Archive for February, 2011

Or maybe we’ll call it my Mom Cave….. 🙂

We started in earnest right after Christmas the large job of clearing what we have planned to use for me studio space for my long-arm.  I shudder to think of showing you a before photo.  Just imagine the standard 34 year old basement with nary a path to the walls.  Or the need to make a path to whatever you want type of storage.  Ack!!  Nothing to be proud of and I never wanted to think of a flood or fire involving that area.  (really any area, but YKWIM!)

Putting it mildly... this shows 75% improvement! hahaha!

After clearing out via saving in the storage area, truck loads to Goodwill, books to a homeschooling friend, Craigslist, FreeCycle, the dumpster, or the burn pile… we finally had a room to redo!  I washed the walls and then put on 2 coats of primer.  They are just roughly poured cement foundation walls.  Nothing fancy.  Two are cement, one is old drywall, and the 4th was yet to be made. I put on 2 layers of Sherwin-Williams Swimming paint color… a light aqua.  (I found the Swimming color name fitting since I do aqua aerobics 2x a week.)

Phil did a lot of electrical work.  The dangling outlets got permanent homes with me choosing to have 2 outlets in my space along this (above) east wall and he added a 3rd near JP’s drum set a bit farther down.  The drywall covered wall got 2 new outlets that are on a separate circuit for my machine.

He moved switches so that the ceiling lights for my studio are on a different switch than the rest of this side of the basement.  He made the switch IN my room to operate the track lights he installed.  He moved the ceiling lights to be over the area away from the machine and the track lights. I’m still working on knowing which switch does what!! Of course, he has learned along all the update projects I’ve done, that I want new white switches and outlets.  Yeah for not having to ask!!!

He rerouted a furnace duct pipe to not go diagonally across the ceiling and also built a box to hide it that I was able to paint.  He moved the furnace vent for this room to the center of the room instead of the heat falling down an outside wall.

After all the electrical work was done, he installed a (barely) dropped ceiling.   I was NOT even asking for that; I thought I’d either paint the floor joists above or hire someone to do that.  He wanted a ceiling.  And I must say… is is quite lovely!!!  🙂    He installed a vent for the relocated furnace vent and I’m able to open and close that for the room.

We bought 3 sets of 3 lights each track lights that he installed through the ceiling tiles and fastened in the floor joists.  I love the track lights — never had them before!  (The rest of the lights will be added once the machine is set-up and I  know where & how many I want.)

One day while Phil was working there, I attacked the windows.  Molly, our collie, loved to lay outside along these windows and would throw dirt on them.  Plus these haven’t been part of the regular window cleaning routine!  😉   After getting all the layers of the window clean, I painted the trim area around the windows gloss white.  What a delightful change!!  On sunny days, I hardly need the lights on as the sun pours into these south windows.  🙂

After the ceiling was finally finished, we cleared all his tools away and I put down cement epoxy on the floor.  This was hard work but I love it!  I had mopped the floor twice in preceding days and then one evening we did the concrete etch need to prepare the concrete for the epoxy.  As JP noted, this area would be the cleanest cement we have down there.  However, that concrete etch pulled up lots of yuck!  I was SO glad I used it!  It also made the concrete really smooth, soft if you can imagine!, and they say it helps the epoxy adhere to the concrete better.  Time will tell on that.

I was SO exhausted and achy after doing the etch.  However, I felt normal the next morning with no sore muscles.  Yeah for kicking fibro in the can!!  🙂

I applied the epoxy the next morning to the very clean and now dry cement.  It goes on really easily and looks great!  Because I needed the time back to back to etch & then epoxy the floor, the 2nd area didn’t get applied until a week later.  Because the epoxy can’t be stored like paint, we cleared enough area to use up the whole second gallon.  It looks nice.  I think it will keep the dirt from sinking into the cement and will be easier to clean.

