Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm a Quilter!

   I did indeed sew this weekend. I told you in my last post I was going to. I'm a quilter again! After nearly 8 months of selling a house, packing, storing, building a new house; moving and unpacking, I didn't forget how. :) I was snug as a bug in a rug in my almost studio Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday after church. I didn't leave except for bathroom breaks and nourishment. It was good for this quilter's soul, let me tell you.

   I found the paper-piece patterns for a Courthouse Steps (4 1/2" blocks) quilt I started last March. Although I could not find the impressive stack of finished blocks anywhere. Now where could they be?! The finished quilt requires 400+ blocks. I gave all my scraps away at my workshops this summer in 2 gallon bags as door prizes, so I had to spend a good amount of time cutting 1 1/4" strips before I could sew. I made 12 lovely little blocks. I feel so much better now. Quilting really is my therapy and cure for anything that ails me. Here they are...

    Those little blocks are so much fun to make. I'm going downstairs to sew more now. :)

    I took a couple more pictures of the house to show you. This is the entry from the garage. It comes thru the laundry room. In a past post I showed you the antique tin ceiling panels I bought. I painted them white and put them on the walls here for wainscotting and topped with a wide Colonial trim board. I think it gave my laundry room some instant old character. What do you think?

  If you are in the laundry room, this is what you see now. I don't mind standing there folding clothes with this view. :)
 A closer look at the details...
  This is the view as you leave the kitchen to go to the laundry room or garage. That old cubbyhole cabinet used to be in our family room. Randy is less than thrilled with it here, but I love it. The tree is my "Sewing Room Tree" normally.

  Ok, I'm off to sew!!! Keep stitching!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fashionably Late!

    Once again, time has flown by me and I'm late in posting. Just as I thought I had my new home in order, unpacked, and decorated, it was time to unpack some more and decorate for Christmas! I loooooove Christmas and have tons of decorations, including 5 trees and my village to put out. It was a little more complicated this year. In the moving process decorations were hurriedly packed and NOT put together in totes the way I normally store them. It was like a scavenger hunt finding all the matching pieces that normally go on each tree or to put together the village. An added problem was the display platforms I built to hold the village was designed to fit in the old house. To display the village in the new living room, the plywood pieces had to be re-cut to fit the angles in the walls here. Thank goodness, Isaah was home for Thanksgiving and willing to help. He carried the plywood up and down the basement stairs five times so I could make cuts, check for fit, then re-cut again and again till it fit around the bend in the living room wall and back towards the entryway. He's a gem! Of course, he loves my village and is adamant at following family traditions to the letter every year, so not putting the entire village up because of not fitting was simply not an option to him. Not to mention he made a couple dozen trips downstairs to carry up all the totes of village pieces and tree decorations. I'm posting some pictures of the results. i hope you enjoy them.

  Welcome to my home at Christmas! My Mom painted the 5 foot tall Santa years ago before she was legally blind. The wreath was made for me by my sister.
   The wreath is decorated with cow ornaments. I collect them and have a cow tree every year with over 250 cow ornaments (just not this year!) because the downstairs isn't finished or started yet.

The Santa tree adorns the dining room. That window faces the street.

Another dining room view. The window ledge holds the village houses of people living in the mountains and can be enjoyed from both rooms. My sister also made the Santa in his sleigh table top decoration for me.

 The fireplace corner of the living room with greenery and Santa bedecked mantle. The tall Santa is another one Mom painted.
 The hall tree holds a favorite rag doll holding her Christmas stocking and a little button tree I made 20 years ago.
 A closeup (blurry, oops!) of the mantle clock and Santas. I'm adding more of my Santas once I find that box!

   To make room for the village, the quilt cabinet was moved to the wall where the couch usually is and the couch is hidden under the village. the quilt cabinet is topped with Santas, trees, and a 4 year old gingerbread house my niece, Tina, made for me. I keep it in a ziploc bag in a tote and it hasn't mildewed yet, but I did have to glue some pieces back on this year.

          Closer look.

     A closer look at Santa.
 And then my village, starting at the entry and wrapping around the angled wall into the living room...


The long side in the living room...

      A full view...

