Sunday, December 31, 2023

Computer woes!


There are better ways to start the day than that. Wait -  that's not true -- today is fine - yesterday was a nightmare. I'm having BIG issues with my computer. However, to put this in perspective, I heard of a guild member who passed suddenly a few days ago. She was lovely and always had a kind word and a smile for everyone. 

So, while I've got issues, they are nothing like what her family and friends are dealing with right now. She will be missed! 

Here's the nightmare at my house. If you read the blog early in the day, you noticed something EXTREMELY unusual yesterday. Random pictures with no story! I knew there was a problem as the post wasn't saving correctly as I wrote it. However, I finished the post and saved it, and it loaded at 7:30 AM. I even watched it do so - or so I thought. 

The version that got posted was from when I first started writing. SIGH  --- so if yesterday looked weird to you, you can go back as it's correct now. But as I was rewriting it, I wondered what would happen if I posted a random picture or two and asked YOU to come up with a potential story! Now that would be funny!

Someone alerted me that there was an issue, otherwise, I would have had ZERO clue what happened. Thanks -- you know who you are! 

But then the day got bad - well, as far as technology goes. I went to write some emails. WAIT --- NO AUTOFILL of email addresses. WAIT -- NO CONTACT list. Nothing. No contacts, no distribution lists. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Back on another session with Microsoft. It takes them SO LONG to decide to take control of the computer to fix the problem. The guy says, "Shall I just send you the instructions?' I responded NO, and it took FOREVER for him to do it. The file he recovered was about FIVE years old -- are you KIDDING ME? That is a useless file to me, but that's what I have to work with. 

There are NO distribution lists - many names on the list are duplicated and have old emails in them - it's a flipping nightmare! 

I can only say thank goodness it happened NOW and not in the middle of many classes. I don't always print out the distribution list for a class, so I would have had to go from scratch. I would, but since I can't print from this computer, it's a "complicated process" to copy, paste, and send to my phone to print. Lesson learned -- I will do that in the future! 

I managed to recreate one list yesterday - it was an easy one, and I've got a few more to recreate today. And every time I want to send an email, I either have to find an existing one they sent to me or, well - that's my only choice. Thankfully, I have LOTS of emails to choose from! 

I will have to be diligent about how the computer works. We disconnected OneDrive from backing up to my C drive. So now I have TWO spots from which to delete files. And I must watch this in the future because chaos ensued when the hard disk got full. 

I learned a lot about my computer yesterday. This is the summary of what's taking up space on my hard disk. Remember that it's 465 GB. HALF of that is devoted to computer programs. WHAT? Mostly Windows, Office 365, and Adobe. I use TWO additional programs -- EQ8 and mySewnet Embroidery software. Nothing else -- the space used seems excessive to me, but when I asked the support person if I could delete some of the Microsoft stuff, he was reluctant. I left it.  

What's on your hard disk?

I know you can't see that, but almost 100 GB of storage space is utilized by email. GASP!! I know -- it's all the big attachments I've sent everyone over the last year. That's what I was trying to delete when all this mess occurred. I'm deleting it all later this week. 

I found 47 GB from OneDrive. It's not excessive, but it keeps growing, so we disconnected OneDrive from the C drive. I need to delete a lot from OneDrive or move it onto my backup drive should I wish to keep it. Most of the files are already sitting on a backup drive. 

But I found 57 GB of TEMPORARY files. Seriously???? That is just silly, so I attempted to delete most of that, and while I got rid of some, I think it's still sitting at 37 GB. Why? If those files are temporary, why so much? I found 4 GB of cookies! That all got deleted, so yes, I have to sign into all programs and websites, but there are few of them, so it's no big deal. Holy cow --- this is what happens when you ignore your computer and you are a "hoarder." 

I have to say that things seem to be working quite fast this morning compared to yesterday! 

I'm not out of the woods yet, but at least I have about 15 GB of free space on the hard disk now. 

I have free space!

Getting rid of the OneDrive stuff and deleting some of those big files in email should free up quite a bit more space. 

I guess getting the book on Outlook was very timely because I'm basically starting back at the beginning. No distribution lists, signature files, and a random folder of old contact names. Sigh............. Just when you think you're on top of things, fate says otherwise. 

Anyway -- enough of those computer woes!!! The only distribution list I recreated was for the physical retreats I host. I still need to set up ones for the new classes this year and to recreate the ones (UFO, Out of the Box, etc) for next year. So hang on -- I hope to get it done tomorrow. 

There's that Murphy -- she loves to lie in the muck, but SOMEONE is digging in the garden! And I suspect it was NOT Murphy. What could be there? 

Someone has been digging

I mentioned a while back that I need to do something about storing my quilts. Well, I took FOUR Halloween quilts (I know - does one need four?) and rolled them on that batting roll that I covered with a quilt sleeve. I need to make a fabric sack to place over this, which can go under the bed. It's not my ideal spot, but it's better than moving the darn quilts multiple times. These should actually go up for sale as they can't be donated to Quilts of Valour. I have another bundle of smaller quilts to roll up - I'll get to that later this week. 