The fourth wall of my room is a curtain.  I snowdyed about 17 yards of duck cloth / canvas for this.  It was much more difficult working with the heavy canvas than regular cotton quilting fabric!  Exhausting!  I did this after our blizzard … but a few days afterwards when we had added 2 1/2″ of light fluffy snow on top.  It was very hard to scoop the blizzard snow.  Here are some in-process photos of that —

Finally, yesterday I sewed it all together, Phil hung 1/2″ metal conduit for my rod (with some adjustments) and waa-laa….  a new wall!!  I had grown accustomed to the larger space, all cleared out for putting down the floor epoxy.  It is so different w/ the curtain… but I love it!

the 4th wall

Today I dyed more fabric for the doorway to my studio.  I did regular low-immersion dyeing methods like I taught at my classes.  I used a lighter pallet of colors in contrast to the stronger colors in the other curtain.   Tonight Phil hung the rod for the doorway.  I attached this with shower curtain rings & buttonholes in the fabric so it slides to either side very easy.

from the doorway

the doorway closed

I’m ready!  🙂

Before & After

Tonight we moved all the parts boxes into the studio so JP has plenty of room around his drumset to give a lesson tomorrow.  We also added a rug remnant for some of the floor.

(please be gentle, I can’t believe I showed you the before (but really not the honest before) in this post!)

This has been a huge transformation over the last 2 months.  All the sorting, purging, and cleaning are done.  (for this area! haha!!)  If I didn’t have so much to do tomorrow, I’d be basking in sunshine over this!  Next week, I’ll bask!  🙂

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Fusion Arrival

What a week!  A Month!

I ordered my new long-arm (Handi Quilter Fusion 24) on February 14.  Happy Day to me!!  ♥   My dealer said it shipped out of Utah to me on Monday, 2/21.  I never received the promised email with tracking numbers so I finally called the HQ headquarters myself to get the tracking numbers.  She not only gave me the tracking number but helped me find the Freight page on UPS.com and tracked it right on the phone for me.

I was set for delivery on Friday!!

However, I knew that accidents happen so was just hoping it would stick on schedule.

On Thursday, the UPS site said that my machine had arrived in Chicago.  The dispatch operator called early Thursday morning to set up my delivery time for Friday.  She asked if I’d be home!  I said I’d be waiting with baited breath and she laughed.  🙂

The tracking page then showed, “Appointment Made”.  Friday, February 25 between 1 & 3 p.m.

I worked on Becky’s draperies in the morning.  I came up to make lunch at 11:20 a.m.   I can see my “corner” of the highway from my kitchen window so I checked every time I walked by.  Just hoping to see a large brown semi round the corner!

I didn’t want to go back to the basement to work on my curtains as I can’t hear the lane traffic from there.  I don’t always hear the doorbell even.   So I waited.  Watched.

I cleaned out the car a bit more.  With the walk-in door to the garage open so I could hear my truck coming! 🙂

I cleaned the microwave. And then went on to clean the stove-top.  Took the knobs off and everything!  I cleaned the front of the oven.  I cleaned the dishwasher.  I cleaned the front of the refrigerator.

I cleaned the front storm door as when the blizzard snow melted, it left behind a LOT of grossness.

I called Becky that her drapes were ready.

I started an email….

and he came!  3:05 p.m.

I was going to tell him to make the loop around the bins but he did this backing just fine.

Notice NO brown truck!  LOL!!  He said his truck was late in getting back so he was driving a rental truck this day.  (Alice, we still have our snow….)

I also found out he came from the west so I wouldn’t have seen him come around the corner (from the east) anyway!  haha!!  They are really trying to get on my last nerve!  😉

No wonder my tracking said I was getting 2 packages!  I was expecting several but there is 1 – this pallet load (8 boxes) and 2 – the rails wrapped with a 2×4.  Total weight = 454 pounds!  I told the driver our lawn is NOT sacred, he could back into the driveway, but he thought he was fine in the lane.  The very muddy, sloppy lane.

You didn’t hear me gasp when he came across the lane with all this on the pallet jack and the load started to TIP!!! Ack!! He stopped and nudged it back into position.  Yikes!

Parked at the garage door.  Note the ripped open box on my rails. 😦  It is duly noted on my UPS delivery receipt and I’ll be calling headquarters in the morning.  :\

We unwrapped the pallet to carry each box in.  Phil said the 4 table & frame boxes were too heavy to go to the basement via the garage steps.  We hauled them in to the living room and unpacked them there to carry the pieces to the basement.  Heavy, is a near understatement!  I helped with 3 of these boxes and then Phil brought in the 4th one himself.

