Friday, March 30, 2012

March 30: Every day I try to learn something new. Today is about photography.

Today, Amanda is coming over to give Kevin and I some pointers for taking photos of his woodworking and my quilts.  We have both had a little experience being at one of her shoots, but we are moving to South Dakota without her, so we are asking her for help. 

We have questions about lighting, background, shadows, placement of objects to be photographed, etc, etc, etc.  Don't think we will know all the answers in one session, but at least we will have a start. Which will then lead to more questions, etc, but isn't life about continuing to learn?  Our ultimate goal is to be able to take professional looking photos for the woodworking business we will be starting and also to take beautiful photos of quilts I have designed in my head and on EQ.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March 29: Mostly Research Today

I might have a couple different friends stopping by today, but the day is going to be spent doing research and getting quotes on a few things for the buying of our house.  However, I wanted to take a moment and let everyone know that my husband made only positive comments about my experimental quilt and even though it would make a great bed quilt.  He actually said it was too bad that my stash experiment did not have enough fabric because he liked how this is turning out.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

March 28: Liking It

Experiment in cutting "ugly" fabric small enough to make it feel pretty seems to be working.  Time to do some real work, though, so this is just going to lay on the cutting table for the rest of the day.

March 28: Yesterday paid off, so today I am sewing

I promised myself that if I got everything on my list done yesterday, I could spend the WHOLE morning sewing.  I have been at the machine and ironing board since 7:30 but took this break to make my favorite apples/yogurt snack and share will all of you. 

Iwas actually surprised by my husband's reaction to what I planned with this fabric( which is not his favorite kind).  He said he thought it might just work out with the small pieces.  Then we discussed using the rest to make a French Braid, just to see what would happen.  He offered to take me shopping for more colors if needed, but I told him these were strictly stash experiments.  His smile was pretty big.  (Think he is hoping to save enough money for some new power tool for the new wood shop?)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

March 27: Shhhh! I should be doing other things

What I should be doing and will be doing in just a few minutes is finishing up my second bear and starting the finishing of the final bear.  But, I always allow myself some unplanned time until 9:00 am.  I have a regular morning routine which I general complete by 8:15, so I had some time.  Even so, I have a packed schedule today so I could have jumped right into the bears,.....................................
 other fabric was screaming at me.
Several years ago, my dear friend Deb and I decided that we would make quilts using the same fabrics.  However, I started the challenge with all these awful fabrics (I bought them.), and then just kind of blocked them from my thoughts.  Of course over time, Deb contributed more fabrics and I occasionally added something to the mix.  Most of those are NOT in this pile because they did not fit today's thought process.

I am always reading that if you cut the pieces small enough they will somehow be beautiful in a quilt, and I do like scrappy quilts.   I also am thinking that if not now, WHEN?  Therefore, the fabrics hit the cutting table this morning.  These are all fat quarters and many have duplicates.  My plan is to cut one fat quarter of each into 2 1/2" strips, Sew 5 of the strips together and then cut each of those sections into 2 1/2" strips.  From there, I will make many 25-patch blocks.  After that I am not certain, but this quilt will be made up of fabric strictly from my stash.   The duplicate fat quarters may be added as well, depending on the initial appearance and size of what I make, but they could also go into something else yet to be named.

Already I am liking the fabrics more, but not certain how this is all going to work, yet.  It is the process I am working with at the moment.

Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26: Other Focuses

I would love to say that I am quilting like crazy and that is keeping me from posting, but the reality is that with only a month before we move, I am finding that there are so many other tasks that are calling to me.  We are continuing to love our time in Vermont, but the tug to make our move is kicking in, so I expect there will be fewer posts over the next few weeks.  Once we leave here, I will probably make a hard copy of this blog as a scrapbook of this marvelous adventure and then delete it from the web.  Plan to do one that is more focused on what is happening in South Dakota.  I will let you know when I decide on a new name but may actually use one that my sister came up with for our impending business ventures which will include custom woodworking and quilting.  She has a "weird" sense of humor, and I was laughing through all the catchy possibilities.