A roll of Halloween quilts

I actually did some sewing yesterday!!! I had pieces of quilted fabric left over from cutting a jacket, which still needs to be completed, but let's not go there. What to do with the scraps? So I decided to join them with the "quilt as you go" method, and I got four decent-sized pieces. 

Four prequilted pieces

I was going to make zippered pouches from them, but then I looked at a pattern sitting on the cutting table because it will be an in-person class in April at The Hobby Horse, and it's for a zippered pouch. WAIT --- I can use these pieces, but they may need to be resized. No problem -- step one of that homework is done! 

I used the trellis method to join them. I was going to switch the pieces around and have some pink on one side and blue on the other. I considered making the trellis different colors but went conservative and matched everything. 

The "quilt as you go" joins

That was sitting on the cutting table and will stay there as I want to complete the bags. I'm making great progress on the cutting table, but a few things remain. You'll see its state tomorrow. 

Another customer quilt is done! And the next one is loaded on the long arm. 

Customer quilt - DONE

Then, this morning, I decided I needed to sew something, so I got to work and made four blocks for the Heartfelt Sampler. I am quite behind in making the blocks and need to get busy. 

Four blocks for the Heartfelt Sampler

The email thing will be tricky -- so if you are on one of my lists, bear with me. The only way I know that I will know that I missed someone is if someone gets in touch with me. WAIT -- don't email me just yet. I'll let you know when I've sent out the email, and if you don't get it, then you know I missed you. I'll let you all know what days I send which emails. What a mess, but it could be a lot worse! Thank goodness I have most of my class emails in folders, which should make it much easier. Not only do I have to recreate the distribution lists, but I have to save everyone as a contact --- all the old stuff in the file they downloaded needs to be deleted. Yippeee!!!!!!!! 

At least email seems to be syncing much faster, and saving files is much faster. I guess it makes sense -- it's like Christmas dinner. If you are stuffed full, taking the next bite is not exciting, so you slow down. Let's hope I am on the way to fixing this problem. I need to be much more diligent about what I keep, how long I keep it, and where it gets saved!!!

Let's contemplate that for a second. Imagine being a physical hoarder. If your house is filled with stuff - it slows down your movements and brain function - just like my computer! Oh yes, getting rid of all the clutter - whether on the computer, the house, or our social world - can do wonders for how we feel! 

As we turn the annual hourglass over tonight, think long and hard about where you want to be this time next year! House cleaner? Mind clearer? UFOs complete? Whatever --- but if we don't make an effort, no one will do it for us. And you do NOT have to spend hours. A tiny step once a day can make HUGE progress in creating new habits and a new LIFE!!!

Remember, there is a Virtual Retreat today - December 31. We start at Noon and go until whenever. 

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8633 2961
Passcode: 084495

It's hard to believe it's the last day of the year!! WOW! So much happened this year, and we get to do it all over again, but better and faster and with more FUN in 2024!!!!

Have a super day!!!


Saturday, December 30, 2023

House cleaning

WAIT --- this blog post did NOT post how it was supposed to! I had so much trouble with the computer this morning that the post was uploaded halfway through my writing, and the rest of what I wrote and all my edits were ignored. ACK!!!!! 

OH --- I am way behind. 

Someone asked about my 2024 class schedule ---

Thimbles and Things -- two classes continuing on. And there will be ONE new one - we had to find a new pattern. Please check their web site for more details. All on Zoom.  The Hobby Horse -- ALL classes have been moved to in-person. Please check their website. 

MySewnet Embroidery Software - THREE different cl bs will be running. All on Zoom --- Brampton Sew and Serge, Stitch by Stitch, and Thimble Quilts and Sewing. I am behind in providing them the information, so call them to express your interest, but don't harass them as I'm behind. 

Me personally? I've cut way back!!! 

Two UFO clubs (room for one more person)

Digital cutters and applique (primarily focused on fabric applique)

Machine Embroidery Club - mostly show and tell (we learn a TON from show and tell)

Out of the box -- a wild card class where you get a prompt each month to create something (from ANY material you desire). The project is small or experimentation - big complicated stuff is discouraged. 

Many blocks - Club for those people who have a project with MANY blocks - like Town and Country, Dear Jane, etc. This is NOT for someone starting, but motivation to get it done! So like a UFO Club.

Heartfelt Sampler - continuing until April. 

That's it!!!! I'm not teaching any new projects - I'm burned out from that. And so time-consuming. 2024 is all about focus and trying to get stuff done that I've started! 

Having said that, if I have too many days like yesterday, I'm not going to get anywhere fast!

I think fate throws one of those days in every once in a while to keep u  humble. Let's say that I got nothing done - no customer quilt done, even though I turned the long arm on. No sewing machines were turned on, and the iron did not get plugged in. 

Nope -- I sat in front of the wretched computer for a good part of the day, and I don't think I got anywhere. 

The problem started with e-mail - yet again! So, I contacted Microsoft Support. I was on the call with them for 1½ hours trying to resolve the issue. What started it all was me attempting to delete some of the e-mails. They are way too many, and I have a habit of "hoarding" them. Also, known as not deleting those that I no longer need. 

