Thursday, February 28, 2019

One day at a time

Thanks to those who suggested I start using the cloud to get access to my pictures. I know there are ways to do that. I need to investigate. One more thing to learn, but it would be a good thing. Perhaps this afternoon.

Can you believe that I have FOUR days with NOTHING scheduled? Four days????  OK - I have yoga tomorrow and a fun thing on Sunday, but I don't have to go to either of them if I don't want to. Yes - four glorious days. What will I do?? Oh - there's lots to do - trust me.

I did pick up my computer yesterday, but I didn't get the darn thing hooked up yet and then I remembered that I have to install my software programs before it'll be much good to me. So I did take a couple of pictures and I'm going to get them uploaded to the blog this morning if it kills me!

AHA   - I think I got it. I cheated and e-mailed them to myself (after resizing them to the smallest size) and they are saved on my external hard disk.

So while the house is in total disarray, life must go on. I have things that need to get done - there are looming deadlines. I'm happy to report that in between teaching one class yesterday, I managed to get the magazine quilt quilted. It's sitting on the cutting mat and waiting to be trimmed later this morning. The binding needs to be made and sewn on, as well as the sleeve. I'll be visiting UPS later today to get it out.

Then it's on to the next two projects which also need to be done ASAP. But I've got four days - I should be able to get both of them done in that time frame. That'll take a big chunk out of the deadline quilts I have for this year (so far!).

In the meantime, I'm just plugging away at a project that I call Flood Relief. It's the quilt blocks that I found when the leak happened. The corn and beans blocks. I figured since I spent all that time drying the darn pieces out, I might as well sew it together and get it done.

So here are the 8 blocks (2 of each fabric) that I've completed in my new sewing room. I remember wanting to take these to a retreat but figured they were too complex. Once I got myself organized, they are not bad to sew. What was I thinking before???

Four sets of 2 blocks

Here's the next pair of blocks set up and ready to sew when I get a chance. The stack at the top of the board contains another 8 pair of blocks or maybe it's 7. But there's another huge stack of precut pieces and in the chaos of moving, I know I put them in a bag and pretty sure they came upstairs, but I couldn't find them this morning.

Next set of blocks waiting to be sewn

I guess that'll be on the list of things to do today - find those blocks.

I also took a few minutes this morning and cleaned up some of the mess that is on that long desk in M's room. I really want to use the space, but I have to clean it up first. This is as good a time as any to get it done. Amazing how much stuff accumulates and one just doesn't deal with it. Or it gets set aside for another day. And then BAM - you have a huge mess. Yep - I'm familiar with all that.

I taught a class yesterday - oh - I have some class photos to upload - I'll do that tomorrow.

The snow is getting crazy. I did go out for the first class in the afternoon and while the roads were OK, driving wasn't the best. I did want to get my computer so I made the effort. There was another class in the evening and after driving home from the afternoon one, I decided it wasn't worth it to go out. The roads were bad, my windshield wipers kept freezing up and it's a quilt class. It wasn't worth it.

So I stayed home. Read for a bit and then we went out to shovel the driveway about 8 PM. The snow had more or less stopped by then. Of course, DH was grumbling about all the snow that our neighbor puts in the street. I told him to stop obsessing and keep shoveling.

Then a miracle happened. I was going to take a picture of the mess so I could complain to the city if that snow ended up in my driveway. But the darn plow came around the corner and no time for a photo. I have to say that he was very good. He actually scooped all that snow that the neighbor shoved into the street and pushed it to the other side of the street. As he did that, there was a bit of snow that came in our driveway. I started to shovel it into the street - heck - if she can do that - so can I. Next thing I know, I'm staring at a huge bucket waiting for me to move and the plow driver cleaned the end of our driveway. THANK YOU!!!!!!   I gave him the thumbs up a couple of times. The snow wasn't heavy, but just lots of it. Thankfully it didn't take a lot of time to get the snow out of the way.

For the most part, I'm a pretty patient person, but even I'm getting tired of all the snow and icky weather. Do we just forget from year to year what it was like the previous winter? I mean really - we get snow every winter - we do live in Canada where snow is just part of winter. Anyway - just seems like we've shoveled a lot this year.

On that note, I'm out of here. While I don't have to be anywhere today, I do have lots that I want to get done, including some paperwork that MUST get done.

Have a super day!!!!


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's a good news/bad news kind of day!

I PROMISE that this is the last day without pictures.

I had some time between two classes that I taught yesterday to drop the computer off at the Geek Squad which is in Best Buy. I had a great chat with the young man at the desk. It wasn't busy in the store (I went to a different one than I would normally go to). He was extremely nice, knowledgeable, and I felt confident that he could fix my problem.

Based on what I described as the problem, he suggested the hard disk might be toast. He popped it out and tested it - yep - dead as a doornail. It's not uncommon for a hard disk to fail. That could have been devastating news. However, the GOOD news is that I keep NOTHING on the hard disk except my programs. All my saved files are on several external drives and that is a good thing indeed. Trust me - I've learned over the years. I've had several hard disk failures and it's not pretty. Not that I have tons of super important documents, but it's still stuff that I don't want to lose. I really do need to do a clean up of those hard disks because there's a lot of stuff that I no longer need.

I chatted about adding more RAM to the computer. It already had 10 GBs, but he said for a reasonable price, I could bump it to 16 GB. Why not? So I drove to a computer parts store to buy the memory. The very helpful Geek Squad staff person gave me a print out of what I needed to buy. That was easy and I dropped the memory back at Best Buy.

I then went to my second class and on the way home, I got a call that the computer was ready for pickup! Oh - that is super service. Thank you Geek Squad - thank you Best Buy!!!!  The even better news???  Because I have a service plan with Geek Squad, it cost me $10 in labor to make this happen and less than $200 to buy the new hard disk and memory. That was GOOD NEWS indeed.

If the weather isn't too crazy (yes - another snow storm today and school buses are canceled all around and one school district has closed the schools), I'm supposed to teach again today and I can pick up the computer. That was just meant to be.

I talked to my Dad yesterday. The good news - I think they are liking their new phones because they have three of them now so I was able to chat with Dad while Mom listened. I think my Mom likes that part, but she would never admit it! The bad news - the local hospital could not find the hairline fractures in his pelvis, but after the X-rays were sent to a larger facility (because he was in a lot of pain and they didn't know why), they were the ones that determined the issue. Two fractures. He's got a walker and is grounded at the apartment. He says that he gave his truck keys to my brother because the mail keys were on the ring. That's his way of justifying that he's not driving.

He's got homecare coming twice a day to get him out of bed and dressed. I don't think he could get in his truck!!!  The good news? He's in the BEST of spirits. He walks up and down the hallway in the apartment building which is nice and wide, bright with windows at both ends. He needs a walker still, but is making good progress. Quite happy to be reading, watching YouTube, and learning. I must have got my sunny disposition and positive attitude from him. Thank you, DAD!!!!!!

The basement is a disaster. The demolition crew arrived at 9 AM. I'm sure they wanted to turn around and go back home when they saw the task ahead of them. The good news is that I took some time before they came and carried stuff that I need right now upstairs to the new sewing room. It's got huge windows overlooking the street. I'm thinking I might keep a sewing machine up there - it's bright, it's light and I LOVE it! Thanks to M for moving out so I could commandeer that space.

There's even a nice built-in counter (desk) that's about 10 feet long. At the moment, it's covered with stuff that I'm supposed to sort through. So I did take up a couple of tables. I've got a full-size cutting table for 2 big mats and my big ironing board is up there as well. I'm happy as a clam. I'm sure my neighbors are wondering why that big room is lit up so early (and late) at night! I could shut the blinds, but no way - I want to see out.

The bad news is that the floor was in bad shape. You could smell the damp, mildew, mold or whatever was there almost as soon as they started to raise the floor. They took half of the main room out - the water had reached that far. The floor in the storage room is gone. Part of the floor where the long arm sits is also gone and sadly they had to remove a part of the floor in the stash room. Basically, they had to rip up flooring from every room down there. You know what that means - eventually it will all have to go. I do NOT want to think about that. It's going to be a nightmare to move everything. The bookcases, the fabric, the long arm. It all has to be moved.

