Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!!!

For those of you still following along today - Merry Christmas! It's quiet as a mouse in our house today. Just the four of us for Christmas - even the girls are quiet. They are learning!

What blows my mind is that when I opened my e-mail there were e-mails from companies BEGGING me to buy stuff. Here's an online sale, here's a coupon (a gift), need a last-minute gift? We have a gift certificate for you. Can they not give us a break on Christmas Day? Somewhere along the line, this aggressive marketing needs to stop. I did get ONE e-mail from an online fabric store that was simply wishing me a Merry Christmas. Nothing to buy, no links to peruse. Just a Merry Christmas and thanking the readers for supporting them during the year. Now why the heck can't the rest of them do that?

The e-mails are deleted. I'm so thankful that I'm over that "stage" of my life. I had to laugh because shopping madness is something we instill in our children. I was chatting to M the other day and she was off to Chapters. She had set herself a budget - she could buy two magazines, but if she saw a book or two, she might buy that. Oh, dear......  I feel like I'm the one that instilled that behavior in her. However, she happily reported later that day that she didn't buy a thing! I'm so proud of her! Love her to the moon and back. In case you're wondering, she's spending Christmas in Mexico, while poor Bear (her wee dog) is at the dog sitter - totally not acceptable. I think Bear needs to come and live with responsible people, like DH and me.

It's hard - it's very hard, especially in some small independent stores to walk in and then walk back out without buying anything. We feel guilty or are made to feel guilty because we didn't buy anything. WAIT A MINUTE!! If I don't see anything that suits my purpose at that time (or even something that entices me), then I have every right to NOT buy anything. REFUSE to be guilted into buying something you don't like or don't need!

It was an interesting Christmas Eve. DH and I got a wonderful new present, but it took HOURS and HOURS to install. I'm very surprised that they (the gas company) would install something like that on Christmas Eve. The first crew didn't arrive when they said they were supposed to - one guy called in sick - I wonder why. The sales guy was here and said the replacement crew would be here at 10:30. There were bits of ductwork that had to be dropped off, an electrician who had to install a new breaker to accommodate the voltage of the new furnace. They didn't start working until 11 AM. Oh boy - it's going to be a long day.

The long arm had to be moved to make room for them to work. The first line of business was to move all the bags and boxes that reside under the long arm. Thankfully, the scrapbook area was neat and tidy so everything got moved there. Then the long arm got moved.

Nothing under the long arm

While the basement is in pretty good shape, there's still stuff that needs to be sorted through. Like the boxes and bags under the long arm. If the bits could find a home, that would be awesome. That'll be a goal for 2020. But since it's neat and tidy and tucked out of the way, it's not urgent. One bag at a time!

They started by dismantling the old system. This included the air conditioning unit that's outside. Murphy just has to be in the picture! Lots of debris was strewn all over the front yard.

Out with the old

Then it was time to install the new. I snagged a couple of pictures over the course of the day.

Installing the new

Now the furnace it back on its feet.

Installing the new

 And there it is - the new furnace. It's sitting on a small pedestal so it gets better airflow. The humidifier is in a brand new position (behind the furnace) and we have a small air filter that we don't have to replace. It just needs to be washed. Oh shoot - I'm not good with that. I must make a note!

The new furnace
I did learn a few things. There is a MASTER switch for the furnace. This shuts everything down, including the thermostat. Did you know that the thermostat is powered by the furnace? Yep - it's hardwired, but not to the house power, but the power of the furnace. Some little brown wire makes that happen. We've got a new thermostat as well. I'll say that the new furnace is MUCH quieter than the old one was. I can barely hear when it's on. Is it on? Oh yes - the house is warm!

The master switch to the furnace

So that's a job done and we shouldn't have any issues with heat for a long while. All that remains is to program the thermostat. That's a job for later today. The salle guy did turn on my pilot light (an easy job, but I hate touching gas appliances. The fireplace desperately needs to be cleaned so that'll get booked for the new year.

I felt a wee bit guilty yesterday. The electrician came and he was done about 2 PM. But the two fellows who installed the furnace did NOT leave until 7 PM. It's Christmas Eve. I felt bad for them, but the one guy said - they knew it was going to be a long job and they accepted it. They must have made a lot of money yesterday. I hope they did. We didn't even have anything for them. If I were a baker and we had cookies - I could have sent them home with a plate of cookies! Oh well - I thanked them profusely several times and everyone was happy.

While they were working, so was I.  LOOK!!!!!   The Halloween embroidery quilt is DONE!!!!  This is an embroidery design by Anita Goodesign. It's called Halloween Town. I'm thrilled to bits with it.

Halloween embroidery quilt - ready to be quilted
I tried the light green for the binding - didn't like it, so I used the dotted fabric instead. When I went to look for backing in the Halloween fabrics, I found this green spider web which is PERFECT and there was just enough after I joined two pieces. That was meant to be. It's now sitting in the "to be quilted" pile and it's crossed off the Dirty Dozen list for 2019. That leaves 9 more projects for 2019. No worries. That list, if nothing else, is to ensure that these projects do NOT get forgotten. 