That resolved the issue, and then I had to wait for the e-mail folders to repopulate. We closed the call. When I came back, only my INBOX had filled. One of the additional folders (and there are many) had been filled. Oh boy -- I NEED those files MORE than I need the ones in the inbox.  Sigh. 

Repopulating the inbox

Back with another call with Microsoft, and we got the process started to repopulate the rest of the files. However, we closed that call, and later, I got a message saying I had run out of space. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! 

Yep -- it was a day to eat chocolate!!!

So I started messing around with the computer, and you know this isn't good. But I also did some Googling, and I know what the problem is. 

The hard drive is FULL

YES - my C Drive is FU L. How the heck can it be full when I don't keep any documents on it? OK -- so some more investigation reveals that the darn OneDrive (an online storage Cloud) is a backup folder in the cloud, and all the files on THAT drive are stored on my C drive. NOOOOOOOO OOOOOOO!!!

There is a TON of information in OneDrive, and yep -- it all shoots back to my C drive. So, I tried to fix it! Well, I managed to unlink it and then relink it - that took a bit of time. I've been deleting files from it (now, should I be deleting from OneDrive or the folder on my C drive?) I've no idea - I'm just deleting stuff. It seems the more I delete, the more disk space I use! Sigh.....................

I'm not freeing up any disk space! 

Well, did it help? Yes -- I managed to get all my e-mails back -- well, some of them. I need to force another sync to see if the remainder comes back. That's a "good" way to clear the e-mail box. 

I am determined to figure out the best way to use Outlook. I'm tired of knowing just enough to get by and more than enough to get into trouble! So, off to the library, where I found a book on Outlook, and I PLAN to read it! I started yesterday when I was waiting on those calls to Microsoft. 

My homework!

You also know it's not going to be a good day when you get back from walking the dogs (6 KM) and realize that your FitBit is still on the charger! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Thankfully, I had my phone with me, so I was able to sync the steps. Oh yes -- I have a love/hate relationship with things that sync!

Where's my Fitbit

Someone asked me what was wrong with a 6" by 24" ruler. Technically, there is nothing wrong. It's just that when rotary cutters and rulers were first put out many years ago, everyone FORGOT to add seam allowances to the rulers. I'm not sure that's the official take, but it makes sense. The manufacturers probably went to the quilters and said - what size of stuff do you cut? Quilters responded 6" squares! So the rulers were made 6". But when we cut 6" squares, we mean 6" finished! Where are the seam allowances? 

I had a 6" by 24" ruler when I first started, but as soon as the 6½" ruler came out, I bought one. The same thing happened with square rulers. One of the first ones out was 6". Ok -- this is great, but it doesn't help me one iota when I'm squaring a 6½" block or trying to cut a 6½" square. BOTH of which are more common than 6" unfinished. 

I gladly gave those rulers away as well when I could get a 6½" square ruler. As a matter of fact, this is my FAVORITE ruler of all time, and I have many of them. 

Did you know that you could wear them out? Yep - the lines disappear over time. I had one ruler that had no lines left in the middle. They had completely worn off - I think that ruler is gone. 

But look at these two --- the lines are gone from the outer edges. These are the two that sit on my cutting table. 

The lines around the perimeter are gone

This ruler was in my retreat bag and seemed to be 100% intact. So I've switched this one with one of the others. I may as well use the better of the three of them. Although, at the rate I'm going, I haven't touched anything sewing-related in a while. 

A ruler with LINES

So you can buy the 6" by 24" or even a 6" square, but I think you're doing yourself a disservice by that! If you need to buy a new ruler - go for at least 6½". I personally now use an 8½" by 24" ruler, and I LOVE it. It's stable enough that it doesn't slip when cutting strips. You need to know how to use but it's the best! By the way -- if you can get to the Hobby Horse in person - I'm teaching a class (demo) on accuracy in sewing, which includes cutting, pressing, and that elusive 1/4" seam! 

I got a chuckle when I walked past the mall. This was the location of a restaurant that burned several years ago. What are they leasing? The tile floor that remains from the restaurant? A bit chilly with the colder weather coming. OH -- I lease the land, and then I build --- the sign just seems weird. 

Am I leasing a tile floor? 

And lastly --- I was at the mall to buy a new mop. I have a mop and bucket, but it's not very practical for the occasional clean-up in Aisle Four! Especially since poor Murphy is having many more accidents. These are not accidents per se; they are a result of a leaky bladder or a weak sphincter, to be exact. It's back to the vet next year to see what other options we have besides the medication that she's been on for years. 

Now where would one find a mop? Oh -- they are not with the vacuums. Those are appliances. Nope, the mops were with the clearing supplies. Anyway -- it works amazing, and I think I'll be swiftering and mopping to my heart's content! Good lord -- do NOT tell my mother that! 

My new mop

I may become so addicted to the cleaning that I may let the cleaning lady go. Is hell about to freeze over? 

Now that you know what those pictures are for -- if you read the first blog post with NO writing to describe the pictures, did you come up with the same story as I did? 

Remember, there is a Virtual Retreat tomorrow. 

