Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mid-Week Progress

Monday - The painters returned after the holiday and finished painting the exterior trim.

Meanwhile, I returned flooring samples to the store.  We ultimately decided to leave the carpet in the little hall and just have it professionally cleaned because the transition to the kitchen floor was going to be too difficult with the LVT (luxury vinyl tile) I had chosen for the hall and powder room.

At that point we realized we had enough of the LVT left over from the kitchen (the previous owners thoughtfully left for us) to do the powder room!

All that thinking left me good for not much the rest of the day, but I did manage to make a few more turquoise 9-patches while watching The Voice Monday night.

Tuesday - The painters began the morning scraping paint smears off the windows outside.  Then they washed them all!  These guys are great; maybe they'll wash the windows inside after they paint the interior trim ... I can hope, can't I?  They spent the remainder of the day staining the pickets and rails on the decks.

At this point we thought that the interior painting would begin on the top floor, so I spent ALL of Tuesday deep cleaning the guest bathroom, removing paintings and chatskies from the bedroom, and stripping the beds.  The painters said they would clean surfaces; I just don't trust that they will clean to my standards.

DH emptied his closet -- one bag going to Goodwill and a big box going to our church's closet for our weekly homeless guests.

Wednesday - After the weekly trip to the grocery, I was all set to attack the second bedroom upstairs, the one we've been using as the master BR for 9+ years.  Frankly, I was weak just THINKING about that task when the boss painter showed up and told us that after they finish staining the upper deck they wanted to remove the cabinet doors and drawers in the kitchen to take to the shop for painting.  What!!?  At least we now have the whole weekend to sort through our bedroom!

So, Wednesday was devoted to emptying kitchen drawers.  I'm feeling kinda smug right now because I took pictures of each drawer before I emptied it.

I also washed all the little dividers and eliminated a few items that will go to Goodwill.  I've started a box for things I want to move to the new kitchen but we won't need in the next few months.

Wednesday night was handbell practice; no sewing. 😞

That's my midweek report.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Long Time

No Hear

I hope all my virtual friends had a 
restful and pleasant Thanksgiving weekend!

We had a mixed week -- first, painters power washed every exterior surface, including the retaining walls, walkway, and driveway.

Upper retaining wall
Of course, they picked the two coldest mornings of the season to do this and had to wait until temperatures got above freezing.

Lower retaining wall and driveway
The machinery is loud and we discovered how drafty our windows and doors are, judging from the water on the floor and window sills!  They also powered the old paint off the decks and began caulking and painting windows.  We're starting to sparkle here on the hill.

Sadly, as to sewing progress, this will be the "new normal" for the next month -- painters in and out, us relocating furniture and possessions room-by-room.  I'd like to think I could retire to the studio and avoid the madness, but I get a bit catatonic just thinking about what happens next.

I have snuck down to the studio a couple of times and put the finishing touches on the first of two picnic quilts made for the grandsons from their shirts.

Linking up with other scrappy happenings at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.

Just Call Me Charlie Brown

'Cause I'm Wishy-Washy

After several unsuccessful attempts at Bonnie Hunter's annual mysteries, I swore I'd NEVER do another one.

But, then, I saw the colors for this year and thought, "that's right in my wheelhouse."

I even went to the trouble of checking my stash but couldn't find anything that really excited me so, relieved, I reaffirmed my affirmation -- Never Again!

UNTIL ... Jo Kramer at Jo's Country Junction mentioned that she was going to use batiks this year.  Hmm, that reminded me that several years ago I had accumulated a collection of brown and turquoise batiks for a quilt that I started as a class sample.

Spinning Rails
And I probably had quite a few coral-to-orange scraps from a quilt made several years earlier ...

Yes, you guessed it!

Radnor Lake
Named for our neighborhood lake that I've only been to once in my life,
with an old church camp flame, 
whom I called by another boyfriend's name, 
and whom I never saw again.  

I'm being conservative and just making half the number called for.  Also being less scrappy, using a single neutral.  We'll see where this goes.  If nothing else, I can combine these 9Ps with the Spinning Rails blocks and make something.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Tips for Thursday ... and a question

Working with shirts

You may remember that I came home from the "Great Yard Sale" (tongue firmly implanted in cheek) with a pile of my grandsons' shirts.

They were name brand, 100% cotton, very clean and in great shape.  But many of the fabrics feel like a well-laundered sheet, which probably felt great on the wearer, but not anywhere close to "quilt shop quality."  I really wish I had starched the large chunks I salvaged in the deconstruction process before cutting strips and squares.