It'll have to be done in sections - there's no other way to do it. It's going to be extremely disruptive, but hey - it could have been a whole lot worse. I just thank my stars that nothing was seriously damaged. So if you were planning on coming to my house for a Sit n Sew - that isn't going to happen. I will continue to have the UFO workshop - we can sit in the living room for that. But sewing? Nope - I've got space upstairs for two sewing machines at one time and I think it would be a tad crowded for a Sit n Sew.

I'll share a video with you when I get my main computer back. The guys were extremely careful, neat and tidy and you should see the way they stacked everything. I had a huge laugh when I saw that. They were here for three hours and then gone. All they left behind were SIX HUGE FANS that are not nearly as noisy as the fans were the last time this happened. And one big huge dehumidifier. The bad news - I found a couple of scraps of fabric on the concrete floor. They had been sitting on the concrete for a short period of time. The bad news? They were very damp from the concrete! So we have fans for about 3 days.

Then we decide on what to do to reconstruct the floor. I wish I could have a polished concrete floor there, but I'd lose a lot of headroom to have radiant heating put in. That would be awesome, but not going to happen.

A quick note about food. The good news - I didn't gain any weight while away - god - how could I? I was so good at what I ate. The bad news? Last night, I was chatting with a lady who was a wee bit taller than myself and weighed pretty much the same as I do. She told me what she weighed. She's been told by her doctor that she needs to lose more weight? Seriously????  She's pre-diabetic and determined to not go on medication!!!  I can't believe that and hope that there are other factors that have made her pre-diabetic.

More good news - my neck is finally starting to feel much better. I have so much more movement before the pain kicks in. I can practically do a 360!  OK - so I'm exaggerating!  I really feel that the massage is doing way more than the physio is. I've lots of exercises that I'm supposed to be doing - I need to get better at that. I cheated this morning and while I went to the gym - it was not to do the spin class. My legs were tired after all those stairs from yesterday. According to the Fitbit, it was almost 80 flights and over 17,000 steps. Nope - I went to the sauna. I lay with a towel rolled along my spine and did some stretching. Glorious!!!!  I feel like a million bucks right now.

I was a wee bit stressed yesterday. How did I relieve that stress?? By yelling of course. First I yelled at the stupid woman who almost ran me down. I'm walking Lexi and I arrive at the T-intersection by the school. I'm at the crosswalk and wearing my bright NEON orange jacket. It happened to be school drop off time which I hate because no one pays attention. The two cars on the main street stopped, but the woman coming from the side street, seeing the other two cars stopped, decided she could go. I don't think so, lady. I stopped in the middle of the street as her car aimed for me and I let loose with a couple of choice sentences. Seriously - I'm not hard to miss in that bright jacket!!!

My other stress reliever was at someone who walks their dog on the path behind our house. They insist on letting their dogs off leash. Normally, I wouldn't care but when the dog runs up to our fence and then my dogs go insane and bark like mad - it bugs me to no end. So I yelled at her. I should stand out in the forest on the other side of the fence and accost these people with a camera in hand. I'm tired of them disrespecting the posted signs. If they want to walk their dog off leash - there's a park for that or do it early in the morning when no one has their dogs in the backyard.

I felt much better in both cases! But seriously - what is coming of the world?

I finished the audiobook. As much as I like John Grisham, I wouldn't recommend this book. It's called Gray Mountain. It's long and filled with a lot of "boring" details. And I didn't like the main character in the book and I didn't like the way it ended! You can read it, but I don't recommend it. I was a bit disappointed because I really like all of his other books. I went through my list of "next to read" books and found another one in audiobook format. It's half the length - can't wait to get started on that today.

Here's a review of the book that I found online. I really should like the book given the topic - people (big corporations) who don't respect the little guy (coal miners). I think the problem was that this wasn't what I expected from John so it took me a bit by surprise. The book/topic is frustrating because the big guys try to take advantage of the little guys. I guess I was looking for pure entertainment. The book is well written - just be aware that the topic is slightly different.

I think that covers the good news/bad news at our house at the moment. I've got a busy day and I'm so excited to get my computer back!!!

I have a quilt loaded on the long arm and I'll be down there quilting today. The quilt should be in the mail today, but I don't think that is going to happen. It'll go tomorrow.

On that note, have a great day!!!!!


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Big Move

ACK!  I took pictures this morning on my phone as I thought - "oh that will be easy to upload to the blog." Except that I usually transfer the photos from my phone via e-mail and I don't have access to e-mail on the laptop. ACK!!!  I need to make some changes here. Sorry - no pix yet again.

The computer will go into the shop today. I can't even get it to reset now. It's stuck at the logo. I hate computers with a passion!!!  I'm not going to let it bother me. I don't have time and what's the point of getting upset - it won't change anything.

I'm happy to report that the quilt top for the magazine quilt is DONE!!  I had a wee issue with one of the fabrics originally slated for the top. I wasn't going to get it in time so I had to rejig the pattern. After getting approval from the editor, I was ready to go. But with the week away and that rejigging, I needed a bit more time. I threw a sewing machine into the car and did some of the work while I was away.

Then yesterday we had a snow day because of the weather. NO Monday sewing, but that was OK - I was thinking of not going anyway. So I hunkered down in the studio and sewed my little heart out.

A quarter of the top was finished last night and I finished the rest this morning. I'm happy with the results. I would have liked the original fabric and it would have been way faster, but this end result is just as nice.

I have to make the backing and the binding today and it had better get quilted as well although that's probably not going to happen. The key to successful sewing? Take your time, know what you're doing to avoid ripping. I know that I have tons of seam rippers but do I know where any of them are? Nope - I could only find one that I hate. I had two partial seams to rip out. That was IT!!!!  I don't pin - that saves time and there are a LOT of intersections on this quilt - every one of them match. Pinning takes too much time and pins shift. I never pin unless it's a border or long stretches of fabric with no seams to match.

I had to pop out for my massage yesterday. Very happy to report that the knot in my left shoulder is so much better. I have more movement in my neck before I'm in pain. There's still a long way to go and I've got all kinds of exercises to do to help loosen the knot and keep it loose. And I seem to have caught Laura's cold. GRRR - we should have had face masks in the car!!! It's just in my sinuses so not a huge deal. Thanks, Laura!!!

How did I stay so focused yesterday? Well - a deadline definitely helps the situation. I don't think I took a break other than to pop out to the appointment and to take a potty break from time to time. I'm getting so much better at focusing. I get everything set up and I'm good. Oh - I was listening to an audiobook. That makes the time go by very fast. This was a LONG book - over 14 hours. I think I had listened to about 3 hours before I went away and it was a so so book. Lots of boring details. Then BAM - one of the main characters gets murdered (well not proven yet), but he dies. Oh - what happened? Then I really got into the book.

I now have ONE HOUR left. Hope to finish it while I make the backing and the binding and load that quilt.

However, I did have a few distractions yesterday. The demolition crew is arriving at 9 AM to dismantle the basement. Technically they are coming to remove anything wet. That would be the floor and some of the walls. ACK!!!  I don't know how big the area is, but I can sort of tell by looking at the floor. OK - it's going to be big. The question is going to be how many rooms are going to be affected by this?

The main room for sure and probably 1/3 of that floor will be up by the end of the day. The furnace room is concrete, but I bet everything in there needs to be moved. There isn't much, but there's a wee storage area off the furnace room - that will have to be emptied. A couple of tubs so not a huge job. The storage room floor will have to go - not all but part of the wall in there is going. The big question is do the floor and the walls need to be removed in the fabric storage room. If those have to go, then we're in huge trouble.

So I packed up a bunch of stuff yesterday and hauled it up to the upstairs. I'm setting up a new sewing area in M's bedroom over the garage. Actually, there are two "empty" bedrooms upstairs and a huge bathroom. All will be pulled into service as a new sewing area. I sewed in the studio yesterday, but this morning, I'm planning on moving tables, sewing machines, ironing board and a whole lot more. There's a bunch of stuff at the bottom of the stairs to go up and I made a few trips yesterday when I needed to have a physical break from the sewing. Oh, joy - Just what I need.

However, this scenario is making me think very seriously about what I'm moving. I'm going to try and keep this focus going. There is lots of stuff that I'm moving that need a few hours of work and the project will be complete. There's stuff that's been moved around and all the stuff needs to be sorted. If it's just fabric, then into the storage room it goes. If it's a project, then it needs to be put into a container and put on the UFO shelf. There might be tools or whatever. It's time to get this mess cleaned up!!!

