Monday, December 31, 2018

{Post 1,597} Holiday Time

This has been the most unusual Christmas for us, IMHO. We had a small gathering on Christmas Eve that included my husband and me, my single, still-living-at-home son, MIL (who was joining us for the first time...I adore her and love her company), another single son who lives on his own, and a married son, his wife and two little girls. Oh, there were two other young ladies who are my single sons’ girlfriends. I sat there thinking most of the time in the back of my mind...these girls might become a permanent part of our family. I was meeting one for the first time. When 6/8 of one’s children are married, one changes the way they think about their children’s relationship interests.

Timmy’s family (my oldest daughter and family) came over Christmas Day for a meal and spades game. Wes and I won ;)

~*~*~As usual, I did not take pictures. I like to prefer to think of it as living in the moment, not being a bad historian/mother.~*~*~

My dear husband and I worked for hours (and until the last second) to get the house ready for our little get-togethers. We put all the furniture from the living room, kitchen, and upstairs guest room in perfect place (they had been homeless for a couple months). We prepared our downstairs guest room and bathroom (think major cleaning) for our married son’s family, as they stayed overnight.

Another big thing we did was move all the toys from the guest room (where my grandson usually sleeps when he is here at least 5 days a week) to the living room closet. I usually abhor moving the “home” of items that have permanent dwellings. This time it was a great decision. The toys are now out in the living room closet, where our seasonal wall decor, movies, and game collection usually lived. Since we are sort of getting a fresh start with decor and belongings because of the recent renovation, it was a great time to do this.The TV is now downstairs, so all the movies went down there. I am still determining the best place for the seasonal decor. Some of it is large (old window frame and shutters amongst other giants).  I am currently decluttering at the “speed of life”, having just read two fantastic books on decluttering by Dana White. The first is “How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind” and the second is “Decluttering at the Speed of Life”. There is a little (OK, maybe a lot) of repetition in the books, but they have changed my mind and outlook on clutter. I am a reforming clutterholic. I need MORE than a 12-step program, but I had a lot of progress yesterday. The thing I like best about this system is that one sees results immediately and does not leave a bigger mess in the wake. If (or should I say WHEN) you are interrupted and have to stop, all there is is progress, not piles of stuff that belong somewhere else. It is glorious.

Here are a few pictures for your viewing pleasure. These are mainly being posted for my one family member that I know reads my blog. Be sure to leave a comment!

I love the nativity picture that hangs above our console table here. It is very heavy. I actually tore off some of our new drywall on the wall under the quilt because the Command hooks lied about the weight they uphold. My hubby saved the day (again, and as usual—he is the best!)

The kids’ kitchen is a new item. It was in the guest room before, but we didn’t figure my MIL would be whipping up any plastic muffins during her visit. It might go back in the guest room. Time will tell.

Is that NATURAL LIGHT in my living room? These doors, although bothersome to have installed correctly and without dents, are one of the best parts of this renovation. The car mat goes into that closet when not in use.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

{Post 1,596} Parker Fixer Upper

Here is a pic of our deck (uncovered, as it will remain) through the new French doors in the living room. Our house is a dark gray siding with white trim.

Here is our living room, from two days ago and today. Blew my mind to see the comparison.

Monday, December 17, 2018

{Post 1,595} Quilty Catch-Up

I have done a lot of quilty things since I wrote last. Here are pictures. I will skip all the descriptions.

I have also machine-quilted several large quilts for customers and for myself.

{Post 1,594} Drywall Dust—Be Gone!

I got a lot more finished today than I thought I would. I knew I’d be picking up my grandson at 12:30. I had to go get my weekly allergy shots. That took over an hour instead of 30 minutes because my 30 minute timer shut off when I set it down,. So I ended up being an extra 30 minutes. Then I got some breakfast out and then went to Lowe’s to get something for my husband (that they did not have—bummer). By the time I got home, I only had 45 minutes before I had to go get Timmy.

After I picked him up, I got both of us a little lunch and then it was to the mechanic’s. They somehow overlooked letting me know my vehicle was ready, so I was THERE an extra 45 minutes at least. That’s the kind of day it has been. But I figured I was healthy and safe, so why fret?