                     A closeup of the edge of town and beginning of the countryside...
The industrial end of town with the grainary, the wheelwright shop and bell factory behind them...

 Next post I'll share photos of my Kirkwood, Missouri trip last month. Right now I'm actually going to go downstairs to my not yet built quilt studio where all my quilt stuff is and I'm going to sew! Really! I'm going to create something. I don't know what, but something, anything sewn and/or quilted. It's been months and I can't wait another minute. I hope you all are enjoying decorating for Christmas and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Keep stitching!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

First cold and a cozy fire.

  I woke up around 3 AM and couldn't breathe. Ok, I could breathe, just not well. I've got my first cold of the season. Yuck. The school hasn't offered employees flu shots yet. The flu shot usually keeps me from getting colds, or not bad ones anyway. By 6 AM, when my alarm went off, I could tell I needed a sick day. I called my sub, reported my absence, and went back to bed. Of course, we have no cold meds, or they are packed in one of the dozens of boxes still in the basement. Randy went to Walmart before he left for work to buy me some Zicam. I've never taken it before, but I hear good things about it. It's worth a try. I have to be better by Friday, because I'm speaking and teaching to the Thimble & Thread Quilt Guild of Greater St. Loius' Inc. The show must go on, you know.

 It's now a little after noon and I do feel somewhat better. I take my third dose of Zicam in 20 minutes. The hardest part is you can't eat or drink 15 minutes before or after taking, you can't take it on an empty stomach, and you're supposed to drink lots of fluids. It gets a little confusing. The pills HAVE to melt in your mouth (no chewing allowed), and even though it's supposed to be cherry flavored, it has a "metallic" taste too. Believe me, you WANT to eat or drink something with it long before the 15 minutes is up. I'm an adult. I can do this! Enough pitty partying, I have pictures to share, then it's nap time. :)

    Here's a picture of the "Mini Garden" quilt my friend, Julee Prose, made and gave to me as a house-warming gift. I hung it over our bed. Doesn't it look yummidy?

     A larger view of our master bedroom.

   Here's a look at our living room and a peek at my red wall in the kitchen too.

  A closer look at my quilt cupboard. If it looks familiar, it's because I had much the same grouping at the old house. Hey, if it works, don't fix it!
   Isaah came home this weekend to help us empty out the storage facility. He says he's now retired from the moving business. I think he was only half joking. He's been great free labor in this whole moving process. I've only had to feed him. Saturday afternoon my mantle was moved in and installed! OMG, was I excited. I was so excited I forgot to get a picture of them carrying the mantle through the front door. Here Isaah is making some room while Randy keeps it from tipping over. It's so big, it had to come in the door on its side.

   Randy held it steady while Dwayne, our builder, gets his tools together.

   Isaah and Dwayne attempting to stand it upright while Randy steadies it from the back.

   Dwayne starts screwing it to the studs. That big fat TV HAS to go! It obstructs the view, don't you think? I want a flat screen instead.
  Of course, the foreman of the job (me) had to inspect the job to make sure those screws were hidden as promised.

  And here is the finished product with a first fire going. The tile surround still needs to be installed and the baseboard trim on either side is lacking, but you get the idea. I LOVE it! The mantle clock finally has a home other than on top of my quilt cupboard. It belonged to Randy's Dad. I need to put some thought into what else gets displayed there with it. I know I'll have fun decorating it for Christmas.

  I'll post more house pictures as I tidy up and decorate. Hope you enjoyed these. Now, it's time for my Zicam and a nap. Keep stitching!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Busy, but Happy!

  After my last post, I had the best of intentions to post more often. As you well know, that didn't happen! I have been up to my elbows in paint, stripping compound, dirt, and goat manure. Yes, you read that right. Not all at once, of course. I have every room painted except the guest bedroom, which I hope to tackle this weekend. I have hung curtains in every room and put lots of holes in walls hanging pictures, shelves, and quilt racks. It's really looking and feeling like home now.

