Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The decision to Home School

This morning I am feeling a thousand times better about our decision to home school (not that I was feeling bad about it before!).

Last time we home schooled Mr D, I had to go over one day's worth of lessons for a whole week before I felt he was 'getting' it.  Now, we are able to do one to two days worth of work in each subject each day!  Sometimes I have to MAKE him stop!  He is now wanting for us to read Harry Potter.  I've decided that if he is showing an interest in the book we have to do it!  So, starting today we will be attempting to read Harry Potter.  (well, I will be reading, he will be listening!)

Reading and math are still the subjects that I worry about.  He is still a non-reader, and he can now add using a number line, he loves to count out loud, and he has taken to counting to 100 as a way to occupy himself in the car.  I'm trying hard not to push him, but yet keep him challenged.

We know that these two subjects will probably always be a struggle for him, just because of the way the brain injury affected him.  We are hoping that continued exposure to math and reading will help him start to absorb just a bit more of it.  He has always loved books, and has loved being read to since he was a baby.

Yesterday his doctor told me she thinks there is no question that the decision to home school was the best one for him.  I have seen no major meltdowns since the beginning of summer.  The only ones I have heard about was in information coming from his 'teacher' in public school.  (and those generally came as a result from having sugar)  I see when he is getting frustrated, and we talk about it and give options for how to handle his feelings.  We have verbal cues for when we are in public and he is working through these issues without incidents.

If only the public school could use those simple techniques in the classroom.  I mean, she only had seven students and a para pro!  How hard could it have been?  No, her solution was to lock him in a closet and tell me it was for his protection.

A n y w a y !  We are really enjoying the time together as we home school as well as the flexibility we now have.  Some days, Mr D likes to sleep in at lest 6:30! And some days he likes to get up with Sissy at 5.  Some days he needs a nap in the middle, and some days he pushes through wanting to get finished before the clock has a certain 'time' on it (kinda like a  race against the clock!  LOL).  Some days we have therapy appointments, and some days we stay in our jammies all day.    Some days we have 'class' at the grocery store (sorting, counting, reading labels) and some days we bake cookies.

Those that know me, know I had serious reservations about letting him go back to public school.  I only agreed to a month as a trial.  But, he was enjoying it so much I gave in.  Then, when things started to go bad, I let it go on way too long because he wanted to stay there.  I am so extremely happy with my decision to go back to home school., if I can just find a good name for out little school...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Back to Home School

What a wild weekend it has been...but then again, the whole week was kinda crazy!

Miss B and the Princess were out of school and home with me.  It just didn' seem fair to make Mr D have school when the girls weren't so we took a fall break as well.  During the summer, I borrowed the baby monitor so I could work downstairs while the kids were upstairs playing.  It worked pretty good...and when they got quiet it was because they were plotting.

This past week...not so much!  If I walked all the way downstairs, they started fighting.  If I sat on the couch they played quietly.  Even if they didn't know I was downstairs, the fighting began once I got the machine turned on.  Not a very productive week for the sewing cause!

I had made big plans for the weekend.  Miss B was going to be at her sister's house (her reward for straight A's)  Mr D and I were planning a weekend of Wii and sewing.  Him the Wii and me the sewing.

Unfortunately, I got one of those strange headaches.  Not a migraine (which I am used to ) but some sort of extremely hard sharp pain going through my temple.  I'm pretty sure it had something to do with my neck, since I popped it a bit right before it started hurting.

This basically meant Saturday afternoon and Sunday were a bust for me.  I did manage to get some napkins and a towel monogrammed for our Thanksgiving guests...and managed to get the binding on the other problem quilt.  But that was on Saturday morning before the headache set in.
Last night, I started feeling a bit better so I sat down at the computer to play a silly game.  The next thing I know is it is after 11pm and I have to get up in less than 5 HOURS!  Being out of school for a week really messed up my schedule.

Now it is Monday and we are hard at work in school.  Yes, I know it is only 7 am, but we already have 2 hours in .  We really only have reading and a bit of math to finish and we are done for the day.

Right now is when I can truthfully say I am so happy Mr D is a morning person like me.  We can get school started and finished before most people are even out of bed.  Then if we find more interesting stuff to do along the day we can add a few things here and there.


On mommy's agenda today is to start drafting a letter to the school board and superintendent about the events that led up to home schooling this time around.  I keep hearing all kinds of rumors that  this principal needs to go...


Thursday, October 20, 2011


OK...I admit it.  I am a thread snob as well as a thread geek!

When I first got my quilt machine I thought, thread was thread.  I mean how different can it really be?  So I stuck a spool of regular Coats N Clark on the thread stand and thought, 'Boy, I'm really quilting now!'  Umm...not!

It would not take a single stitch without snapping that thread.

That began a 5 year journey to learn all I could about thread. Even if I thought I was only learning which thread I needed to buy.

Now that I have an embroidery machine, I am learning a bit more about other types of thread as well.  Right now, my pet peeve is over dyed thread!

You see that nice shade of purple, or pink, or what ever your favorite color is?  Well, in the manufacturing process, there are mistakes...lots of mistakes.  When the thread is misdyed, it can't be sold.  Some companies, just throw it away.  Some companies try to salvage the thread by a process called over dye.  In those companies, that is where your black thread comes from.

All that mis dyed thread is thrown into a vat and dyed black.  (well, it is a bit more complicated than that, but that is the basic process.)  Some companies throw in another process of bleaching the thread a bit to get some of the old color out.