When I got home, I wanted to do as much to get this house in shape as I could. Wes helped me move our very heavy table for 12 into the kitchen from the living room. I wiped down all the chairs to remove drywall dust. Whew—that made it a sight better already. Then I started un-dusting the living room furniture and moving it into place. It looks so bare without a rug and wall decor. I hope we can use our old rug until our new one arrives. The new one won’t be here for two more weeks.

I am trying sooooo hard not to pressure my husband (he is still working every spare moment on the floor). But I hope we can get our Christmas tree set up tonight. If he sets up the actual tree, I will take it from there.

Clean and roomy...but not very warm.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

{Post 1,593} Remodel Complete Update

This last part will be short and sweet since I just wrote a long post and somehow deleted it. Here is the last-minute update. As in I literally just walked into the kitchen/living room and took these pictures.

The dark flooring is the new stuff. The light floor in the kitchen is what Wes is removing then replacing. Hopefully the frig will be put back in its opening in the next hour or so. The darker tan on the right side of the wall between the rooms is where Wes took off our kitchen built-in desk (it’s now in the living room temporarily) so he could replace the flooring under the desk as the original flooring was done.

I am eager to get our rooms set to rights. Actually, Wes just had me invite a family over for supper for the day after tomorrow. So that is some incentive to get this finished. Tomorrow. True story. This is the only night that family has available to come over, then they are traveling again for a long time.

{Post 1,592} More Recent Remodel Post (almost caught up)

Once the interior was finished, we hired a professional painter (who did a tremendous job on the ceiling and awful job on the walls). Here is a pic of this morph...

The upper picture shows the old green paint. The bottom picture is Dover white. It looks somewhat dark because the picture was taken as the sun was setting off the room to the right. At this point, our living room furniture had been in the kitchen for a month. Yes, it was getting old.

My husband is laying new laminate wood flooring by himself in the living room (pictured above), kitchen, hall, foyer, and hall bath. We are not rich or crazy...they are all connected. So far, he is finished with the living room except a small closet in there. Today he has finished the middle 2/3 of the kitchen. He is going to finish one small part in there and then resume AFTER Christmas. I still have not taken down fall decorations because our kitchen was so crowded that I could not get to them. Then we’ve had a flurry of activities that prevented me from making progress. We want to have a day or two to straighten up the living room and put up our Christmas tree before our family gathers here for Christmas Eve and the day before.

{Post 1,591} Remodel Review

So, every day (it seems) we had a construction disaster. I will skip over those and show you how things progressed. The decision to take out the fireplace meant we needed to put up most of a new wall, inside and out. Since we were destroying most of the wall, I asked if we could put in French doors to replace the single one to let in more natural light. Best (and worst) decision ever. They had to put in 3 different sets because they ruined the first two. We also had to build a subfloor where the hearth used to be and put up new drywall on the wall and ceiling on the inside. Here are a few work-in-progress pics. They loaded in reverse chronological order, and I do not know how to fix them.

{Post 1,590} Long Time No Post

OK. I have been duly chastised. Not only have a few people I know in person hinted that they thought I was dead since I haven’t posted since July 2018, but a b-friend wrote it in a Christmas card to me. What can I say? I have been so busy with one thing and another that I can barely remember what those things were. I have had to go back and look at pictures to see what I’ve been up to...and I am not a frequent picture taker. I’ll go backwards chronologically and break it up into several posts for your ease and entertainment.

If you’re a new reader, you need to know that I have a big immediate family. My hubby and I have eight children. Six of them are married. The last two holdouts are in committed relationships. We have 9 grandchildren, and 2 more are expecting in 2019 so far. I frequently help them out with various things, sometimes with very little notice.

Our most recent (and currently ongoing) project is something small that has morphed into a huge, seemingly never-ending project. We had a decrepit screened-in porch that was literally eroding. It was an all-wooden structure. We have known for years that it needed replacing, but we were not eager to spend the money on it. It finally got to the point where we had to do something.

Here is my living room before we started. At this point, you should be wondering, “What does the living room have to do with the screened-in porch? Hence, the morphing. When 2/3 of the porch and all of its roof had been removed, we made the spontaneous decision to take our fireplace and hearth out as well.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

{Post 1,589} This is Happening

I have started the machine quilting on my daughter’s wedding quilt. About 8-9 years ago, she expressed a desire to learn how to sew. I tried to show her how to sew on a machine. She just could NOT get a seam to be straight and equidistant from the needle...but she has so many other skills. We resorted to hand piecing. Alas, that was as disastrous. So I packed up her project (a scrappy rail fence with same centers) until she had interest in it again. Well, that never happened. So I took out her hand piecing and made this for her wedding. I am quilting it with a Wonky Feather pattern from Pajama Quilter. It will finish at 81" x 97"...a twin sized quilt or a couch throw. I have made a few passes, and this is how it’s looking...

