Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February UFO Challenge Progress

I realize I'm posting this after my post on the March project, and I thought I'd posted the progress I'd made, even though it wasn't finished, and with a picture, but I guess I didn't. So much for good intentions. (rolls eyes). And wow, 3 posts from me in the same day, lol! That's because of disorganization, not that I needed to make it three. Well, here's the photo of February's quilt and the progress I made which was only to finish the back, sandwich and pin it in readiness for quilting. A little progress is better than none!

Oh Dear, March UFO Challenge

Judy has posted the number for the next UFO Challenge Quilt....# 8. That's my Storm at Sea, or as I like to call it "Poseidon Loses". This time I'm really out of quilting safety pins, and I'm not un-pinning anything I already have pinned. I can make progress on it though, as I can prepare the backing. It'll be a pieced backing and I've already sketched the design and set the fabric aside with the quilt. I'm not very hopeful of getting anything beyond that done...unless I can finish the quilts from January's and February's UFO challenge. Seems they're all at about the same point...quilting :P ... oh my! Have I mentioned I'm going to be in the midst of home renovation which is certainly going to put a crimp in my plans.



With things moving towards a remodel of at least one bathroom, most likely two at the same time, followed by the kitchen, I've been busy trying to get some areas of this long-neglected place cleaned up and organized. I'm normally clean but cluttered but with last year's medical issues, maybe some depression thrown in (self-diagnosis here), and spiritual neglect among other things, what was 'clean' no longer is, and what was clutter, is even worse, so...I'm getting some motivation back, but it's a struggle. Physically I'm not at my best due to lack of exercise and not-so-good eating habits.

On Monday I had had enough of how the front of the house looked with leaves piled up in the planter and at the front door, so I gathered a few garden tools, a broom & dustpan and some paper bags. I cleaned out weeds and trimmed a few plants and swept it all up and ended up with 6 bags that I at first had planned to put on the compost pile but couldn't get the gate open (looks like Marty has some work to do there!). The green-waste barrels were on the side where the compost is and since I couldn't get to them, in frustration, I just tossed them all into the trash barrel and called it good. Was I ever sore and stiff on Tuesday morning!!

Yesterday I started my second day of working in the guest room sorting through boxes that had been moved in there, probably 6+ years ago, when I first started clearing out what is supposed to be my craft room in order to work on it. Other than the fabric closet, I've made no progress in the craft room and have actually managed to add more 'stuff' in here since I still use the room for genealogy and other projects. With the forthcoming bathroom remodel, I need to have organized spaces for the contents from the bathrooms.

And don't forget that awful garage mess that I need to work through in order to be able to store all the contents of my kitchen for the kitchen remodel. I have waited 15+ years for this...but am wishing I had the physical strength and stamina I had back then without a doubt!

It's the 29th of February, Leap Day if you will, but even with the extra day of this month, I didn't get the UFO for the month done, however, I DID make some progress on it, and for me that's equally important since I'd essentially done very little on quilt projects last year.

I leave you with a short video of my sweet fur-babies:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fina-Lee Friday

