Monday, September 24, 2012

And this is where things start to go wrong...

Remember the post on September 20th?  A few things began to go my way - finally I got the title on my new car and I found craftsmen to do the things on the house that needed to be taken care of.  But that's where the good stuff stopped.

The contractor came Sunday to discuss the specifics of the deck and stairs on the front of the house.  This is the guy that took almost three weeks to get back to me with an estimate - the full of excuses guy.  He was supposed to have arrived Sunday afternoon with a sketch of the deck/stair construction so we could work out particulars and I could see how he planned to build it.  First off, he was 40 minutes late and had to call to get my street address again.  Not good.  Then, he rolls up without even a pencil sketch of the proposed work, and is extremely weak in describing how the deck would be constructed.  You can't bluff me on this -I'm a retired mechanical engineer.  When he didn't know that you can buy composite decking material in different colors and said he would have to buy gray (which doesn't by any stretch of the imagination coordinate with my house) and proposed to build the 6 ft by 4 ft deck so that the deck planks would be laid across a 4 ft span without any center support (can you say bouncy and weak and, well, not to code?) I just shut down listening to him.  I told hubby what he had said and decided that this guy wasn't for us.  I called him this morning and cancelled the job.

I'm confused because this is a company with 41, yes 41, "A" ratings on Angie's List, which is why I chose them.  Of course, those "A" ratings were in 2010 and 2011 and the spring of this year.  The latest rating posted last month, which was after I first started talking to them, gave the company an "F" because they completely botched installation of a garage door; that client ran them off the job and got a garage door company to finish it, which did the work in a fourth of the time the inept guy had already used (all he had to show for it was damage to the materials and to the house).  Of course, a garage door is not a deck but in my eyes it's easier.  There are written instructions how to put the thing together and it only goes together one way.  How hard is that?  This client's rating and description of the bad work were scathing.  It would have given me pause if I had seen it before calling them.

So now I'm back to square one.  Time to call more contractors.  The pitiful thing is I know exactly how this should be built, I just don't have the skills to make it cosmetically acceptable to be on the front of my house.

I'm absolutely terrified about the roofer coming on Friday to fix the broken vent on my roof.  I know he's excellent, or so his ratings say, but good grief, that doesn't seem to mean much.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 4 of Grandmother's Choice is done

Well!  That's done!  Here is the Sunflower block with the other three from Grandmother's Choice,  I love the colors of the FQ collection I'm using - so different from my normal palette.  I don't mind admitting that I thought the Sunflower block would do me in, but I persevered and here it is!  This is going to be a fabulous sampler quilt - thank you Barbara Brackman.

Halfway there!

I still have to applique the center circle and applique the whole thing to the background but Look!  I have hand stitched the white and yellow petals together and there are actually points and everything.  I am rather proud of myself.  I'm not the greatest hand piecer in the world, so if I can do it anyone can - in case anyone was about to give up.  My tip is to make a plastic template of the stitching line and trace the shapes on the back of the fabric.  Cut them out with an approximately 1/4" seam line (not so critical to be exact since you are pinning and fitting the pieces based on the drawn sewing line) and hand stitch.  The way they go together they sort of chain up until they join into a circle at the end,  I did inner white petals onto the yellow ones and then inserted the outer white arcs.  I'm not going to lie and say easy-peasy but it's doable.  I would love to see someone else's blocks.

I just realized that one of the quilts my grandmother pieced and my mom had machine quilted in the 1960's is a sunflower block.  A whole quilt of these, even if it's a small one?  And she sewed the circle into the outer arcs, too, instead of appliqueing it like I'm going to.  And inserted the center circle too.  My respect for my grandmother's sewing skills just jumped.

"Grandmother's Choice" chooses "difficult" this week

Did anyone else wake up this morning, pull up the newest installment of Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice Block of the Week and go "YIKES!"

In case you haven't looked yet, here's the block courtesy of the above blog:

And it's pieced.  And it's an 8 inch block.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'm cutting out templates right now and have pretty much decided that I'll give the piecing one shot but that puppy is going to have to be appliqued.  I mean, REALLY......

I'll probably piece the gold petals and outer cream background then applique the center circle onto a white larger circle and then applique the pieced segment onto that.  Finally, applique the whole thing onto the green square.  Those little white points in the center are going to be the death of me.  I would very much like to piece the entire center minus the center circle, and then put it on a green square but after making a tracing template and drawing those nine points on a piece of fabric I'm even scared to cut them out!  So tiny......

One thing's for certain - any sewing of seams is going to be by hand.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One down, one to go on the new car

In case anyone is keeping track, I just got the registration for my new car, so I could put the transferred license plate on it.  No title yet - the lady at the clerk's office says they're done by another group and has no other info.  I did find out that the court clerk's office turned around the registration change in 24 hours including mailing it to me, so it must have come in Tuesday morning and gone out in the mail that afternoon.  I got it the next day.  They're pretty efficient - don't you wish everyone was?

