Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hot Summer Days

July is upon us.  The 4th has come and gone and now we're on the downward slope of the year.  As I reflect over the last six months, a lot has happened and I've learned so much.  I had a birthday in January.  Learned how to stay warm without central Heat and only a wood fire stove in February. Learned all we could about chickens and ducks in March. We started the backyard flock of chickens in April.  I took a color-work knitting class.  I took a spinning class in May.  I signed up to attend the Shepherd's Bush Retreat in May (Yes I got in!), I started doing some free lance work.  I spent June as a consultant helping to conduct interviews to fill positions quick fast and in a hurry.  I've successfully attempted making our own granola. And Hubby and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.  Time sure does fly.  

So what am I up to now?  Well let's see -  I read an article about plants that can regrow themselves so, I thought I'd give that a try. I put two Stems of Romaine lettuce in my demitasse cups with water and WOW, they started growing immediately.
  I saw a video on Facebook about Tamale pie, and gave it a try.  It was amazingly easy and delicious.  I didn't have any canned enchilada sauce so I had to make my own.  Easy Peasy.  Learning something new everyday!  Tamale Pie Recipe Here  10-vegetables/herbs you can regrow forever
Romaine Lettuce

Tamale Pie
I was searching through Ravelry and saw a Hood that I liked and thought I'd enjoy making.  The pattern was not available separately but in a book, "Woodland Knits", so I purchased the book and found the most amazing vest ever.  My daughter will  LOVE this piece, so It's now on the to do list. Click here to get your copy
Awesome book with great patterns

Moonbeam Duster
My Lizzie*Kate Spooked Mystery Sampler Part One arrived at the end of June (or something like that) so I had to start it right away.  Everything has fallen to the side as I have worked this piece.  I absolutely love it.  I can't wait to get the remaining sections.  I added this to my Ravelry Project page if you want more details. Click Here to be taken to my Ravelry Project Page.  I purchased my auto ship through Down Sunshine Lane tell Amy Jeannette Wiggins sent you.

I finished several spinning projects and made some awesome yarns, and I finished my Rag Doily Rug.  I'm so happy with this piece.  I have it on the floor in the kitchen under the sink.  Since it is made of cotton/polyester blend it's easy to wash.  I also finished my 3 color cowl.  I love this piece the most right now.  You can find my spinning information on my Hanspun Project Page
Highland Handmade TigerLily on Trindle
My First Completed yarn on the wheel

Sample from Ex Libris Phat Fiber Box
Malbrigo two ply
Most Recent-3 ply

Rag Doily Rug

I spend the morning and the early evening with the flock.  They look forward to it everyday and often meet me at the door.  They know I will bring them some treats.  I have a couple of hammock chairs and that's where the chickens, ducks, dogs, cats and humans all meet.  The girls & boys are all very fond of grapes.  Only 1/2 of them like watermelon, and only a few like tomato.  Shirley and Henrietta have taken to flying up into the tree from which our chairs hang.  Shirley is way more adventurous than Henrietta. Shirley will fly up to other branches and wander out onto limbs.  Henrietta only likes to stand over the chairs and look down on us.  They are now 13 weeks old.  Only a few weeks away from laying to begin.

Shirley Exploring

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Girls

It's a GORGEOUS April morning here in Florida.  The Sun is shining, the temperature is cool and the air is filled with tiny little cheeps and peeps.  What can be happier?!

Saturday 4/9 was stitch day.  The girlfriends and I meet once a month at a library and spend 6 hours stitching and catching up.  As always, it was a great day.  Days like that renew my spirit in a way that is hard to describe.  If you don't belong to a stitch group, you should find one.  I believe it's important to share ideas, lessons, and life in general with a group of friends that have the same (or similar) hobbies.  I've learned so much from my stitching girl friends.  They are all special to me.

On the needles:

  1.  3 color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli.  I'm getting ready to start section 4.  I had it started and had to rip back to beginning of the section as somewhere I'd lost a stitch. I'm working it in Shibui Staccato in the colorways - Pool, Cove and Apple on size US 6 4.0 mm Karbonz circular needles.

  1. Luna Socks - Using Berroco Comfort Sock in Light Grey and the contrast color is Pink.  I need to find the ball band as it has disappeared itself out of the bag.

