Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Couponing Frustrations with My Local Store Are Now Resolved!

Yesterday I wrote about the frustrations I had with coupon doublers in my local chain grocery store.  I did not name the chain as I wanted to talk to them first to see what I could get resolved first.  Well it has all be taken care of...  Yesterday the store manager called me and was extremely gracious and kind.  The chain is Tops Markets and I couldn't be happier with how it all worked out.  Doublers will be gladly taken as long as the total is $20 after store discounts but BEFORE manufacturer coupons.  I have already tried it and it appears the cashiers have all been informed and they were also very friendly and polite.  It is nice to have it resolved because we have very few stores to go to in my town.

I'm Going to Sew Every Day for a Week

Sewing Groove - I am Giving Myself a Sewing Challenge!

I have so (sew) many things I want/need to sew and I have really been slacking, so it is time to set a good goal.  I am going to sew every day for a week for at least one hour (most days it will be more like 3 or 4 hours).  I started Tuesday night and will post pictures when it is daylight on Wednesday.  I finished 2 baby bibs I had started (girl Colors), made 3 more bibs (boy colors) and a jumbo receiving blanket.  I have so much more that I want to do and I can't get it done in a week, but a week will put and good dent in my list.  I am sure I will stray from the list somewhat since pinterest is giving me new ideas daily, but I will sew something every day whether it actually comes from this list or not... 

Are you ready for the scary list?  Here we go!

1.  Catch up on the Lucky Stars Block of the Month from Don't Call Me Betsy.  I am ashamed to say that I only finished the practice block and the January block.  I started February and haven't picked it up since.  I won't get completely caught up in a week, but I need to get a few of them done!

2.  I need to make something for my 2 kitchen windows.  I am trying to get a stain out of an old tablecloth my great grandmother embroidered so I can make it into 2 window toppers.  If I can't get it out I will whip something up from my regular fabric stash.

3.  Make a new lunch tote using the pink penguin tutorial altered to the bigger size that I made twice before.  I love this pattern and it is free on Ayumi's site!

4.  Purse

5.  Tote Bag

6.  A long lanyard for my keys because I keep misplacing them.

School starts in a few weeks and I would like to have #3, 4, 5, and 6 done by then.

7.  I need to make at least 6 crayon rolls to replenish the stash at church.  Done - I made 12!

8.  I have a Halloween quilt top that has been sitting lonely for about a year.  It is not going to baste, quilt and bind itself.

9.  I have a quilt top that I started in June for my 18 year old nephew who will be going off to college soon.  I ditched the quilt plan and gave him something else.  I thought the fabrics were a good choice when I bought them but I just wasn't feeling it when I started putting it together.  It is tough to pick out fabrics for an 18 yr. old boy.  I gave him a stash of money and some other things for graduation instead.  I will finish the quilt and gift it to a different male in the family for Christmas of donate it to a quilt drive.  It is the first quilt top that I have made that I felt didn't match the recipient.  Did that ever happen to any of you?

10.  A gift for a fellow blogger that I have been wanting to do something nice for...

11.  Finish some noodlehead gathered clutches.  I have had 4 cut out and started for months, but they have just been laying in my sewing room.  I am not sure why because they aren't hard and look awesome when they are done.  I finished 1 so far.

12.  Make a bib tutorial.

I know I will finish at least a few of these things if I sew every day for a week.  I am also sure that I will get off track from this list and make at least one thing not mentioned here!  I made a baby gift consisting of 3 bibs and a jumbo receiving blanket.  I also finished 2 other bibs that I had started and I added them to my gift stash.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shopping Groove - Coupon Frustrations