NO - I'm not ready to get rid of stuff - it just needs to be better organized. Last time we had water issues in the basement, I was in way worse shape than I am now. That was a HUGE eye-opener and this is going to be a huge eye-opener as well. It's time to get this totally under control. I think there's going to be loads of tips for organizing coming up. Watch for those.

Now I'm going to try and find someplace on the internet where I can upload those photos and then put them on the blog. I took some before pictures - well the way the studio is this morning. I know it's going to only get worse. How much worse? Only time will tell.

Yesterday, I was feeling overwhelmed. Once I got to work on that quilt and called the contractor, I was in good shape. There's no need to worry about something that can't be changed. The important thing is to focus on what we have control over. It was just the thought of what had to be done that was overwhelming. Once I got started, that wasn't the case. And in fact, the tasks that I had to do were very doable in the timeframe I had. There is NO POINT in worrying. It only knocks years off your life! I don't worry! Onward and upward! Today is a new day.

I can't wait for those huge fans to come into the house. I remember from the last time - they were NOISY and they ran for days. I can't hardly wait for that exciting thing to happen today.

Have a super day!!!!!


Monday, February 25, 2019

I'm home

I say it every time - it's fun to go away, but nothing like getting home and back in your own environment.

Except my environment is a wee bit topsy turvy these days and I'm a wee bit overwhelmed at the moment.

You see while I was away, it was decided that the floor has to be replaced in the basement. NOOOOO!!!!  That is going to take eons of time to move everything. Yes - I could have the insurance company do the moving, but do you think I will find anything? So I'll do it. I don't know what time frame we're looking at other than start NOW. I have to touch base with the contractor today to find out the scoop.

On top of that, my bratty little computer is not working. I started it up when I got home and it worked for an hour or so and then it decided to die. I tried twice to reboot it and no go so I give up. It's going down to the Geek Squad in person. I have visions of it being there for weeks and for it to come back home in no better shape than when I take it there.

I look at the looming deadlines and well - I do feel a wee bit overwhelmed. But we're going to rise above that. Take one thing at a time and just move forward. The weather isn't the greatest this morning and I'm thinking of missing Monday sewing. I don't normally do that, but if I have to get a quilt out the door before the weekend and move the basement, I need to get myself in gear.

No need to offer to help. It's a lot of stuff to move and it all has to be moved up the stairs - potentially two flights of stairs. I won't put that on anyone. If I can at least pack and label boxes, I might just have the insurance company do the moving. I've got to talk to them first to understand and make a plan of action.

So I don't have pictures for you today. I'm going to see how to download Photoshop Elements onto the laptop. It will be an easy thing to move the external hard drive to the laptop - you got to love NOT having files on a single computer.

Our trip home was pretty uneventful. We had rain - a lot of rain as we were leaving Nashville. I think they had 6 emergency flood alerts the day we left. We were already out of the area so we didn't get any of them.

I got off lucky and didn't have to drive the first day, but I was getting tired of being in the car. I get a leg cramp - well more of a sciatica issue when I spend long times strapped into a seat. A bit of creative "car yoga" helped. I did manage to rip the second quilt apart. No - I managed to get all the quilting out. The top still needs to come apart as half of the squares will be ditched because they are damaged. I was very glad to have taken both of those projects with me. The worst of the ripping is done.

Oh - the border crossing. Whenever I cross the border, I'm not too worried. Especially when coming back into Canada. There were a lot of groceries left over after the four days. Let's just say that some people didn't get the concept of buying for THEMSELVES only. And they planned for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners despite the fact that most of them ate out every night. I should clarify that it was only one person who didn't get the concept of buying what we EACH needed for the few days we were there. I won't mention names to protect the uninitiated!

We had a couple of "heated" discussions about what was allowed back. I finally had to look up - YES - fruit and vegetables are allowed across. Now that we have that cleared up - it helped when we packed. Let's just say that there were a few grocery bags in the car.

So is it a good idea to say things on the blog that are well - not exactly kosher? I hardly bought anything and when I totalled up everything including some freebies that I acquired, I didn't really have much to declare. However I was almost over my limit as I became a mule to bring a few things back for the others. I don't think that is allowed, but who will know - except all of you!

As we approached the border, we made sure we knew what we were going to say and that we had our totals and receipts handy. They barely asked us any questions at the border. They asked the total spend, but didn't even ask what we had bought. It was the most boring border crossing ever!!! That's a good thing.

I often think it would be fun to listen in on those conversations that happen in each car as you approach the border. It's like after a crime or other incident and everyone is trying to get the same story. The thing was that we had NOTHING to worry about. We did not go over our spending limits and we weren't bringing anything back that wasn't allowed. There was ZERO need to be worried.

The girls were beyond themselves when I got home. Holy - what a welcome.

I did a bit of sewing in the afternoon. I should have done more, but I was tired. I tried to read, but ended up having a snooze. That was great - if I had of snoozed in bed, I probably wouldn't have gotten up. But the chair is comfortable for a limited amount of time.

I checked that book that I had found in the bookstore and YES - it was on my missing book list. I'm impressed that my memory could remember the book name and author and that it popped into my head at the used book store. Other times, I can barely remember my name! I decided it was time to rejig my reading lists. I got the updated list printed off and checked against my books on the shelf. All is good. Let's just say that I do NOT need to buy any more books for a long, long time. The ones that I don't have in my possession are at the library except about 6 or 7????  It's all documented and I feel happy.

The last thing to do is to generate the small number of the missing books into a list on my phone so that it's there for future used book store visits. Some are novellas which are probably best purchased from Amazon. I hate when they have these .5 books between major books. Why do they do that? And then they are not readily found. I know - I'm obsessed. I have to read a book series in order, including those novellas. I've got a disease. I'm OK with that - there are worse afflictions I could have.

Thanks to everyone who loaned me books or gave me books that were on my missing book list. And some that were missing before have showed up on the electronic library database. Actually, there are a couple of databases and thanks to Elaine, my library friend, for letting me know about that.

Yes - as I look around the computer, I'd better not go to Monday sewing. I have samples to make, paperwork to do, a computer to deal with, and the insurance company. I'll stay toasty and warm.

On our way home, we had to stop at one of the big service centers to drop Shelly off. There was a Tim's so we popped in to have a tea. I bought my usual and went back to the car. When I went to drink it about 15 minutes later and we were already on the road, I realized that it was a coffee. GRRRR!  So I took it to my local Tim's (still full of coffee) and asked them for a tea. They obliged. The woman seemed a bit taken aback. I said, "I don't want a new Roll up the Rim - just give me the old cup once you dump out the coffee." She did. I checked the cup that had held the coffee and won a coffee. That makes one win out of two cups. Those are the best odds I've ever had at Roll Up the Rim.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a great day and stay warm and dry. The wind is crazy out there. Last night, I could hear the nails squeaking in the walls of the house. No - I'm NOT kidding. It was very weird.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Travel Day

Oh great. Laptop and iPad locked in the car. Keys are in the other hotel room. It was too cold and windy and wet last night to dig the backpack from the van.
Waiting for the others to get up so we can be back on the road. Great travel day. Loads of laughs. Hard to believe but running out of the things to say.
No. I think we are all tired and anxious to get home.
We're currently in Erie,  PA. Can't wait to get home.
Wow, blogging from this tiny screen (my phone) is not so bad. Lots of autofill words make it fairly painless.
Have a great day.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Quiltcon Day Two

I'm up before 6 AM to get the blog out of the way as we're leaving this morning. Big storms coming this way but then the weather hasn't been great the entire time we've been here and not sure what to expect on the way home. It was our plan to leave this morning so the weather isn't the cause for the early departure.

ACK -- I could use one more day here! I know that we changed things around because the accommodations were very expensive tonight. I know that my travel companions have had their fill of Quiltcon, but I really could use an extra day.

This is my first time to a big show in a while where I'm not working in a booth. When you're in a booth, you can escape for a few minutes here and there and take the show in little bits. But when you're only here for the show - well, it can be overwhelming. I took lots of breaks and did small things in between and hence, I didn't get to see the entire show.

