Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Day has come and for some quilting

And gift reports.

First, my son likes his quilt.  How do I know you ask?  Well I had asked for fabric for Christmas and he gave me some of the same fabric that went into his quilt.  So I guess I'll be making another Star Trek quilt in the near future.

He also found some Disney fabric so I get to plan a new quilt for myself:

Check out the watch strap to go with my Minnie Mouse watch that he made:

Along with a lot of really thoughtful gifts my husband picked out and paid for a block of the month quilt for me.  For the next 10 months I'll be heading over to Sew Devine here in Edmonton for the month's block.  Here's the pattern book:

And one of Mom's favourite gifts is this little guy.  He's similar to the little lizard that climbed up her leg during the Finding Nemo show at Animal Kingdom on our trip.

 Now off to visit with some out of town company and then to the quilting studio at long last!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Gift I'm Most Looking Forward to Giving For Christmas

I'm not going to write about the gift I'm most excited about giving.  That's for my son. Since once in a while he actually looks to see what I'm up to here, I best not discuss that gift until after the 25th.

But the second gift that I"m most looking forward to giving is a book.  It's written by the mom of one of my husband's classmates from junior and senior high.  Our parents will be receiving hard copies.  I just finished reading the e-book version today.

This book is available in e-book form from Amazon.  Helga Tucque writes about leaving Germany after WWII and how it was decided that Edmonton would be her family's new home.   

"Oh, These Crazy Immigrants" will bring back so many memories for my Mom and my in-laws.  They will be able to relate to her stories.

She writes about life in Edmonton in the 1950's.  Driving to Jasper.  The beauty scenery as well as difficulties driving the mountain roads.  Waking up with snow on their tents, loosing keys to the car on the ski slopes.  She reminds us that businesses were not open on Sundays or religious holidays.  These are all stories that our family will relate to.  And will be sure to bring back their own memories. 

I'm hoping Helga will continue writing.  I'd love to give more of her books to the family next year for Christmas.  Looking back, a book was always one of my Christmas gifts.  I can't remember a Christmas when  I didn't receive a book until recently.  I think we need to get back to that tradition.

For many years I would buy a magazine called "Those Good Old Days" Christmas edition.  I would give this magazine instead of Christmas cards to the seniors in my life.  We would sit together going through the stories and the reprints of advertisements from their childhood.  This would bring out stories from their lives.  After they finished with the magazine it would be passed along to other seniors they knew.  Now the magazine is not available locally and we all miss it. 

Helga's book helps bring that part of my Christmas traditions back.  And I thank her.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Another rant...

I seldom rant.  Not seriously at least.  But it seems lately that's all I'm doing.

First it was Second Cup not selling egg nogcoffee locally and expecting me to send my credit card information to an unsecured e-mail address to someone in Halifax.   Then it was an issue with a local grocery store's loyalty reward points.  Today it's something totally different.

We picked up our son (DS) at his condo this morning.  A gentleman stopped us to explain that they were removing the snow from the parking lot today and asked that we park somewhere else.  We explained that we were just making a pick up.  No problem then.  Then he went off to knock on condo doors requesting that people move their cars.

I asked DS if he had received any requests for residents to move their cars from the parking lot for today.  He replied that there had been several notices in the mail.  I wonder why there were so many cars still there if that was the case.

Two hours later DS received a call on his cell phone from the property maintenance.  They asked him to remove his car from his parking stall.  He let them know that he doesn't own a car and no one should be parked in his stall.

Turns out that someone decided it was too much trouble to park their car elsewhere in the neighbourhood.  Instead they parked their car in DS's stall.  that way if parking tickets were issued, DS would get the ticket instead of them.  The joke was on them.  No tickets were issued.  All cars were towed away.

When we dropped DS back at his condo 5 hours later, the tow truck still had two more vehicles to remove from the parking lot.  The snow removal crew had been waiting for all that time.  If anyone complains about condo fees going up I hope the condo board points to this as an example of why.

