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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ok, a few days ago I was sitting and dreaming of what my studio would look like if I managed to buy the empty lot next door. I've been keeping it mowed and cleaned of junk and saving my pennies for several years just waiting for it to come up on the city auction block. See... I can money along with the vegetables every year.

All of a sudden I feel the whole house shake and vibrate.... earthquake!? I run outside... to find that it was only the old Phillip Morris plant being imploded..... or was it? As the day progressed I realized it was my dreams tumbling down in an avalanche of boulders in my path. I found out that my dream of getting the lot next door will never happen. The city didn't even give me a chance to buy the lot.... no auction at all..... they sold it to a rich person. A house is going to be built there.

Ummm.... I guess I should explain what I mean by a rich person. There is a very big difference between a rich person and a wealthy person. A rich person is someone with money and doesn't care who they trample on in the quest to get even more rich. Donald Trump is one example. A rich person also flaunts their money to those with less. You know who I mean.... the ones who have flashy expensive cars and 2000 dollar shoes. They treat store clerks and hotel janitors like it is their lot in life to be servants to the rich.

A wealthy person is sooo much different. A wealthy person has money but you would never know it by talking or working with them. Wealthy people are the ones with the biggest hearts. These are the people who give anonymously to a needy person featured in a news broadcast about tragedy. Wealthy people drive 15 year old cars and shop thrift stores for college kid furniture. In other words, this is how they stay wealthy.... by not spending foolishly.

I am neither rich nor wealthy.... although I do my best to live frugal and do what I can to give to charity. Well anyway, my dreams of having a studio next door have come crashing down... never to be seen again. The boulders in my path are too many to step around. I have to turn back and find another path..... this time I'm not sure I want to find another path.

In this particular case.... the wealthy person just happens to be a church. It uses tithe money to buy cheap land to build houses to rent so it can buy even more cheap land to develop. Why would a church need sooo much money but doesn't help the needy? Yes, you read right.... it doesn't help the needy. No food pantry and no help center office but the church does own many, many rental buildings, land, restaurants, businesses and such in the west end.

Ok, enough of my grumbling.... I'll set those thoughts aside and show you what I did while I was without a computer.... There was this issues quilt. I sometimes call these my challenge quilts. The quilts challenge me to make them flat. The maker is such a sweet old lady. As you can see... plenty of issues.

Plenty of fullness.... and loose threads....

Also has very friendly borders..... this one waves at me plenty... A tuck here and there helps.

An open design tames much of the fullness....

Can't stitch in the ditch when I can't find the ditch.... serpentine lines help stabilize it so a design can be done in the blocks....

A quilt with issues benefits from a really nice design.... the owner will be so busy looking at the roses she won't even notice the fullness anymore... besides, this quilt is for a special grandchild.... the owner's grand-daughter.... Victoria Rose.

And here it is.... as flat as I could make it... time and a few washings will flatten more of it. Pat myself on the back... no wonder they call me the quilt fix all fairy... (wink, wink, smile)

The next one to be quilted.... a quilt by an appliqué artist.

Woodgrain design on the frame...

Couldn't quilt on the arms or legs... it's padded... but I could contour the dress.

And the glass just seemed to need close diagonal lines to indicate it was solid.

Then on to this quilt....

Cross hatching in the center.....

Fish on the outside border to go with the fish in some of the fabrics...

Next was this one....

It was full of flower fabrics so flowers were the design in the blocks and the inside border....

More flowers on the border..... this time it gets a leaf vine instead.

A view of the leaf vine from the back.

Ok, I also worked at changing this room's color from this....

To this.... I have plenty more work to do in here before I can actually get started moving stuff back. Lots of trim to finish and the closet office to paint.

Decided I better find a better place for the travel baby bed.... thank goodness it's small... I decided the best place would be here in the corner.... so it got cleaned out....

The baby bed finally has a place of its own... looks like Jewell appreciates the new spot.

And finally.... I worked on these.... I'm supposed to have these wall hangings finished by the 10th of April. They are supposed to be in a gift shop before the Derby season starts. I hope I manage to finish in time.... if not.... oh well, its a head start on next year.

So that's what I did while I was without a computer..... when I'm not spending a few hours a day reading and typing.... I get more work done.

