter. I created the pattern myself, using a gallon-size zipper bag for an estimate of the size. Here is how we make them:
  • Use a brown paper grocery sack, cut open, to make the pattern. Measure out a square 13" tall and 12" wide. You will be placing one 12" side on the fabric fold, so write "place on fold" along a 12" side. This is the bag body and the lining pattern. Next draw a rectangle 4" wide and 22" long on the brown paper. This is the handle pattern.
  • You need about 1/2 yard of two different, complimentary fabrics. The fabrics can be quilting cottons, twill, denim, corduroy, drapery cottons, or similar fabrics. Don't use slippery lining fabrics for the lining of this bag!
  • Cut one bag body (on fold) from your outside fabric. Cut another bag body (on fold) from your inside fabric. Cut two handles from either fabric. We usually use the outside fabric, but using the lining fabric makes a nice contrast.
  • Fold one handle piece in half, wrong sides together, along the length; press the folded edge. Open up, then fold the long cut edges in to meet the center crease. Press the two folded edges. Fold piece in half again along the first crease; press well. Repeat for second handle piece. Stitch both handle pieces, down both long ends, close to the folds. Stitch the open side first, then the folded side.
  • Fold outer bag piece in half right sides together. Stitch the two side seams using a ¼” seam allowance. Snip the fold at the bottom of the bag, in as far as the stitching. Repeat for lining piece.
  • Press the two side seams open. Press in the fold at the bottom of the bag. Using the fold as a guideline, bring the side seam to match up with the fold mark. This forms a triangle or “ear”. Put two pins in the triangle area to hold it in place. Hold a ruler perpendicular to the seamline. Adjust the ruler up or down until you have exactly 3” across the top of the triangle. Trace this line along the ruler as a stitching guide. Repeat on other side seam. Repeat on lining piece.
  • Stitch marked lines on outer bag and lining piece, forming triangles. This forms the box bottom.
  • Measure over 3” from side seam, along top edge of outer bag. Put pin at this mark. Repeat from other side seam. Pin one handle end, centered at this mark, with raw edge of handle at raw edge of bag. Repeat with other end of handle, making sure handle isn’t twisted. Repeat with second handle on other side of bag. The handle loops will be going down, toward the bottom of the bag.
  • Stitch handle ends in place using a ¼” seam. Turn lining piece right side out. Slide lining into bag. Line up side seams and top edges of the two bag pieces. Pin along upper edge. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the upper edge, leaving a section open to turn bag right side out. Double stitch over handles.
  • Turn bag right side out through opening. Stuff lining into bag. Press seam at top edge of bag, pulling handles up and rolling edge to expose the stitching line. Fold in the raw edges of the opening, pressing to make a smooth, continuous line.
  • Top stitch very close to upper edge.
  • Place toiletries in one-gallon zip bag and put unit inside tote bag.
  • These are the full size toiletries we put in bags: wash cloth, bar soap OR bottle of body wash, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bouillabaisse for a Cold Day

Packages of fresh shrimp, faux lobster, and a salmon fillet on the clearance table at Kroger inspired me to make rich, tasty bouillabaisse for supper tonight. Two tilapia fillets at home rounded out the seafood, and a bag of puffy rolls on clearance in the bakery rounded out the menu.

My recipe for Bouillabaisse:
1/2 c salad oil
1 onion, diced (I didn't have any more onions, so I substituted a little garlic)
1 bay leaf
1/2 lb each of 5 or 6 different kinds of seafood, cut in chunks
3 c tomato pulp
6 c water
1 t salt
1/2 t paprika
2 t Old Bay seasoning
3 T lemon juice (I forgot this)

Heat oil in large stock pot; saute onion until limp. Add bay leaf and any raw seafood, cook 5 minutes. Add tomato pulp and water. Simmer, but do not boil, 15 minutes until fish is tender. Stir ocassionally, being careful to not break up fish. Add any pre-cooked seafood, salt, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon juice. Continue simmering 10 minutes more.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Inspired Clean Out

