Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I'm Dreaming of a ........

Yes, it is Christmas time again. Living in South Texas "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" is serious dreaming. I've been doing it for ( a woman never tells her age) so let's just say quite some time. But it's time for all the Hallmark movies ( watching 'em every night much to my Hubie and sons dismay), songs, candy canes and pumpkin everything ( pies, cookies, coffee and whatever else someone thinks can handle a dash of pumpkin). So while you are humming along with Nat King Cole rushing through the store and totally freaking out what to give that dang near impossible person on your list - take one moment to remember it Christmas and really all you need is family and friends .The best memories you have ( really we all have them) are not of the perfect Hallmark Christmas or a Norman Rockwell Christmas. Or for my Jewish friends a perfect Hanukkah /Chanukah ( and why is that spelled differently for the same holiday - feel free to let me know ). The best memories are of the imperfect Christmas - yes you know what I mean the year all the pies turned into charcoal or your sister decided to dye her hair blond and it was Bozo orange or the dog knocked over the Christmas tree and after the initial screaming and tears - everyone ended up laughing - well those are the best memories. So all I'm saying is yep we all want the perfect Christmas but the best ones and the ones we really remember are the Christmas' that went awry.

So here's some things to keep in mind while shopping this year for gifts and for the perfect outfit for all those Christmas parties ( you know the ones where the ugly Rudolph sweater just won't work). First when buying clothes - READ THE CARE LABEL!!!!!!!( and yes I did mean to YELL. Don't but anything thing that says Do not wash Do not Dry Clean Spot Clean Only - what does that mean??? It means throw it away after wearing because you can't spot clean only. If you want to see Grandma ( after she got runned over by the reindeer) wearing your gift for more than one year - buy one that she can actually clean .So READ THE CARE LABEL !!!!!!

COWS DON"T COME IN PURPLE !!!! ( or blue, red , black, white or any color other than skin color - yucky but true). So as you look at leather - remember all leather is dyed and after cleaning will need to be re-dyed because ........cows don't come in purple. Also all leather is not cow . What???? yep, some leathers are pig skin ( yeah yeah just like the footballs). So how do you know cow or pig and should you care? You can tell pig skin because you can see the pores on the skin . Should you care ? Well yes and no . Pig skin is a tougher skin , doesn't dye as well and tends to have more imperfections. After cleaning , a pig skin tends to show those imperfections even more . Sometimes the manufacturer will fill in the scars and after cleaning you will see those scars.I know we all think well heck if a cow can stand in the rain and run through fences it must be tough and can take a licking and keep on ticking - NO !!! Skin dries out ( ask any lady why she puts cream all over her face) and needs to be re-oiled to avoid cracking. Skin is not the same thickness all over your body and guess what - yep neither is a cows . So if a garment is made from the same animal or maybe even from numerous animals the skin will be different thickness. Plus let's face it how many times did you scrape your knees when you were a kid??? Well you can darn bet ya - the cow did too! So the skin will have scars - just like yours. And if you are thinking you want fur - some things go for fur. Animals will have scars and you need to re-oil the skin to keep from splitting the skin. Great stuff leather - but must be properly cared for to keep for years. So even though the cow or rabbit was out in the rain - they were wearing live skin and not tanned skin. Now you are thinking - maybe I will just buy faux. Ok by me . But when buying faux  leather or fur - what should you do ? Did you say - READ THE CARE LABEL ? If you did - a candy cane for you !!! If the faux leather says do not wash do not dry clean wipe with a damp cloth - you are wearing a tire !!! Come on that is plastic junk - get something you can actually clean .( and I don't mean hanging it off your fence and spraying it down with your garden hose ).

So let's say this is the year - you decided to be ambitious and make your Christmas gifts . If you are making clothes or stockings or a tree skirt - ask about the materials . At the end of each bolt of fabric are.......wait for it ...THE CARE LABELS. So do not mix a dry clean only fabric with a washable or do not dry clean fabric. Make sure whatever you make will last for years. FELT is not your friend .... don't spend the time making a beautiful tree skirt or stocking and using felt - it pills and falls apart and cannot be cleaned. If you are going to put a lot of work and love ( and in my case blood from all times I stick my fingers with the needle) make sure it will last forever and can be cleaned.