Friday again, and I haven't posted much. The fact is, I haven't quilted much either. The bathroom issues have me all out of sorts. And better, few or no posts than me ranting and ranting some more.
  • Gas prices!!! Well, what's to say? 10 cent/day increase for days on end, well, I can't do a THING about it and my car needs gas to run. The only 'running' I do is to and from Nick's school with any necessary shopping done enroute home, and then to & from church on Sunday. Can't cut back any more than that.
  • I didn't get my winter quota this year. Spring is clearly bursting out all over with 80+ temps every day.
  • Friday is trash day. So why didn't I clean the garage yesterday before the trash came instead of today? The hardest part is letting go of all that stuff that's been accumulating. Some of it's truly trash at this point, some is destined for the Salvation Army, other stuff is still in that "I don't know what to do with this because I have this stupid emotional attachment to it" or "This is 'valuable', I could sell it (as if), or I can repurpose it (as if), or a thousand other excuses (take your pick)." I do NOT want to find myself on Hoarders.
  • Heard a comment the other day and it made me chuckle: The Beatles were a rock group from the last century :S They aren't they only thing from the last century, lol.
  • Then a friend on facebook had posted a link to an article (from 2009 no less) out of the Guardian (UK) that said: "American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers'." It went on to explain how our buttocks are pampered because we Americans (I guess that's all inclusive?) have to have the softest toilet tissue which is only made from virgin forests (at end of article noted to state it should have read virgin wood - as opposed to recycled wood product - as virgin wood creates longer staple that provides for softness, and using virgin wood is less environmentally friendly because of the manufacturing process. I want to know what they use in the UK! Sandpaper? leaves? Sears catalog? Old newspaper or phone books? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • From a 1943 flour recipe booklet: "Old Fashioned Fruit Turnovers" These days, that could be renamed "Ancient Fruit Turnovers" Funny to think every generation looks backward and thinks of it as "Old Fashioned".
  • From another recipe booklet from 1942: "Spleen Stew"....eeewww It was the war years and I guess nothing went to waste as there were also recipes using liver, kidney, heart, lung, tongue, sweetbreads, brains, and tripe (stomach for those who don't know). We probably eat this frequently in the form of hot dogs, bologna or other 'mixture' meat forms. I don't want to think about THAT!
  • OK, and one more from the back of one of those "old fashioned" pamphlets. This one's an advertisement for an old radio program "Meet Corliss Archer" Time 9:30 PM Eastern War Time, 7:30 PM Mountain War Time...ditto on the War Time for Central and Pacific. This was the Columbia Broadcasting System with sponsor Anchor Hocking Glass Corp. I found it remarkable that the time zones would be termed as War Time(zone). I wonder if it differed from Standard Time, and now I'll have to research as to when Daylight Savings Time was implemented.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Contracting Bathroom

If you'll recall, we've recently had some troubles in a bathroom. I got a bee in my bonnet, figuratively speaking because I don't have a bonnet and we're not discussing bees in this post, and called a contractor yesterday.

I'm realizing, like it or not, that if anything is to get done here, I'm going to have to be the one to take the initiative. Soooo, last night we met with him for about 2 hours and that's just a preliminary meeting for him to take measurements, get the history, get a little idea of our plans and expectations. Oh man, are we in trouble there! two people with little to no decorator taste, wishing the money well was bottomless, and realizing we can probably do somewhere midway between "beer budget" and half-way to "fine wine" or "cheap champagne". Additionally, a realistic cap needs to be on that budget because face it, we're not in a high end neighborhood and this house was built in 1966 and there's only so much you can do within it's existing 1948 square feet footprint. It sounds like a lot of room, and to some I'm sure it may seem enormous, but the way it's configured leaves one scratching their heads as to the architects thought processes. Not to mention, it wouldn't be wise to go over-the-top compared to other upgraded homes in the neighborhood. Mr. Contractor did give a point for consideration though. Let's say in the future we need to sell, in a relatively short time, and there are several comp houses in the neighborhood, the one the buyer's going to choose, if prices are also comp, is the one that looks the nicest and freshest. Something to think about for sure. But then, if we move and Nick stays here for college, we may just rent it to him and some roommates. It still needs to be functional and right now it isn't very much so at all.

(note: let me know if this doesn't run. It took forever to load, and I try to view it, but it says an error occurred and to try later :S and it looks funny as is on my end. I haven't posted videos before, so I may be doing something wrong, sizing?)

The bathroom (I refer to it as #2) is very basic, shy of 5' wide and 9.5' long. I'm a fairly simple person and can't tolerate any gaudiness, so simple lines/curves are all I'm looking for. I also like somewhat country styling. We don't have the estimate yet, but the rough costs mentioned for gutting the entire thing - which is necessary at this point will be about twice what I actually expected for a bathroom. Silly me. It also surprised me as the kitchen, which he also looked at, and which we've wanted to re-do for 15 years, was only about twice & a half of the bathroom even with all new appliances and changing things around! Go figure. And did I mention that bathroom #3 which is directly below #2 will also be gutted - which will boot out my 46 yr old wall oven because the kitchen is behind that bathroom & the oven space juts into the bathroom. No oven...until we do the kitchen. #3, with just slightly narrower width, only has a toilet and sink w/cabinet and we want to put in a shower downstairs. A tub would be preferred, but it would have to be custom-made because of the narrower foot print, so a nice shower it will be, maybe with a seat for us old fogies, or any other elderly guests that may need it in the future.