March 26: Have Bodies

When I came back into the studio after putting a load in the washer,  I started laughing.  I now have the bears' bodies and the one on the right seemed to be saying look at them.  The rest of day will be spent stuffing and hand sewing on the heads.  The finishing touches of embellishment should be done by Wednesday.  I love it when a plan comes together.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mrch 24: Where is the time going?

Kevin and I sat at breakfast this morning talking about things in general and suddenly realized that our next move is much closer than either of us imagined.  In 6 weeks we will be leaving Vermont and heading to what we both home with be our final, but very long time, new home in our home state of South Dakota.  How is it possible that the time has flown so quickly?

The weather today is not nearly as unseasonably warm as it has been the last few weeks.  When we went for our walk this morning I actually wished for a little warmer coat.  It is supposed to be in the 30-40 range by nest Monday, so we are back to a more normal weather pattern.  The locals say this has been a very unusual year, and I would agree.  When we had the oil tank refilled in early February, it seems that we would easily use a good portion of the tank.  Now with 6 weeks to go, it will have to be very frigid to use even a small part of it.

My time is currently dedicated to making some very special memory bears for a friend.  I am using a pattern called Buster & Mr. Brown designed by Amy Barickman for Indygo Junction, Inc., 1996, for the basic bear and then will embellish each bear to make them even more special.  With all the copyright discussion on all the blogs lately, I have decided not to show the final bears, even though I do have permission from Indygo Junction, Inc. to make and sell a specific number of these bears, if I choose to do so.  I hope that you will get a feel for them by seeing this pile of legs, arms and one finished head.  Each bear is being made out of a single shirt and will be embellished with buttons and other parts of the shirt to make it even more special.  Making stuffed animals is not my first love, like quilting, but I love creating the faces and seeing the 3-D aspects of these guys come together.

Hope you take time this weekend to do something that is just plain fun and uncomplicated.

Friday, March 23, 2012

March 23: And there was great rejoicing...........

Today is the first day in a week that I did not have to try and pretend I didn't have a headache when I woke.  I feel like I have just re-entered the world and can actually think clearly.  Hope that I never have that kind of experience again!!!!!

Drove to Bristol, VT, with my husband this morning.  The temp is not quite like the last week, but the sky is blue and the farmers are out in the fields doing a little prep work.  Saw a number of areas where the daffodils were in full bloom.  Spring is here whether it will be covered with snow later, or not.

We were on a quest to find 8/4 Pennsylvania cherry.  We found that and three other boards of spalded birch that will eventually become table tops or something else that will be very eye catching.  Buying wood is like buying fabric - carefully consider the options so you don't buy too much, but when you see something that is gorgeous sometimes you just have to "Do It!"  The birch will travel back to South Dakota uncut and await the right project or projects. 

Sometimes I am very surprised just how connected our thinking is whether we are talking wood or fabric.  How did I get so lucky to find this man of mine?

I am home now and gearing up to work in the studio most of the day.  Life is Great!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 22: A Little Sewing and Pondering

These are the March blocks for the Crafty's BOM  I am making two quilts, thus two of each.  The rest of the blocks are hanging on the wall wondering what the layout will eventually be.  Remember that there are two of each to make two different quilts.  Each quilt will have 20 blocks so I still have 28 left to make.  I am pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to blocks, so this is a unique undertaking for me.  Of course it is blue and white, so I feel somewhat serene as I probe the waters.

