Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Light at the End of the Rearrange

Woohoo! The house rearrange is almost finished!!! I am so anxious to get back to a normal schedule!

This room that is now my sewing room is tiny! My two machine cabinet and my cutting table fit in here, but not with much room to spare. I can make quite a bit of extra space in here, just by finishing some UFO's. The white laundry basket on the floor is almost all quilt parts to quilts ready to assemble. If I can get those quilt tops assembled, I can hang them in a closet elsewhere in the house, and if I get them quilted, the batting in the corner will take a huge hit. Now that my sewing area has changed so drastically, I won't be able to stock up on batting anymore. Once I clear some of my stock out by finishing up some already started quilts, I'll have a little breathing room.

This is a lousy photo, but you can actually see part of my cutting table. Believe me, that's a huge improvement! It was piled three feet deep yesterday!

I was so proud of myself for hanging up the pegboard myself! My rulers and smaller cutting mats are nicely organized, right next to my cutting table, behind the door to the room.

The "guest room" is still holding my stash, and my ironing station. I have no intention of moving my stash at this point in time. I did hang curtains in here since this pic was taken.

The other side of the guest room is still a work in progress. The treadmill is ready to plug in, and believe it or not, the ironing station is only piled with about half as much stuff as it had a couple days ago. We now have the doors to hang on this room, we just haven't gotten to it yet.

The other twin bedroom should be finished tomorrow. I've got about half the room settled now. This room has a fresh coat of paint on it. Why does all my family love blue, when I despise it? Oh well, not my room. The curtains on the bed make it more like a fort, and the other twin now has curtains on his bed as well.

Hemming curtains is the only sewing I've done in three weeks now, but I'm hoping by this weekend, I'll be back to quilting!

All the furniture moving is done aside from one kids desk that's going into the room above. That will get moved tomorrow. I've mostly been working on piddly things, trying to clear off the ironing station and cutting table, which still aren't done.

I've spent most of the past two days going through paperwork. I've shredded three trash bags of documents I no longer need to keep. Up until this house, we moved every 3 or 4 years, so I never let the paperwork pile up like this. We've been in this house 13 years, and so I had a lot of stuff piled up that I had forgotten to go through. Better that I tackle it now, than let it pile up more!

I've donated an entire van load full of stuff, thrown out lots of things that probably should have been trashed a while ago, and I'm still finding things to pass on. Nothing like a house wide rearrange to make you touch almost every thing you own.

It's good this is coming to an end, and a normal routine can start up again. Now is I can just find my fitbit cord, which got misplaced in the chaos ;-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ahead and Behind, at the Same Time

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I'm in the middle of a huge house rearrange. I am simultaneously ahead and behind my original schedule.

When I found evidence of termites over a week ago, that put a halt on some of the rearranging. I couldn't finish moving my sewing room, because I had to keep the wall where the termites were accessible for the exterminators. Since I couldn't finish moving my sewing room, it put a halt to getting the guest room finished too, since I couldn't move things out of there.I thought my sewing room and guest room would be done by now, and they aren't. The termite treatment was done yesterday, so now I can start working on those rooms again. DH helped me move my two machine cabinet today, so now I can get the new sewing room finished. Those two rooms I'm behind on, but it couldn't be helped. I'm so thankful I caught the termites early, and there is no damage to fix.

On the other hand, my original plan was to have my new bedroom settled by this evening. Since I couldn't work on the other rooms, I'm ahead on our bedroom, and this will be our third night in it. I still haven't dealt with some of the little stuff, but the big stuff is done.

DH is a champ, and was supportive of my decision to put one of my sewing cabinets in our bedroom.  This is the view from the door. ^

^View from the closet door.

^View from in front of the bookshelves in the last photo. Our bedroom is pretty crowded, but functional. Did you notice the quilt tops hanging in the front of my closet?

I'm hoping to get the last few things put away within a day or two, but we've already moved onto other rooms. I did get everything from my bathroom moved down to this bathroom, so that move is completely done!

We moved all of DD#3's furniture into her new room today. She's got a lot more space in this room, so moving her stuff was easier to figure out. She's still got plenty to put away, and nothing is on the walls yet, but the hardest part is done.

