Posts Tagged ‘house’

When you fall off the horse …

May 29, 2019

Get back on. No, I haven’t been horse riding. The horse I fell off of was keeping notes about what I’ve done in the studio and writing about them. Even though I wasn’t keeping notes all the time, I’ve got a lot to share.

4/23 – I sorted the scrap bin from the garage. Yay! All the scraps have now been sorted and I have an empty bin to put to use doing other things.

I also completed the assembly of the fussy cut animal quilt body (i.e., no borders yet). I have since ordered and received fabric for the outer border and backing. Inner border comeing from stash. Hopefully, the piece I have is large enough. More about that soon, with pictures. Here’s a picture of the body sewn together.

4/24 – Linda, Patty and I went to the Blue House fabric sale in Westminster, MD. I didn’t find much, even at 40% off. They used to have a lot of grunge colors so I was expecting to find some of those. There was very little, nothing that interested me. The sale made me suspicious. Sure enough, a few weeks later Linda got the email that they are going out of business. Linda is sad because their fabrics were in her wheelhouse. Me, not so much.

4/25 – I had sweatshop with Polly at Spring Water Designs. I did the inking on most of my ship blocks.

When I got home that afternoon, I worked on the step-outs for my guild demo scheduled for May. The demo has since been rescheduled for August.

4/26 – Linda came over. I worked on prepping one of the Baltimore Garden bird blocks.

4/27 – Baltimore Garden class.

One of my ship blocks had bleeding from the ultra-suede. I took a deep breath and followed Vicki Welsh’s instructions and started the block soaking in hot water and Dawn (some clear version with no dyes or perfumes). The bleed did come out. Whew! Polly did like the idea of making the ship look like it was burning because the bleed looked like smoke around the masts. I’ll post pictures of all the ship blocks one of these days.

I worked on the hand stitching of the binding on the T for Two quilt.

4/28 – More work on the T for Two binding.

And, here’s where I fell off the horse. No notes for the next month. I was in Illinois for Dad’s 96th birthday so no sewing happened while I was gone. His birthday is Star Wars day (May 4th). I asked him if he knew that. He just keep saying, “Huh?” He’s extremely hearing impaired so it’s very exhausting to talk to him. Mom said she didn’t think he knew what Star Wars was. I said I’d wondered about that. He looks pretty good in this picture but he’s gotten quite frail.

Red Lobster is Dad’s favorite restaurant. He had been talking about the Red Lobster lobster fest promotion for a couple of months. He fretted because it was over. My brother and I kept telling him “if you want lobster, order lobster.” Usually he orders coconut shrimp, probably because that’s what mom orders, and then complains about the breading, insisting that it didn’t used to be so thick. Mom and I and the waitress always tell him it’s always been that way and to order something else but he never did. This time they had a new lobster and shrimp dinner so he ordered that and, as you can see, was quite happy afterwards. My brother and I also ordered it. It was pretty good. Came with corn on the cob and roasted potato wedges and some sausage. Too much for one meal but made for nice leftover meals.

My brother and the dog sacked out. Smokey is his last dog. Smokey has really declined in health since the previous dog died. Sounds like he may not last much longer. He’s the last dog because my brother wants to travel and he can’t do that with animals to care for.

I was only there a few days so Becky and I didn’t get to do our usual get together stuff. We met for dinner one night and I gave her the T for Two quilt. I wish I’d gotten better pictures of it but I didn’t.


A couple weeks later I was off to my guild’s spring retreat. Four days at the Black Rock Retreat in Quarryville,  PA. Actually, the retreat center is out in the country in the middle of nowhere. I took eight or nine projects just to be sure I didn’t run out of things to do. I didn’t touch two of them, which is fine. I try to take things that don’t require much thought because with 28 people in a big room, there is lots of distraction.

I assembled two smaller quilts the first day.


Ignore the extra bits on the left. I didn’t hang this straight enough to crop out the other project on the design wall. This 16-patch from strips from Genie’s scraps. It will be donated to charity as that is what her family wanted done with her fabric. Charity was a big part of Genie’s being. I’m calling it In the Pink.

I also assembled the Jacob’s Ladder blocks.


I’m working on the borders now. You can see a little of the inner borders on the sides.

The second day of retreat I assembled Sweet Poison. I don’t seem to have a photo of that. More on it when it comes back from the quilter.