A lot of people realize that black thread is almost always weaker than any other color.  Some people assume it is because the black dye destroys the fiber a bit more than other colors.  Well, they are half right.  It is the dye that is destroying the fibers, but nott he black color.

The process of over dye makes the thread weaker.  It is easy to tell if your black thread has been over dyed. If you are embroidering, and you get to the clipping of the jump stitches (especially around the face area where the stitches are small and there are lots of jumps from place to place) and you get these black 'fuzzies' everywhere.  THAT is from the process of over dye.

No matter what type of thread, cotton, nylon, polyester, name it; over dyed thread is weaker than non over dyed thread.  I'm sure the thread manufacturer looks at it as a way to make their bottom line look better, and they might even consider it as their way of recycling to help the planet.  But for me, I will not purchase over dyed black thread again!

There!  I feel much better having warned the general public against buying over dyed thread!  (at least the three people who will read my blog anyway!)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cobbler's Children

I have done it several times.  Put something for my kids on the back burner for my kids or family so that something that HAS to get out immediately can be done...but I have always eventually gotten back to their stuff.

This time, well, that has changed.

A year ago, my youngest, Mr D, decided he wanted his room redone and even picked out the quilt he wanted me to make for him.  It had a ton of embroidery on it, and has turned out really cute.  I bought the flannel for the backing and got ready to put it on the frame.  Only to discover I was out of batting.  I finally bought some batting, only to have to put it to use on a different quilt.  

Yesterday, I went to put the last of my baby quilts on the frame to get it out the door (only a week late) when I discovered I had either measured or counted wrong.  I was a quarter of a yard too short having enough.  So, I did what any quilter in a pinch would do...I cannibalized  Mr D's quilt.  I took the nice large piece of flannel that was to be the backing for Mr D and cut it up to make a backing for the baby quilt I am making...

Eventually I will get back to Mr D's quilt.  I only have to buy some new flannel and some new batting!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Customer Service

In my previous life I worked in customer service.  Most recently as an insurance customer service representative (as well as underwriter) .  I helped train other customer service reps.  I know a thing or two about customer service.  I firmly believe that the absence of good customer service int h US has a lot to do with why our country is in such a financial place right now.  I mean, if the only thing you have to judge where to buy something is price, why not go to a foreign country?

There use to be customer service in the United States.  We used to pride ourselves in how well we treated our customers.  Treat them well and they will come back. I remember when I was younger, much younger, my grand father used to drive out of his way to get gas at a particular gas station and pay a penny more per gallon for it than the closer station.  My grand mother used to tease him about it all the time, but his response was always that the guy there always washed his windows just a bit better than at the closer station.

That has always stuck with me.

Now, you are lucky if the gas station even has something for you to use to wash your windows...I mean they even charge for air now.

As a quilter, one of my most important supplies is thread.  My quilter is very particular about the type of thread it will use. Then, there is the whole problem of not quilting enough lately to be able to make a minimum order for most wholesalers.  And retail?  I can't believe anyone would pay those prices!

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to find a good wholesale supplier with good prices and no minimum order requirement.  But most important was her wonderful customer service!  If I had a question about a particular thread I knew an email would be answered quickly.  I knew that her statement that orders were filled within 24 hours was so true.  I actually had orders arrive the next day!

I am working on two baby quilts that need to be delivered on Saturday.  Last Tuesday, I discovered that I was out of the color of thread I needed for one, an knew I had no thread for the other.  I placed an order for the thread and got a few other items as well.  True, it was still a small order, but it was right at $50.00.  I saw on her website a notice that her website would be changing names soon, but would continue to offer the same quality service as before.  Her turn around time was still listed as 'less than 24 hours', so I saw no reason to worry.  In fact a lot of the vendors I use have been updating their websites so I didn't give it a second thought.

Yesterday, I got a rather strange email from someone I didn't know stating my package had been mailed.  There was no company address...nothing except a strangers name.  I tried to click on the 'tracking' info and got absolutely nothing out of it.

Last night, with no fabric here, I sent an email to my favorite thread seller.  I was concerned that I wasn't going to get my quilts finished in time.  The money came out of my account last Tuesday, so I knew there was no problem there.

This morning I had an announcement in my email.  Not only did my thread supplier change websites, but she retired and gave all her customers to another company.  That strange info about that package yesterday...yup, that was my notice that the package I have been waiting on for a WEEK has finally been mailed.  I am now the unwilling customer of someone I don't know.

Now, I am at the mercy of the post office, I seriously doubt that my package will get here before Saturday (so the quilts will NOT be finished in time for their showers!!!)  I cannot even get my login info to work on the new site to see how much the thread has gone up (because you KNOW it has!)

So, these new owners of my customer info have several strikes against them.
1-the manner in which the change took place does not sit well with me.  The "notice" was non existent and the change in shipping time is making a huge difference to me.
2-the fact that I cannot get into the site means I am not likely to be a repeat customer.
3-the fact that they sent me the email about my package without any previous knowledge that my package was in their hands.
4-the fact that it is now being shipped via the post office (which has really sucky tracking info) as opposed to UPS as normal.

OK...that is four strikes...I think they are out of here.  So seriously thinking about filing a paypal claim.  I know I will not get my money back.  That really isn't the point at this time.  I just want them to respond to the many emails I've sent about my order....some sort of acknowledgement that I am upset....anything!