Friday, May 26, 2017

Sewing is Happening Finally!

As usual, it's been busy around here. We had the birthday party that had been postponed, and there were approximately 50+ people here! I honestly didn't have time to count, and since I didn't know a lot of the people here, it's hard to figure out. Now that we've got so much family in town, we decided to buy three picnic tables for the backyard, giving us enough seating for the family in town, and we'll only have to set up tables and chairs for any extras.



Since we were actually having this party, it gave me the incentive I needed to finish up the house redo. It took me quite a while to get the kitchen looking decent again, and again, stuff got stuck in our bedroom to deal with later. :-(

Today was LATER! I was planning on sewing first thing this morning, but I looked around the bedroom, which is where I sew now, and I just couldn't take the mess anymore. I decided no sewing until I tackled the mess. That meant going through mail, sorting through piles of stuff that had been dumped in here during the flooring install and hadn't been put away yet, and some *gasp* DUSTING! 

Sometimes things look worse than they are, and after a couple hours, my bedroom was back to rights again! I feel SO much better now that the bedroom is tidied up, and I know DH will be too when he sees it. 

Before any quilting gets done around here, I have a few projects to finish first. Today I finished piecing the batting I started piecing a while back. Now I am ready to quilt those placemats I cut out in OCTOBER!!! 


Once those are finished, I'll be making baby bibs for Mr. LJ, who is now eating solids and really could have used them before now. I also managed to mend a few things I found during my cleaning spree. 

My goal is to have at least the placemats, but hopefully both the placemats and the bibs done before next Friday, when DS the Elder, DDIL, and Mr. A arrive for a visit. 

Everyone keeps asking me how I like my quiet house, and while it is certainly quieter most of the time, it's still a busy place. I am enjoying not having to be busy every minute of every day, even if there is still lots to do. Life is calming down, and that's a good thing! 

I have been thinking about quilting, and since I only have one of the wedding quilts I need to make cut out right now, I spent yesterday getting a different leader/ender project ready to sew. I had a bunch of scraps cut into 2.5 x 4.5 bricks already, and I found a block that only uses that size, so no cutting required. I did have to sort out which scraps I wanted together for the blocks, so I pinned the bricks for each block together yesterday. 


Some will be color controlled, some completely scrappy, but still arranged by value. With each block pinned, it should be an easy leader/ender project. Depending on how much I like how it's coming out, I may dig into my 2.5" strips and cut some more blocks. The color controlled set should make a decent sized throw quilt, but the completely scrappy ones would only make a baby quilt, and I'm not sure I want it to be a baby quilt. No worries, scrappy quilts are easy to add to, and I can cut more blocks if I decide to make it bigger. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Looking Up

Things are starting to look up around here! I am still not all the way well, but better than last week. I've been working on getting the house organized as I have energy. I finished the living room today, so one room is done! 


The corner of the living room that had DH's office shoved into it is now open and airy. My grandmother's treadle is in the corner next to the quilt rack.


My wall of fabric is now a corner of fabric in the family room. These are Billy bookshelves from Ikea, and I bought one extra set of shelves and some corner hardware, and now all my quilting books are with the fabric. The family room is becoming a family room once again, though it's had many purposes over the years. DS the Younger and DDIL put together a new TV stand for me in here, and instead of standard furniture, I ordered Fuf bean bag style couches for in here. The grandkids should love it! They don't arrive until next week.


The storage room is coming along. My plastic drawers with fat quarter to one yard pieces ended up in here for now. My vintage machines are in here now too, except for the treadles. I have several more things to move into here, but I'm moving slowly these days. I'm glad this room got painted before the carpet went in. I was really tired of it being blue and purple. 

My bedroom is almost back to normal, which is great! My kitchen is a disaster area, and that I hope to tackle next week. Tomorrow I'm hoping to work in the guest room and kids guest room. The twin sized beds for the kids guest room arrived today, and I bought sheets and pillows for those beds today. If I can sweet talk DS the Younger into assembling the bed frames for me, I can make those beds, and have that room looking like a real room again. 

I've been sorting out what things I needed to buy after the mass exodus, and it's a lot, but I have a handle on it now. I'm trying hard not to overbuy, but still have the guest rooms be practical. I opted to not buy any dressers, I don't see why a short term guest would need one, but I did make sure I have lamps, linens, and towels for anyone who comes to stay. My walls are pretty barren, and I might look for something to put on the walls in the adult guest room at least. All in all, I've successfully repurposed a lot of things, and I've managed to purchase what we needed for less than we allotted for it, so I'm happy. I doubt I'll be sewing for a couple weeks yet, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel! Sewing time is coming! 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Flooring, Failing, and Flu

Have you ever heard the saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans"? I hope He's getting a chuckle out of this, because I overplanned, and I'm failing at them all.

