Party with a Purpose: Cutting Shoes

Charlie, my friend from the Cottage, and I hosted a party with a goal to cut out 25 pairs of denim shoes and donate them and other supplies to “Sole Hope“, which removes parasitic jiggers from children’s feet and provides shoes and paid work for adults in Uganda.

The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We'll be making size "Toddler 10" shoes.
The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We’ll be making size “Toddler 10” shoes.

I ordered a kit from “Sole Hope” which includes a DVD about cutting the shoes, an instruction booklet, a paper pattern for one size of shoe, book marks, and a few other items.

I cut out multiple copies of patterns in plastic and cardboard to make tracing them easier.
I cut out multiple copies of patterns in plastic and cardboard to make tracing them easier.

I made stiff templates for the paper pattern pieces in advance.  My friend and I also cut out a few pairs of shoes before the party to see how the process would go so we could be helpful to people attending the party. My friend cut stiff plastic heel pieces from old milk jugs to save cutting time and confusion at the party.

The invitation has information front, back, and inside of ways to support the project.
The invitation has information front, back, and inside of ways to support the project.

Everyone was sent an invitation which listed ways to get involved with Sole Hope so in addition to shoe cutters some folks who could not attend sent other supplies on the list and donated money. This is a good party invitation to send to ALL your friends — different people help in different ways.

I set up extra tables for tracing and cutting the shoes.
I set up extra tables for tracing and cutting the shoes.

As the party got underway we watched the instructional video then people started tracing pattern pieces on the jeans they brought.

Good scissors are essential when cutting heavy denim.
Good scissors are essential when cutting heavy denim.

When the tracing and cutting started the house became very quiet. Ultimately though there was a lot of chit chat and some sing-alongs while Charlie played the piano. The hosts helped answer questions and made sure each pair of shoes was top quality.

It was a treat to have a snack and stand and stretch for a few minutes in the kitchen.
It was a treat to have a snack and stand and stretch for a few minutes in the kitchen.

Charlie served beverages and, after cutting a pair of shoes, the cobblers were invited to have something to eat.

Diligent workers not only cut the shoes but prayed they would meet the needs of the children receiving them.
Diligent workers not only cut the shoes but prayed they would meet the needs of the children receiving them.

Then we sent them right back to work.

Ten pairs of shoes per gallon bag -- we filled 4 bags, 40 pairs of shoes!
Ten pairs of shoes per gallon bag — we filled 4 bags, 40 pairs of shoes!

Our goal was 25 pairs and our actual production was 40 pairs.

The wooden toys made from wood scraps were party favors for each guest to select.
The wooden toys made from wood scraps were party favors for each guest to select.

Added bonus: one of the party goers plans to have another party in the spring with an entirely different constituency. Woo hoo!

What project are you excited to get going with?

Having a Special Party

In one month from today Charlie, my friend from the Cottage, and I will be hosting a party.

The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We'll be making size "Toddler 10" shoes.
The shoes are appropriate for boys or girls. We’ll be making size “Toddler 10” shoes.

Unlike anything I’ve ever done before we will have a purpose to our get-together other than social interaction. We’re planning a “Sole Hope” party.

Bin o' Jeans
Bin o’ Jeans

I’ll be using my old pile of saved jeans to cut out tops for shoes that will then be assembled and distributed in Uganda.

The object of "Sole Hope" is to protect these feet from disease and infestation.
The object of “Sole Hope” is to protect these feet from disease and infestation.

Our goal is to cut out 25 pairs of denim shoes and donate them and other supplies to “Sole Hope“, which removes parasitic jiggers from children’s feet and provide shoes and paid work for adults in Uganda.

The invitation has information front, back, and inside to give encouragement to attendance.
The invitation has information front, back, and inside to give encouragement to attendance.

I have designed an explanatory invitation which I am giving to friends who will come on a Saturday afternoon to turn The Glade into a shoe-cutting factory.

Do you have any “soleful” snack inspirations?

A Busy Week

This week started off busy and is slated to continue that way.

Tennis Racquets -- all for one price.
Tennis Racquets — all for one price.

Yesterday I sold our old tennis racquets for $15 after listing them on Craigslist. It was a bargain and the buyer arrived in a Lincoln. I gave her a 2-hour window and of course she arrived at the end of the window.

The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.
The conservatory is usually set up with two love seats facing each other.

Tuesday night we start our summer book club.

The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We'll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.
The love seats are now at right angles to each other. We’ll fill in the facing spaces with chairs.

I’ve rearranged the furniture in the conservatory so 10 of us can fit in this room to discuss To Kill a Mocking Bird.

Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.
Charlie keeps his booking files scattered around the conservatory.

I told Charlie he has to clear out his stuff from the conservatory floor.

The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner -- unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.
The window on the far right is a good spot for an air conditioner — unseen from the street and behind the bathroom door when opened.

