Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30: Down to the Wire

The studio is mostly boxes.  Rachel will be sewing today and then even the sewing machine and table will be packed up.  Fortunately, I have other tasks to finish so I am not dwelling on the soon to be a totally nonfunctional studio.

I am washing curtains and rugs today because it is best to have them be totally and completely dry before they go into a box for a couple of weeks.  Even the floors and windows are looking naked.  At night I will puts some of the large sheets of packing paper on them so it will not feel like a fishbowl.

The rest of this day is all about paper sorting, shredding, and filing.  I have one file envelope full of information that I will play with for the next week, but other wise, it will all be packed by the end of the night.

The last stuff to be packed will be our travel suitcases, bedding and dishes.  That happens over the next two days, but none of it will take too long.

Having made so many moves courtesy of the Navy, we have a basic system and organization to it all. -- NINE days to our new home!  So exciting!!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29: Guess what we did?

Kevin and I thought we would be going on the Ben and Jerry's factory tour quite often when company came to visit.  Alas, we had no visitors that do not live in the area. 

Today we were going to take Rachel and Max with us, but plans changed.  Still Kevin and I got one last visit in this afternoon.  Doesn't he look like one happy man?

When we stopped at the store for milk and
BBQ buns we picked up a pint of the sample
ice cream we tasted today. Cherry Garcia is
still his favorite, but this very tasty!

April 29: Finally, Touched the Whales' Tails

My friend Sandi told us months ago that there was actually a walking path that would take us right up to the Whales' Tails that I tried so hard to photograph as we whizzed by in the truck.  The weather has been either cold and windy or we have been too busy with other things so the Tails were put on hold. Of course we will be living in Vermont for less than a week, so we finally took action.

It was a bit chilly after supper (32 degrees), last night but the sun was shining (Haven't seen it all that much this past week.) so we decided on one more adventure. We used the new iPhone and the GPS to see if the same route would be selected, and away we went with cameras in hand.   We took both cameras so we compare what differences we would see visually by using the Cannon Power Shot and the Cannon Rebel (new camera for photographing the custom wood products that we will be making in our business). I must say that being able to stand still while taking the photos was definitely helpful.

The first four shots are with my constant companion - The Power Shot.


The next three were taken with the Rebel.

I was wearing a t-shirt, thermal underwear shirt, a heavy hooded
sweat shirt and a jacket.  It was COLD.

Then we photographed the mountains in the background to check out what we could see as differences.  It must be noted that the Rebel does take much better photos in the professional settings that we used for Kevin's furniture.  Kevin and I did not try the same things on these shots so there is no comparison for the zooming on the mountains.  I really like the second and third shots because the mountain snow shows so well.

This was taken with the Rebel - no zooming done.
This is with the Power Shot - Big time zooming

Some more zooming with the Power Shot

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28: Rachel's Quilt

Rachel is continuing to make progress.  She has learned that it is just as easy to make several blocks at one time.  She and Kevin discussed the concept of production. That way she can focus on one particular aspect of the blocks and then move on to the next part.  She seems to really be enjoying this new hobby.

April 28: Photo Shoot

Candlestick table -- top and feet are cherry
with an ash pedestal or spindle  - eventually
the wood differences will be much more
noticeable as they age
We tried our hand at taking more professional photos of Kevin's furniture pieces.  We have a long way to go to produce photos like Amanda's but we are pleased for a first attempt.  Eventually, there will be a website and a more complete description of each piece.  The explanations for today are based on my understanding of what he has done.

Wall hung tool cabinet to house Kevin's planes, chisels,draw knives, spoke shaves,
and scrapers  - the case is made of maple with cherry used for tool holders, etc.

The rocker is fashioned after a combback Windsor.
The rockers, seat, armrests and crest rail are made of
cherry.  The legs, and spindles are made of ash.

Over time the rockers, seat, arm rests and
crest rail will darken to a richer cherry color.

