Tuesday, August 15, 2017

weary and worn

I'm feeling really worn out,
so I'm listening to this song on repeat
(I prefer it live in my LEM,
but listening to the original artist on youtube is okay too)

I thought maybe you might need to listen too.

This one is pretty great also
to help me regain perspective.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

one way to fold a quilt

Remember the Pigeon quilt??

It sold!!

I've been meaning to share how I fold quilts 
so that they don't get strong creases in them
with my new friend, Carolyn,
and figured I may as well share it here, too,
in case anybody else would like to know.

Since this one is going away soon,
well, it was a no-brainer to use it in my demo.

if you have a larger quilt, you'll just add a few more folds
in each direction.

The key is 
to fold diagonally,
and when you unfold your quilt
you won't have strong creases in it.

I have more of this fabric,
so if you felt great sadness in your heart
when you saw that the awesome pigeon quilt sold,
don't fret - I can make a similar one for you :-)

Sunday, August 6, 2017

let there be light

Now that we actually have some progress to speak of,
I figured it was time for a house update.

As a reminder,
at the time of my last post
all ceilings and walls were primed 
and ceilings were painted,
but the only walls that were painted
were Brandon's.

we've got color on the walls in the boys' room also
(PPG Tornado - same as in Brandon's room)
as well as in the playroom
(PPG color matched Sherwin William's Waterscape @ 60%)
and living room / dining room / kitchen,
and the pantry and mudroom
PPG color matched Valspar Clothesline Fresh @40%)


We've got oh, probably 20-25% of the receptacles (outlets) installed 
and several light switches.

My dad came down Friday and Saturday
and finished up getting the breaker box set up,
and did the wiring of 3-way switches
which is much trickier than regular switches
and required more talking to himself than usual ;-)
and helped Tyler and Brandon install the final door.

Jeannie came with him on Saturday
and helped me paint the second coat in the playroom.
(My friend, Eva, had come earlier in the week 
and painted the first coat with me,
so that room's had a lot of love already :-)

The most exciting progress though,
aside from the fact that we
 finally picked our main color
(and painted it everywhere it goes except the entryway)
is lights!!

Tyler and I spent about 3 hours at Lowe's Friday night 
and came home with
lights for all of the closets,
two lights for the mudroom
(one of which I love so much, 
it makes me squeal and smile every time I see it!)
and all but one of the ceiling fans we still needed
(actually we still need 2 - we'd forgotten
 that we wired the office/music room for a fan too - oops)

We've installed several can lights over the past week;
the only ones left are the kitchen  and dining rooms
which weren't installed
because Miss Picky wasn't happy with the ceiling's paint job yet.
The 4th (or maybe it was the 5th?) coat 
(applied at 9:30 last night)
did the trick,
so we'll get those put in this week.

Friday night
Brandon and Tyler installed  the mudroom lights,
and Saturday
they installed
all of the closet lights,
the front porch fans and over the door light,
and the absolutely perfect living room ceiling fan/light

It's all very exciting!!

(Tyler and Brandon went out while I was finishing typing up this post 
and finished up the kitchen and dining room can lights!
I nixed the installation of the pendant lights, though,
for fear of bumping heads and breaking the lights
during the remainder of the construction
especially flooring installation
which should begin before long!!)

Friday, July 28, 2017

playing catch up

We are back to being a three vehicle family again!

It was a little rough there for a few weeks.

We've had two vehicles out of commission,
and we found out that our mechanic of 22 years
closed up shop.


I'm sad we don't have Barry as a mechanic anymore,
and I'm also sad for him to have to have a boss again.
I expect that's a little hard
after being your own boss 
for a few dozen years.
It's a wonderful gift to have a mechanic that you trust,
and now we've got to start all over again with somebody else.

I'm holding off on forming an opinion just yet
of the new place,
but let's just say that the first vehicle we had in there 
had to go back,
and the the second one 
cost almost $100 more than he'd told me it would.
so things aren't looking super just yet.


I sold my quilts!!!

All three of them!

I happy danced and cried, 

They went to a super sweet gal in California
who plans to use them as art
and treasure them,
and pass them on to her daughter.

It was an excellent reminder to me that God does things in His time.

A few weeks ago,
after getting an e-mail from Etsy
telling me that I needed at least 10 things in my shop 
in order for people to find my stuff,
I sent an entire Sunday afternoon
making some chapstick holders to put in there.

It didn't go real well.
They took waay too long, 
and I ended up trashing 2,
and giving 2 that weren't in what *I* considered sale-able condition
to Josiah and Lexi
and all I ended up with after several hours
was 4 little lip balm clip things
that I could sell for maybe $3-$4 a piece.