  1. Rag Doily Rug - Using 7/10 clothesline of cotton/polyester blend.  I purchased the clothesline at Walmart.  This is a Quick Quick knit and a lot of fun.  Using a  size 19 needle.

In the Hoop:
  1. I'm still working on Strawberry Garden by Blackbird Designs.  This is a piece I really want to finish and thanks to my dear friend Rita, I will have enough WDW dried thyme to finish the piece.
  2. I'm also working on an old piece ":Merry Christmas".  This is an OOP pattern that I started many many moons ago and hope to finish.
On the Wheel:
  1. Nothing is on the wheel yet, however I have signed up for a spinning class that will run 3 Saturday's in a row.  I hope to really get a feel for my Wheel and get moving on  my spinning.
On the Loom:
  1. Well, I have ideas I just need to locate the yarn I want to use!

Friday, November 13, 2015

It's O'Dark Thirty

Up and at em!  That's what my brain said at 3:18 am this morning.  Good Grief.  I'd like to sleep for more than 4 or 5 hours.  Not sure if this is an "Age" related issue or what.  Waking up early feeling like I can't breathe, having to go to the bathroom and being unable to turn it all off.  So what better time to write a blog post, right?

Let's get into this!

OK, We've officially moved.  We purchased property in June, Rented our house in the city, and moved to the country on September 20.  We spent a lot of time moving and downsizing, and we still aren't completely finished.  Good Grief!  It's amazing what you accumulate in 18 years in the same home.  So we are now officially living at the new property and working on getting things organized.  Hubby is working on the yard and has cleared out the orchard and vineyard of the over growth, mown a path around the property, and cleared an area for my garden, and my chicken coop.  I'm still organizing my craft room.  The room is still full of boxes although I've managed to unpack 15 of them.  UGH, I have a lot of STASH.  I shouldn't need to buy another thing as long as I live.  Yeah, right like that's gonna happen.  I've already ordered more yarn!

I'm hunting for lavendar and cedar chips to make sachets for my craft room to help protect against moths.  Yes, I've seen one or two. I'm now on the war path.  Things are definitely different here in the country.  For starters, the quiet.  It is so quiet here.  It's also very dark at night, but OH MY the stars are amazing.  And on a clear night you can see beyond the bright stars.  The other day we were up early and able to see Mars, Jupiter and Venus ( I think that's right).  I really need to get a telescope out here.  It's gorgeous.  The downside?  Yes there is one, and it is a HUGE one.  The internet is beyond slow with tons of limitations.  Oh I miss my Brighthouse lightening speed with Echo.

Ok, lets talk about the needles -

The baby blanket in yellow and gray is off the needles, although not blocked. (it's still packed so no pictures)

Greg's man socks in brown - well I went to stitch those and broke a needle.  Knowing that my other needles are still packed I did what any other sane person would do..... I ordered new ones from knit picks.

So when the needles I arrived, I started new socks!  I bought the yarn in Ormond Beach thinking it was a self striping yarn.  NOPE, I now refer to them as the ugly socks.  Not my favorite, but I will say the yarn is really quite nice.  It makes a nice fabric.

I have purchased some lovely yarns and gadgets recently -

Most recently is my Santa sock pattern which is a self patterning yarn.  I can't wait to stitch with it.  The yarn is from Artistic Yarn by Abi.  She has an etsy shop that I somehow stumbled across.

In Hand -

Many of my cross stitch projects are still packed or in places I don't quite remember, so I took a trip to Brick City in Ocala.  This is the closest cross stitch shop to me.  It was nice and I love the fabric selection as I haven't had that in awhile, but it was difficult to understand the patterns.  I will need to spend a little more time there.  I did make a purchase as Halloween was on my mind, so I purchased Lizzie Kate's I can drive a stick snippet, and Cats on Parade by Blackbird Designs.  I purchased patterns, floss and fabric.

Following my shopping trip- I started Lizzie*Kate Snippet "I Can Drive A Stick" and finished it.  I used PTP 32 ct Belfast Linen in "Pickled" colorway.  I used WDW floss in "Onyx"  I love this piece and am still considering how I want to finish it.

