Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011!

At the end of each year, I like to revisit and summarize the projects I've completed for the year and to work on my goals for the next year.  While I didn't come close to achieving all of my 2010 goals, I did reduce my UFOs from 75 to 58.  I also completed all quilts that I started except for one, so I'm pleased with how the year turned out, particularly since I had some major life changes occurring at the same time.

Keeping track of my finishes on my blog was motivating and also made it easy to do my yearend summary. 

In 2010, I completed the following:
  • 1 bag - my first!
  • 6 medium to large quilts
  • 18 small quilts
  • 6 pet quilts
  • 3 cross stitch projects
  • 12 cat mats
  • 37 dishcloths
Next up is to work on my goals for 2011.  I'll do that over the next week or so, as well as my annual fabric inventory.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

All Ready for the Furniture!

Well, almost.  I still need to paint the baseboards and do a few touch ups, but that won't take long at all.  For the most part, my bedroom/quilting studio is ready for my new furniture, which I ordered on Monday and which will be delivered on January 5th.  All I have left to pick out are lamps and possibly something to display some quilts, but the essentials are ordered - bed, mattress, and bedside tables.

So here is the tour of the finished room.  For purple lovers like me, it's perfect and I love it.

Entrance to the room showing the two colors of paint pretty well:

Future design wall and quilt display area:

Sewing table space with view of the backyard:

Wall where the bed and tables will go:

Entrance to the master bath - how convenient to be so accessible to the quilting area!

And back to the entrance:

And if you think the felines haven't been up to their usual activities, you would be mistaken.  Things may look innocent in this first picture, but looks can be deceiving.

About 30 seconds later, this is what the top of the end table looked like, which by the way, is not normally sitting in the hallway.  It was moved for the carpet cleaning and had not yet been put back.  Actually, it's not even an end table.  Those left with T, along with the matching coffee table, so until I can replace those items, I am using the nightstands that previously lived in the bedroom.  It's kind of like going back to college living with a hodgepodge of mismatched furniture, but I hope to remedy that soon.

So anyway, back to the next picture in the story.  Any guesses what they are looking at?  See anything missing in the picture?

Oh look, now we can play with the plant on the floor too!  Yeah, I don't think so.  And just so you know, the poinsettias are fake, so no animals were harmed in the taking of these pictures lol.  Real poinsettias are toxic to cats, so I never have them.  Actually, I don't even know if real pink poinsettias exist.  These were on sale at Joann's after Thanksgiving, so I picked them up.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Indian Summer Bound and Ready to Hang!

I finished sewing down the binding yesterday on Indian Summer, so now I just need to find a curtain rod that I like and get it hung in my new bedroom.  I finished the painting on Christmas Day, but will wait to take final pictures until after the carpets are cleaned tomorrow and before I move everything back in.  I also ordered my bed, mattress, and bedside tables today, to be delivered on January 5th, so the room is coming together nicely.  The only things remaining on my shopping list are lamps and possibly a cabinet for displaying quilts.  I will wait on the cabinet until the bed and tables are in place so I can see how much room I have left and how things are laid out.

So here is Indian Summer all finished.  I really love this quilt and can't wait to have it up on the wall.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours

Merry Christmas everyone from myself and all of the furry members of the household.  Tyrone got in the spirit of Christmas this year by putting a little spot of glitter on his nose.  Can you see it?  Look closely and you will lol.

Echo decided to see if he could squeeze into this basket, which he obviously did:

And Sassy was once again very helpful with the laundry this week:

This morning we, well me anyway, will be enjoying the Christmas morning tradition of cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  They are in the oven as I type this.  It's supposed to be a gorgeous day here...probably about 70, so I will be enjoying the weather for sure and will see what else the day brings.  I'm sure it will be another great one.  They have all been great lately :-).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Purple, Anyone?

Anyone who knows me, knows that my favorite color is purple.  So once I decided that the master bedroom space would also be used as my quilting studio, purple was the logical choice for paint color.  Well, to me it was anyway lol.

Day 1 of the painting project was covered in yesterday's post, which also includes all of the before pictures.  Today I got an early start and made great progress.  I'm thinking one more decent day of work and I should be done.  The two large walls both have two coats of paint, except for the obvious open spaces on the wall with the lights.  Those spaces are open because that's where I finished up with the first gallon of paint.  Had I still been on speaking terms with the extension ladder at that point, I may have been inclined to open the second gallon, but since I wasn't, I moved on to the next phase of the project which did not require the extension ladder. 

Speaking of ladders, I have a beautiful set of matching bruises on the backside of both calves from leaning on the step ladder, along with misc other bruises on the front of my legs and on my arm.  Good thing it's not shorts weather, or someone would probably think I'd taken a beating.