I live in a very small town with just a couple of stores.  We have a Rite Aid, a grocery store that is not full service (bag your own, etc.) and it doesn't carry everything you might need, and a full service chain store.
I love, love, love my Rite Aid.  The ladies are awesome and totally support coupon usage.  They are happy when you do well and even give some pointers.  They are wise enough to know that even if my total is almost zero the store is still making money from my purchases through manufacturer reimbursement of coupons.  Two thumbs up for my local Rite Aid!
The basic, grocery store is also great as far as customer service.  You bag your own which is not a problem at all.  It is just hard because they have many off brands (I am not a brand snob at all) but if there is a difference (meaning worse taste for food or inferior result for cleaners) I won't buy the off brand.  I would say 90% of the time the off brand gives an identical taste or result to the name brand, but when it doesn't, I am out.  It is hard to use coupons because they don't carry many of the brands that put coupons out.  They also don't double coupons, but that is ok because their prices are cheaper in the first place.  All in all it is a really great store!  Oh and the produce is good quality with nice prices!
This brings me to the full service chain store.  They carry a wide variety of products and brands, but the prices are not so good.  They double coupons, but some cashiers are annoyed and unpleasant about it.  It's like they think you are ripping off the store and/or affecting their personal paycheck.  Now let's remember that each store (or chain of stores) has a corporate coupon policy in place.  It is to make sure coupons are used correctly to protect the store, the manufacturers and the customers.  Shows like extreme couponing must be staged as it does not work that way in the real world.  Stores like Rite Aid have a limit of 4 of a like coupon, set limits on up rewards and so on.  It is set forth in their coupon policy and as long as you abide by their rules you should be ok.  This protects the store from having their shelves wiped out by one customer so that they have stock for all customers.  It protects the manufacturer because the low cost items are sold to many different customers that get to try their product and hopefully some of them will become repeat customers.  It protects customers in that there should be stock on the shelf when you arrive to make your purchases.  My Rite Aid is great because they follow the corporate policy that has been put in place and are quite pleasant about it.  I know from reading blogs that some people have experienced difficulties with other RAs but mine is great.
My full service store however, is a completely different issue.  They run $1 coupon doublers in their flyer a handful of times per year.  They have a corporate policy in place to address how these doublers and all coupons can be used and my store chooses not to follow the policy.  There are 4 doublers and they can be used as long as your total is $20 after all discounts which is where the discrepancy comes into play.  My store says it has to be $20 after all manufacturer coupons have been deducted, but the other stores in the chain say it has to be $20 after store discounts but can be before manufacturer coupons.  The reason being is that manufacturer coupons are a form of cash payment because they are reimbursed at the full face value plus a few cents for handling by the manufacturer to the store.  I am not such a cheapo that I mind playing by the rules, but I don't like that the rules seem to vary from store to store within the same chain when they all have the same corporate coupon policy and the stores are not individually owned and operated. 
It really bothers me when I go to websites to find matchups for this store and they come out only spending maybe 8 or 10 dollars a transaction and I can't get out of the store spending less than $16.  Let's keep in mind that the store is not losing those extra dollars, they are being reimbursed by the manufacturer who is trying to get people to try their products on the hope that they will become repeat customers, so it behooves the store to have me come in to spend money and coupons vs. my not coming in at all.
The icing on the cake is that I found a link on a website that clarified the policy and if you had any trouble at one of their stores to email them and it would be taken care of right away.  I emailed on Sunday, filled out a form on their website yesterday about this particular store and just now emailed again.  It seems as though it is not important enough to respond to which is quite frustrating.  I will let you know if I hear anything and if I don't I will let you know what chain it is that is frustrating me!
Thanks for listening!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Girl Bibs

A new group of girl edition bibs with ties.  I made some for my brother's brother-in-law and sister-in-law and every time I saw them the bibs were in use.  I don't know about the rest of you crafters but it makes my day when I see people really using and loving the items that I spent time  made for them.  2 years and another baby girl later, I felt it was time to gift them with a few more bibs, so I made them a set of 6.  There are some close-ups below.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Custom Size Dish Mat

I made a second dish mat from bath towel because I loved the first one so much.  This will let me use one while the other is being washed.  Love them!
Here is the one from last week:
It is such a fun and easy project! 
1.  Cut the fabric and towel to one inch wider and longer than the area you want to cover.
2.  Lay the right sides together and sew with a half inch seam allowance.  Leave a couple of inches open on one side for turning.
3.  Press - ironing makes all the difference for a nice finished project.
4.  Top stich around the edge.  Make sure you catch the whole you used for turning to close it securely.
5.  Iron again.
6.  Sit back and enjoy the simple beauty of this 5 minute project.  Others will ooh and ah and think you are a genius.  I can't speak for you, but I am NOT a genius.
7.  Maybe even go and wash some dishes!
Note:  I think it might be easier to cut the fabric to the size you want and attach it to the complete towel and then trim the excess towel off after step 2.  This will allow for slight shifting as you are working with 2 completely different materials and textures.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Another Baby Gift Set

This is another gift set that I made for a coworker who is expecting a girl.
It looks very similar to the first set I made because I used many of the same fabrics.  The item with the pink terry towel backing is a burp cloth that is about the size of a hand towel.  The item with the yellow flannel backing is a 40 by 40 inch receiving blanket.  The flower print is also flannel.
Both sets are pictured together below...
I think they were well received.