Friday, November 26, 2010

New sofa

Yes, it's blue. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but it's my favorite color. And it's exactly the color of the lighter blue in the Oriental rug.

Quiltville mystery part 2

Part 2 is completed. Thirty six sets of four matching HSTs in pink and brown. The instructions were for 30 sets, but I'm making extras in hope that I can extend the design from 87" x 102" to 102" x 102" king size. I'm betting that there are thirty blocks, arranged 5 x 6. If I'm lucky it won't hurt the design to make it 6 x 6, a bit larger.

On other fronts, our new living room couch is being delivered this afternoon! I can't wait. But, it is delaying us putting up the Christmas tree until tomorrow. We decided to decorate earlier this year and enjoy it longer. I put together my Christmas village last weekend. But now I'll have to move part of it temporarily to make room for the couch to come in the front door. Afraid it will be bumped trying to carry the new couch in and the old one out past it. Rats!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Last of the Christmas gift quilts

I finished the binding before bedtime yesterday, in spite of spending the day cooking. I was sooooo tired, but was determined to get this gift completed. It's 62" square and will be a couch quilt for my brother in law and his wife. I know that parts of her house have light green carpeting, and am hoping that includes the living room so it will coordinate. Rather happy with how this one turned out. Sherry's quilting is perfect, as usual.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quiltville Mystery Step 1

Zippity-doo-dah, look who's completed step one! Contributing to the general speediness this morning: 1) Shape Cut ruler - genius, genius. If I had one quibble it would be that the ruler is made of more flexible plastic than the usual rotary ruler and I'll have to be more careful in storing it and using it - easier to accidentally break it and easy to nick the slots with a sharp new blade. 2) Sewing room - lots of space to spread out and a spot at my right side to erect the 2'x4' folding table to hold strips as I sort and pair them for sewing.

(sniff) Now what will I do the rest of the weekend? LOL


What are the odds? Two days ago I bought a shape cut ruler to make cutting strip sets into segments easier (prompted by a Carrie Nelson pattern I was making) and today the initial Quiltville mystery instructions call for making - strip sets! Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


It's 5 minutes after 4 in the afternoon and the neighbor's rooster is crowing. And crowing. And crowing. That darned chicken is about to push me over the edge. I haven't figured out how to report the illegal poultry without causing a neighbor-to-neighbor stink. The old lady next door plays her TV so loud that she probably doesn't hear them. The other neighbor behind me is gone at work all the time. I guess I'm the only one being driven crazy.
On other fronts - I indulged today and bought a specialty rotary cutter ruler, which is something I usually don't do. A 40% off coupon from Joann's enticed me to try a Shape Cut ruler. After trimming a lot of pieced strips into 1 1/2" segments for four-patch blocks, I thought that one of these rulers where you position it once and cut through the slits to produce multiple patches looked like a good idea. We'll see. Maybe Bonnie Hunter's new mystery will give me a chance to use it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Finding quilts a good home

Part of my recent decluttering effort has been to attack the mass of stuff relating to my quilting hobby. I weeded through fabric several years ago and took two lawn/leaf size plastic bags of the culled fabrics to a quilting group at a church in a nearby small town. The ladies were flabbergasted but delighted. And even though I have purchased more than my share of fabric since, the input and output have been well balanced and the stash hasn't outgrown its storage closet. It got a little messy, though, so I took care of that when relocating all the boxes to my new sewing room.

Tools were next and were organized and stored where at last they have a permanent convenient home. Kits were neatly stashed in bins.

But the quilts? I have lots of quilts. LOTS of them. Quilts I have made, quilts my mom made for me, quilts my grandmother pieced, quilts I pieced and mom quilted. Kits. Mystery quilts. Scrap quilts. Magazine patterns. Lots.

Over the years we have used many of them, rotating which one was on the bed. But some are just not big enough now that our cat Molly sleeps with us. I can't tell you the times I have awoke with the cover wadded down between us in the center of the bed by her not-inconsiderable self and some or most of me uncovered. With Molly sharing the bed, I'm making big quilts now. Less than 90" wide? Don't even think about it.

But there are quilts that I made that have never been slept under. Some of them are finding new homes this year. These are generally large bed-size quilts, which is what I normally made until I started to be involved with Project Linus and segued into child-size patterns. While folding the quilts to store in the top of the closet, I realized that it was getting a little ridiculous. How many quilts does a gal need, anyway? And isn't it sad if they just sit on a shelf and not do what they were meant to do - warm and comfort someone?

So I started pulling out quilts that could find new homes with my husband's family. First were three quilts for three of his first cousins who grew up around him and are practically as close as brothers. He still talks to them very often even though we don't live nearby now. Then a smaller "couch" quilt for his sister and one for his brother (this one is a completed top that is being quilted right now). Both have received quilts from me before but for their bed, not for snuggling watching TV. Then a wall hanging for his sister, which I thought she might enjoy (this was my husband's idea).