I saw most of it so I'm not going to complain and I did get around to all of the vendors. I shall not be having any issues getting across the border with my limit of goods and there might be an item or two from someone else that slips in my bag. Just to balance the stuff out so to speak.

There are some amazing quilts in the show. And there are some powerful quilts in the show from the messages that they portray. I took a lot of pictures on my phone and at one point, I realized that I was taking only pictures of things I liked. What I need to be doing is to take pictures of stuff that I don't like. It's pretty clear what I like. Clean lines, bold graphics, bright colors. Over and over again, I caught myself taking pictures of those quilts. Don't get me wrong, I like others as well, but these were my favorite. Why would I take pictures of stuff I don't like? Well, just as a confirmation and to try and break out of the mold every once in a while.

I didn't take any classes at all and I didn't take any lectures yesterday. I did sit in on a couple of free demos and I did get a wee bit from one of them. I hate to say that I'm at the level of those that are teaching the demos and while there are always new things to learn, I didn't pick the ones where I'd learn something totally new. I'm OK with that. To say that in a different way - they are teaching to a different level than I am.

I wanted this to be a learning experience for myself. No - an opportunity to re-evaluate what I want to do when I grow up. I made some decisions - nothing drastic so don't worry. But I mainly want MORE time to explore the things that I really want to do. Make the kind of quilts that I've had in the back of my mind for quite some time. Things that will allow me to experiment and get messy and just see where it goes. I see so many people doing that and I don't have time. I want to make time for that.

There were a couple of cool things that happened yesterday. One, I got a hug from Victoria Findlay Wolfe. She's my all time favorite designer. Why? I don't even have any of her fabric. What I love about her is the freedom to play and have fun with her quilting. That's very important to me. Her discipline is amazing. And I got a ruler to make her curved braid quilt. I want to have some fun with that when I get home. And I want to live in her loft in New York!

Second cool thing - the Canadians once again met on a staircase and belted out Oh Canada as loud as we could. I haven't seen the video yet, but it was loads of fun and gosh - you can't help but feel proud when you're standing there with your fellow countrymen (quilters) and singing your National Anthem in a foreign country.

The third cool thing that happened was meeting up with my swap partner. I'm not good with swaps as I struggle to meet the deadline. However, I decided to do the mini swap for Quiltcon. I was paired up with Katherine from North Carolina. I'm so excited about the quilt that I made for her - I didn't really get a good picture of it. But I'll post when I'm home. And I got the cutest quilt from her with orange and bicycles on it. I'm so happy that I decided to do the mini swap. It was loads of fun.

Katherine is very young and owns a quilt shop in the mountains of North Carolina. Very cool swap. The official swap is tonight, but we're both leaving today so we swapped in the hallway.

I got to meet up with some of my friends from SVP. Remember, I was here just a month ago at the HQs. They have machines in some of the classrooms so that was nice to have another visit with them.

Also got to meet up with Carol who drove up from Florida. She has a quilt in Quiltcon so that was very exciting for her to see the quilt in person. Not only that, but she has a quilt in the Cherrywood challenge show. I want to know what her hat trick is going to be?????

After the show closed, Carol came back to the house where she and I had dinner and basically caught up as we haven't had a chance to really chat for quite a while. The others went out to dinner. I've no idea why when the fridge is still crammed with food. I guess people overestimated how much they needed for four days! I was very good and didn't eat out once while I was here.

I think everyone will be up early this morning. Some have to get off to the airport for their noon flight. Actually, I think all four of them are on the same flight! We won't get home until noonish tomorrow hoping that the roads are clear all the way home.

I should tell you the story of the Ruby rotary cutter. Olfa put that out in honor of the 40th anniversary. I think only two of us are going home without one. I contemplated buying one and decided that I did NOT need to spend $20 on something that I do not need. And Olfa has a LIFETIME guarantee on their rotary cutters. So technically, you buy one and they will keep replacing it if it fails. And yes - they replaced two of their items for me!!!

All in all, it's been a load of fun. I have to say that the road trip is a great idea. Yes, the plane is faster, but the road trip has been great. I really wish I could have ONE MORE day. In the future, I'll plan for three days. That way, I have a wee bit more time to check out the quilts, vendors, lectures, demos, etc. But I'm not complaining.

On that note, I'm out of here. Got to finish packing up and then we're gone.

Have a great day!!!


Friday, February 22, 2019

QUILTcon 2019 = Day Two

OH MY GOD -- I completely forgot about blogging this morning. How silly is that??

This is going to be short because it's almost time to get ready to go to the show again.

I spent most of the day checking out the vendors and chatting to people. I walked through some of the modern quilts but didn't really look at them. Today is our last day so I need to see whatever I want to see today. Quilts and a few last vendor stops are on the list for today.

I didn't buy much. I don't need much. No, let me rephrase that - I don't need anything. I bought two FQs that I'll use for one of the monthly quilts that I'm working on. I bought a pattern that I had been looking for for a while. And I bought two magazines that I can't get back home. I think that was it!!! I was very good. There is a thing or two that I want to pick up today, but all in all, I doubt that I'll spend much. And that's all a good thing.

I did get a bit of free stuff though. Fabric samples from various fabric companies. I made an eye mask at Cotton + Steel. Got fabric from Ruby Star to make a little drawstring bag. And a few other small things.

I took my lunch with me and it was great to have healthy snacks to eat and not worry about lining up for food or coughing up money for unhealthy choices.

So much to see, so little time. I sat in on a free demo and I paid to go to one lecture. While the lecture was interesting, I didn't think it was worth my time. CRAP - that happened last time as well. You would think that I would learn. I hope to make it to one more lecture today - I'll see how the day goes.

I walked to and from the convention center. Got to keep my steps up!!! There was a wee bit of rain on my way home, but not bad. We had dinner at the house and then Tish and I were off to meet the rest of the crazy Canadians who attended Quiltcon. There were a fair number of us from across the country and that was fun to meet the others.

Met up with Carol who had driven up from Florida. She gave us a lift back to the house and then it was off to bed where I had the best sleep ever. I never heard the others go to the washroom, never heard them go to bed. I was tired!

When we got back to the house after the day, we all sat around and shared what we had purchased in the day. Shelly and I bought the least. Linda bought the most. It was obscene, but I'm not going there because, at my first big show, I went crazy. That was 20 years ago!!!

Anything new at the show? Not really. A lot of the same old stuff. New fabric, but seriously how much fabric and patterns does one need? Not me. I'll share more about that when I get home. The most exciting thing? Olfa has introduced a red rotary cutter to celebrate 40 years. They were giving them away free to certain people. Guess who got one? Yep - that would be Ronda and Laura. Hmmm - maybe I can spirit one away on the way home.

Well, that's it for today.

Have a great day.


Thursday, February 21, 2019

Nashville - Day One

What a great day!!!  Hard to not be a great day when you're away with friends.

The house isn't the best designed for 8 people to sleep in total comfort, but the price is right compared to what some of the others are paying at hotels in the downtown core. I'll go with cheap any day, although I did have trouble getting to sleep last night. Jan arrived yesterday and is sleeping on the day bed in the second-floor loft. When I couldn't sleep, I turned the light on in my room and shoved a quilt under the door so the light wouldn't leak out!

I got a bit of sewing done in the morning and making good progress. Not sure that I have enough fabric with me, but whatever I get done here is less than I have to do when I get home. All is good! I'm very happy with the progress.

We spent some time in the morning trying to figure out exactly what we would do for the day. Some went to the mall to get Lego and Pandora charms, some went to the Grand Old Opry, some went to the Frist Art Museum and other places. I decided to strike off on my own. I wanted to get some walking in and I have zero desire to go to a mall.

It was raining a bit when I left so an umbrella and rain boots were in order. It really isn't that far to downtown from the house but you have to go in a bizarre way. Through the back alley, then I had to walk along the grass beside a one-way street (almost an off-ramp from the highway) into the area where we are and then I'm on the main street. It's that close. Cross over the highway and then the railroad tracks and voila - right downtown.

It's about a 17-minute walk for me. I walk fast and I was happy as a clam. Never mind the lady who didn't see me in the crosswalk even though I had the right of way. Let's just say that she scared the crap out of herself when she saw me as she started to drive. I'm wearing my bright orange jacket so it's not like I'm not visible. Oh well.