Note the detail on the arm.  It is designed this way to ensure that
there is no undue stress on various parts of the arm and back

April 28: Photos of Wood

Kevin has the task of loading all the wood we have purchased into the bottom of the trailer and the bottom of the truck bed. I contributed to the shopping for it, but he has a plan for how he will be fitting it in with everything else that will be moving to South Dakota with us. I am going to finish the last bit of embroidery while he does this. I got the better end of the deal because it is fairly chilly outside! 32 at 2:00 PM at the end of April is so different than 32 in January.

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27: Quick Trip

This big pieces of fabric are not batik.  The line
is called Stone Chips.
  Last week, I finished cutting all the pieces for my Lil' Twister queen-size quilt and knew I wanted to have the binding match the background.  To make certain we had it before leaving Vermont we went back to Knits and Bolts in New Haven, VT, the shop where we had purchased everything else.  Because I will have some charms left over from the batch  of 4-patches I am making for the big quilt and will also have some left fabric from the backing and binding I bought 2 more sets charms to make a lap quilt.  It will have a different design and probably a different back, but it will fun to play with at a later date.   
We had also talked about making the back be the same as the binding, so I asked Kevin to offer up his opinions.  He surprised me by choosing a different color in the same line.  Love that he always wants to offer up his thoughts because this was the direction I was leaning once I saw the 3 choices available.

We will spend a good part of the weekend doing more packing, but we are going to squeeze in a trip to Ben and Jerry's factory.  We even think we will have a couple of friends joining us on the adventure.  Could not leave Vermont without this one last ice cream fix, right?

Also bought 3 fat quarters that will be worked into my Vermont adventure quilt --- they were on sale.

April 27: Three Visits

Yesterday was wonderful even though it was still colder than I want.  I love winter, but we arrived in Vermont last summer and was hoping we would leave with the lilacs in bloom. 

The day started off with odd tasks around the house, but Sandi called and invited me to lunch and a visit to her home.  We went back to the Foothill Bakery where we had eaten some time ago.  We had take out and headed to her wonderful home in a wooded area across the river from Kevin's school.  Sandi is a quilter, that is how we met on the HeartStrings website.  She shared some absolutely gorgeous quilts and quilts in progress.  We talked about all kinds of stuff and enjoyed our lunch.  Then we sat on her porch for an hour and were surrounded by the chirps and sounds of the woods.  SO PEACEFUL!!!!

Around dinner time, Rachel came over to work on her quilt.  She had some dinner with us and we chatted.  Then while she worked, we headed over to the school. (She now has 7 blocks completed and is doing a great job with it.)   Kevin had a bit of work to do and I wanted to spend time with Connie.  Worked out well!  I got to give Connie the quilt I had made for her earlier this spring (Surprised her, to say the least.)  She in turn tempted me with raspberry fig cookies that I just did not seem to be able to resist.  We laughed and laughed and then laughed some more. 

I am truly going to miss these face to face talks with my Vermont friends, but we do have cell phones and emails, so our friendships will continue.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25: Grey, Damp, Rainy and 42, but ........

We slept in until 6:30 and then organized ourselves for a trip to the saw mill.  The plan was to buy some wonderful Vermont and Pennsylvania rough cut cherry and maple to take with us when we start the woodworking business in South Dakota.  Although it looked like the chance of rain was more like 100%, we headed off on our adventure.

We did buy the wood we had planned, but we also bought one board of tap hole maple, a board of basswood (I carve on this.) and a set of 9 boards of striped maple that was too gorgeous to pass up (dreaming of tables, etc with this set!).  As I told my friend, Deb, I have found something that rivals purchasing that perfect piece of fabric.  Both Kevin and I had visions of what we would do with the various kinds of wood, so now it is time to get that shop set up and start doing.

We are going to be vending at a quilt show in November which has a theme of "Around the Block" or something very similar.  There are lots of items that we will be offering that will be quilting related, but I have decided that I will carve more traditional quilt blocks and turn them into boxes that could be used as  plant holders, trinket boxes, sewing accessory catch-alls, or even holders for mail.  Kevin and I will cut all the pieces for the boxes out of the basswood that we purchased, then I will do the carving.  We are going to try some wood dying on some of the blocks, light stain on a few others, and a natural finish on the rest.  If they turn out like I envision and are not too labor intensive, I might consider a second board and make double the number.  I am also thinking of carving quilt block designs and having Kevin create a cell phone chargining station.  After all, quilting is still my first love.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24: Computer and Phone

We are trying to get our ducks in a row to open a custom woodworking business.  It will just be my husband and me.  We do not plan to have any employees.  It is amazing how much reading, talking, researching, and SQUINTING I have been doing today.