Then there's #1 - the master. It is disgusting, embarrassing even and pitiful for a master bath. Marty tried to improve it a little a couple years ago but that was only by replacing the shower doors, painting & putting in new 'peel & stick' type linoleum tiles. It's just the shower & the toilet, claustrophobic. The sink & vanity are between the door of that area and the door entering the bedroom. Very bizarre design, as right next to those two opposing doors are two closets also with opposing doors and they all open into each other ... 4 doors all opening into a 3' wide bedroom entry.

I don't relish the idea of spending 10s of thousands of dollars for these upgrades, but the house badly needs them. If we were to sell today, it would be considered a fixer-upper and selling price would be well below market in our area and/or we'd be required to do the upgrades and still spend 10s of thousands of dollars and NOT get to enjoy any of it ourselves! Since we're not planning on leaving anytime soon, at least not as long as Nick's in school and he's only in 7th grade, we'll be here for a minimum 5 years unless Marty were to lose his job, so we need to do what needs to be done and do it the way WE would like to have it.

If anyone has had experiences in remodeling and can give us any pointers, I'd sure love to hear them (preferably positive ones, but things to maybe watch out for as well). Our contractor has a good reputation. He's done work for the school my son goes to and may be a member of the attached church, as well as has done work for a couple of people I know. He may be a bit pricier than another out there, but having knowledge of his work and reputation speaks volumes and gives a greater reassurance than finding someone we know nothing about.

I just pray that no major earthquakes erupt right after this process!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fina-Lee Friday

As another week bites the dust:
  • I was on facebook and one of my 'friends' had posted "I wish the world was flat so stupid people would fall off.". I don't know why, but at the time, that just cracked me up. Maybe because I find myself with similar sentiments at times. But I wonder, if the world was flat, where would they fall off to? and, would a flat world be as thin as a sheet of paper, or would it look like the Borg ship in Star Trek only a whole lot bigger? Would it be round like a flat pancake? or square? maybe triangular. And for all those flat-earthers out there, if the earth is flat, where IS the edge? Makes you wonder.
  • If I were to vacuum up all the dust in our house, I wonder if I could grow crops if I were to empty the dust into a planter. Maybe I could just plant seeds where the dust lies and water it. I did vacuum the dust off of our computer desks, and under them in amongst all those nasty wires. I detest the wires and cords spaghetti pile!
  • Nick doesn't have school today; it's a teacher in-service day. Those started out as 2-hours, then went to 1/2 day, and is now a full day. Marty is also working from home today. I was liking that he was going in on Fridays again even though it's an awful traffic commute for him. Both of my guys have Monday off due to it being President's Day.
  • Either it was pretty much a quiet week or I just didn't care to pay much attention to traffic and some of the other oddities I see now & then.
  • We're beyond the middle of February, and I'm not making much progress quilt-wise other than having pinned Feb's UFO challenge quilt, and the initial quilt-in-the-ditch of the guild quilt. As a matter of fact, I'm not making much progress on anything. It's almost 11:30 a.m. and I'm still sitting in my robe fully aware there's a pile of dishes that STILL needs to be washed, a load of laundry STILL in the washer, floors to sweep, more dust, and piles of paper to sort/toss/shred/file/computerize, whatever the case may be, and a myriad of other things to do, including the quilting and working on genealogy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day...a day late ;)

Who invented that day anyway? I remember when I was single, which was a total of 40 of my 58 years, I always wanted a special Valentine. My sister got a box of chocolates in high school once from a guy she had no interest in. I think she threw them in the trash. I had a 'love' in high school that carried on through a few years after but I don't recall much about whether we celebrated it much. Then my first marriage, I vaguely recall a small but cute little floral thingy. There may have been more but that marriage ended a very long time ago and I've no desire to recall what may have been or not. Marty struggles at those romantic things I once held onto in my delusional world encouraged by Hallmark and Hollywood, so at this point in life, I've come to never expect anything and that way should anything ever come along, I can be surprised and enjoy it a whole lot more. No surprises. And of course, along with that, I've learned not to do much either as any cards (which aren't cheap by the way) aren't held onto with any sentimentality by the party receiving them, so I didn't spend my money. I also don't like going out amongst the crowded restaurants for ANY so-called special occasion, so we spent our Valentine's evening with our tax guy having our taxes done. He and his wife don't do any of the ooey-gooey stuff either. She feels, as I do too, that why does it take just 1 day out of 365 to make it a special day to express your love for your spouse...make it every day, or a day that's specifically special to you!

