Friday, May 22, 2015

Updates on Everything

I've been an AWOL blogger.  Things moved at warp speed and then came to a screeching halt when I fell two days after I got here.  Wheelchairs, walkers, braces, physical therapy -- I'm so much better now but will never get to the point I can live life without this leg brace unless ...

I'm having ACL reconstruction surgery on 6/17.  Initially I was told that I was not a candidate for this surgery, but I have been working so hard in PT building up all the leg muscles.  (I could barely leg press five pounds at first and now I'm up to 100 pounds.  Just call me Superwoman!)   So the therapist and the doctor got together and decided to offer the surgery to me because I am so motivated.  It'll be another tough six months, but there is that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.  Without the surgery all I kept seeing were more tunnels.  I have so much to do before then.  First thing is finding a caregiver or someone who can come and help me out a bit as I will be non-weight-bearing for six weeks.  I commented to the doctor that I guess I'd be living upstairs for six weeks, and he and the therapist both said I would be shown how to negotiate the stairs.  It'll be a huge step backwards as far as my mobility but then I can only look forward to a bright future with being able to work in the yard, kneel, squat down to pick up things, and not wearing this brace all the time.  I never realized how often I knelt and squatted until I couldn't do it any more!  I'll find out on June 3rd the logistics of the surgery and whether a rehab hospital stay will be involved. I'm not going to be able to drive for a while and I mentioned to a friend that I would just call a taxi if I need to go somewhere.  They about fell over laughing.  Apparently there are no taxis in my small town!  Anyway, please think kind thoughts and send good karma if you happen to think about me in the middle of June.

The last coat of paint is going on the inside and outside trim of the windows today.  It has been a long haul getting these things done, but I absolutely love them.  It was tricky trying to match the trim paint.  I think I came up with good choices, though, and now I know what colors to use when the rest of the trim is painted.  And there's a LOT of trim.  At present it's all different colors, and while that's not noticeable walking from room to room, it really bothers me.  There will be some touch-up that needs to be done on the gray house wood around the windows.  I went to Sherwin Williams in this little town and picked out a color I thought would match best.  I came home and put the sample up against the wood and it looked great.  Then I found an old can of paint in the storeage room on the property and it was the same color I picked!  Maybe quilting has honed my senses a bit on that score!

Anyway, there hasn't been much quilting going on but things are shaping up nicely so that I can dive into it during my recovery.  The Cottage is almost completely devoid of boxes, and I just need to figure out where to put the little knick-knack things that we all collect in our studios and get the boxes of kitchen stuff unloaded back there.  I am still looking for a few things, i.e., the first three months of Austin Bluebird blocks, but I know they're there.  Just need to put my hands on them.

I've given away a lot of furniture that was left here on the property when I bought the house.  There was a fire in a small apartment house downtown, and my cleaning lady's daughter-in-law was one who lost everything.  So they came last week and took the two white sofas out of the sunroom, a chest, a vacuum cleaner, a twin bed set, and a coffee table that I was temporarily using in the living room.  I now have a "gap" in front of the sofa but I plan to find a smaller table this week to put there.  (Excuse the piles in the photo.  I've been sorting stuff out and tossing and those things haven't been put away yet.)

It sure felt good to able to give this to a family who could really use them, and they were delighted to get them.  Win/win!

This week I also got in the four chairs for the kitchen that I ordered from Crate and Barrel.  I had put a small round table in the kitchen, but was just using the three dinky chairs that were left here.  I was so scared that those chairs would collapse with someone sitting in them.  Anyway, those two big boxes were left on my doorstep, but I managed to get them inside and unpacked.  It looks so much better now in the kitchen.

I now have a formal table and chairs in the dining room.  I've been so used to walking straight through the room that I actually ran right into the table a couple of times!  Also my bedroom looks so much better.  There were horrible old bamboo shades and awful maroon curtains in my bedroom.  When I put the recently finished Heritage quilt on my bed it did not improve the looks of the room any. I was going to get wooden blinds or plantation shutters but the windows are 75" wide and those have to be custom made.  So I went on an adventure to find a Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought a lot of panels of beige colored curtains.  Wow, what a difference it made, and the color matches the background of the quilt.  They aren't the perfect solution but I'm happy with the interim choice I made.  I'll get a picture of that for next time.  Next up is scrubbing down the large sunroom and getting some wicker furniture or something that will enhance that nice area.  Choosing that furniture will probably have to wait until I'm recuperating, as will painting all the walls in the house.  I need to lighten up the dark colors that are on the walls.  So much to do, but I have decided to just take it one room at a time and not get overwhelmed by the whole project.

