Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A new adventure

We are embarking on a new least dipping our toes in the water.   We're starting to kinda, maybe, for a house.  In the actual  "shopping for a loan" and "going out and looking at them in person" sorta way, and not just reading the ads in the paper and watching House Hunters. 

See we're tired of dealing with unreasonable landlords.  I won't go into specifics 'cause this is the internet, and the internet is forever, and whatever you put out here will boomerang around and come back to bite you in the you-know-what. 

So the loan meeting was today, and dear god, do they like their paper.  We hit probably 6 open house this past weekend which includes a cute, but way outta date bungalow, a cape cod or two, a ranch or two, and a really modern split level.    I don't really like splits, but I'm keeping an open mind.

The bungalow (above) I threw in even though it needs a gut rehab because it's a damn good price in a really damn good neighborhood.  Which makes me wonder what else is wrong with it.  Mr Belfry said, "We should take a look.  Even if it needs work, we could redo it and make it ours."  My head flipped around so fast I thought I was Linda Blair.  Wait.  What?  Are you feeling ok, dear?  What happened to "move-in ready" and "totally rehabbed"?   His comment was that we've lived in plenty of places with really awful kitchens.  He could put up with it til we could redo it.  Which is true. Very true.   Actually every place we've lived has had a dreadful kitchen.  This kitchen had gold wallpaper on the ceiling and vintage 1940s pretty awful.  Huh.  You think you know someone.  Guess that's what keeps marriage interesting.  We figure we'd have to sink more than 100K into it to make it liveable.  Hmmm...that's more of a project than we want. 

This little cape cod has more space than you would think.  No formal dining room though, and access to transportation is almost non-existant.  It's still on the list.

This house is a side split.  Good space, but more stairs than we want. The owner also has a strong propensity to put mothballs everywhere.  Whew!

This house is also a side split, but in a completely different way.  This one is the top of our list currently, but it's over-priced for the neighborhood. We're guessing the price will drop in the next couple of months.  Or maybe something else will come available.  

So that's where we are.  Hopefully we'll have something in place in the next 6-8 months.  If not we'll be looking at a different rental.  Either way theres a new address in our future.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

 Finally I get to mark some more things off the list!  I had 4 finishes this month.

To start with, I finally finished Elise's quilt.  This is a top that her great aunt made and she inherited. I believe it was made in the early 40s.  Not being a quilter, she asked if I would finish it for her.  Originally I had planned to hand quilt it, but life and other projects got in the way.  I had it all marked and started quilting it.  Eventually it got to the point where I couldn't even look at it anymore, so I put it away.  

I pulled it out this year because of Judy's challenge and contacted her to see if it would be alright to machine quilt it.  She was receptive, so I quilted it in a sort of scallop pattern.  It came through beautifully.  Then....I had to get the marking lines for the hand quilting out.  With sheer terror, I put it in the washing machine on the hand wash cycle.  Quilt did fine, but the markings didn't come out completely.   I bumped it up to permanent press and ran it through again.  It took 4 wash cycles, but the markings came out.  I actually finished the quilting in September, but didn't have time to do the binding til November.  Having this quilt off my list is a huge weight lifted.  She seems thrilled when I gave it to her.

My second finish is the Amish Baskets quilt.  Ever get bit by a bug and just decide you HAVE to make a certain quilt?  Yea, I got a basket bug.  This predates Elise's quilt.  I'm guessing I started these blocks in 2003 or 4.  It was one of my early attempts at hand piecing.  My seam allowance was....all over the place. 

 They weren't all the same size, and with hand piecing you can't trim the blocks down.  So, I just slapped them together, did a pillowcase turn on the edge and did a little ditch quilting.  Don't know what I'm going to do with it now, but it's off the list.  I didn't even chop off most of the points.

Finish Number three is the Halloween tablerunner.  This is a pattern of my own design.  I wanted something that looked seasonal without having all the cartoon-y Halloween prints.  No there's nothing wrong with those.  That was just my challenge to myself.   I free-motion quilted it in a viney kind of pattern.  It was fun to do.  The before picture is a couple of posts back.  Here is the after:

And here are a couple of detail shots:

And last but not least is Chez Moi 1.  This one was already marked as finished, and listed as my finish for Feb. or March.  I had it ready to go to the long armer, but my gal was closing shop.  My mom found someone near her who's fantastic, and I sent this top to her kind of as a trial.  I figured it was just for our bed.  If it wasn't ideal, no one else would see it.  However, they did a fantastic job.  The thread choice works great, and it's not something I would have considered.  It's turquoise, lime and purple.  I got the binding done over the long holiday weekend.

I've been looking over the rest of my UFO list.  I'm not quite where I wanted to be at this point, but I sure have made a good dent in the list.  I'll have at least one more for December.  Good thing Judy is having this challenge for next year.    


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October UFO

I don't know where September went, and I can't believe it's November already.  I got one project mostly done in Sept.  It still needs binding, so you'll get to see it this month.  I think I have a half dozen UFOs almost done.  I've also been doing a lot of knitting, which doesn't help my UFO list at all.  That's another post though.  

I did get a finish for October while I was on vacation.  And here it is.  I call it "The Pillow of a Thousand Leaves": 

And here it is flat without the pillow form: 

Here's what I started with. This is wool pieces hand appliqued on a coarse silk background.  The pattern is from Little Pieces by Joan.  I did a pumpkin pillow of hers earlier.  

And this is what I wanted to finish in October, but it's only half quilted.  More pictures coming.  

And this is one photo from our vacation.  That's a separate post too.  It's not a bad picture considering I couldn't stop laughing.  

More later,

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August UFO done! and preview on Sept.