  I was able to strip the mantel once the garage got built. I was in full safety gear and having a ball uncovering the hidden beauty in the wood under the dark finish and not available for phone calls. Randy answered my phone and I heard him say, "Becky is in the garage stripping." I can only imagine the disturbing mental picture the caller got from that statement! The mantel turned out gorgeous, beyond what I'd dreamed. It still sits in the garage though. Hopefully, it will find it's way to the living room in the next week or so. In the meantime, I am firing up the fireplace everyday after school. It's been in the low 40's all week, so a cozy fire is very welcome when I get home from work.

  I hauled topsoil and had goat manure delivered to create my new garden.  I've planted 3 Redbud trees, 6 rose bushes and 2 tree roses on the south side of the house. In the area between the garage and porch enclosed by an arching sidewalk to the front door, I created my woodland garden. With cold weather coming, I wasn't particular about placement of my hostas. I spaced then 3 feet apart and can rearrange them come spring for a more pleasing look. The important thing is to get them safely in the ground before a freeze. I still have a few evergreen trees to plant. The perennials intended for planting along the dry riverbed found temporary homes along the south and west sides of the house. The riverbed will wait till spring too.

  Randy harrowed the new topsoil till it cried, "Uncle!" and sewed the grass seed last week. He spread 30 bails of straw all over it to keep moisture in the soil. We've gotten only sprinkles, however, and lots of wind up on this hill. The straw has rescattered itself not near as nicely as Randy did the first time, much to his displeasure.

  I've spoken and taught in Owatonna, MN (last month), Ankeny, IA and Wapello, IA this month. I'm speaking and teaching a workshop in Kirkwood, MO November 8th & 9th. After that, I have a break till February when I have a 4 day engagement in Naples, FL. What a hardship that will be having to spend 4 days in Florida in FEBRUARY when it will be zero or below here in Iowa! I'll try to enjoy myself. Heehee.

  This is the view of our house from the corner of the southwest intersection.
 And from the west...

 The garage door was just installed last Friday. It was a welcome sight when I came home from school.

I love my porch...

 The sidewalk was poured the day before this picture was taken...

I stopped at Sass Family Farm on the way home from Breakfast Club Saturday and bought all these pumpkins for 50 cents to $5 each.

I got this mum there for $8!

   These are pictures of my workshop and program in Owatonna, MN for the Heritage Quilters Guild of Southern Minnesota. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. What a fun group of talented quilters they are. (Deb P, you never did give me your chicken wild rice soup recipe!)

Class attendees, I'm in the pink and brown top, front row.
 Their work space was wonderful.
 They opted for my Civil War trunk show.

This is my mantel in the first stage of stripping.

  This picture is of the Civil War style show held at the Civil War event this past Sunday in Wapello, Iowa at the Louisa County Historical Society. I was one of several speakers. I was able to hear the other presentations before the intermission when I had to change into my costume. It was a wonderful day. I'm so glad I was included and got to enjoy the other speakers' programs.

  Next post I'll have some indoor pictures of my house. I thought I had them loaded on my computer already, but I can't find them. With any luck, I'll be quilting again soon since our house is complete. We'll begin finishing the basement this winter. I have my sewing area set up on a temp basis for now and putter around in there a little now between home projects. Life is starting to feel almost normal again and I'm very grateful. Till next time, keep stitching.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Home, Sweet, Home!

   I hope my Followers are still checking in from time to time. I haven't left this universe (though I have heard that complaint from a friend). This building and moving process has been a long one. We are in our home, but not completely. About 70% of our possessions are still in the huge pricey storage unit, but we're working on it. As I write this, outside my kitchen window, I can see the carpenters busy building our garage. We can't drive on our driveway till Thursday though. The carpet layer is here finishing the master bedroom carpeting today. He took a 2 week break to deal with heart problems he was having. He only has the tile for the fireplace to do after this. Looking out the living room windows and the ones to the east and west, I can see huge piles of black soil waiting to be spread over this %$#@*& red clay we have for a yard. We hope to have grass seed sown before cold weather and grass actually growing. I may be dreaming though. At any rate, I have trees and pots and pots of my hostas and perennials to plant that have been kept at a friend's home all summer. I know they want to come home whether there is grass or not.