I mentioned last time that I have been having more fun watching to see what will pop up around the property in the way of flowers or plantings.  The hydrangeas that I thought were dead have greened up and now have a couple of blooms on them.  I was so happy to find hostas under the oak trees in the front.

They are in a couple of spots, and really look nice.  I love hostas but have never been very successful in growing them because my areas were always too sunny.  As you can see from the lack of grass in this area, it's real shady.  A friend here suggested that I have the oak trees manicured to remove some of the smaller branches so that light will get to the ground in the spots where there is no grass.  Another project for another day.  One project at a time, Vicky.

Penny is over the moon about this yard.  I'm still keeping her in just the front part of the yard between the house and pool.  It's a nice big area and she really doesn't need to explore beyond that.  Her usual routine is taking care of business, and then sniffing around all of the flower beds and shrubs.  Then she finds a sunny spot and stretches out.  Oh, to be my dog!

Hopefully my next post will have something quilt-related in it!  I've been doing a little sewing but my free time is sadly lacking these days.  And here I thought I would be bored when I retired! 

Friday, May 01, 2015

Joyful Progress

I'm so stoked today.  I woke up to new windows in the den and an absolutely breathtaking view. 

It was traumatic to watch these guys lift out a 9 x 20 foot window.  I'm amazed it came out in one piece and, frankly, I think the contractor was also. 

Whew!  That's done!  Now there's a gaping hole in the wall.  The contractor had to do some reframing because this old house just ain't plumb!  I was watching him measure and remeasure and then do it all over again.  I said, "Measure twice, cut once, right?"  He laughed and said he measures a lot more than twice!  A sixteenth off here, and a thirty-second off there and it was done.  He really is a master at working on old homes.

It doesn't look that big sitting outside, does it?  Oh, there's a shutter or two missing off the back of the house.  Those are being remade.  I guess they struggled through one too many hurricanes and it was time to fix them.

At two hours later -- ta dah, new windows!  Lots and lots of wide open glass with a window that opens on each end. 

Oh, hello Cottage!  I remember you!  You're going to be my quilting studio.  I plan to get real intimate with you really soon!  Hang in there, honey.  It won't be much longer!

While the windows were going in, another crew was taking out this tree that broke.  Or the part of it that broke.  Pictures can be deceiving because this doesn't really look that bad.  It broke over 20 feet up, and there were 30 feet of limbs hanging down over the fence and into the yard.  The removal debris entirely filled a large trailer, and some of the trunks were two feet across.  The good news is that the fence wasn't broken.  The other good news is that the neighbor's dogs didn't eat me up when we went over there to remove the tree limbs on their side of the fence.  The bad news is that now I have an unobstructed view of their green greenhouse.  Get it?  Green greenhouse?   Did I ever say that blue was my favorite color? 

PT is going great.  Now that the exercises have been ramped up, I'm "glowing" after each session.  I really am sweating like a pig, but I've been told that it's much more Southern lady-like to glow.  Let's just say that my glow would light up the State of Texas for the day!  I had a really down moment last week about the therapy.  It's been five months since the injury, and the doctor told me he wants five more months of PT before a decision is made on what to do with that knee.  But my absolutely adorable therapist gave me a pep talk and I'm back on track.  Of course, the fact that he's so cute has absolutely nothing to do with my wanting to continue those sessions ... and I will never admit to anyone that I just said that!

Today the cleaning lady comes and hopefully we can rid this house of some of the sawdust that is lingering on every flat surface.  The contractor did a good job of cleaning up but it needs a woman's touch.  He'll be back today to do some caulking, and the painter will be here next week to paint the new window frame molding inside and out.  It will just get dirty again but I can't wait until they're done to clean up.  I'll just have to do it over when they're finished.  I always say I have to do everything twice.  I can't wait to get that room furnished, get the landscaping done, and be able to sit and enjoy the fabulous view all the way back to the bayou.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Busy - Sort Of

I thought I would have all this free time when I moved here.  Nope.  Of course, physical therapy takes up a lot of my schedule each week, but the time just flies by each day.  I wonder what I have accomplished as I get ready for bed at night.  Sometimes I feel like I'm just "piddling." 