My next big thing is repairs to the house:  build new shallow steps for the front door for my husband for accessibility, repair the sheetrock wall behind the washer where there was a plumbing problem, replace a broken turbine vent on the roof, paint the inside of the garage, lay new vinyl flooring in the master bath.  And yes, I'm hiring these done.  I got estimates for the flooring today.

 Let's see:  if I want the steps to look like anything I have to hire the carpentry; oh, I could build a strong set of steps but they would be ugly as sin.  I could repair the sheetrock but insanely it's an access problem: I can't move the washer and dryer by myself in that narrow laundry area and can't get them out of the room and down the steps to the garage.  No way I'm going up on the roof to fix that vent - maybe when I was 30 (I did stuff like that then) but not when I'm 60.  And, I could paint the garage but am stubbornly refusing to consider it;  I've slapped enough paint on our four homes through the years (not counting Mom and Dad's house) to cover the world and I've had it with painting.  Finally I have laid vinyl flooring before but that's another of those "I'm 60 years old darn it" situations.  So a bunch of businesses are going to make money off me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


How come you don't see your mistakes until you take a picture of them?  

I goofed up this block and had to pick out one of the HSTs in the center and rotate it  Here's the real design!

Sunset and Vine Mystery quilt

I never did post a picture of my completed Sunset and Vine quilt top, so here it is, and the back and binding too.  I dithered around deciding on the border but finally settled on the dark blue.  I'm very happy with how it turned out.  The backing is rather wild, but has the green and gold colors on the light blue.  The striped binding was destined for another quilt but I nabbed it because it picked up the colors of the top so well.

Quiltalongs and mysteries and BOMs, oh my!

I am certainly deep in web projects.  You could probably say that I need to join BOMs Anonymous, if there was such an organization because I am absolutely hooked on the concept.  Herein, a short tour of my current commitments.

First, Barbara Brackman's Grandmother's Choice block of the week in honor of the women's suffrage movement.  I had a fat quarter bundle of Debbie Beaves "Simple Pleasures" collection with purples and greens that echoed the colors of the suffrage movement which begged to be included.
Then there is the Thread Head Quiltalong which started today.  Here are the first blocks, using a Fig Tree quilts fat quarter bundle that I picked up for a song but didn't know what to do with.  It happens that I have yardage of the aqua in the top left block for the setting squares.  What luck!
Also, there is a monthly mystery honoring Benjamin Franklin at  Erik Homemade, using a Moda red, white and blue collection:
And there is the quiltalong at The Elven Garden and Scrappy 'n Happy, two Australian bloggers.  This was a fat quarter bundle of William Morris-looking farics from my stash:
Animas Quilts has its yearlong mystery still going.  The last instructions started assembling sub-components into blocks.  I only had to buy background for this quilt, the rest came from my stash:
I'm also doing the Burgoyne Surrounded quilt at Lyn Brown's Quilting Blog, but so far we've only done four patches and nine patches and there isn't much to see yet.

Of course, if Bonnie Hunter has a mystery this fall I will have to do that one too.  You can see why I jumped ahead and finished the Debbie Mumm Sampler, I was becoming overloaded!  That hasn't prohibited me from starting several projects on my own, however, so I am busy sewing every day, even when a weekly or monthly instruction isn't pending.  One of the pleasures of being retired is that I can sew everyday.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What happened to customer service?

On top of all the car tag brouhaha that's going on, my new refrigerator finally arrived today, delivered by replicas of Moe and Larry of the Three Stooges.  Honest to God, they couldn't have been more inept or irritating if they had tried.  First they charged in and declared that they would have to take the kitchen door off its' hinges to get the new frig into the house (uh, NO) and then argued with me when I said absolutely not, take the doors off the old refrigerator if you need more room.  You have to take the doors off to dispose of it legally, anyway.  The door is 32" and the frig was 29 1/2" deep so it should have fit just fine, but there was no convincing them.  The grumbled and grouched and complained they were running late on their deliveries (NOT MY PROBLEM - anyway, they showed up 15 minutes early for the appointment, so how were they running late?) but did as I said, removed the doors and carried out the old refrigerator.

They dragged the new frig off the lift tailgate of the truck onto the concrete driveway, scraping the bottom the whole way and whined at me when I told them to be careful with it and quit manhandling it.  Then they challenged me when I said that the hinges were on the wrong side of the new one and the door would have to be reversed (duh, just like they are made to do;  somehow, all the ones I have bought have the door with the hinges on the right side from the factory and all my kitchens needed them on the left side - an easy fix if you don't bitch and moan and just DO IT).  The idiot kept saying that the door would hit the wall like I was too stupid to have measured and checked that myself;  anyway, even he could have seen that the new one was the same size as the old one and there was a 5" gap between the left side and the wall.  More bitching and moaning but they removed the doors and swapped the hinges, finally.