And then I started thinking about the charities that Project Linus supports locally. The coordinator is always asking for larger quilts for teens in foster care as well as smaller baby and little kid quilts. A perfect home for them. Shortly, ten quilts were selected and bagged to take to her house. I delivered them on Saturday and she was thrilled. She unfolded each one and oohed and aahed. (She's a VERY nice lady.) Let me tell you, a little ego stroking is always in order!

I haven't figured out a way to get the five quilts to my nephew's family in Germany yet, but they will go as soon as I can. And now all my quilts fit neatly in the space allotted. Until I start sewing again.

Oh Good Grief

Every once in a while you do something so stupid, you have to wonder where your brain has gone, since you evidently aren't in possession of it and definitely aren't using it. This week it was my turn.

I'm giving six quilts as Christmas presents this year. Three are bed size, two are lap size and one is a wall hanging. I just got the wall hanging back from the longarm quilter (since I wanted a fancier job that I could do). One of the lap quilts is still with her but the rest are ready to go. A few days ago I decided to get boxes and wrap them so when my brother-in-law visits in a few weeks he could take them back with him, since he lives close to the family recipients of the gifts.

I gleefully wrapped the four that were ready and said to myself, "Well, I'm ahead of the game THIS year." Famous last words.

Friday, I sewed the binding on the wall hanging and started to prepare a label. While sorting through my preprinted labels from RJR and Windham Fabrics to pick just the right one (very handy, those) I suddenly realized that I HAD NOT LABELED THE WRAPPED QUILTS. None of them. Sheesh.

So, yesterday morning I made labels for ther other four quilts in hand, unwrapped them, sewed on the labels and rewrapped the boxes. It took all morning.

Here's a peek at the wall hanging: Sherry Meyer did a fabulous quilting job, as usual. And yesterday I woke up to the most beautiful misty fall morning, with the sun starting to break through the fog and glinting on the trees. Even with my bad photography and the power lines in the way, you can get an idea how lovely it was:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Quiltville Mystery

A new Quiltville mystery, called Roll Roll Cotton Boll, starts November 19th, and I can't wait. The first quilt in my new sewing room! It will be great to sew on a large project without cluttering up the kitchen.

This time, I'm adhering to the colors Bonnie Hunter has selected. Before, on Double Delight and Carolina Christmas, I went in other directions but on this one I'll close my eyes and trust. I briefly thought about substituting yellow and blue for the pink and green, but since I've never made a pink/chocolate quilt now's the time.

Here are the fabrics I've pulled for her scrappy design:
Not sure how that red accent fabric fits into the scheme, but I'm open to be surprised.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Too clean to mess up!

An unfortunate side effect of all this house de-cluttering: now my new sewing room is too neat and clean to mess up! I was up early so I took the opportunity to assemble a few rows of blocks in my latest project (Carrie Nelson's Double Duty). But every thread that hit the carpet was picked up immediately!

I love having a dedicated sewing room now, but I'm going to have to do something about the lighting. You recall the layout (final proposed floorplan - I don't have that sewing or cutting table, nor the wall lamps yet): Right now I have an antique (rickety) oak table holding the sewing machine. My OTT light is sitting there for additional illumination for sewing. My old articulated desk lamp is sitting on the bookcase at left, providing light for the ironing board. These are in addition to the usual semi-flush mount ceiling fixture you'd find in a bedroom, which is good for providing enough light to walk into the room but not much else. Overall, the lighting is adequate but not good. I need to research wall-mounted articulated lamps for either side of the window to provide more even light at the sewing table, and I'll have to buy some type of clamp-on lamp for the cutting table, because standing there I wll be casting a shadow from the ceiling light on the surface of the table.

The one good thing about sewing in the kitchen was the lighting. The 300 watt total hanging fixture over the table was great, and the undercabinet lighting where I put the small ironing board made pressing easy.

Oh well, all these things will work out eventually. And my stash closet still makes me smile when I open the doors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I THOUGHT that looked familiar. . .

Old stash closet. . . New stash closet. . .
Definite family resemblance, I'd say. The difference? It's been shifted one room down the hall. I spent the morning installing shelves in the closet in my new sewing room and moving all the bins of fabric from one closet to the other. In the process I got to straighten and sort a bit and commandeer some new bins emptied during the garage clean-up.
It's all very, very organized.
For about 10 minutes.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The great clean-out continues

Well! I have decluttered the closets in the "was guest room/now sewing room", the third bedroom (husband's computer domain), the master bedroom, the coat closet, the linen closet, the cedar closet in the garage, and now the workshop in the garage. Whew! I've made three trips to the Goodwill drop-off and a trip to the womens' shelter with clothing. Oh, yes, and a trip to the library to donate books. I can't carry much at a time to Goodwill with my little car, so I've been back and forth. Got to go back again on Monday.

It's starting to look clean and uncluttered. Breathing room! I have opened up a huge area in the upper shelves in the workshop where my Christmas village stuff will be stored after dismantling this season. I wanted so badly to put all the boxes up there to see how it will fit but I would be taking it down in three weeks to assemble the village, so that would be silly. Just have to picture it in my mind. . .