The windows still aren't installed.  It's raining so much now and we have to wait for a week of sunshine to get that done.  So the den still is empty except for the fold-out table with a sewing machine on it.  The cottage is progressing but still not done five months after the move.  This weekend I will have help getting the last of the boxes moved out and then I can move in, so to speak.  I have boxes of Cottage kitchen stuff sitting in the sunroom.  My goal is another month to make it into a studio but I hope it happens sooner than that.  I will get the cleaning lady when she comes again next week to clean the kitchen cabinets and the three bathrooms back there.  Then the rest is up to me.  I can do it.

I haven't been sewing a lot but have gotten a few things accomplished. 

I'm hand stitching down the binding for my bed quilt.  Finally!  I'm real anxious to get this on my bed and get new curtains in there.  The folks from whom I bought the house were supposed to leave the window treatments.  I guess they decided they wanted the bedroom drapes, and put some awful maroon things up when they left.  My heart flips every time I walk in there.  I am going to have some wooden blinds made to fit those odd sized, very wide windows, but in the meantime I'm going to just look for some dark cream drapes or curtains to hang.   I have a lot of this fabric left over, and I will maybe try to trim out those to match the quilt.  I just know I cannot stand what's in there one more minute.  When this is done I can mark at least one room off my list.

I have been spending some time each day working in the yard.  By "working," I mean walking around, snipping things, and just basically marveling at all the flowers and bulbs that are coming up that I didn't know were there.

It's really funny but there are things that were frozen to the ground and are popping up exactly where I planned to put those same plants.  For example, this amaryllis.  I received one for Christmas, and thought I'd put it here and add two or three more.  I'm glad I waited to start digging because green started showing above ground and then it bloomed - the same spot I was going to plant the other one.

Around the oak trees in the front and at other strategic points in the yard daylilies greened up and are now blooming.  I thought I would add something green at the base of those trees.  I guess previous owners had the same thoughts.

In several places around the yard there are crepe myrtles that were so overgrown and scraggly.  I decided to just cut those back to the nubs and see what happened. I was told that wasn't the correct way to trim them. They are all leafing out and I think they will bloom nicely this year.  Now I can thoughtfully prune them each year and keep them at a manageable size.  Under these were some really awful looking roses.  They were just sticks.  I cut those back to about six inches above the ground.  They bloomed a beautiful soft pink that's not really apparent in this picture.  They are a variety of an English rose with tiny single blooms.  More daylilies surfaced. 

Penny has been enjoying the outside a lot.  I go out with her and sit while she explores.  She's only allowed to roam between the house and the pool.  I don't want her going between the pool and the bayou for now.  I was so scared of her coming across a snake.  Everyone, the gardener, workers, my brother, the cleaning lady, have all told me that they've seen a snake somewhere in the yard.  I had never seen one -- until yesterday afternoon.  I went to my nephew's for barbecue, and when I got home I walked with Penny out of the sunroom into the yard.  We both stepped right over a snake on the sidewalk about six feet from the house next to a flower bed.  When I saw it, I reach down and grabbed her, ran (or as close to running as I can do right now) to the screened porch at the Cottage and threw her in there.  I called a friend for advice, grabbed a shovel and headed back to that area, getting advice the whole time on what to do.  Well, the snake was gone by the time I got back to it.  From my description, he told me it was a garter or garden snake and was good for my yard.  Well, I.don'!  Mr. Snake can just go eat lizards at someone else's house - or in Heaven if I see him again!  So now I'm going to walk outside with Penny with a shovel or hoe in hand. 

I think seeing my first snake is kind of like getting the first nick on a new car.  Now that it's done, maybe I can relax a bit.  Maybe.  Or not.  We'll see.

It's Monday and it's a free day for me.  I'm heading in there to work on that binding.  I guess there are more important things I could be doing today, but that's what I'm focused on at the moment.  No piddling today!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Glorious Sunday

It's so beautiful here today.  It was 65 at 9:00 this morning and it's now 75.  Love this weather!