To further complicate the construction of the picnic quilts I am making for the boys, I am pairing the shirt fabric with a dress-weight chambray that is loosely woven.  I'm having a terrible time keeping seams anywhere close to straight.

Sew, my tip(s) for you:

1.  If you want to work with old shirts, use starch or Best Press to stabilize the fabric before cutting.

2.  If crooked plaids and stripes bother you, think of another project.

This is my progress so far:

Picnic quilt #1
I had originally planned to do another 2" round on the blocks which would make them 14" finished.  However, it occurred to me that 70" x 70" would not fit on my 5' quilting frame!  As is, it will finish at 50" x 50".  Do you think that is big enough to sit on for a picnic or outdoor concert?  I don't really want to pay someone to quilt these, plus I want them done by Christmas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday

Mystery Visitor

Earlier this week we noticed a resident squirrel on the upper deck, head stuck between the posts, staring toward the neighbor's house and squawking its little head off.

After a while it moved to the top rail, body unmoving, 
still staring intently in the same direction.

This is what was upsetting him:

Bobcat - photo from Wikipedia
I had heard reports of bobcats in the area, but this was a total surprise to me.  
Of course, my camera was downstairs in the studio so I have to rely on a stock photo.  
But, believe me, it looked just like this.  

Or maybe this:

Bobcat - Wikipedia photo
Bigger than a housecat, smaller than many dogs, black tips on the ears, short tail -- 
all the indicators were there.  
It strolled casually down our driveway but when it saw me watching from the deck, 
it trotted across the street and into the woods.

We don't have pets, so I'm not worried, but I did put a notice on the neighborhood web page.

Life is always exciting here on the hill.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What was she thinking?

I'll tell you

A couple of weeks ago I got the bug to try some freestyle stack-n-slash Christmas trees like those made by The Polka Dot Chicken

Within a few days I had a small cache of these lovelies.

In a search for more variety in my "Christmas" drawer, I came across some more elegant fabrics in creams and golds.  I thought it might be fun to make an "elegant" throw.

Not particularly impressed at this point, but still needing variety in my trees, I continued to make them, thinking I'd just make one larger quilt with whatever I could make with the materials at hand.

But the combination of white backgrounds with cream and the juxtaposition of elegance with cute Christmas schtick bothered me.

My ultimate decision was to separate the creams from the whites and make two quilts.

Elegant Trees
Still debating about a border.  It's currently 35" wide which would be OK for a wheelchair or a crib.

And that is what I was thinking.

Hop over to Quilting is more fun than housework to see what scrappy projects other quilters are working on.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Scrappy Saturday

Two flimsies and three blocks

With all the repair/remodeling activities this week, I felt fortunate to find a few minutes in the studio.  I pulled together two "wheelchair" quilts out of some snowman squares I had salvaged from an old Christmas wreath.

I call them "wheelchair" quilts because they are about 40" x 40" without borders -- just right to go over a lap when sitting in a wheelchair.

I had originally thought about using a black print for the setting squares, but in the end I picked a red and green plaid by Possibilities. 

I ran short of the plaid for the second quilt so I used a Luminosity print by Paula Nadelstern for the side triangles.

Now I'm wishing I had used it on both.  Oh, well.  I'm hoping that these will be the first things quilted on my new Block RockiT and that our church women's group will know people who can use a lift for the holidays.

I also dug through my brown scraps and made three chunky churn dash blocks for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

RSC17 - dark neutrals
These lean toward the cafe au lait side of brown and I think they will blend nicely with the other blocks made this year.  These only finish at 6" so I see this project continuing into 2018.

The Beginning of the End

I'm starting to get a little weepy thinking about the end of life on this hill.  There is so much to enjoy living among the treetops ... until it snows.

February 2014
Or until we want to get through Nashville during rush hour.  Where we hope to be going will have just as much wildlife, but less traffic.  Best of all, there's an established quilting community.

So it all began this week.  First item was shipping the antique walnut and curved glass china cabinet to my sister-in-law in Savannah on Monday.

We used All My Sons, and it made the trip safely in 24 hours, even though they didn't crate it as the insurance company required.  Very nice, courteous guys who apparently had lots of experience with this kind of thing.  I couldn't watch as they rolled it down our hill, though (the truck couldn't make it up).

Wednesday the masons arrived promptly at 7:30 a.m. and finished replacing brick above window lintels, adding flashing and weep holes, and tuck-pointing joints by 4 p.m.