Marty and I did have a funny conversation about V. Day on the way to the tax guy. I told him I had thoughts that I could always look around and find a card he might have held onto (or that I retrieved from the paper recycle bag) and just recycle it by giving it to him again...every year. We laughed at that. He said he probably wouldn't even notice if it had a previous years date on it, lol. Hmmm, wonder if I have one I stashed somewhere... I am sentimental believe it or not, and I also do genealogy, so tend to hold onto some things like that.

After our tax appt., we did go to Ben & Jerry's for ice cream. My favorite is Cherry Garcia, yummy! I got a double-cone with the other flavor being their new Schweddy Balls. It was very good too, rum flavoring in the vanilla ice cream and in the chocolate balls, but the name ... well, really, couldn't they have named it something else?

Even though this quilt isn't finished, I'd rolled in and pinned the sides, and clipped to the wall-hanging holder in the hallway with the intent of having it there during Feb. for Valentine's Day. It only lasted a couple days though, as the kitties thought they should pull it down, and I didn't bother to put it back up. Hopefully it will get finished this year. It's one of the 12 goals for the UFO Challenge at Patchwork Times. One of my long-planned goals was to have a different quilt representing each month and something special about each month for that area of the hall. I have one very generic (my very first quilt) that I hang there, I have this one (unfinished), and I have two different Christmas ones. I guess that's progress, but not what I had hoped to accomplish over the last 10+ years. There's always tomorrow, Lord willing!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bathroom Update

I really wish, oh how I wish, we had some really good news to report on this. Like the leak was absolutely found. Like the insurance would be covering it. Like it was a whole new bathroom and all done. But the reality is, we might have finally found where water was leaking, and it's not a pipe or joint leak. It might be where the tub spigot/spout abuts the tile surround. I don't know why, but we didn't even notice until a couple days ago that there was a huge gap between the spout and the tile and the little bit of caulking in between was shriveled and pulled away allowing water to get into the wall, which was conceivably going down the inside and under the tub until it came out soaking the wood under the linoleum.

Marty and I have looked at this whole issue through different eyes, you might say. We were just not connecting and I'd wait until he did what he felt he needed to do before proceeding. Today, I was able to contact the insurance company, and NO they do not cover this on our policy as it has been an ongoing, albeit unknown, problem. Had it been damage from a sudden break in a pipe, it would have been covered. Good grief. So would that mean if the pipe suddenly broke but no evidence was known for a long time, it wouldn't be covered either, yep!

I'll be getting an updated bathroom, but it'll be fully at our expense, and it could be months of inconvenience while Marty decides those things he may be able to do himself and those he's willing to let a 'professional' do. Oh, the joys of home ownership ;) Have I mentioned I've been waiting 15 years to get my kitchen upgraded? It'll be a lot longer.

Design Wall Monday

One of the things "on my wall" is still this little guild quilt. I had hoped to finish it and take it to guild this past Thursday, but yea, though I planned my steps, the Lord directed my path otherwise. I did make some progress on it as on Wednesday I stitched in the ditch around the (4 rows of 3) blocks, so it's stabilized, and now all I need to do is decide what to do in those blocks and in the border. It doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be the same in each. It can be simple. It just needs to be done! And then the binding. I did not piece this quilt, but have had it in my possession far too long.