Found out a great deal about things we have to do even before we sell the first trivet, or better yet, table or rocker.  Fortunately, without having any employees beyond ourselves, there are also many things we will not have to do.

I was joking around last night that this whole pre-start up phase could last for months, or maybe years.  However, my husband has faith in us and in my attention to detail.  I am actually setting aside about 8 hours each day just for this fact-finding portion of it all.  By evening, we have talking points that last until bedtime, but we are both better informed.  We also seem to come up with 20 more questions to add to the research.

Just finished the 15th call of the day and am getting ready to shut down and be ready to go out for dinner with Kevin and a friend.  However, need to note that it was the BEST of the calls so far, but the one just before it actually had me laughing so............  I think the "little engine" can now start chanting, "I think we can!"  I THINK WE CAN!"  I guess all our research and reading have made us far more knowledgeable about starting up a business than we thought, and that is worth all the effort.

Shhhh, don't let Kevin think I am going to have an easy few days.  Probably still have a great deal to do, but some of it is just the packing and getting all the address changes in place.  As a 30 Navy wife, I have a great deal of experience in that arena.  =0)

April 24: Another Finishing Technique

Kevin learned another finishing technique that I plan to use on some of my carvings. This is a combination of graphite and shellac that then receives a final finish like polyurethene.  One of his instructors thought it could be of value to us, and I have already thought of a few carving designs that would really take on a rich appearance with this or a coppery version of this technique.

April 24: I did it.....boohoo

I packed up all my sewing and quilting pieces today.  I do have some glow-in-the-dark hand embroidery and my needle punch out to work on at night and as we travel, but I am finished with my sewing until we are settled in the new place.  So sad, but there are other tasks that are calling loudly for attention.

Rachel is still coming over 1 or 2 more times to work on her quilt, but I am just supervising from afar.  She has done a good job of fitting her pieces together.  There is some squaring up needed on the blocks but they will easily fit together to make the 12" finished blocks.  I do not consider that these are beginner blocks, so I think it is pretty impressive.  It is so much fun to start another quilter on this adventure.

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23: Could Not Seem to Resist

One of the quilts I started when we arrived in Vermont was a large queen-sized quilt for our bed, but then I got sidetracked with so many other quilts, carving, and just being on this adventure. Yesterday, I thought that I was done sewing until I got my new studio up and running in the new place, but as I was packing up the studio, I realized I had some time.  (Is that a lame excuse?)  So I spent a good chunk of yesterday working on this postponed quilt.  There are lots of bias edges on this one, so I am only going to go so far and then pack everything away for the final cutting later.  (It will be finished this year!)

It started with Kevin spotting this charm pack.

Then we spotted some Lil' Twister tools and
quilts displayed in a shop.  Knew it would be
lots of sewing and cutting because I had already
started working on a couple quilts using the
bigger version of the tool.  Bought just one
charm packet and a yard of the background fabric. 
The tool is by CS designs.  Find out more about it at

After deciding that we liked the first few
blocks I made with the original purchase,
 I purchased more on my first
outing with Connie.  Piles represent many
of the border strips I will be sewing.

I made up sets of 4-patch blocks using the
36 squares in each charm pack.

Next I sewed on the borders.  Best part is that there is no reason
to make certain that the block is perfect because it will be cut

The secret to the block truly is the Lil' Twister tool.  There
lots of bias edges, but I have had no problem with it.  Just
remind myself that it is bias.

 I have to make a total of 154 blocks.  There will be not additional border.  Kevin had only positive comments about the blocks so far.  He did not even comment on the fact that instead of packing I was sewing.  What a guy!!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April 21: Start of My Wooden Wall Quilt

These are the first 4 blocks of my wooden sampler wall quilt.  I have not decided exactly how I will display it, but I decided this wall quilt will be the way to help me remember what techniques I have been working on.  Hopefully, it will also show my progression as a carver.  This is not a great photo, but once it starts to be hung, I will use the new camera and try to get something more professional.