Sorting my fabric stash to make tote bags earlier this fall inspired me to dig deeper into my fabrics to sort and clean out. I gathered four boxes of fabrics from the garage, two piles from the studio, and two stacks from a bedroom drawer. Spread around the floor, they looked like this:
A donation pile formed on one corner of the bed, while a pile for more potential tote bags formed on the floor (lower left corner). With a large trash bag for useless scraps handy, I soon had the keepers re-sorted back into the boxes. I still have four boxes of fabric, but no more piles in drawers or the studio. The doantions pile; mostly knits, silkies, and rayons too soft for tote bags.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall is Here

The weatherman predicted a cold front moving in today, and he was right. It's time to put away our summery decorations and bring out the fall color.
The mantle is decked out in sage green candles accented with autumn leaves...
borrowed from the trees up the street.

Next on the list: rip out the tomato plants, sweep the leaves off the patio and front porch, change the summer bedding to cozy comforters, and bake a pumpkin pie with the little pie pumpkin I got free at Publix the other day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tote Bag Work Day

One dozen ladies met at church on Saturday to make more tote bags for toiletries for the residents of the county abused women's shelter. Using donated fabrics, we stitched up 39 bags! We still have many more cut and ready to sew; we'll be planning more work days in the months to come.Each bag takes 1/2 yard each of two different fabrics. Of the 30 bags pictured, I donated 15 1/2 yards of the fabric. I was happy to donate it to a good cause; it was time to clear the five large boxes of fabric out of my garage.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Centerpiece

I was looking for a new area rug this morning when I found this bargain on the clearance table.Then I added the candle to my cart and the total doubled. At home, I peeled the papers off my onions and scattered them around the candle. It's the centerpiece on our dining room table now.

It looks terrific with tiny gold Christmas balls too. I can hardly wait for December!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Appreciate Free, But This?

A month or two ago I signed up for a free offer I saw on a blog: email Cedarlane and they will send a coupon for a free frozen entree. Free sounds good to me. Coupon in hand, I chose the Eggplant Parmesan at my local Publix. A couple of weeks ago I almost prepared it for dinner one night when I was alone, but I noticed the box said "serves 2", so I ate leftovers that night and saved the frozen entree for a night when the Professor and I would be dining alone.

Tonight was that night. We both thought the dish looked yummy from the picture, but when I opened the box and pulled out a tiny tray, we both burst out laughing. I seemed to be enough main dish for one small, not hungry person. We split the eggplant in half and added mixed veggies and cottage cheese to our plates. And it proved to be adequate to curb the hunger pangs for about 5 minutes.
How did it taste? We both rate it mediocre. There wasn't anything wrong with it, but we both much prefer homemade to this. In all seriousness, if we need a quick supper in the future we will stick with our longstanding plan, which is to run over to Kroger for a rotisserie chicken.

We ate homemade pancakes for dessert.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Work In Progress

I can't take credit for this project ~ this is Greta's work in progress. She is decorating an adorable little table and chairs set for a young birthday girl we know. Mom bought the dark brown set at a flea market, sanded it, repaired it, and painted it white. Then she turned it over to Greta for the decorative painting. The birthday girl likes yellow and foof!Project complete: A close-up of the chair detail.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tote Bag Work Party

Twelve or so ladies from church got together Thursday night to stitch up tote bags for the clients of the abused womens shelter. To an outsider it might have looked confusing, but we really did develop a procedure. First the cutting ladies arranged the pattern pieces to best advantage on the donated fabrics and cut the pieces out. Then the ironing ladies folded and pressed the strap pieces. Next to them the sewing ladies stitched the seams. Between pressing straps, the ironing ladies pressed open the seams and marked the box bottoms. The sewing ladies received the bags back to stitch, turn, and top stitch. A final pressing, and the bags went to the toiletries girl who bagged up the toiletries and popped them in the new tote bags. We had so much fun!