New items for 2020

I knew I needed to try and find some items other than Christmas items in my shop.

I recently discovered bag and purse making. What a fun thing to do. I still look at my creations and say “Wow, I made that?”

Here are a few of the Zippy Clutches I have listed in my Etsy shop (www.calicomouse.com).


I’ve added some new Christmas angel designs to my Etsy shop. My biggest seller is the Sparkling Lace Angel Tree Topper.


This angel takes more than 9 hours to create! Machine stitched with almost 270,000 stitches. The organza she is stitched on has flecks of silver the catch the light and sparkle. It’s hard to capture with the camera.

I try to keep her in stock, and I’m working now to increase my supply on hand. I sell at least 20 of these each year. If you are interested, order early!

Dryer balls update

I am still loving my Dryer balls. I can now choose what my clothes will smell like by my choice of essential oils. Lavender is my favorite. I just add 1-2 drops of essential oil to each ball in the dryer when I put the laundry in the washer. I also have a steam cleaner for my floors. Now I can just throw the cleaning pads in the washer since I don’t use fabric softener. The directions say not to wash them with fabric softener. HA they are right. I tried that once, and the next time I cleaned the kitchen floor, it became a sort of skating rink! The steam released the fabric softener … all over the floor.

About two years ago, I was perusing “the middle” (as we like to call it) at BJ’s and saw an item called an Aero Garden. I was intrigued, but decided I needed to do some more research before I bought one.  I’m glad I did as the one I saw had CFL lights (which need to be changed every 6 months).  All the new models have LED lights on them.  So I opted to spend a bit more and get the AeroGarden Ultra LED – pictured.  Started the custom herb kit that was included.  Everything grew well except the chives.  AeroGarden is a Miracle Grow product, and they have great support.  All their items are guaranteed to grow.  If something doesn’t germinate, just give them a call and they will send out a replacement pod.  I’ve done herbs twice, cherry tomatoes once and now have a second garden.  I’m about to set both up again, with some lighting improvements which will hopefully give me better growth.

The AeroGarden is a hydroponic system – no dirt, just water and nutrients.  I’ve you’ve ever been on the Living with the Land ride at Epcot, you’ve seen hydroponics there – remember the pvc pipes with the plants growing out of them?  Hydroponics promotes better and faster growth than growing in soil.  They have a lot of models and types, from 3-pod up to 9-pod now.  They have lots of sales and promotions, prices change often, and there are great sales on the older models when the new models come out.

As I’m about to set up two gardens again, one with the Cherry Tomatoes and one with either lettuce or herbs (I’ve not decided yet).  I’ll post pictures of my progress.

Dryer Balls!

Got a set of Woolzie Dryer Balls for Christmas…

These are great!  I’m on my 5th load and loving them.  I’m actually finding I’ve got less static than I did using fabric softener.  And here’s a hint, if you’ve got static, simply wad up some aluminum foil into a ball and add to your dryer load along with the wool balls.  I got the set that also includes a small bottle of Lavender Essential Oil – my favorite scent.  The trick to using the EO is to remember to add a drop to each ball in the dryer as soon as you add clothes to the washer.  That way, it has a chance to soak in.  OH, and we had to give up our outdoor clothesline – which I’m not happy about, but we had to take down the Leyland Cypress that hid my illegal (isn’t that stupid!) clothesline.  Planted some new bushes, but it looks like they are going to take a couple of years to take off.  So, I’m back to using the dryer, for now.  Least since I’m not working, I’ve got less laundry to do….

Was to cut the cord and stop paying for TV and the landline. Saving $1200 a year!  We only pay for internet.

We ordered an antenna, yes there IS still free Over-the-Air TV!  We opted for the ClearStream 2V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna with Mount – 60 Mile Range. Most of our TV stations are within a few degrees of each other, so it works well. I was amazed at how many stations it pulled in. We get the big 3 major networks, Fox, PBS, The CW, Ion, QVC, HSN, plus a whole host of “substations”. If you are not familiar with OTA TV, each station has multiple broadcasts, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, etc.

We pair the broadcasts with Netflix. We could supplement with Hulu or Sling TV, but we are not big TV watchers. We also have our own DVR, and can record all the shows we want with no monthly fee.  And actually the OTA broadcast is better than what we got via cable. No more snow like days gone by. Sure, occasionally the picture will pixelate a bit, but not often. We just reversed the cables and splitters in the attic and basement and are using the same hookups as the cable. We are running 5 TVs off the one antenna.

As we only get a few calls via our landline, but didn’t want to give up our number or talking on our portable phones, and as ATT has actually admitted we do indeed live in a “dead zone” with poor cell reception, we opted to go with a VoIP service to route our calls over the internet. I chose to buy an Ooma Bluetooth device

It’s all working great! I’ll never go back to paying for TV again.  There is certainly no show we can’t live without!

Here it is

As promised, here is the project. 


New Chapter

Wow. Has it really been 4 years since my last post?  Well, I plan to change that going forward. My job of 17 years was eliminated last week. I think the only thing I will miss is the paycheck and benefits. So for now, I’ve more time to devote to the things I love to do. Matter of fact, I’ve got an embroidery project – almost a year in the making – that I’ve got to go photograph and get listed in my Etsy shop. Stay tuned!

Our youngest son announced in March that he was moving out.  Wow, that was not expected.  Took a good bit of time getting used to.  I don’t see or hear from him as often as I do my daughter, and I miss him terribly.

However, on the plus side, we’ve noticed a positive thing – our electric use has gone down.  We went into this ungodly month of July with a 952 kWh CREDIT.

Our electric usage for the year in 2010 was 13,980 kwh (daughter moved out July 2010) and 2011 was 9,243 kwh.  To be honest, I have to attribute a good bit of that decrease to replacing our 110-volt pool filter with a much more efficient multi-speed 240-volt one.  So far this year tho, we’ve had an excess generation since February.  Our son was working 12 or 24-hr shifts and not home much before he moved out.  PLUS the last two winters, I have dried our clothes as much as possible on racks in front of the woodstove.  Amazing how much energy a dryer uses.  In the spring, summer and fall, the clothes go out on the line (just don’t tell the neighbors)

Here is a snapshot of our solar generation and usage:

New camera

I’ve been a photo buff for a long time.  I gave myself a gift of a film SLR camera for my high school graduation present.  A Fujica SLR.  Nothing takes a picture like a SLR Camera.  Like every one else, I got into digital photography years ago with my first camera that was not even measured in mega pixels, but rather by image size – 640×480.  Now my cell phone takes better pics that that one did.  Then Canon announced the Digital Rebel. Finally, a digital SLR I could afford!  Even tho I paid a fortune for it.  When I first got it in April of ’04, I took it everywhere, carted the camera bag around instead of a purse.  Decided a while later that I really needed a good point & shoot camera, so I got a Canon D-9, which at 12.2 mp was better than the Rebel at 6.3, so the Rebel got shuttered off to the side a bit.

But back at Christmas time, I took a trip to Longwood Gardens.  Decided the Rebel had to go along on this trip.  That’s when I decided that maybe it was time for a new DSLR.  Happened to get an email from Brads Deals with a link to a deal at Buy.com for a Canon T3 and Pixma Pro printer for $817 with a $400 rebate.  Too good a deal to pass up!  So, I ordered, and sold the old Rebel and the printer for $400.  Combined with the rebate, that netted me a new camera for $17!  Can’t beat that with a stick!