March 22: Any Thoughts? --- Very Unscientific Opinion Survey

When we get to South Dakota, Kevin will be opening a custom woodworking business with me as the paper chaser and manual labor.  I will also be opening a quilting business of sorts - not a fabric store but more of a quilting services business. 
We are both mulling over what directions we should be going with the businesses, but I think I have a better idea about the quilting, so my questions relate to the woodworking business.  If you have time to offer up any thoughts, please feel free to send the comments to me by email, or to post your comment here.  We are not trying to solicit buyers, at least until we have made the move, but if you really do have something you want to have custom built, let us know by email and we can talk.  =0)

1.  If you were going to a crafts show, what would you be drawn to look at in a booth with woodworking products? 

2.  Would cutting boards, trivets, pizza peels, turned bowls,game boards, quilt stands/shelves and wooden boxes tempt you?

3.  Would you rather see several pieces of furniture that you may or may not have to order to be delivered at a later date?  (table, chairs, blanket/quilt chest, linen press, pie safe, benches, bookshelves, rockers, etc)

4.  If you were planning to buy a piece of custom furniture, what would it be?

Thank you for taking time to consider my questions.  I know that my husband is talented and will make a success of whatever options he chooses, but blog readers always seem to have great ideas to share.

March 22: House Hunting

The other part of our trip to South Dakota was fro house hunting.  We had so very specific requests of our agent, and she worked hard to find just what we need.  We looked at and eliminated several properties but in the end we made an offer and it was accepted.  Now is the "FUN" part where the inspections, appraisal, and actual closing take place - in time. 

Inspection went well with only a few issues to be resolved.  Our very good friend, Dan, was there looking out for our best interests.  It is so exciting to hear how much he is pulling for us to move in.

Next step, appraisal, will happen shortly.

Closing should be in early May.

We have purchased 5 homes in our lives and each time have felt that stress of "hurry up and wait" along with "is this really going to work out".  We are feeling confident about our choices and have so much left that we want to do in Vermont, that we are hoping we will not dwell too heavily on making this happen. 

If all goes as expected, Kevin will have a 40x50 wood shop and I will have a 14x22 studio.  Those were the hard parts to accommodate in our search.  The house is a multi-level and will be more than enough space for us and Kevin's dad.  The grandkids will be able to have space to be kids, as well.  We are just going to have to wait and pray that it all works out.

Once we know it appraises for at least the loan amount, I will share some more details.

March 22: A Mish-Mash of Thoughts During the Wedding Weekend

My wrist is feeling better and I am starting to believe this virus is headed out, so today I am going to try and be a bit more normal, at least for me. Since Saturday, I have been on the computer doing research and responding to urgent emails, but otherwise I have been just kind of "being" since we returned home.  I have not even touched fabric for a week, so when I finish blogging, I am headed back to the studio to work on a project, not a quilt, that I have promised by the end of the month.  (It can be done as long as my wrist and head continue to improve!)

Thought I would share a little more about our travel adventures and then spend the remainder of the day with my sewing machine. =0)

We left Vermont on the 7th and spent two very long days of driving and two very short nights of sleeping while traveling to South Dakota.  We decided that we would make only brief stops for watering and de-watering, plus 8 to 9 hours in the motels.  The actually driving distance is about 26 hours, so each stop added up.  We left at 5:30 PM Wednesday and arrived in Sioux Falls at noon on Friday.  Thank heavens for my wonderful travel companion and audio books!  No quilt shop stops this time.

When we arrived in Sioux Falls we put our truckload of goods into our storage unit and then went in search of family.  We had not seen any of them since moving to Vermont in August.  Friday evening was spent with rehearsal, dinner in a cafe, and visiting time at my brother's with part of the family.  I gave my brother his 60th birthday quilt early because we did not think we would be back in South Dakota before his big day.

Back at the hotel, we met up with the mother of the brideand a packed room of her family's "lake family".  After a short visit we handed off the 800+ mints.  Then we went back to our room and stayed up late waiting for our daughter's family to arrive at the hotel where we shared adjoining rooms. After a brief reunion, everyone tucked in and slept.  Saturday brought time for playing with the grandkids, etc.  Went to breakfast with a number of family members and then went shopping for some items needed for the wedding outfits. After shopping and before the wedding my family headed back to the hotel. Thought the grandkids needed down time, but as you can see, it was more of a grown-up thing.