I also asked him “very nicely” to put an air conditioner in the window in the corner.  Generally the house stays at a comfortable temperature but we’re expecting hot and humid days and some of my guests suffer from over heating.

The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.
The conservatory is rearranged to make the television a focal point.

Then on Friday we’re hosting a screening of Young @ Heart for my choir.  This is also happening in the conservatory.

The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.
The marble coffee table has been stored under the dining room table before.

I invited 19 people but am realistically expecting 10 to 12.  We’ll move the coffee table out of the room (under the dining room table) and set up chairs facing the television.

Do you like to entertain?

Scammer? or Not?

Yesterday when I got home from work Charlie told me about an attractive young lady who was walking around our neighborhood soliciting business for a pest control company.

Looking up our street you can only see our house.
Looking up our street you can only see our house.

This immediately sounded suspicious to me for a number of reasons:

  • the houses are far apart in our neighborhood,
  • the properties are surrounded by woods,
  • I had never heard of pest control companies soliciting by door-to-door sales,
  • she didn’t have a business card.
  • she said worked for a local company but gave a Utah phone number.

I emailed these details to others in our neighborhood association and found that the girl (yes, I know her name) had stopped at other houses and was chatty even after being told her services were not necessary.

The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.
The living room looking toward the dining room and the kitchen beyond. All rooms are visible from each other.

Our house is set up such that the entire first floor is visible from everywhere else in the house. So the notion of letting someone in the front door then going into the kitchen and another person letting himself in unseen is not possible.

Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal "scheme" is named for him.
Charles Ponzi looked respectable even though an illegal “scheme” is named for him.

Not all scammers are rough looking, dirty, missing teeth, speak poor English — the ones that hit the big time are often just the opposite.

While we do have an ant problem we'll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.
While we do have an ant problem we’ll probably call a friend who has a pest control company.

Since I have no intention of using a cold solicitation for any service in or around my home I did no more research.  A neighbor, however, did his own research and made some phone calls which led him to believe this was a legitimate encounter. This time.

Are you cautious?

Road Trip to Western Pennsylvania

We left the house early Friday morning heading to western Pennsylvania to see our son in his college comedy cabaret.

We head from Baltimore to western Pennsylvania in the Blue Note.
We headed from Baltimore to western Pennsylvania in the Blue Note.

Before we even hit the highway we stopped to get an oil change.

Before hitting the road we stopped for an oil change and a quick diagnostic.
Before hitting the road we stopped for an oil change and a quick diagnostic.

Since two of my sensor lights were on we also had the car scanned to find out it was nothing serious so on we drove.

Naturally we stopped at Starbucks. The sandwich shop next store served us lunch.
Naturally we stopped at Starbucks. The sandwich shop next store served us lunch.

In the town of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, while switching from the Interstate Highway to the Pennsylvania Turnpike, we stopped for coffee and lunch.

The signs at Breezewood.
The signs at Breezewood.
On the road through the mountains.
On the road through the mountains.

We stayed on the toll road for 101 miles ($17.25 in tolls).

We're staying in a farmhouse built in 1863.
We’re staying in a farmhouse built in 1863.

Our accommodations were at an AirBnB Bed and Breakfast which I’ll review soon.

The director watches the acts intently.
The director watches the acts intently.

Then after dinner at a local diner we headed to the university for an evening of songs — especially numbers from modern musicals.

Dad and assistant director.
Dad and assistant director.

Some of the cast was extremely talented and everyone — cast and audience — had fun.

Signs at the Bed and Breakfast.
Signs at the Bed and Breakfast.

Then back to our B and B for the evening.

Hotel? B and B? Camping?

The Hodge Podge Season is in Full Swing

Oh, so many things to report.

Day 2 of “Unclutter in 30 Days” is clean the shower including getting rid of the extras and empties that fall every time the curtain is pulled back.

I used my miracle soap scum remover, blue Dawn and vinegar, to clean the 60 year old tub.
I used my miracle soap scum remover, blue Dawn and vinegar, to clean the 60-year-old tub.

The above picture is really as good as it gets until we get the new bathrooms outfitted and renovate this one.  The bathroom tub is clean and decluttered.

Today’s Task
Day 3: Makeup Drawer/Bag

I know, all this for one woman. Scary!
I know, all this for one woman. Scary!

This area is really going to be a challenge since I use a lot of this stuff every day and the cabinet under the sink is already full of things.

On a more pleasant note, I spoke to Chef John yesterday and he’s having a Soup Swap on November 8th and I’m invited.

Containers filled with frozen soup ready for swapping - 2012.
Containers filled with frozen soup ready for swapping – 2012.

When I had the swap in 2012 I made “Healthy Winter Warm-up” soup but I’d like to branch out this year since I’m not hosting I won’t have extra pots of soup to make. And I have a new kitchen.