Sunday, December 31, Starting at Noon

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8633 2961
Passcode: 084495

Have a great day!


Friday, December 29, 2023

On writing a quilt book

I don't know about you, but all this decluttering and keeping things up to date is EXHAUSTING. I literally fall into bed shortly after dinner. I'm trying not to, but I'm tired! And that's a good thing - I'd rather go to bed tired than lie there unable to sleep. 

I'm not a messy person by nature. I used to be super neat and tidy until M came along, and then my brain went to mush. This "new" philosophy of tidying and cleaning started well over ten years ago, but getting back on track is a long haul. I'm a Virgo, after all, and I can see the tidying thing becoming VERY addictive. Oh gosh -- I can't even leave a dirty dish on the kitchen counter. Not MY dirty dishes, that is. And how many times does one need to pass the Swifter on the floor? 

I thought you'd get a laugh from this. When I had my old car detailed, I had to empty EVERYTHING out of it, which makes sense. I grabbed a bag, and in about one minute, the car was empty. Everything fit in this bag. 

The entire personal contents of my old car

And that includes the extra lug nuts and the lock nut for the extra tires, the old GPS, and the few things I kept in it. I hear stories of people who "live" in their cars, and the backseat is filled with junk. Nope -- I've always kept a tidy car. When I return home, I remove everything from it - shopping, garbage, or whatever. It takes a few seconds to gather everything up, otherwise, it would be just like my office! 

Speaking of how small my car was -- here's a great picture of it sandwiched between two trucks! Yep - it almost looks like a toy car!

My old car sandwiched between two trucks

Oh -- I thought this was a picture of the new car - oh well. This is what the old one looked like, and yes -- It was a nice car! But no regrets!

The old car

So far, we're managing just fine with one car. We're pretty much the same height, so we don't have to readjust lots when switching drivers. I must see if we have two driver-seat settings, but I don't think so. We just need to get better at indicating when we want the car. I used it to do an errand yesterday to find there was 45 KM left on the approximation for gas. Hmmm --- so I had to fill it up! I hope that doesn't become a usual thing. It's like having a teenager drive the car and return it empty!

I'm not going to mention the name of the book or the author - I don't know why, but I won't. But I grabbed a modern quilt book from the library a couple of weeks ago to see if there was anything interesting. The book was published in 2021. I was reading it at lunch yesterday, and thank goodness I was home alone because the more I read, the louder and louder the groans got! 

Just because someone thinks they should write a book doesn't mean they should! It amazes me how people can assume that they are NEW to quilting and so they should document their experience because they had to learn by making it up! Good grief -- have they not done some research? Have they not talked to other quilters? There's a HUGE world on the internet, so there should be no reason to have to learn on your own! 

But this is where the situation gets weird. And it's almost like a teenager saying to their parent - "You know nothing - I know everything!" Not that any of us had to experience that from our teenagers! 

Just an example -- the rulers she recommends. 6" by 24". Seriously? Why would you want a 6" wide ruler? If you are going to cut 6½" squares (a common size), then you at least need a 6½" ruler. I'm not sure if they even make a 6" wide any longer. Oh -- I'm sure they do, but they shouldn't. Her second recommended ruler was a 6" by 12". Yes -- I love that ruler, and yes - it could be wider, but I've never used that ruler for cutting squares, so I concur with her on that one. The third ruler was a square 12½". OK - I get that the third ruler should be square, but 12½"? How are you going to square up your components? Nope -- you need a 6½". 

So, while some of the information is OK, there is a lot that just doesn't make LOGICAL sense. And I need logic. I will never tell you to buy or do something if I can't justify why you would need it. Then, people can decide to buy based on logic, not "because!" 

There were many other instances in the book (the quick version of A to Z of making a quilt), and OH MY -- if I was new, well, I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone learning to quilt. There are much better books out there. It was published by Blue Star Press, and I'm not sure if they have a quilt editor, but some of this stuff wouldn't or shouldn't get by a quilt editor! 

Oh well --- thankfully, I'm past the point of learning the basics, but it's super frustrating when I see stuff like that. Someone will buy that book and learn from it, but there are much better ways of doing things. It's the same with Pinterest and any other site on the internet. If someone can find a way to sell their gadget to encourage people to buy -- then they do so. And the only reason is monetary gain on their part. How many gadgets have come and gone? Go back to the OLD quilt books, as that is where you really learn how things were done, and they make logical sense! 

The decluttering in Studio B continues. WAIT --- there was only one area to declutter, and it got done yesterday. I didn't take a picture. I'm now saving all pictures of Studio B until New Year's Day. 

I attempted to get more of what was on the cutting table done. Why are all those jobs taking so long? They are time-consuming, and that's probably why they've been sitting there for over a year. 

One more sleeve got prepped and ready to hand stitch in place during the next Zoom call. 

One more quilt sleeve is prepped

I dug out the button jar to find two buttons and pressed the label so it could be stitched by hand to this quilt. Do you even want to know the date on the label? 2008! Sigh...................

Another project for hand stitching

Two pet mats were finished with the serger. 