I've been working like a mad woman in the Cottage.  I thought I had a couple of more weeks before my new Horn cutting table was to be delivered.  They called me Friday night to tell me it was in and would be delivered Saturday afternoon.  Yikes!  I had done a lot in the Cottage but I still had boxes to unpack so that would fit in there.  I'm now about 75% done but there are still a lot of boxes sitting around.  Most of those have to go upstairs and I'll need to hire some muscle to do that.  But I did empty 30 more boxes.

I went ahead and got two cabinets to slide under each end of it as well as a big cutting mat to cover the top.  The tables aren't under there all the way so the top looks wonky.  Once the boxes behind it are moved out, then I can put it in its forever home and lock the wheels.  I already love it and I haven't cut a single thing on it yet.  The height is perfect, and my cutters and rulers will fit nicely in the drawers.

I ordered this from the Quilting Niche in Houma, LA.  I looked for a Horn dealership nearby, called them, and was able to place the order over the phone.  The owners, Debbie and Patrick, brought it to me yesterday and set it up.  It turns out they are also a Bernina dealer.  I showed Patrick the box that looked crushed that my 750 was packed in.  He took it out and, sure enough, there was a problem with it.  So they took it back to the shop and I'll go pick it up in a couple of weeks.  I can't wait to visit their quilt shop.  It's an hour away but that's close enough considering how perfectly lovely they were.  And the plus is that they also can service my Berninas.  Win/win!

All of the blocks are made for Lucy but I had to stop sewing on it to work on the Cottage project.  I'll don't know how much I'll get to sew this week because my brother is having surgery, and I also have physical therapy two days, blood work and an abdominal ultrasound.  So that's four days busted.   I'm going to try really hard to sew even for a few minutes each day. 

The best thing is I finally found all of my photo albums.  I enjoyed looking through them this morning.  There was a tearful moment when I found lots of pictures of Katie, my first doxie.

This was from November 1980 when she was three months old and I was about four months old.  (rolls eyes)  She was the best dog, extremely active, ran-not-walked, made me laugh every single day for 17 years, and she'll always have a piece of my heart.

I've been taking lots of pictures of flowering things in the yard and beds, but I won't bore everyone here.  It's been so much fun watching things bloom that I thought were dead, bulbs popping up everywhere.  Now that I pretty much know what's here, I can add to it more easily.  I love my yard!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sewing a Little - or a Lot

I've been sewing.  I can't do a whole lot of other things.  I'm still waiting for the last window to come in (it had to be remade), and then waiting for a dry week to get them installed.  I tell you, patience is not a virtue I possess!  I did make a decision on some of the new furniture, and that should be ordered this week.

Since I've taken over the empty den to sew in for the time being, I've used this time to be a bit productive.  Of course, physical therapy two times a week, and at a place 30 miles away, has cut into my production, but I am forging ahead as best as I can.

I made Block 10 of the Designer Mystery BOM from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Two more months and this can be assembled.  I looked at the finishing kit yesterday and am considering changing it up a bit.  Still have time to ponder that.

I have *almost* finished the Moda Modern Building Blocks top.  I was an inch and a half short on a color and had to place an order last week.  Hopefully it will come in today and I can get this one off my sewing table - and off the floor.  I'm sure I wastefully cut something to have come up short. (sigh)  This is a big quilt and I've really had a bunch of fun making it, especially working with the Moda solids.

Last week I unearthed the Lucy quilt from those boxes out back.  Carrie Nelson offered this kit shortly before she went to work for Moda.  I love the orange, black and gray fabrics.  Anyway, I decided to cut those out yesterday.  Busy hands and all ....

I still have to cut the background that happens to be my favorite dots from Minick & Simpson.  I thought if I get these strips cut, I can start sewing the strip sets between other sewing projects I have going on.  There are a lot of them to make.