The binding and the backing

I did take a quick (well as quick as one can be with two big dogs who are not orderly) walk to the library to pick up a book. Oh shoot - we missed the closing by three minutes! I'll get the book later this week. It's not that I need a book to read - there are many books in this house that need to be read. I finished the audiobook - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Oh boy - I finished it last night. I was sitting in my chair and couldn't stay awake. Oh, shoot - so I went back and reread the last little bit. Good thing I did because that was the shocker! It's finished and included on my list of novels that I've read. I'm up to 556 (or something like that) since 2007.

I tidied up my audiobook reader - returned some books, placed a hold on a couple of books, and downloaded a new book to "read".

So what else did I do while I was listening to my book? I pulled out one more UFO project. This one is from the list for 2017. There are four projects still on that list and my goal is to get at least one of the four completed by the end of the year. And that's going to happen!!!!

I pulled out the pizza box and peeked inside. Oh boy - what a mess of stuff. OH - I'll have to tell you the story of the bits on the left side of the box. That'll be another day when I can fully evaluate what's there. But it's part of this project - sort of.

The UFO project
 It's a redwork project and all the embroidery (by hand) is completed. It's been done for several years. One of the reasons it got shelved is because I didn't like the layout of the finished quilt.

Holiday Redwork by The Stitch Connection

What I didn't like is that some of the white backgrounds of several blocks touch each other. I know - that sounds bizarre, but there wasn't enough red to balance it out. I wanted to change the layout but knew that it was going to take some finagling to make that happen and I was never in the mood to do that.

Instead of procrastinating (that word is NOT allowed to exist in our house), I plunged ahead and laid out all the blocks on the design wall. As I laid them out, I developed a sort of plan in my mind. The blocks went through several iterations before I was happy.

The redwork blocks

Then I looked at the fabrics that I had purchased to finish the quilt. Purchased several years ago!! I didn't like the third one from the right  - it was a bit too burgundy for my liking so it got nixed.

Third from the right - is an off-color

I debated about the middle red because it had white in it, but it was the outline of two snowmen in a truck. I had to include that!!!!

My reds to finish the quilt

It's been so long, I don't remember where I purchased those reds, but look what they did? They RIPPED the fat quarters. That means I lost ONE COMPLETE INCH (½" on either side). That's a tad annoying.

½" is lost when ripping fabrics

I did a wee bit of calculating on paper and then decided to wing it! I cut strips of red that were 1 ½" wide, 2 ½" wide and 3 ½" wide. All the blocks had to be trimmed and then I started to place the strips of red. If you look carefully, you can see that I've arranged the blocks in five rows of about five blocks.

Starting to lay out the red fabrics

Most of the red is now positioned (more or less). I'm not sure about the borders yet, but I'm certainly NOT doing that sawtooth border in the pattern. Really????? That's way too much work for this quilt. And besides, the math won't work since I'm changing the size of the quilt.  I do have four hand-embroidered snowflake blocks that are supposed to go in the corners of the border. But in the meantime, I positioned the leftover 2 ½" strips around the outer edge of the blocks to frame it. They are NOT sewn in place.

Ready to sew

You can't really tell, but in this next photo, the top two rows are sewn together! And it's working out just fine. I may need to trim a wee bit here and there to make it all fit, but thankfully, I didn't spend a whole lot of time figuring things out. Just go for it!!!  I may have some more juggling to do and there is ONE spot where two of the white backgrounds touch. Just for 1 inch, but I think I can live with that. Can you spot that spot???

The status of the quilt

This is my Christmas miracle! It won't take long to get this quilt finished and that's going to be one more off the UFO lists. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm determined to get this place under total control and it WILL happen.

I think one task for later today will be to locate all the remaining UFOs on those three lists. That way they'll be handy when I want to work on one of them. If I can finish two of these UOFs in two days, I can certainly finish more of them by the end of the year and I COULD have them ALL done by the end of next year.

The best part - I didn't start much that didn't get finished this year. I have one more top of Lilla to sew together (the blocks are all sewn) and I want to finish the quilting on the second Lilla quilt top. I can't think of any large project that I started that didn't get done or almost done. That was my goal! I love having goals!!!

OK -- so the class list didn't get put up yesterday. I was busy! But it will go up tomorrow. I've already got the next UFO pulled to work on and I know that Shelly is going to be ecstatic about it!

On that note, I'm out of here. Have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy the time with family and friends. Don't overindulge!

Have a great day!!!



  1. Merry Christmas to you! Love your redwork quilt!!!! I'm a snowman girl :-) We're driving 2 hours to spend the day with my brother/family and my youngest sister/family. Roads are clear so an easy drive.

    I have no doubt you'll get that 2019 goal completed!!!!

    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Safe travels today!

  2. Please!!!--- Np more pink!! I can't take it! lol

  3. Our new furnace. SHOULD HAVE placed a piece of blue paper towel in the corner below the PVC pipe where condensation is supposed to evacuate. The clamp was not a good one so drips accumulated to result in a rusty corner. We caught it a few months too late. Check your piece of blue paper towel weekly to see if any moisture is evident.

    1. OH -- I'll have to check. I've no idea what this is. Thanks for the heads-up. RUST is not a good friend.