Two more pet mats are complete

And you have to love those air-threading sergers. I'm using the Husqvarna Viking Amber Air S 600, and it's a dream to use. It was threaded for a 4-thread overlock in mere seconds, and the stitch was beautiful. 

Perfect four-thread overlock stitch

And one more customer quilt was done. It's trimmed and waiting for pickup. Well, I have a second one to do for this customer, and it's loaded and ready to go later today. 

Customer quilt - DONE

But not before I ran out of thread on the top - again! But again -- I had a second spool, so all was good. 

One more spool bites the dust

Oh -- I should mention that the morning was devoted to computer work. And YES -- I made a huge accomplishment. I'm behind, and I owe a lot of e-mails, but they are coming, so just hang on. Today, I have another "topic" of paperwork lined up. It's great to get some of this stuff cleaned up, but boy, oh boy -- computers can be frustrating. 

My printer recognizes my desktop computer, BUT only for scanning. It doesn't recognize it as a printer. Can you tell me why that is? So, if I want to print something, I can send the document to my phone or print it from my laptop. Yes -- it's totally ridiculous, but I know how to make it work. But since the e-mail of all three devices are linked, I have to wait for e-mail to sync and I don't know how to force that on the computer. 

The printer is in another room, so I get loads of steps running back and forth to make anything happen with that. 

I tell you, there are days when I even wonder if I should be allowed to touch a computer. And I really need to learn how to "move" versus "copy" files. Then I'm going to have a couple of days where I need to DELETE many e-mails from my computer. Now that the classes are over for 2023, I don't think I need to keep the e-mails. I have copies of everything I sent them, so there is no need to keep all that. I think some of that is clogging up the memory in the e-mail program and making it very sluggish to use!

It's all fun and games, to be sure. 

Another area that hasn't really been touched in this house is the laundry room. But then, there isn't much stuff there. But I found a portable vacuum. Hmm -- does it work? I charged it up, and YES -- it works. So maybe the cleaning lady can use that one as she doesn't even use the new Dyson I bought. She prefers to use a broom. Sigh..........................

A Swifter Vacuum

I got a chuckle at lunch as I looked over at the sofa. Wait -- what's that I see? 

MOM -- I can hear you!!!

Oh -- that would be our lazy girl Lexi! Yep -- she's made a huge mess of the couch. It's filthy. Well, that's her couch now, and I don't sit there, so she can make it as messy as she would like! 

MOM -- Just chilling! 

I have to say that I'm impressing myself with my newly acquired ability to FOCUS. I would have abandoned many of those projects on the cutting table. Hey -- I've done them many times before. But my brain isn't even allowing me to think about what's on the table with all the projects. The FOCUS is to get the stuff on the cutting table out of the way. 

I'm not sure how long that will last -- all it's going to take is an unscheduled class homework, and caution will be thrown to the wind. But, if I sit down once a week and plan the week ahead, I should be able to stay ahead of the game. Yes-- that requires some thought and a little bit of time. But I bet it's going to save me a whole lot of grief. Of course, I'll put some "fun" time in there, but I have to give the scheduling a try if I want to make headway here. 

We are still behind on the EXIT Game Advent Calendar. I confess that last night, we were stumped. Even when we finally looked at the clues -- the puzzle was a bit far-fetched. OK -- so it wasn't when you applied the logic, but it wasn't the logic that either of us identified with. Oh -- that's a bunch of crock! The logic was there, and it was logical - we just didn't figure it out! We still have five puzzles to go! I hope they are all easy ones. Up until yesterday, we've been doing pretty well - at least for the last 6 or 7 puzzles. 

I see it's going to be warm and wet AGAIN! I'm not complaining - that was an observation. I think we are getting sun next week! 

Remember, the Virtual Retreat is on Sunday! So get some handwork prepped or some sewing for those who are not a fan of handwork, and you know who you are! 

Sunday, December 31st - starts at Noon

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8633 2961
Passcode: 084495

And have you been giving some thought to what you're going to start decluttering on January 1st? Or that first week in January? I'm going to return to the office since my plan is to have Studio B all done by then. Oh gosh -- that's only three days, and I don't know if I can do it, but it'll be close! 

Have a super day!!!


Thursday, December 28, 2023

And now for selling the car

OK -- how hard can it be to sell a car? There are several platforms, such as Kijiji and Autotrader. To sell a car, you need some paperwork from the Provincial Government, which I got. Then, I took pictures of my car and listed it on Kijiji. I should have researched the price more, as I listed it a bit higher than I should have, but no worries -- I can negotiate. 

It was suggested on the Kijiji website that I get a VIN report indicating that the car had not been in any accidents, etc. I chose not to get it. 

Then I waited and got a text asking about the car. Did I have a VIN report? No - I did not. Well, they gave me a site where I could get one. It was US-based, which I thought was strange, but I paid the $35 and got the report, which I forwarded. In the meantime, I got another inquiry for the car, and this person went on about how much he wanted the car and would pay full price, but his wife wouldn't let him send a deposit, blah, blah, blah. 