The sewing machine box had 2 sets of handles but they weren’t in good places for going down steps.  I’m usually pretty good at carrying my share but we stopped partway down the steps and called in JP to finish the rest of the carrying!  Whew!!

I compared the inventory list with all the box contents and all is accounted for.   Set-up is scheduled for Wednesday morning.  I am handling the delay in set-up OK as I have a HUGE week and plenty to do before then.

On Saturday, I went to my dealer for my official first class.  Now as soon as it is set-up, I’ll be ready to quilt!  That is, if I have all my ducks in a row for Thursday by then.  😉

I’ll try to show you photos of my new studio tomorrow. I love it!! 🙂

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LaPetité For February

My thought was that I’d sew like a mad-woman at the craft retreat but really it was fun to be relaxed and chatting.  🙂  So I had to hustle this week to finish K’s quilt for my entry into the LaPetité group for February.

We used the Sweet Spot pattern and K & I chose these fabrics while on the phone and online together.

Several at the retreat must have thought I was CRAZY as these fabrics really are pretty bright in person. 🙂  But I’m oh-so-pleased with this quilt!!

It is about 30″ square and will soon be quilted…. on my NEW long-arm!! Yahoo!!!

This is even BETTER in real life.  I had it taped to our antique wardrobe/entertainment center for a few hours and just paused to see it from different angles & distances.  This will ROCK her apartment!!  🙂   Meanwhile, last night K was without gas so no heat, no stove, and no hot water.  I’m hoping this a.m. brings better news.

11 a.m. No heat.  No hot water.  No stove. 😦

Friday 8 p.m. – HEAT!!  Yeah!!  I had just called out the prayer warriors 2 hrs earlier.  K & I agreed, I should have done that sooner!!  She was out over 26 hrs but she wasn’t home until late on Thursday so isn’t sure when it really was gone.

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Craft Retreat

Seriously…. I’m swamped!  But I know some of you are waiting to hear about the craft retreat so this is fast —

We headed out about 1 on Friday afternoon w/ craft projects, sewing machines, food, sleeping bags & pillows, and the stuff we wanted for an overnight.  You know….everything but the kitchen sink!  🙂

When we arrived the neighbor pulled in to get some hay out of the barn but my friend had said he’d come to check on us.  Others noticed he just watched as we hauled in our loot! LOL!!  Friday was our most scheduled day… supper at 5 and workshop at 7.  That’s it!  So we got right to moving in and then all found comfy seats and sat around chatting!!  It was wonderful!!!

We ended up with 7 ladies to spend the night and #8 came just for supper and the workshop.  She was silly — went home for a quiet Saturday.  😉

Great supper at a local bar/pizza place and they gave us the back room which we had mostly to ourselves since we were early.

Then we headed back to the house…. all was well until Jane picked up a nail…. in her TIRE!! 😦  Thankfully, HER husband was the closest to us and he loaded up a compressor and extra jack (gotta love a husband that farms – jack-of-all-trades and full of supplies!).  But really, Jane is near SuperWoman and had a lot of the job accomplished by the time her dear husband arrived.

So picture this…. 2 cars with flashers on, 8 women (tho some were in the car), along the road changing a tire, in the dark.  The town cop D R O V E  P A S T  WITHOUT STOPPING!!!  We all muttered our feelings.  About 5 minutes later, he returned feeling guilty.  :eyeroll:  He really wasn’t much help but he did have a spotlight and flashing lights behind us.

We actually got back to the house just before 7 so I joked with Jane that we didn’t even miss class! LOL!!

Back at the house, we all gathered in the main room for Ami’s workshop.  Lori had a drop cloth and Ami had paper plates for us to work on so we kept all our “stuff” off the table.   It was soooo much fun!  Ami is full of creativity and had so many choices of supplies for us.   My necklace isn’t done yet but here is a sneak peak….

Not everyone used photos…. some are designed with scrapbook paper, fabric, or road maps!


This cracks me up!! 🙂

We all aimed for bed …. what was it? …. 10:30 or so?  I had a veryveryvery quiet roommate who chose the top-bunk so graciously and I never heard her make a peep.  I’m not sure she can say the same for me.   I got a good night’s sleep and even stayed asleep until 7:20 on Saturday morning.  Bliss!!