The board had sent out several notices, maintenance had knocked on doors, phone calls made and even when we dropped DS off the tow truck driver came over to let us know there was no parking.

That's it...I'm off to watch a Christmas movie.  Maybe that will help improve my mood.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Loyalty points

I have a number of loyalty reward cards.  Three are for groceries.  One for a warehouse wholesale store, book stores, department stores etc.  I always remember to get the points but seldom use them. 

Did you know that some of these cards delete the points if they are not redeemed after a certain period of time?

Or that you can earn the points by just giving your phone number.  This is great because you don't fill up your wallet with a bunch of cards.  But the downside is that when you go to redeem those points to pay for merchandise you may run into some issues.

That is what happened to us this afternoon.  All year we shop at a grocery store here in Edmonton.  We faithfully use our phone number to collect our points.  We save them to buy the extra food we need for entertaining at Christmas.  We've done this for quite a few years.  Always worked great.....but not today. 

Imagine a huge line up at the grocery store.  My cart is loaded with items for our annual Christmas Eve Open House for family and friends.  I know I have over $190.00 in points so my cart full of groceries shouldn't cost me money.

First the cashier cannot find us using our phone number.  She gets her manager over and we explain that we know we have enough points to pay for our groceries so she re-enters the phone number and finally after a few tries there's all our information.  Great.

The manager walks away and the cashier informs us that there are no points there to cash in.  Huge line up behind us now.  But that's a large grocery bill so I ask that she again get the manager over.  The manager goes through the whole thing again and then as she walks away says, "Oh, you can't redeem any points unless you have your card." 

Whoa there lady....why were we not informed of that to begin with.  She informs us that the cashier is just a trainee so she wouldn't know.  I said that since she, being a manager, knew this why didn't she tell us?  We could have been paid and out of there without all these people having to wait on us.  The manager just laughs....and walks away.

The cashier asks if we want to put our groceries to the side, go home, and come back with our card.  Now, it's been snowing like crazy here.  Record breaking number of accidents.  The rain is now starting making it worse.  We declined going home and coming back.  We paid for the groceries and got out of there much to the relief of those poor souls behind us.

After getting home I call my Mom to vent.  Now she shops at the same grocery chain.  And Mom called "BS" on this whole thing.  Many times she gets asked if she wants to use her points to pay for her groceries and she never has her card with her.  They can redeem her points without a card. 

Now I start being a worry bird.  So many people in the line heard me repeat my phone number over and over, all the time insisting that I had more than enough points to pay for the cart of groceries.  What happens if they go to a different store and just repeat my phone number, use my points and I loose them all.  Not likely to happen, but.....

A few years ago all my points disappeared from a department store program.  Along with a number of other people's.  An employee was finally caught and fired, but that didn't get our points back.  Similar thing happened at another  grocery chain about 15 years ago.  That employee was caught because she was bragging on how many neat items her family and friends collected from points.  Someone got suspicious and checked it out.  Those are just the times I know about personally.  Not hearsay.  So it does happen.

Now for the fun part.  You knew there would be some fun...right!

After putting my groceries away and talking to my Mom, I got onto the computer.  I logged into the rewards points site and checked out what I could use the points for.  My favourite!  Gift Cards!   They are in the mail and although they will come way after Christmas, I know what my family will be getting for their birthdays this year!  It won't cost me anything. 

I love this.  Especially since I would have purchased the groceries and earned the points anyways.  And as a way to get back at the grocery store, these gift cards will be used elsewhere.  If they had been more customer orientated the points would have been used in their own store.

( at least one of the gift cards will be for me....but I earned it!)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Fabric/Christmas Decorating

I have a weakness for novelty and holiday fabric.  But after I bring it home I have to do something with it.  Either that or I store it for years.  I pull it out on occasion and wonder what I could make with it.  And who I would gift my creation to.  After all, I have enough of that kind of stuff cluttering up the place.  Turns out most of my family and friends have more than enough (usually given to them by me) so they really don't feel a need to have more.