SO GO..... hit the mall armed with knowledge, You can hum Nat King Cole and feel good that as a saavy care label reader -you will buy a gift that will last forever.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. If you are with family and friends - well the burnt pies, Bozo hair and dog trashed tree just do not really matter. As for me , I will be thankful for the people I love and will remember the ones who I have lost. It is hard not to be some what sad to know it is another Christmas without my Dad. I use to make oatmeal- raisin cookies for him each year and I still make them but it's not the same. My dad use to love to put candy canes on the Christmas tree - so as I hang them each year I think of him. ( someday maybe I'll tell ya the dad and candy cane story - this one is goes in the burnt pie and dog trashed tree category). But I wish you all a wonderful holiday - enjoy - eat ,drink and be merry. May God bless you and may God keep you and your family.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Little Things

Today I had a great lesson in the little things that really matter. And as you guessed at some point I will make this cleaning related - just not yet.

I received two emails that I need to share with you - but due to security for these folks ( gosh this sounds a lot like Hillary's emails) I won't share the names of the writers .But since many of you helped us make Operation Interdependence such a success - you should know this ( and give yourselves a huge pat on the back or grab the person next to you and tell them I said to hug you) If you don't know or don't remember this was when we collected small food items and toiletries for the troops. I know this is probably the one of my favorite things to do. Of course the biggest problem we have is finding great stuff that will fit in baggie. I always try to find things for the ladies in the military. The way I see it - the government always puts things out to bid and the lowest bidder wins. Can you imagine the shampoo or soap that won that bid???? Does bad hair day everyday come to mind? So I try and find some nice travel size shampoos and conditioners. Then I guess maybe since my daughter is studying Public Health and I have heard more disease horror stories - anti bacterial hand gel is always top on my list . Goodness knows where these folks are located and what icky bacteria or viruses are there. But this year I found mini ( cause you know how big they are - since they are always at the gas station register) Slim Jim's - does that say home or what??? But I know many of you -had just as much fun as I did picking things for the troops. I saw cookies, toothpaste, soap and Twinkies (which we all know will last for centuries LOL). And this year we included and asked you to include notes to the troops So here is what you need to know

"My team received your care packages, They are a real morale booster. My guys loved going through them and trading items. They were just like kids. We put the notes up on our wall ."

and then the second email came

"The 4ESC received a few boxes of goodie bags today and I have to say , it was quite a treat! Things like that are exactly what reminds us of home,our families and our supporters:) ....I would just like to to say thank you for the treats and most importantly, your support.

So will you ever look at a Twinkies quite the same?  I would like to thank all of you for helping us make this collection such a success, And next year we will partner once again with KTSA radio and collect items for the troops. But this time I think we all will look at those items we donate and realize that sometimes the little things we do really mean a lot.

Alright - this is the cleaners blogs after all so I am sure you are asking - what could she possibly find to relate to little things. Just this - many of you have items of clothing or household items that have special meaning. It might be a quilt your grandmother made by hand, a wedding dress , your child's first teddy bear. Many times we just put them away and don't give them much thought. But , make sure before you put them away they are clean - bugs love to eat old stains. Put them in a box to keep out the air. And I know they are disgusting ( but there is a reason they have been around so long) moth balls will keep out the pesky bugs. Also to avoid fading make sure it is fully covered so no light can fade it. ( and this means all light not just sunlight) There is nothing as awful as finding your grandmothers quilt is now full of holes and faded. And yes, I am aware that it is just stuff - but I am a sentimental slob and that "stuff" means more to me than fancy new store bought items. My daughter has all of my dad's sweaters and every winter when she pulls them out to wear - you can damn betcha she thinks of her Grandpa .I have the flag that was draped over his coffin ( He was Air Force - Strategic Command and very proud of it), I put that flag in an air tight frame with special glass to avoid fading. So remember these are the little things that really matter - take care of them and make sure that the next generation of your family can have them too. I promise you that your family will love them much more than a Picasso hidden in the attic ( not that I have one - so I may be off on that ) But they will appreciate the love those items have connected to them and treasure them, So just make sure those things are in the best condition and they will be there to pass on .