I started the day off at the Frist Art Museum. I met up with Linda and Tish although they took a cab to get there. There were two entrances and of course, I went to the second one which was locked. I waited under the awnings for the museum to open and was perfectly happy there. Only to be rescued by a security guard. The other door was open, but I wasn't walking back. It wasn't raining hard so I could have done that.

The museum was great. Mostly paintings. I remember years ago, my ex MIL was really into art and almost every painting in their house was a dark portrait of someone. Well, there were some of those in the galleries. Paintings of horses, dogs, and other things. It wasn't that bad and I did pick up some ideas.

Where we had fun was in the kids' section upstairs. The artwork by the school kids was a hoot and I picked up some great inspirations there. Then I found Tish in the maker section and we did a print onto paper. That was fun. Her little sheep looked awesome. My geometrics were also great.

As I was strolling through the pictures, I realize that I'm attracted to graphic design. The bolder the better.

Met up with Linda in the gift shop where we had a good laugh over the Bob Ross self-painting mugs, the Bob Ross finger puppets and other various Bob Ross items. Ever since Cherrywood announced their theme of Bob Ross, he seems to be everywhere.

Back to the house for lunch. The others were back from their mall expedition and we had lunch together. I did a wee bit more sewing and then figured out what to do in the afternoon. Hey - there's a used bookstore not far so I was off to that. OH MY GOD - it was totally crazy. The stacks of books, the narrow aisles, I couldn't find a thing. But eventually, I found the novel section. Of course, I didn't have my list with me so I went by memory. I found one that I'm certain I don't have. It was $5. Even if I don't have it, it's not a huge expense.

Then off to the craft section. There were a lot of quilting books. I like the historical ones. There are about three or four books about American quilts that seem to be in every bookstore around. Now, why is that? Anyway, I did find a book on Kentucky quilts and that got tucked into my bag.

Next up was to find the Downtown Antique Market. Holy cow - the building looked like it was going to fall down. It was a crazy place and all kinds of little booths within the building. There were a few leaks because of the rain. I mean - it was in seriously bad shape. I saw a fair amount of quilts but after some investigation, all of them had significant wear and I didn't think they were worth the price that was being asked.

Near the cash, I saw a couple of trays filled with old photographs - black and whites from the '40s and '50s. There was another tray filled with old postcards. EACH item was selling for between $2 and $7. Holy cow!!!!!   Are you kidding me?  DO NOT throw your old photographs away. I would love to have some old photographs to mess around with. I have some great ideas about what to do with them and I just need the photos. I'd be happy to buy some, but I'm not paying $2 a piece.

I was going to buy one from the antique mall but decided to keep my $2.

It was drizzling by now, but I didn't have far to walk back to the convention center where I was going to register. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a quick peek around the show floor (don't ask) and saw the two charity quilts that I was involved with. Said HI to some of the vendors and a quick peek at some of the quilts.

I had said to my group that registration from 5 PM to 7 PM wasn't going to be long enough. Everyone is enthusiastic and wants to get signed up. The line opened at 4:30 and it didn't me long to get through. But the line just got crazier and crazier and they had to delay the awards ceremony because of that. I knew that - why didn't the organizers know that? That line should have been open from 3 PM onwards.

The others from my group arrived and we got them registered as well. While they were in the registration line, I was in the swag buying line and buying stuff for them. It was a totally crazy experience, but loads of fun to see some of the gang from back home and to see friends from previous years here.

I wanted to see the awards ceremony in person, but like most things, the darn thing was completely sold out. You didn't have to buy a ticket to attend, but you had to register. I was told that if I showed up, I would likely get in because there would be no-shows.

Well - I'm totally disgusted. The awards room was HUGE. I mean HUGE. I and a few others had to wait outside - I'll say there were about 20 of us waiting. Once all the registered people got in which took time because they were stuck in the registration line upstairs, we could go in. The room has about HALF FILLED.  Yes - there were a ton of no-shows. Seriously????  What is wrong with people?  That's very disappointing for the rest of us who would have liked to get in early and get a seat near the front. Not the end of the world, but just frustrating that all these crazy quilters get themselves signed up for stuff just for the sake of getting signed up and have no intention of following through.

The rest of my group went out to dinner to a BBQ place which after I heard their horror story, I'm thrilled that I didn't go.  I had leftover pasta once I arrived back to the house. I felt perfectly safe to walk back after the awards ceremony were over.

All in all, it was a fabulous day. I walked almost 20,000 steps!!! 

Today, the show starts at 10 AM and I plan to be there and probably stay for the day.

On that note, I'm off to sew. Most everyone is up now.

Have a super day!!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Travel Day - Day Two

I have to say that we survived the cold night in the hotel room. About 4 AM, I took off my sweatshirt! Although there was a breakfast bar in the hotel, it wasn't really adequately stocked. Waffle mix and the cooker, cereal, with no milk. There was coffee and orange juice of which I didn't have any.  Needless to say we passed on the breakfast. I almost broke down and ate one of the packaged danishes, but I was not allowed.

It was my turn to drive so I grabbed one of my protein bars from my snack bag and I was good. This was the final leg of the journey. Nashville here we come.

We agreed that we would stop at a Denny's and a few searches revealed that one was not that far away. However, we had to turn off to a different highway and Denny's was in the opposite direction. Not going back. Then we started to see signs for Crackerbarrel. Two of us had never been so that become the new destination. Finally, after two hours on the road, we stopped for breakfast. Don't ask.

Surprisingly, they had a yummy bowl of steel cut oats on the menu with a bit of fruit and nuts. It was perfect. Then we were back on the road. I think we were about two hours out at this point. Thank goodness for the bag of snacks, because I wouldn't have survived without eating something. I need to eat.

The roads were dry and it was a pretty uneventful trip. Except that I have very rude traveling companions. I saw lots of stuff along the road and wanted my travel buddies to answer my questions - like what chemical (2587 or whatever the number was) is in that truck? and they wouldn't find out for me. So I started to ask Alexa! Of course, we have no Alexa in the car, but don't you think that would be a good place to have Alexa? I was politely told that we have Suri and Google, but no one had them working in the car.

So hard to find good travel mates!  We did see a few barn quilts along the way. No one bothered to take pictures. Good grief - I can't drive and take pictures!

At last, we were in Nashville. We were early to check in at our house which we rented through Air BnB. We found the house just so that we knew where we were and then popped off to the grocery store since we plan to mostly eat in. Not just to save money, but to eat healthier. It was quite the experience. I think many of us bought the same things but the kind that we like. Each of us bought yogurt! Seven different brands I believe!  I found the only one with the reduced sugar.

A lot of carrots, celery and fruit were on the menus. It was a wee bit of a challenge to get it all in the house and into the fridge when we arrived. There's not really a pantry in the house.

We arrived at the house to discover that there was a 1204A and a 1204B. Oh, shoot - which one is the one we have rented? The note just said 1204. AHA - one of them is for sale - we doubt that that one is the one we've rented. We tried the code on the door lock and yes - we were in!! When I checked back on the very first confirmation, it did say 1204A.

Of course, we had to check the place out and secure our sleeping places. It's a bit weird for 8 people to sleep, but for a couple of nights, it'll have to do. For the first time in all the time of renting houses or going to retreats, I secured one of the rooms (there are only three bedrooms) where I'll be alone. Of course, it's right by the bathroom and yep - everyone had to get up at least once during the night. I'll survive.

The house is very modern and modular and on three levels. It's a bit weird. Not sure that I could live here, but for a temporary stay - it's not bad. We are about 1.4 Miles from the convention center so I don't mind to walk, but I'm not sure that the rest of them will walk. If I don't, my Fitbit is going to go crazy. Of course, the weather forecast isn't great - lots of rain.

Matter of fact, we had huge thunder last night and this morning there's been lightning and thunder. It's supposed to rain a lot today then I think it gets better over the next couple of days. Oh well - I have rain boots and three umbrellas. I think I'm going to be OK.

About an hour later, two more of our group (Susan and Tish) who had flown in arrived. And one more (Linda) who had arrived the day before and staying in a hotel for one night arrived. Just missing one more person who will arrive today.

We had pasta for dinner last night. It was easy to cook and then no one needed to do their own thing after traveling. Ronda very graciously drove the others to the grocery store so they could also stock up.