When I mentioned that I would be bringing the car to the police station in this area, the messages stopped immediately. And I should have known something was wrong because, when I got a text, I said - "you realize the car has a manual transmission," and no one said, "Yes -- I really want one." I was totally distracted by my travel and work schedule. 

I got a message from a Toyota dealer, but I felt their offer was too low, so I refused. Then I got more messages saying that I had to produce a VIN report from a specific site and that my report was not good enough. It was then (and after buying two reports - I know -- STUPID STUPID STUPID!) that I realized I was being scammed. 

I even "challenged" the next group of buyers when they requested the VIN report. "Oh no - this is legit," to which I responded "BS" and blocked them. 

I went back to the dealer and offered the car again. They agreed to buy it, but at a slightly reduced price from the original offer -- DAMN! I didn't care at this point - I wanted the car gone. 

I knew these guys were legit (or so I hoped) since I had to call the dealer to get this guy's number, as it had disappeared from my phone. 

They came to pick up the car, and it was over in a matter of 30 minutes. I got a cheque, which I took to the bank later that day. Only to be told (after waiting 30 minutes) that the cheque was no good and could NOT be deposited as the account number was incomplete. WHAT? Needless to say, that was a little unnerving! 

I called the guy back from the dealer, and he was floored but agreed to meet me the following day at my bank. We explained the situation to the teller, and she said she would check with her manager. Yes -- the cheque could be deposited, but the account numbers were written in two separate groups with two inches between them, and it may or may not get rejected by the automatic system. OK -- this cheque was written on one of our FIVE MAJOR banks, and I was told that a second MAJOR bank did the same thing. 

Seriously? If this is a problem -- why is it not corrected? 

After the cheque was in the bank, I asked to speak to the manager. I told her what happened the day before, especially with all the scams out there -this was crazy! Of course, the cheque had to sit for four business days before it could be released, and it could get rejected because of how the account number was written. Sigh................

This all happened on the Friday before I left for Saskatchewan. Thankfully, while I was away, the cheque cleared, and all was good. 

DH gave his car away to his friend, so we are now a one-car family. 

Back to the VIN report scam. There is a legit place to get a report called Carfax - you input your VIN number and get a report back. I also got legit information from the two reports I did - one was Carfax. Here's an article about the SCAM -- so if you are selling a used car online -- be careful!

I've been checking my credit card for weird things, but so far, so good. We do not have a very high limit on our card, and there's a reason for that! Well, several reasons, but I won't go there today. 

Anyway - live and learn, and thankfully, it cost me less than $100 before I caught on, but DUH!!! How dumb can one person be? I felt violated, to be sure, and well, it could have been worse! 

Gosh -- it's hard to believe that it's the end of December, and it's way above zero, with no snow and lots of rain. I feel like I've moved to BC! The pond is wide open! 

NO ice on the pond

Muprhy would rather sit in the garden than go for a pee. She is like a child -- she has to pee, she knows she should, but she won't! With a leaky bladder, it's important that she go out regularly, and she will, but she won't do her business! Bad doggy! And her teddy bears are saturated with water -- ICK, but she doesn't seem to mind. 

Mom -- I love being outside

And there's Princess Lexi, who would never consider laying in the garden on a wet day. 

MOM -- I'm OK sitting here! 

Yep - -and there's me - outside in my sandals with no socks! This was a quick trip to the garden, but it was warm. 

Sandals with no socks!

And the customer quilt of the day was quilted.

Customer quilt

But not before I ran out of thread on top! Yes -- I had another spool, so all was good. 

ACK - ran out of thread

The last of the Advent Calendar jigsaw puzzles was assembled. I'll put them away later today so I can open up a real puzzle (1000) pieces to work on. 

Advent Calendar puzzles

I made a sleeve for a wall hanging, and it's now in the handwork pile, waiting for the next Zoom call. Remember, there is a Virtual Retreat on New Year's Eve!!!

The sleeve is made for a wall-hanging

OK -- this decluttering/cleaning thing has gotten out of hand! I've become obsessed. So, this table was emptied, and I promptly put the two baskets of fabric waiting for a cutting session on the table. This makes it a lot easier to keep the dust bunnies at bay! Hopefully, those baskets will be gone by the end of the next Virtual Retreat. 

The area is somewhat neater!

All the quilts are trimmed that needed trimming. The main group of work tables is clear. This one is set for piecing, and there is a stack of blocks to piece on the left. 

The machine is set and ready for piecing!

There is one project sitting by the Designer EPIC 3 that I want to work on. 

One project waiting for embroidery

The serger table still needs some work, but it's all in one spot, so I'm good with that. OH -- I know what I can use to clear this spot. I'll work on that later today. 

The serger table

The handwork table (also my place to sit down and work on stuff) is relatively clear. There's that basket of handwork to do, but it's all neat and tidy. 

The open table!

This table is a problem, but this is stuff that I need or want to work on. I'll leave it as a mess for now, and hopefully, I can make a dent in it in 2024. It's all on one table; if it distracts me, I'll grab a quilt and cover it! 