So today I got at least one coat on all of the remaining areas except the bay window.  Now that I have the rest of the room painted, I think I'm going to switch how I do the bay window and put the lighter color on the outside wall and the darker color in the bay portion. 

Here are the pictures of today's work.  It was a perfect day for painting.  The temperature outside got up to 70, so I was able to open the window for most of the day, which was great.

The next two photos of the entry to the master bath really show the contrast between the two paint colors which isn't apparent in the photo above.  I am really pleased with how the room is turning out.

And now I'm off to eat my dinner, have a glass of wine, and probably do nothing else productive for the rest of the evening!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Painting Day 1

Ok, so the first major change I am making to what is now my house (wow, do I love saying that!), is to paint the master bedroom.  It has never been painted since we moved in almost 14 years ago, mainly because the water bed couldn't be moved without draining it and I didn't want to paint all of the walls but one.  The original paint is builders grade flat in eggshell white, so to say that it is showing it's age would be an understatement.  Now that T is gone, the master bedroom furniture is as well, so before I move back in, I wanted to get the room painted and the carpets cleaned. 

The room is so large that I've decided to make it my quilting studio as well.  The bay window has the best view in the house and is perfect for my sewing table and one of the huge walls will be great for using as a design wall, which I've not had the luxury of having up to this point.

Here are the before pictures.  They start with the wall as you walk into the room and go all the way around and back to the door.  The large wall just inside the door is the wall I plan to use for my design wall.  You can see that I sampled 4 different colors of purple paint.  The dark ended up being too dark and the lightest ended up being too light, but I thought the middle two shades were just right so that's what I went with.  They are the top two of the three shown in the picture of the bay window.

The plan is to put the lighter shade on the large wall just inside the door, as well as in the inside of the bay window and the wall below the plant shelf which leads to the master bath.  The darker shade will go on the wall above the plant shelf, the wall surrounding the bay window and the large wall with the window, which is where the bed will go as well.  I think I will also be replacing the wall lamps, but I've left them for now because they are the only lights in the room at the moment.

Today I started with the large wall just inside the door.  One gallon of paint, one near fall off the ladder, and about 4 hours of total time later, this is what that wall looks like now.  Oh, and it's really not two toned at the top and the side.  Those were the last parts I did, so the paint was still drying.  And this picture is after the first coat only.  I forgot to take a picture after the second coat.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow! 


Friday, December 17, 2010

The Last Christmas Gift is Done!

I played hooky from work today in order to finish the bag I am making my aunt for Christmas.  As I mentioned in a previous post, this was my first bag and I found it easier to make than I anticipated.  The only part I had left to do today was to cut the cardboard to go in the bottom and cover it with fabric.  There were no instructions as to how to best cover the cardboard, so I did it in the same manner as I would wrap a gift using double sided tape to hold it in place and then blind stitching the loose edges.  I did press all of the sides under about a half an inch before wrapping the cardboard.  That approach seemed to work well and resulted in a nice finished look, although it was a bit time consuming to do the hand stitching.

Now I just need to get it wrapped and in the mail.  I should still be able to get it there by Christmas.  Fortunately, I have the perfect box on hand so I will wrap it up this afternoon and run it down to the post office.  Fingers crossed that I will be able to use the self service kiosk and avoid all the lines. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting with the Times...Finally!

Up until this week, I have resisted not only getting a smart phone, or anything resembling a smart phone, but also didn't even have a texting plan for my phone.  I used it for making and receiving phone calls.  That's it.

I suddenly decided on Tuesday that I would like to try texting.  I've had a couple of friends telling me that if I tried it, I wouldn't know how I lived without it.  I was sure that wouldn't be the case, but I figured for $5 more a month, it would be worth a try.  So I added texting to my plan.

The first thing I learned was that texting on a regular phone is not only highly inefficient, but also quite troublesome when you have no punctuation available, nor can you capitalize anything other than the very first letter of the text.  But I muddled through anyway. 

Then, as luck would have it, yesterday morning I received an email from Best Buy that included a "Hot Deal" on smart phones.  No kidding.  They were free.  As in no cost to me.  All I had to do was extend my contract for two years.  No problem as I've had my carrier for 10 years, am extremely happy with them, and have no intention of changing.

So I placed my order, requested store pickup, and by mid afternoon, I had this baby in my hot little hands.  It's an HTC Droid Incredible.  I have a friend that has a Droid also, so he helped me with some set up things last night, but for the most part I found it quite easy and intuitive.

And yes, for those of you that were wondering, I can't imagine how I ever lived without texting LOL.  I suspect I'm going to have to up my texting plan or I will be going over my limit which will cost me big bucks.  Actually, for only $5 more per month I can get unlimited texting to anyone in network, which just happens to include everyone that I've currently been texting, so that seems like a worthwhile cost.