There are no official Quiltcon activities today. Well, there is the awards ceremony which is totally sold out. Now, how the heck did that happen? It's never happened before. The awards ceremony was always sketchily attended. Oh well.

I brought my sewing machine - forgot the extension table at home and I couldn't find the toolbox. But no worries. When one has a deadline, one must do what they need to do and that is to sew!!! The two days of drying stuff put a damper on my getting this project complete. I did bring an iron as well and a small ironing pad, but there are irons and ironing boards here in this massive closet in my room. So I'm sewing in the open kitchen and running up the stairs to iron. I love it!!!!

One thing I love about the house is the concrete floors on the main floor. For some reason and I don't know why - I want concrete floors and exposed brick walls. I love them. Of course, the concrete is polished so it's smooth. Yes - I realize that it can be cold. That's why you would put radiant heat in that floor. My brother has radiant heating in the shop where he works in and you can control the heat in zones. I love it!!!  Yes - I know concrete can be hard on the feet - that's why I would wear shoes all the time.

How the heck can you damage a concrete floor? That's why I want one for the sewing room, but it's not going to happen. Oh to win the lottery and then - well - that's a pipe dream. I noticed that the power ball lottery here is 282 million. That's totally insane!!!

I see some people are up, but I bet they could still hear my sewing machine if I started it up so I'm going to wait a bit before I do that.

We were going to take the Hop on Hop off bus today, but with the crummy weather, that's probably not the best idea. I'm going to check out what to do in Nashville and find something fun that's indoors.

On that note, it's time to get the day rolling.

Have a super day!!!!


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Travel Day - day one

So we're on our way to Quiltcon which is in Tennesee. Eight of us have rented a house near the convention center - four of us decided to drive. The other four are flying down at various times.

At the designated time of 8:30 we were leaving my house. Ronda driving, Laura as navigator and Shelly and myself just hanging out in the back seat.

The unfortunate thing is that we had a wee bit of snow the night before and I did get part of the driveway shoveled, and it was snowing as we drove. But the roads were good so it wasn't an issue. We did have snow for about half of the drive - well until we hit somewhere in mid-Ohio.

How did the chatty Cathy's make out at the border crossing? They did pretty well, but the border guard was chatty herself and knew a thing or two about quilts. The moment she knew we were going to a quilt show, she wanted to know if we had supplies. Well, not exactly since I have a fully stocked sewing room in the car complete with a sewing machine. But she didn't need to know that. Were we going to be selling quilts? Definitely NOT even though we had quilts in the car.

All in all, it was pretty uneventful and we were on our way. We had done a pit stop at the duty-free which is just before the border. I think we each got a Tim's where no one won anything on their cups. Or if they did, no one said anything.

The drive was pretty uneventful which was disappointing considered that Ronda has a new toy in her car - a dash cam. Thankfully there were no incidents of crazy driving to report. That was a good thing.

We stopped for lunch at Wendy's. Good grief - I can't even remember which town that was in. Oh - I think that was Erie, PA. They have a new salad called The Harvest which was pretty decent. Topped the tank up with gas to be most efficient with our time. Switched drivers so Laura was now driving and Ronda was navigating and we were off.

Now navigating isn't really that challenging of a job since you just have to follow the GPS on Ronda's phone. I believe we're using Google Maps. No issues. Very little construction on the road. Another bonus. And of course - big highways all the way. Loads of truck traffic though.

Our next stop was the Joann's in Columbus, Ohio. I had read about this store a while back. It's a new concept that they are trying. With a Maker Space in the middle of the store. Oh my - it looked inviting. I could fill that will sewists any day. They also had a mid arm that you could rent and other neat tools to have fun with. A Cricut, some kind of 3-D printer thing - I'm not sure. The maker space was empty when we were there.

Then they have people who will fix your garments for you. A multi-needle embroidery machine and a whole lot more stuff. It was all done in white and lime green. Very cool. Of course, it has the usual stuff you would find at Joann's. I was very good. I did have a bolt of fabric in my hand that had bicycles on it and then decided that I didn't need more fabric with bicycles and put the bolt back.

I found something that I thought I would like - a set of Inktense blocks. These are similar to the Inktense pencils, but like charcoal sketching blocks to help cover larger areas. The set was $35. I thought I could manage that price. Then I remembered Joann's coupons. Oh my - I found a 60% off coupon so I paid $16 in total for the Inktense set of 12 blocks.  Score!!!!!

We switched drivers again, so Laura and I were in the back, Shelly driving and Ronda navigating. And then we were off on the road towards Cincinnati. That was about 2 more hours away. We were about 24 miles from the city but had to stop for gas. We were going to stop there for the night but decided it was best to get through Cincinnati at night and avoid the morning traffic. We planned to stop just on the outskirts. Well - obviously our geography of the US isn't that great because we crossed the bridge (Ohio River) only to find ourselves in Kentucky. We had to drive a wee bit further in order to find a hotel.

All these cities have HUGE baseball stadiums and right beside them - HUGE football stadiums. It's crazy.

So now we're in Kentucky. The next state is Tennessee. We saw a lone Motel 8 off to the side of the road with a few restaurants around. Let's just say that the entrance to the Motel 8 isn't exactly in a convenient spot. After locating the entrance, we made it to the office where it must have taken 15 minutes to get checked in. Not too fast around here!! I think we interrupted her watching the Baking competition on TV.

Then a late dinner. Not thrilled with the late dinner, but couldn't be helped. Oh, I have my little bag of illegal (crossing the border) snacks, that no one needed to know the details of when we crossed. Nothing huge, but there were almonds and apples in that bag. However, the crossing guard did NOT ask if we had any of that stuff so technically we never lied.

Back to the hotel where upon entering our rooms for the first time, we discovered that the heat was turned OFF. The rooms were like ice boxes as it was minus 2 outside. Good grief!!!! 

I jumped into bed with all my clothes on - I was frozen. And Shelly has short pants for PJs. I'm not sure how she survived. Well, it's morning now and finally toasty warm, but I sure could have used those quilts in the car.

Speaking of those quilts, technically one of them is no longer a quilt. I took the one that was hand quilted - the green/cream one and I ripped it apart. No - I removed the basting and all the hand quilting from the quilt. The person used percale sheeting and those stitches were teeny tiny. It took hours. See - I'm busy even in a car with nothing else to do!!!  It was a good task to do in the car. I'd have been bored out of my mind otherwise. Well, we did entertain ourselves with stories for a good part of the way and a phone call from Carol helped to pass more time.

I picked some of the threads out - but that will have to wait. I think it's going to be my turn to drive this morning since I didn't drive yesterday.

It's almost time to hit the road again. We're supposed to be encountering rain today and it's supposed to be quite wet while we're here. No worries - we have about 5 umbrellas in the car and two of us at least have rain boots.

Only one detour yesterday and that was because someone wasn't following the GPS. No worries - it didn't add any time to the trip. I think we just went left around a city instead of right.

On that note, I'm out of here.

Have a super day!!!!


Monday, February 18, 2019

The missing keys

The day is a bit topsy turvy. I'm getting ready for a road trip so while I'll be blogging, there won't be too many pictures if any. Can you imagine I'm going to spend the next 14 hours (over two days) with three other people in a car? It's actually going to be pretty exciting - we all get along pretty well (I think) and I would hope that we're all mature enough to deal with each other. If not - I have an audiobook and quilts to rip apart.

Of course, I'm with the chatty Cathy's so I'll be coaching them before we get to the border. Where are you going? Nashville. Why? Quilt show.  That's all they need to say - Oh - yes - we're Canadian!

Let me go back a couple of days to the locked door. So there are three rooms in the basement that have locks on the door. In hindsight, I should not have installed locks on those doors, but I did so and we're going to live with it. I'm pretty sure there are three, although I seem to have only two sets of keys.

Remember how that door was locked to that little closet? Well, I knew the keys were in an orange bowl. As I was sitting at the computer, which used to be in the basement, I remembered that the orange bowl sat on the computer desk. In a state of trying to hide things, I put the orange bowl in a box which sits right on the computer desk. Those darn keys were right beside me all that time. I didn't really spend any time searching for them. I went to the place where my memory told me they were and voila - orange bowl with keys.

Orange bowl with keys stashed beside the computer
Yep - a quick peek inside and there were the two sets of keys. Fortunately one of them worked on the locked door.