Lower level windows in sewing room
This area has leaked into the studio for several years.  It won't be completely fixed until the master bedroom door sill is replaced and properly flashed right above the gap in this picture.

I didn't want to be sewing while the masons were knocking and banging outside my window so I worked on rearranging the dining room and filling up the chest that replaced the china cabinet.

That is, until the masons started working on the dining room windows.  Then I felt like they might think I was keeping an eye on them so I retreated to the studio where I have been working on two wheelchair quilts.

The tree guys showed up early Thursday and started working on the split tree right away.  We noticed the split in the trunk several weeks ago and feared it would break apart and fall on the driveway (and anything parked there) in a high wind.

There's NO WAY I could go up in that bucket with it bouncing and swaying in the wind!  They were very careful and considerate, coming back on Friday to do some extra pruning and to clean up their mess.  They even blew all the leaves off the driveway and out of the beds.

The painters start Monday.  We're hoping they'll work outside first since my SIL will be here for the week.  I also get to select carpet for the master bedroom on Monday.

Progress, at last!

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Fat Tony

Our grand-dog, Fat Tony, was an Italian Greyhound -- nothing fat about him. 

Fat Tony Murray
Being small and shorthaired, Tony was always cold, so years ago I made him a quilt.

Sadly, any picture of it is on a floppy, not accessible right now.
It was the first improv quilt I had ever made.
I used a lot of doggie prints along with black/white/red.
A warm and soft flannel went on the back.
Tony loved it.

I want to share a sweet tribute from my son:

   We had Tony put to sleep yesterday. 
His congestive heart failure had progressed to the point where he was uncomfortable most of the time.
When Sherry took him to the vet she took the blanket you made for him. 
I don’t know if we’ve told you how attached he was to that blanket. He slept with it every night 
(unless it was warm then he would dig at it until it was out of his bed). 
It went with him wherever he went and was a great comfort to him. 
We interred it with him so now he’s with it forever.
Thank you for making the perfect gift for him

Rest in peace, Fat Tony

Monday, November 6, 2017

Design Wall Monday

Not much sewing has been going on here on the hill.  Mostly I've been cleaning and organizing the new and improved quilt studio space.  In the process I came across bits that appeared to have no purpose (that I can recall) but appeared to want to be sewn together.  So rather than shove them aside, I stitched.

Flying geese that will finish 3" x 1.5".  I have absolutely NO clue what I was planning with these!

Bright geese in a brown sky.  Hey, brown!! At least I can get credit for working with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for November ;-).

Then there was a pile of snowmen squares that I combined with WOW snowflake squares.

It appears I have enough to make a winter throw, design of which is still to be determined.

Since it's snowmen I figure it would be appropriate well past the Christmas season so I want the companion fabrics to be somewhat neutral, like this black print.  Oh, look, it qualifies for the November RSC, too!!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall Has Fell

and it's warm as H-E-double hockey sticks

Fortunately we've had a couple of near-freezing nights 
so some of the trees turned before they lost all their leaves.

The dogwood is the prettiest it's been in the last 9 years.
But the burning bush has yet to even blush.

Crepe Myrtle
I don't remember the crepe myrtle turning such a bright yellow in years past.

Soloman's Seal
The Soloman's Seal held on all summer and turned a gorgeous shade of ... 
well, how would you describe it?  Toast?
The hellibores will hold till the first really hard freeze, then return in February.

That's the joy of Life on the Hill!

Friday, November 3, 2017

OMG - Goal #1

Set up the machine


BR549 - needs a better name
We may have the bottom plate backwards.  I think it will still work this way.
We originally planned to orient the frame in the other direction,
but I felt the fireplace hearth could get in my way.
The big problem now is my extension/surge protector is not long enough!

The floor mats are in place.
That little bedside chest holds all my accessories.

View from the deck door.  
Still a lot of organizing left to do in between watching videos.
I joined a FB users' group and I have ordered some leaders.
Now to pick my first practice project.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

One Monthly Goal - November

It's Here!!!

My Block RockiT 15 has arrived!

Now to read through the manual, check to see all the parts are there, 
register the warranty, and download some instructional videos.

SO, my OMG for November will be:

1.  Set up the machine.
2.  Learn how to load a quilt.
3.  Practice on a charity quilt in my TBQ pile.
4.  Quilt at least one "real" quilt -- like one of the picnic quilts for a grandson.

Okay, so that's four goals.
But it will probably take all month just to get that far!

Linking with Patty at Elm Street Quilts who does a great job encouraging us to accomplish our goals.