The "to be processed" table

And lastly, here's the cutting table. My plan for this week is to clear the last bits off this table. I'm not pulling anything else out to work on, but forcing myself to deal with these last bits, and I want to start the new year with NOTHING on that table. Now, wouldn't that be nice? 

The cutting table

Then, the plan is to grab stuff from the messy table and work on that. Now, I must force myself not to grab more than I can handle that day/week. I'll make a list if I need something sitting in the wings. I'm notorious for making "visual" lists with the actual projects, which doesn't work. That's why so much ends up on the cutting table. 

The amount of stuff in the room is still way beyond what it should be, but I've made leaps and bounds into clearing the room to make it easier (hopefully faster) to get things done. I have hopes for 2024, which will be tough since it goes against how I usually work. But I love the clear spaces and will try very hard to maintain them! 

Thankfully, I have a lot more flexibility in my schedule for 2024, so I look forward to having time to actually start clearing this mess! It's going to be a work in progress for sure! 

And I hope that's the last you'll see of Studio B until New Year's Day when I'll post pictures so it's easy to check back in one year to see how I made out!

As for the paperwork? I sat down at the computer with the best intentions, until my e-mail (Outlook) decided there was an error and it took over one hour to repair itself! I did what I could without e-mail, and now I've got some catching up to finish today. 

When DH and I went to the movie, he brought up the subject of puffy coats. Why is everyone buying puffy coats? I don't know  - I guess it's the fashion for this year. I hate them as they are super bulky. But if you buy the Patagonia Down Sweater (a mini version of the puffy coat), they roll up into a small ball and can be tucked into a purse. 

So I laughed when M sent this picture. 

M in a puffer coat

The jacket was NOT for sale, but I'm sure if it was - someone would buy it! I had a chuckle!

Well, that's it for today! WAIT -- here's the link for the Virtual Retreat. 

Sunday, December 31st - starts at Noon

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8633 2961
Passcode: 084495

And I'm off to get some work done! I must stop obsessing about dust bunnies! And I need one of those Swifters mops or some portable floor mopper. Gosh -- I'm turning into Hattie McDaniel! 

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, December 27, 2023

On buying and selling a car

 At last, it's time to tell the tale of buying and selling a car. 

While my old car (2019 Corolla) had no issues with it, I was never happy with that car. I hated the navigation system (or lack thereof) and hated that it only had Apple Carplay - not Android. But that wasn't enough to warrant making a change. DH's car, on the other hand, was getting old, and it was showing. When I say old -- it was well over 10 years old - I don't even remember the model year. 

We had quite a few discussions about moving to a one-car family. ACK! Is that even possible? Since we both work at home or travel by air, we decided to go for it! We could have kept my car as there was nothing wrong with it, but it was small and had a manual transmission, which I didn't want DH to drive. OK -- call me petty, but I didn't want him driving my little car as if it were a race car! And that's what he would have done. Give a man a manual transmission, and they think they are driving a Formula One car on the Autobahn. 

So earlier this year, we, or should I say that "I," looked around. He wasn't interested, so I could buy what I wanted. Yeah - plus what he wanted, I wasn't prepared to pay for. I see ZERO sense in purchasing a $100K car that sits mostly in the driveway. Why not buy something cheaper and use the rest of the money for something else? That's my philosophy, and he couldn't argue! Well, he could, but he could not outlogic that one. 

So, in February, I put a small down payment on a Toyota Corolla Cross after test-driving the car and looking at other options (not other brands -- oh no!). Size-wise -- it's pretty close to what DH had before, but much bigger than my car! 

And then the wait began. We were told we'd likely see it in April 2024, and we were good with that. We prayed that DH's vehicle would last, but I swear it was dangerous to drive. I don't remember what day it was, but M and I had to drive his car to pick up something, and I swear we almost died of asphyxiation. The exhaust fumes INSIDE the car were horrific! That car needed to go!

Then, on November 3, I went to get the winter tires put on my car, and to my surprise, the salesman tracked me down in the showroom to tell me that my car would be delivered soon. WHAT? Yep -- he gave me a date of November 27. I WAS NOT ready, as November was my totally insane travel month. So I arranged for the second set of tires to be returned to my car and NOT stored.

When I arrived back at the dealer to pick up the car that afternoon, I was told that the car was in the parking lot! Oh god -- this is BAD news. I mean, I was excited, but how could I be excited when I didn't have time to deal with this. 

The dealer was also NOT prepared to buy back my old car. I didn't pursue that then but later learned that this particular dealer does NOT have an extensive used car division. 

I delayed the new car delivery until November 24, which was a Friday. I brought the car home and then left on Monday for Winnipeg! Now, we had three cars, but thankfully, one was parked in the garage and two in the driveway. 

I had my old car detailed, and it was so shiny and clean that it got parked in the garage. But I had to open the windows as it was full of condensation and wouldn't dry out. Plus, everything was slippery as heck, so I hated driving it!

Toyota has a delivery specialist who walks you through the new things in the car, which helped, but there are still many things we need to "find," and one day, DH and I should sit down in the car and figure them out. Let's say that we know how to drive it, but for the life of me -- I can't find the radio! And if I ask the car to play the radio - it tells me to do something with the apps. When I get in, I think I need to turn on the Toyota app on the screen to make it work. 