Next will be taking down the shelves in the fabric stash closet and moving them to the closet in the new sewing room. I can't wait!

I have a funny story, but to understand you have to envision the shelves in the workshop. Imagine an area five feet wide, with three very deep wooden shelves, almost 2 feet deep. The shelves start about waist high and the upper one is above my head. They are supported by a wood framework screwed to the walls and ceiling made of 2x2's and 2x4's, fastened with metal plates. They're strong! They were here when we moved and I love the storage potential. Below the bottom shelf I installed a shallower one, much less robustly constructed with cleats on the wall to support the ends and center, that is used to store scrap lumber pieces (never know when you'll need a little piece of wood. . .).

Well. . .after I had finished reloading the shelves with multiple heavy boxes, I pushed the lawnmower back into position below the shelves. In doing this I must have bumped the stack of scrap lumber on the lower shelf and not known it. Suddenly, I start to hear this creaking, wood-rubbing-wood noise, very soft, but continuing. Oh - my - goodness. I'm standing in a 5ft x 10 ft workshop with a loaded set of wooden shelves looming over me and SOMETHING is starting to make creaking noises. I don't know whether to run for my life or look for where the shelves are coming apart. If they fall, it's going to be a catastrophe, and I would be on the bottom of a very large pile. I'm starting to panic, when I realize that the creaking is coming from the lower part of the shelves, in fact from my wood scrap pile on the bottom shelf, where the stack has slid slightly and is trying to tip over. Whew! Crisis averted!

Meanwhile, my husband is talking to his brother, who decides he wants the rolltop desk we are clearing out as well as an old surround sound amplifier, a center channel speaker and two back channel speakers. His TV room gain is our gain too, because now I don't have to figure out what to do with them. Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sewing room

I'm way too tired and bleary-eyed to take a decent photograph, but here are two views of the room so far. The other two walls are complete chaos, as you can probably guess, so no pictures of those!
BTW, the stuffed bear sitting on my sewing basket is the World's Best Bear. He has a medal around his neck that says so! I've got teddies here and there in the house, posed in small teddy-sized chairs and even in a little red Radio Flyer wagon. One has a little wing-back armchair, just his size. A silly hobby of mine.

I put up that wallpaper 17 years ago. Back then, I liked it. Now - not so much. But I like it more than I would like the work it would take to remove it. I do need to take down that valance. It's SO 1993. Maybe replace the traverse rod with a simple brushed nickel rod and rings to match the ceiling fixture.

That picture over the bookcase is crewel work, which I used to do until I burned out on it. I did needlepoint and cross-stitch too, but nothing has kept my interest like quilting. The old gold framed mirror is a remnant from the guest room days.

Cleaning closets,. . .

. . .thinning out the bookshelves, gathering clothes to donate to the shelter, picking out new flooring for the master bath, ordering a new couch for my husband's computer room. Man, I've been busy. And, of course. . .


The guest room is going to become my sewing room. Last weekend, my sister-in-law and her husband drove down from Kentucky and took back the bedroom suite from the guest room. It came from my mother-in-law's house to begin with, so that's fair. We ordered a sleeper sofa to go in the third bedroom, which my husband uses as his computer room, so we'll have the guest accommodations covered. And now I'm researching sewing and cutting tables. A bookcase from the other bedroom and two old cabinets have been relocated for sewing room storage, and the new floorplan has been drafted. I still need to move out an old rolltop desk, which is going to be donated to charity, and decide which brand tables I will buy. In the meantime, an antique oak table I have is standing in for a sewing table because Quiltville is starting a new mystery this month and I don't want to miss it.

Here's an idea how it's going to be laid out. There's one window (top) and two closets with bifold doors (left side). The sewing table under the window has a dropleaf to double the size if needed. I will install swingarm lamps on the wall on either side of the window. The brown item on the left wall between the closets is an old bookcase which will hold projects, thread and such. The cabinets flanking the sewing table are entertainment center components my father-in-law built. The one on the left has shelves behind door (used to hold stereo components) and will store tools, templates and rulers. The one the right is open and used to hold a TV; right now it's full of folded quilts. A design wall will be mounted on the right wall, above which will be a curtain rod with clip rings from which I can hang completed quilts for photographing. The cutting table will fold up and store in front of the design wall. It's shown unfolded and in place for work. The item on the bottom is another cherry bookcase which is in the room now and has to stay, but it holds my quilting books. Unfortunately, the treadmill stays too! It folds up so it doesn't take much room. You can see that there's space for my big ironing board to the left of my chair. This will be so handy. I can adjust the board height to be used while seated, and pivot in my chair between the sewing machine and iron. Now my fabric stash closet needs to be relocated from the third bedroom to the guest room. That entails a lot more than it sounds. All the stuff in the guest room closet needs to find a home. Some of it will go into the closet where the fabric is right now, and the Christmas village decorations will go in the workshop out in the closet. But, before that can happen, the workshop needs to be decluttered and room made for them. It's a mess! A moves to B which moves to A and C but C has to be cleared out before the whole daisy chain can be put into motion.

But, all the work aside, I am very, very happy about this!