Two sets of keys

Getting access to the room meant that I could search for the white bag with the partially completed doll so I could find my stuffing tools. Found the white bag - right there on the shelf.

White bag on the shelf

Inside the bag, I did not find official stuffing tools. What I did find were the tools that I used to stuff things, but not an official stuffing fork. When I took the class on doll making, we were recommended to use metal tubes (much cheaper). And I found three of them in various sizes. Perfect!!!  I've stuffed some very tiny things with these tubes.

Makeshift stuffing forks

 Actually, I remember these things working very well. I bought them at a railroad hobby store.

What surprises me is how our memories work. How cool is it that I knew exactly where those tubes were and exactly where the bag was. It blows my mind that our brains can file away and then retrieve those little details.

If you don't know what a stuffing fork is - here's a link to one. Now that I look at the picture, I'm certain I have one of these as well. But where????

I need to start collecting tools and putting them in the toolbox, NOT with a project. That's one mistake that I made as I organized stuff or as I put projects away. It's going to be hard to correct that since my brain is going to go back to the first spot that I remembered putting the tools.

Thanks to Shelly, I have a couple of new license plates to add to my collection. And look at those wee plates - are they not just the cutest????

Row by row license plates

Thanks, Shelly - I must get myself organized and find something to do with the rest of my plates. At one point, I will opt out of teaching and start to ONLY work on things for me. I just love teaching so much that I don't want to stop, yet...........  But I spend a lot of time prepping (did you know that we don't get compensated for all that time spent prepping, writing e-mails, writing instructions, etc.?) Oh yes, that's one of the fun perks in this quilting world. You get paid, but only for a finished product or hours in the classroom. It's a glamorous job - NOT!!   But I wouldn't trade it for the world!!!

On that note, I still have a label to make for my mini quilt that's going to Quiltcon.

Have a super day!!!!


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Back to normal - well a wee bit

It's hard to say that things are back to normal when you know the biggest task is still ahead. Dealing with the insurance company and getting the floor replaced.

But the good news is that all the fabric is dry! The patterns are dry. Other than a handful of free patterns picked up from fabric companies years ago and a few free download patterns everything was saved. Call me crazy - but hey - I still like all the stuff that was in that storage area. Except for the stuff that I tossed.

I learned something yesterday though - DH has ZERO clue what's down there.  He says "if you're working on stuff, how come it's in the storage room?" Well, if he had any sense about him, all he had to do was look at the rest of the room and what's under the long arm and go - "Oh - I see you have a lot of stuff." We just won't go there, but let's just hope that he goes first because if I go first - well, most of my stuff will end up in a dumpster.

I think out of all the stuff - there was just one bad stain on a piece of fabric. I threw the fabric in the washer and it came out pretty decent. There might be a stain if you look really close, but no one will know. My llama fabric is saved.

The llama fabric is saved!

I laid out the rest of the blocks for this quilt so they could dry. Remember those blocks with the triangles and half square triangles. Well - I really didn't feel like doing much yesterday and I seem drawn to this thing after how many years of it sitting???  And this is what I got done yesterday.

My salvaged scrap quilt

While we made it as part of a workshop with Sharyn Craig (years ago), the pattern is actually called Corn and Beans. It's been on my list of quilts to sew forever. I love it. And now it's being made. Not that I have time - well, I do - it's just a matter of shifting a couple of focuses.

However, I've no idea what I was thinking when I cut the blocks. There are a LOT of blocks. This is one stack that is waiting to be sewn.

Blocks waiting to be sewn

And I would say there's another stack about half that height by the sewing machine.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day. I decided to get myself organized and whipped a sewing machine up to M's old room. That table is a wee bit high for the chair that I had. No worries - I'll make a better space today. But oh my - what a joy to sew in the daylight. This was heaven.

My new sunny day sewing station

Yes - that pink is pretty intense, but I just ignore it. Listening to a new audiobook. John Grisham - Gray Mountain. Kind of weird because while it follows his lawyer genre, there's no murder crime involved. Doesn't matter - I'm enjoying it anyway.

And while I was upstairs I got to peek out the window from time to time and see what was happening in the neighborhood.

I also managed to chip almost all the ice from the driveway. What a relief that is. It was totally insane. At one point, I moved the cars into the street so the sun had maximum power on all the ice and before you knew it - I was able to break it up and move it off the driveway. A job well done and I felt much better at the end of the day.

I thought I would share this photo with you because I know you'll understand. This is a laundry basket of green fabric scraps. I had pulled them for the 365 Day Challenge quilt from a couple of years ago. I have some of the blocks made, but a long ways to go.

A laundry basket of green scraps

The fabrics got wet - not soaking wet like the other basket of scraps, but wet enough that it had to be dried. I popped it into the dryer and it came out all fluffy and taking up way more space than before. It was sitting in the hallway. DH asks me "why do you have that basket of rags? What can you make with that? Why are you keeping that?" Needless to say, I didn't even bother with a response. What's the point?

Both of those quilts are dry so I'll pack them up today along with a good seam ripper and now I'll have something to do on the road trip when it's not my turn to drive. Yeah - that's a super great idea. I'm so clever! Not really - just every so often an idea comes to me. And the timing is right.

We were supposed to have a sit n sew today. I rescheduled it. There's no way, I can even think of dealing with the issue downstairs. The insurance will be in touch this coming week and then we'll see what needs to happen next.

I see that Lexi and Murphy were taking advantage of the mess and they seem to be enjoying themselves.

Thanks to Barbara who passed along this link about bleeding quilts. Check it out. I might still try and rescue a few more things - remove stains, but for the moment, I'm good.

Thanks to Pat who identified the name of that plastic tubing. The set up is called a Trap Seal Primer Tube. In case you're interested - you can read all about it here.  My suggestion to you is that if you have one, PLEASE PLEASE check the condition of the situation. I strongly believe that the tap had been failing for a while and no one knew because the water went down this tubing. The weight of the water constantly in that tubing caused it to fail. As mentioned, those taps weren't that old.

The other thing - if you have rubber hoses to your washing machine - CHANGE THEM. They are a flood waiting to happen.

On that note, I've got work lined up for today. Hopefully, the sun will be out and I'll work upstairs. It was nice and everything is cut on those blocks, so I didn't bother taking a cutting mat with me.

Have a super day!!!!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

The aftermath

Please forgive me beforehand if I sound like I'm whining! I know this is totally a first world problem. And I know that I have too much stuff.

To be honest, the thought has crossed my mind to just toss all this quilting stuff and be done with it. Borrow books from the library and own nothing. Life would be so much simpler!

Don't you feel like that some days? That you just want to run away from home and never come back? That we could live in a log cabin somewhere and not deal with life? Although I suppose I'd be chopping wood for the fire so you can't really run away completely. Back to basics and simplicity.

Anyway - I survived yesterday. It was a hellish day and many times, I just stood there looking at the mess.

The plumber arrived and was able to fix the problem in a fairly short time. For some reason, there is (was)  a - oh shoot - I can't for the life of me remember what he called it. I think it was some kind of a vent from the laundry room. For whatever reason, it was installed to prevent sewer smell from coming back into the house. Sounds totally sketchy to me. Anyway, there was a small copper tube that ran from the water pipes feeding the tap in the laundry room. That small copper tube went into the storage room with the unfinished ceiling in the basement. After about 4 feet of copper tubing, the tubing was changed to plastic and somehow that plastic was then forwarded to a drain? Where the drain is - no idea!

That plastic tubing became brittle and snapped clean in half. It would appear that the taps in the laundry room (not old) had a problem with the seal and weren't holding water. So of course, it flowed back down this vent and into the storage room. Had a pretty nice little flow to it as well. My guess is that the taps went first, but we didn't notice because the water flowed down this tube. Then the tube got brittle and snapped.

Needless to say - that tubing is totally gone! The copper tubing, the plastic tubing. The plumber didn't think we needed it since we had no idea where the drain was. The cleaning lady had been here on Thursday and used that sink, so I'm guessing that whatever happened, happened while she was here. Not her fault - just for timing perspective.

The plumber looked at the rubber hoses and old fashioned valves (the kind you rotate that little wheel) that feed the washing machine. He suggested that we change those as well as they are a major cause of floods in the laundry room. That got done as well and we now have new galvanized steel hoses and new little valves.