After I cut the strips, I sat down and organized the strips into sets.  I used the binding clips to hold each set.  I'm ready to sew these now, and am so proud of myself for being so organized!  ;)

My new cutting table will be in in two or three weeks, so I'm going to spend time on the days I feel good tackling the rest of those boxes downstairs in the Cottage, or at least the part of the downstairs that my sewing table and cutting table will go.  I haven't even set up my Bernina 750 out there yet.  I did take it out of the box.  A couple of boxes later I found the foot pedal.  The next box had the cord, and yet another box had the knee lift.  What was that packer thinking?  It's been such a mess finding things.  I'm in my forever home and I plan on the next move being in a hearse, but I can honestly say that if I did move again, I wouldn't use that company!  I have two or three long boxes of freezer paper and I can't find any of them, and the little local market didn't have any.  It's so irritating to open a box with almost all of the things I'm looking for, only to find one thing missing and the box stuffed with unrelated items.  Another example, I found the Bose radio but the envelope containing the instructions and the remote are not in that box.  I purposely placed them on top of the radio before the packers arrived. Sheesh ...

Enough complaining.  I need to head to a larger market and I have just added freezer paper to my list.  I'm anxious to get started on the Austin Bluebird BOM!

Monday, March 02, 2015


I am so excited!

Last week Laurie Simpson of Minick & Simpson announced that there would be 12 names chosen from among those who signed up with her for the Austin Bluebird BOM.  The prize would be one of twelve Austin Bluebird boxes that Moda had left over from the BOM they offered.  These came out after I had signed up with Laurie, and I was coveting that box!  Yes, coveting it!  (I'm Catholic. I confess.)

Guess what came today!!

Along with the Austin Bluebird box and Month 9 of the BOM, Laurie included two mini charm packs, Crazy for Red by M&S and Whitewashed Cottage by 3 Sisters, as well as  a sample size of Vintage Textile Soak and her Patrick's Patchwork pattern.  I thought I had all their patterns but I didn't have this one.  Now I do, and I love it!

Laurie, thank you!  My quilting cottage will be mostly decorate in M&S colors and fabrics, so this will be used and displayed prominently!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm Motivated

It's been a slow healing process and slow unpacking, but now I'm totally motivated!

Yesterday I ordered the Horn cutting table.  The movers took apart the wire rack cabinets/shelves which I used to cut on.  They are in a million pieces.  I don't know what possessed them to do that.  I bought them in one piece, and they could have easily loaded them without disassembling.  So I have been struggling on the cutting.  It will take a few weeks to arrive, so I'm motivated to get the Cottage cleared out of boxes, at least the downstairs for now.

I actually added four or five more empty boxes to this pile after I took the picture.  My goal was five.  I think I surpassed that nicely.  There are boxes in boxes here, so while I didn't count the empties, there were a lot!

Everything in this picture is emptied save for one box of Pandolph fabric that must be tubbed and put upstairs.

I even found the box that had Penny's toys in it.  She was one happy camper when I tossed the little green weenie dog on the floor!

It's shaping up downstairs.  I said I wasn't going to do this, but to keep it real, this is the upstairs. A lot of work needs to happen here, but my goal is to get the downstairs unpacked and organized so I can sew.  And cut on my new cutting table.  And enjoy my retirement.  I'll work on the upstairs between other projects going on around here.

The great news is that I found the totes that had the projects I had put aside to work on here.  They are:  Moda Building Blocks, the It's Sew Wonderful curved blocks, James River Blues blocks, and a kit that Mary Ann and I talked about just last night.  I also found a Bunny Hill embroidery project that I searched for a month or so ago.  It just needs the scalloped border that I've been procrastinating on for over three years.  How they packed things make absolutely no sense to me.  There were boxes of totes, family picture albums, dog toys, magazines, etc., all mixed together.  That's why it's been so hard to find things. 

Slow healing -- I had an MRI a week or so ago, and found out this week that I have two fractured bones in my knee and a complete tear of the AP ligament.  That explains the swelling and instability of my knee.  It really doesn't hurt very much except when I step wrong and twist it.  I'm negotiating stairs just fine albeit a bit slowly.  So I start rigorous PT next week and will be fitted for a special brace that I'll be wearing for quite a while.  I wondered aloud to the doctor why the fractures had been missed on two sets of x-rays.  It's because they are non-displaced.  Whatever.  I just want to get well now.  Patience is not a virtue I possess.

Three hours out in the Cottage and I'm so tired.  Need to get ice on my knee and take it easy for the rest of the day.  Yeah, I can do that!!