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The After Baby Shower Cleanup February 27, 2017

Well it was a whirlwind party. I never saw myself hosting a baby shower. But then I never had one for my children. I am in my first marriage, my husband who is 15 years older than me already has a 23 year old daughter and she is now the proud mommy of a lovely little baby girl.

About five months ago we had a baby shower. And before you ask, we are more like best friends than the mother daughter duo. She is young, smart and full of life and we just hit it off. So when she asked me if I would host the baby shower it felt like a really good fit and I was glad to do it.

You will get clothes, lots and lots of clothes.

My livingroom was so swamped in clothing it looked like the department store after a sale.

As we were sorting it all out she would comment on this piece and that.

And while it is nice to have all the newborn and 0-3 months stuff ready to go when baby gets here (because no one wants to be cutting off tags and doing laundry during that phase) it dawned on us that . That said, we DID end up with a lot of clothes she will never put baby in. I'd wait to wash stuff until after your baby shower at least so you know what you're working with.

I noticed while I was sorting out the clothing that you need to make sure you don't just sort by the size the brand puts on the clothes. Some brands run small, and I had many outfits I didn't get the proper use out of because I had them in storage for when she was older. Actually hold the clothes up to each other and you'll get a good idea of what belongs where.

I have heard many people say that you should just buy 12 month or older things because people tend to only give little baby clothes and forget that the baby will grow quickly. But there was a nice mix. Sure there were more baby clothes. But I think if she has to purchase new clothes it will be around 9 month and over mark. Which would be nice since we can make use of the stuff on clearance now will fit her next spring/summer.

I think that we are in a unique situation. Sure we had a lovely shower, and I invited some of my friends that would have been left out if somebody else had doe it. I everything that I read has said it is tacky for the mother to host the shower.

I am not the mother in the traditional sense, and due to the minor age difference it doesn't seem right either.

Now I think it's considered "tacky" to throw your own shower, and in cases like that they usually have someone pretend to be the host and then you still end up do all the planning?

Like a friend.

Give them the credit, but plan the details? I personally don't think it's a big deal but people tend to get weird about it. We did get a couple of comments and I just shot them down. I said that I saw her as my best friend and if she would have been my daughter I must have gotten pregnant at eleven.

And I think that the times really are changing.

Times change, customs evolve, what's SOOO shocking today will be common place tomorrow.....

Look at us we really are a patchwork family. But I have always loved quilts the best.

As for the cleaning there was just so much. It took me two whole days and I was tired afterwards like you wouldn't believe.

I think timing decides food. If you have the shower at noon people expect lunch. If you have a 10:30 "brunch" it's more snacks or afternoon party it's more snacks as well.

We held in at five and it was because that was when the most people could attend. That felt like I was responsible for a full meal. That was the mistake.

I had to clean the carpet in multiple spots.

But we had a fairly healthy set of guests there. They enjoyed the food and drinks. I know some people say that you shouldn't invite that many people. But I think you invite anyone you aren't ashamed to ask for a gift from. My guest list was practically RSVPing itself before it was even official so that is why it grew so big. A baby shower is a "shower of gifts" so whoever you think is reasonable to ask for gifts. And that is why we ended up with such a healthy set of clothes.

My step-daughter, yuck - that just sounds wrong, was thrilled that I was willing to do it for her. But I made her promise that she would never let her daughter call me grandma. My husband teased me and said that I am the hottest grandma he knows.

Some things that I can say I took away from the whole thing include:

  1. I would definitely do it at home. Just anticipate the clean up and parking.
  2. Invite as many people as you're comfortable hosting. My sister had 60-70 people attend her shower in a much smaller house and it was not crowded or uncomfortable
  3. Finger foods are great as long as you don't schedule it at a meal time (11-2 or 12-3, for example). Schedule it 1 pm-3 or 4 and you'll be golden.

Quilting, That Mesh Layer February 8, 2017

So I was just at my Bernina dealer test driving a 765 and they gave me a little test quilt sandwich to try out on the machine and it had some kind of fine mesh between the batting and the fabric!

I forgot to ask what it was, but when I got home I googled "mesh quilting".

I think it was batting with what looks like a flexible protective layer at the top. Wonder if that's what it was?

I have an Aurora 430 and while I love it, my husband has been starting to make noises about maybe upgrading me.

I have the stitch regulator and it is great!

