Black Friday

Sleepy Boy

I’m not opposed to shopping on Black Friday. We have always used it as an opportunity to purchase things we need/would be buying anyway, but at cheap prices. For example, my annual 6:00 AM trip to JoAnn for 99 cent flannel. (Of course, it used to be 86 cents…)

Wally was awake for the drive over, and for the shopping, but he fell asleep while I was getting the fabric cut, so we just tossed him on the pile. Everyone joked, of course, about which asile they were selling the adorable children.

We’re also stopping back at JoAnn tomorrow to pick up the knit jersey I need to finish the kids’ hoodies for Christmas, an art kit that’s on sale for Wally, and some notions that I need anyway.

We actually were out all day today. We left at 5:15 or so, and got back at 6:00 PM. But far from the frenzied pace you might expect, we were quite leisurely, which is why we were out all day! And we took my mom to the doctor, picked her up, had lunch, installed her TV, etc.


Autumn Leaves

Best fall tree in our yard Fall Leaves

We have several large trees in our yard, most of them deciduous trees, a few conifers. We have one very large tree smack in the middle of our backyard, and though it has impressively large, beautiful leaves early in the spring, it always disappoints come fall. The leaves just stop being green and then fall off. The large tree in the front is hit-or-miss. Some years, it fills with beautiful yellow leaves; other years, nothing. The other trees in the yard just aren’t all that thrilling, either.

But this tree. The side tree. This tree never disappoints. Every year, its small delicate leaves turn ever so gradually to the prettiest light yellow, and though you’d never guess the tree had so many leaves, they blanket a good third of our yard. The leaves all fall near the back door, too, which is the one we use most often, and they bring such a bright, cheery crunch to every footfall.

Wally is quite enthralled with the dry leaves this year, alternating between being delighted with making crunchy noises with every footfall, and being completely bothered by the whole affair and not wanting to step into them.

I know we are getting close to my least favorite part of fall – the part that blows every leaf in the neighborhood into my driveway, followed closely by miserably cold rain and then temperatures just cold enough to turn the leaves I delight in today into a slippery, icy, wet mass that’s nearly impossible to keep out of the driveway. But, knowing this, I enjoy the leaves today even more.

Fall Leaves

Aren’t you a big old hypocrite?

Well, I’m sure I am about some things.

But I certainly feel like one these days. I feel like I have to shop under cover of darkness or something, lest someone see me and make the wrong assumptions or jump to the wrong conclusions.

See, about half my shopping trips these days consist of items like this: disposable single-use heating pads, paper towels, bleach, single-use swiffer wet jet type things, tons and tons of garbage bags, antibacterial soap, antibacterial hand gel. And of course food like frosted flakes, Little Debbie snack cakes, frozen dinners, and stuff like that.

All for my mom. The food, whatever. I’ve stopped trying to convince her to change her ways, and at this point, her diet is so complex, I have nothing to offer her. She’s not supposed to eat whole grains any more, so – well – there you go.

And apparently, PD (peritoneal dialysis) uses a LOT of disposable items. I have been doing some of her exchanges with her. Here’s what we do.

1) Daily, wash the floor in her bathroom (which is NOT used for bathroom purposes, only for exchanges) with clorox and disposable floor cloth.

2) Before each exchange (4-5 daily), wipe down counter and sink with clorox wipe. Put on single-use mask. Wash hands with antibacterial soap. Dry with paper towel. Turn off water with paper towel. Use paper towel any time you touch anything from here on out.

3) Do a few steps like open the new bag, hang it on the pole, get the drain bag ready, put the tubing all in the dial thingy. Then use the antibacterial gel.

4) Plug into the drain bag, drain, then fill. If you touch anything, ever, use the hand gel again. Curse yourself for touching something because that gel stings after the fifth time in 20 minutes.

5) finish the fill, measure stuff, drain the bags, demask, gather your garbage, and wash your hands again drying with a paper towel. (Why a paper towel at the end? Regular towels not allowed in the room.)

Holy moly. Garbage produced in ONE fill: 2 large IV-type bags, 1 holder bag, 2 lengths of tubing, 1 dial thingy, about 5-8 paper towels, 2 disposable clorox towelettes, 1 mask (when it’s just her), 1 floor wipe.

That’s a lot of garbage. But apparently, an infection is about the worst thing that can happen, hence the uber-carefulness to bleach everything, scrub until your skin falls off, and use only disposable items.

But that is why you might see me at Costco buying two giant packages of paper towels and numerous tubes of clorox wipes.

More craftiness for me!

I took a break between working on instock items and sewing for custom orders today to complete a project I’ve wanted to do for a few weeks.

Wally’s carseat gets very cold to sit on in the winter, or so I hear, so I decided to make a carseat cover using some Incredibles flannel I had lying around. I was originally going to draft a pattern, but decided to just wing it. I actually added batting to it, as the original cover has batting, but when I put it on the seat, I decided that it did not have enough batting to be padded enough to be safe in an accident. (Plus I’m sure there are federal laws about that sort of thing.)

Ultimately, I put the Incredibles cover on OVER the original cover. This means that the Incredibles cover doesn’t fit as well as it could, but it still fits pretty good. I think I’m the only one who would notice the places that it fits oddly.

Carseat cover

I will definitely make some design changes for the next one (if there is a next one) – it needs to be longer overall to fit comfortably over the existing cover, and the holes for the waist belt need to be longer – but I think it came out really really nicely.

I also cut and assembled the first draft of a new item I dreamed up last week. No details yet. If I can get it working/looking good enough and how I imagined, I will add it to my product line-up and possibly pursue legal protections for the design (or attempt to sell it to a big company). It’s something I’ve never seen before, that I personally felt was sorely needed. Intrigued? Stay tuned.

Christmas Fun

Wally and I finished up the bath and body items we started a few days ago. We were done before I realized the camera was still on the shelf…

But. We made bath salts (very easy, just stir together), Healing Salve, and Lotion Bars. The lotion bars were made with cocoa butter and they smell n-i-c-e. I’ve never made salve (just like lip balm, really) or lotion before, though I’ve wanted for a long time, and I was surprised at how easy it was! Just melt the ingredients together and pour into containers!

The toughest part of balms and lotions seems to be finding the right mix of ingredients to suit your own personal tastes. There are lots of website out there to help, though! My two favorites are Majestic Mountain Sage (where I purchased all my supplies) and Prairieland Herbs. I also remember browsing the Not Martha site, which then led me to see what Martha herself had to say on the subject.

So now we’re done with Phase II of making Christmas presents. I even finished up the (french seamed) gift bags that I’m going to put these little goodies in during Wally’s nap today.

So….I spent $70 on supplies (yike), including containers but not including things like honey and oatmeal that I already had in my cupboard. I used only a small portion of the ingredients I bought, intending to keep experimenting and making these well past Christmas. Plus I’m hoping that the recipients will return their empty containers when they’re done, so So…let’s say that 2/3 of that amount was for Christmas, which is still pretty generous, I think. So $46. I’m making gifts for 7 women, so that comes to $6.60 per person.

Add in the fabric for the gift bags: I bought it for $1.50 a yard, used 1 yard: $.21 per person. Add in some incidental expense for the labels (I already owned the label paper, but will undoubtedly need to replace it in the future). Those are $30 for a box of 100, $.30 each. I used 6 sheets, $1.80, so $.26 per person.

Total for all the women in the family: $7.07 each. Not bad.