Here is DH vacuuming the room DD#3 exited. DH has been amazing during all the upheaval. I've moved a lot all my myself, but on his days off he's been a huge help! We need new carpeting pretty badly, but it's not in the budget right now, so it's got to wait.

While I was cooking dinner (gluten-free chicken fried steak, rice, gravy, and veggies) DH stayed busy and moved one of the twins beds.

I moved the rest after dinner, and although we haven't moved toys or gotten anything on the walls, the twins are now in separate rooms, which was the main reason for the rearrange! That room wasn't empty long!

There are only a couple more pieces of furniture to move, but there are lots of other things to be done. One room still needs to be painted, multiple rooms need curtains put up. Lots of things need to be sorted. The back of our van is full of stuff to be donated, and there will be more added before we are done. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Lots of small stuff still needs to be moved.

DH and I are planning a day trip to Ikea, to get a few things that will help organize the newly arranged rooms. I'm looking forward to a day out of the house, away from things that need to be done.

Overall, I think the rearrange is going well, and will be a good change for all of us. I'm thinking another 10 days or so, and I might be able to start sewing again!

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Eleven years ago today, Father's Day, June 19, 2005, I woke up with a terrible headache. That headache changed my life, changed me, changed my personality, changed my relationships, changed my concept of self. Why did that headache change me in so many fundamental ways? I still have that same headache, and doctors have never figured out why.

Along the way, my headache asked some friends to join the party. Photo-sensitivity now lives here. That means I'm sensitive to light. I need sunglasses to go outside, even when it's cloudy. On a bad day, I wear sunglasses in the house. The lighting on my phone, computer screen, and Kindle Paperwhite are all turned to the lowest settings. I joke with my kids that I've turned into a vampire.

Tinnitus is here as well. That means I have ringing in my ears. My right ear rings all the time, my left sometimes. It makes it hard for me to hear certain tones, and hard to hear on the telephone.

I have neuropathy, which is numbness. Sometimes it's a pins and needles feeling, sometimes part of me just feels dead, like too much Novocaine at the dentist. Part of my face is always numb, not always the same part though, that would be too easy. Often times my hands are numb, which makes it hard to hold onto anything. We have about half as many  drinking glasses now, as we did 11 years ago. Numb hands make holding a rotary cutter dangerous, and sometimes I can't separate quilt pieces to sew them together. Sometimes the numbness travels up my arm to above my elbow. Sometimes my back goes numb, or my feet or legs.

I get eye pain, pain so bad it seems as if my eyeball will burst. Ear pain, stabbing pains that bring tears to my eyes. There are times when if I bend over, it feels like my brains are going to come out my nose.

Sometimes my symptoms keep me entertained. I get olfactory hallucinations, which means I smell things that aren't there. It's fun when it's something pleasant, the first time was birthday cake, or when it's buttered popcorn. When I smell sewage, or smoke, those times aren't fun. Searching the house trying to figure out what is on fire is not fun, it's scary, and I never know if it's just me, or if something is really wrong.

Sometimes I see auras, rainbow colored lines outlining everything I see. At my youngest son's wedding, which was at our house, I saw auras all day, it was overwhelming at times. I see spots, flashes of "lightning", and even large holes in things that aren't there.

My headache causes my muscles to tense, which in turns causes neck pain. Nowadays my neck pain is usually worse than my headache. I have a very hard time turning my head on any day.

When my headache is at its worst, I have to remind myself to breathe. I want to hold my breath because of the pain, but I can't do that. I can't talk, I can't move, I just concentrate inside my head...breathe in...breathe out... At its best, my headache is the dull throbbing in my temples, like the headache you get when you are too tired after a long day.

The headache makes it hard to concentrate. Following directions on a bad day is next to impossible. I've written thousands of checks in my life, but in the last 11 years, I've thrown a bunch away, because I wrote all the information on the wrong line, or spelled my own name wrong. 