I spent the third day making blocks for 9-patch Madness. I’d been using the broken dishes blocks as leader/enders the entire time. This happened.


It’s hard to see because of the dark fabric. This is a connecting corner square. I cut off the outer bit and then the following piece appeared out of nowhere.


Something definitely wrong here. This was my leader/ender. Where did it come from and why isn’t it square? Here’s why.


The bottom triangle is the piece I cut off the 9-Patch Madness block shown earlier. My leader/ender got caught up and sewn into the 9-Patch Madness block. Sigh. I’ve probably made every mistake in the book over time but this is a new one.

The last day of retreat is really only a half-day and not much work happens. Around 10 or 10:30 we have show and tell where we go around the room and everyone shows what they worked on. Then, it’s mostly pack up and leave because we have to be out of the room by 1 p.m.

Nothing to do with quilting but this happened. My handyman finally came over to install the ceiling fan in the living room. It’s the weird looking round thing – a bladeless fan. I also had him help finish assembling the dining room chairs.


He also attached my design wall to the wall. It’s no longer just leaning against the wall. I’m beyond thrilled. I did have to move a heavy piece of furniture though so the design wall didn’t block the outlet. Bless whoever invented hand trucks and those furniture slider things. I was able to move the cabinet all by myself.


I must have done other things but no idea what they were. Actually, one is the project on the left of the design wall. More about it at another time. The one on the right is the May snowman.

Last Friday Linda came over. I realized at one point that she had stopped working and packed up her stuff. I was wandering around trying to find something to focus on. I had a brainstorm and said, “I’ve got something we can do!” Here’s the result.


We placed all the embroidery hoops I’ve been collecting for the last several years. Some I had, some came from guild freebie table, some from silent auction. Now, I have to choose fabric to fill them.

5/25 – Baltimore Garden class.

5/26 – Sew and Tell meets at my house. I cut and fused pieces for the June snowman. After S & T, I assembled the April and May snowman tops. So, during my not taking notes, I must have cut and fused the April and May snowmen pieces.

5/27 – I finished assembly of the April Snowman. No picture of the April snowman right now.

I made the back for the Genie 16-patch quilt. Was going to use a bunch of different blue fabrics but found this backing yardage, so used it. It’s an old Jinny Beyer print.


I also cut up the leftovers from that yardage. Some squares for the guild’s love quilts. Some for my pre-cut stash.

I started the back for Sweet Poison.

5/28 – Finished the back for Sweet Poison. Stay-stitched the edges of the top. Will have piectures when it comes back from quilter.

I nailed the hangers in the wall for the embroidery hoops. The picture I showed earlier was after this happened. When we were arranging them they were held on by blue painter’s tape. That made it easy to rearrange them until we were satisfied.

I filled two of the smaller hoops with scraps from the Sweet Poison backing.

I traced the four carrot embroidery sections for the June snowman. Selected the thread and embroidered one of them in the evening.

I cut the inner border for the Jacob’s Ladder and attached the two long sides. It occurred to me after I cut the two side borders that maybe I should miter them so the corners look better. The perfectionist in me wishes I’d done that but I’m going to live with butted corners.

The house cleaners just left so I’m going to get a late lunch and, maybe, head to the studio. I really need a cook. I’d be in hog heaven then.


Why I’m not getting anything done

March 15, 2017

If you’ve seen the last several posts you may have noticed that not much has been happening here. I promised to explain. It’s mostly good.

When I saw the doctor at the end of September, I got my flu shot and the other pneumonia shot. I got overly tired and wasn’t taking my vitamins which spells disaster for me. A week later I caught whatever nasty respiratory virus  was going around, maybe more than one and spent several weeks being sick. I didn’t feel like I was completely over that when, damn, it hit me again a week or two before Thanksgiving. This time it progressed much more quickly. I did manage to make it to Thanksgiving dinner with my friends at the racetrack.

By the time the end of year holidays came around I was finally fully recovered. As usual I traveled to visit family over the holidays. I find it difficult to work there so not much got done while I was away.

As soon as I got home in early January I met with my realtor to start looking for a new house. I currently live in a 3-story townhouse. The configuration of the house just doesn’t work for me any more. A lot of the houses on my court have gone rental. After 30 years here, I knew it was time to leave this neighborhood when I came home one day to find someone banging on the door of a neighboring house, yelling “open the door, show me some ID, I’m here about a bail bond issue”. Yikes!