That bridal shower I talked about in the last post, yeah, that didn't happen. It was cancelled due to influenza Type A. My grandson tested positive for it at the emergency room, surprising the doctor who said flu season had passed. I guess we missed that memo. DD#3 was next to get sick, followed by me, and next her new husband. Nothing says welcome to the family like germ-sharing, right?

We needed new flooring installed in our house. It was supposed to take 2.5 days. It took four (after we found out they did drywall too and we added to their workload). This is day five, and the stairs we had refinished are still wet, so 2/3 of the house is off limits. DH is hopeful the stairs will be dry by tomorrow, but I'm guessing Sunday, which is when the birthday party was supposed to be.

I'm sick with something, though I'm not sure it's influenza. No sore throat, which is a main symptom, and I had about 24 hours of major mucus drainage which is not a symptom of influenza. I do know I've run low grade fevers off and on, I'm coughing, achy, and mainly I have NO energy. DH and I went to Target to get some things, as I woke up thinking I was better, and when we got back I went straight to bed for a nap. OK, maybe better was too optimistic.

Now the birthday party is postponed two weeks, my house is still a disaster, and MY DDIL and DS the Younger arrive Monday with their two dogs. DDIL is such a sweetheart, and I am so happy she'll be staying with us while DS the Younger is deployed.

Did I mention my house was a disaster?


My new bedroom looks like this.


Dining Area


Living Room

Not to mention every tub and shower in the house is loaded with stuff, the furniture still left upstairs and downstairs is all in the wrong places, and until the stairs dry, there isn't a thing I can do to fix that.

Not that I particularly feel up to sewing anyway, but with my sewing cabinet buried that wasn't going to happen anyway. I did start de-boning some of the men's shirts I bought on that thrift store shopping spree. Shirts take up so much less space with the seams all cut off. I won't get them done right now, I've got almost 100 shirts to cut up, but you have to start someplace. 


Here is the new flooring in the pantry, the only new flooring on the main floor of the house. DH put in new baseboard today, so I can start putting stuff back in here now. This same flooring went in the downstairs bathroom. I knew there were two layers of flooring on top of each other in the downstairs bath, and I warned the flooring guy accordingly. The thing is, there were FOUR layers of flooring on top of each other, and I had no idea! Now there is only one layer of flooring in the downstairs bath. I still haven't even seen the downstairs bath, I was too sick to drag myself downstairs to look before they started refinishing the stairs. 

If it weren't for the addition, we'd have to stay in a hotel. With the stairs out of commission until they are dry, without the addition we'd have no bathroom or bedroom.  As inconvenient as having 2/3 of our house off limits is, and as inconvenient everyone being sick and cancelling/postponing two parties is, it still could have been worse. On the bright side, once everything is put to rights, it should stay that way for about a year, which around here, is a long time!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Potholders, Weddings, and LOTS of Moving

I know it's a weird title, but it is exactly what's going on in my life right now! I've been working on potholders for a bridal shower that will be this coming Sunday.


Here is a shot of the fronts and backs of the potholders I'm making. Potholders as a shower prize may be a bit odd, but it suits the theme we are using. It's a pinup/50's housewife party!

The oddest thing about the shower isn't the prizes or the theme. The oddest thing is the fact that the bridal shower is occurring after the wedding! We weren't sure of the date of the wedding, but we knew about when it was happening and planned the shower close to the time of the wedding, we just guessed too late.

DD#3 is now married, and currently relocating to their new house. The closing on the house they bought was what was determining the wedding date, so it was a bit up in the air.


Here is the new family on their wedding day! This photo is good, but my favorite is the next one.


I just love the way Mr. L is looking at his stepdad, and father/son feel of it. The girls are looking ahead doing what they are supposed to be doing, but the boys have their own thing going on!

We've got all of the twins stuff moved to the new house, but DD#3 still has quite a bit here. By the end of the week, it will be moved too.

AND there is more moving going on, because DD#1 and her family are moving out this weekend! So while I am getting ready for a bridal shower, they will be moving out too.

While the house is as empty as it's going to be, we are getting new carpet installed next week, so I'll be moving everything around that's left in the house to allow new flooring to be put in eight rooms and two hallways. I have to move my stuff around both before and after the new flooring is done, then my DDIL moves in with her two dogs while DS the Younger is deployed. Within two weeks, we go from a household of ten people and a cat, to a household of three people and two dogs! Did I mention LOTS of moving?

DH and I drove up to Phoenix today to get a dining room set that DD#2 has been saving for DD#1's family. We managed to get some baby snuggles while we were there.