Head over to Judy's to see what others are working on.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No Magic Wands

I sure WISH there WERE magic wands. If I had a magic wand, everything would be clean, organized, put away, free of DUST...there is so much dust in this house. I don't know if it's because we live in a dry, hence dusty, land. Or because we live so near a freeway, which the Lord only knows what is getting kicked up and tossed around into the air. Or if it's because our carpet is over 20 years old and the padding is DUST. Or if it's because the furnace/AC unit is on the roof and even with filters brings in more dust from outside. Or if my housekeeping skills, well, they just may need a little help. What I do know is, I hate dust. I just know that one of these days I'll be featured on "Hoarders" but it won't be stuff I'll be buried beneath, it'll be DUST. I could dust the entire house every day, and it'd take me all day I think, and I'd have to start all over the very next day. Oh, I just thought of something else that causes dust...working with my quilt fabric! Yup, I want a magic wand.

Fina-Lee Friday

Just a mish-mash of some things in my week since I didn't spend much time in Blogland this week:
  • For whatever reason, Marty has trouble remembering our son's middle name. Since I use our middle names here in blog-land, you all know I call him Nick (for Nicolas). Marty, when filling out forms, puts it as "C" for Christopher(?). I don't think we even had that as a name in our naming pool. So with this current year's medical forms at work, he did it again and I prodded him to get it fixed. It isn't fixed yet, so I i.m'd him at work and asked if he did anything and his response was "it fell through the cracks". I responded with maybe we should just change his name to Christopher, he said "cute" and I stuck my tongue out at him with that little smilie. :P Maybe he meant we should change his middle name to Cute - it begins with a "C", hehe. But then, a LOT falls between the cracks around here.
  • Not much progress on that bathroom problem. On Monday, Nick said the water flow was wimpy (I'd gotten up too late to shower!). On Tuesday, I showered and agreed, very wimpy! Nick went to take his shower and the shower wouldn't work at all and made gurgling noises in the wall/pipes. The leak may be in the pipes as the only time the water shows on the floor (from under the tub) is after Nick showers, yet we've run just the shower even and had no water show. Nick isn't splashing water definitely seeps from under the tub, and it isn't the drain. Then I noticed the actual faucet (where the water actually pours from) has a big gap between it and the tile where the caulking should be and I keep forgetting to tell Marty - maybe that's the culprit in all this. My actions are 'on hold' until Marty finishes his investigation and determines what we need to do next.
  • On Tuesday I was feeling a little like Balaam (you know, the guy that got off his donkey and beat it because he, Balaam, couldn't see the angel blocking the donkey's path). It seemed every incredibly slow putsy driver was in front of me and I'd finally get by only to have another one at the next turn. Was wondering if maybe God was using the slowpokes as messengers to slow me down (I wasn't speeding, not even close to the speed limit), but maybe He was preventing me from an accident, or ticket, or just changing the whole timing of my day. One has to wonder sometimes.
  • On Wednesday I finally got the bulbs potted up that should have been potted by the end of last October...oops!...but in my defense, I had a wrist problem that's only been better the last month or so. I'm not sure what all they are, some tulips, daffodils, miniature daffodils, maybe a hyacinth or 3? Most of these bulbs were already sprouting, some a good 2", but I potted them all in 4 large pots and didn't leave a huge amount of space between each. I'm less concerned with whether they produce blooms or not than I am in just getting them into soil where they'll at least survive and come back for 2013 blossoms. The ones I planted in 2010 (also late, but not this late) gave me lots of blooms that year, but then didn't bloom much last year. This year, they're coming up nicely and I have one yellow hyacinth, and one yellow miniature daffodil in bloom. I'd prefer to have them in the ground but we just don't have a good spot without digging up the backyard which is full of huge tree roots from our Ash tree that's probably 50 years old.
  • Today was a vet day for the kitties. Raven's caught up on all vaccines but goes in on Monday for her spaying. Flame's already spayed but needs one more vaccine which will be in 3 weeks. Flame does NOT travel well, she cries the whole time and even starts huffing - high anxiety...and she's the mellow one of the two (Raven clearly has Oriental/Siamese genetics) Raven loves the car, just lays down in the carrier and soaks it all in quietly. I think Raven would be fun to travel with even if she weren't in her carrier.
  • I didn't get to attend my quilt guild meeting last night though I'd planned on it. Seems Nick could get extra credit in a class he currently has a C in (he never gets grades that low!!) IF he went to the school's basketball game and said hi to the teacher during half-time. I want to know what extra credit I get for missing my meeting and driving him 22 miles round trip so he could do this. I have to say it was kind of fun seeing our school team play; I haven't been to a game since I was in high school myself (grad. in 1971).
  • Signed Nick up for bowling again. In fact, have to remember to take him and his ball back to the bowling alley after 4:30 this afternoon so he can be re-fitted to his ball since he's grown and the finger holes will need it. He also needs to make up a game as this past Tues was the first day and we didn't sign up until yesterday. He had bowled since he was about 5 but then took off since last summer. That and golf are the only two sports he likes to play - he doesn't do team-sports well. golf and bowling, while you can be on a team, your individual score is what you work on.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Free Motion Quilting