It hardly seemed worth the time to take and edit pictures
and list them.
we all know about me and the post office....
Did I really want to have to make a trip
(or - let's be real - send Brandon)
to the post office 
for what will end up being
maybe $1.50 to add to  a sewing machine fund??

I don't think so.
So then, they sat there taunting me.
"how is anybody ever going to find your quilts 
with only 3 items in your shop?"

But God showed me
He's got this.


Work has been super crazy for Tyler,
so we aren't getting in as much work on the house as we'd like,
but - we finally have everything primed,
all ceilings are painted,
and we have color on the walls in Brandon's room.
so -yay!!!


My sewing machine is still in Fayetteville,
though it is finally ready for me to pick it up.
I guess I will do that Monday,
since we'll be painting when they are open tomorrow,
and they're closed on Sunday.

While waiting on the machine,
Lily helped me baste the two quilt tops so they'll be ready to go
when I get my Juki back.

She's actually getting to be a great basting helper
(but I still have to repeat an awful lot,
"smooth it from the middle out...")

Since any wonkiness in Sojourner would be especially obvious,
I wanted to make sure it stays nice and straight,
so in addition to spray basting,
I ironed it also,
and then thread basted with tailor tacks
for good measure.
(but not as close together as if I hadn't sprayed)
Lil' threaded all of the needles for me,
which was another huge help.


I miss coffee.

Having not noticed any improvement from the absence of it,
I've actually had a couple of half cups,
which I've thoroughly enjoyed.


Lexi will be teaching her Sunday School class this week.
She has spent hours working on her lesson,
and enlisted the help of Lily and Josiah
to make a couple of games,
then got Brandon to take her to the store to buy snack 
to go along with it.
(She's doing Ruth and Naomi, and got 100% wheat bread,
which she was very excited about.
She was also quite excited that it came with it's own twist tie!
which made me think,
my children should maybe get out more ;-)


It seems like I had more stuff to record,
but I can't remember at the moment
and it's time for me to start fixing dinner soon
(BLT salads, since one of Tyler's friends gave us some garden tomatoes.

Monday, July 17, 2017

more Monday miscellanies

Another kid is taller than me.

Darn that Jeremiah!


Along with my wheat, grains, and sugar,
I have temporarily given up coffee.
and dairy.

We'll see if anything comes of it...

It was actually much easier than I expected
but I gotta be honest,
I was really hoping yesterday
that Tyler would forget I wasn't drinking coffee
and make me a cup.

I would have had to drink it to not be rude....


My Juki is in the shop.

Brandon took her up to Fayetteville for me on Saturday.

I was hoping he'd also
come back with her
on Saturday,
but they don't have technicians over the weekend.



Tyler and I spent 7 hrs 
out working in the house Saturday.
we've got everything but the upstairs bathroom 
and the media room primed.

It was soooo hot!

I told him I'd never sweat so much in my life.

He said, "You said that last year.
Doing electric.

I told him this year's sweat trumps last year's!

I was chugging water
and pouring salt in my mouth,
but it wasn't enough, 
and that night,
I also had the worst headache I've ever had.

It. Was. Miserable.

I had it all day yesterday, too,
but the pain had lessened considerably.
I still have a remnant of it this morning.


I absolutely
have to have paint picked out and purchased
by Friday.

I can do this.
I can!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sojourner and Sparkle

I finished two quilt tops this week!

Remember a few weeks ago,
when I shared my new project sketch?

It was paper pieced,
darn it,
but it was perfect for the quilt I had in mind.

Meet Sparkle

I got off to a super rocky start,
which isn't all that surprising,
seeing as how it's me.
But it's such a simple pattern,
I sort of expected I could handle it,
since I've had a good bit of practice...

The first day of paper piecing was absolutely awful
and if I hadn't already cut up all of my fabric,
I would have gone back to my original
(much easier, much less 'wow')
of 4 patches on point.

The second day was a smidge better,
and the last 2 dozen units
were made without any mistakes!

(I still don't like paper piecing, though ;-)

I'm going to try a minky backing with this one,
which will be a first for me,
so if you've got any tips, I'd love to hear them!

My second finish, 

I am really pleased with how it turned out!!
I had several 'I'm not sure about this' moments along the way,
but I am soo happy with it now.

I accidentally gave myself a ton of partial seams in this quilt,
so it took a lot longer to sew together
than I'd anticipated
once the blocks were all sewn up.
Fortunately everything fit together really well,
so it wasn't hard
as much as it was overwhelming.

