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 three 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!!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Lazy Sunday - Again

I've not been hibernating.  Promise!  It's been so busy around the old homestead but quilting hasn't happened.  Today is the day.  I'm attacking the 2014 Designer Mystery blocks and I won't stop until they're done.  Or caught up.  Or until someone rings the doorbell.

There has not been one day since I've moved here that I've had the whole day to myself.  Not one.  I guess that happens when you buy a really old house, immediately have a bad roof leak after a storm (Day 2 here) blows a turbine off the roof, and you start calling in contractors and estimators for various projects.   And then there are plumbers, yard folks, the cleaning lady, window replacement company - it's a never-ending stream.

It must be the moon rocks.  Right, Carrie?

Here's where I am at the moment.

My den has a 20 foot window. I love that I can see the whole back yard, the Cottage, and the bayou.  But ... there's always a "but" ... it was leaking horribly in that same Day 2 storm.  The old towels I was going to throw away ended up wadded up all along the bottom of the window to protect the floors.  All 20 feet of it.  After fixing the roof, the contractor looked at the window.  He had ideas of how to fix it, seal it, do whatever to make it stop leaking.  Then we discussed replacing it with double-pane glass.  As it stands now, it's cold by that window.  And when I was here this summer it was really hot.  Not just the sun on the glass, but it seemed to be seeping in.  Just like the cold air has done recently.  So it's going to be replaced, but it will look different.  There will be two windows on either end that open, and then the 12 feet left in the middle will be what they call clear-view.  I'm not being true to the vintage of the house but I have to do what makes me comfortable living here.  Probably two more weeks until that is installed.

I've held off ordering the furniture for that room.  It's best to wait until the construction is done - or the moon rocks are put back.

My friend, Sally, told me that Orange Glo would work wonders on the old wood floors.  She was right.

I was going to have them sanded and refinished, but I kind of like the older look of them.  The product did exactly what I was told it would do.  It brought out all the grain in the wood and gave it a gentle shine that's supposed to protect the wood.  Okay, the shine looks really bright here in the lamp reflection but it really isn't that glossy.  This picture is from the dining room looking into the side of the living room.  The door goes out to the carport.  The furniture is old.  I've picked out new furniture for the room but that will wait until the construction is done.  The floors in the picture of the window have not been deep cleaned yet.  They're really dull.  I'm not doing that room until these men quit tromping through with their boots on.

I'm also thinking about where to hang pictures.  These two Redoute prints are going in the kitchen.  I love botanical prints, and Pierre-Joseph Redoute is one of my favorites.  Picked these up at a private school auction probably 25 years ago for $30.  According to an old hand-written note on the back, Redoute was "French - Royal gardener.  Superb botanist, artist and designer.  Most famous for his pictures of roses and lilies.  Art teacher to Marie Antoinette.  He survived the French Revolution and was engaged by Napoleon to teach the Empress Josephine and the two succeeding queens."  The prints have some old stains on them but I don't care one bit.  I think it gives them character.

I've said many times that I love messing with Penny's head.  For instance, I have/had an old squeaker that she pulled out of a toy.  I kept it on my sewing table, and when she would start snoring really loudly I'd give it a squeeze or two.  It was hilarious watching her trying to get into her hunt mode while still half asleep.  Okay, I'm a bad mommy.  So my nephew gave me this bird clock for Christmas.  On the hour it chirps or hoots or sings the sounds of the bird it's pointing to.  For a month and a half she jumps up and runs around trying to find the bird.  This morning she finally figured out the sound was coming from up on the wall.  She looked like a pointer.  Ears up, body stiff, tail up and quivering.  I guess it's a good thing it's on the wall where she can't reach it!

My late boss' wife gave me a pot of amaryllis bulbs for Christmas.  I've been carefully putting it out every day and taking it in at night when the temps drop.  This week I saw color on it.  I'm so excited because I love-love-love bulbs.  I inherited that from my mother.  There are plans in my head to plant a ton of bulbs in the flower beds out back.  It takes some bulbs two years to bloom but that's okay. I'm in my forever home.

Yes, the front porch needs to be scrubbed, but I'll wait until winter is over to wash away the character that has grown on the bricks during the rainy season. 

I'm off to sew.  I'll be at the temporary table set up in the den facing the TV if anyone needs me.  By this time next week I hope to be in the Cottage sewing.  I'm sure there will still be boxes around, but at least my sewing table and Bernina will be set up in their forever home.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Moving Right Along

I've done as much as I can in the house for now.  There are a couple boxes that ended up there and should have been in the Cottage.  So they sit until I can get someone to move them for me.  Or a couple of people.  And a forklift.  Yes, it's fabric.  I'm also pretty positive that there are boxes in the back that should be in the house. 

One thing is I have way too many quilts. 

There are some with which that I will never part -- you know, my first quilt, first paper piecing, first applique, first whatever.  Then there are those that I've collected at auctions from such designers as Carrie Nelson, Brenda Riddle, Kimberly Jolly, etc.  Then there are quilts that I've received as gifts.  All of the above are in their forever home.