I lose words, just can't figure out what I want to say. My vocabulary goes haywire sometimes. It's not like I can't remember how to spell antediluvian ( means before the flood), it's simple stuff I can't remember, like the stuff that comes out of the faucet (water), or the thing that makes bread warm (toaster). My husband and kids are used to my weird brain farts, and they are good at guessing what I mean.

Did you ever have that argument with your significant other, where do you want to go for dinner? Well for us, my headache narrows things down nicely. Really bad day? I'm not leaving the house. Bad day? Someplace quiet, in Tucson that usually means Fronimo's Greek or Mama's Hawaiian. So/so day? Most places if they aren't crowded. Some places I walk into, and turn around and walk out. If it's crowded, we find someplace else. There are a couple restaurants that have amazing food, but I won't go back, because it's so loud it's painful.

Socializing? Hmmm.... I love people, love visiting. My headache does not love visiting. When my husband and I were first married, he was the hermit, and I was the one longing for get togethers. Now it's pretty much reversed. I still love visiting, love people. The thing that people don't understand, is that for me, there is a price to be paid for that. Being around all the noise ramps my pain levels up, concentrating on what everyone is saying exhausts me, further upping my pain levels. Trying to pretend like I'm OK, when I'm really not, when I really am just in so much pain I want to crawl into a dark room and curl up with a quilt, that is a price to be paid. I normally run hot, if you see me reach for a sweater or quilt, I'm not OK. I'm normally talkative, if I'm quiet, I'm not OK. If I'm not OK, I don't want you asking if I am OK, it just puts more pressure on me to fake it, which makes everything worse.

Some social situations are worse than others. Dinner out with another couple? Doable most days, as long as the restaurant is fairly quiet. Live music? Never. Movies? Sometimes, but I never know until it's time to leave. Group events? Sometimes, but there is always the price to be paid. Staying at someone else's house? I'd prefer not to. I want to visit, but when the pain levels get too high, I prefer to go back to a hotel, and relax in my room, in the quiet, with no expectations of me. Family events are worth it to me. There is a price to be paid, and I'll take as much ibuprofen as I need to function. Narcotics don't help, and they make me sick, so I don't bother.

I've been married 32 years, 11 of which I've had this headache and it's friends. More than a third of my marriage, I've had a headache. My youngest child is 23, so almost half of his life, I've had a headache. I have seven grandchildren, with one on the way. All of their lives, I've had a headache. I've had a headache for all my kids graduations, all of their weddings, all of their biggest life changes, I've had a headache.

So why did I title this post "Blessed", when my life is like this? No matter what this headache takes from me, I am blessed beyond it.

I have good relationships will all of my kids, and good relationships with their partners.

My husband is amazing! I am not the woman he married, but he loves me, and he's changed with me, to accommodate all the changes I needed to happen. I can't share his love of scooters with him, because I can't tolerate wearing a helmet, but I support him in his hobby as best I can.

I started quilting after I got the headache. I needed something to take my mind off the pain, and quilting had always interested me. Watching TV doesn't take my mind off the pain enough, I have to be doing something else at the same time to watch TV at all. Quilting has enough variety, that I can always do something. If my hands are too numb to cut, I use my GO cutter or sew. If I can't separate the quilt pieces, I'll quilt or plan a design a quilt on the computer. I always have projects in different stages, because my abilities from day to day change.

Every time I complete a quilt, I have victory! I didn't let circumstances stop me, I made something beautiful while in pain. I made something to comfort someone else, which brings comfort to me. How many quilts will I make in my life? As many as I have strength to make, to let the people I love know that I love them, and to comfort strangers as well.

Do I have challenges? Sure, who doesn't? But blessings always tip the scale. Yes, I feel pain, but more importantly, I feel love...I feel hope.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Blessing in Disguise

It's pretty funny, right after I took the photo of my new sewing room in the last post, I went in there to clean it all up, washing the built-in shelves, vacuuming and such. While I was cleaning, I noticed that there was something that looked like a spill in two of the built in shelves. After scrubbing those "spills" I realized they were actually termite tubes! Not good!