Lori brought breakfast for us and started heating that right away.  What fun – waking up to girlfriends and the food for the day was ready, too!!   Soon we were busy with our projects.  I brought along my LaPetité for February in K’s choice of fabrics.   Lori was working on granddaughter treats, Shelly was painting a canvas, Michelle & Sue L had quilt projects, Sue G was cutting denim for a quilt, and Ami worked on mixed media frames.  A great mix and we all learned from each other.

My workspace

Ami & I bought soups for lunch so we enjoyed that about 12:30.   (mine was slow to heat in my slow cooker.  :\  I think I slept too late!)  We worked a few more hours after lunch and started to pack up at 3 p.m.

What a blessing – staying with women means that when it is time to go several checked the bedrooms for extras left behind and closed the blinds, another cleaned the bathrooms, one gathered trash, another did ALL our dishes, and the floor was vacuumed last of all.  Wonderful!!!

Michelle's pincushion & stuff jar. Then she gave us each a jar to make our own!! Very cute!

Most of us go to the same church and made it for early service that night.  Of course, we lounged on Sunday to catch up from all our fun & frivolity but what a treat!

Many thanks to my dear friend for letting us  borrow her space!   ♥♥♥   She now has 6 more friends that think she is a treasure.

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Nancy’s Project

One of my sisters likes to do cross-stitch.   She asked a few years ago if I would put some cross-stitch blocks into a quilted wallhanging.  I think she brought them to me during JP’s graduation.  (May 2009)

She wasn’t in a hurry so it was OK that inspiration didn’t hit until this winter.  🙂  The idea rattled in my brain awhile and then I asked if this was a good time for her.  Yes… so I proceeded on.

I don’t know enough on EQ7 (quilt design software) (and didn’t want to dig out the book which was downstairs while I was working upstairs….) to make a free-form quilt like this so I resorted to good ol’ pencil & graph paper.   I sent this for her approval.

the little yellow marks are where the log cabin blocks will go

I went shopping on Super Bowl Sunday to catch a quilt shop sale for her and came home with these:

I used paper piecing (the technique where I don’t sew on the paper 🙂 ) for the stars as they aren’t 45′ angles.  I wasn’t going to figure out how to cut a triangle with a 31′ angle.  This was much easier and more precise.

Here are the biggest blocks —

All four cross-stitch blocks are now into stars —

I LOVE how the fabrics go so well with the cross-stitch and they work well together.  Very funny since I FORGOT to take the cross-stitch blocks to the quilt shop!  (I had picked up Nancy’s paint chip colors at Lowe’s so went by them and my memory.)

I have finished the 6 log cabin blocks that will be used for fill-ins.  Two are 4×5″ and the other 4 are 4×4″.  Also paper pieced because I love it.  🙂

I’ll use a mix of the greens/blues & pink/oranges/yellows for the blank filler blocks.

For now, I have them in a box as the ceiling is finished and I must get the basement floor done.

Time, time, time!  It is nearly TIME!!!  🙂

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Dyeing Play

With a snaffoo in my schedule of dyeing….

I did a 45″ piece of cotton fabric…

for fun….

while I waited…..

in a fun, new-to-me pattern,

and used up some old dyes that were taking up space.


After soaking my fabric in soda ash solution and letting it drip dry a bit, I folded it into quarters and then another fold like a triangle.  Think paper snowflake making.  This is in 8 sections.  (Eight-pointed star)

Then I marked various lines for pleats with a crayola washable marker.

Accordian pleats were made along each line and then tied with a rubber band.   I also looped  a rubber band loosely around the large end.

I gathered all the yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks from my stash of already mixed dyes.  First I dipped the first tiny section (the point) in the yellow.  I then poured (in a very messy manner!) the other dyes either along the tie or in the middle of them until most dyes were used up and I had covered all the fabric.

For a bit of fun, I poured some blue on the end and ran it into some of the reds as well.

I let it sit  like this for 6 hours.

Rinsed out but dripping wet before I put it in the washer —

Washed, dried, and ironed.

I’m a total newbie to this as this is my first one but I’m happy with it.  And I learned that maybe the dyes have a longer than 2 month shelf life!  I don’t have plans for this yet as I didn’t know if it would turn out either in design or colors but I’m thinking of quilting it like a wholecloth quilt.

I found this idea online when doing some more reading about dyeing and this pattern is called a mandala.  There are lots of sites out there for learning and inspiration.

