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 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!