I was also able to order the same phone for free for the soon-to-be ex, who also finally got with the times and added texting to his phone too.  He was more adamant than I was about having just a basic phone, but once he realized he could check email and surf the net on this phone, he was all in.  Go figure.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Productive Quilting Day

I spent the day at Dawn's yesterday and pretty much finished the last of the Christmas gifts I am making.  Here is my aunt's bag that she requested when I saw her this summer.  All I have left is to cover a piece of cardboard for the bottom.  The bottom is folded up in the picture.  The bag is actually quite a bit longer than it appears.  This is the first bag I've made.  I was apprehensive about it, but it turned out to be much easier than I expected.

After I was done with the bag, I started the quilting on Collage Applique.  I am doing a small stipple in the white areas using Rainbows thread in Jester.  This is my progress so far:

On a non quilting note, the moving truck departed on Tuesday at 4 a.m.  I was a bit out of sorts for the rest of the day, but the rest of the week and weekend have been great, in spite of having to evict a snake from the house on Friday night.  After I convinced Echo to give it up that is.  When I tried to get it away from him, he hissed at me and took off streaking through the house with it and finally dropped in the master bedroom.  Oy vey.  I did take pictures; however, I will spare you so that no one is freaked out.  The snake was a young Desert Nightsnake, so if anyone wants to see what it looked like, just do a google search.  I did release the snake into the backyard, completely unharmed.  I suspect that he was in the garage and somehow made it into the house during the commotion of the move.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Gifts Done!

I finished sewing down the last binding on my sister's three Christmas quilts this past week.  I love sewing down binding, so this was an enjoyable process for me.  I used Connecting Threads Essentials thread in various colors for all of the quilting.

The finished Christmas table mat.  I used my walking foot to do the quilting around the flower in the center.  I couldn't get a good picture of the center quilting, but I'm hoping if you zoom in on the second picture that you can see it.  I really like how this quilt turned out.  I hope my sister does too! 

The Halloween Octagon.  I really like the striped binding on this one.

 And the Autumn Octagon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crazy for Dots & Stripes!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile know that I have a thing for dots.  I have quite a collection of dot fabrics, but am always on the lookout for more.  When my sister bought me a gift certificate for Fat Quarter Shop for Christmas, I was pretty sure that I was going to use it for dot fabrics since FQS has a great selection.  I've had the GC since July and have been waiting patiently for a good sale.  That day arrived on Black Friday when FQS offered twenty percent off everything.  Perfect!  That was just what I was waiting for and I didn't hesitate to place my order LOL.  I have also gotten really interested in stripes lately after I used one for binding one of my sister's Christmas quilts, so I ordered quite a few stripe prints as well.

The GC was for $200 (purchased for only $160 during the special sale in July), which qualified my order for free shipping.  When all was said and done, I owed $25.  Not bad at all, especially when you see how much I got, which I bet is what you are waiting for.  So without further adieu, here is my loot from the FQS.  Of course it was beautifully packaged.  I didn't take the fabrics out of the individual bags yet because they are easier to store as they are right now.  You'll have to trust me that the bags with stripes are full of great stripe fabrics.  I got 51 different cuts of fabric ranging from 1/2 yd to 1 yd each.

But that's not all.  You had to know that, didn't you?  Dawn and I hit a local quilt shop on Friday as well and I picked up a nice stripe fabric at 25% off and a couple of dot fat quarters.  That filled up my punch card, giving me $25 in store credit, so I went back the next day and between using a 40% off coupon and my credit, I picked up 5 yards of this gorgeous batik for less than $8, including almost $3 of sales tax, so basically 5 bucks.  The other fabrics are the ones I got on Friday, plus a couple of Kaffe Fasset fabrics that Dawn had added to her order for me.

And of course the cats have been up to their usual activities.  Sassy recently learned how to get to the top of the entertainment center and she somehow does it very quietly so you can't catch her before she gets up there *sigh*.  Once she's up there, she stays towards the back where she knows you can't reach her.  Here she is just an hour or so ago hanging out with her kitty friend that lives on top of the entertainment center. 

And here she is standing on her house, desperately trying to reach the curtains, which thankfully she can't or I'd probably find her hanging from them. 

Echo has also spent time on the house since I moved it in front of this window.

Tyrone helped me changed the furnace filter this week by testing the ladder for me before I used it.  He is quite adept at climbing ladders.

Echo was helpful too...he closely supervised the quilting of my sister's Christmas quilts.

And Sassy tested them for softness afterwards.

And here she is apparently using her back leg as a pillow.  She has the weirdest sleeping positions of any cat I've ever owned.