Hanging on my newly painted studio wall (JP loves the masking tape 😉 ) and showing you a bit of the new ceiling!

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Warm Fleece

Last week I felt I was in the middle of projects.  It wasn’t time for the basement floor job.  I didn’t want to get out a big quilt project.   I had 3 projects coming home soon to roost that I’d work on starting Monday.  See posts on Fabrics for K and Super Shopping.

So I pulled out some .99 patterns I had chosen in the fall.   A pattern choice along with choosing fabric from my stash of fleece and a perfect zipper in the zipper drawer gave me this:

I’m thinking of a new profile photo all around…. this?

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Another Guild

Last summer I joined a quilt guild, a bit farther from me than my usual one.  I drive about 35 minutes to get there.  I figured most months, it would be OK.  Then my November hack hit that day and the December potluck was when I was in Ohio, so I haven’t been there for awhile.

I went on Monday.  Not many others came!  I would say the crowd was about 1/2 of what had been there other times.   The program was done by the group.  One very funny young member played talk show hostess and interviewed the new officers.  It was hilarious and great fun. I was glad to know more about the officers, too.

Show & Tell was busy —

This was from a guild exchange of blocks. I like her creative layout.

For a new baby coming. Extra blocks were for ? but cute and not wasted.

A Thimbleberries pattern, not looking so Thimbleberry-ish.

This lady's (pink shirt) original pattern made from men's shirts! There were more chains on the back.

Sue, one of the ladies I know, has a new grandbaby coming "any day". This coordinates with the baby's room. I like the pattern w/ simple small blocks and no borders.

I was home just after 9 p.m. and it was a great night out.

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Fabrics for K~

One person commented they caught the plan for the February LaPetité group. (brights)  Miss K.  And it was meant for her!

She likes brights… you would too after living in whitewhitewhite dorm rooms & apartments for the last 4 years.  Her job … is decorated in white, gray, and black.  She wears white, gray, and/or black to work everyday.

She decorates with COLOR!!

One evening last week while both of us were snowed in, we shopped online…. together…. over the phone.  Funny!!

This arrived on Monday from the Fat Quarter Shop!

I’m going to try to make the pattern for our monthly charm packs…. from fat quarters!  We’ll see how this goes!

There are 9 stars in the center of the quilt so I’ll start there with these 9 fabrics.  The tan is the background and the bottom print for the binding.  I happily found some clearance fabric (white w/ a pink design) for the backing.

Do you like this combo?  What colors do you use in your decorating?

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Mother’s Request

If you know  my mom any, you know she doesn’t ask for anything.  Really.  Ever.  She will do ANYthing for you, though.

So I was thankful, surprised, and honored when she asked me to make her a purse. Small.  Black. Simple.

I quickly went to work and had it done last Tuesday.  I asked Phil if he’d put it in the mailbox that day and he said no.  The wind, after all, was making quite a blizzard even tho it wasn’t snowing yet.  I asked a few hours later and he said I could try it.

After all, if I got it out on Tuesday, she could have it by Thursday.  I was pretty sure we wouldn’t have mail delivery Wednesday or Thursday because of the Blizzard of 2011 last week.

So….. I got it packaged and printed off a pre-paid label on the PO website.  Shipping date: Tuesday.

Mid-afternoon when the blizzard was in full-force…..

he brought back my package.  😦   He did put it in the mailbox for the approximate 1:30 pick-up but I guess our maillady had already given up.  You know that whole USPS motto: through rain, sleet, snow.  It doesn’t apply in the rural areas.  Just sayin’….

The package waited.  Of course, we didn’t even HAVE a highway for Wednesday.   And on Thursday we were just digging out.  Shockingly, when Phil was digging out the mailbox, the maillady came but he didn’t have the package with him.  So the requested package FINALLY shipped out last Friday.  It arrived in Ohio on Tuesday.   Finally!

Nothing fancy but I do love the fabric!  The opening edge is only about 10″ across.   A petite purse.    No fancy closure or do-dads.  🙂

A close-up with the flash so you can see the fabric design.

I like using a light-colored lining so one can see what is inside the purse.  I loved this cream lining with tan & black dots!   🙂   It has a magnetic closure.   Seems to meet with approval with Mom.  ♥

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