I called the exterminator first thing Monday morning, and they came out same day to inspect the house. I was right that we had termites, but the blessing is that they had only been there about a month, I caught them really early, and the only reason I caught it at all was because we were rearranging the house. They will come to do the termite treatment on Monday, June 20, and they do need to drill in that room, so I can't finish arranging my new sewing room. I did get everything on the other side of the room situated, but then I dumped a bunch of other stuff in there, so I could work on the other rooms.

This is what that room looks like right now. The exterminators need to drill in the blue wall, and maybe into the floor as well. They'll be treating the entire perimeter of the house too. This room actually looked worse than this this morning, I've actually gotten some of the extra stuff out of here today. I need to have everything away from the blue wall by Monday.

This is DH's new office area in our living room. This area is pretty much done, and I'm happy enough with it.

My old sewing room is a real mishmash of stuff right now. I had planned to move my fabric shelves, and DH convinced me not to right now. I did get the guest bed moved into the room, and I have sewing stuff stored under the bed. The two machine cabinet that will be going into the new sewing room is stuck in here until after the termite treatment. I ordered accordion doors today to put on this room. This is originally a family room, but if I'm making it a guest room, it needs doors.

DH finished painting our new bedroom today. I'm not really happy with the shade of peach I chose, but it will do. I need to let the paint cure a couple days, but we hope to be finished moving into this room by Tuesday night.

This is the closet in our new bedroom. I had it filled with sewing stuff, my batting rolls, garment fabrics, and vintage sewing machines. My brother-in-law built the shelves at the back of the closet extra sturdy to hold my vintage machines, which are REALLY heavy. As soon as I emptied the closet, the twins kept saying there were built-in beds in the closet ;-) Their "beds" will be unavailable after tomorrow, because tomorrow's goal is to get our closet moved downstairs. I'm dreading all those trips up and down the stairs, but it's good exercise.

I've purged a LOT this week. I passed on five vintage sewing machines, almost all of my garment fabric, several pieces of furniture, lots of wall art, and lots of misc. stuff. I'm sure there will be more to leave the house as well. We aren't even half done with the house rearrange! If you include all the stuff in two bathrooms that need to be moved, we have eight rooms to move! We've only finished with one, but we are well along on two more. I expected this house rearrange to take a month, and I'm hoping I can come in just under that, but we'll see. I think a month was a good guess.

I won't be sewing any time soon, but I am working hard!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

First Room Empty

If you've ever done a house rearrange, you know the first room is the hardest to empty. To empty that first room, you have to put things in other rooms that already have stuff in them!

I started in earnest this weekend, and this morning, I actually had one room empty.

This room is really small. I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be, because although there is something that looks like a closet on the wall you can't see, that actually houses the water heater and furnace. No closet means it's not a bedroom, it's pretty small to be much of anything. It has a window, so it's not a large closet. We've lived in this house for 13 years now, and during that time, we've used this room as a bedroom, a sewing room (my first ever sewing room), a nursery, an office, and now it will be my sewing room again. We haven't painted it since it was a nursery, and we don't want to take the time to paint it now either. I don't mind the purple, but I hate blue. Nevertheless, this will be my new sewing room.

I've started putting things in here already, trying to make the best use of the small space. There is no way the contents of my current sewing will fit in this little room, so I will actually have parts of my current sewing room in three different rooms, and I'm purging quite a bit as well. My goal for this room is to store my vintage machines, cutting table, two machine cabinet, and all my batting. Once those are in here, I'll see what misc. things can fit. I wish I could fit my ironing station in here, but no matter how I measured and figured, the room is too small to fit the cabinet, cutting table and ironing station. I think I will be able to leave the ironing station in it's current location, which is just a few steps outside this room, so it will still work pretty well.

Previously, this room was DH's office, and that is now relocated to the living room. We had to get rid of a few pieces, and not everything is organized yet, but we're working on it.

Since I was carrying most of DH's office stuff up the stairs by myself, I used my leg to balance big boxes or small pieces of furniture. I paid a price for that, and my leg is all sorts of pretty colors now.

This whole week I should only be working downstairs, so hopefully my leg will heal up before we are ready to move our bedroom downstairs!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

I Spy Completion

It's been a crazy busy week, but I did get that I Spy quilt finished and mailed off!

