19 July 2012

Same song, second verse, more $avings...

Hi, all! I first mentioned it on Facebook and here it is—solely due to OG&E's SmartHours pricing, we saved $125.79 this billing! Additionally exciting, this billing cycle's total was $252.90 less than last year at this time. Part of that is due to us using only 75% of the kilowatt hours as last year. But even so, let's imagine last year's usage at our current average kilowatt hour rate—had we been on SmartHours last year, our bill might have been $160 less!

For 143 hours every week, we pay only 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour. From 2–7 p.m. each weekday, we pay anywhere from 4.5–46 cents per kilowatt hour. That rate varies due to energy costing more to produce when temps and usage volume are up.

We are now in the midst of 100-plus degree days and higher nighttime temperature lows. I notice this in our 'base load' overnight usage. We've even turned off the heater on the hot tub, but are keeping the pump running for a 'cool tub.' I have also recently turned off the window unit in the sun room area because we spend so little time in there. Other than early morning, it is mostly shaded throughout the day. If we plan on working in there (Tom's plastic model building; drafting table; my sewing/crafts) for any amount of time, I'll crank 'er back up.

I've moved most of my energy-gobbling chores outside of the 2-7 p.m. SmartHours. These include baking (yeah, right), running the dishwasher, and washing/drying/ironing clothes. The one activity I've not moved past 7 p.m. is cooking dinner, so we do have some usage spikes around 5-6 p.m., but that's still only a matter of a dollar or two.

I've been thoroughly pleased with SmartHours. I'd encourage my friends to try it. To check your OG&E account eligibility, click here. (Homeowners, renters and those in multi-family residences may qualify if those residences already have SmartMeters [were likely installed outside in 2010] in place.) Remember, you, the CUSTOMER retain COMPLETE CONTROL over how cool or warm you keep your space as well as how and when you use your energy. Want to know more about the SmartTemp thermostat tool that's at the center of your money saving? Check out this video.

If you've got questions, please comment below and I'll get back with you. If you want to read my other SmartHours posts, check them out here. As you'll see in the tiny tagline below, these are sponsored posts. Rest assured, if being enrolled wasn't worth it, I'd tell you that, too.

*This is a sponsored post. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

Two years later...

Back in July 2010, before I gave serious thought to ever making a quilt, I came across this quilt when I was merely fabric shopping at Oklahoma Quiltworks. I was in the midst of becoming enamored with poppies. This was one of two quilts I fell in love with. Only recently has its colors reminded me of Italian giardiniera—simply lovely pickled vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and peppers. Did I mention I loved bright greens and oranges together? I bought fat (22" x 18") and linear (44" x 9") quarters of each of the fabrics with the idea of making little fabric yo-yo discs, but with no final project in mind. Those pieces became the beginning of my now-sizable fabric/fat quarters stash.

Fast forward a bit. I came across a pretty little quilt pattern called Lemon Pepper from Madison Cottage Design. What attracted me to the pattern was that it was made of fat quarters, and I have lots of those on hand. I made the crib size one, with a bit of variation. It called for 35 blocks (five across by seven down), but I made 36 blocks and arranged them six-by-six. That total helped me mathematically as well. Oddly enough, I did NOT build this in Photoshop first. That said, it meant I organized the fabrics differently.

The instructions for this quilt were not exact. It said 'mix it up.' Random order? How does one make order so it appears random? That took my brain on quite the hamster wheel ride. Each block contains nine fabrics. Nine. Like Sudoko. I can find a solved Sudoko puzzle and assign each fabric a color number and arrange them accordingly. Ouch. It started out as a good idea but wound up searing my brain. So I ranked the fabrics and noted/classified the nine as three greens, three reds, and three grays. I let the greens dominate the order. Oh, did I mention in this strip quilt, each row is made of three widths of strips. Sorting strips to make the 36 blocks was another short course in random order. 1-2-3, 2-3-1, 3-1-2, 3-2-1, 2-1-3, and 1-2-3. It made sense to me. Once I arranged each three-strip, nine-piece block, I knew I didn't want them jostled. I got the idea to lay each block's components within a 'page' of a filing sorter—31 plus 12 slots (below).
I got it all pieced together and wound up taking the top with me to Prairie Quilt where I'd gone for a demonstration, but I hadn't really thought about what I wanted to use for a backing. Loved the demo on hexagon piecing. (I absolutely love the folks at Prairie Quilt! If I ever need to buy another sewing machine, I'll get a Pfaff from them!) The demo was upstairs which is also where they display their sale fabric. And from across the room, my eyes lasered in on the same orange lantern pod fabric used on the front! Okay, to have a real appreciation for this amazing find, consider this: I found this two years later, in a completely different shop, AND on sale for 30% off! Divine providence for sure!

The last trial for this quilt was in the quilting. I still have not gotten comfortable with free-motion sewing. It's kind of like 'random order'—very foreign in feel and uncomfortable to do. But maybe I could build up some muscle memory and power through it. So I did. I used my Bertie's BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) to stagger, swirl, stutter, loop and curl my way over my quilt's surface. I told a friend it looked like I had Tourette syndrome spasms—and I probably inappropriately cussed a few times, too! Sigh. I finished up the binding and now it's done! Haven't a clue what I'll do with it, but think I will use some of the left over strip pieces for some gifts. I glad to have another project done, especially because it goes back to the beginning of this fabric journey of mine.