Meanwhile on the cabinet completion meter...Wes put the lower sink-side cabinet doors back up for me last night. We agreed that with this, that, and the other, I should wait until AFTER Rachel’s wedding (8/18) to do the last side of the is a doozy, and will take much work. The other part (other than it will need the most prep work because of a legion of daily living) is that it consists of 8 drawers, whose contents we use daily. They would have to be boxed up or on the island for use while the parts are being painted. Rachel’s bridal shower is 7/22. I am the shower hostess at our church, so a lot of that is on me. Plus, we still have two of our grandsons (newly-4 and 7 months) 24/5. 

Fortunately, the really terrible island side is not visible when one is in the kitchen, unless they are preparing or cleaning up food. That happens to usually be me, so it doesn’t bother others much.

Enjoy something you love doing today!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

{Post 1,588} Barn Quilt and More Kitchen Update

Our church has an annual family camp. On the way back this year, I spotted this beauty and snatched a picture...

Speaking of wooden quilts, I plan to make one of these flags after seeing a friend’s (she purchased hers, but how hard could this be?)...

Meanwhile in the kitchen...the cabinet painting is moving along. I took off two whole weeks from working on it for our VBS and then family camp, with a few days in between.  We made a few changes while all this was happening in our kitchen. We went from a double wall oven to a single. My husband finished out the upper oven section with a shelf and added an electrical outlet in the back for our Power Air Fryer Oven while he was at it.

Then I literally begged him to cut off the scalloped wood canopy above the sink and replace the fluorescent light with another type. It makes the kitchen look so much more modern. Here is the before.

Notice in this after picture that I also painted the little sliver of wall between the cabinets and the window white. So many changes!!

There are five doors drying in the garage right now. Once those are back up (lower under the sink cabinets), all that is left is one side of the island. That is the area that has had the most wear and tear, but they are the newest cabinets in our kitchen, so the original wood should be in the best shape. There are 8 drawers and 4 doors on that side, but I am eager to finish them. 

My daughter’s wedding is in six weeks. I must finish the island before then and do all things wedding. I happen to be the shower coordinator at my church. That means I plan and run the bridal and baby showers. It will be odd doing that for my own daughter,  but I’m planning already. It is actually in a little over two weeks. I picked up some fabrics for a pendant banner and some thick scrapbook paper for a garland of various-sized circles. On my way to the register, I saw the bouquet. Those are the exact colors of her wedding (Tiffany blue, blush pink, and white). I grabbed that since it was half off as well. Lots of ideas rolling around up in my little brain.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

{Post 1,587} Kitchen Upgrade

I am doing a huge project....painting all my kitchen cabinets. We have an island as well as a built-in desk area with 6 doors’ worth of upper cabinets above it. I started with the island and lower desk cabinets so I could see if we liked the paint color I selected. It was so different from our former cream that it took a day or so for us to get used to it. Those doors/drawers also did not need any prep other than washing, so I opted for the easiest starting place.

Here is the before of the desk with the lower drawers out:

In the above picture, the upper cabinets are still the off-white color, not freshly painted...yet.

Here is the after...the grey is called Mindful Grey. The uppers are painted bright white in this picture.

I still need to clean and paint the kickplates. That will be an awfully hard job for me. At my age and health, it is hard to get down on the floor and back up!

The hardest part (for me) of this project is waiting for the paint to dry. It is advised to let it cure 3 days before putting it back up. In the meantime, many drawers and doors are emptied out and all over the counters and floor.

To add to the mayhem, there are several other things going on here....

~My 3-year-old and 6-month-old grandsons are with us 24 hours a day 5 days a week.

~Our double ovens died right after I baked the first 12-count pan of 200 cupcakes a few weeks back. We opted to buy a single oven to replace it because of cost and amount of use the double oven has had in the past couple years with 4 of us here instead of 10 (and the other two are leaving at the end of the forever and one for a semester). It has been partially installed for over a week. That means tools and mess all over the place.

