Thursday, April 26, 2012

Painting woes

I was so proud that I got the recyclables gathered up and out to the curb after dinner tonight, so I didn't have to deal with it in the morning - until I looked up the street and noticed that none of my neighbors had put out their recycling.  Back in the house, I checked the calender and realized that recycling pickup was LAST week.  Sheepishly, I slunk back out and retrieved the bags.

Gee, what was I doing last week that distracted me?  Oh, right - I was getting estimates from house painters.

I don't even have that big a painting job.  It's a brick house, so it's just trim, shutters and garage doors.  No  reason that the estimates should be all over the boards like they were.  I got numbers from $900 to $2400 for the same scope.  Which is nuts, when you think of it.  A variance of 10 to 20% I could see, but the biggest number was two and a half times the cheapest one.  What gives?

We did all the things you were supposed to do when picking a contractor.  We checked the BBB, went on Angie's List, talked to the neighbors (fat lot of help they were - everyone else has their eaves covered with vinyl and steel garage doors - no painting required).  The first one that came out to talk to me was a company that advertises a lot on the radio.  $1900 - I was expecting about $1200.  Ouch.  So I called several more.  $900.  $2400(!).  And, in a particularly insulting move, the one who said he would figure up the estimate and call me back - and then wrote $2100 on the back of his business card and taped it to my mailbox the next morning!  What, ringing the doorbell was just too much trouble?

In the end, we found a guy through Angie's List.  Seems competent, lots of experience, no complaints, not a drunk or a felon (don't laugh - oh, the stories I've heard).  He wants $1500 for the job (still ouch, but less of one), and doesn't ask for money up front - I don't pay until everything is done to my satisfaction.  We may finally get this task completed.

Now all I have to think about is fixing my leaking toilet.  And spending 3 hours working on the darned yard this morning.  The joys of home ownership.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grrr - grackles (part two)

I griped about grackles several months ago.  The birds were descending on my yard in mobs, practically covering the back yard.  Some have hung around and continue to make themselves a nuisance.  Now I have determined that they have been stealing all the food from the dishes I am leaving outside the garage for the feral cats.  I thought the cats were coming more regularly for their meals and might have a better chance at surviving.  I seldom see them unless in a fleeting glance as they traverse the back yard, except for the black and white tuxedo cat which shows up in the morning sometimes when I'm outside (I feed him cat food and bologna, which seems to be the universal cat drug - man, oh man, they love bologna).  Now I realize that all that cat food was going down the gullets of these gluttonous, nasty birds.  Rats.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Buzz, buzz, buzz.......

'Cause I've been a busy bee today.  What did I accomplish?  Well, let's see -- I wrapped, boxed and mailed a gift for my sister-in-law's birthday (yep, it's a quilt), met with a painting contractor to get an estimate on some work on the outside of the house, got a haircut, dropped off donated cat food at the animal shelter, picked up my new eyeglasses, called two more painters to arrange for estimates, made supper, washed the dishes, and cut out a lap quilt using the jelly roll and yardage that was originally intended to be used for the Quilter's Club of America mystery quilt "Bittersweet".  Oh, and made the 96 four patch blocks for step one of that mystery.  Whew!  No wonder I'm about to fall over.  Thankfully, the next step on the Sunbonnet Sleuth mystery quilt wasn't released today because I would feel obligated to start sewing on it.  I hope there's something good on the television tonight because the living room couch is calling my name.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The "Ugly Fabric" Mystery Challenge

Remember my "ugly fabric"?  Well, I found a use for it.  Quilter's Club of America has a mystery quilt starting Friday and I'm using it as my foundation for planning what will go into the mystery.  The mystery is using the Bittersweet collection that I just finished with for my Wild Geese quilt, so instead of repeating myself I decided to make this a self-challenge.

I've already cut the color and background squares as directed.  Here they are:
Depending on how much of this print shows in the border it may not be THAT ugly.  I'm rather proud I figured out something to do with it.  And I found another piece almost as ugly to go on the back!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The ugliest piece of fabric you ever bought

I'm gathering materials for donation to a group of quilting ladies who make charity quilts.  I have already sent them three half-completed quilt tops that I ran out of steam on a long time ago.  The fact that those aren't in my closet causing me guilt, and the idea that they will be completed and put to good use made me feel so good that I started looking for other things to donate.  I have pieces of batting that are going in the box next.  Then I revisited my stash to see if there's anything that can be sent along.  

That's when I ran into a piece of fabric that got me to thinking - I wonder what other quilters think is the ugliest fabric they ever bought?  Being given stuff doesn't count, nor does fabric salvaged from thrift store garments like shirts.  No, this has to be actual new yard goods that you paid good money to be rolled out and cut off the bolt.  The pieces that you look at now and think "Was I unconscious when I bought this?"

Without further ado, I'm going to show you mine:
Even looking at it makes my brain hurt.

Now some of you might say "That's not too bad".  It's actually from an Amy Butler collection.  At some point in the past I bought two yards of this and a stack of fat quarters from the same line, in an abortive attempt to drag myself kicking and screaming from the design rut in which I live (and it's quite comfortable in here, thank you very much) and do something "bright".  The fat quarters have discreetly been donated to charities and included in "stash cleaning" giveaways.  All that's left are these two yards of blinding print.

As you can see, I have no aptitude for "bright".

In my quilting life, I went through a "Thimbleberries" phase, then a dip into "Robyn Pandolph", a flirtations with "Fig Tree Quilts" until finally landing safely and comfortably in Civil War Repro land, with brief forays into Laundry Basket Quilts, Sandy Gervais and French General.  If I'm feeling especially girly, I'll look at stuff by 3 Sisters.  I love all the "Collection for a Cause" groups too.  See the trend?  I wouldn't know "bright" if it bit me on the ankle.

That's why I ended up with lime and turquoise flowers.

Now, some of you might think I need a color theory class.  (Actually, you might be right.)  But mostly I just want to stay in that range of hues that make me feel serene and safe.  I learned my lesson and I won't make the same mistake again.

So, what are your "What was I THINKING?" fabrics?  I would love it if you blogged about them and let me know in a comment.

Cute and done

This is what I decided to to with the border.  Since the middle border is cut on the bias, I assembled the three into a single strip to stabilize it and sewed them on as one.  Then, of course, I had to miter the corners.  Oy vey, the trouble I cause myself.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cute blocks

Remember these?
Instead of making the set of 20 blue blocks, I got distracted with the smaller version and made the rest of the 12 of them today.
Now I need to figure out how to set them.  I think this brown as an outer border with a skinny red inner border and red binding.  Oh my, I hope I'm not too bored with these blocks to make the rest of the big ones.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Linky party - What's on Your Bed?

Bonnie Hunter had a linky going on Monday - What's on Your Bed?  Quite appropriate for a quilt goddess like herself.  So, without further ado, here's what's on my bed:
The pattern is "Sweet Escape" from Carrie Nelson's "A Touch of Rosie Quilts".  The fabrics are from Moda's Buttercup collection.  And I just love it.  The essence of spring.