Friday, March 28, 2008

A very short post today. Several days ago the flash drive on my computer went out. I couldn't do anything or post anything. A customer's husband is a computer guy so he worked on it for me. I have my computer back but still have some problems. I have to take some things off of it to make it work because I'm completely out of memory. Looks like I will be taking my quilt business software and EQ6 off along with bunches of photos. The computer guy says I really need a new computer but it's just not in my budget to get one.

I'll try to post Monday about all the things I've done since my computer went out on me. Before something happens to the computer again I need to print off some master copies of my business forms. At least if I can't print them from the computer I will have these and can go to kinkos for copies.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lone star quilt

Today's finished quilt. It's a lone star quilt. Plenty of places to do nice quilting. A quilt with lots of straight lines needs curves in the quilting to balance it.

A freehand formal feather design in the triangle. I used a piece of cardboard to cut out templates to mark the ovals first then just did a feather to fill the space.

The freehand formal feathers on the outside border is to carry the theme from the triangles. This is a view from the back.

This is a view of the formal feather from the front.

I had been looking for just the right place to use this stencil design. I've had it for about 4 years just waiting for the right quilt to put it on.

The baby won't be here today so this means I have some time to work on other things. I'm hoping to get some painting and organizing done.

I also need to gather my thoughts together for the machine quilting demonstration I'm doing this weekend at the Happy Heart quilt shop. I really hope there is a big crowd for this one. I plan to talk for a little while about the different machines available today. Even the shop owner is interested in upgrading to a better machine. Most of the machines are very affordable. Is it possible I'm planning to talk myself out of a job? NAW.... there will be plenty of work for me.

Why do I feel that way? Think about it.... back when almost all households had sewing machines and women made almost all the clothing for the family.... there were still dressmakers and tailors with plenty of work to do. I need to keep myself as the specialized machine quilter and quilt maker so that work will continue to come my way. Like the dressmakers and tailors of yesteryear.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Baby stuff

Making room for baby items in an already crowded studio is not easy. The bed needs a place where it can be stored when not in use.

The only place I can find at the moment is here...

The scrap batting comes out.... the clothing quilt in progress comes out... and the bed goes in.

It's on wheels so it can be pulled out when in use and pushed back when not in use. This is only a temporary solution. I'm in the process of working in another room. As I work in that room I will think of a better place for the bed.

Yesterday I did an online search for Jamie Wallen. I followed a link to get to his site because I really like his artistic talent. I sent an email which brought me a phone call from a friend of his. A very nice person and I really enjoyed talking with him. I wanted to talk longer but I was standing and holding the baby plus it was getting late. I do hope he is reading my blog and will send me the email he promised.

Ok, I'd like to stay here at the computer and type but I must get myself ready for guild meeting and I think I hear Ladybug stirring around ready to get up.

Started organizing.... again

Ok, I've gone through a grandchild's birth, a bought with the flu, and working extra hard to get caught up on my quilting work while also including a baby into my daily routine..... now it's time I got back to some organizing! Gee, it's almost Easter, where did the time go?

I have the paint which is the first step. It's time to get started....

No.... wait.... before I can paint I have to remove things from the room. Empty out the office. Hmmm... where to put it?

Leave that for awhile.... take down the fabric being used as temporary curtains.

Also remove the hardware from previous curtains and the mini blinds. Those are so outdated!

Take down what was supposed to be a pulley system for taking photos of quilts. It didn't work as I had hoped.

Patch the millions of holes I've created by previous decorating.

Drag out the ladders and dust off the cob webs from the walls and ceiling.

As I work, I write a list of hardware items I need. Things to fix the windows and closet office doors along with window measurements, floor measurements, etc..... guess what.... it disappears! I must have taken it to another room or something but I've searched all over the place and it's hidden very well. I haven't cleaned out the office yet and there's no where else in the room it could be hiding.

This is what my motivation is for getting organized!! I'm tired of loosing things because they don't have a space in my house to call home. You see the paint pan and rollers from the picture above? I bought those because I couldn't find the ones I already have.

I'm tired of buying things just because I can't find the dozen or so I already own. I'm tired of wanting to use an appliance or something but give up in frustration because I can't find the manual. I'm tired of searching for a special piece of fabric but can't get to it because it's in the box at the bottom of a stack of boxes.