My main must haves were a garage (I’ve never had one), main floor master suite and lots of space for quilting. The main floor master and my price target pretty much put me in a 55+ villa (otherwise known as a townhouse). Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000.” My realtor got a kick out of that answer.

Before I knew it I had three strong contenders to choose from. This happened much more quickly than I anticipated. I felt like I was on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. Will she choose the large country house with shared well and septic, the cozy charmer next to I-95, or the posh, new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”.

I loved the development where the first house was but was leery of the shared well and septic. The charmer had a lot going for it and a lot of things about it appealed to me but, in the end, I felt cramped in it and there was that traffic noise from I-95 which would be 24/7. There was a large portion of the basement that I would have had to finish for fabric storage. The basement had no bathroom so it was find room to add one or run upstairs every time I had to go. There were some other things that needed work. By the time I did all that it would cost the same as the larger, newly constructed house. The first two were both condos where the fees ran around $450 a month. Kind of rich on top of the mortgage.

So, I went with the new construction which is a fee simple house (i.e., not a condo). The HOA fee is much more reasonable and covers all yard work, snow removal and common areas. This was an already built house that had a contract fall through. So, I didn’t have get to pick anything. At first it seemed a lot bigger than my current house but I’m not sure it’s that much larger. Maybe I’m delusional. It’s bigger where I need bigger and smaller where smaller is OK for me.

Second floor is two bedrooms, a bath and a loft. I’ll use the loft as an office/library. Anyone want to come visit for a sewing sweatshop? I hate to see these rooms sit empty all the time. After I furnish the guest rooms, of course. That will take some time.

First floor is garage, a front door entry way, kitchen, laundry room, dining/living room, master bedroom, bath and walk-in closet, and covered porch. The bath has a me-sized soaking tub and separate shower. Can’t wait to try out the tub – my current one sucks for soaking. The laundry and dining/living room are smaller than I have now but that’s fine. I’ll be spending most of my time downstairs. Everything for daily living is on the main floor if mobility becomes a problem. Could have used this when I broke my ankle. I can always access the lower level by going outside around the group to the back.

Basement is the quilting area. Studio sounds pretentious but sewing room doesn’t do the space justice. I’ve been in quilt shops that were smaller than the space I have in the basement lower level. Basement sounds to me like a black hole where this one is ground level at the back which faces south so there is a lot of natural light coming in the windows and slider. It has a room for my fabric. I’ve always known I had an excessive amount of fabric. I’m afraid it might not fit in the fabric room. An embarrassment of riches. There is also an area the builder calls an optional den that I’m turning into a sitting room. Linda has already staked out her spot for visiting sewing days. I look forward to many happy hours in that room. The main sewing area is something like 12 feet by 32 feet.


I closed on the house 2/28. Been bleeding money ever since. Lots of new furniture and stuff needed. So far I bought 4 bookcases for the sitting room and a cabinet for my Accuquilt Go and dies. Those were found at Mark Downs which sells used office furniture so saved some money there. I thought I’d go with something from Ikea to fill out the fabric room but ended up ordering Bush bookcases from Walmart to supplement the 3 large bookcases I have in my sewing room now. I’ve got a desk, rocker/recliner and Amish made dining table on order. Not so Next Day Blinds is covering the windows. Blinds were installed last week but the vertical blind for the slider came with the wrong valence and a problem track so they have to be remade. While showing Caren how the top down bottom up blinds worked, I found one that didn’t bottom up for me and found another today while testing the others. Today the shutter tech came to measure for the shutters on the first floor. You’d think that since the house has been on the market since November, the builder would have finished everything, but no, there’s still a punch list of things to be done. As Gilda Radner said, it’s always something.

Attempting to show photos of the empty rooms is futile because everything is beige which makes it difficult to see what’s what. I can show the kitchen. Is this awesome or what?