Tuesday night I went to a “Boost Your Brain” lecture given by Dr. Mahid Fotuhi, noted brain sprecialist with an MD from Harvard and a PhD from Johns Hopkins. These are some of the items I need to incorporate into my life to maintain a healthy brain:

  1. Get physical exercise.
  2. Eat a Mediterranean diet and take DHA
  3. Task your memory
  4. Be mindful – meditate
  5. Get enough sleep

When I arrived home from the “Brain” lecture I noticed the giant bees that had been buzzing around an oak tree in the front yard, congregating on the porch.

European hornet
These hornets are more than an inch long. (That’s not my hand.)

Turns out they are actually European hornets who do their foraging at night and are attracted to light.

What's the point of having beautiful lights if I can't turn them on?
What’s the point of having beautiful lights if I can’t turn them on?

So I guess I shouldn’t leave my porch lights on until they die off this winter.

Finally I tried to dispose of the wet feathers from the feather fiasco in our washing machine.

Feathers!
Feathers!

I couldn’t maneuver them from the box to a plastic bag so I just dumped them in the driveway and hope they’ll dry out and float away. After all feathers are floating all over the inside of the house.

This lazy girl just scattered the feathers in the driveway.
This lazy girl just scattered the feathers in the driveway.

In the mean time the linens I used to gather the feathers also need to dry out before I put them back in the laundry.

I'm sure the neighbors appreciate that I'm using the porch for drying sheets and pillow cases.
I’m sure the neighbors appreciate that I’m using the porch for drying sheets and pillow cases.

I don’t want another clogged filter.

That, my friends, is the clamor and glamour of my life.

What’s your clamor? Glamour?

When Things Go Wrong

I’m not an unreasonable person. (Please don’t ask Charlie to endorse this statement). When our cabinet order was not exactly right I didn’t rant and rave, I just waited.

We waited and waited for a cabinet to fill this hole.
We waited and waited for a cabinet to fill this hole.

The cabinet supplier was willing to pay our installer to remove the old cabinet (and trim) and put in a new one which he would reorder yet again.  I had already made up my mind that I didn’t want the kitchen torn up yet again. The estimate for labor only came in at just under $1000.

The odd cabinet is mostly unseen tucked to the right of the refrigerator.
The odd cabinet is mostly unseen tucked to the right of the refrigerator.

In lieu of having the cabinet replaced I asked for a refund of $500 which happily came in the mail this week.  As long as the check clears I’m OK with my decision.  I’m sure future generations will wonder why one cabinet is different. In addition to getting a refund we also have the original wrong orders: 1 base cabinet and 2 upper cabinets.

The extra cabinets are in the conservatory bathroom for the time being.
The extra cabinets are in the conservatory bathroom for the time being.

Yesterday I mentioned that our second newly ordered microwave arrived. (The first one arrived with a faulty door.)

Our potentially new microwave.
Our potentially new microwave.

The microwave was set in place and worked fine.  I called Best Buy to tell them the rotating tray for inside the microwave had arrived broken and would they please replace it.

Unfortunately the glass tray that was shipped with the microwave was smashed to smithereens.
Unfortunately the glass tray that was shipped with the microwave was smashed to smithereens.

I had returned the first broken appliance back to our local store but this one, being even larger, would have been difficult to manage.  All I wanted was a new turntable. After being disconnected twice and hanging on hold for over thirty minutes the customer service rep told me there would be no problem.

Pack it back up, Charlie.
Pack it back up, Charlie.

My new one would be delivered around July 9th. “My new what?” I asked, because I only wanted the turntable.

“New microwave,” she said.  I had to pack up the old microwave and UPS would pick it up when the new one was delivered.

We'll be using the old microwave for a few more weeks.
We’ll be using the old microwave for a few more weeks.

I’m trying to look on the bright side that if the box had been dropped hard enough to break the tray perhaps the microwave itself is also damaged in some way.

There's the refrigerator sitting in the space between the living room and dining room. Chic, I know.
There’s the refrigerator sitting in the space between the living room and dining room. Chic, I know.

The old refrigerator is still in the living room.  Although we could call our local electric supplier to come and get it for a $50 rebate to us we decided to offer it to my son for his home to which he said a definite “yes”.  I reminded him he would need a truck a  few strong guys.

I'm sure your new family will love you.
I’m sure your new family will love you.

Hurry up, men, it’s in the way. (It’s been in the way for almost a year now.)

The master bathroom and the conservatory shower need to be drywalled and cement boarded.
The master bathroom and the conservatory shower need to be drywalled and cement boarded.

The next (long and drawn out) issue is finishing the drywall including cement board in the showers so the new additions can have their final inspection and be deemed livable with an occupancy permit. I’ll relate the details of my stubbornness in a future post. (Oooo, I forgot I’m reasonable. Yeeesh!)

Where do you draw the line?