What’s on Your TV?

As anyone who has spent more than thirty seconds around Matthew knows, he likes television. He religiously carries around his TV Guide reading and searching it until it is thread bare. In Matthew’s mind, any TV is better than no TV.

Being mom and head authority over the remote I am allowed, though grudgingly, to limit television time and to help choose what ‘we’ watch. Our family has some rules that may be unique to us and we limit viewing to family friendly shows. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find appropriate television that is not a cartoon (yes, low on my list is Sponge Bob.)

This week we were waiting at the doctor’s office and Matthew found a magazine with the new fall lineup. We don’t want to miss out on a possible good show so he and I spent an hour carefully looking through each day’s schedule. We found one new pilot that he thought might be good—something Shield; it’s about some superhero Avenger-type guys.

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The new fall lineup. Thank goodness Leroy Jethro Gibbs is still on.

One show out of an entire seven days. And for what it’s worth, he watched about twenty minutes of before handing me the remote to return to an old standby, NCIS.

But never fear, we are not without television shows to watch; including many we haven’t seen before.

That’s because we discovered some good family shows down on the religious channels. We are watching old Westerns including the High Chaparral and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman along with some really old black and white shows like Roy Rogers.  (Feminists should love the independent minded Dale Evans who has become my hero.) These shows are found on the INSP channel which, to my surprise, advertises they have been offering this kind of programming for ten years. Down on the BYU channel we have found Doc (Matthew loves Billy Ray Cyrus) and Sue Thomas, FBEye. I also discovered they have some great live action history shows that, were we still homeschooling, we would certainly schedule time for. Now that we actually watch these channels schedule we have found that many offer great family movies, including some of the old Disney specials.

One thing I personally find positive is that when we are watching these channels I don’t have to worry about being offended, or having my folks who might have joined us, be offended by the commercials.

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It is not without noting the irony of watching an old black and white television show on a new HD TV. But Matthew doesn’t care. He is happy to stand next to Roy Rogers!

Bob mentioned that we were watching some of these channels to some of the guys at work and one friend shuddered telling him that only old people watch these shows. I beg to differ. Just because a program isn’t new doesn’t mean younger people won’t find it entertaining. I know for sure if Rebecca had any free time she would be scheduling the series Christy which will be starting next month. And you certainly don’t have to be old to enjoy the BYU new series Granite Flats, a compelling mystery adventure.

Folks looking for family friendly television, who aren’t so keen on the questionable humor and often degrading conversation found in many of today’s sitcoms may find some of these older shows to be uplifting.

The shows we have been watching do not promote any specific religion but we’ve noticed most do portray a more civilized society. In the age of Honey BooBoo, it’s a refreshing change.

PS Some may wish to tell me that NCIS is a particularly violent show and I agree it’s not appropriate for young children, maybe even older children. But, as the Grail Knight said to Indiana Jones, “You must choose. Choose wisely.” Four-year-olds may impacted differently than teens. Be a parent and make good choices.

PPS… Matthew and I are on the road this week. It’s a super mission. We’ll tell you about it very soon!

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A Valuable DIY Project!

This week I made a button! And it wasn’t that hard.

Well, I didn’t actually make a button; but I made a button replacement for a recliner. Maybe you have lost a button from an overstuffed chair, you too, can repair it yourself.

I tried to get a cloth covered button made for my chair after reading that any upholsterer could/would do this for a buck or so. But, at least in my area, there was no one willing to take on this simple task. After looking at the local fabric store I decided this project was not worth the $10 plus it would cost for the cover button kit. But. I did have possible makings for such a repair in my stash of stuff.

Ingredients: 1 1inch button, stiff wire, dental floss, a piece of matching fabric twice the size of the button and assorted tools, including needles, pliers, and you might need a staple gun. (You don’t have to use dental floss, you can use a very strong thread but I happen to have plenty of packages of floss just waiting for a good use.)

Some chairs come with a small swatch of matching fabric attached to the underside of the chair. Mine did not, but there were several areas where I could cut a piece that would not be visible and that’s what I did.  Look for a piece on the underside, like at a corner, or where it there are plackets, again at the back corners. 100_1932First, I pulled the wire through the button looping it through twice and then using needle-nose pliers twisting the ends round so that it was secure and no sharp ends were sticking out. I discovered that the wire needed to stick out almost 1/4 inch because of the cloth thickness. 100_1933

Then, I sewed around the button with a simple stitch and when the circle was complete I pulled the thread tight, gathering the cloth around the button and secured it.