The Quilt Show (Alex Anderson & Ricky Tims) has videos of free-motion quilting open to everyone, for FREE during February. How awesome is that? Here's the link. The lessons are by Patsy Thompson.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quilting Dilemma

So I'm working on pinning the layers of the #1 UFO Challenge project and bummer, ran out of quilting safety pins and didn't get the quilt completely pinned. What to do, what to do? A) buy more B) unpin something pinned but not quilted C) quilt what's already pinned and I'll have more available D) try to find my container of regular safety pins.

Fina-Lee Friday

The best thing about it being Friday...after I pick up Nick from school, I don't have to drive until Sunday, and even then, I let Marty drive.
  • Was this a week of full moons? It's probably a long-standing myth, but traffic ... or should I say drivers...get really weird when there's a full moon. I like the safety of my four (or more) walls!
  • The precious kitties have discovered toilet tissue, and plants.
  • Nick had some missing homework this week. Oddly enough, so did a number of kids in the same class - kids that don't normally miss handing in homework...hmmm, maybe the teacher lost them?
  • I'm thinking that making a huge pot of a one-dish whatever, should cover a week's worth of dinners -- would sure save me time spent in the kitchen both in cooking and cleaning.
  • I like Maxine, you know, of Crabby Road fame. Sometimes I think her name should be Lee. And of all things, a man writes the comic strip!
  • Watched "Worst Kitchen In America"...hey, mine's as old as that guy's was.. and they called his 10x10...mine's smaller, his sink was newer; his cupboard doors had the same pattern. Must've been the trend in the '60s.
  • Marty's still trying to isolate the bathroom leak, one slow step at a time. I'm exercising my skills in patience - trying. Submission is willfully placing oneself in subordination. My parents weighed in with their 2-cents worth, as my dad did a lot of construction and has done a LOT of repairs. He suggested filling the tub with water and a colorant like food-coloring to see if, when it's drained, the leak comes from the drain which would show up on the wood of the flooring. I relayed that to Marty. I tested it a couple days ago - no color when the floor showed new wetness. My conclusion: the pipes in the common wall between the bathrooms.
  • I wonder if I'm the only one who is annoyed enough with the JCPenney commercial ~ you know, the one with all the screaming ~ to avoid shopping there at all costs?
  • When you're waiting for your son to get out of school, sitting in your car with the engine off and windows down on a beautiful 73 degree day, why is it that the biggest, noisiest, diesel, SUV parks next to you and leaves it running?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How Much Thread Do I Need?

I was asking myself this question now that I'll be getting started on quilting, as opposed to piecing the tops, for the Jan and Feb UFO Challenge quilts. My 'Dragonfly' quilt measures 72"x93", so I guess that falls into the double bed quilt size. I have a 2,000 yd spool of Superior's King Tut quilting thread, variegated, which I plan to use and was wondering if that would be enough. I Googled my question, and voila, Superior (link here) actually has a small chart showing how much is needed and explains some of the variables giving correlating thread amounts. So, even if I were to heavily quilt this project (that's not planned), I should be safe, even if I use the same thread in the bobbin. O' happy day! :)

February's UFO Challenge Quilt

My Country Charm/Dragonfly Quilt is the one chosen (#1) by Judy with the goal of completion in February. I've yet to finish January's #5 and both of these quilt tops are now in the exact same condition: needing the backing, layering, quilting & binding. At least for the Feb. topper I have my backing fabric selected, so I'm one step ahead on it!
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