But there are those quilts that I made just because I wanted to use a color, a fabric line, try a pattern and/or technique, maybe go out of my box a bit, or just make it for the sake of sewing.  Had a ton of fun with all of them, but they won't ever be used by me.  Perhaps young folks would like the brighter ones.  I did find the box containing the two quilts that I made for Brenda Riddle's retirement home project.  I feel so badly that those haven't been quilted and off to her.  That's going to be Number Uno on my things-to-do list!  The backings weren't in that box -- the packer's fault because they were stacked together -- so I will search today for those.

Today I start tackling this.

I've opened some of them looking for things.  Those ones way at the top of the stack are books.  They're over my head.  Enter the forklift!  I should have looked more closely at previous pictures taken.  I've been searching and searching for my shredder.  Yep, there it is sitting on the mantle.

Those boxes were plunked down two months ago yesterday.  Now I'm able to get around without a walker and it's time to dive in.  Oh, wait, no diving.  No more trips to ER.  This will be a slow and steady process.

I went out there thirty minutes before sunrise to assess the situation.  I had to laugh out loud at my shadow heading back to the house.  Hair in a lopsided ponytail, pajamas, and a weird angle from the motion light behind me.  Looks like one of those funny mirrors at the carnival!

I have been sewing a bit on BOM packages that have arrived since my move.  More on that later!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Life in the Country

I went over to my brother's house to drop something off.  When I pulled up, his neighbor, Ted, came out and told me to get my phone because there was a black bear cub in my brother's back yard.

I grabbed several pictures from far away and cropped them.

He was real small and had been around the neighborhood for a couple of days with no mama bear around.  So Ted called Wildlife & Fisheries.  The cub was loping off when W&F arrived, but the guy ran behind him and scooped him up with a dip net. That's how tiny he was.

Poor little fellow.  I hope he's fed and taken care of, and then released back into the wild when he's bigger.  I never thought much about bears around here, but our little town holds an annual Black Bear Festival, so I guess I should have figured that one out!

An exciting day in the "other LA"!

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Finishes - So Far!

Focusing only on positives this year, I set up the Bernina I had shipped here last Christmas and was able to get some bindings sewn on.  So I have three finishes already in 2015!

I sewed the two Minick & Simpson bindings on because the first thing I did was put my M&S stash in the new closet.  It's a good thing because the plastic tote in which I had carefully folded away the binding fabrics is still packed in one of those boxes in the cottage.  These quilts are nice and flat, but were folded for a few months.  They need to be washed to get rid of the folds in them.

Nantucket by Minick & Simpson.  It was so much fun sewing along with a group of ladies making this quilt. The fabric is their Midwinter Red line for Moda, but the binding is another red from another collection.  I love that their fabrics lines work together!


The next finish was Hurrah also by Minick & Simpson.  Although I couldn't find the tub with the binding fabric, I found more of that striped fabric in my stash and was able to forge ahead on getting this binding done.  Yes, I bought extra of their stripes.  I love them for bindings.  In this case, it's a good thing I did.
The third finish was the Jelly Roll Jam free pattern from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I had the binding in a Ziploc and I wisely folded it in with the quilt.  Penny pulled it off the chair and claimed it.  After all, I did take away all of her other quilts when they were washed and packed.  This baby needed a quilt!  It's funny because I gave her another quilt soon after this, but she keeps going back to this one.
I have two other quilts that need bindings, also free patterns from the Fat Quarter Shop.  Those will have to wait until I can unearth my solids.  I plan on diving into the boxes in the cottage hopefully this week as I'm feeling somewhat better.  Of course, they piled boxes of books on top of everything, so I guess those will be the first things unpacked back there.
I was at a point where I was out of projects to stitch.  I found a tub that had ended up in a wardrobe box with my clothes because it was in my bedroom.  In it was the unfinished quilt by Brenda Riddle, A New Day.  While I was assembling the blocks, I think I remember finding a HST turned the wrong direction. I must have fixed it because I can't find it now.  Of course, if I didn't fix it, I'm sure I'll find it after the borders are on and it's quilted.  That happened to me one time!
I have feelers out for two cleaning ladies.  I hope to get one (or both) of them in this week.  This house is big and has a lot of wood floors.  I tried vacuuming with one hand while pushing the walker with the other.  It didn't work so well -- but I'm positive it would have made for a funny picture.
One last picture.  It was real foggy this morning.  By the time I took this picture, a lot of the fog had lifted but it was still hanging over the bayou. 
I didn't venture all the way to the back but the bayou is under that layer of fog.  Oh, a few folks have asked me about that "street light" back there.  I actually have two in the yard.  They are dusk-to-dawn lights, and are great to have because it's a long way to the back of the yard and they light up the area nicely.  I call them my bogeyman lights!
I can do this .... I can get the cottage unpacked .... I can settle into my new life .... I can stay healthy this year .... I can do this!  Only positive things all year long!