So I have put a stop to bringing home the holiday fabric.   My stash is slowly going down.  In the past few years I have made place mats, runners and wall hangings.  Using up a lot of my Halloween and Christmas stash.  I won't say what I've done with these items. Some have gone to charities, some have been given away more creatively.  (There are rumours of a short grey haired woman roaming the streets in the early mornings leaving packages hanging on strangers' doors....and you thought it was the Great Pumpkin.)

So now what to do with the last bit of Christmas fabric I have left.  There was enough for two table runners and cushion covers.  Added bonus, these items will store easily with the Christmas towels and placemats. 

Any cushion that is plain received a band of fabric to make it fit the season.  A wide band of fabric works great on chair pads as well. 

Any cushion that looks so bad that it really should be replaced gets a new cushion cover.

For these covers I cut fabric the width of the cushion plus 3" by double the length of the cushion plus 7".  Each long end is folded over 1" and again 1" then stitched for a finished edge at each end. 

With the wrong sides together I fold the fabric lengthwise with the finished ends over lapping by three inches.  Stitch the sides together (1/2" seam), leaving the finished edges open.  Turn the cover right side out.  Slip the cushion inside. 

If the cover is too wide, it's very easy to fix.  Turn it inside out again and run another seam up one of the stitched edges.  If it's too long, turn the cover inside out and run a seam at one end.  There are no exact measurements for these cushion covers.  Depending on how much use your cushions have seen, they may be puffy or very flat.  Also depending on the type of stuffing in the cushion it may look better when in a smaller cover.  I have several cushions that should be replaced but look great when stuffed into a smaller cover.  (Guess I best make some new covers that will look good in the living room year round.)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kingsway & City Centre Decorations

After a 7:15 am eye appointment (yep, you read that right 7:15 am) I headed to Kingsway to kill some time before going downtown to meet up for coffee with former co-workers.

Kingsway pulled out all stops with the Christmas decorations again this year.  I really enjoyed walking around in a mostly empty mall taking photos.  Unfortunately with my eyes so dilated the photos are as fuzzy as my vision was. 

After coffee with my former co-workers (I really do miss them!) I headed over to Edmonton City Centre.  I was hoping to be blown away by the decorations.  This is where thousands of downtown workers go daily for work, shopping, lunch, coffee etc.  What a disappointment.  I took a photo of the tree by the food court in City Centre East.  Not much else was worth taking a photo of.

Now to finish decorating my own home for the Holidays

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No Eggnog Coffee this Christmas

My family and friends (and of course myself) really enjoy spiced eggnog coffee from Second Cup.  We were very upset to find  out that it has been discontinued.  Now we're not talking about a latte.  It's the ground flavoured coffee that we were looking for.  It's a tradition for us to give, receive and enjoy this coffee during December.

Our local Second Cup store suggested that we e-mail head office to let them know our thoughts.  So that's what we did.  First we all received the same response back.  If we gave them our credit card number and told them how much we would want, they would "attempt" to fill our order.  No price given nor shipping charge.  Several of us asked if the coffee could be shipped to our local store for us to pick up.  Again we were asked how much and what is your credit card number.  No cost provided.

Finally I received an e-mail from a gmail account asking for my credit card number saying that they were a Second Cup store in Halifax and they had the coffee available.  How much did I want and they would "try" to get it out to me.

Wait a unsecured gmail address is asking for my credit information, still not providing the cost of the coffee or the shipping charges and they would "try" to get me the coffee.  No thanks.  If Second Cup can fill the orders for a store in Halifax, they can fill the order for our local stores here in Edmonton.

So what flavour will my friends and family be enjoying this year?  Glad you asked.  The Winners stores carry a brand called Grande Kaffee Colection.  So far I have picked up their Icicle Delight (dark chocolate with a hint of peppermint), and Jingle Berries Coffee (chocolate, berries and vanilla). 

As we meet up for coffee at the malls during the holidays, we will keep an eye out for other holiday flavours.  But really Second can provide the coffee for some provinces, do not provide the cost per pound, just a demand for our credit card numbers.....and you will "attempt" to get us the coffee.....