After the naps, Kevin and I ran out for a few sandwiches, got changed, and headed off for the wedding.

My niece was gorgeous and her groom was very attentive.  I had a front row seat with my husband and another niece who did the readings during mass.  I was on call just in case I needed to help adjust the long train on her dress.  (The bridemaids' dresses were form fitting.)  Weddings are always special, but it was a unique perspective to be sitting where we had full view of the couple and their parents' faces throughout the ceremony.  I took a number of more traditional shots, but I also able to snap this shot which simply says, "We made it and I am still having a great time!"

The rest of the day was spent with family in the hotel and at the reception.  These guys really know how to put on a party!  My grandson Henry's favorite part by far was the candy bar where he could be found every chance he was able to escape.  Here is  how my grandson Henry occupied about 45 minutes in pure fun and focus.  As his father and mother both stated, "He is keeping busy and is quiet."  There was a photo booth where everyone could have their photos taken and then placed in an album with comments written for the happy couple.  The dance where married couples dance until the DJ said those married ____ or less please dance to the edge of the floor was amazing.  It showed just how many people have really stayed married.   Wow, I thought our 36 was something but there were still a number of people dancing in the center when we moved off to the side.  The longest married was 63 or 68 years, Kyle's grandparents.

The blue lighting on the wall had an interesting effect on all of us.  Thought I would share a couple of shots of Kevin and I and the grandkids.  (Before leaving Vermont, I had my hair cut - asked that the woman cut off any leftover signs of coloring so she cut of 5-6 inches.)

This was such a good time!  I love my jeans and t-shirts, but dressing up a couple times a year  and dancing with my sweetheart can be fun.

Sunday Kevin and I went to St. Joseph's Cathedral for mass.  It is where were married so it was another part of the "wedding" weekend.  The Cathedral has just finished a major renovation and was a sight to behold.  I grew up in that parish, so I had been through several re-dos but this one is spectacular and really makes me feel that it is honoring God and our faith.

After mass we spent the day with family, again.  The happy couple had gift opening.  I managed a photo of the wedding quilt, but am hoping for a better photo later.  We were headed off to the airport to take my sister, so I was not as focused as I could have been.  Even so, I am pretty certain that Amanda and Kyle are pleased with the quilt.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20:What's Up?

I have been to South Dakota, delivered the wedding quilt to the happy couple, and bought a house since I last posted.  I also have a pinched nerve in the wrist of my dominant hand.  Even so, all seems good in my world. 

This photo was taken just before my husband's professional
 photo shoot for his woodworking pieces.
The couple's colors were peacock, white, hydrangea
green, and charcoal.  Love how the batiks can pull
all of that together.
Pattern: Labyrinth by Debbie Maddy
Give me a couple more days and I will play catch up.  I have 8 weeks before I make the move to South Dakota, but who is counting?  This time in Vermont has been a perfectly delightful change of pace for the two of us.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 7: Just Thoughts

Traveling for 26 hours one direction in the truck means that I need to plan for doing something with my hands.  I don't knit or crochet anymore, so I have a quilt ready to go in the truck.  It just needs to have the binding sewn down - 4 hour project will be more like 8 in the car with all the sightseeing and such.  Also got out my needle punch and  have one project 75% finished, another design drawn out, and several ideas in my head of what to work on.  Both of these activities are things that work well as long as the roads are not to filled with "craters".  (Bandaids are packed in my sewing kit just in case.  lol)  Also have several great books on CD to help keep us both focused and awake. 

My studio is rather empty since the longarm has been packed up, but we decided that I could use the space for a little more exercising.  Might even get one of those bike stands and bring my bike up to get ready for spring riding.  I have been monitoring my steps for 2 weeks (would have be 3 weeks of monitoring but my battery died).  My goal is to consistently get to 10,000 steps each day, but when I get too deeply involved with piecing or quilting, the number is more like 4,500. 