And here it is! The quilted square is one I made at a class about ...oh...7 or 8 years ago. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it at the time, so into the pile it went. Here's a detail shot:

And the back.
Yes I realize this is not the most difficult of projects, but it was unfinished. It also gave me time to get a head start on my Fassett snowballs quilt for September. I also finished my Chez Moi 2 quilt top.

Here's what I started with on the Fassett snowballs. A pile of fabrics and partly cut pieces. This was from the Kaffe Fassett class I took at the quilt festival a couple of years ago. As UFOs go, this one isn't that old.

I didn't want to make the full queen size quilt. I'm just doing a lap/throw size. It still takes 320 small squares for the corners.

Here's the first couple of rows:

Here's a couple more. I've got the blocks assembled for the fifth row, and that will put me at the halfway point. My goal is to have the top done this weekend.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kitchen chairs

In other news, I have projects that are UFOs, but are not quilting projects. The first is recovering my kitchen chairs.

This has been an ordeal? headache? trial? something for a couple of reasons. First off, Mr. Belfry didn't like my fabric choice. How anyone couldn't like Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms, I'll never know. This wasn't the first fabric; this was actually the third, but it was the first one I liked with the chairs. The first two were remnants I picked up that looked terrible with the finish.

The second fabric was ok. He liked it better than the first, but it didn't really do anything. This is a laminated cotton from the Nicey Jane line.

Then in a fit of pique while at JoAnn's I bought the third fabric. I told him I was using one of the three, whether he liked it or not. The third one, of course, is polka dots. He laughed and said go for it. (It actually looks really nice).

It isn't a coated fabric like I wanted, so I guess I'll scotchgard it. My MIL originally covered the seats in upholstery fabric for car seats. It's lasted almost 40 years, so you can't fault her choice. Actually the fabric is ok except for the front corners. It was the foam that had disintegrated and needed to be replaced most of all.

The other reason this project has dragged on is mechanical difficulties. First, I couldn't get staples for my stapler. Then my electric drill wouldn't hold a charge anymore (It is almost 10 years old). So, I replaced both of those. That took three trips to the hardware store. The other factor is the chairs are a little over engineered. I had to take out 12 screws to get the seats off. Four of them had to be done manually since I don't have an extension for my new drill. I did learn that if you are taking apart a piece of wooden furniture, if you leave it long enough the parts will change shape and it will not be fun to get the holes to match up again.

Here's the after pic: Not to shabby!

Not bad for my first solo upholstery job. At least the fabric is straight.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

June, better late than never

If you're considering starting a blog, one factor to consider before sharing it with your family is that it makes it very hard to talk about Christmas or birthday presents. There's also a good chance that you'll get asked why you haven't put up any photos recently. I have been sewing though.

I missed the deadline for the June UFO. I did finish it except for the binding by the end of the July 4th weekend. This quilt was originally intended to be a Christmas gift. But now I'm not sure. I'm still weighing if it will go with the intended recipient's house or not. hmmm.....

It started out as a pile of partly pieced strips:

I did a pseudo-quilt as you go technique, then came back and did a decorative stitch on each strip. I think I saw something similar in a catalog that inspired me. It's about 40x60".

I also finished up this one in May:

This was my #6 nephew's graduation quilt. The pattern is Tennessee Waltz. It's been done for awhile. All it needed was a label. I also wanted to get it shipped so he would see it before the rest of the world. Detail shot:

Additionally, I got the binding on two quilts to send to Japan. They're nothing fancy, but they'll keep someone warm. These are going to Quilts 4 Japan.

Other sewing:
I finished all my subway blocks and the top. Next up is quilting.
I've been working on my Chez Moi 2 quilt blocks for the past several months and completed that top, too.
I've working on the Glorified nine-patch blocks.
And I made a pillow for a retirement gift for a co-worker:

I've also started and finished my UFO for August. I learned last month. Do the UFO first, then catch up on other stuff. :) You'll have to wait to see that one.

Friday, August 12, 2011

July UFO

Greetings Blogland!

Last week while I was traveling for a conference with Mr. Belfry, I got through my entire binding pile. Six days in an air-conditioned hotel room. 5 quilts bound.
Bliss. Granted, none of them were huge, but they would have had to wait til the cooler fall weather arrived to work on them at home. I've never had a binding pile before. Usually I do the binding as soon as I finish the quilt. I guess that means the challenge is working because I'm finishing things, and the list is getting shorter.

So not only did I finish my June UFO (better late than never), but I also finished my July UFO. And here it is:

This is another quilt I started just to play with a charm pack. I made up a bunch of squares then set them aside. The fabric is Oz by Sanae for Moda.

I had a few fat quarters to try and figure out a border, but nothing really worked. So, I decided to forgo the border and just finish it. It's around 25x30 inches and quilted in the ditch.

My August UFO is a really, really easy one. I think I put it on the list here, so I'd have a chance to catch up. I am behind where I wanted to be, but I'm still working through the piles very well.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Just a stone's throw...

What I did on my summer vacation...or rather Memorial day weekend. I helped my sister turn that pile of limestone into part of a flower bed. I say part because we all had to quit when our backs were done in.

Exhibit A: The limestone. Did I mention she got it for free? Neat huh?

Exhibit B: existing flower box/planter with rotting timbers. They were practically mulch when we removed them. Mulch with nails and rusty spikes.

And another side:

And the front side:

Exhibit C: After the timbers were out, we (mostly sis) dug a trench for the new stones.

Trench side 2:

Exhibit D: The first layer! Woo Hoo!

We got all the way around. Did I mention that each stone weighed 40-70 pounds and took two of us to move? Not a single one wobbles.

It only took us 4 hours.

And that was the end of that.

Eventually it will be 4-5 layers tall. That's as far as we got before I flew home. My back wasn't sorry to leave. ;)