I’m standing in front of the pantry closet for this photo. To the right of the frig, out of sight, is what the builder calls a key drop – another section of cabinets and counter just inside the garage entrance. By square footage, I bet this isn’t that much bigger than my current kitchen but, oh, my, how much better this one is. My current kitchen looks big but there’s nothing there but empty space because of the entrance on one side and the slider on the other. Very little cabinet space and no counter work space to speak of. I end up using the stove as my counter work space because that’s where the light is. I’m not much of a cook but I can’t wait to cook in this kitchen. I’m not a big fan of wood floors in a kitchen but I’ll adapt.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have to sell my current house first. I had this plan fantasy about how I was going to move little by little so that I didn’t end up with a mess at the new house. External forces are at work (insurance company, mortgage company, etc.) to mess with my plan so now I’m planning to do the big move in mid-April and deal with the fallout. A friend in guild moved in November and said they now have a Room of Requirement (see Harry Potter) where all the still packed and partially unpacked boxes live. I wanted to avoid having that situation.

Now my goal for packing is to free the furniture that is going to the new house so the movers can get it out. Anything that doesn’t get packed by then I’ll have to deal with on my own afterward. My friend, Caren, moved earlier this month. I helped her pack, so turnabout is fair play. I’m getting her boxes and some help from her.

Can I get everything out in time to get my house on the market by summer? Stay tuned and we’ll see.

I don’t expect to get back to quilting until the end of April. Mustn’t forget to do my taxes.

Mimi’s Grad School: January 2017

February 2, 2017

Our January meeting happened at the end of the month instead of the beginning because of year-end inventory at the store and Mimi’s schedule. We displayed our cardinal blocks and the overachievers showed their tops and finished quilts.

Kay found an innovative way to use one of the Row by Row fabric plates. The block in the top middle with the yellow birds is a quarter the size of the rest of the blocks.

Nechama reduced the blocks to practically nothing, something like 25% of the full-sized blocks.

I had intended to have mine assembled by the meeting day but I was overtaken by events. I started house hunting on 1/4 and found three strong contenders within the first week. I wasn’t expecting things to move so quickly. All of the houses I looked at were villas in 55+ communities. They all have a garage and first floor master suite. They all back onto green space of some kind. Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000”. I need to ask my realtor what the real answer is.

I felt like I was on an episode of House Hunters. Will she choose the huge house in the country with shared well and septic? The cozy charmer next to I-95 and the BWI flightpath? Or, the posh new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”. I took a friend with me to look at the three contenders and she, as well as Linda, voted for the new construction.

I loved the community out in the western part of the county. Saw four houses there. Didn’t like the floor plan of two of them but the best one was under contract the day after I saw it.  I saw another one with the same floor plan but it wasn’t as nice. I decided I didn’t want to mess with well and septic so discarded the idea of that community.

The 12 year old charmer had a lot going for it. It had columns separating a little sitting area and dining room from the entry, a gas fireplace with a stone surround, sun porch, screened-in patio off the basement; a large workshop that could be finished for the fabric room. But, the rooms felt small to me and by the time I did the things that needed to be done, it would cost as much as the larger newly constructed house. And, there’s the traffic noise from the interstate and airport.

The first time we looked at the posh house my realtor said, “this house is a steal!” She was really impressed and she doesn’t impress easily after 30 years in the business. Whoever made all the choices has similar taste to mine. The first floor has a small covered deck and the lower level has a covered patio. The charmer wins on those points with the sun porch and screened-in patio but the rest of the house makes up for any shortcomings. Huge kitchen, hardwood floor on the first floor except for the master bedroom. The second floor and basement are also carpeted and the carpet is off-white. After having that color in my current house, I’d rather have something closer to dirt color. The only thing I can object to is that the sinks all have two handled faucets. I prefer one. That’s easily changed. I think I’ll probably change one sink in the master bath and the sink in the basement. The basement is ground level in the back so it’s more of a lower level than what I think of when I hear basement. The basement will make a fabulous studio. It was all finished except for what the builder calls the optional exercise room. I looked at it and said it would be perfect as a fabric room but I’d have to have it finished. The sales agent said they would finish it for free. Well, not so much as it turns out. The builder wouldn’t agree to that. I ended up paying a little more than the original asking price in order to get the finished room. They did agree to add an automatic garage door opener. Can you believe it wasn’t standard? In a 55+ community with a two-car garage door?

I still have trouble believing I can afford a house like this, especially in retirement but the numbers don’t lie. Linda has already staked out a spot for her chair in the studio when she visits. We’re aiming for closing at the end of February. I’m waiting for some of the documents I need to submit for the mortgage app. That makes me antsy and the stress eating is on. I look forward to being moved but not to the moving process. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to sell my current house until I’m ready so I can move things thoughtfully. I will not have a mess at the new place!