It was inspired by Kathleen Riggins version
(although I have already reminded my client 
that my quilting 
will be nowhere near as spectacular as Kathleen's.

Mercy, that girl has skills!)

My sewing machine needs to go in the shop
before I attempt to quilt either of these, though;
my machine won't allow me to move the quilt in all directions : /

I hate to make a trip to Fayetteville just for that,
but I also don't want to have to wait too long to get started....

linking up with pincushion queen Amanda Jean

Monday, July 10, 2017

Monday Miscellanies

You know life has been extra full 
when it's been over 10 days since I last posted,
and Tyler hasn't even mentioned it.


Still no main paint color.

But you know what?
we aren't done priming everything 
and painting ceilings yet,
so that's okay.


We had a super laid back 4th of July celebration
with the McC's.

My chest only tightened about 2 dozen times,
so that's a definite improvement over recent years.

Tyler and Jeremiah went on a little crappie fishing trip last week.

It wasn't a crappy fishing trip;
they were fishing for crappie
(in case you were confused... ;-)


While they were gone - 
I spent 14 hours on Friday
working on my commission quilt.

I took up all but about 5 inches of the kitchen floor 
for most of the afternoon 
and all of the evening.

I'd made most of the blocks,
and cut all of my  background strips
before I took over the floor,
but I'd saved all of the flying geese blocks,
and about half of the square in a a square blocks
so that I could make what was needed to fill in color gaps.

I ended up deviating from my 'pattern' a bit
and moved a few blocks around,
remade a few others,
trimmed a couple,
and vetoed some completely,
so I ended up hogging the kitchen 
much longer than I'd anticipated.

The kids were so sweet about it though,
and since we couldn't cook in there,
with a quilt all laid out on the floor,
Brandon picked up Taco Bell for their dinner.


Brandon got a 90.07 in his Summer I  class
(Cal 3)
so he still has a 4.0

Way to go, Bud!!


I can't even begin to guess how many collective hours
we have worked,
(mostly the kids and I,
(girls more than boys)
but Tyler has helped some)
to get all of the drywall mud and mess off of the floors.

we spent an hour out there
(so, 5 hours of labor all together)
and we finally finished the downstairs!!

I don't think you can fully appreciate this
if you haven't experienced it.

Tyler actually started the whole cleaning process
several weeks ago,
because I was so completely overwhelmed with the mess,
I couldn't even figure out how to begin.

If we ever build another house,
we are putting brown paper down
before any drywall related person
sets foot in our house,
I can tell you that!


Tyler had his first experience of being referred to as
an 'older guy' on Saturday.

He was a little miffed about it.

Which is kinda funny,
because he's always running his mouth about how 
he likes getting old.

I guess he doesn't like (over)hearing 
that other people think he is, though ;-)

We went to the Windsor library the other day
which is the one that we usually go to,
but hadn't been to in a while.

The librarian was so happy to see the kids!

She told me she'd called the other branches
to see if they'd stolen her family!

It's nice to be known
and wanted.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

progress report

I figure it's high time 
for a little update on my latest commission project.
Here is my collection of blocks to date

I try to make a few blocks
a couple of times a week,
but there've been some weeks
where I've not managed to make any.

I don't have a definitive deadline,
so I don't stress about it when that happens.
But I don't want it to drag on forever, either....

I color in my little block map when I finish a block,
but my colors aren't very spot on most of the time, 
so I'm not sure if it's really all that helpful.

If nothing else though,
it looks nicer than marking a big X across the block
to signify it's 'made' status.

Since many of the blocks 
I just made up,
I'm also just making up how to make them as I go.

I should probably work out some of the maths more.

That's all I'm going to say about my
'winging it' approach ;-)

Of course, there have been times when I have 
worked out the maths,
I didn't work them out correctly.

It doesn't help any
that the Cotton & Steel jelly roll strips I bought
'for greater variety'
aren't quite 2.5 inches wide,
and my entire quilt is built on 2" increments....

Tyler has a work dinner tonight,
which means I get a few extra hours to sew:-)

this is one of my favorite blocks!

I can't decide though
If I'll knock out a few more of these blocks,
or get started on a new project.

decisions decisions...

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

picking paint and looking old

I really want to throw my arms across a bar,
lay my head on them,

I'm beginning to think my dad was right;
am incapable
of picking paint.

I've lost count of the number of trips I've made
and how many paint samples I've bought.
If we haven't hit double digits yet,
we're close.
But still,
I am no closer to finding 

It's all making me very weary.