100_1935The gathers were thicker than I anticipated so the wire is barely visible. Still, it only has to be enough to be threaded with a needle.

If you have the original button you can just reattach it starting at this point.

This next step calls for a long needle. You could buy an upholstery needle which is like eight inches long and very wicked or you could be cheap like me and use a yarn needle that you have lying around. The needle I had is about four inches long. I don’t know where it came from but before buying ask your crafty friends if they might have one. Or your mother.

I threaded the needle with three lengths of the dental floss. Make sure you use more than enough to thread all the way through the chair and back out with enough to tie off. Don’t skimp on this length…you’ll thank me later.

100_1936Thread the button onto your thread, holding on to the end and then push it into the chair. I was able to recline the chair back and fit my hand to the back without removing the backing. You might not be so lucky and have to remove the fabric then re-staple it. If you have a second pair of hands this part would be easier. Thread it through and then back out to the front and through the button again.  Holding both ends pull the the button into the fabric, tightening it so that it’s the same depth as the other buttons. Then tie it off securely. Do not be a dummy and use a granny knot or you’ll have to repeat this step.

Do not go all the way through the back material or your project will look like a doofus did it.

I was worried that I would pull the thread all the way through but there was so much fiberfill that this does not seem to be a problem. Still, if you are worried about this you could easily add a button on the inside that would hold your thread in place.  So, thread button from top through upholstery material, add simple back button and then pass needle back to front. The back button will help hold the thread in place.

And, voila! 100_1940There you have it. The chair is good as new and does not have that obvious hole. It took less than an hour and didn’t cost anything.

Now. Time for a nap in my recliner.

Ziploc Space Bag: A True Space Saver

Note: Today’s post is a product review. Nobody paid me to try this and I purchased it just as you might. As with everything in life, your experience might be different.

My little house in the mountains has limited closet space, especially when it comes to storage for blankets which we need plenty of when there’s two feet of snow on the ground. You’ve had this happen: every time I open the linen closet to find a wash cloth I have to use one hand to push the blankets back in when I shut the door. The attack of the big bulky blankets!

Like you, I’ve seen the commercials for those space bags but they always seemed to be too pricey for their use. When we took our trip last summer I picked up a pack of the generic bags to keep the pillows clean and out of the way. They were definitely cheap but they immediately lost their vacuum caps and became pierced with holes. Still, while a small consolation, they did keep the pillows clean for the trip.ziplock bags

This week I heard an ad for the “Original Space Bag” indicating they now carry the Ziploc Brand. I wondered if they might be more sturdy and zip together better. So when we were shopping at our local Big-Mart store I picked up a box. There are many assorted sizes. This box cost me $8.94 and included two big bags and one travel size.

If a person was packing small items like sweaters or easily squishable ones like pillows I think loading the bags would be very simple. But we found getting the blankets and comforters pushed in to be a two person job. On the plus side, I felt like the sides of the bag were strong enough to handle a fair amount of pushing and tugging. There is a dashed line just below the zipper on the bag and we discovered if you fill above it (as in the picture below) there may be some cussing and swearing as you struggle to close the bag. But. I was able to just push the blankets down further and then the zipper worked fairly easily.

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One electric blanket and two comforters stuffed in the bag. See the little line about four inches from the top? That is as full as it’s supposed to be.

These big bags have a vacuum hole which is a one way flap to suck all the air out. It worked just like on TV. In less than a minute the bag was shrunk to less than half its original size.

So are they worth the money? At the same store I found an 18 gallon plastic tub with lid on sale for less than $5. I know I could have packed all the blankets into two tubs for the same price. However, I couldn’t put one tub, let alone two in the tiny closet. I was able to easily stack the two bags in the space. The bags could also be stored under beds which would be a very good use of space.

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No, I did not take out anything. That’s how much it shrunk.

My experience with the generic bags proved that in this case the brand name was much better quality and worth the additional cost. There will always be pros and cons but for sure I am going to be watching for these Space Bags to be on sale.