I purchased the Country Stitches Online exclusive Reindeer Games limited edition and I love it.  I will be starting that next.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Settling In

Life here on the Wiggins Hobby Farm is beginning to settle in.  We moved up here near the end of September and have been busy unpacking and

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A New Era Emerges

It's been an eventful week.  Lots of running around and getting things done.  We closed on our new property on Friday.  We are now official home owners in Hernando, Florida.  WOW, we now have multiple properties.  We are very blessed.

We spent Saturday with the sellers.  Training on the irrigation system, seeing what they will need to leave behind for us to clear, keep or donate.  Walking through the orchard and learning about the care of the trees, and which ones need to be removed.  Meeting some neighbors and making new friends.

We are slowly learning the lay of the land and the area which will soon be our new homestead.  Bruiser accompanied us on our trip to show him the property.  He exhausted himself walking the property, investigating the pond, tractor, and sheds.

Now we begin the task of clearing out our current home.  We need to decide what we keep,sell, donate, leave and pass on to the kids.  After 17 years in our current home there is a lot of stuff to declutter.  The kids will be renting the house, so what we don't take right away won't be an issue, we have some time.

Right now it's all about research and learning what I need to know about having a hobby farm.  Chickens, bees, pigs, orchard, vineyard, vegetable garden, goats.  Good grief there is a lot to learn, but I'm excited to begin this new chapter in our lives.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Frustration and Disappointment

My Experience with T-Mobile and T-Mobile’s Corporate store #9324
 (8712 W Hillsborough Avenue, Tampa, FL 813-249-5016)

I’m writing to share my recent experience with T-Mobile.  Let me first say that I have been a loyal T-Mobile customer for 14 years.  On September 26, 2014 I  visited T-Mobile’s corporate store # 9324 located at 8712 W Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa.  My purpose was to upgrade my I-Phone 5 to the new I-Phone  6 using the JUMP program.  My son (DS), Daughter (DD1) and Husband (DH) were with me, as both DS & DD1 wanted to upgrade their phones as well.  So my transaction at T-mobile looks like this –
                                   JW (me) JUMP from Iphone 5 to Iphone 6 – turn in my white Iphone 5 received credit on the purchase of a new Iphone 6 (white).
                 DD1(daughter #1)– Jump from IPhone 5S to Iphone 6 – turn in her black Iphone 5S for a Black Iphone 6
D                               DS(son) – Adds his previous Verizon line to my existing phone plan He purchases the new Iphone 6 (128 gb) and keeps his Iphone 5 that was already paid off

Our service by Rep at the T-mobile store was labored.  We were there a long time.  This rep was slow and inefficient.  We didn’t think much about it at the time, as every encounter at the T-mobile store seems arduous and inefficient.  It was a busy day with lots of people coming in to purchase the new Iphone 6.  During the purchase process T-Mobile turns on and sets up the new phone and then transfer’s date from the old phone to the new phone.  Eventually, I’m given a receipt for my purchase, and we leave the store with new Iphone 6’s and Iphone 5’s left at the store.

In October/November DH noticed the bill was higher than normal (our bill went from $158 avg monthly billing to over $400 avg monthly billing) and made an outreach to customer service.  Customer service indicated that it could take 2-3 billing cycles for the correct billing to appear and the phones to be credited correctly.  So we waited. We have continued to see bills over $400 every month since.  DH asked DD1 to take care of it as the issue was with her phone (or so we were previously told).  Over the course of Jan-current, DD1 has talked to the T-mobile customer service via mobile, visited the T-mobile store at Citrus Park Mall, and visited the store where we purchased the phones.  All with the same run around.  T-mobile customer service tells you it’s a store issue, T-mobile store at Citrus Park Mall indicated we needed to return to the store where the phones were purchased.  Store #9324 tells us we need our receipt.  Round and round we go.  Finally I’d had enough.  I asked DD1 to take care of this issue Today (May 29, 2015)  now let me tell you about the experience…

DD1 shows up at the store and starts texting me the issues – She speaks with the Retail Associate Manager.  DD1 reports that he is going through their physical records, and returns that there is no proof that the phones were ever turned into the store.  This is skeptical as he is back and forth about not having or being able to see previous sales receipts, and no inventory of phones ever received, yet he’s showing DD1 documents indicating that there were no phones.  He tells her we didn’t do enough to rectify this issue and can’t provide proof of the phones so there is nothing he can do.  DD1 and the Retail Associate Manager go round and round, and eventually he indicates that this is our fault for waiting so long.  Meanwhile, I call T-mobile customer service and explain the story above about the phones and Jump and the issue with my bill.  The rep, transfers me to a retention specialist who offers me two options. 1) return to the store where the phones were purchased or 2) write a letter or email to customer relations detailing the issue. 