The radio worked just fine when I first got it, but now -- well, DH, with all his music, something has happened. If I need to go somewhere far, I just plug in my audiobook! Murphy loves the new car, and I must find the picture of her in the back! More stuff for tomorrow. 

We've barely driven the car between the two of us - except for local errands. Our other cars are gone, and I'll share that story tomorrow. 

Yesterday was another busy day with Monday sewing (on Tuesday) and me trying to organize everything in Studio B before the year's end. I have a plan - I'm not sure how long I can maintain that plan, but a plan is better than no plan. While planning can be perceived as a waste of time, it's a good habit to get into. And as long as you are realistic with your time, planning can save lots of time! So, for 2024, I hope to make it the year of the plan, along with many other good habits! 

This morning, I made a list of what paperwork needs to be addressed for each remaining days of this week. That's an excellent start to getting the paperwork done. There's more to add to the list, but it's all about baby steps!

While we were on Zoom, I tackled the stuff that needed to be done by hand. 

My handwork table

I got the sleeve hand-stitched to the Halloween quilt. 

The sleeve is on the Halloween quilt

I reattached two snaps on my jacket that were hanging by a thread. 

Snaps are now sewn back onto the jacket

I clipped all the loose threads on the mat. 

The threads are all clipped on the mat

And those things are now put away. That's a big lie -- NONE of them are put away. They are one step closer to their final destination but have yet to put away. That's a job for this morning. But I'm trying to put things away as soon as I'm done with them. I have to admit that it's kind of therapeutic to do that. It feels great to see stuff return to its home and not create clutter! WOW!!! And here's a secret - the more you do, the more you want to make this happen. It's a positive addiction! 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm also finding cleaning therapeutic. Seriously? Who knew? But I'm trying to keep the dog hair off the stairs, so I'm out with my dustpan and little broom several times a week. Do NOT tell my mother that! 

I will have to address the huge number of quilts that are upstairs, and this tube is the first step to dealing with that. I've covered a tube from a roll of batting with some temporary quilt sleeves that I no longer use. So watch for what happens with that. 

A cardboard tube covered in muslin strips

Later in the afternoon, I sorted all my Husqvarna Viking machine accessories. It's so nice to have space to do that. 

Sorting accessories for Husqvarna Viking machines

They all got put into one drawer, making them easy to find. I have a little more work to do this morning on that drawer. 

The Husqvarna Viking Accessories

And this is what the handwork table looks like this morning. That orange basket is all the ripping or hand work that needs to be done. I'll keep adding to the pile and will address that stuff on a Zoom day. That works for me, and there are a couple of movies in there, which I can watch and do handwork if I don't have a Zoom call. But look how inviting that table looks to work at! 

My handwork table is nice and tidy!

Another customer quilt was finished. I need to do some trimming today. I've got big plans for today, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow to see what I accomplish! 

Customer quilt - DONE

And drat! I opened the next customer quilt bag to find TWO quilts, not one! Oh well, one more day of quilting is no big deal. These quilts are all behaving themselves and are easy to get done. Just the way, I like it. So, I'm a little behind where I thought I would be, but still on track and making good progress. I want to stay on top of those quilts in 2024 so I can tackle some of the community project quilts that need to be quilted!

Then, last night at dinner, we opened up the EXIT Game Advent Calendar to solve the next puzzle. Oh boy -- this looks hard. I put my first thoughts out there, and so did DH. Then I said I needed a break -- sometimes attacking the entire thing in one sitting is too much. After a 10-minute break, I was back. Some of these puzzles are so tricky, and this one involved sticky notes. One must also remember that EVERYTHING in the box, including the box, is used at some point. 

I'm sure anyone with the calendar is done, so I ended up with this, and the answer was correct! The first part of any clue (except one!) is pretty straightforward. Then it's taking it to the next step, and sometimes we overthink that next step. The logic hit me just by playing around last night, and I was good. It took about 2 minutes once I came back to find the answer, and we didn't do a second one. I didn't want to push my luck! This was excellent value for the money, so we'll get another one next year! OK -- I have three of them in my puzzle closet, but don't tell anyone! 

The Advent Calendar!

I chuckled this morning when I grabbed a sticky note from the VERY clean desk drawer. It's nice to see a FEW supplies, not an overwhelming mess. The more I do, the better I feel and the more I want to do to get everything in order. It's an addictive behavior, but one that I'll happily accept. 

Remember to look around your house and pick the area you want to tackle! What is driving you crazy? That drawer in the kitchen, the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom, or your cutting table. I don't care what you pick, but we must start somewhere! I hoped to start in the kitchen in January, but I think I would be better off focusing on the office. I hope to have Studio B in complete order by December 31. That's my goal, and wait until you see -- it's so close!

And now I'm off to the gym. It's time to get back into the swing of things, and I'm off to spin class. 

Here's the link for the New Year's Eve Virtual Retreat

Sunday, December 31. We start at Noon

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 857 8633 2961
Passcode: 084495

Have a super day!!!!!