Once and for all.... this year is the year to get the whole house organized! Umm maybe I shouldn't say that.... it might jinx my goal.

I'm not going to buy any organizing items.... I'm only going to use what I already own or can create from recycling. Not going to buy curtains or containers. Not going to search through organizing isles or do any online searches for the "perfect" piece of furniture. Nope.... I'm going to use what I have. My own version of stash busting. After all, if I already have containers then I should bust the container stash first.

Nope.... the only purchases I will be making will be to repair items so they can be used again. More paint is going to be bought. Screws and nails will be bought. Closet door hardware will be bought. Maybe a roll of duct tape and some super glue too.

I may make an exception for a paper filing system. I don't have a file cabinet of any kind and tons and tons of papers to file. I seem to be the family historian when it comes to papers and pictures. Surely I can find a file cabinet or two at a thrift store.

I'm not sure how fast this project will be finished but I will enjoy the process! I love organizing and finding shortcuts to work almost as much as I love quilting.

So with my goals written for all the world to see.... it's time I got started.

Use several trash bags

You want to save a minute of time when sorting to toss or donate fabrics? I use a tall kitchen trash can to hold the bags when I'm sorting through donated fabrics. Very often the fabrics are unusable. It might be the wrong kind or dirty or dry rotted. The can holds the bag upright and open for me so all I have to do is stand back and toss toward the right can.

I usually put several bags in the cans before starting. That way, when the bag is full.... all I have to do is tie it and remove.... the next bag is already there and ready to use. I don't have to stop to open another bag.

I do this for all the trash cans around the house too. The ones in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and sewing room all have several bags in them. This saves time when cleaning house. This also saves space because instead of the trash bags taking up space in my utility cabinet... the bags are where they will be used.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Do you think I have a future machine quilter in training? Doesn't she look curious? Do I detect a hint of a smile?

This picture looks like she really wants to give the machine a try.... doesn't it? She looks very serious about it.

In my opinion, making adjustments for keeping a little one (while still trying to work) should always include a papoose sling. I can walk around doing things while holding her securely. By the time she is old enough to reach out for things she will be too heavy for the sling and ready for playpen toys. Hmmm.... I wonder if they make sewing machine shaped teething rings? Hee, hee, If I find one..... I could someday tell her she cut her teeth on a sewing machine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I finished the quilt with issues. It's as straight as I could get it.

No matter how many issues a quilt has.... it deserves a great quilting design stitched on it. I still have to remove the chalk guide lines.

The stitching designs show up better from the back. I really like the flower power designs by Diana Phillips.

I'm running late on getting this posted. When I woke up I went straight to the studio to get the rest of a quilt stabilized before the little one arrives this morning. It's better to get the stabilizing done when she isn't here. Stitching designs are no problem but stabilizing takes concentration.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I continued working on the quilt with issues. I thought I would show how I deal with those areas where it has friendly seams. (wave a lot) See the green square with the extra full seam? I tuck it under itself and hold it down by hand....

Then sew a part of the design over the seam to hold it down....

Then stitch the next part of the design.... this is a flower petal design.

I then finish the rest of the design as usual.

I had another quilt that needed to be finished so I took that one off the machine and put this one on to finish. This is just the background of a wall quilt. More will be added later. I hope the owner likes the stitching design I chose.

I did windy meander in the sky fabric.

A swag and rope design on the border.

It's been a very long time since I had to work around the schedule of a little one in the house. It seems to be harder than I remember it.... or maybe it's just that I'm older..... and a busier quilter than I used to be.

One thing is for sure.... I've got to be super organized in order to work during her brief nap times. I'm behind schedule getting ready for her to be here everyday. Being off my feet for three weeks in February threw everything off schedule. Hopefully this weekend I can get her baby things organized and in place.... oops... not this weekend.... I have plans for both Saturday and Sunday.... guess it will have to wait until the following weekend.

Trying to squeeze more STUFF into a small house is going to be tough. Now.... more than ever before... I wish I had a garage or a basement to store things. Oh well... wishing doesn't make it happen. Time for me to get to work, I can get a little done before she arrives.