Ah - the joys of owning a house.

Meanwhile, I was trying to make sense of the mess. I got out my drying rack to dry fabric that I didn't want to put in the dryer.

The drying rack getting good use

While the IKEA bags did save a lot of fabric from getting wet, there were a couple bags where the water just poured into them and it stayed there. Some of the fabric was as wet as if I had been washing it - NO it was completely saturated and dripping wet. I mean SOAKING WET.

In one of the IKEA bags, I found a whole bolt of fabric. Why? I don't remember what this was for. Actually, I think I know what it's for, but not certain. I think there's one stain on it. I just threw it in the dryer - it wasn't super wet. It's now dry.

An entire bolt of fabric - a wet bolt of fabric

One of the biggest messes was a cardboard box that was filled with patterns. Many of the patterns were freebies from fabric companies. Some photocopied patterns that someone had given me that I didn't really want, and a few more things. Let's just say that anything paper just soaked up the water like a sponge.

I had to laugh when I came to this pattern. It was a mystery quilt from a fabric company. Years ago! I desperately wanted this pattern and for some reason, I wasn't able to download all the bits. So I got someone else to send it to me. I paid good money to have her print that and send it to me. Now it sits in my recycling bin. It wasn't that great of a pattern. But I NEEDED to have it. Oh - if only someone had sat me down and explained this disease we call quilting and hoarding. Not sure I would have heeded them, but I sure wish I had learned then, what I know now.

Pattern that bit the dust

What did distress me in that box of patterns was FOUR of my Lunchbox embroidery patterns. They were in plastic sleeves, but not watertight. They got wet. Really wet.

Lunchbox patterns got wet
The files are on a CD so hopefully, they'll still work. I might amble down to the library today and transfer them to a USB. Notice how wet the pages are? The water had seeped more than halfway up the pages.  Funny because I was thinking of these patterns the other day and wondering where the heck they were. Now I know!

Lunchbox patterns got totally soaked

This poor magazine that was sitting on a tub and well - it's also in the recycling. It was dripping water when I picked it up. Must have been a good knitting pattern in there, but well - I'm sure I'll find another pattern.

Magazine - soaking wet

So there were basically four things that I had to deal with in the mess. That box of patterns. I did get through it all. I had pieces of paper drying all over the house. I had fabric yardage which I hung on the drying rack and then went in the dryer to make sure it was totally dry. I had projects which were in plastic bags, but not necessarily sealed. That was the worse. And the fourth thing was scraps.

Let's have a look at the projects. There were two that were in really bad shape. They were wet through and through. This is a quilt that I started years ago. I mean MANY years ago. All the pieces are cut. There was a LOT of work that went into that quilt so far and I wasn't about to throw it out.

So I started to lay out all the pieces on every surface that I could find. That wasn't going to be affected by wet which basically meant the kitchen counter. Thank goodness we keep those counters pretty clear.

A partially pieced block
Some of the colors ran in these blocks. I'm leaving them the way they are. It's a scrap quilt. Who cares if some of the colors run? I don't. And now it's got a story.

This project has gone to retreat with me on several occasions and always come back with nothing further done on it. Well - it's time to get that thing done!!!

Laying out the block pieces
Did I mention that each block set had four large triangles, eight half square triangles and 12 little triangles? Oh yes - that was a joy to lay out all those pieces and I think there's still a wee bit more to do this morning.

Laying out the block pieces to dry
Then I had to deal with this bag of scraps. They were sitting in a cloth bag and it was totally soaked. I mean, I wrang water out of the bag once I had emptied it.

A soaked bag of scraps
I know - most of you would have thrown that mess away. It was saturated. But I didn't. I threw a third of it in the dryer to see what would happen. I expected a huge tangled mess, but it really wasn't bad at all. So I put the rest in and now I have a nice big laundry basket full of scraps ready to be made into a string pieced quilt. I'm thinking that everyone who comes to a Sit n Sew day should make ONE string pieced block. That would help to clear up this mess.

Scraps - totally saturated
This was a casuality. My nice llama fabric that I bought for the backing of a quilt and there's this purple stain through the quilt. I'm washing that fabric as we speak to see if it'll come out. I doubt it.

A huge purple stain throughout the entire five yards

There were two things that caused the majority of staining. There was a purple POLYESTER T-shirt that I was going to use to make a T-shirt quilt. That dye ran like crazy. That shirt is still in the kitchen sink. There was also some purple/blue batiks and they were also saturated and let's just say that it was like a waterfall in that room. One thing filled and then it bounced down to the next level and so on!!

I decided to get my butt in gear and at least make two of those blocks from that quilt above. The blocks are pretty and like I said - too much work invested to throw it out. The blocks are fine now that the pieces are dry.

Two blocks made 

I have to say that I didn't use the twirled seams method on the original block (which is saturated in this picture). I like it much better with twirled seams.

Twirled seams make a big difference
Oh - I still have a sink full of small stuff that I threw in with some fabric wash - hoping that some of the stains will come out. Let's see - that's a job for this morning.

This is what the studio looks like this morning. There's stuff everywhere. I just want it to all go away. I had been meaning to go through the Christmas decorations and get rid of most of it. I feel this is a good opportunity, but at the same time, I think it's a wee bit too early to be donating Christmas stuff.

Studio is a bit untidy at the moment
 My biggest fear in all this is that that floor is going to have to be replaced. You can see where the water has started to turn up the edges along the boards. It's only going to get worse. And the water travelled the full width of the floor as it made its way to the drain in the furnace room. Thankfully it was clean woater.

The floor is going to need replacing at some point - sooner rather than later

Here's another shot of the drying process in the kitchen!

Every surface including the stove was called into service
What was funny was how some dyes transferred. I mean - these pieces were totally saturated and stuck to each other. See how the blue in the left block transferred to the orange block?

Dye transferred to the orange block
 And look at this one - totally weird.

More dye transfer
 I'm OK with that - I'm going to leave it for the moment. I just want to get everything dry.

In all of that, there were two quilts. Thank god - I did all those bindings last year because they were in this same laundry basket. This one which is my second quilt ever made. It has been in a laundry basket in that room because I want to take it apart. The blue fabric is polyester. Some of those flower blocks painted with Artex liquid paints are very deterorated and I want to make a new quilt with the still good blocks. Once I stabilize those flower squares. It's been waiting for me to take it apart.

Quilt to be taken apart

And this quilt was also in the laundry basket. It was on the bottom and the water was just pouring into this basket. That quilt is totally saturated. Someone gave it to me. Someone had started to hand quilt it but didn't finish. It's very tightly quilted. My goal is to take it apart and requilt it by machine. Perhaps I can do that in the car on the way to Nashville next week???  Oh yes - I think I could totally do that. As long as it dries before we leave.

Quilt to be taken apart

Currently, both of those quilts are laid out on the kitchen floor.

The saga will continue today. My hands are so dry from touching all the web fabric. They feel awful.

I have stuff that I need to be making. What upsets me the most is the time that I spent to clean that mes up. But I've only myself to blame for having so much. I learned a valuable lesson. If you're going to store stuff - put it in SEALED PLASTIC totes. They really do protect from water damage.

We went out for dinner last night and I'm usually pretty good. I confess - we shared this crazy dessert - my share - almost 500 calories. I didn't care! I needed something.

To top the day off. I got home and received a text to call my brother. That never means good things. Turns out my 85 year old Dad fell when getting out of his truck. Can you tell me why an 85 year old man is wearing cowboy boots in the snow???  He needs his head examined. Needless to say, he's now in the hospital with multiple hairline fractures to his pelvis. Oh, joy!

So far, 2019  (and the end of 2018) have been wonderful. NOT!!!!  It's OK - we can just stop all this silliness now and get down to living a normal, quiet life.

Part of me so wants to take a year off or god forbid - totally retire  - from teaching, from being a part of guilds, from designing and just do my own thing. Just get this mess cleaned up once and for all. Except we all know that won't happen, but I'm being very serious when I say that I'm taking a very hard look at how my time is being spent. I'm feeling very mortal today.

And if all that isn't enough, I could throw my computer to the curb. It's not any better. I think I'm going to bite the bullet and take it to the shop. This is ridiculous and such a waste of time.

On that note, I'd better get back to the drying process and cleaning process.

Have a great day!!!!