In addition to the paint choice angst I'm dealing with,
when I was at the paint store today
(not to be confused with when I was there yesterday.
or Friday (twice).....)
a lady (probly 10 yrs older than me) and I were chatting,
and she asked how many kids I had.
I told her 8,
and added that they were spread out over 22 years.

And she said,
"You must have waited a while before you started."


I'm still trying to come up with a response.

But you can see why
I'd really like to fling myself on a bar,
and cry


*I don't necessarily mean a bar bar,
it's just that a bar is the right height for upper body flopping on.
(for a short person)
(which I am)
(though I am apparently an ancient short person.)

**to be fair - Dad was joking.

*** but it does sorta feel as if he was being prophetic...

****I checked the mirror when I got home;
I wasn't looking especially haggard

*****If you're curious,
(and I'm sure you are ;-)
this elusive color is a light grey/blue/green
it's more color than white,
but it reads as a neutral - not really a color,
and makes the space feel 
and inviting
Like a slow contented sigh.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sleeping Porch, Sparkling Stars

And now,
we've reached the third, and final installment
my family's favorite - Sparkling Stars

This one was (mostly) fun.

I drew up a design on graph paper
using  30 8 inch blocks
in a 5x6 configuration,
and just plugged in different sizes and styles of stars,
making it so that I have very few seams to match up
when joining blocks, to speed the process up a smidge. 

I made notes of how many I needed of each,
and also how many filler squares,
and rectangles,
and which way the rectangles were oriented.

I chose fabrics for,
 and cut and pieced 
a few stars at a time.
I cut a few of the squares and rectangles as I went, too.

Over the course of a few weeks,
working 20 minutes here, and 40 there,
I managed to get most of the stars made,
and one Saturday in mid-May
Tyler let me have the day off from working on the house
(we are building a house on our property.
We've been at it a little over a year,
and the end,
though still a ways off,
is finally in sight)
and I laid out the quilt,
made a few more stars,
and cut the rest of the filler blocks,
rearranged things a few times,
and got the top sewn together.

This one got a fun big polka dot thrifted sheet backing,
and then I got right to work learning a new quilting motif - swirls.

After practicing for about an hour,
on both paper and fabric,
I felt confident enough to start quilting
for real.
I think the swirls are a great complement
to all of the angles of the stars,
and coupled with the warm and natural cotton batting,
they create great texture, too.

Sparkling Stars got a lawn binding also,
because it's just so delightfully soft,

This one is also in the shop,
and all proceeds from the sale of it
will go towards the purchase of a sewing machine for Rahab's Rope :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

feeling groovy

There are people who just do everything fast.

I am not one of those people.

I wish I were.
There are certain tasks
 (vegetable chopping, for instance)
that I've done so much - I've naturally gotten faster;
but as a rule,
I'd say I'm average, at best,
and even sometimes, downright slow.

Bag-making is pretty much my molasses.

I'm usually tickled with them in the end,
but goodness, the making of bags
takes me a dang long time!

I do believe this one,
clocking in at 7 1/2 hours,
is the record.

It's a good thing I really love Amy,
and I think she really deserves it,
because that is just about ridiculous!

But -
it's a really cute bag!!

You might remember that Lily had a really rough night at camp,
and Amy helped her through it,
so I was already thinking I ought to make her something as a thank-you.

But then,
when she up and went to Lexi's camp also
(and changed her bandages
because Lexi wasn't sure the nurse would do it properly)
I knew I needed to.

Amy is a little bit of a hippie,
so I was kind of already thinking maybe something with a VW.
I found out that she drove the big ol' church van
(through the construction area that brings me to tears 
nearly every time I drive in NWA)
she loves Volkswagen Beetles,
and well, that sealed the deal.

I added elastic to the inside of the bag,
so she could securely carry essential oils in it if she felt so inclined.

And then, thinking that 
if she did carry oils in it,
maybe there should be some padding in the center, too,
so the glass bottles wouldn't be hitting each other,
so I made a padded pocket divider thing.

And after I had the entire bag done,
and the opening sewn shut,
I discovered 
that when you add a divider
to a zip pouch with boxed corners,
you must remove some length from the divider.

How much length 
seems to be determined 
by how much you box the corners.

It took me about a half hour to fix my error,
so I guess, 
the bag only took 7 hours.

But that's still a record, I think...

In all seriousness,
I am so grateful that Amy sacrificed a week of her life
to love on my girls,
and I was happy to spend a few hours of mine,
to make a bag that says
thank you, sweet friend!! I think you're groovy!