But then they started to reinstall the doors out in the driveway, and when I questioned why, if they thought the old refrigerator (the same size, remember?) wouldn't fit through the kitchen door without removing the doors how would this one fit with its doors on? - they just sneered and said they knew what they were doing.  I made them carry it in without the doors so they didn't scrape them up or wreck the door frame.

Then they picked it up and tried to carry it in.  Without the doors the width of the refrigerator was about 3" more than the depth of it.  Of course they picked it up with the wider dimension facing the door and it was too big.  I got more grief when I suggested that they turn it around with the smaller dimension toward the door so it would go through.  They wanted to remove the kitchen door again.  I reminded them that the old one had gone through the opening and the new one was the same size, they should just figure it out how to carry it in because they weren't removing the kitchen door, so get over it.  I can't fathom why they were so hot to take the kitchen door off its hinges.  No way I was letting those morons touch anything more in my house than I had to.

Finally, it was in the kitchen with doors installed.  They started to adjust the leveling legs but didn't even have a level (I loaned one);  they left black greasy hand prints all over the inside and outside of the refrigerator, especially on the door gasket - I spent a good hour scrubbing it after they left - and generally acted like idiots and boors.  To anything I criticized they kept responding how they'd done this for two years (I wanted to reply "Yeah, and evidently badly." but I restrained myself).

Later this afternoon I found a couple of nylon washers from the door hinge lying on the driveway.  I need to check where they should have been put and fix that tomorrow.

I'm waiting for Lowe's to call and ask if I want to complete a customer satisfaction survey.  Oh, yes I do.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Waiting, waiting, waiting

How long do you think it should take to get the title for your new car processed and a tag issued?  I've been driving for over 40 years and bought numerous cars in Kentucky and Tennessee.  When I last bought a car from an individual owner I went to the courthouse and it took 15 minutes.  When in the past I've bought cars from dealers it never took more than a week.  It's been over three weeks and no title yet from my local Honda dealer for my new Crosstour.  Until that title is processed I don't legally own the darned thing, although they were speedy in cashing my check the next day, I noticed.

I bought the car on the 21nd of August and we signed the papers to transfer the tag from my old car.  Two days later the dealer called me and said that since they were running a little behind on processing the title paperwork (WHAT processing?  We signed all the papers, all they have to do is take it to the clerk's office and get it filed - the work is now the county clerk's business) they wanted to make out a temporary tag for my new car, in case I was pulled over for something.  In that instance if the tag was checked it would still say it belonged to a red Subaru, not a gray Honda, and they wanted to keep everything clear.  I think it also covers their butt, since the pending paper is in their hands.......

So I put the temporary tag on the car and left the permanent tag in the garage until the new title and registration are processed.  Now, 24 days later, still no paperwork. I called the dealership office and was informed that they were a little behind (a little?), the girl who does it is out sick, yadda yadda yadda, excuses galore, and I would get the title before the temporary tag runs out - which, by the way, is the 29th of September.  I would hope to goodness it wouldn't take two more weeks!

I didn't argue with the girl, although I surely felt like it.  In the first place, if they are overloaded with work, how about overtime, or temp employees, or shifting the duties of existing employees to get the work done?  (They had about 50 salesmen standing around.)  How about telling the customer upfront what the expected timeframe will be (although that would just make them mad - it made me mad.)  And does this reflect on how the whole dealership runs - would you have to wait for warranty service, or parts, or other customer assistance?  Are they that backlogged on everything?  Do they even care?  I'm starting to get a really bad feeling about them if they are this unresponsive about processing the title on a new car.

My husband commented if it takes very much longer we should involve our lawyer.  I'd love to scare the pants off the dealership with legal threats.

Mumm's the word.......

......and the word is - cute!

I just finished the Debbie Mumm anniversary sampler and I have to admit that it's darling.  I'm not really a super-country, Debbie Mumm fan but this one turned out well.  Take a look:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gone fishin'

I finally succumbed and started the Debbie Mumm anniversary sampler, like I needed another BOM or BOW or QAL  I think the answer to that is an unequivocal "Oh, heck, no." but there you are.  I've been saving the bi-monthly instructions and finally decided to go for it, and am entranced by the lovely pieced blocks she has created.  Last night, I put together these two fish blocks (which were not paper pieced, by the way):

They are just adorable!  After the quilt is assembled buttons will be added for eyes, and hopefully quilting will accentuate the scaly areas.  

Back to piecing - I've done apple blocks and house blocks, moon and star, log cabin and heart blocks, and now I have two cat blocks to do.