April 21: More Time Carving

I have spent about 3 hours this morning working on my flower design.  These shots are all of the unfinished piece.  Just wanted to share some different angles.  The wood is the lighter color and is called basswood.  I am not certain I am done, but I am truly enjoying the power tool approach.  Gives a whole different feel.

Speaking of feel, my hands are a little "buzzy" from all the tool time.

The rest of the day, I will be helping Rachel with her quilt blocks and working on various items we need for starting our business. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20: Carving

For my May carving, I decided on a flower.  I am thinking that I will use my Dremel to do the whole thing this time.  I created my drawing about a week ago and transferred it to my wood last night. 

About 7:30 this morning I started using the Dremel tool to excavate the unwanted background material.  I have taken it down about 3/8".  Doing that with the tool took about 2 hours.  If I had used my hand tools I would still be working on this.  Some days the quiet process used to remove material with a chisel feels like cheap therapy, but this carving is being done with power tools so that if I have questions, I can still talk to Terre face to face and figure out what the next step should be.

The rest of the day:  Kevin is working at school until 2:00 and then we are going to the home show to investigate showers and turning an attached garage space into living space.  Hopefully we will also have time to go and get that photo of the whale tails that I wrote about so often a few months ago.  Time will tell.  I am also going to try and squeeze in  haircut, make a return, have dinner out, and just spend time talking about all of our upcoming changes.  Planing to make this a great day!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19: Almost Finished

Our landlords were showing the apartment today so I tagged along with Kevin and went to the barn this evening.  I got a good visit in with Connie and Bob, read a little, talked to Terre and played ball with Bailey.  I also snapped some pictures of Kevin's nearly completed projects.  The professional versions of these items will be taken after everything is finished.  We have had 2 sessions with Amanda and now know just about enough concerning the new camera to make us "dangerous",  but we will keep practicing.

This Comb Back Windsor rocker needs a great
deal of sanding and the tenons from the legs
need to be trimmed off.  Then the whole chair
will then have a few coats of shellac.
This candlestick table went to the finish room
tonight.  It has one coat of shellac on the
whole piece.  The woods used for the table
match the woods in the rocker - cherry and

This wall cabinet is finished and will house Kevin's planes,
spoke shaves, scrappers and chisels.  The box is maple with
cherry tool holders.

The front of the cabinet has book matched figured maple
veneers. The doors are held closed with earth magnets.

April 19: Great Lunch and Fun Fabrics

Sandi and I went to the Three Tomatoes for lunch - YUMMY! 

Then she took me to Williston to Sew Many Treasures which is a quilt shop that I had not discovered, yet.  There were some beautiful bolts of fabric in this shop along with a very helpful shopkeeper. I intended to buy just ONE fat quarter for my growing collection of greens and tans for my Vermont adventure quilt, but we both ended up buying 5 fat quarters and I also bought a kit for making a Magic 3D Block.

We went back to a quilt shop that I have been to several times since we arrived in Vermont, Stitched.  However, this time we needed to go to the new store - They moved.  The new place has lots more space and a very friendly staff.  We each made a fat quarter purchase and also bought a porcupine quill stylus.

Our last stop was at Yankee Pride.  It is another shop I have visited several times.  Along with the usual fabric suspects, it is full of Civil War and batik fabrics.  We each make some fat quarter purchases, as well.  The rolled ones were in the bargain bins, but they are great with the original focus fabric, so....

Not really sure how many fat quarters I now have, but we will be headed to South Dakota in exactly two weeks, so I hope I have chosen well, and have chosen enough.  Time to decide on a design.  It will be a challenge to design just the right quilt, but I am looking forward to it.

Just so you know, I wanted to "blame" Sandi for my purchases, but we all know that I love to shop for fabrics.  Therefore, Sandi, you are off the hook. 

Magic 3D Block kit, porcupine quill stylus, and one ball of Valdani
thread for my needle punch.