It should be a fun quilt for blanket forts, I Spy games, and even a bed cover ;-)

My sore throat is lingering, but the rest of my summer cold is over. I'm happy it wasn't a three week deal.

I haven't had any time to sew since I finished the I Spy quilt, and I'm not sure when I will have time to sew. I've been stripping wallpaper from one of the rooms we are re-purposing. Next week it will get a fresh paint job, then some of the house rearranging can begin. Realistically, I think the house rearrange will take a month, but it could be more or less than that. Only two rooms will be repainted right now, the first room to change and the last.

A few more wrenches have been thrown into our plans, so my sewing area may be down to one sewing cabinet, and fabric storage. If I lose space for my other sewing cabinets, cutting table, and ironing station, that will be a temporary situation, so it would just go into storage for a while. Right now, I'm going with our original plan, and if we need the temporary storage solution, we'll change things again. Sometimes life goes a bit haywire, and you just need to be flexible, and make the best of it.

I am really glad I am a planner by nature, it would be overwhelming otherwise. I've already decided which sewing cabinet I will make room for, and which sewing machine goes in it. If I have to put my other machines and cabinets in storage to help out family, it's totally worth it. I am still working out which other things could go into storage for a while, and which things I'd need out. I think I could pare down a lot if I thought it was just a temporary thing. At this point, I could willingly get rid of all kinds of household things and not miss them at all. My quilting stuff is harder, because it's what I love to do. Still, for a year or so, I could go down to one machine without a problem.

Have any of you had to temporarily quilt in a corner after having a sewing room? Which things were hardest to adjust to? I sewed on the kitchen table for years, but I have had a sewing room for the last 8 years or so. That is definitely long enough to have completely changed my sewing habits.

I'm feeling pretty good about the changes, I think the benefits overall, definitely outweigh the challenges I'll have in quilting. I love quilting, and I need to be able to quilt for my peace of mind, but people trump sewing needs every time. As long as I have a corner to sew in, life will stay good.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Colds

This weekend we are supposed to have seriously high temps, 110+. I hate summer, I hate hot weather, and I am especially cranky about it when I have a summer cold. Guess what I've got? Yup, runny nose, sinus pain, ear pain, my throat feels like I'm swallowing cut glass, and I'm just generally feeling lousy. I'm not too cheery right now.

I am still sewing along though!

 I got the I Spy quilt top together. I cut the lengths for the backing, I'll press them and sew the center seam tomorrow, and hopefully get this pin-basted tomorrow. I am planning some serious quilting this weekend. I want this quilt done and in the mail.

I still have multiple deadline quilts for this year, more seem to be added all the time. I'm going to have an interesting time getting them all done, because we've decided to do a huge house rearrange. All but one of us will be changing bedrooms, my sewing room will be dismantled and spread throughout the house. My fabric shelves will become a temporary wall to create a makeshift guest room. We debated moving, a major remodel, and leaving things as they are, but things happen, and we decided the cheaper rearrange was the best plan for now. I'm a little overwhelmed thinking about rearranging most of our house, but at the same time, it will make me go through things, and I can keep weeding out things we don't need anymore. I'm glad I already started on that path a few months ago, so maybe I won't have so much to move.

I'm also hoping moving everything will give me some real incentive to get the UFO's I have done and out of here. I see the biggest dents in yardage when I'm making backings. Unless it's a wedding quilt, I don't allow myself to buy backings, I make myself use stash. Even a lot of my wedding quilts use stash if I can piece together something nice.

Having my sewing room spread out around the house could make things harder, or it could motivate me to downsize a bit, and my favorite way to downsize is to use things up, not give it up. Even doing things like cleaning out the bathroom cabinets, and realizing I have 12 half empty bottle of lotion, got me to use more lotion and have softer skin as I used it up, not tossed it. Don't get me wrong, I donate a LOT of stuff to charity, and I'm sure a lot of that will go on too, but for my quilting stuff, I'd rather donate quilts than fabric. We'll see what happens, I hope to start moving things in about two weeks. I want to finish up a couple things first.