~We have a friend who lives alone and is blind. He fell Tuesday when he was with 2 of my children. They took him to the hospital. He came to our house from there. He will need extensive surgery and is finding it very difficult to do the easiest of tasks for himself as you can imagine. 

I will do more updates soon.

Monday, May 7, 2018

{Post 1,586} Long Time No Blog

I have nearly forgotten about my blog! Today I cleaned a lot of things out of my sewing room. When I did, I found 3 finished blocks for my Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Ironically, I had just folded up the top and put it back in the closet. I got it out to see what I should be working on this coming weekend when we drive to pick up our son in Florida. It will be at least 10 hours down and 10 hours back. With other possibilities for hand-sewing time while we are different places.

Here is the top as it is today. I am wondering if I should make it long enough for a pillow tuck. I think I will. Especially with finding the 3 additional completed blocks.

The green and purple fabrics near the bottom are my color selections for what I thought would be the last block. But then I found these three in a basket on my pegboard.

I will likely move them around some before stitching it all together.

I served this fabulous tray of finger foods for a graduation reception for my daughter and her fiance...two of my favorite people.

Here they are...getting married 8.18.18:

Rachel’s fiance actually graduated with honors, so the speech bubble is so hilarious. A woman at our church used these for a graduate fellowship there, and I used them during our party.

Monday, April 23, 2018

{Post 1,585} Alabama Bound Finished

This is a quilt I recently finished. I started making it with no one particular in mind. I posted a pic of the progress on Facebook, and one of my daughters said it should go to Alabama to live with its cousin quilt made from upcycled men’s shirts. So Alabama Bound, it is. This is Bonnie Hunter’s Virginia Bound pattern. It’s the only pattern I’ve made twice, and I am not opposed to making it a third time. It’s 79" x 94".

I also finished the center of my daughter’s twin-bed-sized wedding quilt. She asked for a quilt for a guest room bed. Back story is that she started piecing this when she was 11. She is 20 now, and marrying the perfect man for her. She could not sew a straight line on the sewing machine to save her life, so we switched to hand piecing. Worse. So in an attempt to salvage our relationship, I packed it away. Fast forward to a couple months ago. I pulled the box down and asked her if she was OK with me finishing it. She had already asked for a twin-sized quilt. I ripped out the few pieces that had been haphazardly pieced and started over. Here is the center. 

It still needs to be trimmed. I am going to add a narrow dark border, then a larger one (but not too large as it is already twin-sized). She likes it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

{Post 1,584} Another New Project

Maybe it’s just me, but I go through spells where I start a bunch of new quilts all in a relatively short time.

Here is one I started today. It is from Bonnie Hunter’s book, Scraps and Shirttails. It’s called Cactus Patch and finishes at 83" x 92". I might make it a tad longer for a twin bed.

Here is the one block I have finished as well as the pattern for the whole thing.

I’m not loving the light greenish triangles in my block, but I’m currently addicted to string blocks.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

{Post 1,583} Wedding Quilt Started

My daughter, Rachel, is getting married in August. Years ago she asked me to help her make a quilt. This is not a slam on her in any way, but sewing is just not her thing. She has a terrible time sewing a straight line on a machine. So we tried hand piecing. Long story, short, we ended up putting this mostly cut-out quilt top in a box, in many pieces, with a few blocks hand pieced by her.

I found it in a sewing room clean-up and ripped out the few blocks that had been hand-pieced. I used it as a leader/ender recently and just finished piecing all the blocks. They are all on my design wall now. If I have done the math correctly, it will measure about 96" x 64" if sewn as is without borders. She wanted it twin-bed size, and we are fairly close with this. 

It is night time (close to midnight), so the picture is not as bright as it may have been. I see one blocks that I am moving (that was the purpose of the picture), and I’ll start sewing the rows together soon.

I have been sewing a lot more than usual, and just promised a couple more quilts in the near future. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

{Post 1,582} Carolina Bound Quilt Center Finished

This top just glistens with scrappy goodness. This is Bonnie Hunter’s Virginia Bound pattern. It’s the only quilt pattern I’ve made twice. I am thinking of starting another one some time. It is 77" x 91" now.  I love every square inch. I didn’t make sure every part of it was flat to the floor before I took the picture. Trust me--it’s square and flat.

I am still machine quilting my grandson’s quilt. I have the binding ready to sew on. My sewing room is more organized than it’s every been, and that makes sewing more enjoyable.