I am looking forward to the trip, the wedding, house hunting, and being able to see my daughter's family and many of my own siblings.  Life is good!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March 6: Life Quilt Decision: A Little Confusion...Lots of Praying

This post is more about a piece of my life quilt than a fabric one.

Kevin and I have been focusing on making this be the best year yet, and it has been.  We are so in tune with each other and our thoughts.  The problem is that the world does not seem to be on the same page at this moment.  We are headed to South Dakota very soon to do some house hunting, etc.  All seems to be fine with that aspect, but our tenants just gave notice that they will be moving soon.  What should we do now?  Take a loss and sell (just like everywhere else the market is not great for sellers), or hope our property manager comes up with new tenants right away?  We do not envision ourselves ever returning to the house although it is lovely, but.....

There is the confusion.  The praying is about trying to understand what we should do at this point.  Some things can just be ignored, but I think this one will involve a solid decision in the very near future.

Monday, March 5, 2012

March 5: Boxed

Because of our upcoming move and the fact that we traveled to Vermont with only the truck and a 6x10 trailer, we have had to do some thinking about how to move all we brought and the furniture Kevin has built back to South Dakota without hiring someone.  We decided that we would drive to South Dakota for my niece's wedding.  That way we will accomplish several things in one trip.  It is not going to be a short drive by any means, but we will be there for the wedding, take a load for storage, and have a vehicle to use while we are house hunting.

Deciding what should stay and what should go into storage was a challenge, but in the long run it will all work out just fine.  I am keeping my Bernina and serger here and taking the HQ and table to storage.  I am keeping several UFOs and a couple of possible ideas here, and taking the rest of the fabric and books to storage.  I am also taking a few other items that would take space in the trailer than might be needed for other things and that I can survive without for a couple of months.  All in all, we have pared down but still have some of the creature comforts.

For the remainder of the morning I am going to create a unique wedding card that will also give information about the wedding quilt.  Figure if they like it, this might be a quilt that will be passed down or at least stay with them for years to come.  Photos of the quilt will be coming soon.  Now it is time to create.

Friday, March 2, 2012

March 2: Late Night Report

Mixing the blue in with more white was
quite a workout for the arms.
Kevin got started on roses before dinner.

Amanda and Kyle will have lots of mints for their wedding. Kevin and I just finished. We made 67+ dozen (over 800). It took us about 5 hours of steady work to do it, but we were glad that we could do something to help with the celebration.
Now to let them dry before packing.

March 2: Thoughts on Mints

Riley doesn't really see the point of the traditional family wedding mints, and I can usually take or leave them as far as eating more than the taster.  Today is another story, apparently.  I had to walk away after making two of the three color batches because I had more than one taste each for the flavorings.  Since I still have 9 pounds that will not leave my body, I really should not even be interested in these, but they are tasty.  - raspberry and almond made with mint waiting in the bottle.  What could make my taste buds happier? 
Once Kevin is home, I will make the third batch and start rolling the balls and pressing them into the mints. For now, I am going to spend the next couple hours making my March blocks for the Craftsy BOM.  NO FOOD OR DRINK IS EVER ALLOWED IN THE STUDIO!  Hopefully that will keep me safe from myself.  lol

March 2: Binding and Wedding Mints

I am going to keep very busy the next couple of days, but today is about only three tasks.  Took the truck in for servicing and used the trip to also pick up the remaining ingredients for making wedding mints.  I will start them after lunch.  For the remainder of the morning, I am going to finish the binding on a comfort quilt,   Maybe I will share some photos later today, but I will be taking pictures one way or the other.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

February 27: Happy Birthday, Bryson

Somehow this post did not get posted, but our grandson Bryson turned 3 on Monday.  We got to skype with him.  He is not a fan of the birthday song, but he was quite pleased when Grandpa read him a book about How to Train Your Dragon.