As far as quality goes, my machine is a tank and I've never had a problem with it though I am a bit obsessive about cleaning it. Learning how to load a front loading bobbin and use the automatic needle threader was a bit weird, but it's great now that I'm used to it.

Of course I am playing it cool (for now), but I really would like a machine with the embroidery software built into the machine. Right now I have to connect to the computer and do all sorts of confusing things, resulting in very little embroidery being used.

Silhouette Cameo and Quilting January 27, 2017

I've used the Silhouette for many fabric cuts and it's been great. Once in a while a little piece won't have cut all the way through, but I don't mind that since I despise cutting it all by hand.

That's not to say there isn't work involved, but it has been superbly useful for me. I recently quilted a US flag and cut all 50 stars with the Silhouette and it was great. There's no way I would have ever done that by hand. I've also cut designs for other themed-wall hangings and it was great. I asked if there was a difference at all between the fabric blade and the paper blade with the machine and it's just a different color casing so that you can keep them separate. I'm not really bothered by that answer but at the same time I guess I was hoping for something more. It's great for cutting EPP papers.

I separate the blades I use for fabric and paper, and I always apply my heat transfer first.

I like it for cutting strips and squares out of fabric. It does speed up the cutting process but it is an investment. You also have to be okay with a little bit of waste. You can minimize that by folding your fabric but you will still get more waste than you would with a regular rotary cutter and ruler.

The Death of a Sewing Machine December 13, 2016

My 16 year old sewing machine died this weekend. It was a sewing date with one of my friends. I transported my sewing machine to her house. And shortly there after it died.

I used her new Janome over the weekend and did not like it, but she said it would take some getting used to before you got the hang of it.

Mine came with a built-in walking foot, which I use for everything, but is really essential for quilting. Having to attach the add-on walking foot to the Janome was a pain in the ass, and then the clearance under the presser foot was so poor, I doubt I'd have been able to get a quilt sandwich under it. I've never used anything but my Bernina either.

What I like is that Janome is the only sewing machine company that makes their own machines. The 8900 is a great machine. Janome machines hardly break and they don't need to be oiled every 8 hours of sewing like the Berninas.

Janome has a jam proof bobbin case and the 8900 is awesome because it comes with the plexiglass table and all the feet you need for quilting. Bernina feet are typically more expensive. I'm not sure what comes with the 770.

But the 8900 has the Accufeed feet, auto thread cutter, knee lift bar and 1/4" piecing foot that comes with the machine.

Professional Cleaners Kitchen Cleaning Tips July 16, 2016

The kitchen is probably the most challenging room to clean. Here are ten tips from the pros to make it easier. As this is the area where the food is prepared, you can expect a lot of dirty surfaces and dirt to clean.

  1. Wash, dust and polish all surfaces
  2. Clean refrigerator inside and out, removing food and grime. Defrost and leave switched on.
  3. Clean washing machine inside and out. Clean soap drawers, filters and the rubber at the door
  4. Clean dishwasher inside and out
  5. Degrease, clean and polish wall tiles
  6. Clean over inside and out, removing built-up grease. Polish external chrome
  7. Clean extractor and remove grime, dirt and grease
  8. Clean exterior of all kitchen appliances such as toaster, microwave, kettle
  9. Deep clean all cupboards, cabinets and drawers. Throw away old food, carrier bags, etc.
  10. Clean sink, remove lime scale and polish surrounding surfaces

Cleaning the Kitchen August 26, 2015

If you're using anything else other than Baking Soda you're paying too much. If you look under my sink you'll only see two types of cleaners, Baking Soda and Liquid Dish Detergent.

This is because Baking Soda works the best for getting any sort of sticky / nasty / stinky / ugly buildup clean. Baking Soda, water, and wipe will get just about anything clean. If it doesn't work, you can spray some white vinegar on it and then wipe. Works great for Black Mold, Sticky Ovens, Dirty Sinks, Shining Chrome, etc, etc, etc.

I have not found one instance where it didn't do the job I wanted it to.

Vinegar Lemon Baking Powder does WONDERS for this. I just put in a bowl, use a sponge, and voila! CLEAN! But be sure to wipe it off immediately, natural Materials (stained wood, marble, granite, stone) DO NOT respond well to vinegar. If methylated spirits (also, dont use on freshly stained wood/freshly sealed natural stone) and elbow grease doesn't work on these surfaces call it a day.