I am completely unsatisfied with the result, and I head to the store. By this time I’m really upset.  NO ONE at T-mobile has offered any assistance, no one has attempted to research my issue.  No one has taken any accountability for an error on the account.  On a whim I call customer service back, I’m so angry and frustrated I’m in tears.  Rep #0840259 answers the line.  I lay out my story, express my frustration and tell her I’m totally appalled at the customer service I’ve received thus far.  T-mobile has taken NO responsibility for the corporate store, the store takes no responsibility for an employee’s error, and they infer that we are at fault or lying about turning in a phone. She provides the necessary concern and sincerity to me and believes me then soothes me with a promise of research and hope that potentially a resolution may exist.  I’m on the phone with her an hour.  During this time She has completed research and can verify that both phone line IDs have not been used since 9/26/2014 validating that we do not have the phones. She is also able to find in the warehouse using the phone IMB # that DD1’s phone was received by T-mobile.  She advises that my phone is unaccounted for, but why would the store only ship back one phone when two were traded.  I can’t tell you the relief I’m feeling at this point and hopeful that the resolution is in sight.  All I want is my phone bill adjusted to show the proper monthly payments.

While holding for CS Rep  to complete whatever actions she needs to take, I go into the store and talk to Retail Associate Managr.  I ask for the Manager and district manager’s names.  He tries to tell me this is my fault and I explain to him, that the error was definitely on the store and the poorly trained associate.  I advise him that I will be there when the store opens on Monday morning. He assures me I can see the Store Manager at that time -

CS Rep returns to the line with the following resolution –
1)      A full refund and payment has been made by T-Mobile paying off DD1s’s phone
2)      She provides information to me about how it will appear in my bill and when I can expect to see the credits in the system
3)      She advises that I will still need to see the store manager for the correction to the bills for both phones however she has credited my phone with 3 months of payments.
4)      She tells me the full account number, the amounts on each phone and the dates to retro the correction back to.
5)      She advises if I’m unsatisfied with the store manager’s response to my issue and/or the district manager’s I should call into customer service while still in the store to have this cleared up

So there is still more to this saga and I will continue to report my experience. 
At this point, I’m hopeful for resolution, but I’m doubtful it will be initiated by a corporate store that takes NO accountability for it’s associates error and attempts to shame and belittle valued customers.  I also realize it takes more than 1 call to customer service to receive any help, and that T-mobile overall does not take accountability for the corporate stores.  This issue could have been resolved at any number of points during the last 8 months but T-mobile has left me with doubts as to the type of company they are and even though Amber was a ray of sunshine and helpful and everything a customer service rep should be, I’m still pondering leaving T-mobile over this issue. Maybe Verizon or AT&T will value me more as a customer.

6/1/2015 So- Today

As instructed by rep @ T-Mobile customer service – I returned to the store #9324 on Hillsborough to speak with the Manager regarding the credit to my monthly payments for both telephone lines.  I arrived at 10:15am and was told that the manager is not in the store and would call me on Wednesday after he’d had time to research the issue. Once again this store failed to meet the expectation I was led to believe on Friday.  I was assured I would have the opportunity to meet the store manager today, but unfortunately the manager does not want the story from me directly and is avoiding taking responsibility for his store.  I called T mobile customer service and spoke to a CS Rep who was nice and reviewed the account.  I explained my conversation with the CS Rep  from Friday, my issue with this corporate store and that they failed to meet my expectation yet again.  She indicated she would process the refund for the monthly payment back to the purchase of the new phones, and would file a formal complaint against this store. How can you show such indifference to an issue in your store?

 I’m left wondering, why I had to go back to the store in the first place?  Couldn’t the CS Rep have taken care of all of it on Friday?

I will check my account on Thursday (allowing for time for payments and refunds to be properly adjusted in the system) and will post an update.