   Lots of progress being made here. There is a lot of unpacking to be done yet, but it feels like home,sweet, home to me. They built it just like I designed it, even though they questioned some of my ideas. I had "walked through it in my mind" for so long, it felt like I was home the moment I walked into it for real. I won every argument with the builders, because I knew how I planned to use every square foot of this house and have had 2 decades of dreaming about it to perfect the plan. They couldn't believe I wanted a master closet bigger than the master bathroom...DUH. Why is the "sewing room" going to be bigger than the family room AND have the big egress windows?...DUH. Do you really want a big pantry?...DUH. Do you need to have a coat closet in the laundry room (even if it is next to the garage entryway)...DUH. That's just a sampling of how they doubted my design. Now that it's mostly done, they are complimentary of my design and are showing it to prospective customers. I keep telling them I should get a cut if they sell more houses based on my plan. So far I haven't seen any checks coming my way.

   I've taken pictures all along the way, but haven't uploaded and edited them on my computer yet. I'll try to post some soon and get back to regularly posting again. I still haven't done any quilting or sewing since April, BUT we found my Bernina in the storage unit and brought it home this weekend! I'll have to set up a temporary sewing station downstairs till we can finish my quilt studio. As soon as they get the roof on the garage, I'll be bringing my mantel home from Preservation Station. It will be kept in the garage while I refinish it. I love the way it looks with the old dark oak finish, but decided if I was ever going to refinish it, it would be now before it's installed in the living room. The installer is coming Thursday to put up all the window treatments. A little more privacy might be nice.

  Thanks for being patient with me and my long absence. I promise to be more faithful. Until the next time, and since I can't,...keep stitching!


Friday, July 26, 2013

We have a House!

   After months of planning, designing, and waiting, our house is here! After only 3 1/2 hours of sleep (I spoke at the EIHQ guild on Monday), I arose at 5 Am Tuesday, July 23, and was at my lot at 6:45 AM. My house was sitting on two flatbed trucks waiting for me.

  A 70 ton crane was standing by to transfer the house halves onto the foundation. A small group of family and friends were on hand to watch.

It seemed to take forever, but they finally started to set the first half...

The swinging it into position was scary to watch!

   The first half was lowered with precision on the first try! The crane operator is a master at his craft. That's Kayla, taking time off work to share the experience with me. Such a good friend!

 The front half was soon to follow...

Then the roof was lifted and secured...

    By 10 AM, we were given a tour! I was the first one in, but here is my long-time friend, Michele Genck, getting a hand in by our builder, Dwayne Liechty. We came in the back door because it was only 4 feet off the ground, lower than the front. We need some serious grading done.

    I was given the keys. Don't I look thrilled? I'm standing in the kitchen in front of what will be the basement stairway.

    I'll share a few of the room pictures, but keep in mind, it's not finished and full of construction debris. It still looks like "Home, sweet home", to me though!

  A step in from the front door..
   Another step and a view thru the archway into the kitchen...
 My appliances in boxes, darn!
 And my kitchen! :)

 I love my laundry room too! I have a deep laundry sink. I'll probably use for potting plants and dyeing fabric!

   Dwayne misunderstood me and stepped right in front of the washer dryer area I was trying to photograph...

  Living room. Guess what goes on this wall! My mantel! It will nearly fill the angled wall.

   And a few of the master bedroom...

And master bath...
 2nd bathroom...
 Mom's room...

  My pantry is big enough for company, Michele. and my boss and good friend, Angie Brauns proved this to me.

  This horrible picture is the only one I took of the house. It was afternoon and I was facing the sun, sorry! I'll definitely be taking a better one soon. The missing siding in front is where the garage will be and there will be a front porch soon too.

  To conclude, I'll share a few photos from my Marion, Iowa trip. Here are the ladies from my workshop for "Hardtack and Coffee"...

 Their finished blocks all shown together...
   My display at the American Legion Hall in Marion where I spoke at 9 AM and 7 PM to the EIHQ Guild. The workshop was from 1 to 4 PM. What a fantastic guild they have there. Lots of talented quilters and such fun to be around. They have lots of charitable activities they participate in.

   Thanks for stopping by and taking the tour of my home. As more gets done and building debris removed, I'll take more photos to keep you updated. Until then, keep stitching!