Mr. LJ is growing by leaps and bounds, five months old already!

My MIL just moved too, and we need to get a few things that she's passing to us out of her way. Isn't that the way family should work, everyone passing things around as people need them? So much going on, but quieter days are on the horizon, they just aren't here quite yet!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thrifty or Nuts?

I haven't sewn at all since my last post. The polyester batting scraps are still laid on my sewing cabinet waiting to be sewn together.

If I haven't been sewing, what have I been doing? Well, DH and I just had our 33rd anniversary, and we went out of town for 5 days! It was great to spend some time together just the two of us, something that rarely happens around here. I read five books, relaxed in the hot tub, we drove all around northern AZ, and we went to thrift stores, lots of thrift stores. 

DD#3 was really needing some new clothes, and I found her about 2 dozen new shirts, and four pairs of shorts/capris. I bought the twins about a dozen new clothing items too. DD#1's family ended up with a couple dozen items as well. 

Now when I go on a big thrift store buying binge, I'm looking for clothes for family members, quilting fabric, and 100% cotton men's shirts to use for quilting. If I happen upon a vintage sewing machine or accessories I want, that may end up in the basket too.

If you have a Goodwill Outlet near you, and you are on a tight budget, try looking there for quilting fabric and 100% cotton item of clothing or bedding. I've bought duvet covers and sheets to use for quilt backs with great results. Any Goodwill store can net you some cheaper fabric, but the outlet stores are a whole other world of savings. We went to the one in Flagstaff, AZ, and you pay $1.69 per pound for clothing, and 50 cents per pound for linens.


Here I am with my shopping cart filled with goodies. How much for all of that? $86 That wasn't the only thrift store we went to though. I'm pretty strict on budget when I'm buying men's shirts for quilting. My personal limit is $2 per shirt. We went into some thrift stores that were asking $9 per shirt, and in those I didn't buy a thing. I went into one thrift store that charges $1 per shirt, and I picked out 14 shirts at that store. When I went to pay, I found out if you buy more than 10 items, they only charge half price, so I paid 50 cents per shirt!


I found a few pieces of yardage on my shopping spree. This is about 12 yards total, mostly flannels.

All tolled, I spent about $200, and I got 201 items for that. I let my SIL's go through the men's shirts and take whatever they wanted.


This is what I've got left right now. I'll probably pull a few shirts out for DH, but in this stack I have 97 shirts, all 100% cotton. I've already washed them, and they are ready to cut apart to use in quilting. 

Included in that 201 total, I found three sets of towels with matching bath mats for DD#3 to use when she gets married. I found something we're giving to my MIL for Mother's Day. DH bought a few cd's and a book. I found a buttonhole attachment for my slant shank Singers. 

Thrift store and antique stores are the only type of shopping I really enjoy. Going to a mall is torture for me, and all I see at those box stores is how everything looks the same. I'm not a trendy type of person, and I could care less what's fashionable at any given time. I like what I like, and if that's been out of fashion for 10 years or 70 years, makes no difference to me. You never know what you'll find at a thrift store or an antique store. The shop could be a dud, or a treasure trove. Of course, whether it's a dud or treasure trove depends on what you are looking for. Someone else's favorite shop may have little that interests me, and vice versa. 

I did find multiple vintage machines, a Pfaff that was really tempting, and a Singer 201 with perfect decals, a few Kenmore's and a couple badged machines I had never heard of. DH was willing to buy me a couple vintage machines, but I said no. I'm not expecting to have my sewing room back for another year, and while I'm sewing in my bedroom, it's harder to swap out machines. I am thinking come July or so, I should have quite a bit of quilting time again, so buying fabric wasn't as much of a no-no than buying more vintage machines. At least I'll have a chance at using some of the fabric soon. 

Now that I'm back home, I'm trying to figure out what to work on, when I have time to work on things. DD#2 and I are planning DD#3's bridal shower, and I have things to do for that. I am helping both DD#1 and DD#3 pack things, going through my stuff to see what I've got that can help them set up their own houses. 

Of course it's almost Easter, and we're hosting an Easter brunch at our house. I've already bought the goodies for Easter baskets, and the plastic eggs are already stuffed. We'll be dying eggs on Saturday, to be turned into deviled eggs on Sunday! I'm finalizing the menu and working on the grocery list for the holiday meal. 

It's really going to be a busy few weeks around here. I'm hosting Easter, throwing a big birthday bash and hosting a bridal shower all in the next three weeks. I'll have people moving in and people moving out, and hopefully, we'll have time to get the carpeting replaced during the chaos. I'll be rearranging the house in May, and figuring out what needs to happen for the new normal. Never a dull moment around here!